Rotary Club of Toowoomba South Inc.

Grantham Butter Factory


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Community Centre Development

Following the floods of 10th of January 2011 which tore through Grantham devastating the town, creating great loss of life, horrendous property damage, and creating physical and emotional damage beyond belief, the old disused Grantham Butter Factory became a haven for the residents to escape to and be cared for.

 The Butter Factory became an evacuation centre, a donation collection point as well as an initial temporary accommodation refuge. The solid brick building, located on higher ground in the flood ravaged community, did not sustain any damage after the wall of water tore through the town. 

The town has slowly been re-building after the devastation of the floods and resident Marty Warburton has stated that the establishment of a community centre would be the silver lining from the floods.

The refurbished Grantham Butter Factory building on the morning of the Official Opening - Sunday 30th June 2013 

Major Donation

A major donation from the Cotton On Foundation saw the Rotary Club of Toowoomba South being able to purchase the Grantham Butter Factory with a plan to develop the building into a community centre to be a gathering place for local organisations. Toowoomba South Rotary Club’s aim is to create positive and measurable change in the lives of the people of Grantham who lost so much.

Marty further stated that “the floods brought the community so close together and a Community Centre will be a positive thing for everybody and the future of Grantham. This plan has lifted the Community and has given everyone something positive to think and talk about. It is a good direction to go in, taking us into the future, but keeping a bit of our history. Lockyer Valley Mayor Steve Jones said that the Council would work closely with the Rotary Club of Toowoomba South on the project.

Immediately following the floods the Rotary Clubs of District 9630 galvanised into action providing physical and financial assistance to the residents and businesses of Toowoomba and the Lockyer Valley. The Rotary Flood Appeal of Southern Queensland was established and was the conduit for the receipt of donations and the distribution of funds and equipment across the region including the Grantham Butter Factory Project.

The Rotary Club of Toowoomba South has continued to receive donations of cash and in kind assistance towards the restoration of the Butter Factory however more is needed. To date donations and commitments have been received from the Coffs Harbour Bridge Club, Individual Rotary Clubs and six Rotary Districts from across Australia. Apart from the very generous donation from the Cotton On Foundation, a large commitment from Tupperware, a commitment from the YMCA Brisbane has also been made to assist the project. 

Developing the project.

Early assistance in developing this project has been donated by the New Lands Group and FK Gardener and Sons. The services of Structural Engineer Lindsay Reid were engaged to inspect and report on the necessary structural repairs and provide detailed engineering drawings to allow the restoration to proceed. Extensive consultation with the Lockyer Valley Regional Council and the Grantham Community followed.

The site has been cleaned of vegetation and years of rubbish by working Bees from the Club Members of Toowoomba South. This followed the complete removal of all asbestos from the site and the top of the chimney repaired and capped to make the site safe for renovation/restoration work to proceed. A detailed landscape plan has been prepared by Cloudlake Design as a donation to the program. This was used as a basis to remove trees that could impact on the building footings as well as thinning out overgrown vegetation and the tree crowding.

Concept elevation and floor plan drawings were prepared by FK Gardener together with the sewer drainage plan and the concrete floor slab plan produced by Reid Consulting Engineers. The restoration has been planned in three stages. 

Stage 1

Stage 1 involves renovating the rear market hall. This includes repairing the underside of the roof, completely replacing the entire roof, restoration of the rear roller door, construction of an internal ablutions block as well as levelling the concrete floor. A perforated colorbond ceiling is also to be installed in the market hall.

Stage 2  

Stage 2 will see the refurbishment of the upper level on the northern side of the building including relining the internal and external walls, constructing toilets, kitchenette and multipurpose rooms as well as necessary plumbing and drainage. Donated hardwood timber flooring will also be installed in this area as a floating floor. Road Works, stormwater and landscaping will also be commenced during this stage.

A project Manager has been appointed and a Letter of Engagement signed with FK Gardner to construct/restore Stages 1 & 2 and a Memorandum of Understanding is currently being negotiated with the Lockyer Valley Regional Council.

Stage 3

Stage 3 consists of the restoration of the front hall including concrete floor restoration, new colorbond ceiling to restaurant area, replacement of stairs and balustrade, construction of a commercial kitchen and fit out. It also includes construction of a Mezzanine level, timber window restoration, brickwork restoration, meter box upgrade, painting and signage and electrical services as well as completion of the landscaping, paving etc.

Whilst Stages 1 & 2 is within the budget of received and/or committed donations there is a need to secure further major donations in cash and kind in order to be able to complete this essential project and hand it over to the people of Grantham........

Project Completed - The Opening Ceremony

Sunday 30th June 2013

By far the biggest project ever undertaken by the club the Grantham Butter Factory was refurbished over a period of two years from 2011 to 2013 and was officially opened by the Queensland Governor Penelope Wensley on Sunday 30th June 2013. 

The completed project has now been handed over to the Lockyer Valley Regional Council to to be used as a community centre for the people of Grantham. (see The Final Chapter below)

Picture left: Queensland Governor Penelope Wensley opening the rebuilt Grantham Butter Factory on Sunday 30th June 2013 with, from left: Gatton Mayor Steve Jones and Project Co-ordinator Bill Mason

The Final Chapter

Tuesday night the 1st of April 2014 saw the culmination of a huge amount of work by the Rotary Club of Toowoomba South and other Volunteers, Contractors and Lockyer Valley Regional Council staff over the last three years.

Members of the Rotary Club of Toowoomba South, along with representatives from the Lockyer Valley Regional Council and a number of invited guests, attended a special dinner at the newly restored Grantham Butter Factory to celebrate the official handover of the project to the Council, to be used as a Community Centre for the people of Grantham and the broader Lockyer Valley community.

This event was also a chance to say thank you to a number of Individuals and Contractors who went over and beyond any expectations in order to assist the Club in completing this huge project. This included the presentation of two Paul Harris Fellowship Awards and a number of Certificates of Appreciation.

A comprehensive report on the event has been included in the club's newsletter for this week.      Photos from the event are available here.

Other Information

More information on the project can be found in the Project Newsletters at the following links:

1st Grantham Butter Factory Newsletter  |  2nd Grantham Butter Factory Newsletter  |  3rd Grantham Butter Factory Newsletter

General updates on the project are available in the Project News page, the Club Archives and on the Grantham Butter Factory Facebook page

YouTube Videos and Newspaper Reports are available in the Project Videos page

Photo albums from the project can be accessed via the Project Photos page.