HERITAGE COUNCIL OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA
ASSESSMENT OF CULTURAL HERITAGE SIGNIFICANCE TOM BURKE HOUSE, Northbridge area of Perth.
The criteria adopted by the Heritage Council in November 1996 have been
used to determine the cultural heritage significance of the place.
PRINCIPAL AUSTRALIAN HISTORIC THEME(S)
• 4.1.2 Making suburbs • 4.4 Living with slums, outcasts and homelessness
11. 1 AESTHETIC VALUE
The place has aesthetic significance as a robustly detailed Federation Queen Anne style residential terrace. (Criterion 1.1) The two-story limestone and brick terrace with a full width verandah to both floors has aesthetic value as a significant landmark building in the Northbridge area. (Criterion 1.3)
11. 2. HISTORIC VALUE
The place reflects the diversity of housing opportunities in the city of Perth in the area north of the railway line. The place was built as three prestigious dwellings in the late nineteenth century, converted to smaller apartments during the 1920s-1930s and finally adapted for low income housing in the latter part of the twentieth century. (Criterion 2.1)
The place reflects the expansion and development of residential and commercial buildings on the city fringes during the rapid population increase of the 1890’s gold boom and the early years of the twentieth century. (Criterion 2.2)
The place is important for its association with the architect Louis Bowser Cumpston, who owned and possibly lived in the building for a short time in the late 1890s. There is a strong possibility that Cumpston was the architect for the building. Cumpston, who had thrived in Melbourne designing inexpensive housing, designed similar low-cost housing in East Perth, Northbridge and the less expensive parts of West Perth. (Criterion 2.3)
Register of Heritage Places - Assessment Doc’n Tom Burke House 2
The place was owned by the Green family, who were substantial property owners in central Perth, Northbridge and elsewhere (Criterion 2.3) The place is important for its association with the Federick Darly North, who bought the building from Louis Cumpston in 1901. North was Secretary to the Premier Sir John Forrest, and Clerk of the Executive Council. He was also a brother-in-law to the Forrests having married Margaret Forrest’s youngest sister Flora. (Criterion 2.3) The building was named after Tom Burke in recognition of his involvement in community affairs, association with the Australian Labor Party, and contribution as Federal Member for Perth from 1943 to 1955.
11. 3. SCIENTIFIC VALUE
11. 4. SOCIAL VALUE
The place is important for its role in providing low cost housing for residents
in Northbridge. (Criterion 4.1) The place is highly valued by those who live and work in the building. (Criterion 4.1) As a building, which has remained largely unaltered despite the changes that have occurred in the area, the place has importance in contributing to the
community’s sense of place. (Criterion 4.2)
12. DEGREE OF SIGNIFICANCE
12. 1. RARITY
The place is rare as an example of a substantial two-storey late nineteenth century residential terrace still extant within close proximity to Perth City centre. (Criterion 5.1)
The place is significant as the only extant residential building of a former group of three buildings, built on adjoining lots and comprising two duplexes and one triplex, of which Tom Burke House is the triplex. (Criterion 5.1)
12. 2 REPRESENTATIVENESS
The place is representative as an example of a substantial residential building in the Federation Queen Anne style dating from the late nineteenth century. (Criterion 6.1)
The place is representative as an example of a residential building adapted for housing low income residents, in close proximity to the city centre of Perth. (Criterion 6.2)
12. 3 CONDITION
The whole of the place is in good condition. Maintenance and alterations appear to have been carried out with sensitivity to the original building fabric.
12. 4 INTEGRITY
The place remains in use as a residential building, although it no longer functions as three separate residences. The place has a moderate to high degree of integrity. Register of Heritage Places - Assessment Doc’n Tom Burke House 3
12. 5 AUTHENTICITY
The place has a moderate to high degree of authenticity. Although there have been some modifications to the place over time to accommodate changing needs, most of the original fabric is intact and additions to the fabric have only marginally obscured the rear of the building at ground floor level.
