Harvey House

Industrial schools were developed in the nineteenth century as a means of providing for the needs and education of orphans and necessitous children. In 1896, the Inspector of Charitable Institutions proposed that the government open an industrial school in Subiaco. Plans were drawn by Robert Haddon, an English trained architect, employed in the Public Works Department. In late 1896, tenders were called, and the contract for building was awarded to H. Rhodes at a cost of £4,177.1.7 and to be completed by 23 September 1897. The Government Industrial School was built at the corner of Barker and Railway Roads, Subiaco but fronting Barker Road. The building was used for the Government Industrial School through the period 1897-1916.

Back in 1909 a conference was held in Perth at which women from 18 different organisations from Perth and the suburbs met. There was much discussion regarding the need for a maternity hospital in Perth. The Women's Service Guild arranged a meeting to be  at Government House Ballroom on 8 November 1909. It was attended by 400 people, for the purpose of discussing a proposed establishment of a women's hospital in Perth for maternity cases.

When the matter was further discussed in May 1910, it was within days of the death of King Edward VII and it was decided that the future hospital would be called The King Edward Memorial Hospital for Women. In 1913 it was decided that the hospital would take over the building used by the Government Industrial School. The school was thoroughly cleaned and renovated. On completion, the accommodation comprised three large wards for 20 patients, special reception and delivery rooms, an operating theatre, an isolation ward for three beds, and staff quarters, well equipped kitchen and laundry, with hot water laid on.

King Edward Maternity Hospital opened on 6th July 1916 and provided 20 maternity beds. There were 10 pupil midwives and Matron Eleanor Harvey was appointed the first Matron, hence the building now being known as Harvey House. Due to family commitments Miss Harvey only stayed two years at the hospital but during this time almost 1,000 deliveries had taken place.

It was soon found that the unit was too small to accommodate the number of deliveries taking place and new maternity premises opened in 1932. The building was then used as a storage area and for food preparation. From 1952 to 1979 it was the X-ray department of King Edward Memorial Hospital. After being vacated it was offered to the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners as their headquarters, but declined. In 1985 it was made available to what is now known as the Western Australian Medical Museum.

Volunteers of the museum have set up the various  rooms  with old medical equipment passed on from private donations and public hospitals. Interpreted displays of medical events important to the history of Western Australia are displayed throughout the museum, for example a Royal Flying Doctor exhibition, a polio display featuring an iron lung, an early dental surgery and many more.

Harvey House has been on the State Register of Heritage Places since 2002.