NUMBER 40 Mount Street, West Perth, is probably the kind of micro-community Harold Krantz had in mind when he wrote of “young people… and old folk” living together in an affordable spot close to the city.
Built in 1939, today it houses a cross section of students, city workers, retirees, and cranky communal cat Faloush.
The U-shaped building means doors face inwards to the garden courtyard, encouraging a neighbourly feel.
A younger resident, Claudia has been there three years. She says “it’s really chill, everyone’s quite communal here”and can’t picture living anywhere else.
Long-term resident Hayden’s been there for 22 years, moving between flats within the same block. He says when he first saw it, he couldn’t believe he’d found an affordable spot so close to the CBD.
“I couldn’t believe it… living on Mount Street.”
Hayden says the place is built tough. He knows mates who live in modern apartments that are so flimsy and thin-walled you can hear the people upstairs having a pee.
“This is a rock-solid build”, he boasts.
“This is home. It’s a good community. We try to look after each other.”
And everyone looks after Faloush. The chubby tabby was left by a resident who moved away and now hangs around the courtyard, growing hefty off communal feedings. Famously grumpy, he’s known to take swipes at people to defend his garden, and Hayden’s the only person able to pick him up.
The longest-term resident is former Perth MP Diana Warnock. She recalls seeing an ad for one of the flats back in the early ‘60s, saying it would “suit professional woman, £8 a week”.
Krantz flats are so ubiquitous that by coincidence she lived in another Krantz flat for the first few weeks of her life. Ms Warnock then grew up in the tiny country town of Kookynie before moving back to Perth and ending up at 40 Mount Street, falling in love with the building and its location. She hosted parties there during the early years of the Perth International Arts Festival, and more than 40 prominent cultured folk would sometimes be stuffed into a tiny flat.