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Park Bungalow

Fremantle Library Local History Collection photo #2048C, 1961. C.Y. O'Connor occupied this house when he came to WA in 1891 and later from 1898 to 1900. The house had 15 or 16 rooms. Originally the home of Dr H.C. Barnett, it was demolished c. 1963. Photo taken 26 January 1961.

The name, Park Bungalow, mentioned in the ADB article on O'Connor indicates that it would have had views at the rear over Fremantle Park, to the southeast. The site was occupied by a child-minding centre until 2020. Although it once stood on top of a 'steep cliff', there is now no slope on the block, so it must have been levelled after the house was removed in 1963. In 2020 the City offered the site for sale. In August 2021 the Locus Development Group has made an offer of $5,616,000. (The latest property valuation, from 29 July 2021 valued the site at $5,375,000, according to Roel Loopers.) The Locus Property Group intends to build a mass of different residential building from 4-storey apartments, facing Fremantle Park, to 2-storey 3x2x2 townhouses along Quarry Street. The 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments would be sold for between $ 390,000-$950,000.

O'Connor settled in Fremantle at Park Bungalow in Quarry Street, overlooking the river. In 1900 the family moved to Beach Street; most of them easily adapted to the West. ADB.

That the house in the photo is Park Bungalow is supported by its appearance in Patricia Brown's book in a painting reproduced on page 28, with this caption: '"Park Bungalow", C.Y. O'Connor's home in Fremantle from 1891 to 99, since demolished'.

Clip from a 1904 map (showing the progress of O'Connor's harbour works) shows the house in Quarry Street the O'Connor family had occupied, with the empty space of Fremantle Park to its southeast, and with the indication of a 'steep cliff' on its western side. (The street shown as Edward Street is now Parry Street. Edward was Parry's first name.)

cy oconnor

Merab Tauman:
The house she [Aileen O'Connor] prepared for the family was the first of the O'Connors' three homes at Fremantle. Later, their second home for several years was a house rented from the H.C. Barnett Trust, 'Park Bungalow', 15 Quarry St, extended to some fourteen or fifteen rooms to accommodate the large O'Connor household. High above the river mouth, overlooking the developing harbour, the garden of Park Bungalow at the rear abutted a small park. During his final year the famly rented a twelve- or fourteen-room house built in Beach Road for W.S. Pearse. This home was nearer the river than Park Bungalow but still well within sight of the changing harbour scene. Tauman: 244.

Tauman makes no suggestion about the location of the first home, and I suggest this may be because she has the record wrong. Read on.

Tony Evans, researching and writing five years later, was able to be more precise.


Tony Evans:
For the first year in Fremantle, the family leased 'Park Bungalow', 7 Quarry Street, then owned by the Colonial Surgeon, Dr H.C. Barnett. When Dr Barnett returned to occupy his house in January 1893, the O'Connors rented, for a few months only, 'Yeldam [Yeldham] House', Lot 300 in Cantonment Street. Afterwards they leased 'Plympton House', a short distance away in Beach Street, overlooking the Swan River (now the harbour). The family would move back into 'Park Bungalow' in 1896 for four years, then return to 'Plympton House' in 1900. ... 'Park Bungalow', dating from the early 1870s, was built of local limestone on raised ground overlooking Fremantle Park and within sight of the present-day Fremantle Arts Centre (then the asylum). It had high ceilings, a library, dining room, music room and drawing room, bedrooms and a wine cellar. A housekeeper's quarters were located on a lower level. What would have been an important consideration for O'Connor was the provision of stabling for horses, a feature also of 'Plympton House'. Both 'Park Bungalow' and 'Plympton House' would have been substantial residences for those times, fitting homes for someone in O'Connor's position.

Evans's two references for those two paragraphs are firstly to 'Fremantle Rate Books', and secondly to this:

Maureen F. Coghlan, 'Monuments in Stone', dissertation, Claremont Teachers College, 1958, BLP – about which Evans has this to say.

Tony Evans:
Sadly, 'Park Bungalow', which could have become a Fremantle museum to C.Y. O'Connor, was demolished in the early 1960s. A good impression of the style and atmosphere of the interior of 'Park Bungalow' can be gained from a visit to 'Samson House' in Ellen Street, diagonally opposite across the park. Owned by National Trust and open to the public on Sunday, it was built around the same period. The O'Connors were frequent guests of the then owners, Michael and Mary Samson.

Michael Samson was Mayor of Fremantle, and had Samson House built in 1888-89 by John Hurst to Talbot Hobbs's design.

References and Links

Brown, Patricia M 1996, The Merchant Princes of Fremantle: The Rise and Decline of a Colonial Elite 1870-1900, UWAP.

Coghlan, Maureen F. 1958, Monuments in Stone, dissertation, Claremont Teachers College, BLP. [partly about one O'Connor dwelling]

Evans, A.G. 2001, C. Y. O'Connor: His Life and Times, UWAP.

Hasluck, Alexandra 1965, C. Y. O'Connor, OUP.

Hitchcock, JK 1929, The History of Fremantle, The Front Gate of Australia 1829-1929, Fremantle City Council.

Keane, S.B. 1981, 'Pietro G. Porcelli, sculptor, 1872-1943', Early Days, Volume 8, Part 5: 9-28.

Tauman, Merab 1978, The Chief: C. Y. O'Connor, 1843-1902, UWAP.

Tauman, Merab Harris 1988, bio in ADB.

Wikipedia page for O'Connor.

Fremantle Society emails to members about the site.

Garry Gillard | New: 18 November, 2020 | Now: 21 August, 2021