I recently had the honour of being at the opening of Mackay’s new Dudley Denny City Library, which is now located in Victoria Street in The Dome building. It has been named in honour of the late Dudley Denny as The Dome building and the adjoining car park was donated to the Mackay City Council by Dudley Denny’s son David Denny.
Although David no longer lives in Mackay he still has many business interests in Mackay and still has a great affection for the town that he was born in, grew up in, and as he would say, made his money in.
Also both David and his father Dudley had previously worked at the site of the Dudley Denny City Library for former Mackay department store and family business “Fields”.
David felt that with the revitalisation of the City Heart, he and his family could make a lasting contribution to the City Heart’s revitalisation by donating the property which was gladly accepted by the then Mayor of Mackay Regional Council Deirdre Comerford. David said that Deirdre had the foresight and imagination to see what could be done with the building to help bring life, amenity and people back to the City Heart. David went on to say that when Greg Williamson became Mayor he and his new Council not only saw the project through to completion, but did more. They honoured the spirit of the agreement with David and put in extra dollars to the project to see that every aspect was completed in style, comfort and aesthetic appeal. The Council and their Officers then went about planning what can only be described as a superb re-development of The Dome.
David also mentioned two Council officers in particular being David McKendry who was the acting CEO at the time of the gift, and Jim Carless who was responsible for actually supervising the work done and ensuring that the dreams and ideas of the rest were brought to fruition. David McKendry on the other hand was the behind the scenes person who ensured that everything went to plan. David went on to say that David McKendry reminded him very much of Mackay’s former great Town Clerk the late Stan Fursman.
As David mentioned in his speech at the opening of the library, not only did the former Mayor accept the gift of the property from David on behalf of the Council and the Mackay district and put in place the planning of the new library, the new Mayor Greg Williamson and his Council once in power took the project on with great vigour and ensured that a world class facility is now available to the public.
David also said in his speech that he and his family were very proud of the re-developed facility and went on to say “Perhaps our family reaction is best summed up by my daughter Christine who after a recent guided tour of the library phoned me from the library and said to me dad I am speechless. The whole look and feel is sensational”.
Although it has only been opened for several months the number of patrons using the library has at least doubled from those that attended the previous library in the Council precinct in Gordon Street, Mackay.
At the time the move of the library was mooted there was some concern or in trepidation by members of the public about its move, but one visit to the Dudley Denny City Library would certainly allay any of those fears and see what a marvellous asset our City now has thanks to David Denny’s generosity and the foresight of the Mackay Regional Council both past and present.
David thanked the Council for honouring his father by naming the library after him. He went on to say that his name really is a proxy for all of the outstanding family names that have featured in the development of Mackay over the twentieth century from a small country town to a thriving Regional City.
David put out a challenge to other Mackay families and businesses follow his family’s lead and quoting from the words of John F Kennedy said “Ask not what can Mackay do for me, but rather what can I do to assist a City and Region that has been so good to me”. He said he felt that the renewal concept of the City Heart was worthwhile and to put out the challenge to the Council and other family and business owners to sponsor and/or support an inner city living prototype that could really ensure more people living in and using the City Heart thus revitalising it.
It is interesting to note that although donations to a registerable charity are normally tax deductable, a donation to a Regional Council is not. In other words the full value of the property that was gifted by David to the Mackay Regional Council did not provide David with any tax deductability.
I would encourage everyone to visit the Dudley Denny City Library and not only will you experience the traditional library such as the availability to borrow books, you will also experience a myriad of other activities and facilities that one could not possibly expect to be found in a traditional library.