Bond Store Ready for Next Chapter
Strahan's Bond Store has been pulled back into shape by the Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) and is ready for its next reincarnation.
The Bond Store came under the management of the PWS in 2007 as part of the gazetted Strahan Customs House Historic Site. By 2015, the store was closed to the public when structural issues made the building unsuitable for use. Since then, the PWS have been slowly restoring the building. Stage one of the works was completed in 2017 with removal of a 1970s concrete amenities block which was subsiding and taking with it the eastern wall of the building. Once demolished, walls were straightened and stabilized. With the building in good shape, works moved to reintroducing windows previously bricked up, extensive joinery repairs to door and window frames, and replacing the non-historic, rotten floor. Access to original plans, found by researchers at Heritage Tasmania, helped guide the work.
The Bond Store has served Strahan well since its construction in the late 1890s when business people in the region began petitioning the government for a bonded store “so that they may import from Melbourne direct". Before Federation, most ports were equipped with a customs house from which administrators collected import duties or tariffs . The Bond Store was essential to ensure goods could be stored safely while agents were awaiting payment of orders, arranging onward freight or finalising payment of government duties. With the dawning of Federation, however, there was no longer a need for customs offices in regional ports and by 1906 the collection of customs from the Strahan Customs House ceased, along with the need for a Bond Store.
The Bond Store has had many reincarnations since 1906. It has been the home of the post and telegraph office, and as a drill hall for the training of local soldiers during the First and Second World Wars. Between the wars it was used for school social functions and from the 1960s as a community hall. It is now ready for its next chapter and to regain its status as a significant part of the Strahan community.
Photos: Jakki Crellin