Restoration gives Perth taste of history

Bernard Seeber Architect Jonathan Strauss (left) and MercyCare major capital projects manager Adam Roebuck stand outside the restored Stables at Wembley
Bernard Seeber Architect Jonathan Strauss (left) and MercyCare major capital projects manager Adam Roebuck stand outside the restored Stables at Wembley

ONE of Perth’s oldest agricultural buildings has been restored.

The State Heritage Council granted MercyCare $80,000 to restore the historical The Stables at Wembley located alongside its residential aged care and early learning services on Barrett Street.

The more than 160-year-old heritage-listed structure is the only remnant of the Benedictine Monastery of New Subiaco that ran from 1851 to 1867.

Chief executive Anthony Smith said they wanted to return the building to its original state, after it later became an orphanage and believed to have been used to produce olive oil at the site.

MercyCare and Bernard Seeber Architects spent six months restoring the structure and project manager Adam Roebuck said it was an important reminder of early European settlement in the Swan colony.

The Stables at Wembley before restoration

“Monks from this monastery helped design and build St Mary’s Cathedral and the Bishop’s Palace in Victoria Square,” he said.

“The Stables was most likely built by the Benedictine monks, novices or other assistants with little, if any, stone masonry or carpentry skills or experience.

“This meant although the building was robust, construction quality was not high and we had to get our modern trades to down-skill their work to respect the original quality of the building.”

The Stables at Wembley after restoration works

The team, with Colgan Industries, last year finished conservation works at the Sister Martin Kelly Centre on the site, which won State Heritage and Master Builders Association awards for best historic restoration under $1.5 million.