The State Heritage Office has moved to the restored Bairds Building at 491 Wellington Street, Perth.
Situated opposite the Horseshoe Bridge and Perth Train Station, the Bairds Building is one of WA’s earliest retail sites.
The State Heritage Office worked with the developers to conserve the external heritage fabric at the historic building while the internal fit-out was sensitively designed to showcase contemporary adaptive reuse that enhances the culturally significant building.
The Bairds Building is part of the State Registered William and Wellington Street precinct and has been the landmark northern entry point to the Perth CBD since the 1880s.
This historic precinct represents a time when Perth grew from a town to a city; when entrepreneurs took advantage of the gold boom to construct elaborately styled multi-storey hotels, retail and commercial buildings.
The striking 1921 Federation Free Style Bairds Building is a reminder of a time when ornate shopping arcades, such as McNess Royal and Bon Marche, were built to capitalise on the new prosperity of hard working Western Australians.
The building is named after the family retail business, the Bairds Company, which opened its first store in Coolgardie in 1896. Within a few years, the company had opened new stores in Hannan Street, Kalgoorlie; Burt Street, Boulder; and Hay Street, Perth.
In 1919, the Bairds Company purchased the building from Levi Green and, in 1921, redeveloped it into a shopping arcade and hardware premises.
The hardware store became a retail institution. Its catalogue became widely known as the ‘farmer’s bible’.
The Bairds Company was committed to looking after staff and providing excellent customer service. During the Depression and World War II, the Bairds Company avoided sacking staff and saved many farmers from financial ruin by extending credit and accepting payment in kind.
During the post World War II period, the Bairds Company decided to sell the Perth store. Myers purchased the building in 1969 and operated from the site until the development of Forrest Chase in 1989.
Bairds Building is part of the one40william development, including Gordon Stephenson House, which is home to a range of State government departments, committed to working together to ensure a vibrant future for our heritage.
Take a walk through the history of the Bairds Building.