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Pagoda, Como


City of South Perth

Place Number

There no heritage location found in the Google fusion table.


111 Melville Pde Como

Location Details

Other Name(s)

Gordon's Tea Rooms, Stardust Room
Pagoda Long Bar & Restuarant

Local Government

South Perth



Construction Date

Constructed from 1922 to 1926

Demolition Year


Statutory Heritage Listings

Type Status Date Documents More information
Heritage List Adopted 14 Nov 2000
State Register Registered 13 May 2005 Register Entry
Assessment Documentation
Heritage Council

Heritage Council Decisions and Deliberations

Type Status Date Documents
(no listings)

Other Heritage Listings and Surveys

Type Status Date Grading/Management More information
Category Description
(no listings)

Statement of Significance

The following statement is drawn from the State Register Entry for Place 2403 Pagoda, Como, prepared in 2004.

Pagoda, Como, a masonry and tile building with an octagonal plan and distinctive three-tiered terracotta tiled roof, constructed in 1926 and largely reconstructed in 1998, has cultural heritage significance for the following reasons:
• the place is a unique example of recreational architecture in Western Australia, with Chinese inspired details and form, including an
• octagonal tower and a three tiered roof that turns up at the edges and is adorned with decorative ridge accents, gargoyles and a finial;
• the place contributes to a sense of place for residents and visitors to Perth as a well-known social venue and prominent landmark and is
• valued by the community for its continued recreational and social functions for over seventy years; and,
• the place is rare as the only extant example of the buildings constructed for leisure, recreational and entertainment purposes at
• Como Beach at the height of its popularity as a summer resort during the 1920s, which lasted to some degree until the Kwinana Freeway was built in 1959.

Physical Description

The Pagoda Ballroom is a single storey building of octagonal plan form with a distinctive three-tiered terracotta tiled roof. The place is located on a prominent corner position at the western end of Comer Street at its intersection with Melville Parade and has a more recent multi-storey hotel development built to the rear and north but the Pagoda still retains prominence in the street view and in longer views from the freeway.

The building is of single storey rendered masonry and tile construction with Chinese inspired details and form. The distinctive three-tiered bellcast roof turns up at the edges and is adorned with decorative ridge accents, gargoyles and finials. The place has an octagonal plan, presenting with five of the eight faces to the street. The rear three faces are connected to the more recent development behind.

Each of the visible faces of the building are divided into three bays and the majority of these present with continuous band of multi-paned timber framed windows above a masonry wall. The remaining visible face has three fully rendered bays.

The second and third tiers of the roof are clad with fibrous sheeting with the top level incorporating porthole windows.
The entrance is located on the northern face, through double doors which has a strong relationship with the adjoining hotel development. There are no doors that open out to Melville Parade or Comer Street. The café blinds that have been installed to the western faces creates a blank aesthetic to the most visible aspects of the building


The following information is largely drawn from the Heritage Council of WA Assessment prepared in 2005.

In 1892, the South Perth Roads Board was established and, in 1902, the suburb became a municipality. By the turn of the century, there were four jetties at South Perth, the Zoological Gardens had opened in 1898, and a government school and postal facilities were established. Due to its relative isolation from Perth, the South Perth area was regarded as a retreat from the city, a place of popular recreation, social and leisure facilities.

By the beginning of the twentieth century, land south of the Zoological Gardens began to attract the attention of land developers and home buyers. The area in which Pagoda, Como is situated was originally part of the 533 acres comprising Swan Location 40, the Como Estate, owned by Mark Gardner, a Perth produce merchant. In 1906, the developer of the Como Estate arranged the building of the Como Jetty, with all the timber hauled from the Canning Road.

From 1907, the South Perth Municipal Council passed resolutions aimed at improving the Como area. In the following years many public events were held to promote the area and improved camping facilities were provided for holidaymakers.

