Highgate or as it was once known ‘Highgate Hill’, is a small suburb of Perth located within the Town of Vincent. The suburb was named by an early landowner and surveyor, Charles Crossland, in 1874 after his birthplace in London.
The Highgate area was established in 1860 following the draining of principal lakes in the area between 1855 and 1883 and consisted of a small isolated cluster of homes (mainly built for workmen). The land was purchased in 10 acre (4.05ha) lots and they were under the control of the Perth Road Board District. Due to the inadequate funding of the Road Board, many of the roads and early infrastructure of the area were funded by the local citizens.
The area expanded rapidly in the early 1900s, following the completion of the tramline from Barrack Street Jetty to Mt Lawley.
When the Swan River colony was established in 1829 there were an estimated 3,000 Aboriginals living along both the Swan and Canning Rivers. These Aboriginals were known as the Bibbulman, Wadjuk (Whadjug) and Nyungar (Noongar) people.
The Wadjuk were people who belonged to the Whaddarn language group, the Bibbulman people lived along the coast also known as Whaddarn-di-Bibbulman and the Nyungar occupied the south-west corner. The groups were given local names for their geographical location and so the Perth groups were known as Yabbaru or more correctly Yabbaru Bibbulman.
Interesting Facts About Highgate
The big tall Art Deco tower, which can be seen from just about everywhere in the area, is a sewer vent. The Lincoln Street sewer vent was a complete failure and became known as Dumas’ Folly. During World War II the Police Wireless Services used the tower to hide and camouflage the antennae of their wireless service.
Hyde Park is located in the heart of Highgate and is considered one of Perth’s premium recreational parks. It was known as Boodjamooling by the local Noongar people and was one of a series of swamps and lakes stretching across from Claisebrook Cove through to Herdsman Lake.
The St Albans Church was consecrated in 1889 and was named after St Albans Cathedral in Highgate, England.
Things Are Looking Up in Highgate
During the early 1900s the area in Highgate boomed not only as a residential area but also for commercial and retail businesses. The boom was brought about mainly because of the newly built tram line (1902) which ran from Barrack Street Jetty (Perth) along Beaufort Street and ending up at the Walcott Street intersection in Mt Lawley. With Beaufort Street being the main thoroughfare it seemed only natural for businesses to take advantage of this. Click here for more detailed information about the architecture of Highgate.