York puts heritage first

Regional enterprises dominated the awards, with 12 projects and individuals honoured across 11 categories.

Heritage Minister Albert Jacob said the dominance of regional projects illustrated the importance country communities placed on revitalising and celebrating their heritage.

‘Conserving and promoting a community’s heritage is now seen as integral to the viability of our towns and cities,’ he said.

The York Post Office, Old York Primary School and the York Residency Museum all received high commendations.

‘The outstanding quality and standard of the projects honoured illustrates why the Heritage Council’s Heritage Awards have become a highly sought-after and valued accolade,’ Mr Jacob said.

‘In the past two years, two WA Heritage Award recipients, with the endorsement of the Heritage Council, have been recognised on the international stage and received honours at the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation.’

The transformation of the Old York Primary School to the Wellness Centre has made a significant contribution to the region. Most of the buildings, which date from the 1880s through to the 1950s, were in a poor condition and required extensive restoration. The judges said the project set an excellent precedent for viable commercial use of disused buildings.

The York Post Office, built in 1893, is one of the oldest functioning post offices in Australia. It was purchased by the current owners in 2008, who completed the conservation work including repairing and restoring the stone, brick and timber work, the roof, clock tower and clock ” one of the oldest public clocks in WA.

The judges said the York Post Office set a benchmark for the conservation of important buildings in the historic town.

York’s Residency Museum is a keystone facility that creates a stimulating living environment that draws in business, creates opportunities for employment and supports tourism. The judges said it was an organisation which was polished, professional and achieving good outcomes.