Point Heathcote

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Point Heathcote (Goolugatup in Noongar ) is a geographic feature located on the south east part of Melville Water on Swan River.

It is located in Applecross a suburb of Perth, Western Australia


The area was named after Midshipman G.C. Heathcote, who is said to have been the first European to land there. It was one of the landing and camp sites of Captain James Stirling during his exploration of the Swan River in 1827.[1] Point Heathcote was considered as a site for the capital city by James Stirling, before electing on its current position.[2]

Prior to European settlement, the area was known to the Noongar indigenous people as Goolugatup. It was a permanent camping area, and also used for initiation ceremonies.[3]


Point Heathcote was the site of the Point Heathcote Reception Centre, later known as Heathcote Hospital, for the treatment of patients with mental illness. The buildings were designed under the supervision of William Hardwick, who at the time was Principal Architect of the Public Works Department in Western Australia.[4] The need for a new facility arose due to over-crowding conditions at Claremont Mental Hospital. Following a report on the inadequacies of facilities at Claremont in 1924 a 23 acres site was purchased from the Catholic Church at Point Heathcote. The Point Heathcote Reception Centre was constructed as a 'home for the reception of recoverable patients, and not for senile, epileptic, or mentally deficient patients'. It provided accommodation for 76 patients, 38 of each sex in two separate wards with a central administration block connected to the wards by covered walkways. A two-storey accommodation building, housing 36 nurses, was also constructed on the western portion of the site. In 1928 a 75 ft Water Tower/Clock Tower was designed by the then Principal Architect, John Tait. Point Heathcote Reception Home was completed by early 1929 at a final cost of 55,675 pounds.[5] The Lieutenant Governor, Sir Robert McMillan, officially opened the centre on 22 February 1929.[6]

In 1940 a new treatment block, "Swan House" was constructed on the site, accommodating a further 26 patients. It was designed by the Government Architect, Albert Ernest (Paddy) Clare and constructed at a cost of 15,000 pounds.

By 1994 the function as a hospital had ceased, and various ideas were put forward for the site.[7]

In 2000 the hospital and grounds were redesignated as a heritage precinct.[8]

The land, together with the heritage buildings, is also protected by the heritage agreement, which is registered as a memorial on the land title.[9]

Notable residents[edit]

The late actor Heath Ledger grew up in this neighbourhood; there is a plaque and memorial in his memory on Point Heathcote, placed by his family.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Heritage Council of Western Australia – Interim Registry (accessed:09-03-2007)
  2. ^ Western Australian Museum – Living In The City (accessed:09-03-2007)
  3. ^ "Aboriginal History in the City of Melville". City of Melville. Retrieved 2015-07-19. 
  4. ^ "Heritage Council of WA – Register of Heritage places" (PDF). 2007. Retrieved 2012-05-05. 
  5. ^ "Mental Reception Home at Point Heathcote". The West Australian. Perth: National Library of Australia. 17 November 1928. p. 6. Retrieved 13 February 2013. 
  6. ^ "Official Opening of the Heathcote Mental Home". The West Australian. Perth: National Library of Australia. 23 February 1929. p. 7. Retrieved 13 February 2013. 
  7. ^ Laud, Peter.(1999) "Park of perfection". The Sunday Times, 21 March 1999, Sunday section, p.3-5
  8. ^ Heathcote Heritage Precinct opened by Premier after $6m redevelopment of hospital site Media statement, Premier of Western Australia, P00/39, 19 Mar. 2000
  9. ^ Western Australian Parliament – Heathcote Hospital Site (reservation) Bill 2001 (accessed:09-03-2007)