Judges' Award: The Professor David Dolan Award
MercyCare’s conservation and adaptation of the Catherine McAuley Centre is a small, but inspiring, project with immense integrity.
Restoration work included considerable stone and timber repair and replacement to achieve long term stability and sustainability of the converted school.
Sensitive interpretation captures the spiritual and historic context of the place including themes of journey and transition, both for the Sisters of Mercy and the local Wadjuk people, for whom nearby Lake Monger is an important site.
Now adapted as a contemporary meeting place and function centre, it is envisaged that this will eventually form the centrepiece of a site-wide rejuvenation of MercyCare’s Wembley campus.
The limestone building, known as the Martin Kelly Centre, was built by the Sisters of Mercy as a school house for the Subiaco Boys Orphanage and was officially opened in January 1893. The building is part of the Catherine McAuley Centre in Wembley which now operates as MercyCare Wembley, a residential aged care facility and an early learning centre.
The building variously known as the Old Chapel or the Old School was in a state of disrepair, having been neglected and disused for decades. In 2012, as part of a wider development program at the Wembley site, MercyCare made the decision to undertake conservation works towards the adaptive reuse of the building.
The schoolhouse has been restored to its original charming appearance. Working with Bernard Seeber Pty Ltd, MercyCare has brought the past to life in preserved timber doors, ceilings and joinery, as well as the reconstruction of the beautiful blue/clear glass pattern in the windows. From here, overlooking MercyCare’s busiest service area, the Martin Kelly Centre will be able to continue to serve its original purpose in the community as a gathering place for education and discussion.