Buildings’ restoration earns State praise

Francesca MannMidwest Times
The Cue Public Buildings.
Camera IconThe Cue Public Buildings. Credit: Heritage Council of Western Australia

Shire of Cue chief executive Rob Madson said he was “completely blown away” at the 2018 Western Australian Heritage Awards when the town picked up two prestigious gongs.

On March 23, the Cue Public Buildings was named the winner of the adaptive reuse of a State registered building award.

During a three-year project, the former post office and post-master’s residence was restored and converted into the Cue Community and Visitor Centre.

The transformation impressed the judges so much it was also named the winner of the top project award — the Gerry Gauntlett Award for excellence in conservation or adaptive reuse.

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Mr Madson said no one involved in the project had any idea they had won either award.

“We were surprised to win the adaptive reuse of a State registered building award, we were up against some big metropolitan councils,” he said.

“We’re just a small regional town, so we were ecstatic about winning that award.

“The Gerry Gauntlett award took us by surprise — it’s not a nomination for that award, so it was completely out of the blue.

“Being recognised by those awards was a huge reward for those involved in the project ... I hope it helps the community take pride in their new centre.”

The project started at the end of 2014 and has breathed life back into the historic buildings, thanks to a sensitive conservation and adaptive reuse project managed in association by architects Suzanne Hunt and Stephen Carrick.

The newly reopened buildings are now home to the Cue Community Resource Centre, tourist information bureau and the library.

This year will be the first tourist season during which the buildings are open to the public.

Mr Madson said he hoped the awards and rich history in the area would attract more people to the town.

“Hopefully, more people will be given an incentive to travel to Cue,” he said.

“The facility complements our visitor rest area that’s also recently been completed, where they can park up, get water and have lunch.

“Cue has one per cent of the State’s heritage listed buildings.

“That’s fairly significant for a small place like us.

“We extend an open invitation for anyone that wants to come have a look through Cue — we’ve got plenty for them to see.”

Minister for Heritage David Templeman praised the outstanding work done on the Cue public buildings.

“The revitalisation is a fantastic example of how adaptive reuse of a heritage asset and heritage tourism often go hand-in-hand,” he said.

“The former Cue post office has been beautifully restored and adapted for modern use, giving visitors and the local community a wonderful historic building to enjoy and use.”

The Northampton Friends of the Railway took home the contribution by a community-based organisation award. Since 2003, the group has worked tirelessly to collect and conserve the heritage of the Northampton Railway Station by developing a railway museum.

It has also cleaned up the former Gwalla Railway Station and initiated commemorative events.

St Francis Xavier Cathedral in Geraldton received a commendation in the conservation of a State registered place category.

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