Goolugatup Heathcote nagolik Bibbulmen Nyungar ally-maga milgebar gardukung naga boordjar-il narnga allidja yugow yeye wer ali kaanya Whadjack Nyungar wer netingar quadja wer burdik  ∞  Goolugatup Heathcote nagolik Bibbulmen Nyungar ally-maga milgebar gardukung naga boordjar-il narnga allidja yugow yeye wer ali kaanya Whadjack Nyungar wer netingar quadja wer burdik  ∞  Goolugatup Heathcote nagolik Bibbulmen Nyungar ally-maga milgebar gardukung naga boordjar-il narnga allidja yugow yeye wer ali kaanya Whadjack Nyungar wer netingar quadja wer burdik ∞


Goolugatup Heathcote nagolik Bibbulmen Nyungar ally-maga milgebar gardukung naga boordjar-il narnga allidja yugow yeye wer ali kaanya Whadjack Nyungar wer netingar quadja wer burdik.

Goolugatup Heathcote, part of the City of Melville, acknowledges the Bibbulmun people as the Traditional Owners of the land on which we stand and pay respect to the Whadjuk people, and Elders past, present, future.

We have an ongoing commitment to reconciliation, and operate under the City of Melville's Stretch Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP). Read about the key achievements of this plan at the below link.

Reconciliation Action Plan

Goolugatup is a Noongar word meaning the place of the children. The area was a permanent lookout, fishing and camping ground for the Noongar Beeliar people particularly Midgegooroo, Yagan and Mundy. There are alternative names for the site, such as:

– Kulungar Kaart Up. Meaning place of children; children's place for knowledge. From Kulungar (children), Kaart (head or hill/top), Up (place)
– Kulungar Kuditj. Meaning children's learning place. From Kulungar (children), Kuditj (knowledge), Up (place)
– Kooya Moolya/Mooly Up. Meaning place of the frog nose. From Kooya (frog), Noolya/Mooly (nose), Up (place)

From the 1840s the area was used for grazing horses and cattle, and then as a holiday retreat. In 1929 it became the site of a new mental health facility named Point Heathcote Reception Home. The facility closed in 1994 and

Goolugatup was one of the landing and camp sites of Captain James Stirling during his survey of the Derbal Yerrigan (Swan River) in 1827. Stirling intended to assess the potential of the district for colonial settlement. The area was named Point Heathcote after one of Stirling’s crew members, Midshipman G.C. Heathcote, who is said to have been the first European to set foot here.

The area was initially used by settlers for grazing horses and cattle, during the mid 1890s, Mr Alexander Matheson subdivided the surrounding area for residential development. However, Goolugatup Heathcote remained as bushland. In 1918 the Catholic Church Christian Brothers purchased the land with the intention of establishing a boy’s school. The land was used as a holiday retreat until 1923.

In the 1920s a need for a new mental institution in Perth had arisen, due to an increasing number of patients and the deteriorating conditions at the Claremont Mental Hospital. Eight hectares of Goolugatup land was purchased from the Catholic Church in 1923. In 1929 a mental health facility was built on the site – and named the Point Heathcote Reception Centre. The site was considered to be most suitable for patient recovery, through offering a peaceful natural setting with beneficial sea breezes.

The Point Heathcote Reception Centre marked a new attitude towards mental health. It broke away from the traditional way of treating and housing the mentally ill. The site was developed to be harmonious and aesthetically pleasing. It offered both communal and private spaces for patients and staff. The Centre was used as a home for what was then understood as “mildly afflicted” patients. Patients considered to be “more acute” were sent to Claremont.

The original site consisted of male and female blocks, an administration block, staff quarters, kitchen block, storage rooms and boiler house. There were also tennis courts, sports areas and extensive gardens and lawns. The Water Clock Tower was designed in 1928 by architect J. Tait. It contained water for the Home and an electronically operated clock. The hospital development cost 55,675 pounds and initially provided for 76 patients (male and female). Additional buildings and alterations were constructed between 1940 and 1980 to cater for the changing needs of mental health treatment. This included Swan House, built in 1940 as the admission and treatment wards, now serving as the Gallery.

Heathcote hospital closed in 1994. In 1997 the City of Melville commenced discussions with the State Government to restore the site for the public use following a community campaign to 'save Heathcote. The land became part of a heritage precinct of conserved and reused buildings that are currently used as a arts and culture centre.

