Scaffolding will gradually come down from next week on the Fremantle Townhall.
I was given an exterior tour of the conservation works on Friday by City of Fremantle heritage coordinator architect Alan Kelsall and heritage project officer Gena Binet and Zac of the building contractors and was very impressed with the very detailed and substantial work involved in the $ 3.1 million project.
The Townhall project is the largest conservation work the city has ever undertaken and was necessary because of the deterioration of the building due to paint that did not allow the building to breath and suffocated the building, hence salt and moisture had badly damaged large areas.
Don’t expect a brightly-painted building as it has been brought back to its original stucco look of 1887.
About the town hall restoration
Before current restorative works were undertaken it had been almost thirty years since the last major capital expenditure on the Fremantle Town Hall.
Since mid-2016 a large team of skilled stonemasons, plasterers, lead workers and slate roofers with specialist traditional skills have transformed the exterior of the town hall building using traditional building methods.
Key elements such as the roof cladding and drainage systems needed to be replaced urgently to protect the building from ongoing deterioration prevent the loss of culturally significant features and address concerns about public safety.
Gutters and downpipes were too small to cope with current extreme weather events and have led to ongoing damage to the interior of the building. These elements have all been enlarged.
There were also ongoing issues caused by inappropriate surface treatments and repairs to masonry elements carried out in the1950s–60s. At this time there was little understanding of best practice conservation which had unfortunately led to the ongoing deterioration of masonry, embedded steel and timbers and decorative stucco work in the town hall.
During the works, it was discovered some inaccessible parts of the building were in worse condition than expected and extra works were required. To prevent further deterioration of the building and to make use of scaffolding already in place for the current restoration works, it was more efficient and cost effective to complete these additional works now.
P.S. Stunning views from the top of the Townhall so I will post some scenic photos of Fremantle next week and have requested a rooftop bar and a granny flat for me to be included in the renovations.
It took a week but the City of Fremantle has responded to questions asked by Freo’s View reader Kel Smith regarding the Townhall renovations:
Conservation works have been progressing well on the Fremantle Town Hall with most tasks to be completed by Christmas as originally planned.
However it has been discovered during the works, that some inaccessible parts of the building were in worse condition than expected and extra works are now required to conserve the façades and tower and make them structurally sound. To prevent further deterioration of the building, and to make use of the existing infrastructure already in place for the current restoration works, it was more efficient and cost effective to complete these additional works now.
At November’s meeting, council allocated a further $370,000 to the project budget to complete these additional works. The percentage of this budget allocated to scaffold costs is a commercial confidentiality for the contractor but is considerably less than the speculated figure of $750,000.
The completion date for the entire project is currently being negotiated with the contractor but at this stage, has been extended into 2017.
The scaffold surrounding the building will be gradually dropped as the works are completed, starting with the upper levels of the tower and then working around the building from Kings Square into William Street. This is anticipated to occur in early 2017.
The City is very keen to have the project finished as soon as possible but does not want to rush this important once-in-a-generation conservation project that will enhance and protect our iconic town hall for the enjoyment of future generations.
Freo’s View reader Kel asked questions about the Fremantle Townhall renovations, so here some info:
The City is undertaking a major $2.8m project to conserve the exterior of the historic Fremantle Town Hall. The purpose of the work is to prevent further deterioration to the building occurring due to water penetration through the roof and undersized down pipes and gutters and the entrapment of moisture and salts in the masonry walls.
The works will replace the deteriorated roof and down pipes and gutters and carry out masonry and joinery conservation at roof level. Works will also be undertaken to conserve the clock tower roof and the High Street, William Street and tower facades.
Reinstatement of the spectacular slate roofs with cast iron finials together with the removal of paint on the facades to reveal the original stucco finish of the Town Hall will enhance the presentation and character of the Kings Square Precinct.
Conservation of the external shell of the Fremantle Town Hall will also prepare the way for future refurbishment of the interior of the building that will be undertaken in conjunction with the construction of the future new Fremantle Library and Civic Administration Building.
The City’s program of works will follow the guidelines set out in the nationally recognised ICOMOS Burra Charter for heritage conservation and the recommendations of the Fremantle Town Hall Conservation Plan (1985/ 2004) by Considine and Griffiths Architects. The works will include:
Replace all roof cladding and roof drainage system:
Reinstating slate roof cladding and cast iron finial and balustrade details to the feature roofs (turrets, mansard roof)
Reinstate flat metal sheeting to flat roofs, dormer windows etc.
Reinstate corrugated galvanised steel sheet cladding to the concealed roofs and auditorium roof
Conserve all timber joinery including doors, windows, roof trims, flagpoles etc.
