Kings Park, Western Australia

Kings Park, Western Australia

Kings Park is a convert|4.06|km2|acre|0|lk=on park located on the western edge of Perth, Western Australia central business district. The park is a mixture of grassed parkland, botanical gardens and natural bushland on Mount Eliza.

Besides tourist facilities Kings Park contains the State War Memorial, the Royal Kings Park Tennis club and a reservoir. The streets are tree lined with individual plaques dedicated by family members to Western Australian Service men and women who died in World War I and World War II.


Officially opened on 10 August 1895,cite web|url=|title=175th Anniversary Celebrations - Heritage Icons: March - Kings Park|year=2004|author=Department of Premier and Cabinet (Western Australia)|accessdate=2007-02-04] the park was originally called Perth Park and was renamed in 1901 to King's Park - the apostrophe was later dropped.cite book |last=Bennett |first=Eleanor M. |authorlink= |coauthors=Dundas, Patricia J. (Ill.)|title=The Cullity Timbers Kings Park Collection|date= |year=1988 |month= |publisher=Westralian Forest Industries Limited (WESFI) |location= Perth|language= |isbn=0 7316 6792 1 |pages= "Introduction"|chapter= |chapterurl= |quote= ] This was to mark the ascension to the British throne of King Edward VII and the visit to Perth of George, the Duke of Cornwall and Princess Mary. One of the major roads through the park, "May Drive" is named in the Princess's honour.

It occupies 4.06 km² of the crest of Mount Eliza which overlooks the City and Perth Water on the Swan River. Two-thirds of the park is native bushland. The park is larger than New York's Central Park which is 3.41 km². It was also the first park to be designated for public use in Australia (in 1872). During September-October of each year Kings Park hosts Australia's largest wildflower show and exhibition.

Prior to European settlement and exploration Mount Eliza was known as "Mooro Katta" and "Kaarta Gar-up" [cite web|url=|title=Kings Park and Botanic Garden|author=Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority|year=2005|accessdate=2007-02-04] by the Nyoongar inhabitants. At the base of the southern face is a freshwater spring, known as Kennedy spring ("Goonininup"), this is a fresh water spring providing year round water for the Yellagonga clan. The spring was noted by the first european visitors to the area, Willem de Vlamingh's party, on 11 January 1697. The Lieutenant Governor of the Swan River Colony, James Stirling, chose the townsite of Perth for this reason - the only local spring. He named the area Mount Eliza for Mrs. Ralph Darling.The availability of fresh water also attracted the Swan Brewery to the site and original buildings of the Old Swan Brewery and have been since been converted to restaurants, residential accommodation, and an art gallery.

The Colony's first Surveyor General John Septimus Roe recognised the qualities of the area and tried to protect it, by identifying the land to be set aside for public purposes. By 1835 Roe's protection was overturned and the first shipment of five tonnes of Jarrah was cut on Mt Eliza, becoming the colonies first export. Logging in the area continued until 1871 when Roe's successor Malcolm Fraser persuaded the then Governor Weld to set aside 1.75 km² as public reserve. In 1890 this was enlarged to its current size by Sir John Forrest, the first president of the Board appointed by under the Parks and Reserves Act 1895. Forrest planted the first tree, a Norfolk Island Pine ("Araucaria heterophylla"), and other trees were introduced to the site, "Eucalyptus ficifolia" and exotic species of "Pinus"; few of these were successful due to lack of irrigation.

The Mount Eliza reservoir provided water to the local area, and still remains, but by arrangement of the lease was partly diverted for use in the park itself. This was largely allocated, after 1919, to the memorial Oaks and Planes lining May Drive. Their eventual failure led to their substitution with Bangalay, "Eucalyptus botryoides", and "Eucalyptus calophylla" var. "rosea".

Since 1999, Kings Park has been administered by the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority, who also administer Bold Park, and does not come under any Local Government authority. The park's administration building contains all the administrative offices where visitors may book guided walking tours, get information, or reserve one of the facilities.


