Canning’s oldest suburb is 12 kilometres from Perth’s CBD, and takes its name from the Canning River. The 2016 Census records 5,929 people living in Cannington.
The first settlers arrived in Cannington in 1829, as part of the rush for land grants bordering the Canning River. The early days of Cannington centred around Mason and Bird’s Timber Mill, situated at Mason’s Landing. Francis Bird built Woodloes Homestead on the banks of the Canning River in 1874. Now heritage listed, it is the oldest building in Canning and one of the earliest architect-designed homes in the Swan River Colony.
The Albany Road was also central to the district. Arthur McIntosh’s Blacksmithing and Coach Building business was established here in 1893.
Cannington’s development was aided greatly when the South-West railway went through in 1893. Cannington was one of the first stations, opening in 1897.
By the turn of the century, there were numerous farms and orchards established in the area. Cannington was an important locality, and many significant buildings were constructed at this time – the Cannington Hotel, the “Church with the Chimney” (1890) the Cecil Hotel (1896), Cannington School (1898), the Canning Agricultural Hall (1898), and the Canning Town Hall (1909)
Prominent residents during this time (landowners, businessmen and often active members of local government) were William Lacey Gibbs, Arthur McIntosh, and George Wilson, founder of Wilson and John’s Nursery
Cannington’s development as a suburb was aided by the rebuilding of the Albany Road in 1931. By this time, a bus service had been established. Charlie Grose’s Cannington Bus Service connected Cannington and Victoria Park, for sixpence a trip.
Cannington’s expansion continued after World War II with the opening of Boans Waverley, the first suburban branch of Perth’s iconic department store, in 1958. Cannington Senior High School opened in 1967, and a new Cannington Primary School opened in Wharf Street in 1970. The old Cannington School was demolished to make way for Carousel Shopping Centre, which opened its doors in 1972.
The face of Cannington is once again undergoing transformation. Developments such as the Cecil Avenue “smart street” and the Wharf Street Basin promise to give Cannington a vibrant and dynamic city centre.
Image: The Waverley Hotel and Boans Cannington, 1974 (John Slee)
East Cannington is 14 kilometres from Perth’s CBD and derives its name from the Canning River. The 2016 Census recorded 5461 people living in East Cannington. East Cannington previously incorporated the suburb of Beckenham.
East Cannington was established when the Woodloes Estate was subdivided in the early part of the 20th Century. Although a Post Office was established there in 1910, it wasn’t gazetted as a postal district until 1959.
One of the suburb’s first shops – Payne’s Store – opened on Railway Parade in 1909. East Cannington School was established in 1912, and the East Cannington Hall opened in 1919, proving very popular for Saturday night dances.
Largely a semi-rural area, there were many farms and horse agistment properties. Arnolds Dairy and Western’s Dairy both operated in East Cannington.
The Crystal Jam Factory was set up in East Cannington by the Taylor Brothers in the 1920s. By the 1930s, the factory employed more than a dozen employees. Business boomed during the Second World War, with jams, sauces and pickles and canned fruit being produced. After the war, the business was sold and became known as “Mumzone Products”. The firm operated in East Cannington until the early 1960s.
Most of East Cannington’s development as a suburb happened in the 1960s and 1970s. Gibbs Street Primary School opened in 1971. Today the suburb is mostly residential, with many parks and reserves.
Image: East Cannington Hall
Ferndale is 10km southeast of Perth’s CBD. The 2016 Census records 4330 people living in Ferndale. The Shire of Canning originally proposed the name Shearnstead for the suburb, after Farnham Shearn, the original grantee of the site of much of today’s Ferndale. Developers preferred the name Ferndale, and this was adopted by the Shire in 1965.
Ferndale was mostly rural until the 1960s. Bob Mounsey had a dairy farm there. In those days children had to row across the river to go to school, or use the pontoon built by Mr Mounsey. In 1953 he built a wooden footbridge from his property to the opposite bank (just upstream from Greenfield Street) so that his children could walk to school in Cannington. In 1964, the Greenfield Street Bridge was built, enabling easy access to the shops in Cannington.
Development of the suburb kicked off in the late 1960s. Kinlock Primary School opened in 1967, and in 1971 Plunkett Homes began selling homes in Ferndale. The Lynwood Arms Hotel (actually in Ferndale) opened in 1971, and the late 1970s saw the opening of Ferndale Primary School and the ovals and change-rooms at Ferndale Reserve.
