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New life for an historic building and its residents

Works with the Manresa Construction team are well underway in Station Street Fairfield, on 38 modern self-contained affordable apartments for vulnerable women.

The historic Station Street property has been used for women’s housing for over 100 years and was the former home of the inventor of the Freddo Frog and Cherry Ripe.

Manresa together with Unison is refurbishing a double-storey Victorian heritage building and developing a new four storey apartment building to replace the former 22-bedroom rooming house which had been built around shared living spaces, kitchens and bathrooms.

Steeped in history, the Station Street property has an interesting story to tell. The main heritage building was built in 1893 and was home to the confectioner, MacPherson “Mac” Robertson, inventor of the Freddo Frog and Cherry Ripe, and well-known philanthropist. It then became a home for young pregnant and unmarried women in 1922, then a women’s refuge in 1973, and it was acquired by the Ministry of Housing in the early 80’s and operated as a women’s rooming house. It was named “Marjorie Oke” after the Fairfield resident and activist who also became a member of the committee of management. By 2014 it was owned and operated by Unison.

Paying respect to the building’s heritage and architecture has been an important factor of Unison’s refurbishment. Unison’s explains, “Preserving history and the architectural intent of the main building has always been an important factor of this redevelopment.”

Unison believes every person should have a quality, affordable accommodation and belong to a thriving community. Evidence shows that living in a rooming house doesn’t provide suitable outcomes for people and we are replacing these outmoded properties with high quality, well designed self-contained units.

Unison is very proud to be breathing new life into an historic building whilst providing modern apartments that will transform the lives of vulnerable women. Manresa are thrilled to be part of such special project.