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Sunset Heritage Precinct opens to public

Nov 28, 2016
  • Perth's newest public open space has spectacular views over Swan River
  • Community facilities includes picnic areas, barbecues and nature playground

The historic Sunset Heritage Precinct in Dalkeith is now open to the public for the first time in more than 20 years.

Premier Colin Barnett said the Liberal National Government had committed in 2013 to reopen the former Sunset Hospital site, which closed in 1995 and has spectacular views of the Swan River.

"Sunset is one of Perth's most significant heritage sites and has a rich history dating back to the establishment of the Claremont Old Men's Home in 1904 and its transition to a hospital initially for men, and later women in the 1960s," the Premier said.

"For more than 20 years, the site has been fenced off to the public but today the people of Western Australia, and visitors to our State, can now come inside, and enjoy the facilities and river views at Perth's newest public open space."

The Sunset Heritage Precinct spans 7.9 hectares and is one of Western Australia's biggest and most intact heritage sites.  While the community will have access to outdoor areas at Sunset, most of the heritage buildings require significant conservation and remain fenced off.

In May 2015, a small 1,993sqm parcel of land - less than two per cent - was sold to the Sultan of Johor with the proceeds used to restore essential services.

"I offer my sincere appreciation to the Sultan of Johor for his additional contribution which has been used to fund the children's nature playground," the Premier said.

The State Government has since funded the initial works program at Sunset including the removal of rubbish; water, power and other utility upgrades; landscaping; installation of barbecues; seating and a new toilet block.

Heritage Minister Albert Jacob said the State Government was committed to protecting Sunset's unique heritage, and transforming it into a vibrant creative arts and cultural precinct, available for future community use and enjoyment.

"To facilitate the next stage of Sunset's transformation, including heritage preservation and activation of the site, the site will be transferred to the National Trust of Australia (WA)," Mr Jacob said.

"The National Trust is well placed to lead the future stages in Sunset's transformation, ensuring the integrity of Sunset's historically significant buildings are not compromised while the precinct is being progressively restored, and opened to the public."

Finance Minister Sean L'Estrange said the Department of Finance would retain responsibility for the Sunset Heritage Precinct until the transfer to the National Trust.

"The State Government has invested $8 million in laying the foundations for Sunset's future as an engaging community space," Mr L'Estrange said.

Fact File

  • Claremont Old Men's Home was built in 1904 and renamed Sunset Hospital in 1941
  • Women were accommodated at Sunset in 1965, at which time it was classed a public hospital
  • The 7.9 hectare site was placed on the State Register of Heritage Places in 1997 (place number 3374) and includes 13 main buildings, 11 of which have significant heritage value
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