Guildford and the Swan Valley Time Line

1827       Captain James Stirling leads an expedition up the Swan River in search of fertile land to establish a British colony.

1829       The first colonists on board the ships HMS Sulphur and HMS Parmelia arrive in the Swan River Colony.  Captain Stirling is the  designated lieutenant governor.

1829       Guildford is surveyed as a townsite and river port servicing the agricultural expansion of the colony.

1832       The Colony is struggling.  James Stirling leaves Captain Frederick Irwin in charge, returning to England seeking financial support.

1834       Stirling’s petition is unsuccessful.  He returns to find the Colony in a state of virtual war with the dispossessed Aboriginal people.

1837       Self-sufficiency achieved at last through wheat and flour production, but no markets for the surplus.  Other food in short supply.

1839       Thomas Jecks opened a general store.  In 1841, he extended his business to include a licensed inn – the forerunner to the Rose and Crown Inn.  The Rose and Crown is the oldest hotel in the state and the third oldest licensed hotel in Australia.

1841       First government building in Guildford constructed, a lock up with a constable’s room and two cells.  Builder John Welbourne, becomes a part time police constable.

1850       In June the first 75 convicts arrive in Fremantle aboard the Scindian.  Between 1850 and 1868, 9721 male convicts were transported to the Colony.

1851       John Welbourne commissioned to expand the lock up, adding seven cells, a police station / courthouse and living quarters.

1852       Lieutenant Edmund du Cane commissioned to establish the Guildford Convict Depot. Using convict labour he built soldier’s houses, improved roads, and built Barker’s Bridge, the first bridge over the Swan River in the area.

1853        The Commissariat Store and Quarters at 16 Meadow Street built.  Considered to be one of the few intact parts of the convict depot.

1862 – 1868         John Hampton, Governor of Western Australia expanded public works throughout the colony, using convict labour.

1865       The Mechanics Institute was built.  It was the first public hall in the Swan district, used for public meetings, lectures, concerts, educational workshops, and contained a lending library.

1866       New Courthouse, including a three room police quarters was constructed by private contractors and convicts.  The Courthouse was formally opened in 1867.

1868       Vine industry was well established in the Swan Valley, based on dried fruit and wine production.

1868       Guildford Primary School was built.  The school retains part of its early 1868 structure .  It is the oldest continuously operating state school in Western Australia, and the third oldest in Australia.

1871       Guildford experienced a building and economic boom.  The streets were paved and drained .  The electric telegraph arrived later in the year.

1871       The town was declared a municipality and granted its own crest depicting an anchor, wheat sheaf and grapes.

1873       Saint Mathews Church in Stirling Square was consecrated in October.  The previous church had blown down the previous year, during a hurricane.  A baptism was being held at the time!   Parishioners raised money for the new church, built within one year.

1881       The Guildford railway station opened.  This was the terminus of the original Eastern Railway from Fremantle.

1882       The rail line was extended to York, initially down the centre of James Street, causing much disruption for other road users.

1896       Guildford Grammar School was established by Charles Harper of Woodbridge.

1897       The Convict Depot was demolished and the new dual track railway realigned to its present route.

1897        Sugar Gum trees were planted along Guildford’s main streets and in Stirling Square, celebrating Queen Victoria’s Jubilee year.

1898       A new post office, the Peerless Flour Mill and the present Guildford railway station were constructed.

1899       A new facade is added to the Guildford Hotel.

1901       The Federation of Australia.  In the Swan Valley larger farms were subdivided into farmlets, used mainly for grape growing.

1902       Electricity replaced the oil lamps previously used as street lighting.

1914       World War I.  The remount depot in South Guildford was used by the WA 10th Light Horse Regiment and Artillery units.

1920       The War Memorial in Stirling Square was built.

1929       The Memorial Gates to Stirling Square were built, commemorating the State’s centenary.   In 2012 the Memorial Gates were restored and rededicated.

1932       Garrick Theatre Club established in the former Commissariat Store and Quarters of the Guildford Convict Depot. The Garrick Theatre is the longest continual running amateur theatre group in metropolitan Western Australia

1938       Guildford Town Hall built.  It is an excellent example of the Inter-War Art Deco style of architecture, and a prominent landmark in the centre of Guildford. Originally the building was used as the town’s administrative centre.

1939       World War II. Guildford Grammar School was requisitioned by American troops as the 5th Station Military Hospital.

1946       Alfred’s Kitchen, a late night hamburger kiosk established by Alfred Cook.

1962       The Swan Guildford Historical Society was formed. The Society is dedicated to preserving the history of the area and making it available for the education and enjoyment of local residents and visitors to the region.

1970       Guildford was consolidated into the Shire (now City) of Swan.

1984       Guildford became a National Trust Heritage Town.

2019       Guildford is added to the Western Australian Heritage List of Places register.