Mt Claremont author finds gems in Lost Perth

Lost Perth author Richard Offen. Picture: Andrew Ritchie
Lost Perth author Richard Offen. Picture: Andrew Ritchie

THERE are a treasure trove of gems to waiting to be found in Lost Perth.

Best-selling author and local historian Richard Offen has just released his second book about the city, examining the buildings and institutes that have disappeared into the archives since Federation.

With 18-month-old golden retriever Bonnie happily bouncing around his feet, Mr Offen spoke with Western Suburbs Weekly from his Mt Claremont home.

“My favourite thing about it has been all the discoveries,” he said.

“I tried to use pictures we rarely see.”

Mr Offen spent 13 years as the executive director at Heritage Perth, and said Western Australians were blessed to have the Battye Library as a resource.

In the process of looking for certain shots he would be led down other intriguing paths.

“Perhaps it took me longer going through the shots, but boy it was interesting,” he said.

The author said his favourite lost landmark was Viking House, also called National House, which stood near where the tourist information centre is in Central Park on William Street.

“It was built for the Strelitz brothers, who were honorary consul to Scandinavia,” he said.

Built in 1913, the building came down in 1970.

“It’s very easy to look at history through the wrong end of the telescope,” Mr Offen said.

“In the 1960s, 70s and 80s we all wanted new, snazzy buildings.

“But that happens throughout history and will continue.”

He said Lost Perth was not about lamenting the loss of buildings, but rather celebrating what was there.