The locality of Lesmurdie is part of the escarpment area of the Shire of Kalamunda and straddles the Darling Range, being bounded by the localities of Forrestfield, Wattle Grove, Kalamunda, Bickley, Carmel, Walliston and the Lesmurdie Falls National Park.
Lesmurdie is mostly residential with a population of approximately 8100. The name Lesmurdie is derived from the property taken up in the area by Mr. Archibald Sanderson in 1897, which he named after a shooting lodge in Scotland. The locality can be accessed by road from Perth via the Welshpool Road and from other localities in the Shire by means of the Canning road, with many views of Perth and the surrounding coastal plain being obtained from several vantage points along the edge of the escarpment. The most well-known view being from the top of the 50mtre high Lesmurdie Falls, where the Lesmurdie Brook empties over the edge of the escarpment.
Within the locality are two shopping centers ‘Lesmurdie Village’ on Sanderson Road and the ‘Lesmurdie Road Shopping Center’ on the corner of Rooth and Lesmurdie roads. Education is well catered for in Lesmurdie with two government run schools – Lesmurdie Primary and Lesmurdie High School plus two private schools – Mazenod College for boys (established in 1966 by the Roman Catholic Oblates of Mary Immaculate) and its sister school St. Brigid’s College for Girls (established in 1929 on the present site, when the Roman Catholic Sisters of Mercy purchased the former hospital building from the Australian Red Cross.
Notable properties/buildings in the locality include
St. Swithun’s Anglican Church
This outstanding local church was built for Mr. Archibald Sanderson on land donated by him for this purpose in. It was built by a local builder William Patterson from a plan drawn up by Sanderson’s brother-in-law, the noted Perth architect Hubert Parry.
In 1911, Mrs. Maude Sanderson sold 36.8 ha of land to a Francis Grace who commissioned his brother-in-law William Patterson to build the cottage on the farm which still exists to this day. The farm passed through many owners until it was purchased by the Lesmurdie Ratepayers Assn. in 1986 for use as a community facility.
St Andrews College
In 1914, to cater for the education needs of his large family, Archibald Sanderson commissioned local builder William Patterson to build a school building on portion of his estate. The imposing double fronted building was designed by Hubert Parry and is based on the style of the home of Cecil Rhodes on the slopes of Table Mountain in South Africa. The school opened in 1915 under the supervision of Mrs Jones and Miss Jones with approximately 12 students. The buildings life as a school was very limited. In 1919, the building was sold to the Australian Red Cross who in turn leased the building to the Dept of Repatriation to house sick and wounded soldiers returning at the end of World War I. It was during this period that the building was completed and the grounds planted with Oak trees from Windsor Castle. In 1929, the building was leased to Royal Perth Hospital for use as a convalescent home. Later that year, the buildings were sold to the Sisters of Mercy for the sum of 9,000 pounds to become the present day St. Bridgid’s College.
The Sanderson’s family home was constructed on their land in either 1912 or 1913
immediately behind the school building, on a site facing Grove Road, and again it is assumed that William Patterson was the builder and Hubert Parry the Architect of this imposing home, which had its moment of fame when it played host for a couple of days, to the then Duke and Duchess of York (later King George 6th and Queen Elizabeth of England ) on their way home after a State Visit to Australia in 1927. In the 1930's, the home was leased to various tenants and used for a variety of purposes until 2001 when it was purchased by St Brigid’s for use as school facilities.
(Contributed by John Ellison, Archivist, Kalamunda & Districts Historical Society Inc.)
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. More information can be found at the DEC website.