ADRIAN Kosky has a knack for breathing new life into old buildings.
The 53-year-old Daylesford resident is the brains behind some of Hepburn Shire’s major revitalisation projects – including the transformation of former guesthouse Tasma House and Gardens into a family home with self-contained cottages for visitors.
Mr Kosky’s resume also includes the conversion of Daylesford’s Linton house, now Azidene house, into guest accommodation and a complete rebuild of the old Trentham wood-fired historic bakery.
Mr Kosky has a new project in the pipeline and is about to travel across the globe to Clarksdale in Mississippi with his partner Carla Maxwell.
“Carla and I have purchased a commercial building in the centre of the historic downtown blues precinct of Clarksdale and are beginning plans for its revitalisation,” Mr Kosky said.
“The building was originally built by Freemasons as a Masonic temple and has three shops at street level and the meeting/dining areas of the Masonic temple above.
“We hope to begin the establishment of three creative enterprises in the shops, leading to eventual international artist residencies.
“The upstairs is being considered for an accommodation facility for groups of visitors touring the musically rich area, a few hours by road from New Orleans, Memphis and Nashville.”
Mr Kosky will spend about three months in Clarkesdale – a precinct known as the birthplace of blues music.
“It’s situated in the Delta and was once known as the golden buckle on the cotton belt,” he said.
The couple already have plans to call the finished product “The Holy Moly” Masonic temple.
Mr Kosky describes revitalisation as “bringing life back into something that once was and adding to it a new zest for the future”. “Many small regional towns in Victoria, and much further afield, have had to reinvent themselves or find something that makes them desirable for others to visit, invest in, and grow,” he said.
“The cultural economy of Clarksdale, Mississippi – the music, art, food, and tourism centred businesses – are all growing strong in a town in decline.”
Mr Kosky said the Hepburn Shire had itself found a brighter future through the revitalisation work of far-sighted individuals.
“You only have to look back 20 to 30 years to see a very different picture in this part of regional Victoria,” he said.
“Refreshing and rejuvenating existing infrastructure, central downtown or main streets, attracting new business and visitors helps keep towns vibrant and hopefully provides a local economy strong enough to provide employment for local people.”
When Mr Kosky’s not planning his next project, he’s busy busking around town, playing in the acoustic trio Table Hill or in the Mississippi blues-based trio Shotgun Shack.
Mr Kosky said revitalisation was second nature to artists and musicians who often had reinvent themselves to be creatively refreshed and renewed.
“I like to think of it as renovation work, combined with business foresight, including an interest and a respect for the past, whilst incorporating the desires and aspirations of the current community that will benefit from the revitalisation work,” he said.