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Quarry Amphitheatre, City Beach


Town of Cambridge

Place Number

There no heritage location found in the Google fusion table.


145 Oceanic Dr City Beach

Location Details

Local Government




Construction Date

Constructed from 1978, Constructed from 1986, Constructed from 1834 to 1906, Constructed from 1894 to 1896

Demolition Year


Statutory Heritage Listings

Type Status Date Documents More information
Heritage List Adopted 27 Nov 2018
State Register Registered 13 Aug 2019 Register Entry
Assessment Documentation
Heritage Council

Heritage Council Decisions and Deliberations

Type Status Date Documents
(no listings)

Other Heritage Listings and Surveys

Type Status Date Grading/Management More information
Category Description
Municipal Inventory Adopted 17 Dec 1996

Municipal Inventory Adopted 27 Nov 2018 Category 1

Category 1

Exceptional Significance Essential to the heritage of the locality. Rare or outstanding example. Recommended for inclusion on the State Register of Heritage Places. The place should be retained and conserved unless there is no feasible and prudent alternative to doing otherwise. Any alterations or extensions should reinforce the significance of the place, and be in accordance with a Conservation Plan (if one exists for the place).

Parent Place or Precinct

04499 Bold Park

Statement of Significance

Quarry Amphitheatre, City Beach comprising a 556 seat open air Amphitheatre located high upon Reabold Hill in City Beach with panoramic views of Bold Park towards the City, within a former limestone quarry, in a natural bushland setting, has cultural heritage significance for the following reasons:
the place is unique in Western Australia as a former limestone quarry that has been adapted for re-use as an amphitheatre;
the place is rare as an extant inner Perth metropolitan quarry associated with the development of the limestone quarrying industry in the late nineteenth century;
the stone from the quarry was used in some of Perth's early buildings including the foundations of Perth Town Hall;
the place is significant for its associations with prominent settlers Walter Padbury and Henry Trigg, who were significant figures in the early development of Western Australia;
the place has aesthetic value for its bushland setting and unobstructed views of the city;
the place has social significance to the local and wider community having been a venue for concerts, ballet and other cultural events since 1986;
and the place is associated with Diana Waldron, founder of Perth City Ballet, who with her husband architect, Ken Waldron, was responsible for the inception, fundraising and construction of the Quarry.

The administration building, toilets, kiosk and storage sheds and access areas north of the stage are of little significance.

Physical Description

Quarry Amphitheatre sits on northern slopes of Bold Park, accessed via Waldron Drive or Scenic Drive. The place consists of a former limestone quarry that has been adapted to form a theatre space, consisting of an Entrance, Auditorium, Stage, Backstage and rear area, set between two limestone faces.

The Auditorium consists of a number of grassed tiers orientated in a southerly direction looking back towards the stage. The tiers are edged with concrete pavers and are divided into two sections by a central paved aisle. The Stage is a rectangular timber floor set on a steel frame with timber deck. The Backstage area is located below the stage


Following the foundation of Perth in August 1829, the townsite was laid out between Mount Eliza and what was to later become Heirisson Island. Limestone was in great demand for construction in the new colony. The earliest lime kilns in Western Australia were established at the initial settlement sites of Fremantle and Albany in the 1830s, where settlers had access to local supplies of limestone. During the early expansion of the Swan River colony, small kilns were established at Cottesloe, Peppermint Grove and Claremont from the 1850s to the 1890s.

Henry Trigg, a carpenter and master builder from Gloucester, England arrived in the new colony of Western Australia in 1829. In I834, Trigg was granted 500 acres of land, which lay south of modern day Grantham Street, stretching from Floreat to the coastal sand hills. The western boundary of Trigg's land ran along the top of a limestone ridge. As a builder, Trigg recognised the value of this limestone outcropping and set up a quarrying and lime burning business. Trigg's business which became known as the 'Limekilns' prospered.

In 1839, Trigg purchased neighbouring land to the south, including what is now Perry Lakes and One Tree Hill, (now known as Reabold Hill). In the same year, Trigg was appointed Superintendent of Public Works, and in this role was responsible for overseeing the erection of many early government buildings in Perth.

In 1844, Walter Padbury, a pastoralist, acquired 426 acres of land adjacent to Trigg's property and later purchased Trigg's land including the Limekilns business for 2350, forming a 1,234 acre landholding which became known as the 'Limekilns Estate'. For the next 20 years Padbury built the Estate into a successful property, including the retention of the quarrying operations. At the height of operations, more than 50 men were employed at the quarry and lime kiln site.

In 1869, brothers Henry and Somers Birch purchased the Limekilns Estate from Walter Padbury for £1,000. On 1 November 1875, during their ownership of the property, the explorer Ernest Giles arrived in Perth after his 2,500 mile journey from Port Augusta. During the 1890s, the Limekilns Estate served as a temporary quarantine station for camels imported to Western Australia to provide transport to the goldfields, with a lake on the property becoming known as Camel Lake.

