The precise tuck-pointing on the refurbished exterior of Lotteries House on Victoria Street matches renovation work recently completed on the old Lyric Theatre at the other end of the same block, making a lovely pair of historic bookends for Bunbury’s Cappuccino Strip.
Lotteries House, and Apex House next door, are home to a host of community organisations and the management committee ‘Bunbury Lotteries House Complex Inc.’ raised $54,000 to supplement a $200,000 Lotterywest grant for the refurbishment, which was officially opened on March 9.
Bunbury Heritage Architect Kent Lyon delved into the buildings’ history to guide the project. He discovered the original paint colours for Apex House, which was designed by the same architect as Lotteries House and originally used as offices for solicitors ‘Money and Waker’. He also found a quaint newspaper article about the opening of Lotteries House. The article in the Bunbury Herald (1892 – 1919) dated March 17 1896 proclaimed the opening of the “West (sic) Australian Bank” (the name was ‘Western Australian Bank’). Described as the “handsomest in design and the most substantial building in Bunbury”, by eminent WA Architect J J Talbot Hobbs; local contractors Messrs J.G. Baldcock & Co. were credited with the excellent workmanship throughout the street-level banking area, adjoining dining and bathrooms and four large and airy bedrooms upstairs.
The article goes to some length about 14ft. ceiling height, the extent of enriched cornice, the banking chamber 30 x 20 x 14ft., the counter of Sydney cedar and the cement strong room with Chubb’s Patent Iron Door. “The Lavitory (sic) is 14 x 8, adjoining strong room, fitted up with shelves, etc., for books.”
We presume this reference is not the same outdoor dunny at the back of the premises brightened with street art by local artist Andrew Frazer in 2015. Lotteries House complex is home to Advocacy WA, which recently changed its name from Advocacy SW, South West Community Legal Centre, VisAbility, Clontarf Foundation, Neurological Council of WA and Volunteer South West. Kent liaised with the Heritage Council of WA and was fortunate to have access to a painting of the building for reference, discovered in a serendipitous event by board member Alex Campbell when he attending a meeting just down the street in the Westpac bank boardroom.
Everyone is pleased with the final result of the Lotteries House conservation work, including the tenants, the board and Kent, who says the Cappuccino Strip is “a great tapestry of buildings, street art, sculptures, various modes of transport, street trees and outdoor activities in a vibrant landscape”.