New era begins for Angaston site

Ben Hampel holds a salvaged sign pointing out the history of the former Angaston Cottage Industries building after he helped to clear the site last week. The removal of the neighbouring “Petts’ Barber Shop” started Monday.

A blue sign installed in 1997, one of many placed around Angaston at the time to highlight historical points of interest, is nearly all that remains of the  derelict former Angaston Cottage Industries  building after it was demolished last week.

The sign’s wording tells of how the original shop was purchased by Charles Flaxman on behalf of George Fife Angas back in 1839 and after being occupied by various businesses, the premises was  eventually purchased by Angaston Cottage Industries in 1972 as a community based outlet for local produce and handicrafts.

It traded in the main street for 46 years before closing its doors in 2018, marking the end of an era begun by the late Mrs Helen Hill Smith with the philosophy of providing residents with an outlet for their hobbies whilst ensuring traditional skills were not

“She bought the building and then she got a group of girls around her who were, by and large, part of the Angaston and District Hospital Ladies’ Auxiliary,” said her son, Robert, owner of the site.

“Those same girls and a few others started Angaston Cottage Industries on a volunteer rotation… It gave a lot of joy and a lot of purpose to a lot of people.”

That chapter now closed, another is about to begin with Robert appointing JBG Architects and Underwood Builders to create a new premises sympathetic to both the street-scape and the shop’s history. 

“Plans have been lodged and approved by Council and we are looking for a tenant that will operate a business there with a nod to what my mother started in the seventies,” Robert said.

“The outside will be weatherboard, it will be gabled as it was and what we put within it is still being discussed and negotiated.

“It’s hopefully going to be a nice addition to the main street and make Angaston a more attractive place to spend time and money in.”

As part of the project, the demolition of the adjoining building known by locals as the old Petts’ Barber Shop, began on Monday.

The tiny transportable, also steeped in history, was once located where Anytime Fitness car park is situated now.

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