In May 2017, five bells rang out across the Western Australian port city of Fremantle, heralding the reopening of the city’s newly restored town hall. A stunning example of classical 19th century architecture, Fremantle Town Hall underwent a months-long intensive restoration that saw over 250 specialists work together to bring it back to its former glory. The $3.1 million restoration encompassed all aspects of the building including façade retouching, structural repairs, a new slate roof, and complete refurbishment of the London-made clock.
The restoration was undertaken in two steps. First, remnants of prior restoration attempts dating back to the 1960s had to be removed. Peel Away 8 was used to remove external paint and poor surface treatments that had accumulated over the building over time and prompted premature deterioration of the façade and masonry elements. The fast, simple application of Peel Away 8 allowed for several layers of paint and surface treatments to be removed quickly and easily, and ensured that the project was delivered within deadline. The old paint was subsequently replaced with lime render, lime mortar, and natural hydraulic lime to create a richly textured stucco finish that harkens back to the building’s original 1887 appearance.
Following the completion of the façade refurbishment, the terracotta roof tiles were replaced with Welsh slate tiles, which were carefully selected to match pieces of the original slate roof that were found in the roof cavity. The restoration project was the largest of its kind in the history of Fremantle, and has since been named a finalist in the ‘Conservation of a State Registered Place’ category of the WA Heritage Awards.