The 77-year old gate on this property will be preserved as the Yarroon St home makes way for a hotel development.
The 77-year old gate on this property will be preserved as the Yarroon St home makes way for a hotel development. Ebony Battersby

Historic gate to be saved from hotel development site

AN iron gate that greets visitors to the footpath of a little cottage on Yarroon St features the words 'Yhurri Gurri'.

Translated to 'Come this Way - Welcome Friend', it was not intended to welcome impending demolition crews.

The heritage-style cottage will soon make way for one of the largest hotels in Gladstone.

It was the childhood home of Jane Johnstone (nee Knott), whose parents installed a sunroom which provided a perfect viewing spot.

"We had the most wonderful view of Auckland Creek, however the most stunning sight was watching the sun set over Mt Larcom," she said.

"To my child's eyes Mt Larcom was a lion and lioness touching noses."

Disparities exist between accounts of the wrought iron gate's origin, although all information indicates it holds a special place in Gladstone history.

Developers are keen to permanently preserve the window into the past, but are unsure whether to incorporate the fixture into the new building, or to donate it to a local historical society. 

Jane Knott stands in front of her childhood home as a young girl.
Jane Knott stands in front of her childhood home as a young girl.

Martin Gleeson, from KHA Development Managers, said plans were already underway to conserve the small pocket of history.

"As soon as we were alerted about the historical significance we began brainstorming ideas," he said.

"We still aren't certain of where it will go, but it will be saved."

Mrs Johnstone believes the gate was built by former owner Tom Richards, a blacksmith from London who lived in the house with his family until 1947.

However, a differing account suggests the gate was originally from Gladstone courthouse, relocated to the property when the former courthouse became disused.

Mrs Johnstone was saddened by the news that the property faced imminent demolition, and felt the need the share the memories it held within.

"One of the more important pieces of history for 28 Yarroon Street is that Leslie and Barbara Knott started the Gladstone Little Theatre Group from Yhurri Gurri," she said.

"We had readings under the house, as well as productions in the Town Hall. The sets of the Town Hall productions were often decorated with our own furniture.

"I hope the people who stay, or live, at 28 Yarroon Street in the future appreciate that view as much as we did."

A 198-room hotel is proposed for the corner of Yarroon St and Goondoon St, and will stretch down the hill to Central Lane.



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