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History of Coogee

History of Coogee

Coogee was named after Lake Coogee.

The Aboriginal name Kougee was recorded in 1841 by Thomas Watson and has also been spelt Koojee, Coojee and Coogee. It means “body of water” in the Noongar language.

In 1870s there were two houses and their vegetable plots and orchards in the area: one owned by discharged pensioner guard John Gilbridge and the other owned by Abraham Hake, who arrived in Western Australia on a convict ship in 1856 and later received a ticket of leave.

In the 1880s they were joined by more pensioner guards and their families. The wives of the pensioner guards caused quite a stir in Fremantle; some wore black eye makeup and even smoked clay pipes and chewed tobacco.

Walter Powell opened the Coogee Hotel in 1901.

It was surrounded by luxurious gardens and fountains and became known as the Honeymoon Hotel of Western Australia. A racecourse was built next to the hotel and Maudie Tozer, a squatter, was one of the most successful amateur riders.

The current residential area of Coogee commenced development in the 1980s and has grown substantially from its former small rural lots and market gardens.

To find out more about the colourful history of the Coogee Hotel I recommend Rick Anspach’s story Powells Old Coogee Hotel in the anthology Tapestry 2: Cockburn, written by the Tapestry Writers’ Group.

Local history questions or anything to add? Please let us know by commenting below.

This article can also be seen on the Cockburn Libraries’ Local History blog and first appeared in the August 2012 edition of Cockburn Soundings

About The Author


Leah works as the Reader Services Librarian at Spearwood Public Library, where she orders the books, and takes requests for anything you can't find in the library! She also researches and writes local history articles for the Cockburn Soundings, and for anyone who has a local history question. Comment below to ask Leah a question.

1 Comment

  1. Hello Leah,
    Just thought I would share with you that my GGGM (Mary McLaughlin/Callaghan nee Sullivan) married Abraham Hake 29 March 1876 and lived with him at Coogee Lakes until her death 7 July 1900. Mary arrived in the colony as the wife of Pensioner Guard Cornelius Callaghan on the Robert Small in August 1853. I have been unable to find a place and date of death for Abraham.

    Thanking you
    Lesly Singleton Busselton


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