A new destination

Former Cowra PCYC manager Shane Budge has taken on the role of manager at Cowra's number one tourist attraction, the Japanese Garden and Cultural Centre.
Former Cowra PCYC manager Shane Budge has taken on the role of manager at Cowra's number one tourist attraction, the Japanese Garden and Cultural Centre.

There is a new, but not unfamiliar, face at the Cowra Japanese Garden.

Shane Budge, long known for his work at the Cowra PCYC, said he took the role as manager of the Garden as he was seeking a change.

“My background is in banking, photography, PCYC. The most marketing I’ve done was with PCYC but this is a different broader market,” he said.

“I’m still working for the community because the garden is a not-for-profit organisation.”

“So far I’ve haven’t got to sink my teeth into a whole lot, but certainly getting my head around the media promotion has been a change.

“There is still a lot for me to learn, but some of the stories and the information behind the garden are amazing,” he said

Mr Budge said he wanted to bring more local involvement and visitation to the Garden, getting local kids and families involved.

“One of the things I want to do is build a volunteer program,” he said.

“Some of it will be education, if there is a young person who wants to start to learn about horticulture, they can come in, volunteer and spend time in the garden to learn as much as they can.

“We want to bring back the guided garden tours.

“If we can find people who have the time to do the tours they will learn about the garden and the history of the garden but also get that social aspect where they are interacting with people and sharing information.

“We’ve talked about trying to provide regular entertainment picnic events along the lines of a string quartet or jazz band, and even movie nights if we can get an outdoor screen in the summer months.

“We’ve just started to get in contact with people about the Sakura Matsuri Festival so there is a lot of planning that needs to go into that.”

Mr Budge said he had been learning a lot about the garden since he took the position.

“I’m loving the gardens, I have great support from the board and the staff here and Cowra Tourism,” he said.

“I have learned a lot from talking to the board members in a very short space of time, about aspects of the design of the garden and the thought process behind it.

“It’s a amazing place. It’s not just a garden it’s a whole lot more,” Mr Budge said of the top tourist attraction.