Home' Scoop Homes and Art : Insite 28 Autumn 2011 Contents INSITE AUTUMN 2011 119
ever visited the hall a few times before his
death a year later in 1919.
The architectural centrepiece is a
magnificent stained glass window, fitted in
1922 to commemorate his life. It depicts the
Four virtues: justice, prudence, temperance
and fortitude. As was the custom, they’re
portrayed as female allegorical figures, and
while a popular subject for memorials, they
were also seen as particularly pertinent to the
life of Septimus, who had served the colony,
the new state of Western Australia, and his
church with distinction.
The hall has also served the community
well. Within its walls cups of tea and
sandwiches have been supplied to
generations of parishioners, schoolchildren,
choristers and those down on their luck, plus
Dutch refugees fleeing the Japanese invasion
of Indonesia have been housed here and
returned servicemen provided with meals.
It has weathered alterations and a
devastating fire, but it is damage from the
1968 Meckering earthquake that has fi nally
begun to take its toll. As part of a project
to restore the precinct, the hall is being
restored and is due to reopen in late 2011.
The great-great-grandson of Septimus
and Louisa, Julian Burt, is proudly carrying
on the family traditions and assisting with
fundraising to restore the hall to its former
glory. “The restoration of the hall is not only
important to the Burt family as a memorial
to our uncles, but also as a significant war
memorial for all West Australians. It is an
integral part of the St George’s Cathedral
historic precinct, which, when complete,
will uplift the area, give it soul and a story
to tell,” Julian says.
Because of the family connection with the hall, I was
invited to numerous functions over the years and
gradually became more interested in the historic
precinct. I knew that they needed money – at least
$2.8 million – and I felt an obligation, or at least a
responsibility, to help. Also, I was in a position in
my life where I could. So I did.
It also helps that I love heritage and architecture of
all types, and I feel a strong connection with the hall
because it tells the story of my family: the story of my
great-great-uncles who died in the First World War,
and my great-great-grandfather, Septimus Burt, who
was a modest, self-effacing man who gave generously
to the State and the community. We are committed
Julian Burt tells why he took on the job of helping out at the heritage precinct
to restoring the hall and the historic precinct to its
original condition. I believe that these classical styles
of architecture are durable, their forms inspired from
nature, and have the ability to lift the soul.
When the precinct is complete, people will be able
to come to a place where others have walked for more
than a hundred years. It will connect people to their
heritage, which I believe makes them happy.
It will be part of a wonderful public square where
city workers and visitors can sit and enjoy the sunshine.
At the end of the day, the hall is for the people of
Perth, and we want them to come in to have a look
around and reflect on the past and its inspiration.
Burt Memorial Hall is at 38a St Georges Terrace, Perth.
CLOCKWISE from left Julian
Burt in front of the stained glass
window installed in 1922 in honour
of his great-great-grandfather; Burt
Memorial Hall, on right; the flèche
on the neighbouring cathedral.
Links Archive Insite 27 Summer 2010 SHA 29 Winter 2011 Navigation Previous Page Next Page