Wanslea Conservation Works

Wanslea Conservation Works

Conservation Places


The orphanage was built in 1905 by the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and was extended in 1919.

The building is two storey red brick, tuck pointed on the front and sides with rendered bands (blood and bandage effect). The roof is corrugated iron and there is a large verandah and balcony on the front.

By 1940 the number of children had reduced and the building was taken over by the Red Cross as the Lady Mitchell Convalescent Home nursing returned servicemen and P.O.W.s.

In 1941 and 1943 a single level kitchen/dining area and recreation hall was constructed by the Army. The Old Nurse’s Quarters a small timber, outbuilding also survives from this period.

In 1946 the State Government purchased the site and the ‘Wanslea’ group established a “home for the children of sick mothers” that operated until 1984. In 1958 a two storey cream brick and terracotta tile roof Staff Quarters was constructed. The circa 1960 laundry is a small timber/fibro outbuilding also survives from this period.

From 1984 Wanslea has accommodated cancer support groups and community childcare.

In 2008 Wanslea was made a Heritage Reserve and transferred to the National Trust by way of a Management Order.

In 2009 the National Trust engaged architect Bernard Seeber to complete a Masterplan to develop the place as a sustainable community facility focussing on cancer support and wellness.

In 2010 Lotterywest provided funding of $6.5m to the National Trust for this plan to develop the place to accommodate a diverse range of cancer support and assistance groups in a mutually beneficial and symbiotic relationship whilst providing access to local, national and international practices in health care.  Bernard Seeber Pty Ltd, architects commenced design.

2012 Cancer Wellness Centre Incorporated is established.

In 2012 Stage One work commenced on services, infrastructure and site works.

In 2013 the 1940s army buildings were leased to the Department of Education and work by DoE commenced with conservation and adaptive re-use to utilise the place as an Early Childhood Centre attached to the North Cottesloe Primary School. The centre opened February 2013.

In 2013 Stage Two work commenced on building conservation, new additions, a new building and landscaping. Works completed 2014.

In 2014 Wanslea was leased to Cancer Wellness Centre Incorporated for a period of 10 years with an option for 10 more. Cancer care groups at Wanslea are:

  • Breast Cancer Care WA,
  • Cancer Support WA,
  • Melanoma WA,
  • Brady Cancer Support Foundation.

There is opportunity for the organisations to grow and for Wanslea to accommodate additional cancer support organizations.



The successful partnership between the National Trust of Australia (WA) and Lotterywest has enabled the State Heritage registered Wanslea to be adapted as a support care centre for those with cancer and their families

The financial investment by Lotterywest and management by the National Trust has provided:

  • Accommodation specifically designed for cancer support organizations and users;
  • The Cancer Wellness Centre accommodates Breast Cancer Care WA, Cancer Support WA and Melanoma WA with opportunity for the organisations to grow and for Wanslea to accommodate additional cancer support organizations.
  • Breast Cancer Care WA a year ago had staff of FTE 7 and now FTE 10 with client contacts of about 500-550 per month and monthly 8-9 support groups of 60-70 participants.
  • Melanoma WA a year ago had staff 1 full time plus 1 part time and now 1 full time plus 4 part time plus 6 volunteers with ‘support clients’ per month growing by 20 – 30.
  • Cancer Support WA a year ago had staff of FTE 10 and now FTE 15.3 with client contacts of about 561 per month, with 331 people attending counselling and 152 participants in support groups per month.
  • Conservation of this beautiful heritage place;
  • A long term financially sustainable public use that will see it cared for long into the future.
  • Approximately 6,500 days employment in conservation & adaptive works which equate to about 28 jobs for a year;

$6.5m has been invested in recognised State heritage values and has been delivered through commitment of the National Trust of Australia (WA) and conservation expertise.

Wanslea in brief – before and after [pdf]

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