13. 1 DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE
Number 191 Newcastle Street, known as Tom Burke House, was constructed c.1897-8 as a terrace of three residential dwellings. Early water and sewerage maps for the area indicate there were two other similar buildings, both duplexes and probably two-storied, located in the area to the east of No.191.1 The three buildings were built across Perth Town Lots Y70/71, apparently for the Green family who owned these Lots from at least 1884.2 The two duplex buildings, which were the first to be constructed, no longer exist and the area is now used as a car park. A number of structures once stood behind No.191
but these were removed during the 1980s when the building was renovated,3 and the 1990s when the Northbridge Tunnel was constructed. From c.1899 to c.1907/8, the three dwellings that originally made up No.191, were numbered 129 to 133, after that date they were renumbered 191 to 195. The post office directories and rate books suggest the possibility that Louis B. Cumpston, an architect and building surveyor who moved to Western Australia from Victoria in 1891, and who was responsible for several
buildings in the Northbridge area, may have designed all three buildings.4
There is also the possibility that William Smith, the first resident of No.133 (later 195) was the contractor, though there is no supporting evidence for this assertion. According to the City of Perth rate books, Lots Y71 and Y70 which extended from Newcastle Street (then known as Ellen Street) and Aberdeen Street (then Lamb Street) were owned by Mrs Green, a widow, prior to 1892. Members of the Green family maintained an interest in the properties variously as owners and residents until at least the 1930s. Evidence from the
1 According to the Property Co-ordinator of Perth Inner City Housing, a former tenant
had found a photograph, which they originally thought to be of No.191 because of its
similarity with the existing building. It is now believed the photograph represented
one of the duplexes. Unfortunately the tenant left the premises some years ago and
took the photograph with him. No photographs of any of the three buildings in Newcastle Street could be found in the Battye Pictorial Collection. 2 City of Perth Rate book for 1884, State Records Office (SRO)
3 Plan drawings, Upgrading of Lodging House at 191, 193 and 195 Newcastle Street,
Perth, Homeswest, dated October 1987.
4 An unsuccessful search has been made of the City of Perth's archives for an original
building licence and plans to verify the date of construction and the name of the
architect and builder. Cumpston would become a prominent architect in Western
Australia with a number of major buildings to his credit. These included the Ocean
Beach Hotel, Cottesloe, the Collie Municipal Chambers, and in 1911 new premises in
Perth for carriage builders Messrs Daniel White & Co. This was reputed to be the
largest motor garage in the state. See the entry for Cumpston in the Cyclopedia cited Rate Book for 1898, together with the post office directories, suggests Nos
191-195 was constructed in 1897-1898 with occupants moving in during 1898-
1899. The architect Louis Bowser Cumpston owned the terraces at 191-195
from at least 18985. In 1901 portions of Lots 70/71, were transferred to Frederic Dudley North of Cottesloe.6 F.D. North was the Secretary to the State's Premier, Sir John Forrest (from 1891-1901) and Clerk of the Executive Council (1901), and also the Forrests' brother-in-law7. Sir John held the mortgage on the property.8 From 1903 ownership was taken over by Mr A.W. Wallder, a butcher by trade and a resident at No.125 (later 187), and progressed through members of his family.9 until it was transferred to the West Australian Trustee Executor and Agency Company Limited, in 1963, and subsequently to the Metropolitan Region Planning Authority in 196710. A substantial part of Northbridge between Newcastle and Aberdeen Streets and Lord and Fitzgerald Streets, was being resumed by the government for the future development of a northern city by-pass. No. 191-195 was part of this resumption. The 1890s gold boom in Western Australia brought tremendous growth in the economy and an urgent need for housing for a rapidly expanding
population. The Northbridge area was highly attractive for investment purposes and, because of its proximity to the city and transport routes, the building of fine residences such as those constructed on Perth Town Lots 70/71.
Cumpston is listed as the owner of Lot 70 in 1896, and 1898, but not 1897, leading the author to believe the 1896 entry is an error. On the reverse side to the Certificate of Title made out when the Title was transferred to Frederic North in 1901, the name of Daphne Norah
Cumpston is given under Encumbrances. The entry is dated 31 July 1897
Taken from the report of the Heritage Council of Australia
The West Australian Thursday 26 January 1899
ALLEGED LARCENY. THE BOWSER CUMPSTON CASE.
The hearing of the charge of larceny of furniture, etc to the value of about £1,000, preferred against Louis Bowser Cumpston by Daphne Cumpston, his wife, after several formal adjournments, was continued at the City Police Court yesterday, before Mr. A. S. Roe, P.M. Mr. Purkiss appeared for prosecutrix, and Mr. Ewing for defendant.
