Nedlands history: from ‘Ned’s Land’ to Perth’s elite

Nedlands history: from ‘Ned’s Land’ to Perth’s elite
Nedlands history: from ‘Ned’s Land’ to Perth’s elite

IN THE early 1850s, Colonel John Bruce bought Swan Location 86 as an investment for his son Edward and the 320 acres become known as “Ned’s Land.”

The Bruce estate was bought by Sir George Shenton in 1893 and transferred to the Crown in 1910.

Development in the area occurred mainly between 1910 and 1920 and land was put aside for churches, recreation and schools.

A key landmark at the time was the Nedlands’ Park Hotel, built in 1908 as a hotel for farmers and country residents.

It could be reached by a tram from the city centre.

The hotel was purchased by Stephen McHenry in 1935 and become known as Steve’s.

Over the years, it became a favourite haunt for students from nearby UWA.

In the 1920s, there was a Perth-wide building boom and the population of Nedlands and surrounding areas began to grow.

A by-law prevented construction in any material other than brick and housing styles shifted from Federation cottage and bungalow to variations of Californian bungalow.

Old English and Tudor styles were also popular.

A number of well-to-do ex-servicemen and their brides began to settle in Nedlands in the 1920s and the area become knows as “The Bridal Suburb.”

The 1930s saw growth in the number of flats being built, particularly along Stirling Highway and near UWA. Strict building regulations required the flats to blend with the residential nature of their surroundings.

Today, Nedlands has a population of more than 10,000 and contains a mix of housing, including low cost residences for students and more premium homes.

While neighbouring Dalkeith contains 98 per cent houses, Nedlands has a much greater proportion of villas, townhouses, flats and units.

Nedlands is also home a number of hospitals and medical specialists, including Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Hollywood Private Hospital, the Lions Eye institute, QE II Medical Centre and will house the new Perth Children’s Hospital. n