Kalamunda: Tale of two townsites

Kalamunda: Tale of two townsites

The popular website describes itself as a ‘showcase of the worst examples of architecture, design, culture and humanity in Perth’.

Last week, Kalamunda’s town centre was not only lambasted for many of its ageing buildings but also the local government and residents that allowed them to be built.

The Worst of Perth creator Andrew McDonald, a former Gooseberry Hill resident, wrote the article.

‘There is not a single building in the main street that anyone would object to being demolished,’ he wrote. ‘Worse, there’s nobody actually calling for a street-wide demolition.

‘Just have a look at this awful, awful town, ironically surrounded by some beautiful residential areas.

‘I know it is regarded by many as Western Australia’s ugliest town centre ” even Dunsborough can’t match the decades of ill-chosen building approvals, but is it Australia’s?’

The article prompted a flurry of comments from residents leaping to the town’s defence. But Shire chief executive Rhonda Hardy did not get carried away and said ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’.

‘It isn’t an architectural review and whilst I don’t agree with every comment made, some of the humorous observations have certainly ignited discussion,’ she said. ‘It is acknowledged that Kalamunda does have an eclectic range of architecture with some of the buildings being less inspiring than others.

‘Whilst some of the 1970s architecture may not be to the liking of people today, it was contemporary in its day and has its own charm.’

The townsite of Kalamunda was approved in 1902 but most significant development occurred during the 1960s and 1970s. In September, works will commence to aesthetically improve the town centre, including $1.5 million towards sinking powerlines along Haynes, Barber and Canning roads.

Ms Hardy said there was a significant amount of private investment in the town centre.

‘Recent approvals for the old Toyota site, Barber Street and Kalamunda Road show a level of investor confidence,’ she said. ‘People come to visit Kalamunda because of the natural environment, range of local and independent shopping, artisan and farmers markets, and quality of the restaurants.’