One step closer to visitor hub opening

Media Release

Local building contractor K Built Constructions will begin work on the National Trust’s new visitor hub at Strawberry Hill in late February.

‘I’m pleased that a local builder has won the contract for this important new piece of tourism infrastructure, which will also create local jobs’ Peter Watson the Member for Albany said.

‘The new building will not only provide a more welcoming and informative experience for visitors it takes pressure off the significant and fragile fabric of the house and Workers Quarters that are currently used for visitor orientation.’

The project is the culmination of work over several years to take the visitor hub from an idea to reality. Strawberry Hill has a rich and diverse history and is entered on both the Aboriginal Sites Register and the State Register of Heritage Places. An important place for the Menang for thousands of years, its permanent water course also attracted early settlers who established the colony’s first farm at a place known to the Menang as Barmup. The remaining 1836 house is the third constructed on site. The Workers Quarters, built to house farm labourers, was also constructed in the 1830s. Many of the other buildings associated with the farming enterprises of Sir Richard and Lady Ann Spencer and later Frances and Maude Bird have been lost.

Consultation with Traditional Owners and other local custodians as well as the local community has shown strong support for the new facilities. Associated with the works will be engagement with Traditional Owners who will work with local archaeologists, David Guilfoyle and Myles Mitchell, to monitor all ground works associated with the new building. Opportunity will also be provided for Menang youth to participate in the monitoring program.

‘This is a wonderful opportunity to train the next generation in skills and cultural protocols associated with building projects.’ National Trust CEO Julian Donaldson explained. ‘Applied Archaeology Australia are working with Great Southern TAFE across the South Coast, and work with the Elders to provide skills development and cultural learning to cultural ranger teams.’

‘While the monitoring is a legislative requirement to ensure Menang custodial obligations to care for country are met, including their ancestral places and features, it also provides an opportunity to broaden understanding of cultural chronologies in this area, and add depth to our understanding of the historical use of Barmup/Strawberry Hill,’ David Guilfoyle enthused.

Great Southern Development CEO, Bruce Manning, said the new visitor hub works which are funded by a Regional Economic Development Grant, Lotterywest and the National Trust should be finished by early September.

For further information, please contact:

Anne Brake, Senior Manager, Marketing and Community Services
(08) 9321 6088

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