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Outstanding Adaptive Reuse at Wanslea

The National Trust of Australia (WA) will receive $6.5 million from Lotterywest to redevelop a heritage precinct in the beachside suburb of Cottesloe into a leading cancer support centre for the Western Australian community. This exceptional adaptive reuse project is made even more outstanding by the fact that the initiative also acknowledges the social values associated with the heritage place.

Few lives these days are not touched in some way by cancer and in December 2010 National Trust Chair, Professor Jenny Gregory AM accepted a cheque from WA Premier Colin Barnett for $4.3 million for stage one funding for the Cancer Wellness Centre.

Three intertwined rings on the building’s centre gable and the stained glass window at Wanslea are a symbol of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, a benevolent organisation which established the orphanage and managed Wanslea for 35 years from 1905.

The three rings symbolize friendship, truth and love. Today, more than a century later, those three rings are still an appropriate symbol as Wanslea enters a new era of social service commitment to organisations including Breast Cancer Care WA, Cancer Support WA, melanomaWA and the Brady Cancer Support Foundation.

National Trust CEO Tom Perrigo described the development as one of the most exciting heritage adaptive reuse projects ever undertaken by the Trust.

The works associated with Wanslea will set a new standard in conservation while providing a range of cancer support organisations the opportunity for new facilities and synergies to develop in a therapeutic environment.

“The National Trust hopes this is the first of many projects that use the State’s underutilised historic heritage places for sustainable community outcomes,” Mr Perrigo said.
The organisations that will call Wanslea home include the Cancer Support Association which has resided at the site for many years and provides on-line cancer support and information including 250 people who live in the Perth metropolitan area.

Cancer Wellness Centre including newly established melanomaWA which has recently been set up by Clinton Heal. In his twenties, a former footballer and a survivor of metastatic melanoma, Clinton brings a vibrancy to cancer support and emphasises the importance of skin cancer awareness. “The complementary nature of our organisations will really be harnessed at this centre,” he said.

Breast Cancer Care WA will also move into the new facilities when they are completed, providing emotional, practical and financial support to Western Australian women and their families. CEO Donna Rendell says Wanslea will ensure important synergies between the cancer support organisations.

“The Cancer Wellness Centre will also allow us to expand our service provision by employing more breast care nurses and counsellors” she said.

Modified from Trust News, volume 3 No 4 February 2011

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