Historical Timeline

Before 1827 – Part of the tribal lands where the Beeliar people lived and hunted.

1827 – Point Heathcote became a camp base for Captain James Stirling and his crew. It was assessed for settlement possibilities and a garden was established to test the soil. Heathcote named by Stirling after Midshipman G.C. Heathcote-said to be the first European to set foot there.

1829 – Captain Fremantle visits Heathcote in May. Captain Stirling considers Heathcote as the site for the capital city but finally chooses Perth, as it was seen as being better endowed with suitable resources and more favourable for communications.

1830, May 28 – Lionel Lukin acquires 300 hectares at Point Heathcote (Swan Location 61), later increased to 400 hectares.

1830s-Mid 1885 – Heathcote mainly used for horse and cattle grazing.

1830s-1896 – Swan Location 61 has numerous owners, namely Lionel Lukin (1830-1842), Alfred Waylen (1842-1856), John Wellard (1856-1865), Silas and George Pearse (1865-1886), William McMillan (1886-1892), London and Western Australian Land Company (1892- 1896).

1862 – A Working Men’s Association picnic held at Point Heathcote-possibly its first documented use for public recreation.

1896 – Alexander Matheson obtains a major part of Swan Location 61 from the London and Western Australian Investment Company.

1896 – Heathcote subdivided for residential development by the Melville Water Park Estate Company (Matheson was a director).

1896 – Eleanor Matheson gains ownership of the tip of Point Heathcote from her husband Alexander.

1906 – Much of the land on which Heathcote Hospital is now to be found was transferred to Eleanor Matheson from the Perth Trust Ltd.

1918 – Lady Eleanor Matheson sells some land to the Christian Brothers for £3,000 (Christian Brothers initially show an interest in 1909). Lady Eleanor Matheson and the London and Western Australian Investment Company retain an interest in parts of the Heathcote site until 1927.

1920 – Christian Brothers also buy the 1.6-hectare block on which Matheson’s house still stood. At this time the Christian Brothers used Matheson’s old house as a retreat called ‘Killarney’.1921 – Applecross Progress Association desire to see Point Heathcote become a recreation reserve.

1922 – Melville Roads Board protests at the possibility of a Catholic Boys School being built on the Heathcote site and request that the State Government resume the land for use as public open space. The Public Works Department requests a title search on Swan Location 61.

1922-1925 – Debate occurs as to where a new Reception Home is to be located. It is eventually decided that Heathcote is the best place.

1923-1927 – The State Government purchases land from the Christian Brothers, Lady Eleanor Matheson, N.S. Bartlett and Harold Redcliffe with a view to building a Reception Home and the Applecross Reservoir (Lot 6 of Swan Location 61 resumed from the Christian Brothers by the Metropolitan Water Supply).

1924 – Plans are submitted for a Reception Home (an institution for the ‘mildly mentally afflicted’) with the condition that costs are kept down. Inspection of Heathcote site conducted, Cabinet approves funding for a Reception Home.

1926 – Amended plans submitted after debate over the cost and size of the project. (1) The design was under the direction of the Government Architect of the time, W.B. Hardwick. Construction of Heathcote Hospital commences 1926.

1927 June – Lot 8 of the Heathcote site is resumed from the London and Western Australian Investment Company (the Mathesons had an interest in this company).

1928 – Plans for a Water and Clock Tower are designed by the Principal Architect J.M. Tait and approved the same year.

1929 – Point Heathcote Reception Home completed and opened on 22 February by the Lieutenant Governor, Sir Robert McMillan.

1935 – Fears of overcrowding and the mentally ill in general cause the Melville Roads Board to request that the Government move the Hospital elsewhere. Inspector General for the Insane responds by accusing the Board of ignorance andselfishness.

1938 – Royal Commission appointed to inquire into The Heathcote Mental Reception Home and the Administration of Mental Hospitals generally.

1940 – Additions added due to overcrowding – namely a treatment block (Swan House) for an additional 26 patients and costing £15,000.

1952 – A new boiler house is built.

1954 – Administration block extended northwards and the kitchen upgraded.

1955 – A dental surgery is started.

1957 – Superintendent’s quarters extended and converted to a Day Centre.

1958 – A matron’s flat constructed.

