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East Perth 1916-1981: A changing commercial and industrial landscape

Christensen, J. (2011) East Perth 1916-1981: A changing commercial and industrial landscape. 2011 The Author.



This Working Paper is an outcome of research undertaken as part of the ARC Linkage Grant project on the history of the East Perth Power Station, directed by Professor Lenore Layman (Murdoch University). The Working Paper examines changes in the historical geography of East Perth, Western Australia, during the operational life of the East Perth Power Station (E.P.P.S) between 1916 and 1981. The aim is to locate the E.P.P.S. in its inner-city landscape, in order to connect the power station, historically and geographically, to the changing form and function of a twentieth-century, inner-city, Western Australian suburb. A such, this Working Paper also offers an insight into the changing commercial and industrial landscape of 20th -Century Perth.

The Paper is divided into three main sections. The first section examines East Perth and the E.P.P.S. in 1916, the second reviews the inter-war and post-war periods, and the third examines the inner-city decline and transition culminating in the closure of the power station in 1981. The Report is fully referenced, and a complete bibliography is included. Three appendices are also been attached to the Report, to reproduce primary materials on industrial pollution and contemporary advertisements for East Perth industries, and to describe useful maps and photographs located during research.

At the level of human experience, the historical geography of East Perth between 1916 and 1981 encapsulates familiarity as well as change. Changing perceptions of the E.P.P.S. itself demonstrate this point; the same well-known industrial landmark has been a symbol of advanced technology and the harbinger of twentieth-century progress, the foundation of a state’s electricity infrastructure and a mainstay in the structure of a working-class community, a bypassed relic of past economic development and the derelict reminder of a bygone era. Since 1916 the E.P.P.S. has both shaped, and been defined by, the changing inner-city landscape of East Perth. Upon these historical links rests the special quality of the heritage value of the E.P.P.S.

Publication Type: Working Paper
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Social Sciences and Humanities
Series Name: Working Paper. Murdoch Business School
Publisher: 2011 The Author
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