Old Warrandyte dairy faces uncertain future
by James Poyner
11th September 2017
THE OLD WARRANDYTE Dairy, an important reminder of the history of Warrandyte as a township, is under review by Melbourne Water to determine the building’s future.
Even though modern Warrandyte is a suburb of metropolitan Melbourne, until the late 20th century the village was an independent township.
Built in 1948, the building served as a cool room for storing milk delivered from Box Hill.
Melbourne Water currently own the site, and therefore the building, and in late August erected a fence around the entrance to the old building and are now seeking community feedback while they decide the future of this severely dilapidated building.
Andrew Mellor, Team Leader for Melbourne Water’s north east regional services spoke to the Diary about the condition of the building and Melbourne Water’s desire to come up with a solution which serves both the integrity of the site and respects the importance of the building in Warrandyte’s history.
“An engineering assessment of the building will be undertaken in coming weeks, which will help guide discussion around the future of the building.
“We want the community to guide the decision making on a use for the site which is most appropriate for time,” he said.
The Diary also spoke with Margaret Kelly, President of the Warrandyte Historical Society who explained the significance of the building within the township and the reasons why the community should engage with Melbourne Water in deciding the future of the building.
Ms Kelly explained the butchers building, old post office, bakery hotel, dairy and churches are all part of the infrastructure that defines a township.
“There are not many places around that are suburbs of Melbourne that still have all those buildings; that is why I think it is really important to preserve the story of Warrandyte as an independent township,” she said.
Under the Warrandyte Township Heritage Precinct, the old dairy is listed as a building of contributory significance which adds an extra dimension to this story as the building’s original purpose adds to the gestalt of the Warrandyte township.
Ms Kelly believes the loss of this building could not just degrade the history of the township but start a cascade of changes to other buildings within the heritage precinct — but the way forward is not to simply preserve it for the sake of preservation.
“[The] concern is when one building goes that weakens the overlay, so what is to stop someone else who owns another building saying ‘why can’t I knock my one down and move that as well’, so I think you don’t want the dominos to start falling — if it is in a position where it can be saved, I think it should be and in a practical manner as well, not just to preserve it for the sake of it,” she said.
Melbourne Water have told the Diary they will be holding a number of community meetings in the near future.
As we go to print, dates for these meetings have not been set, but follow the Diary Facebook page for information and feedback from these meetings.