Conserve all rendered masonry by removing impermeable paint and cement renders and make good with lime render, lime mortar and natural hydraulic lime to match original
Conserve iron portico columns, treat rust and repaint.
Work is estimated to finish in late 2016 but at present it looks like it might go into early next year.
Thank you, thank you, thank you! to all those dedicated volunteers who regularly clean up our beaches from the rubbish people leave behind or throw into the Indian Ocean.
It is an utter disgrace that there are so many people who believe others will clean up after them, as we see also at markets, festivals, concerts etc. where people simply walk away and leave food and drink containers as if it is none of their business to dispose of it properly in amply supplied rubbish bins.
I spotted a small group of Tangaroa Blue Conservation Volunteers at Fremantle’s Bathers Beach this Sunday morning. Well done!
FROM THE STATE HERITAGE OFFICE ON THE WEST END HERITAGE PLANS:
As you are aware the Heritage Council recently resolved that West End, Fremantle is of cultural heritage significance in terms of the Heritage of Western Australia Act 1990, and that stakeholders should be consulted on the proposal to recommend the Minister for Heritage enter the place in the State Register of Heritage Places.
We are seeking your comments on the proposed entry of West End, Fremantle in the Register. The register entry will be based on the three documents which are available on our website using the links below, so please read these carefully:
· Draft assessment documentation
· Curtilage Map – showing the area of land that is proposed to be registered
· Zones of significance – showing the level of significance of the various areas within the West End
Submissions can be made using the form on our website, or by returning the West End Submission Form by post or fax, or by emailing it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional comments or information can be submitted in a separate attachment. Please provide your submission to us by Monday 2 May 2016.
Please note that all owners within the West End, the City of Fremantle, and other key stakeholders, including tenants, have also been asked to comment on the proposed registration.
Following the closure of the comment period all documentation will be presented to the Heritage Council and a recommendation on whether to recommend the Minister enter West End, Fremantle in the State Register will be considered.
The ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ on our website provide answers to commonly asked questions about the State Register and the registration process. More information can be found at http://westend.stateheritage.wa.gov.au/ including a brochure on the State Register, our publication on making heritage your business advantage, and some words from owners within the precinct http://www.stateheritage.wa.gov.au/state-heritage-register/fremantle-west-end/owners-supporting-heritage-listing-of-west-end.
Dr Kelly Fleming
Senior Heritage Officer
State Heritage Office
Fremantle’s Strategic and General Services Committee will on Wednesday address the need for over two million dollars to conduct essential and long-overdue external conservation works at the Townhall.
It has been nearly 30 years since major capital works were done on the historic inner city ikon at our civic centre and sadly the poor old building has not been able to breath properly because of wrong paints being used in the past.
I have been impressed to see heritage conservation works at the former Boys School at Princess May Park and the Dome/Kulcha building on the Cappuccino Strip, so let’s get the repairs of the Townhall on the road before it deteriorates more and will need even more work and money in the future.
It is disappointing that so many of our heritage buildings have been maintained wrongly in the past and one wonders where the City’s heritage experts were when that was allowed to happen.
Air pollution often creates stunning visual scenery and today was one of those days in Fremantle. Controlled bush burning caused smog all over Perth and created this stunning red sun just before sunset.
I would like to dedicate these photos to Wendy who stood next to me at the gun deck of the Round House with her two little dogs and told me she and her husband very much like reading my blog.
Good to see that heritage conservation works have started on the former Fremantle BOYS SCHOOL at Princess May Park. The City is spending a lot of money on it so let’s hope they will find a new tenant to replace the Film and Television Institute-FTI- which occupied the building for many years. An art film and international films cinema would be nice there.
Rumours that the renovations on the Flag&Whistle-the former International Backpackers-at Beach Street have been stopped are incorrect. The upper levels of the neglected building were painted but then the work stopped temporarily. Reasons for that are that the owners are relocating their business to Rockingham and building a new building there and that they need to file a planning application for the heritage listed building in Fremantle before proceeding with the work.
The top levels were in the past, against good heritage conservation practice, rendered with cement and hence the City of Fremantle allowed the upper levels to be painted with acrylic paint, but the street level has not been cement rendered and to allow ‘breathing’ to happen acrylic paint can not be applied there.
It is always easy to say property owners should put a coat of paint on heritage buildings but to do that with best heritage practice that often means lime-based paints need to be used, instead of acrylic paint.
Down town at the former Synagogue on the corner of Parry and South streets things are not good with the owner stoping all work because the COF wanted him to restore a demolished small heritage section. It’s a shame as they put a lot of work and money in restoring the synagogue and were on the way building short-stay accommodation units at the back near Fremantle Oval. I wonder how that issue will be resolved as the City should not give in to people who don’t comply with planning approvals.