Francesca and Patrick Irwin from the Midland Society, outside the home, which is considered a good example of a late 19th century villa. Picture: Anita McInnes

Call to preserve home built for the Coopers in 1897

The home is significant for its association with the rapid development of Midland in the late 19th and early 20th century.
January 25, 2024
Anita McInnes

THERE are some concerns a home built in 1897 for one of the first engine drivers for the Midland Railway Company could face the same fate as the former Swan Districts Senior Citizens Centre, which has been demolished due to the implementation of the Midland Oval redevelopment masterplan.

No details about the architect or builder of  29 The Crescent are available.

But the Midland Society said research showed the home was built for Arthur Cooper, whose father was sent from England by the Midland Railway Company to be the constructing engineer and later first manager of that company’s line in Western Australia and from this fact Midland Junction derived its name.

When the home was built the only residential buildings in the town were some terraces on Byers Road, William Street and North Street.

According to information on the City of Swan’s New Junction website the home is a good representative of a villa of the late 19th century designed to a style and scale to meet the needs and aspirations of middle-class residents such as public servants, small business owners, skilled tradesmen and single-widowed women of private means.

“This place has aesthetic value as a good representative example of the application of the materials and details of the Federation Queen Anne style in the late 19th century,’’ the statement of significance said.

The statement also said the home was significant for its association with the rapid development of Midland in the late 19th and early 20th century and its association with prominent community member Arthur Cooper and his family.

“Arthur Cooper was a founding member of the Engine-drivers, Firemen and Cleaners Association and secretary for 24 years.

“He was described as a ‘thorough  unionist’ and at the same time was a provincial grand director of ceremonies for the Masons.”

The Midland Society said it wanted the City of Swan to “wake up” and appreciate the heritage assets remaining in Midland before it was too late.

The old Cooper home does appear to have been nominated as a property for review on the indicative map on the city’s local heritage survey review on Swan Engage.

According to the website the local heritage survey review recognises and records places of potential cultural heritage significance, allowing better understanding of the places contributory to the history of the City of Swan.

Places that are considered of high cultural heritage significance may warrant inclusion on the city’s heritage list.

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