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Wesley College, Chapel & Memorial Rose Garden


City of South Perth

Place Number

There no heritage location found in the Google fusion table.


20 Coode St South Perth

Location Details

Local Government

South Perth



Construction Date

Constructed from 1923

Demolition Year


Statutory Heritage Listings

Type Status Date Documents More information
Heritage List Adopted 14 Nov 2000
State Register Registered 25 Aug 2009 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
Statewide War Memorial Survey Completed 01 May 1996

Heritage Council
Art Deco Significant Bldg Survey Completed 30 Jun 1994

Heritage Council

Statement of Significance

The following statement is drawn from the Register Entry for Place 2379 Wesley College, South Perth prepared in 2009.

Wesley College, South Perth, a school complex comprising two storey brick and tile J. F. Ward Wing (1923), Kefford Wing (1925, 1936, 1957-58, 1962-64), J. S. Maloney House (1937) Clive Hamer Building (1940), and H. R. Trenaman Library and Staff common building (1937, 1970); double volume concrete and metal Old Boys’ Memorial Chapel (1961); Old Wesley Collegians’ Association Memorial Lych Gate (1953) and Rose Garden (1995); J. F. Ward Oval (1924); and, Jenkins Quadrangle (1978), set in landscaped gardens of grass, shrubs and established trees, has cultural heritage significance for the following reasons:

• the place illustrates aspects of the development of education in Western Australia and is valued by the community of South Perth, the Methodist community and the wider community for its contribution to the education of generations of boys;
• Wesley College Old Boys’ Memorial Chapel is a fine representative example of Post War Ecclesiastical style, featuring innovative design and building techniques through the use of reinforced concrete ring beams and precast concrete walls and slabs, built to an award-winning 1960 design by Ross Chisholm;
• the place is a cohesive complex of educational buildings, developed from the 1920s to the present (2007) in a manner which, on the whole is architecturally sympathetic to earlier elements;
• the place contributes to the community’s sense of place as it has been in the same locality and performing similar educational functions since 1923, during which time the suburb of South Perth has developed around the school and the place has become an intrinsic part of the streetscape and community; and,
• the individual elements of the place collectively form an attractive cultural landscape of significant buildings and structures set within an accessible, inviting and pleasing landscape.

Physical Description

Wesley College occupies a 19 hectare site on the ridge of the foreshore escarpment with. View towards the river and the city. The site generally bounded by Mill Point Road, Coode Street, Angelo Street, Tate Street and Leane Street, South Perth.

The site comprises three precincts, the Heritage Precinct on the western side of the site, the Senior School Precinct on the eastern side and the Swan Street Precinct, comprising the central section of the school complex. The buildings within the Heritage Precinct are:

JF Ward Wing, (1923) – two storey fair face brick with rendered banding displaying elements of the Federation Arts and Crafts style.
Originally designed as a single storey three winged building, the upper level was added in 1927 and two single storey additions were constructed between the wings. The original main entrance is on the north façade which has a two storey verandah supported by face brick columns with roughcast panels in between, a clapboard clad two storey bay window in the centre and a gable end punctuated by three double hung sash windows on each level of the east end of the façade. An escape ladder made from a series of steel rungs from WWII remains extant on the brick verandah column. The west elevation with its three prominent gable ends to the wings is set back from Coode Street in a garden setting overlooking the Rose Memorial Garden. Each façade to wings is composed of alternating red face brick columns and rough cast rendered panels above which each of the double hung sash windows are placed. The intersection between the levels is concealed and articulated with a rendered band and stringcourse. The gables are finished in roughcast render with brick panel at the apex. The central wing has terracotta shingled awnings to both levels of windows. Two double height skillion additions have been added between the wings, projecting out into the garden. The upper section is clad with louvers whilst the lower level is open to three sides. Each provides sheltered access into the building.

Kefford Wing (1925) – a two storey brick and tile building comprising of two “L” shaped windows with a centrally placed two-storey addition to the north and south elevations. The wing was originally constructed as a single storey single wing building. A second wing mirroring the design of the first was later added followed by additional storeys. The face brick walls are supported by a series of brick buttresses with rendered capping. The original south façade has been partially obscured by the construction of a double height enclosed walkway and reception area. The original features of the façade remain extant and now form part of the internal space. The original timber framed sashes with rendered surrounds are now a feature of this space. Much of the original north elevation has become obscured by a continuous concrete and glass enclosed corridor which connects all the buildings around the Jenkins Quadrangle.

