Architect, J.J. Talbot Hobbes (1864-1938) designed the house, and it was constructed in two phases: 1888-9 and 1899-1900. The first stage was constructed by John Hurst and Son, and cost around 1052 pounds, which included gates, fencing, front wall, a dresser, cupboard, plastering of the closet against the ash pit and varnishing of deep jarrah skirtings.
In 1889, the arrangement of the rooms was such that the central hall led from the front door to the back door (with a 20 metre deep well just outside). The house was also surrounded by a verandah. Frederick Samson loved dogs, and this was displayed in the collection of dog wall pictures in the entrance hall. He was also a keen photographer, and had his own darkroom in the cellar. Some of his photographs displayed in the house include a picture of the centenary re-enactment of the 1829 landing on Garden Island, and two portraits of Daphne Samson at the fireplace.
In 1899-1900, additions to the rear of the house included dining room, drawing room, italianate tower and bathroom. Beneath the extension there is a cellar with the steps leading down from the new back door. With the extension of the hall corridor, the well, with its hand operated pump was now inside the house.
After all the formal rooms were built, the earlier dining room became Mary's bedroom, and later on, Daphne Samson's bedroom. After Daphne's death, it became a sitting room. The tower, which looks very decorative on the outside, was never actually painted. The interior was embellished with coving and some plaster-work, such as central light fittings.
The bathroom was fitted with grey-white marble flooring and skirting, and aqua and glass wall tiles surmounted by a frieze of greek key patterned tiles. The original iron bath (with feet) still remains fitted with a mechanical plug.
Bathroom of the Samson House
Kerosene lamps provided the lighting before electricity came into Fremantle in 1904. Fresh water from the well was used to water the rose garden, and a rainwater tank was built at the south-east angle of the verandah.
In the 1950's the north-east verandah was enclosed to form a movie theatrette for Sir Frederick, with seats from the old Fremantle trams, which closed down in 1952.
The Tower House Plan
Outbuildings of the Samson House
Daphne Samson by the water pond The Samson House
Return to Sir Frederick Samson and Family.