No rush for heritage advocate
IF bluestone walls could talk, they would no doubt thank Gordon Stokes.
A passionate advocate of Portland’s heritage, Mr Stokes has been fervently working to preserve the city’s centuries-old history.
Mr Stokes said his passion to educate the community about the importance of heritage developed over time, beginning when he joined the Historic Buildings Restoration Committee (HBRC) in the early 1980s.
“In those days that group was the only voice standing up for the conservation of Portland’s heritage,” Mr Stokes said.
“Over time I have completed lots of personal research on buildings and history and combined the two.
“When I research a building, it’s not only about the history of the building, but how it is constructed, the methods used and the materials.”
With the HBRC, Mr Stokes took on one of Portland’s biggest organisations in an effort to save Portland’s century-old buildings.
“The Council wasn’t all that sympathetic to heritage in those days; they didn’t have heritage overlays in their planning schemes like we do now.
“They were all for rapid progress… in the process, they demolished more than half of our best historic buildings to create the Civic Hall, the library and associated buildings.
“The HBRC decided to stand up to protect these valuable assets.”
Mr Stokes acknowledged the Council now have heritage places protected in their planning scheme.