Perth Stuff > Places > River Places

River Places

(and also places in the sea off Fremantle)

See also: Perth places, streets, buildings, Fremantle streets and places.

The oldest place names in the Perth area are those given by the first people, the Nyoongar, and then those given by Stirling on his navigation of the Swan River in 1827 and at the time of his foundation of the Swan River Colony in 1829.

Alfred Cove is named after Alfred Waylen (1833-1901), pioneer settler who was granted Swan Location 74, covering most of present-day Alfred Cove and Myaree.

Armstrong Spit (Nanulgurup) was named the family of Adam Armstrong who settled in what he called Dalkeith.

Arthur Head (Manjaree) was given its European name by Captain James Stirling, who named the promontory in 1827 for George Arthur (-1854) Governor of Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania). Aka Gaol Hill.

Point Belches. Aka Mill Point/the Narrows. After the third lieutenant on HMS Success, Peter Belches. Point Belches is at the southern end of the Narrows Bridge. W.K. Shenton built a wind-driven flour mill near here in 1833. A second mill was built in 1935 and operated until 1859; it was 'restored' in 1959.

Blackwall Reach (Jenalup) was named by Commander L.S. Dawson RN, Admiralty surveyor in 1896, probably after Blackwall Reach on the Thames near Greenwich.

Brewery. The former Swan Brewery, on Matilda Bay, near Mt Eliza, was preceded by other breweries, and, before that, a steam mill.

Point Brown, North Fremantle, northeast of the Gilbert Fraser Reserve, was reputedly named after A.E. Brown who in 1886 opened a shipbuilding yard near Marine Tce.

Butler's Hump, see Keane's Point.

Canning River was named by James Stirling in 1827 for PM George Canning.

Carnac Island. After John Ruett Carnac, senior lieutenant on HMS Success. Carnac Island had previously been called Ile Pelée, then Ile Lévilian and finally Ile Berthelot, before the arrival of Stirling, who whimsically named it Pulo Carnac, 'pulo' being Malay for 'island'. Apart from birds, it's noted for its tiger snakes, so is not a popular place to visit.

Chidley Point, Mosman Park, was named after Capt. Frederick Chidley Irwin (-1860) and marked on some early maps as Point Irwin. He arrived on the Sulphur in command of a detachment of the 63rd Regiment.

Claisebrook. (Goongoonup) Originally Clausebrooke, for Surgeon Frederick Clause, who was with Stirling on his 1827 survey of the Swan River.

Crawley Bay, see Matilda Bay.

Currie Bay, see Matilda Bay.

Currie Spit, aka Point Currie. For Captain Currie RN, first harbourmaster. Now usually known as Pelican Point (as it was in 1827).

Point Direction, North Fremantle, is where the Water Police station is. Origin unknown.

Point Dundas. (Moondanup). If named by Stirling, this would have named after the same man as Melville Water: the second Viscount Melville (Robert Dundas) First Lord of the Admiralty 1812-1827. The Majestic Hotel, which has been demolished, was built as a governor's private residence here in about 1900.

Mount Eliza (Mooro Katta, Kaarta Garup, Gargatup) was renamed by Stirling for the wife of Ralph Darling, Governor of New South Wales.

Elizabeth 'Quay' (not a quay) aka Betty Jetty (not even a jetty) is a memorial Premier Barnett had built for himself. It's a commercial development where there used a reclaimed esplanade.

Ellen Brook, which flows into the Swan River, was named by James Stirling, the first Governor of Western Australia, after his own wife Ellen, nee Mangles, from Woodbridge, Surrey. Ellenbrook is now a newish Perth suburb. Ellen Street in Fremantle is also named after her.

Ferry Point, Emma Place, North Fremantle. Colloquially known as Willis Point.

Frazer Point. Charles Frazer (or Fraser) was botanist on HMS Success. Fraser Point was the land NW of Heirisson Island, central Perth.

Freshwater Bay (Minderup). A topographical name.

Gage Roads was so named after Rear-Admiral Sir William Hall Gage, Stirling's admiral, who was Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Navy's East Indies Station when James Stirling was surveying the Swan River in 1827.

