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28 April 2012 / leggypeggy

Kings Park—Perth’s royal gardens

The mighty Swan River, viewed from Kings Park

Kings Park was one of our first stops in Perth.

This spectacular landscape—located less than 2 kilometres from the city’s central business district—overlooks the Swan River and the Darling Range beyond.

More than 6 million people visit the park each year to enjoy a picnic, an event or simply a walk through its extensive collection of Western Australia flora.

In fact, two-thirds of the park—it’s more than 400 hectares in size and its full name is Kings Park and Botanic Gardens—is natural bushland. It claims to have 319 species of native plants and 80 bird species.

Aboriginal people have visited this area for thousands of years, and it remains an important ceremonial and cultural place for them.

More than one-third of the area was set aside as public parkland in the early 1830s. It was formally declared 40 years later, and enlarged over time. In 1901, its name was changed from Perth Park to Kings Park, to mark the accession of King Edward VII to the British throne.

The Cenotaph

According to the information sheets, Kings Park and Botanic Garden has more memorials, statues and honour avenues than any other park in Australia.

The Cenotaph has centre stage. This 18-metre obelisk honours all Western Australians who died in the service of their country. There are 7000 names from World War I alone.

I was especially touched to see the plaques placed in front of the park’s large trees. Each plaque—usually one per tree—names and remembers a fallen soldier.

I plan to do two more posts about Kings Park—on the many grevilleas and the metal walkway. If you ever come to Western Australia, you must see this park.

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