Forrestfield is one of the fastest growing communities within the Shire of Kalamunda with a total population of approximately 11,500. It forms part of the Foothills or Plains Area and is bordered by the communities of Maida Vale, Lesmurdie, Kalamunda, High Wycombe, Wattle Grove and the International Airport.
A mix of residential and industrial land is found in Forrestfield, with a smattering of hobby farms (mainly equestrian and orchard areas) found closer to the base of the escarpment. The suburb of Forrestfield is well known for supporting sporting activities and boasts many recreational facilities (see Attractions, below). The industrial area of Forrestfield is located to the north of the suburb. In 2005, the former Westrail railway marshalling yards were redeveloped into the new $10 million Access Park industrial estate which has excellent road, rail and air links. Industries in the area include the CBH Metro Grains Centre, BlueScope Steel, FESA Training Centre and a number of leading transport and logistics companies.
Best kept secrets…
Take a walk down Whistle Pipe Gully (starting from the end of Orange Valley Road of from Lewis Road in Forrestfield) and see the solid concrete remains of the old Japanese -style house designed and built by Wallace Greenham in the 1960s. Straddling both sides of the creek, it was demolished in 1981. Click herefor more information.
Lesmurdie Falls National Park
Did you know that the base of Lesmurdie Falls is located in Forrestfield? Located in the Lesmurdie Falls National Park, it is one of the more spectacular waterfalls on the Darling Range escarpment. There is a trail which starts at the top of the falls with a short walk to the viewing platform. For a longer walk, you can follow the trail to the base of the falls where the lush vegetation grows. This walk is particularly recommended in winter and spring when the rains swell Lesmurdie Brook which tumbles over the Darling Range Escarpment. A lookout allows you to view the falls and, on a clear day, the flat land of the coastal plain allows a clear view over Perth city and as far out to Rottnest Island on the western horizon. The trail is 2km long and facilities include BBQ Facilities, Car Park, Lookouts, Picnic Area, Public Toilet, Sheltered Area and Water Access Points.
Hartfield Park Recreation Centre
Considered by some to be the Shire of Kalamunda’s premier leisure facility, Hartfield Park Recreation Centre is located on Hale Road, Forrestfield and is easily accessible by public transport. The refurbished facilities at the centre provide access for people with disabilities, a wide range of recreational opportunities and a wonderful social environment for everyone. Facilities and programs include a gymnasium, playing fields for cricket, rugby, Australian Rules Football, hockey, soccer and an equestrian centre (plus support facilities for each), boot camp, seniors classes, children’s classes, crèche, kid’s club, group fitness, squash and kid’s birthday parties. More information or to make a booking phone 9359 1700.
Hartfield Country Club is an 18-hole championship golf course situated in Forrestfield just below Lesmurdie Falls. Hartfield Club has excellent practice facilities and a well stocked Professional Shop, as well as a PGA Professional who is available for lessons and clinics on an individual or group basis. The course is a good test of golf and is constantly being upgraded in accordance with a master plan designed by Wayne Smith the well known WA tournament professional. The Club originated in 1970 when the members of Kalamunda and Hillrose Golf Clubs joined to form a new club. There are approximately 900 members of Hartfield Country Club and a range of membership options.
Darling Range Sports College is the first and only specialist sports school in Western Australia. While specialist sporting programs are a major focus of the College both the academic and Arts programs are prominent in the planning and delivery of quality educational opportunities. Darling Range Sports College provides specialist sporting programs in Athletics (Sprint Focus), Australian Rules Football, Cricket, Diamond Sports (Baseball/softball), Football, Netball, Rugby Union and Swimming. Complementing these specialist programs are extensive opportunities to participate in the Academic Program “Shine”, the Music Program, the Vocational Program and the Arts Program. Darling Range Sports College first opened in 1975 as Forrestfield Senior High School. The College is set in a semi-rural environment at the base of the foothills.
