Historic Pirie Building to Undergo Major Revamp

The Pirie Building at 283-295 Argent Steet will be getting an upgrade following a successful funding application to the federal government.

The joint submission with project partners, Garry Goyne, Broken Hill City Council, and Foundation Broken Hill Limited will see the $231,000 grant help transform the heritage listed building through conservation and an innovative training program.

The project was made eligible for the City of Broken Hill only due to its listing on the National Heritage List under the Commonwealth legislation. The project, according to the citation from the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW), “aims to transform a heritage building, which currently detracts from the civic heart of the city”.

Constructed in 1890-91 to the design of Withall & Wells Architects from Adelaide, works on the latest upgrade of the Pirie Building will take place in two stages – the upper façade work in October, and a reconstruction of the verandah in March next year.

“To restore this building will reinstate the grandeur of the building and contribute to the ongoing veranda reconstruction project in the centre of the city,” Heritage Advisor, Liz Vines, told the Barrier Truth.

“I would say it’s one of the most significant buildings in Argent Street, architecturally. And this project will reinstate its former architectural grandeur. It’s got original stone, it’s got sophisticated render detailing, it’s still got an original location for a clock. The façade articulation is a very good example of the best architecture at the time in Argent Street.

“I’m just delighted that it’s receiving this support to get the recognition the building deserves. It’s so important that it’s opposite where the new library is going to be, that it’s opposite all those very important public buildings. It’s right in the heart of the civic centre of the city so it’s very important for that, too.”

A training program will be undertaken using trainee labour, to be managed and supervised by an experienced heritage firm from Adelaide, HSR Constructions. The five-day Heritage Trades Program ‘is aimed at developing the knowledge of heritage trades amongst people who are working in the construction industry’.

Lead by Keith McCallister of Applied Building Conservation Training (ABCT), it will extend on participant’s understanding stone conservation, solid rendering, repointing, breathable paints application, and lime mortar technology through theoretical and hands-on training.

“The training program will provide a Heritage Trades Certificate to those contractors who participate, with relevant skills, ongoing skills, for building conservation in Broken Hill”, Ms Vines adds.

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