Texas Rabbit Works Visitor Information Centre
An interactive experience of the history of the Southern Downs rabbit industry
Client: Goondiwindi Regional Council
Category: Visitors Centre
Date: May 2017
The Texas Rabbit Experience is an interactive display telling the intriguing story of the Southern Downs rabbit industry, through the eyes of the local people. The Riverside Freezing Works was established in 1928 in the small township of Texas on the Queensland-New South Wales Border. The factory was built as a means to control the massive over-population of rabbits in the region. Processing began in 1930. Known by locals as the ‘Rabbit Works Factory,’ the building’s history holds great community significance. During the Great Depression, the factory was the lifeblood of the Texas community, with the processing of more than 6,000 rabbits per day keeping townspeople employed and the Texas economy prosperous. Through 2016 and 2017, Brandi Projects designed, produced and installed an exciting visitor experience for the historic factory building, bringing the fascinating Rabbit Works Factory history to a new generation. The end result has reignited the much-loved factory allowing it to again take centre stage in the economy of the town but this time, through tourism.
The Texas Rabbit Works Visitor Experience, Riverside Freezing Works, Texas Qld Inc.
The “Texas Rabbit Experience” Visitor Information Centre exhibit, was opened on May 13, 2017. The exhibition was delivered on time and on budget.
The Texas local community wanted to document the rich history of Texas for a new generation, as well as attract visitors to the region. They sought to do this through the installation of a modern and engaging visitor and tourist information centre experience. The local history and anecdotes about the Rabbit Factory were substantial. Under the lead consultancy of Earth Check, a Brisbane-based international scientific benchmarking, certification and advisory group for travel and tourism, Brandi Projects were charged with developing exciting ways to bring this history alive to a new audience, maximising the visitor experience.
Mayor Graeme Scheu from the Goondiwindi Regional Council told of the wider tourism program planned throughout the region (Goondiwindi Plus More, May 2015). Council aimed to increase diversity in the region with the Rabbit Factory to boost tourism and provide the local economy with a boost, much like it did all those years ago:
“The council has identified the potential in this historic rabbit factory and the redeveloping of the rabbit factory to an attraction to the region as a priority project for us all,” he said.
“It will not only be an opportunity for us to tell the story of the rabbit factory to Australia but will increase the overnight tourism to the Texas and Goondiwindi area.”
Brandi Projects undertook the following roles:
- Project Manager, under lead consultancy of Earth Check.
- Interpretive Display Designer
- Graphic Designer
- Concept Designer
- Display Production
- Installation with technical AV elements completed by Link Electronics.
- One of the factory’s chilling rooms becomes a dedicated kid’s area, where movement sensors trigger audio displays to enhance the interpretive panels for child-friendly learning.
- The other chilling room is transformed into a recording booth, where a wall-mounted touchscreen and audio handset allows patrons to listen to recordings. As well, visitors can record their own stories about the rabbit factory for others to hear. In this way, the experience is an evolving piece of history.
- An Akubra room tells visitors how Akubra hats are made via a wall-mounted screen.
- There is also a dedicated film room, where an ABC documentary filmed at the factory during the 1970’s can be viewed.
- Outside, pipeworks which cooled down the water from the factory have been transformed into a feature ‘chilling pond.
- As well, a photo opportunity wall inspires visitors to take photos at the Factory. These snaps are often tagged by visitors on social media, which helps to increase awareness of the experience for a wider audience.
- An audio post in the town’s main street entices visitors to the historic factory.
Comments About this Project
Mr David Littleproud MP, Member for Maranoa said in his speech opening the Visitor Experience:
“…We as a Federal Government have given money to diversify the economic base of Texas. And what you will see in there does that. That is a first class tourism product, right here in Texas.
I have a number of significant tourist products right across Maranoa – right up in Longreach and Winton. The Qantas Founders Museum, the Age of Dinosaurs Museum in Winton. I can tell you that matches in quite easily with each and every one of them.
You have a product, a tourism product here that will entice people to stop and be part of the Texas community and to share and understand what this community is about, has been about. Don’t underestimate what our communities have to offer.
A lot of people in metropolitan areas don’t have a connection to rural and regional Australia anymore. So when you have products like this that gives them something unique for them to understand and appreciate ….”
RACQ Living Texas Rabbit Experience
“The Rabbit Works experience is the perfect opportunity for locals, tourists and those just passing through to relive Texas’ forgotten success story, explore the township and connect with the locals who are always happy to stop and share stories of their yesteryear.“
The Senior Texas Rode on Rabbit’s Back
The Texas Rabbit Factory is open to the public from 9am -1pm every Saturday or by appointment.
For more information on visiting this exhibition email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their Facebook page.