Guildford and the Swan Valley Time Line

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

1829       The first ships of colonists arrived at the Swan River on HMS Sulphur and Parmelia with Stirling as the designated lieutenant governor.

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

1832       The Swan River Colony was struggling and James Stirling left Captain Frederick Irwin in charge and returned to London seeking financial support

1834       Stirling was unsuccessful.  He returned to find the colony in a state of virtual war with the dispossessed Aboriginal people

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

1839       Thomas Jecks opened a general store in Guildford. Soon after, in 1841, he extended the scope of that business to include a licensed inn – the forerunner to the Rose and Crown Inn.  This is the oldest hotel in the state and the third oldest licensed hotel in Australia

1841       First government building in Guildford was a lock up with a constable’s room and two cells. Built by John Welbourne who then became the part time police constable.

1850       The first 75 convicts arrived in Fremantle on 1 June 1850 aboard the Scindian. Between 1850 and 1868, 9721 convicts were transported to Western Australia on 43 convict ship voyages.

1851       Welbourne was commissioned to expand the building with seven gaol cells, a police station / courthouse and living quarters.

1852       Guildford Convict Depot was established. Lieutenant Edmund du Cane was posted to establish the Convict Depot.  Using convict labour he also improved the roads, and built Barker’s Bridge and soldier’s houses.

1853        The original structure of the Commissariat Store and Quarters at 16 Meadow Street was built in 1853 and is considered to be one of the few intact parts of a 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 and used for public meetings, lectures, concerts, educational workshops, and housed a lending library.

1866       New Courthouse built at Guildford with a three room police quarters.  Built by private contractors and convicts.  Formally opened in 1867 with a ball for 200 guests.

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

1868       Guildford Primary School still retains part of its early 1868 structure and is the oldest continuous operating state school in Western Australia and the third oldest in Australia.

1871       Guildford experienced a building boom, the streets were paved and drained and the electric telegraph arrived in late 1871.

1871       The town was declared a municipality in 1871 and granted its own crest of anchor, sheaf and grapes.

1873       Saint Mathews Church in Stirling Square was consecrated in October 1873.  The previous church had blown down in a hurricane during a baptism in 1872.  The new church was built in only one year by money raised by parishoners.

1881       The railway station opened in 1881 as 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 can trace its origins back to 1896 when it was established by Charles Harper

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

1897        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.

1898       Construction of a new Post Office, the Peerless Flour Mill and the present railway station.

1899       New façade on the Guildford Hotel

1901       Federation of Australia.  Following this many of the larger mixed farming properties in the Swan Valley were subdivided into farmlets and used mainly for grape growing.

1902       Electricity replaced the oil lamps 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 to commemorate the State’s centenary.  They were restored and rededicated in 2012.

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 is an excellent example of the Inter-War Art Deco style of architecture and a prominent landmark in the centre of Guildford. Originally the town’s administrative centre.

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

1946       Alfred’s Kitchen established. Alfred’s Kitchen is a late night kiosk on the corner of Meadow and James Streets in Guildford. It was established Alfred Cook. Alfred’s main feature is an outdoor fireplace around which customers can sit.

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.