INSPIRE Writer in Residence

INSPIRE Writer in Residence

Writing & Literature

Developed in partnership with the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries, the INSPIRE Writer in Residence initiative offers writing in residence opportunities at National Trust places.

The program helps to conserve and share the stories of our places, through activation of heritage assets by storytelling, engagement, participation, and interpretation (assets being places, collections, cultural stories).

TThe initiative is open and responsive to writers’ needs, inclusive of emerging and established writers, and recognises the breadth of storytelling and writing genres Western Australia is known for.

The benefits of the residency include opportunities for research, creative and professional development, encouraging excellence in writing, and nurturing connections with potential publishers.

his exciting initiative has implemented nine residencies over 2020 and 2021 to an eminent group of Western Australian writers: David Allan-Petale, Nandi Chinna, Lisa Collyer, Madison Godfrey, John Mateer, Ros Thomas, Melinda Tognini, John Toohey and Sasha Walsey.

For further information please contact:

Ricky Arnold
Writer in Residence Program Coordinator

As I’d already conducted extensive research and been to the property twice, I came to my first day of residency with a journal full of ideas. What I hadn’t accounted for was how the dynamic experience of inhabiting the property, the setting, and the people I would come in contact would influence my work. I felt an urgent sense to work at speed wanting to get the most out of the experience and subsequently produced an edited poem a day.

Lisa Collyer


Living and working in a historic home true to the time I was writing about was an incredible experience. I expected to be enthralled by the area’s history, and while that happened, I found I was strongly moved by the home itself.

That a prime minister lived in such a simple place in such a complex time was very inspiring to me. My book explores moral corruption in the Second World War, so to be in a place where a family lived frugally, honestly, and openly was very moving. It has helped give my story a true north, more heart, and dare I say grit.

Many nights I would sit on the front veranda and imagine John and Elsie Curtin facing the darkest days of Australia’s history with brave determination. Being in their space has opened my eyes to more than just history, but to a way of living and being that endures.

David Allan-Petale


The Inspire program provides writers with a rare opportunity to focus wholeheartedly on their creative practice. The inclusion of a stipend for participants meant that I could pause all my other commitments, and focus on writing new work without stressing about how I was going to pay rent afterwards. This is an opportunity I am very grateful for.

— Madison Godfrey, who won the Tom Collins Poetry Prize, run by the Fellowship of Australian Writers WA, with her poem ‘Unmade’ written while Writer in Residence at Peninsula Farm in late 2020.


INSPIRE is proudly supported by

INSPIRE heritage locations

  • Peninsula Farm at Wu-rut Woorat, Maylands

    Located on the banks of the Swan River off Johnson Road, Maylands, Peninsula Farm at Wu-rut Woorat is the site of one of the first farms in the colony and one of the earliest residences still standing in the metropolitan area. Peninsula Farm offers a unique opportunity to explore the first years of European settlement in Western Australia. Constructed by Joseph Hardey with his wife Ann in 1839, it was the third house he had built at this location, a property originally granted to him in 1830. Over the years the house was added to, expanded outwards and upwards. At the same time, the farm became smaller and smaller.

    Peninsula Farm remained in the Hardey family until 1913. Joseph Hardey and his son Richard, who took over management of the property in the late 1860s, were highly influential in the religious, business and political activities of the colony. Peninsula Farm, however, tells more than just their stories. It also tells of their wives and daughters, the women and servants who ran the house and the workers who ran the farm. It tells of farming, and how families and the young colony sustained themselves. And it tells the stories of dispossession and dislocation of the Whadjuk Noongar people, as the Swan River Colony grew and more of their land was carved up for new owners.

    Please note: Peninsula Farm is a very popular property for school groups and visitors, which can interrupt quiet contemplation. A schedule of excursions can be provided for the resident writer to consider.

    Onsite facilities

    Residency includes access to a writing space, Wi‐Fi and basic kitchen facilities. There is a standard toilet available but no disability access toilet on site. Overnight accommodation is not available. Access to cycle paths but limited public transport. On-site café.

  • Woodbridge at Mandoon, Woodbridge

    Woodbridge sits on the banks of the Derbal Yerrigan (Swan River), one of the most culturally significant places in Whadjuk Noongar Country. It has sustained the Whadjuk people for tens of thousands of years and is known as Mandoon, or Munda’s Country.

    Captain James Stirling took up land here in 1829. He named his property ‘Woodbridge’ as it reminded him of the area around the home of his wife’s family in Surrey, England. Stirling had a small cottage built but spent little time there. At the end of his term as Governor in 1839, Stirling left the colony and leased the property to various tenants.

    Charles Harper married Fanny de Burgh in 1879 and the following year took up a lease at Woodbridge. In 1883 land was purchased and the Harpers began the construction of a large family home. Two years later, Charles, Fanny, their three sons and one daughter moved into the completed house. Over the following decade three more boys and three girls were born. The family was supported by live in staff and others who came in for specific tasks.

    Woodbridge supported extensive orchards of apples, pears, peaches and table grapes and there was a commercial nursery mainly stocking fruit trees and vines. Charles worked on the development of various wheat varieties, pioneered the use of artesian water for agricultural purposes, developed an inexpensive fencing system and improved pastures through the use of clover and superphosphate. Additionally, he served as a parliamentarian, was part owner of The West Australian newspaper and started The Western Mail.

