Before Cottesloe

For the early settlers of Perth access to the coast between Perth and Fremantle was not easy.

The Perth Fremantle Road was always in need of repair and the land between Fremantle and Perth was deemed to be “barren and worthless”. Much of the traffic between Perth and its port went by river. The area that would become Cottesloe was unnamed and sparsely settled as can be seen in the map below.

In 1883 the land was subdivided and in 1886 Cottesloe was named. Once gold was discovered in the eastern goldfields, Perth’s population boomed and land sales took off in Cottesloe. In 1895 the first Cottesloe Roads Board was formed and the founding members realised the potential of developing the beach.

Significant dates at this time include:

  • 1881

    Railway opens

    The railway between Perth and Fremantle opens and things begin to change

  • 1883

    Cottesloe subdivided and in 1886 named

    Cottesloe was named after Baron Cottesloe, brother of Captain Charles Fremantle who annexed the west coast of New Holland for the British Crown in 1829

  • 1892

    Gold rush

    Gold finds in Coolgardie/Kalgoorlie  cause a massive boom in the Western Australian population and land sales take off in Cottesloe

  • 1895

    Cottesloe Roads Board formed

    Seaside resorts and the health benefits of ‘sea bathing’ were well known in Britain and the eastern colonies. Members of new Roads Board saw the potential of the beach to attract visitors and raise revenue. One of their first recommendations was to build a sea jetty

The extract from the 1870 map below, from the State Records Office, shows the landholdings before Cottesloe was subdivided in 1883. The route of the proposed 1881 railway was added after it was printed. Hover over the numbers for further information.


Lot 84 Prospect Place. John Butler’s land, now Peppermint Grove


Site of the first Halfway House or Bush Inn, just east of the corner of present day Irvine and View Streets.


Lot 349. Site of the second Halfway House, now the Albion Hotel


Lot 537. Louis Langoulant’s farm, Pleasant Valley, now Allen Park


Track from ferry crossing across the Swan River.

1870. Before Cottesloe was surveyed or named.
Source: Swan-Cockburn Sound and Canning. E G Dean draughtsman. January 1870 SROWA. Cons 4927 Swan 13