West Perth Heritage and Gardens Trail
The Constitutional Centre, Parliament Place, West Perth
West Perth has so many beautiful historic buildings it is well worth exploring. Even on Saturday the street parking is ticketed ($4 an hour - ouch!) but we found we could park along Kings Park Road on the Kings Park side for free.
We crossed Kings Park Road and walked around Dumas House, discovering the lovely serene Japanese Hyogo Friendship Garden.
From there we climbed the slope to walk around the beautiful Old Observatory building which is now home to the National Trust.
Across from the Old Observatory is Hale House, originally home to Western Australia's first secondary education facility and boarding house, Hale School, between 1914 and 1961. Prestigious Hale School has produced 7 State Premiers,13 Rhodes Scholars and educated many famous West Australians such as Lang Hancock. Hale School continues to operate at it's Wembley Downs campus. There are several interpretive signs surrounding Hale House which provide details of the building's history and an insight into boarding house life.
From Hale House we detoured to Solidarity Park, which reflects more recent history of a 1997 battle for worker's rights. The Mark Allen Memorial represents all workers killed or injured and is the site for an annual memorial service. The ‘Triple Eight’ symbol on top of the Mark Allen Memorial is an historic labour symbol representing eight hours work, eight hours rest and eight hours recreation. Solidarity Park is opposite Parliament House on Harvest Terrace.
We retraced our steps along Parliament Place, past Hale House, to the imposing Constitutional Centre of WA, originally part of Hale School. The Constitutional Centre is the only complex of it's kind in Australia and provides Western Australians the opportunity to learn about our State and Commonwealth systems of government and to explore current issues. Many upper primary school students visit to learn about our political system,
Heading east along Havelock Street we passed a park on the corner of Murray Street then spotted some street art and wandered down the alleyway to investigate before admiring the signal box art on Wellington Street.
We crossed Wellington Street into Harold Boas Gardens. These beautiful shaded gardens have a small rather old playground, grassy areas to kick a ball, benches to sit and rest and a lovely stream running down over a series of waterfalls and cascades to the lake.
We turned back from the top of the gardens onto Colin Street passing the old Electricity Sub Station, dating from 1914, just before the other end of the Murray Street park, surprisingly called the Fun Park. On the corner of Mayfair Street there is a cute little parklet with interesting seating and a bee friendly garden.
We enjoyed some of the artwork in and on the shops around West End Village....
before crossing the road to admire Ross Memorial Church on Hay Street.
We followed Hay Street south to admire iconic Emerald House, a heritage building opposite Emerald Terrace.
We headed down Emerald Terrace passing a distinctive red door before detouring down a small green space which hid a lovely surprise - a little wetland area - before opening out to the interesting architecture of the back of St Mary's Anglican Church.
We continued west along Colin Street noticing the different architectural styles including the heritage listed former Lexbourne House.
Crossing back over Kings Park Road near Jorang Grove we walked a short distance north towards Kulunga Grove to find the statue of Dr Arnold Cook and his guide dog. Dr Cook, who became blind at the age of 18, was the founder of the Guide Dog movement in Australia. His dog is well loved, even today, judging by it's shiny head!
This loop walk was around 2.5km and took an hour including photo stops and some time to read the interpretive signs at Hale House and to enjoy Harold Boas Gardens. There are toilets at Harold Boas Gardens and at Stickybeaks Cafe in Kings Park. I wouldn't recommend this walk on a weekday as West Perth is such a busy commercial hub but on the weekend it was very enjoyable. You could extend your walk and take in Watertown for some shopping or stop for a play at Ivey Watson Playground in Kings Park.