History of Midland


Midland has been occupied by settlers since 1832. However, little development occurred until 1886, when the Midland Railway Company commenced operations. In 1891 the township of Midland Junction was established, after private land was subdivided and put up for sale by James Morrison.

True to its name, Midland Junction was a junction for the roads north and east (now Great Northern and Great Eastern Highways) and the railway system. The township's expansion was so rapid that the Municipality of Helena Vale was proclaimed in November 1895. This name was to revert to Midland Junction in 1901.

Between 1902 and 1904 the Western Australian Government Railway Workshops were relocated to Midland and they had a profound and lasting influence on the town. During World War I a large number of the Workshops' men joined the armed forces and they are commemorated by the Peace Statue on the site. As a town war memorial, the citizens of Midland placed a large four-sided clock on the dome of the Town Hall in 1923. This clock has become one of Midland's best-known landmarks.

The State Abattoirs were opened in 1914 and the Army's ordnance store in 1920. During World War II part of the Railway Workshops were converted for the repair of naval equipment and parts, and a large shell annex constructed for the manufacture of munitions.

The 1960s and 70s saw many changes. The Midland Railway Company was bought by the Western Australian Government Railways in 1964 and their land became the site of the Rapid Transit Terminal in 1967 and Centrepoint Shopping Centre in 1972. The 'Junction' part of Midland's name was dropped in 1961 and in 1970 the Town of Midland merged with the Swan-Guildford Shire to become the Shire of Swan.

During the 1980s a new Police Station and Courthouse were built, Midland Gate Shopping Centre opened and the Swan Park Leisure Centre and the Speed Dome were established.

In 1993 the Department of Land Administration (now Landgate) relocated to Midland. This was followed, in 1994, by the State Government's closure of the Railway Workshops, which immediately impacted Midland's local businesses and workforces.

The establishment of the Midland Redevelopment Authority in 2000 has had a very significant effect on the revitalization of this historical town, boosting its economic growth, tourist potential and business investment. The Midland Redevelopment Authority became part of the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority in 2012.

To find out more about Midland, visit the Local History Collection or the Swan Valley Visitor Centre.