Holman do-up gets tick

Glenn CordingleyBroome Advertiser

The first stage marking the transformation of a historic but run-down building at the start of the Gibb River Road, near Derby, has been given the nod.

The restoration of Holman House is planned to be the centrepiece of a proposed cultural tourism precinct, occupied and operated by Nyikina Incorporated.

Shire of Derby/West Kimberley councillors last Thursday went with the agenda recommendation and gave it the green light, subject to conditions.

The refurbishment includes demolition of a dilapidated kitchen behind the property and removal of rooms added after 1963 to the veranda along with replaced doors, windows, fixtures and fittings. A free-standing kitchen with toilets would be constructed and linked to a covered walkway, internal walls reclad and ceilings replaced.

New wiring, air-conditioning and lighting would also be installed while original floors would be repaired, balustrades reinstated and doors recycled where possible.

Holman House was named for Lawson Holman, a former Royal Flying Doctor Service doctor.

Dr Holman arrived in Derby in 1956 and left in 1970. The house has unique architecture and was transported from its original location in town.

The concept of developing the building was first brought to the attention of the council in 2005 by members of Nyikina. The precinct would cover some 10ha.

A council officer agenda report said the development application would result with a refurbished building using best practice that would ensure its future.

“While the new use is a departure from its former use as a residential building for Dr Lawson Holman, the new use will provide an ethic of providing benefit and support for indigenous people — qualities for which Dr Holman was held in high regard for by the Derby community,” it stated.

The traditional lands of the Nyikina people are located in the West Kimberley from Derby on the coast towards Fitzroy Crossing and along the Fitzroy River.

They describe themselves as Yimarrdoowarra — belonging to Mardoowarra,the Fitzroy River.

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