Perth Water

Perth Water is a section of the Swan River on the southern edge of the central business district of Perth, Western Australia. It is between the Causeway to the east, and Narrows Bridge to the west – a large wide but shallow section of river, and the northern edge of the suburb South Perth.[1][2] It is considered a landmark of the City of Perth.


Historically it was much larger in size. The shorelines have been regularly changed.[3][4]

Considerable reclamation has taken place on both sides of the river. For example, in 1879, landfill of Perth Water was used to create The Esplanade.[5]

Narrows bridge reclamation

For the construction of the Narrows Bridge and its approaches, considerable amounts of the north-west section of Perth Water were reclaimed.[6][7]

The former river bank in that area is equivalent to the edge of Mounts Bay Road. The whole new Convention Centre lies on the river side of the former river bank.


In 2006, the last race in the Red Bull Air Race World Series was the first held in Australia, and was held in Perth, with the competition being centred over Perth Water.[8]

It has been the annual site of Australia Day fireworks, with crowds lining the lawns and open space along the foreshores.[9] A good view for these activities has been from Kings Park due to its elevation and position looking across the Perth Water area. Post-cards, calendar images, posters and photographs from most decades of the twentieth century exist, that show the view from the Park looking across Perth Water to the city.


Since the establishment of Perth, there have been either jetties or landing and mooring facilities at the location of Barrack Square at the jetty. The long running Transperth ferry service travels between Perth and the Mends Street Jetty in South Perth. Commercial companies also use the jetties for trips to Rottnest via Fremantle, and Swan River wine and leisure cruises.

Ferry companies at the terminal have improved re-fuelling techniques to reduce the amount of oil pollution in Perth Water.[2]

Historical photos

The most accessible photographs that show the degradation of the space over time is in the collection in The West Australian book produced for the 150th anniversary of Western Australia in 1979.[10]

Early maps

In the 1950–1951 Lord Mayor's report for the City of Perth an early map of Perth from 1838 was reproduced.[11]

Indigenous names

In 1989, the Department of Aboriginal Sites published a book with a reproduction of a 1909 cancelled plan of Perth that shows place names:[12]

  • Perth Water – Buneenboro
  • Mends Street Jetty – Goorgoogoo
  • Sir James Mitchell Park, South Perth foreshore – Gabudjulup
  • Riverside Drive (then shallow waters east of Government House) – Gabbee darbul
  • Point Belches (south east side of Narrows Bridge area) – Gareenup

This body of water is also known as Derbarl Yerrigan, a name which has since been adopted for the whole of the Swan River. In the Noongar language, Derbarl refers to the estuary water and Yerrigan is "rising up".[13]

Mounts Bay Road – Esplanade river edge

The earlier shore line of Perth Water can be identified by the line made by Mounts Bay Road, and its extension to The Esplanade.

From some earlier photographs and images made from Kings Park it is possible to ascertain the earlier river-edges, or banks, from tree lines. The photo here is of the part of the river that was filled in to accommodate the Narrows Bridge works.

The main route for deep draught boats to navigate Perth Water is from the Narrows Bridge to Barrack Street Jetty, then following a channel close to the north shore parallel to Riverside Drive.

The channel was dredged from as early as 1908 to keep the South Perth to Perth ferry channel clear;[14] such maintenance is an ongoing issue.[15]

See also


  1. Nice, HE (2013). Claisebrook in the Swan Estuary, Western Australia – A synthesis of environmental information and historical retrospective (PDF). Perth: Swan River Trust, Government of Western Australia. ISBN 978-1-922248-39-8. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
  2. Swan River Trust – Annual Report, 1998–1999 Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 29 December 2006.
  3. Western Australia. Public Works Dept; Palmer, Charles Stuart Russell (1903), Perth Water plan showing general scheme of proposed improvements, Public Works Dept, retrieved 26 December 2013
  4. Western Australia. Town Planning Dept; Western Australia. Perth Water and Burswood Island Foreshore Advisory Committee (1972), Perth water and Burswood Island foreshores outline plan of proposed foreshore uses, The Dept, retrieved 26 December 2013
  5. History of water use in the Perth-Bunbury region Archived 20 September 2006 at the Wayback Machine Dr Mark Lund and Helen Martin, 16 November 2005. Retrieved 29 December 2006.
  6. Western Australia. Government Photographer (1957), Reclaiming land for the Narrows Bridge construction, retrieved 26 December 2013
  7. Reclamation for Narrows Bridge, Perth, W.A. : stability and settlement considerations, 1960, retrieved 26 December 2013
  8. Red Bull Air Race: Swan River access restricted Archived 1 January 2007 at the Wayback Machine Department for Planning and Infrastructure. Retrieved 29 December 2006.
  9. LOTTERYWEST AUSTRALIA DAY SKYWORKS 2007 Lotterywest Skyworks. Retrieved 29 December 2006.
  10. Edmonds, Jack (editor) (1979) Swan River colony : life in Western Australia since the early colonial settlement, illustrated by pictures from an exhibition mounted by West Australian Newspapers Ltd. as a contribution to celebrations for the state's 150th year Perth: West Australian Newspapers.ISBN 0909699208 – front cover, pages 2–3, 6,7, 36,37,54,68,70,84,88 all have views of Perth Water.
  11. Perth (W.A. : Municipality). Council (1800), The Lord Mayor's report, The Council, retrieved 4 June 2012
  12. Vinnicombe, Patricia; Western Australian Museum (1989), Goonininup : a site complex on the southern side of Mount Eliza : an historical perspective of land use and associations in the old Swan Brewery area, Western Australian Museum, ISBN 978-0-7309-3662-6 – page 37 – Public Plan of Perth (Cancelled 1909) ID/40, see also Appendix I Named places in Kings Park and vicinity from Bloor, Liz; Western Australia. Dept. of Aboriginal Sites (1987), Aboriginal usage of Kings Park, West Perth, W.A., 1987, retrieved 24 February 2015 pages 17 and 18
  13. Collard, Len; Winfield, Carol. Boodjargabbeelup:Point Fraser Cultural interpretation Nyungar. City of Perth.
  14. "DREDGING PERTH WATER". The West Australian. Perth. 16 January 1908. p. 9. Retrieved 15 June 2015 via National Library of Australia.
  15. Western Australia. Public Works Dept. Coastal Investigations Section (1980), Swan River Perth water navigation channels : investigation of options for maintenance dredging and spoil disposal, Public Works Dept,. Harbours and Rivers Branch, Coastal Investigations Section, retrieved 15 June 2015

This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.