Armadale-WA issues web page

relating to Minnawarra House

This web page is for issues relating to Minnawarra House, Armadale, Western Australia.

Armadale is the south-eastern-most suburb of Perth, the state capital of Western Australia.

I have created and published this web page, to publish material relating to issues relating to Minnawarra House in Armadale in Western Australia.

Please read to the bottom of this page, as the page has been updated with further, significant, information that has come to my attention

The ARA and the proposed removal of Minnawarra House (added 27 February 2005)

I have, on 24 February 2005, found published in a local newspaper, an article where the Armadale Redevelopment Authority is considering eliminating Minnawarra House.

Minnawarra House is a community facility that provides various facilities and activities for the people of Armadale, and was purchased along with the land on which it stands, in the 1950's, by what became the Armadale City Council, “to be used for community purposes” (Source – Minnawarra House website). Minnawarra House has been continuing to fulfil that function, by being “used for community facilities”.

To see the external appearance of Minnawarra House, click on the link for my pictures web page .

Minnawarra House has a web site, which you can visit, by clicking on the link at Minnawarra House .

On the web site for Minnawarra House, is a web page, with some of the history of Minnawarra House, at Minnawarra House History .

The contact details for Minnawarra House, including a sketch map of the location of Minnawarra House, are on a web page, at Minnawarra House contact details .

The Armadale Redevelopment Authority was appointed by the ALP member of parliament for Armadale, and the ALP member for the lower house seat of Armadale in this election; Alannah McTiernan, and represents her, and does not represent the wishes of the people of Armadale. The Armadale Redevelopment Authority is not elected by the people of Armadale, and, the people of Armadale have no control over the decisions and policy of the Armadale Redevelopment Authority. That authority was created to take activities away from the Armadale City Council, so that the people of Armadale could not have any effective say in what goes on in Armadale, in terms of development.

This is why we got the Armadale train station that was not wanted by the majority of Armadale residents, and is a safety hazard, and, is inconsistent with the appearance of the Armadale City Centre, as is also the new cinema complex, and, which is why the people of Armadale are now facing the likely elimination of part of the heritage and community facilities of Armadale; Minnawarra House, in a campaign to turn the Armadale city centre into a mishmash of inconsistent appearance, so that the people of Armadale have to put up with an unwelcoming city centre, or, do what other, long term residents have already started to do – go elsewhere, away from Armadale, to do their shopping and activities, as they are now made to feel uncomfortable in their local area.

For those who do not know, I have used Minnawarra House on a number of occasions, including through my involvement with Armadale LETS, over the years, and, Minnawarra House has played an active part in local public events held in Minnawarra Park, hosting various support facilities when events such as the annual Minnawarra Festival and the annual Armadale Highland Gathering, have been held, and Minnawarra House hosts a variety of community facilities, on an ongoing basis.

I am advised that the plans for the land where Minnawarra House stands and is used, include putting a lake in the land between Minnawarra House and Armadale Road.

Apart from this reducing the open land on which residents can walk, with the effect of the proposal degrading public health through decreased open space available for walking and recreation, that land was previously used to stage a local version of the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, with a major event involving multiple full Scottish Pipe Bands. Many people attended, and watched the spectacular event, and, the state government, and it agent, the Armadale Redevelopment Authority, seek to deprive the people of Armadale, of future such cultural events, by, apart from the current proposal to demolish the Minnawarra House and develop the open space, creating a situation where, due to the lack of protection of the building and of the open space, the uncertainty of the future of the land, means that it is unlikely that future similar events will be held on that land, as it is not known for how long the currently open grassed space, will remain as open grassed space.

Minnawarra House has also, as already mentioned, been used to host support facilities when we have had the Minnawarra Festival and the Armadale Highland Gathering, in previous years, and, both of those events have had displays and activities, spill over to take place on the land between Minnawarra House and Armadale Road, the land that is intended to have a lake replace the open, grassed space, to reduce public activities in the area, and to decrease the size of, and alter the nature of, the Minnawarra Park precinct of Armadale.

