LAWRENCE DROWN, XAVIER HAZARD, REBEKAH O’HEARN, JESSE MARTIN, CHARLOTTE SAXON, ISABELLA SULLIVAN, JASMINE TREWIN, ERNEST TSE, BRIANA WALKER, RUBY WHEELER – WITH CHRIS THOMSON
APRIL 3 STORY UPDATE: ON MARCH 28, THE CURRENT OWNERS OF THE HOUSE BUILT BY SHENTON PARK ANZAC, ALEXANDER ANDERSON, MADE A PRESENTATION AT A SUBIACO COUNCIL MEETING SUPPORTING A RECOMMENDATION NOT TO READMIT THE HOUSE TO THE CITY’S HERITAGE REGISTER. FOLLOWING THE PRESENTATION, MAYOR HEATHER HENDERSON, AND NINE OF HER CITY COUNCILLOR COLLEAGUES, VOTED IN FAVOUR OF THE RECOMMENDATION. EAST WARD COUNCILLOR PAUL CLEMENTS WAS THE ONLY ELECTED OFFICIAL TO VOTE AGAINST.
CR SCOTT ARBUCKLE, WHO WAS NOT AT THE MEETING, TODAY LEFT A COMMENT BELOW SAYING HE WAS “OFFENDED BY THE REFUSAL TO RECOGNISE THE VALUE OF ANZAC VETERAN, ALEXANDER ANDERSON’S CONTRIBUTION TO SUBIACO”.
EARLIER, ONE OF THE CITY COUNCILLORS WHO VOTED FOR THE RECOMMENDATION, JULIE MATHESON, LEFT A COMMENT BELOW STATING THAT THE OUTCOME OF THE VOTE WAS UNFORTUNATE. SHE SAID SHE WAS DISAPPOINTED SHE DID NOT READ THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE BEFORE THE MARCH 28 MEETING.
EXCLUSIVE: A bungalow built by a Gallipoli veteran who, to commemorate his Anzac comrades, crafted replica poppies into its pressed metal ceiling and a rising sun on its gable has been dumped from the City of Subiaco’s heritage inventory.
And the pictured house should be kept off the inventory says a city official who tonight reminded her political masters that in 2013 several of them agreed the bungalow had “no cultural heritage significance”.
Ahead of tonight’s Subiaco council meeting, the city’s Coordinator Heritage and Projects, Sofia Boranga, recommended that the house, at 49 Evans Street, not be afforded heritage recognition – despite a recent expert assessment identifying the bungalow as having considerable heritage significance.
‘NO CULTURAL HERITAGE SIGNIFICANCE’
Ms Boranga asked the city’s elected officials to note that “despite [the bungalow’s] level of significance, no further action will be undertaken as Council previously resolved that the place is of no cultural heritage significance to the city”.
She was referring to a 2013 decision whereby the council’s elected officials agreed 7 votes to 4 that the bungalow was of “no cultural heritage significance to the City of Subiaco”.
Of the current elected officials who were on the council in 2013, Mayor Heather Henderson, and Crs Stephanie Stroud, Judith Gedero and Lee Hemsley supported that assertion. Crs Julie Matheson, Paul Clements and Scott Arbuckle voted against.
At the time, five objections were lodged to dropping the house from the heritage inventory.
“I think a building should not be allowed to be removed from the Local Government Inventory at the request of the owner,” one objector opined at the time.
Overlooking Lake Jualbup, the bungalow was built in 1922 by Alexander Anderson, a carpenter by trade, to house his family.
At the age of 46, Mr Anderson had enlisted in World War I before fighting at Gallipoli, returning home ill, re-enlisting and returning to fight in France.
An expert heritage assessment undertaken in October last year by Hocking Heritage Studio on behalf of the city states that, on returning from The Great War, Mr Anderson was “a prolific and noted local builder who helped shape Subiaco streetscapes from the 1910s to the 1930s”.
Contrary to the elected officials’ majority opinion in 2013, last year’s Hocking Heritage Studio assessment stated the bungalow had “considerable significance” and was “very important to the heritage of the City of Subiaco”.
