Local history:

Intramaps is a fantastic resource for doing local history research in the Cockburn area, like finding your old house in Spearwood, seeing what used to be on the land where Adventure World is now, or tracing the changing layouts of roads, railways, and suburbs.

This guide will show you how to navigate the City of Cockburn’s Aerial Imagery module to see the changing face of Cockburn since 1953.

Cockburn Intramaps Aerial Imagery

The City of Cockburn’s Intramaps is available to the public, and it has several different uses. This guide focuses on using the Aerial Imagery module to view historical aerial photographs, beginning in 1953 and stretching up to the most recent aerial shot, which far outstrips Google Maps in its accuracy and currency.

We’ll focus on one area in the City to get a good idea of the scope of the service, as well as the huge changes that have taken place in Cockburn over the past 65 years. To get started, go to Intramaps, click Access Intramaps, and read and accept the Disclaimer. Let’s get started!

Intramaps homepage

Screenshot of the homepage of Cockburn Intramaps with numbers noting locations of important sections

This is the first page you’ll see once you’re in Intramaps. There are four numbers on this picture, so let’s explore each one.

  1. Modules: the important module for our purposes is Aerial Imagery.
  2. Layers: These allow us to control the things we see on the map screen. Everything from road labels to suburb boundaries are here to be made visible or invisible with the click of a mouse. This is also where you will find the different years for the aerial photographs.
  3. Aerial slider: No matter what year of aerial photographs you’re viewing on the map, you can slide this left and right to view the most current photo overlaid on the photo you’re looking at.
  4. Address search: If you want to see what used to be on the site of your house, you can search your address or street name here to find the property, then go back through the years via layers.

Intramaps Modules and Layers

Cockburn Intramaps aerial imagery view

On the left, select Aerial Imagery in the Modules tab, and you will see the map change to an aerial photograph (above) similar to the satellite view of Google Maps.

In the Layers tab, scroll down and click the blue plus beside the box labelled ‘Aerial 1950 – 2000’.

This expands the box out and shows all the available historical aerial photographs from 1953 up to 2000.

The available options are 1953, 1965, 1974, 1981, 1995, 1999, and 2000. For choices beyond 2000, expand the boxes above this one.

Note: Layers automatically display the latest date ticked, so remember to untick if you want to go backwards in time.

Find your location

In this example, we’ll find the City of Cockburn Administration Building, 9 Coleville Crescent Spearwood. If you’re looking for a specific address, type it into the search bar at the bottom of the screen. Otherwise, you can click, drag, and zoom in and out of the map just as you would Google Maps, so you can find your area of interest that way instead.

Screenshot of Intramaps showing detail of City of Cockburn administration centre May 2018

Spearwood 2018

Here is the City of Cockburn administration building, Spearwood Library, and Seniors Centre, along with the Cockburn Bowling Club. This is the current aerial photo, May 2018.

The white lines are property boundaries, and you can removed them by unticking the Cadastre box in the menu.

If we tick the Layers box ‘Cockburn_1953’, we can see what the area looked like 65 years ago…

Intramap screenshot of the City of Cockburn administration area in 1953

Spearwood 1953

Quite a difference!

The building at the top left of the area is the Spearwood Agricultural Hall, built in 1927 after being removed from the Fremantle Hospital.

In the bottom right, the Spearwood Rovers Soccer Club had their grounds, with a small building visible to the left that was their changing room.

And apart from that, the land is almost empty. Zooming further out, you can see that the Spearwood area was still largely market gardens back then.

Intramaps screenshot of Cockburn administration area, 1981

Spearwood 1981

Ticking the ‘Cockburn_1981’ box in layers jumps us forwards almost 30 years, and the site is hardly recognisable.

By 1981 the Agricultural Hall and Soccer Club were long gone, replaced by the Civic Centre (later Seniors Centre, north side) and the Cockburn Bowling Club respectively.

The Council administration building (on the west side) was completed in 1978, and the Spearwood Library (on the south side) in 1976, and the surrounding areas are highly suburban, with few remaining market gardens.

The possibilities for this fantastic resource are endless, and it’s great fun to play around with once you get the hang of it. If you have any questions about how to use the Cockburn Intramaps Aerial Imagery, please get in touch with the library, either by commenting on this post or through our Contact Us page.