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West Aussie Empire



Something like that was said 3 centuries ago..

Here is a little snap shot of our history in WA & the west coast of Australia.


Britain was bursting at the seams in the mid 1700’s, struggling in all areas with population issues especially the lower class. The Brit hierarchy were hell bent on ridding itself of the low life’s. Tens of thousands of petty criminals & uneducated scum bags were running a muck. Prisons were filling & the dungeons were overflowing. So sending them somewhere else a long way away was a really good idea for King George & his political posse. Plus KG’s greed to spread & increase land ownership, build land wealth, own a few more countries, take over the world. So they did this through setting up a worldwide network of about 100 colonies in newly discovered islands forming  self-proclaimed ownership of countries & states everywhere they landed. With King George & his ambitious explorers, captains of ships bound for glory, all eager to explore. Plus reports over 100 years earlier by the Dutch & Spanish traders that “there are other lands out there you know… Just watch out for the reefs”

Famous ships wrecked after being caught in the power ocean wind tunnel “roaring fourties” while on route to the Indies to trade, missing the north turn off by a long way.  Hitting reef up along the the north west of WA. The Tryall 1622, (Exmouth) Batavia 1629, (Geraldton) Vergulde Draeck 1656. (Moore River)
Great Britain was committed to colonization of new lands far across the oceans. Along with fighting for ownership of that land with military to ensure the acquisition of expanding the Empire. King George had other interests to go forth & conquer with a quest for European expansion with the French revolution & war with Napolean, plus the American war of Independence, then subsequent creating the Constitution. So he was a busy boy old George during his reign of 50 years.


Remembering the general public thought the world was flat back in the 1700’s. It was a big campaign to sell the idea, get funds & find a men to sail across the oceans to new found lands. It proved a challenge, but throw a bunch of ruthless unwanted men together as a crew that have no future only the death penalty or horrible incarceration. Bingo…get free labor to sail to another place & be a part of  building history. They all signed up for it & did not have any other options really. In many cases ordered by the Crown to “Terra Australis” (latin South Lands). Along for the ride a military contingent to control the situations & forcefully take the land they were seeking. Also promises to investors on the return journey to receive treasures beyond their wildest dreams found from the new lands .


It was in the winter of 1791 way down south @ Albany Western Australia the British landed & made claim.  “New Holland” was founded as new land under the British Empire rule, owned by the crown. They returned later to establish in 1826 a small colony & the great southern land was part of the new Empire.
Making their way up to the coast to Swan River in 1929 with Captain James Stirling becoming our first governor. It was Fremantle that became the site with a population settling quickly of around 25,000. The colony moved up the river & around the protected or more comfortable living site we have as Perth which gained city status in 1856.
From 1850 the first convicts arrived & continued for 18 years with estimated 10,000 were transported to WA in that period as a part of a massive 165,000 in total that came to Australia. The convicts who were well behaved worked on the road from Albany to Perth.


The following 30 years preceded the foundation of the Commonwealth of Australia along with Land Fights & Rights, Indigenous relations, European explorers, Gold Rushes, Roads, Railways, Telegraph, Settlements, Bush Rangers, Outlaws, Law & Order, Booms, Depressions, Trades, Unions, Democracy, Parliament, Cultural Development, Federation, World Wars, Modern Civilization.

All with a common denominator of LAND – Possession, Aquiring, Buying & Selling Private Property.


Thanks to a South Australian Robert Torrens a colony member who also was in the House of Assembly. He resolved the deficiencies of the common law and deeds registration system. He proposed a new title system in 1858, and it was quickly adopted. The Torrens title system was based on a central registry of all the land in the jurisdiction of South Australia. This system was embraced by each state & embodied in the Real Property Act 1886 (SA). All transfers of land are recorded in the register. Most importantly, the owner of the land is established by virtue of his name being recorded in the government’s register. The Torrens title also records easements and the creation and discharge of mortgages. It was a revolutionary answer to clear ownership of land & was developed by a range of SA estate intellectual’s which became an Australian & New Zealand way of buying & selling land which was clearly defined. The business of commercial real estate began.
In fact WA has the most simplest methods of land transactions & the Torrens system is still used today.


The central district around the Swan River developed very slowly with a struggle of funds & resourses in the 1800’s. However the Gold Rush in late 1800’s to early 1900’s brought money, eastern state & overseas interest which allowed investment to be made. Many ornate & complex façades, architectural designs of the time were built & now heritage. With business & commercial buildings popping up everywhere the central business district took shape.  The business spread moved west towards the coast from along the river. Claremont was opened as an agricultural show grounds in 1905 but the pavilions & facilities was built for the centenary 1929. Cottesloe Surf Lifesaving was founded in 1918 so the city to the coast sprawl was complete.


1929 represented 100 year celebrations of the colony & founding of Perth commercialization of the Western Australian.  This included an air race, show grounds, Kings Park, Town Hall, Freemantle, race meetings. There was little acknowledgement for the other state of Australia based on the “tyranny of distance”. Plus for all the best of the bad boys originally sent as criminals were given remission of there sentences. A lot of build up to the date of this celebration created a huge push for development. A showcase of the new West of Australia was the intent & it was mostly a localized thing for ride & prosperity. A point of propaganda for the old Empire achievement back home in Britain with a royal wave of well done.


