This is the story of an old hotel in Guildford which is a very old suburb north-east of Perth. An article was presented on our local ABC radio station and this is where I got the story and the pictures from.
GUILDFORD HOTEL EMERGES FROM THE ASHES 8 YEARS AFTER BLAZE GUTTED THE INTERIOR.
"The Guildford Hotel has been a popular landmark sitting smack-bang in the centre of the town of Guildford for more than 100 years. It was built in 1886, with its inspiring classical facade added in 1914.
In 1993 the hotel was added to the State Heritage Register, but in 2008 a suspicious fire destroyed the roof and gutted the interior. For years it sat surrounded by security fencing. The local community ran a fierce campaign urging the owners to save and restore the building and now their years of campaigning have paid off, with the hotel set to reopen. The damaged hotel surrounded by security fencing:
Architect Kylee Schoonens said the restoration aimed to pay tribute to the building's 130-year history. "We really wanted to tell the story of the hotel", Miss Schonnens told Hilary Smale on 720 ABC Perth. "One of the key elements is obviously the fire but it had so much more history. The way that we have done that is by retaining as much of the existing fabric in the building that we possibly could."
Evidence of fire remains
"In some ways the fire actually augmented the restoration process", Ms Schoonens added. "The benefit of the fire was that it actually pulled back so many of those layers for us that we wouldn't have actually been able to see otherwise. We were careful to keep those elements still exposed. Where the fire came through the upper floors, there was a series of bedrooms. A lot of the timbers were gone but there were some amazing pieces that have been left. You can see untouched original timbers with floorboards across the top that are fire damaged".
Bricks made by convicts
Also revealed under the old plasterboard was evidence of a much earlier history. Guildford was one of the fist colonial settlements in Perth and the hotel was one of the area's original watering holes.
"When we were pulling back the plasterwork we found original handmade bricks that were made by convicts," Ms Schoonens said. "You can see a lot of the tool marks in the bricks themselves."
Despite the complexity of the restoration project, it has been a labour of love for the architects and building team.
"I love old buildings and being able to bring their stories to life," said Ms Schoonens. "One of the things that has made the most impact on me is the way the community has really embraced the project as well. We have had so many great comments with people saying how much they love the building. It's been really heart warming."
The hotel restored to all its glory with the belvedere in place on top: