THE old railway worker’s cottage at 34 Cheriton Street may soon be home to a new local research centre for the Museum of Perth.
The not-for-profit history group is based in the CBD but has outposts in East Fremantle and in Bunbury, where they’ve put together extensive histories of local properties and biographies of historic people in return for peppercorn rent.
MoP executive director Reece Harley wrote to Vincent council proposing the museum restore 34 Cheriton Street and move in a research office, community meeting room and local history library, and there’s space in the back for the museum to move in an 1896 railway train carriage it owns.
The museum hopes to either acquire the property or get a long term management order with a peppercorn lease.
The 110-year-old cottage near the East Perth train station is owned by the state government but managed by Vincent council. But it’s been a bit of a burden eating up maintenance funds to keep it secure against squatters, and it needs extensive restoration.
The rear lot has a community garden run by the local Norwood Neighbourhood Association who welcome the MoP’s plan.
A few years back they hoped to turn the cottage into a community hub but were never quite able to muster up the numbers and hours, and then NNA’s driver behind the project Anton Haynes died in January.
Fellow garden member Simon Thackrah told Vincent council: “The residents and community garden volunteers that I’ve consulted are supportive … the opportunity to partner with the Museum of Perth is really exciting for us. A staffed presence at the house would ensure that the garden can be open to the public for longer hours than we as an association were able to achieve.”
The museum gets funding from Lotterywest, philanthropic grants, and most of the research staff are funded via the federal government work for the dole program. Mr Harley noted there was a need for more WFTD placements in the Perth city area, and having another 30 workers on site would help nearby cafes.
Mayor Emma Cole said “for a long time we’ve been looking for a solution to Cheriton Street … every now and again an opportunity comes out of the blue that works really well”.
The council voted unanimously to support the future use and management being handed over to the Museum of Perth, which will have to be approved by minister for lands Tony Buti.
“We’ll be happy to do whatever we need to do to support that,” Ms Cole said.