Who We Are


Established in 1962, the Swan Guildford Historical Society (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.  Our collection is the third most important in Western Australia, 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 a whole, the Society’s collection has significance also at a national level.  A Significance Assessment Report prepared in 2010 can be downloaded here.

The collection is afforded greater significance through its location in the former Guildford Courthouse, and the Colonial Gaol on Meadow Street, considered to be one of Guildford’s most historic streets.  A weatherboard settlers’cottage known as Taylor’s Cottage, and an early 1920’s wash house are also situated within the historic precinct.

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 Society 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.

Volunteers have successfully managed the collection since 1962.  In 1985 the Society received assistance by Stephen Anstey, a travelling curator from the Western Australian Museum.  Stephen established the accessioning and collection management system for the Society and the volunteers initially used this system.  More recently, the Society adopted the Mosaic database system, with all records transferred to this platform.

The mission of the Society 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
  • 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 Society 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 the Society are direct descendants of the first settlers in the district.  Through member donations and information, most collection items have local significance, with many having State significance, or 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.