Location: Claisebrook Village, East Perth
Distance: 5.4km loop
Trail Marker: Unmarked Trail. Download Map or KML file below
Duration: 1-2 hours
Cost: $0, free entry
Date Cycled: 28th October 2018
Kml Map File: Please click here.
With a beautiful day in Perth forecast we were looking for a new adventure and decided to get the deadly treadlys out and go exploring around the Derbal Yaragan (Swan River). I had heard about some cool art along the East Perth side of the Swan River so did a bit of research and found the Claisebrook Cove Art Trail. Not a huge amount of information was available in relation to distance and time required but I was able to download a map and info on the art sculptures so armed with that info we drove to East Perth and began this new adventure.
Being a Sunday it was surprisingly quite busy but we did get a carpark closeby and no parking fees on a Sunday which is a real bonus. It was good to see so many people out and about enjoying the outdoors, walking, cycling, boating and making the most of the beautiful Spring weather. We have so many free resources available to us as locals, you just have to google to find them.
I will say straight up that whilst we really enjoyed adventure, the map really does need updating, in fact checkpoints were actually missing which created a treasure hunt as we had to guess which way to go from checkpoint 15. The images which are small on the map, didn't always reflect what we were looking for which had us a little confused at times and we couldn't find checkpoint 26 at the Chinese Consulate so only 26 out of 27 artworks found on this trip. The pinpoint of the art was a little off sometimes too which again cause a bit of confusion and extra time but I have now placed markers on our KML file map so if you work off that you shouldn't have any trouble.
The start point for the Claisebrook Art Trail is on Royal Street, opp Regal Place right next to the bus stop.
01. Heritage Map by Malcolm MacGregor
The raised black granite base of the artwork depicts a map showing the old East Perth, its streets and blocks, together with other elements that describe its rich history.
The engraved granite tiles located edging the map refer to historical events and local landmarks that have made East Perth's history a rich and lively one. From here we head east along the path towards checkpoint 2.
02. Small Figurative Bronzes by Greg James
Heading into Macey Place we find checkpoint 2, which is a series of small lifelike bronze castings installed to delight seekers as part of the pocket park. It doesn't say how many there are, we found 4 in total. How many can you find?
03. Theatre Seats by Mark Cox
Also located in Pocket Park is checkpoint 3, two sets of curved Theatre Seats using recycled jarrah providing a pleasant place for conversation or simply to read the paper.
Departing the beautiful cool area of Pocket Park, we made our way down to the banks of the Swan River where we found 'Peace Grove'. Not actually part of the trail but a nice piece to view anyway.
The "Peace Grove" memorial commemorates Anwar Sadat and Yitchak Rabin recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize who gave their lives in the pursuit of peace . The memorial consists of a "Dove Seat" and a "Peace Plinth", both of solid stone. The Dove Seat is a seat structure, the back being the design of a dove with its wings spread. The Peace Plinth is a solid square base which displays the plaque.
More info can be found on this piece here.
Continuing on along the banks of the river we arrive at checkpoint 4.
04. Illa Kuri by Toogarr Morrison
The whole area along the riverbank at Victoria Gardens has been renamed Ngango Batta's Mooditcher, translated as 'Sunshine's Living Strength' - a place of hope and friendship for Aboriginal people. The winding pathway found at this checkpoint is named Illa Kuri and describes the chain of lakes and wetlands before the city was built.
The four Totem Granites seen below represent the special groupings of the Bibbulmun nation which is devided into two main sacred totemic entities; Manitch and Wordung. The Manitch are the totem people of the sacred white cockatoo and the Wordung are the totem people of the sacred crow. Each is bound by the marriage laws, universal to the Bibbulmun nation. The law divided the two main totemic groups into four secondary totemic skin groups named; Tondarriik, Ballarruuk, Didarriik and Naagarruuk.
Marriage can only take place between people of the opposite totem.
05. Yoondoorup Boorna by Alma Toomath
In the same vicinity you will find checkpoint 5, a very special piece of old rivergum providing a beautiful place to sit and take in the magnificent views of the Swan River. The tree had actually been removed as part of the redevelopment, was treated and returned to the site at the request of the Noongar people. Its burnt and split trunk was used as a hiding place for goods and messages by those who once camped here. Please note: The image on the map is very different to the actual tree at the site. See pic below.
Also known as the 'Claisebrook Tree' it is hereby recognised for harmony and friendship.
From here it is straight up the hill to checkpoint 6.
06. Charnock Woman Mosaic by Jenny Dawson, Sandra Hill and Miv Egan.
As mentioned, the East Perth foreshore was a meeting and camping place for the Noongar people. This colourful ceramic mosaic tells the Noongar Dreaming Story of a giant evil-spirit woman, known as Charnock woman, who stole children. We have previously heard about this dreaming through storytelling with local respected Aborginal Elder Noel Nannup, a story for another time.
