1898, Cockburn Rd, Coogee
Photo: Fremantle Herald
Stephen Pollock, Fremantle Herald, 20 November 2015
THE derelict but heritage-listed Coogee Hotel and post office are to be sold by the cash-strapped Barnett government — after a facelift to maximise the sale value.
The iconic 19th century property is opposite bustling Coogee Beach.
The most recent tenant left just last month and windows have already been smashed by local yobbos. WA main roads has since secured the site with fencing.
Conservation work is scheduled to start “soon” and be completed by May.
“The works will comprise the repair of external and internal walls, doors and windows, ceilings, verandah structures including a new timber floor to the post office, and repair and stabilisation of unsound brick chimneys,” says state heritage office director Graeme Gammie.
“The work also includes the removal of intrusive structures including the northern extension on the hotel dating from the 1990s.”
WA main roads bought the property in 1991 and planned to flatten it for a wider road to Rockingham. However, it ended up developing Stock Road and the Kwinana Freeway instead.
The post office and store were converted into a home and there have been several proposals to restore it to a hotel, but none has come to fruition.
Cockburn Labor MP Fran Logan says locals have lamented the property’s deterioration under main roads’ ownership.
“Restoration of this landmark and hopefully returning it to being a classic hotel will be a great outcome for Coogee and everyone in the southern suburbs,” he says. “Apparently the original hotel was a great pub and the stopping off point for the old horse-drawn vehicles travelling between Fremantle to Rockingham.”
The hotel was opened in 1898 by Fremantle merchant Walter Powell, who initially tried to lure sportsmen by developing an unregistered racecourse—shaped like a tennis racquet—at the rear of the hotel.
In the early 1900s the hotel became a popular honeymoon retreat, with Powell advertising Coogee as, ‘The garden of the West’.
Following Powell’s death the hotel exchanged hands several times: it was bought in 1930 by the Anglican Diocese of Perth, which after WWII turned it into an orphanage. In 1991 the Anglicans punted it to main roads. It was added to the WA heritage register in 2001.
Another version of the photo above, c. 1905.
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