Broadhseet: Local & Aesthetic Opens in Mount Lawley

The blueprint for Local & Aesthetic started years ago. Partners, musicians and hospitality professionals Liam Young and Dominique Rae wanted to open a WA-centric shop stocking local art and products. As the concept developed, it became clear they needed more space and people to bring it to life, so they recruited friends and fellow musos Mitch Strickland (head chef) and Caitie MacDonald (head barista).

The result – a community-focused cafe, retail space and gallery – opened on Beaufort Street at the end of January. It takes over the space left behind by eclectic antique and mirror gallery Scurr’s, which was the tenant for around 20 years.

The cafe, at the front of the venue, is light-filled, spacious and welcoming. Between the timber tables inside and the dog-friendly deck, there’s plenty of room. Young’s intention is for customers to stay; he’s adamant that Local & Aesthetic is not a takeaway venue. “I want to bring people in to sit and look and buy,” he says.

The menu is made up of nostalgic Aussie favourites with a modern spin. There’s a hefty damper roll filled with bacon and a parmesan omelette; Vegemite and cheddar on toast; and a take on the polony-and-sauce sanga (that’s fritz or devon, for those outside WA) with layers of mortadella and house-made bush chutney on white bread. Native ingredients such as lemon myrtle (in Bircher muesli) and saltbush (on roast pumpkin) also appear.

On the counter there’s a small selection of pastries from Mary Street Bakery, which also supplies the sourdough (used for the sandwiches and crumbs for a chicken schnitzel). Bacon and salmon come from Manjimup’s Holy Smoke, and native ingredients are supplied by Freshcorp Farms. To drink, there’s coffee by Wangara-based roaster Kaltiva, cold-pressed juices from Refresh and Kirks Kole Beer (a WA-only classic).

The retail and gallery area behind the cafe stocks new and second-hand vinyl from Vic Park’s Rhubarb Records. There’s strong support for local acts, including those on Rhubarb’s independent record label. “There aren’t any record stores in Maylands anymore,” says Young. “Rhubarb is an established name, and this means people don’t have to go to Vic Park or Mount Hawthorn to buy records.”

The gallery will display a rotating range of works, all for sale, by emerging and established WA artists. The first exhibition (on until March), curated by the Foundation for Indigenous Sustainable Health, features works by Bardi and Goonyandi artists (from the Kimberley); Martu artists from the Pilbara; Noongar (Wadandi) artists from south-west WA; and Guringai and Kamilaroi artists from NSW. The team plans to offer more products, artworks and collaborations in future. Young talks about commissioning a “classic Perth” mural of the Bayswater bridge with a truck stuck under it.

“We just love the state and have a lot of friends who are super creative,” he says. “Musicians bring artists, who bring writers, who bring photographers. We’re never short on creatives to help us fill the space.”

First published on Broadsheet.

(Images : Rebecca Mansell)

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WA’s Edith Cowan University to relocate Mount Lawley campus into Perth CBD

A long-speculated deal to move part of Western Australia’s Edith Cowan University (ECU) into the Perth CBD has been finalised, with an inner-city campus expected to open its doors in 2025.

Under the deal, ECU will vacate its Mount Lawley campus, relocating its law, business and technology divisions to the CBD, along with its hallmark arts school, the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA).

The proposed new campus, which is slated to cost $695 million, is one of a spate of projects dubbed the “Perth City Deal”.

It comes as Murdoch University plans to develop a “vertical campus” in the CBD, along with an eSports hub, while Curtin University is set to expand its city footprint beyond its business and law school.

ECU will contribute $300 million towards the new campus.(Supplied)

ECU will spend $300 million on the new campus, with the Federal Government contributing $245 million.

The State Government will provide in-kind support by contributing land — valued at $150 million — for the new building.

Campus to help ‘transform the city’: Planning Minister

Planning Minister Rita Saffioti said the relocation of ECU’s Mount Lawley campus to the CBD would “revitalise” the city centre.

“I think this is the biggest announcement for the Perth city in the history of the state,” she said.

The campus is expected to bring in more than 9,000 students and staff to the CBD.

An image of the Perth CBD near Yagan Square with an artist's impression of a proposed building for Edith Cowan University.
ECU’s Perth CBD campus is expected to open its doors in 2025.(Supplied)

ECU vice-chancellor Steve Chapman said WAAPA would be the centrepiece of the new campus.

“Every evening at 7:30, three, four, maybe more performances will be happening,” he said.

High school to benefit from ECU relocation

Other funding for projects under the umbrella of the “Perth City Deal” include $105 million for a CBD transport plan, which includes recently announced works like the Swan River Causeway bridge, $20 million for the Perth Cultural Centre precinct, $42 million to develop the Perth Concert Hall, and $36 million for homeless services in the city.

Finance Minister Matthias Cormann said the developments would help “unlock” potential in the Perth CBD.

“We have negotiated an ambitious city deal that unlocks Perth’s incredible future potential while continuing to develop it into a vibrant, exciting and liveable capital city,” he said.

With ECU’s Mount Lawley campus moving to the city, Mount Lawley Senior High School will expand into the old WAAPA facilities.

Ms Saffioti said retaining some of the ECU assets at the site would be a priority.

“Mount Lawley High School currently is bursting at the seams,” she said.

“There will be some development, but we also see this as an opportunity to address another issue, and that is very, very busy high schools around that area.”

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