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National Growth Centre Collection
The Albury-Wodonga National Growth Centre project was a big, bold and brave decentralisation initiative that focused the nation's attention on Albury-Wodonga like never before. In many ways the Growth Centre was Albury-Wodonga's 'moment of fame'. It was marketed nationally, and while it flourished it attracted extensive metropolitan media scrutiny.
On 23 October 1973 the Prime Minister of Australia, Gough Whitlam, the NSW Premier, Sir Robert Askin, and the Premier of Victoria, Rupert Hamer met in Wodonga to sign the Albury-Wodonga Area Development Agreement. The agreement launched a regional development pilot scheme aimed at building Albury-Wodonga into an economically sustainable city in an attractive urban environment.
Further, the experiment drew unusual attention to regional development policies over a long period. The impact of the project on the district and its residents would go on to inform regional development policy and practices in the 21st century.
The Albury-Wodonga Development Corporation had the task of implementing the project. Some of its activities included; coordination of urban land use planning; provision of social, educational, cultural and recreational services and facilities; provision of incentives to attract industry and their employees; acquisition, sale and development of land for industry and residential uses; and provision of public infrastructure.
While the experiment formally ended in 1995, its impact lingered with the turn-of-the-century push to develop Albury and Wodonga as One City. It seems to have an ongoing life, if only with the survival of the term 'Albury-Wodonga'.
The story of the Albury-Wodonga National Growth Centre project is a contemporary one of national significance. The project was Australia's only major attempt at selective decentralisation, 'a pilot scheme' that was expected to influence the urban settlement pattern in Australia.
The collection, gifted by the Albury-Wodonga Development Corporation is an integral part of the National Growth Centre project story. The collection paints a picture of the social interaction, architectural diversity, and historical and environmental landscape changes over the period from 1974 until 1990. In addition, it demonstrates the continuing social significance of the National Growth Centre project for the residents of Albury and Wodonga.
The collection consists of large-format negatives, film footage, photographs and memorabilia, and is a unique asset for the LibraryMuseum and the local community. The majority of the photographs have detailed provenances, in terms of their location, publication date and reason for creation.