Win for the Historic Waite Gatehouse!

25 Mar 2021 speech

Ms FLINT (Boothby—Government Whip) (10:09): Last week our local community secured a significant win for environmental and heritage protection with the decision by the state government to save the historic Waite Gatehouse. The Waite Gatehouse, or the lodge, as it is also known, sits prominently on the outer edge of the Waite Arboretum, and forms part of a substantial bequest from Peter Waite to the University of Adelaide and, in turn, to the people of South Australia. It is a striking 130-year-old bluestone structure and an important example of South Australia's early built heritage. It used to be the home to the head groundsman responsible for maintaining the gardens and arboretum, and it's situated on the 54-hectare property. Even South Australians who don't know the details of the gatehouse know this building, because it sits on the corner of Cross Road and Fullarton Road.

Thanks to consistent community pressure, including from me, the member for Waite, Sam Duluk MP, and local community groups such as the Mitcham Historical Society, the Friends of Waite Arboretum, the Friends of Urrbrae House, which is nearby, and many others, the state government has succumbed to community pressure to preserve and move this iconic structure. The gatehouse will be carefully moved, stone by stone, by heritage experts and rebuilt at another location within the Waite Historic Precinct. This will eliminate the risk of the building being damaged or collapsing, had they tried to move it as a full relocation of the structure all at once. The University of Adelaide will continue to have care of the gatehouse within the precinct, and they have suggested a location within the arboretum near the historic and grand Urrbrae House, the original home of Peter Waite and his family.

Most exciting, though, is that once the rebuild is complete, the University of Adelaide will undertake a full refurbishment of the interior, so it can finally be used again. It will become a home for the many community groups who look after this wonderful precinct, including the Friends of Wait Arboretum, the Friends of Urrbrae House, the Mitcham Historical Society and others. I'm really delighted that it will be part of living heritage and used by so many wonderful community volunteers. Once again, I would like to commend all those who took part in this community action, in particular Sam Duluk MP, Professor Warren Jones, and everyone who signed the petition, which attracted over 8,700 signatures and 18,000 names online.

Now that we're able to move the gatehouse, the vital road upgrade at the corner of Cross Road and Fullarton Road can go ahead. This is absolutely important for our local community. It's a terrible traffic snarl every single day at morning peak hour and evening peak hour. As we know, we have Urrbrae high school right on that corner, so we need to look after the safety of all of those students, the safety of their parents and the safety of our community and fix this traffic problem once and for all.