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Western Australia


Community, Business and Visitor City Information

Melville Local History

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Located in the southern suburbs of Perth, Melville is a city steeped in local history dating back to the early 1800s. The city is named after the first Governor General of Western Australia, Sir James Stirling, who was also the Earl of Melville.

The first Europeans to explore the Melville area were the British naval officers, William Bowen and Mark Currie in 1827. They were on a mission to find a suitable location to set up a settlement in the Swan River Colony.

By 1831, Captain James Stirling led a group of pioneers to colonize the Swan River Colony. The first settlement in Melville was set up in Bicton, which is now a suburb of the city. The pioneer settlers had to clear the land to make way for farming and other activities.

The early years of settlement in Melville were tough, with the pioneers facing numerous challenges such as isolation, harsh weather conditions, and limited resources. However, over time, the settlers persevered and managed to establish a thriving community.

Soon, the Melville area became an important hub for agriculture; farms producing crops such as wheat, grapes, and citrus fruits flourished. The city also benefited from industries such as timber milling, fisheries, and shipbuilding.

In 1900, Melville became the site of a major railway development, the Fremantle-Perth line. This new transport link opened up the city to tourism and wider economic opportunities. The opening of the line also led to the creation of new suburbs within Melville, including Alfred Cove, Booragoon, and Myaree.

During World War II, Melville played an important role in Australia’s defense strategy. The city was home to numerous military installations and training facilities. The Melville Beach was used as a location for amphibious landing exercises, while airfields in the area were used to train fighter pilots.

Today, Melville is a modern city with a rich cultural past. Numerous heritage sites within the city speak to its history and the important role it played in the development of Western Australia. These include the Bicton Baths, the Bicton Quarantine Station, and the Alfred Cove Nature Reserve.

The city has also made significant strides in economic development, with a thriving business community comprising small and medium-sized enterprises as well as multinational corporations. Melville is also home to major shopping centers such as Kardinya Park Shopping Centre and Garden City Shopping Centre.

Overall, the history of Melville is a testament to the enduring spirit of its people and the vital role they played in the development of Western Australia. Today, the city continues to grow and thrive, with a bright future ahead.

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Piney Lakes at Winthrop within the City of Melville thanks to Sclozza
Public Domain