Further details for the Historic Drive around Canning
A hard copy map of the Historic Drive is available from all City of Canning libraries, our Administration Building and Woodloes Museum or it can be downloaded here.
We hope you enjoy the drive.
Woodloes Street, Cannington
Originally the home of Francis and Maude Bird built in the early 1870s. Bird was an architect and a partner of the Mason Bird Timber Company with access to excellent timbers; some of which can be seen in the door surrounds within the house. The house has an interesting history having been through many owners until acquired by the Town of Canning for restoration and opened as a local museum in 1978. At the rear of Woodloes is a reproduction of the Congregational Church with the Chimney which stood on Albany Highway until 1988 when it was demolished due to the widening of the highway.
After leaving Woodloes, head along Woodloes Street around the various bends. You will then come to Masons Landing on the river bank on your left.
Visit Woodloes on the first and third Sundays of the month between February and November to view the artefacts and find out more of its history. The volunteers of the Canning District Historical Society will make you more than welcome.
Church with the Chimney - at the rear of Woodloes is a reproduction of the Church with the Chimney which stood on Albany Highway until 1988 when it was demolished due to the widening of the highway. It was built as a Congregational Church in 1890 on land donated by Edwin Cockram. Cockram was a local storekeeper whose premises were on the opposite side of the road. A picture of his shop is shown on the “A Historic Drive Around Canning” pamphlet.
The church building was later used as a school, a scout hall, a doctor’s surgery and a private residence. The chimney in the centre of the side wall was for the fireplace which kept the congregation warm in winter months. The City of Canning preserved many of the building materials and used some of them in the reconstruction of the Church at Woodloes where it is a popular spot for weddings and other functions.
In 1864 Ben Mason obtained a permit to cut timber in the Darling Ranges and within two years was employing 100 men, both at the mill site in Carmel and at the Landing. By 1869 a steam-powered sawmill was established by the riverside to process the timber before it was stacked onto barges and taken down the river to Perth and Fremantle. Francis Bird joined him as a partner in 1871. A wooden railway (later capped with iron) joined the mill in the hills with the landing. Timber wagons were hauled by horses and the route was approximately along that now occupied by Bickley Road. Masonmill Road is in Carmel and sawpits were still in the area when a rose nursery was established on the hills mill site after WWII.
Continue along Marriamup Street and turn right at the end and continue through the roundabout and then turn left onto Albany Highway and proceed towards Perth.
On your right are the Canning Showgrounds which now comprise the Cannington Exhibition Centre and the greyhound racing venue. The first Show here was held in 1894 and has continued almost every year since then.
Continue along Albany Highway towards Perth. This strip of the highway was the centre of Cannington with two hotels, the Cannington Hotel and the Cecil Hotel (on the corner of Cecil Avenue, managing to remain until around 1990 when it fell victim to road widening.
Other businesses on the highway included Cockram’s Store, built by the man who donated the land for the original Church with the Chimney. In her book “A Place by a River” Dorothea (Dorrie) Morrow described the shop: “This shop had, when we were children, a big produce business – wheat and bran and pollard and large grey sheets of fowl-food called oil-cake, shell grit, chaff….There were rows of partly opened bags of these goods at the back of the store. A big deal counter ran down the middle of the shop and behind this Mrs Cockram, a bright bird-like little woman, presided. It was all very interesting. “Two Pounds of sugar please” and Mrs Cockram scooped it out of a big jute bag into a small brown paper bag, weighing it always on the shop scales and tying her parcels with string. “A pound of butter please” and she cut out a slab from a white deal butter box, placed in on a waxed paper on her scales and deftly patted into shape with two wooden butter pats.” A full description is in the book, copies of which may be borrowed from the Riverton Library.
Richard’s Store on the corner of the Highway and Greenfield Street arrived in the first part of the 20th century as the school tuck shop, and eventually, spawned Richgro fertilisers which are still around today, although the old shop disappeared in the 1990s.
