The Old Mill on the South Perth peninsula survived the crossing of the Narrows Bridge completed in 1959, by the narrowest of margins. Margaret Forrest’s house was demolished without notice and thus spawned the “Save the Mill” Campaign. This was the 1950s.
The site was originally named Point Belches after Stirlings Third Lieutenant on the HMS Success. Known variously as Shenton’s Mill, Alta Gardens in 1880, The Swannery at the turn of the century when used for recuperation of sick swans, the site became the first commercial lease for Western Australia when Shenton built the original timber mill in 1833. The masonry smock mill was built after the timber mill burnt down in 1835.
The indigenous significance has been established in partnership with the support of the Sovereign Whadjuk, using key issues of significance verified for the locale for both pre and post European settlement, and identifies the site for its significance going back thousands of years, and as the origin of the battle at Pinjarra as a result of flour stealing.
The concept has evolved through a process of statutory and public engagement to now include themes of both heritage and adventure tourism which bind all key issues of significance for the site and highlight the centre pieces for both European and Indigenous significance in the restoration of the Old Mill, with its warehouse and cottage, and re-excavation of the Millers Pool to include paths bridges, and civic amenity and landscaping with swan sedges.
The precinct also includes a museum, gallery, tourism commerce, restaurants, offices, retail, public and private moorings, a flying fox from Kings Park and the pedestrian and cycle Serpent Bridge which links the precinct directly to the Kings Park and West Perth.