ECU takes stand to save former home of Edith Cowan

Trevor Todd and a portrait of Edith Cowan.
Trevor Todd and a portrait of Edith Cowan.

EDITH COWAN University (ECU) has taken a stand to save the former home of the University’s namesake.

The property, which is owned by members of the Cardaci family – owners of Centurion transport – is set to be demolished to make room for a seven-story hotel development.

Edith Cowan and her husband James built the 130 year-old building at 31 Malcolm Street, West Perth.

The Cowans spent many years living in the home in three periods between 1883 and 1919.

An approval application was lodged with the City of Perth by Ferguson Architects and was considered by the City’s design advisory committee in July.

ECU Vice-Chancellor Steve Chapman is writing to Heritage Minister Alfred Jacob and the Heritage Council today, calling on the State Government to save the historic building.

Prof Chapman said: “ECU supports efforts to recognise the heritage value of the family home Edith Cowan built at 31 Malcolm Street West Perth”.

“Edith Cowan worked tirelessly to improve conditions for women, children and the poor and she believed education played a key role in this improvement.

“She was also Australia’s first female Parliamentarian. As such, her home has immense historical, social and cultural value to Western Australia and it should be retained,” he said.

“ECU takes this view following our decision to help save Edith Cowan’s cottage at 71 Malcolm Street from demolition and it’s relocation in 1996 to our Joondalup Campus.”

Labor heritage spokesman David Templeman has said the building should be saved, or at least retained within the proposed $10 million hotel development.

The Cowans’ second daughter was born in the West Perth home, and it was the scene of much of Mrs Cowan’s work for returned soldiers that subsequently saw her awarded an Order of the British Empire.

The building had not previously been listed under the State or City of Perth heritage regimes.