Media release: 38 years at Wollongong Botanic Garden

The Wollongong Conservatorium of Music is encouraging the community to submit a response to Wollongong City Council’s Draft Botanic Garden Masterplan but specifically asking people to register a vote of support for the Con and to keep it as part of the Botanic Gardens.

The Con’s CEO Joe Gaudiosi commended the long term planning initiative by Council but said, “we are very disappointed that the Con’s 38 year presence and history at the Gardens has been totally ignored in the Masterplan. The Con has been here since 1980 and is not even listed as a key stakeholder”. 

He also noted that Council’s vision and principles for the Masterplan include culture, history, education and community that are mutually aligned with the Con. “The Con has had a significant impact on tens of thousands of students and many more from a broader community perspective, over that time. And we have much to offer in the future, so we are certainly surprised by the absence, both historically and also in terms of future”. 

The improved amenity and better integration across the site is welcomed. Mr Gaudiosi added “the Con attracts some 1,500 people each week to the site and some of these people already utilise the immediate grounds and the Gardens after their music classes”.

The Con also works offsite with some 500 school children across 25 school programs in the local community. The community music program has added a new band, orchestra and choir in the past 2 years. The music therapy program has grown and is expected to continue, as the Con is now a registered provider of music therapy services under the NDIS. 

“We believe it’s important to broaden our reach into the community” said Mr Gaudiosi. This is in addition to an already broad range of programs covering people from 3yrs to 83 yrs, beginner to advanced, private tuition to groups, bands or orchestras, and music theory. 

Mr Gaudiosi added “the red brick buildings (which are ear marked to be demolished) are not great, but they’ve been the Con’s home for 38 years and we’ll continue to work with them. A new building is a long way off and we look forward to working with Council in this regard in the future”.

Wollongong is a vibrant and diverse city. The Con sees itself as a key partner of Council in terms of contributing to the culture, education, arts and social well being of the community. Mr Gaudiosi said “this section of the site is marked on the Masterplan as ‘Heritage and Arts’ and we believe the Con is a natural fit. And we are encouraging people to support the Con in their feedback to Council”.

Council’s feedback closes at 5pm on Monday 3 September and details can be found on Council’s website or here on our website.