Edenvale Homestead’s standing as one of Murray’s premier tourist sites and event spaces, will be secured through sustainable maintenance and activation, as part of a recently adopted management plan.
The Edenvale Landscape Management Plan endorsed by Council at its August meeting, provides a clear framework for the sustainable management of vegetation, drainage and pedestrian movement, for the entire heritage precinct inclusive of Edenvale and Liveringa Homesteads, St John’s Church, the Old School and Schoolmaster’s House and surrounding Glebe Land.
Edenvale Homestead is an important Western Australian landmark reflecting the early pioneer life of the district, and was once home to the former Premier of Western Australia Sir Ross McLarty who lived at the homestead during his childhood and for most of his political life.
According to Shire President Cr. David Bolt, the Plan is essential to protecting the precinct’s integrity and historic significance whilst ensuring its activation both during the day and at night, through improvements to lighting, street appeal, accessibility and walkability.
“Edenvale Homestead and the surrounding heritage assets are of significant value to community members and are important components in the Shire’s tourism and event mix.
“The Plan will ensure the precinct’s landscape continues to contribute to the heritage significance of the area, whilst creating an amenable destination for visitors, bolstering economic opportunities for Murray,” Cr. Bolt said.
The Plan comprises several components including a Landscape Management Plan, Key Element Plan and a Sustainable Management Plan and was developed in close consultation with key community members and user group representatives.
The plan was developed to address a number of practical site issues, including poor drainage and excess water around heritage structures, a poor path network with uneven surfaces providing insufficient linkage between buildings and amenities, and materials and/or colour schemes utilised without consideration of the heritage aesthetics.
The Plan makes provisions for the replacement of existing mature vegetation, stipulates the circumstances under which the vegetation can be removed and provides a species guide for appropriate replacement.
It further guides landscape based development and sets out to remove development inconsistent with or detrimental to the heritage significance of the area, replace existing elements with better suited materials and better disguise essential elements needed for the maintenance and use of the site.
The $2.5million Plan will be rolled out progressively in four stages to achieve 39 key elements, some of which achieve improved pedestrian access and walkability to and around the site and improved integration with surrounding attractions including the shopping centre and Cantwell Park.
Further noteworthy outcomes include lower speed zones in George and Henry Streets, the establishment of a formalised event space, toilet block upgrade and the installation of a timber deck and bench seating to activate the space under the ficus tree to the west of Liveringa Homestead.
In early 2016, the Shire advertised the draft Plan for public consultation.
The Shire received 28 submissions raising a number of issues, namely regarding the proposed closure of Henry Street and sensitivities around the precinct’s heritage significance.
A revised draft was presented to Council in October 2017, where it received in-principle support, subject to further modifications, which included the redesign of Henry Street and surrounding landscape section to create a slow speed shared pedestrian and vehicle space, the relocation of the George Street main facility sign and accompanying landscape works, and minor consequential updates.
“Community participation and feedback has enabled the articulation of a distinct vision for the future of the precinct, to ensure the protection of its rural character and cultural and heritage values,” Cr. Bolt said.
The Edenvale Landscape Management Plan forms part of the Murray 2025 Strategic Community Plan and the Pinjarra Town Centre Revitalisation Plan and is further complimented by the George Street Style Guide.