Warders’ walkabout back on

COLIN BARNETT’S tour of the historic warders’ cottages in Fremantle is back on—and he’s invited local Labor MP Simone McGurk to tag along.

Ms McGurk last week moved a grievance motion in parliament about the state of the Henderson Street terraces.

“These cottages are among the state’s oldest terraces, and I understand might represent the oldest section of continual terraces in the country,” she told MPs.

“They are integral to the Fremantle Prison, the state’s only world heritage–listed building.”

The premier had planned to visit a couple of weeks ago but bailed at the last minute. This week, his office confirmed he will visit in the next few weeks.

“Simone McGurk is welcome to come along with me,” he said.

WA housing minister Bill Marmion told the Herald the estimated $6 million to fix the cottages, and ongoing costs of maintenance, made the buildings uneconomical as a social housing option.

He told parliament the cottages had been offered for sale to Fremantle, “however, the city did not wish to proceed, citing the cost of maintenance as an issue”.

The department was now drafting a lease agreement while the council prepared a full business case.

Fuelling the rumour mill this week was North Fremantle developer Bruce Moriarty who was spotted perusing the site with heritage repairman Guy Weguelin, who had worked on a previous restoration of the cottages 40 years ago.

Dr Pettitt has mooted working with a developer to repair the cottages, but wouldn’t comment on Mr Moriarty’s visit.

Mr Moriarty would only say  he had taken Mr Weguilin for a nostalgic look at the cottages after viewing another historic property north of the CBD he’s interested in, but after a couple of tough years he’s got his mojo back and is full of ideas for anyone who’s interested to listen.


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