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the historic heart project


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Historic Heart of Perth

The Historic Heart of Perth is an area spanning from Barrack Street in the west to Hill Street in the east. This east end of Perth is a critical city neighbourhood but has lost its vitality in past decades.

Historic Heart of Perth Inc is a community organisation established with the aim of revitalising the Historic Heart and creating a great place for both the people of Perth and visitors to our city.

The name ‘Historic Heart’ is designed to bring together the history of the urban environment (Historic) and the community and natural environment (Heart). It is the premise that the physical and cultural landscapes are intertwined - a city is not just about buildings but about people and their experiences within it.

Historic Heart of Perth Inc is a not-for-profit charity registered with the ACNC (Australian Charities and Not-for-Profit Commission).




Over the past three years Historic Heart of Perth Inc has been engaging with a wide range of stakeholders in Perth’s east end. We have met with hundreds of people, from property and business owners to social organisations working in the area. This engagement has been fundamental in confirming our commitment to drive the reinvigoration and revitalisation of this rundown but culturally significant part of our city – the Historic Heart.

From a heritage, culture and arts perspective the reinvigoration and revitalisation of Perth’s east end is important, being home to one of Perth’s greatest collections of heritage listed buildings, forming important streetscapes of late 19th and early 20th century architecture. The Historic Heart is also home Perth’s best music venues, including the Perth Concert Hall and the Government House Ballroom, and 10 intriguing small museums.

Perth’s east end is also important from a West Australian tourism perspective, the area being home to 16 hotels and a number of tourist attractions, including the Perth Mint. This means that for many visitors to our city their first experience of Perth is in the Historic Heart.

Further, Perth’s east end is the crucial link between the Optus Stadium and the Perth CBD. We are encouraging people to bus, train or drive to the CBD – and then take the 30 minutes walk through Perth’s east end to Optus Stadium via the Matagarup Bridge.

Our vision is to reinvigorate and revitalise Perth’s east end, the Historic Heart, by creating an identifiable neighbourhood with a strong sense of place, making a contribution to the city and, importantly, to the people who live, work and visit here. The benefits associated with this project are wide ranging – social, urban and economic.

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HISTORY OF THE city of perth


The history of the city of Perth began with the felling of a tree in 1829 at a site adjacent to the Perth Town Hall in the Historic Heart. Construction of civic, social and spiritual buildings followed, including Perth’s oldest building, the Old Court House located in Stirling Gardens, constructed in 1837.

Interestingly, the demarcation between Perth’s east end and west end dates back to these times of early European settlement with the central business district divided in two – an ‘eastern town’ and a ‘western town’. The ‘eastern town’ was the administrative centre and home to a number of significant government buildings including the Perth Town Hall, the State Buildings, Perth Mint and the Government Printing Offices. These heritage listed buildings are still standing today and form the urban fabric of the Historic Heart.




Western Australia is an ancient land and the story of Perth is far deeper than that represented by its urban fabric.

In his book Perth, David Whish-Wilson tells the story of Fanny Balbuk, a Nyoongar woman who refused to accept the floor-plan set down by the Swan River colonists and continued to take the exact tracks taken by her Aboriginal ancestors, even if they happened to pass through houses. As Whish-Wilson puts it:

“Balbuk’s story has always been a reminder to me that beneath the geometric frame of the modern city - the bar-graph rectangles of concrete, glass and steel across the skyline - there exist footpads worn smooth over millennia that snake up through the sheoak and marri woodland and into the city’s heart.”




The Historic Heart Project is supported by the City of Perth and the State Government. We also have a number of local corporate partners - including Curtin University, Mirvac, FJM Property, BGC Development, Woodside and EY.

We continue to seek the support of the local community to help bring our vision to life. If you would like to be a part of this project, please do not hesitate to contact us.