Today the architecture of Highgate in Perth, Western Australia, still has a rich mix of old, modern, residential, and commercial buildings.
Beaufort Street was named in honour of Sir Francis Beaufort who was a mapmaker in the 1820s. Beaufort Street became the main thoroughfare when the tramline from Barrack Street Jetty was constructed to Walcott Street in 1902.
St Albans Church
The St Albans church was built in 1889 by architect J.J. Talbott Hobbs. Built-in Romanesque Style it is a fine example of the early ecclesiastical architecture of Mr Hobbs. Interestingly, Hobbs chose to build the church in Romanesque style, over the previously preferred style of Gothic for Anglican Churches.
The church was built from limestone and features red brick quoins and buttresses. Originally built on 5 acres of what was mainly bush, the foundation stone was laid by Mrs. Hare On 27 February 1889, and the church was opened on 13 June 1889, much to the delight of the locals. Mr. Hobbs also designed the rectory which was completed in 1895. The following year the Parish Hall was built on the site and was used for Sunday School and social occasions.
By 1898 the popular church needed to be enlarged and a memorial stone for the extension was laid by Sir John Forrest on the 30th of July of the same year. The church was finally dedicated on the 1st of November 1898, on St Alban’s Day. Interestingly the church was originally going to use the unused stained glass windows which had been imported for St George’s Cathedral , however, plain glass was used. Later a stain-glassed window, depicting St Michael and St George, was discovered, hidden in a storage room. In 1898, when the church was extended, the stain glass windows were finally fitted.
Russells Antique Store
The original owners were B&J Ferstal who operated their fruit and vegetable shop in a section of the building. It was constructed as a two-storey retail premise with two shops, and living quarters on the upper floor. The two storey building features stuccoed facades, arched pediments, and a cast iron covered cantilevers filigree bow verandah with turned posts. If you look closely above the entrance door the words “R.M.E.H. Corner” are inscribed on the curved pediment. I have yet to unearth the meaning, but stay tuned! The building has seen a variety of retail businesses come and go over the years.
The Queen’s Tavern
Known by the locals as “The Queens” the Queen’s Tavern was built in 1898 and was originally known as The Queen’s Hotel . The two storey hotel was originally built in Federation Free Classical Style and featured a gabled roof with a wide colonnade verandah.
Over the years the hotel has seen many changes and refurbishments. The most drastic was in the early 1990s when the hotel was redesigned by architect Michael Patroni and became part of the Matilda Bay boutique phenomenon. The trendy transition turned the traditional looking pub into the social heart of Highgate and Mt Lawley. Patroni took out several architectural awards for his innovative design.
Built just prior to the tramline, the hotel was originally owned J.A.Gent. Following its opening in 1898, the hotel made news when two police constables from the nearby Highgate Hill Police Station were shot at by two would-be burglars. As the burglars fled the policemen, they tried to break into the hotel but became cornered.
Today it still remains one of the areas most popular watering holes and it attracts people from near and far. The open laid back feel of the hotel makes it a perfect location to socialise in all year round and the front garden is the perfect place to spend a lazy day in.
The 38m experimental sewerage vent at Highgate was built in 1935 on the corner of Lincoln Street next to the Highgate Hill Police Station. A perfect location because it was high on a hill. The Art Deco style rendered brick tower included a one metre high plinth, making it the second-highest tower of its kind in Australia. The tallest tower, which is 40m high, can be found in Sydney and was built in 1893.
The concept behind building these towers was to improve the sewerage system and alleviate the possibilities of combustion and leakage of horrendously smelling acid-bearing air into the neighbourhood. The experiment failed. During World War II the sewer tower had a new use, it became the perfect location to hide the antennae for the Police Wireless Service. Click here for more information about the Lincoln Street Sewer Vent.
Highgate Hill Police Station
The Federation Bungalow police station and lock-up were built in 1897, by W. Young, on the corner of Lincoln and Smith Street. Built from brick and iron it is a good example of an early suburban Police Station consisting of a station, 2 cell lock-up and police quarters.
The Police Quarters was added in 1906 by C.H. Carter. On the 2nd of December 1940, the station was officially closed following the building of the Inglewood Police Station. However, this wasn’t the end of the station.
In 1941 during World War II the station became the headquarters for the central wireless section of the police force due to the convenience of the sewer tower next door. The tower provided the perfect camouflage for the antennae necessary for transmission. When Japan entered the war there were fears of a bombing attack and the wireless service was considered one of the prime targets.
The entire Police Wireless department was moved from central headquarters in Perth and set up at the Highgate Hill Police Station. Constable S.C. “Jimmy” Austin (later to become Sergeant) was officer-in-charge of the wireless section from 1930-1966. The antennae was attached to the top of the 38m tower well hidden from view. In later years the wireless section was moved to the Police Quarters providing more needed space.
In 1969 the Police Quarters had to be enlarged to accommodate the growing services. In 1975 the wireless section was transferred to Police Headquarters in East Perth. The WA Police continued to use the Highgate Hill Police Station for its various departments. Most recently it has been home to the Road Safety Section and Bicycle Education Unit.
Highgate Primary School
The Highgate Primary School was constructed in 1895 in Federation Arts and Craft design and was one of the State’s earliest suburban primary schools. When the school first opened it doors on the 1st of November 1895, there were 117 children enrolled. The building reflects the architectural design for Government schools of the time and features high hipped roofs, classrooms arranged in wings (around an internal assembly area), brick chimneys and red face brick walls highlighted with bands of stucco.
The school also included Staff Quarters which provided accommodation for teachers. In the early years the school boasted a large mixture of ethnic groups including many Jewish children who lived near the synagogue in Brisbane Street.
Serbian Orthodox Church of Saint Sava
The Serbian Orthodox Church of Saint Sava was built in 1954 by the local Serbian Community. The church stands as a fine example of Postwar Immigrant Nostalgia style architecture. Many of the Serbians who helped in the building of the church had fled from their native Yugoslavia following the end of World War II.
The design follows the basic design principles of the Orthodox Church and features stucco walls and two octagonal towers with cupolas topped with crosses. The towers feature arched windows. In 1974 the bell tower was completed and five years later three intricate mosaics were set into the tower’s exterior wall. The mosaics were donated by a founder member of the Church, the Ladies Guild, and the organisation of Serbian chetniks in WA who dedicated their mosaic in memory of their leader, Draza Mihajlovic.