Weakened over the decades by earthquakes and threatened by the elements, the 124-year-old Uniting Church Hall on Duke Street still survives thanks to housing and aged care provider Juniper’s renovation, which has changed the building into a modern centre.
At the opening of the restored building last Friday, Juniper chief executive Vaughan Harding said the hall now provided a contemporary training facility for his Uniting Church organisation which, with more than 100 local staff, was among the largest employers in town.
“The new facility is a practical regional training centre for current and future aged care professionals, as well as meeting the needs of the local Uniting Church congregation in Northam,” he said.
“Northam is an important regional centre for Juniper, as it doubles its capacity to respond to community needs for aged care and retirement living services over the next decade.
“Juniper is strongly connected to and is a long-term supporter of the Avon community and in the future wishes to create an aged care precinct adjacent to the Uniting Church in Duke Street.”
Juniper invested several hundred thousand dollars to stabilise, restore and improve the hall, including the addition of a full-length covered veranda, foyer and kitchen, and bathroom facilities.
It completed the works in accordance with a conservation plan and employed a heritage stonemason to restore its walls, in addition to replacing roofing and conserving its kauri timber ceilings.
Uniting Church Hall
Foundation stone laid in May 1892 by George Shenton, Colonial Secretary and trustee of the Wesleyan Church. Opened for worship on September 20, 1892.
Within a decade the hall outgrew its purpose and a second church opened in front of the hall on December 18, 1901.
Both buildings gained permanent entry into the State’s Register of Heritage Places in 2008 and in the local Municipal Heritage Inventory in 1998.
Northam is second only to Fremantle for the number of historically significant buildings in WA, according to the Shire of Northam.“Northam Hall group.jpg”: Juniper chief executive Vaughan Harding, Northam Uniting Church elder Laura Fox and Juniper board chairman Fred Boshart with Uniting Church WA Moderator Steve Francis outside the restored Uniting Church Hall.