Glow: Rotary Club of Wollongong president Professor Michael Hough and Leigh Robinson feature in graphic designer Karolina Stojkovska’s impression of a lit up WIN Entertainment Centre.A free hour-long light display and walk at dusk that takes you past many great eateries could draw more tourists to Wollongong.
That is the vision of new Rotary Club of Wollongong president Professor Michael Hough.
Seven years ago Professor Hough was involved in the launch of Wings Over Illawarra – an event that now attracts up to 25,000 people to Albion Park airport each year.
So when he pitches an idea it is worth listening.
His latest proposal is a year-round initiative to help make the heart of Wollongong even more of a drawcard for locals and visitors.
He initially wants an annual week-long event called Light Up The Gong followed by a year-round attraction called City of Lights.
“The centre of Wollongong in my view should be about service, tourism and fascinating experiences for people and families,” Professor Hough said.
The Light Up The Gong festival would involve competitions to build LED and laser-based displays that are unique to the Illawarra.
In making Wollongong a “City of Lights” he proposes a range of constantly evolving activities that would provide year-round interest.
Professor Hough wants to run a laser display off Flagstaff Hill each night at dusk as well as laser light displays around the harbour and from selected sites on the escarpment.
“Something that has influenced me is in Hong Kong Harbour every evening – there is an eight o’clock laser show which is free and the tourists flock to it,” he said.
“I want to have a regular all-year-round laser show so people say ‘you should go to Wollongong Harbour where there is a laser show at dusk’.”
Professor Hough is also proposing an attractive light walk from the foreshore through the city.
He wants to make Wollongong Harbour, lower Crown Street, Crown Street Mall and GPT exteriors highly attractive to walk near and admire with quality LED displays every evening.
That would include moving light shows.
His ideas include solar-powered light show projections on buildings in Crown Street of how the area looked at various times in history.
Professor Hough’s inspiration included Reims Cathedral in France.
His vision is to highlight buildings such as GPT, the town hall and WIN Entertainment Centre.
They would be programmable to give different effects.
Professor Hough wants local students to design a new show every month. They could even include local Indigenous history.
“My idea would be you go to the harbour … see a routine but interesting laser show at dusk and then walk the Blue Mile … to the WEC, which is lit up with different projections at different times of the evening, and then you walk through a great light show along the mall to GPT,” he said.
He also wants to see a major “Harbour Creatures Sculptures” project with significant sculptures similar to the “Little Mermaid” at Copenhagen.
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