Out and About
Claremont Meanders: Cobblers and Convicts
Updated: Jan 17, 2020
I particularly enjoyed this trail as it had lots of beautiful historic buildings, a scattering of parks and playgrounds, public art and fabulous river views. Walking the shady streets of Claremont, some covered in jacaranda blossom, was a pleasure even on a relatively warm day in November.
This is one of four Claremont Meanders: Glimpsing the Past trails exploring the heritage and history of Claremont. Refer to the Claremont Meanders blog for details of the other three trails: Rediscovering the Terrace, Trail of Memories and The Yargine Track.
There are very detailed maps on each walk which can be read in conjunction with historical notes. I set out on several occasions to follow these maps but found there was just too much information and detail on them. Many of the sites on the map are no longer in existence and reading the illustrated map doesn’t differentiate the historical and current sites. In the end I printed out a Google map of Claremont, noted the existing sites by carefully reading the trail maps in conjunction with the historical notes and mapped out my own trail. I was still able to read the historical background of the sites along the way and this proved to be a much more efficient way of meandering around Claremont.
Cobblers and Convicts - Green
We parked under the shady trees along the southern end of Bay View Terrace which is free on Sunday but has parking limits (as do most Claremont streets) Monday through to Saturday midday. Parking is also available at Claremont Quarter.
Turning left on Pennell Road we found St Aiden’s Church, built in Federation Gothic style in 1903. Head west along Princess Road and then along the pathways into and through Claremont Park with it's magnificent trees and wide green spaces. There is a small playground in Claremont Park as well as public toilets but on this occasion the toilets were locked. We admired the Art Deco Council Building and the Gothic inspired War Memorial made from Donnybrook Stone.
Follow Stirling Highway east and turn right at Bernard Street one of Claremont’s oldest residential streets with one of Claremont’s most intact heritage streetscapes. Left at Goldsworthy Road then right on Hammond Road to the site of the original church built in a day, now 2A and 2B Hammond Street. Turn right onto Bay Road and down Hammond Street past the Bay Road Pantry dating from 1907 (another coffee stop). As you get to the College Park playing fields have a look for the "Group of little people" statues before turning into the UWA campus to look at the beautiful buildings which were the East Claremont Teacher's Practising School and the Teacher’s College built in 1902. Walk through to look at the War Memorial commemorating 35 ex students who made the supreme sacrifice in World War 1 and then head across Agett Park with it's beautiful sugar gums.
Follow Bay Road South turning left at Victoria Avenue and then cross the road to the Freshwater Bay Museum, housed in the 1862 building which was the Freshwater Bay School and the first school between Perth and Fremantle, and the Mews Boatshed (temporarily closed). Let the kids enjoy a play at Mrs Herbert’s Park on the riverfront (barbecues, picnic tables, toilets and parking are available) while you examine the amazing public art work. Turn right and walk along the Swan River foreshore enjoying the magnificent views. Alex Prior Park slopes gently from the road to the bay and is perfect for some old fashioned fun rolling down the hill or sliding down on a piece of cardboard!
You will pass the site of the Claremont Baths (1901 - 1972) (opposite Chester Road) before following the grassy foreshore stacked with dinghies around to Claremont Jetty, a popular fishing spot. We walked this area at high tide so were not able to walk on the river beach but the grassed area was fully accessible.
Head up Jetty Road and turn left to follow Victoria Avenue past the Claremont Yacht Club and head up the hill along Queenslea Drive. Peek in to admire Christ Church Grammar’s grounds. There is a small memorial to past students and there are also a few artworks from Sculpture by the Sea to be spotted from a distance. Continue north up Queenslea Drive to admire Christ Church built in 1893 in Gothic Revival style. Follow Stirling Highway east back to Bay View Terrace to complete your loop.
This loop walk took us about 90 minutes to complete but as we added on parts of other trails we were meandering for about 2 hours.
Claremont has lots of coffee shops along Bay View Terrace between Stirling Highway and Gugeri Street and of course Claremont Quarter is open during retail hours.
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