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Goolugatup Heathcote Lower Lands

Goolugatup Heathcote Lower Lands


We have a plan to realise the potential of this significant cultural and heritage place, to rejuvenate the environment, to create a passive recreational space and to reconnect the Heathcote precinct.

Last Updated: 24 September 2020 Follow Engagement

The Goolugatup Heathcote Lower Lands located at the river level of the precinct has significant cultural heritage values. Like most land adjoining the Swan River, this site was used extensively by the Aboriginal people and was the territory of one of the Aboriginal leaders, Midgegooroo and his son Yagan. The people used the space as a lookout, fishing and camping ground. It is also noted as an important ceremonial site for men and is alternatively known as Kooyagoordup (place of the bullfrog) or Goolugatup (place of the children).

About the Engagement

During his exploration of the Swan River in 1827, the lands became the camp site of Captain James Stirling. Following European settlement, and the displacement of the Aboriginal people, the lower lands were used for growing fruit trees, market gardens and later for grazing horses and cattle.

In 1926 the lands were chosen as the site for a new hospital for the mentally ill, the Heathcote Mental Reception Home, because of the ‘peace and tranquillity that it offered’. After closing in 1994 the Heathcote Mental Reception Home was protected as a site for public use by strong community action in the late 1990s. As a result the hospital buildings and Goolugatup Heathcote Lower Lands were rezoned for parks and recreation in an agreement between the City of Melville and the State Government in the Heathcote Coordination Agreement. 

Since this time the lower lands have been used for passive recreation with little development to the site. Over a decade ago reports were researched and compiled to help guide re-vitalisation of the site that would encourage people to visit, walk and enjoy a space with direct connection to the river and views across to Kings Park and Perth City. The research reports were compiled with respect to the site being important to the history of the Whadjuk and European people. It is a recognised Aboriginal Heritage site as well as being listed on the State Heritage Register. At the time little funding was available and the project was put on hold. 

Concept Design

In 2016, a Heathcote Cultural Precinct Vision and Place Plan 2025 was developed with the following vision.

A beautiful and intimate destination that has local to international reach for cultural experiences and recreation. Built upon the uniqueness of is history and heritage, its picturesque vantage point overlooking the Swan River and its integrated qualities as a place of diverse cultural experiences.

Focus Areas:

  • Creativity and Innovation Hub - an arts centre for creatives, co-working, entrepreneurs
  • Recreational Site - playground, parks and gardens, picnics, connecting with nature
  • Re-imagined Heritage Site - interpretation of Aboriginal and post settlement history
  • Local Food Hub - varied food and beverage offerings, local artisan producers, retail

In 2018 the project to increase the amenity and interpretation of this site was once again activated. A new round of consultation with local Aboriginal elders and the Whadjuk Working Party provided a contemporary voice which led to the most recent version of the concept plan, the subject of this engagement process. Community feedback from this phase of engagement will inform the final concept plan prior to detailed design and costing.

All images are artistic impressions only

Design Intent

The City has carried out consultation and assessment over the last decade to develop plans to upgrade the existing parkland without losing its current character and history.

The size of this project will require us to stage the works over multiple years but to realise this vision we anticipate starting some work in 2021.

Elements of the concept plan include:

  • A passive use area with minimal, low key facilities;
  • Accessible shelters, toilet, drinking fountain;
  • Recognition of Aboriginal, European and environmental values with associated interpretative content, linking across upper Heathcote;
  • Referencing historic elements such as old buildings and fresh water wells;
  • A healing garden;
  • Revitalisation of the wetland in the southeast corner, and connecting it through landscape to the river; 
  • Stabilizing of the escarpment with endemic vegetation;
  • Creation of physical links with upper Heathcote (staircase, ramp, road);
  • Parking and access provisions for increased numbers of users;
  • Opportunities for holistic participation and management.

Community Involvement

Welcome to our interactive map for the Goolugatup Heathcote Lower Lands engagement. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about the features in the concept plan. 

Opportunities to leave your feedback closed at 4:00pm on Friday, 4 September 2020. Your feedback from this phase of the engagement will inform the final concept plan prior to detailed design and costing.

Read the Engagement Report

You are welcome to view the interactive map below and read what people thought about the features of the concept plan. 

View the interactive map in a new browser.

  • Parkland areaParkland area
  • Parkland area by the South of Perth Yacht ClubParkland area by the South of Perth Yacht Club
  • Interpretation nodeInterpretation node
  • The Healing GardenThe Healing Garden


  • June 2007
  • Community Stakeholder Workshop
  • November 2007 to May 2009
  • Site Surveys and Assessments
  • June 2008
  • Aboriginal Heritage Survey
  • 19 January 2010
  • City of Melville Agenda Item P10/3107
  • March 2010
  • External Summary Report
  • April 2014
  • Marli Riverpark Interpretation Plan 2014
    Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions
  • 2014
  • Heathcote Strategic Environmental Management Plan 2014-2019 (Environment)
  • August 2017
  • Aboricultural Assessment
  • 2018-2019
  • Consultation with local Elders and the Wadjuk Working Party (SWALSC)
  • February 2020
  • Revision 2 Lower Lands Concept Plan
  • 4:00pm, 4 September 2020
  • Online engagement finishes
  • Late September 2020
  • Report on engagement
  • Early December
  • Final Concept Plan

How we engaged with you

Who have we previously engaged with?

The initial concept plan for the lower lands was developed following a comprehensive site assessment and a program of engagement involving the following organisations:

  • Heritage Council
  • Landcare
  • Melville Rotary
  • Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions
  • Save Heathcote Action Group
  • South of Perth Yacht Club
  • Swan River Trust
  • Department of Indigenous Affairs
  • South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council
  • Department for Planning, Lands and Hertitage
  • National Trust
  • Wetland Conservation Society
  • Department of Training and Workforce Development (South Metropolitan TAFE)
  • Blue Water Grill
  • University of Western Australia
  • Association of Relatives and Friends of the Mentally Ill (ARAFMI)

In 2018 the project to increase the amenity and interpretation of this site was once again activated. A new round of consultation with local Aboriginal elders, site informants, traditional owners and the Whadjuk Working Party provided a contemporary voice which led to the most recent version of the concept plan, the subject of this engagement process.

Who did we engage with about the concept plan?

Heathcote and surrounds are important to the whole community because of their historical and cultural heritage in Perth.

During this phase, we were interested in consulting with local residents and current user groups. However the consultation was open to the whole community, given the importance of the site.

Some of the current user groups include joggers, dog walkers, cyclists, the South of Perth Yacht Club, the tenants of the Art Centre, the Perth Makers Markets, families visiting the gardens and the iconic playground, tourists with an interest in the site and its history, and people following the trail of the Marli River Park.

How could you get involved?

You were invited to use the interactive map on this page to provide feedback on the features in the concept plan.

What happens to the information shared by the community?

Your feedback on the concept plan will help shape the final concept plan.


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