News State Victoria News Whitlam house ‘not heritage’

Whitlam house ‘not heritage’

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Gough Whitlam’s first home has lost one shield against the wrecking ball after it was judged the house “is not of cultural heritage significance”.

The house, where Mr Whitlam spent his first 18 months of life in the leafy Melbourne suburb of Kew, was due to be demolished when Mr Whitlam died on October 21, 2014.

But an emergency halt on the demolition was made when the local Boroondara Council put an interim overlay on the site until December 1, 2016.

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The Heritage Council of Victoria has since assessed the 1915 house and found the “place is not of cultural heritage significance to the state of Victoria”.

This house was partially demolished by the time the former prime minister Gough Whitlam died.
This house was partially demolished by the time the former prime minister Gough Whitlam died.

“The committee … finds the association between the birth and approximately the first 18 months of Gough Whitlam’s life does not constitute evidence of a special association between Whitlam and the place,” the ruling said.

The decision was a blow to Labor ex-minister Professor Barry Jones who said a demolition in the year that marks a century since his birth in 1916 would be a “tragic shame”.

“I had a very close relationship with Gough Whitlam right up to his death,” Prof Jones said.

“It would be a tragic shame if in the centenary of his birth in 1916 the house he was born in was to be knocked down.”

Heritage campaigners can appeal to the local council to try to save the house.

The council is due to vote on the protection of the site this year.

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