Out and About
The New Art City Walking Tour - Perth
Updated: May 15, 2022
I've previously blogged the Art City Walking Trail in Perth City but as I did so I realised that there was a new updated version which gave me an excuse to hit the streets of the CBD again to find all the new artworks on this trail. The new trail starts at Elizabeth Quay, winds it's way up to Kings Square and finishes at the Perth Concert Hall and will take up to 2 hours on foot or you can also use public transport options along the way. It may also take you all day if you get side tracked with shopping, dining or any of the other activities offered along the way!
The new 3.1km Art City Walking Trail features areas of Perth which have been redeveloped over the past several years such as Elizabeth Quay and Kings Square and is a way of seeing parts of the city you may not have previously experienced or if you are a city regular, you might just learn more about the artworks you pass by regularly and take a bit for granted.
The two Art Trails only have three artworks that overlap both trails so it is worth doing both. I found that this Art Trail was more colourful than the first one and perhaps more interesting for kids. Many of these artworks lie along the Perth City Christmas Lights Trail which operates from November through to New Year so you could cater for adult and child interests by combining the two!
You can start and finish this trail anywhere along the route. I have followed the numbering on the official City of Perth Art City Walking Trail.
1. First Contact (2015) @ Elizabeth Quay. This iconic artwork by Laurel Nannup is now synonymous with Elizabeth Quay and represents the arrival of European settler ships to Perth. The local Noongar people believed them to be past ancestors returning from the sea. You can also follow the Elizabeth Quay Public Art Walk to see more art in this area. .
2. Wolf Lane Arts Precinct (2014) @ Wolf Lane. 16 murals were commissioned to bring this underutilised laneway to life and now the area is well known for it's cafes and small bars.
3. Koorden (2015) @ Wellington Gardens, Kings Square. Six dramatic male Indigenous figures rendered in cast bronze stride towards the east across the grass of Wellington Gardens. The bands that form their bodies represent painted ceremonial markings found in historical photographs. Koorden is a Noongar word for strength.
4. Connect(us) (2015) @ Kings Square. Kings Square is another area of Perth that has been revitalised and you will need to look up to see this suspended ribbon like artworks which glows with the ochre hues of the Western Australian landscape at night. Connect(us) responds to the transitioning ambient light of sunlight, sky and shadow with subtle colour shifts.
5. 140 William Street Arts Precinct (2014) @ 140 William Street. The 140 William Laneway serves as an urban gallery and gateway connecting the thriving pedestrian mall of Murray Street to the cultural hub of Northbridge, via the historic Horseshoe Bridge. The laneway beside the heritage Globe Building features a monumental mural by Perth artist Kyle Hughes-Odgers and gem like sculptural seating elements by Perth designer Allister Yiap.
6. Grow Your Own (2011) @ Forrest Place. This one also featured in the original trail. Grow Your Own references the emergence of the organic farming movement in the early 20th century and the coincident rise of Modernist sculpture, with the eye-catching contemporary green contrasting directly with the natural stone of the surrounding heritage buildings. This distinctive sculpture encourages Perth's people to connect to their city and community in a tangible way, fostering a commitment to making their own art and ideas. Fondly known by locals as "The Cactus" it provides an unmissable place to meet up.
7. Appearing Rooms Forrest Place (2012) @ Forrest Place. Forrest Place's interactive water sculpture shoots jets of water into the air, creating nine rooms which disappear as quickly as they emerge. Providing welcome respite from the heat of Perth's summer for adults and children alike, Appearing Rooms Forrest Place operates daily unless Forrest Place is being used for events. Visit perth.wa.gov.au for operating times. And be warned if you are crossing Forrest Place at the wrong time...
8. Delight and Hurt Not (2016) @ Perth City Library on Hay Street. This ceiling mural is based on The Tempest, fitting for this space devoted to the pursuit of knowledge. The play's main character Prosperio gains magical powers from his library, equating books, and therefore knowledge with power. The mural illustrates Western Australian native flora and fauna and every one of the 65 plants and 12 animals depicted is a threatened species. I could stand below gazing at this mural for hours, taking in all the small details!
9. Ascalon (2011) @ St Georges Terrace in front of St Georges Cathedral. Named after St George's lance of the legend, this commanding white sculpture that stands before St George's Cathedral represents the triumph of good over evil, depicting St George's cloak billowing around his lance after he has slain the dragon.
10. 'The Mob' - Kangaroos on the Terrace (1997) @ St Georges Terrace at Council House.
This public artwork celebrates one of the world's most unique animals, the kangaroo, as a reminder that for millions of years these magnificent animals were migrating through this area from the Swan River foreshore and through the chain of lakes upon which the city was built less than 200 years ago.
11. Untitled (1971) @ Perth Concert Hall. This mural of ceramic tiles was commissioned for the official opening of the Perth Concert Hall on 26 January 1973. It serves as a striking feature wall, inspired by the playful symbolism used by Spanish Surrealist artist Joan Miro during the 1930's.
And I'm going to add one of my own because I think this artwork deserves recognition. Located on St Georges Terrace between Barrack and William Streets these bronze statues entitled, "Footsteps in Time" were commissioned by St Martins Properties Pty Ltd to commemorate the 175th anniversary of Western Australia and symbolise the business people who have built the Central Business District. The St Martins Centre sits on the site of the first businessman's club of WA and so this artwork recognises their involvement in significant historical moments during Perth's development.
These 5 figures striding through town represent important "business" men through the ages:
1. Dutch exploration, discovery, mapping and naming the Swan River (1697)
2. Anglo-Celtic settlement of Swan River (1829)
3. Discovery of Gold (1885-95)
4. Post World War II European Immigration (1945-55)
5. The Millennium Man (2004)
Artwork descriptions taken from Art City Walking Tour Brochure.
There are a number of ways to access this and other City of Perth Walking Trails:
For a self guided walk you can download the brochure here (scroll to Art City). The brochure will provide detailed walking directions between artwork locations. You can also follow the interactive map on your mobile device by clicking here. Or you can collect a printed version from the Perth City Visitor Kiosk in Forrest Place.
Another way to explore this trail is to download the Perth Trails app which offers this and other walking trails designed to showcase Perth history, heritage, art and cultural points of interest. The walking trails are suitable for people of all ages and using the Perth Trails app you can discover fun facts and interesting stories about Perth along the way. DOWNLOAD THE APP
Volunteer City of Perth tour guides offer free 90-minute orientation, history and art tours from the Perth City Visitor Kiosk. The Art City Tour is scheduled on Friday at 10:15am but is not available on public holidays and tours may be cancelled due to unfavourable weather conditions, low numbers or subject to volunteer availability.
To read about the Icons of Influence Tour click here.
In the spirit of reconciliation Out and About- Family Nature Connection acknowledges the traditional owners of the Wadjak boodjar (Perth land) and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.
If you enjoyed this blog please read more blogs at https://www.outandaboutfnc.com/blog-1
including Art and About in Perth which features links to many art themed walks and trails.