The Estate remained in the Birch's ownership until, 1880 when it was purchased by Joseph Perry for the sum of £1300. During his ownership, Perry kept the Quarry and limekilns in operation. Many of Perth's early public buildings, including the foundations of the Perth Town Hall (1870) were constructed using limestone from the quarry and kilns.

In 1880, a portion of the Limekilns property was rented to Charles Ball. In an advertisement in the West Australian in May 1880, Ball offered to supply lime which was described as the most superior in the colony, from lime kilns of 30 years standing. Stone from the quarry was transported by a light narrow gauge horse drawn railway through the bush (roughly along the route of the present day Salvado Road) to Jolimont and then on to the Subiaco Railway Station.

Private quarrying ceased operation in 1906 and the Limekilns Quarry remained disused for many years. Changes to the rural nature of the area came about with the subdivision of land owned by the Catholic Church in 1911. This subdivision was called the Church Lands Estate, and the first house was constructed in 1912.
In September 1916, construction began on a plank road to provide access to the quarry on the Lime Kilns Estate. On 30 November 1917, the West Australian reported that the new municipal quarry, formerly known as the Limekilns Quarry, on the recently purchased Perry's Estate had been officially opened.

In 1917, the Perth City Council purchased the 1290-acre Limekilns Estate from Perry for £18,000 and it linked to the Endowment Lands bestowed on the Perth City Council by the State Government in 1902. In January 1918, the Limekilns Estate was included within the boundaries of the City of Perth, and adjoined a further 2281 acres of Endowment Lands.

The exact date that the municipal quarry ceased operation is not known, but it is likely that operations ceased in the 1920s with the beginning of the development of the area for housing. During the middle decades of the 20th century the quarry was unused and largely inaccessible.

In the early 1980s, local City Beach resident Diana Waldron, the Artistic Director of the Perth City Ballet Company, conceived the idea of converting the old quarry into an amphitheatre for stage productions. Diana's husband, Ken Waldron, an architect, drew up plans for the proposed Amphitheatre. Ken Waldron was one of the Hills 5 Architects who during the 1960s and 1970s were renowned for their 'organic" approach to architecture that responded sympathetically to the environment Influenced by the likes of Frank Lloyd Wright and the Chicago School of Architecture, the Hills 5 Architects included Gene Mapp, Wallace Greenham, Bill Keirath, KW John White, and Ray Lefroy.

Ken Waldron's proposed Amphitheatre initially received much community opposition with regard to its impact on the natural environment. This issue was further exacerbated when ecologists discovered what was thought to be the last of the most southerly coastal stand of Zamia(cycads), which could not be disturbed, thus preventing the planned access route to the quarry. In response, Ken Waldron suggested a different access road to enable retention of the cycads and also approached Alcoa, in order to collect seeds from around the site before the works commenced.

Plans for the Amphitheatre were finally endorsed by the Perth City Council and the Metropolitan Region Planning Authority, and construction of the Amphitheatre began in 1984 following the receipt of a Commonwealth Employment Program grant of $468,000, which stipulated that unemployed people be employed as labourers for the project.

The original intention was for the Amphitheatre to be of brick construction, but with few skilled tradespeople available it was decided to use precast concrete blocks which were more manageable for the previously unemployed workers. The original quarry site formed the basis of the Amphitheatre, with all the buildings constructed within the disused quarry, with the original limestone face walls retained. The seating (originally
for 660) was arranged on 1.5m grassed tiers sloping down towards the stage level. The 20 grassed tiers were supported by thousands of handmade concrete slabs made onsite. A large wooden stage (19mx30m) was built on the roof of an under croft area, which housed a large rehearsal studio and dressing rooms. At the entrance to the quarry were an office, kiosk, bio box and public toilets. The project was completed in 1986 and officially opened by Senator Peter Cook on 9 November 1986.

Since then the place has been the venue for many professional and amateur performances and private functions. The basic form of the quarry amphitheatre is largely as completed in 1986 however since the completion of the 2013 Quarry Amphitheatre Master Plan which proposed expansion of seating improvements have been undertaken at the venue to improve its viability for performances and health and safety issues. The works include the strengthening of the concrete slab for the stage, improving the stage surface, new lighting towers and modifications to the electrical infrastructure.


High Integrity
High authenticity




Name Type Year From Year To
Ken Waldron Architect 1978 1986

State Heritage Office library entries

Library Id Title Medium Year Of Publication
11684 Quarry Ampitheatre - concept masterplan Electronic 2012
11869 Quarry Ampitheatre Heritage Study {Cons'n Plan} 2019

Place Type

Historic site


Epoch General Specific

Construction Materials

Type General Specific
Wall STONE Limestone

Historic Themes

General Specific
SOCIAL & CIVIC ACTIVITIES Cultural activities

Creation Date

17 Jul 1997

Publish place record online (inHerit):


Last Update

24 Nov 2020


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