Peninsula Walk

Listed below are the Places of Interest  that we have included in this walk.  You can read a detailed description on the history of each place by clicking on the individual names below.

A: Maylands Golf Course

This public golf course was built on land that had been used as the aerodrome and on land partially reclaimed from the banks of the Swan River. Underneath the links are remains of materials left when the public refuse tip for the City of Stirling was closed: which you will learn more about later .

The golf course was opened in 1994 with just 9 holes but later expanded to the current 18 holes. The connection with the early days of flying in WA is commemorated in the naming of the holes after famous pilots and aviation pioneers: such as Norman Brearley or Frank Colquon.

Leave the Golf Club area and turn right.

Follow the path beyond the car park for about 400m.

Turn left onto the path towards Kittyhawk View and Johnson Road. Stop at the Pergola.

Lake Bungana

This is one of the old claypits – reformed into these decorative lakes. It is named after the aircraft type – DC2- that used to fly in & out of Maylands Aerodrome on a regular run to Adelaide and Melbourne.

This was originally the northern claypit supplying the Brickworks.

The railway tunnel

Just below the Pergola on what was the western end of Johnson Rd, was a rail tunnel connecting the North and South Claypits. The Brickworks couldn’t dig the clay just here because of the road reserve.

Lake Brearley

To the south is what was the Southern Claypit now named after the WW1 flying ace who came back to Perth and set up the first regular air mail run in the world. His company, WA Airlines, eventually formed a part of Australian National Airways and ultimately MacRobertson Miller Airways.

There is (or at least WAS) a bust of Norman Brearley in the Observation Deck at Perth Airport

Return to the main footpath and turn left to head south…..

Notice the fenced-off area to the right with warning signs!

 The toxic dump

Although this is thought by many to be a part of the WA Police Complex up ahead on the right, this area was actually the result of the City of Stirling allowing waste to be dumped along the foreshore and which later was used to form the base for the Golf Course. Toxic materials and liquids had been dumped and they were thought to be leaching into the river. After protests by Maylands residents and early ‘Greens’, the dumping was stopped. 

All the refuse was pushed to here and left.

It is still leaching into the river  🙁

The controversy around the dumping of waste is recounted in one of the presentations by MHPA: “Protesting Maylands”

Stables for Police Horses

You may be able to see some of the horses that are stabled here or even come across them on one of the footpaths as they are exercised!

 On the way to WA Police entrance

These lakes look very attractive but have also had a number of issues with mosquitos and algal bloom. The City of Bayswater is spending time and money to try and deal with these irritations.

 At the main entrance to the WA Police complex:

Aerodrome Hangar

This is one of two that were built to house the Bungana aeroplane for ANA.

It is almost the final remnant of the Maylands Aerodrome and as such is heritage listed.

The cottage on the left is “Ellard’s House”

A busy business enterprise like the aerodrome, on such a large piece of land needed a caretaker and he lived here, in this cottage. Mr Ellard, if we are to believe the tales of those who were young at the time and who were probably part of the need for a caretaker, was a grumpy old man. The truth is, he probably was when the youngsters were digging holes in the runways.

He now has a laneway named after him near 8th Avenue

Walk further along and cross the road to the circular display area.

The Maylands Aerodrome was, for over 30 years, Western Australia’s link with the rest of the world. Beginning with the mail runs to the NorthWest, later, scheduled flights to and from the Eastern States, South East Asia and beyond began and ended here.

In 1938 the Bureau of Meteorology opened a facility at Maylands Aerodrome to provide aviation forecasting for flights coming over the Nullarbor from the eastern states

However, as planes got bigger, the 1000 yard runway became too small and during WW2 Dunreath Golf Course in Guildford was requisitioned by the Defence Department and a bigger airport was begun.  

By 1964 Maylands was closed: commercial flights used the new Perth Airport and civil and private aviation used the newly opened Jandakot Aerodrome.

Part of the aerodrome land was repurposed as a training facility for WA Police and the rest became the Maylands Public Golf Course: the runway is now underneath one of the fairways.

This memorial was developed by the City of Bayswater in association with the Maylands Historical Society in 2014.

Take the footpath towards Waterland and stop by the Landing light seen on the right.

Landing Light

This is the last one still in its original position and shows where the approach began. There were three others back in 2007 until they were moved: but two of them are now repositioned within the memorial.

Mills Pottery

John Mills came from Victoria in 1896 leaving his 2nd wife and seven children behind (he scandalously brought his paramour West) but his eldest children from his first marriage came with him and created the pottery on this site. In 1929 he sold it to  H.L Brisbane & Co.   The pottery employed around 70 people and continued until the Depression.

