Hill End Visitors Centre

Creating the breadth, space and mediums to innovatively tell stories of this place from deep time to today

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service

The Hill End Heritage Centre is a key outcome of Trigger’s in-depth interpretation work for Hill End Historic Site as a whole. Trigger co-authored a comprehensive interpretation strategy for the site, which determined five interpretive themes and the main stories to be told. This research was implemented through the curation and design of ‘Alchemy: The Lustre of Hill End’, a bespoke permanent interpretive exhibition experience for The Hill End Heritage Centre.

This project won a NSW National Trust Heritage Award for Interpretation and Education, 2017, and was shortlisted for The Australian Interior Design Awards, 2017, in the Installation Category.

The Hill End Heritage Centre is an adaptively reused FRS Fire Shed in the centre of the town. Trigger worked with the architects to ensure that the building was fit for purpose, and so existing heritage structures could be reused for interpretive purposes. The exterior design preserves the industrial feel of the shed, with its visible modifications in rusted corrugated iron sheets reflecting a long history of change and growth.

The exhibition integrates technology to modular built forms and is designed to be recessive and support the experience. All labels are digital, featuring a wealth of information on touch screens.



The exhibition space is a collection of small, obstructed and fragmented areas. We addressed this constraint by tailoring content and the interpretive experience to the idiosyncrasies of each space. For example, a small heritage room becomes the intimate venue to view Harry Hodge’s 1960s-era town model. The interior is surprising — the skeletal remnants of a heritage cottage within the shed becomes the centrepiece for an AV and object theatre piece that introduces the interpretive experience.

Innovative methods were developed to showcase the archive’s wealth of photographic material. A large interactive touch screen displays photographs of the town in different time periods, large scale prints of the historic Holtermann Collection line the walls and a 6m-long illuminated floor panel features an 1872 panorama of the town. We also developed an innovative donation box video experience that has been very successful in raising funds.


The exhibition design sleeves contemporary intervention in a historic shell.

A former exterior water well received a glazing treatment to become trafficable and allow an interactive AV experience about the lives of miners.

One of the core aims of the exhibition was to enrich the town and to attract both cultural and economic benefits to the Hill End area. The exhibition provides a deep and thematically organised experience, ultimately promoting longer visitor stays and insight into a living village.