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Perth, Western Australia
View east from Benjafield Way towards ABC tower
|Population||4,982 (2011 census)|
|Area||3.267 km2 (1.3 sq mi)|
|Location||14 km (9 mi) NNW of Perth CBD|
|LGA(s)||City of Stirling|
Perth, Western Australia
View east from Benjafield Way towards ABC tower
|Population||4,982 (2011 census)|
|Area||3.267 km2 (1.3 sq mi)|
|Location||14 km (9 mi) NNW of Perth CBD|
|LGA(s)||City of Stirling|
Hamersley is a residential suburb 14 kilometres (8.7 miles) north-northwest of the central business district of Perth, the capital of Western Australia, and six kilometres (4 mi) from the Indian Ocean. The suburb adjoins two major arterial roads—Mitchell Freeway to the west and Reid Highway to the south—and is within the City of Stirling local government area. It was built during the late 1960s and 1970s as part of the Government of Western Australia's response to rapidly increasing land prices across the metropolitan area.
Before development, Hamersley was a remote district covered in jarrah, marri, banksia and other vegetation typical of the Swan Coastal Plain, with small areas cleared for small-scale agriculture such as market gardening and poultry farming. By 1974, six years after the first subdivision, Hamersley was home to the district's first community hall, an annual parade and fair which were broadcast on Perth TV and radio, an active progress association, and its own newspaper, the Hamersley Gazette, a forerunner to today's Stirling Times. Rapid growth further north removed the focus from Hamersley, which was completed in 1981 and has remained relatively stable since then.
Significant reserves of remnant bushland remain in parts of the suburb. The largest of these is an exclusion zone around the 208 metres (682 feet) high ABC radio tower in the suburb's southeast, which broadcasts AM stations to the Perth metropolitan area. The guyed tower was built in 1939 and is a landmark in the region, although it has become a local political issue over the past decade.
Hamersley is in the northern suburbs of Perth, Western Australia, within the City of Stirling, and 6 kilometres (3.7 miles) from the Indian Ocean. Its borders are the Mitchell Freeway to the west, Reid Highway and the Balcatta industrial area to the south, Wanneroo Road to the east, and Beach Road and the City of Joondalup to the north. The suburb is divided into western and eastern portions by Erindale Road. Hamersley was one of the first Perth suburbs to be guided by the principles of cul-de-sac design, and many of its minor streets are joined by parks and pathways.
Hamersley covers 3.267 square kilometres (807 acres) and averages 29 metres (95 feet) above sea level, although portions of the loop formed by Rannoch Circle in the eastern portion are 50–55 metres (160–180 ft) above sea level. A real estate magazine remarked in 1994 that "homes around the Rannoch circle enjoy some spectacular views to the city and the hills", and that "a few lucky householders... could even catch ocean glimpses, despite being more than six kilometres from the water."
The restricted-access bushland reserve surrounding the ABC radio tower in the suburb's southeast covers 14.4% (0.47 km2 or 120 acres) of its area, while parks and areas of natural bushland are spread throughout. The largest of these are Aintree-Eglinton Reserve, a 3.38 hectares (8.4 acres) grassed reserve next to the community centre complex, and Rannoch-Tay-Earn Reserve, a 4.83 hectares (11.9 acres) reserve containing large areas of native bushland interspersed with grassed and paved walkways. A biodiversity site north of the community centre is recognised by the City of Stirling's Green Plan 2.
Streets in western Hamersley are generally named after English towns, while eastern Hamersley uses the names of Scottish Highland and Perthshire towns and lochs. There are exceptions – the origins of Vickers Street precinct street names are unknown, while streets in the south-western corner are named after the "Bentley Boys", a group of British racing drivers from the 1920s and 1930s, and their car designer Walter Owen Bentley.