Amazing views in this section of Victoria Gardens. From here the next checkpoint takes you downhill but we didn't see the point in that as checkpoint 8 was directly opposite 6 so we ventured over to that one first.
08. Victoria Gardens Shelter by Ralph Drexel
A beautiful place to sit and take in the tranquility of the gardens is this shelter. This architectural folly refers to the graceful period architecture of Richard Roche Jewell and the popularity of the original Victoria Gardens at the end of the 19th Century, which was one of the earliest public gardens in Perth.
You can then make your way down the stairs to the next checkpoint. I couldn't convince Dave and Sophie to embrace their inner Evil Knievel and ride down the stairs haha
07. The Niche Wall Mural by Joanna Lefroy Capelle
A stunning 14-metre-ong wall mural, allegory for the history and development of East Perth. It interprets the evolution of East Perth from its origins in the Bibbulmun nation, to settlement with the arrival of the Europeans, its industrial and horticultural growth, a phase of dormancy, and its renewal as a place of community and harmony of the human spirit.
The relief mural is located in a limestone colonnade alongside the Cove. Acrylic and natural resins were applied to carved, wet cement render to create the work. Vegetation from the area was used to form its distinctive texture.
Just around the bend is where you will find checkpoint number 9.
09. Trafalgar Road Culvert by Nola Farman.
During the redevelopment of East Perth, many trees were retained but this one could not be moved, its roots were so deeply entwined in the old box culvert that took the brook under Trafalgar Road. The text is written by Marcelle George and celebrates all those who lived in and loved East Perth during its years of neglect, sleeping out in the 'Star Hotel'.
Departing checkpoint 9 you really get to take in the beautiful views of the Cove and as the warmer weather approaches you are bound to see many more boats entering these waters as they park up to explore the Village or stop in for a tasty treat.
10. Channel Markers by Malcolm MacGregor
There are two checkpoints for number 10, and is where you will find seats on either side of the Cover, using the imagery or a river channel marker. They also commemorate Solomon Cook's water driven flourmill and the Caretaker's Cottage at the entry to Victoria Gardens.
Checkpoint 11 was a little tricky to find initally, the first one anyway. There are actually 3 of these pieces within the Cove.
11. Macey Walk Sculptured Seats by Mark Cox
The industrial heritage of East Perth is an important part of local history. A series of four seats, constructed of jarrah timber recycled from the old PWD workshops, are based on the theme of pulleys, beans and rollers.
The map only shows 3 locations not four but the first and second are hidden in the restaurant area, the third and fourth are more noticeable as they are on the pavement area as you walk past. Pics below are over two and four pieces.
12. Sea Queen and Standing Figure by Tony Jones
The old river boat 'Sea Queen' is permanently 'moored' at the jetty a little further up, although it was blocked off due to construction of the paved area. The fishing boat was rescued and restored by sculptor Tony Jones. The memories of a life on the river are represented in 'Standing Figure' holding a sailboat, her pivoting head always turned to the direction of the wind.
We continued on around the Cove passing the other Channel Marker, around the jetty's and out to Mardalup Park.
13. Concrete Poem by Rob Finlayson and PlanE
Mardalup Park is on the site of the old Perth Gasworks. The poem here is a palindrome about gas, meaning you can read it forward and backwards and is set into a concrete spiral.
Following the banks along Mardalup Park offers some beautiful view of the Swan River, Optus Stadium and Matagarup Bridge. I even found some hidden art in the form of an Aboriginal Dot Rock Painting placed nicely near the jetty area.
Continuing along the banks, the path then turns back in towards the parkland area and on to checkpoint 14.
14. Steel Magnolias by Jon Denaro
These sculptures are made from industrial 'junk' salvaged from the old Perth Gasworks. They are like magnificent organic plants symbolizing the park's metamorphosis from industrial land back to nature.
It's now time to leave the parklands, up the big stairs and head into more of the industrial area on to checkpoint 15.
15. Diver and Guard Dogs by Russell Sheridan
As you get to the top of the stairs you will see the first of 5 timber guard dogs guarding the subdivision of Belvidere. Make sure way along the pathway down to the end where you will find the others and the Diver itself, a figure standing on it's hands atop a timber column. The timber guardian dogs are a humorous spoof on Nelson's Column and are very popular with children.
This is where the downloaded map failed us as checkpoints 16 through to 19 are missing. Thankfully the info provided told us the street it was on. Hopefully we have got it right as the pic was a little unclear.
16. Smoke Stack Wind Vane by Stuart Green
Made of aluminium swings, this wind vane swings around inside the 'V' class locomotive smoke stack. Sculptured as an acknowledgment of the railway and its workers who worked at the Claisebrook Depot for nearly a century. The stack is arguably the last piece of coppersmithing completed at Westrail's Midland workshops before their closure.
