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Cliff Point Historic Site


City of Rockingham

Place Number

There no heritage location found in the Google fusion table.


Sulphur Bay Garden Island

Location Details

Other Name(s)

Foundations of Stirling's Hut
Well at Sulphur Bay

Local Government




Construction Date

Constructed from 1829

Demolition Year


Statutory Heritage Listings

Type Status Date Documents More information
Commonwealth List Adopted 22 Jun 2004 Heritage Council

Other Heritage Listings and Surveys

Type Status Date Grading/Management More information
Category Description
Register of the National Estate Registered 15 May 1990

Heritage Council
Municipal Inventory Adopted 22 Dec 1998 Category A

Category A

Worthy of the highest level of protection- recommended for entry into the State Register of Heritage Places. Development would require consultation with the City of Rockingham. Maximum encouragement to the owner should be provided under the City of Rockingham Planning Scheme to conserve the significance of the place. A detailed Heritage Assessment* and Impact Statement should be undertaken before approval is given for any major redevelopment. Incentives to promote heritage conservation should be also be considered.

Statement of Significance

Historic Value: The place is important as the first site occupied by Governor Stirling’s party in 1829 when founding the colony of Western Australia, and as the first official settlement in Western Australia.

Social Value: The place is highly valued by the community for its as- sociation with Governor Stirling and Captain Charles Fremantle, who occupied Sulphur Town before a move was made to the Swan River settlement.

Scientific Value: Due to its isolation from the Western Australian main- land, the place is relatively free of disturbance from humans and introduced animals and is a significant refuge for native species.

Physical Description

Cliff Point Historic site comprises an area that shows evidence of early Euro- pean occupation including cleared ground where huts were built, a well and the remains of Stirling’s Hut, located at the peak of the overlooking hill. The site covers approximately 8.5ha and includes Sulphur Bay and Cliff Head,
a limestone bluff on the east coast of Garden Island. A large memorial has been built on Cliff Head, comprising a circular concrete platform with two commemorative plaques mounted on piers and an abstracted coastal map showing the relationship between Rottnest Island, Penguin Island, Garden Island and the mainland.


Garden Island, known as Meeandip by the local Nyungar people, was named by the French explorer Nicholas Baudin as IIe de Bauche in 1801. The place was renamed Garden Island in 1829 by Captain Charles Fremantle. In 1827, Captain James Stirling had visited the Swan River region and reported favourably on the area. Before returning to Britain, Stirling landed surplus livestock from his ship on the Ile de Buache.
In 1828, Stirling sailed again for the Swan River in order to establish a permanent settlement. Captain Charles Fremantle, commanding the gun boat Challenger, had been sent ahead of the main party on the Sulphur and the Parmelia, and he arrived on Garden Island in April 1829. Fremantle prepared the place for the arrival of the settlers on the other ships. The following month, Stirling and the rest of the settlers arrived.
On Garden Island, a well was dug, ground cleared and prepared for gardens. In addition, huts, stores, stockyards and roads were constructed. The small settlement at Sulphur Bay grew to accommodate over 400 people, including the ship’s crew. Within two months, surveys of proposed land grants in the Swan River region were completed, and the movement of free settlers to the mainland commenced. The Sulphur Town settlement came to an end in 1834 when crew from the ‘Lonach’ accidently burnt the down the entire village after they came ashore at Cliff Head on Sulphur Bay.
Evidence of occupation at Sulphur Bay by Governor Stirling and Captain Charles Fremantle has been reported from the beach just north of the head, the immediate hinterland, the ridge above and on the south face of the ridge. The site has been burned a number of times since 1829 and is overgrown with shrubs and some introduced plant species. Archaeological remains which have been identified include a small patch of limestone believed to be site of Stirling’s Hut; a well; and, the site of a bottle dump. Areas of the site are considered to have some archaeological potential due to the relative lack of disturbance and heavy bush.


Historic Site-Monument

Place Type

Historic Site


Epoch General Specific
Present Use MONUMENT\CEMETERY Monument
Original Use MILITARY Other

Historic Themes

General Specific
PEOPLE Early settlers

Creation Date

12 Sep 2007

Publish place record online (inHerit):


Last Update

31 Dec 2016


This information is provided voluntarily as a public service. The information provided is made available in good faith and is derived from sources believed to be reliable and accurate. However, the information is provided solely on the basis that readers will be responsible for making their own assessment of the matters discussed herein and are advised to verify all relevant representations, statements and information.