Stirling Square

HERITAGE

Traditional Owners: The land around Guildford has been occupied by the traditional Aboriginal owners for more than 40,000 years. Initial contact with colonial parties was friendly but restrictions imposed on land use and differing cultural attitudes soon lead to conflict and the introduction of diseases had a dramatic impact on Aboriginal society. Stirling Square was used as a main meeting place, which continues today.

Inland Port: Guildford was one of Western Australia's original three settlements, designated the new colony's inland port and market town. The location was chosen as it was as far upstream as easily navigable. It provided access to the fertile lands of the Swan Valley and became an important connection in the transportation of agricultural products to the coastal ports. Development took time and the settlement struggled before the arrival of convict labour in the 1850s and the gold rush of the 1890s.

Surviving Architecture: Examples of colonial architecture are evident around the square. Two colonial houses can be seen located on the river. Riversleigh, which can be easily identified by its turret, was built in 1897. Further down the road is a colonial Georgian style two storey house built in the 1860s and one of six warehouses used between 1854 and 1880 still stands on the corner of Meadow and Swan Streets. Today Guildford is classified as a historic town by the National Trust of Australia (WA).

SPORT AND RECREATION

Guildford Heritage Festival: Held annually in March the Guildford Heritage Festival combines entertainment and activities with heritage displays, a collectables fair and an art and craft market.

Avon Descent: The Avon Descent white water race is a uniquely Western Australian sporting event and is held annually on the first weekend of August. Paddle and power craft battle 124 kilometres in a two day time trial from Northam to Bayswater, down the Avon and Swan Rivers. Fishmarket Reserve (800m West of the square) is a great viewing location, with a free family fun day held alongside the race each year.

Swan Valley Visitor Centre:  Located across Meadow Street to the east of Stirling Square, the Swan Valley Visitor Centre provides information on attractions, events and activities in the Swan Valley and surrounding area.

TRAILS 

Guildford Heritage Walking Trails: Explore the history of the town with your choice of four circuit walk trails. The trails range from 450m to 1.8km in length. The trails pass Guildford’s antique strip, colonial architecture dating back to the 1800s, and historic hotels and pubs.

Swan Valley Heritage Cycle Trail: Designed with all cyclists in mind, the Swan Valley has a 12 kilometre cycle trail that passes a variety of tourist attractions including fruit stalls, picnic spots, galleries, wineries and restaurants with many opportunities for riders to stop and relax.

Swan Valley Food and Wine Trail: Experience the many wonders of the Swan Valley along this 32km scenic drive loop. The driving trail incorporates more than 150 wineries, breweries, fine restaurants, cafes, distilleries, shops and fresh produce stalls.