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Clontarf

Author

City of South Perth

Place Number

02401
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Location

295 Manning Rd Waterford

Location Details

30/9/2011 Address includes: Lot 9001 Manning Road, Waterford. VFL.

Other Name(s)

Clontarf Boys Town
Clontarf Campus
St Joseph's Boys Orphanage

Local Government

South Perth

Region

Metropolitan

Construction Date

Constructed from 1901

Demolition Year

N/A

Statutory Heritage Listings

Type Status Date Documents More information
Heritage Agreement YES 27 Jun 2011 Text of the Heritage Agreement
Heritage Council
State Register Permanent 14 Dec 2001 Register Entry
Assessment Documentation
Heritage Council

Other Heritage Listings and Surveys

Type Status Date Grading/Management More information
Category Description
Municipal Inventory Adopted 14 Nov 2000 Category A+

Category A+

Already recognised by the Heritage Council in the State Register of Heritage Places

Art Deco Significant Bldg Survey Completed 30 Jun 1994

Heritage Council
Classified by the National Trust Classified 08 Jul 2002

Heritage Council

Statement of Significance

Clontarf has significant aesthetic, historic, social, scientific and rarity cultural heritage value. The main building of Clontarf is a fine example of the work of Michael Francis Cavanagh. It is one of his major works in a portfolio that includes the design of the Christian Brothers College, Perth, St Brigid’s Convent, Northbridge and the former Convent of Mercy, Bunbury. The remaining buildings and structures from Brother Keaney’s second term as Superior, are notable for the quadrangular layout, the picturesque profiles generated by the tower structures and the contemporary construction techniques. The Romanesque Chapel, completed in 1941, was well designed and reflects the building methods employed on Clontarf during the boys’ apprenticeship program.
Clontarf has historical and rarity value as an intact and attractive collection of buildings representing a range of architectural styles. It is as a fine and rare example of an early and long running institution for the care and education of underprivileged boys and for its association with a number of prominent individuals in the Christian Brothers organisation.
Clontarf is a place highly valued by the community generally as it is a recognised landmark having particular social importance for its role in housing and educating the underprivileged and now, (in the year 2005) for its
role in education in the Aboriginal community. The original Clontarf buildings are situated well back from Manning Road, the property extending all the way
to the banks of the Canning River. Entrance to the site through a grand gateway, takes the visitor down a long driveway to a landscaped forecourt. The Chapel, built in 1941, dominates the one side of the forecourt while the Main Building, erected in 1901, forms another side to the forecourt. These buildings along with other former classrooms and residences are set out in a quadrangular shape. The foreshore adjoining Clontarf is valued for its landscape views, the diversity of its vegetation types: fringing forest reed beds, salt marshes and salt lakes, the richness of its bird life and the historic Keaney
Gardens. This is the site where a formal garden was established in the 1920s and is of historic as well as scientific environmental interest.

Physical Description

As seen from the history of the institution’s development, the buildings date from all different time periods and represent many different architectural styles including Inter-War Romanesque and Federation Free Style as well as some vernacular design and construction techniques. An important part of the non-built property of Clontarf is what remains of Brother Keaney’s gardens lanted ca1920s. The exotic species that have endured include a large number of palms, London plane trees and willow trees.
An in-depth look at the building form of Clontarf can be found in Allom, Povell, and Hocking Conservation Consultants., Clontarf Management Plan prepared for Provincialate of Christian Brothers, October 1998.
Negotiations were held during 2005-06 to resume the adjoining foreshore from Clontarf for management by the City of South Perth.