Daphne Cumpston, re-called, gave details concerning various articles of furniture, their value, and by whom and where they were purchased. By Mr. Ewing: She had never been living with her uncle and calling herself Mrs. Venn. She had never lived alone with Simmonds, her uncle, in her life. She had a bank account, but did not know she had one at the Commercial Bank. - She had never had a bank account before her marriage. She had but little money previous to har marriage. She had got money from her uncle. Her husband had never paid £1,900 in one sum to meet her liabilities. The sum of £1,900 had been paid on land that belonged to her, and which had been resumed by Government.
At this stage the further hearing of the case was adjourned till Tuesday afternoon next.
THE CUMPSTON CASE. THE MAGISTRATE'S DECISION.
At the City Police Court, yesterday, Mr. A. S. Roe, P.M., delivered his reserved decision in the case of Daphne Cumpston against her husband, Louis Bowser Cumpston, whom she charged with the larceny of £1,000 worth of furniture, etc. Mr. Roe said :-This is a criminal information, laid on behalf of a wife against a husband under section 12 of 55, V. No. 20, and before sending the case on to a jury I must be satisfied: 1. That the goods alleged to have been taken were the bone-fide property of the wife. 2. That the parties were not living together at the time of the taking.
3. And, thirdly, that the husband had not taken under any honest assertion of right, or colour of right, not being a colourable pretence to obtain possession. On the first point I find that there is very grave doubt as to the separate ownership by the wife, and a large portion of the goods claimed
by her seemed to have been purchased by Mr. Simmons, and he alleges given to Mrs. Cumpston ; but on the other hand we find that all the goods sent from London were sent to the defendant, and no letter or other document is produced saying that they were for his wife, and in this connection defendant alleges in his statement that they wero bought by Mr. Simmons with defendant's money. There is also a letter from the wife from London, from Queen Anne's Mansions, undated, as I have only the second and last sheet before me, and the whole tenor of this portion of the letter goes to show that the things were not sent for the separate use of the wife. Touching the payments for the furniture, Mr. Simmonshas spoken to several payments, but, on the other hand, defendant has produced vouchers amounting in all to £79 2s. 9d. This amount added to the value of the articles sent out by Mr. Simmons, and which do not appear, as I have said, to have been sent for the separate use of the wife, make up nearly the full value placed by the wife on the furniture and fittings. There is no doubt that it has been clearly settled that any articles, wedding presents or others, that are presented to a wife separately are her separate property. On the seeond point-I havs no direct evidence that the parties were not "living together" within the meaning of the proviso to section 12 of 55 Vic, No. 20, The mere "fact of the wife being absent in Victoria does not, in my opinion, exempt them from that proviso. The wife says she has not lived with her husband since the 24th April last. The husband and it is provided by seotion 12 that he is a competent witness in proceedings of this nature says he has never been separated from his wife. Failing this direct evidence, the wife is expressly barred under section 12 from taking these proceedings, for they are, of course, taken on her behalf. On the 3rd point I find that, looking to the absence of reliable proof that the goods in question, including the piano, were the separate property of the wife, the defendant has produced vouchers and receipts amounting to the large sum of £729 2s. 9d., that the furniture, etc., was insured in the name of the defendant as far back as the 3rd December, 1897, for £700, and that it has riot been proved, or attempted to be proved, that the wife had any separate estate of her own. I can come to no other conclusion than that defendant had a colourable right within the meaning of the case of Reg. T. Wade, referred to by Mr. Ewing. A few articles are claimed by Mr. Simmons as his personal property, and these, I am sure, defendant will abandon any claim to. I am of opinion that in the face of the evidence no jury would convict the defendant on a criminal charge, and that the proper course to have been adopted by the wife in this case was to have proceeded under section 17 to have the question of the ownership settled. I have the less hesitation in coming to a conclusion as proceedings under section 17 have already been commenced, and the wife will then, have her opportunity of proving here separate title to the articles or any of them. Meantime I think, although I have no power to make an order, that defendant should make no attempt to dispose of any of the goods pending the result of the summons already taken out under section. The information will be dismissed, and defendant is discharged.
The West Australian Thursday 16 February 1899