Federal government awards $ 1.3 million grant to restore historic Gough Whitlam home in western Sydney


The federal government will contribute $ 1.3 million towards the cost of restoring former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam’s home in Sydney West, turning it into a museum open to the public.

The house at 32 Albert Street, Cabramatta, was where Gough Whitlam celebrated his 1972 election victory surrounded by a crowd of supporters.

He also owned the property when it was controversially fired in 1975.

Deputy Prime Minister and Cabinet Minister Ben Morton said the building was an important national asset.

Gough Whitlam gave a press conference from his living room after winning the 1972 election.(

ABC News

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“The house is an indelible part of Australian history and it must be preserved and treasured for future generations,” he said.

The plan is to restore the house to its original condition and create a museum where visitors can learn more about Australia’s 21st Prime Minister and his legacy.

The grant will go to the Whitlam Institute, within the University of Western Sydney, which will oversee the restoration ahead of the 50th anniversary of the election of the Whitlam government next year.

The living room of Gough Whitlam's former home has a fireplace, large library and floor-to-ceiling windows.
The living room of Gough Whitlam’s former home in Cabramatta.(

Provided: Ray White

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A dated kitchen with damaged yellow cupboards and floral wallpaper.
The kitchen in Whitlam’s old house has damaged cabinetry.(

Provided: Ray White

)

“We hope that the Whitlam House can play a central role in celebrating its government’s legacy,” said John Faulkner, former Labor senator and chairman of the Whitlam Institute.

When the house hit the market earlier this year, a group of senior Labor Party officials got together and raised over $ 1 million to buy it.

Since the Whitlams moved in 1977 it had been in private hands and had fallen into disrepair, but many of the original features have remained intact.

Nick Whitlam at Gough Whitlam's House
Nick, Whitlam’s son, in his childhood home in Cabramatta. (

ABC News: Ursula Malone

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Gough and Margaret Whitlam hired a local architect to design and build the one-story house.

Their son Nick Whitlam was 12 when the family moved into the house in 1957.

“What struck me pleasantly was how many there are still there,” he said.

“People can still see how a person in his position lived back then.”

In 2019, the government provided $ 750,000 for the purchase and renovation of the childhood home of former Labor Prime Minister Bob Hawke in Bordertown, South Australia.

Whitlam House will be the latest addition to the former Prime Minister’s homes preserved for the nation, including the Ben Chifley House in Bathurst, New South Wales, the John Curtin House in Cottesloe, Western Australia, and the Houses family of Joe and Enid Lyons Inn Stanley and Devonport, Tasmania.


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