History & Heritage

The Town's History - A Brief Overview

Beginning as a small settlement called West Guildford in 1829, Bassendean was renamed in 1922. Bounded on two sides by the Swan River, Bassendean became a separate local authority in 1901. The Town now has a mix of housing, parks and recreational areas, as well as light industry and commercial areas. It also has riverside public open space, some of which was land used by Aboriginal people for thousands of years as ceremonial places.

Bassendean participated in both World Wars, and, as a working-class suburb, it was severely affected by the 1930s Depression. It saw rapid population growth with the migrations of new residents from Britain, Europe and Asia during the post-World War II period. Through it all, Bassendean has retained its strong sense of identity and community, to become the thriving township it is today.

Archaeological evidence has shown that Aboriginal people have inhabited the Perth area for more than 45,000 years before James Stirling and his exploratory expedition arrived in Western Australia in 1827. Bassendean has numerous sites of cultural significance to the Noongar people. The importance of Bassendean for Noongar hunting and gathering activities, and as a meeting place, is affirmed in many documents and personal narratives from the 1830's to the present-day.

After the colony's foundation in June 1829, the fertile alluvial flats along both sides of the Swan River, including Bassendean, were chosen as prime agricultural land. Settlers acquired parcels of land and farms were established.

By July 1831 Guildford needed to expand elsewhere as its town lots had run out. Across the river and to the west was a Government Reserve and this was selected for a new townsite and called West Guildford.

Peter Broun, the 1st Colonial Secretary, took occupation in 1832 of Stoke Farm in West Guildford and of its existing homestead. He named the dwelling Bassendean after the name of his family seat in Berwickshire - in 1922 when West Guildford cut its residual ties with Guildford, Bassendean was the new name chosen.

Initially populated by gentleman farmers and Pensioner Guard families, West Guildford grew rapidly during the goldrush years of the 1890's, breaking away from Guildford to become a separate local authority in 1901.

In the 1900's, the establishment of industries, and the demand for labour at the Midland Railway Workshops, gave the suburb its distinct working class character and further accelerated its development. Post-World War II emigration saw an influx of European nationalities, giving Bassendean a more cosmopolitan flavour.

State Register of Places

The town has several significant historical buildings, 11 of which are on the State Register of Heritage Places as follows:

  • Daylesford
  • Earlsferry
  • Guildford Road Bridge
  • Bassendean Oval Entrance Gate
  • Bassendean Oval
  • Bassendean Oval Grandstand
  • MacDonald Grandstand
  • Bassendean Fire Station (fmr)
  • Success Hill Lodge
  • Pensioner Guard Cottage
  • Bassendean Masonic Lodge (fmr)
  • 1876 Pillar Box

Additional places for inclusion within the state register can be nominated for assessment by members of the public by contacting the State Heritage Office.

Local Studies Collection

Further information on the district’s History and Heritage is available from the Town’s Local Studies Collection.

Bassendean Memorial Library Local Studies Collection

Municipal Heritage Inventory

The Heritage Act 2018 requires each local government to identify places of cultural heritage significance in a Local Heritage Survey (formally Municipal Heritage Inventory), which are used to identify and record places that are, or that might become, of cultural heritage significance.  The Local Heritage Survey helps the Town make decisions that reflect local heritage values, and supports the creation of a heritage list or heritage areas, which identify places to be protected under the local planning scheme.

Municipal Heritage Inventory (MHI) current

Heritage List

Draft Local Heritage Survey

Council has acknowledged the importance of history and heritage in its Strategic Community Plan 2020-2030, which seeks to create a community closely connected to its history and heritage and ensure heritage locations and buildings of historical value within the Town are recognised, cared for and utilised by the community.  The Town is undertaking a general review of its existing Local heritage Survey (formerly known as the Municipal Heritage Inventory).

More information about the Local Heritage Survey can be found here:

Heritage Information Sheet

Heritage FAQs

Draft Local Heritage Survey

As part of that process, the Town invited community input seeking feedback on the current categories of existing heritage places as well as nominations for new places. Nominations closed on the 14th of May 2021, and no nominations were received. 

The Town is now commencing community advertising of the draft Local Heritage Survey; seeking feedback on the draft local heritage survey itself as well as current categories of existing heritage places and nominations for new places.  

To nominate a new site, change of category of an existing site or provide a general comment about the draft Local Heritage Survey, please fill out the form below:

Online Form - Local Heritage Survey » Town of Bassendean

Nominations will be assessed on their merits for potential inclusion on the advice of a heritage consultant.  

Nominations and comments close 28 February 2022.

Draft Heritage Areas and Local Planning Policy - Heritage and Character

At its 24 August 2021 Ordinary Meeting, Council resolved to endorse the proposed creation of three separate heritage areas and an associated draft Local Planning Policy – Heritage and Character, for the purposes of advertising.  

Three heritage areas are being proposed:

  • Old Perth Road Heritage Area;
  • Devon Road Heritage Area; and
  • Kenny Street Heritage Area.

 The draft Local Planning Policy will impact all properties contained on the Local Heritage Survey.  The purpose of the policy is to:

  • Conserve and protect character and heritage within the Town;
  • Identify heritage areas within the Town; and
  • Provide development guidelines for properties within the identified heritage areas and properties on the heritage list.

Draft Heritage Areas Map

Heritage FAQs

Draft Local Planning Policy - Heritage and Character

Online Form - Draft Local Planning Policy – Heritage and Character » Town of Bassendean

Submissions close 28 February 2022.

Following the close of the submission period, Council will review the submissions and consider the draft Local Planning Policy – Heritage and Character for final approval.