Workers flee falling wall

CONSTRUCTION workers had to bolt when a heritage-listed building in Fremantle’s West End partially collapsed on Thursday.

Workers were reportedly in the basement of 8-12 Bannister Street, converting part of the federation warehouse into a yoga studio, when part of an internal wall came down.

They made it out of the building and shortly afterwards more started to crumble.

At the time of going to print the second floor had collapsed to a 45 degree angle and it looked like it was hanging on by a thread.

The roof was also damaged, peeling up on the northwest corner, and the brick wall under the northwest corner was buckled.

• The Bannister Street property has had a chequered history. Photo by Alice Angeloni

Construction supervisors at the site were worried the roof would collapse too.

The original brick and iron warehouse was built in 1893 for landowner, businessman and politician George Arthur Davies.

It’s heritage listed as a “substantially intact example of a[n] early Federation warehouse style building in its own right and for its contribution to the character of the streetscape” in the West End. Adaptions were made in 1980 by prominent architect Brian Klopper.

Recently Fremantle council approved additions and alterations to change part of the building into a yoga studio.

Fremantle council media told us: “[It’s] too early to say yet what will happen, but any repairs will have to be sympathetic to and compatible with the heritage of the building”.

The site has already had its share of troubles; it was formerly rented from the now-defunct Wyola Club by the club’s former secretary and manager Phil Douglas.

A clause was added to his lease in mysterious circumstances that gave him an option to buy the property at a rock-bottom price if the club sold it by 2012.

The deal caused outrage amongst some members and was the subject of a Department of Commerce probe. Mr Douglas was forced to pay an extra $500,000.

by DAVID BELL

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