inHerit Logo

Vancouver Arts Centre Group


City of Albany

Place Number

There no heritage location found in the Google fusion table.


77-87 Vancouver St Albany

Location Details

Other Name(s)

Albany Cottage Hospital

Local Government



Great Southern

Construction Date

Constructed from 1950, Constructed from 1887

Demolition Year


Statutory Heritage Listings

Type Status Date Documents More information
Heritage List Adopted 27 Oct 2020
State Register Registered 22 Nov 2002 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
Classified by the National Trust Classified 08 Mar 1983

National Trust of Western Australia
Municipal Inventory Adopted 30 Jun 2001 Category A+

Category A+

• Already recognised at the highest level – the WA State Register of Heritage Places. Redevelopment requires consultation with the Heritage Council of WA and the City of Albany. • Provide maximum encouragement to the owner under the City of Albany Town Planning Scheme to conserve the significance of the place. • Incentives to promote heritage conservation should be considered.

Local Heritage Survey Adopted 27 Oct 2020 Exceptional


Essential to the heritage of the locality. Rare or outstanding example.

Classified by the National Trust Classified 08 Mar 1983

Heritage Council
Register of the National Estate Permanent 11 Aug 1987

Heritage Council

Statement of Significance

Albany Cottage Hospital (Vancouver Arts Centre Group), comprising a limestone building designed in the Federation Arts and Crafts style with two steeply pitched roofs, a single storey timber nurses’ quarters, a timber clad morgue with a pyramid roof, a laundry/nurse quarters, carpenters workshop, and eastern wing, has cultural heritage significance for the following reasons:
The original limestone cottage hospital building is one of the oldest hospital buildings in Western Australia, and the oldest surviving hospital in Albany, operating from the period 1897-1962.
The original limestone cottage hospital building is an aesthetically exceptional example of the work of the architect George Temple Poole, Chief Architect for the Public Works Department from 1887-1897.
The place is a significant aesthetic landmark, as a precinct of historic buildings with scenic vistas overlooking Princess Royal Harbour.
The complex is a rare example of a relatively intact hospital complex representing the type of medical facilities available from the late 19th to the early/mid 20th century.

The weaver’s room (former children’s ward), the main carpark and the garage adjacent to the Nurses’ Quarters are considered to be of little significance.
The carpark to the front pavement and the driveway between the main building and the potters building are considered to be intrusive.

Physical Description

The Albany Cottage Hospital is set on the south side of the street which offers a spectacular view overlooking King George Sound. It is set close to the road and is part of an important group of heritage housing in Vancouver St. The original building of the former hospital is a fine example of George Temple Poole’s design work and has the following features; dressed limestone walls, she-oak shingle roof, turrets and ornamental woodwork.

The 1930s-50s extension of the hospital is face brick to dado height and then cement render finish for the rest of the walls. The roof of this section was originally clad in shingles but is currently Colorbond sheeting. This wing is not sympathetic with the original building but has become part of its sequence of development and change.
State funding and practical assistance from Public Works Department led to a major conservation program in the late 1980s. External works included the provision of a driveway and rear car park, requiring the demolition of a covered link from the western side of the building, the orderlies’ room, dining room and toilet block. The ‘native ward’ fell down after it was stripped of its cladding. Internally, the west ward windows were bricked to create a gallery space, a new jarrah staircase was installed in the same place and with the same detailing as the original (but with a different configuration), various additions to the verandahs were removed and the verandah railings replaced. Accreted ground levels were allowed to remain and stonework to the 1897 building was re-pointed and in both cases the decisions are having an adverse impact on the fabric of the place.

More recent works have included:
• Conservation of the morgue
• Extensive drainage and paving works
• Re-roofing the potters’ shed and internal works (Laundry/Maids’ Quarters)
• Restumping the nurses’ quarters
• Reshingling the main roof


Albany’s first hospital, comprising a surgeon’s house and infirmary, was commenced in May 1829. Located on the western side of Major Lockyer’s parade ground, it operated until 1836, when a government complex comprising a barracks, guard room, hospital and commissariat store, was built in Lawley Park. By the 1880s, the existing hospital facilities were woefully inadequate, largely as a consequence of Albany being the colony’s main port and therefore subject to epidemics of diseases such as influenza, smallpox and typhoid.