“It has a high level of aesthetic, historic and social value for the local community and is a rare example of its type,” the professional heritage consultants added.
‘HERITAGE LISTING COULD LIMIT OPTIONS’
Ms Boranga advised that the current owners of the house, Darren and Lina Brown, have said that “although they are not considering demolishing the house … they are wary of and not supportive of a heritage listing as it could limit their options in the future.”
“Unfortunately as the house straddles two lots it is likely to face considerable development pressure in the future,” Ms Boranga added.
A letter from the Browns to council CEO Don Burnett said that before buying the house in December 2013 they “conducted significant due diligence … [and] learned that the … council had resolved ‘that the place has no cultural heritage significance to the City of Subiaco'”.
“It then caused considerable surprise that we subsequently received a letter … proposing that a reassessment would be occurring …,” the Browns wrote.
“After several worrying months, we were very thankful to receive a letter from the Coordinator Heritage and Projects … stating that the recommendation to Council would be to abide by the 2013 Council decision …”
On hearing tonight that the bungalow had in 2013 been dropped from Subiaco’s heritage inventory, at the request of the people who owned the house before the Browns, Alexander Anderson’s granddaughter Joan Barritt said she was “speechless”.
“I would be sorry to see it pulled down because it’s been there so long,” said Mrs Barritt, 75, who grew up in Lake Avenue, Shenton Park, and moved from the suburb when she was married at the age of 22.
“[The news] shocked me a bit.
“It’s a lovely old home.
“He put the rising sun up over the bedroom window.”
Mrs Barritt said she’d been in the house earlier this decade, at the invitation of the former owners, and it had then been in largely original condition, right down to the replica poppies moulded into the cornices of the pressed metal ceiling.
“The lounge, the hall [are the same],” she said.
“They’ve built on the back a bit.”
Ms Boranga advised that the pictured gable decoration on the house was believed to be an interpretation of the rising sun badge awarded to Australian servicemen. A survey of the National Estate in Subiaco undertaken in 1985 by heritage consultants Ian Molyneux and Associates confirms this.
“An interesting example [of the Californian Bungalow] … is at 49 Evans Street where local overtones are added in the form of the Australian military rising sun emblem in the northern gable over the bay window,” says the Molyneux Report which paved the way for Subiaco’s later heritage protection policies.
President of the Shenton Park sub-branch of the RSL, Peter Hopper, today told Western Independent that he knew the bungalow well.
“That’s disgusting,” Mr Hopper remarked of the 2013 majority observation by the city’s elected officials that the house had “no cultural heritage significance”.
“[The house is] a lasting symbol of the commitment of the people of West Subiaco [now Shenton Park] to the first world war,” he said.
Mr Hopper, a veteran of the Vietnam War, is already preparing for next month’s annual Anzac Day service at Shenton Park.
He said that 13 diggers from the suburb served at Gallipoli, with two killed on the first day.
“Three were killed a bit later on,” he added.
“Some survived and were sent to France.”
Mr Hopper said Alexander was not the only member of the Anderson family to serve in World War I.
He said Mr Anderson’s son, Roy, enlisted at the age of 19 and served in France before returning to West Subiaco with a condition called ‘trenchfoot’. And Mr Anderson’s brother, George, enlisted at the age of 39 and fought on the Western Front where he was wounded in action and captured by the Germans before eventually returning home to Subiaco.
Not long before tonight’s council meeting, Subiaco’s mayor and councillors were called to see how they would vote.
Crs Judith Gedero, Peter McAllister, Murray Rowe and Stephanie Stroud said they would listen to both sides of the debate before deciding their vote.
Cr Mark Burns declined to disclose his vote, but said that heritage matters often “diminish debate on other important issues”.
Cr Malcolm Mummery said he would wait to listen to what was presented tonight, and added “there’s always a trade off on what owners want and what the community wants for them”.
Mayor Heather Henderson and Cr Julie Matheson were unavailable, Cr Scott Arbuckle could not be reached by phone, and messages were left for Crs Paul Clements, Lee Hemsley and Hugh Richardson.