Bold Park has an interesting documented cultural history. There are a number of sites in the Park that are considered historically significant to Western Australians.
Camel Lake owes its name to the fact that camels were quarantined at this site during the years of the gold-rush when they were imported for use on the goldfields. Distinct circular marks of tethering are evident on some of the trees. Ernest Giles rested and watered his camels here after his epic journey from Port Augusta to Perth in May 1875.
As Perth developed, Aboriginal people who inhabited the area were forced to find new campsites, one of which was at the south-east corner of Bold Park. A fig tree planted here remains as a symbol of those times.
In 1936, Bold Park was established as a place '...for the people of Perth' (Perth City Council, 1936). It was named after William E. Bold, the Town Clerk of the City of Perth from 1900 to 1944 (the longest serving Town Clerk for the City of Perth).
Bold Park Historical Highlights
- Pre-European history
- Noongar people had lived in the area for over 45,000 years. Bold Park and its surrounds including Perry Lakes and the Indian Ocean provided plants, animals and resources for food, shelter, clothing medicine and implements. Indigenous people camped in the area up until the 1960s.
- 1800 - 1849
- Henry Trigg was granted 500 acres of land around the current Perry House in 1839. He established quarrying and lime burning works on the land. The quarry has now become The Quarry Amphitheatre and the lime-kilns are hidden by bush in the hillside near Perry House.
- In 1844 Walter Padbury bought Reabold Hill and the surrounding lands, an area consisting of 1,234 acres, which became known as the Limekilns Estate. A stockyard, tannery and slaughterhouse were added to the estate and Padbury slaughtered there for many years in connection with his butchering business (at the corner of St Georges Terrace and King Street, now the site of Padbury House).
- 1850 - 1899
- In 1869 the Limekilns Estate was sold to the Birch brothers who reportedly planted a vineyard and also used the slaughter house.
- In 1875 in his epic journey from Port August to Perth, Ernst Giles rested his camels by a lake on the Limekilns Estate, which is now known as Camel Lake.
- In 1879 Joseph Perry purchased the entire estate, established horse-breaking and stock dealing, and lived in a stone cottage further east of the present Perry House.
- 1900 - 1949
- In 1902 the City of Perth was granted 2,281 acres near the ocean (seafrontage, 3 miles), which became known as the Endowment Lands.
- Perth City Council bought the Limekilns Estate (then about 1,290 acres) for £18,000 in 1917. At this time the Council recommended that a park, incorporating Reabold Hill and nearby land, be set aside, and pines were planted in the area as a park feature.
- In 1918 the Endowment Lands, Limekilns Estate and a Beach Reserve were included within the boundaries of the then Perth City Council.
- In 1919 Perry House was built for the caretaker of the Endowment Lands, which was previously the name of a large portion of Bold Park. The house was built in part with materials taken from Joseph Perry’s original cottage.
- The beginning of development of the area (housing, etc) began in 1920.
- In 1936 the Perth City Council stated that 'a park of 1,000 acres in extent be set apart for the people of Perth forever between Floreat Park and City Beach Estate.' Bold Park was named after Ernest William Bold, the longest serving Town Clerk (1901-1944). Reabold Hill was named for the Perth Mayor Francis RI Rea and William Bold.
- 1950 - 1999
- During the 1950s and 60s Bold Park became surrounded by suburban development with new housing, schools and roads.
- Walking along trails within Bold Park became a popular activity in the 1970s and 1980s.
- In 1983 the Environmental Protection Authority, in its comprehensive System 6 Study, recommended that Bold Park and adjacent bushland be preserved because of its high conservation, recreation and education value.
- The Friends of Bold Park Bushland Inc. was formed in 1987 as a community lobby group to oppose plans to urbanise some of the area and to have the park boundaries extended to reflect the System 6 recommendations.
- In 1993 the City of Perth area was divided and three new local government authorities were established. Bold Park was placed within the Town of Cambridge.
