The National Trust of Western Australia has undertaken significant conservation works at this important place. Families can discover more about the history of the place through play. Our garden volunteers have kept the grounds looking magnificent and you can stay a while longer to enjoy a coffee or lunch at Riverside at Woodbridge. There is so much more to see and do at Woodbridge.
A background to Woodbridge
Captain James Stirling took up land here in 1829. He named his property ‘Woodbridge’ as it reminded him of the area around the home of his wife’s family in Surrey, England. Stirling had a small cottage built but spent little time there. At the end of his term as Governor in 1839, Stirling left the colony and leased the property to various tenants.
Charles Harper married Fanny de Burgh in 1879 and the following year took up a lease at Woodbridge. In 1883 land was purchased and the Harpers began the construction of a large family home. Two years later, Charles, Fanny, their three sons and one daughter moved into the completed house. Over the following decade three more boys and three girls were born. The family was supported by live in staff and others who came in for specific tasks.
Woodbridge supported extensive orchards of apples, pears, peaches and table grapes and there was a commercial nursery mainly stocking fruit trees and vines. Charles worked on the development of various wheat varieties, pioneered the use of artesian water for agricultural purposes, developed an inexpensive fencing system and improved pastures through the use of clover and superphosphate. Additionally, he served as a parliamentarian, was part owner of The West Australian newspaper and started The Western Mail.
In 1895 Charles established a school in the house for his children and those of neighbours. A small single storied school building was erected in 1900. It was purchased a decade later by the Church of England and went on to become what is now Guildford Grammar School. For twenty years from 1921 the house operated as Woodbridge House School. During World War II it was used as the Old Women’s Home before its conversion in 1964 to an annexe for Governor Stirling Senior High School. Woodbridge was vested in the National Trust in 1968.
More to do at Woodbridge
Walk through the grounds at Woodbridge to admire the towering jarrahs that hug the house, the maintained cottage garden and the delightful views of the Swan River flowing right past the property. Look a little further out and you will see rows and rows of Verdelho vines from the wine producing neighbours.
Explore the house room by room and admire the carefully set displays of furniture, bedding and kitchen utensils, left by the generations past.
New to Woodbridge is a family activity space. Families are invited to immerse themselves in activities that provide a glimpse into the lives of those that lived and worked there. It was formerly a bedroom for the Harper boys, a boarders locker/ change room and a hospital ward.
Stay longer for a bite to eat
You can enhance your visit by stopping at the onsite café, Riverside at Woodbridge. The café sits right on the river’s edge and offers unspoilt views of the beautiful Swan River. To view the full menu or make a group booking you can visit the website: HERE.
How to get there
From Woodbridge Train station, cross Great Eastern Highway to Third Avenue, walk up Third Ave and turn left into Governor Stirling Road and proceed past Governor Stirling High.