Welcome To Guilford
With its blend of old and new, Guildford today is a unique contemporary destination
which oozes character and village charm.
The entire town of Guildford is classified
by the National Trust – one of only two
towns in Metropolitan Perth to earn such
- Learn about the fascinating history by setting
out on one of the 4 self-guided heritage walk
trails featured in this brochure.
- Browse the James Street antique strip, which
offers one of the largest ranges of second
hand wares outside Perth.
- Enjoy some serious retail therapy at the quaint
home décor outlets, specialty gift shops,
galleries and clothing stores.
- Tour the Goal and Taylors Cottage at the
Guildford Museum Precinct.
- Discover a real treasure at the Guildford
Heritage Art Markets, held on the third Sunday
of every month.
- Stop for lunch and a glass of Swan Valley wine
at one of the charming, historic pubs.
- Soak up the village atmosphere and enjoy a relaxing
Devonshire Tea at an old-fashioned tea room.
- Be spoilt for choice when it comes to dining out,
tapas, Thai, Italian and the best burgers in Perth.
- Visit Guildford’s courthouse (c. 1866) and
interpretive displays that explain much about the
region’s past at the Swan Valley Visitor Centre.
Stay a little longer and get a greater feel for Guildford
by staying overnight. In Guildford you can choose
from bed and breakfast (B&B), self-contained and
motel style accommodation or a beautifully restored
hotel where you can experience a night in a luxury
room steeped in historical character.
The history of Guildford and the Swan Valley
The traditional owners of this region are the
Noongar people who have lived in the area for
over 40,000 years. Sites of continuous human
habitation at this scale have not been found
anywhere else in the world. Noongar creation
stories tell of the giant serpent or crocodile like
creature, the Wagyl, creating the Swan River on
its way. The Swan River is the Wagyl’s home and
it continues to reside there today.
It was the fertile soil of the Swan Valley that led
to the first European settlement at Guildford soon
after the Swan River Colony was established by
Captain James Stirling in 1829.
Blocks of land on both sides of the river were
quickly assigned to eager settlers. When
Guildford was surveyed at the end of 1829,
94 blocks were made available to soldiers,
agriculturalists, yeomen and servants released
from their indentures.
Captain Stirling set aside 4,000 acres for his
future “country retreat” which he had named
“Woodbridge” during his exploratory journey up
the river in 1827.
The Swan River quickly became the first highway
through the region, and Guildford developed
into a busy and important river port and trading
centre until the 1880’s.
Much of Guildford’s original town plan, including
the central church square, subdivisions and general
land use, remains as it was leaving a largely intact
early 19th century English market town.
A visit provides a rare glimpse into early colonial
settlement with many fine, well-preserved civic,
commercial and private buildings from the 1840s
to the 1920s and 1930s.
GUILDFORD HERITAGE WALK TRAILS
Explore the history of our town – on foot!
Established on what is virtually an island
encircled by the Swan and Helena Rivers,
Guildford is ideally suited to exploration on foot.
To assist you in discovering the numerous
fascinating historical buildings, lively characters
and wonderful stories of this ‘island village’
four self-guided heritage walk trails with 50
interpretive panels have been built.
The trails start and finish at the Old Guildford
Courthouse (Swan Valley Visitor Centre).
Each trail is distinguished by coloured marker
plates located on “heritage green” coloured
posts. The plates feature the original Town of
The Guildford ‘crest’ carries the anchor
(symbolising its inland port role), a sheaf of wheat
(agriculture) and a bunch of grapes (viticulture).
This brochure includes maps that show the trail
routes and locations of the 50 interpretive panels
THE CAPTAIN STIRLING WALK
A longer walk, featuring the gorgeous old buildings and mature plane trees of Guildford Grammar School.
This trail meanders past the beautifully restored
Rose and Crown Hotel c.1841, which still offers
the same friendly hospitality of yesteryear and
Padbury’s Store c. 1869. It passes a number of
historic cottages, locations and streetscapes,
and provides an expansive view out over the
flood plain to what was Captain James Stirling’s
beloved Woodbridge Estate on the Swan River.
A feature of the trail is the picturesque
grounds, and London Plane tree streetscape, of
Guildford Grammar School, founded by Charles
Harper in 1896.
This prestigious boys’ school provides an
Australian interpretation of the traditional
English Public School education system and many
of its students have become prominent State and
Located within the school grounds is the
imposing Chapel of St Mary and St George,
consecrated in 1914, and today one of the finest
examples of Gothic architecture in Australia.
THE TOWN WALK
This trail passes through the historic Meadow Street precinct and returns via the Guildford town centre.
The Town Walk commences at the Guildford
Heritage Precinct, one of the sites where, in 1829,
Surveyor H.C. Sutherland set aside substantial
land facing Stirling Square for civic and
In 1841, the first government buildings were
constructed in the precinct consisting of two
prison cells, a constable’s room and a set of
stocks. In 1866, convict work crews extended the
gaol, built the Courthouse and an exercise yard for
The trail then heads south across the railway
line to Helena Street, passing numerous historic
buildings along the way including the art-deco
style Guildford Town Hall c.1937.
It then traces a roughly circular route past
Western Australia’s oldest continually operating
primary school returning via the commercial
precinct on James Street, where you can pause
for a coffee or to browse the antique shops.
THE RIVER RAMBLE
This trail passes the historic Rose and Crown Hotel c.1841 and Padbury’s Store c.1869,
located in the Terrace Road business precinct.
Walter Padbury is an important figure in the
town’s history. He was Guildford’s first mayor
(in 1887) and one of early Western Australia’s
most successful entrepreneurs – at one time, the
biggest landowner in the Colony!
Also en-route, Barker and Gull’s Warehouse is an
example of the numerous retail and wholesale
businesses that existed in Guildford during the
height of the town’s importance as a port
and market town to the Swan River Colony. The
trail also takes in Moulton’s Landing on the banks
of the Swan River where you can learn about the
tragic Abraham Moulton and the river’s role in
early Guildford before returning via a series of
heritage homes to picturesque Stirling Square and
the Swan Valley Visitor Centre.
THE STIRLING SQUARE CIRCUIT
A shorter walk for those with less time, this trail incorporates the best of the historic Meadow St precinct including
the Guildford Goal c.1841, the Courthouse c.1866 and Taylor’s Cottage
It passes the Mechanics’ Institute, established in
1865, to provide education for the working men
of the town. The building has always had a strong
connection with Guildford community life. Today, as
in the past, the institute continues to be utilised for
entertainment and educational activities.
The trail then loops out into the lovely tree-lined
parkland of Stirling Square. Here, there are many
interpretive panels that provide visitors with a
good insight into the core of old Guildford town.
Typical of English town planning during the
colony period, impressive St Matthew’s Church
is located in the exact centre of Guildford and
within this village green. It is today one of
Western Australia’s best examples of Gothic
Revival architecture. The park is also a traditional
Aboriginal meeting place.
SWAN VALLEY HERITAGE CYCLING TRAIL
A great way to discover the history of the Swan Valley is to experience the
Swan Valley Heritage Cycling trail.
Listed as one of Western Australia’s Top
Trails, the trail passes many interesting places
including fresh produce stalls, picnic spots,
galleries, wineries and restaurants. The trail
is marked by a series of interpretive signs that
illustrate the rich history, interesting characters
and the natural environment of the region.
There are 4 distinct routes, all varying lengths,
suitable for all ages and fitness levels and all
using a combination of off road shared path or
quiet back roads. There are three main entry
points where visitors can leave their vehicles.
Content Courtesy of Swan Valley Council.