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South Perth

The South Perth foreshore, a mucky muddle, 1928. Battye Library [048202PD]

Writing to the Editor of the West Australian in 1899 South Perth resident EA Douglas complained that with over 1000 people living in South Perth there needed to be further dredging in the approach to Coode Street jetty. The walk to the Causeway to catch the bus was difficult and he stated that there were many with blocks of land in the vicinity of Coode Street who were anxious to build homes. He also pointed out the difficulties for those doing business in the area as loaded barges could not get within a quarter of a mile of the Coode Street jetty and the sharp incline coming from the Mends Street jetty made access difficult.

"As our ordinary trading boats cannot take anything like a load from the jetty, it is a sight to be seen every day from noon to dark of processions of men wading out with loads of vegetables and other produce to boats lying out a distance of a quarter of a mile from the shore, others employ small punts carrying about a hundred-weight a trip which means a good many trips to load a five ton barge." [26]

The Narrows, showing the beginning of Mill Point Reclamation, Old Mill and Miller’s Pool, 1933. Battye Library [031847PD] From the mid 1930s the reclamation work to "improve and beautify" South Perth got underway in a stop start fashion as the dredge was constantly needed elsewhere. A retaining wall was slowly built from Mill Point along Melville Water and a riverside road developed. Discussions began on reclaiming from the Mends Street jetty east towards Millers Pool. Those protesting against the reclamation of Millers Pool led by architect and Perth City Councillor Harold Boas, stressed the historical significance and beauty of this natural feature of the river front as well as the aesthetics and the need to retain the panorama from Kings Park. Those in support the reclamation complained about the mosquitoes harbored in the area and the costs, including the health costs, of keeping the Pool.

In 1938 it was announced that the reclamation between Mill Point and Mends Street Jetty including all the low lying market garden areas between the Causeway and Mends Street Jetty would proceed. The passionate debate for and against the preservation of Millers Pool began again with the Town Planning Board supporting its retention, but by early 1940, the Chinese Gardens between Coode and Mends Streets had been resumed and work was underway. Renamed McCallum Park, plans for the area included provision for sports grounds, seven acres of shrubbery, 25 tennis courts, a riverside drive and an area overlooking the park nearer Canning Highway subdivided for housing.

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Page last updated: Tuesday 23 November 2010