War Memorial

The State War Memorial is located in Kings Park and has the name of all servicemen and women from Western Australia to serve in the Boer War, World War I, World War II, Korean War or Vietnam. Distributed through out the park are more specific memorials to various Battles, Units, POWs and other groups.

Honour Avenues

The roads through King Park have been planted with eucalypt trees and in front of each one is a plaque honouring those service men who died during action or as a result of wounds received, there are over 1100 of these plaques. Originally proposed by Mr Arthur Lovekin, owner of the Daily News. His idea was based on the Avenue of Honour in Ballarat, Victoria. Originally families were required to pay 10 shilling to cover the cost of the plantings, exservicemen provided the necessary labour to plant the trees. In 1920 Mr Lovekin and Board member Sir William Loton, each donated 500 pounds to clear and plant Forrest avenue with Sugar Gums. After Mr Arthur Lovekin died the Kings Park board renamed Forrest Avenue to Lovekin Drive. [cite web|url=|title=Kings Park and Botanic Garden - The Honour Avenues|author=Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority|date=4 November 2005|accessdate=2007-02-04]

Fraser Avenue

From the northern entrance the Lemon Scented Gum trees lining the road are to honour the dignitaries and members of the Centenary Committee who on 29 September 1929 planted the trees.

An excellent view of Fraser Avenue in 1899 from the Perth Observatory shows the original state of the entrance and drive in the Weekend News Flashback Series 3542b 124 held in the Battye Library Photographic collection.

Bali Memorial

This memorial is dedicated to the 16 Western Australian victims, the injured and those who helped the survivors of the terrorist bombings on 12 October 2002 in the resort town of Kuta on the Indonesian island of Bali, where 202 people were killed and 209 injured. The majority of the dead were foreign tourists, including 88 Australians.

Edith Cowan Clock

The Edith Dircksey Cowan Memorial, formerly known as the Edith Cowan Memorial Clock, is the clock tower at the main entrance Kings Park. It was built in 1934 as a memorial to Edith Cowan, the first woman elected to an Australian parliament. It is also believed to be the first civic monument erected in Australia to honour an Australian woman.

Botanic Garden

The botanic garden is an 18 hectare site within the park. Currently known as the Western Australian Botanic Garden it has a collection of 2000 species of Western Australian flora on display. The garden was designed by John Oldham, who held the position of Government Landscape Architect at the time. It was established to showcase the flora of Western Australia to those visiting Perth for the 1962 British Empire and Commonwealth Games, although the official opening did not take place until 1965. cite book|author=Lockwood, L., Wilson, J. and Fagg, M.|year=2001|title=Botanic Gardens of Australia|publisher=New Holland, Australia|id=ISBN 1864365439]

Royal King's Park Tennis Club

The Royal King's Park Tennis Club, founded in 1898, is located within King's Park. The club has seen numerous Davis Cup ties played there, bringing some of the world's greatest tennis players to Perth. Currently, the Club features 28 grass courts and 3 hard courts. The club is heritage listed and features the main pavilion built in 1926, and the McGibbon Stand built in 1935. [ [;place_id=100391 Australian Heritage Database] ]


Guided walks

Twice daily the Kings Park Volunteer Guides provide guided walking tours of the monuments and memorials, bushland paths and the Botanic Garden. The guides cover all aspects of the park including the local Noongar names and traditions. Walks are varied according to the Noongar season Djilba-Kambarang (July-October) for the wildflower season; the Mukuru for May and June, and the Birak-Djeran for November - April.

Photo gallery


Further reading

* Coy, Neil. [400 oaks were planted along May Drive in 1919 - only one survives] For people and plants, Winter 1993, p.1.

External links

* [ Heritage Icons : Kings Park]
* [ Official Website]
* [;search=town%3Dperth%3Bstate%3DWA%3Bkeyword_PD%3Don%3Bkeyword_SS%3Don%3Bkeyword_PH%3Don%3Blatitude_1dir%3DS%3Blongitude_1dir%3DE%3Blongitude_2dir%3DE%3Blatitude_2dir%3DS%3Bin_region%3Dpart;place_id=100391 Tennis Club on the Australian Heritage Database]

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