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The renovated St Emilie’s Convent now houses accomodation for young women in need.

Heritage convent breathes new life

PRESERVING the rich heritage of St Emilie’s Convent was vital to the redevelopment of the Kalamunda site which recently opened its doors to young women in need.

The 1883-built convent on Kalamunda Rd has been renovated and re-purposed into a 20-bedroom facility for up to 40 women aged between 13 and 33.

Minister for Housing Peter Tinley, Community Housing chairman Fionn Skiotis and The Esther Foundation administrator Rodney Lavater opened the project in June.

Mr Skiotis said the design and layout retained the existing Priest’s House, the original arched facility, original stained glass windows and the commemorative tablet from the chapel. 

“We have been delivering quality affordable housing for over two decades and it is always an honour to be recognised for our project management and design capabilities,” he said. 

“It has been a productive partnership working alongside the Department of Communities, Lotterywest and The Esther Foundation to create and deliver a leading edge facility that will contribute to the ongoing wellbeing and recovery of young women in need.”

There are seven new self-contained units, with en-suite and kitchenette, while the existing west wing has been modified to provide 10 bedrooms, six with en-suites. 

The main building has been rebuilt with a kitchen equipped with training facilities, gymnasium, a large communal dining and living area, counselling rooms and administration area.

The Department of Communities purchased the site for $3.9 million and contributed $200,000 for the fit-out.

Almost $3.5 million of Lotterywest funding was originally dedicated to the project with a further $324,000 in 2017 to develop a multi-use court and security fencing onsite.

The Esther Foundation administrator Rodney Lavater said the organisation had moved its operations from its South Perth facility to Kalamunda.

“It is envisaged that through its residential recovery programs, The Esther Foundation will further aid these young women in improving self-worth, confidence and gaining the necessary skills to lead a successful life within the community,” he said.

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