Perth. The Swan River between Perth and Fremantle.
Buildings to see in Perth. St Mary’s Roman Catholic Cathedral, Victoria Square.
Surprisingly this cathedral was designed by the Catholic Bishop Joseph Serra and Brother Ascione and it was built from 1863. It is a typical Victorian era Gothic building in the romantic tradition. It has a steep tiled roof, the walls are rendered, and the bell tower with its spires emphasises the vertical lines of the whole cathedral. The gable facing the street, with tall Gothic arched windows is divided into thirds by the design. The top of columns are mounted with mini-spires or pinnacles to further emphasize the height of the total structure. The façade is majestic and solid.
The Perth Mint, 310 Hay Street.
This was built after the discovery of gold in Kalgoorlie. It is probably the oldest still operating mint in the world but the Abbott government proposed to sell it. It was built 1896-8.This fine limestone building with a Marseilles terracotta roof was an avant guard structure when opened. Like most Victorian buildings it uses classical features- colonnade façade, grand arched entrance but it also has many Italianate Victorian features- verandas, sash windows, wooden balconies etc.
London Court, 647 Hay Street.
This “Ye Old England” structure reflects some of the other Tudor Gothic buildings of Perth but this is a relatively modern structure being erected in 1936 as an upmarket shopping court. Note the clocks and the St. George Dragon above the St. George’s Terrace entrance. The original court included 24 apartments as well as shops.
Central Government Offices, St Georges Terrace by Cathedral Avenue.
This wonderful building, designed by the Public Works department architect who also designed the Perth Railway Station and other public buildings is a good example of a Victorian French style building. It looks like a French chateau, with a mansard sloping roof with dormer style windows. The walls have almost excessive stucco and enrichment features. But it also has a few classical elements such as the stucco work around the windows, and the short pilasters and pediment around the windows in the roof. It was built in 1874. The façade has a pavilion design with the middle part of the building inset in relation to the rest. It is of good proportions.
Land Titles Office, Cathedral Avenue and Hay Street.
The WA colonial architect George Poole designed this structure in 1897. It is a typical Federation style classical building with a different approach to classical elements. The balconies on each street face are cantilevered, with good Corinthian columns divided by a balustrade. Above these balconies you can see a beautiful arcade of rounded windows and the wall behind them is slightly inset. To balance a plain section of wall a delightful circular window with a small triangular pediment above is set into the brick word. This emphasises the asymmetry with the rest of the wall which has two levels of classical style balconies. There is good contrast between the red brick work and white stucco work throughout the building. Another unusual feature of this building, but typical of this period, is the decision to make the ground floor appear like a basement. Next door is St. George’s Cathedral, built in red brick by architect Edmund Blackett between 1879-88. This replaced the 1845 St. George’s church.
Perth Town Hall, Barrack Street.
Although this was built at the height of the Victorian era in 1867-70 it has a more modern austere look about it. Nevertheless, the Perth Town Hall is a good example of a Gothic inspired building, not for ecclesiastical purposes. It has a typical Gothic gable façade, with a tall tower one side, and a much shorter tower on the other. The façade is anything but symmetrical. The main clock tower has a very steep sided roof, with small spires or pinnacles on the corner pillars and some iron fret work around the very top of the roof. The stone arches or mullions dividing the windows create almost horizontal rather than Gothic arched windows. It uses a bold mix of red brickwork and white stone and stucco work around the windows. Almost like a church it has a round or rose window above the main entrance but it is very simple in form.
Government House, St Georges Terrace. This is a fine example of a Victorian Tudor style building. (Perhaps the best example in Adelaide is Prince Alfred College.) Government house was built between 1859 and 1863 using convict labour. Note in particular the curved (or ogee) shaped roofs on the towers. Its looks like a Scottish castle. The quoins are all in stone, with brick work for the walls. It has a Gothic style arch to the main entrance and porch and arched Gothic arches to a colonnaded veranda. In places it has brick Dutch style gables with curved edges. The windows have stone division or mullions. It is not symmetrical and it is certainly picturesque. This almost fortified medieval style building is preeminently suited to a Government House which was the symbol of the strength of the British monarchy in Australia. Today it represents Australia.
Supreme Court Building, Barrack Street.
This court house is an example of Federation era interpretation of a classical style building. Note the impressive double Ionic columned portico beneath the triangular pediment for the central entrance. This is the main focal point of the whole building. It is a building with fine symmetry. It was constructed in 1906. A fine balustrade parapet hides the roof. It has the look of a Greek temple. But the side sections of the building away from the portico have less of a classical look about them. Not far away in Barrack Street is the original Court House, the oldest building in Perth dating from 1836. The WA Law Society has offices in this restored almost British India colonial style building.
The Weld Club, 3 Barrack Street.
Most of us will be familiar with Federation Queen Ann style houses in Adelaide and the Weld Club is an excellent example in Perth. It has a corner tower complete with a steep terracotta tile roof and fancy ironwork atop which is a common feature of this style and it has fancy barge boards on the edge of gables, decorated with wooden embellishments. The verandas have lots of wood and are lined with a vertical style balustrade. The eclectic style incorporates some Gothic style arches for the lower veranda and strong horizontal lines through the use of white stucco work and banding between the floors. It also has a projecting bay window with a small tiled roof to the bay. Overall it has a wonderful asymmetrical façade and looks like a truly romantic building! It was built in 1892.
Old Pensioners’ Barracks, St Georges Terrace.
The architect who designed Government House also designed these barracks. The barracks have been demolished and only the entrance arch remains. Like Government House it is a good example of a Victorian Tudor style building. It was built in the same period as Government House in 1863 using convict labour. The Tudor effect is heightened with the battlement with crenellations across the top and with square towers beside a large recessed Gothic stone arch .The windows in the shape of a cross, all add to the effect of a Tudor castle. Note the fine brick work above and around the windows. Note how the arch above the doors is wider and flatter than the Gothic arch above the windows. The use of brick work makes it look like a stronger more substantial building.