Brickworks plan before mid-year

AFTER seven months of radio silence the state’s planning and heritage department now expects to release a report on the future of the heritage-listed Maylands Brickworks before July.

A year ago this month the department released four proposals for a $7.7 million redevelopment of the 1927 brickworks, three involving apartment complexes to fund the makeover.

Financial

The department then announced it was undertaking a more detailed report, including looking at its financial feasibility, but seven months later had no timeline for its release, frustrating locals and Bayswater council.

The department said Bayswater could expect a copy “in the first half of the year”.

“The report responds to community feedback and will address heritage building repair and maintenance requirements, options for adaptive reuse, financial analysis of reuse options and relevant case studies,” the department responded to Voice questions.

The 1927 brickworks, which have been closed for 30-odd years, are owned by Bayswater council and are heritage listed.

They contain the only remaining Hoffman Kiln in WA (there was another, but it was damaged during the 1968 Meckering earthquake and dismantled).

Friends of Maylands Brickworks don’t want any part sold off and aren’t keen on building flats to fund the redevelopment.

The group submitted a petition to council last year saying they’d prefer a community space, museum, historical interpretation centre or art centre “to preserve its historical authenticity and integrity”.

During public consultation 88 per cent of respondents said they supported the repair and reactivation of the Maylands Brickworks as a heritage place and local amenity

Six per cent said they opposed it.

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

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

Few kilns have been preserved, though ironically contamination in Box Hill, Victoria 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 others 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.

by STEPHEN POLLOCK

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