Walcott Centre


City of Vincent

Place Number



3 Walcott St Mount Lawley

Location Details

MI notes address as 399 Lord St Inc Main Building, Nurses' Qtrs (fmr), Detention Ward (fmr), Wood & Metal Workshops & various ancillary bldgs

Other Name(s)

Government Receiving Depot; Child Welfare Rec
Walcott Street Reception Home

Local Government




Construction Date

Constructed from 1921

Demolition Year


Statutory Heritage Listings

Type Status Date Documents
Heritage List Adopted
State Register Registered 14 May 2002 HCWebsite.Listing+ListingDocument, 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 12 Sep 2006 Category A
Register of the National Estate Indicative Place

Statement of Significance

The Walcott Centre is the oldest government run institution providing child welfare services in WA and was the only government receiving home from 1921 to 1984. The place played an important role in the development and implementation of Child Welfare practices by the State Government and has strong associations for the people who lived or worked there. It was the only fully government funded child welfare institution until 1960. Its main buildings are an example of the Federation Bungalow style and are situated in a landscaped setting. A curved galvanised iron security fence on the site is the only known example of its type.

Physical Description

The group of single storey dwellings consist of a Main Building, former Nurses Quarters, former Dention Wards and security fence, and a collection of out buildings including a Wood and Metal Workshop, Woodshed, Workshed, Boy's Flat and Laundry. All the buildings are single storey.The Main Building and former Nurses' Quarters are in the Federation Bungalow style. MAIN BUILDING: This building is brick and tile with a hipped roof. The roof ends in a gable which is rendered with a louvered timber roof vent. One metre of the brickwork is exposed with render above it. The windows are timber framed double hung sashes or fixed pane and awning windows. The main part of the building is rectangular in plan with two wings built off the main section which run north south. Additions to the rear of the building consist of a toilet block and offices. These are constructed from brick and timber frame clad with weatherboard and asbestos respectively. FORMER NURSES' QUARTERS: The original rectangular shaped building has been added to the rear at right angles. The front of the building consists of two rooms with a verandah along the Walcott Street elevation. The original part of the building is timber framed, clad in weatherboards and rough cast render. The verandah is located under a skillion roof. At the rear of the building the verandahs have been enclosed with asbestos panels and louvered windows. WORKSHOPS: These buildings are rectangular in plan and are constructed with bricks, asbestos sheeting and weatherboards. A zincalume shed is attached to the rear of the Metal Workshop. The hippped roofs of both buildings have been replaced with zincalume sheeting. A lean to is attached to the Wood Workshop. WOODSHED: This building is rectangular in plan with a hipped roof. It is clad with metal sheets and has a set of metal double doors. DETENTION WARD: The main building is surrounded by verandahs which are infilled. The original cells are located in the centre of the building, although many of the internal walls have been removed. The original walls are constructed from brick and the newer section is construced with bricks and timber frame clad in weatherboard. FORMER BOY'S FLAT: The building consists of three rooms in an L shape with a verandah on the southern elevation. It is timber framed and clad in asbestos with a corrugated iron hipped roof. WORKSHED: This is a simple timber framed weatherboard building consisting of two rooms. It has a hipped corrugated iron roof and timber floorboards. LAUNDRY: This is a rectangular brick building with rendered panels and brick infill. It has a parapet wall at the eastern and western ends and high timber framed windows. The roof is gabled and a steel framed verandah is located on the north and west ends. DEMOUNTABLE: A demountable building is used by the TAFE and is a typical cement sheet clad demountable classroom. The group of buildings are set back from the road and are located in a landscaped setting. The site covers an area of 1.0547 hectares and is located on the north west corner of the intersection of Lord and Walcott Streets. The buildings have been altered in different degrees.


