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History of Success

History of Success

Above: The Success being repaired off Carnac Island, WA, after running aground on a sandbank.

The name Success is one of the oldest names in Western Australian history.

In 1827 Captain James Stirling sailed out of Sydney Harbour en route to the Swan River, to explore it as a site for settlement. His ship was named the H.M.S Success, and the survey was profitable.

The Success visited WA shores again in 1829, under Captain William Jervoise. This time there was some drama: the ship ran aground on a sandbank in Cockburn Sound and had to be completely rebuilt, which was done using sturdy Western Australian jarrah. The sandbank was named Success Bank, and Captain Jervoise gave his name to the little bay south of Woodman Point, and in turn to the ill-fated City of Jervoise Bay (the name for the proposed merger between Cockburn and Kwinana, a generally unpopular and now abandoned process).

The name Success was approved as a suburb in 1973 (it was a toss-up between ‘Success’ and ‘Omeo’, also after a ship).

The area we know as Success was part of a land grant to George Dunnage in 1829. He built a cottage, several outhouses and a well, and cleared a road to the Clarence townsite near Woodman Point. Over the years, the area was cleared for agriculture, the wetlands drained and a tram line built.

Housing development didn’t begin until the 1990s. Gateways was built in 1999, and the suburb continues to thrive and expand today.

Here’s a gif I made of the development of Success, from 1953 until 2014.
All these photos are available on the City of Cockburn’s website, under the ‘Aerial Historical’ feature of IntraMaps

Success through the decades.

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 February 2015 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.

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