Stories from Success Hill
Updated: Nov 14, 2020
Success Hill Reserve backs onto the Swan River opposite Fishmarket Reserve on the Guildford side.
The river has steep banks on this side so Success Hill Reserve sits up high with views across to the hills in the distance.
We came here as we had heard it was thought to be where Captain Stirling landed on his way upriver so we thought we would check it out.
Success Hill Reserve is heritage listed for it's significance to indigenous people. Traditionally these lands were the hunting, camping and sacred grounds of the Noongar tribes. It is thought the Waugal lives in a cave where Bennett Brook enters the Swan River. The Waugal is a rainbow serpent recognised by Noongar as the giver of life, responsible for the creation of the Swan and Canning rivers and other waterways and landforms around present day Perth. Corroborees were held at Success Hill until the 1950s and many groups lived at the reserve early in the 20th century.
The reserve also has historic value for the many ways it has been used since 1831; from water source, market garden, mine site, recreational reserve and meeting place.
The city of Bassendean has constructed an indigenous walkway with signage flanking the wide path leading towards the river. Stopping to read the signs I was glad I had come here as the walk recognises the early history of the settlement and in particular the ramifications this had for the local Noongar people.
If you have older children and want them to understand WA history bring them here and let them read all the signs....it will make the lesson more memorable.
There is a lovely walkway through the bush reserve then down some stairs to the floating pontoon jetty. This is where you get your stunning views of the river but the warning signs of unstable cliffs, uneven ground and slippery area should be noted.
The Reserve has a small traditional playground, toilet facilities and a small parking area. There is a large grassy hill which the kids might enjoy climbing up and rolling down. Take bicycles at your own risk!
For a bit more insight into the heritage of this area wander down River Street towards Kelly Park and check out Heritage Listed Lockridge Hotel, also known as Success Hill Lodge. This building was constructed in 1896 to take advantage of picnic boating parties travelling on the Swan River. It ceased to operate as a hotel in 1902 and since that time has been a hospital on three separate occasions, Miss Baileys Girls High School, Salvation Army Aged Men's Retreat, a psychiatric hostel and a residence. River Street offers further insight into the development of this area as you pass a massive fenced modern property next door to an older style home with an almost derelict cottage with an original chimney and an outdoor loo across the road.
If you want to explore further you could venture into Bassendean with it's heritage buildings and public artworks including street art, visit the weird and wonderful Earlsferry Sculptures or head into historic Guildford for more history.