PASSERSBY of the Bellevue Hotel stopped and watched in wonder this week as scenes from the district’s wartime history came to life before them.
Built in 1905 as the East Midland Hotel, the recently renovated building is remembered as the local watering hole for soldiers training at Blackboy Hill.
Blackboy Hill housed large numbers of troops before they left for battles overseas during World War I and was used again in the World War II for military purposes.
In keeping with the hotel’s links to military history, Bellevue Hotel manager Craig Mahoney wished for the mural to depict an Anzac theme to commemorate the soldiers who visited the hotel on their way to war, some never to return.
South Guildford artist Jarrad Martyn was commissioned to design and complete the work paying homage to the ‘Anzac’s pub’.
“The design responds to the hotel’s history as it was the wet mess for the training camp,” he said.
“The mural focuses on the soldiers in domestics tasks, cooking foods, boiling water for tea, sorting through clothes and shows them talking together while doing these things.
“That can also somewhat relate to the pub itself, it’s a community point, a meeting place.”
Martyn’s work is well-known locally, having also painted the large-scale, bright and colourful plane mural on the corner of Morrison Road and Roe Highway.
As his first Anzac orientated mural he feels immense pride in this work.
“World War I was a world-wide event but this mural responds on a smaller community level with imagery that is really relevant to the area,” he said.
“It has been a bit of a challenge as I don’t often do black and white murals but it is reflective of the time seeing as black and white photography is where all the source material is from.”
Mr Mahoney said the painting strengthened the importance of the hotel as a significant heritage place.
“I’m pleased the pub is still here and the history still remains, if it was knocked down there would be none of that history left,” he said.
“It’s a step back in time, I’ve had 90-year-olds and 80-year-olds step back into the pub who used to drink here, or their dads used to drink here so it’s positive bringing that history back.”
That history was very nearly wiped from existence when the hotel was proposed for demolition in 2016 to make way for a service station.
A revised development application which retained the original hotel was later accepted, but the attached 1970s-built Ranges Inn was lost during construction of the service station in April 2018.
The development application invoked the City of Swan’s policy to contribute a percentage of the project value for public art.
The City received a $20,000 cash-in-lieu contribution for public art which was approved for the mural in 2019.
Bellevue Residents and Ratepayers Association secretary Dianne Arvino led a public battle to save the hotel during its proposed demolition and is still fighting to see the hotel recognised on the State’s Heritage Register.
“The mural is already resonating with so many people,” she said.
“The artwork publicly reinforces the connection of the hotel and the part it played during the first and second World Wars.
“It is a physical reminder of the history and people will continue to be proud of it.”