In 1984 the new library building opened bringing together the disjointed buildings and annexes of the old library. The official opening of the new Alexander Library was in 1985. Inside the library is quite impressive with six floors for both staff and public use and large voids with bridges to allow access to the various sections of the library. There is also glass-fronted lifts for easy access for the disabled. There is also a bookshop which claims it will match any book store in the city as well as another bookshop selling used library books at a very good rate. The building cost $37.6 million and that excluded the cost of the carpark.
Open Times: 09.00am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday 09.00am to 9.45pm Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 02.00pm to 5.30pm Saturday and Sunday
The old library was originally established in Perth to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. Originally the library was located in the old WA Bank Building across the road which opened in 1889. In 1897 it moved to the Jubilee building and also housed the Museum and Art Gallery. Because of the tribute to Queen Victoria, the library was first called the Victoria Public Library but in 1904 was renamed the Public Library of Western Australia before being renamed again in 1955 as the State Library of Western Australia.
In the square of the Cultural Centre is the Perth Institute of Contemporary Art – also known as PICA. They promote new and experimental art and performances are regularly held at the Blue Room next door. They also hold workshops, symposia and artist in residence programs.
Open Tuesday to Sunday 11am to 7pm Entrance varies.
Split between the old and the new is the Art Gallery of Western Australia. One half of the gallery is housed in a new and not particularly attractive building (opened in 1979) while the rest is housed in the old Colonial Courthouse (built 1885-1886). In the old building you will find the historic Centenary Galleries a progression of non-indigenous art in Australia. Many of the styles were brought to Australia by early settlers. One artist is Louis Buvelot who arrived from Switzerland in 1865 and who had a noted influence on Australian landscape painters. There are also interesting carvings, one is of a 1907 ceremonial chair.
Open daily 10am to 5pm Admission is Free
The cultural centre is just north of the main train station. Here you will find the WA Museum, the art Gallery, the library and theatre. There are several art pieces in the centre including this (1967) bronze statue of ‘Der Rufer’ (The Caller). The artist is Gerhard Marcks and the piece is owned by the Art Gallery of WA. The artist was inspired when he stood next to a man who called across a river to attract the ferryman on the other side.
The Art Gallery was founded in 1895 and was opened as part of the Perth Museum. For many years the institution was known as the Public Library, Museum and Art Gallery of WA. A contract for a new art gallery was signed in 1977and the building was opened in 1979. The highlight of their extensive collection is art of Western Australia, Australian Indigenous art and the art of the world.
Western Australian Museum
I was really impressed with this museum. There were many different areas to explore, such as, the History of western Australia, Diamonds to Dinosaurs, and one of the only megamouths specimens in existance.
The prison, which was not only Perth’s first, but one of the oldest buildings in the city, remained in use up until 1888. It was the favourite place for hangings.
The old Gaol has been extensively restored. You can see the old courtroom which is largely unchanged in design except for a narrow staircase that led to it which has been replaced with another.
This old building on the grounds of the museum complex is a reconstruction of an old Victorian workman’s cottage on Roe Street. The cottage was officially opened in 1993 by the Mayor of Perth.
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