Brekkie with a bit of history

In case you were snoozing through all your alarms this morning and missed out on 720 ABC’s Breakfast, visit the link below to have a listen to a very special bit of history on the early days of the South Perth Council Offices…

And if you enjoy wandering through that precinct and you’re itching for more on the history of the Mends Street area (and also snoozed through last fortnight’s Brekkie spot), visit the link below to learn more about the early beginnings of the Windsor Hotel…

Now I’m off to buy a stamp…

What? No freeway?!

South Perth’s landscape dramatically changed with the development of the Narrows Bridge and the Kwinana Freeway. Houses were demolished, land was reclaimed and the composition of the foreshore adjacent to Melville Water was forever changed. And people could access South Perth easier than ever before.

Charles Harry Park and family lived at 29 Suburban Road (located between Stirling Street, South Perth and The Narrows), with the front of the property beginning on Suburban Road (now Mill Point Road) and the rear extending to the Swan River. Park was a photographer by trade and ran a ‘24 hour service’ for processing private film from the residence.

Taken c. 1930, this photograph reminded me that there can be many layers to a place and really highlights how South Perth’s built and natural environment has developed and has had to adapt to change.

If you have any photographs that depict a South Perth of the past, we would love to hear from you.

Building of the week!

Sopranos Restaurant

Everyone’s seen it when driving along Mill Point Road…And everyone may or may not know that it’s standing proof of the early establishment and development of South Perth.

This building was constructed c. 1900 by Frederick Stidworthy – a skilled South Perth builder, contractor and stone mason. Stidworthy’s stone masonry skills can be seen at the Perth Zoo, in particular the cave-like bear pits. Stidworthy also built the South Perth Road Board office in 1904, now know as Heritage House Cultural Centre (corner Mill Point Road and Mends Street).

Lucy, Frederick’s wife, ran tea rooms from the lower-ground of the building between 1902-1918. This was a great location to run tea rooms from as the entrance to the Perth Zoological Gardens was just on the opposite side of Suburban Road (renamed Mill Point Road in 1947; the Zoo entrance eventually moved to Labouchere Road). So one can imagine that Lucy got a fair bit of patronage from those who travelled over to visit the Zoo for the day!

It’s interesting that there is still the connection of food, beverage, socialisation and business with the building today, just as it was back in the early 1900’s. By the way, Sopranos have some delicious food and the front-of-house staff are lovely! I wonder what the typical food experience was like when Lucy was running the show…It’s a shame that we don’t have any photographs in our collection of the building during this period of its operation!

Stay tuned for more building profiles!

Tom Hungerford (1915-2011)

Thomas Arthur Guy Hungerford was born and raised in South Perth. In his younger years he resided at 254 Mill Point Road, now known to locals as the ‘Bookcaffe’. During the 1920’s the Hungerford family ran a cornershop from the building (for more information on the building click here).

Tom was an avid writer. He wrote novels, poetry, short stories, children’s fiction, plays and articles.

Tom will be best remembered for his boyhood recollections of South Perth, recorded in the book Stories from Suburban Road. In addition to his contribution to South Perth’s history, Tom was awarded the Order of Australia in 1987 for his greater contribution to Australian literature.

Dion Carle, overall winner of the 2011 Phillip Pendal Young Heritage Award, interviewed Tom as part of his research for his essay ‘Tom Hungerford’s Home’. This is believed to be Tom’s last interview.

Hungerford’s books can be located at South Perth Library and Manning Library in the biography sections under ‘HUN’. The Local History Collection holds a file dedicated to Hungerford which includes newspaper clippings and articles that interested persons can view by prior arrangement.

Links that you may find of interest…
Renowned author Tom Hungerford dies at 96
Author, playwright Tom Hungerford dies, aged 96
WA literary icon dies

It’s 1898 and I need to collect my mail!

Did you know that the first post and telegraph office in South Perth operated out of a room at the foot of the stairs in the Windsor Hotel?

The office began operating on 7 November 1898 (the same day that the Windsor officially opened for trade) and continuted to operate until the Post Office on the corner of Mends Street and Mill Point Road was constructed in 1900.