Built by Benedictine monks more than 160 years ago, MercyCare’s restoration of The Stables at Wembley has brought one of Perth’s earliest agricultural buildings back to its former glory. Source: The eRecord.
The six-month project at MercyCare‘s Wembley campus – which houses residential aged care facilities, the Mercy Village, early learning services and the Catherine McAuley heritage buildings – was made possible through an $80,000 Western Australia State Heritage Council grant.
The significance of the building has been recognised by the National Trust and the Heritage Council and is an important part of the heritage of MercyCare, the Sisters of Mercy, Town of Cambridge, and the wider Catholic community of WA.
“The Stables is not only part of MercyCare’s history that extends back to 1846 when the Irish Mercy Sisters landed on the banks of the Swan River, but also part of the history of Perth,” MercyCare Chief Executive Anthony Smith said.
“We believe heritage is important, which made it a clear decision to bring The Stables back to how they were. It’s also another small way we can give back to the local community.”
The Stables is the only remnant structure of the Benedictine Monastery of New Subiaco (1851-1867), from which the Perth suburb took its name.
The Stables had deteriorated over the years, estimated to only have 10 years of life before falling into ruin.
The “New Subiaco” site was forged by the same monks that established the monastery at New Norcia. Originally used as a monastery with gardens of lemons, grape vines and olive trees, The Stables was turned into a boys’ orphanage when the monks moved to New Norcia.
The Sisters of Mercy took over the running of the orphanage in 1876, and in 1901 it became a girls’ orphanage run by the Sisters.
During that time The Stables were likely used to house an oil press to produce olive oil, harvested from the olive trees originally planted by the monks.
The resulting olive oil won prizes at the Royal Show, was used in ceremonies and sold to help offset costs of running a large orphanage.
The Stables restoration: Monks to olive oil (The eRecord)