His­tory is on the side of lo­cals

Kalamunda Reporter - - News - Sarah Brookes

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.

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