A FEW prominent people have had a strong influence in the naming of Perth’s western suburbs.
Fremantle was named after Sir Charles Fremantle, Cottesloe was named after his brother Sir Thomas Fremantle, the 1st Baron Cottesloe, and Swanbourne commemorates Swanbourne House, the seat of the Fremantle family.
The first permanent residents in the area were the Langoulant family, who established Pleasant Valley Farm near Butler’s Swamp.
Langoulant was a Frenchman who jumped ship in Albany and all the Langoulants today are his descendants.
The farm was sold to the Mayo family, who built a new home at 14 Cross Street.
Regulations only allowed one building on a residential block and the original farmhouse was demolished in the 1950s.
While Swanbourne is now a residential suburb, originally it was used for farming and dairy farming was an important local industry in the early 20th century.
The opening of the Perth to Fremantle railway in 1881 saw settlement grow along the rail line and the first residential homes in the area were built around 1890.
Noted Australian author Joseph Furphy, who under the name Tom Collins wrote the Australian classic novel bush novel Such is Life, moved to Swanbourne late in life to join his sons, who had come to WA and established an iron foundry. He lived in Servetus Street, and the house he built is now in the Swanbourne Heritage precinct.
Swanbourne’s other claim to fame is having Perth’s only ‘clothing optional’ beach.
North Swanbourne beach has been used for nude bathing since before World War II.
The suburb is also home to Campbell Barracks, the base for the Special Air Service Regiment.
Swanbourne is characterised by Federation-style homes and has undergone some redevelopment in recent years, with larger blocks being subdivided and new homes built, as well as several apartment projects. n