Osborne Park area was a large land area which included the lakes. The banks of the lakes became famous as a market garden area that grew to around a hundred 5 acre lots producing quality home grown product from early 1900’s with rich soils from the natural lakes. The area was split up & re-named Herdsman, Churchlands, Woodlands, Glendalough & Osborne Park.  These areas having a thriving market gardening community. In fact right up until 1980’s the public would be allowed on weekends to drive around the lakes area to individual growers who would have stalls set up road side for buying direct which was called “Herdsman Fresh”. It was like a co-operative name to promote the area which the gardeners did very well.
The distance from Perth central was a short trip & west Perth city markets were huge. (Where Harbour Town, RAC, City West Omni, Harvey Norman) It was a constant hussel & bussel with traders dealing all over the state & internationally to south east Asia. Immediate access to the train for transportation it was a well oiled produce marketing machine.


From 1910 – 1930 a few developers failed to sell any land in the area of Scarborough, Doubleview, Innaloo so the government established the area after the World War 2. This encouraged in the 1950’s people to move more to the coastal districts. Understanding the harsh lands of the coastline, limestone laden bush lands, sandy dunes, with salty thick air & strong winds was not that bad. The humble beach shacks were scattered all over the place in the beginning of what is now some of the most sort after land in our state.


Wembley, Floreat & City Beach was the main route from the city to the beach & because of the central location to the city & beach along with natural lake system with Perry Lakes, Herdsman, Jackadder. Plenty of cheap unwanted bush land it was chosen as the area to host the British Empire & Commonwealth Games in 1962. The Wembley Hotel was a popular place for the thirsty lads back in the day built in 1932 by popular demand. The original road from the city to surf was raiway sleepers placed cross ways with limestone & sand on top for horse & carts.


Commonwealth Games put the area on speed with a 30,000 seat stadium to be built, accommodation for 35 teams & countries, 900 athletes, plus coaches, management, administration, entourages that pretty much founded the area with the need to present a suburb of international level of the time. Therefore housing, infrastructure, schools, shops, roads, parklands were developed. Herdsman Parade was selected with several developments that are still used, bought & sold today. Situated on the lakeside housed the athlete’s from around the world with fresh fruit on their doorstep. The athlete’s would gather, stretch & stroll along the open space which is now Moondine Drive.


Another advantage of the area was access to a seemingly endless limestone recourse which is now the Wembley Golf course, Amphitheatre, behind the Cambridge Council Offices an actual drive in theatre was carved from the limestone hill. This limestone you will notice was used as the foundations for most of the original houses built in the area. It helped build the Perry Lakes Stadium, plus the hundreds of workers who were housed close to the site for easy access 24/7. It was a period of amazing optimism & productivity for a growing coastal community.


Following this the 1960’s, 70’s was a mass migration north along the coast with land title releases & property bonanza that City Beach, North Wembley, Wembley Downs, Churchlands, Scarborough, Doubleview, Innaloo, Osborne Park Business District, Glendalough, Stirling, Karrinyup to Trigg.

Churchlands School, Hale School, Holy Rosary & the scattering of little primary & kindergarten (pre-schools) mushroomed in every new suburb a few kilometers apart. WA’s most highly respected area for education was born & still today is proudly home to some of the best educational facilities in the state.


In the 80’s Wembley, Woodlands, Churchlands all negotiated with the second & 3rd generation of market gardeners to reclaim  the land around the lakes & they accepted big offers from developers.  Now there is only one last land lot of garden left on Pearson. Most of these gardeners went to Gwelup for a few decades & that was reclaimed (commercially sold) then up to Wanneroo & Swan Valley which is also now being commercially developed. So it repeats…. the story of land & our need for it as settlers in not only folk law, but the making of history & forging ahead into the future.


The next evolution we will be going through is the chopping up or subdividing of larger lots into multiple lots & dwellings. Also going up as seen in any populated country in the cities, rivers, beaches. It’s all about the lifestyle of the location & luxury of views, seeing natural wonders like the sea with a sunset that is hard to beat. Following the most controversial building in the west coasts history Son Scarborough Beach – Observation City built in 1986 by infamous Allan & Eileen Bond.

Since then a slow movement in the high rise which has been capped at 4 – 8 levels & very limited opportunities. But the New Scarborough campaign has begun with the Stirling & Cambridge Shires under development pressure to consider the opportunities of “more is more”.

All with a common denominator of LAND

The Empire may be long gone but the evolution of land it use & ownership continues…


Amazing thing is all land of the Commonwealth under rule of Her Majesty the Queen is still owned by the Crown. However they will have to go through the federal government of Australia & state governments who owns all land under 7 meters below your lot. The last but not least actual the owner or title holder legally own the area to all boarders & 7 meters down. Along with potential to build on 55% of this foot print with a height restrictions set by the shire.
As long as a claim is not an encumbrance on the land for, roads & traffic, infrastructure & community services, mining & natural resource’s. You should be OK as a land owner.
But that is a whole new story for another feature.

Land is King so make sure you get your slice of Australia sooner than later.

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dean mitchell