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Samson Building

1892, 1898, 31-33 Cliff St, 1919; architects: J.J. Talbot Hobbs (1892), F.W. Burwell (1898)

Lionel Samson, who arrived in the colony on the Calista in 1829, is believed to have been one of the first three people to take up allotments in Fremantle in September 1829, when surveys were completed. In that year he was granted a spirit merchant’s licence and began to operate a wine, spirit and grocery business in a small cottage. He was the acting postmaster in 1830. During a trip to England in 1842, he married Fanny Levi, whose grandfather founded the London Stock Exchange. His son, W.F. Samson, took over the company after his death in 1878, and the business remained in the family’s hands until recently. Possibly no other business in Australia remained in the one family on its original site continuously for nearly 200 years.
The original cottage and an office building were destroyed by fire in the 1890s. W.F. Samson commissioned the architect J.J. Talbot Hobbs to design a new warehouse and premises which were built in 1892. The building was extended six years later, to a design by F.W. Burwell.
Part of one of the original buildings, 'Fanny Samson's Cottage', survived the fire and now houses a company museum.
Lionel Samson (the company) acquired RC Sadlier Pty Ltd in 1936. In 2012 the company became the Lionel Samson Sadliers Group (though the signs now say Sadliers).
To the left (above), 'Fanny Samson's Cottage' is a remnant of former buildings on the site, and includes the family dwelling. To the right is the remnant facade of the Liebler building.

samson warehouse

FHC image #1436, c1895. The original warehouse in Cliff Street was burnt down in 1895 and replaced in 1898. Fanny Samson's cottage is to the left. Horse and cart and four employees in front of the building.


Interior of a room in 'Fanny Samson's Cottage' now serving as a museum.

References and Links

streetsoffreo page, with a list of tenants.

Garry Gillard | New: 20 September, 2016 | Now: 9 December, 2021