Tom Collins House - SITE ONLY


Town of Cottesloe

Place Number



9 Servetus St Cottesloe

Location Details

House moved 13/8/96 to Allen Park, Swanbourne.

Local Government




Construction Date

Constructed from 1907

Demolition Year


Statutory Heritage Listings

Type Status Date Documents
State Register Removed 01 Jul 2021 HCWebsite.Listing+ListingDocument

Heritage Council Decisions and Deliberations

Type Status Date Documents
(no listings)

Other Heritage Listings and Surveys

Type Status Date Grading/Management
Municipal Inventory Adopted 30 Sep 1995 Category 7
Register of the National Estate Removed from RNE
Classified by the National Trust Classified 06 Aug 1973

Statement of Significance

The cottage was built by the famous Australian writer Joseph Furphy. It has become one of the most famous literary museums in Australia. The place is also significant for the rare beaten copper panels decorating the fireplace and doors. One of a decreasing number of weatherboard cottages in the metropolitan area.

Physical Description

Dwelling has been relocated to Allen Park in Swanbourne. "Tom Collins' House", A typical worker's cottage of simple design constructed in 1907 with weatherboards and an iron roof. Gable fronted with projecting front room and verandah to the side. This has been partially filled in to create a small entrance foyer. At a latter date the front door was moved to the side entering off the verandah. Triple glazed sash window to front living room with protecting iron sun hood. No decorative trims. Alterations to the interior during the 1930s include a fireplace surround with beaten copper overmantle and plaquettes, and doors with beaten copper panels with motifs based on grapevines, fruiting quandong trees and kangaroo-paws. Unsympathetic brick addition to the rear of the cottage, otherwise high integrity.


One of the first homes to be erected in Servetus Street, Tom Collins House, was built by the famous Australian writer Joseph Furphy (1843-1912) in 1907. Using the pen name of Tom Collins, Furphy wrote the classic Such is Life which was published in 1903. Furphy built the home with the help of a neighbour who was a builder, and planted a fig and mulberry tree which still exist today. After Joseph's, then his wife Leonie's death, their son Sam and wife Mattie moved into the house in the 1930s. Mattie installed the beaten copper fireplace overmantle and door panels she created for her previous home. These have considerable artistic and rarity value. In 1949 the house became the headquarters of the Fellowship of Australian Writers (WA) and literary museum. Tom Collins House has been classified by the National Trust, is listed on the National Estate register and interim listed with the state's Heritage Council.


Integrity fair-good Modifications additions over years - front door realigned to side etc




Ref ID No Ref Name Ref Source Ref Date
Marchant James, R; "Heritage of Pines". 1977
Lang J; "At the Toss of a Coin". Tom Collins Press 1987
Lang J; "The Cottesleo Story". p. 106-108 1977
AHC; "The Heritage of Western Australia: The illustrated Register of the National Estate." p. 13 Australian Heritage Council 1989

State Heritage Office library entries

Library Id Title Medium Year Of Publication
8427 The Furphy family in Western Australia : upwardly mobile in Perth. Journal article 2005
734 Heritage assessment and conservation plan for Tom Collins House. Heritage Study {Cons'n Plan} 1995
87 Tom Collins and his house Book 1973
4437 Post haste the millennium: opportunities & challenges in Local Studies. Proceedings of the 2nd National ALIA Local studies Section Conference. Conference proceedings 1999
88 At the toss of a coin : Joseph Furphy the western link. Book 1987
1195 Tom Collins' house. Heritage Study {Cons'n Plan} 0

Place Type

Individual Building or Group


Epoch General Specific
Original Use RESIDENTIAL Single storey residence

Creation Date

30 May 1989

Publish place record online (inHerit):


Last Update

31 Dec 2016


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