Back to school

THE owners of the old Perth Girls School precinct in East Perth are holding a public “open house” on February 29 to talk about the site’s future.

The WA government sold the historic site in two lots to Australian Development Capital in 2017 and 2018 ($5 million for the school, $8.5 million for the adjoining lot at 20 Bronte Street). It wanted a “mixed use” precinct of residential, retail, office and community space.

ADC is currently working with the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority on reviewing the planning rules for the precinct. Part of the East Perth Cemetery was once located within the girl’s school precinct and while it was built over and the headstones removed, the bodies remained interred underneath. They are being moved over to Karrakatta cemetery in preparation for the site’s next iteration.

Artrage

In the meantime the school houses Artrage for a three-year seatwarming stint, and is used for movies and Fringe shows.

The East Perth Community Group and the Town Team movement are helping ADC hold a post-Fringe open house to have a look around the precinct and talk about future plans.

ADC’s Rod Hamersley says: “This isn’t a survey or tick a box exercise, this is us seeking genuine input from East Perth and the greater city for what they would like to see created in and around this special building.”

EPCG’s Graeme McCullagh says he hopes “as many people as possible in the community will take advantage of this opportunity to come have a say in what they would like to see in the future of the Perth Girls School Precinct”.

To keep the Fringe mood flowing there’ll be storytelling about the site’s past, walking tours, swing dances, DJs, drinks and food trucks.

Ghosts of the past will also be present: One of the cemetery’s prominent figures Thomas ‘Satan’ Browne, noted convict artist, will be revived for a storytelling performance of love, loss, loneliness and laughter.

Mr Browne (or the Genrefonix actor portraying his ghost) is ‘fresh’ from a sold out Fringe Season, and the session will be narrated by local arts historian Ivan King.

The open day runs from 4.30pm to 8.30pm on February 29 at 2 Wellington Street.

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