Later, from around 1950 the Sanitarium Company used the site as a Yeast factory.

Waterland

This family water-park was opened around 1980 after much work by one of Maylands famous women – Alma Venville.  It was renovated after a strong community campaign led by one of our Councillors, Elli Petersen-Pik, and re-opened in 2022.

Walk along the footpath outside Waterland

Look to the right

Canal

On the right are the remaining signs of the canal where the Pottery drew up its barges to transport the clay pipes to a store on Heirisson Island prior to their use in the first sewerage and stormwater projects from Kings Park to Claisebrook in 1903.

Continue along the footpath, bearing right after leaving Waterland behind.

Samphire flats

Nature’s water filters, taking a lot of the contaminants out of the water run-off and also providing food and habitat for wildlife. Insects, birds and reptiles all thrive here.

Sedges, Samphire and Bullrushes are all edible and were used in the diet of the indigenous people for many thousands of years.   But not necessarily from exactly here ….  as the course of Derbarl Yerrigan has changed over the centuries.

Rowlands Farm

This was a small 18 acre (7.3 hectare) farm first created by Richard and Elizabeth Rowland. They built a small house on the farm. The farm ran diagonally from the middle of what is now Lake Brearley down to the river and appears to be the first European use of the Waterland site. (PHOTO / MAP)

The Rowlands were a prolific family and are now scattered all over the continent. Richard and Elizabeth moved to Dongara and the Irwin during the late 1830’s and made a good living farming in that area despite being flooded by cyclones and burnt out by fires. They lived there until a ripe old age!

Sports Clubs

Looking away from the river for a moment you can see the Bowling and Tennis clubs which were originally situated on the site of what is now The Rise on 8th Avenue. They were moved to this end of the Peninsula in the 1970’s to allow the Alma Venville Centre to be built.  This is now an active area with the Bowling club having expanded and become the Sportsman’s Club with river-based groups also included. The Tennis Club is also very active.

 This whole area of land encompassed by the sweeping bends of the Swan River was called Peninsula Farm… from around 1830 until around 1900. Settled by the Hardey Family – whom we will meet again at Tranby House. The land was subdivided and sold off to other farmers and eventually businesses and housing.  Provided a lot of the fresh food for the developing city of Perth which was only 4 kms away.

Transport of produce from here expanded even more with the development of the railways from the late 1890s.

Continue to follow the footpath and stop near the car park for the tennis club at a small area near the park benches

This was a space where City-provided equipment used to stand: apparently trivial, but it actually celebrates nearly 50 years of history.  

‘Life. Be in it.’ was the slogan for what became one of best-known health promotions in Australian history. The campaign aimed to increase physical activity and general well-being among Australians, and encourage them to take control of their health.   The “Life Be In It” campaign was begun by the Victorian Government in 1977 and by other States and the Commonwealth in 1978.

As you walk further along the footpath, look to the right to find a small memorial by a small sandy beach area:  a wreath might still remain there. This is a personal memorial for a local man who drowned after falling from his boat and being struck by the propellor in December 2020

 Continue along the footpath, taking the left hand track toward Hardey Road.  Look for the sculptures!

Indigenous Statues
These were created by an Indigenous Art Group of Northam-based Noongar artists, this installation is a reminder of 60,000 years of occupation of the area by the Indigenous people of Australia.

Enter the precincts of Chase Farm

This is a place of success and tragedy

The obvious signs of success are the remaining fruit trees:  especially a pomegranate and a pear tree, both approaching 200 years of age. And the farm well which is still on the grounds.

Yet in the 1860’s there was a murder committed here. And the culprit was found, convicted and hung!

The history of the site is recorded on the walls of the building on site.  It became a Dairy farm owned by a Dutch immigrant, Mr Schulstad, and was later used as an engineering factory by his son.

The City of Bayswater has awarded Sup Tonic the right to use this iconic building. They run a stand-up paddle board business and have opened the building as a community space where people can enjoy teas & coffees, board games, chat etc.

Looking west – across the road

The farmland on the western side of the road was purchased by aviator and trotting trainer, Harry ‘Cannonball’ Baker who constructed a trotting training track – later covered in sand from along the river and used as the basis for housing you see now.   In 1951 the land was sold to Frank Cheshire, another trotting trainer: that land is now completely developed and all the houses you can see over the road were built on that track.

The houses that used to stand here had gardens that ran down to the river. Some remnants of winches used to haul boats out of the water can still be seen.

Continue along the footpath, and then along Hardey Road. Stop at the entrance

The Amateur Boat Yard

After WW2, the Dennis Family built a factory to manufacture the redesigned ‘Dennis Saw’. Other designs, also patented by the brothers, were manufactured by the Schulstadt Factory at the site you have just passed.  

