City Beach Ovals


Town of Cambridge

Place Number



Fred Burton Way City Beach

Location Details

Bound by West Coast Highway, Oceanic Drive and Fred Burton Way

Local Government




Construction Date

Constructed from 1960 to 2020

Demolition Year


Statutory Heritage Listings

Type Status Date Documents
(no listings)

Heritage Council Decisions and Deliberations

Type Status Date Documents
(no listings)

Other Heritage Listings and Surveys

Type Status Date Grading/Management
Municipal Inventory Adopted 15 Dec 2020 Category 3
Local Heritage Survey Adopted 15 Dec 2020 Category 3
Municipal Inventory Adopted 27 Nov 2018 Category 4

Statement of Significance

The place has aesthetic value as a well maintained landscape and sports ground in an urban setting. The park has historic value for its association with the development of community facilities in City Beach in the 1960s when the suburb was being established. The park has social value for many members of the community as a place for organised and informal sports, and passive recreation. The play space within the ovals has social value for its association with a much valued tradition of the community gathering for storytelling at the former Happy Tree since 1978. The elements of the Happy Tree has historic value for their association with Ralph and Phyllis Soderlund who contributed to the community in creating the tree carvings and the associated books and annual storytelling event.

Physical Description

Two ovals adjoining each other adjacent to the beach and the residential development of City Beach. The ovals clearly demonstrate the changing topography of the area with the main oval behind the clubhouse being at a lower level to the northern oval. The southern oval therefore has a natural seating arrangement utilising the grassed embankments around the oval. The ovals have a sense of enclosure created by the peripheral planting around the entire site. In mid 2020, a nature play space was constructed by the Town of Cambridge at a site between the two ovals. The design of the playground incorporated elements from the "Happy Tree", formally located in Hovea Crescent in City Beach. These elements include portions of the tree which had carvings in them and a 'little library' offering a book swap service for children.


The ovals at City Beach were graded and established by the City of Perth in the early 1960s. Clubrooms were built on the site shortly after and the oval has been the venue for cricket, AFL and other organised sports since the 1960s. The facilities and grounds have been added to and modified as required since its establishment. In August 2020, a nature play space was opened by the Town of Cambridge Mayor Keri Shannon. The play space incorporated elements from the ‘Happy Tree’ a tuart tree formerly located in the road reserve of nearby Hovea Crescent, City Beach. The tree was highly valued in the City Beach and wider community for the carvings in the tree by Ralph Soderlund who lived in the property adjacent. Ralph Soderlund added carvings to the tree every year and wrote stories which incorporated the characters in the tree. Phyllis Soderlund illustrated the stories written by her husband in accompanying storybooks. Storytelling sessions were an annual event held by the Soderlunds for the neighbourhood children. The Town of Cambridge and subsequent owners of the property continued the tradition. The “Happy Tree” was included in the Town of Cambridge Local Government Inventory in 2018 and designated of Considerable Significance to the local community. When the tree fell in December 2019, the Town of Cambridge oversaw the removal of the tree and safely stored all elements of the tree that could be saved. Portions of the “Happy Tree” were used as borders of the play space and the main trunk has been used as major element in the design and supports the ‘Little Library’ box which holds childrens’ books for swap.


Integrity: High Authenticity: High




Ref ID No Ref Name Ref Source Ref Date
Post Newspaper - 7 December 2019 page 3. newspaper 7 December 2019
Town of Cambridge website Online Documents
Town of Cambridge Media Release 19 August 2020 media release 19 August 2020
Aerial photographs, Landgate. Online Reference 1953-2016

Place Type

Urban Park


Epoch General Specific
Original Use PARK\RESERVE Park\Reserve

Historic Themes

General Specific
SOCIAL & CIVIC ACTIVITIES Sport, recreation & entertainment

Creation Date

20 Aug 2019

Publish place record online (inHerit):


Last Update

08 Sep 2021


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