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Bassendean, formerly West Guildford, is a northeastern suburb of Perth, Western Australia. Its local government area is the Town of Bassendean. To the east of Bassendean is Guildford, Western Australia, which, despite the historically close association, is in a different local government area, the City of Swan. Bassendean is also the name of the sand dune system on the Swan Coastal Plain: the Bassendean Dune System.

Padbury Stores, Bassendean, still standing on the corner of Guildford Road and Old Perth Road

Lieutentant William Preston was apparently not with Stirling on his navigation of the Swan River in 1827 (tho Belches, Clause, Frazer, Garling, Gilbert, and Heathcote were) when they arrived on the Success to see if Western New Holland was suitable for colonisation. He was nevertheless later granted land in West Guildford adjacent to Success Hill, and it seems likely (according to Carter, and pace the Wikipedia article, which states, without a reference, that 'they' named it) that he gave the Hill and the Spring beneath it that name (rather than Stirling himself, as Carter suggests he probably did not make landfall at that particular point, as he might have been vulnerable to attack). The creek running southwards into the Swan at the point was called Preston's Creek. It's now called Bennett Brook.

James Henty was the first colonial owner of the Bassendean area, which he called Stoke Farm.

... when James Henty decided to relinquish Stoke Farm - the 1,455 acres comprising Swan Location S opposite the attractive and rapidly growing township of Guildford ... By the end of 1831, the Hentys, disillusioned with conditions in the Swan River settlement and frustrated by fruitless attempts to obtain satisfaction from the entrenched power base, turned their backs on Western Australia and took their talent for business, their agricultural experience and perhaps more importantly, their money with them. (Carter: 21, 23)

It was Peter Broun, Colonial Secretary, who renamed the locality Bassendean, after his ancestral family estate. After Eden Water, the river flowing through it, he also named Eden Hill. Carter calls Peter Broun the 'Squire of Bassendean'.

It is not clear exactly how Peter Broun came into the possession of the land he was to rename Bassendean for there remains some doubt as to whether it was transferred to him after resumption or whether he purchased it from the Henty brothers ... (Carter, 21)
When Stoke Farm was vacated by the Hentys in December 1831, Peter Broun must have already commenced the negotiations for the property’s sale or transfer and was quite likely in residence on the estate prior to or immediately after writing his letter [of 3 January 1832] - certainly before any official resumption plans could be put into effect. ...
Stoke Farm now renamed Bassendean, was officially granted to Peter Broun on the 10th September, 1833, together with St. Annes - Henty’s hundred acre parcel of land across the river directly opposite Bassendean. However, by August 1834, Broun had obviously leased the farm to a tenant and he and his family were again living in Perth, probably to be nearer the Government Offices. Nevertheless he still continued to take a keen interest in his estates. (Carter, 23)
Bassendean, with its comfortable and beautifully bark-thatched homestead, was acknowledged to be a model farm and it could have been due as much to his expertise as to his social standing that Broun was considered to be such a prominent director of the Agricultural Society which was formed in 1831. (Carter, 24)

The next most significant landowner in the area was William Tanner. It was he who introduced the name 'Lockeridge' to the area (perhaps from the Wiltshire village? tba) - which seems to have become 'Lockridge' quite quickly - and is now the name of an adjacent suburb.

On top of his original 1831 grant on the Swan which he named Baskerville, Tanner was in 1832 further granted Lieutenant Preston’s property adjacent to Success Spring 31 Swan location P (1281 acres) dubbing it Lockeridge and the West Guildford villa lot Q2. The Rev. J. Wittenoom in 1834 sold his 20 acre lot designated R1 to Tanner and in 1837, Tanner further extended his West Guildford holdings by having his agent (Tanner was at that time in England) purchase the 1531 acres of lot Q1, the former Government reserve, which had originally comprised both lots Q1 and Broun’s estate. Thus, by the late 1830s, William Tanner had established himself as the largest single owner of land in what was later to be the town of Bassendean, holding overall approximately 50% of the district. (Carter, 32)

People of historic interest to Bassendean include: William Preston, James Henty, Peter Broun, William Tanner, Harry Anstey, Walter Padbury.

Places of historic interest in Bassendean include: Success Hill.

Buildings of historic interest in Bassendean include: Lockridge Hotel, Pensioner Guard cottage (1 Surrey Street).

Lost buildings of historic interest that were in Bassendean include: Cleikum Inn, the James Henty/Peter Broun homestead known as the 'Old Bassendean Homestead'.

References and Links

Carter, Jennie 1986, Bassendean: A Social History 1829-1979, Bassendean Town Council.

Curtin, Amanda 1999, '"Sacred and bright with flowers": the Bassendean War Memorial as a symbol of community values', Early Days: Journal and Proceedings of the Royal Western Australian Historical Society, vol. 11, part 5: 629-637.

Leigh, Carol 2009, 'Bassendean: a rich and varied heritage', Early Days, 13: 339-353.

Thomas, Alf T. 1947, A History of Bassendean, Bassendean Road Board (pdf available online).

Bassendean Historical Society.

Swan Guildford Historical Society.

Guildford Association website.

Guildford, Western Australia, Wikipedia.

Garry Gillard | New: 17 July, 2019 | Now: 15 April, 2024