Precinct wins gong

THE little-known Brookman and Moir Street precinct has been named a winner in the global 2017 UNESCO heritage awards.

It earns the neighbourhood a distinguished place alongside other  2017 winners, like Shanghai’s 19th century Holy Trinity Cathedral and Hong Kong’s famous “Blue House Cluster,” a set of humble shophouses that survived the island’s heavy densification, despite a lack of space.

Brookman and Moir Streets feature 58 Federation Queen Anne-style cottages from the 1890s.

Built during the gold rush for ordinary workers, they were relatively unadorned compared to a lot of the grand old heritage buildings that have been retained.

The UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) jury gave it an “award of distinction”, the same class as the Shanghai cathedral. Only the Blue House Cluster was given a higher award among the field of 13.

• Brookman and Moir Streets are known for their restored workers’ cottages. Image supplied

“The restoration of late 19th-century workers’ cottages along Brookman and Moir Streets has thoughtfully revived a modest but historically significant housing district dating back to the WA gold boom,” read The UNESCO jury’s statement. “Individual homeowners undertook the loving refurbishment of the simple Federation Queen Anne semi-detached dwellings which had suffered from years of unsympathetic change and dilapidation.

“With financial support from the City of Vincent and the local heritage council and technical guidance from conservation professionals, the original architectural character and material palette of each red brick building was carefully recovered.

“Catalysed by the renovation of a single house which then inspired other nearby residents, the project has revitalised the streetscape and returned a sense of community to the area. The revival of the Brookman-Moir precinct underscores the importance of recognising and safeguarding everyday urban fabric as part of a holistic strategy in sustaining historic urban landscapes.”

Other award winners included the Royal Opera House in Mumbai, the Great Hall and Clock Tower in Christchurch, which was restored after massive earthquakes in 2010 and 2011, and India’s Gateways of Gohad Fort, a 15th century archway and chain gate that’s still used by locals today.

by DAVID BELL

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