Guildford Historic Town will today be included in the State Register of Heritage Places, the first place to be registered under the new Heritage Act 2018.
Guildford was established in 1829 on the banks of the Swan and Helena rivers known by the Whadjuk People as Mandoon. The town’s highly authentic buildings illustrate five key periods in Western Australia’s history:
- Simple Georgian buildings from the foundation period of the Colony;
- Brick public buildings from the Convict era;
- Imposing and opulent buildings from the Gold Boom; and
- Examples of residential and civic buildings from the Federation and Inter-War periods.
During the 1800s, Guildford’s primary function was as an inland port. Wool, sandalwood, timber and other farm produce from neighbouring and outlying agricultural districts were loaded onto boats at the Meadow Street wharf for transport to Fremantle.
The place was nominated by the City of Swan and its entry follows extensive engagement with the local community, including the Whadjuk Working Party.
Guildford is an important historic destination which has become a vibrant precinct for locals and visitors alike. Covering 287.4 hectares, the townsite is the largest area to be recognised on the register to date – at more than seven times the size of the West End precinct in Fremantle.
As stated by Heritage Minister David Templeman:
“I’m pleased to enter Guildford Historic Town on the State Register of Heritage Places.
“This entry will ensure that we celebrate Guildford’s past while continuing to create a vibrant precinct in which the Guildford community can live and work, and visitors to the area can interact with an important part of our history.
“Entry in the register does not prevent change or halt development. I encourage property owners to discuss your ideas with the City of Swan, which will work with the Heritage Council to balance any potential development while retaining Guildford’s unique heritage values.”
As stated by Midland MLA Michelle Roberts:
“Guildford is unique in the metropolitan area. With a strong sense of being a distinct town, the local community’s pride in its history, as one of the first three towns established in the Swan River Colony, is palpable.
“The place includes a wealth of significant buildings, mature plantings, and intact residential streetscapes, all encompassed by the open undeveloped floodplain along the Swan and Helena rivers.”
As stated by City of Swan Mayor David Lucas:
“This announcement is testament to the work of our community – through the active campaigning of our councillors, community groups, residents and tourists – we all came together to ensure the heritage of Guildford can be protected and preserved for the future.
“Thank you to all of our community members who have overwhelmingly supported the City’s application to have Guildford Town listed on the State Heritage register.
“We want the City of Swan to have beautiful, historic structures to live on for future generations to enjoy.
“We envision for the old town of Guildford to be a living town where history is showcased and exhibited on a daily basis rather than observed from behind glass, because we know that the best way to protect heritage buildings, is to use them.”