Woodvale: Duffy House saved after State Government doubles funding offer to City of Joondalup

Duffy House in Yellagonga Regional Park. Photo: Marie Nirme
Duffy House in Yellagonga Regional Park. Photo: Marie Nirme

DUFFY House in Woodvale will be saved from demolition after the State Government doubled its offer to the City of Joondalup to help fund its restoration and future management.

The small heritage house is located in Yellagonga Regional Park and may be the oldest surviving building in the City of Joondalup.

Because of this cultural significance, the City has made several attempts since 2009 to have it listed on the State Register of Heritage Places but never been successful.

The deteriorated property is owned by the WA Planning Commission and was slated for demolition in 2017, which the City did not support.

The Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage then offered the City $150,000 towards the restoration of the building, which was presented to the Joondalup council in June but councillors voted to renegotiate the funding, given costs to restore the building alone were estimated at $180,000, while extra potential infrastructure could cost up to $275,000.

Kingsley MLA Jessica Stojkovski then made a grievance in parliament, where Planning Minister Rita Saffioti agreed to make a final offer to the City of $300,000.

The City had until December 31 to accept, otherwise the department would “seek to proceed with the demolition of Duffy House, without further delay, as a duty of care requirement”.

Councillors accepted the offer on December 11 and management of the house will be transferred to the City, with restoration works to start “as soon as practicable”.

A further report on the potential future use of the facility and associated infrastructure will be presented to the council in early 2019.

The council document said this could include a tea room or cafe, a heritage trail or a space for an artist in-residence. Mayor Albert Jacob said “activation of the site” was the “ultimate goal” and the intention was to create a “hospitality site” similar to what it proposed for Whitfords Nodes and Burns Beach.

He said with two cafes on the site, this was an opportunity to activate a site on the wetlands of Yellagonga Regional Park.

He said while there would be community consultation, he would expect it would involve a new building for “back of house” operations such as a kitchen, allowing the “heritage to be celebrated”.

“We will find a future tenant for the site to manage it,” he said.

Cr Christopher May said he was thrilled to see the “very significant offer on the table” and to hear all asbestos-containing material had been removed from the site.

Mrs Stojkovski said the outcome was a great example of “people power”

“This is a win for the local community who are passionate about saving Duffy House,” she said.

“Duffy House is an important part of our history – it provides us with links to our collective local heritage.”