Lynwood is 12 km southeast of Perth’s CBD. The 2016 Census records 3441people living in Lynwood. The Shire of Canning originally wanted the suburb to be called Willetton, while the developers preferred Clovercrest Estate. The name Lynwood was finally agreed in in 1965. Parkwood was originally part of Lynwood.
Much of the suburb’s land was semi-rural until the 1960s. Large parcels of land were developed by the British firm Realty Development Corporation and marketed to new English migrants as a garden suburb, ‘where gracious living begins’. House and land packages were offered, with promises of loans, temporary accommodation, superior homes, and sunshine!
The “New Australians” set about building a community. By 1971, Lynwood boasted a kindergarten, a Shopping Centre, a primary school, and a Community Centre (Wandarrah Hall.)
Parkwood became a separate suburb in 1993.
Image: Display homes, Lynwood 1972
Parkwood is 10 km southeast of Perth’s CBD. The 2016 Census records 6032 people living in Parkwood. Parkwood was part of Lynwood until 1993.
In 1943 the RAAF Ground Control Interception Radar Station Number 144 was established on what is now Whaleback Golf Course. It was part of a nationwide network of radar units built to defend Australia against Japanese air strikes. The station operated until 1945. Whaleback Golf Course opened in January 1981, and the radar station’s “igloo” bunkers are now used by the Girl Guides and the Scouts.
Lynwood High School opened in Parkwood in 1975, and Riverton Forum Shopping Centre opened there in 1986, on what had once been a dairy farm. The newly built Bannister Creek Primary School opened its doors in 2010, amalgamating three local primary schools – Kinlock, Ferndale and Lynwood.
Image: Whaleback Public Golf Course, c.1985
Riverton is 14 kilometres form Perth, with 5,643 residents, according to the 2016 Census. Riverton started as a subdivision in 1911. The origin of the name is uncertain, but obviously refers to the Canning River. The area encompassing Rossmoyne, Shelley and Willetton were all originally part of Riverton.
The area was settled by farmers and market gardeners. Fred Riley bought his property in 1897, and ran a very successful market. It was due to Riley’s unceasing efforts and financial assistance that the first Riverton Bridge was built in 1911. It was locally known as “Riley’s Bridge.”
After World War 1, land in Riverton was offered for farming to returned soldiers. Most were unsuccessful because of inexperience and lack of services. A number of dairies and poultry farms then sprang up, many of these failing during the Great Depression.
Development of Riverton as a suburb began in 1937, when Victor Webb bought the unsold “white elephant” land from the original subdivision. Webb cleared and then began selling the land, and the first house was erected near Riley’s Bridge in 1938. Progress and development really picked up after the second World War – land sales picked up, the Riverton Bus Company began offering services in 1946, the Riverton Hall was erected in 1948 and Riverton Primary School opened in 1949. In 1953 a new bridge was built to replace the old Riverton Bridge, which had been in a state of disrepair since the 1930s.
Rossmoyne is 14 kilometres from Perth’s CBD, with 3321 residents recorded in the 2016 Census. It’s name reportedly derives from a family trip to Scotland made by the developer, Victor Webb. The area was known previously as West Riverton.
The Pallottine Mission Centre opened in May 1955 in what was later known as Fifth Avenue, Rossmoyne. It originally opened as a hostel for Aboriginal boys attending secondary schools, technical schools or working as apprentices in Perth. A Girls' Hostel was opened in 1961.The residence had catered for more than 900 students by the time it closed in 1991.
Victor Webb launched the Rossmoyne Estate in 1956, and the area developed very quickly. Rossmoyne Primary School opened in 1964, and in 1968 local children were able to attend the newly opened Rossmoyne High School (actually across Leach Highway in Bull Creek.)
Rossmoyne today is a very desirable suburb due to its riverside location, good schools and amenities.
image: Central Road, Rossmoyne shops, c.1985
Shelley lies 14 kilometres south east of Perth, with 4523 residents recorded in the 2016 Census. The suburb was originally part of Riverton. The name comes from the shells found on the beaches of the Canning River.
Much of Shelley is land reclaimed from the Canning River. In 1960, landowners who held blocks of river swamp agreed to a reclamation scheme initiated, financed and undertaken by the Shire of Canning. The highly-ambitious scheme saw the reclamation of 1.5 miles of foreshore between Corbel Street and Beatrice Ave, plus the resumption of 36 acres of privately-owned land. The Shire undertook the filling, road construction and resurvey, providing access to 80 river frontage lots between Zenith St and Fifth Ave. It also resulted in the beautiful Shelley Foreshore Reserve, one of the City's most picturesque parks.
