Mount Lawley was named in honour of former Governor of Western Australia Sir Arthur Lawley, and became renowned for the Pineapple Inn, a stopping place for travellers in the 1830s.
Mount Lawley was named in honour of Sir Arthur Lawley, the Governor of Western Australia from May 1901 to August 1902. Mount Lawley was built on land surveyed between 1833 and 1839 and granted to William Layton and John Gregory. The area became renowned as a stopping place for travellers in the 1830s, when Gregory established the Pineapple Inn.
Subdivision of Mount Lawley began in 1892 by the Sydney and Perth Land Building and Investment Company. John Robinson and Samuel Copley acquired land in 1900, which was later developed as the Mount Lawley Estate. The area attracted wealthy business people and high-ranking public servants, with houses built to a high standard. Amenities such as churches and colleges were also provided in order to cater for the local population.
Mount Lawley is largely characterised by Federation and Colonial style dwellings with isolated examples of English vernacular revival, art-deco and Californian bungalow styles.
The majority of houses are single detached dwellings on large lots. There are also some group and multiple unit developments dispersed throughout the suburb, particularly around Beaufort Street.
Many of the older character homes are of heritage value, and have been renovated and preserved. The majority of homes in Mt Lawley are of brick and tile construction.
Most retail development in Mount Lawley is situated on Beaufort Street, centering on the Walcott Street intersection. There are also several small local shops dispersed throughout the suburb to satisfy local daily needs.
Recreation opportunities are provided by a number of small local parks and Inglewood Oval. Hamer Park offers facilities for lawn bowls and the park adjoining the Memorial Gardens contains tennis courts and another green for lawn bowls.
Mount Lawley hosts a wide range of education facilities. The area contains a campus of Edith Cowan University as well as the WA Academy of Performing Arts and the WA Conservatorium of Music. Mount Lawley Senior High School provides public secondary education and Perth College is a private school for girls. Mount Lawley North Metropolitan TAFE is situated immediately south of the boundary of the City of Stirling and St John of God Hospital is located near the Swan River.
Astor Theatre situated on the corner of Beaufort Street and Walcott Street is one of the suburb's significant landmarks. The Astor, built in 1911 and renovated in the popular art-deco style in 1939, is listed both on the City of Stirling Municipal Inventory and the State Register of Heritage Places.
Beaucott Building situated across the street from Astor Theatre was constructed in 1938 and is also listed on the City of Stirling Municipal Inventory. It is an important representative building from the second period of development of Beaufort Street with aesthetic significance and important townscape value.