Penshurst, East Fremantle (c. 1897, 1941)
Watch the Channel Nine news story on Penshurst.
Before its transformation, Penshurst was a run-down squat that had been converted in flats in the 1940s and was in an appalling state of dilapidation after a long period of being vacant.
Built in 1897, the grand late Victorian residence set on a large riverside lot once exhibited the exuberance of Western Australia’s gold boom era and had been home to wealthy merchants and politicians.
However, by the time it was placed on the State Register in 2000, it had fallen victim to decades of neglect and vandalism.
In 2001, it was purchased by a family who saw the hidden potential of the property and embarked on a 10-year project to restore the building to its original grandeur.
Today, Penshurst is a modern, functional family home with a distinctive heritage flair.
Works were guided by a conservation plan and included a contemporary two-storey addition to the South elevation. This incorporated a new open-plan kitchen, living and dining area opening onto landscaped gardens; a new study and ensuite bathroom on the first floor; and the excavation of a disused cellar with stair access and a weatherboard skillion reinstated. The new addition complements the original building’s scale and the use of clay brick and polished plaster finish clearly distinguishes the modern from the original limestone and brick construction.
Other tasks included repointing and rebuilding limestone and brick walls; rebuilding and conserving the two-storey timber-framed verandah; conservation of existing joinery and timber floors; and the addition of a new driveway, boundary fence and garage.
All these changes were carefully planned and work in harmony with the building’s heritage values.
Penshurst won the 2012 Western Heritage Award for Outstanding Conservation of a Residential Place. The judges said the transformation of this once derelict property into a stunning family home was testament to the passion and commitment of its owners to conserve and restore one of East Fremantle’s landmark historic residences.
Read more about Penshurst by downloading the Register Entry and Assessment Documentation.
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