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City Beach, Groyne and Lookout Tower

Author

Town of Cambridge

Place Number

09108
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Location

End of Oceanic Dve City Beach

Location Details

Other Name(s)

City Beach

Local Government

Cambridge

Region

Metropolitan

Construction Date

Constructed from 1935, Constructed from 2016, Constructed from 1969, Constructed from 1970

Demolition Year

N/A

Statutory Heritage Listings

Type Status Date Documents More information
Heritage List Adopted 27 Nov 2018

Heritage Council Decisions and Deliberations

Type Status Date Documents
RHP - To be assessed Current 08 Dec 2017

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 3

Category 3

Some/Moderate Significance Contributes to the heritage of the locality. Has some altered or modified elements, not necessarily detracting from the overall significance of the place. Conservation of the place is desirable. Any alterations or extensions should reinforce the significance of the place, and original fabric should be retained wherever feasible.

Statement of Significance

City Beach has aesthetic value as a large stretch of beach and foreshore that is well maintained and in good condition.

The place has historic value for its association with the establishment and development of the suburb of City Beach from a holiday destination in the 1920s to being part of the wider Perth metropolitan area.

The place has historic value for its demonstration of the evolution in the development of public facilities with the remaining kiosk the earliest structures on the site through to contemporary structures completed in 2016.

The place has historic value for its association with prominent architects in Western Australia during the 1960s and 1970s; Paul Ritter and Tony Brand;

The groyne has potential research value as they demonstrate methods of construction in the mid 20th century which may prove instructive to future projects;

The place has social value for many members of the community from the Town of Cambridge and the wider Perth metropolitan area who have visited the beach for formal and informal recreation.

Physical Description

Extensive area of beach with dunes, native vegetation and landscaping. Boardwalks and coastal paths are located in the sand dunes connecting City Beach with the beaches to the north and south. The two groynes roughly define the boundaries of City Beach.

The dunes and natural vegetation aesthetic is interspersed with formal landscaping of lawned areas and plantings softening the hard landscaping of the carparks. Facilities include the Restaurants, Kiosk, City Beach Surf Lifesaving Club and volley ball courts, picnic and BBQ areas and children’s play areas.

Located on the City Beach Groyne, the Look Out Tower is a simple form comprising a slender steel column with ladder leading to an octagonal lookout shelter that provides 360° visual access.

History

The popularity of different beaches in the Perth metropolitan area was dependent on transport in the first decades of the 20th century. Those beaches close to the train line were most well patronised until the Inter War years when road access was improved. In February 1918, a timber plank road was completed in built between the city and the beach along the alignment of the present day Oceanic Drive. The beach where the road terminated became known as 'City Beach' and was formally designated as that in c1925.

Life Saving Clubs had been established at Cottesloe and North Cottesloe, and in December 1924 members of the City of Perth Amateur Swimming Club formed Western Australia’s third Surf Life Saving Club at City Beach. The City of Perth undertook an extensive programme of research into the establishment of appropriate facilities for a Lifesaving Clubroom at City Beach. The Lord Mayor of Perth opened the timber clubrooms in February 1926 and the beach was officially opened by the Governor Sir William Campion in December of that year. In addition to the clubrooms basic timber facilities were provided by the City of Beach for the numbers of visitors on weekends and holiday periods.

In 1927, a new road to the beach was cleared along the route of what is now, The Boulevard. This road provided access to the northern parts of City Beach, now Floreat Beach.

In 1935, the southern groyne was built at City Beach to control sand drift and help to 'square' the surf line to the beach. The construction was overseen by the City Engineer with a budget of £3000 and was initially approximately 60m long. The huge diorite boulders, weighing up to 8 tons, were brought from the Municipal Quarry in the Darling Ranges. A shark lookout tower with an alarm was positioned on the end of the groyne.
In 1938, more substantial accommodation for the City Beach Life Saving Club were built and these and basic public facilities were available at the beach until the 1960s when the region underwent significant development following the 1962 Empire Games in Perth which saw adjacent landholdings being released for residential subdivision.

