The Menora resident, who lives in a house formerly owned by Herbert McNess, son of Charles McNess who built the McNess arcade in 1897, said heritage buildings had always fascinated him.
‘I have had a love for heritage since coming to the country when I saw all these old buildings being knocked down,’ he said.
‘But what I am seeing now is re-adaptive uses of old buildings. This is exactly what we should be doing, living with heritage.
‘Unless we find new uses for the buildings, then we are going to lose them. The Treasury buildings and the old WA Newspaper site are really good examples of how this can be done.’
The Express caught up with the former City of Perth councillor and Civic Theatre owner to find out why he had chosen to live in the small suburb of Menora.
Mr Kay, originally from Scotland, said he was attracted to live in Menora because of the old houses and leafy suburbs.
He bought the Dumbarton Crescent home in 1976 for $80,000 and has lived there ever since.
‘I was drawn here because it was a lovely old area and because of the Scottish influence in street names, such as Inverness and Dumbarton,’ he said.
‘It is one of the leafiest suburbs in Perth and as habitats in other parts of Perth have been destroyed by development, all kind of animals have migrated to this area.’
Mr Kay’s children have all stayed close to the family home, and provide another reason for him to stay put.
As well as being National Trust WA president, Mr Kay is American Australian Association president, a Perth Theatre Trust board member and Sir David Brand School council chairman.