Almost four years of working towards heritage listing has finally paid off for the board and management of the York and Districts Co-operative.

Heritage Minister, John Castrilli, announced on January 21 that the building which houses the IGA supermarket and Co-op’s administration had been placed on the state register of heritage places.

Co-op CEO, John Partridge, said work started on an application for heritage listing in mid 2005. A grant of $5,000 from the Heritage Council allowed the Co-op to have a detailed conservation plan prepared for the building.

Work would now start to try to access funds to carry out urgent work on the roof and Macartney Street facade. Work was also planned for the front of the building along Avon Terrace, Mr Partridge said.

In his announcement, Mr Castrilli said that the store which was built in 1872, had served seven generations of families in the York district. “It is one of only a handful of stores in WA that has operated continuously for nearly 140 years, providing goods, employment and support to the local community,” he said.

The two-storey Victorian-style building was constructed for William Edwards and owned and operated by his family until 1936. It was the first of a chain of ‘Edwards’ Stores’ that operated in the Avon Valley.

The York & Districts Co-operative Ltd had operated the store for the past 50 years, after buying it in 1956. “Known as the co-op, the building contributed to the significant historic townscape of central York and joined 25 other state heritage-listed places in the Shire, the Minister said.

Mr Partridge said the availability of funds for restoration work and the speed with which they could be accessed would determine how quickly work progressed. “Because we are an operating business, funds from our own sources are limited,” he said.

Lindsay McNeill

TOP: Co-op CEO, John Partridge, outside the building showing the facades that need restoration work.

ABOVE: The Co-op’s Avon Terrace Victorian facade that is in need of funds to return it to its former glory.