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History








Prior to European settlement and exploration Mount Eliza was known as Mooro Katta and Kaarta Gar-up, the Aboriginal names given by the Nyoongar inhabitants. The area has been an important ceremonial and cultural place for the Whadjuk tribe who had campsites and hunting grounds in the area.

In the 1880s Kings Park was used by the Perth section of the Volunteer Rifle Corps' (a civilian militia) for shooting.

At the base of the southern face is a freshwater spring, known as Kennedy Spring (Goonininup), which provided year-round water for the native inhabitants. The spring was noted by the first European visitors to the area, Willem de Vlamingh's party, on 11 January 1697. The Lieutenant Governor of the Swan River Colony, James Stirling, chose the townsite of Perth for this reason – the only local spring. He named the area Mount Eliza for Mrs Ralph Darling.

The Colony's first Surveyor General John Septimus Roe recognised the qualities of the area and tried to protect it, by identifying the land to be set aside for public purposes.
 By 1835 Roe's protection was overturned and the first shipment of five tonnes of jarrah was cut on Mt Eliza, becoming the colony's first export.

 Logging in the area continued until 1871 when Roe's successor Malcolm Fraser persuaded the then Governor Weld to set aside 432 acres (175 ha) as public reserve.

 This was enlarged in 1890 by 450 acres (180 ha), and in 1897 the area of the reserve was further increased to 1,017 acres (412 ha) by Sir John Forrest, the first president of the Board appointed under the Parks and Reserves Act 1895. The area of Kings Park today is 990 acres (400.6 ha), 27 acres (11 ha; 110,000 m2) smaller than in 1897.

Officially opened on 10 August 1895,[8] the park was originally called Perth Park and was renamed in 1901 to King's Park – the apostrophe was later dropped. This was to mark the ascension to the British throne of King Edward VII and the visit to Perth of George, the Duke of Cornwall and Princess Mary. One of the major roads through the park, May Drive is named in the Princess's honour. Forrest planted the first tree, a Norfolk Island Pine (Araucaria heterophylla), and other trees were introduced to the site, Eucalyptus ficifolia and exotic species of Pinus; few of these were successful due to lack of irrigation.

The Mount Eliza reservoir provided water to the local area, and still remains, but by arrangement of the lease was partly diverted for use in the park itself. This was largely allocated, after 1919, to the memorial Oaks and Planes lining May Drive. Their eventual failure led to their substitution with Bangalay, Eucalyptus botryoides, and Eucalyptus calophylla var. rosea.

Since 1999, Kings Park has been administered by the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority (BGPA), who also administer Bold Park, and does not come under any local government authority. The park's administration building contains all the administrative offices where visitors may book guided walking tours, get information, or reserve one of the facilities.




Kings Park was featured in 2006 on the American reality TV show The Amazing Race, where teams collected a clue from in front of the War Memorial.

In early 2009, the south western area of the park was severely damaged by a fire, which has been suspected to have been deliberately lit.

The Elizabeth Quay redevelopment plans include a cable car to Kings Park, although construction is not in scope for the initial phase.






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