Hamersley's soil is an infertile yellow-brown sand composed of fine to coarse quartz grains, with Tamala Limestone beneath. Locally known as Karrakatta Sand, it is almost certainly the leached remnants of coastal sand deposited by eolian processes in the late Pleistocene period, between 11,000 and 100,000 years ago. Below the sand are Paleozoic rocks of the Perth Basin. The sand contains an unconfined aquifer with large supplies of low-salinity potable groundwater which is recharged by rainfall.
As with other infertile areas of the Swan Coastal Plain, Hamersley would have supported open forests of Eucalyptus marginata (Jarrah) with Corymbia calophylla (Marri) or Eucalyptus gomphocephala (Tuart), and an understorey of Banksia attenuata (Candlestick Banksia), B. menziesii (Firewood Banksia), B. grandis (Bull Banksia), Allocasuarina fraseriana (Western Sheoak) and Agonis flexuosa (Swan River Peppermint). The main shrub species would have been Jacksonia sternbergiana (Stinkwood), J. furcellata (Grey Stinkwood), Acacia cyclops (Coastal Wattle), Acacia saligna (Orange Wattle), Hibbertia species, Allocasuarina humilis (Dwarf Sheoak), Calothamnus quadrifidus (One-sided Bottlebrush) and Grevillea thelemanniana (Spider Net Grevillea). Biodiversity surveys in 2006 have also identified a relatively rare species, Jacksonia sericea (Waldjumi), in two eastern Hamersley reserves.
Hamersley was named after the Hamersley family who arrived in the Swan River Colony in 1837 and established themselves at Guildford. There is no evidence they ever visited modern Hamersley, but in 1869 they built a summer home in what is now North Beach, 6 kilometres (3.7 miles) to the west, and bought considerable holdings in the area over the following years.
The name first came into use to describe the north-western section of the Perth Road District in 1906. Hamersley Ward was a large area of land covering what is now Hamersley, Carine, Watermans Bay, North Beach, Gwelup and parts of Balcatta, Karrinyup and Trigg. The Hamersley townsite, consisting of Hamersley Ward, was gazetted in 1945. As a result, many facilities in North Beach, including a primary school, a golf course, several sporting clubs and residents' and seniors' associations, were called Hamersley. After the Hamersley Development Scheme started in 1968, confusion as to exactly what Hamersley referred to led to conflict between established organisations in North Beach and emerging ones in Hamersley – the Hamersley Gazette noted in 1973 that "North Beach people have the prior claim but ours is more officially accepted".
The suburb was gazetted as a locality by the City of Stirling on 24 October 1975, although it had existed as a postal locality since 1971.
Before European settlement, Hamersley was part of a larger area of land that was occupied by the Mooro people, an Indigenous Australian people who traversed the lakes and wetlands running parallel to the coast between what is now Perth and Yanchep.
Soon after the establishment of the Swan River Colony, colonial authorities divided up the land into grants which were given to settlers who had brought capital and to the new settlement. Southern Hamersley became part of Location K, a 2,585 hectares (6,390 acres) strip of land extending 19 kilometres (12 miles) west from Caversham on the Swan River to Big Carine Swamp, which was granted to Robert Ansell Partridge in September 1829. The western part of this, first surveyed by P.L.S. Chauncy in 1843, remained fairly inaccessible, and the only development in the area was the construction of the Daviot Park cottage on Old Balcatta Road 500 metres (0.31 miles) southwest of Hamersley. By the late 1930s, portions in the far west and south-east of the suburb had been cleared for small-scale agriculture such as market gardening, and in 1939 the Department of the Interior constructed a 208 metres (682 feet) tower and other facilities for ABC AM and shortwave radio broadcasts on Wanneroo Road.
Northern Hamersley, meanwhile, became part of Swan Location 1315, which extended north to Lake Goollelal and west to the coast and was granted in the 1890s to the Midland Railway Company after being surveyed by Crossland & Co. in 1892, and by N. Lymburner in 1894. It appears that no development occurred in northern Hamersley, other than the construction of Beach and Carine Roads in 1900, and the State Housing Commission resumed the land in November 1950. In 1962, a lucerne grower with a property on Duffy Road, Carine applied to use the northern half of the suburb as a sheep run. The Shire President, Herbert R. Robinson, refused to grant permission, saying that "land might soon be needed for housing". The West Australian reported in 1967 that the area was still "virtually untouched bushland".
