Fire claims Match properties

TWO historic properties on West Perth’s Cowle Street, categorised “conservation essential”, have been ruined by fire.

Much of the street’s history has already been lost: in 2014 developer Giorgi Group knocked down three houses dating back to 1890 to make way for the 48-unit Dorrien Gardens development.

Numbers 68-70 Cowle Street were some of the few to be saved before fire gutted them: developer Match was going to retain them as part of its new project.

• 68 and 70 Cowle Street are now in ruins. Photos by Matthew Dwyer

• 68 and 70 Cowle Street are now in ruins. Photos by Matthew Dwyer

But on Sunday September 13 smoke bloomed over West Perth and the places were gutted. A 52-year-old man was charged with starting the fire, allegedly with a lit cigarette he’d tossed onto a pile of papers in the house.

Match managing director Lloyd Clark says “we are extremely disappointed”.

“As many are aware, the rejuvenation of heritage-listed properties for modern use is core to our business, and our plans for this site were stunning and exciting.

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“Match’s design team is currently assessing the project and will endeavour to honour any existing or lost heritage fabric in the development of distinctive boutique apartments located in this very special heritage precinct environment.”

Andrew Main lives nearby, and has watched with dismay developers roll through Cowle Street.

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He says more should have been done to secure the site. It was well known that homeless people hung around these and other empty properties in the area, and he said they should’ve been better boarded up.

In a heritage report on the duplex, experts deemed it to have “considerable aesthetic value as an exemplar of a semi-detached late colonial Georgian style pattern” design for a working class house.

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The property, dated back as far as 1894, was considered to be in fair condition and there’s only a small number remaining.

by DAVID BELL

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