In 1898, Walter Powell, an accountant in Fremantle, was granted a liquor license for a small hotel opposite Coogee Beach known as Four-mile Well, a property owned by his wife Letitia. He called it Powell’s Coogee Hotel.
'The garden of the West'
He immediately set about extending and improving the property and turned the area into a sporting haven and picnic spot, calling it ‘The garden of the West’. Local clubs of cricket, hunting, cycling, shooting and horse racing all met at the hotel or stopped for a drink. Powell built a racecourse beside his hotel and set up prizes to encourage local owners to participate.
Decline and delicensing
Powell died in 1923, and in 1927 the De-Licensing Board decided there were too many hotels in the area, and withdrew the Coogee Hotel liquor license. Around this time, Powell’s brother-in-law Jock McKinnon opened a small shop and post office in the hotel grounds.
In 1931 the now-empty hotel was purchased by the Anglican Church to be a holiday home for their orphans, used only during the summer months. In 1946, fearing it would be overtaken by squatters desperate for housing in a post-war shortage, they renovated it and opened a permanent home there.
The house remained an orphanage until 1968, when Main Roads announced it was resuming the land to build a high-capacity road to Rockingham. The orphans moved out, but the Hotel was not knocked down, instead becoming headquarters for the Coogee Progress Association.
A north wing was added in the 1990s and the site was heritage listed in 2001. It is owned by Main Roads.
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