Parks for the people

As North Perth become more populous, 38 acres of parks and recreation land were added between 1901 and 1938 including a children’s playground adjoining the Town Hall, Beatty Park Reserve and Kyilla Park.

Woodville Reserve was the closest large reserve to the North Perth Town centre, established in the first decade of the new century.  In March 1906 a local resident wrote to the editor of The West Australian newspaper to complain about the North Perth Council’s decision to convert the north-west portion of the reserve into a street.

“I am the owner of a block of land in Mignonette-street, and if the Council makes a street at the west end of the reserve, the owners of land on the west side of Mignonette-street will be placed at a great disadvantage. My reasons for thinking that the land on the west side of Mignonette-street will depreciate in value are these: In the ordinary course of events people holding land in Mignonette-street would have built facing each other, that is east and west respectively, but now that the Council is making. a fresh street- the position will be greatly altered, and those people holding land on the east side of Mignonette-street will no doubt, instead of facing the west, reverse their frontage, as by so doing they will have a bowling-green facing them. I think we may safely say that the action of the Council in making a new street will act injuriously to our interests, and emphatically protest against its action”.

A sporting life

 

 

North Perth Bowling Club, 1960s
North Perth Bowling Club, 1960s

With the establishment of a large reserve such as Woodville came more opportunities for formal sporting clubs and community gatherings. North Perth Bowls Club was opened in 1907.  The first Annual Meeting of the club in October 1908 was reported in The West Australian

“The committee’s annual report outlined a very successful initial season both from a bowling and social standpoint, and laid special stress upon the generosity of associated clubs in helping to smooth away early difficulties and the action of the president in placing his private green at the club’s disposal and coaching the younger members. Reference was also made to:the energy shown by the North Perth Council in getting the green into such a promising condition for the approaching season and for laying down tennis courts and croquet lawns. The membership roll reached 40, which number the committee anticipate will be doubled during the coming season”

North Perth Tennis Club, starting with two grass courts, was officially opened on 3 May 1913 by Mayor E.W. Waugh.

North Perth Tennis Club members at the official opening, 3 May 1913
North Perth Tennis Club members at the official opening, 3 May 1913

The Woodville Cricket Club was established in 1928.

 

Woodville Cricket Club, 1947-48
Woodville Cricket Club, 1947-48

 

Woodville Reserve was not just used for sport. The Mirror reported on 8 June 1929 that North Perth’s Centenary Celebrations (celebrating the centenary of European settlement in the Swan River Colony) included a week-long carnival on the reserve with other celebrations staged around the suburb. In the mid-1930s newspapers listed musical performances taking place on the reserve on Sunday afternoon. During World War II searchlights, anti-aircraft guns and air raid shelters were positioned around the park’s edge.

 


Assets and References

Images Courtesy City of Vincent Local History Centre

  • PH01345 – North Perth Bowling Club, 1960s
  • PH04279 – North Perth Tennis Club members at the official opening, 3 May 1913
  • PH04171 – Woodville Cricket Club 1947-1948

The West Australian 24 Mar 1906 p 13 (Trove)
The West Australian 5 Oct 1908 p 7 (Trove)
Mirror, 8 Jun 1929 p 12 (Trove)
Sunday Times 24 Feb 1935 p 5 (Trove)
The Daily News, 14 Dec 1938 p 13 (Trove)
The West Australian 16 May 1949 p 15 (Trove)
Town of Vincent Municipal Heritage Inventory – Thematic History

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