A planning application has been filed to relocate the 100-year-old timber Australian Bungalow from Ghammieri to Ta’Qali National Park, in order to make it more accessible to the public.
While the application was filed by the Director of the Parks and Initiatives Directorate, Herman Galea, Din L-Art Helwa (DLH) are playing a major role in the project, which will include the restoration of this historic and unique local building to bring back its original feel. The total site area listed on the public application form is 663.4 square metres, and being placed in Ta’ Qali, more people would be able to appreciate the site.
Galea, speaking with The Malta Independent, mentioned that there is a partnership agreement with DLH to restore the building. He explained that while Ghammieri is not easily accessible to the public, the Ta’ Qali National Park is, given that it is a public garden.
He stressed that the utmost care will be taken when moving the bungalow.
DLH Council Member responsible for the project Joseph Philip Farrugia told this newsroom that the project is taking a long time as they are awaiting the permits.
He said that the bungalow was built out of timber and was sent to Malta, according to records, in the 1920s, to teach Maltese workers wishing to emigrate to Australia how to build using timber rather than stone.
In the beginning, he said, it was located at the St Joseph’s institute in Hamrun, but was moved to Ghammieri just a few years later.
“Unfortunately it developed some rot,” he said, stressing that the building is still able to be saved.
The building will be dismantled in parts and moved to Ta’ Qali, while parts will be treated for rot and severely damaged areas would be replaced, he explained. Once restored and placed in Ta’ Qali, he said, it will serve as an emigration museum, with a particular focus on emigration from Malta to Australia.
He said that all precautions imaginable will be taken when moving the building. In terms of completion date, none is set, however he is hopeful that the project would be complete by sometime next year.
DLH will be funding the project, President Maria Grazia Cassar explained, adding that work is still underway to identify possible streams. Work is also ongoing on different restoration studies, she said.
She described the building as a “very important part of Malta’s heritage,” and called It a monument to all emigrants who went from Malta to Australia. She said that they also have a collaborator in Australia.
Last January, Din L-Art Helwa had issued a press statement providing more historical background of the building, had explained that this bungalow “was originally constructed as a model building, so that the people of Malta would know what to expect when they left their Malta-stone dwellings in the Mediterranean to live in a wood-built home which, in the more humid swampy regions down-under, was supported on stilts. It is said that the idea was to dismantle and rebuild the bungalow so as to teach prospective migrants how to construct a home in timber.”
Original article found on The Malta Independent