Built in 1871 on the banks of the Canning River, the heritage-listed Woodloes Homestead is the oldest building in Canning and one of the earliest designed homes in the Swan River Colony.
Situated among towering trees, the solid-stone, Victorian-Georgian home was built by pioneer and architect Francis Bird and his wife.
The original owner and architect of the Homestead was Francis Bird – a key figure in the development of the Western Australian timber industry and one of the State’s largest employers. Mr Bird was a partner of the Mason, Bird Timber Company which transported timber from a mill in the Darling Ranges via a horse-drawn railway to Mason’s Landing, just downstream of Woodloes. The company ceased operation in 1882 and Bird left the area, taking up residence at Strawberry Hill Farm in Albany.
However, in 1971 restoration work was commenced by the City of Canning, providing the homestead with a new lease of life as a museum which opened in 1978. Following the extensive renovation of the homestead's exterior, the dedicated and enthusiastic members of the Canning Districts Historical Society restored its interior to reflect the way a well-to-do family would have lived during the early years of the Swan River Colony. The homestead now houses a large collection of colonial and post-colonial artefacts that demonstrate daily life from years past. It also contains a small collection of Bird family material and items from historic Canning.
Tucked away at the rear of Woodloes is the reproduction of the Church with the Chimney. The original Church stood on Albany Highway until 1988 when it was demolished due to the widening of the highway.
Woodloes Homestead is understood to be the oldest existing building in Canning. Known as one of the earliest architect designed homes in the Swan River Colony; it has cultural heritage significance and is listed on the State Register of Heritage Places. Woodloes Homestead is a rare example of example of a dwelling constructed by a wealthy Western Australian family in the Victorian era that is largely intact and maintains its connection with the Canning River.
- 1871 - Woodloes was built
- Home of Francis and Maude Bird
- 1978 - Woodloes acquired by the City and opened as a museum
- 1890 - Original Church with a Chimney was built on Albany Hwy and a reproduction is in the grounds of Woodloes.
Here's a glimpse of what life was like back then
An extract from “Childhood Recollections of Mary Cowle" (nee Bird) Francis Bird’s daughter. Press play to hear teh audio spoken by Kathrine Healy
The Homestead’s underwent conversation work in 2018/19 to replace the 25 year old she-oak shingle roof with a short sheet galvanised corrugated iron roof (which was infact used on Woodloes Homestead in the past). Other work included new gutters, downpipes and improvements to the Homestead’s weather tightness and fire resistance. This work will conserve the building fabric of the Woodloes Homestead preventing further degradation and manage on-going maintenance costs.
Images courtesy of Local History Collection
Opened by the Canning Districts Historical Society on the 1st and 3rd Sunday of each month (closed December, January and February), visitors are able to get lost trawling through memorabilia and Victorian times past. A reconstruction of a local church is also located within the grounds and the whole site is available for wedding ceremonies and similar functions.
Address -39 Woodloes Street, Cannington WA
For more information, contact the Canning Districts Historical Society via firstname.lastname@example.org or 0427 780 490 or visit their Facebook Page.