The Seaside House at Coogee was purchased for £641 by the Orphanages Committee of the Anglican Diocese of Perth in 1931. The building had previously been the Coogee Hotel, situated on 1.6 hectares of land 100 metres from the safe swimming beach at Coogee. It was a brick and stone building, with fourteen rooms, verandahs, a fresh water well, pumping plant and some outbuildings. A small shop, leased by a shopkeeper, was included in the sale. Staff and boys from the Swan Boys' Orphanage worked on renovations and it was first used for holidays by the Perth Girls' Orphanage in December 1931. Boys from the Swan Boys' Orphanage slept in the sandhills during that holiday period but in following years the girls' and boys' orphanages each had a three-week period in the Seaside House. This continued annually until 1959. Around 1950, the facility was re-named the 'Willie A. Saw Seaside Home' after the death of a long-standing member of the Anglican Orphanages Committee, William Saw. Generally, however, this long title was not used.
On 28 March 1946, the Seaside House became a full-time residential facility, operating as a branch of the Swan Homes. The 'elderly' Mrs Ellen Logan, Miss Beatrice Fletcher, two 'trainee girls' and 25 children were the first residents. Children from Coogee who could not be privately accommodated during the summer holiday period were sent to the Swan Homes in Midvale so that the Swan Homes children could continue to have their summer holiday at Coogee.
The Seaside House underwent renovations in 1946-1948, with a new ablution block and laundry wing, play-shed and storeroom added; the kitchen and dining rooms upgraded; and new stove and hot water systems installed.
In the 1950s, 20-25 children lived at the Seaside House which, after the death of Mrs Logan in 1951, had been managed by husband-and-wife couples.
In 1960, Coogee became a branch of the newly-named Swanleigh. In that year, three child migrants from the UK were sent from Swanleigh to Coogee. In 1963 a group of primary-school boys from Swanleigh were sent to Coogee, making more space on the Swanleigh campus for teenage girls .
Admissions to Coogee were falling by the 1960s and when the Main Roads Department indicated that it would need to reclaim the land for the Kwinana Freeway, a decision was made to close Coogee, rather than rebuild or relocate, at the end of 1968. The children were transferred to Parkerville Children's Home and Swanleigh.
During the years at Coogee, there were accidents and deaths. Noisy Mansions, a history of the Anglican Homes, records that a boy died from burns when he fell into an ash pit at the nearby meatworks, and a girl was run over and killed by a car.
21 October 2022
Cite this: http://www.findandconnect.gov.au/guide/wa/WE00244
First published by the Find & Connect Web Resource Project for the Commonwealth of Australia, 2011
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