JS Maloney House (1937) – two storey brick and tile former Headmaster’s residence and marks the boundary of the original school site. The former house has a symmetrical façade to the north elevation with a central porch entry. The porch has a brick paved floor, openings on the east and west elevations with brick steps and a large centrally placed opening featuring a pair of columns in the Tuscan order and steel balustrading between. All openings feature modern details expressed through lintels of vertically placed bricks and supported by flat steel lintels. Above the porch is an enclosed room with large glazed openings. A corbelled feature on the eastern end of the front façade adds a whimsical touch to the formal façade. On the west elevation the window of the front room has shitter stays which are still extant but no shutters. There is a brick paved verandah approximately mid length of the house, between the front room and the rear rooms. French doors open out onto the verandah. The south elevation overlooks the Rose Memorial Garden has an informal arrangement of windows and roof forms featuring a pair of small dormers and deep eaves against hipped roofs over the main area of the house. The south west corner of the house has been extended and re-roofed with its own hip. A skillion verandah canopy supported on square posts wraps around the south and east elevation. the ground level openings to these two elevations have been altered to incorporate full height windows and sliding doors which has impacted on the aesthetics of the building.

Old Wesley Collegians Association Memorial Lynch Gate (1953) – a rectilinear structure constructed of limestone blocks and timber stop chamfered posts supporting a terracotta shingled gable roof. It is orientated on a north-south axis. The Wesley College coat of arms is featured on the north and south elevations. Internally there are two integral timber slatted benches and two brass plaques engraves with names of Old Boys who lost their lives during various war. Each name is also represented by a cardinal rose bush in the adjacent Memorial Roe Garden.

Rose Garden – cruciform garden containing 56 roses forming an emotive and attractive feature of the west boundary of the school site.

Wesley College Old Boys’ Memorial Chapel (1961) the Memorial Chapel is designed in the Post War Ecclesiastical style featuring reinformed concrete ring beams, precast concrete walls and slabs. It is a cylindrical building elevated on a square terrazzo paved podium with a steel portico on the southern side. The roof comprises a series of 12 steel framed sheet metal clad apexes and valleys, surmounted in the entre by a tall steel spire. Each steel valley rafter functions as a gutter draining into 12 strategically located circular pipe columns. Precast concrete panels with exposed aggregate finish are alternated with panels of cement render finish to create a play of dark and light tones on the façade. Alternate panels are set back from the edge of the ring beam to allow for an insert of steel framed louvered glass windows. The congregation enters the Chapel on the south side by means of a small flight of steps onto the elevated terrazzo paved podium through a pair of glazed double doors with vertical glazing bars and into the narthex. There is an alternative eastern side entrance with similarly detailed double doors.

HR Trenaman Library (1937) – this building was designed as a single storey brick and tile dining and assembly hall in 1937 with the second storey being added in 1970. The building presents with Inter-War Georgian Revival Characteristics. The ground floor is constructed of red/brown toned brickwork laid in stretcher bond with large openings with three leaded light sash widows to each adding light and formality to the structure. The windows are surrounded by rendered and scribed surrounds installed to replicate quoining. The main entrance is on the wet elevation overlooking the Jenkins Quadrangle, with a single step access. The entrance has ornate plaster moulding and timber double doors. The upper level is obscured from clear view due to the enclosed concrete and glass walkway but it is of face brick construction with large square steel framed openings.

Clive Hamer Building (1940) is located in the Senior School Precinct but contributes to the brick built structures of the early buildings and displays characteristics of the Inter-War Georgian Revival and Inter-War Gothic Revival styles. The interior has been adapted and was undergoing further works in January 2018. The south elevation overlooking the Ward Oval is composed of the original four centred pointed arch arcade on the ground floor. There are five large openings with rendered surrounds on the recessed section of the upper floor and both gable ends incorporate two sets of windows, each containing three aluminium framed sashes in a rendered surround. The north elevation almost replicates the south elevation. the recessed section contains the arched openings and the windows in the same manner as the south façade. The eastern gable has three levels of windows including one in the apex of the gable. The western gable has a four-centred arched doorway opening and a single sash window above.


The first Methodist settlers had arrived in the Swan River Colony in 1830. Wesleyan Methodism is associated with the beginnings of education in Western Australia. The first Wesleyan primary school in Perth opened c1835 and provided education services for approximately one quarter of all children enrolled in the colony, not just Methodist children.