Garden Island. Governor Stirling named Garden Island after a nickname of the Isle of Wight, according to Pamela Statham-Drew (2003: 71; 2004: 16). It had formerly been named Ile Buache by the French. It's now a 'defence' establishment called HMAS Stirling.

Point Heathcote was named for the midshipman on HMS Success.

Heirisson Island (Matagarup) was named - before Stirling carried out his naming exercise in 1827 - by Nicolas Baudin in 1801 for midshipman François-Antoine Boniface Heirisson.

Keane's Point (Beereegup), Peppermint Grove, protrudes into Freshwater Bay. It was earlier called Butler's Hump after its first European owner, before Keane acquired it. It is now the site of the Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club.

The Kennedy Fountain (named for the Governor of the time) below Mount Eliza, marks a spring which was an early source of fresh water. Before colonisation, it was a significant place for Yellogonga (various spellings), elder of the people of Mooro. There is a small park between the Brewery and Mount Eliza. It is without a unique name, being considered to be part of Kings Park. The fountain is at its eastern end.

Point Lewis. There is a Point Lewis rotary which is part of the Narrows Bridge road complex, representing a point in the river which used to be there before the bridgeworks were carried out. According to the West Australian (see below) it is 'probably after D.A.C.G. Lewis, Imperial officer here, 1831'.

Mangles Bay. Captain James Mangles RN, brother to Lady Stirling, was in this colony in 1831. There was formerly a Mangles Street, but it may have been renamed. There is still a Mangles Street in Bunbury, and Mangles Bay off the Rockingham coast.

Matilda Bay (Goodroo) is the most common present name of Currie Bay, Sutherland Bay, and Crawley Bay - all referring to the same long, open bay that stretches all the way from Pelican Point (Point Currie) to Mt Eliza.

Captain Currie was the first colonial owner of the 32-acre (130,000 m2) estate surrounding the bay, at that time known as Currie's Bay. Pelican Point was then known as Point Currie. The estate was sold in 1832 to the Assistant Surveyor and Colonial Treasurer, Henry Charles Sutherland for ₤100. Sutherland named the property Crawley Park after his mother's maiden name and the bay became known as Sutherland's Bay. In 1876 Crawley Park was sold to Sir George Shenton, and the bay was known generally as Crawley Bay. (Wikipedia)

Melville Water (originally including all the water between South Perth and Fremantle) was named after (the second) Viscount Melville (Robert Dundas) First Lord of the Admiralty 1812-1827. Statham-Drew (2004: 13) writes that, '[Stirling] named the two large expanses [that is, Perth Water and Melville Water] "Melville Water" in honour of Lord Melville, then first Lord of the Admiralty, without distinguishing one from the other'. Seddon writes that it was Robert Dundas (1771-1851) who was the relevant Viscount. (His father Henry Dundas, the first Viscount Melville, had been First Lord of the Admiralty 1804-1805.)

Mill Point is at least formerly if not formally Point Belches.

Minim Cove (Garangup). Probably a descriptive term derived from the Latin word for 'smallest', in use at least as early as 1831.

The Narrows is the division between Perth Water and Melville Water, at Point Belches (Mill Point) and where the Narrows Bridge now crosses the Swan River.

Owen Anchorage. After Rear-Admiral Owen, a Lord of the Admiralty, was originally called Britannic Roads. See Woodman Point.

Pelican Point, see Point Currie.

Preston Point (Nierganup) and the Road leading to it. After the second lieutenant on HMS Success, and first of HMS Sulphur, William Preston. A southwest river is also named for the man who was to become Stirling's brother-in-law.

Rocky Bay, North Fremantle. A topographical name.

Point Roe, the southernmost place in Mosman Park, is named after Surveyor-General John Septimus Roe.

Rottnest Island (Wadjemup) was named 't Eylandt 't Rottenest (Rats Nest Island) in 1696 by Willem de Vlamingh for the quokkas.

Rous Head and associated Road. Named by Governor Stirling after Sea Lord Admiral Henry Rous, (1795-1877) who served in the Napoleonic Wars, and was in Eastern Australia 1827-9, and gave some places in NSW his own name. He was later First Lord of the Admiralty and Admiral. He organised a regatta in Sydney Harbour in April 1827. The place is shown in 1827 as Rous Point.

