Iconic tourist attraction ready for upgrade

For nearly a century, since three locals took visitors by torchlight to see the Little Penguins came ashore, tourists have flocked to Phillip Island, 90 minutes from Melbourne, each evening.

The much-loved Penguin Parade is an Aussie icon – up there with Vegemite, Hills Hoist and Tim Tams.

And now, thanks to $48.2 million from the Victorian Government, along with $10 million from Phillip Island Nature Parks, a new visitors centre is a step closer with the appointment of Terroir as principal architect.

The project also involves restoring 6.7 hectares of habitat for the Little Penguin, ensuring that world-leading research can continue in a thriving penguin colony.

ICN Victoria consultant, Andrew Bradley, said the construction of the new centre would boost local jobs and provide opportunities for regionally-based SMEs.

‘While it is early days and work packages have not yet been released, ICN is taking expressions of interest though Gateway from local suppliers with capability across construction, landscape and tourism to help with the interpretative centre,’ he said.

‘Businesses that are keen to stay informed of any opportunities should register through Gateway as soon as possible. ICN wants to hear from you.’

With the new visitors’ centre due to be complete by the end of 2019, the project will kick off with Terroir conducting an extensive consultative process with Phillip Island Nature Parks to ensure that it will provide the best facilities for the penguin parade for many years to come.

‘Terroir, based in Australia and Denmark, has experience in designing complex buildings in internationally significant and sensitive locations, including a large number of projects in regional areas and where local cultural and environmental conditions are central to the project,’ Andrew said.

‘This is a great opportunity for regional small and medium businesses to get in front of a multi-national firm.’

In a press release announcing Terroir as the principal architects, Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing said the project ‘will significantly improve the visitor experience and is part of our on-going plan to showcase the very best of what Gippsland has to offer to the world’.

It is expected that the centre will boost the local economy and tourism in regional Victoria, with the creation of 620 new jobs plus an estimated 110 jobs on-site during construction.

According to the Terroir website, the centre ‘has to carry the ambitions of this tourism and conservation program across iconographic, experiential and functional contexts’.

For more information, or to register an expression of interest go to the project page on ICN Gateway.