Built in 1905 by Fred Mosey to a design by Charles Oldham, the A. W. Dobbie Building displays an unusual mix of gothic and classical architecture. The building was for many years the home of A W Dobbie & Co, a musical instrument supplier who later manufactured some of the first radio sets in Western Australia. The warehouse building to the rear was altered including removal of the north facade at the request of the Perth City Council for improved access to the rear laneway.
Alexander Dobbie was born in Glasgow in 1848 and arrived in Adelaide with his family in 1851. He had trained as a brass founder and, at the age of 19, opened his own business. The Dobbie foundry became well known for the range of goods it produced for farm and household use, including several of Dobbie’s own inventions. Alexander was fascinated by the advances in science and technology of his time and is said to have been the first in the southern hemisphere to design a working telephone, as well as a phonograph and microphone. With such a background, it is small wonder that his firm branched out into the manufacture of wireless sets soon after the First World War.