Monday, 27 August 2012

Family History Through The Alphabet Challenge : P is for...

This week I changed my mind three times. First of all I was going to write my P post about Putney, where my great-grandparents were born. Then I decided that I wanted to include Perth, Australia in my post. Then came my third choice. A post dedicated only to Perth.

My relatives came to Perth from the early 1970s through to the late 1980s. I assumed that we had no known ancestry living in Australia before that time until I began seriously delving into my family history. That was when I discovered that I had two distant great-grand uncles that landed on Australian soil well before we did. One lived in what is known today as Melbourne (it was known as Van Diemen's Land when he arrived off a convict ship in 1847) and the other emigrated to Queensland in the 1960s (and later lived on Magnetic Island).

Before European colonisation, Perth was inhabited by the Whadjuk Noongar people for over 40,000 years. Evidence of this was discovered through archaeological findings along the Swan River. The area where the city of Perth now stands was called Boorloo by the Aboriginals living there at the time of their first contact with white people in 1827. Perth was named by Captain James Stirling in 1829 after Perth, Scotland (in honour of British Army Officer, Sir George Murray 1772-1846). Queen Victoria announced the city status of Perth in 1856.

St Georges Terrace, circa 1903
Perth's main CBD street
St Georges Terrace today
Trinity Church still stands amongst the skyscrapers
Forest Place or Chase, once a thoroughfare with Boans
Department Store on the left
(My Mother & Aunt worked at Boans
when they first came to Perth)
The GPO Building can just be seen on the right,
halfway up the street
Today Forest Chase is closed to traffic and Boans has
long since been demolished.
The GPO Building (the brown building) still stands
Swan Brewery, circa 1879
Swan Brewery today, following redevelopment in 2001
Perth Skyline 1935
Perth Skyline c. 1945
Perth Skyline 1964
Image courtesy of J McCall

My grandmother Lilian in Kings Park
City Skyline in the background, 1982
Perth Skyline 2012
Perth Skyline at night
My favourite way to see the City, from Kings Park

My favourite reasons for living in Perth are its historical buildings and early twentieth century architecture, its Aboriginal heritage and diverse 21st century culture, the Swan River and City foreshore, Kings Park and Botanical Gardens, the endless stretches of white, sandy coastline, Fremantle, the black Swans and the National Parks from Mundaring to the Darling Scarp. Perth is still growing, still changing, still developing and re-developing. We may be isolated from other cities in Australia but we're lucky for it. We might be thought of as selfish or snobbish to some outsiders but we are staunchly proud of our City.

Perth's state symbol, the Black Swan

Acknowledgements and thanks to Battye Library Perth, West Australian Museum, Royal West Australian Historical Society, Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA) and author Tom Austen.


  1. Lovely pictures Debra, thank you for sharing the City of Perth with us

    1. Thanks very much Ann, I'm glad you enjoyed the pictures. xx

  2. Thanks Debra, very much appreciated.

  3. Thanks Debra, very much appreciated.