Aberdeen Street Cottages

The land the cottages sit on was acquired by Henry Gibbs in 1869 as a land grant and he constructed the three cottages on the land, fronting onto Aberdeen Street. In the 1890s, each Cottage was enlarged by an extension at the street frontage. Henry Gibbs died in 1897 at which time the property passed to members of his family who retained ownership until 1920 when a succession of owners held title until acquisition by the Government Planning Authority in 1962 and 1982. Two of the Cottages were in residential use until the 1960s when they are recorded as being abandoned; the third was occupied until 1982.

Prior to restoration in 2000, all Three Cottages remained unoccupied and were subject to the destructive activities of squatters and operators helping themselves illegally to removable building elements. Conservation work on the buildings was completed in 2000, prior to disposal by sale by public tender. In 1993 an archaeological investigation was carried out of the site by students from the Centre for Archaeology at the University of Western Australia. The buildings are currently in use as residential dwellings.

Architecture

The 1860s section of each Cottage was constructed in the representative Colonial style for small, workers’ houses in the City of Perth – single storied solid brick walls later rendered or colour –washed externally, high-pitched timber framed hipped roofs clad in timber shingles (later replaced with corrugated galvanized iron sheeting} and four-panelled timber doors and small paned balance-hung sash windows or sliding casements. The Cottages were rectangular in plan form, and comprised four rooms, two with fireplaces and one as a kitchen. A verandah was provided across the rear of each Cottage. The later additions to each in the 1890s were typical of the Federation style for residential buildings at that time. The additions comprised two rooms and a passageway from a front verandah close to the street. Both rooms were provided with fireplaces and the layout and external detail differed to each Cottage.