• New era for Sunset Heritage Precinct launched

    Sunset Heritage Precinct was opened to the community for the first time in its 112 year history at a public event on Sunday 27 November.

    The former Sunset Hospital site has been revitalised by the Department of Finance after successfully introducing the Sunset Transformation Strategy to develop the site for arts, cultural and community purposes.

    Sunset is one of Perth's most significant heritage sites and has a rich history dating back to the establishment of the Claremont Old Men's Home in 1904, transitioning into a hospital for both men and women in the 1960s.

    For more than 20 years, the site has been fenced off to the public but now the public and visitors can enter the site, and enjoy the facilities and river views at Perth's newest public open space.

    Sunset Heritage Centre pavilion

    Recent improvements, including landscaping, upgraded public toilets, and barbecue and picnic facilities, have allowed the opening of the grounds for community access. The Premier invited guests and visitors from the local community to walk around the site and enjoy its unique heritage aspects, and view an information display and video.

    Most of the old buildings remain fenced off for safety reasons. Their restoration will form an important part of the next phase in the revitalisation of the Precinct.

    The vision for the Precinct is embedded in celebrating the site’s unique history, while progressively enabling the community to engage in a vibrant new creative arts and cultural facility.

    The completed works to date have been funded by the sale of a small portion of the site to Sultan Ibrahim Ismail of Johor. The Sultan donated additional funding for a new nature playground, featuring recycled timber from the demolition works.

    Sunset Heritage Precinct opening - pavilion and playground
    Left - the pavilion which was converted from the former Catholic chapel; right - the nature playground

    These funds enabled the Department of Finance’s Building Management and Works to deliver:

    • the demolition of non-heritage buildings and walkways, and preliminary works to preserve some heritage buildings
    • the replacement of on-site services (water, fire service, power and sewerage), water tanks and a new car park
    • landscaping to the eastern parkland area and the lookout over the Swan River, as well as extensive planting of native water-wise plants and wildflowers, along with maintaining existing trees.

    The Claremont Old Men’s Home was established in 1904 and housed up to 750 men in the 1930s. It was renamed Sunset Hospital in 1941. Despite a number of proposals for its use, the 7.9 hectare site has been empty and unused since the hospital’s closure in 1995.

    Following the Government’s approval of the Sunset Transformation Strategy in October 2013, the Sunset Reserve Transformation Act 2014 was passed by Parliament in April 2014, allowing the A-class reserve to be set aside as the Sunset Heritage Precinct.

    Sunset Heritage Precinct opening - Padbury View
    Left - a redeveloped riverside road and old ward block; right - the Padbury View
    Published date: 28 November 2016