    In 1895 Charles established a school in the house for his children and those of neighbours. A small single storied school building was erected in 1900. It was purchased a decade later by the Church of England and went on to become what is now Guildford Grammar School. For twenty years from 1921 the house operated as Woodbridge House School. During World War II it was used as the Old Women’s Home before its conversion in 1964 to an annexe for Governor Stirling Senior High School. Woodbridge was vested in the National Trust in 1968.

    Onsite facilities

    Residency includes access to a writing space, Wi‐Fi, basic kitchen facilities and toilet access. The writer’s space is upstairs, without lift facilities. Overnight accommodation is not available. There is a café on site and it is close to public transport and cycle paths.

  • No 1 Pump Station at Minderinjy, Mundaring

    No 1 Pump Station sits at the foot of Mundaring Weir, which dams the Helena River, 39 kms east of Perth. The river was a traditional east-west travel route for corroborees in what is now called the suburb of Guildford. The damming of the river has changed the cultural landscape of the area dramatically and forever.

    No 1 Pump Station was the first of eight steam pump stations constructed as part of the Goldfields Water Supply Scheme, designed by CY O’Connor to transfer water over a distance of 560 km from the Perth hills to the WA Goldfields to bring precious water to this notoriously dry part of the state.

    In sweltering heat on 22 January 1903, Lady Margaret Forrest, wife of Sir John Forrest, started the engines at No 1 Pump Station to open the scheme. Sir John Forrest, then a Federal politician, had obtained a loan and parliamentary approval to build the Goldfields Water Supply Scheme under his premiership of WA. While there was considerable derision from some about the scheme from many in politics, he remained a supporter of the vision.

    Onsite facilities

    Residency includes access to a writing space and basic kitchen facilities. There is a standard toilet available, but no disability access toilet available on site. Overnight accommodation is not available. There is no access to public transport, requires own car.

  • Curtin Family Home on Whadjuk Country, Cottesloe

    John Curtin, wartime Prime Minister of Australia, and his wife Elsie built this house in 1923. Over the next seventy-five years, four generations of the Curtin family lived here.

    The house underwent major conservation and interpretation works in 2010 including restoration of the garden. Inside you will find fascinating information on the day to day lives of John, Elsie, their children and even their dog, Kip! If you want to know more, read the Curtin Family Home booklet or let ‘Elsie’ tell her story through an audio tour of the house.

    This National Trust project provided an exciting opportunity to focus on what is an often neglected part of John Curtin – the importance of his home life. The unassuming nature of the Jarrad Street House reflects the nature of the man and his family and helps explain his political convictions and directions for the nation during the Second World War.

    The property has been in the care of the National Trust since 2002 and is one of only four former prime ministers’ homes that are in public ownership.

    Onsite facilities

    Residency includes access to a writing space, Wi‐Fi, kitchen facilities and toilet access. Overnight accommodation is available subject to availability: two bedrooms, (one double bed and two singles), one standard bathroom. Length of stay is negotiable (2–3 weeks), with the costs of rent and services covered by the INSPIRE initiative. Access is fair but non-wheelchair toilet and bathroom. Curtin Family Home is close to public transport and walking distance to the Cottesloe township.

  • East Perth Cemeteries at Martellup, East Perth

    East Perth Cemeteries sits on Whadjuk Noongar Country in an area known as Martellup, on a sandy hill overlooking Western Australia’s capital city.

    In 1829 this was the site of the first colonial burial ground in Perth when a general cemetery was established. This was followed by 6 more of different denominations, plus one for felons, until the closure of the eight cemeteries in 1899. More than 10,000 people who died in colonial Perth are buried here, from the wealthy and prominent to the poor and unknown.

    In the middle of the Church of England Cemetery stands a simple Gothic church, designed by colonial architect Richard Roach Jewell. Despite a period of neglect, St Bartholomew’s is still a consecrated church and is used for church services, weddings, and other religious events.

    Since the closure of the Cemeteries, the majority of the grave headstones and markers have been lost through decay, neglect, vandalism, and well-intentioned ‘cleanups’. The remaining 800, now cared for by the National Trust, offer a unique opportunity to tell and explore stories of bravery, tragedy, illness and accident, of success, suffering and loved ones lost.

    Onsite facilities

    Residency includes access to a writing space with limited disability access, Wi‐Fi and limited kitchen facilities (running water only at toilet block). There is a universal access toilet on site. Overnight accommodation is not available. It is close to public transport and walking distance from East Perth and the CBD.

  • ANZAC Cottage on Whadjuk Country, Mount Hawthorn

    ANZAC Cottage was the earliest First World War memorial to be built in Western Australia, and was initiated by the Mount Hawthorn Progress Association in December 1915, to honour those who fought in the Gallipoli campaign.

    Made possible by donations of money and building materials from the community, and generous commitment of skills by tradesmen and labourers, ANZAC Cottage was constructed in one day: Saturday 12 February 1916.

    ANZAC Cottage was deemed to be a ‘practical memorial’, and served as a place of commemoration for those who lost their lives at Gallipoli. It was also a home for a returned wounded soldier and his family. Private John Porter was the first returned soldier to live in Mount Hawthorn, a member of the famous 11th Battalion C Company which took part in the historic landing at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915. Private Porter and his family lived in ANZAC Cottage until the 1960s and descendants still maintain a close connection with the cottage.

    Onsite facilities

    Residency includes access to a writing space and basic kitchen facilities. There is a standard toilet available with no disability access toilet available on site. Overnight accommodation is not available. There is easy access to public transport from ANZAC Cottage.

Join the National Trust Community
Subscribe now
Follow Us On
Back to Top of the page.