Freotopia > buildings > Owen's Corner aka Knight's Building

Owen's Corner

55 Canning Highway, East Fremantle, 1896/1901, lot nos 531, 1, corner of Hubble Street: Tom Owen's pharmacy 1910-1943


Tom Owen was born the son of a pharmacist in 1869 in London, and came to Australia at some point, because by 5 September 1893 he was working for Edmund Dean & Co., who had premises in High Street Fremantle.

Before 1896 he had joined the gold rush in Coolgardie and Menzies – not as a prospector, however, but with the intention of setting up a chemist’s/druggist’s store. He came to East Fremantle when things died down on the fields, trading at 55 Canning Road from 1910 until his death.

I find it somewhat surprising that there were two pharmacists operating almost directly across the road from each other. In 1910, when Tom Owen started up, Henry Glanville had been in the pharmaceutical business in his building from 1902.

Heritage Council entry:
Statement of Significance
No 55 Canning Highway is a two storey building constructed of painted brick with an iron roof. The ground floor is a commercial premises with a residence over it. The place has historic and aesthetic value with its contribution to Plympton's commercial strip and associated buildings. It contributes to the local community’s sense of place.
The place is a minor landmark on Canning Highway.
The place has considerable heritage value for its intrinsic aesthetic value as a Federation Filigree commercial premises. It retains a moderate to high degree of authenticity and a high degree of integrity.
AESTHETIC SIGNIFICANCE No 55 Canning Highway has exceptional aesthetic value as a fine Federation Filigree style commercial building. It retains most of the characteristic features of a combined shop and residence of the type and period.
HISTORIC SIGNIFICANCE No 55 Canning Highway has some historic value. It was part of the suburban residential development associated with the expansion of East Fremantle.
Physical Description
The place is a substantial double storied, brick retail store. It has a second storey balcony, with filigree ironwork on the balustrade (not original). The front door is situated on the corner facing the street at a 45 degree angle.
No 55 Canning Highway is a commercial building constructed of brick with rendered details. Low-pitched corrugated iron roofs are concealed by masonry parapets. It is a fine expression of the Federation Filigree style. The street elevations are arranged to accommodate the corner shopfront and display windows. A dominant feature is the skillion roofed verandah that runs along both street frontages. The verandah is detailed with cast lacework. Above the verandah line is a rendered brick parapet with an articulated line that includes one top pediment.
Some walls have been rendered.
The place is consistent with the pattern of development in Plympton and plays an important role in the pattern of development of a working class suburb.
CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS Walls – Brick and render
Roof - Corrugated roof sheeting
Building is located on a prominent street corner, built to its boundaries and has imposing verandahs, which makes it a prominent minor landmark.
Plympton is a cohesive precinct where most of the places were constructed in the late nineteenth century and the first quarter of the twentieth century. It is comprised primarily of homes for workers and their families with a high concentration of small lots with timber, brick and stone cottages. 
Commercial premises were established on Canning Highway and George Street. The George Street commercial strip developed within a decade of the residential development in surrounding streets.


(courtesy of

1909: Watson, Jno
1910-1943: Owen, Tom
1944: Owen, Mrs Stella, & Owen, Mrs Kath E., & Golding, Bm, & Hennessey, Jno M.
1945: Owen, Mrs Kath E., & Knox, Peden Jno, & Hennessey, Jno M.
1946: Hogben, L. & Howlett, Hen Jno M.
1947: Urquhart, Chas
1949: Floky, Banush

References and Links

Bio of Tom Owen by kind courtesy of descendant Anne Jamieson in Texas.

Building details courtesy Heritage Council of WA.

Tenants info courtesy of Streets of East Freo.

Garry Gillard | New: 20 June, 2019 | Now: 3 April, 2024