Kings Park and Botanic Garden has a long and interesting history. Noongar Aboriginal people lived throughout Western Australia, including Kings Park and Botanic Garden (Kaarta gar-up) for some 40,000 years before European settlement.

This Historical Timeline has been reproduced with the kind permission of Dorothy Erickson; the author of 'A Joy Forever', a biography of Kings Park and Botanic Garden. The book is available from Aspects of Kings Park and includes the full version of this timeline.

Historical Highlights of Kings Park and Botanic Garden

Dutch expedition of three ships led by Willem de Vlamingh explored the river subsequently named the 'Swann' by cartographer Victor Victorszoon. A party led by the skipper of the Nyptangh Gerrit Colaert penetrated as far inland as the future Perth Water, where on 5 January they climbed to 'high ground' (Kings Park's Mt Eliza) and found a very large eucalypt 3 Dutch fathoms (5m) in diameter. It was described as 'a big, cool green tree, which was full of knots from top to bottom and very easy to climb to the top.'
1800 - 1849
French party from the Naturaliste under the command of Jacques Felix Emmanuel, Baron Hamelin, explored the Swan River and Heirisson climbed Mt Eliza to view the country on 18 June 1801.
Captain James Stirling, commander of HMS Success, accompanied by Charles Fraser, first Colonial Botanist and Superintendent of the Botanic Garden in New South Wales, inspected the Swan River in February 1827 with a view to establishing a future colony. Climbing Mt Eliza (named for the wife of New South Wales Governor Darling), Fraser effused 'the view from this point of the meanderings of the river and the Moreau [Melville Water], with the surrounding country and distant mountains, is particularly grand.'
Colony of Western Australia founded at Perth on 1 June 1829 by Stirling, the most prominent Noongar elder was Yellagonga, who accepted the newcomers courteously and without animosity. Bridle track through the future Kings Park to Fremantle soon established, although primary transport was by river for decades to come.
In 1832 Surveyor General John Septimus Roe refused permission to cut timber on Mt Eliza indicating that it should be reserved for public purposes.
1834 sees part of the Crown land at Goonininup, the fresh water spring at the base of Mt Eliza facing Melville Water, was set aside as a teaching camp for 'Native Tribes'.
Mt Eliza Native Institution, a school for Aboriginals, was conducted by the Government Interpreter Francis Fraser Armstrong at Goonininup from 1835 until 1838.
First export from the Swan River Colony was 5 tons of jarrah (Eucalyptus marginata) logged from Mt Eliza in 1836.
1850 - 1899
In 1862 convicts built a rifle range along the crest of Mt Eliza overlooking Perth for use by the Perth and Fremantle Volunteer Rifles.
With residential West Perth and Subiaco threatening encroachment, Crown Reserve 11A of 432 acres (175 ha) on Mt Eliza was gazetted as a Public Park and recreation ground in 1872 by Governor Weld following survey by Surveyor General Malcolm Fraser.
In 1895 the Western Australian State Government was established. 450 acres of land adjoining Reserve 11A was alied to create Reserve 1720 as 'Public Park, Mt Eliza'. Construction of the Mt Eliza Reservoir for Perth's water supply commenced on land excised from the Park.
In 1896 Perth Park Committee appointed as a Board of Control with Premier John Forrest as first President. Upper levels of lots along the Mt Eliza scarp overlooking Perth resumed to ali to Perth Park, preserving the view for all time.
Perth Park Road was opened by Sir John Forrest in 1897. Area of the Park increased to 1017 acres. Hale School Oval permissive occupancy allowed in exchange for their sports ground being used for the Observatory opposite the entrance to Perth Park. 'The Lodge' erected at Park's entrance.
In 1899 The Mount Tennis Club (later Royal Kings Park Tennis Club) was granted tenancy.
1900 - 1949
Perth Park renamed 'The King's Park' on 23 July 1901 to honour the accession of King Edward VII to the throne following Queen Victoria's death. The May Drive opened by Princess May, Duchess of York. The Fallen Soldiers Memorial, now known as the Boer War Memorial, was erected near Kings Park's entrance, setting in train the future importance of the Park as a site for war memorials.
In 1903 Memorial Statue of Queen Victoria was unveiled on Fraser Avenue.
Proposal to site The University of Western Australia in Kings Park was eventually dropped in 1914 in favour of adjacent Crawley - the first of many attempts opposed by the public to excise land from the Park for other purposes.
The Avenue of Honour for those who fell in World War I was planted on the verges of May Drive in 1919 with oaks and plane trees, all but one of which subsequently succumbed and were eventually replaced with Sydney Bangalay (Eucalyptus botryoides).
The Lord Forrest Memorial statue unveiled on 28 August 1927 to honour Western Australia's pre-eminent explorer/statesman and the first President of the Kings Park Board. In 1918, Sir John Forrest was to be made a Baron of the United Kingdom but he died before King George V formally signed the Letters Patent. The title of Lord Forrest was therefore never legally established but was applied to this monument in error when erected.
Cenotaph of the State War Memorial was unveiled in 1929. The centenary of the founding of the colony was celebrated by planting an avenue of red-flowering gums (Corymbia ficifolia) along Fraser Avenue.
1950 - 1999
In 1954 The State War Memorial Court of Contemplation was dedicated by HM Queen Elizabeth II. The Parks and Reserves Amendment Act was proclaimed to restrain the Kings Park Board from building an aquatic centre in Kings Park unless it had the consent of both houses of Parliament. Public protest caused the defeat of the proposed centre building in 1957 and 1958.
The President of the Royal Society of Western Australia urged Government to establish a Botanic Garden in 1957.
