New visitor orientation hub at Strawberry Hill

New visitor orientation hub at Strawberry Hill

General Places
Strawberry Hill

The National Trust is excited to announce construction of a new building that will improve the visitor experience at Strawberry Hill. Designed by Denmark’s PTX Architects with input from Menang Traditional Owners and site volunteers, the new hub will increase accessibility and introduce visitors to the fascinating history of this important place.

The historic two-storey farm house, considered grand when it was constructed in the 1830s, reflects the lives of Sir Richard and Lady Anne Spencer and later Frances and Maud Bird and their families, but its tiny rooms and steep staircase leaves little space to welcome visitors or introduce them to the site’s many stories.

‘The Trust is overjoyed Lotterywest and the Great Southern Development Commission have supported the construction of this new building,’ National Trust CEO Julian Donaldson reported. ‘It will give visitors the chance to gain a deeper understanding of this significant place and enjoy its amazing setting’.

‘As planning for the bicentenary of European settlement gets underway, we are delighted to see the National Trust is actively pursuing opportunities to increase awareness and tourism programs in the Great Southern,’ Bruce Manning, CEO of the GSDC added. ‘With local architects and builders employed and these additional tourist offerings, the social and economic benefit will be evident across the region.’

Early community consultation confirmed strong support for the National Trust’s aspirations to improve facilities at Strawberry Hill with volunteers and Traditional Owners involved in recent planning workshops. Inspiration for the materials for the glass and timber building, which will be located adjacent to the existing Workers Quarters and provide views across to Mount Clarence, have been drawn from the mia, a local Aboriginal dwelling, and the 19th century Wardian Case, commonly used to transport plants from Europe to the antipodes. The contemporary expression of both 19th century and Aboriginal cultural heritage reinforces a ‘bridging of cultures’ approach to the site. A symbolic representation of the Aboriginal path which became the Sleeman Track and passed through the site, will also be included.

The building’s size and scale mirrors the adjacent Workers Quarters and is designed to be highly functional with minimal visual and physical impact on the site and its heritage values.

Work on the new facility will begin towards the end of the year with the aim to be completed in time for spring 2020.

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