1960 – Friends of Heathcote started – a voluntary organization to champion the cause of the mentally ill. The first full time occupational therapist is employed. Occupational therapy conducted in one of the dining rooms.

1962 – The Social Therapy Department is built after lobbying from the Friends of Heathcote. It had an occupational therapy wing, a hall and a canteen.

1963 – Extension of administration.

1968 – Friends of Heathcote provide the hospital with a new swimming pool.

1970s – Large treatment ward constructed.

1972 – Avon House is opened for more patients and for administrative purposes.

1977 – Existing nurses quarters turned into an MDD Hostel.

1981 – A report commissioned by the State Government recommends that Heathcote should be closed.

1989 – State Cabinet announces that Heathcote is to be closed.

1990 – In September, a public meeting results in the establishment of a committee to prevent redevelopment of the site for residential purposes.

1991, March 6 – Heathcote Hospital and associated site passed for classification by the National Trust.

1993 June – Heathcote Hospital placed on the interim register in the State Register of Heritage Places.

1994 – Heathcote Hospital is officially closed on Friday, 21 October.

1997 – The State Government and the City of Melville come to an agreement that the upper lands of Heathcote be set aside for public use and the lower lands for housing.

2000 – Heathcote Hospital site opened to the public Sunday, 19 March by Premier Richard Court after a $6 million refurbishment by the City of Melville.

2001 – In January, the Liberal State Government (soon to lose office) and the City of Melville sign the Heathcote Coordination Agreement (HCA) to save the lower lands and rezone it for parks and recreation.

2001-2002 – Fears and rumours abound over the possibility that the State Labor Government may sell off the lower land of Heathcote for housing.

2002 – State Government announces that Duncraig House (originally a nurses quarters for Heathcote Hospital) is to be sold.

2003 – Work begins on the Canning House café, kiosk, restaurant and function room at Heathcote. Duncraig House is sold to an Applecross businessman for more than $4 million.

2003-2015 – Heathcote was home to Challenger Tafe, Blue Water Grill,  City of Melville's Heathcote Museum & Gallery, Melville Toy Library & Playgroup, artist studios and a state classed playground.

2015 – Heathcote becomes home to a range of artists, creatives and not for profit organisations.

2019 – After extensive renovations the gallery entrance is moved to the original hospital entrance and becomes the administrative hub of the site.

2020 – The site is renamed Goolugatup Heathcote in order to better represent the significant Indigenous history of the site.

For any research enquiries regarding Heathcote site history or the museum collection, please contact City of Melville Museums & Local History team on 9364 0158 or

City of Melville Online Press Statement (2003) ‘Work Commences on Canning House Restaurant at
Heathcote.’ Released Tuesday, 8 April 2003.
Cooper, W.S. and McDonald, G.M. (1989) A City For All Seasons: The Story of Melville. City of
Melville, Western Australia.
History Notes (Date Unknown) Heritage-Heathcote Hospital. M000131.
Hocking Planning & Architecture Pty Ltd (1994) Conservation Plan for Heathcote Hospital Complex.
Volumes 1 & 2.
Hunter, T. (2000) ‘Open Day for Heathcote Site’. The West Australian. Thursday, March 16 2000, page 37.
Low, C. (2003) ‘Businessman picks up historic house.’ The West Australian. Wednesday, October 1, 2003, page 65.
McLea, S. (2002) ‘Site Steeped in History’. Melville Times Community. April 30-May 6 2002, page 6.
Mental Health Services (1979?) Heathcote Hospital 50 years on. Industrial Rehabilitation Division, Mental Health Services, Perth, Western Australia.
National Trust of Australia (WA) (1991) Heathcote: A Co-ordinated Assessment by the Built Environ-ment, Landscape and Historic Sites and Archaeology Committees of the National Trust of Australia
(WA). In Hocking Planning & Architecture Pty Ltd (1994) Conservation Plan for Heathcote
Hospital Complex. Volume 2.
Paech, K (2002) ‘Duncraig House – it’s yours for about $4m’ Melville City Herald. Volume 13, No 42,
Saturday, October 19 2002, page 2.
Stella, L. (1990) Heathcote Hospital: Historical Survey of Grounds and Buildings. In Hocking
Planning &Architecture Pty Ltd (1994) Conservation Plan for Heathcote Hospital Complex. Volume 2.
West, M. (Date Unknown) ‘A Brief History of Heathcote Hospital.’