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History and Heritage

Aboriginal History

Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures are the oldest continuous living cultures in the history of the world – they go back at least 50,000 years ago.  There are many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures in Australia, made up of people from a rich diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tribal groups throughout Australia which each speak their own languages and have distinctive cultural beliefs and traditions. 

The Aboriginal Bidi (paths) have become today’s highways and roads.  When the south west was explored by the Europeans, they commented on the existence of well clear paths and tracks between major campsites and places where favourite food and other resources could be collected.  Early colonial roads frequently followed the line of Whadjuk tracks as many of these tracks passed water resources.

Milestones Towards Today's City of Melville

  • 1901 - Melville Roads Boards was established

  • 1904 - first Melville Roads Board building constructed on Kintail Road, Applecross

  • 1912 - Telegraphy station opens at Wireless Hill

  • 1913 - Melville Roads Board Council chambers built on cnr of Stock Road and Canning Highway, Bicton

  • 1962 - We became the Town of Melville

  • 1968 - We became the City of Melville

  • 2018 - We celebrated our 50th milestone as the City of Melville. As part of the City of Melville's 50th anniversary we reached out to the community to find some interesting stories from our long-time Melville residents

The City of Melville Crest

The meaning behind the City of Melville armorial bearings.

City of Melville Crest


  • The tree symbolises the verdant nature of the City which has led to the term The Garden City
  • The wavey lines represent the boundaries of the City determined by the Swan and Canning rivers
  • The ship signifies the arrival of Captain Stirling in Melville Waters in 1827


  • The lion’s face is taken from the Crest of Lord Melville because of the historical association of that family with the foundation of the original Colony
  • The thunderbolt depicts communication and represents the association of the Municipality with the development of international telegraphy and the history of the Wireless Hill station


  • The rampant black swans define Melville as part of the State of Western Australia


  • Quod Potui Perfeci is Latin for the phrase "That which is possible I have accomplished"

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