The Steering Committee which began in 1985 to formulate a concept for the State's first Writer's Centre received a lot of information from friends and former associates of Katharine Susannah Prichard. Joan Williams, I think, suggested that those who had been part of the inner circle of Katharine's fellow writers and political supporters always spoke of the house as "Katharine's Place", so it was decided then and there to perpetuate this title. Since Katharine's death in 1969 the house had passed on to several other owners and had become known as "Megalong" after the well-known valley in the Blue Mountains.
In 1910, the founding headmaster of Guildford Grammar School decided he needed a weekend and holiday cottage where he could, presumably, get away from the constant pressures of running a boarding school where he would have been, in effect, on call twenty four hours of the day. Percy U. Henn selected for purchase a property of several acres in the Old York Road and had a simple four room jarrah weatherboard cottage constructed. The kitchen was part of the back verandah. It was in 1919 that the newly-weds, Hugo Throssell and Katharine, purchased the property and, except for a period of several years after her husband's death, the famous writer lived there until 1969. The details of her life have been recorded in her own partial autobiography 'Child of the Hurricane' and in her son Ric's two biographies of his parents, 'Wild Weeds and Windflowers' and 'My Father's Son'.
Katharine's Place retained its original form with minor additions to the grounds, such as a large summerhouse, until it became Megalong Gallery in the 1970s. At that time, the two central rooms and passage were made into one large room and the northern verandah was replaced by a large living room (also an exhibition space) and an extra bedroom.
After the house became a Writers' Centre in 1985, it was listed as a heritage building and extensive renovations restored the sagging floors, replaced the roof and repainted the property in appropriate original colours. The front verandah was widened slightly at this time to make it more useful as a discussion area. All this work was supervised and organized by the Shire of Mundaring with the Management Committee of the Writers' Centre and funded by the (then) WA Heritage Council.
The idea of preserving Katharine's Place dates back to 1983 when the then President of the Fellowship of Australian Writers, Professor Brian Dibble, realised that having a commemorative plaque placed on the cottage would be an appropriate record of the centenary of the birth of one of the nation's greatest early authors. Several years later, the owners of the house were transferred to the North West and approached the Fellowship to see if they were interested in seeing the house preserved for posterity.
Glen Phillips, an executive member of the Fellowship, agreed to set up a Steering Committee to draft a proposal to the Minister for the Arts, Mr Ron Davies, and the Shire of Mundaring, for purchase of the property, vesting it in the Shire and leasing it to the Katharine Susannah Prichard Foundation which was in the process of being established. Support came from the Greenmount council library, which had been renamed the Katharine Susannah Prichard Library, from the Mundaring Arts Centre and the Fellowship of Australian Writers.
So the Foundation finally obtained the lease for the Centre in December 1985.