Woodloes Homestead

 

Woodloes

One of Perth's most historic properties located south of the Swan River has had its heritage values recognised by the State Government.

Heritage Minister Richard Lewis said Woodloes Homestead, built in 1871 in Cannington, had been placed on the Heritage Council of Western Australia's interim register of heritage places.

Mr Lewis said Woodloes Homestead was a rare example of the type of dwelling built by wealthy Western Australian families in the Victorian era.

"The homestead, in Woodloes Street, is a Victorian Georgian home with an outstanding quality of timber workmanship," he said.

"The original owner and architect, Francis Bird, was a key figure in the development of WA's timber industry and he later became the chief Government architect."

Francis Bird trained as an architect in England and arrived in Fremantle in 1869. With early pioneer Benjamin Mason, he established the timber company Mason Bird and Company and at one time was one of the biggest employers in the State.

Mason Bird and Company established in the Cannington area and used river transport to Perth and Fremantle prior to the advent of a rail system. However, the company ceased operations in 1882 and a year later Francis Bird was appointed chief Government architect, a position he held for two years.

Mr Lewis said Francis Bird continued his work as an architect in Albany and in 1889 he bought the dilapidated Strawberry Hill Estate and began renovating it.

"He also established the first brickworks in Albany before his death in 1937," he said.

Woodloes Homestead is a simple, early colonial residential building. It has a four square basic plan with surrounding verandahs under a common roof with the kitchen at the rear.

The house is of rendered masonry with wide, pit sawn timber floors and lathe and plaster ceilings under a steep pitched galvanised iron roof.

"The homestead was carefully renovated and restored in the 1970s and is now in good condition," Mr Lewis said.

"It is owned by the City of Canning and is used as a museum to demonstrate the way of life endured by the region's early settlers.

"The homestead is highly valued by the local community and is important for a number of historic and heritage reasons."

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