Perth Commonwealth Walkway

Australia / The Pacific

PERTH Perth is the Capital of Western Australia and it sits where the Swan River (so named by a Dutch explorer in 1697 on account of its black swans) meets the Southwest coast. The city, the fourth largest in Australia, is the most isolated of Australia’s cities.  It covers 2,000 square miles.  The region was settled by Aboriginal people at least 60,000 years ago.  29 Europeans settled there in 1829 with Admiral Sir James Stirling (1791-1865) as Lieutenant-Governor of Western Australia.  He lobbied the British Foreign Office and Admiralty for support in settling the vicinity of Swan River as a permanent establishment, pointing out the merits of Mount Eliza (where King’s Park now is) as a good defence point.  He called it Perth after the Scottish town.  He commented that he was the first Governor ‘whoever formed a settlement without Commission, Laws, Instructions and Salary.’  15,000 more settlers arrived in 1830, and when convict labour arrived in 1850, an economy developed based on wool, wheat and timber.   Political development was slow, and partially representative government was only introduced in 1870 and responsible government came at last in 1890. Perth is now a fast-growing city with a mixture of colonial and high rise buildings, and a major industrial centre with heavy industries concentrated in the suburban zones of Kwinana, Fremantle, and Welshpool. The city’s diversified manufactures include paint, plaster, printed materials, sheet metal and many others. It is the centre of a metropolitan area containing about three-quarters of the state’s population.  The 900 acre King’s Park provides a green back drop to the city.  Tourism has grown in importance, especially since Fremantle, its nearby city, hosted the America’s Cup yacht race in 1987.  Many tourists come to Perth to enjoy its sandy beaches, friendly locals, historic attractions and relaxed alfresco dining offering world-class food and wine.

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The Commonwealth Walkway in Perth affords an opportunity for locals and visitors on the shared landscape of the Wadjuk-Aboriginal people to walk and learn together with those from more recent migrant cultures and religions along ngalang bidi (our path).

There are safe routes, marked walk/cycle/ ‘pram’ or wheelchair around the beautiful City of Perth where the northern bank of beautiful derbal yerrigan (the Swan River) borders one side of the Walkway to the South and East.  There are 36 markers along the way (bronze alloy) which depict Her Majesty’s Royal Cypher (E II R) and the words (traditionally spoken not written) ‘ngalang bidi’ from the Wadjuk dialect of the Noongar Aboriginal people who have lived in the area for about 2,000 generations. The ‘high path’ section of ngalang bidi takes in the Kings Park site with additional precinct markers at Parliament House, Old Observatory, Constitution Centre, Forrest House and the Edith Cowan Statue and can be accessed by free Central Area Transport (CAT) buses from the centre of the city or one sector rides on other Public Transport Authority (PTA) buses.  Full amenities are available, with playgrounds for children and universal access toilets, plus excellent cafés, restaurants for a digitally/or map-supported active learning experience. A few bus stops down the hill from Kings Park in St George’s Terrace is Government House, residence of the Governor of Western Australia, where people often start their walkway journey.  Many then head down to the Ritz Carlton/Elizabeth Quay area to board one of the Sealink vessels MV James Stirling or MV Quokka, both of which have a marker aboard as the only ‘floating’ markers on such walkways in the world.  A river journey to the Indian Ocean at Fremantle continues the themes of the 60,000-year-old stories and history of Aboriginal families and individuals as well as those of other families and individuals migrating from about 200 years ago.   A marker on Fremantle Harbour symbolizes the connection to the ‘Walk with the Royals’. Fun Facts
  • Kings Park is the largest inner-city park in the world. It is much bigger than Central Park in New York.
  • Perth is the world’s largest producer of jewellery. The Kalgoorlie Mine, born during the gold rush of the 1880s, is the world’s largest producer of gold. 
  • It is the only place in the world you can find quokkas.
  • Perth gets more sunshine than any other Australian capital

6.8 miles / 11 kilometres

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Points of Interest

Commonwealth Walkway Ranger

The Commonwealth Walkway Ranger for this walkway is: David Forster