hawke west leedervile
Bob Hawke’s parents owned the property until 1981. Image – realestate.com.au and Wikimedia Commons.
  • Bob Hawke lived at the West Leedervile house for 14 years
  • House was purchased by the state government last year for $1.45M
  • Will continue to remain under a residential lease

The Western Australian Government has announced the childhood home of Bob Hawke, Australia’s longest-serving Labor Prime Minister, has been officially added to the State Heritage Register.

Although born in Bordertown, South Australia, Mr Hawke spent much of his childhood and early adult years in Perth, residing in the 1920s-built red brick and tile house for 14 years.

He lived here while attending Perth Modern School and the University of Western Australia prior to furthering his education at Oxford University in England as a Rhodes Scholar.

Records show the three-bedroom house was built in 1929 – the same year the future PM was born – and has had only three owners in its 90-plus years. His parents remained at the house until 1981, two years before he beat Liberal PM Malcolm Fraser in the 1983 election.

Last year, the state government purchased the Tate Street, West Leederville house for $1.45 million – double what the federal government indicated they would be willing to spend on purchasing the home.

The Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage formally own and maintain the 612sqm property, which will remain under a residential lease.  Records show the property was listed for $550 a week back in October 2019.

The house has remained largely unchanged since the Hawke family’s tenure with Australian themed stained-glass windows, timber joinery, a rear sleepout, an outhouse and an outside laundry.

hawke garden
Image – realestate.com.au

A regular visitor to the house was his uncle Bert Hawke, who was the WA Premier from 1953 to 1959.

“This unremarkable suburban house belonging to a lower-middle-class family was home to one of the most powerful political leaders in Australia,” said Heritage Minister, David Templeman.

“The house is a rare residence and is one of only two registered places closely associated with an Australian Prime Minister, with strong links to Western Australia, reflecting an important chapter of our State and National social and political history.

David Templeman, Heritage Minister

“It is an impeccably intact, single storey brick and tile home of the Inter-War era; a period of great political, economic and social change between the post-war economic prosperity and the ensuing Great Depression.”

Christine Tonkin, Churchlands MLA, added she is delighted the home will be preserved for future generations to admire.

“Recognising Bob Hawke’s association with the West Leederville community in this way provides inspiration for a new generation.

“Bob Hawke came from a lower middle-class background to become a great Prime Minister. May many more young people follow Bob’s path through the back streets of West Leedy and on to making their contribution to bettering our society and economy.”

Christine Tonkin, Churchlands MLA

The only other Australian Prime Minister to have been based in Western Australia – John Curtin – also has his family home in Cottesloe owned by the government.

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