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Edith Cowan House permanently heritage-listed

Dec 07, 2017
Edith Cowan’s House & Skinner Gallery (fmr), West Perth permanently heritage-listed

The West Perth home of Australia’s first female parliamentarian, Edith Cowan, has been permanently included in the State Register of Heritage Places.

Social reformer Edith Cowan was elected to the Western Australian Legislative Assembly in 1921, a year after laws were changed to allow women to enter parliament.

The house at 31 Malcolm Street, West Perth was placed on the State Register of Heritage Places on an interim basis in September 2016 following a development application.

This month Heritage Minister David Templeman directed that registration be made permanent, ensuring its protection into the future under the Heritage Act of Western Australia.

The owners intend to make it an integral part of a new residential development on the site.

Edith Cowan’s House was originally placed on the interim register in 1999 but the then Heritage Minister declined to direct its permanent inclusion on the State Register.

The two-storey brick, stone and iron-roofed house was built for Edith Cowan and her husband, James, in 1893. They lived there intermittently with their children until 1919.

Over the years, the house has been converted into flats and is now office accommodation. The Skinner Gallery, built in 1958, was reputed to be Australia’s first commercial art gallery.

Other places on the State Register associated with Edith Cowan are her birthplace, Glengarry Station in the mid-west, and the Edith Dirksey Cowan Memorial adjacent to Kings Park.

Comments attributed to Heritage Minister David Templeman:

“This house represents a period in which Edith Cowan undertook some of her most important work in welfare, women’s health, education and social justice reform.

“With only two other places directly associated with Edith Cowan on the State Register, the Malcom Street house is a fitting addition that celebrates the achievements of this amazing woman.”

Read the Register entry and the Assessment documentation
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