Between the back of the factory and the river a slipway was built and a boat repair facility was developed. Cray Boats were brought up from Fremantle for repair and refurbishment during the ‘off’ season.   From this was developed the current Amateur Boat Building Yard which is the only one of its kind in Australia.

The trees and bushes that run along the edge of the yard to the river mark the site of a creek that used to run here.

Cross the car park and enter the grounds of the National Trust property

This area was known as Wu-rut Woorat

 Archaeological digs around the stables have turned up a number of Indigenous artefacts and indicate that this was a gathering place for people for a long time before European settlement. 

Peninsula Farm was one of the first farms in the Swan River Colony and is one of the earliest Perth metropolitan residences still standing. The entire peninsula – which forms much of the current suburb of Maylands –  was granted to colonists arriving aboard the brig “Tranby” in 1830 and became known as the ‘Peninsula Farm’.

Joseph Hardey was allocated a share of this land and he with his wife Ann built the house you see today in 1839, after losing the previous two houses to flooding. A well was also dug.    

Over the years the house was added to, expanding outwards and upwards. At the same time, the farm became smaller and smaller.

Peninsula Farm remained in the Hardey family until 1913. Joseph Hardey and his son Richard, who took over management of the property in the late 1860s, were highly influential in the religious, business and political activities of the colony. However, Peninsula Farm tells more than just their stories.  It also tells of their wives and daughters, the women and servants who ran the house and the workers who ran the farm. It tells of farming, and how families and the young colony sustained themselves. And it tells the stories of dispossession and dislocation of the Whadjuk Noongar people, as the Swan River Colony grew and more of their land was carved up for new owners.

Walk past Peninsula Farm Cafe

The new operators of Peninsula Farm Cafe have opened the refurbished cafe and are having amazing success. If you want to eat or drink here try and come during the week and avoid the long queues!

Walk along footpath

On the left there used to be very large sand hills.  They were excavated and the sand recycled as the foundations for many of the housing developments in Maylands

You may be able to see a small lake on the left, surrounded by trees: this was the claypit for a small early brickworks that operated in the 1880’s and 1890’s and so predated the much larger one across the road. A number of big buildings in Perth used the bricks produced here.      Sadly, one morning the workers arrived to find the claypit flooded as a spring had been broken into and all the digging equipment was beneath the surface: the brickworks closed down.

The rumour is that some of the original machinery is still under the waters!

 Tranby on Swan

This was one of the first true medium-density developments in Perth. The building of over 200 brick and tile units was initiated by the now-notorious Alan Bond in the 1970’s.

Originally two jetties, 50 yards apart, this site was used for competitive swimming as well as for the general amusement of ordinary swimmers.  On the remaining jetty Mr Dennis erected a diving tower that he had towed from where it was built in the boatyard.. 

Evelyn de Lacey learned to swim here and won many trophies before going on to the Berlin Olympics where she made the final of the 100 yard Freestyle.  The park across the road is named after this family.  The change rooms were originally made of hessian on wooden frames. Teenage boys were a terror for the girls in their changeroom!

Walk west along Wall Street towards Peninsula Road

At the corner …….

From 1981 to 1996 an archaeological and natural life survey on the peninsula was done by Robert H. Stranger, a long term member of the Naturalist Society of WA. He found a number of indigenous artefacts, concentrated around what is now the corner of Peninsula Rd and Wall St.   This indicated that this was a gathering and eating place for the indigenous people. Hardly surprising – it is above the 100 year flood line and just 400 metres from what is now Tranby House, another gathering place.

Incidentally, outside the scope of this walk is the Fogerthorpe Crescent site which also shows that the Peninsula was a favoured area for the Whadjuk people.

Cross Peninsula Road, bear right and take the right hand track around the lake…..

View the brickworks from the back and then go around to the right to see the newly installed interpretive sign on Swan Bank Road.

The brickworks were developed by Robert Law and King Atkins, who had previously started a brickworks in Helena Vale. The brickworks opened in 1927 when the Maylands Peninsula was largely undeveloped.  Two Kilns were of the Hoffman design in which the fires were continuously moved around in a circle and the wet bricks were fired in a continuous cycle. With no down-time the production line was much more efficient.

Note: there is a new display on the story of the Brickwork in the MHPA collection at the Old Police Station.

Walk around the Brickworks….

View the drying sheds where the newly formed bricks were stored prior to firing.

The pug shed and the final part of the railway which fed it with wet clay.

The almost hidden workshop is now filled with some of the last bricks produced on site.

Return through the car park to the Golf Club Restaurant.

Feel free to stay a while and buy some refreshments 🙂