Contemporary design breathes new life into Perth’s historic buildings

  • Five heritage-listed buildings revitalised as part of the $400 million New Museum project
  • Jubilee Building terrace open to the public for the first time in 66 years
  • Stunning mix of old and new takes repurposing of heritage buildings to new level
  • 3,300 jobs created as part of the project, including specialist heritage contractors  
  • For the first time in decades, the beautiful architectural features of some of Perth’s most historic buildings have been reinstated and repurposed, ready once again for Western Australians to enjoy.

    Five historic buildings on the site of the New Museum have been revitalised as part of the $400 million project. The Museum includes the former Perth Gaol (1855-56), the Jubilee Building (1899), Geologist’s Building (1902), Beaufort Street Building (1908), and Hackett Hall (1913).

    As part of the major building works, the interiors of the buildings have been cleaned and restored and beautiful architectural features revealed. All five heritage buildings have been re-roofed with materials that reflect their original design intent: sheoak shingles on the Old Gaol and slate on the other buildings.

    For the first time since 1954, the Jubilee Building’s elegant terrace, with its dramatic open-air colonnade of the Jubilee Building, has been reinstated. 

    The Jubilee Building was designed by renowned WA architect George Temple-Poole to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria. It actually opened in 1899 to house the collections of the State’s cultural organisations including the Museum, Art Gallery and Library.


    The colonnade includes grand archways and decorative columns made from Rottnest sandstone and crafted in the style of Victorian Byzantine architecture.

    Sweeping stone steps leading to the original entrance of the Museum, made from granite from Meckering, have also been restored.

    Information about the heritage and contemporary architecture, and the former uses of the buildings will be shared as part of the site interpretation at the Museum when it opens in November 2020.

    As stated by Culture and the Arts Minister David Templeman:

    “The New Museum shares stories about this State’s past, present and future, not just through its many wonderful exhibitions but through the very fabric of its buildings.

    “Revitalising the important heritage-listed buildings on site brings to life the shared stories of the formation of the Swan River Colony and foundation of Perth, including our early judicial and penal systems, the establishment of our State’s important cultural institutions, and how the development of the colony impacted the traditional owners of the land. 

    “The materials and finishes used on the New Museum are stunning, reflecting the landscape, colours and history of our State.

    “The contemporary building reinterprets and complements the heritage buildings – where there is a mix of stone and brick on the heritage buildings, the new building responds with glass and metal. This is an ingenious, thoughtful and impressive architectural statement for our State and city.”

    As stated by Perth MLA John Carey:

    “The mix of contemporary and heritage architecture within the New Museum is just stunning.

    “This whole project is shaping up to be an enormous drawcard in the heart of the Cultural Centre and will bring thousands of people into the city when it opens.

    “I am looking forward to a reactivated and vibrant precinct in time for festival season 2020-21.”

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