Image: Shelley foreshore, 1993
St James is 6 km southeast of Perth’s CBD. Its local government areas are the City of Canning and the Town of Victoria Park. The 2016 Census records that there were 4905 people in St James.
Like Bentley, most of St James’ development happened after World War II. In the 1950s, many houses were built by the State Housing Commission. War Service Commission homes were also built.
St James was gazette as a suburb in 1957. It was named after St James Park in London. Many of the streets in St James commemorate British Prime Ministers and MPs.
Image: Home at 11 Victoria Street St James, 1952 (Photo courtesy of Joanne Morris - her family home)
Welshpool is 9.5 kilometres east of the Perth CBD. The 2016 Census records 19 people residing in Welshpool. Welshpool’s name is believed to derive from Welshpool Road, possibly named after Welshpool in Wales, birthplace of one of the early residents.
By the end of the 19th Century, a railway station had opened in Welshpool and Welshpool Road was in operation. By 1912, Welshpool boasted 40 residents, most of whom worked at the two local bone mills. Welshpool School opened in 1914, holding classes in the newly built Mechanics’ Institute Hall.
In the 1920s and 1930s, firms such as WA Knitters and Structural Engineering were established in Welshpool. The early 1940s saw the beginnings of the Welshpool Industrial Complex, with the Commonwealth Government acquiring land to build a small arms munitions factory. The factory operated from 1942 to 1946.
Willetton is 12km south of Perth’s CBD. According to the 2016 census, there were 18187 people living in Willetton. Until 1964, Willetton was part of the area referred to as Riverton. Burtsdale was the original name chosen for the suburb (after Septimus Burt (lawyer, KC, grazier & politician).) In 1965, the name Willetton was chosen, after Henry Willett, the grantee of Canning Location 21.
Willetton was mostly rural until the 1960s, and land was slow to sell. In the mid-1960s, the Council progressed development of land near High Road, resulting in the establishment of the Willetton Industrial Area and the residential area immediately south (to Apsley Road). The Willetton Reserve (Apsley Rd) and the Reserve on Portulaca Street were established. The Riverline Drive-In opened off High Road in 1964.
In the late 1960s the Council implemented Town Planning Scheme No. 24 for the remaining unsubdivided portion of Willetton – this made provision for major and minor roads, recreation areas, shopping facilities, schools and community facilities such as the future library. By 1970, development was underway and land sales took off. Willetton Primary School opened in 1970, and in 1973 the Willetton Sports Club formed, originally as the Willetton Junior Football Club. The Burrendah Estate was launched at this time, boasting “proper” sewerage, kerbed and sealed roads, with water and power ready to connect. A unique urban development concept was pioneered here – a series of residential areas with lanes of parks and reserves between them. To promote the estate, the developers erected a Futuro House over an ornamental lake – the Willetton “spaceship” was an iconic structure in the suburb for the next two decades.
Since then, Willetton has gone from strength to strength, with numerous primary schools, Willetton Senior High School, Southlands Shopping Centre and a huge variety of other shops and restaurants.
Leeming is 16 km south of Perth’s CBD. In the 2016 Census, there were 10,730 people living in leeming. The suburb is split between three Local Government areas – Canning, Melville and Cockburn. The small portion of Leeming belonging to Canning is bounded by South Street, Beasley Road and Hollingsworth Way. The suburb’s name commemorates George Waters Leeming, a surveyor who laid out the roads for the Jandakot Agricultural area in 1889. The area was part of the land gained by Canning when the Jandakot Roads Board District was abolished in the early 1920s.
Wilson lies 9 kilometres form Perth, with 6376 residents listed in the 2016 Census. Originally known as Beeloo, the suburb was re-named in 1958 following a petition by local residents. It was named after early resident and the first Mayor of the Queens Park Municipality, George Wilson.
Wilson was primarily a farming area until after World War II. The building of Riverton Bridge in 1911 made it possible for farmers to get their produce across the river. Kent Street Weir was in operation by 1927, with the plan that this would prevent the movement of salt water in the summer. Though this wasn’t very successful, the weir was a popular local swimming spot.
The former Castledare Home was built around 1907, and was known as ‘Balmoral’. The property was purchased by the Catholic Church in 1927 and opened two years later as a home and school for intellectually handicapped and disadvantaged boys. The school is now long closed, and Castledare is now an aged care facility and retirement village.
Wilson’s development accelerated in the 1950s, with the building of 600 houses between 1959 and 1964, many of which were State Housing Commission homes. Services such as shops and schools quickly followed. The construction of leach Highway and Shelley Bridge have made a big difference to Wilson residents.