The Methodist population of Western Australia had increased with immigration from the eastern states following the gold rushes of the 1890s. By the beginning of World War One, the need for a new Wesleyan school was recognised, in particular to meet the needs of farmers’ children requiring city education following several years of rural drought. A Boys’ College Committee, formed in 1916, chose a 9 acre (3.6 ha) site on a ridge overlooking the river in South Perth, purchased in 1919 for £1450.

The earliest buildings at Wesley College were designed by architect James Hine, a Methodist parishioner and prominent architect. Hine prepared plans for a single storey E-shaped building, consisting of a headmaster’s residence, dormitory accommodation for up to 25 boarders, and classroom space for around 100 students which was to double as a place for public worship for South Perth Methodists. The foundation stone for the original building was laid on 11 November 1922, by Premier Sir James Mitchell, who declared his opinion that, ‘the boy with the trained, flexible mind made a good farmer’. The building contractor employed to realise Hine’s design was M. Ellyard.

Classes commenced on 13 February 1923 and at that time the South Perth area was populated by under three thousand residents. The streets were largely unsealed, much of the surrounding bushland was undeveloped, and public health amenities such as sewerage were yet to arrive. During the 1920s the local population boomed, and the construction of Wesley College represented a major building project in the burgeoning suburb of South Perth.

The first headmaster of Wesley College, John Frederick Ward, served from 1923 to 1929. The first class consisted of day scholars from South Perth and surrounding suburbs, and boarders from towns in the Wheatbelt and Great Southern districts. Almost immediately plans were formulated to improve the grounds and add new buildings. A second storey was added in 1927, and, with several new timber single storey buildings, met the need for additional dormitory and classroom space. The work was undertaken by builder A. L. Toms.

A plan of the site in 1936 shows that Wesley College, South Perth consisted of two brick buildings; the original building (Ward) and a single-storey classroom on the location of the western part of Kefford. On the remainder of the site were timber and asbestos buildings.

The second headmaster, James Leonard Rossiter, served from 1930 to 1952. In 1936, Rossiter moved to rental accommodation off-campus, freeing up rooms for school use. However, the school continued to expand and architects Hobbs, Forbes & Partners were commissioned to produce a master plan for the school. The priorities were to provide a headmaster’s residence and a new block containing classrooms, dining hall, and kitchen, with the buildings to face south with an imposing façade overlooking the oval and Angelo Street entrance. The first stage of the plan involved a single storey building containing classrooms, and a dining hall, defining the south and east sides of a central quadrangle, with provision for addition of second storey extensions. The new dining hall and classrooms were opened on 18 September 1937, by Professor Walter Murdoch. A notable feature of the new dining hall was the stained glass window at the southern end, designed by Wesley Old Boy Arnold Camerer. Also during 1937, the new headmaster’s residence designed by Hobbs and Forbes was completed.

The gymnasium (later named the Hamer building) was built during 1940. In the lower level an open undercroft provided a space for boxing contests. This building was designed by architects Eales Cohen and Fitzhardinge.

During 1950, the water tower (a well-known local landmark) was removed to make way for extensions to the gymnasium which comprised new changing rooms at the lower end and a new classroom block at the upper end. In 1950, the oval in front of the main building, which had been rolled and planted by staff and students in 1924, was named J. F. Ward Oval after the first headmaster. The Rossiter Oval was named at the same time after the second headmaster.

The memorial lych-gate and rose garden, commemorating the 55 former students killed during World War II, was opened in July 1953.

The third headmaster, N. R. (Roy) Collins, served from 1953 to 1964 and oversaw future expansion of the college through the acquisition of properties along adjacent streets and the completion of several building projects. The new buildings included a new physics and chemistry labs and undercroft change rooms (1955-56); three new classrooms were added above the old third-year classrooms during 1957-58 (now part of the Kefford wing); a second section of the science building, devoted to biology and manual arts (1958-59) and the Junior boarding house, at the corner of Swan Street and Coode Street, was opened in 1959.
The opening of the Narrows Bridge (1959) and Kwinana Freeway encouraged the development of South Perth, Como, and the surrounding suburbs. New southern suburbs such as Rossmoyne and Booragoon provided a wider catchment area for Wesley College. Students increasingly came from non-denominational families.

Plans for a chapel finally came to fruition with the construction of the Memorial Chapel during 1960. Old Boy and architect, Ross Chisholm won a competition for the design with a building noted for its innovative and contemporary use of concrete ring beams and precast slabs. The chapel was built by L. Lilleyman Pty. Ltd.

