Community history

The City of Stirling has a culturally diverse history. We're dedicated to preserving and presenting historical artefacts, documents and stories from different eras, for public viewing.

Find out about local history

  • Part of a region that has been home to Wadjak Nyoongar people for more than 40,000 years, the City of Stirling sits on land known as Mooro Country. The Mooro Country area extends from the Indian Ocean in the west to Ellenbrook in the east, then from the Swan River in the south and beyond Yanchep to the north.

    Wadjak is one of 14 language groups in the Nyoongar nation that originated across the south west of Western Australia. When colonisation began in 1829, Yellagonga was the Elder of the Wadjak people who occupied Mooro country. Yellagonga’s people, like their ancestors before them, seasonally migrated from the coastal wetland areas in summer/autumn (bunuru/djeran) to inland areas in winter/ spring (djilba/kamberang).

    A coastal wetlands trail for Nyoongar people extended from the Swan River along a chain of lakes through to Yanchep. The Nyoongar community regards this chain of lakes as “all the same water” and share the ideal “one water, many lakes”.

    Today, Aboriginal Heritage Sites are registered at each of the lakes in this chain, making Gwelup, Star Swamp and Herdsman significant sites within the City of Stirling for the Nyoongar people.

    Mooro People’s Knowledge Trail

    Did you know?

    A totem is an object or animal that is believed, by a particular society, to have spiritual significance.

  • Migrants play an important part in the City of Stirling story, with Chinese and European settlers helping drive a growth in agriculture in the early 1900s. While moving to a new country with a different language would have provided its own challenges, migrants went on to deliver successful market gardens in suburbs including Osborne Park.

    By the late 1940s, the local population had grown to 31,000 people and suburban subdivisions were taking shape. Suburb names were derived from Aboriginal words such as Yokine (dingo/native dog), Coolbinia (mistletoe) and Nollamara (black kangaroo paw).

    Other suburbs were named after local figures including Mount Lawley, which recognised the former WA Governor Sir Arthur Lawley. Not far from Mount Lawley, the suburb of Menora has a strong association with the Jewish community and its name refers to the menorah – a seven-branched candelabrum used in Jewish religious ceremonies.

    Today, the City of Stirling is a thriving multicultural hub that covers approximately 100 square kilometres. Home to approximately 220,000 people, the City stretches across 30 suburbs from Dianella in the east, Trigg to the west, Hamersley to the north and Mount Lawley in the south. The diverse nature of the City landscape encompasses 6.5km of coastline, 616 ha of natural bushland and more than 98,000 properties.

  • The story of the City of Stirling dates back to 1871, when it formed part of a 647 square kilometre area governed by the Perth Road Board. At that time, the total population across Western Australia accounted for just 25,000 people. The area managed by the Perth Road Board was either rural or completely undeveloped and included land areas that would later become the cities of Wanneroo, Bayswater and Belmont.

    During its first 20 years, the Perth Road Board dedicated the majority of its time and funds to constructing and repairing roads and bridges. A makeshift road made from wooden planks connected isolated rural areas on the coast with Scarborough and Innaloo. That plank road was effectively an early version of Scarborough Beach Road.

    Early pioneers faced extremely harsh conditions and suffered considerable hardship in their efforts to develop and farm the virgin bushland. During pioneering times, the long-gone Balcatta Hotel on Wanneroo Road would offer respite for travellers returning from the rigours of the north-west stock route. 

    The Local Government Act 1960 was passed in July 1961 with road boards becoming shires and uniform legislation put in place to govern cities, towns and shires. That same year, the Perth Road Board became the Shire of Perth with a population of approximately 84,000 people.

    A decade later, the Shire of Perth was renamed the City of Stirling in 1971 with its population almost doubled to 160,000 people. The change to become a City was introduced in conjunction with the 100th anniversary since the establishment of the original Perth Road Board.

Memorial plaques

Commemorative Memorial and Plaques

The City's Commemorative Memorial and Plaques application form provides residents with an opportunity to acknowledge people, organisations and events that have brought significant contribution to the City of Stirling and their local community.

Applications will be assessed and nominees advised as soon as possible, however this make take time due to the level of research required.

View the Commemorative Memorial Plaques policy.

Click here to submit your nomination

Memorial plaques

Stirling Stories

We have collected memories and experiences of long-term members of the community who have lived or worked within the City of Stirling for 30 years or more to enhance the Stirling Oral History collection. Collecting these recordings of oral history interviews ensures that the voices of interviewees and their stories will endure for future generations. 

Click here to see Stirling Stories playlist