Preserving the rich history of Henderson House

Published on 24 February 2021


Renewal work has begun on the iconic bluestone Henderson House building which overlooks the Maribyrnong River as part of Footscray Community Arts Centre (FCAC).


With completion targeted for May, external works on the two-story building include the renewal of the external twin staircases and structural posts on the eastern verandah, upgrading of the handrails and balustrading on the eastern verandah to comply with building regulations, replacement of external window lintels, renewal of the external storage area, replacement of downpipes, replacement of external weatherboard cladding, mortar re-pointing and removal of cement smearing on the bluestone façades.  


These works are part of broader renewal works Council is undertaking to help preserve the rich history of this building. Most recently, Council has facilitated FCAC’s vision of Henderson House as a vibrant artist residency by repainting its interiors, replacing carpets and timber flooring, installing a new skylight in the main corridor and repairs to wall, ceiling and floor linings in 2020. This facelift will comfortably accommodate the 2021 artists who will take up residence in the studios for 4 months at a time as part of FCAC’s new program.


Henderson House is now also home to Myrtle Wine Cafe, which opened its doors to the public in November last year. The cafe has quickly become a favourite spot for locals to meet for a coffee or wine while enjoying the sunshine. To facilitate Myrtle Wine Cafe's new home, Council completed flooring works and general repairs to the roof gutter of the cafe area as part of the interior upgrade last year.   


Mayor, Cr Michael Clarke, said Henderson House is a popular destination for locals and visitors to the west, and is home to a range of talented local artists.  


“These renewal works are a great opportunity to upgrade a much-loved public space in the community to ensure future generations to come can continue to enjoy its facilities,” Cr Clarke said.


Henderson House was built in 1872 and has functioned in the community as a piggery, trading merchant and bank before becoming home to FCAC over 40 years ago in the late 1970s. 


Henderson House is a state listed heritage building and works have been approved by Heritage Victoria.  


These works compliment the redevelopment of the Footscray Wharf and Promenade which aims to revitalise the river edge between Hopkins Street and Shepherds Bridge.


Henderson House will remain open for regular business throughout the renewal works. For more information about the works, visit the project webpage

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