A golden opportunity

FINDING the right home can be like striking gold, but in this gorgeous slice of WA’s history, you literally might want to pull out the metal detector – just in case.

That’s because 193 South Terrace was once owned by a family who played a central role in the discovery of the Eastern Goldfields – in fact, the patriarch was struck with gold fever.

William Lawrence was born in Massachusetts, but jumped ship in King George Sound near Albany in 1844 before moving his way to Perth. He was befriended by the well-known Caporn family who ran the pub at Point Walter and seemed to be on the straight and narrow before getting into strife nicking 36 sovereigns from a drinking partner and being sent to the local convict establishment.

Boat builders

After serving four years, he settled down and became one of Western Australia’s premier boat builders, marrying the Caporn’s daughter Bessie and having six children.

Around the late 1880s, his story gets very interesting when he organised the syndicate that discovered the Eastern Goldfields, and he smelted the first bar of Western Australian gold at his boatshed, somewhere amongst what is now Elizabeth Quay.

It was just after this that he purchased what is now 193 South Terrace, building a house that was initially occupied by another prominent Fremantle identity, Captain Robert Laurie.

Capt Laurie opened the first Fremantle branch of the Adelaide Steamship Company before launching his own stevedoring company, getting elected to the Fremantle Municipal Council and eventually representing the area in State Parliament.

He seems to moved out not long after and Williams Lawrence’s son Walter took over the title and the residency – given he also accompanied pa out on many of his successful prospecting trips, he’s the reason I’d be thinking of crawling under the gorgeous, original jarrah floorboards to see if any shiny dust happened to drift below.

Honestly, if you want a home that offers more topics of conversation than “I bought it from the catalogue”, this one delivers in spades. Even the fact it’s a rare example of a South Freo home from that era built in solid brick has a story behind it.

But it’s not just a property stuck in a time warp, as the current owner (who completely renovated when he bought a decade ago) has also secured approval for four luxury residences/commercial premises – and that’s without touching this historic gem.

It’s helped by the fact that it’s basically two homes on an exceptionally rare 800sqm in the heart of South Freo.

Anyone who’s lazed out the front of Manna or Abhi’s with a coffee, croissant or organic lentil salad will know it well as the home of Eatfitlive Health across the road.

The front building is four bedroom home, though one’s so huge it’s the yoga studio and has its own fireplace.

It’s got ceilings to give you vertigo, original fireplace surrounds, those luscious floors and the ornate ceiling roses befitting a Federation family of some note.

The extension out the back is two light-filled bedrooms in a beautiful open-plan home.

Unfortunately South Beach is only a short walk away; with Abhi’s delicacies across the road you’ll need a little extra exercise. Other than that, list an amenity and it’s right at your doorstep.

193 South Tce, South Fremantle
Price on application
Damien Anthony 0418 188 830
Fremantle Co | 9430 8882
http://www.fremantleco.com.au

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