View Comments
Government House goes back in time
Ballroom dancers Sean Van-Der-Poel Lauren de-Rozario in the Government House Ballroom. Picture: Lincoln Baker/The West Australian

Men dressed in period costumes patrolling the grounds and dancers performing in WA's oldest ballroom took visitors to Government House back in time yesterday.

Thousands of people got a glimpse of the inner workings of the 149-year-old building when its doors were thrown open for an open day.

Visitors took tours of the public rooms of the house, including the main hall with its grand polished jarrah staircase and stained glass window, the majestic dining room and the grand ballroom, while guides took groups for a sneak peek at the house's cellar, which was once used to store food but now houses an impressive collection of WA wines, or a tour of the gardens.

Government House secretary Carol Buckley said the open day, which has been running in some form for about three decades, had grown over the years as they had included cultural celebrations, including an international food fair that was introduced last year.

She said more than 12,000 people had attended this year.

"The highlight of coming to the house is to get a feel for a living, working building that has been here for a specific purpose for almost 150 years," Ms Buckley said.

"It's got a long history. Lots of people come to see the ballroom dancers. At one stage, this ballroom was the only one in Perth."

Champion dancers Lauren de Rozario and Sean van der Poel, of Humphreys Dance Studio in Victoria Park, said it was an honour to perform.

"It's always really good to dance here. The shape of the floor and the architecture are really nice," Ms de Rozario said.

Bob Wise, of the WA Great War Living History Association, said their men dressed in period uniforms were very popular, particularly with children. "Originally, there were actual military guards here," Mr Wise said.