Fremantle Stuff > Buildings > Warwick House
79 Solomon St
1. Data Base No. 2906
2. Name Warwick (1898)
3. Description of elements included in this entry
Warwick (house), associated buildings and the land on which they stand, being
Fremantle Town Lots 762 and 763 in C/T 1252/450.
4. Local Government Area City of Fremantle
5. Location 79 Solomon Street, Fremantle
6. Owner M. Lees and L. L. Warner
7. Statement of Significance of Place (Assessment in Detail)
The building known as Warwick was constructed as a large domestic villa in 1898 for
Charles Hudson, a prominent Fremantle merchant, on Lots 762/763 in Mary Street.
(Mary Street was renamed Solomon Street in 1951-52.) Hudson acquired the land
from James Lilly for the sum of £180, and constructed the villa.
Charles Hudson, the son of Burra merchant William Hudson, was educated in South
Australia. He came to Western Australia in 1884, joined the firm of William
Sandover, hardware merchants, and became a partner in 1890. Hudson retired from
the partnership in 1901, and established an insurance business in Fremantle,
eventually becoming a manager and local director of the A.M.P. Society.
In 1903, Hudson was appointed one of the inaugural Commissioners of the
Fremantle Harbour Trust, a position he held until his term ended in 1906. The State
Government re-appointed him in 1907, and he remained on the Commission until
the Trust was reconstituted in 1912. Hudson also served on the Fremantle Hospital
Board of Management, was a member of the Royal Agricultural Society and
president of the Fremantle Bowling Club. He married Elizabeth Snook of Fremantle
and had a family of five sons and four daughters.
The villa which Hudson built in Mary Street was representative of his status as
prominent local businessman, and demonstrates the architectural grandeur of
houses constructed in metropolitan Perth during the goldrush. Warwick is unusual
in that it is one of four large villas constructed in Mary Street, an eastern part of
Register of Heritage Places Warwick, 79 Solomon Street, Fremantle 2
Fremantle.1 All four villas are on elevated lots, which command substantial views
over Fremantle, and as far as Rottnest and Carnac Islands. All four villas belonged
to prominent members of the Fremantle community: William Letchford (Lot 734),
John Bateman (Lot 759), Henry Atwell (Lot 761), and Charles Hudson (Lot 762).
Warwick remained Hudson's residence until his death in March 1949, at the age of 84.
The 1900 rate book noted the place had a total of five residents (three males and two
females), and in 1902/3 the property description was amended to read 'dwelling and
stables'. In 1917 Hudson purchased the neighbouring Lots 763 and 764 from H.J.
Higham. Lot 763 immediately south of the villa was subsequently noted in the rate
books as a 'garden'.
Like many large turn of the century houses, the function of Warwick changed from
being a family residence to other purposes. In 1949, after Hudson's death, the
property was acquired by the Fremantle Hospital for the sum of £6,650, and was
converted to use as nurses' quarters. It was given the name Warwick at the request
of Matron Olive Jones, who held the position of Matron of Fremantle Hospital from
1943 until her retirement in 1962.2
On the 29th April, 1963, the property was formally vested in the Fremantle Hospital
Board, however on 16th May, 1990, the property revested to the Crown, under the
Ministry of Works.3 In 1992, the land was subdivided to create lots for Warwick and
the adjoining house, Atwell, and to provide a separate entitlement to the remaining
The property was classified by the National Trust of Australia (WA) in 1990. It has
also been entered in the Register of the National Estate by the Australian Heritage
Commission. The Heritage Council carried out an assessment of both houses and a
schedule of conditions for the conservation of significance was prepared, to be
agreed to by any future owner and incorporated into an Heritage Agreement.
