Reinstate the Original Willsmere / Kew Asylum Entrance Gates
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For more than 70 years , the Willsmere area of Kew was signalled by grand entrance gates.
The gates were built in the 1860s however during the 1940s, there was a road realignment. At this time, the entrance lodge (as seen above) was demolished and the remaining gate structures and fencing were moved to a less remarkable location - High Street, Kew (Victoria Park) where they have remained ever since.
This petition supports the return of the original entrance gates to the Willsmere / Kew Asylum landscape for which they were designed.
Some major points:
* The original position - at the junction of Main Drive, Princess Street, Wills Street, Eglinton Street and Willsmere Road was much better however the original footprint no longer exists and is occupied today by a round-a-bout.
* At the current location (where they have been since the 1940s), the gates have been compromised both visually and historically. This section of High Street (state route 36) is very straight and long and located at the bottom of a hill. As a result, the traffic flows past quickly and the gates are hardly noticed. Perhaps an exception to this are the park users but even then, there are few safe places to actually stand and appreciate these excellent and romantic structures without being exposed to the dangers of heavy traffic. Quiet contemplation (as it would have been in the horse and cart days of Kew Asylum) is no longer possible.
* The City of Melbourne has no equivalent to the surviving Willsmere historic landscape. The complex might even be rare and important on a national level - if not a world level. The circle motif - as seen on the original gates - is featured on the front facade of the Willsmere building and is carried through to the central tower. The arch motif is also featured heavily throughout.
* The gates have been recently renovated and taken back to their original surface. They are looking better than they have in recent decades and not unlike the photo above.
* Due to the enormity of the 1988 Conservation Study on Kew Asylum, the project could only very briefly touch on the surrounding landscape - the 340 acres on which Kew Asylum was originally located. Much of the associated landscape is not very well understood or restored adequately to this day.
This is a chance to improve one of Melbourne's most important heritage elements - a place for which many Melbournians still trace certain aspects of their past and ancestry. Furthermore, structures like this are now often highly appreciated by goth and steam punk communities.
Please send this on to all interested friends and colleagues.
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