The town’s people forwarded a petition for a new hospital to Governor Broome in 1886. The request came to fruition and the Colonial Architect, George Temple Poole, was instructed to design an appropriate hospital complex. Although Poole’s original design included two large wards (male and female) along with the various other requirements for operating a hospital, the proposed female ward and associated verandah, toilets and bathroom were not built. The new hospital was functioning by August 1888, but was soon perceived to be too small for the town’s needs and the women’s ward was finally built in 1896. In fact a much larger hospital was built to the same pattern in Geraldton and this did include both male and female wards and was a two-storey building, built to the same planning pattern as Albany.

The day-to-day running of the hospital was the responsibility of the government, but local residents did a lot of fund raising for equipment and services. Concerts and other benefits were regularly held on behalf of the hospital. Staff at the hospital had to deal with a wide variety of cases, including returned soldiers from the Boer War and subsequent wars, shipping and mining accidents, and infectious diseases and so on.

An infectious diseases ward was finally constructed in 1918 (now Mary Thomson House). In the following years, a morgue, orderlies’ room, laundry, operating theatre, night nurses’ quarters and carpenter’s shed were also built. This was a single storey brick extension with a shingle roof. In 1936, the infectious diseases ward was converted to nurses’ quarters through additions and renovations. Substantial works, including the adaptation and extension of the night nurses’ quarters as the Eastern Wing and construction of a women’ surgical ward, were completed the following year. In 1952, two new four-bed wards were built (now weavers’ room). Later that decade, a dining room was built to the south.

Concerns regarding the adequacy of Albany District Hospital had been aired since the 1940s, but it was not until 1962 that a new regional hospital was built in the suburb of Spencer Park. At this time, the old District Hospital was vacated and the State Government announced that the building would be converted for use as a boarding house for boys attending Albany District High School. After a new hostel was built on the school site, the hospital buildings became vacant and derelict, and subject to vandalism. In 1978, it was proposed that the buildings be used as an arts centre and the Albany Arts Council subsequently raised thousands of dollars and donated hundreds of hours’ work to bring the buildings up to an acceptable standard. The Vancouver Arts Centre opened in 1980. The work done at this period stabilised the place and saved it from ruin.
In 2019 the place still primarily functions as an arts centre as well as the Local History Library.


Integrity: High/Moderate
Authenticity: High/Moderate




Name Type Year From Year To
George Temple Pool Architect 1887 -


Ref ID No Ref Name Ref Source Ref Date
F remantle Arts Review; "The Vancouver Arts". Vol 8, Feb-Mar 1993
Heritage TODAY Site visit and Assessment 1999
Heritage Council of WA Preliminary Assessment State heritage Office 1992
Assessment by the Australian Heritage Council for entry onto the National Estate. National Estate
R Apperly, R Irving, P Reynolds; "A Pictorial Guide ot Identifying Australian Architecture". Angus and Robertson NSW 1989

State Heritage Office library entries

Library Id Title Medium Year Of Publication
1927 Albany and surrounds : data relating to items of heritage significance. Heritage Study {Other} 1980
9441 Vancouver House Conservation works report 2009
419 Vancouver Hospital Albany architectural evaluation for the Western Australian Heritage Committee no 14 Heritage Study {Other} 1985
7881 Albany: spectacular! Brochure 0
4815 Vancouver Arts Centre : conservation works : final report : replacement of gutters and downpipes to Nurses Quarters. Report 2000
4397 Vancouver Arts Centre (Albany Cottage Hospital) Conservation Plan Heritage Study {Cons'n Plan} 2000
8690 Interpretation plan : Vancouver Arts Centre (fmr Albany Cottage Hospital), Albany. Heritage Study {Other} 2007

Place Type

Individual Building or Group


Epoch General Specific
Original Use HEALTH Hospital
Present Use SOCIAL\RECREATIONAL Other Community Hall\Centre

Architectural Styles

Federation Arts and Crafts

Construction Materials

Type General Specific
Roof TIMBER Shingle
Wall STONE Limestone
Wall BRICK Rendered Brick
Wall BRICK Face Brick
Roof METAL Corrugated Iron

Historic Themes

General Specific
SOCIAL & CIVIC ACTIVITIES Community services & utilities
OCCUPATIONS Intellectual activities, arts&craft

Creation Date

30 May 1989

Publish place record online (inHerit):


Last Update

20 May 2022


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.