heading.jpg (8022 bytes)

Gold-Era Shop Site Redevelopment Begins!
November 7th, 2011 - Excavation marks the start of Phase II







More info


The old and new shop profiles

The hill behind the shop as it was in August 2003 and as it is now



November 7th, 2011, Walhalla, VIC. - Major Re-development of WH&DL Shops

In September, the Walhalla Heritage & Development League began the much-discussed re-development of the League’s gold-era shops, at the top of the main street hill in Walhalla. This is the largest capital project that the WH&DL has undertaken since the original purchase of the shop sites, some 30 years ago.

For the last six years, the committee has been discussing and planning the redevelopment of the shops, but in the early years the project was overshadowed by the possible relocation of our business to the historic Walhalla Post Office, further down the hill.

In recent times, with the League's finances boosted with an injection of ghost tour income, the project has once again became viable, and was recently kicked off with a major works programme.

The first stage of the project involved the removal of numerous old uneven concrete slabs behind the middle and southern shops. The need for this work was made clear in recent times when it was realised that seepage was getting under the shops. While this work was being done, a substantial excavation was also made behind the corner store. This excavation was to allow the planned extension of the corner store in order to accommodate a larger fire proof-vault, as well as providing a much-needed increase in storage space. This will be done in a manner that will be wholly in keeping with the existing building.

As the back of the shop was built up against a solid stone embankment, it was necessary to excavate a large area of some 70 cubic metres of (very!) solid rock, a major engineering feat involving Erica Earthmoving and two excavators over five days, with two men also working on jackhammers. Unfortunately, no-one found any gold among the rubble (well, at least no-one reported it if they did, anyway ...).

Much of the excavated rock was retained for the purposes of dry stone walling on the site, part of which has already been completed.

Brian Brewer dry stone walling

Yet another new skill for Brian Brewer
-- stonemason's apprentice!

The planned extension will be of two storeys (bearing in mind that the current interior wall height of the shop allows for this.) The bottom storey will be made from concrete (Besser) blocks and will have a poured concrete roof. This area will become the fire safe. This level will be below the level of the surrounding ground, so careful consideration will be put into drainage below the floor slab and behind the walls.

The upper floor of the extension will be used as a dedicated League research area, and will be clad in corrugated iron to match the current shop exterior. A rear door will leave the back of this level onto the new ground level behind. The brick paving will be continued from the side of the print shop to this door.

Back of the store BEFORE

March, 2009 -- The old rear of the shops

Back of the store AFTER

October, 2011 -- The new rear of the shops (for now, anyway)

Once all of the excavation work was completed, a crew of volunteers under the careful direction of Harvey Hutchison worked to replace and upgrade all plumbing before a new slab could be poured. The existing "grey water" holding tank on the vacant block next to the coffee shop, which currently takes all of the washing water from the coffee shop, will be converted to a "black water" pump out tank when toilet facilities are installed.

Before the concrete slab was poured, the site and all plumbing was inspected and approved by the Baw Baw Shire's Environmental Health Officer, Robyn Duffy.

A new concrete slab was poured with a fall away from the building and towards a drain to remove any seepage.

Newly poured concrete slab

The new concrete slab at the rear of the shops

Another part of the development involves the re-wiring of the corner and middle shops. It was acknowledged that the current wiring arrangement was not appropriate to the use of the area and in particular the future extension. New wiring will be installed from the meter box.

The interior of the corner store has been freshened up with the building being re-painted a cream colour. This replaces the dark brown colour scheme that helped make the area seem dark and small. The entire layout of this shop is being changed.

The southern end of the rear veranda had to be removed to allow excavator access. This has been replaced along with a fence to separate the rear area of the coffee shop from the outdoor dining area (Crown allotment 40).

Staff toilet facilities will be added at a later stage. This will help to more clearly delineate the area between the coffee shop and the museum, and will also allow the League to develop the area outside the rear of the museum as an extension of the current museum display.

Minor, temporary repair work was needed to the rear of the corner store to ensure that it was weather-tight prior to beginning the shop extension.

It is expected that the current work will ensure the future viability of the WH&DL business on this site for many years to come. But we still need your assistance, perhaps now more than ever ...

H E L P     N E E D E D !

At the moment we are looking for.......

... about 500 solid red bricks (new or second hand) suitable to be used for paving to the new back door (oh, and a new back door would be handy, too ...).

We would also be very grateful if anyone with skills in the following trades had some time to spare ...
a bricklayer to lay the concrete blocks for the fire safe
an electrician to assist in electrical work
a builder to help with the extension
an engineer to do computations and drawings relating to the fire-proof vault
... plus any other members who are willing and able to assist!!

If you think you might be able to help, contact Harvey Hutchison (5622 3431 or 5165 6273) or Brian Brewer (5622 1442 or 5165 6236), or ring the Corner Store on 5165 6250 for information about arranging the most mutually suitable time.

And now -- prolonged, sustained applause ...

We would sincerely like to thank the following members for the time and invaluable assistance they have provided to date in getting the project to its present stage....

  • Harvey Hutchison - who took a week off work to get the project under way.
  • Brian Brewer
  • Jim Hall
  • Andrew Sestokas
  • Michael Hadcroft
  • Jim Anderson
  • Pamela Hutchison
  • John Buchecker
  • Lauren Brewer
  • Lynda George
  • Callan Beecher and ...
  • Rae Ann Vincent

Come up to our "valley of the gods" and check on our progress sometime!

The Design Committee at work

The Design Committee, hard at work -- (L to R) Harvey and Pamella Hutchison,
Sue Biddiss, Lynda George and Brian Brewer


letter.gif (7072 bytes) Send your questions, comments or suggestions about this web site to info@walhalla.org.au.
Copyright © 2011 Walhalla Heritage and Development League Inc