The 1960s also saw the popularity and growth of surfing and the associated ‘surf culture’. Although not new to Western Australia, surfing and beach going became more popular and were closely associated with younger generations. In 1963, City Beach Surf Riders, WA's oldest surf-board riding club was established.
The northern groyne at City Beach was built sometime between 1958/59 and provided protection for swimmers at City Beach as well as resolved some of the issues of erosion which had been experienced at City Beach. Maintenance and management of the beaches and groynes have been an ongoing task for the Town of Cambridge and prior to 1994, the City of Perth.

The late 1960s can also be seen as a period of experimentation and rejection of past practices and attitudes. It was in the context of a newly established suburb providing for a young population keen to embrace new styles and technologies that the City of Perth provided new facilities at City Beach. During the 1960s, an influential figure in the offices of the City of Perth was architect and planner Paul Ritter. Ritter was a controversial and colourful figure in Western Australia in this period. He was trained in England and was brought to the City of Perth to advance local knowledge and philosophies of planning and design. Appointed as the City of Perth's first City Planner in 1965 he was dismissed in 1967 but engendered significant public support which led to his election as a City of Perth councillor from 1968 to 1986.

Following his dismissal, Ritter established his own practice and was well known for exploring new techniques and philosophies, particularly in relation to art and design in the public realm. In 1969, his design of a wavy retaining wall in local Toodyay stone was built at City Beach. The design was influenced by the adjacent waves and sand dunes and was part of a larger Master Plan for City Beach prepared during his tenure at the City of Perth.

In 1971, City Beach was the host of the Australian Surf Life Saving Championships which saw the City of Perth undertake major works at the beach. In 1970, architects Forbes and Fitzhardinge were engaged to design three kiosks on the beach. Architect Tony Brand oversaw the design and he prepared an organic design in concrete which responded to the wavy wall designed by Paul Ritter and the seaside setting. Only two of these kiosks remain insitu at Floreat Beach and South City Beach. New Clubrooms were also built for the City Beach Life Saving Club for the championships. The provision of extensive car parking at City Beach was also undertaken during this period.

During 1970/1971 the City of Perth spent $375,829 on works at City Beach including the new kiosks and change rooms, and the City of Perth Surf Club House. The decision to hold the Australian National Surf Life Saving Competitions at City Beach in 1971 would have been a significant impetus to complete the works. In the City of Perth Annual Report for that year it was noted that;
'During the year the facilities and conditions at City Beach were highly praised by both competitors and spectators at the Australian National Surf Championships More than 1,400 lifesavers from all Australian States and a team from South Africa competed during the April Carnival. Blending man-made features and amenities into the natural beach scene will continue to enhance City Beach's wide popularity.'

The clubrooms were replaced in 2016 as part of a major program of works which included the new clubrooms, three restaurants, amphitheatre, beachside promenade, shaded spaces for families and public art installations. Architects Christou Design Group prepared the designs for the new works and the project was successful in receiving a public architecture award in 2016.

Associations

Name Type Year From Year To
Paul Ritter Architect - -
Christou Design Group Architect - -
Tony Brand Architect - -

References

Ref ID No Ref Name Ref Source Ref Date
The Daily News, p. 13 Newspaper 17 January 1942.
Aerial photographs, Landgate. Online Reference 1953-2016
Local History Collection, Item T74; T126; T216 Online Reference Documents
'City Beach Precinct Opens' Town of Cambridge Latest news Online Documents June 2016

Place Type

Landscape

Uses

Epoch General Specific
Original Use SOCIAL\RECREATIONAL Other
Present Use SOCIAL\RECREATIONAL Other

Historic Themes

General Specific
SOCIAL & CIVIC ACTIVITIES Sport, recreation & entertainment

Creation Date

17 Jul 1997

Publish place record online (inHerit):

Approved

Last Update

24 Nov 2020

Disclaimer

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.