Out and About
Como Jetty is stunning as it juts out into the Swan River pointing down river towards Heathcote and Blackwall Reach. At the moment it is cut off from the river walk paths due to roadworks on the Kwinana Freeway so instead of walking along the river from Point Belches we parked at the South Perth Community Centre and walked from there. Of course you can park much closer as there is parking along Melville Parade and also at the Shopping Centre on Preston Street in Como.
Wandering through the streets of Como is interesting as the houses are a mix of heritage homes, modern homes and some not so attractive 60s and 70s construction thrown in as well. There are plenty of mature trees lining the streets which makes for a pleasant walk.
When you arrive at Preston Street there are a number of shops including some cheerful cafes to stop for a coffee. Wandering down Preston Street you will pass Nasi Lemak Corner and on the western facade you will come across a playful mural acknowledging Indonesian culture. Right next door you can't miss the pink art deco Cygnet Theatre which has been operating since 1938 but make sure you continue past to check out Alfred Hitchcock on it's southern wall. Along Preston St the camera and canister artworks reflect the history of the cinema. These artworks are interactive and you can rotate the films and projector reels to see historical and contemporary etchings of Como, including images of the river, the jetty, trams, street theatre and maps.
It is a short stroll to the footbridge spanning the Kwinana Freeway. The footbridge, which features maritime themed artwork, has a tall mast like structure perfectly framing the river view. You get an excellent view of the jetty from the footbridge (which is also used by cyclists). Choose whether to wind your way down the walkway or take the stairs down to Como Beach, where there are toilets and picnic benches. There may sometimes be a sandy beach here but we walked after quite a severe storm and there had been damage to the foreshore.
Como Beach, with it's warm shallow water and safe swimming was a popular recreation and camping spot in the early 1900s. After WW2 Como Beach Reserve was used as a long term caravan area owing to a shortage of post war housing. Como Jetty was originally built in 1907 but has been modified and rebuilt since then. Make sure you walk all the way along the jetty to enjoy the uninterrupted vista across Melville Water.
The Como Beach artworks consist of three groups of human figures of varying ages; a group of young children, a group of adolescents and a group of adults. The human silhouettes are decorated with simple cut-out shapes symbolising the area’s heritage and historic lifestyle, including the Old Mill, a carousel horse, flocks of birds, fish and beach toys. The silhouettes sit on mosaic bases so make sure you get up and have a close look.
From the jetty we wandered south along Labouchere Road passing the historic building now housing Short Black and Sides barber shop cafe. We crossed over to wander past Como Primary School and admired it's massive tree. These locations both feature on the Como Heritage Trail however we were unable to locate information or a map online for this trail. Around the corner is the P & C Hall, built in the 1940's, with it's Anzac Memorial.
Wandering back along Coode Street we stopped at the Ernest Johnson Reserve Playground behind the South Perth Community Centre. Although still closed for covid 19 we were able to take some pictures to remind us to return another time for a play (and perhaps some serious gymwork on the exercise machines!) We had a closer look at Glazed Bricks and other public art at the John McGrath Pavilion.
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We also visited Como's Neil McDougall Park after exploring the Jetty and it was a delightful find with it's mix of parkland, public art, playground, community garden, heritage buildings and beautiful wetlands.