In the late 1960s, concern about the growth of land prices in the Perth metropolitan area, which for several years had exceeded the consumer price index, led to the Premier of Western Australia, David Brand, convening an inter-departmental committee to study the problem. One of the committee's recommendations to Cabinet was to release 300 hectares of land owned by the State Housing Commission in Hamersley, Warwick and Greenwood which was on a much larger area that had been designated as "deferred urban" land under the Metropolitan Region Scheme in 1963. On 13 December 1967, the Metropolitan Region Planning Authority decided to rezone as urban all land bounded by Hepburn Avenue, Marmion Avenue, North Perimeter Highway and Wanneroo Road, on the condition that subdivision would be approved when "Town Planning (Development) Scheme(s) have been approved with the general object of serving the best possible development at the least cost to the community".
The Shires of Perth and Wanneroo combined to prepare Town Planning Scheme No.26 (Hamersley Development Scheme), and by early March 1968, the scheme, which included provisions for water supply, sewerage, drainage, road construction and undergrounding of power mains, was presented to both councils for consideration. A time limit of 3½ years for developers to construct homes on released land was built into the scheme in an effort to prevent land speculation, which the inter-departmental committee believed was a key factor in spiralling prices in Perth. By July, however, negotiations between the councils broke down, and the Shire of Perth (now City of Stirling) decided to administer its own part of the scheme independently. The scheme was divided into nine sections, with what is now the suburb of Hamersley being the first stage.
In April 1968 the R&I Bank, a government-owned bank, was granted permission to subdivide a small area in northern Ardleigh Crescent in the suburb's west. The first auction of 80 lots on Saturday, 14 December 1968 was anticipated on the front page of The West Australian, with Premier Brand advising intending buyers to be cautious about their bids. At the auction, 76 lots were sold at an average price of $4,784, compared to $6,700 at a recent R&I Bank sale in the nearby suburb of Karrinyup, with newspapers agreeing that the Premier's warning had been heeded by bidders.
The western portion of Hamersley grew steadily over the following months and years, with segments being released, auctioned and developed by the R&I Bank, T&S Plunkett Homes and Parkland Housing. The Hamersley Development Scheme, however, was doomed almost before it started. Disagreements over issues such as undergrounding of power and the time limit clauses between the Town Planning Board and the Shire of Perth had caused delays in the scheme's approval. In July 1970, the Shire Planner reported that "there is little point in proceeding with the Scheme, especially in view of the large areas already subdivided", and recommended the council agree "that for all practical purposes, Town Planning Scheme No. 26. is defunct". By the February 1971 state election, over 1,000 eligible voters lived in the district.
In June 1970, the Metropolitan Region Planning Authority released land in the southwestern corner of Hamersley, which had previously been held in reserve under the Metropolitan Region Scheme for a large freeway interchange between the future Mitchell Freeway (then known as Stephenson Freeway) and Reid Highway (North Perimeter Freeway). The result of these changes was to allow the construction of Walter Way, Dutton Crescent and connecting streets, which were named after racing drivers from the 1920s and 1930s.
Between 1971 and 1973, reserves, public recreation areas and drainage sites were set aside in western Hamersley, and facilities were erected in quick succession – the 1st Hamersley Scout Group in 1973, the colonial-style Holy Cross Anglican Church in 1974, and a community hall at Aintree Street in 1975. Residents in the region were at this time on the fringe of Perth's suburban area, relying on partly built main roads, distant shopping centres and overstretched local facilities for several years after the suburb's construction. A locally produced fortnightly newspaper, the Hamersley Gazette, started in early 1973 by Peter Flanigan, from his home in Manton Court, covering the suburbs of Carine, Hamersley, Warwick and Greenwood, with the open aim of helping to form community associations and campaign for better facilities. A July 1973 article, for example, lamented that "work on Erindale Road appears to have come to a standstill... great piles of dirt and unmade road surfaces bear testimony to the fact that something is going on, or should be going on, but this one is taking a very long time."
