Fremantle Stuff > parks > Booyeembara Park. This is the homepage. See also other pages for the bike track, the amphitheatre, the skatepark, the playground, the helicopter, yachts (and fish). And these pages for the name, and the 1999 masterplan.

Booyeembara Park

The land now known as Booyeembara Park was once a quarry and then used for landfill. In the late 1990s the Montreal Street Open Space Master Plan evolved through a collaborative process with the Montreal Open Space Steering Committee, which included local elders, community representatives, councillors and landscape architects. In 2000 it was officially named Booyeembara Park; Booyeembara is a Nyoongar word meaning 'of the limestone hills’.

Booyeembara Park is on the corner of Stevens and Montreal Streets Fremantle and adjacent to the (public) Fremantle Golf Course to the north and the (private) Royal Fremantle Golf Course to the east. In the photo below, one of the RFGC greens can be seen bottom right, and the 17th tee is at the top.


This area was first a limestone quarry, and then a tip for building material, and then weeds: the Montreal Street Open Space. Proposals for its development as a park were considered in 1993. A summary of the Fremantle Society submission, prepared by Trevor Knowles, is in the newsletter for October 1993. It's striking to see that the item at the very bottom of the 'not desirable' list is a lake - which is perhaps the current Park's most noticeable feature.

What follows are some pages which used to be in the 'photos' area of my personal site. This first page shows general snaps of the park.

Master Plan 1999


I hope you'll be able to view this plan on a screen large enough to see the detail: click/tap for larger size. This is a photograph I took of part of a sign that used to be near the corner of Montreal and Stevens Streets but was removed.


This is the 2020 replacement. Again: click/tap for larger size.

It shows some features you'll recognise, like the lines of olive trees, and some of which you may not have been aware, especially the three axes - or 'narratives' - which are supposed to bear the 'meaning' of the Park's layout. Two of them notionally meet at a point on the 17th tee of the RFGC. The third has not yet come into any kind of existence.

The 'geomorphological narrative', 'the making of limestone', is a line from the Montreal Stevens Streets corner to the aforesaid 17th tee. I think it is meant to suggest the progression of the formation of limestone - a carbonate sedimentary rock that is often composed of the skeletal fragments of marine organisms, which over time become forms of calcium carbonate. The first feature, below the lookout, is a spiral which I think is meant to represent a seashell, such as a nautilus. The path leading to the pond passes through artificial banks which are meant to represent sand dunes. Sculptures along the path have seashells embedded in them. The far end of the 'narrative' is a limestone cliff which is as far as the historical quarrying got before it was abandoned.

The second (northern) 'narrative' axis (next to the driving range) is clearly marked by the lines of the olive trees. It is the 'recycling narrative' - meant to show 'the building of Fremantle'. I can't sum this up in a sentence: you'll have to look at the masterplan.

The third - 'community' - 'narrative' has not yet been instituted. It was meant to be a series of gardens beginning at the Stevens Street entrance to the Park, showing changes in the community's self-perception through changes in domestic gardens, in three stages: the traditional garden of the past, the domestic garden of the present, and a future garden in which 'the indigenous landscape is fully embraced'.

Two of the lines of olive trees bottom right. Young trees on the mound in the centre.

Four years later, the olive trees have been pruned into their mature shapes, and a view appears under the branches.

The 'lake' at the centre. It's an artificial hollow lined with blue plastic sheeting. Guys who used to sail their model yachts on it called it as the 'swamp' (or so one of them told me) so they were Swampies.

What is now the Park was first a quarry, and then a rubbish tip. When I first moved to the area in 1992, I enjoyed walking on the fill which by then covered the tip, which of course remains beneath the surface.

Another photo from the RFGC 17th tee. This one shows what is intended as a sort of traditional meeting place and story-telling area.

Locals would recognise Jan ter Horst's house on the skyline, right, and Garden Island, a naval base, dimly perceptible in the far distance. The area in the foreground is fenced and the (planted) native vegetation is doing well as a result.

I've taken a great many photos of the lake.

There are two people under the tree.

The piles that hold up the jetty on the western side are mirrored by six similar piles on the eastern side, holding up nothing, suggesting the other end of an unbuilt bridge.

One of my favourites. I managed to get a bird on each of the nugatory piles, plus a bunch of ducks swimming north.

The 'Swampies' have put some buoys in the lake to make a course around which to race.

I wonder what will happen if I shoot straight into the sunlight? Oh ... OK.

Well, I think it's worth another snap.

This perfect rainbow wouldn't fit into my viewfinder.

So I had to shoot it in two parts. I have nfi why the sky seems to be a different colour above and below the bow. Something to do with the magic of digital photography, I spose.

My best yachts photo. I hope there's a slight trompe-l'oeil effect. We don't get swans every day, so I was keen to get this pair in. Unfortunately, the light wouldn't cooperate, so they're only getting a bit of reflected, while the boring ducks are getting it direct. Sigh. Also, the swans kept dipping their heads in the water - so I didn't have much choice as to the moment.

The nicest spot is under some trees right near the water.

Michael Booth was a long-term and much-loved teacher at Murdoch University.

His partner, Joan Eveline, donated a bench to the Park in memory of Michael.

Now she has also departed, and I assume that their friends - hers and Michael's - have donated this new plaque, as the old one had become illegible.

... as you can see.

References and Links

Rose Wise Pinter was the key person on the Council when the Park was being set up.

David Hutchison's note about the park in Fremantle Walks.

Website of Friends of Booyeembara Park

Notes in Fremantle, the newsletter of the Fremantle Society: October 1993 from the time before the Park was laid out.

Master plan - text only. The PDF is available online somewhere - I've forgotten where I found it.

Garry Gillard | New: 5 November, 2009 | Now: 13 November, 2020