Historic roadhouse to be demolished

David CharlesworthHarvey-Waroona Reporter

A LANDMARK on South Western Highway will soon disappear after 60 years with the demolition of the Wokalup Roadhouse beginning last week.

Owned by the Public Transport Authority, the land has been leased to the operators of the roadhouse since it was built in the mid 1950s.

When the most recent tenants left, the authority investigated bringing in another operator, however spokesman David Hynes said the building was not up to environmental standards.

“The environmental requirements and its proximity to an operational rail line meant its use as a service station site, originally approved many years ago prior to modern environmental standards, was no longer suitable,” Mr Hynes said.

Demolition work, which includes rehabilitation of the site, is expected to be completed by the end of June.

Mr Haynes said once the work was complete, the land would revert to the control and management of rail freight operator Brookfield Rail.

In 1956, John and Betty Callegari opened the roadhouse known as the Bright Star, which quickly became a popular stop on the highway.

The Callegaris’ daughter Valli Callegari-Rudd recalled the roadhouse was always busy and their homemade pasties were famous.

“People would drop in and take a dozen or half a dozen to take home to Perth,” she said.

During the summer her parents operated a caravan from which they sold hand-churned ice cream, and Italian groceries were brought in for the many Italian families in Wokalup.

Mrs Callegari-Rudd said it was a shame the roadhouse was gone.

“It’s a bit of shame because there’s a long way between stops for travellers,” she said.

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