Program has history focus

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Picture: The upgraded Bilbe’s Building on Throssel Street in Collie.
Camera IconPicture: The upgraded Bilbe’s Building on Throssel Street in Collie. Credit: The upgraded Bilbe’s Building on Throssel Street in Collie.

One of Collie’s oldest buildings has been given a much needed facelift as part of the town’s Facade Upgrade Incentive Program.

Bilbe’s Building at 115 Throssell Street has had its historic balcony reinstated and windows and doors restored as part of the project.

The restoration was triggered by an incident that damaged the front of the building, meaning that repairs to the shopfront were essential.

“The impetus behind the project was that a truck hit the veranda and that had to be demolished so we decided to restore it with the historical facade, balcony and veranda,” Collie shire director for development services Andrew Dover said.

“It really adds value to the streetscape, particularly the balcony because it was a significant building back in the day.”

Despite the year 1900 appearing on the building, it is believed to have been constructed later than that.

Originally the building was owned by Arthur Bilbe, a grocer who also lived upstairs.

Bilbe was a prominent figure in Collie’s history who also ran a sawmill in West Collie and had other business and civil roles.

The site has been used as a cafe or restaurant since the 1940s and is owned by the Golden Eagle Chinese Restaurant.

Funding came in part from insurance money for the truck incident, the owner and also the Facade Upgrade Incentive Program.

“The shire has put $10,000 aside for this project every year for the last number of years,” Mr Dover said.

“We look for projects that we can add value to and really make a statement on the main street.

“We want to upgrade these places rather than just maintain them.”

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