Donnybrook Goods Shed Revitalisation

Arts & Culture
The Client
Shire of Donnybrook-Balingup
Project Team
Flavia Kiperman
Director / Principal - Heritage
Kate Parker
Director / Principal - Arts & Culture
Alana Jennings
Senior Consultant - Heritage
Carmel Given
Associate - Heritage
Iwan Isnin
Consultant - Place
Marisa Santosa
Senior Graphic Designer
The Project

One of the most important cultural assets to the Donnybrook-Balingup community is the heritage listed Donnybrook Railway Heritage Precinct (DRHP). Located in the heart of the Donnybrook Town Centre, the site includes approximately three hectares of public realm, and the 1800s Goods Shed -originally used for the loading and distribution of goods from trains on the south west rail line. Since being decommissioned for its original industrial purpose the Shed has been utilised for a range of functions, however in recent years has fallen into a state of disrepair.  

In October 2018 the Shire and Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) entered into an agreement to revitalise the precinct to create an asset that will provide a range of benefits to the local community and act as a drawcard for visitors.

During 2019, the Shire undertook significant community consultation for the project which included undertaking an online survey that received over 300 responses, holding meetings with relevant community groups, and the formation of a Community Reference Group (CRG). The consultation process culminated in Council’s adoption of a ‘Master Plan’ for the precinct that provides high level guidance on the future development and use of the precinct.

Our Role

In 2019, the Shire of Donnybrook-Balingup secured a $2m funding grant through the Royalties for Regions program to restore the heritage listed Goods Shed and Railway Precinct.A Masterplan guided the project which provides a link to east and west sides of the railway track that in the past physically divided the unique townscape. Linking the former railway station building to the Goods Shed and the adjacent Apple Park has created a new heart for the town, renamed Station Square.

Restoring the Goods Shed which had lain dormant, empty and fire damaged for some years was undertaken by Perkins Builders and MCG Architects, with element acting as the heritage advisors. element’s interpretation strategy informed the landscape and design concepts within the Goods Shed. The Shire and element collaborated on the content with vital input from the Donnybrook Historical Society who provided historical photographs, materials, and objects from their collection.  

This project was officially opened on 19 June 2021 by Shire President Cr Brian Piesse and the Hon. Alannah MacTiernan MLC,Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development.


Through an in-depth review of the local context, key drivers and trends, element along with MCG and Perkins developed a strategic approach to the activation of The Goods Shed. This approach was presented to the Shire as a high-level concept design, brought to life through case study imagery, architectural and landscape plans and proposed program.

Following award of the contract, our Heritage team’s advice and HeritageImpact Assessment has ensured a streamlined and efficient approvals process.

This valued community asset has become a significant attraction forDonnybrook and the region.

What We Delivered
  • A tender-winning concept design and interpretation response
  • Heritage services including on site advice, Heritage Impact Assessment, Archival Record and Interpretation Strategy
  • Ongoing advice relating to urban and landscape design, to maximise site activation
  • Interpretation including an 11m long ‘story of the region’ signage, integrated with the shed’s existing timber structure,  three interactive digital touch screens including a digital map of the heritage sites across the Shire, and an interactive ‘Local Legends’ character display, objects on loan from the Donnybrook Historical Society in curated thematic displays boxes interpreting apple crates, with perspex covers to protect and secure the objects, large vinyl wall murals of historical images and maps, one outside and two inside theGoods Shed, welcome and wayfinding signage at entry points to direct visitors around the site and to the town centre and Apple Park
  • Drafted entries into Tidy Towns and Heritage Awards
  • Winner of the General Appearance category for the TidyTowns Sustainable Communities 2021 Awards
  • 2021 Western Australian Heritage Award finalists in the Interpretation Project category

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Stirling Gardens Heritage Management Plan
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