Cottages come back to life

The collection of heritage listed cottages along Williwa Street, once an unwelcome reminder of the towns decline after the closing of the Portland cement Works, are slowly returning to their former glory thanks to a multi million dollar restoration by The Foundations.

The six duplexes are being restored in line with heritage guidelines and will be among the first residences on the site. The renovation began in 2021 and after a painstaking development process, the end is in sight.

The whole street-scape is now reinvigorated with the new paint, roofs, and windows proudly facing the street once again.

“At this stage, we believe the upcoming bed shortage with contractors in the region will be the most likely use of the cottages, bringing people in to town which will help lift the local economy,” said Martin O’Connell, The Foundations Managing Director

Work in progress

“The process has taken a little longer than we anticipated, but when you are renovating heritage buildings you sometimes uncover unexpected hurdles. We are however very proud of the way the renovation is turning out, we know these residences mean a lot to the local community,” Mr O’Connell continued.

Internal fix outs will be completed in coming months as will the landscaping and the residences will be able to be tenanted once again. The fence coming down in front of the buildings will be a great achievement, taking away the barrier that has stood in front of much of the site for over three decades.

The cottages have all been restored to their original layouts and structures added over the years have been removed. The work completed will ensure that the buildings will now stay as part of the street-scape for decades to come.

Former residents in the Williwa Street Cottages - Kelley Crane and her mum Dot

One of the more rewarding aspects of the renovations has been hearing the stories of previous residents and hearing their memories of growing up in the cottages. Many have been back and visited the cottages, with a tour being planned once renovations are complete to let everyone see just what work has been done.

It is the next step in a long process as The Foundations begins to reposition from temporary activation projects to a more permanent focus, with many large scale events being planned along with other permanent activations being developed at the moment.

“It will be great to have that chain mesh fence down, as we have done in front of The Annexe and other parts of the site,” added Mr O’Connell.

The last five years have seen the former Cement Works site completely reinvented to an arts and cultural precinct hosting a range of events, including the popular Twilight Markets, returning on the Easter Long weekend.

Another building on the site that has been fully restored is The Annexe now open every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

Artist Harrie Fasher takes up residence at The Foundations

As the smoke clears in the air around Portland, you may have noticed some objects have appeared on site at The Foundations in the shape of horses.
The Foundations are very excited to announce that we have renowned sculptural artist, Harrie Fasher, joining us on site as our permanent Artist in Residence in 2020.
Harrie Fasher. Photo by Silversalt Photography
Harrie is a highly accomplished metal sculptor who produces contemporary works on a large scale.
One of her most recognisable works is ‘The Last Charge’ Which will be installed and available to view at The Foundations from January.
Harrie is a previous winner of Sculpture by the Sea in Cottesloe, has held residencies all over the world, and has her work represented through King street Gallery in Sydney. She has a long and distinguished career in the arts with a number of solo and collaborative exhibitions. Her works feature in collections at a number of respected galleries and in private collections.
“Harrie will be instrumental in building the arts programming at the Foundations in the coming years and we are very excited to see her get her studio and practice established in Portland,” said Rich Evans, Chief Reactivation Officer at The Foundations.
2020 is shaping up to be a great year for The Foundations, and we look forward to sharing more with you in the near future.
Find out more about Harrie and her work at the link in our bio.

Pop-Up museum to visit The Foundations

The Foundations are proud to present the MOCZA - Pop-up Museum this summer school holidays in the Bathhouse at The Foundations. This unique collection includes a range of animal skeletons and taxidermies specimens including a dinosaur, crocodile and many others to delight end educate visitors of all ages.
MOCZA has access to three major private collections of animal skulls, skeletons, reproductions and mounts.
Numbering approximately 7000 quality specimens and constantly growing, having close affiliation with zoo’s and wildlife parks.
We have over 100 years of combined experience in collecting, taxidermy, osteology, molding, casting, museum displays and collection management.
“The collection is used for research, education, displays, molding and casting. Our policy is to acquire specimens ethically that doesn’t involve hunting and trapping. The specimens in the collection have died of natural causes or euthanasia,” said Henk, MOCZA representative.
At present MOCZA are a web based museum with temporary displays. The intention is to establish a museum which will be not-for-profit, with permanent displays in a purpose built/existing building.
Employment preference for the disabled and elderly, focusing on experience, ability and interest. Creating public friendly displays with a focus on educating the youth.
“Our aim is education through displays and teaching. Complementing on old museums styles rather than modern technology,” Henk continued.

“MOCZA are just the type of organisation we would like to find a permanent home for at the Foundations in the future, their collection would be a major drawcard for the regions potential tourism attraction,” said Rich Evans of The Foundations.

The Foundations are in talks to have MOCZA develop a permanent museum on the site and this pop up will give locals and visitors an exciting look at what could be coming to the site in the near future.
Open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from January 11 2019 until February 3 2019.
Located in the Bathouse at The Foundations. 67 Williwa Street Portland NSW.
Entry is by donation with all proceeds going towards the MOCZA project.

