Seaside House, Coogee was established in 1931 by the Orphanages Committee of the Anglican Diocese of Perth as a holiday home for children from Homes run by the committee. In 1946 it also became a full-time residential facility for up to 30 primary-school aged children, run as a branch of the Swan Homes and then Swanleigh until Seaside House, Coogee closed at the end of 1968.
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.
Sources used to compile this entry: Information Services, Department for Community Development, 'Table 65: Children and Young People at the William A. Saw Seaside Home, Coogee Beach, Certain Years between 1948 and 1958', Signposts: A Guide for Children and Young People in Care in WA from 1920, Government of Western Australia, 2004, https://signposts.communities.wa.gov.au//pdf/pdf.aspx; Peterkin, A. Roy, The Noisy Mansions : the story of Swanleigh 1868-1971, Perth Diocesan Trustees, Anglican Church of Australia, Midland, Western Australia, 1986. pp.49, 102-103, 141, 170-171, 178-179, 199, 201, 207-208.; Email from Diocesan Archivist, Anglican Diocese of Perth, 30 July 2014; State Records Office Western Australia 'Methodist Home: St Vincent's Foundling Home and Parkerville Home and others: List of foster children and removals, etc.' Series 3172 Cons 1031 Item 1922/1457 v2.
Prepared by: Debra Rosser
Created: 15 March 2011, Last modified: 16 April 2015