City of Swan

History of Guildford

Guildford is one of three towns established in 1829, when Western Australia was settled, and its plan was based on the model of an English country town. The area is enclosed on a peninsular, formed by the Swan and Helena Rivers and was named by Captain James Stirling after his father-in-law's lectorate in Surrey, England.

As the furthest navigable point on the Swan River, Guildford became an inland port, providing the main link between Perth and the country districts. In 1851 it became a convict ticket-of-leave hiring depot and steamboats made their debut in 1857. Guildford became a thriving market town and commercial centre. The town was declared a municipality in 1871 and granted its own crest of anchor, sheaf and grapes.

Guildford's status changed dramatically with the establishment of the railways in the 1880s. River transport declined rapidly and with the rise of Midland Junction in the 1890s, Guildford's commercial importance eroded.

Many of the stately Sugar Gum trees that still line the streets of Guildford were planted in the late 1890s, in part as a celebration of Queen Victoria's Jubilee in 1897.

During World War 1 the remount depot in South Guildford was used by the WA contingent of the 10th Light Horse regiment , whilst in World War 11 Guildford Grammar School was requisitioned by the American troops as the 5th Station Military Hospital.

The first commercial flights began from the newly developed Guildford Airport in South Guildford in 1944. In 1960 the Guildford Council merged with the Swan Road Board to form the Swan-Guildford Shire and then in turn that body merged with the Town of Midland to form the Shire of Swan in 1970.

Guildford was declared a Historic Town in 1984 and four heritage trails run through its streets and parks. Its historical buildings, rich heritage and proximity to the Swan Valley, continue to charm the thousands of tourists who visit the area each year.

To find out more about Guildford, visit your local City of Swan library or the Swan Valley Visitor Centre at www.swanvalley.com.au.

Last Update : 03/12/2014
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City of Swan Administration Centre, 2 Midland Square, Midland, Western Australia
Tel: +61 (08) 9267 9267    Email: swan@swan.wa.gov.au
National Relay Service: SSR: 1300 555 727 | TTY: 133 677