Motor House, Perth


Heritage Council

Place Number



68 Milligan St Perth

Location Details

Local Government




Construction Date

Constructed from 1936

Demolition Year


Statutory Heritage Listings

Type Status Date Documents
Heritage List YES 25 Jul 2016

Other Heritage Listings and Surveys

Type Status Date Grading/Management
Art Deco Significant Bldg Survey Completed 30 Jun 1994
Classified by the National Trust Classified 08 Jul 2002
RHP - To be assessed Current 30 Sep 2016

Statement of Significance

Motor House, Perth, is representative of the emergence of the motor car in Western Australia, and its scale, style, and date of construction demonstrate an unprecedented degree of excitement and confidence in this emerging technology which was still relatively uncommon during this period. It is also a fine representative example of an Inter-War Functionalist building with Art Deco characteristics. The place, designed in collaboration by W.G. Bennett & Messrs Powell, Cameron, & Chisholm, demonstrates the emergence of modern architecture in Western Australia and its application to buildings with a variety of functions.

Physical Description

Motor House, Perth comprises a three storey triangular Inter-War Functionalist style building with Art Deco characteristics, which is constructed of brick, concrete, and steel. The outside walls of the building are rendered in white cement, which has been incised to look like stone work. The saw-tooth type roof is constructed of asbestos corrugated sheeting and is concealed by a deco stepped parapet. Three large openings facing Wellington Street allow vehicle access to the ground floor.


The land on which Motor House, Perth is situated is the former location of St. John’s Church. Tenders for the construction of Motor House, which was described as ‘a two-storey steel and concrete garage’, were received by July 1935 and the offers ranged from £13 650 to £15 583. The lowest offer for tender was provided by Missen and Mills, who had already worked on prominent buildings in Perth such as the Regal Theatre. The design of Motor House, Perth is attributed to W. G. Bennett, shortly after his departure from the firm Heales, Cohen, & Bennett in June 1935, in collaboration with Powell, Cameron and Chisholm. Construction of Motor House, Perth was completed by mid-1936. The place was leased to Edward Lane Courthope, a businessman, and Jesse Olifent, a tradesman, in c.1936. The owner, Seeligson, died on 24 May 1942 at the age of eighty and the beneficiaries of his will were his immediate family. Motor House, Perth continued to be occupied by businesses linked to the automotive industry after it was sold by Seeligson’s family. Land information reveals that the place was then bought by Dunlop in June 1952, possibly as part of a business strategy to compensate for reductions in profit.


The building has been extensively refurbished and remodelled in recent years (1990s). The upper floors have been converted into offices. However, the significant characteristics of the exterior structure and some parts of the interior showing its original purpose.


Name Type Year From Year To
William G Bennett Architect - -
Powell, Cameron & Chisholm Architect - -

Place Type

Individual Building or Group


Epoch General Specific
Present Use COMMERCIAL Office or Administration Bldg
Original Use COMMERCIAL Other

Architectural Styles

Inter-War Functionalist

Construction Materials

Type General Specific
Wall CONCRETE Other Concrete
Wall BRICK Common Brick
Other METAL Steel

Historic Themes

General Specific

Creation Date

23 Jul 2002

Publish place record online (inHerit):


Last Update

01 Oct 2018


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.