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Kobeelya, Katanning


Shire of Katanning

Place Number

There no heritage location found in the Google fusion table.


Lot 131 Kobeelya Av Katanning

Location Details

Other Name(s)

Kobeelya Church of England Girls' School
St Michael & All Angels Chapel, Kobeelya Orch

Local Government



Great Southern

Construction Date

Constructed from 1902

Demolition Year


Statutory Heritage Listings

Type Status Date Documents More information
State Register Registered 28 May 2019 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 14 Jun 1999

Heritage Council
Art Deco Significant Bldg Survey Completed 30 Jun 1994

Heritage Council
Municipal Inventory Adopted 25 Jan 1996 Category 1

Category 1

• Possible state or national significance. • Highest level of protection appropriate.

Statement of Significance

Kobeelya was the first significant residence in the town of Katanning, and one of the most up-to-date in the state. It has high social value as it was built for the Piesse family, an important pioneering family in the Great Southern, who were instrumental in the development of Katanning. In its heyday the house entertained and accommodated many important people. It was a prominent landmark when first constructed and had high aesthetic value.

Physical Description

Late-Victorian Italianate style mansion, typical of those constructed for the wealthy at this time. The building is an asymmetrical two-storey design, constructed from brick and corrugated iron, with stucco dressings, pilasters and panels. A second story was added to southeast side of the building (evidenced by different coloured bricks) and later the upstairs verandah with fibro sheeting. In 2001 extensive renovations and conservation was carried out with fire stairs being added and further alterations and additions to the house in January 2002. Most of the outhouses still exist and have been converted into educational/dining facilities.
The roof height is complex with a combination of half-timbered gables, a tower over the entry and tall chimneys. Verandahs have been filled in.
The gardens are mostly grass with palms, cypresses and eucalypts with a gravel drive. The interior is much altered.


Kobeelya was erected for F H Piesse in 1902, as the family's private residence and built to overlook their property and the town. The name, suggested by Sir John Forrest, is an aboriginal word, which means "place of sleep and rest". It originally contained seventeen rooms; bathrooms with hot and cold running water, in-door toilets (septic), seven bedrooms and billiard and ball rooms.
The house is typical of the period with its gabled roof, wide verandahs, many chimneys, bay windows, stained glass windows and side panels, ornate plaster work and polished jarrah floors. The Piesse family crest is featured in the arched stained glass window on the main staircase landing. Kobeelya was also connected to electricity. The bricks were made at the Piesse brickyards.
When the house was completed, there was still the road leading to its entrance which needed developing to Clive Street. However, rather than waiting for the Road Board to do this, Piesse hired "eight men for three weeks to gravel and level it, so that with a fringe of plane trees, it became one of the best roads in the district, and his own personal avenue". [Bignell, p.205].
In January 1915, a large portion of the Kobeelya Estate was subdivided into building blocks (the Kobeelya Orchard Estate), which were quickly purchased.
Kobeelya passed out of the hands of the Piesse family in 1922, when it was bought by the Bunbury diocese of the Anglican Church for £5000. The interior furnishings were sold and the building became the boarding house and schoolrooms of Kobeelya College. This school for girls was opened on 14th September 1922 and was later associated with Penrhos College in Como. Many of the original outbuildings, such as the coach house, were converted into educational facilities and other amenities. A chapel was also erected on the eastern side in 1939. A fairly unique feature of the school was that the girls were able to keep their own horses at the school.
In 1986 the Baptist Church purchased the site for use as a weekend retreat and education/conference facility. The church itself is also located on the site, in the former dining hall for the Kobeelya School.
The Kobeelya site also houses a building called the "Coach House". It was first built to house the coaches belonging to the Piesse family. When the property was converted into a school and started to expand the coach house proved to be a valuable asset. The loft was used for storage of the boarders cases and only a privileged few could climb the loft. The bottom story of the Coach House was used as servants quarters when the Piesse's resided at Kobeelya.
Major renovations began in 1964 at which time the loft was transformed into a sitting room for senior girls. The "Coach House" was also renovated incorporating TV Theatrette, Arts and Crafts Centre and Classrooms.
Refashioning and equipping this building was a gift from Mrs Montague Balston in memory of her daughter - a former pupil. A bronze plaque was also placed. Mrs H.E. House donated a radio gram.
In 1980, the common room moved into the downstairs dormitories and the Coach House was used as a general store room. The building was later used for Sunday School classes.
The Kobeelya Girls Association (ex pupils) now house archives and memorabilia from the Kobeelya Girls School in the Coach House.
A conservation plan was completed on the building and a Lotterywest grant has enabled the re-roofing of the building to be completed.




Name Type Year From Year To
E. Summerhayes Architect 1902 -


Ref ID No Ref Name Ref Source Ref Date
Bignell M; "A Place to Meet: a History of the Shire of Katanning Western Australia". pp.187-188, 205, 288-289 UWA Press 1981
"Newspaper Article". p.10 Great Southern herald; 22/12/1981

State Heritage Office library entries

Library Id Title Medium Year Of Publication
9775 Kobeelya conference centre Katanning, Western Australia. Heritage Study {Cons'n Plan} 0

Place Type

Individual Building or Group


Epoch General Specific
Original Use RESIDENTIAL Two storey residence
Present Use EDUCATIONAL Combined School
Other Use RELIGIOUS Other

Architectural Styles

Victorian Italianate
Federation Free Classical

Construction Materials

Type General Specific
Roof METAL Corrugated Iron
Wall BRICK Common Brick

Historic Themes

General Specific
SOCIAL & CIVIC ACTIVITIES Education & science
SOCIAL & CIVIC ACTIVITIES Community services & utilities

Creation Date

31 Jan 1989

Publish place record online (inHerit):


Last Update

01 Jan 2017


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.