The City of Light
HEMA Map reference 74/C3
31 57' 11" S 115 52' 00" E
|Climate data for Perth|
|Average Temp high C||31||31.5||29.6||25.7||22.5||19.3||18.3||18.9||20.1||23||26.4||28.8||24.6|
|Average Temp low C||18||18.2||16.6||13.6||10.5||8.5||7.7||8||9.4||11.2||14.1||16.2.||12.7|
Kings Park, Perth Zoo, WA Museum, Armadale Reptile Centre, Swan River, Canning River, Caversham Wildlife Park Darling Scarp, AQWA, Adventure World, Beaches, Aviation museum, Northbridge restaurants, Gosnells Railway markets.
Buildings of note
St. Mary's Cathedral 1863, London Court 1936, Supreme Court buildings 1902, Weld Club 1892, National chambers 1897, Former police courts 1905, Art gallery & museum 1896-1908, General post office 1914, Perth town hall 1868, Perth mint 1896, Grosvenor hotel 1887, Savoy hotel 1913, His Majesty's Theatre 1904, melbourne hotel 1895, Hackett hall 1903, Perth technical college annexe 1896, Fire brigade No1 station 1900, Old Government printing office 1894, RPH Admin building 1894, Kirkman house 1909, Barrack Street arch 1863, St. Georges Cathedral 1880, Trinity church 1864, Government house 1859, St. Andrews 1906, The Deanery 1859, Old Perth boys school 1859, Cloisters 1858, Old courthouse 1836, Former Archbishop's palace 1855, Railway station 1894, Wesley church 1870, Great Western hotel 1906, St. George's college 1927, Old observatory 1897, Shenton's mill 1835, Albany Bell castle 1914, Tranby House 1836, Freemason's Hall Subiaco 1929, Former teachers college Claremont 1902, Christ Church Claremont 1892, Former Congregational church Claremont 1895, MLC Claremont 1907, Guildford hotel 1886, Guildford post office 1897, Rose & Crown Guildford 1840, Midland town hall 1906, Woodbridge 1880s, Edward Millen House 1912, Broke Hill hotel 1898.
January: Skyworks, February-March: Arts festival. August: Avon Descent, September: Royal Show, Fashion festival, Perth hills wine show, Kings Park wildflower festival, New music festival.
Perth Council Building
Statue of a kangaroo
St. Mary's Cathedral
Barrack Street jetty
Old fire station
Old Courthouse 1837
Inside Government House
Some of Perth's Lost heritage buildings:
AMP Building BL 341133PD
Old barracks building BL 215600PD
Elder House BL 095459PD
How could anyone knock this down? BL 007460d
‘The situation of the city is ideal, and the views of Perth from the top of Mt. Eliza, with the river winding through it and the tree capped ranges in the background challenges comparison with the most beautiful cities in the old or the new world.’
The Story of a Hundred Years. 1929.
attempt was made to find a passage into the sheltered waters of Cockburn
Sound the Parmelia struck a hidden shoal where she was stranded for 18 hours
before being re-floated. HMS Challenger (Capt.
Fremantle) was already anchored in the sound so most passengers and
supplies were transferred to her. Two days of fierce winds followed and
Stirling made the decision to make landfall on Garden Island, instead of the
Kings Park is the largest inner city park in the world – larger even than Central Park in New York. It was the first park in Australia to be designated for public use (1872).
The origin of
the name Mt. Eliza seems to be disputed in various historical works with
some claiming that it was named in honour of
Eliza Burdett, sister of the
Rev. John Burdett Wittenoom
the first colonial
Chaplain who arrived in 1829 aboard the ship Swansted. Other sources claim
that James Stirling named Mt. Eliza after the wife of Governor Darling and
as he named the Darling Scarp in honour of Governor Darling it seems most
likely that Stirling did name Mt. Eliza after Darling's wife.
They followed the course of the Canning to the foot of the Darling Scarp and climbed up to the top to get a better view. Although looking west they could see as far as the coast, to the east their view was obstructed by what looked like endless hills and thick forests.
Another exploratory party (led by Lt. William Preston) started out on the 9th of September. He was joined by Ensign Robert Dale – who would go on to explore much of the hilly area to the east of Perth.
Preston was unimpressed by the country over the scarp but within a month Dale returned trying to trace the source of the Helena River.
Dale’s men walked in to an Aboriginal camp and while the Aborigines were very surprised and initially appeared aggressive, they quickly settled down and led the explorers to a number of water sources before vanishing back into the bush.
Much later on Dale was to be involved in a confrontation with some very hostile natives and was to bare to spear wounds for the rest of his days.
Dale’s efforts to open up territory to the east did not go un-noticed by the Governor and Stirling praised him highly then rewarded Dale with a large grant of land on the banks of the Avon River.
Dale was then re-assigned to the Garrison at Albany where he put his interest in exploration to good use again before being promoted to Lieutenant and serving in India. He died aged only 46 in Bath, England.
The Swan River Colony was the first Australian settlement to be developed by free settlers, but by 1850 the need for cheap labour was so great that convicts were eventually shipped out.
