Heaven and Earth moves for Northam heritage hall project

A rare and important piece of Northam’s history has been preserved to serve the local community in new and different ways.

Weakened over the decades from earthquakes and threatened by the elements, the 124-year-old Uniting Church Hall on Duke Street survives thanks to Juniper’s extensive renovation to repurpose the building as a modern centre with resulting benefits for the whole community.

At the opening of the restored building today, on 15 April, Juniper’s Chief Executive Vaughan Harding said the Hall now provides a contemporary training facility for his organisation which, with more than 100 local staff, is the among largest employers in town.

The Northam Uniting Church Hall was built in 1892 as a place of worship responding to the needs of a growing community and Juniper acknowledges this past legacy by ensuring the vitality of the place and extending its utility and purpose for many years to come.

“The new facility is a practical regional training centre for current and future aged care professionals as well as meeting the needs of the local Uniting Church congregation in Northam,” Vaughan said.

“Northam is an important regional centre for Juniper as it doubles its capacity to respond community need for aged care and retirement living services over the next decade.

“Juniper is strongly connected to and is a long-term supporter of the Avon community and in the future wishes to create an aged care precinct adjacent to the Uniting Church in Duke Street.”

Juniper invested several hundred thousand dollars in extensive work to stabilise, restore and improve the Uniting Church Hall, including the addition of a full-length covered veranda, foyer and up-to-date kitchen and bathroom facilities that complement the heritage hall and make it an attractive, inviting and comfortable place to meet and learn.

Because the building has local, State and national-level heritage significance, and is a rare example of its type, Juniper carefully completed the works in accord with a conservation plan and employed a specialist heritage stonemason to restore its walls, in addition to replacing roofing and conserving its Kauri timber ceilings.

The repurposed heritage Hall was officially opened on Friday 15 April 2016 by Juniper Board Chair Mr Fred Boshart together with long-standing Northam resident, volunteer and Uniting Church congregation Elder Mrs Laura Fox, and the building was dedicated by Uniting Church WA Moderator Rev Steve Francis.

The project was supported by a $107,100 Lotterywest Grant. For more news and information about Juniper’s housing, home care support and residential services visit www.juniper.org.au.

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