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10 - Nedlands Rivean Federation House.jpg

Nedlands Rivean Federation House


True to thyself, even from the early days of my photographic passion, this was a place my nightly obsessions thrived, with its colours, shadows, textures and light.

Amplifying my visual senses was the mysteriousness of a house I had no historic information for. Notwithstanding it was early days in my urban exploration leisurely pursuits, a field I simply ought to have started a long time ago, the aspect of research accompanying the documentation side, was a later addition to my work.

Like almost every forlorn house I set my eyes on, I cannot help but wonder the stories and history that will never be told or shared. From those who’ve passed on, some thinking nobody would find them interesting and of course… the personal family experiences that are to remain private for a reason.

Although of course, houses look so much nicer in their prime and certainly more worthy of a record in memory at this time. Juxtaposing this, that prime time potentially casting no limelight on the house in question, as it blends in with camouflage vision amongst the houses of the neighbour. Unless of course the paint, decor or design stands out against the common conservativeness, oft imposed by strict councils. No doubt, more welcoming that an unruly household that threatens to disrupt the serenity of the area, a reason some homes stand out amongst the hundreds of others.

Either way, there's something about an empty house once lived in. The loneliness of the night, shadows casting a new sight, sounds of the wind rustling areas of dilapidation... the uncertainty evoked by so many unanswered questions.


Curiosity pounding the head. Imagination running wild. A scene set for alternating ways to view it, depending on the person and their disposition.

Houses that are dreams for others, are sold for redevelopment to give way to larger estates, accommodating a denser population.


The last traces of previous habitants and items left behind, form an intriguing view into how a person or family may have lived. From height charts written on the wall of a child or many, growing up. Religious ornaments, the well-travelled with their intriguing souvenirs or even a library of books stereotyping an academic or one who loses themeselves to the written word world.

If a house looks boring to you, perhaps it's just your reflection of the world. For there is beauty in the eye of the beholder if they are prepared to change their view.

Property History
The Federation house is listed on Property Report as having six bedrooms with three baths and one garage on an 839sqm block.

RealEstate on the other hand, gives us a different picture, starting with the house comprising of 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 2 car spaces but almost agree with the block size with 838sqm. They are the only source to give us a build date, being that of the year in 1923.

Domain gives us the following property history:

  • January 2004 - $900 per week rent

  • May 2010 - $1,000 per week rent

  • June 2011 - price unknown but rented out

  • February 2014 - $1,140 per week rent

  • November 2019 - Sold for $2.6 million

  • March 22, 2021 - Listed but not sold.

RealEstate add onto the history of Domain, with a few eyebrow-raising listings:

  • June 2, 2021 - Sold for $2.9 million

  • July 13, 2021 - Sold for $789,000

  • October 22, 2021 - Sold for $440,227.

With little knowledge or experience of how the real estate industry works, I find it highly suspect that the property was sold three times over a space of 142 days for first, a 27.2% loss and then a 55.79% loss.

Smart Property Investment discusses Perth's rate of growth in July 2021 as being the lowest amongst the capital cities of Australia, with an increase of only 0.3%. This was attributed to the first home buyer incentive ending (with a 39% reduction in first home buyer lending) and "increasing affordability constraints." During the past 12 months to July 2021, the value of dwellings had increased 10.8% in WA.

October 2021 brought Perth's first monthly decline since June 2020, with a meagre increase of 0.1%, following September's increase of 0.3%.

Surely that couldn't be dire enough to warrant selling a house at such a loss, regardless of any potential emergency during the first five-week period? Followed by a surprising repetition 13 weeks later?

The Redevelopment
Post demolition of this house and the neighbouring Antique House, ICON Construction would go on to build an impressive looking six storey apartment complex (without any jazzy dazzy 'hey let's impress with some obscure mind-boggling design') at a cost of $13 million. The development application was approved on 27 October 2020, demolition took place shortly after these photos were taken and by March 2022, they were rearing to go.

A superficial look at the Rivean Residences from the street, which are built for 29 residences, brings a strong impression to the fore of my mind in regards to the quality being nothing short of superior.

Rivean Residences Architectural Design.jpg

Many buildings, which could potentially attract the same positive external impression (with single residences appearing to be notorious at times), have attracted strong criticism for cutting costs (particularly when it comes to substandard materials), as well as poor workmanship.

The Builder

Despite not having an affiliation or inside knowledge of ICON Construction, it appears their reputation leaves them as one of the best places to work for, as well as one of the most trusted, quality companies in Perth (or Australia). One just has to look at the reviews left behind by previous employees. It feels quite common for former workers to blow their load and diss their old job place, (notwithstanding the potentially high proportion of those that may deserve it, for whatever reason). Inclusive of international reviews, I've never seen so many five star reviews from staff (and I doubt they were paid for) and good workers in a good team environment, gives a good reason to produce great work.

So in establishing a very strong sense of a great build, 14 apartments are being built with two bedrooms and 15 with three bedrooms.  That alone appears impressive, giving me the sense they haven't tried to pack in a maximum occupancy rate with queasy squeezy space and instead, have opted for luxury, well-deserved living space, despite whatever resulting monetary value they're being sold for, which would already start quite high, judging from the locality of Nedlands. Upon writing this, I viewed the images on the Rivean Residences, designed by Giorgi and certainly confirmed the spacious living environment!

The Design

With concrete planters filled with greenery on many levels, artistic contrasts against the pale limestone walls is designed in the cedar wood columns and adjustable louvres (angled slats/shutters).

Rivean Residences Architectural Design 2.jpg

The Issues

Interestingly, out of 136 submissions during the public consultation period, only three were in support of the development application and 38 of the objections received, were from residents located within a 200 metre radius of the site (p.8). Some of the concerns raised included:

  • Excessive bulk and scale

  • Does not respect the privacy of neighbours

  • Exceeds plot ratio and

  • Does not provide adequate setbacks

Unless I've missed something, no electrical vehicle charging infrastructure has been included in the design. Even though many development applications have included a few of these in their designs already, it only became a national government requirement in new apartment development applications a few days after Rivean Residences was given the green light.

The Saez SLH190 luffing tower crane is expected to be dismantled towards the end of August 2023, with completion of construction towards the end of the year.

01 - November 2020

02 - December 2020

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