City of Fremantle

Place Number



12 John St North Fremantle

Location Details

Local Government




Construction Date

Constructed from 1920

Demolition Year


Statutory Heritage Listings

Type Status Date Documents
Heritage List YES 08 Mar 2007

Heritage Council Decisions and Deliberations

Type Status Date Documents
(no listings)

Other Heritage Listings and Surveys

Type Status Date Grading/Management
Municipal Inventory Adopted 18 Sep 2000 Level 1B

Parent Place or Precinct

22385 North Fremantle Precinct

Statement of Significance

Corkhill House is an unusual brick and iron single storey house dating from the 1920s. The place has aesthetic value for its contribution to the streetscape and the surrounding area and its landmark qualities. It is representative of the more affluent building stock located within the residential areas of North Fremantle. The place is an example of architecture from the Inter War period with influences from the Victorian Rustic Gothic style of architecture.

Physical Description

Corkhill House is a single storey brick and iron cottage designed in the Inter War period with influences from the Victorian Rustic Gothic style of architecture. The façade is asymmetrical. The roof is steeply pitched hipped and gabled corrugated iron. Gable ends have decorative barge boards. Walls are diachrome brick in contrasting colours (red and ochre brick). The side elevations are of limestone with drawn lead pointing and brick reveals and quoins. The house is on a limestone foundation. The verandah is under a separate bullnose corrugated iron roof, supported by chamfered timber posts with filigree iron frieze. The basic plan L-shaped plan is punctuated by additional bays both of which are emphasised by gables; one which forms the entrance to the house, the other at 45 degrees accentuates the hip line of the main roof of the house. These two gables have typically Hitchcock detailing; with timber icicle barges and elaborately turned finials. The gable on the front facade is more conventionally detailed with simple timber batten decoration. The gable on the western side elevation is devoid of decoration. The verandah sweeps around the building within the arc of the L-shaped plan. The brick chimneys with elaborate Italianate stucco corbelling has the half-moon baffles which were one of Hitchcock's trademarks. The faceted bay to the front room on the southern elevation is pierced by three timber sash windows, with projecting masonry sills. The entrance bay houses an elaborately carved front door with stained glass panels, including the sidelights and transom windows. The 45 degree bay, which front the front room is rectilinear in form, has paired timber sash windows with a single projecting sill.


John Street was the main road surveyed through the parcel of land granted to Lt. Con. John Bruce in 1857. The land remained undivided and undeveloped until after John Bruce’s death, when his widow arranged for it to be auctioned as residential lots. A land sale was held in October 1890 to dispose of the estate of John Bruce. A large attendance resulted in all 88 lots being sold, for sums ranging from £21 to £102, at an average price of £33/16/0, well above the anticipated price. Towards the end of 1891, the new owners approached the Fremantle Council requesting that scrub be cleared so that they could access their blocks, and it is likely that this is when John Street, which had been marked on survey diagrams from at least 1833, was actually created. The area at this time was known as ‘Brucetown’. Pensioner Road, which ran from Stirling Highway (then Bruce Street) to the ocean and beach along the route of current Tydeman Road between Stirling Highway and the railway, and continuing beyond this point at the same angle, was renamed John Street in the late 1890s, being the continuation of the current John Street. This name remained until towards the end of the twentieth century, when roads were realigned to accommodate the expansion of Fremantle Port, and the current alignment of Tydeman Road was constructed. The present John Street, from Stirling Highway to the Swan River, developed as a predominantly residential area, with the exception of the Gresham Hotel (to 1934) and the North Fremantle Oval (later Gilbert Fraser Reserve). At the western end of the street a number of prominent homes were built, while the eastern end was characterised by workers cottages. Long residential blocks on the south side of the street, east of the oval, had a number of cottages built along their rear boundary, facing the water. These were reported to have flooded frequently. The street overall fell into disrepair in the decades following World War Two, with many of the larger residences used as boarding houses and the cottages rented out. Many German and Polish migrants took up residence in this period. From the 1980s, gentrification of the area began, with older places either being restored or demolished to construct higher density housing. In the 1990s, most of the older houses at the eastern end of the street were demolished to allow for new waterside developments, most notably Pier 21. Constructed c. 1920, Corkhill House one of two houses on John Street designed by architect Norman Hitchcock. It is sited entirely on Lot 44, but from its construction has taken the adjacent Lot 43 as part of its grounds. [From 1892, the property was jointly owned by Edward Henry Tomkinson (shoemaker) and George Caldwell (carpenter). Caldwell also owned adjacent 10 John Street. From 1906, Tomkinson took full ownership. Post Office Directories do not appear to show anyone resident in this period, and the house is not shown on a c.1913 PWD plan. Rate Books in 1895 mention a three-room brick cottage on site, but this is not shown on plans of either 1897 or 1904.] In 1920, Maurice John Corkhill (master carrier) purchased Lot 44. His soon-to-be wife Mary Delores Hevron purchased the adjacent Lot 43. It is most likely that Corkhill House was constructed c.1920 for the couple. In 1922, just a year after their marriage, Mary Corkhill died, and Maurice took ownership of both lots. From 1931, Lot 43 was transferred to Maurice’s second wife, Katherine (also Catherine) Ethel Corkhill. Maurice was born in 1886, and served in France during World War One. From 1932 he served on the North Fremantle Council, and lived at Corkhill House until at least 1949. Maurice died in 1969, and Catherine became owner of Lot 44, on which the house is situated. In 1978, the place was transferred to Colin Leslie Bennett (Dentist) and Christine Margaret Bennett (housewife). Lot 43 remained on separate tile, and was passed out of the Corkhill family in the 1960s. Photographs of the place taken in 1978 and 1985 show the front of the verandah walled with full-height timber lattice, and the remaining verandah area to the sides enclosed with fibrous cement cladding and a row of low windows. By the 1990s, the place had been restored, the verandahs opened up, and a single-storey limestone block extension added to the rear. This place was included in the 'North Fremantle Heritage Study' (1994) as a place contributing to the development and heritage of North Fremantle. It was also included in the list of heritage places in the City of Fremantle identified by the Fremantle Society (1979/80) - PURPLE -of architectural and historic significance in its own right.


High degree of integrity (original intent clear, current use compatible, high long term sustainability, restored). High degree of authenticity with much original fabric remaining. (These statements based on street survey only).


Condition assessed as good (assessed from streetscape survey only).

Other Keywords

The Fremantle MHI management category for this place was amended and adopted by the decision of Council on 28/09/2011.

Place Type

Individual Building or Group


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

Construction Materials

Type General Specific
Wall BRICK Face Brick
Roof METAL Corrugated Iron
Wall STONE Limestone

Historic Themes

General Specific
DEMOGRAPHIC SETTLEMENT & MOBILITY Land allocation & subdivision

Creation Date

20 Jul 2011

Publish place record online (inHerit):


Last Update

22 Mar 2019


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.