The team at the Alexandra Community Hub were excited to be one of 19 successful grant applicants announced recently by Minister for Planning Richard Wynne under the Victorian Government Round 6 funding of restoration works as part of the Living Heritage Program.
With the Victorian Government funding received, restoration works will commence with the replacement of the archway entrance and a number of other conservation work to revive and repair ‘at-risk’ parts of the building.
Philip Williams, chair of Alexandra Community Board said this was a very welcome announcement, “It’s nice to have happy news! This is a great first step in bringing back these buildings to their former glory, for our community to enjoy and to preserve them for future generations“.
The historic precinct and home to the Alexandra Community Hub was registered with the National Trust in 1966 and later listed on the Victorian Heritage Register in 1982. It is the only complete building listed in the shire of Murrindindi. Built in 1877, the Architect designer was William H, Ellerker, it is listed as being architecturally significant because it is “an uncommon example of public works architecture“. For its time it was a unique incorporation of shire offices, courthouse and post office into a single, substantial development. The building has a symmetrical facade of “hip-roofed wings united by wide, barrel vaulted central entry” these being typical elements of the Victorian free classical style, and is acknowledged as forming “a strong element in the streetscape“.
Minister for Planning Richard Wynne said “The Living Heritage Program is about protecting significant sites across Victoria for future generations to enjoy and learn from.” “These are the sites that tell stories about our history and play a major role in rural and regional Victoria’s tourism industry – we’re proud to protect these treasured community assets.” The scope of funded works includes external timber repairs to the main entry way, as well as render repairs, repairs to gutters and verandah paving.
Alexandra Community Hub are pleased to be working with Greg and Lyndee Owen, of Period Building Conservation Pty Ltd based in Stanley, for these works. For over 25 years they have specialised in working exclusively on heritage buildings, travelling all over Victoria, Southern NSW and occasionally into Tasmania and Queensland. The Board of Alexandra Community Hub recognises the importance of supporting local regional business with proven expertise. The company has previously worked on the building on a number of occasions the first approximately 20 years ago, in more recent years other works completed by them in Alexandra include the Shire Hall and the Library.
Greg Owen explained “The work involves repairs to the verandah, both timberwork to the roof and stonemasonry to the bluestone paved verandah floor. The focus generally in building conservation work is to retain as much of the original building material as possible, so things are repaired rather than replaced, even though it may be more expensive to repair and the works are done from the perspective of how can we maintain them for the long term, the next 200 years at least, not the short term.“
The restoration of Alexandra Community Hub’s home at the Alexandra Court House and Former Shire Offices is supported by the Victorian Government through the Living Heritage program.
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