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Minister declares ‘urgent action’ needed at Strawberry Hill at Barmup & offers support for funding call

Stuart McGuckinAlbany Advertiser
Strawberry Hill at Barmup volunteer co-ordinator Judy Williams shows Albany MLA Rebecca Stephens some of the damage within the property's farmhouse.
Camera IconStrawberry Hill at Barmup volunteer co-ordinator Judy Williams shows Albany MLA Rebecca Stephens some of the damage within the property's farmhouse. Credit: Stuart McGuckin

Heritage Minister David Templeman has pledged to “seek support” to fund a long list of “urgent” work at Strawberry Hill at Barmup.

His commitment to have “direct conversations” with the National Trust of Western Australia came after Albany MLA Rebecca Stephens raised a grievance in State Parliament.

On Thursday, Ms Stephens told Parliament there were “much-needed restoration and repairs” needed at the culturally significant site.

“The site is significant as an important camp site for the Menang people and a place of close and ongoing contact between Menang people and European settlers,” she said.

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“It is the site of the first colonial farm to be established in what was to later become Western Australia, in close proximity to the present-day Albany CBD.”

Ms Stephens outlined a series of concerns within the property, which has been managed by the National Trust for 60 years, including confusing traffic management, inadequate toilet facilities, rotting timbers and uneven paths.

She said a preservation assessment completed last year concluded historic buildings on the property were also “in varying states of deterioration”.

“When I visited the farm last year, a volunteer asked me to have a look with them, and it was disturbing to see the cracks and water buckets scattered throughout the historic building,” she said.

“My office has been advised that most cracks in the house have appeared over the last 10 years and are a serious problem that needs to be fixed.”

In response, Mr Templeman, who visited the property with Ms Stephens in February, said the need for “urgent action is now before us” despite the “tremendous efforts” of the National Trust and the property’s volunteer base.

“The buildings are very old,” he said.

“They are a remarkable example of colonial buildings, including the imposing two-storey dwelling that was the old farm homestead.”

He said the trust’s assessment included “structural matters and a range of conservation matters”.

“I will have conversations directly with the National Trust of Western Australia about what works are required for remediation, and of course, I will seek support for those works to be funded,” he said.

“It is important that we ensure that this very significant heritage site not only is safe and welcoming for visitors but also has great potential to deliver some tremendous outcomes for learning, cultural experiences and tourism.

“As we approach 2026, I am very keen for that important heritage asset to be able to welcome even more visitors than it has in the past.”

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