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Birkdale House


Birkdale House originally stood on the corner of Knutsford and Solomon Streets opposite the Monument on the current Westgate Garden Flats site. The house was named after the steel-hulled vessel Birkdale which came to the Fremantle Long Jetty and was delayed three months along with many other ships because of the gold boom and heavy weather on the exposed jetty. G.C. Knight was the builder (and was the manager of D&J Fowler). The architect was M.F. Cavanagh.


Unidentified people and Holden FB Special Sedan [1960-1] in front of Birkdale House.

Peter Dedman writes: I am the only one who knows that the Samsons owned it and lived there from 1901 till 1955 when my father bought it and then demolished it in 1966. I interviewed Derek Samson in 1984 when he was 80? He was head of Lionel Samson & Co. Cliff Street ... Old Birkdale House was effectively a bishop's palace.

Obituary for Katharine Samson (née Scott). The widow of W.F. Samson was living at Birkdale House at the time of her death in 1941, as indicated in the following obituary. Note that Knutsford Street was at that time still called Hill Street.

Fremantle Advocate, Wednesday 20 August 1941, page 2


The death occurred on Thursday last of Mrs. Katharine Samson, of Birkdale, Hill-street. Fremantle. The funeral took place last Saturday morning, leaving her residence and proceeding to the Fremantle cemetery, where her remains were interred in the family grave in the Church of England section. The Rev Canon E. M. Collick, rector of St. John's Church, conducted the graveside service and in the course of a brief address referred in feeling terms to the long and useful life of the deceased.
The chief mourners were: Messrs. W. H. J. Samson, son; D. J. and F. L. Samson and R. W. J. Samson, grandsons: W. F. Samson, nephew and Dr. W. P. White, grand-nephew. The pallbearers were:—Dr. H. J. Lotz, Messrs V. L. Bode (National Bank), Harry and Bingham Price, R. W. Ward. L B. Smith, J. W. Bateman and F. G. Clifton.
The hearse was heavily laden with beautiful floral tributes and widespread expressions of sympathy have been extended to the bereaved relatives.
The late Mrs. Samson was born at Fremantle on January 18, 1846 and was the oldest resident of the State born in Western Australia. Apart from a brief period of six years in Tasmania, Mrs. Samson spent the whole of her years in Western Australia.
Daughter of the late Captain Daniel Scott, Mrs. Samson was the youngest of a family of ten children. She married the late Mr. W. F. Samson in Fremantle and was widowed in 1900. She leaves two sons, a daughter, eight grand-children and a great-grand-child.
National Library of Australia: http://nla. gov. au/

References, links, acknowledgements

The first two paragraphs are courtesy of Peter Dedman, who also sent all the images: many thanks. He has asked me to include his phone number, as he would like to hear from people: 0404 866 571.
The top photo (tap/click for larger size) is in the Fremantle Library Local History Collection, no. E000089-07.

Garry Gillard | New: 24 December, 2019 | Now: 14 January, 2020