Brickbats for housing plan

FOUR options put forward by the state’s heritage department for redeveloping the Maylands Brickworks haven’t impressed locals.

The 1927 brickworks, closed for 30 years now, is owned by Bayswater council and is on the state heritage register.

But the building needs about $7.7 million worth of restoration and the heritage department has suggested selling off nearby land for apartments, or to adapt the brickworks itself into apartments, to pay for it. Another option was to relocate the Maylands Peninsula Golf Course clubhouse into the site.

Newly-formed group Friends of Maylands Brickworks doesn’t want any part sold off and isn’t keen on blocks of flats.

• The Friends of Maylands Brickworks.

The group delivered a 208-signature petition to Bayswater council two weeks ago saying they’d prefer a community space, museum, historical interpretation centre or art centre “to preserve its historical authenticity and integrity”.

Kevin Hamersley from the Friends of Maylands Lakes is likewise unimpressed by the options, particularly converting the brickworks into apartments.

“We are concerned that this option was even presented as it would dominate and diminish the aesthetic presence of the kiln,” Mr Hamersley’s submission said.

“Other concerns are the cost of converting the kiln to residential standard and the impact it would have on the heritage value.”

The petition was due to go to this week’s Bayswater council meeting. The project team will then look over the feedback and come up with plans to present back to Bayswater council and the Heritage Council.

by DAVID BELL

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THE Hoffman kiln is significant as the last of its type in WA, and one of only a handful anywhere in the world.

A second Hoffman kiln at the site was damaged in the 1968 Meckering earthquake and demolished.

The kiln’s technology was patented by German inventor Friedrich Edouard Hoffman in 1858, and was a breakthrough in brickmaking because the fire could burn continuously. Older style kilns required the fire to be put out and restarted between loads.

The Hoffman has an inner ring where the fire slowly moves around a series of chambers, so workers can load wet bricks ahead of the fire and take out dry bricks once the fire’s passed.

There’s still a few working in China, India, Iran and Bangladesh, but they’re being phased out for more environmentally friendly methods.

Few kilns have been preserved, though in Box Hill contamination has seen the local brickworks spared redevelopment.

What the Friends of the Brickworks don’t want is to see their kiln go the way of those in Victoria and South Australia. Brunswick’s two surviving kilns were gutted to become flats while in South Australia, a smoke stack preserved at a cost of $1.5 million stands lonely amid a shopping centre.

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