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Perth’s Bell Tower in the Barrack Square precinct. Image – Canva.
  • Heritage status at lower levels were previously given in 2004, and 2015
  • The Bell Tower cause considerable controversy when built in 1999/2000
  • Adjacent areas have had significant redevelopment

Today, Perth’s Barrack Square and Jetties place in the State Register of Heritage Places was set in stone.

“The finalisation of its entry in the State Heritage Register will ensure the heritage of the precinct is protected as a landmark feature along our foreshore for many years to come.”

David Templeman, Heritage Minister

A heritage listing of the site by the local council was adopted in 2004, with the heritage agreement drawn up by the Heritage Council of Western Australia in 2015.

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Barrack Square as viewed from Kings Park. Image – Wikimedia Commons.

Today, the next level up, a listing on the state register of heritage places was passed.

In the past

According to Heritage Perth, Barrack Square was constructed between 1905 and 1907 by reclamation of land from the Swan River, the Swan Bell Tower construction started in 1999 and opened on 10 December 2000.

It wasn’t without controversy, a Committee for Perth case study said Western Australian’s at the time “heaped scorn” on the project, many calling it a waste of money.

There were even accusations that the then Premier, Richard Court, was “building a monument to himself”.

Today

Since then, the area has a seen a significant amount of development and is now adjacent to a water park, a sculpture locals have dubbed ‘the paperclip’, and two new luxury hotels: The Ritz Carlton, and DoubleTree Perth Waterfront.

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Front entrance to The Towers. Image – Dion Robeson.

The prestige of the area was recently raised, The Ritz Carlton received a number of awards for landscape architecture.

The award citation said the gardens “showcase the wondrous and varied indigenous landscapes of Western Australia and meet the technical challenges of building on structure.”

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Gardens from the Ritz-Carlton looking out to Elizabeth Quay. Image – Ron Tan.

The Property Tribune got in touch with locals and the area, particularly the Bell Tower, didn’t even register with some West Australians.

“I have never been up the Bell Tower because of these bad reviews. Shame”
Locals also found the love locks on the handrails at the entrance to the Bell Tower “strange”.
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Perth’s Elizabeth Quay, including Barrack Square. Image – Ritz Carlton.
Others who made the visit were more positive.
“It had great sweeping views of the city, panoramic views of the Swan River and centrally placed to enjoy the very best of what central Perth has to offer.”
A few West Australian’s who remembered the controversy at the time said it was a pity the project wasn’t larger.
“Instead of a landmark architectural feature we got a little baby play thing.”
Heritage Minister David Templeman was more positive when he spoke about the area.
“So many of us will have wonderful memories of visiting Barrack Square and Jetties to catch a ferry to Perth Zoo, enjoy a meal with friends, cycle along the river or visit the Bell Tower.”
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