History is on the side of locals
GUILDFORD residents showed they were always ready to fight the good fight when it came to protecting their 19th century town.
When the historic Guildford Hotel was gutted by fire in September 2008, owner Luke Martino was quick to promise to get the beer flowing again within six months.
As a year passed and the building remained derelict, locals formed the Save Guildford Hotel action group to ensure the heritage building was restored amid fears the hotel would be further damaged by wintry weather.
The building sat vacant, surrounded by security fencing, while attracting vandals, scaffolding, socks and slogans. In 2010, fans of the pub showed the owners of the landmark building that they thought the firedamaged site stunk by tying old socks and pantyhose to the fence in another failed bid to prompt action on the site.
The significance of the pub went beyond its bricks and mortar; the hotel has been a visual and social focus since opening in 1886, a jewel in the crown of the historic town.
It was not until 2016 that the pub finally revealed its stunning renovation and poured its first beer in eight years, marking the end of a long, drawn out restoration process.
No sooner was that fight over, residents were threatened with the arrival of the cookie cutter drive-through golden arches in the carpark of their beloved pub. Residents weren’t loving the plan by the hotel’s owner to develop the site to recoup some of the cost of restoring the hotel by courting a 24-hour McDonald’s.
But they persevered and won their super-sized fight with the fast food giant at the State Administrative Tribunal in 2017.
The community mobilised again to protest plans by the City of Swan to close the Guildford library.
Guildford Association president Barbara Dundas said the community had fought many battles over the past 30 years, including keeping the single lane timber bridge entry to the town.
“There was also a fight to save the sugar gum trees from removal, JDAP battles to limit building heights in the town and to try to ensure buildings reflect the town’s defining characteristics,” she said.
“Guildford battled to have a voice on airport issues and more recently is working with Murdoch University to try identify the pathogens causing the death of our flooded gums.”
Mrs Dundas said the community had lobbied hard for their 19th century town to be assessed for heritage registration.
“We have a lot to thank those earlier generations for who protected Guildford and it is now passed on to the present and future generations to conserve and value. The residents of today are the custodians for the future,” she said.
“It is one of the state’s most important historic areas and the locals are in it for the long haul to protect it.”
The Guildford community rallied against plans by McDonald’s to build a fast food restaurant behind the Guildford Hotel.
Fire destroyed the iconic Guildford Hotel in 2008.