In 1962, architects Forbes and Fitzhardinge designed part of the second storey extensions to the existing classroom block which subsequently became the Kefford Wing.

A new Olympic-size swimming pool was opened on 27 April 1963. The pool became available for use by the general public.

Over the summer of 1963-64, three classrooms built during 1926 were demolished, to make way for a new building comprising six classrooms on two levels, at the western end of the main classroom block (named the Kefford Wing in 1998).

The fourth headmaster, Clive Hamer, served from 1965 to 1983.

In 1968, plans were prepared by Forbes and Fitzhardinge for the final second storey addition of the Kefford building. At the same time the covered walkway with concrete pillars was added to the Kefford building. The Trenaman Library was built in 1970, over the old dining hall.

The foundation stone for the Joseph Green Centre was laid on the 13th February 1973. The Centre, comprising an assembly hall, performing arts space, lecture theatre, and Old Boys’ room, opened in 1974 to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary jubilee of Wesley College.

Wesley College became partly co-educational from the late 1970s. In this period the Methodist, Congregational, and Presbyterian Churches amalgamated into the Uniting Church of Australia.

A new preparatory school facing the south side of Swan Street was designed by Tony Brand, of Forbes & Fitzhardinge, and constructed by Cooper & Oxley. It was opened on 25 March 1978 by Premier Sir Charles Court.

Further additions were undertaken to the original building in 1978 the most significant being the addition of the upper level walkway. This design was prepared by architects Forbes and Fitzhardinge.

The fifth headmaster, Roderick Edward Kefford, served from 1984 to 1996.

Over summer 1984 to 1985, squash courts in Tranby boarding house were converted into dormitories. Also in 1985 construction began on the Robert Blanckensee Physical Education Centre which was completed in 1987. The opening of the Blanckensee Centre allowed redevelopment of the gymnasium (built 1940) as senior school classrooms. The
refurbished building, named the Hamer Building after the former headmaster, opened on 2 July 1989.

Four houses, one on Coode Street, and three on Mill Point Road, were demolished in late 1992 to make way for a preparatory school resource centre, which was opened on 10 April 1994 by Premier Richard Court.

By 1995, over a third of boarders were full fee paying overseas students, often from families practising Islam. Wesley College has shifted its client base over its history, from the original students from mainly lower middle-class families
practising Methodism, through to the more affluent families of mixed religious affiliations who moved into the southern suburbs from the 1950s onward, to the multicultural student body of recent decades. The place reflects the broad demographic shifts in the surrounding area.

A new design and technology building was completed in 2004 and in the following year the Memorial Lych Gate was relocated.

The site is constantly being assessed for the school’s future needs and developed in response to these changing needs. The school administrators have sympathy for the heritage buildings on the site and the new buildings on the site have been designed sympathetically to the existing buildings.


High / Moderate




Name Type Year From Year To
Forbes & Fitzharding Architect 1962 1978
J. Hine Architect 1923 1928
Hoobs, Forbes & Partners Architect 1947 1947
Eals, Cohen & Fitzharding (Gym) Architect 1940 1940
J. Flower Architect 1996 1997
Ross Chrissholm (chapel) Architect 1960 1960


Ref ID No Ref Name Ref Source Ref Date
Florey, Cecil. "Peninsular City: A Social History of the City of South Perth" City of South Perth WA 1995
"Cosmopolitan Past for Old Bell Tower" in "Southern Gazette" page page 32 16/5/1995
Historical Notes Provided by Barbara van Bronsijk, Wesley College Archivist 1998

State Heritage Office library entries

Library Id Title Medium Year Of Publication
9547 Honest and unsullied days: a history of Wesley College, Perth. Book 2001

Place Type

Individual Building or Group


Epoch General Specific
Present Use EDUCATIONAL Secondary School
Original Use EDUCATIONAL Secondary School

Architectural Styles

Inter-War Georgian Revival
Post-War Ecclesiastical
Inter-War Gothic
Federation Arts and Crafts

Construction Materials

Type General Specific
Roof TILE Terracotta Tile
Other METAL Other Metal
Wall BRICK Common Brick

Historic Themes

General Specific
SOCIAL & CIVIC ACTIVITIES Community services & utilities
OUTSIDE INFLUENCES World Wars & other wars
SOCIAL & CIVIC ACTIVITIES Education & science
DEMOGRAPHIC SETTLEMENT & MOBILITY Land allocation & subdivision

Creation Date

28 Apr 1989

Publish place record online (inHerit):


Last Update

18 Nov 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.