History

These historical notes are prepared from the extensive Documentary Evidence in the Clontarf Management Plan prepared by Allom, Lovell, and Hocking Conservation Consultants 1998. A Boys’ Orphanage was first established in Subiaco in 1872, managed by the Sisters of Mercy. In 1897 the Christian Brothers assumed direction of the orphanage, taking care of its 81 boys. A new site for an orphanage was sought, found and purchased on the banks of the Canning River in 1897. MF Cavanagh designed the main building and the Lord Bishop of Perth, Matthew Gibney, laid the foundation stone, in 1901. Initially the builder on the project, named St Joseph’s Boys’ Orphanage, was J Coghill and the cost was £8,500. The building project created a number of logistical problems in getting the materials to the site. No roads existed to the property as land access was gained through long sandy and boggy tracks. The problems of
access were solved by the construction of a jetty and a small rail line to bring the limestone onto the site. The building was ready for occupation in September 1901 and the boys were transferred from their Subiaco home. Brother Ryan was the Superior at this time. While a Chapel was formed in the eastern wing of the main building, support out-buildings such as a bakehouse, laundry, store-room and toilets were constructed. These out-buildings all appear to have been demolished.
Clontarf developed its own orchard and vegetable garden. By the 1930s it seemed that Clontarf was almost self sufficient, running a dairy, poultry yard, piggery and other livestock. From 1901 to the 1930s a number of developments occurred. Electric lighting was introduced (1905), a statue of Joseph was installed (1916), and new buildings were erected including a band stand, a manual arts block, a recreation hall and the Grotto to Our Lady of Lourdes. A proper road giving clear access to Albany Highway was constructed in 1927. The
property on which Clontarf stood was also expanded with land purchases in 1908, 1921 and 1936.
The boys who were at Clontarf between 1901 and the 1930s were aged between six and fourteen and the population ranged from 100 to 150 boys. The Christian Brothers who cared for them numbered about five or six. The boys were accommodated and cared for, given a primary school education, religious teaching and basic training in manual skills and farm practices. Government funding for the boys was withdrawn at the age of fourteen and this is when most boys left the Home. Those who stayed, worked for the Boys’ Home assisting the Brothers.
Influential to the development of Clontarf in the 1930s was Brother Keaney who served a second period as Superior from 1936 to 1942. During his first period in the 1920s Brother Keaney supervised the construction and planting of a formal exotic garden with a surrounding lake. Remnants of this garden remain and are recognised as ‘Keaney Gardens’ (refer to item W2). Under his guidance from 1936 to 1942, Clontarf experienced six years of major development. He introduced an apprenticeship scheme that extended the boys beyond farm labouring skills. Construction on Clontarf was started using tradesmen who taught the boys until eventually the boys became proficient in doing the tasks on their own. It appears that Brother Keaney was a man of great vision and energy but did not always attend to official requirements or administrative detail. In the six years of Brother Keaney’s direction a large number of buildings were constructed some of these include the Chaplain’s Residency and Clock Tower (1936), classroom blocks (1937-38), a bakehouse (1939),
entrance gates (1939), sports pavilion (1940), and verandahs on the main building (1939-40). However, the most significant building that rose during this period was the Chapel.
Architect Marie Jackson, who did not charge for her services, designed the chapel. The boys did the majority of the work, which required among many jobs the laying of 300,000 bricks, tiling the roof, making the fifty seats and doing other woodwork such as the parquetry. The rose window is believed to have been designed and manufactured in Ireland. (The mural in the dome was not painted until 1952.) The bell was a personal gift from the Archbishop. The chapel was consecrated on 20 December 1941. At the same time Clontarf Boys’ Orphanage was renamed Clontarf Boys’ Town.
World War II created huge upheaval for Clontarf as the Royal Australian Airforce (RAAF) took occupation of the home and the boys and their carers moved to Christian Brothers farms at Bindoon and Tardun. The RAAF occupied Clontarf from 1942-1945. Three years of neglect on the farm and building maintenance had to be corrected when the Brothers and the boys returned to Clontarf after the war. Another legacy of the RAAF occupation was the buildings near the western entrance gates left by the airforce, these were recycled as a convent (Jackson House) for the Sisters in 1948. The Sisters remained at Clontarf until 1966.
Post World War II saw a number of changes affecting Boys’ Town. Secondary education was introduced and from 1955 those boys who were academically inclined were transferred to Aquinas to finish their Leaving.
Immigrants from Britain also resulted in an increase in occupants at Boys Town with the population growing to 249 in 1953. In 1961 the Clontarf school was opened to day pupils and boarders. In 1964 there was an enrolment of 303 boys.
In the post war period many structural changes were made to Clontarf. Renovation and modernisation led to a new bell in the Chapel, a renovated recreation hall, the renaming of the Keaney Memorial Hall after Brother
Keaney who died in 1954, relocation of the Grotto, development of a gymnasium and a swimming pool (1957). A tragic bus accident in 1955 led to the severe injury of four boys and the death of 12 year old Michael Bowman. Michael was buried behind the Grotto.
From 1970 Clontarf gradually became a treatment centre for adolescents with problems. Day boys ceased to be enrolled by 1977 and the number of residents went down from 70 to 30 in the early 1980s. Clontarf was closed in April 1984. Since then it has been redeveloped as Clontarf Aboriginal College.
Clontarf contains various Aboriginal education facilities. The main facility is the Clontarf Aboriginal College, located in the main building, and officially opened on 2 May 1986. The college caters for about 120 students at a time. Other Aboriginal services and groups that have been involved on the campus are Abmusic, the Aboriginal Driver Training Program, Aboriginal Dance Development Unit, Dumbartung (Aboriginal Arts organisation), the Middar Dance group, Skillshare, the Marr Mooditj Foundation (Aboriginal Health related
education) and the Aboriginal Development Foundation for Sport and Recreation. Current tenants also include the Clontarf Foundation and the Clontarf Football Academy.
The Christian Brothers have maintained a presence at Clontarf by retaining the Chapel and two Brothers’ residences. The statue of St Joseph was badly damaged un an accident involving a reversing bus and therefore, has been replaced and relocated close to one of the residences.
The foreshore adjoining Clontarf underwent a study to develop a management plan in 1993. It was found that: The foreshore wetland serves a number of functions. It forms an integral part of the Canning
River flood plain and parts of it are submerged every winter. In the event of a 100 year flood it would be totally inundated. The foreshore supports a diversity of vegetation associations, which assist in stabilising the riverbank and provide a wildlife habitat for a number of insect,
reptile, amphibian and bird species. The foreshore and its vegetation together provide a buffer which filters nutrients and pollutants from the ground and surface water and assists in the maintenance of water quality in the river. It also acts as a wind and noise barrier between the suburb of Waterford and the river and helps protect the waterbirds on the river. The Clontarf foreshore is used for passive recreation. It has potential to be used for local wetland research and for environmental education.
During 2005-06, negotiations were held to resume the adjoining foreshore from Clontarf, this land to be managed by the City of South Perth.

