Historic Thirroul building saved

WOLLONGONG ADVERTISER

Thirroul’s oldest public building remains intact after its proposed demolition was nipped in the bud by a strong community campaign.

Now the Thirroul Village Committee (TVC) want the waiting shed to be restored so the heritage-listed building at Thirroul Railway Station is preserved.

About six months ago, RailCorp (now Sydney Trains) proposed the demolition of the 1887 timber waiting room on the eastern side of Thirroul station and to replace it with a brick and steel building with an open awning.

The building, on a concrete island between platforms two and three, suffered ‘‘extensive’’ termite damage, dry rot and wet rot, according to a development application to the state’s Office of Environment and Heritage.

This was refuted by TVC members who were ecstatic, when informed in writing by the Heritage Council of NSW last week, that the building had been saved from demolition.

Committee secretary Murray Jones was confident that community opposition to the proposed demolition was largely responsible for the positive outcome.

‘‘Many local residents and commuters were unhappy about the demolition notice as posted on the station in May and joined our campaign of objection. Over 65 submissions were sent to the NSW Heritage Council, the body that made the final decision,’’ he said.

The successful campaign included gaining expert opinion on the heritage value of the building, the degree of termite damage and costs of repair, restoration and ongoing maintenance.

Heathcote MP Lee Evans also offered advice on the significance of the building and estimated costs of its repair.

‘‘Mr Evans told us he didn’t know the exact cost of replacing the waiting shed but felt it would be at least a million dollars.

‘‘He suggested that as long as a local builder’s quote for repair and restoration was reasonable, he would help save the building, but in the end he did not need to act,’’ Mr Jones said.

‘‘The TVC would like to thank heritage architect Andrew Conacher and builders Terry Muir and John Van for their expert help.’’

He said members agreed with the important suggestion from the Heritage Division that the community be involved in the conservation process for years to come.

‘‘Thirroul Village Committee members see this as a victory for community vigilance and activity,’’ Mr Jones said.

‘‘We are hopeful that the waiting shed will be restored next year so that the heritage nature of Thirroul station is preserved.’’

Thirroul Village Committee secretary Murray Jones (front), Gary Chapman, Councillor Greg Petty, Suzette Deville, Bronwyn Hutchieson, Kerrie Christian and Steve Dillon outside the heritage-listed Thirroul station building. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Thirroul Village Committee secretary Murray Jones (front), Gary Chapman, Councillor Greg Petty, Suzette Deville, Bronwyn Hutchieson, Kerrie Christian and Steve Dillon outside the heritage-listed Thirroul station building. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR