Kings Park and Botanic Garden has a long and interesting history. Nyoongar 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.'


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.


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 by Stirling, the most prominent Nyoongar 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.


1832 Surveyor General John Septimus Roe refused permission to cut timber on Mt Eliza indicating that it should be reserved for public purposes


1834 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 until 1838.


First export from the Swan River Colony was 5 tons of jarrah (Eucalyptus marginata) logged from Mt Eliza.


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 (175ha) on Mt Eliza was gazetted as a Public Park and recreation ground by Governor Weld following survey by Surveyor General Malcolm Fraser.


The Western Australian State Government was established. 450 acres of land adjoining Reserve 11A was added 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.


The Rifle Range was closed on 1 August and Premier John Forrest officially named 'Perth Park' on 9 August, planting the first tree, a Norfolk Island Pine (Araucaria heterophylla).


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 add to Perth Park, preserving the view for all time.


Perth Park Road opened by Sir John Forrest. 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.


The Mount Tennis Club (later Royal Kings Park Tennis Club) granted tenancy.


Perth Park renamed 'The King's Park' on 23 July 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.


Memorial Statue of Queen Victoria unveiled on Fraser Avenue.


Proposal to site The University of Western Australia in Kings Park eventually dropped 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 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 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. The centenary of the founding of the colony was celebrated by planting an avenue of red-flowering gums (Corymbia ficifolia) along Fraser Avenue.


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.

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.


The 17 ha State Botanic Garden officially opened in Kings Park, with its centrepiece the Pioneer Women's Memorial Fountain.


DNA Observation Tower and Vistas constructed.


The Arthur Fairall Playground constructed around an ornamental lake on May Drive at the west end of Kings Park and Botanic Garden.


The Ernst Wittwer Playground constructed on Saw Avenue near the Subiaco entrance.


The Australian Vietnam Forces Memorial Pavilion erected in the Arthur Fairall Playground precinct using an 1899 structure relocated from Karrakatta Cemetery.


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.


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 the Pioneer Women's Memorial Fountain precinct of the Botanic Garden.


Lotteries Family Area at Hale Oval unveiled. Inaugural Kings Park and Botanic Garden display at London's Chelsea Flower Show wins a gold medal.


State War Memorial and old Rifle Range landscape refurbishment completed. New legislation establishing the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority developed.


Water Garden refurbishment and Centenary of Women's Suffrage Memorial completed. 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.


Flame of Remembrance in the State War Memorial Court of Contemplation officially opened by HM Queen Elizabeth II. Firefighters' Memorial Grove unveiled.


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander War Service Memorial unveiled. The iconic Karri Log was removed due to internal rot.


May Drive Parkland and new Botanic Garden entry unveiled. Automatic reticulated irrigation completed for water conservation and improved visitor enjoyment throughout parklands and Botanic Garden.


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 appointed as CEO of the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority. Kings Park and Botanic Garden Management Plan 2004-2009 launched. 


Biodiversity Conservation Centre and the Kings Park Gift Shop - Aspects of Kings Park opened.


Refurbishment of Lotterywest Family Area at Hale Oval completed and opening of the Botanical Cafe.


Redevelopment of the Royal Kings Park Tennis Club site.

2008 Relocation of Gija Jumulu Boab tree from the Kimberley to the Botanic Garden.
2009 Kings Park's remarkable history was detailed in 'A Joy Forever' written by Western Australian historian Dr Dorothy Erickson.
2010 Opening of the Kings Park Ceremonial Walk pedestrian precinct and associated improvements in the State War Memorial precinct.
2011 The Place of Reflection was opened 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.
2012 Kings Park Education facility opened 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 Wildlife 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.

Saw Avenue access disruption

Visitor disruptions will occur in the Saw Avenue Picnic Area from Monday 25 March 2019 due to toilet facilities upgrade works.

Bold Park access disruption: Kulbardi Walk

Kulbardi Walk will be closed from 7.00 am to 5.00 pm, Monday to Friday from Monday 18 March to Friday 12 April 2019.

Earth Hour 2019

The lights that illuminate the Lemon scented gums along Fraser Avenue be turned off during Earth Hour, which begins at 8.30 pm on Saturday, 30 March 2019.

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Summer Scholarship Program

Kings Park Science’s 2018-19 Summer Scholarship Program recently wrapped up after another successful summer.

More quendas, bigger plants

Western Australian quendas (Isoodon fusciventer) aren’t just cute and quirky, their digging and fossicking habits have been found to make an incredible difference in the growth of plants, according to new research.

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