Minnawarra House should not be removed or built around so as to interfere with its appearance or function, and the land associated with Minnawarra House, including the land between Minnawarra House and Armadale Road, should not be developed or changed in its function, unless a referendum of the people of Armadale, supports such change, as Minnawarra House and that open space, are part of the heritage of Armadale. It is the heritage of the people of Armadale, and, it has considerable community significance, and, is used in community activities and recreational activities that the state government, through the Armadale Redevelopment Authority, seek to curtail, without the people of Armadale getting to make the decisions from which we suffer.

After having found that this situation exists regarding Minnawarra House, in the afternoon of Thursday 24 February, during the afternoon of 24 February 2005, I brought the matter to the attention of the local radio station, named Heritage FM, as, due to its name, it should take an active role in preserving the heritage of the area, and I also brought the matter to the attention of the West Australian Newspaper, the ABC WA state television news and current affairs, and to the attention of the three major commercial television stations in Perth – Channels 7, 9 and 10, to give them an opportunity to air the issue for public discussion, to possibly get public assurances from the major political parties in Western Australia, that Minnawarra House and its surrounding land, would be preserved for use as they have so far been used, and, protected from unwanted development.

Whether any of the media take any action to raise the issue as a matter of public interest, is yet to be seen.

Minnawarra House should be heritage listed so as to prevent its removal and to prevent development of the land between it, the railway, and Armadale Road.

And, the Armadale Redevelopment Authority should be replaced by a body constituted of representatives from Residents and Ratepayers' Associations of Armadale, and an authority on local history, each of whom should have voting power, so that the people of Armadale decide on the development of Armadale, and so that the heritage of Armadale is protected, at least more than it is at present.

The ARA and Minnawarra House update - added 21 June 2005

In the Armadale edition of the Weekend Examiner (a local newspaper), dated 16 June 2005, on page 5, is an article with the title "Council committee supports amendment plan".

In that article, is the text
"The city's development services committee voted to support the Armadale Redevelopment Authority's amendment No.3 at its meeting this week. The issue will be discussed by the full council at its meeting next week. If approved by the full council, the amendment will allow the ARA's precinct boundary to be changed to enable the existing retail area to be extended into land owned by the Western Australian Planning Commission."

However, the recommendation (number D83/6/06, the number being amended from the number displayed in the agenda for the meeting) that went to the council, as printed in the agenda for the council meeting of 20 June 2005, stated
"That Council make a submission in support of Amendment No.3 to the Armadale Redevelopment Scheme 2004...".

Now, the issue here, is that the article in the Weekend Examiner, clearly represented that the council had the authority to stop or allow the proposed amendment that would include the demolishing of Minnawarra House, whereas, as was clarified by the mayor, at the Armadale City Council meeting of 20 June 2005, the council had only the authority to make a submission to the Armadale Redevelopment Authority, and that the Armadale Redevelopment Authority would itself allow or disallow the proposed amendment, and that the final decision laid with the state minister for planning and infrastructure, who is also the member of the lower house of state parliament for Armadale; Alannah MacTiernan.

And, in this, the local newspaper misrepresented the status of the council action, regarding Minnawarra House.

One effect of that misrepresentation, is that people in Armadale, in believing that the city council had the authority to allow or disallow the proposed amendment, and, therefore, that the city council had the authority to allow or disallow the demolishing of Minnawarra House and the development of the open, grassed land around Minnawarra House, the land having been used for local public events and for recreation and a place to walk, as a paved path runs through it, went to the trouble of organising a requisition for a Special Meeting Of Electors of the Armadale City Council, in order to cause the city council to disallow the proposed amendment, thus to disallow the demolishing of Minnawarra House and the development of the land on which Minnawarra House and Orchard House stand, and the development of the surrounding open, grassed, land.

Also, a number of residents and affected people, attended the council meeting on 20 June 2005, to voice their concerns about the issue, on the premise that the city council had the authority to allow or disallow the redevelopment of the land.

Now, this misrepresentation, and the consequential actions, show why the media should be held accountable, and should be required to report the truth, and not allowed to publish misrepresentations.

