South Perth suburb snapshot
Journalist’s background: I’m contacting you from The Sunday Times in regards to a Suburb Snapshot editorial feature we’re running on South Perth in our Real Estate lift out publication. Every edition we feature a two-page editorial spread on a WA suburb, outlining what the suburb is like to live in, what it offers, new developments taking place and what the housing market is like.
1. Can you briefly explain how South Perth has changed and progressed over recent years into what it is today?
2. What would you say are the major drawcards to the South Perth area for residents and visitors alike?
3. How do you see the suburb’s population growth in the next 5-10 years?
4. What type of target market would you say the area appeals to? (singles, couples, young families, established families, investors etc.)
5. Do you think we’ll see more developments taking shape throughout the suburb in the next few years such as high-rise apartments or more retail options?
6. Can you describe a bit about the suburb’s history and its identity?
7. Would you agree or disagree the Zoo makes up a large part of the suburb’s identity? Why/why not?
8. How would you describe South Perth as a whole?
9. Is there anything else you would like to mention about South Perth?
Please attribute the following quotes to City of South Perth Mayor Sue Doherty.
Can you briefly explain how South Perth has changed and progressed over recent years into what it is today?
Over a period of years, South Perth’s population like many other suburbs in metropolitan Perth, has continued to grow. In response to the population increase and changing community needs the City has responded providing services and infrastructure for residents, ratepayers and visitors alike.
The suburb has long been known for its unique mix of leafy residential streets, contemporary urban design apartments and townhouses near the foreshore, along with a number of older houses filling the suburb. The City and Council have worked to preserve the unique identity and character of South Perth, while ensuring the City works towards accommodating its growing population, providing provision for infill as mandated by the State Government.
What would you say are the major drawcards to the South Perth area for residents and visitors alike?
South Perth is one of the state’s most iconic locations and a popular tourist destination for visitors from Australia and around the world. Bounded by the picturesque Swan River in the north and east, the suburb’s proximity and accessibility to Perth makes it a highly attractive place to live and visit. Increasing residential numbers in the Perth CBD, projects such as Elizabeth Quay, the Perth City Link and Perth Stadium place South Perth in a key position to grow and develop into a strategic hub of activity and vital transit link.
The natural beauty of the Swan River, South Perth foreshore and reserves such as Sir James Mitchell Park allow local residents and visitors to the area to enjoy a fabulous outdoor lifestyle. Recently the City of South Perth has upgraded sections of the foreshore, replacing delapidated river walls, creating new beaches and rock headlands, and creating new pathways, seating areas and viewing decks which encourage people to stop and take in the breathtaking river views. It’s an absolute joy to watch people enjoying this area and it really does buzz with activity throughout the day and well into the evening, creating a fantastic family-friendly atmosphere.
The thriving shopping, café, restaurant and bar scene, adds to the vibrancy of the suburb, especially along Angelo Street and Mends Street.
South Perth has a strong sense of community and really is a very unique mix of leafy residential streets, complimented by its physical beauty and spectacular location, minutes from Perth’s CBD.
How do you see the suburb’s population growth in the next 5-10 years?
In 2017, the suburb of South Perth’s estimated population is 14,424 and that is forecast to grow to 16,366 by 2021 and 17, 391 by 2026.
What type of target market would you say the area appeals to? (singles, couples, young families, established families, investors etc.)
South Perth’s natural beauty and amenity, its proximity to the river and parks makes the suburb extremely attractive to a broad range of people of all ages and demographics.
There are a number of primary and secondary schools in South Perth and surrounding suburbs which draw young and established families to the area, while its central location, close to Curtin University and the Perth CBD makes the area desirable to students, young professionals and investors alike.
The proportion of 25 to 29 year olds living in South Perth is higher compared to any other age group, followed by 30 to 34 year olds, 20 to 24 year olds and 35 to 39 year olds. Single person households and couples (without children) are the most frequent types of households within the suburb.
Do you think we’ll see more developments taking shape throughout the suburb in the next few years such as high-rise apartments or more retail options?
South Perth is a highly desirable suburb and under State Planning Policy, the South Perth Peninsula is identified as a District Activity Centre. As with other District Centres such as Canning Bridge, this Activity Centre status establishes the Peninsula as a key area for infill development and population and employment growth.
Approved developments within the South Perth Station Precinct, located within the Peninsula will see the City achieve its vision to create a vibrant, liveable city, an attractive business location with employment and public transport options, pedestrian friendly tree-lined streets with reminders of South Perth’s heritage.
The City of South Perth Council is committed to responsibly managing development in the suburb of South Perth and indeed throughout the City of South Perth. As the City moves forward it is crucial to balance the needs of stakeholders including local residents, ratepayers and developers for the greater good of the community. Ensuring that further developments make a positive contribution to this unique and iconic part of Perth is a priority for the City and Council.
Perth and Peel @ 3.5 Million is the primary strategic plan for the metropolitan region, released by the State Government in 2015. It aims to address population growth scenarios and land use patterns for an expected population of 3.5 Million people by the year 2050.
A major emphasis of the plan is to increase the level of growth accommodated within existing city areas to 47% of total growth. This growth within the existing city is intended to be focused within existing activity centres where residents and business can enjoy the benefits of public transport, retail and other amenities while largely preserving the character of surrounding single residential areas.
The strength of developer interest and activity in South Perth and specifically within the South Perth Station Precinct has demonstrated a high level of confidence in the market for high-density residential development. Based on constructed buildings, buildings currently under construction and active approvals an additional 42,860m2 of commercial floor space, and a total of 688 apartments and 190 short stay serviced apartments will be constructed in the precinct, generating employment opportunities and considerable demand for a train station in South Perth.
Can you describe a bit about the suburb’s history and its identity?
The South Perth area was the country of Beeloo Noongar people. The Noongar people who used this area were known as Gareen and their place was Gareenup.
Early Dutch and French explorers reported their presence, but no recorded contact was made. No contact is known to have been made with travelers from any other country. The Dutch expedition commanded by Willem de Vlaming in 1697 was the first to discover the major river and note the presence of black swans. They named it the Swan River.
The area was identified as a separate suburb of Perth in 1831. The name now applies not only to the City, but also to the suburb. Development of South Perth was slow because there was little need for a ‘suburb’ at that time. A mill was built in 1833 and a ferry across the Swan River was established. In 1834 the first suburban lots were offered for sale by the Government.
As early as the 1880s much of the foreshore area was occupied by Chinese market gardeners who grew fine fruit and vegetables, which they carted around for sale in South Perth. They were renowned for the quality of their produce and helped shape the cultural identity of South Perth. During these years dairy farmers also occupied the low-lying land on the South Perth peninsula.
Up until the 1950s there was no easy way to cross the Swan River to get to South Perth. Growth of the suburb only came after the Narrows bridge was opened in 1959, linking the peninsula with Perth city.
Today, South Perth is bounded by the Swan River in the north and west, Ellam Street and the Canning Highway in the east, and South Terrace in the south. The Perth CBD is 3 kilometres across the River with the Narrows Bridge as the link between the two sides, carrying the Kwinana Freeway south.
To this day South Perth is a cultural diverse suburb comprised of residents who hail from all corners of the world. There is a high proportion of residents living in South Perth who were born overseas in countries including the United Kingdom, New Zealand, India, Malaysia, Singapore, China and South Africa. It makes for a wonderfully vibrant community. The cultural diversity of the suburb’s residents has contributed to shaping the identity of the area, and continues to do so.
Would you agree or disagree the Zoo makes up a large part of the suburb’s identity? Why/why not?
The City of South Perth is incredibly fortunate to be home to the Perth Zoo, it is one of the state’s most loved tourist attractions. The history, development and identity of South Perth is linked closely with that of the Zoo.
The Zoo attracted 695,000 visitors in 2015-16 and over the past decade visitor numbers have increased by an average of 10,5000 people each year. It’s a huge drawcard for tourists and families.
Established in 1898, the zoo very quickly became a significant destination in the early years of colonial settlement. Infrastructure and transport links, particularly ferry services, developed as a result of the attraction the zoo holds for West Australians, interstate visitors and tourists from around the world.
Today, as a modern zoo, Perth Zoo is part of a global conservation community and continues to be a popular destination that delivers enriching experiences to generations of WA and visitor families. The Zoo aims to connect people with nature, inspire a passion to protect biodiversity while providing meaningful ways for people to act for wildlife conservation.
The City of South Perth’s partnership with Perth Zoo demonstrates a shared commitment to the community, education, environment and sustainability.
Is there anything else you would like to mention about South Perth?
One of the major infrastructure projects the City of South Perth is currently undertaking is the revitalisation of the South Perth foreshore.
Around one million people use and visit the foreshore each year, it is highly valued by both the City’s local community and Western Australia’s broader community.
As custodians of the foreshore, it is vital for the City to ensure this reserve continues to be sustainably managed. The South Perth Foreshore Strategy and Management Plan (SPF Plan) gives guidance to this and aims to balance the competing demands for use, development and management of this precious regional reserve with the need to conserve and enhance a functional healthy river and foreshore environment. The SPF Plan identifies ten nodes, each with distinctive characteristics, opportunities and management issues, and strategies for each.
The City has engaged extensively with the community and stakeholders on the development of the SPF Plan to improve the amenity, access and sustainability of the reserve. Implementation of the SPF Plan has commenced with various nodes along the foreshore receiving much needed upgrades to replace damaged river walls, as well as the creation of new rock headlands and beaches, new paths, seating, decking, lighting, landscaping and amenity facilities. Millers Pool, adjacent to the Old Mill was upgraded recently with a new path network that connects the pool with the Foreshore Walk from the Esplanade to join with the completed paths and picnic areas west of the Narrows Bridge. Millers Pool and its surrounds have a rich indigenous history, it was an important camping and fishing area for the Noongar/Bibbulumum people.
Connect South is a key project of SPF Plan and in 2016 the City successfully secured $2.5 million in Federal Government funding for the project from the National Stronger Regions Fund (NSRF) to match the City’s contribution of $5 million.
The aim of Connect South is to enhance and invigorate the Mends Street precinct and foreshore area by creating a positive environment, both economically and socially. The project is focused on improving public amenity via place activation, improving wayfinding, access to transport, and greater economic opportunity.
The first stage of the project focuses on Mends Street between Mill Point Road and the foreshore along with parts of the South Perth Esplanade. It will deliver a piazza on the foreshore as well as streetscape and amenity improvements, landscaping upgrades and place activation activities.
The recent opening of Elizabeth Quay on the northern foreshore of the river has linked the Perth CBD to the Swan River. The Connect South project presents a similar opportunity through the development of an accessible and highly attractive entry point to Mends Street, the Perth Zoo and greater South Perth.
The City will be working with the Department of Transport to seek the redevelopment of the Mends Street jetty as a key component of the Connect South project. The jetty no longer meets contemporary standards of access and amenity, particularly compared to what is provided at Elizabeth Quay. Mends Street jetty is a State Government asset, so is considered to be outside the current funding arrangements. The City will make separate representation to the Department of Transport and the State Government about upgrading the jetty. Also the City will advocate for the ferry to be reinstated to journey to and from the Coode Street jetty.
South Perth station
The City of South Perth is strongly advocating for a station to be built in South Perth within the next 10 years.
The South Perth Station was first proposed as part of the Perth to Mandurah Rail development in 2002. At a cost of $3 million, the Kwinana Freeway was realigned to leave provision for the station platform to be constructed at a future date. The identification of a future station at Richardson Street in South Perth subsequently informed planning for the area as a transit-oriented centre.
The South Perth Station Precinct Plan was prepared in 2011 by the City of South Perth and the Department of Planning to establish a vision and planning controls in the area that would drive commercial development within the precinct to encourage the delivery of a train station.
A key component of the redevelopment of the South Perth Station Precinct (SPSP) was to encourage patronage of the proposed station; destination uses such as office and commercial development within the 800 metre walkable catchment and improved access to the City’s community facilities, heritage and visitor attractions such as the Perth Zoo.
The provision of a station is a necessary component of the public transport network servicing South Perth; urban infill must be accompanied by the provision of adequate public transport infrastructure. Indeed, the Federal Government’s Smart Cities Plan outlines the need for better transport infrastructure and connections to deliver jobs closer to homes.
It is predicted that given the developments already under construction in the precinct, the South Perth Station could achieve boardings of some 4,365 to 5,447 train passengers per day by 2026, generating fare revenue of approximately $7.3 million to $9.1 million per annum. This is far in excess of patronage numbers at numerous existing stations on Perth metro rail lines.
The station would provide improved access to the City’s community facilities, heritage and visitor attractions such as the Perth Zoo and South Perth foreshore. It would be much more than a commuter station and its value as a tourism asset would provide a significant added amenity.
With the growing population and increase in commercial and retail employment in the area, the train station would help to get people out of their cars, ease traffic and provide a transport alternative that’s easy, close and reliable. The provision of accessible and adequate public transport options is critical in achieving the vision for the South Perth Station Precinct.
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