Judges must confess, former church is now a winner

Callum HunterSouth Western Times
Donnybrook-Balingup shire president Brian Piesse has no doubt the nomination and potential win will do nothing but boost the building’s status as a tourist attraction.
Camera IconDonnybrook-Balingup shire president Brian Piesse has no doubt the nomination and potential win will do nothing but boost the building’s status as a tourist attraction. Credit: South Western Times, Callum Hunter

Donnybrook may soon be able to add another feather to its tourism cap after the council chamber was announced as a finalist in the 2019 Tidy Town awards.

The former church turned council chamber was named in the Heritage and Culture category, an award that “recognises a community’s outstanding commitment to the conservation and celebration of a community’s indigenous and non-indigenous heritage and culture”.

Donnybrook-Balingup shire president Brian Piesse said the council tried to keep the building as authentic as possible during its refurbishment in 2017.

“We’ve retained the pulpit, that’s where the public ask their questions or present any deputations or presentations to the council,” he said.

“All of the furniture in here is made of local timber.

“We need to make it more available as a tourist attraction, we haven’t really capitalised on that.”

Heritage architect Ian Molyneux and BRC Building Solutions along with local tradespeople were responsible for the refurbishment and even used the original rendering technique of milk and charcoal for the building’s front fascia.

According to Cr Piesse, winning the award would provide a significant boost to the town with the building holding a particular attraction to heritage minded locals and visitors.

The council chamber is one of seven sites vying for the Heritage and Culture award and the winner will be announced on October 25 at the Tidy Towns Sustainable Communities Awards event in Perth.

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