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Corkhill House

Constructed c. 1920, Corkhill House one of two houses on John Street designed by architect Norman Hitchcock. It is sited entirely on Lot 44, but from its construction has taken the adjacent Lot 43 as part of its grounds. [From 1892, the property was jointly owned by Edward Henry Tomkinson (shoemaker) and George Caldwell (carpenter). Caldwell also owned adjacent 10 John Street. From 1906, Tomkinson took full ownership. Post Office Directories do not appear to show anyone resident in this period, and the house is not shown on a c.1913 PWD plan. Rate Books in 1895 mention a three-room brick cottage on site, but this is not shown on plans of either 1897 or 1904.] In 1920, Maurice John Corkhill (master carrier) purchased Lot 44. His soon-to-be wife Mary Delores Hevron purchased the adjacent Lot 43. It is most likely that Corkhill House was constructed c.1920 for the couple. In 1922, just a year after their marriage, Mary Corkhill died, and Maurice took ownership of both lots. From 1931, Lot 43 was transferred to Maurice’s second wife, Katherine (also Catherine) Ethel Corkhill. Maurice was born in 1886, and served in France during World War One. From 1932 he served on the North Fremantle Council, and lived at Corkhill House until at least 1949. Maurice died in 1969, and Catherine became owner of Lot 44, on which the house is situated. In 1978, the place was transferred to Colin Leslie Bennett (Dentist) and Christine Margaret Bennett (housewife). Lot 43 remained on separate title, and passed out of the Corkhill family in the 1960s. Photographs of the place taken in 1978 and 1985 show the front of the verandah walled with full-height timber lattice, and the remaining verandah area to the sides enclosed with fibrous cement cladding and a row of low windows. By the 1990s, the place had been restored, the verandahs opened up, and a single-storey limestone block extension added to the rear. This place was included in the 'North Fremantle Heritage Study' (1994) as a place contributing to the development and heritage of North Fremantle. It was also included in the list of heritage places in the City of Fremantle identified by the Fremantle Society (1979/80) - PURPLE - of architectural and historic significance in its own right.

Edward Tomkinson was a boot manufacturer who was mayor of North Fremantle 1910-12. His business was in Victoria Avenue, and his private residence, called Corkhill House, at 12 John Street. According to the Heritage Council, he owned a vacant property at 5 Hevron Street. He was a JP in 1915.

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Garry Gillard | New: 14 September, 2021 | Now: 12 May, 2023