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2 Cottages (ruins)


City of Cockburn

Place Number

There no heritage location found in the Google fusion table.


Mayor & Cockburn Rds, Munster, Lake Coogee Cockburn

Location Details

Other Name(s)

Pensioner Guard cottages

Local Government




Construction Date

Constructed from 1876

Demolition Year


Statutory Heritage Listings

Type Status Date Documents More information
(no listings)

Other Heritage Listings and Surveys

Type Status Date Grading/Management More information
Category Description
Municipal Inventory Adopted 15 Apr 1997 Category B

Category B

Considerable significance Very important to the heritage of the locality. Conservation of the place is highly desirable. Any alterations or extensions should be sympathetic to the heritage values of the place.

Statement of Significance

Pensioner Guard Cottages have aesthetic value as atmospheric ruins on the edge of a significant lake.
Pensioner Guard Cottages are a reminder of an identifiable social group within the Western Australian colonial community, at a time when it was necessary to have the forces of law and order visible in society.
Pensioner Guard Cottages are rare as remnant traces of the Pensioner Guards.
Together with the nearby interpretation, Pensioner Guard Cottages have high value as a site to inform the public about a significant phase in Western Australian history.

Physical Description

Evidence of the Pensioner Guard lifestyle lies in the ruins of two cottages near Lake Coogee. Located on the west and south west side of the lake, the ruins are little more than crumbling walls with no roof or window remains. The buildings were different in design and structure. One was of a simple design with four main rooms with a verandah sheltering the north side. The other has been described as 'a grand house originally'.
Both were constructed with walls of thick, roughly hewn limestone. The ‘grand house’ situated on a knoll overlooking Coogee Lake, had a quality finish with interior brick walls that were plastered. It had tall ceilings and a corrugated iron roof. It is still surrounded by a number of exotic species of plants such as pines, bougainvillea and palms as well as fruit trees: mulberry, pomegranate and fig. Remnants of an old fence is also located in the vicinity of the cottages.
Interpretation has been installed at the site, giving the history of the Pensioner Guards and locating the site of a well.


These cottage ruins have strong historic significance for the Cockburn district owing to their association with the pensioner guards. Berson notes:
The pensioner guards played an important part in the emigration policy of the British Government. They were to be given the choice of leaving Great Britain rather than adding to its unemployed on their discharge from the Army. They were to provide the guard on the convict ships leaving for Australia and Canada and on their arrival in the Colonies they were to take up land as free settlers, providing a balance to the influx of convicts.
The pensioner guards who built these cottages came to the Lake Coogee area in 1876. They were employed in Fremantle to guard the convicts. Part of the remuneration for the job came in the form of a small allotment of land on which they were encouraged to build a residence for their families and grow vegetables to supplement their diet. Lake Coogee land was granted for this project and a small community developed, resulting in a few cottages and some small vegetable gardens and orchards. Lake Coogee was chosen because it was located on the road from Fremantle Gaol to Bunbury and Albany. These two ports were popular destinations for escaped convicts trying to leave the colony. However, Lake Coogee was never very popular owing to the distance from Fremantle Gaol and it has been said many of the wives did not like the isolation, preferring the more built up areas of the Port town.
Names associated with pensioner guard development around Lake Coogee include John Hyland, James Cunningham and John Gilbride. Other people associated with development in the Lake Coogee cottages include Abraham Hake and Barnard McGrath, an assistant lighthouse keeper.
Later the abandoned cottages were to be used for another purpose. During World War II soldiers undergoing training used the cottages and evidence of their stay can be seen from the names that have been carved on the inner limestone walls.


INTEGRITY: Low as residence
AUTHENTICITY: High as ruins




Ref ID No Ref Name Ref Source Ref Date
M Berson; "The Making of a Community". City of Cockburn 1978
National Estate Study
Lake Coogee Environmental Plan

Place Type

Historic site


Epoch General Specific
Present Use RESIDENTIAL Single storey residence
Original Use RESIDENTIAL Single storey residence
RESIDENTIAL Conjoined residence

Construction Materials

Type General Specific
Wall STONE Limestone
Roof METAL Corrugated Iron

Historic Themes

General Specific
DEMOGRAPHIC SETTLEMENT & MOBILITY Land allocation & subdivision

Creation Date

21 Dec 1993

Publish place record online (inHerit):


Last Update

01 Jan 2017


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