Memories bricked in as wall rises from fire

Nicolette BarbasHarvey-Waroona Reporter
Shire principal building surveyor Merv Stewart stands against the wall that that represents the chimney's that were salvaged from the Yarloop fires. Photo: Nicolette Barbas
Camera IconShire principal building surveyor Merv Stewart stands against the wall that that represents the chimney's that were salvaged from the Yarloop fires. Photo: Nicolette Barbas Credit: Picture: Nicolette Barbas

Among the sound of grinders and workmen pouring freshly mixed concrete, the Harvey shire’s principal building surveyor Merv Stewart gave the Harvey-Waroona Reporter a tour of the soon-to-be-completed Yarloop Community Centre.

Between the historic facade, original fireplace and the multi-function room wall made from salvaged bricks, there was a strong sense of Yarloop in the former Lesser building.

Months of planning, designing and community input have gone into this bittersweet project that is in its final stages of completion.

The centre will be home to the Yarloop CRC (which has been operating out of the Yarloop Sports Pavilion since the 2016 Waroona-Yarloop Bushfires), as well as a town hall and rooms for functions.

A visiting health professionals room will also be included in the centre where general practitioners will take weekly appointments.

“As well as being a social meeting place, we have tried to make the centre cater for various community uses,” Mr Stewart said.

Whilst it has been a bitter pill for the Yarloop residents to swallow with the destruction of one of their popular landmarks, a considerably large amount of the town’s history has been incorporated into the design of the new centre.

“We wanted to include the facade in the design of the building and also create a memento for the town,” Mr Steward said.

“I had this idea of using bricks that were salvaged from properties affected by the fires and creating a symbolic feature wall, and it turned out really well.”

As well as the original fireplace standing tall in the passage that connects the CRC to the function room, Mr Stewart was adamant in keeping the former cloak room.

“Back in the day this building was home to a picture theatre and you would purchase your tickets from the cloak room before taking your seat in the now main function room.

“I’m hoping to put a staircase in the cloak room that leads to where the lights and projector used to sit so that people can take a walk through and get a real sense of history.

“Once it is complete I believe the Yarloop community will be proud of this centre and what it represents.”

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