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Roma - House


City of South Perth

Place Number

There no heritage location found in the Google fusion table.


182 Canning Hwy Como

Location Details

Other Name(s)

Electricity Substation

Local Government

South Perth



Construction Date

Constructed from 1922, Constructed from 1963 to 1964

Demolition Year


Statutory Heritage Listings

Type Status Date Documents More information
Heritage List Adopted 25 Sep 2018

Heritage Council Decisions and Deliberations

Type Status Date Documents
RHP - Does not warrant assessment Current 23 Feb 2007

Other Heritage Listings and Surveys

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

Statement of Significance

• The place has aesthetic value as a rare and unusual example of a conversion of an industrial building to a residence with many decorative elements reflecting the Italian origins of the owners. Internal details that remain from the original construction may demonstrate the original function of the place.
• The place has aesthetic and social value as a landmark on Canning Highway since the early 1960s.
• The place has historic value for its association with the first automatic tramway substation in Perth built in 1922.

Physical Description

Two storey house located in an open position on the corner of Hensman Street and Canning Highway adding to its prominence in the streetscape. The height of the house is further increased due to the steel balustrade running around the top of the elevations and a centrally located third storey room in the middle of the roof. Rendered light columns are also positioned on the street facing corners of the roof.

The house is of simple presentation with timber framed openings positioned all around the house. Some of the upper level rooms open directly onto the balcony which extends all the way around the front and side elevations. The balcony has the same metal balustrade as the roof. An external stair connects all levels of the building at the rear.

The garden is enclosed by a low concrete wall with pre-cast concrete balustrade which obscured much of the ground level from clear view.

The architectural style is designated as being in the Late Twentieth Century Immigrant’s Nostalgic style.


This building was constructed in 1922 to serve as an electricity sub station for the new South Perth tram route along Fremantle Road (now Canning Highway) which commenced operation in August 1922. In 1922, a local news report described the sub station as a 'Wonder House' because of its 'wonderful mechanism operated by unseen forces'. This automatic traction sub station was the first in Western Australia and operated in response to a series of relays and switches. One of the advantages of the system was the reduction of wages as employees were not needed to be stationed at the premises full time. The South Perth route operated until 1950 and the property was subsequently sold into private ownership.

From the available information the place was transferred to Umberto Cippitelli (c1928-1992) who arrived in Western Australia in 1952 from Italy. He worked as a firewood cutter in Lakewood before settling in Perth. He was joined by his wife Rosa in 1955.

In 1963, an application was lodged with the Shire of South Perth by Cippitelli to convert the property to three flats. The conversion included constructing a tiled pitched roof and inserting a floor into the building to create two floors. The pitched roof did not eventuate and the flat roof was subsequently utilised as a sun room with new balconies on the roof edge. The name 'Roma' originates from this time and the conversion by the Cippitelli family.

Umberto Cippitelli was a part owner of the Belmont Concrete Company and his involvement in that trade is likely to have influenced the choice of materials in the conversion and the decorative details, in addition to the ornamental elements in the garden. The place was later converted to a single residence for the Cippitelli family and continues to be used as a single residence (2018).


Low / Moderate




Ref ID No Ref Name Ref Source Ref Date
The West Australian 25 July 1921
Government Gazette 3 February 1956
City of South Perth Local Heritage Inventory 2015
The Daily News 6 December 1922

State Heritage Office library entries

Library Id Title Medium Year Of Publication
9716 Electricity generation, transmission and distribution in Western Australia: representation on the register of heritage places. Brochure 2007

Place Type

Individual Building or Group


Epoch General Specific
Present Use RESIDENTIAL Two storey residence
Other Use RESIDENTIAL Flats\Apartment Block
Original Use GOVERNMENTAL Power Station

Architectural Styles

Late 20th-Century Imgnts Nostalgic

Construction Materials

Type General Specific
Roof CONCRETE Concrete Slab
Wall BRICK Rendered Brick
Other CONCRETE Concrete Slab

Creation Date

07 Jan 1997

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.