Heritage buildings and museums

The City of Kwinana is proudly home to a unique assortment of heritage sites, buildings, landmarks and a museum which captures the rich history of the region. Listed below are just a handful of the historically significant places within the City. Further information on historically significant places within the City can also be found in the City’s adopted Local Heritage Survey and Heritage List.

Smirk's Cottage Heritage Sites

Situated off Beacham Crescent in Medina, Smirk’s Cottage Heritage Site is rich in history and stories. The site includes a number of unique historical buildings, the most significant being Smirk’s Cottage, Settlement House and the Museum, which are all cared for by the Kwinana Heritage Group.

Smirk’s Cottage is a modest two-room cottage built in the 1900s at this site and is an excellent example of the type of accommodation for a working family at this time. This charming cottage has displays which replicate the layout and décor of a bygone era.

Built in 1922, Settlement House is a timber home which demonstrates the type of cottage provided to soldiers during settlement in the area. Originally located on Lyons Road, this building was moved to the Smirks site to ensure its future as a historically significant house.

The Museum displays the historical collection, a fascinating array of objects, memorabilia and stories of settlement, development and history of the area. Smaller buildings on the site exhibit other interesting artefacts including a tractor, tools and vintage machinery.

Kwinana Heritage Group has been restoring and caring for the Cottages since the late 1980s and operate from the Museum building. The group's volunteers meet every Monday and Wednesday morning. The public are welcome to visit or enquire about membership. An open day is held on the first Sunday of every Month from 10am to 3pm and special arrangements can be made for group bookings.

Location2 Beacham Crescent, Medina 6167
Open to the public on the first Sunday of every month from 10am to 3pm. Special arrangements can be made for group bookings.
CostA gold coin donation for entry is appreciated

Kwinana Heritage Group
Email: kwinanaheritagegroup2@gmail.com​
Ph: 08 9439 6342

The Spectacles 

Part of the Beeliar Regional Park, The Spectacles is 360 hectares of natural bush and wetlands situated within the City of Kwinana. The wetlands are home to a diverse range of bird species and native animals and have one of the largest stands of Paper-bark woodlands in the metropolitan area. The area is a significant Aboriginal site, a traditional land for the Wadjuk Nyoongar people as a ceremonial, camping and food gathering site.

The two walk trails at The Spectacles provide great opportunities for bird watching, discovering Aboriginal Heritage stories and learning about  its ecological significance through the interpretive signage found along the trail.

LocationMcLaughlan Road, Spectacles
InformationParks and Wildlife website

The Friends of The Spectacles (FotS) is a volunteer group that protect the Spectacles wetlands through various bush care activities. FotS also seeks to increase its knowledge of the land by learning from the local Nyoongar people. The group meets at The Spectacles every third Sunday of the month between 9am and 12noon.

LocationMcLaughlan Road Carpark, follow path to meet at the Amphitheatre area

Friends of The Spectacles

 Email: fotsmail@gmail.com

 Tel: 0419 983 956

Kwinana Loop Trail

The Kwinana Loop Trail has been developed by the City of Kwinana with funding from Lotterywest. The trail provides a 21km circuit around the perimeter of the city. It offers a unique opportunity to take in some of Kwinana’s best views, while experiencing the beauty of the City’s natural coastal bushland. The hills and twists of the Loop Trail make for an exciting mountain bike ride or a peaceful leisurely walk and is the perfect route for cross country training.

The trail weaves through Nyoongar Country and includes a number of significant Aboriginal Heritage sites including Thomas Oval. Interpretive signage along the trail provides information relating to Kwinana’s Aboriginal Heritage and other culturally significant sites. 

More details on how to explore the trail can be found on our fun parks and playgrounds page.

Medina Townsite 

The Medina Townsite was classified by the National Trust WA as a Historic Townsite on 14 May 2007. This recognises the significant heritage values - social, natural and built – of Medina, and advocates for the conservation and promotion of these values. Medina is recognised as an ancient camping ground for Aboriginals, and is significant in more recent Aboriginal History. The place is also the largest purpose built, planned town to service industry in Western Australia, providing for the workers and their families of the BP Refinery in the 1950s.

To discover more about the history of Medina, The Medina Residents Association provide an annual Heritage Walk held in May, contact the group for more details or check What’s On for event information.


Medina Residents Association 

Email: medinaresidents@hotmail.com

Tel: 08 9419 3201

Website: Medina Residents Group Facebook page.

Mead Homestead

Also known as Lealholm, this place was home to the Mead family, who were pioneers in the State and owned the property for over 130 years. The farming property includes an early homestead, remnants of working buildings and an orchard in a setting of cleared pasture.

HorsePower Peel Group are the current residents of the property and they have already undertaken substantial works to reinstate the lands. The future vision for restoration of Homestead, which was built in 1895, includes a community space and tea rooms.

This place is of significant cultural value for its role in settlement within the Rockingham Kwinana region and is on the State Register of Heritage Places. The site is not yet accessible to the general public, but more information on its history and value can be found on the Heritage Council website

Kwinana Signal Box 

The Kwinana Signal Box is one of the few surviving railway signal cabins in Western Australia and played an important role during the development of the Kwinana Marshalling Yard, which was established in the late 1960s. Although the site is not accessible to the public, it can be seen from the bridge over Rockingham Road in Kwinana Beach.

