THE Barracks that gave Barrack-street its name were those first military Barracks which were built along the alignment of Barrack-street in 1829 for the soldiers of the 63rd regiment. We actually know the very day on which these barracks were commenced; it was on August 13, 1829, the day after Governor Stirling had declared the new town of Perth to be well and truly founded and Mrs. Dance had put an axe into the tree to celebrate the event a few yards inside that lane near the Town Hall in Barrack-street. We learn this from the journal of Peter Broun, the Colonial Secretary, who on that date made the entry: "The line of the new barracks laid down by the Surveyor-General."
Two months before this, the soldiers of the 63rd regiment had come to Perth and taken possession of what was to become the Barrack Square. St. George's-terrace, that portion between Pier-street and Barrack-street, had formed a sort of a ledge half way up the hill from the river, and here the soldiers downed their packs and began to clear the trees for their encampment. The officers' quarters occupied the site of the present Burt Memorial Hall. Then came the parade ground, now the sward fronting Saint George's Cathedral. Next, the sergeant's quarters enclosed the angle that St. George's-terrace makes with Barrackstreet. The soldiers' quarters, no matter where their tents were originally pitched, were soon established along the alignment of Barrack-street.
For how many years the soldiers occupied these barracks in Barrack-street cannot be said with certainty. The officers' quarters in St. George's-terrace remained standing until well into this century. The sergeants' quarters were rebuilt, and this new building (or it may have been a newer building still) remained until somewhere in the 70's. Every vestige of it, however, disappeared when the old G.P.O. was built in the 80's. When the barracks in Barrack-street ceased to be the living quarters for the soldiers of the various regiments which succeeded the 63rd regiment as the garrison of the colony, I am unable to say; but in my own time the guard house where these old soldiers kept guard with their very ancient muskets was still standing, and was eventually transformed into the police court. I imagine some of the old building still remains in the present Industries Department next to the Town Hall.
What are called the "Old Barracks" today, at the top of St. George's-terrace, were not built until the 1860s. The soldiers in the barracks of Barrack-street garrisoned the infant colony. They housed the soldiers who came with Stirling. The soldiers who occupied the Old Barracks at the top of St. George's terrace merely guarded the convicts. 'Cygnet' - Cyril Bryan - West Australian 18 February 1939.
'Cygnet' [Cyril Bryan] West Australian 18 February 1939.
Garry Gillard | New: 4 June, 2018 | Now: 11 June, 2018