However, there were also celebrations – the paper reported in detail on the annual Glendale Spring Fair, held between 1973 and 1976 by the Glendale P&C Association on the second Saturday in November. It included activities for children, marching bands provided by The Salvation Army and the Australian 10th Light Horse Regiment, and a parade along Glendale Avenue and Beach Road at 10:30 am Intended originally as a fundraiser for the school, the Gazette reported that it was "a sort of glorified féte that rapidly outgrew its origins", with live coverage of the parade on ABC radio and on television station TVW-7 and personalities such as Jeff Newman in attendance. The fair, however, became the victim of a dispute over naming rights between the Glendale P&C, community groups and commercial sponsors. Other events included the grand opening of Warwick Grove Shopping Centre on 13 November 1974, the greening of Aintree-Eglinton Reserve and the activities of the Hamersley Progress Association. The paper was acquired in February 1977 by Bill Marwick of the Wanneroo Times, and evolved into the Stirling Times in 1980.
Meanwhile, work was only starting in eastern Hamersley. In 1973 Project Homes acquired a poultry farm and agricultural holding, and completed the construction of Vickers Street and adjoining roads, with Don Place becoming a display village. In 1974 the City of Stirling agreed, after complex negotiations, to sell 4.2 hectares of land comprising Carine Road and Allen Street to the State Housing Commission and to War Service Homes in order to "facilitate a satisfactory subdivisional design of adjoining land held by the State Housing Commission" in the eastern portion of the suburb. All that remains of these two early roads are paved pathways within the Rannoch-Tay-Earn Reserve, which was gazetted in 1976. By July 1975, 200 defence service homes were under construction on land immediately to the east of Erindale Road, to be made available to veterans from March 1976. The rest of eastern Hamersley was built over the next few years, and by 1981 development was essentially complete. The community hall was redeveloped into a full-fledged community centre, which officially opened in 1990.
Despite Hamersley's stability in the years since 1981 and its relatively low crime rate, it has periodically drawn the attention of the Perth media. In July 2000, a man bludgeoned his former girlfriend, mother-of-two Deborah Boyd, to death in a rented home in Brabant Way. He was subsequently sentenced to strict-security life imprisonment. On 23 January 2006, a large scrub fire caused the closure of Reid Highway and delays in rail line services during the afternoon rush hour.
Hamersley residents had a median age of 39, compared to the Perth average of 36. Median incomes in Hamersley were above average for the region and for Perth—$545 per week compared with $526 and $513 per week respectively; however, 21.2% had incomes above $1,000 per week, compared with 22.9% regionally and 22.9% across Perth. The 2001 Census figures put Hamersley's unemployment rate at 1.0% below the Perth average. Industry sectors in which Hamersley residents worked (2001) were comparable with those in Perth generally, with the largest proportions working in retail trade (16.3%), property and business services (11.4%), health and community services (11.0%) and manufacturing (9.7%). However, a higher proportion were employed by the education (7.8%), government administration and defence (5.2%) and utilities sectors (1.3%) than elsewhere.
According to the City of Stirling, most of Hamersley's 2,084 dwellings are brick homes with an average lot size of 750 m². At the 2006 census, the median monthly housing loan repayments in Hamersley were about $1100—slightly lower than both the region and Perth generally ($1300). However, 40.9% of Hamersley's dwellings were fully owned, compared to 29.6% across the whole of Perth. In the year to March 2007, Hamersley's median house price was $432,500 versus $431,500 for the whole of Perth.