We found checkpoint 17 the trickiest as we didn't feel the info gave us enough info so really did take a guess and continued on towards Royal St. As we turned the corner we were happy our guesswork had paid off off.
START OF THE GREENWAY
This next checkpoint marks the start of The Greenway, a walk back in time. The gentle curves of the path, the lake and the harbour reflect the original lake and wetlands, while the works along the route tell the story.
17. Drinking Fountain by Nola Farman
A simple drinking fountain marks the start of the pedestrian walkway through East Perth. Poems on the side of the fountain, written by Marcelle George, refer to earlier times before the city and its bitumen took over.
18. The Source by Nola Farman with Tract (WA)
Checkpoint 18 is pretty much opposite the water fountain. The Source is a spurting fountain creating a soothing spot to relax. It represents the unquenchable energy of the water that lies beneath the city streets.
A little further up is where we headed for the next checkpoint.
19. The Weeping Wall by Nola Farman
This curved limestone retaining wall not only ensures that a mature tree remains part of the new landscpae, but also that the water artificially seeping through is reinforces the power and presence of water in this area of Perth. The text, written by Marcelle George, talks about the abundance of food found in the Claisebrook wetland and how it was cooked in the past.
Spent a fair bit of time trying to navigate this section, due to the pinpoints on the map not matching up with the actual location. My map has shown these correctly, again hopefully I haven't completely missed it but pretty certain you will find same thing.
I am listing these in the order we found them.
21. Old Fjord Tract (WA) by Nola Farman
During construction, a cache of old cobblestones was unearthed. They have been re-laid in the approximate position of an old fjord across Claise Brook.
20. The Return of the Tea Tree by Nola Farman
The piece is actually much further around than the map shows, more like position 22. The artist has tried to create a tension between our own memories of a real wetland and the artificial landscape of The Greenway. This area used to be called Tea Tree Lagoon and the artist had locally extinct paper barks grown especially for the site. The paperbarks appear to be forcing their way through the paving; irregularities in the limestone channel make the water bubble and dance.
22. Turtle Walk by Nola Farman
The Turtle Walk was also a bit further up than the map shows although there are a few turtles near the Tea Tree, the main huddle of turtles is just up in the main pond between the two footbridges. The turtle shapes are used as a symbol; the line a reference to the traditional path used by Noongar people on their way to the ceremonial grounds at Mount Eliza.
23. Sound Chamber by Nola Farman
Also another that we struggled to find as the map shows it being on the path in the middle of the pond. It is actually much closer to checkpoint 24 and hidden in the gardens just before you enter the underpass (Sound Chamber). The plaque on the ground just before is what caught my eye to search this area a bit thoroughly.
The tiny sculptured pool and bronze turtle are part of a sound system in the underpass that amplifies the natural sound of running water.
We made our way through the underpass to the next checkpoint which passes through the entire length of The Greenway.
24. The Greenway Stream by Nola Farman
The ability of water to sculpt the landscape and carve its own path has inspired the creative design of the 'eroded' water channel along the length of the Greenway.
END OF THE GREENWAY
We then departed Claisebrook Village, made our way up the stairs to Brook St for the last few checkpoints.
25. The Impossible Triangle by Brian McKay an Ahmad Abas
The 13.5m landmark artwork stands at the gateway to East Perth. The impossible Triangle was devised by Mathematician Sir Roger Penrose in the 1950's. There are only two positions from which the triangle appears complete....and clearly I did not get one of them haha
26. Chinese Consulate by Kevin Draper
Never to be found - perhaps will have an update soon as I query with local council but apparently there was detail of a metal screen commissioned for the new Chinese Consulate in East Perth. The artist used traditional configuration of bamboo from original Chinese drawings.
After thoroughly searching for the last checkpoint, we eventually gave up and made our way to the last piece of the trail.
27. Red Surveyor by Jon Tarry
Located outside the Boans Warehouse, the Red Surveyor looks out over East Perth from his vantage point faithfully recording all changes.
Well that's another beautiful trail in Perth enjoyed. It was nice to do something a little bit different from the usual bush type trails.
If you haven't checked out this one I highly recommend it especially with the kids as it can be used as a little treasure hunt, search for the artwork. Hopefully with our map you won't run into the same troubles we had. I will get on to the local council and see if theirs can be updated but until then if you do head out we would love to hear your thoughts on the trail. Please feel free to tag us in your adventures and if you find checkpoint 26 please share it with us as it's driving me mad haha.
We acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we walk, the traditional lands of the Noongar people & wish to acknowledge them as traditional owners paying respects to their Elders, past & present, and Elders from other communities who may be here today.