Warwick is a late nineteenth century domestic villa situated on a half acre block at 79
Solomon Street. It is built of stone, brick, terra-cotta tile and iron in the Federation
Queen Anne style.4
The lot forms part of a prominent limestone ridge which runs parallel with Solomon
Street and slopes steeply to the west from Solomon Street to the rear boundary. The
extensive views from the site, over Fremantle and Gage Roads, and the steeply
sloping landform determined the location of the villa on the site, and the planning
and design of the villa itself. The house is sited close to the street boundary, to take
advantage of the views and a basement floor has been incorporated on the western
half of the building making use of the sloping terrain. The Solomon Street facade of
1 Shaw, B., Richards, O., McAllister, P. et. al. Report for the Heritage Council of W.A.: Warwick,
79 Solomon Street Fremantle; Atwell, 77 Solomon Street, Fremantle; Bundi Kudja ,96 Hampton
Road, Fremantle. (HCWA 1992) p14
2 Fremantle Rate Books, Minutes of the Hospital Board of Management
3 Title details
4 Apperley, R., Irving, R., Reynolds, P. A Pictorial Guide to Identifying Australian Architecture.
Styles and Terms from 1788 to the Present. (Angus and Roberston, North Ryde, 1989) p 132-35
Register of Heritage Places Warwick, 79 Solomon Street, Fremantle 3
Warwick is single storey and the rear elevation double storey as a result. The lower
storey incorporates a basement. The property is bounded by limestone walls and
The villa is built of limestone blocks with red brick quoining around door and
window openings. The roof is of terracotta marseilles tiles. There is a fine pressed
metal dome above an octagonal turret on the north western corner. The dome is a
visual landmark from the street, from a distance and from down the hill towards the
city. Chimneys are typical of the period with elaborate corbelling.
The original verandah remains on all sides of the villa with concrete replacing the
original timber floor on the eastern elevation. The verandah has chamfered posts,
balustrades and timber decoration which are in original condition. The iron
verandah roofing has been replaced but the timber rafters are original.5 A flight of
steps originally leading the southern entrance door has been removed and an
ablution block created in the infilled verandah.
The west elevation, with views to Fremantle Harbour, has the same verandah
detailing along with five main doorways with lead lighting at both levels. The
windows are double hung and are full height to the western elevation. Supports
beneath the verandah at ground level on this side have been replaced with brick
Internally, most rooms are accessed by an internal passage. Formal living areas are
on the northern side with bedrooms on the south. The original parlour is on the
west and includes the octagonal turret. This room also has a jarrah fireplace of some
merit with original ceramic tiles. The room probably used as the original dining
room is adjacent. Opening off this room is a smaller room which has no access from
the hallway direct but opens into another room. This room may have been used for
serving meals, but its use is uncertain. All the bedrooms contained fireplaces.
The lower floor includes a storage room and cellar with original bars to the window.
Two bedrooms and a sitting room with pressed metal ceilings and tessellated tiling
to the entry floor originally provided servant accommodation.
The main drive and pedestrian access to the site is off Solomon Street. It is assumed
that there was also a formal entry off Solomon Street.6 There is indications that a
small gable originally existed over the entrance door on the southern elevation.
The design of the house and the location of a stone out-building on the north-east
boundary of approximately the same age on the street frontage suggests that this
access was originally a service entry. The function of the out building is not clear, It
may have been a stable, however its location in such close proximity to the house
suggests that it may have had some other service function. This building as part of
the overall complex of buildings on the site and as part of the former domestic
functions of the property. There were also other out-buildings, constructed of
galvanised iron, which extended the full length of the western boundary. These
buildings no longer exist. There was also a large tank stand on the south-east corner
5 Shaw, B., Richards, O., McAllister, P. et. al. op.cit. p20
Register of Heritage Places Warwick, 79 Solomon Street, Fremantle 4
of the site and a well, or bore, and windmill. The tank stand and windmill no longer
exist, and it is not known if the well , or bore, has been filled in. 7
Part of the modern nurses' quarter building now occupies a portion of the block
along the south boundary and there are Cyclone wire mesh security fences along the
boundary, dividing the former garden area.8 The adjoining site on the south
boundary, lot 763, which had been developed as a garden and had formed part of
the setting of the house is now completely built over by the former nurse's quarters
building and none of the former garden features remain.
A new brick addition to the south eastern corner of the building detracts from the
general appearance of the south and east elevations, but the remainder of the
building design is strong and cohesive.