Cannington Primary School was moved as part of the development of the Carousel Shopping Centre, to a site on Wharf Street where it opened in 1970.
Canning Town Hall
After the hall was completed in 1909 several improvements were made over the years. In 1917 a flagpole was erected outside the hall and electric lighting was installed in 1919. The hall was used for various activities including social functions, dances, concerts first aid classes etc. In 1921 a memorial to fallen soldiers was erected in front of the hall and a chain fence with a turnstile was erected to replace the original picket fence. In 1948 the memorial arch was relocated to its present site and incorporated with memorial rose gardens as memorial to both World Wars.
Also in 1921 the hall was first used as a cinema with the construction of a bio box over the front door. In 1926 the hall was extended to include a public gallery with a new boardroom and additional office space. A new brick section was constructed at the front of the existing hall. The original part of the building was also upgraded including rewiring and structural work. There were minor renovations and the construction of additional stairs carried out in 1936/1937.
The building underwent various alterations and adaptations in the period 1959-1973 including a period in the 1960s when the hall was used as additional office accommodation for the Canning Council prior to the construction of the administration centre. In 1973 the building was renovated at a cost of approximately $18,500 for use as a senior citizens and youth centre. It was further renovated and refurbished in time for the Centenary of the Queens Park Municipal Council and reopened in 2009.
Canning Council Offices
The growth of Canning meant that the offices in the Town Hall were soon outgrown and new premises were required. The old hall had been divided up with partitions to provide additional space and several transportable buildings had been erected outside. The growth of the area also resulted in a change of status from a Shire to a Town and the new premises proudly bore the name of the Town of Canning.
By 1979 the Town had grown and became the City of Canning during Western Australia’s sesqui-centenary year. The offices situated immediately to the rear of the current office building which was opened in 2006. Canning Council Offices were opened in 2006 and replaced the 1971 buildings, which in turn replaced the offices located within the Canning Town Hall.
Continue along Albany Highway to the Canning War Memorial on the corner of Manning Road and turn left onto Manning Road.
Canning War Memorial
The Memorial was immediately in front of the old 1909 Town Hall and when the double storey extension was added in 1926, the structure was immediately outside the front door.
Originally erected in 1921 in front of the Canning Town Hall where its setting included lawns, surrounded by a post and chain fence and hedge. Two machine guns, allocated to the district as war trophies were mounted on top of the arch. Moves to relocate the memorial were initiated in 1948.
The memorial arch was dismantled and re-erected in its present location in 1956 by local volunteers and stonemason Hicks.
Continue along Manning Road and through the first set of traffic lights and turn left onto Fleming Avenue. Continue along Fleming Avenue and turn right onto Kent Street and continue to the parking area at the end. The Canning River Eco Education Centre is located here along with a café, free electric barbecues, toilets and picnic shelters and the Wilson Park station of the Castledare Miniature Railways.
Kent Street Weir
Built at the request of local residents to stop the ingress of salt water during the summer months, the weir was completed in 1927. The weir has an impact on the natural ecology of the river and defines a distinct boundary separating salt water and fresh water.
Leave the Weir and go back along Kent Street and turn left onto Fleming Avenue. Turn left again onto Fern Road and follow it around (watch the speed humps) until you get to the roundabout and the entrance into Castledare. You can drive into the Castledare grounds past the church and down towards the river where there is parking associated with the miniature railway.
The original house on site is a fine example of Federation style architecture, comparatively rare in the Canning area. It was built by Mr Fleming around 1906/08. Originally part of an 83 acre farm the property was purchased in 1928 by the Catholic Church to provide a shelter for orphans. It developed into a home for under-privileged boys and later into a primary school and a training college. The Chapel of the Mother of Perpetual Succour is a good example of 1950s church architecture including the use of decorative mosaic tiles on the front elevation and the design of the forecourt area.
The site is the home of the Castledare Miniature Railways of Western Australia which started in 1962. The railway operates twice a month and information on their activities can be found at www.castledare.com.au.
Return to Fern Road and turn left until you get to Riverton Bridge.
