Malanda Falls Visitor Centre has reopened and is welcoming visitors to the region. Years of displacement came to an end for Malanda Falls Visitor Centre volunteers on 6 September with the official opening of a new $1.4 million facility.
On 24 April, 2010 the centre was destroyed in a fire leaving nothing behind but a shell. Prior to the blaze, the centre was receiving about 16,000 visitors annually with a dedicated workforce of volunteers telling stories about the natural history of Malanda and the local Aboriginal tribe, the Ngadjon.
Ngadjon elder, Uncle Ernie Raymont, has recently retired from the centre where he worked over many years telling visitors about the rich cultural history of the area and introducing its special natural features such as the tree kangaroo. It is a tribute to the commitment ofthecentre’s volunteers who maintained their presence during the construction of the new facilities and some of whom have volunteered their services since establishment of the first centre in 1996.
“Today we are opening this fantastic building, designed by architect Charles Wright and which reflects the volcanic formation of the Tablelands and the Seven Sisters,” Cr Lee Long said. “I also want to acknowledge the Commonwealth Government for funding support through the ‘Your Community Heritage Grant’ programme, which made use of the Wet tropics Touch screen technology and allowed us to record some of the special people and stories that you will discover in this centre.”
Paul Chantrill from the Wet Tropics Management Authority, who was also a representative of the Steering Group for the rebuild said, “The decision was made to stay focussed on the natural and cultural history of the area which includes the special World heritage listed rainforest and the rich history of Rainforest Aboriginal people. Mr Chantrill added, “The new Malanda Falls Visitor Centre has been rebuilt as an outstanding centre vital in showcasing the World Heritage Area and central to the visitor experience on the Atherton Tablelands.”