Home' Scoop Homes and Art : Insite 28 Autumn 2011 Contents T
he Burt Memorial Hall is a
fine example of an inter-war
gothic-style building, located
in the St George’s Cathedral
Heritage Precinct and featuring impressive
stained glass windows, a slate roof and
grand staircase. However, at its heart, it is
a family’s memorial for two sons who lost
their lives in the Great War.
When news came that their youngest
son, Theodore, also affectionately known
as Bob, had been killed in action in France,
prominent citizens Septimus and Louisa
Burt were devastated. With their son buried
far from home, they decided to build a hall
in his memory, which would also serve the
needs of the Anglican Diocese of Perth.
The foundation stone for the hall was laid
in 1917 by Theodore’s godfather Sir John
Forrest. And, tragically, before the building
was completed, a second son, Francis, was
killed. Francis was with the 51st Battalion,
which mainly consisted of West Australians,
and he was one of many local lads who gave
their lives in the spring of 1918, near the
village of Villers-Bretonneux. They were
part of a major and successful offensive
against the Germans, which is said to have
changed the course of the war.
There is a short verse on a handsome
memorial tablet to the two Burt brothers
mounted on the hall’s broad staircase, which
sums up the sentiments of the family. It
indicates that while grief-stricken, Septimus
and Louisa were proud their sons had served
King and Country and died for a noble
cause, and that their strong religious beliefs
were a great comfort to them in their loss.
However, with two sons now fallen, the
Burt family’s emotional connection with
the building was even deeper, and with his
health failing, Septimus could not bring
himself to attend the opening, held in 1918.
He asked his long-term law partner, and
Lieutenant-Governor, Sir Edward Stone, to
officiate on his behalf. Sadly, Septimus only
Burt Memorial Hall
A restoration project in the heart of the St George’s Cathedral
Heritage Precinct is a fine example of not only the architecture
of its time, but also the stories these buildings give to a city
Julian Burt in the hall built in honour of his
great-great-uncles who died in World War I.
BELOW A ‘before’ shot of the hall.
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