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House 33: Wellington Street

The house at 33 Wellington Street represents one of many worker’s homes that were built in East Perth during the gold boom period when Perth experienced rapid suburbanisation and industrial development.  The house is a typical example of those built in East Perth in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century which was very much characterised by small workers’ homes.  The house was built by George Taylor; builder, bricklayer and ex-convict.   

George Taylor was originally transported to Western Australia in January 1862.  With the growing housing demand in the midst of the State’s gold boom, Taylor’s entrepreneurial side recognised the potential of suburbs such as East Perth as the location for small affordable housing for the working classes.  During the 1890s, Taylor constructed around twenty homes in the area and rented many of them out.  Although he didn’t live at 33 Wellington Street, he and his family did live in various other houses in Wellington Street.   

 After Taylor died in 1908, the house stayed in his family and continued to be rented out by them until 1920.  Many years later, in 1976, the purchase of the house was secured by a tray of pastries.

Detailed Description

The house at 33 Wellington Street represents one of many worker’s homes that were built in East Perth during the gold boom period when Perth experienced rapid suburbanisation and industrial development.  The house is a typical example of those built in East Perth in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century which was very much characterised by small workers’ homes.  The house was built by George Taylor; builder, bricklayer and ex-convict.  Many years later, in 1976, the purchase of the house was secured by a tray of pastries.  

Prior to the 1890s, East Perth was largely undeveloped and mainly industrial.  Because it was so swampy it contained the brickworks (later developed into Queens Garden).  When the gold boom struck Western Australia a tent city developed in East Perth, occupied mainly by men on their way to the goldfields.  More well-to-do families tended to build in the central city area particularly on blocks that took full advantage of views of the Swan River.  Streets like Adelaide Terrace and Mount Street became the location of large palatial homes.  Whereas areas like East Perth became characterised by cheap rental housing on small landholdings built to accommodate the growing population in the wake of the gold boom. 

George Taylor was originally transported to Western Australia in January 1862 on the Lincelles. Taylor’s entrepreneurial side must have recognised the potential of suburbs such as East Perth as the location for small affordable housing for the working classes, and being an experienced builder he was well positioned to bring his plans to fruition.  East Perth attracted both residents who worked in the many industries in the local area as well as providing cheap housing for city workers within acceptable walking or cycling distance. 

By 1891, Taylor owned several parcels of land in East Perth in Goderich and Bronte Streets as well as Perth Town Lots E35 and E36 in Wellington Street. Because Lot E35 was a large Lot Taylor built a total of 6 houses on it between 1894 and 1897. 

Taylor ended up constructing around twenty homes in the area during the 1890s – all of which he kept but rented.  He not only could claim many houses to his name but, having been married three times, he had two children by his first wife and ten by his second.  Although he didn’t live at 33 Wellington Street, Taylor and his family did live in various other houses in Wellington Street including what were originally numbers 44a and 48. 

This house in particular really showcases Taylor’s craftsmanship and standing slightly on its own also makes it standout.  The two-toned bonded brickwork incorporates rare white clay bricks that together create an interesting variegated pattern.  The bricks were most probably manufactured at the nearby East Perth brickworks.  The front gable features a chequered pattern with red brick stretchers and cream headers laid in Flemish bond.  By contrast the west wall displays a striped effect with alternate courses of red and cream bricks laid predominantly in Stretcher bond. 

The house was originally numbered 17 Wellington Street, then no. 25 and in 1907, when the houses were again renumbered, it became no. 33. 

In 1908, George Taylor died, with his funeral notices referring to him as ‘builder’ and ‘old colonist’ of Wellington Street.  He was buried at East Perth Cemetery.  Town Lot E35 was subdivided into four Lots with the titles for each distributed to members of the family.  The title for Lot 4, upon which 33 Wellington Street was located, was transferred to one of his sons, Walter, who was his tenth child.  Walter Taylor continued to rent out 33 Wellington Street.  In 1920, 33 Wellington Street was purchased by Henry Crackel and his wife who were the first owners to live in it, but the longest residents of 33 Wellington Street was the Heron family.  In 1925, Edith Heron, a widow, purchased the house, later in partnership with William Heron who was probably her son.  William Heron lived in the house with his family until 1976. 

The house was then purchased from the Herons by Deborah and Nils Carlsson.  According to the information in the Heritage Council’s assessment, the Heron family wanted to sell 33 Wellington Street to a young couple who would live in the place and not rent it out.  Deborah and Nils, who was a pastry cook, offered ‘a tray of pastries’ and $500 more than the highest competing offer in order to secure the place.  The Carlssons occupied 33 Wellington Street until 1980.  

 

Bicentennial Dictionary of Western Australians, UWA Press, Nedlands, 1988 

Perth City Council Rate Books, 1908-1919 

West Australian 31 July 1908 p. 5

Location