History and Heritage Award 2022 Winners

08 July 2022

A club dedicated to highlighting Italian migrant history, a group focussed on heritage protection, a local scout hall and a historical author have all been awarded in the City of Stirling’s History and Heritage Awards 2022.

Announced in a ceremony at Mount Flora Museum on Tuesday 29 June, the awards recognise the conservation efforts made by individuals and groups through local stories, families, research and events.

Mayor Mark Irwin congratulated the worthy winners for their ongoing role and dedication to sharing and celebrating stories from our local history that have shaped our community and identity.

“These nominations gave us a heartwarming insight into the entrants’ devotion to protecting and showcasing our history through new websites, writing books, organising walking tours and conserving historic places,” Mayor Irwin said.

“Local history and heritage is not just a sentimental look to the past but is living through us today; giving us a window to the way past generations lived, worked and spent their spare time. Understanding our history can help us to appreciate and respect the journey of those before us, as well as learning from them and celebrating their stories.”

The frames of the awards were created by the Stirling Men’s Shed using recycling Jarrah that was once used as picket support for new trees and shrubs in City of Stirling parks.

Accepting the High Commendation on behalf of the Vasto Club, Franco Smargiassi (who has worked within the club since 2007) inspired the crowd with his passion for the club’s heritage, in both his native tongue and in English.

Award categories and winners

Caption: Councillor Elizabeth Re with representatives from The Vasto Club.

Conservation of the built environment and streetscape

  • High Commendation: The Vasto Club

Background and context

The Vasto Club formally opened on 27 March 1988 and has more than 30 members. It was originally created for the Italians who migrated to Perth from Vasto. The club put a considerable amount of work into their local history and established a well-designed and easily accessible resource to highlight and promote Vasto history. With a significant Italian immigrant community in the City of Stirling, the Vasto Club represents the largest percentage of Italian migrants from any city of Italy, and they have made considerable contribution to many different areas of our economy. The City acknowledges the important role of the Vasto Club in promoting this part of the City’s history and heritage.


  • They built their own club in Balcatta on land leased from the City of Stirling
  • Their work has contributed to a documentary and creation of a website
  • They built Perth’s tallest monument in memory of all migrants to Australia, inaugurated in 2007, at Ozone Reserve in Perth city. Next to it, they built a pavilion which was inaugurated in 2014.
  • In 2009, the Abruzzese Emigrant Association of Australia Inc received a grant from Lotterywest and at least 50 people from the Vasto Club were interviewed and many documents shared with the State Library.

The documentary on www.vastsiworld.org chronicles the Vasto Club's story.


Caption: Members of the Tuart Yokine Scout Hall with Mayor Mark Irwin.

Education and promotion of history and heritage

  • Winner: The Tuart Hill Yokine Scout Hall

Background and context

The Tuart Hill Yokine Scout Hall (originally Tuart Hill Scout Group) was opened in November 1957 by the then-Governor of WA, Sir Charles Gairdner. The hall was built by scouts and their families from donated and recycled materials on a bush block in Villiers Street, leased to them by the then-City of Perth Roads Board. The group had its own ham radio and antenna tower on the corner of the hall in the 1960s, and the call sign was VK6CA. Radio is still a part of scouts - Jamboree of the Air (JOTA) and Jamboree of the Internet (JOTI) are going strong.

Around 1988, Tuart Hill Scout Group combined with Yokine Scout Group to become Tuart Hill Yokine Scouts and adopted the colours light blue (outdoors) and red (sacrifice) and a dingo badge. The blue also recognised the history of Yokine Scout Group that was light blue, and Yokine is an Aboriginal word for dingo. Tuart Hill Yokine was very active and at one stage had a surf boat that was parked in one of the garages backing onto the hall. It was used in the river and ocean and how hangs in the escalator well of the new WA Museum in Perth.


  • The Tuart Hill Yokine Scout Hall is a remarkable example of a community group celebrating its history and the contribution it makes to the heritage of the City
  • Their entry included community history, conservation and ongoing use of a building and has particular resonance for these the community – past, present and future
  • The 70th anniversary of the registration of the group (in 1949) was November 2019

They spend an afternoon comparing the scout equipment of yesteryear (canvas, woodfires) to now (modern tents, gas stoves) to explore the two eras, and past and many present members were invited to the site. Congratulations to the Tuart Hill Yokine Scout Hall for their incredible work over many years!


Caption: Lawley Ward Councillors David Lagan and Suzanne Migdale with Mount Lawley Society representative Mark Hodge.

Education and promotion of history and heritage

  • High Commendation: The Mount Lawley Society’s Twilight Leadlight and Stained Glass Tour

Background and context

The Mount Lawley Society was founded in 1977 as a community organisation promoting heritage protection, local history education and a community spirit. Their high-quality submission and excellent initiative had a strong focus on Mount Lawley and its buildings, which are all of a similar period and status. The society organised an education tour around the heritage precinct following a loop from Almondbury Road, Farnley Street, Park Road and Alvan Street. The City congratulates the group on their High Commendation and the significant role they have played in advocating for local and heritage issues.


  • With plenty of original heritage homes to see, the tour allowed attendees to compare the different lead-lighting styles in the area
  • During the tour, Patron Barrie Baker and the society’s president Mark Hodges regaled guests with intriguing tales of the homes’ original owners; such as which house’s original owner was incarcerated in Pentridge for larceny, who was charged for filing false tax returns, who was involved in a murder trial, and which high-ranking official ended up in a messy public divorce in 1929

Excellent feedback ensued and the society was delighted that many attendees were from outside the local area, from Subiaco, Noranda, Embleton, Mirrabooka, Leederville, Stirling and even people holidaying from Queensland and Killara in New South Wales.


Caption: Chris Holyday accepts the award presented by Roger Elmitt.

Barrie Baker special recognition award

In 2014, a heritage award category was named after patron and historian of the Mount Lawley Society Barrie Baker to recognise his involvement in the promotion of heritage values over the past 40 years - and his extraordinary dedication to the cause. The Barrie Baker Special Recognition Award is presented where an achievement deserves special commendation, or there is the need to recognise an achievement that does not fall within another category.

  • Winner: Chris Holyday

Background and context

Author Chris Holyday has created a fantastic body of work over multiple publications that have furthered our collective understanding of the City’s history. His publications include his upcoming book Recollections from the Coast, Between Beach and Bush and more. Congratulations Chris Holyday on receiving the Barrie Baker Special Recognition Award, which is the City’s highest accolade in the City’s History and Heritage Awards.


  • Chris has engaged with local community groups to further the social and historical significance of North Beach, Trigg and Watermans Bay and is the author of Between Beach and Bush, which was published by Hesperian Press in 2020.
  • His upcoming book Recollections from the Coast will be released soon, which arose as a result of researching early beach shacks, fishing and surfing of our northern beaches. In the early 50s, free surfing was just taking off as teenagers graduated from surf club long-board drills and routines, and “borrowed” club longboards, from Scarborough and City Beach surf clubs, to tackle the sand reef break at Trigg Point

Chris’ new book contains surfing recollections from our northern beach residents, including WA surfing pioneers John Budge and Jim Keenan as well as from many other local surfers.

For more about the awards, visit www.stirling.wa.gov.au/historyawards

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