Government House of Western Australia was built at 13 St George’s Terrace (Stirling Gardens) in 1834, replacing an earlier building to the east of the present building, which had been designed by Henry Reveley (1788-1875), a civil engineer, who came to the colony with Admiral Sir James Stirling RN (1791-1865). Stirling founded the Colony of Western Australia as the Swan River Colony, with Perth as its capital. He was proclaimed as the State’s first Lieutenant Governor in June 1829 and as Governor in 1831. The first Government House was demolished in 1880.
The present Government House was designed in 1858 by Lt-Colonel Sir Edmund Henderson, RE (1821-96), Comptroller of Convicts. Its first occupant was Governor John Hampton (1806-69), between 1862 and 1868. He arrived there with his wife and son in 1863.
Perth’s Government House is not large by normal Vice-Regal standards, but it gives an impression of spaciousness. It has 16 rooms on the ground floor and 25 on the first floor. The building is largely on a mixture of the Jacobean and Gothic style, popular in Victorian times. A banqueting hall was added in anticipation of the visit of Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh (1844-1900), in 1869. The house was finally completed with the addition of a ballroom on the western façade, designed by Hillson Beasley (1855-1936), an English architect, in 1899. It remains the office and official residence of the Governor of Western Australia to the present day.
Trees have been planted in the gardens by many royal visitors, a kauri tree by the Prince of Wales in 1920, and a gum tree and weeping fig tree by the Duke and Duchess of York in 1927. The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh first visited at the end of their Australian tour in 1954, and most recently in 2011 for the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting.
The first marker of the Perth Commonwealth Walkway was unveiled outside Government House by the Governor, H.E. the Honourable Kerry Sanderson, on 19 April 2018.
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