A new satellite event for Lithgow Halloween is sure to have everyone celebrating their dark side.

The Foundations, on the site formerly occupied by the Portland Cement Works, has become a tourist destination in recent months since the painting of the silos by world famous artist, Guido Van Helten.
As the site has continued to be redeveloped, early activations have included very successful indoor markets, and morning teas for touring groups.
However, the creative team behind the redevelopment and activation of the site decided it was time to do something a little different.
The Black Night Feast is the first event of it’s kind at the site, a night time ticketed event bringing together a world class entertainment program, amazing fire roasted meats served feasting style on long tables. All this will happen in a space decorated by veteran event creatives, bringing you an event that the organisers believe will ‘blow everyone’s mind’
“What we are creating is not your typical ball or night out, you can expect to have your senses assaulted as soon as you walk through the door,” said Rich Evans, the Chief Reactivation Officer for The Foundations and the event creator.
“We have some of the best performers in the country coming up for the event including burlesque performers, magicians, sideshow entertainers and an amazing band that will make this event worth it for the entertainment alone,” said Rich.
Those performers include Miss Kelly Ann Doll, undeniably one of Australia’s leading ladies of Burlesque. With more titles under her belt than a heavy weight champion, her diversity and passion for her art has seen her sky rocket her way to successful career in not only the Burlesque Arena, but as a producer, teacher and creative director to some of the Nation’s leading events companies and clientelé.
The night will take a magic turn with amazing magician Bannister, who has captivated audiences across Sydney and most of Australia for over 8 years, performing his unique style of magic. Having entertained in various shows around Australia, Bannister promises to leave you shocked, astounded and in awe by his brand of mystical entertainment.
Rounding out the entertainment at the Black Night Feast is the amazing band and MC of the night, Michael Wheatley and the Dirty Carpet Disco Band!! The coolest disco band this side of the equator will pleasure your ear drums with sultry classics throughout the meal, but get ready to tear up the dance floor after dinner as things really heat up!

“We expect people to be blown away literally from the second they walk through the gates, with all the buildings lit up, projection displays, fire pits and entertainment from the very beginning of the night,”

“This is not the typical event you would see in this region, but at the Foundations we are looking to push the envelope and build our site to attract people from far and wide,” he added.
Tickets are available online at
There is also a shuttle bus on the night to bring guests to the site and a return trip at the end of the evening.

Portland Silos to be transformed into Art

Portland Cement Works is set to become a major tourist attraction for the small town with the announcement this week that world renowned artist Guido van Helten will be painting the silos in his iconic style.

On Wednesday evening site owners AWJ Civil organised a community consultation in the town to formally announce the project and introduce Guido to the community.

Interested locals were treated to an insight of Guido’s work from his presentation and a short documentary movie that detailed his process through a recent project at Manildra painting portraits on train carriages.
The silos were revealed in all their glory when the old cement store building was demolished in recent years, and the addition of a mural will be a definite tourist attraction for the small town.
Guido will be in Portland over the next week interviewing locals and talking to them to understand their stories, which forms a large part of his process of painting. He has however hinted their may be some inclusions in this work influenced by the heritage value of the site, as well the colours and the textures of the buildings.
“Being able to secure Guido to create one of his iconic artworks on the silos has been a huge win for this project and we can’t wait to see what he comes up with,” said Kris Leck of Catalyst Project Consulting, the lead consultant on The Foundations project.
“I’m very proud to be working with such a philanthropic client, that is prepared to invest in a project such as this,” Kris continued.
That philanthropic client is owner of The Foundations, Martin O’Connell, Managing Director of AWJ Civil.
“Guido’s work came to our attention around the time of his project in Brim, and we knew right away that if we wanted to create something special, he was the person to do it,” said Mr O’Connell

“The philosophy and tagline of the development we are planning is to Discover Portland’s Story, and we believe that this project is very complimentary to that,” Mr O’Connell continued.

Commissioning a significant public artwork is not normally the first thing a developer would do on a site, but Mr O’Connell believes the by doing this it creates a destination of interest in Portland which will be of benefit to the whole community and also the potential of their ongoing plans on the site.
Guido’s artworks adorn buildings all over the world including Sicily, the United States, Ukraine, Finland, Poland, Belgium, as well as locations around Australia. This will be his only regional NSW project, making it a unique attraction for the many fans that travel far and wide to see his work.
After his initial research phase Guido will be back in Portland throughout April this year to complete the work.

In very welcome news for locals and tourists alike, AWJ Civil, owners of the site have begun plans to allow fenced access to the site during this time so people can get up close and watch the master painter at work.
Portland is fast becoming a town full of wonderful murals and artworks and this new addition is sure to add to the value of the murals already completed around town by the Wallnuts.
If you would like to get in touch with Guido during his time in Portland the best option is via email on
Pictured top: Kris Leck, Guido Van Helten and Martin O’Connell on site as day breaks on Thursday morning.