Integrity/Authenticity

Moderate

Condition

Fair

Associations

Name Type Year From Year To
Michael Cavanagh Architect - -
Howards Architect - -
E Le B Henderson Architect - -

References

Ref ID No Ref Name Ref Source Ref Date
Apperly, R. Irving, R. Reynolds, P. "A Pictorial Guide to Identifying Australian Architecture" Angus and Robertson NSW 1989
Molyneux, I. "Looking Around Perth: A Guide to the Architecture of Perth & Surrounding Towns" Royal Institute of Architects 1981

State Heritage Office library entries

Library Id Title Medium Year Of Publication
8707 Clontarf campus former gymnasium : archival record. Archival Record 2007
4681 Photographic extracts from : Clontarf management plan draft report : prepared by Allom Lovell Hocking conservation consultants for Provincialate of Christian Brothers : with funding from the Lotteries Commission : October 1998. Report 1998
9408 Marr Mooditj Foundation - Stage 2: Classroom and administration building. Heritage Study {Other} 2009
4233 Clontarf Conservation Management Plan : draft report : volumes 1 and 2. Heritage Study {Cons'n Plan} 1998
5186 Former Technical Trades Building, Clontarf, Western Australia : conservation works report. Heritage Study {Other} 2001
5124 Clontarf : conservation management plan : draft report / prepared by Allom Lovell Hocking Conservation Consultants for Provincialate of Christian Brothers. Heritage Study {Other} 1998
9466 Signposts: a guide for children and young people in care in WA from 1920. Electronic 2010

Place Type

Individual Building or Group

Uses

Epoch General Specific
Other Use GOVERNMENTAL Other
Original Use RESIDENTIAL Institutional Housing
Present Use EDUCATIONAL Combined School
Original Use EDUCATIONAL Combined School
Other Use RELIGIOUS Church, Cathedral or Chapel

Architectural Styles

Style
Victorian Romanesque
Inter-War Romanesque

Construction Materials

Type General Specific
Wall STONE Limestone
Wall BRICK Rendered Brick
Wall BRICK Common Brick

Historic Themes

General Specific
SOCIAL & CIVIC ACTIVITIES Institutions

Creation Date

30 May 1989

Publish place record online (inHerit):

Approved

Last Update

31 Dec 2016

Disclaimer

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.