In 1958 the Karri Log was transported in three sections from Donnelly River in Western Australia’s south-west. Estimated to be 363 years old when felled, the log was 32 metres in length and weighed 110 tons.
Dr John Beard appointed as foundation Director of Kings Park and Botanic Garden in 1961.
The 17 ha State Botanic Garden officially opened in Kings Park in 1965, with its centrepiece the Pioneer Women's Memorial Fountain.
In 1966 DNA Observation Tower and Vistas were constructed.
The Arthur Fairall Playground constructed in 1967 around an ornamental lake on May Drive at the west end of Kings Park and Botanic Garden.
The Ernst Wittwer Playground constructed in 1975 on Saw Avenue near the Subiaco entrance.
The Australian Vietnam Forces Memorial Pavilion erected in the Arthur Fairall Playground precinct in 1989 using an 1899 structure relocated from Karrakatta Cemetery.
In 1993 a new restaurant complex unveiled on Fraser Avenue. Friends of Kings Park inaugurated. Application to the Australian flora of the discovery that smoke promotes plant germination leading to major improvements in horticulture, mine-site restoration, land care and bushland restoration programs across the continent.
In 1995 Centenary of the Kings Park Board celebrated. Largest capital works initiative for Kings Park and Botanic Garden, the Centenary Enhancement Project, proposed for the next 10 years to upgrade infrastructure, services and public amenities. New public artwork program commences with Helen Taylor's Year of the Family Public Art Installation at Saw Avenue. Kings Park and Botanic Garden hosts the Fourth International Botanic Gardens Conservation Congress.
Open air summer concert program commenced in 1996 in the Pioneer Women's Memorial Fountain precinct of the Botanic Garden.
Lotteries Family Area (now Poolgarla Family Area) at Hale Oval (now Poolgarla Parkland) unveiled in 1997. Inaugural Kings Park and Botanic Garden display at London's Chelsea Flower Show wins a gold medal.
In 1998 State War Memorial and old Rifle Range landscape refurbishment was completed. New legislation establishing the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority developed.
The new Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority Act proclaimed 1 July 1999, replacing the Kings Park Board. The Authority took formal control, care and management of Kings Park and Botanic Garden and Bold Park from this date on. Water Garden refurbishment and Centenary of Women's Suffrage Memorial completed.
2000 - present
Flame of Remembrance in the State War Memorial Court of Contemplation officially opened by HM Queen Elizabeth II in 2000. Firefighters' Memorial Grove unveiled.
In 2001 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander War Service Memorial was unveiled. The iconic Karri Log was removed due to internal rot.
May Drive Parkland and new Botanic Garden entry was unveiled in 2002. Automatic reticulated irrigation completed for water conservation and improved visitor enjoyment throughout parklands and Botanic Garden.
In 2003 Lotterywest Federation Walkway and major parts of the Mt Eliza Scarp restoration project completed. Bali Memorial commemorating Western Australian victims of terror and those who helped after the bombing, unveiled.
Mr Mark Webb was appointed as CEO of the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority in 2004. Kings Park and Botanic Garden Management Plan 2004-2009 launched. 
Biodiversity Conservation Centre and the Kings Park Gift Shop - Aspects of Kings Park opened in 2005.
Refurbishment of Lotterywest Family Area (now Poolgarla Family Area) at Hale Oval (now Poolgarla Parkland) completed and opening of the Botanical Cafe in 2006.
In 2007 redevelopment of the Royal Kings Park Tennis Club site was completed.
2008 Relocation of Gija Jumulu Boab tree from the Kimberley to the Botanic Garden.
Kings Park's remarkable history was detailed in 'A Joy Forever' written by Western Australian historian Dr Dorothy Erickson in 2009.
Opening of the Kings Park Ceremonial Walk pedestrian precinct and associated improvements in the State War Memorial precinct in 2010.
The Place of Reflection was opened in 2011 to provide a tranquil location for quiet contemplation within Roe Gardens. Perth's State Reception Centre was built to accommodate the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting Leaders’ Retreat. Rio Tinto Naturescape in Kings Park opened to the public.
Kings Park Education facility opened in 2012 and new programs launched to coincide with World Environment Day.
The Botanic Terraces and Botanic Pavilion opened to the public 4 October 2015 to mark the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Western Australian Botanic Garden in 1965.
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 Willidfe Services, Perth Zoo and Rottnest Island. The BGPA remains a statutory authority with a governing board.
Rio Tinto Naturescape Kings Park re-opened to the public in December 2017, following a $3 million dollar Stage 2 development.

Bold Park burn deferred

The autumn Bold Park research burn has been deferred due to unsuitable weather conditions.

Lightscape setup disruptions

There will be works taking place throughout the Western Australian Botanic Garden from 18 May until 16 June 2023 due to Lightscape setup.

Fraser Circle closure trial

We would like your feedback on the closure of Fraser Circle (located off Fraser Avenue).

Read all notices ...

City of Perth E-Scooter Trial Expands through Kings Park

Visitors will be able to hire and ride e-scooters within Kings Park as part of City of Perth’s E-scooter Share Scheme from Saturday 25 March 2023.

Support for Noongar Boodja continues

Fugro has generously renewed their partnership with the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority (BGPA) to bring another three years of the very popular ‘Noongar Boodja’ education program to Kings Park.

Rare plants stolen from Kings Park

We're devastated to announce up to 900 of WA’s rarest orchids have been stolen from the Conservation Garden in Kings Park.

Read all news ...

Read about weather and warnings ...

All events …