Australian Bungalow in Malta Working Group

Co-ordinator: Kerime Danis (email Kerime)

Current members:

Andrea Brew
Anthony Coupe
Helen Wilson
Ian Hocking
Marilyn C Truscott
Noni Boyd
Sue Jackson-Stepowski
Suzanne Zahra

Former members:

Catherine Brouwer (Group Co-ordinator 2009/2010)
Sheridan Burke
Alan Croker
David Logan

The Australian Bungalow in Malta Working Group was formed early in 2010 following a call for Expressions of Interest in late 2009. The focus of this working group is to complete the revision of an earlier Conservation Management Plan (CMP), which was drafted by Australia ICOMOS members in 2003, and to prepare a draft schedule of emergency stabilisation works. Following the completion of these documents the Group aims to source potential Australian and International (EU) funding for emergency stabilisation, in liaison with the owner, ICOMOS Malta, and other authorities in Malta. A further task is to scope the possibilities of the place meeting the criteria for the List of Overseas Places of Historic Significance to Australia.

The Working Group held its first meeting on 19 March 2010 under the co-ordination of Catherine Brouwer and continues to work on its goals with the aim of finalising the draft CMP for external review in March-April 2011. The group members hold Skype meetings regularly in accordance with an agreed program to cross-reference the sections prepared by individual group members. A number of group members visited the Bungalow in October 2009 and April 2010, and provided invaluable information and advice on the condition, photographs and emergency stabilisation works.

The Group has discussed possible funding sources but to date has not actively pursued this aspect of its objectives, as its principal focus is to finalise the CMP, the Stabilisation Schedule, and the Costing as soon as possible. Liaison with ICOMOS Malta, the Australian High Commission in Malta, Din l-Art Helwa (the Malta National Trust) and Ray Bondin, past President of ICOMOS Malta, is ongoing in order to obtain their assistance and input for the CMP.

Listed on the Malta Heritage Register, the bungalow is a simple one-room timber building with a corrugated iron gabled roof and verandas on three sides. Located in the grounds of the Government Experimental Farm Cottage at Ghammieri, outside Valetta, in Malta, the exact origins of the ‘Australian Bungalow’ are unknown. However, the bungalow has many similarities with the residences built on Queensland sugar-cane plantations during the years leading up to World War 1. It is presumed to be an 1890–1910 redundant building, probably dismantled and shipped to Malta in 1928, around the same time that the migrant trades training scheme was established. For the first couple of years the Bungalow was erected and re-erected inside a hall at the Bujega Technical Institute to train potential migrants in common timber framing building techniques they may encounter in Australia. Between 1929 and 1933 it was relocated to the Experimental Farm at Ghammieri (a training farm established by the Maltese Government along similar lines to the Experimental farms in Australia) where it was erected in the open air. Advice from Australia was sought at the time regarding the establishment of Experimental Farms, which the Prime Minister of Malta, Gerald Strickland, had observed during his term as Governor of NSW. The building remains on this site today.

Australia ICOMOS continues to welcome the opportunity to assist in such a significant project and to work with our colleagues in Malta. If you would like to know more, please contact Kerime Danis, our Working Group Co-ordinator.

To read the CMP, click on the following link: Australian Bungalow in Malta CMP_FINAL