South Perth Stories is an online collection that aims to capture and preserve the history of our dynamic city through the stories and experiences of residents and visitors, past and present.
It encompasses stories recorded and stored in the City’s Oral History Collection, stories recorded in early 2016 during The Bench Talk Project, and stories collected throughout 2016 on South Perth Storycards.
For a sneak preview of some of the stories told…
“Yeah you could walk anywhere you liked… the only problem, back in the 1950s, didn’t have the Dog Act that we’ve got now, you’d be bailed up by dogs wherever you want, very often you’d have one snapping at your heals if you went the wrong way… you knew where to walk and where to not walk…” Ronald Jess, 2013
“When the Como Theatre opened up, they had blokes on their bike. Half of them didn’t have lights on their bike or anything, they rode from Angelo Street, South Perth to pick up their reels … when they showed the first part of that film and so forth … if there was two movies on or news – every theatre ran news reels, they would show that first, he would scoot up, pick up those reels and bring them back to the Como and then put them on at the Como. Occasionally you’d get the wrong reels, so you’d see the end of the film before you saw the start of it… [laughs]… but all part of the fun of growing up…” Ross Wedderburn, 2008
“Along Fremantle Road as it was, Canning Highway now… it was a single track. And then there was just the loops. There was a loop down near Tate Street, and then there was a loop which comes off Angelo Street, and there was another loop down by where Collins Street is now now. Roseberry Avenue used to go up so far and then it stopped, and there was the bush. And we’d wonder through the bush. We would just take this track through the bush to get onto the, to catch the tram. And this is where they had all these beautiful swan berries. We’d always look at these bushes to raid these berries cause they were so sweet and succulent, and, I’m almost feeling guilty now because they no longer exist cause we ate all the fruit and stopped them reproducing.. [laughs]… they were delicious.” Mary Haydock, 2008
“The zoo was terribly neglected after the war and they hadn’t had much money. Money was necessary after the war for everything else, and of course the zoo came last on the financial list, and there was very little money spent on the zoo and I can recall that the majority of the enclosures were all built of wood and mesh. All the monkeys were in wooden enclosures with mesh and a lot of places were falling down. I mean the wood was crumbling and collapsing left right and centre everywhere. A few animals used to get out. Luckily no dangerous ones in those days and it was definitely … and of course because of there was no sewerage all the monkeys were on a bit of sand with the enclosures built on the sand so all you could do was rake it out . It was, as people used to say in those days a smelly place…” Pieter Leeflang, 2008
The full collection of South Perth Stories can be accessed online at: http://stories.southperth.wa.gov.au/
Stories recorded as part of the Oral History Collection are also available for three-week loan periods at the South Perth Libraries. Visit the ‘Local History‘ area of the South Perth Library to browse through the many stories available. Or search for “South Perth Stories” on the Library’s Catalogue online to browse through a list of the interviews and reserve a copy.
The collection of South Perth Stories will continue to grow over the coming months and years as we continue work to digitise and catalogue the recordings in the City’s Oral History Collection, as well as record new stories.
If you have a story to tell about living or working in the City of South Perth, contact the City’s Local History Librarian at the South Perth Library on 9474-0800 or email email@example.com to arrange for your story to be recorded.