The original Riverton Bridge was built in 1910/11. It was a popular swimming place and only ceased formal activities when the Canning Swimming Centre was opened in 1969. The poles of the original bridge, can still be seen underwater. Locally referred to in times past as Riley’s Bridge because Mr Riley, whose market garden was along what is now Riley road, provided finance towards its construction alongside the present bridge.
Look to your right and you can see the Shelley Bridge which carries Leach Highway over the Canning River. It was opened on 10 March 1978 and cost $2.796m. The construction of the bridge completed Leach Highway and diverted traffic from the old Riverton Bridge.
Cross over Riverton Bridge and turn left into Riverton Drive East. This continues on and becomes Riley Road until the intersection with High Road. Riley Road is named after the Riley family who had a market garden in the area.
As you travel along Riverton Drive East and through the roundabout, go straight ahead and at the sharp right-hand bend, detour left into Rivermoor Loop overlooking the parklands of Adenia Reserve.
Former Sikh Cremation Site
Adenia Reserve, Ferndale
A small C Class Reserve was gazetted in 1932 for a Sikh cremation site. The area was isolated and largely undeveloped with few residents living in the vicinity. There are limited records still existing which relate to the cremation site although a personal history in the Riverton Library tells of at least one cremation. Cremations were officially illegal in W.A. until 1926.
Landing on Canning River
(Near Sikh Cremation site) – some earthworks, timbers and bricks remain. It is believed to be the site for barges loading bricks from brick kilns that were located on what is now Adenia reserve.
Drive along Rivermoor Loop to its end and turn right into Riley Road and follow it around and return to Riverton Bridge. At the roundabout at the Bridge turn left into Barbican Street and then right into Marjorie Avenue. This will bring you to Leach Highway. Turn left onto the Highway and drive west, moving into the right hand lane ready to turn right at the traffic lights at the intersection of the highway and Barbican Street West. Follow Barbican Street West around its left hand bend and then turn immediately right into Modillion Avenue and then left into Corbel Street. Travel along Corbel Street until you reach the Canning River and the Shelley foreshore park. Turn left into Riverton Drive and look out into the river and you will see a row of posts – just like a row of fence posts (which is what they actually were).
Between Salter Point and Shelley Bridge
The convict fence was originally constructed in 1866, during the convict era of W.A. (1850 - 1868) and the remnants of the fence are clearly visible. It was built to keep a channel open for timber barges from the Mason Bird Company to travel up and down the river. It is known that convicts, standing waist deep in the water used shovels to keep the channel free of mud, throwing the mud over the fence.
Just upstream (east) from Shelley Foreshore Park is Watersby Crescent which goes out around Mum’s Point where the Shelley Sailing Club has a small building.
Mums Point was created in the 1950’s when dredging was undertaken in the river as originally the channel went through the area and its alignment can be seen by the remnant posts that run into the point on one side and out again on the other. Remains of a convict camp have been found in the area.
Mount Henry – look across the river to the high ground on the opposite bank. Mount Henry was named after John Henry, Second Lieutenant on HMS Challenger, who sailed up the river on 3 May1829 with Captain Fremantle. In June 1829, Henry led an overland expedition to trace the headwaters of the Canning River.
Head west down Riverton Drive and around into the inlet formed by the confluence of Bull Creek and the River.
Bull Creek is named after Henry Bull, who was granted a property in the early 1830s.
As the road runs along the side of the inlet it bends to the left and becomes Bull Creek Road. On your right is Yagan Park.
