Premier James Mitchell officiated at the laying of the foundation stone of the first permanent building at the University of Western Australia’s Crawley Campus in 1923.
Today the building is known as the Park Avenue Building but in years past has also been referred to as the Old Zoology Building.
The then Government architect William Hardwick provided the design. It was based on the Neo-Georgian style and included a stone belfry [fleche], columned porches on its east, west and south sides, the use of red brick for the walls, Donnybrook stone for dressings and a roof of terracotta tile.
It was completed and ready for use in the academic year of 1925.(1)
The building was originally intended to accommodate the Departments of Biology and Geology and was consequently known as the Natural Sciences, Biology or simply the Geology Building.
The two Professors who first occupied the building were not overly supportive of its design. The stone belfry was thought to be an expensive and unnecessary addition that resulted in the inconvenience of several stone support pillars dotted through their main laboratories.(2) Despite these early comments, the Department of Geology occupied the building until 1962, and the Department of Biology (later Zoology) remained in this location until 1993.
The building is situated away from the main campus, on the corner of Park and Crawley Avenues. It stands next to St George’s College, is set further up the slope than Tuart House (Festival of Perth Office) with a grove of trees all but obscuring the building from the view of motorists passing on Mounts Bay Road at its front.
The Park Avenue Building is entered permanently into the Register of Heritage Places and is listed as a Heritage Building by the National Trust.(3)
(1) Ferguson, R.J. (1993). Crawley Campus. The planning and architecture of the University of Western Australia. Perth: University of Western Australia Press. p. 12
(2) Somerville in Ferguson, R.J. (1993). Crawley Campus. The planning and architecture of the University of Western Australia. Perth: University of Western Australia Press. p. 12
(3) Facilities Management. (1999).