It was during the 1920s that a string of tea rooms, dance pavilions and lodging houses were constructed along the foreshore shell track of Melville Terrace (now Melville Parade), all the way to the Canning Bridge. According to one account, at least seventeen tea rooms operated along and around Como Beach.

Circa 1922, Harold C. Gordon began operating a boarding-house and a ‘SPOT Lager Saloon’ on the corner of Comer Street and Melville Terrace in Como. In the following year, the Post Office Directory also listed a tea room operating from this site, but no
‘saloon’. Gordon’s establishment provided accommodation for about twenty people in a large house, from where the tea rooms also operated. Gordon’s rooms were further divided over summer in order to fit in as many paying customers as possible.

According to Rate Book entries, the Pagoda was built in 1926, immediately to the west of the existing boarding-house. Its octagonal structure, in a pseudo-Chinese style, would have made it a well-known landmark in the local area. By 1927, the Pagoda and Gordon’s original boarding-house was sold to Alexander McAllister Clydesdale, and re-opened as a roller skating rink in 1928, but this venture also failed shortly after this time. In the summer of 1929, the Pagoda operated as tea rooms and a ‘dance pavilion’ again, for a short period, under the management of K.A. Boskas, but small attendances made this operation unprofitable. The economic viability of the Pagoda in the 1920s, and the other similar businesses in the Como Beach area, was adversely affected both by the seasonal nature of their operations as well as by the lack of frequency of public transport to the area.

With the depression of the first half of the 1930s, tea rooms and other businesses at Como Beach struggled to remain economically viable. During the decade from 1930, the Pagoda, now owned in partnership by Alexander Clydesdale and Frank Stiles, continued to operate as a roller skating rink, although it seems also to have been used on occasion for social functions. Between 1942 and 1945, the ownership of Pagoda, Como was transferred to Mr and Mrs J.P. and E.V. Pell. In 1945, the Pagoda was requisitioned for war-time use as a billet for soldiers. After the War, the Pagoda reverted to operation as a dance hall and reception centre. Minor structural changes to Pagoda, Como were carried out in 1947 and 1950.

From the late 1950s until the early 1990s, the Pagoda continued to be used as a dance hall and as a reception centre.

By 1970, the original tea rooms and dance hall building had all its ground floor glazing replaced by timber boards. Some time between 1969 and 1978, the original (pre-1926) Gordon’s Tea Rooms and boarding house, immediately to the west of the Pagoda was demolished.

In 1995, the Kareelya Property Group, engaged architects Overman and Zuideveld to look at the development potential of the property. The City of South Perth subsequently approved a 101 room holiday resort, with the original 1926 Pagoda Tea Rooms building to be incorporated into the development as a bar area with considerable conservation and restoration work, while the later ball room addition of the 1950s was to be demolished. The redeveloped building and adjoining hotel complex was opened in 1998 and continues to be used as a bar and restaurant.


Moderate - Low




Name Type Year From Year To
Harold Gordon Architect - -

State Heritage Office library entries

Library Id Title Medium Year Of Publication
6752 South Perth : the vanishing village. Book 2003

Place Type

Individual Building or Group


Epoch General Specific
Original Use COMMERCIAL Restaurant
Present Use COMMERCIAL Restaurant

Architectural Styles

Other Style

Construction Materials

Type General Specific
Roof TILE Terracotta Tile
Wall BRICK Common Brick
Other TIMBER Other Timber

Historic Themes

General Specific
OCCUPATIONS Commercial & service industries
OCCUPATIONS Hospitality industry & tourism
SOCIAL & CIVIC ACTIVITIES Sport, recreation & entertainment

Creation Date

01 May 1989

Publish place record online (inHerit):


Last Update

25 Sep 2020


This information is provided voluntarily as a public service. The information provided is made available in good faith and is derived from sources believed to be reliable and accurate. However, the information is provided solely on the basis that readers will be responsible for making their own assessment of the matters discussed herein and are advised to verify all relevant representations, statements and information.