Bickley is a part of the Eastern Rural Districts area of the Shire of Kalamunda and is bordered by Walliston, Carmel, Hacketts Gully and Paulls Valley. An especially scenic part of the Perth Hills, Bickley is a mix of State Forest, catchment areas, hobby farms, orchards and vineyards.
Bickley is one of the smaller suburbs within the Shire of Kalamunda with a total population of approximately 400. The Perth Observatory is located in Bickley, as are the Seven Network and Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Perth Television transmission towers. Bickley is also the site for one of Perth’s major meteorological stations.
Bickley is a very picturesque suburb within the Shire of Kalamunda, boasting many attractions including, bush walks through State Forest, an array of native flora and fauna, scenic valley vistas of creeks, orchards and vineyards which make for a unique motoring experience, roadside fruit stalls, open gardens and quaint B & B’s all add to Bickley’s charm. Must see attractions in Bickley:
Bickley Reservoir was originally constructed in 1920-21 with the purpose of supplementing Perth’s water supply. In 1936, the Reservoir was taken out of service and the water used for irrigation until 1944. Following, Bickley Reservoir and the surrounding catchment area was set aside for recreational purposes. The Bickley Outdoor Recreation Camp (located adjacent to the reservoir), was established in 1948 and is managed by the Ministry for Sport and Recreation. Activities associated with the camp include canoeing, swimming, camping and orienteering (for more information click here). Recreational activities in the catchment include picnicking, bushwalking, mountain bike riding, horse riding and llama walking. Facilities include barbecues, toilets, change rooms and tap water. There is plenty of shade available and the wildflowers are on show in the spring months from September through to November.
The Mason and Bird Heritage Trail is located near the Bickley Dam which follows part of the timber tramway which was where timber was moved from the former mill to the jetty at the Canning River. The Bickley Dam is located at the end of Hardinge Road in Orange Grove. Also in the area is the 27 kilometre Kattamordo Heritage Trail which starts at Mundaring Weir and makes its way to the Bickley Reservoir following old railway tracks. In recent years the Bickley Reservoir has again been made part of Perth’s water supply.
The Perth Observatory in Bickley (near Mount Gungin) was officially opened in 1966. Bickley was chosen as a supplementary site to the original Perth Observatory (located in the City) due to increasing light pollution. The Perth Observatory is Australia’s oldest continuously operating professional observatory and Western Australia’s premier astronomical institution. In 2005, the Perth Observatory was entered on the State’s Heritage Register in recognition of its scientific, cultural and historical significance. Follow the link for more information or to book a night tour.
Bickley Valley Wine Trail
An exceptional collection of boutique wineries can be found in the Bickley and Carmel Valley’s, making for an easy and enjoyable one-day winery experience. The wineries in this area are small operations allowing for easy exploration of the vineyards and cellars and intimate interaction with owners as you sample a variety of hand-crafted wines. Cellar doors are all open at the weekend and most will open during the week by appointment only. Look out for the attractive barrel signs that mark the entrance to each winery. Vineyards on the Trail include – Ashley Estate, Brookside, Carldenn, Cosham, Hainault, Myattsfield, Lawnbrook Estate and Piesse Brook Wines.
Jules Flower Farm & Floral Studio
One of the more unique attractions in Bickley, Jules Flower Farm & Floral Studio are eager to welcome you to their new flower shed and floral studio at the farm gate. Known for their signature sunflowers, they also grow tuber roses gypsophila and in spring old fashioned standards such as sweet peas and cornflowers. Seasonal flowers direct from growers are for sale all year round. Jules Flower Farm & Floral Studio specialise in weddings and functions. Check them out at: 270 Aldersyde Road, Bickley, or contact at Mobile: 0418950282, Email: [email protected]
Bickley Carmel Harvest Festival
In 2012, the Bickley Carmel Harvest Festival will be in its 15th year. The Annual Festival showcases the area’s award winning wines, superb fresh produce, local eateries and arts and crafts. The Bickley and Carmel Valleys thrive in the cooler autumn sun presenting visitors with a myriad of colours throughout the vineyards, orchards, the abundant deciduous trees and glorious gardens. Take a day trip, organised tour or make a weekend of it and stay in one of the quaint B & B’s located in the area. For more information on this year’s Harvest Festival go to the Kalamunda Chamber of Commerce website.
From the 1890’s, Bickley was known as ‘Heidelburg’, the name given to both the siding in this area along the Upper Darling Range Railway and the 300 acre property of one of the area’s earliest residents, a George Henry Palmateer. With the onset of World War I, the Railway Department was asked to change the name to something not of German origin. The Under Secretary for Lands proposed the name “Bickley” after a pioneer in the area and a member of the first Legislative Assembly – Samuel Wallace Alexander Walsh Bickley or Wallace Bickley, as he was more commonly known. Thus, from 1915, the suburb became known as Bickley.
Prominent pioneers of Bickley were George Henry Palmateer and Charles Ashcroft who took up land and developed it for strawberry production. In 1904, both families (George and Lucy Palmateer and Charles and Adelaide Ashcroft) were converted to Adventism by a visiting preacher. They formed the nucleus of the Heidelberg Seventh Day Adventist Church which was soon joined by a number of other families.
In 1907, Charles donated 100 acres of fertile land to be developed into a training school, now Carmel Adventist College, though the original buildings have been replaced.
In 1933, the Sanitarium Factory was built to process whole foods especially grain and fruit. The Sanitarium Health Food Company has several factories around Australia producing numerous products including Weetbix. This is done, not primarily as a business venture, but to advance the Healthy Living theme which is a crucial part of the Adventist ethos.
There are three Adventist churches within the Shire of Kalamunda, at Carmel (as part of the College), Bickley and Maida Vale.
[Historical images for community profiles are contributed by The Kalamunda Historical Society]