11 August, 2017

Over the past decade, the shape and form of Perth as a city has undergone huge transformation. And it’s not over yet. We take a look at the five of the major public projects reshaping our city.

The before and after shots of Perth over even the last ten years is startling.

Towers have sprung up (BHP), the foreshore now has Elizabeth Quay and our new stadium is waiting for the ribbon to be cut. The skyline has dramatically changed.

There’s more to come. We take a then-and-now look at five other pivotal developments set to impact the way we live, work and play in Perth.

1. Scarborough beachfront

The beautiful Scarborough Beach is one of Perth’s busiest summer spots which, in recent years, had grown tired. It wasn’t always like this.

An aerial shot of Scarborough from 1965
Scarborough Beach in 1965, looking a lot quieter than it does now (Photo: From the Stirling History Collection)

In its heyday, from 1954 to 1964, huge crowds would gather in Scarborough at an open-air dance floor called the Snake Pit to listen and jive to the latest rock‘n’roll music.

It’s hoped a $100 million makeover currently underway will revive the area, bringing in new visitors for year-round activities, while retaining those historical features the locals love like the Clock Tower.

The first of the three stages of development – removing car parks and the Scarboro Surf Life Saving Club to make room for the new facilities - has been completed.

Now underway is the construction of new foreshore features like the new Scarborough Square, Sunset Hill and Beach hub. 

Work is expected to be finalised in time for the Australian Surf Life Saving Championships in April 2018

Scarborough will look very different once the works are complete
On the ground, Scarborough will look very different once the works are complete

2. Riverside (East Perth)

Our prime waterfront land east of Perth is about to be transformed.

Claisebrook Cove, before the Gasworks building was demolished
Claisebrook Cove before the Gasworks site was demolished 

Stretching from Burswood Peninsula and Perth Stadium across the river to East Perth, more than 100 hectares is being revamped, filling in areas around current landmarks like the WACA and Queens Garden.

Planned is a mix of apartments and townhouses, public walkways, cycle paths and even a man-made beach.

Work is already underway, although the full build is not due to be completed until 2030.  

 The Riverside precinct in East Perth
The area east of Perth CBD is undergoing a revamp

3. Midland

The humble-looking Midland Workshops have a long and loved history. Until 1994, the Workshops were an economic powerhouse throughout the 20th century and were used to repair naval equipment during World War II.

 Carriages and vans being overhauled or built in the car shop at the Midland Railway Workshops, mid 1930s
Carriages and vans being repaired or built in the car shop at the Midland Railway Workshops during the 1930s

The cluster of buildings is now undergoing a restoration to make it the new centerpiece as part of the larger overhaul of the city of Midland.

The redevelopment will see the creation of shops, restaurants, bars, parks and lakes, and a large public space called Railway Square at major health facilities including the Curtin Medical University.

Railway Square is expected to be complete this year, while the new Curtin Medical School will be completed in 2019.

Those looking to move to the area should keep their eyes peeled for three major precincts being developed as part of the Midland refresh - Helena, Victoria and Clayton - which will feature 7000 new dwellings and 157,000sqm of commercial, office and retail space.

The MRA says the full project will wrap up around 2025.

 The new Midland Railway Workshops
The Midland Railway Workshops will be the centrepiece of a revived and restored Midland

4. Perth City Link

With scaffolding blanketing the strip separating Northbridge and the CBD, it’s hard to visualise what the new Perth city will look like when it’s all gone. Or what is was like once upon a time. 

Well before the construction of the railway line and Horseshoe Bridge in the early 1900s, the site that will become Yagan Square was a popular hunting and gathering spot for the Noongar people.

 Perth before 2007 and the Perth City Link development
Perth back in 2007 with the old entertainment centre and vacant land that will become the Perth City Link.

Named after the Whadjuk Noongar warrior, the new Yagan Square will provide a fresh food market, children’s areas, a digital tower broadcasting real-time events and the $217 million state-of-the-art Perth Busport.

The Perth City Link project will also create housing for more than 3000 new residents, and space for 13,350 workers in 244,000sqm of new commercial and retail space.

The MRA says Yagan Square will be completed by the end of 2017 and Perth City Link around 2020.

Once the scaffolding is gone, Perth and Northbridge won't be separated by a rail line

5. Western Australian Museum

For thousands of years, the site of the new WA Museum was a diverse landscape of wetlands where the Noongar people would hunt and gather, practise cultural rituals and socialise.

 What the WA Museum looked like between 1914 and 1960
What the WA Museum looked like between 1914 and 1960 (Photo: State Library of WA)

In 1856 the Francis Street site became home to the Old Perth Gaol, which then became the Geological Museum in 1891 until 2003 when it was closed due to asbestos and later demolished.

By 2020 it will be WA’s new museum, following a $428.3 million redevelopment including restoration works to the heritage buildings like the Old Perth Gaol.

Currently the new WA museum is the biggest museum redevelopments in the southern hemisphere. It will include a brand new gallery space, new exhibitions, public art and  a central energy plant that will reduce energy consumption and emissions in the Perth Cultural Centre by up to 40 per cent by 2020.

Take a peek behind the scenes of the new museum

New and improved WA Museum
What the new WA Museum will look like when viewed from Perth Cultural Centre (Photo: Multiplex)