The dramatic transformation of a Dubbo landmark has gone on show for the first time, as the heritage building reclaims its destiny as a hub of community connection.
The restoration of The Exchange - Clock Tower inside and out has been completed, 13 months after the property was bought by Jillian Kilby from Telstra.
On Wednesday it was a star attraction as it served as the venue for its first function, attended by 70 people.
On Wednesday Ms Kilby, an engineer who led the project herself, invited the Daily Liberal through the doors to reveal the fulfillment of her dream.
The first steps had started in 2017 when she approached Telstra about buying the asset, and in 2018 she became the new owner, and the hard work began.
"We had the scaffolding up and the building painted by March 2019, and what in my view is a very quick turnaround, an entire restoration of an incredible heritage building by December 2019," Ms Kilby said.
There had been 100 people come on site in the past week alone, finishing painting, air-conditioning, flooring, plumbing, office partitioning and glass framing, along with the builder, she said.
"It goes without saying that none of this would be possible if I didn't have a lot of hands working very hard," she said.
"...It's hard to believe we're here, because it was such a dream in 2017 and maybe the scariest part is that when you achieve what you set out to achieve, you start to realise you really can do anything.
"But always with great people to make that happen."
Ms Kilby's vision for the building is as a community and co-working space for people starting or scaling businesses, to increase their chance of commercial success. It will offer flexibility, so people can lease for "the hour... the week... [a] whole year...five years".
"That's the unique thing about co-working, is that it helps those people who are starting or scaling their business, because it reduces the overheads," Ms Kilby said.
The goal for December and January was to bring people through the space who were potential tenants, and lock them in, she said.
"We already have five potentially confirmed, and that gives us a lot of confidence because they are wonderful people, and if I was looking for an office to lease either for a day or a month in Dubbo, I'd want to be around these great people too," she said.
Telstra CEO Andy Penn, the event's guest speaker, praised the restoration.