Galvanizing the civic hub of Hope Vale

Cooktown and some 370km north of Cairns. Covering 110,000 hectares, Hope Vale is located in a valley surrounded by tropical native bushland, mountain ranges, pristine coast lines and diverse flora and fauna. Hope Vale is home to a population of 1,500 people, comprised of 13 Aboriginal clan groups who mostly speak Guugu Yimithirr and other related languages, as well as English.

The Hope Vale Aboriginal Shire Council is committed to sensitive, planned, sustainable and culturally appropriate development. With the township of Hope Vale growing, development of the civic heart and central hub of the town is essential. 

As such, in early 2022, the Hope Vale Aboriginal Shire Council called for tenders to construct a 3,200m2 sound stage in the town’s central park. The sound stage is more than a sheltered area for gathering—it will become a place for celebrations, events, school concerts, sports and recreation. It will become an icon for the town, a signature image for tourism and a source of civic pride.

Myriad Design explored several concepts with the Council. The Council selected a curved form to mirror that of a sting ray, representing the coastal connection for the community. Floating like wings overhead, curved roof panels step upwards away from the stage providing shelter for over 300 people.  

The best possible protection 

Cairns Steel Fabricators undertook detailing and fabrication of the structure, with RPG providing rolling services, and APG Group galvanizing the structure. 

With more than 55 years of expertise, APG Group is North Queensland’s largest hot dip galvanizing organisation. APG has one plant in Townsville and two depots in Cairns and Mackay. These strategic locations enable APG to service the needs of customers from Rockhampton and Gladstone, up to Queensland’s northern tip, as well as inland to Mt Isa. 

In total, APG galvanized just over 33 tonnes of steel for the sound stage. This consisted of single dipping items up to 10m in length using their 12.5m galvanizing bath.

Extensive research has shown that the corrosivity of the atmosphere is very much related to the proximity of the coast and the frequency of on-shore prevailing winds. Given the location of the sound stage, galvanizing was the best possible protective measure available. 

According to APG Group’s sales officer Sharna McKeown, “The area around the Hope Vale sound stage is subject to high salt water and winds. This makes it quite a harsh environment for steel. Galvanizing was the best possible solution to protect the steel from this environment.”

The trouble with transportation

While a challenge, the safe transportation of the steel was achieved thanks to the durability of galvanizing. 

“Hope Vale is a remote community. The steel had to be transported over 750km to the site, some of which was on dirt roads. Galvanizing was the best way to protect the steel throughout the logistics and transportation process,” McKeown said.

“While the galvanized steel had to be transported over 750km, the process really was business as usual for APG Group. A lot of our steel is transported long distances prior to installation. We know exactly how to load a truck, and make sure that everything is packed correctly and strapped down in line with all the transport guidelines.”

Economic benefits for the Hope Vale community

It is well-documented that galvanizing offers an array of economic benefits. Using galvanized steel in a small community such as Hope Vale will ensure the local community can enjoy a structure with a much-extended lifespan, particularly compared to other applications such as paint.

In addition, maintenance and repair costs for the Council are expected to be significantly reduced. “The use of galvanizing on the structure will ensure that the community at Hope Vale enjoys the sound stage for an extended period of time, with much less maintenance, particularly compared to other coatings like paint. The community and local council won’t need to undertake anywhere near as much maintenance,” McKeown said.

Environmental and social responsibility

Any development—whether small or large—needs to be considered from an environmental sustainability stand point. As society progresses, it is important that we aim to meet the needs of present generations without jeopardising those of future generations. The selection of materials for projects such as the Hope Vale sound stage can play a major role. 

Hope Vale is a remote community that not only celebrates Aboriginal culture, but prides itself on protecting the diverse natural environment. This made the use of galvanizing an obvious choice. Compared to other processes like paint, galvanizing helps ensure that fewer natural resources are consumed, fewer emissions are produced and less money is spent over the lifecycle of a project.

“It was really great to be involved in a project like this that is designed to help develop a small town. APG Group was pleased to be able to help the community get a longer life out of the structure,” McKeown said.

Project team

  • Client: Hope Vale Aboriginal Shire Council 
  • Galvanizer: Australian Professional Galvanizing
  • Fabricators: Cairns Steel Fabricators
  • Building Designers: Myriad Design


On point

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