A Forrestfield institution, Dawson’s Garden World is a production nursery that has been operating in the area since 1914. Located on Hale Road, the Nursery specialises in roses, camellias, azaleas and fruit amongst many other varieties of plants. Pay a visit and explore the nursery’s history, browse beneath towering trees planted during the 1930’s and have coffee or light meal in the original Dawson homestead, now the Coffee Shop.
Also a Forrestfield institution, Todds Furniture and Auctions is a third generation family business that was established in 1964. In the last 40 years Todd’s have grown to one of the largest and most recognised auction houses in Western Australia, with a genuine commitment to quality and service. Services include – fast and effective liquidation of stock, best possible prices on goods, weekly general Auctions and additional specialist auctions as required, on-site auctions (where transportation of goods proves too difficult), transportation of goods to and from auction rooms (if required) and showrooms to display antiques, second-hand and retail new lines of furniture. Why not attend one of the weekly auctions held every Wednesday evening at 5pm or visit their showrooms at 293 Hawtin Road, Forrestfield.
In the mid 1800’s settlers began moving through the foothills to harvest the lucrative sandalwood trees on the Darling Range Escarpment. Sandalwood supplies were soon exhausted and the Government began to sell blocks of land to white settlers who were mainly orchardists and farmers. The district of Forrestfield was officially formed in the early 1900’s. In 1911, Welshpool Road – the first proper road in the foothills was opened. Forrestfield Primary School (Hawtin Road) was opened in 1927. Significant growth and development occurred in Forrestfield during the interwar and post war periods.
Notable settlers who contributed to the District’s early history include:
Mr Charles Hale
One of Forrestfield’s earliest settlers and reputed for having given Forrestfield its name, the story goes that in 1902, when Mr Hale settled in the area he planted a crop amongst the trees. A neighbour referred to him wanting a forest and a field at the same time and thus the name Forrestfield was coined and later applied to the area (a less popular alternative story suggests the area is named after Western Australia’s first premier, John Forrest). Hale, originally a Victorian came to WA in 1890 to make his fortune on the Goldfields. Instead, he started a carrying business in West Leederville. In 1902, he and his wife Mary, built a cottage from gravel rocks in Forrestfield, bringing up their eight children in the area; they supplemented their diet with locally sourced kangaroo meat and marron. Charles Hale was a member of the Darling Range Roads Board from 1909-1913 and was largely responsible for the construction of Hale Road, which was completed in 1919 with the help of other locals who contributed both labour and finances.
Mr George Russell Dawson
Founder of Dawson’s Garden World nursery, G.R. Dawson moved to Forrestfield in 1914 with his business partner E.J. Harrison to expand their business. The pair purchased 100 acres off Hale Road. This site was considered a perfect 10 miles from their city store, as this was the maximum distance a horse and cart could travel back and forth in one day. Originally, the Dawson family lived in a wooden house, and later in a reinforced concrete house which today is the coffee shop at the Dawson Garden Centre. Much of the original 100 acre block has since been developed for housing; however Dawson’s Garden World has a rich history in the area. In the early years, Dawson’s Forrestfield was not just an extensive production nursery which supplied the city stores, but also a significant fruit producer providing about 25-30 tons, a year, of Satsuma plums for jam making. During the Second World War, Dawson’s joined the war effort, by growing extensive vegetable crops for vegetable seed production. To encourage gardeners to grow more vegetables to supplement war time diets, Bill Dawson (George Dawson’s son), wrote “My Victory Garden”, a comprehensive manual for home vegetable production. In the 1950’s Dawson’s successfully opened up the Forrestfield site to the public for retail shopping.
Mr George Morrison
Arrived in Forrestfield in 1939. He was responsible for establishing the first garage (Caltex), which has since been demolished, as well as a plastics factory. An active member of the community, Mr Morrison was a member of the Darling Range Road Board, Justice of the Peace, Chief of the local Fire Brigade, served on the Progress Association and helped establish the first Guide and Scout groups in the area.[Historical images for community profiles are contributed by The Kalamunda Historical Society][Thanks to Dawson's Garden World, Forrestfield for providing historical information]
Caltex garage 1970
Forrestfield school 1929