The saving of Dance Cottage was probably RHS’ first major project. In those days, the building also included a built-on annexe housing the laundry and bathroom.
Prior to the 1980s the almost derelict building was used both as museum and a meeting place for the RHS committee. In June 1994, the Shire demolished the two free standing back rooms (bathroom and laundry) because of heavy termite infestation. This was followed in July 1994 by a notice from Shire Environmental/Buidling surveyor T.N. Jeffries, that the buidling would be demolished within the next twelve months as deemed unsafe for use. RHS was encouraged to look for other premises.
In July 1994, the president of RHS at the time, Ken Norman, contacted Lottery West to see what could be done about saving the building. Steps were outlined and a conservation plan (funded by a Heritage Grant, February 1995) was commissioned from Considing & Griffiths. Armed with the plan and its recommendations, Lottery West were again approached for funding. The application was successful, and in December 1995 a grant of $33,496 was allocated. Refurbishment of Dance Cottage began!
Restoration work, undertaken by Fixall Home Renovations from Esperance, WA, began in 1997 and included a new roof, re-stumping and replacement of termite riddled floor boards as well as painting. The laundre/bathroom annexe were not replaced as not deemed essential to the integrity of the building, having been rated as Priority 3 by the Conservators, and not part of the original cottage. The old stove, standing outside on the south of the building is a reminder of what once was.
Dance Cottage now forms an integral part of the museum and is furnished with period pieces from the collection. It is well worth a visit as a testimony to what can be achieved when dedicated volunteers get into action!