Who We Are


Since its inception in 1962, the Swan Guildford Historical Society (SGHS) 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. The SGHS collection is the third most important collection in WA, surpassed only by the Western Australian Museum and Royal Western Australian Historical Society collections. Many objects are of high local significance and are known to have been used during the earliest years of settlement. Taken as whole, the SGHS collection has significance also at a national level. The March 2010 Significance Assessment can be downloaded here.

The collection is afforded greater significance by being situated within the former Guildford Courthouse and Gaol on Meadow Street, which is considered to be one of the most historically significant streets in Guildford, and opposite Stirling Square, the historic centre of Guildford.

Originally displayed in the Mechanics Institute in Meadow Street, the collection was relocated to the Guildford Courthouse in 1988 with assistance from the Shire of Swan. The SGHS has had a long working association with the Shire, now City of Swan. Indeed, the first two Presidents of the Historical Society were Shire of Swan Councillors.

The SGHS volunteers have successfully managed the collection since the inception of the Society. In 1985 the volunteers were assisted by Stephen Anstey, travelling curator of the Western Australian Museum. Stephen Anstey established the accessioning and collection management system for the Society and the volunteers used this until quite recently. The work of the consultants has been made much easier by the SGHS, carrying on the good advice and practices established by Anstey.  Recently the Society adopted the Mosaic database system and all records are being transferred to this platform.

The mission of the SGHS is to collect, conserve, research, interpret and display

  • the development of the early Guildford settlement as a port supporting the Swan Valley and inland agricultural region
  • the development of the Swan River Colony
  • the ongoing history of the town of Guildford and the Swan Valley Region

and interpret with integrity the history of the people and places.

Our responsibility is to protect and enhance our heritage for current and future generations.

Heritage includes our built and natural environment, identified Aboriginal places, cultural traditions, events, celebrations, art, monuments, memorials and memories.

Our latest Constitution can be viewed here.  This constitution as amended was adopted by the Society at an Annual General Meeting held on 13th March 2017 and became effective following confirmation from the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety, Consumer Protection (formerly the Department of Commerce) on 7th July 2017.

Past and present members of the SGHS are to be commended for their dedication to the proper care and preservation of such a significant collection. Without them, the collection may not have retained the significant cultural and heritage value that it has today.


Many past and present members of SGHS are direct descendants of the first settlers in the district. Their donations and information has resulted in most of the items in the collection having local significance and many having State significance, and even National significance.

The Swan Guildford Historical Society aims to enhance public awareness of the cultural and historical value of this collection, and thus continue to preserve, research, grow and gain support for this most significant historical collection.