Old Surrey House & The Priory Group


City of Albany

Place Number



5-11 Thomas St & 55-59 Burt St Mt Clarence & Albany

Location Details

5-11 Thomas St - Surrey House, 55-59 Burt St - The Priory

Other Name(s)

Old Surrey House

Local Government



Great Southern

Construction Date

Constructed from 1841

Demolition Year


Statutory Heritage Listings

Type Status Date Documents
Heritage List Adopted 27 Oct 2020

Heritage Council Decisions and Deliberations

Type Status Date Documents
RHP - To be assessed Current 13 Aug 2004

Other Heritage Listings and Surveys

Type Status Date Grading/Management
Municipal Inventory Adopted 30 Jun 2001 Category A
Local Heritage Survey Adopted 27 Oct 2020 Exceptional

Child Places

  • 15447 The Priory

Statement of Significance

Old Surrey was part of a larger estate that has now been subdivided. This house is on a block over 2300 square metres. Built in 1841 it is one of the oldest residences still occupied in WA. It has aesthetic, historic, rarity and representative heritage significance.

Physical Description

Set on large property with much landscaped garden Livingstone Palm trees in the grounds are some of the old exotic species introduced into the landscape Single storey in part with two storey wing Coarse faced stone walls - painted Wooden framed windows of multi panes some with architrave surrounds of cement render others with quoins Entry door shaded by gabled porch Long rectangular design


Looking at past stories written about Old Surrey leaves the reader wondering about who was responsible for the original cottage, built c1841. Was it James Newell or was it George Weston, who bought the property from Newell very close to the date when the house was supposed to have been first built? Local historians appear divided ont he subject however, either first occupant was still responsible got one of WA's oldest residences. The land on which Old Surrey was built, was definitely granted to James Newell by Sir James Stirling, Governor of the Colony. Newell was one of 14 English labourers from East Anglia who were convicted in 1816 on charges of rioting for a pay rise of one shilling. The labourers were originally sentenced to death but the sentence was commuted to transportation to NSW for 14 years. After travelling to the Swan River Colony and settling in Albany, Newell was granted four acres of land. In 1841 he sold two acres of this land to George Weston, a carpenter, for £20. It is thought the cottage was built soon after this date. Over the generations Old Surrey has had a number of owners which has led to extensions, renovations and other changes that have threatened the built integrity of the home. However, in 1976 a new owner Ray Ellis took on the project of returning Old Surrey to some of its former glory. A 1976 report on the renovation was written by historian and playwright Tom Hungerford who said; The old two storey Georgian style cottage faces a long gentle slope of garden in front and is backed by the climb of the land up through an almost primeval stand of trees and undergrowth thick with wildflowers. It is credited with having been the coach house and servants quarters of the much bigger house, The Vicarage (now known as The Priory), which was built on the other half of the original four acre site and which still stands alongside Old Surrey although sadly modernised. The old dwelling originally consisted, on the ground floor, of an entrance hall, a long low living room and kitchen and outhouses; up the staircase, angled in one corner of the living room, are two irregular shaped attic bedrooms with many paned windows down to floor level. In more recent times two bedrooms have been added to the ground floor. With outer walls of fieldstone and an unobtrusive entrance porch, the additions look as if they might well have been part of the original design. Until less than a year ago this lovely old home had been permitted to fall into a state of almost irretrievable decay.... What Mr Ellis has done.... has turned a 135 year old ruin into one of the show places of Albany.


Integrity: Moderate Modifications: In 1999 the house colour was pink, the paint work covers natural stone walls and Gabled porch




Ref ID No Ref Name Ref Source Ref Date
Albany Advertiser "Real Estate Liftout". 1994
TA Hungerford; "Newspaper Article on Old Surrey.". City of Albany 1976
P Madivgan & L Johnson; "Correspondence based on Oral History Interview with Dr H Copeman-property owner". 1994
Heritage TODAY Site visit and Assessment 1999
PR 8679 "Step Back into History 􀂱 Historical pamphlet produced by owners of Old Surrey". Battye Library 1980

Place Type

Individual Building or Group


Epoch General Specific
Original Use RESIDENTIAL Single storey residence
Present Use RESIDENTIAL Single storey residence

Architectural Styles

Victorian Regency

Construction Materials

Type General Specific
Wall STONE Local Stone

Historic Themes

General Specific

Creation Date

17 Mar 2000

Publish place record online (inHerit):


Last Update

12 Feb 2021


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.