Settlers were encouraged to move to the new colony with the offer of land grants. The going rate was 3 pounds worth of goods for 40 acres of land. On the face of it this may have seemed like a good idea but in effect it meant large areas of land were taken up by rich men who did not have the means to cultivate it. This restricted the land available to poorer people and meant little was done to make much of the land grants productive. By 1830 around 1 million acres had been granted with less than 200 under cultivation.
This led to dissatisfaction among many settlers and between 1830 and 1832 the population fell from 4,000 to around 1,500.
The main supporter and first Governor of the Swan River Colony (James Stirling) was granted large tracts of land in appreciation of his efforts. By October 1837, Stirling had had enough and resigned to return home to England. His wife (Ellen) had borne him no less than seven children (no TV back then) in the time they had been in W.A. and despite his large land holdings Stirling was never to return to the place he helped get started.
On his return to England he remained in the Royal Navy and commanded ships of the line such as the HMS Indus and HMS Howe. In 1851 he was made a Rear Admiral and served as Commander in Chief in China and the East Indies. He became a full Admiral in 1862.
Stirling had named the city on the Swan, Perth, after the Scottish city. He chose the name because Perth, Scotland was the birth place of the Secretary of State for the Colonies, Sir George Murray. (There are reports that he originally favoured the name Hesperia – land looking west).
Perth was not initially a popular name, as Stirling (a Scot) was seen to be giving Scottish names (such as Cockburn, Dalrymple and Melville) to everything he saw. English settlers saw this as some sort of Scottish plot.
He is remembered in the names given to features around the state and a simple search through this book will see his name mentioned many times. Optimistic, headstrong and even rash, Stirling was none the less a major driving force in the establishment of Western Australia and we owe him a vote of thanks for his efforts.
It isn't well known today, but Perth and the surrounding suburbs stand on what was once an extensive system of wetlands. They were seen as useless swamps by the early settlers and most were drained or filled in. The railway station stands on what was once Lake Kingsford. The land under the GPO had timbers inserted to keep it stable and the post office stands on what was once the muddy shore of a lake. Basements of older shops (like Boans) that have since been demolished, used to have pumps to keep the water at bay. Even the Entertainment Centre stands on what was once Lake Irwin. It is estimated that 99% of the wetlands that used to exist near Perth have been lost forever and that at least 75% of those along the coastal strip are likewise gone.
The old Perth (pre 1970s) was a very conservative town and in some ways remained very backward looking. The visit of Queen Elizabeth II in 1954 generated a wave of patriotic pro-British sentiment that would be almost unthinkable today. The 1970s brought many changes and possibly the worst was the wholesale destruction of wonderful heritage buildings like the CML, the AMP and many wonderful old hotels. The rush for modernisation at any cost saw the city turned into a row of faceless, soulless sky-scrapers. Today very little remains of what was once fascinating architecture in the city centre.
(interesting) touristy things to do in Perth.
A visit to Perth might include some (or all) of our suggestions on what to see and what to do:
1. Perth Zoo. Small and compact but very interesting and informative. A good day out.
2. Perth Museum. Ok, so the museum does get a bit dated if you have been there a few times but for the new visitor to Perth it is worth spending a few hours there.
4. Fremantle Maritime Museum. Possibly more interesting than the main museum in Perth. A tour through the HMAS Ovens (submarine) should be on everyone's list.
5. Old Fremantle Prison. This is fascinating. The prison has great historical significance and tours here are very worth while.
6. Aviation Museum. Maintained by the RAAF and volunteers this musem preserves some of our important aviation history.
7. AQWA (Hillary's). The Aquarium of W.A.
8. Cohunu Wildlife Park (Byford). A good place to get up close and personal with many species of Australian wildlife.
9. King's Park. You haven't been to Perth until you have gone up to Mt. Eliza and taken a photo of the city from near the war memorial.
11. Armadale Reptile Centre. Interesting and informative. Worth the drive out to Armadale to get up close to some of our many reptile species.
(Note. We do not accept payment to recommend places to see, the places we list are the ones WE think are worth while and have been to ourselves.)
The original Government House built for James Stirling was built in 1838 but proved to be inadequate. Construction started in 1859 on a new building and the work was completed in 1863.
The first Governor to take up residence was Gov. Hampton. In 1867 a banqueting hall had been added and a ballroom added in 1899.
Government House is only occasionally open to the public.
The role of the Governor was once critical to the functioning of government in Western Australia but in recent times the role is largely ceremonial.
One of the little known facts about Government House is that there is a drop down door that was used to partition off the Governor's study. This door could be lowered if more room was needed for various functions and raised when the Governor wanted privacy in his study. The door still exists although it can only be seen in the cellar. Today a large double sided bookcase blocks the area the door once occupied.
A few interesting facts:
Perth is also the most beautiful city in the world. If you don’t believe me then pay us a visit and see for yourself.
Supreme Court Gardens to east side of the city the Old Perth Boys School to
west side of the city. Approx 4.5Km.
East Perth: Starts at Queens Gardens. Approx 4.5Km.
Northbridge: Starts at Perth Cultural Centre. Approx 3Km.
West Perth: Starts at the old observatory. Approx 2.5Km.
Tall tales and true: First across
In a scene reminiscent of the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge (many years later) at the opening ceremony of the first Causeway bridge John Stephen Maley galloped his horse across the bridge and stole the Governor's thunder by being the first to cross the new structure after it was officially opened.