Sunset Heritage Precinct
Sunset Hospital is located at Birdwood Parade, Dalkeith
On 27 November 2016 the Sunset Heritage Precinct was opened to the public, including picnic areas, nature playground and the Padbury View of the Swan River.
In October 2013 the State Government announced the Sunset Transformation Strategy outlining a staged restoration of the 8.2ha former hospital site in Dalkeith, which has essentially been vacant since its decommissioning in 1995.
The transformation strategy will guide the development of the site. The significant heritage buildings will be retained and progressively restored for arts, cultural, community and ancillary commercial purposes.
First established in 1904 as Claremont Old Men’s Home, Sunset was built to house men who were once agricultural and pastoral workers, gold prospectors or former convicts unable to support themselves in their old age.
The site was chosen to remove the men from otherwise uncongenial circumstances with the surrounding bushland fostering a spirit of restful contentment.
The original buildings were based on a Federation ‘Arts and Crafts’ style of architecture defined by open spaces allowing the movement of fresh air, while verandas provided shade.
During the depression of the 1930s, the Home was swamped with a record 750 old men accommodated. In 1941 a competition was held among the residents to rename the home, and the winning name Sunset was adopted. It wasn’t until 1965 that women were welcomed as residents.
In the mid 1960s, Sunset was classed as a public hospital, which continued to operate until 1995. The whole place was entered on the State Register of Heritage Places in 1997, and 11 of the 13 main buildings across the site have been identified to hold significant heritage value.
The vision for the Sunset Heritage Precinct is embedded in celebrating the site’s unique history, while progressively enabling the community to engage in a vibrant new creative arts and cultural facility.
This will be staged with Sunset’s historically significant buildings being progressively restored to transform the precinct into a collaborative, engaging community space.
Given the unique positioning of the Sunset Heritage Precinct, the site has the potential to evolve into a cultural artistic hub showcasing Western Australia’s creative talent on the national and international stage.
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