FC: How well do you know your neighbourhood | Do you know the history hidden in your Streets?
1: The City of South Perth Today
3: The First Settlers
4: Swan River Settlement | Early maps of the Swan River Colony
5: Australian Aboriginal Culture can claim to be the oldest continuous living culture in the world. Dating back tens of thousands of years before European settlement, Aboriginal people roamed the Australian landscape, living in harmony in a nomadic partnership with nature. The hallmark of Aboriginal culture is 'oneness with nature'. In traditional Aboriginal belief systems, landscape had the central importance. Indigenous Australians survived in harsh climatic and environmenal conditions which ranged from cold temperate to hot tropical, coping with arid conditions and torrential rains. They have dwelt for many thousands of years in ways that sustained their societies while conserving resources, protecting fragile soils and leaving a light footprint on the environment. | Indigenous Society
6: The area of South Perth was originally the tribal district of Belloo and was inhabited by the tribal group of Whajook, who formed part of the Noongar Group. Traditional Noongar made a living by hunting and trapping a variety of game, including kangaroos, possums and wallabies, by fishing using spears and fish traps, as well as gathering edible wild plants. The Noongar had a very close relationship with the land and their identity was derived from the places to which they were connected. They understood the implications of tribal territories, boundaries and sacred places. They understood their responsibilities towards the land and their rights to it, which were inherited through kinship. Their rich culture and traditions were passed down to the younger generations through the power of legend, art, painting, dance, story and song. The arrival of Europeans therefore had a devastating effect on the traditional way of life of the Aboriginal people. With the loss of lands, Aboriginal people lost access to important seasonal foods and did not understand private ownership, which led to spearing of stock and digging in food gardens and reprisals led to a cycle of increased violence on both sides.
7: DID YOU KNOW?? The Noongar believe the Wagyl, a snakelike, dreamtime creature, is responsible for the creation of the Swan and Canning Rivers . The Darling Scarp is said to represent the body of a Wagyl. As it meandered over the land it created rivers, waterways and lakes. His track shaped the sand dunes, his body scoured out the course of the rivers and when he stopped for a rest he created bays and lakes. The Swan River was therefore considered a sacred site by the Noongar and they believe the Wagyl appointed them the guardian of the lands.
9: Early European Settlement
10: In 1697 the Dutch expedition, commanded by Willem de Vlaming, was the first to discover this major river, which was named the "Swan River" because of the presence of black swans . Captain James Stirling arrived on 8 March 1827 on the Royal Naval vessell "Success". With some of his crew he then set out on a journey to explore "up" the river . During this exploration, the men noticed the spit of land jutting from the south shore of the River towards Mt Eliza and which formed "the Narrows". The point at the tip of this spit of land was named Point Belches, for Lieutenant Peter Belches. Captain Stirling considered the Swan River, and south-western Australia, as an area of great opportunities for British colonisers. Little more than 2 years later, Stirling returned as Lieutenant-Governor of the new Swan River Colony. This time he was on the Parmelia which arrived on 1 June 1829 (Foundation Day for Western Australia).
11: Foundation of Perth 1929 Painting by George Pitt Morrison An historically accurate re-construction of the official ceremony
13: Early Days in South Perth
14: It was four years after settlement of the Colony before any serious interest in the area south of the river occurred. A bridge was still needed over the Swan, and the only method of communication was by river, up the Swan and Canning. A number of settlers were working land on the Canning River so it became necessary to create a land route from Perth to the southern outposts. There was a demand for a ferry so that people, goods and horses could be transported across the Narrows, which was the shortest water crossing (between Mt Eliza and Point Belches. This was the beginning of ferry transport between Perth and South Perth which has continued ever since. South Perth was only notable as undeveloped bushland through which there was a track from Point Belches to the Canning. However, by 1831 the land along the river had been allocated to 7 people, and this land was being partially utilised for agriculture and dairy farms.
