Woodbridge sits on the banks of the Derbal Yerrigan (Swan River), one of the most culturally significant places in Whadjuk Noongar Country. It has sustained the Whadjuk people for tens of thousands of years and is known as Mandoon, or Munda’s Country.
Then in 1829, the newly appointed Governor of the Swan River colony, Captain James Stirling, selected 1620 hectares of this land for a property that he named ‘Woodbridge’, as it reminded him of the area around the home of his wife’s family in Surrey, England.
Stirling left the Swan River Colony at the end of his term as Governor in 1839 and leased Woodbridge to various tenants until 1883, when it was purchased by agricultural entrepreneur, parliamentarian and part-owner of The West Australian newspaper Charles Harper and his wife Fanny.
They commenced the construction of a large family home once considered “the handsomest private residence that has yet been erected in the colony.” Woodbridge also supported extensive orchards and a commercial nursery at one point, testimony to his innovation in the agricultural space.
In 1895 Charles established a school in the house for his 10 children and those of his neighbours. Five years later a small single storied school building was erected. 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. We have since undertaken a significant conservation program at the property to bring its many stories to life for visitors.
See, do, explore
Arriving at the peaceful riverside setting of Woodbridge, it’s hard to believe you are still in Western Australia’s capital city.
Book your visit to explore the house room by room and take in the grand architecture and décor. Our friendly volunteers will point out some of the original Harper furniture and personal belongings still on display.
Upstairs you can immerse your family in our brand-new activity space, designed for hands on play and a chance to get to know some of the children of the Woodbridge house school, via the school books and sporting equipment on display.
Walk through the grounds to admire the towering jarrahs that hug the house and take a moment to soak in the views of the Derbal Yerrigan and the neighbouring rows of Verdelho grape vines in one of WAs premier wine producing regions.
And if you really want to treat yourself and yours, we recommend you make a stop at the onsite café, Riverside at Woodbridge, where you can enjoy your meal with a side of unimpeded river and vineyard views. View the full menu or make a booking.
How to get here
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.