- The Court Government, together with the Town of Cambridge, announced its intention to create Bold Regional Park in 1995. To create the new park, the Town of Cambridge would gift freehold land comprising the total area of Bold Park to the State Government, so it could be developed as a park for all Western Australians. The Town of Cambridge would also provide additional freehold land, to be sold to provide funding for the future management of the park. A further 19 hectares of private land was also included. This was known as the Knightsbridge Land and was purchased for $3.675 million in 1993 by the Western Australian Planning Commission for regional parks and recreation purposes using funds generated by from the Metropolitan Region Improvement Tax.
- At the time of the announcement, the Hon Premier Richard Court said that Bold Regional Park would have a total area of 465 hectares - bigger than Kings Park - and would be listed as an ‘A' Class Reserve. It would be managed by the Kings Park Board.
- On 5 March 1998, the Hon Premier Richard Court announced that negotiations for placing Bold Park under the control of the Kings Park Board were complete. On 15 August, Bold Park (437 hectares, 1079 acres) was formally handed over from the Town of Cambridge to the State Government for management by the Kings Park Board. The State Government announced that both Kings Park and Bold Park would, under new legislation, be managed by the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority, which replaced the Kings Park Board.
- The Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority Act 1998 was proclaimed 1 July 1999, replacing the Kings Park Board with the new Authority. The BGPA took formal control, care and management of Kings Park and Botanic Garden and Bold Park from this date on. Kings Park Director, Dr Stephen Hopper, became the first Chief Executive Officer of the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority.
- 2000 - present
- In 2001 after extensive public consultation and review, the inaugural Bold Park Environmental Management Plan 2000-2005 was released. Planning for the document was unique in that three levels of Government (local Town of Cambridge, state Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority, federal Department of Defence) worked in partnership to develop complementary plans for Perry Lakes Reserve, Bold Park and Campbell Barracks respectively.
- On 30 October 2001, the Camel Lake Heritage Trail was officially launched. The trail was established as a joint project with Birds Australia, Wildflower Society, Friends of Bold Park Bushland and the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority with funds received from a Centenary of Federation grant.
- The Western Australian Ecology Centre was officially opened on 24 August 2004.
- Dr Stephen Hopper resigned as the BGPA’s Chief Executive Officer on 30 June to and Mark Webb was appointed Chief Executive Officer on 23 November 2004.
- A full flora species census of Bold Park was conducted leading to the publication Perth Plants which catalogues the plants of Bold and Kings Park Bushland.
- The Reabold Hill Boardwalk and Lookout was completed with a raised entry statement, boardwalk, new lookout and interpretive signage. It was officially opened on 11 May 2005.
- The Minister for the Environment; Racing and Gaming, Hon Mark McGowan, officially launched the Bold Park Management Plan for 2006-2011 at Reabold Hill on Saturday, 27 May 2006.
- In 2007 the Friends of Bold Park Bushland celebrated their 20th anniversary with an Open Day at Bold Park included as part the annual Kings Park Festival activities.
- The Friends of Bold Park Bushland Guides were established and the first guided walks commenced in July 2010.
- The Bold Park Management Plan 2011–2016 was approved and endorsed by the Hon Bill Marmion MLC, Minister for Environment; Water in 2011.
- 2011 marks 25 years of vertebrate ground surveys in Bold Park by Adjunct Professor Ric How.
- Visitor Access from Perry Lakes Drive was formalised in 2013 with the upgrade of Tuart and Camel Lake carparks.
- Decadal flora survey was revisited in 2014 providing a snapshot of the bushland, showing changes since 2004 and informing the management of biodiversity.
- The Bold Park Management Plan 2016–2021 was approved and endorsed in 2016 by the Hon Albert Jacob, Minister for Environment; Heritage.
- The first research fire is implemented in Bold Park on the 24 April 2016 as part of a Fire Ecology Restoration Project
- On 1 July 2017, the BGPA became a part of the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA), an amalgamation that also includes Parks and Wildlife Services, Perth Zoo and Rottnest Island. The BGPA remains a statutory authority with a governing board.
- The Friends of Bold Park Bushland celebrate their 30th anniversary with an Open Day at Bold Park in 2017.
- In 2021 Lot 87 was added to Bold Park reserve, increasing Bold Park's size to 442.3545 hectares.