15: Early South Perth Subdivision
16: By 1845, however, the situation had completely changed. The first causeway had been constructed across the Swan River using "Heirisson Islands" as stepping stones. This meant there was a now a direct land link from Perth to the south of the river, and the ferry across the Narrows was not used nearly as much, which meant that South Perth and the Peninsula were not a necessary link in the southward route any longer. | The "Hillman Map" which shows the "track to the Canning District"
17: William Shenton, a pioneer settler, leased land on Point Belches and erected a simple wind powered wooden floor mill in 1833. This proved to be inadequate so a second mill was build in 1835. Shenton's building and milling activity gave impetus to the Mill Point area during the late 1830s. Fresh tenders were called for all the ferry services in April 1836, including the Perth to Point Belches route. | The Old Mill
18: DID YOU KNOW???? In 1854 a six year old boy by the name of William Douglas, who was the oldest son of South Perth settler Thomas Douglas, was taken to watch one of the last public executions in the colony? Edward Bishop, who was only 23 years old, had been charged with the murder of a chinese cook named Ah Chong (with whom he shared a hut on a property in York). Although Bishop denied murdering Ah Chong,he was found guilty by jury and sentenced to death. The place of execution was "The Hanging Tree", which is believed to be a jarrah tree near the intersection of the present Mill Point Road and Ellam Street. A Heritage Trail marker now shows the likely location of the "Hanging Tree".
19: By the 1850s there was further development of the area, with more ferry connections and the construction of the Causeway and Canning Bridge. The area was further surveyed and lots allocated to pensioners. By 1858 the area was officially marked on maps as "South Perth" and some roads had been constructed. It was realised in the 1860s that large-scale farming had no future, although dairying, timber cutting and vegetable growing continued. | Dairy in South Perth | Ferry Service
20: Early Days in South Perth | By the 1880s Chinese gardeners had arrived and they set up market gardens on land on the foreshore, between Suburban Road (now Mill Point Road) and the Swan River. | Chinese Market Gardens
21: Early Days in South Perth | The real estate boom of the 1880s, which coincided with the discovery of gold in Kalgoorlie and Coolgardie, saw a slow but appreciable growth in the number of residents. Several of Perth's more substantial citizens saw South Perth as a peaceful and tranquil suburb, and by the end of the 1800s the population was about 400, with many elegant homes. By 1893 South Perth was already a popular, sought after place to live. The demand for residential property in a suburb so close to Perth saw a number of 'influential' people take up residency in South Perth. With this growth in population and services came more efficient transport systems. A horse drawn bus service across the Causeway in the late 1890s and an increased ferry service contributed to a better standard of living for those in the South Perth district. The South Perth population rose from approximately 400 in the late 1890s to 796 in 1901.
22: Early Days in South Perth | The Zoological Gardens and the Royal Perth Golf Club opened in 1898.
23: Early Days in South Perth | Between WWI and WWII, residential lots were developed at an unprecedented rate. Houses were built under the influence of ideas brought back from Europe and America. The California Bungalow and Old English Revival designs replaced the Federation architecture of pre WWI. Como and Kensington also grew as many of the blocks that had previously remained undeveloped became occupied. The State Housing Commission was also involved in the development of some areas.
24: The first area chosen for development was the Perth Water foreshore land, which had until then been occupied by the Manning and Roberts dairy farms, and the Hurlingham Polo Ground. The land was resumed by the State Government and developed as the Hurlingham Estate. | Early Days in South Perth | The population of theSouth Perth district rose from approximately 3,000 people in 1921 to nearly 9,000 in 1933. | Aerial view of Hurlingham Estate
25: Early Days in South Perth | Some examples of early advertising material
26: Post War Years | When post war reconstruction commenced in 1945, peninsular land was in great demand for urgently needed housing. Unlike more distant metropolitan districts, South Perth had not only useful areas of undeveloped land, but also well-developed basic services to develop that land such as roads, electricity and water. Dairies and market gardens were replaced by houses and parklands. The most substantial residential growth took place in the 1950s and 1960s, aided by improvements in access, construction cost of roads and bridges and the influence of the War Service and State Housing Commissions. During the 1960s and 1970s, many older houses were demolished and replaced by high-rise residential flats, apartments and commercial buildings. During the 1990s the population of South Perth was estimated at 34,500. An increase in housing density was created by the many units, flats and townhouses and a loss in the number of trees which were demolished to make way for development.