Sutherland Bay, see Matilda Bay. This name of the bay is important because it was its name at the time of the establishment of the government depot beneath Mt Eliza. It's more usually called the Mt Eliza Depot, but there is a case for calling it the Sutherland Bay Depot.

Swan River. Named by Willem de Vlamingh after the black swans he found there, and so formerly aka Black Swan River.

Victoria Quay is the name given to the south wharf of the port. It was originally named South Quay but was renamed in honour of Queen Victoria (1837-1901) by the Duchess of Cornwall and York (later William IV's Queen Mary) during her visit in 1901.

Point Walter, Bicton. (Dycondalup) Stirling named this after his uncle Sir Walter Stirling, or his grandfather, whose name was also Walter. (Another source has it that it was his brother.) A canal was cut through the spit at one time, but allowed to silt up again.

Waylen Bay and Point Waylen are named after Alfred Waylen (1833-1901), pioneer settler who was granted Swan Location 74, covering most of present-day Alfred Cove and Myaree.

Willis Point was also known as Ferry Point. It was on land in the river that was removed for the building of the harbour at Fremantle.

Woodman Point. Thomas Woodman was purser on HMS Success in 1827.

Fremantle and Swan River
Fremantle. Mangles-street, Captain James Mangles R.N., brother to Lady Stirling, was in this colony in 1831; Mouat-street, lieutenant of H.M.S. Challenger, J. A. Mouat; Henry-street, second lieutenant of H.M.S. Challenger, John Henry: Pakenham-street, third lieutenant of H.MS. Challenger, H. Pakenham: Collie-street, surgeon of H.M.S. Sulphur, Alex. Collie: Stirling street, Sir James Stirling; Ellen-street, Lady Stirling; Cockburn Sound, Admiral Sir George Cockburn, G.C.B.; Owen Anchorage, Rear-Admiral Owen, a Lord of the Admiralty, was originally called Britannic Roads; Gage Roads, Admiral Gage; Melville Water (including all between South Perth and Fremantle), after Viscount Melville (Henry Dundas), Secretary of State for Colonies, 1794; Point Dundas, Viscount Melville (Henry Dundas), Secretary of State for Colonies, 1794; Preston, second lieutenant on H.M.S. Success, and first of H.M.S. Sulphur, William Preston; Belches, third lieutenant on H.M.S. Success, Peter Belches; Fraser, Charles Fraser, botanist on H.M.S. Success; Heathcote, midshipman on H.M.S. Success; Lewis, probably after D.A.C.G. Lewis, Imperial officer here, 1831; Roe, Captain J. S. Roe; Matilda Bay, Mrs. J. S. Roe; Currie Spit, Captain Currie, R.N., first harbourmaster; Mount Eliza, Lady Darling; Carnac, John Ruett Carnac, senior lieutenant on H.M.S. Success; Woodman's Point, Thos. Woodman, purser on H.M.S. Success; Leake-street, Samson-street, Lefroy-street, and many others, after well-known colonists. The West Australian, Wednesday 17 March 1909, page 9.

References and Links

Lyon, Robert Menli 1833, ‘A glance at the manners and language of the Aboriginal inhabitants of Western Australia with a short vocabulary’, Perth Gazette and Western Australian Journal, 30 March 1833: 52. The second part of the article was published in Perth Gazette and Western Australian Journal, 20 April 1833: 63-4. [The author's real name was Robert Lyon MILNE.] Many of the first people's names for places above come from this source.

Seddon, George 1970, Swan River Landscapes, UWAP.

Statham-Drew, Pamela 2003, James Stirling: Admiral and Founding Governor of Western Australia, UWAP.

Statham-Drew, Pamela 2004, James Stirling and the Birth of the Swan River Colony, Pandorus, Swanbourne.

Nyungar Wardan Katitjin Bidi-Derbal Nara (People's Ocean Knowledge Trail of Cockburn Sound and Districts).


Garry Gillard | New: 23 June, 2018 | Now: 30 June, 2018