An iconic museum dedicated to a song, the new Waltzing Matilda Centre in Winton, Queensland captures the spirit of the outback through its interpretative design. Designed by COX Architecture, the new $18 million museum and exhibition space brings the legend of Australia’s unofficial national anthem, Waltzing Matilda into the 21st century while ensuring the Australian spirit and heartland of bush poetry lives on through the centre’s unique design and collections.

Following a devastating fire in 2015, the Waltzing Matilda Centre was rebuilt and opened in 2018. Tasked with the challenge of designing a space that would truly celebrate Australia’s best known story and the true character of the town of Winton, COX Architecture took inspiration from the stark and rugged, yet distinctive Winton landscape and brought the iconic centre to life using a carefully selected materials palette. 

The Cemintel® Barestone range was used to realise the bold, landscape-inspired architectural vision, with the legacy of Waltzing Matilda living on in the striking new centre.

“The design of the centre is a response to the highly sculptural landscape, which has been formed by nature over millions of years,” says COX Architecture project director, Brendan Gaffney.

“We chose concrete and rusted steel to bring to life the iconic Winton landscape with its ‘jump-up’ rock formations, distinctive shapes made through weathering and water movement, including the classic billabongs.”

Cemintel’s Barestone cladding range connects visitors to the Winton landscape through its natural tone, which will continue to evolve as it weathers naturally.

“Barestone’s colour continuity and texture were perfect counterpoints to the rough coarseness of the outside. The flexibility of the product allowed us to incorporate different shapes and sizes for dramatic effect,” says Gaffney.

In addition to aesthetic appearance, key considerations for the materials palette also included performance and resilience, given Winton’s climate extremes that see up to 45°C temperatures in the summer and cold snaps in winter.

“We wanted the building to be memorable, but it also needed to protect the artefacts and exhibitions displayed within and ensure ongoing maintenance was kept to a minimum,” continues Gaffney.

“Cemintel’s Barestone range doesn't absorb moisture or shrink, swell or move around a lot; it’s practically indestructible. It’s a robust and economical cladding choice that has allowed us to achieve the desired aesthetic without compromising on performance.”

Centre manager Cameron Mace says the new eye-catching building has made the town a talking point and must-visit destination for those seeking authentic Australian history and experiences.

“The Waltzing Matilda Centre is a drawcard for locals, school groups and both domestic and international tourists alike. With the new centre we are now able to efficiently cater to a greater number and diversity of people and functions,” says Mace.

Mace observes that the new museum epitomises the pioneering and resilient spirit of the Australian outback.

“Waltzing Matilda is an essential part of who we are as Australians and the new centre will ensure that the history, culture and character of the outback will live on with each visitor that passes through our doors.”