Robertson Park and Archaeological Sites

Author

City of Vincent

Place Number

08705

Location

176 Fitzgerald St, Randell, Palmerston & Stuart Sts Perth

Location Details

Other Name(s)

Lake Henderson

Local Government

Vincent

Region

Metropolitan

Construction Date

Constructed from 1903

Demolition Year

N/A

Statutory Heritage Listings

Type Status Date Documents
Heritage List Adopted
State Register Registered 08 May 2007 HCWebsite.Listing+ListingDocument, HCWebsite.Listing+ListingDocument

Other Heritage Listings and Surveys

Type Status Date Grading/Management
Category
Municipal Inventory Adopted 13 Nov 1995 Category A

Child Places

  • 11436 Dwelling, Caretaker's House, Robertson Park

Statement of Significance

Roberston Park is of considerable significance as an archaeological site, site of previous wetlands, a market garden site, a City Beautiful park project, and later developments including the tennis club and practice hall for the Perth City band. The place demonstrates a number of important phases in the district’s history, has associations with valued people and organisations of the district and has been an important open space which has influenced development in its vicinity.

Physical Description

Robertson Park is a product of the 'City Beautiful' movement. Occupying the site of the former Lake Henderson, within the streetblock bounded by Fitzgerald, Randell, Palmerston and Stuart Streets, it is an open grassed parkland with perimeter chain link fencing, that comprises grass tennis courts, along its northern side; tennis club room facilities, centrally located, the former bottleyard site in the south-east corner, and Lee Hop's cottage and Halvorsen Hall in the south west quadrant of the park. The facilities are set within parkland elements, although the park has not had a formal design coherence and co-ordination until the recent management plan. Archaeological investigations in the vicinity of Lee Hop's Cottage have demonstrated the nature of the market gardening activity that was undertaken on the foreshores of Lake Henderson and the nature of the layers of filling that produced the park formation. Parkland grassed, mature trees. Considerable

History

Robertson Park was established on the reclaimed area of Lake Henderson in the 1920s. Market gardening and farming activities were carried out on the area after the Lake was first drained in 1852 for this purpose. European market gardener James Fox, an ex-convict, worked the land there and by 1893, when it was sold to John Chipper, several farm buildings had been erected. it was sold to Dr Daniel Kenny in the 1890's, who built a four - roomed brick and iron cottage there in 1903. The European gardners were followed by Chinese market gardeners, who worked the area from about 1895 to 1928. Altogether around six Chinese men worked the 18 acres of market garden, some of them occupying the house built for Dr Kenny for their use and which became known as Lee Hop's Cottage. Later residents of the cottage included the parks first caretaker, James Imray. Conservation works on this cottage were completed in 2003 by Central TAFE students from Aboriginal Programs Centre. Folloiwng this it was leased by the Town of Vincent to Great Mates WA, an organisation which assists disadvantaged and at risk youth. In 1900, the Perth City Parks and Gardens Committee was set up to beautify the city. W. E. Bold, appointed Town Clerk in 1901, was a major advocate of the 'City Beautiful'. He convinced Perth City Council to purchase various Chinese market gardens for conversion into public parks and gardens. The Lake Henderson area was one of the former lakes that were purchased. Apart from Lot Y232, which had been obtained by the City of Perth in 1873 for a drainage reserve and was gazetted part of Reserve 21, Robertson Park itself was not gazetted a Reserve, but was vested in the City of Perth for municipal purposes. Robertson Park was established as a Council reserve in 1913 and development of the park began in the 1920s with the filling of the lake basin. In 1926, the first six lawn tennis courts, of a planned thirty four, were opened. They were situated at the Randell Street end of the Park. A tennis pavilion was also constructed in 1929 and regular tennis parties were held there. Local residents Reg Axford and Harold Mundy recalled sitting on the outside of the fence as young boys waiting for discarded cool drink bottles so that they could return them to the shop across the road and collect the refund. A recycling bottle factory operated on the south-eastern corner of the park and during an archeological dig around the year 2000 a number of early bottles were recovered. As the basin was filled, gardens and a children's playground were established on the Fitzgerald Street frontage, and a women's playing field. Although the main part of the lake basin was filled, the slope of the land around the outskirts of Robertson Park still attests to its origins as a lake. By 1937, City of Perth had acquired all the land fronting Fitzgerald Street, which left only the land on Palmerston Street in private hands. In 1940, a children's library was established in the house on the corner of Stuart and Fitzgerald streets. Another of the buildings on the Stuart Street frontage was used by the City of Perth Band. On 28 November 1970, a specially built facility for the Band, known as Halvorsen Hall, was opened by the Premier, Sir Charles Court, and Lord Mayor Sir Thomas Wardle. The hall was sited on the Fitzgerald Street frontage of the Park. The Band occupied the premises until December 1999, when they relocated to Queen's Gardens. In more recent times the hall has been occupied by a group of craftspeople. Robertson Park was increased in size between 1965 and 1987, with the acquisition of the Palmerston House site, Perth Jewish Association site, and the bottle yard. The buildings on the bottle yard have recently been demolished. In 1990 and again in 2004 there were extensive upgrades to the tennis facilities, which now attract players from a wide area and in 2006 an international seniors' competition was held there. In 1998, the Hyde Park Precinct Group put forward an improvement plan for Robertson Park, and the Lee Hop's Cottage and Halvorsen Hall were the subject of a conservation plan in 2000. Conservation work and recreation of the wetland areas began in 2005 and following that it became part of a Town of Vicent Wetlands Trail which links seven wetland areas in the region from Smith's Lake to Banks Reserve on the river in East Perth.

Integrity/Authenticity

Moderate degree

State Heritage Office library entries

Library Id Title Medium Year Of Publication
11520 Report of an archaeological survey of Robertson Park Heritage Study {Other} 2000
4902 Conservation plan : Lee Hop's garden (site), Lee Hop's cottage, Halvorsen Hall : Robertson Park, North Perth / prepared for Town of Vincent by Hocking Planning & Architecture. Heritage Study {Cons'n Plan} 2000
4903 Lee Hop's market garden : archaeological investigations to complement the conservation plan. Heritage Study {Cons'n Plan} 2000

Place Type

Urban Park

Uses

Epoch General Specific
Other Use RELIGIOUS Synagogue, Mosque or Temple
Other Use EDUCATIONAL Library
Original Use PARK\RESERVE Park\Reserve
Original Use SOCIAL\RECREATIONAL Other Community Hall\Centre
Original Use FARMING\PASTORAL Other
Other Use OTHER Other

Architectural Styles

Style
Federation Bungalow
Other Style

Construction Materials

Type General Specific
Wall BRICK Common Brick
Roof TILE Ceramic Tile

Historic Themes

General Specific
DEMOGRAPHIC SETTLEMENT & MOBILITY Immigration, emigration & refugees
SOCIAL & CIVIC ACTIVITIES Sport, recreation & entertainment
DEMOGRAPHIC SETTLEMENT & MOBILITY Aboriginal Occupation
SOCIAL & CIVIC ACTIVITIES Cultural activities
SOCIAL & CIVIC ACTIVITIES Religion
SOCIAL & CIVIC ACTIVITIES Education & science
OCCUPATIONS Rural industry & market gardening

Creation Date

19 Jun 1997

Publish place record online (inHerit):

Approved

Last Update

02 Jan 2018

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.