Ratepayers are disappointed the Northern Midlands Council will not restore a convict-era well and put it on public display at Perth.
Instead plans to subdivide land at 32 Norfolk Street into three blocks will continue. The mid-1800s cottage’s backyard will be reduced to create a second residential block and the third block will be used as public open space for the $6.3 million Sheepwash Creek plan.
Ratepayer Robert Henley submitted a report to save the convict-era well through a two-lot subdivision, making it part of the public open space and maintaining the cottage’s original backyard.
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The council considered the report but decided, as the subdivision was already approved and underway, it would only explore renaming the public open space to Dolly Dalrymple Reserve.
Mr Henley said he was very disappointed in the decision, but it was good Dolly may be honoured.
“The general manager didn’t actually put forward a recommendation to the council concerning the rehabilitation of the well and all the other things that were in my proposal,” he said.
“When you look at the council’s policy on heritage, they had a moral, if not legal, right to protect really important bits of heritage and that well could be something that is very important to the early history of Perth.”
The council purchased the land in November 2018 for $261,500, but the well was only discovered by workers under flooring of a shed in March 2019.
A later assessment found the well was constructed using about 500 convict era bricks.
The council’s general manager Des Jennings recommended only the reserve’s dual renaming be explored and said an estimated $12,000 had been spent for subdivision works on the site, with water and sewerage connection completed.
He said the income for the second residential block was expected to be in excess of $140,000 and therefore that figure would be forgone if only a two-lot subdivision was decided on.
“If council was to support the motion put forward by Mr Henley, the current subdivision approval and works on the site would need to be set aside,” he said.
“Council would be required to initiate a new subdivision and also remove infrastructure that has been constructed on site that formed part of the original approval and have portions of agreed contractual arrangements also set aside.”
Mr Henley’s report also went in the history of the site, including the original land grant which was to Sir Adye Douglas, the 15th Premier of Tasmania, and pushed for information panels outlining the history of the site and area.
Resident Kerry Donoghue, who lives across from the block, said she was appalled at the decision not to save the well.
“I’m just ropeable about it, like I think it’s appalling,” she said.
“How you could have a convict well that could have been part of a recreational walkway with barbecue areas and seats, and then just fence it in to sell it… I just don’t know.”
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