The subject place, now known as the Walcott Centre, was variously called the State Children's Receiving Home/Depot, Government Receiving Home/Depot and Mount Lawley (Children's) Receiving Home Depot. Under the 1874 Industrial Schools Act the State could care and educate orphans and destitute children and place juvenile offenders in institutions other than prisons, such as Industrial Schools. These schools came under the Public Charities Department under 1907 when the State Children's Department was formed. The first Government Receiving Depot was established at Subiaco. It was relocated to West Perth when its buildings were converted for the King Edward Memorial Hospital. Following a Royal Commission in 1919 into conditions at the West Perth facility (which was described was 'unsuitable' and 'undesirable'. The State Government had started to build a new facility in Lord/Walcott streets for the Government Receiving Depot. This was to house children waiting for entry to a Child Welfare Institution or were in juvenile detention. The Government Receiving Depot was the only place which dealt with the Child Welfare Department delt with admission and the discharge of wards of the state, foster children, orphans, destitute and delinquents. By 1932 children were also taken into care if their mothers could not care for them while they were in hospital. The centre dealt with approximately 700 admissions and discharges annually and there was an average of 40 children in residence at the centre at a time. The ages ranged from a few days' old to 17 years of age. The detention wards housed juveniles awaiting trial in the Children's Court, delinquents and uncontrollable children. These wards were separated from the other children's wards and were often unoccupied as the juveniles were often granted bail. The State Children's Department's Annual Report for 1922 stated: 'The new buildings have been occupied for 12 months and the change from the old site has proved beneficial in many directions, and has undoubtedly tended to reduce the morality amongst amongst the young infants. The location of the Detention Wards adjacent to the main building had reduced overhead charges. The matron has the power to grant bail, and this is being freely exercised when there is no serious objection. In 1926 substantial works were carried out on the buildings. By 1929 when the establishment was listed in Wise's Post Office Directories for the first time (under the Walcott Street address) the Matron was Isabella J. Borwick. By that stage the depot had become very overcrowded. In the 1930s some public buildings were neglected as a result of the Depression but a program of maintenance works was started in 1937. In the 1930s the Depot had 14 staff including a matron, three nurses, four female attendents and one male attendant, a male clerk, a cook, laundress, seamstress and a gardener. The seamstress, along with the older girls, made clothing for the children to be given to foster parents. From 1934 what were then considered 'backward' or sub-normal' children were sent there and a kindergarten commenced. School-aged inmates attended Maylands Primary School or Mount Lawley Senior High School. In 1938 it was reported that the Depot was able to house 64 children- 16 babies, 31 children aged two and up, 9 beds for girls aged fourteen and up and 8 beds in the detention ward. Matron Borwick retired that year. In 1949 the last year of the Directories the Matron was Miss Vera Gill. An article in the Daily News the following year (26 January 1950) reported that it was known to its neighbours as the 'gaol in the city'. The vewi from the street was of 'barred windows, cyclone wire enclosures, high picket fencing and barbed wire'. Between 1955 and 1957 additions and alterations were made to the buildings. In 1955 the dormitory building was configured so that the nursery and girls were located on the east wing. The west wing was the boys' side, the kitchen, dining room and scullery were located in the south wing and the north wing was the matron's room, sewing and clothes room. The intersection of these wings was an open play area. The nurses' quarters were located in a separate building to the north-west of the main building. From the late 1950s the name changed to the Child Welfare Reception Home. Then between the 1960s and the 1990s changes in the structure of the government departments changed the use of the Walcott Centre. In 1960 the Child Welfare Department built other facilities to house State Wards. Due to this the amount of children reduced in the Child Welfare Reception Home. Children between the ages of three and eighteen only stayed at the Reception Home for a short time (one to eight days) while waiting for a permanent placement. The other facilities housed children for longer time periods. In the late 1960s and 1970s a special education programs were introduced and a school was recognised by the Education Department in 1975. Changes in Departmental practices also meant that during the 1970s Aboriginal children made up between one third and one half of the children at the Reception Home. Extensive renovations were carried out in 1971 and 1972. In the 1970s training programs were established to help find employment for those wards of an employable aged. Those who worked whent to their jobs daily and returned in the evenings. In 1980 the name was changed to the Walcott Centre to reflect the change in the focus of the facility towards the corrective management of children. In 1984 two Community Service Programs (C-BOP) were relocated to th Centre and it no longer catered for residents. Until 1993 it was the headquarters for the C-BOP Offenders Program, a new government initiative which coordinated work programs for juvenile offenders. In the early 1990's part of the east wing was used by Worksyde, ann employment and training support program funded by the YMCA and Ministry of Justice. Some changes were made during this tiem. it is currently (2008) vested with the Ministry of Justice and offers rehabilitation and counsellling to juvenile and adult offenders. Two workshops are used for community programs and part of the east wing is occupied by the Court Diversion Service for those with drug problems. The nurses' quarters have not been used since a fire in the 1990's. In 1987 the land comprising the compound area and western car park was acquired by the Mount Lawley TAFE campus, with some of the Walcott Centre buildings used as classrooms. A fence divided the two areas. TAFE also took over the laundry building and the detention ward for classrooms circa 1990. In 1997 the latter was substantially renovated. Other subsequent changes in the TAFE portion included a demountable building and other associcated amenities. The subject place was entered on the State Register of Heritage Places Permanent List on 14 May 2002. Some further alterations took place in 2006, which included an addition to the workshop and a security upgrade. Further works were planned for the period 2008 to 2010.




Name Type Year From Year To
Public Works Department Architect - -

State Heritage Office library entries

Library Id Title Medium Year Of Publication
5269 Walcott Centre (Government Receiving Depot fmr), Mount Lawley : Conservation Plan / prepared for CAMS on behalf of the Ministry of Justice, June 2001 : Heritage and Conservation Professionals. Heritage Study {Cons'n Plan} 2001

Place Type

Individual Building or Group


Epoch General Specific
Original Use GOVERNMENTAL Other
Present Use RESIDENTIAL Institutional Housing
Present Use GOVERNMENTAL Other
Original Use RESIDENTIAL Institutional Housing

Architectural Styles

Federation Bungalow

Construction Materials

Type General Specific
Roof METAL Zincalume
Wall TIMBER Weatherboard
Roof TILE Terracotta Tile
Wall RENDER Roughcast
Wall STONE Limestone
Roof METAL Corrugated Iron
Wall BRICK Common Brick
Wall BRICK Rendered Brick

Historic Themes

General Specific
SOCIAL & CIVIC ACTIVITIES Community services & utilities
PEOPLE Aboriginal people

Creation Date

04 Aug 2000

Publish place record online (inHerit):


Last Update

02 Jan 2018


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.