The Western Australian government has purchased the historic family home of Australia’s longest-serving Labor Prime Minister for $1.45 million.
Bob Hawke’s West Leederville house had just one owner since his parents sold it in 1981, before the WA government officially declared it had bought it and would maintain the home as a state asset.
The brick and tile, inter-war suburban cottage was home to Bob Hawke for much of his childhood years.
He first moved to the Tate Street address at the age of nine, and lived there with his family while attending Perth Modern School.
He went on to study at The University of Western Australia before attending Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar.
Mr Hawke first entered federal parliament in 1980, leading the Australian Labor Party to victory in 1983 and winning a further three terms of government.
He was Australia’s 23rd Prime Minister. He died in May, 2019.
The three-bedroom property was under residential lease and would be owned and maintained by the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage on behalf of the Western Australian community.
The property is likely to be of cultural heritage value at the State level under the Heritage Act 2018, according to the Heritage Council of Western Australia.
It will now be assessed for entry onto the State Register of Heritage Places.
WA Premier Mark McGowan described the purchase as “momentous and humbling”.
“Bob Hawke was a giant on the political stage; not just in Australia, but globally,” he said.
“He led our country through watershed reforms that changed our whole landscape forever, both figuratively – such as by pioneering Medicare, and literally – by initiating and funding nationwide Landcare programs.
“It is highly probable that family time spent in this house in West Leederville would have shaped his views and been instrumental in giving him both the deep principles and the ‘loveable larrikin’ character that he will always be remembered for.”
The $1.45 million selling price was almost double what the Federal government indicated they would pay after Mr Hawke’s funeral last year.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced his government would spend $750,000 to purchase and renovate the home, saying it was an important part of Australia‘s democratic history.
“Bob Hawke made an extraordinary contribution to Australian life and holds a special place in the hearts of Australians,” Mr Morrison said in a statement.
“His childhood home is a significant part of our national story and preserving it will enable current and future generations to celebrate his life, achievements and substantial role in our democratic history.”
Mr McGowan said the “unremarkable suburban home” was a reminder how a “seemingly ordinary childhood” could lead to extraordinary achievements.
“In owning this national asset, we as Western Australians own the narrative that great leaders can emerge from modest places, and the world can be changed for the better,” he said.