This site is of exceptional significance and is on the State Register of Heritage Place. For more information on its history and value see the Heritage Council website.

Site History

History of Smirks Cottage

An excellent example of the type of accommodation for a working family at this time, the cottage was originally for William Stark (1867 to 1942) and his wife, Johanna (1861 to 1946) and their dairy and market garden. William and his brother Thomas ran a market garden business supplying Fremantle retailers from 1898 until 1912. William was also elected to the Fremantle Roads Board in 1910 and took an active role in the community, being involved in annual fairs (at which his onions and potatoes won prizes) and the Fremantle Symphony Orchestra in the 1920s. Both William and Johanna were second generation settlers and children of convicts.

Thomas Smirk, William's father, was convicted and sent to Western Australia as a convict in 1848. He married Eliza Hymus and they settled in East Rockingham running a dairy and market gardening farm. Thomas was a member of the Fremantle District Roads Board – the precursor to local government – and taught Sunday School for many years. Eliza was the daughter of settlers Pheobe and Frederick Hymus who arrived in Australind WA, on the Diadem in 1842 in Australind.

Thomas and Eliza had thirteen children, including William. Johanna's parents were Thomas Kavanagh and Ann Malone. Thomas was convicted of highway robbery in Ireland in 1850 and was sentenced to 10 years transportation. He arrived in 1853, leaving behind a wife and four children. Thomas and Ann Malone lived together but never married. They had nine children of which only four survived childhood.

Johanna was born Mary Jean, the second of their children. Thomas was regularly arrested and sentenced to periods of incarceration with hard labour for being drunk, idle or stealing. In 1906 while in prison on Rottnest Island, Thomas and two other inmates escaped to the mainland triggering a colony-wide search for them. They were eventually recaptured a few weeks later.

In 1889, when she was 29, Johanna gave birth to a son, Robert Joseph, by a William McCall. When William Smirk and Johanna married Robert (also known as Robert Richard or Richard Robert) would have been 12. Later in life Robert was to serve at Gallipoli and France during World War One. He lived in Queensland after the war and seems to have never returned to Western Australia.

William and Johanna moved into the cottage after their wedding in 1902 and lived there until the late 1930s when the property was taken over by George Frederick Charles, a storekeeper from Fremantle. The land was resumed by Kwinana Council in 1953 and was used as a caretaker's home for the Council Depot until 1987. It was saved from demolition in the 1980s when its importance to the history of the area was recognised. It was later listed by the National Trust.

In the 1990s the cottage and surrounding site were restored by the Kwinana Heritage Group and the site was opened to the public.

History of Sloan’s Cottage

On 22nd April, 1880, George Samuel Sloan married Emma Eliza Smirk. They took up 40 acres at Cockburn Sound Location 279 vol. 27 folio 386, in 1889. Their first residence was built on a site west of the present cottage, "Woodlands Farm". This was included in land resumed for the Kwinana New Town in 1953.

The 22.66 ha. property was made a reserve in 1958 and local organisations grew vegetables on the flat ground with the bush area being leased for stock grazing. George Sloan farmed the land supplying vegetables and fruit to the Fremantle Markets.

In 1911 George built the present cottage on Sloan Reserve. In 1969 the old cottage, in remarkable good condition for its age, was brought to the attention of the National Trust, the W.A. Conservation Council and the Town Planning Department who agreed that the reserve and cottage showed real potential as an interesting old building and rural retreat, however lack of finance prevented any attempt to exploit the possibilities.

By 1973 the cottage was badly vandalised and was little more than a heap of dangerous rubble. The council decided to bulldoze it down, but acceded to Cr. Walter Prockter's appeal to rebuild.

Sloan's Cottage is a fine example of what one man's painstaking efforts can achieve. In 1975 a commonwealth Grant of $311,000 was used for electricity and water supply, a toilet block, water tank, fencing, access road and car park.

History of Settlement House

A former soldiers settlement house built in 1922, the timber for this home was carted to the site in Lyons Road from the Jandakot siding and was the home of Harold Willis and Families.

The house is an example of the Soldiers Settlement and Group Settlement period of our history which helped develop the market gardens and dairy industries of Baldivis and Mandogalup. It was once thought the building was the old Mandogalup Post Office, however advice from local residents and the Kwinana Heritage Group has indicated the building is part of an old house from the original Soldier Settlement Scheme and was previously located on Lyons Road.

During the 1970s the need for a Guide Hall was evident and the house was moved to Lot 2 Mandogalup Road for this purpose. Members of the Mandogalup committee, which included the De San Miguel and Willis Families, and Alf Lydon moved the house.

According to the Kwinana Heritage Group there is very little evidence of remnants of this period and they believed that it would be an excellent opportunity to preserve the building. The group requested the building be transported to the location of Smirk’s Cottage as an addition to a future museum to complete a journey through history.

The Settlers Cottage has at last been set to rest on the grounds of the Kwinana Heritage Group Inc, where it has been so lovingly restored by the dedicated group of helpers within.

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