Historic Heart of Perth
Updated: Feb 22, 2020
It was a cloudy wet start to our walk celebrating the launch of the Historic Heart of Perth app. Historic Heart of Perth is a non-profit organisation established with the aim of revitalising Perth's east end and promoting it's great assets. The timing is right to promote this area as it provides an easy and interesting 35 minute walk (without stopping) between the city and the new Optus Stadium utilising the brand new Matagarup Bridge to cross the Swan River.
The Historic Heart of Perth app provides 5 self guided, flexible themed walks covering Architecture, Art, Coffee, Small Museums and two Stadium walks - one to get you there and one for the way home! The app includes interactive maps, brochures, printable maps and directions for the walk including facts and figures about all the interesting buildings, artworks and places you pass on the way. You can choose how you interact with the app:
using it as a quick guide to places of interest or to delve deeper into the history and background by reading the information provided on each location.
We didn't follow a specific itinerary but ambled through the city for two hours taking in a range of different places, stopping to hear some background information from our Two Feet and A Heartbeat guide, Ryan.
After catching a train into the City we did a quick walk through the newly opened Raine Square shopping centre before heading to Yagan Square for an excellent coffee before setting out through the 140 William Street laneway into Forrest Chase, across Murray Street and up another laneway into the Plaza Arcade. Emerging onto Hay Street we stopped to look up at the imposing Art Deco facade of the Plaza Theatre. Right next door is the Savoy Hotel, another amazing heritage listed building which lies vacant and derelict inside but presents a fantastic facade which goes mostly unnoticed by the busy people rushing along the Hay Street shopping mall.
From here we went to the Town Hall which will celebrate it's 150th anniversary in 2020. We walked under the gothic arches which used to house the camels used for transportation. We then wandered across and through the beautifully restored State Buildings and into Cathedral Square with the magnificent St George's Cathedral. The history of this area is incredible and it makes one appreciate that so much effort has gone into restoring and revitalising this area. The State Buildings used to house the first Post Office and you can see Point Zero outside on the pavement. This is the point from which all distances are measured in relation to Perth. This time looking down helps you notice points of interest.
Wandering past the Perth City Library we vowed to return another day to explore the children's floors and the tree of knowledge. Another look up revealed the art deco facade of the Criterion Hotel before continuing on to discover the area around the new Westin Hotel which has incorporated the renovated Hibernian Hall. We approached the beautifully renovated No 1 Fire Station from the rear and then caught sight of the heritage listed Moreton Bay fig in the Perth Hospital Precinct.
Further on to Victoria Square to see the many different faces of St Mary's Cathedral which has undergone many renovations over the years. Other buildings around Victoria Square tell their own heritage stories including the tiny chapel attached to Mercedes College.
After using the eyejack app along the way to experience various Augmented Reality Art on the Activated Art Walk we also noted other art installations ranging from the obvious to the subtle. These are the things you often miss driving or rushing by. It is amazing what you discover strolling along and taking notice of your surroundings. As we walked past the WACA many of use took videos using the interactive art mural.
We rounded Gloucester Park, which apparently often opens it's gates to allow people to shortcut through on the way to Matagarup Bridge. Today however we had to walk around and past Trinity College. We caught our first glimpses of the spectacular Matagarup_Bridge. The highest point is apparently higher than the Stadium roof. The stadium came into view and even on an overcast day it is a spectacular sight across the river. Whilst the landscaping and part of the Matagarup bridge still requires some finishing touches you can see what an amazing structure it is. As you cross you can see the stairs leading up the arches and once the construction is complete these will be open for the public to climb.
We had a quick peek inside the massive Optus Stadium before walking around to the train station to catch a train back to Perth (check timetables as trains only operate when events are being held at the Stadium). As an alternative if you are undertaking this walk on a non-event day you can get a free CAT bus back to the CBD, or walk back taking a different route. There are also plenty of amazing playgrounds around the Stadium if you have the time.