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Perth Town Hall


The Town Hall under construction 5 December 1868 as seen from the rear of Barrack Street (SLWA 6909B126) perhaps from roughly where Cathedral Avenue is now. The foundation stone was laid in 1867, and it was completed in 1871. The building on the left is the Guard House - the original barracks.

Between 1850 and 1868, nearly 10,000 male convicts were transported to Western Australia to overcome a drastic labour shortage that was holding back the development of the Swan River Colony. Many were specially selected to come to Western Australia because of their artisan skills and, with good behaviour and backbreaking labour, could receive their ticket-of-leave and eventually a conditional release. The Perth Town Hall was built by these men between 1867 and 1870, to a design by Richard Roach Jewell and James Manning. It is said that a team of 15 convicts worked every day for three years to complete the building. As the only convict-built town hall in Australia, colourful stories exist about special messages encoded in the building’s design. The small windows of the tower are said to resemble the broad arrows emblazoned on the convicts’ uniforms and a hangman’s rope design surrounds the Hall’s clock faces. These convict messages are a hoax—the broad arrow merely signified government property—but the tales are still told. (Text from a City of Perth walking trail pamphlet)

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Garry Gillard | New: 4 June, 2018 | Now: 9 November, 2019