Premier visits warders’

PREMIER Colin Barnett will visit the Henderson Street warders’ cottages this week following appeals for WA’s oldest terraced houses to be reunited with the prison.

“It’s important having the premier visit,” historian John Dowson told the Herald. “At least the premier can take a look for himself.”

Mr Dowson says the WA housing department—which currently owns the 22 convict-built cottages—should contribute towards their $6–$8 million restoration, given it had collected rent from tenants since 1991.

The department is offloading the cottages. Fremantle council says it’s happy to take them, restore them and use them as accommodation.

But Mr Dowson, a former deputy mayor, doesn’t believe the council has the capacity to do a good enough job and he’d prefer they be folded into the management of the world-heritage listed Fremantle prison, along with the old police station, creating an historic “prison precinct”.

“This is the forecourt of the city,” he passionately declared. “It’s at the centre of the city and an asset [prison boss Bevan Beaver] should be chasing.”

But Mr Beaver isn’t interested in taking on the properties, despite a 2003 master plan which recommended restoring thir “historical and physical link” to the prison.

The buildings, the first of which were built in 1851 for warders with families and housed prison staff until the closure of the prison, had been initially offered to a not-for-profit company to provide low-income accommodation.


Leave a Reply