FOR more than 40 years Irish-born Frank Smyth, of Padbury, regularly checked out a small, crumbling building possibly more than 150 years old as he passed by.
The dilapidated Perry’s Cottage off Ocean Reef Road struck him as a structure worthy of salvation and one which should not be allowed to go to complete ruin.
Now the Department for the Environment and Conservation, through Frank’s employer Colgan Industries, has given him a chance to do just that.
The wiry Irishman, faced with the daunting job of stabilising the cottage, says: “You need to look the problems in the eye, treat the old building with respect and just get on with it. I’ve worked on similar cottages to this around Galway in Ireland, and this was some well-built swank little cottage, probably for a couple.”
He expects to spend more than a month removing loose mortar, replacing missing stones and restoring the chimney stack before re-pointing the masonry with heritage lime mortar consistent with the original.
The cottage and adjoining stables are believed to have been built somewhere between 1850-86 and were probably used by farm workers in the 1900s before ending up as a harness room and store.
Mr Smyth, a bricklayer by trade, has worked on lots of other restoration projects including the Kings Park War Memorial, Fremantle Railway Station and the Beagle Bay church.