A full and detailed assessment of the current physical condition of the building can
be found in a 1992 Conservation Report prepared for the Heritage Council of WA
by Shaw, Richard and McAllister et.al. in 1992.9
ASSESSMENT OF CULTURAL HERITAGE SIGNIFICANCE
The criteria adopted by the Heritage Council in September, 1991 have been used to
determine the cultural heritage significance of the place.
1. AESTHETIC VALUE
Warwick is a good example of a Fremantle Federation Queen Ann villa, dating
from the gold boom years of the 1890's. The significance of the building is
increased by the high level of remaining original detail, both internally and
externally. The views from the upper level verandahs and the view of the
villa itself from the surrounding area are an important aspect of the design.
The building has significance as a landmark in the City of Fremantle due to its
elevated site and orientation, which is enhanced by the Norfolk pines
flanking the house on the western elevation.
Warwick, together with Atwell, demonstrates the preference of the mercantile
and professional elite for elevated sites, which was typical of the period.
2. HISTORIC VALUE
Warwick has significance as a an example of a grand home, exhibiting in its
design the affluence which accompanied the gold boom of the 1890's.
Warwick has significance for its association with original owner Charles
Hudson, a prominent figure within the Fremantle community for over fifty
years. Hudson was involved with the Fremantle Harbour Trust, the
Fremantle Hospital Board and other business and community organisations.
7 ibid. p16
9 see Shaw, B., Richards, O., McAllister, P. et. al. op.cit.
Register of Heritage Places Warwick, 79 Solomon Street, Fremantle 5
3. SCIENTIFIC VALUE
4. SOCIAL VALUE
Warwick has social significance as the residence of Charles Hudson, a leading
figure in the community, whose business and social interests had a significant
effect upon the development and administration of Fremantle.
Warwick also has some social significance as a former nurse' quarters
associated with Fremantle Hospital.
Warwick , and its neighbour Atwell, are the only two remaining large latenineteenth century villas on large blocks, in Solomon Street.
The intact nature of the building interior is rare and increases the architectural
integrity of the property.
Warwick demonstrates the domestic life of the successful mercantile class at
the turn of the century. The design, orientation and the landscaping of the
property are typical of the period, as is the extant associated out-building,
which provides evidence of the original lifestyle and activities conducted on
For a detailed report on the condition of the place refer to: Shaw, B., Richards, O.,
McAllister, P. et. al. Report for the Heritage Council of W.A.: Warwick, 79 Solomon Street
Fremantle; Atwell, 77 Solomon Street, Fremantle; Bundi Kudja ,96 Hampton Road,
Fremantle. (HCWA 1992)
Although the house has been used for a number of purposes it is again being used as
residence, and retains a high degree of integrity.
Warwick has a high degree of authenticity for been altered and added to, it remains
substantially as it was. Much of the external and internal fabric is still present.
7. STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE
Warwick has cultural significance for the following:
it is a fine example of a Fremantle Federation Queen Ann villa, dating from
the turn of the century.
Register of Heritage Places Warwick, 79 Solomon Street, Fremantle 6
it is a significant landmark in the City of Fremantle
the place has a long association with Charles Hudson, the original owner, and
a prominent figure within the Fremantle business community for over fifty
The design, orientation and the landscaping of the property are typical of the
period, and demonstrate the domestic life of a successful mercantile class at
the turn of the century.
8. Register of Heritage Places
Interim Entry 24/03/1992
Permanent Entry 10/06/1994
9. Conservation Order
10. Heritage Agreement
National Trust Assessment Exposition
Australian Heritage Commission Data Sheet?
Shaw, B., Richards, O., McAllister, P. et. al. Report for the Heritage Council of
W.A.: Warwick, 79 Solomon Street Fremantle; Atwell, 77 Solomon Street,
Fremantle; Bundi Kudja, 96 Hampton Road, Fremantle. (HCWA 1992
Heritage Council page for this building
Fremantle Society Newsletter, February 1993
Garry Gillard | New: 18 December, 2018 | Now: 23 June, 2021