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Decaying Greenough cottage to be demolished despite heritage status

A 162-year-old Greenough cottage is set for demolition after a motion was passed by the City of Greater Geraldton.

Bells Cottage, also known as Duncans Cottage, has been a prominent feature of the Greenough flats since it was built in 1860, but has fallen into an “extreme state of decay”, according to the engineer’s report put to the council on December 21.

“It runs against my make up to support any heritage destruction, but quite frankly the condition of this building is such that it’s almost inevitable,” Cr Mike Reymond said in seconding the motion.

The cottage is one of the oldest buildings in the area, pre-dating the Convict Bridge and the Maley residence which now hosts the Greenough Museum and Gardens.

Structural engineer Sam Nejad inspected the building in August and concluded in his report it was “too far gone for any meaningful restoration” and any attempt to do so would be costly and leave “little in common with the original construction”.

The original stone walls still stand on the eastern side of the house and are listed on the City’s heritage register.

However, the roof has been mostly removed and the interior exposed to the elements for years.

The cottage was expanded in the 1920s, along with a separate stable and workshop building which is also to be demolished.

The 19th century shingle roof was replaced with corrugated iron, leaving little of significance in terms of early construction methods, which can be seen in better condition in other Greenough heritage buildings.

Some remnants of the site will be left standing. Stone walls to the north and south of the cottage — which once closed in the stable — will serve as ruins of the site.

“Signage is going to be quite significant there and that has reassured me that the memories of this building will be preserved properly, which I’m quite happy to see,” Cr Reymond said.

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