Cliff Point Historic Site


City of Rockingham

Place Number



Sulphur Bay Garden Island

Location Details

Lot 9 on Plan 226190

Other Name(s)

Foundations of Stirling's Hut
Well at Sulphur Bay and Sulphur Town

Local Government




Construction Date

Constructed from 1829

Demolition Year


Statutory Heritage Listings

Type Status Date Documents
Commonwealth List Adopted 22 Jun 2004
Heritage List Adopted 01 Mar 2008

Heritage Council Decisions and Deliberations

Type Status Date Documents
(no listings)

Other Heritage Listings and Surveys

Type Status Date Grading/Management
Register of the National Estate Registered 15 May 1990
Municipal Inventory Adopted 24 Apr 2018 Category A

Statement of Significance

• The site has historic value for its association with the first site occupied by Governor Stirling’s party in 1829 when founding the colony. • The place has research value for its potential for archaeological finds due to its relative isolation and undisturbed condition.

Physical Description

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 it is also representative of the Waugal. Nearby the monument is a well, known as Stirling Well, which was dug by hand and believed to date from the early settlement. Archaeological evidence is also likely to be in evidence given the minimal disturbance since the early 19th century.


Garden Island, known as Meeandip by the local Nyungar people, was named IIe de Bauche during the expedition led by Frenchman Nicholas Baudin in 1801. In 1827, Captain James Stirling 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, was sent ahead of the main party and he arrived on the island he renamed Garden Island in April 1829. Fremantle prepared the place for the arrival of Stirling and the settlers in the following month aboard the ships, Sulphur and the Parmelia. 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. The site has been burned a number of times since 1834 and it 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. A memorial to the early settlement was built at Cliff Head overlooking Sulphur Bay in 1979 as part of the Western Australian celebrations of the 150th year since the arrival of Captain James Stirling and settlers.


Integrity: None Authenticity: Little


Good although evidence of spalling in the concrete is visible due to the rusting of the reinforcements

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

03 May 2021


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