In 1833, early settler R.M. Lyons spent many months talking to Indigenous people in the Cockburn area. He learned that the name Beeliar was used to describe Midgegooroo’s country, with borders that ran along the Swan river to Canning, east to the hills, and south to Cockburn Sound. He recorded the language of Midgegooroo’s people, which he also called Beeliar, along with the languages of many other groups in the area, and published his translations and thoughts in the colony’s newspaper (here, here, here and here). This early show of interest and respect for the traditional land owners was...Read More
Horse racing and stables have always been an important part of the history of Cockburn. Since the earliest days of settlement, Fremantle jockeys and trainers have headed south of the port city to treat the settlers to a grand day of racing and picnics. The first reported race held at Woodman Point was in 1833, but it wasn’t until about 1884 that a regular race day was held there. Hundreds of Fremantle citizens came down from the port by steamboats or private yachts, and the market gardeners and dairy farmers of the Cockburn area came by road from far...Read More
Henderson is named for Sir Reginald Henderson, the British Admiral who recommended a naval base be built in Cockburn Sound in 1910. The Henderson area’s first European contact came with the landing of Thomas Peel’s hopeful settlers and their failed attempts to build a village community at Clarence, near Woodman Point. During the 19th century the land along the Cockburn coast – stretching from Fremantle south to Henderson and beyond – was largely used to hold the vast herds of cattle brought down by ship from the Kimberley to be slaughtered at the abattoirs around Robb Jetty. Without the...Read More
Above: Cyril Pearson’s house, corner of Gaebler & Lyon Streets Hammond Park was one of the first land grants in the area. The first land grant of the area around Jilbup (Thomsons) Lake, in what is now Hammond Park, was to George Dunnage, who had 20,000 acres granted in 1830, including the whole Hammond Park area. Another often-cited holder of early grants is C.E. Mangles. The land changed hands many times in the next 50 years, as many hopeful young settlers were disillusioned by the harsh nature of farming and living in the new colony. In the 1880s, the...Read More
Above: A picnic at the hotel about 1905 – probably for a sporting event or a local business’s employee picnic. In 1898, Walter Powell, an accountant in Fremantle, was granted a liquor license for a small hotel opposite Coogee Beach known as Four-mile Well, a property owned by his wife Letitia. He called it Powell’s Coogee Hotel in his promotions, though it was most often simply known as Coogee Hotel. The Garden of the West. He immediately set about extending and improving the property and turned the area into a sporting haven and picnic spot, calling it The garden...Read More
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