The Top 5 Historical Attractions In Perth
Perth is often referred to as a ‘new’ city, but the area is actually surprisingly old.
The first settlers began arriving in June 1829, but the history of the area goes back thousands of years before. In fact, carbon dating of stone implements found near the Swan River carbon showed that the area had been occupied by groups of the Nyoongar people and their ancestors nearly 40 000 years ago.
To see those ancient artefacts for yourself, you’ll have to wait until the new Museum for Western Australia opens its doors in 2020, but if you’re interested in learning more about historic Perth before that, you should visit some of the city’s main historical attractions.
Here are our top five places to visit in Perth that have historical significance:
This fascinating World Heritage site is a piece of living history which dates back to the early beginnings of Western Australia. It was used as a prison (complete with death row, tiny solitary cells and gallows) for almost 140 years and was only decommissioned as a maximum-security jail in 1991. The prison is also the largest and most intact convict-built prison in Australia – so if you’re interested in learning more about our convict past, a visit to this fascinating historical site is a must. If you’re up to it, you can even experience the prison’s dark side on an eerie night time torchlight tour or navigate its labyrinth of underground tunnels on the heart-stopping tunnel tour
The Perth Mint
A trip to the Perth Mint is another great thing to do in Perth. It opened in 1899 and gold refining actually took place at the original Hay Street premises right up until 1990. If you love history (or love money!), you can take a tour of the grand heritage building, heavily secured vaults and the original 1899 melting house where you can see a live gold pour, hear tales of the Mint’s golden past and learn of the gold mining legends and events that shaped Western Australia.
Guildford Heritage Precinct
Guildford is steeped in history and its many fine colonial buildings attract thousands of visitors each year who come for their quaint charm and fascinating past. It’s one of only two towns in Perth on the National Trust Register and features many buildings that showcase the early decades of colonial settlement in Perth including the Guildford Courthouse and the Colonial Gaol where the infamous Moondyne Joe was once incarcerated. Taylor’s Cottage is another important historical building, believed to have originally been built as a stable around 1863 and which has been painstakingly dismantled and relocated to the Guildford Heritage Precinct. These stunning buildings are important from an architectural, aesthetic and historical perspective and the whole area is well worth a visit.
St George’s Cathedral
St George’s Cathedral is a much-loved architectural gem in the centre of Perth’s CBD and its soaring gothic revival design stands as a proud testament to the faith and determination of those who have funded, constructed and preserved it since the earliest days of Perth. It was consecrated in 1888 and is one of only a few cathedrals constructed of handmade bricks. Aspects of historical interest include the beautiful stained glass windows, the Soldiers’ Chapel and of course, the magnificent peal of the bells which were founded as a memorial to Queen Victoria.
The Bell Tower
The Bell Tower is one of the best Perth attractions, not only from an historical perspective but because it’s fun, different and exciting. It’s filled with fascinating historical content, including the 12 massive cast iron bells from St Martin in the Fields in London’s Trafalgar Square London which chime their musical magic over the Swan River regularly. These bells date back to before the 14th century and form part of the 16-bell peal which is one of the largest sets of change ringing bells in the world.
If you visit The Bell Tower, you’ll make history of your own when you participate in the interactive demonstration on the art of chiming a bell. You’ll receive a souvenir bell-chiming certificate on the tour which is unlike anything else on the planet! Find out more about this fascinating Perth attraction by phoning 08 6210 0444 or book your entry ticket here