Melon Hill and Allen Park Historic Precinct
Updated: Apr 10, 2020
Allen Park is a pocket of coastal bushland in Swanbourne, classified by the National Trust for it's high conservation value. It includes a number of sports grounds as well as 8 ha of bushland surrounding Melon Hill. Melon Hill is a 40 m high dune which formed part of the coastal defenses up until 1991 when it became open to the public. You can access the hill from the car park at Odern Crescent, the Heritage Precinct on Claire Copse/Kirkwood Road or from Sayer Street on the northern side.
We entered from the car park at Odern Crescent having walked up from Swanbourne Beach after completing a section of the WESROC Bush to Beach Trail. This trail is part of the Whadjuk Walking Trails and runs from Cottesloe to Shenton Park.
The climb up Melon Hill is short but steep and with stairs cut into the hill is not suitable for prams. The top of the hill affords 360 degree views over Swanbourne to Rottnest Island and inland to the city buildings but views aside, it is not a very inviting place for a long stay.
After cresting Melon Hill we headed back towards Cottesloe and turned left to follow the log stairs. The staircase is quite steep and rough - easier to go down than up I imagine! It is quite pretty though walking down under the tree canopy and emerging into the Allen Park Heritage Precinct to explore the historic buildings.
The buildings in the Allen Park Heritage Precinct were moved to this location from the 1990s. Mattie Furphy's House, Tom Collins' House and Tom Fricker's Cottage are all heritage listed as are some of the trees.
Joseph Furphy, under the pseudonym of Tom Collins, wrote Australian classic Such is Life. Tom Collins' House is a typical weatherboard worker's cottage constructed in 1907. In 1949 the house became the headquarters of the Fellowship of Australian Writers (WA) and a literary museum.
Mattie Furphy House was relocated next to Tom Collins' House in 2005. In 2008 the house became The Coastal Creative Centre in recognition of Mattie's artistic legacy. Many well preserved pieces of Mattie’s copper work, including her Australian flora designs formed into a fireplace mantle, door panels and other decorative features can be found in this house and in Tom Collins' House.
Behind Tom Collins House is the Mayo Community Garden alongside Tom Fricker's Cottage. Another cottage which is around 100 years old is used as the headquarters for the Friends of Allen Park Bushland, a community group that cares for the surrounding bush.
Follow Kirkwood Avenue alongside the cricket oval and you will find the Allen Park playground at the southern tip, conveniently just up the street from the Kirkwood Deli. This fully fenced playground has a sand base under mature shady trees and offers tables, benches and a water fountain. The metal playground has slides, swings, climbing frames, sand play, a climbing wall and imaginative play features. Toilets can be found in the Allen Park Pavilion and parking is available street side.
We completed our loop back to the car by following Clement Street past the tennis courts emerging at the Odern Crescent roundabout and following Odern Crescent the short distance back to the car. The loop walk is around 2 km and will take about 30 minutes plus stops.
With Swanbourne Beach just down the road you could combine this walk with a swim or a play at the beach. We did this loop as part of our walk from Cottesloe to Swanbourne with a stop to explore the Secret Gnome Garden.
You can also explore the coast from Cottesloe south to Mosman Beach.