Perry Lakes Reserve
Perry Lakes Reserve which is located 7km west of Perth's CBD in the suburb of Floreat, consists of a 57 hectare regional recreation reserve around the Perry Lakes. Used as the venue for Perth's Annual Garden Show, the reserve encompasses a 13 hectare conservation wetland, which is a drought refuge for a range of fauna, and 10 hectares for Alderbury Sportsground which caters for formal club sports including cricket and hockey.
Although not registered as an Aboriginal heritage site, the lakes themselves are considered to be significant to the Aboriginal people due to historical use as hunting grounds for waterbirds, tortoises, snakes and fish.
Since European settlement, the area has had several landowners. In the 1850s, Perry Lakes was used for stock watering by local land owners and drovers using the Geraldton-Fremantle stock route. It was purchased from Joseph Perry by the Perth City Council in 1917. Drovers continued to use the lakes as the last watering point before Robbs Jetty up until the 1930s. These years of stock watering and the impact of urban development resulted in degradation of the lakes.
In its current form, the reserve dates from 1962 when the area was landscaped in association with sporting tracks and facilities for the 1962 British Empire and Commonwealth Games. It was at this time the two groundwater lakes were dredged to permanently hold water. The Perry Lakes Stadium and other Games facilities were located on the east side of Meagher Drive. These facilities have now been closed and removed to make way for a housing development.
The now demolished Perry Lakes Stadium in Underwood Avenue, Floreat, was a multi-purpose stadium adjacent to Perry Lakes It was built and funded by the State Government and the City of Perth as the main stadium for the 1962 Perth British Empire and Commonwealth Games. The venue had a 5,000-seat grandstand with open air perimeter seating for a further 25,000.
Opening Ceremony, 1962 Perth British Empire and Commonwealth Games, Perry Lakes Stadium
Many other events had subsequently been held at Perry Lakes Stadium over the years such as the athletics, football and rugby. It was the venue of the Public Schools Association and Associated and Catholic Colleges (ACC) athletics carnivals and was also used for the Cancer Council of Western Australia's Relay for Life. The opening and closing ceremonies for the annual Countryweek sports carnival were also held at the stadium with most sporting events being conducted at McGillivray Oval and UWA sports park.
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The name of the lakes recalls Joseph Perry, who in 1879, purchased the Limekilns Estate, which included Bold Park and surrounding land, including Perry Lakes. The property included a vineyard, a slaughter house and horse breaking and stock dealing facilities near the lake.
The reserve lies on the southern boundary of the Gnangara Mound, a ground water mound that plays a significant role in the supply of Perth's water. When the water table is higher than the water level in the lakes, groundwater will discharge into the lakes. When the water level in the lakes is higher than the water table, water will be discharged from the lakes to the groundwater system.
Perry Lakes has in excess of twenty species of waterbirds, including approximately six breeding species. An important characteristic of the lakes is the broad, marshy areas that exist as this type of habitat is scarce in the wetlands of Perth. The marshy areas are particularly favoured by the Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio) whose numbers are found in abundance at the lakes.