The General Store was originally Veale’s Dressmakers. The building was constructed out of brick with a timber frame and thick jarrah was used for the floorboards. Built around 1920, the shop later transferred to stock agent. Today the quaint old building is a general store.
The old railway station sits just up behind Hampton Street. The railway was extended to Bridgetown in 1889 which assisted Bridgetown’s agricultural production to be sent around the country including to the gold fields. The station was officially opened on December 1, 1898.
Today the old station houses the Blackwood Environment Centre. Over the years it has had some alterations but mostly it stands as it did when it was first built.
Behind the main house there is a small building. It was here that John Blechynden lived during the construction of his house. Beautiful gardens surround the buildings and there is a 1.5km walk along the river which edges the property.
The Bridgedale property covered 10 acres of freehold land which was purchased by John Blechynden in 1859 prior to the town being established. The National Trust house has been restored to its original state and is open to the public from 10.00am to 2.30pm Friday to Sunday. Admission is free.
Bridgedale House is probably the biggest historical attraction of the town. The homestead was one of the first houses built in the area and being built in 1862, is now the oldest remaining building in Bridgetown
The first part of the Freemasons Hotel was built in 1904 by the Bunnings Bros. The latter part was built in 1907. There were 15 rooms, 2 dining rooms, a smoking room, drawing room and a reading room. For offer were a plunge bath of hot running water. Horse stables and later car garages were provided. During the early years, the proprietor was Bob Crawford who was heavily involved in civic activities. The hotel was extended during the 1930’s but mostly the building is unchanged. The dining room offers both a la carte and counter meals Thu-Fri noon to 2.00pm, Fri 6.30pm – 8.00pm, Sat & Sun 6.30pm to 8.30pm.
The Park runs along the banks of the Blackwood River, just south of the town, and there are lovely walking trails which begin at Bridgedale and winds along the riverside. In the park there is a playground and bbqs which are popular for family picnics. The park is the site of the first police station for Bridgetown which was built in 1862.
Bridgetown was built in the hart of the Blackwood River Valley. The Blackwood River is the longest running river in the south. Many major water sport events are held on the river including the longest power boat race in the world.
The Emporium building of shops was built in 1900 at the corner of Hampton and Henry Streets. The Emporium sold mainly cloth material. Later, extensions were added and a drapery and clothing shop operated. Following that was a tea room and then a boot and clothing shop.
St Pauls has an attractive collection of ecclesiastical pieces in copper, brass and silver which were created by a local resident Herbert Holdsworth. He also was a painter and contributed some of his works to be displayed in the Shires Council Chambers.
The old stone church was built by William Moyes in 1911 on land which had been donated. It was constructed of jarrah, quoining and stone quarried locally. In 1961 additions were made to the building in the form of a vestry and a sanctuary.
The National Bank building was built at around 1910 and is a typical design of banks built around that time. The bank operated until the early 1970’s when it was given up to local business. Today the building is an accountants office and the old walk-in safe is still in use.
The lower level and accommodated 4 nuns from the Bunbury Sisters of Mercy including Mother Brigid. In 1956, St Brigids School as you see today, was built. In later years it underwent further extensions. Today the school is managed by lay teachers
The original school was wooden and built in 1894 and was a church and a school. It was later replaced around 1904 with a handmade brick structure. The second storey was added around 20 years later to cater for children from outer districts to board at the school.
Bridgetown has been granted the title of ‘Historic Town’ and has tried hard to preserve the architectural heritage of its early days. This can be seen in many of the old buildings both down the main road and surrounding streets which were mostly built between 1850 and 1885. For a small cost you can obtain a self guided walking guide from the Visitors Information Centre.