With History with Luba about to be history (Adult Services Librarian Luba is retiring at the end of the year), over the next few weeks we’ll be posting the History with Luba column that has been appearing during the year in the City’s monthly newsletter Cockburn Soundings. Working backwards, we’ll start with the December issue where Luba takes a look at the suburb of Wattleup.

1000 acres in Wattleup was originally assigned to Thomas Watson, a colonial surveyor, in June 1831 as a timber grant. It was later sold to George Leake, a Fremantle merchant, and passed down through his daughter to various members of the Brown family, into which she had married.

Subdivision at the western end of Wattleup commenced in 1931 when it was owned by Isadore Walters and Whitfords Ltd. Investigations during the subdivision showed that there had been a road, locally known as Wattleup Road, for the previous 30 years. It was resolved that the name be adopted officially and the area be simply named “Wattleup”. In 1961 local developers, T & T Enterprises Pty Ltd, subdivided the eastern section into 4 hectare (10 acre) lots for market gardeners and proposed naming their subdivision “Wattleup Gardens Estate”.

Wattleup had been an area of swamps and lakes that were filled over time. It was a place of blackboys, jarrah and paperbark trees that were cleared to establish market gardens, fruit trees, vines and pasture for cattle. Prior to the 1961 subdivision the area was prolific with wildflowers: different sorts of orchids, kangaroo paws and wattle. The lakes were full of frogs, inhabited by tortoises and gilgies and also home to tammars, bandicoot and spotted native cats. You could even find local children paddling on the lakes in homemade corrugated iron canoes.

In the 90s Wattleup and nearby Hope Valley were earmarked by the State Government for redevelopment. This project, now rebranded as Latitude 32 Industry Zone, has seen the demolition of most of the houses in the area making way for future commercial and industrial precincts

– Luba Kambourakis, Adult Services Librarian. This article first appeared in the  December 2012 edition of Cockburn Soundings