Roebourne’s Victoria Hotel redevelopment reaches practical completion

Alicia PereraPilbara News
GBSC Yurra managing director Peter Fleay, Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan, YAC chief executive Michael Woodley and GBSC Yurra project manager Tim Clune outside the restored Victoria Hotel.
Camera IconGBSC Yurra managing director Peter Fleay, Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan, YAC chief executive Michael Woodley and GBSC Yurra project manager Tim Clune outside the restored Victoria Hotel. Credit: Pictures: Alicia Perera, Alicia Perera

Roebourne’s historic Victoria Hotel is one step away from opening its doors to a new era, with its $6 million redevelopment reaching practical completion this month.

Structural restoration work on the troubled hotel turned community hub was officially finished on time and within budget last week, and the building opened for a VIP tour.

Once the fit-out has been completed in coming months, the building will include office space, a Yindjibarndi cultural centre, visitor services, a library and a cafe.

The newly restored Victoria Hotel in Roebourne.
Camera IconThe newly restored Victoria Hotel in Roebourne. Credit: Pilbara News, Alicia Perera
The bottom level of the Victoria Hotel still features the old building's historic stonework.
Camera IconThe bottom level of the Victoria Hotel still features the old building's historic stonework. Credit: Pilbara News, Alicia Perera

The Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation has led the project.

YAC chief executive Michael Woodley said the building’s completion was a huge achievement.

“The biggest challenge (has been) getting my people to... look to the future and have that vision, and that commitment and dedication to drive projects like this and stay firm on the big picture,” he said.

“That’s the part I’m most proud of — for the corporation and its members and people.”

The redevelopment was funded by $2 million each from the Yindjibarndi Capital Trust, State Government and Federal Government.

The exterior of an office building on the top floor.
Camera IconThe exterior of an office building on the top floor. Credit: Pilbara News, Alicia Perera
The building’s balcony.
Camera IconThe building’s balcony. Credit: Pilbara News, Alicia Perera

Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan said the Government was proudest of the extent of local and Aboriginal engagement on the project, which included local high school students and inmates who were part of the Roebourne Regional Prison work camp.

“We’re very pleased that instead of the original plan for 2000 hours of Aboriginal employment on the site, there’s been over 10,000 hours,” she said.

“Not only is that giving people the skills for further employment, but it does mean that the sense of ownership over this building is going to be so much greater.

“We know the Yindjibarndi people own it, but in a different sense the community is going to own it, because 10,000 hours of Aboriginal labour have gone into this restoration and that is going to create a very different way in which people connect with this building.”

The restored staircase inside the Victoria Hotel.
Camera IconThe restored staircase inside the Victoria Hotel. Credit: Pilbara News, Alicia Perera
The building’s balcony.
Camera IconThe building’s balcony. Credit: Pilbara News, Alicia Perera

GBSC Yurra project manager Tim Clune said the restoration had gone smoothly for his team despite the old building presenting some unexpected challenges.

“There was over 1000 tonnes of rubbish and construction waste removed from the site, and a lot of the timber that we thought was fine was severely damaged, so there was a lot more structural repair work done than we thought there would be,” he said.

“We’re very proud of how it’s turned out.”

Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan, YAC board member Middleton Cheedy and Yindjibarndi community members inside the restored Victoria Hotel.
Camera IconRegional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan, YAC board member Middleton Cheedy and Yindjibarndi community members inside the restored Victoria Hotel. Credit: Pilbara News, Alicia Perera

Built in 1893, the Victoria Hotel was the first pub in the North West but closed in 2005 largely due to social problems sparked by heavy alcohol consumption in the town.

In 2013, it was bought by YAC to be restored for use as a community building.

The fit-out will be done in the next few months, before the building opens in the first quarter of this year.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails