Our Subiaco Early Learning Centre is housed in the historic and heritage-listed premises of the Stranraer building, opposite Subiaco Oval on the corner of Roberts Road and Townshend.
We have spent some time researching this incredible house and its occupants, both past and present, to share with our families and to create exciting learning experiences and catalysts of conversation for our Tall Tree children.
This beautiful building commenced construction in 1900 for the Brown Family and, whilst technically being of the Edwardian era, has all the grandeur and intricate detail of the preceding Victorian era.
The original occupants of Stranraer were Samual McConnell Brown, initially of Browns & Burns Bakers, one of the largest employers in the Subiaco area at the time, his wife Grace and their son Noel. Samual was born in Victoria and came to Western Australia in 1896 during the Gold Rush. He opened his first bakery in Coolgardie before moving to Subiaco and opening Browns and Burns Bakery with a business partner shortly thereafter.
The Browns & Burns Bakery was situated on the corner of Hay Street (previously referred to as Broome Road) and Catherine Street in Subiaco, where the Colonnade Shopping Complex now stands. He also had a brother who worked on Broome Road (now Hay Street) as a Printer.
Samual McConnell Brown was a Member of the Subiaco Municipal Council for two terms (1898-1906 and 1906-1917) and was later elected to the Legislative Assembly of Western Australia in the seat of Subiaco for one term (1917-1921). It was during his years as a Politician that he built the Stranraer residence, that was suitably grand in comparison to the simple timber dwellings surrounding it.
The Brown Family resided in Stranraer until 1925. Although Samual sadly passed away in 1923, the Browns and Burns Bakery continued for many years, eventually boasting the slogan 'The household name in bread'.
Since the Brown family, Stranraer has seen several owners and uses, most recently being owned by the Mizen Family and laying vacant for 30-years until current tenants Bob and Rory Hindle saw the potential for a magnificent Early Learning Centre, and here we are today!
Stranraer's current owners, the Mizen family, also have a wonderfully rich history within the Subiaco area. Frank Mizen, the current owner, is a fourth-generation builder in the Subiaco area with his Great Grandfather, Charles Mizen, migrating to Australia in 1874.
By 1898, Charles and his brother Herbert were operating the successful building company 'Mizen Bros. Builders' on Broome Road (now Hay Street) near Hamilton Street, just 1km away from the Bakery of Browns & Burns, opened around the same time.
Charles' eldest son Oliver Milton Mizen, learned his trade from his Father and Uncle and followed suit, building many of the timber residences on Commercial Road and Yilgarn Street, Shenton Park; and eventually owning a large commercial building and joinery at 220 Nicholson Road.
Oliver, Frank's Grandfather, is also believed to have built the Regal Theatre in Subiaco, a beautiful example of Art Deco architecture and a historic site of significance in Western Australia.
Frank has also spent his life in the building trade and built the addition to the right of Stranraer (that resembles a small castle) with his very own hands. This room is our MIZEN READING ROOM where our Babies will enjoy quiet reading time after their nap and will forever hold special significance for the Mizen family and those who have had the pleasure of meeting Frank and his lovely wife Margaret. We have asked Margaret to come in and read to our Babies in the Mizen Reading Room, which we are very much looking forward to.
On their last visit, Frank and Margaret were kind enough to gift us a copy of a painting by well-known scenic artist and decorator John Campbell. The painting of the original Stranraer homestead shows the now towering Palm Trees as saplings, which just shows that every Tall Tree starts as a tiny seed and sapling.
The painting by John Campbell is believed to have been completed around 1909, when Samual McConnell Brown was living in Stranraer and a member of the Subiaco Municipal Council.
A copy of the painting is believed to be hanging in the Art Gallery of WA, which will make a memorable excursion for our little ones, as we believe it is a wonderful learning experience to understand the concept of history and learn from those who came before us.