British Empire and Commonwealth Games Village Precinct (fmr)

Author

Town of Cambridge

Place Number

09107

Location

City Beach

Location Details

Bounded by Dupont Ave, Oban Rd, Tilton Tce, Gifford Gardens, Pandora Dr & the Boulevard

Other Name(s)

Commonwealth Games Village Precinct
Games Village Precinct

Local Government

Cambridge

Region

Metropolitan

Construction Date

Constructed from 1962

Demolition Year

N/A

Statutory Heritage Listings

Type Status Date Documents
(no listings)

Heritage Council Decisions and Deliberations

Type Status Date Documents
RHP - Assessed-Progress Deferred Current 13 Feb 2004

Other Heritage Listings and Surveys

Type Status Date Grading/Management
Category
Municipal Inventory Adopted 17 Dec 1996
Municipal Inventory Adopted 27 Nov 2018 Category 4
Municipal Inventory Adopted 12 Nov 1996

Child Places

  • 26266 Beecroft Park

Statement of Significance

The layout of the former games village has aesthetic value for its gentle curves which accommodate the landform, the generous street frontages of the lots and provision of green public spaces. The layout of the former games village has historic value as an influential example of urban planning in Western Australia that followed new trends of the 1960s which had a significant impact on future planning in metropolitan Perth. The few remaining houses from the original games village have aesthetic value as they demonstrate new trends in residential design in Western Australian architecture in the early 1960's. The few remaining houses from the original games village have historic value for their demonstration of the scale and size of homes considered to be standard in the 1960s.

Physical Description

Empire Village was constructed to house the athletes competing in the Empire and Commonwealth Games. The winning entry for the village considered of curved streets and a central area of natural vegetation. Basic houses were constructed together with temporary buildings including shops and dining hall. The Mess and the central are of natural vegetation are the main elements that remain extant. The central area was converted to a park, Beecroft Park, and the Mess has been converted to a shopping centre. The Road layout remains similar to the 1960s plan. Many of the houses have been redeveloped but the retained subdivision of the land has enabled some of the original character of the area to be retained. Interpretation has been erected both on the parkland and in the shopping centre celebrating the games.

History

In 1958, Perth was announced as the successful bidder to host the 1962 Commonwealth Games. At that time Perth was a modest town with minimal infrastructure or sporting facilities. Planning for the games began swiftly and many new projects were quickly undertaken in readiness for the games. The Games were held in Perth from 22nd November to 1st December 1962. With a new £640,000 aquatic centre, a £500,000 stadium and a village of 150 homes for the athletes, the 1962 Games set a new high standard for the series. At the first Games, held in 1930 in Hamilton, Canada, the athletes' village for the 400 participants was a school next to the stadium, and they slept 24 to a classroom. Perth would in fact be the first host city to build a village especially for the Commonwealth Games. The village as constructed consisted of two areas of housing in the suburb of City Beach, grouped around a central spine which incorporated an area of natural vegetation, recreation hall, dining rooms, administration building & shops. Numerous games village houses remain, though most have been extensively modified. The 'central spine' of the parkland (Beecroft Park) has been retained. The games village was bounded by The Boulevard (south), Dupont Avenue (west), Tilton Road (north) and Pandora Drive (east). The plan was to build a dedicated Athletes Village consisting of 150 new houses in a garden setting that would be converted to private housing post-Games. The northern coastal area had been laid out some forty years previously by Klem and Hope's 1925 master-plan for organic dormitory communities collected around open green spaces and shared facilities. The master-plan's garden-city model was realised in the layout of the Athletes Village with its a sinuous road pattern across the sandy contours of the site, grouping two main zones of housing around a central node of temporary facilities. The design layout for the village was the result of a competition which was won by Mr K Thomas and Mr H Walker. The urban form of the village was very much influenced by post-war British Modernism. Individual blocks were wider and shorter than the traditional suburban lot. A second competition was held to design the Games Village houses and forty West Australian architect submitted a total of 166 designs. The winning design was submitted by Silver, Fairbrother and Associates and the village was constructed using a selection of ten of the competition designs. Silver, Fairbrother and Associates experimented with low maintenance, innovative materials and minimising of construction systems. These modern demonstration homes were met with much public interest and both positive and negative responses. Some cheerfully labelled the scheme Sunlight Village, while others likened the houses to cheap public conveniences and shearing sheds. After the Games, some 20,000 people came to visit the display, and within a few months all houses were sold and subsequently absorbed into the streetscape. But after remaining relatively intact for a number of decades, rising land values and growth in expectations of house sizes and amenities led to many Games Village houses being demolished or severely altered in the 1990s and following decades. In 1962 the Games Village stood in stark contrast to standard subdivision and building practice of the time, but its influence on the subsequent development of City Beach, and the wider City of Perth, is such that it has probably become the most enduring legacy of the Games' building programme. The designs and layout are now familiar, elements of Perth's urban fabric, the current dispersed, character of the city's newer suburbs being strongly grounded in the planning and architectural models exemplified by the Games Village.

Integrity/Authenticity

Integrity: High Authenticity: Moderate/Low

Condition

Good

Associations

Name Type Year From Year To
P. Maidment Architect - -
Cameron, Chisholm and Nicol Architect - -
J. W. Johnson and Associates Architect - -
Bonner and Associates Architect - -
Silver, Fairbrother & Associates (Village Houses) Architect - -

References

Ref ID No Ref Name Ref Source Ref Date
VIIth" Commonwealth Games Official Report." 1962

State Heritage Office library entries

Library Id Title Medium Year Of Publication
10193 Modern Houses: Architect designed houses in Western Australia 1950 tpp 1960. Book 1997
7499 Modernism and the Games village : suburban experimentation at the VIIth British Empire and Commonwealth games, Perth 1962. Journal article 2002
9069 A pictorial record of the VIIth British Empire and Commonwealth games. Book 1962
9124 Fading events and places: the architecture of the VIIth British Empire and Commonwealth Games Village and Perry Lakes Stadium. Book 2003
7496 Perth heritage and the 1962 Commonwealth Games Village. Report 2004
6504 Fading events and places : the architecture of the VII British Empire & Commonwealth Games Village and Perry Lakes Stadium. Book 2003
6516 British Empire and Commonwealth Games Village 1962. Report 2003

Place Type

Precinct or Streetscape

Uses

Epoch General Specific
Original Use RESIDENTIAL Single storey residence
Original Use RESIDENTIAL Institutional Housing
Original Use RESIDENTIAL Conjoined residence

Architectural Styles

Style
Post-War Perth Regional

Construction Materials

Type General Specific
Wall BRICK Other Brick
Roof ASBESTOS Other Asbestos

Historic Themes

General Specific
SOCIAL & CIVIC ACTIVITIES Sport, recreation & entertainment
SOCIAL & CIVIC ACTIVITIES Community services & utilities
DEMOGRAPHIC SETTLEMENT & MOBILITY Land allocation & subdivision
OUTSIDE INFLUENCES Tourism

Creation Date

17 Jul 1997

Publish place record online (inHerit):

Approved

Last Update

24 Nov 2020

Disclaimer

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.