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Gateway to Agriculture

Mechanics Institute

Guildford, nestled near the banks of the Swan River, became an important port settlement for the fledgling Swan River colony. Ideally situated near the only main transport source, the Swan River, Guildford became the gateway to the inland agricultural areas of the swan valley and Darling Ranges.

The town of Guildford is located 13km east of Perth. Founded in 1829, Guildford was named after the town of Guildford in Surrey, England (near the birthplace of Ellen Stirling, the wife of Lieutenant-Governor James Stirling). Guildford became a thriving inland port with flat bottom cargo boats transporting produce from the Swan Valley region to the city, via the Swan River.

The town was planned by surveyor H.C. Sutherland in 1829 and he set aside land facing Stirling Square for government buildings.

The first Government buildings to be constructed may come as no surprise, were two prison cells and a constable’s room. A sturdy set of stocks were also erected for the unruly criminals. A section of the original cells still remain. In 1866 the Guildford Courthouse was built and now functions as the Guildford Visitors Centre.

Interesting Facts About Guildford

Woodbridge House was built for Charles Harper who was the inventor of the Harper Fence.

Mr John Welbourne, who built the Guildford Gaol complex, handed in his trowel after completing the building, to become its new Police Constable

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