Jarrah street ‘needs display’

Century-old jarrah blocks found under High Street.

CENTURY-OLD jarrah road blocks uncovered during pipe laying in Fremantle’s West End should be preserved under thick glass says the Fremantle Society.

The blocks date back to 1897 when High, Cliff and Mouat streets were bustling with trade from the port and the state was booming on the back of the Goldfields.

Society president John Dowson said the discovery was a highly significant scientific find in a world-class heritage town.

“It vividly tells the story of what has gone before,” Mr Dowson said.

He told the Herald scattered blocks had previously been found in Fremantle but the current discovery is are easily the biggest and most in-tact example.

“A few years back I asked the council if they had a register of what had been found, but they had no idea,” Mr Dowson said.

“The Fremantle Society will do whatever it takes to get these blocks conserved where they area, and presented to the public where they are, through a covering of bullet-proof glass and with detailed interpretation.”

The council’s heritage co-ordinator Gena Binet says the blocks have been covered back up after being mapped to preserve them, and works replacing Freo’s even older cast iron water pipes have been redesigned.

Ms Binet said the blocks are damp and if left in the open air could disintegrate rapidly.

She said different coloured bitumen above could be used to indicate their location and interpretive signage installed to let people know what’s below.

By STEVE GRANT

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