27: Further Development | The next area for home building was the remaining vacant land between Canning Highway and the very large area still occupied by the Collier Pine Plantation. This large plantation, which was established in 1926, was now reaching maturity but was not destined for cutting out until the early 1960s, the land then being used for public purposes, largely educational and institutional. In South Perth home building came up close to the northern and eastern perimeters of the plantation and this necessitated the construction of another school, the Collier Primary School. Land for this proposed school had been resumed in August 1945, and the school opened in 1948. So, Collier and Como filled in around the plantation, leaving the remaining pine trees as a pleasant green buffer zone on the central east side of the Peninsula.
28: Collier Park Primary School 1948
29: City of South Perth Today | The City of South Perth includes the suburbs of Como, Karawara, Kensington, Manning, Salter Point, South Perth and Waterford. It is mainly residential with substantial parklands.
30: The City of South Perth covers an area of around 19.9km2. It is divided into six wards, which are: | MillPoint Civic Morsby McDougall Como Beach, and Manning | Each ward is represented by two Councillors.
31: The land known as "The Avenues" originally formed the eastern part of a much larger land parcel, identified as Swan Location 40. The boundaries of Swan Location 40 are South Terrace, Swan River, Thelma Street and Blamey Place. Swan Location 40 was held from 1885 to 1916 by the four Comer brothers, the grandsons of the original owner, Hugh McDonald. The title, up to 1916, was in the name of Edmund Hugh Comer, who held one-quarter share with his brothers. The 1906/07 South Perth Rate Book shows Edmund Comer holding land in the newly subdivided area of Swan Location 40 on the river side of Fremantle Road as well as holding all the vacant land on the east side of the Fremantle Road. Swan Location 40 had river frontage and was bisected by Fremantle Road (later renamed Canning Highway). The section of Swan Location 40 west of Fremantle Road was subdivided by Comer after approval was received on 27 August 1906. It comprised 392 lots, each approximately 1/2 acre in size. The eastern portion of Swan Location 40 (270 acres) was still unsubdivided by Comer at his death in 1916.
32: Responsibility for the naming of roads, features, townsites and places in Western Australia lies with the Minister for Land Information. The Geographic Names Committee was established to represent many different points of view, from your local community to professional institutions and government agencies in Western Australia. It provides a mechanism to make democratic naming decisions for the State Government. The Geographic Names Committee provides advice to the Minister for Land Information on geographical name issues. The Geographic Names Committee can assign names to places and determine the form, spelling, meaning, pronunciation, origin and history of any geographical name. However, geographic names are essentially a local community issue. When allocating a new name or changing an existing one, the Committee will ensure the local community is extensively consulted to determine their view before any recommendations are made. | Street Names
33: The name "The Avenues" is not an official name, but is sometimes used locally as a simple way of referring to a group of streets which include the title "Avenue" in their names, between South Terrace and Thelma Street, east of Canning Highway, Como, such as Birdwood Avenue, Monash Avenue etc. Most of these Avenues were named after senior officers who served in the First or Second World Wars. For example, both Talbot Avenue and Hobbs Avenue were named after Lieutenant General Sir Joseph John Talbot Hobbs, who served as a soldier in WWI. Hobbs was born and educated in England as a draftsman and in 1887, at the age of 23, migrated to Perth and set up practice as an architect. He was notable throughout Perth, designing several buildings in South Perth, including Haddon Hall (now demolished) and the Windsor Hotel. Hobbs also designed memorials, including the Australian War Memorial at Kings Park in Perth. What else can you find out about this distinguished Australian?
34: What can you learn about the origins of the street names listed below: | Anketell Street Bessell Avenue Blamey Place Hamlin Rise Monash Avenue Ryrie Avenue Throssell Street | Axford Street Birdwood Avenue Bland Street Hobbs Avenue Murray Street Talbot Avenue Todd Avenue