At the time of colonisation the Bull Creek area (Gabbiljee) was of considerable importance to the Noongar people as the wetlands provided many foods compared to other surrounding drier areas. Midgegooroo and his son Yagan were of the aboriginal peoples living in the area and Yagan was a prominent member of the Beelier group. In December 1831, a servant of a settler named Butler shot dead one of Yagan’s friends who had been raiding his potato patch. Yagan and Midgegooroo retaliated by spearing another worker. Later in 1832 Yagan and a party of Aboriginal people ambushed two of Butler’s labourers killing William Gaze. Yagan was arrested, spending two months on Carnac Island before he escaped by stealing a dinghy and rowing to the shore. Yagan and others murdered two men, making their way to Canning from Bull Creek with provisions. Yagan and the others were declared outlaws. Midgegooroo was imprisoned in May 1833 and executed. Yagan was shot dead by two brothers, John and William Keats in July, 1833. Another Aboriginal man, Heegan and William Keats also died in the exchange. Yagan’s head was severed and smoked by a settler and sent to England. It was only returned in 1997 and was reburied in Upper Swan by the Noongar community in 2010.
After passing the aged person’s complex, you can turn right at the traffic lights and return to Leach Highway and turn left.
Named after a former Commissioner of Main Roads, J Digby Leach, the first portion was opened in 1972 and by the 1980s had extended to Tonkin Highway.
At the Karel Ave intersection – keep straight on along Leach Highway. The park at the intersection once held the famous “space ship house” which originally stood in Apsley Road, Willetton as an advertising display home by the land developers of the Burrendah Estate.
Turn right into High Road at Traffic lights and continue down High Road.
This area is named after Henry Willett who was assigned part of the original Canning Location 21. The name “Willetton” was originally proposed for the district of Lynwood and what is now Willetton was to be called “Burtsville” however in 1965 the localities were named as we find them today.
Continue down High Road through Riverton with the Riverton Leisureplex and Riverton Library on the left hand side on the corner of Riley Road.
Willeri Drive runs opposite alongside the Shopping Centre and the name is a combination of the names of Eleri and William (Griffin) who operated the Riverton Nursery further down Riley Road in the years immediately post WWII though into the latter part of the 20th century.
Lynwood and Ferndale
Continue along High Road and Lynwood Senior High School is on your right as you turn left into Metcalf Road. Cross over Bannister Creek and through several roundabouts. The suburb of Lynwood is on your right and Ferndale on your left.
The Ferndale area was subdivided in 1965 with a proposed name of “Shearnstead” after Mr Farnham Shearn, the original grantee of Canning Location 314 but was changed to Ferndale by the Shire of Canning in September 1965.
Turn left at the end of Metcalf Road into Nicholson Road and proceed towards Albany Highway.
Just before the bridge on the right hand side is the White House built by William Gordon Brookman, an extremely wealthy mining entrepreneur who became Mayor of Perth in the 1890s. Brookman’s house “Riverview” was later converted into a function centre known as the White House and in more recent times as a church.
Nicholson Road Bridge
Nicholson Road Bridge crosses the Canning River and is the fourth bridge over the river at this point. The first bridge built in 1885 was demolished in 1907 and replaced with a more substantial structure, which in turn was upgraded in 1926/7. The river bed was widened and the span of the bridge increased. It was demolished in 1953 and the present bridge constructed. Remnants of the piers from the second bridge remain in the river bed and can be seen when the water level is low. Increasingly heavy traffic on Nicholson Road led to the construction of a new pre-stressed concrete bridge in 1986/7, the fourth bridge to be built at this crossing.
Landing at Nicholson Road Bridge
The landing place was on the left bank of the Canning River adjacent to the Bridge. Originally a wharfage reserve it is one of a number of landing places located along the Canning River which served the important river traffic and local timber, firewood and brickmaking industries in the colonial period. By the early 1900’s the landing place had become a popular picnic area and plans were made to plant trees and enhance its amenity. The reserve is now included within the boundaries of the Canning River Regional Park. “Old Nicholson Road” can be seen on the left hand side of the road after you cross the Bridge.
Situated between Woodloes St and Albany Highway (second-hand store), this building was the garage for the bus service operated by Charlie Grose. The bus was described as the first “real” bus with seats facing each other, and the service connected Cannington with Victoria Park with a fare of sixpence (6d) for a trip.
Turn left into Albany Highway and then turn left again at the BP service station into Short Street and then left into Woodloes Street, which will return you to Woodloes Homestead.