Heritage matters #1

Home Straight.

The Fremantle Society is about to get a new home; the Committee is very excited about the prospects of moving into Fremantle’s premiere heritage precinct.  Once the lease is signed I will let you know where it is and invite all Society members past, present and future to join the Committee in giving the place a much needed spruce up.  Make it a new year’s resolution to get out the marigolds and become an active member of the Society, enjoying the view from the balcony over a drink and sausage sizzle after a day’s work will be the highlight of your social calendar!

Grand National.

Last week I was lucky enough to attend the ICOMOS Christmas dinner.  The evening was tinged with sadness due to empty the chairs of those attending David Dolan’s funeral in South Australia.  David was described in a eulogy as a “much loved and respected heritage champion”.  I remember David as one of nature’s gentlemen with great enthusiasm for cultural heritage, he will be sadly missed.  A meal was enjoyed at Villa Roma with good humour and good company.  The highlight of the evening was a tour of the National Hotel.  Owner Sean Butler and Architect Gerard McCann lead the tour.  Internally there is still a lot of work to do, but the phoenix is rising.  The always positive Gerard said the fire had allowed them to remove many of the previous unsympathetic additions and work.  Sean is a professional developer who should be congratulated for showing leadership in taking on what was a difficult project, clearly he is very enthusiastic about the Hotel and I look forward to buying him a beer when the hotel opens for business.  Share our tour with the photos below.

Tougher stance on heritage heretics

Bringing the bulldozers in at the dead of night to knock over heritage homes in WA suburbs – a recent demolition on a restored home in Claremont springs to mind – has become just that bit tougher, thanks to heftier penalties introduced on Wednesday in State Parliament.   Until recently the previous maximum penalty was a paltry $5,000, although in 2005 an additional penalty of $50,000 was imposed by the Planning and Development Act.  Considering many new developments cost several millions and more, even $55,000 is a small added expense to pay for demolition.

John Castrilli, Minister for Heritage (among other portfolios) has just introduced legislation to the Legislative Assembly to increase penalties by up to $1million for illegally demolishing or damaging State-registered heritage properties.  The legislation, which was approved by the Assembly, now only requires approval from the Legislative Council to be enacted.

In a recent ministerial media release (24/11) Mr Castrilli said, “the amendments would ensure meaningful protection for heritage properties ensuring their retention for current and future generations of West Australians.”

Great news!!