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A mixed bag… and a hint of things to come

January 11, 2011
The Veterans

From Hesperian Press

I recently bought a book I’ve been wanting for years – The Veterans:  A History of the Enrolled Pensioner Force in Western Australia, 1850-1880 by FH Broomhall.  It cost $50 from the State Library Bookshop, which is the main reason it’s taken me so long, but as I mentioned when I bought it, it was first published by Hesperian Press in 1989, and looks like it’s been printed direct from the typed manuscript, not some new-fangled wordprocessing application – which means an enormous amount of work and attention to detail has gone into the production of it – and I assume, hence the cost.  A book review will follow when I’ve had more time to study it closely.

I recently googled “enrolled pensioner guards western australia” and found a report of an Archeological Survey of an Enrolled Pensioner cottage about five minutes drive from where I live.  On reading that, I discovered that the cottage is the last remaining Pensioner Guard cottage in Western Australia!  A post about that will follow.  I visited to take a photo of it and found that it’s open on the last Sunday of the month, so perhaps there will be two posts.

Having discovered that there is only one remaining Enrolled Pensioner Guard cottage in this State, and also through reading The Bride Ships by

The Bride Ships by Rica Erickson

From Hesperian Press

Rica Erickson and discovering that I work on or next to the site of the Immigrant Depot, on the old Reveley’s Mill site behind the Old Perth Boys School on St Georges Terrace, I have been belatedly mourning the loss of many of our historic buildings.  Old Perth Boys School is still standing and National Heritage listed and protected.  But the site of Reveley’s mill has housed the printing works of the West Australian newspaper in the past, until that was demolished, and when I started working where I currently work, back in March 2007 the site was just a big gravelly hole with a large puddle and some pampas grass and graffiti.  It is currently a construction site – where a building is being constructed that will apparently be the tallest building in the southern hemisphere when it’s finished.  Watching it being erected has been fascinating, but I can’t help but wonder if anyone did an archeological survey of the site before all the modern construction was carried out – even that for the old West Australian printing works.  Western Australia’s past record for preserving old buildings and valuing it’s past has not been spectacular.

And then I received notification that the Parramatta Female Factory Precinct is under threat.  It would be a travesty if this is allowed to happen. These sites in Sydney, New South Wales predate the establishment of the Swan River Colony by several  years, and are among the earliest buildings in the country, and have a direct link to the convict heritage of New South Wales and Australia. They should be protected.  Please take the time to view and sign the petition to save these buildings before it’s too late.

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