Place: Sunset Hospital, Perth
Threat: Inappropriate Redevelopment
Significance of Place
The Sunset Hospital complex is one of the largest early 20th
century public health facilities in Western Australia . The collection of buildings remains intact
and retains a high degree of homogeneity. This unique riverside complex is
a fine example of a 1904 residential institution designed to refl ect the
perceived needs of inmates needing palliative care in Western Australia .
There was a long association with the local
residential area, and this, combined with its role in the development of social health
and welfare of the aged for over a century, means the site has strong social significance. The buildings of the Sunset Hospital complex, together with the natural spaces
surrounding them, form a landmark historic precinct.
Site planning, in a military vernacular,
represents a common mode for institutions of this type, while its subsequent modifi cations illustrate the changing role of the complex - as
the community in Perth developed, and the Health Department evolved,
so to did the function of Sunset Hospital .
Description of Threat
In June 2003 the State Government released a
Concept Plan for the Sunset Hospital complex, for a 12-week public comment period.
It proposed the sale of 35 lots for residential purposes, approximately 18% of the site. The sale of any part of the site would compromise its
heritage signifi cance as a complex of buildings and open space.
Many local residents submitted objections to
the proposal, and in February 2004 the Minister for Housing and Works announced its intention to create a business plan for the place, to
options and further examine possible future uses for the site. In the meantime, the building remains unoccupied, with no satisfactory
conclusion resolved about its future.
Although the state Government, acknowledges
the heritage signifi cance of the place in the Concept Plan released last year, it has not yet presented a plan compatible with those
values, nor committed to
or even properly considered the possibility of preservation of the site as a whole. The National Trust of Australia (WA) acknowledges the
complexity of the issues and the considerable challenge faced by the government in reaching a satisfactory outcome. It is essential that a
compatible re-use is found as soon as possible, and that planning decisions relating to the place refl ect its heritage
To mark the Trust’s concern regarding the
future of this site, the Hospital has been re-nominated this year as an Endangered Place .