A Window Into The Past

Wilcannia

My mind is constantly wandering off, thinking about locations to take my seasonal photos.  As some of you know I have visited orchards searching for the perfect autumn leaf or the perfect display of spring blossom.  I have set up tables in the paddock at home in blistering summer heat to capture that summery feel.  None of this is absolutely necessary but it is how I like to roll.

Recently I stumbled across a photo of a magnificent old building not too far from home that I was previously unaware of.  I knew immediately that I had to find the owner and visit this building. After a few calls and emails a deal was done.  I paid my way in bread, lamb and quinces and we found ourselves on the deserted streets of Wilcannia on a crisp Saturday morning.

This building is a two storey warehouse with full size cellar, built in the 1870s from local sandstone. It was used for storage and sales connected with the river-boat transport on the Darling River. In 1875 it was described as ‘the extensive premises of Mr. Kirkpatrick, wine and spirit merchant, receiving, forwarding and commissioning agent, who in conjunction with Mr. Frew carries out the business of stock and station agent’. Early photographs show the original verandah configuration and sign writing on the parapet as ‘Frew, Wright & Co.’ and then later as ‘E Rich & Co.’ all with ‘wine, spirits and general merchants’ below.

Wilcannia

Entering the weathered doors felt like an actual step back in time.  The original timber staircase took me to the top floor where the light floods in and major renovations have been carried out.  Interestingly some of the windows are from a disused local power station and they have been re-purposed into these walls. Other windows have been meticulously made by the owner to replicate the originals. The bright top floor has a spacious, warm warehouse feel and will make the perfect creative space for a local artist, one day.  Can you even imagine?

Wilcannia

Wilcannia

Wilcannia

Wilcannia

Wilcannia

Wilcannia

Wilcannia

Wilcannia

I felt privileged to spend a morning in this space.  I set up some food photos around the windows and absorbed just a tiny bit of the history within these walls.  In this fast paced digital world we are very fortunate to have people who have the dedication and vision to renovate and care for a building on this scale.  One day I hope to return, next quince season perhaps.

Thank you to Terry and George for constantly supporting my ventures and helping with the inevitable heavy lifting.

Last photo thanks to Ramiens Timber Co, Dubbo, NSW.

Historical information in the third paragraph thanks to the Central Darling Shire  Heritage Survey, 2017.

Thank you to the owner, Anthony for your generosity.

Happy Sunday, friends x

 

16 Comments

  1. Reply

    Kate B

    July 7, 2019

    What a beautiful old building Jane and how lucky you were to have that opportunity. There are certainly some really treasures in the area! Happy holidays xx

    • Reply

      Jane S

      July 7, 2019

      You would love it Kate! Happy holidays to you too x

  2. Reply

    Noelene

    July 7, 2019

    We drove through Wilcannia a couple of months ago and I remember seeing this beautiful building and wondering what it’s ‘story’ was and if it was well maintained as many of Wilcannia’s buildings look like they have seen better days. How beautiful it is. Love your image captures and muses. Thank you for the history search and sharing Jane. xx

    • Reply

      Jane S

      July 7, 2019

      Thank you Noelene, Wilcannia is a fascinating place.

  3. Reply

    Alison.

    July 7, 2019

    How wonderful! Thank you for the tour😁 We added a two story extension to our little hills cottage and were able to source a similar arched window for the staircase. The window came from the Dandenong Town Hall (one of twelve) and the staircase, with its stories, from the old State Bank Building in Wonthaggi in Sth Gippsland.

    • Reply

      Jane S

      July 9, 2019

      I love this Alison, I can imagine your cottage is full of fascinating stories!

  4. Reply

    Anne

    July 7, 2019

    What a treasure. I can just imagine it as a creative space – all that beautiful light and old stone and timber. It’s good to see behind the facade – I often wonder what’s going on behind the doors and windows of deserted looking buildings but rarely get to look.

    • Reply

      Jane S

      July 9, 2019

      I often wonder too Anne…it is nice to get a look behind the facade occasionally. This visit made me think of your barn.

  5. Reply

    Francesca

    July 9, 2019

    I enjoy the way you chase things up Jane. This building is a gem: great to see a sympathetic restoration. If only more outback beauties like this could be saved.

    • Reply

      Jane S

      July 9, 2019

      Thank you Francesca. Yes, if only more of these old building could be saved.

  6. Reply

    Sue

    July 14, 2019

    Your pictures are just beautiful Jane…..the building is amazing. 🙂

    • Reply

      Jane S

      July 15, 2019

      Thank you so much Sue, I appreciate your comment.

  7. Reply

    Christine

    July 20, 2019

    I love your photos in the old building. I know how much you must have enjoyed that. My son went to Ithaca Uni New York State, on the Finger Lakes he majored in film, cinematography and videography. He took a wonderful black and white film, with an old cine camera, at an old 1930’s school, long closed. His dad and I spent a day with him shooting, his dad helping with lighting. So many old things just sitting around. It was such an interesting fun day. Also had long chats with the owner who gave us permission to film there.

    • Reply

      Jane S

      July 26, 2019

      That sounds fascinating Christine, thank you!

  8. Reply

    Chookyblue

    July 22, 2019

    What a wonderful old building…. Thanks for the history too…..

    • Reply

      Jane S

      July 26, 2019

      Thank you for calling in Chooky!

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