Thus, the Weekend Examiner should print as a headline on its front page, a correction to the misinformation that it published on 16 June 2005.

It was also em,phasised by the Armadale mayor, at the city council meeting of 20 June 2005, that, while he and the chairman of the Development Services Committee, who both took part in the discussions relating to the issue at both the Development Services Committee meeting of 14 June 2005 and at the City Council meeting of 20 June 2005, and who both voted on the issue at those meetings, are both members of the Board of the Armadale Redevelopment Authority, they do not have voting power in their membership of the Armadale Redevelopment Authority.

However, whether they have a conflict of interest in this and in other such matters involving the Armadale Redevelopment Authority, is a matter of the perception of each individual considering the issue.

This is one of the problems of the people of Armadale having an appointed body, rather than an elected body, controlling development in Armadale.

The status of Minnawarra House itself (added 21 June 2005)

It was my understanding that what we know as Minnawarra House, whilst not being the building that was the original Minnawarra House, is the last remaining building from the farm from which Armadale evolved; the citrus orchard, after which parts of Armadale, including streets, were named.

However, in checking this understanding with a member of the family that was last known to have been owners of the farm, I was advised that what we know as Minnawarra House, was originally a weatherboard house, and that a member of the family subsequently had the external walls, replaced with the brick walls that are the current external walls of the building.

Thus, while the building's external appearance is not unpleasant, and is, as I have mentioned elsewhere, consistent with the character of other significant buildings in Armadale, the building cannot be reasonably classed as a building of historical significance, as it is not as it as originally built, and, the external appearance of the building is not as it was originally built. Therefore, I cannot justify seeking to have the building heritage listed for its historical significance. While I believe that Minnawarra House cannot justifiably be heritage listed due to its historical significance, on this basis, recent advertisements by the Armadale City Council, calling for nominations of land and/or buildings, to be included in the Municipal Heritage Inventory, include both the criteria that they “have played an important part in our history”, and, “association with an individual or the community”. Now, there are a number of aspects to this – one is that Minnawarra House does have an association with Roberta Jull, and, it does have an association with the Aitken (?) and Scidone (?) families, owners of the farm that was the citrus orchard from which Armadale evolved, and after which, parts of Armadale have been named. And, that is apart from the association of Minnawarra House with the community, both from the aspect of the community facilities that have been provided by Minnawarra House, to the local community, and, the involvement that Minnawarra House has had, in providing facilities to the annual local public events, such as the Minnawarra Festival, and the Armadale Highland Gathering. And, for these reasons, I believe that the retention of Minnawarra House, as a local heritage facility, should be considered.

Effects of the proposed amendment, apart from Minnawarra House

One thing that needs to be considered, apart from the proposed loss of Minnawarra House, is the proposal to develop the open, grassed land between Minnawarra House and Orchard House, and the adjacent railway land, and, any potential changes to the open, grassed land between Minnawarra House and Armadale Road.

The open, grassed land that I have mentioned here, has been used for public events, such as the Armadale Highland gathering and the Minnawarra Festival, and, has a paved pathway through it, that people use to walk from Armadale Road to the city centre, at present being able to do that, through the open, grassed land, that makes the walk all the more pleasant, because it is open, grassed land. This would be lost, if the land is developed, as planned.

A web page with pictures of Minnawarra House and the open space, is at pictures of Minnawarra House and the open space . Also on that web page, is a photograph that shows that Woolworths, which is seeking the expansion, is incapable of maintaining what it has now, and is thus jeopardising public safety and the electricity supply.

What we need, in relation to all of this

It is clear, to me, that one thing that is conspicuous by its absence, here, and is urgently needed, is better communication with the people of Armadale, about such things, and, more truthful reporting by the local media; both of these are urgently needed, so that the people of Armadale can better understand what is happening in Armadale. And, we need the preservation of the open, grassed space that is threatened by the proposed amendment and the proposed development.

I can be contacted by email by clicking on the link at Bret

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This web page was last updated on 21 June, 2005