Dumas House was part of the 1955 plan to centralise all WA Government departments near Parliament House, based on the Stephenson-Hepburn Report. Several such plans had been proposed since the late 1920s, but post-World War II State finances and resources were unable to support the proposals. Public Works Department architects G. Finn, E. Van Mens and P. Maidment won a national competition to design the five office buildings that would house the departments. Dumas House was completed in 1965, and was the only building constructed on the site out of the five planned.
It is a big building, and I think a handsome one. But this is not the important point at today's ceremony. As I see it, this building is important not only because it provides essential office accommodation of a good standard essential for workers but because it is a symbol of a great era of progress for Western Australia. It is one of the signs of the beginning of a new age of development - aided by science, aided by an unprecedented inflow of capital funds, aided by great enthusiasm for the harnessing of our enormous resources and spurred on by the enterprise of thousands of people, partnerships, groups and companies from one end of the State to the other. I believe history will look back on the 'sixties as one of the landmarks in the story of our State.
In 1968, the State government scrapped its plans for five office buildings on the site for two reasons: increased traffic caused by the first building was such that the traffic for five buildings would have been unbearable, and politicians believed that five buildings on such a prominent site would give the appearance of 'dominance by the bureaucracy - a "big brother" complex.'
Dumas House is an example of the Post-War International style of architecture, with a modular grid building plan, glazed panelling and an open piazza. The International style was adapted for Australian conditions by adding horizontal slabs that project from the sides of the building and provide shade. The building's construction, including fittings, cost $4,900,000.
The building is owned by the Department of Housing and Works of the Government of Western Australia.
In 1985, consideration was given to the presence of asbestos in the construction of the building. Extensive refurbishment of the building's interior was undertaken in 2012, and façade restoration works in 2015-2016.
The Perth weather radar used to be housed on its roof.
- "Register of Heritage Places Assessment Documentation" (PDF). 8 August 2000. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
- Ian Silver Partnership (1985), Dumas House asbestos treatment : cost indications, 29th November, 1985, The Partnership, retrieved 28 March 2012
- Western Australia. Commission for Occupational Health, Safety and Welfare. Special Working Party on Asbestos in Dumas House (1985), The management of asbestos in Dumas House, Commission for Occupational Health, Safety and Welfare, retrieved 28 March 2012
- "Refurbishment complete at Dumas House". Department of Finance. 12 December 2012. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
- "Facelift for Government office icon". Department of Finance. 2015. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
- "Western Australia Radar Site Information". Australian Bureau Of Meteorology. Retrieved 5 July 2009.