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the historic heart project


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Historic Heart of Perth

Historic Heart of Perth Inc is a not for profit community organisation established with the aim of revitalising Perth's east end.

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.




The Historic Heart of Perth is an area spanning from Barrack Street in the west to Hill Street in the east. This area has lost its vitality in past decades, but is a critical gateway to our city for both locals and tourists.

Our vision is to reinvigorate and revitalise Perth’s east end 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.”




With significant new projects under construction across Perth and the east end, now is the time to breathe new life into the Historic Heart.

Over the past two and a half years we have been engaging with a wide range of stakeholders in Perth's east end, from Barrack Street to Hill Street. We have met with over 100 groups to date and this engagement has been fundamental in confirming our commitment to drive the reinvigoration and revitalization of this culturally significant part of our city – the Historic Heart of Perth.   

In December 2016 the State Government confirmed a $250,000 funding commitment to the Historic Heart Project for the 2017 calendar year. We also raised an equivalent amount from the private sector. This funding was applied towards a series of urban interventions in Perth’s east end, with our first initiatives launched at the Perth Heritage Weekend in October 2017.

The Historic Heart Project has a number of local corporate partners - including FJM Property, BGC Development, Mirvac, Miss Mauds, Lease Equity, EY and Curtin University - and 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.