The Pier that gave its name to Pier street has disappeared as completely as the fields of St. Martins-in-the-Fields in Trafalgar Square, or the Green of College Green, Dublin. It was, of course, the first landing stage to be erected in Western Australia, and it must have been run up within a few days of the arrival of the soldiers of the 63rd regiment on June 18, 1829, when they first came up the river to seek a site for Governor Stirling's town. These soldiers landed on the river shores about where the present Supreme Court stands, and after a short look round their new surroundings they began to force their way up through the bush towards the summit of the hill now marked by Hay-street. Half way up the hill, however, they halted at a spot where Pier-street meets St. George's-terrace. The track they had made so far was soon known, and quite naturally so, as Pier-street, so that Pier-street (although not that part of the thoroughfare that exists today) is the oldest street in Perth. The first mention of the pier of Pier street that I have been able to locate is that made by Dr. T. B. Wilson when he came up the Swan River to Perth on October 18, 1829, four months to the day since the soldiers had arrived here. But in the meantime between their arrival and Dr. Wilson's coming, there had been a change in the structure the pier had been elongated into a jetty. "We landed on a jetty of considerable length" Dr. Wilson writes in his book, and "to his great joy" he was greeted as he stepped on to the jetty by an old friend in the person of Surveyor-General Roe. Governor Stirling was also on the jetty at the time about to embark on an expedition up the Canning River, and he invited Dr. Wilson to accompany him. But the doctor preferred to stay with Roe in Perth and talk over old times.
The original Pier-street, that part between St. George's-terrace and the river, was open to traffic until the 1850s when a stone wall was built along the south side of Government House grounds, thus cutting off access to the river. In the 1870s the present brick wall was built along St. George's-terrace, so that from that date all traces of the original Pier-street disappeared and there remained only that part of Pier-street which had never known the pier.
The Pier-street jetty described by Dr. Wilson persisted until the 1870s. At least, in a photo of Perth in the 1870s a long jetty is to be seen jutting out from Government House grounds. The wide expanse of reclaimed foreshore has, however altered this part of Old Perth out of all recognition. '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