Peel Town Archaeological Sites


City of Cockburn

Place Number



Near Mount Brown, Beeliar Regional Park Henderson

Location Details

Site of 1829-30 Clarence settlment, not to be confused with later Clarence town which is further north near Woodman Point.

Local Government




Construction Date

Constructed from 1829, Constructed from 1830

Demolition Year


Statutory Heritage Listings

Type Status Date Documents
Heritage List Adopted 14 Jul 2011
Continuing Protection Order YES 17 Apr 2015

Heritage Council Decisions and Deliberations

Type Status Date Documents
RHP - Assessed-Progress Deferred Current 23 Jan 2014

Other Heritage Listings and Surveys

Type Status Date Grading/Management
Municipal Inventory Adopted 10 Apr 2014 Category A
Classified by the National Trust Adopted 01 Jan 2012

Child Places

  • 16994 Naval Base Holiday Park

Statement of Significance

The site of early European settlement has remained undisturbed due to its bush location. It is highly valuable as it has not been built over, when comparable sites in Perth have been. Peel Town Archaeological Sites has the potential to reveal information on the colonisation of new places, the effects on the environment by a new group, adaptation to new physical and cultural 295 | P a g e environments, and understanding the mindset of an emigrating group. Peel Town Archaeological Sites is rare as a place associated with the first phases of colonisation.

Physical Description

Archaeological site near Mount Brown, within Beeliar Regional Park. Claimed to feature remains of the abandoned Clarence settlement of 1829-30, now called Peel Town to avoid confusion with the later and larger Clarence Town which is further north near Woodman Point. Artefacts include four collapsed limestone structures, five artefact scatters and numerous individual artefacts. Artefacts are of ceramics, glass, metal and clay. Includes a tent pad with tent pegs and pole. Clarence was one of the earliest European settlements in Perth, it was abandoned after two years. A new settlement of the same name was established further north from 1836.


Thomas Peel proposed that a township to be known as Clarence be established at Woodman Point. Early maps show the Clarence Town site occupying the area between Cockburn Sound and Lake Coogee. Peel brought 490 settlers with him from England on the Gilmore in order to establish his new colony. Owing to a series of disasters and mistiming the settlement was abandoned within three years, leaving approximately sixty graves behind. However, there is some dispute as to where exactly Western Australia’s earliest arrivals established Clarence Town in 1829. For many years it was believed the site was at Woodman Point, about 10km south of the port city. However, Notre Dame archaeologist Dr Shane Burke claims the archaeological evidence shows Clarence was at Mt Brown, about 8km south of Woodman Point. Dr Burke has unearthed many artefacts, from bottles and coins to limestone structures believed to be part of settlers’ homes. The site also contains a gravesite with what Dr Burke claims are the remains of settlers, mostly women and children, who succumbed to the harsh and isolated conditions. However, historians Pamela Statham Drew and Ruth Marchant James disagree with Dr Burke, and state that Clarence was at Woodman Point and the area Dr Burke excavated was a small settlement made by people moving away from the initial camp in 1830.


Peel Town Archaeological Sites is rare as a place associated with the first phases of colonisation.




Site Only


Ref ID No Ref Name Ref Source Ref Date
HCWA Database No. 17868 State Heritage Office
Register National Estate
National Trust Australia (WA) Documentation National Trust WA

State Heritage Office library entries

Library Id Title Medium Year Of Publication
9424 The enigma of Clarence: Woodman Point or Mount Brown? Journal article 2008
9812 The land 'flow[ing]... with milk and honey': Cultural landscape changes at Peel town, Western Australia, 1829 - 1830 Electronic 2010

Place Type

Historic Site


Epoch General Specific
Original Use RESIDENTIAL Other
Present Use PARK\RESERVE Park\Reserve

Historic Themes

General Specific
PEOPLE Early settlers

Creation Date

18 Jun 2007

Publish place record online (inHerit):


Last Update

20 Dec 2019


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