The Perth Town Hall

Perth was founded in 1829, and for nearly 40 years did not have a Town Hall.  On May 24th 1867, the foundation stone was finally laid, forcing McDonalds to settle for the site across the road.

Early in 1867, the Governor, Dr John Hampton announced that he intended to build a Town Hall, and present it to the city.  A large block of vacant land on the corner of Barrack and Howick (now Hay) Streets was chosen.  In 1867 the location was the highest point in the city, and was intended to give the Town Hall a prominent position.  It was also somewhere near the spot where Mrs Dance chopped down a tree, and formally declared Perth a townsite on the 12th August, 1829.  It was a logical site to construct the Town Hall.  (Read our article on How Perth Got It's Name?, to find out more about the tree lopping ceremony).

The Perth Town Hall.

 

The Perth Town Hall.

The Undercroft Market Place.

Worked commenced in 1867, and was completed three years later.  Many tradesmen and a large number of convict labourers were involved with the project.  Mr Richard Jewell designed the building in a Tudor style, with the help of Mr George Manning, who was responsible for the detail and interior layout.  The Town Hall features a traditional four faced clock tower, and originally included an open undercroft.  For many years, Perth's produce markets were held in the undercroft, making the Town Hall an important community meeting place.

The Undercroft Market Place - Also used as a Camel Stable by explorer Ernest Giles in 1875.

 

If you look up at the clock, you will notice a number of small arrowed windows, and some pieces of ornamental rope in the detail.  According to local legend, these touches were unofficially added by the convict workers as a cheeky reminder of their contribution to the project.  However, the arrow was the formal symbol of the Public Works Department, and was always in the original design. 

Note the arrowed windows and ornamental rope near the clock face.
 

Do not let the arrowed windows point 
you in the wrong direction.

The Captain James Stirling statue next to the Perth Town Hall.

As the city expanded, the old Town Hall graduated to a more symbolic community role.  The undercroft markets closed, and the council offices moved to a more functional building on St Georges Terrace.  A statue of Captain James Stirling now stands next to the Town Hall, where he is forever pondering the exact location of the Foundation Day Ceremony.  Life On Perth suggests, it is possibly across the road, under the first window table at McDonalds.

Captain James Stirling still wondering where he held the Foundation Day Ceremony. A sort of lost and founding day.

 

LOCATION:  The corner of Barrack and Hay Streets, Perth.  (Opposite McDonalds).

Copyright 2007 LifeOnPerth.com