An Historic Disgrace

An Historic Disgrace

453
Thornlie MP Chris Tallantire, Pat Morris and Gosnells Mayor Terresa Lynes say the condition of historic Maddington Homestead is a disgrace and developers Golden Group must be held accountable. Photograph – Richard Polden.

Maddington Homestead should be a celebrated part of the City of Gosnells’ history as the oldest surviving residence in the district, a rare example of a substantial settlers house constructed prior to the convict era.

Instead, it lies in ruinous condition, neglected by a company with developments in WA to the total value of $6.1 billion dollars.

The State Government has taken action, issuing the first repair notice under the Heritage Act of 2018, however the community believes Golden Group have no intention of restoring the historic building.

Constructed sometime between 1832 and 1836, the Homestead is associated with prominent figures in the history of Western Australia, such as John Randall Phillips, Major William Nairn, who, when he purchased the land in 1833, was the oldest European male in the colony and Surveyor-General John Septimus Roe.

In 2001, it was entered on to the State Register of Heritage Places and described as being in sound condition.

Golden Group took possession of the land in 2003 as part of its $40 million Maddington River Estate development and two subsequent fires, in 2004 and 2005, caused extensive damage to the homestead.

Scaffolding erected to secure the walls after the first fire gutted the Homestead remains in place.

A fence has been placed around the property, at 122 Burslem Drive, but that appears to be the extent of Golden Group’s attempt to protect the property.

It has not stopped vandals scrawling crude graffiti on the walls of the historic building.

The Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage (DPLH] confirmed that in In May 2021, the Heritage Council of WA took steps to force Golden Group’s arm, issuing a repair notice containing a list of required repairs to commence within six months, with a further two years to complete the repairs.

It is the first repair notice issued under the Heritage Act of 2018.

The Golden Group’s website says “success is all about building strong communities”, however Thornlie MP Chris Tallentire, who raised a grievance regarding the Homestead in State Parliament on June 17 2021, said Golden Group had failed the community.

“I absolutely believe the community deserves better,” he said.

“The community has wanted to work with Golden Group.

“We’re beginning to be a bit more than disappointed.

“The fact is he work’s not been done, the notice was issued on May 18, 2021 and the six months has passed.

“It’s appalling when you think that Golden Group, they boast they’ve got land development projects in the pipeline in WA to the value of $6.18 billion dollars.

“You would think they have the money to restore Maddington Homestead.

“You can’t boast about projects to the value of $6.18 billion dollars then plead poor about Maddington Homestead. “

“During a site visit they told myself and Heritage Minister David Templeman that they are honourable people and they intent to get on with the job.

“We’ve taken them at their word but it’s true that patience begins to wear thin.”

Gosnells Mayor Terresa Lynes said the restoration of the homestead had been championed by the Pat Morris, chair of the city’s history, heritage and advisory group, but added that the City was restricted in what it could achieve.

“We’re extremely disappointed, Golden Group have done a nice development there, but they need to complete the refurbishment of the homestead like they said they would.

“Pat Morris has really championed this issue but unfortunately our hands are basically tied

“We haven’t noticed any improvements being made to the homestead over the last six to eight months.

“We would like to see it refurbished to be a community facility, that was the original intent but it just hasn’t progressed.”

A spokesperson for the DPLH said if the works demanded under the repair notice are not completed, the Minister for Heritage could issue a repair order.

Non-compliance with a repair order can attract penalties of up to $1 million and imprisonment.

“The Minister, as he outlined in Parliament on 17 June 2021, hopes that the issuing of the very first repair notice under the Act indicates the seriousness of the matter to the Golden Group, and highlights the importance of this State asset to the government and local community.  “

However the spokesperson would not elaborate on the exact works required to be undertaken within six months, eight months after the notice was issued, stating that the details of the repair notice were confidential matter between the Heritage Council of Western Australia and the Maddington Homestead owners, Golden Group.

Golden Group were contacted for comment but failed to respond.