Esplanade Reserve

The Esplanade Reserve in Perth, Western Australia was a heritage listed[1] public space between Perth Water and the Perth central business district. It formed part of and was, on occasions, also incorrectly referred to as the Perth foreshore, or the Perth waterfront.[2] The public space was resumed by the Western Australian state government in April 2012 as part of the Elizabeth Quay redevelopment of the Perth waterfront area.[3][4]

Signage on the Esplanade during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2011

The road along the northern boundary of that space is called The Esplanade.

The reserve was established in 1880 on land reclaimed from the Perth Water northern shore between the William Street and Barrack Street jetties.

Adjacent hotels, railway stations and other features have used the term Esplanade to show their link to the space.[5]


The Perth Water northern edge from Mount Eliza in Kings Park to The Causeway has been extensively modified by landfill along the original pre-European river shore. Many projects and constructions on the Esplanade area and adjacent areas have significantly reflected the changing identity of Perth.[6]

The Esplanade was developed in the 1870s to provide a site of active recreation for the inhabitants of the city. The idea of a site closer to the administrative and residential heart of the city had been a matter of concern since at least 1864, when a fund for the establishment of a new recreation ground was established.[7] (A recreation ground, now Wellington Square, was included in the original town plan but was considered too far for most people to walk to and was largely undeveloped). Stones were placed in the river to mark out the edge of the reclamation, around 1867 -1868, but little other work was undertaken until 1870. Between 1870 and 1878 reclamation was undertaken using mud dredged up from the river bottom (dredging was used to provide crushed oyster shell for marking out roads and pathways) and street sweepings.

It was handed to the City of Perth in 1880 as a Crown Grant in Trust "for the inhabitants of Perth for recreation purposes forever".[8][9]

Since its handover to the City of Perth, it has been the site of many celebrations, protests and national commemorations.[10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18]

The first major event held on the Esplanade was the 1881 Intercolonial Exhibition, organised by Richard Twopenny and Jules Joubert.[19][20] Joubert, who spent several months in the city to develop and oversee the exhibition, recommended a city baths, and in 1885 the first Perth City Baths were established at the end of the Esplanade Reserve.[21]

The Perth Bowling Club green was established directly across from the Esplanade Hotel in 1895,[22][23] and the green and players appear regularly in the images created to promote the hotel in later years.

At various stages in its history, the Esplanade was a suggested site of various ideas, even a new town hall.[24][25]

Looking east across The Esplanade in February 2012

Adjoining featuresEdit

Historical features
Extant features


  1. ^ "Esplanade Reserve". State Heritage Office. 22 October 2013. Archived from the original on 10 January 2014. Retrieved 10 January 2014.
  2. ^ Noting that internally the Department of Planning project terminology had Perth Waterfront Project, Department of Planning as its designation of the changing of the Esplanade reserve when engaging with Parliamentary committees
  3. ^ "Perth waterfront works commence". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 26 April 2012. Retrieved 10 January 2014.
  4. ^ Courtney Trenwith (26 April 2012). "Work begins on $440 million Perth Waterfront project". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 10 January 2014.
  5. ^ The Esplanade Hotel, The New Esplanade, and (until January 2016) Esplanade railway station and the Esplanade Busport
  6. ^ Retrieved 27 February 2012. Missing or empty |title= (help)[dead link]
  7. ^
  8. ^ Retrieved 10 March 2012. Missing or empty |title= (help)[dead link] – assessment document 17/10/2003 – page 5 – On 31 March 1880, the partially reclaimed land, officially Reserve 423 and known as the New Recreation Ground, was handed over to the Perth Municipal Council by deed of grant 'for the free recreation and enjoyment of the people forever
  9. ^ the land was set aside for the Council in 1878, as a Crown Grant in trust for the purpose of Recreation forever. (Fee Simple not received until 1880) As described in an 1880 illuminated address to the then Governor, Ord, by the Perth City Council – The piece of reclaimed cricket ground, of about 15 acres, by the river side is so centrally and pleasantly situated as certainly to be deserving of improvement by such means as planting trees etc, and we hope here long to see it an ornament to the city, as well as a suitable place for general recreation… page 2, in Lise Summers (2011)Reclamation for recreation, as part of More than grass: exploring the Esplanade, Public Forum: Thursday 10 November 2011 AT 5PM 9th Floor, The New Esplanade Hotel, 18 The Esplanade, Perth – see also Archived 21 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Celebrating Federation Archived 2 April 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ WW1 Armistice Day celebrations Archived 2 April 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ Protest marches during the 1930s depression Archived 4 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ Secession meetings Archived 2 April 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ War time parades Archived 2 April 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ Parades for Royal Visits Archived 2 April 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ Circuses Archived 2 April 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ Malcolm Fraser Archived 2 April 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ America's Cup celebrations Archived 2 April 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^
  20. ^ Lise Summers, "Hidden Treasure:Exhibiting Western Australia" in Seize the day, Melbourne University Press, 2010
  21. ^
  22. ^ Bartletto (1895), Opening of Perth Bowling Club, Esplanade – Sir John Forrest, President, retrieved 18 June 2012
  23. ^ "Final match for the "Wood" bowling trophy. Played on the Perth Esplanade green on Saturday afternoon". Western Mail. Perth: National Library of Australia. 12 March 1904. p. 26. Retrieved 18 June 2012.
  24. ^ "Move for New Perth town Hall:: Scandal of Overcrowded Hospital". The Daily News. Perth: National Library of Australia. 1 March 1935. p. 1 Edition: LATE CITY. Retrieved 18 June 2012. Premier Collier in 1935 suggesting a new town hall might be accommodated
  25. ^ "PERTH TOWN HALL". The West Australian. Perth: National Library of Australia. 30 December 1946. p. 16 Edition: SECOND EDITION. Retrieved 10 January 2014.

Coordinates: 31°57′26″S 115°51′25″E / 31.9573°S 115.857°E / -31.9573; 115.857