The population of Hamersley is predominantly Australian-born, with some 69.4% of its residents being born in Australia as at the 2006 census. The second most prevalent birthplace was the United Kingdom at 10.0%. 6.3% of Hamersley's population reported one or both parents of Italian birth, with the strongest concentration in the Vickers Street district (15.3%). Other significant minorities included those of Macedonian (2.0%), Chinese (1.7%) and Greek (1.2%) heritage.
The most popular religious affiliations in descending order in the 2006 census were Roman Catholic, no religion, Anglican, Uniting, Orthodox and "Christian nfd". Holy Cross Hamersley is located on Glendale Ave, and is an Anglican church in the evangelical tradition. All Saints Catholic Church is in neighbouring Warwick and the local Uniting Churches are in Carine and Greenwood.
Hamersley is a residential suburb, relying on the Centro Warwick (formerly Warwick Grove) shopping centre on its northern boundary for commercial services, and is 7 kilometres (4.3 miles) by road from Karrinyup Shopping Centre. A light industrial area is to the south in Balcatta which includes a large Bunnings Warehouse on Erindale Road approximately 200 metres (660 ft) south of Hamersley.
Aintree-Eglinton Reserve, a grassed area covering 3.38 hectares (8.4 acres), contains a cricket pitch, several practice runs and night lights for Australian rules football, which are utilised by local amateur and junior clubs. Within the reserve is the Hamersley Community Recreation Centre, first built in the 1970s as a community hall and opened in its present form on 22 April 1990. The centre is a small village area consisting of a central pergola crossed with walking paths, flanked by four buildings: a sports hall with basketball courts and kiosk, an arts and crafts building, a community hall and function building hosting discos and other social events, and a purpose-built children's centre. Near the centre are the 1st Hamersley Scout Group, a child health centre and the Holy Cross Anglican Church, a colonial-style building built in 1974 and consecrated on 14 December 1980 to serve the newly formed Balcatta-Hamersley Parish.
Numerous small parks are throughout all parts of Hamersley, usually joining the ends of several cul-de-sacs and in some cases containing wooden benches or children's play equipment. The Rannoch-Tay-Earn reserve in eastern Hamersley also contains two barbecues. The introduction of a barbecue and new playground equipment to the reserve first came in the late 1990s. 2008–2009 has seen the introduction of a new barbecue area due west of the playground with more introductions to the reserve to come.
The southeastern corner contains the ABC 50 kW radio tower which transmits ABC AM radio in Perth, including ABC Local Radio (6WF), Radio National and ABC NewsRadio. Several other towers, including a 20 kW and 10 kW tower, also are at the site. Some residents argue that electromagnetic interference from the towers is adversely affecting their television and telephone reception, with the issue taken up in Federal parliament by local MPs. An inquiry was held by ACMA in November 2010 into the issue, which found that apart from some disturbance to ABC2 signals, TV and radio signals in the area were of acceptable strength and quality.
Hamersley contains two state primary schools, each of which includes facilities for pre-primary students, and a teaching resource centre. Hamersley is within the catchment area for Warwick Senior High School for students from Years 8 to 12.
Hamersley's first school, Glendale Primary School in Glendale Avenue, opened in 1971 in the western portion of the suburb. The school and neighbouring kindergarten quickly became overcrowded as their catchment area initially extended to Hepburn Avenue, taking in Warwick and Greenwood to its north. As schools were built in those suburbs in 1974–1976, congestion eased considerably. The school and kindergarten were also used as a hall and meeting place by residents and groups until the recreation centre opened in April 1975. In 2006, the school provided for 207 primary students between Year 1 and Year 7, and 35 pre-primary students.
From 1976 onward, the eastern portion of the suburb developed, and East Hamersley Primary School, in Doon Way, opened in February 1979. In 2006, the school provided for 96 primary, 16 pre-primary and 16 kindergarten students. Computer studies and Indonesian language are required subjects for students from Years 3 to 7. In the 1990s, the West Coast Resource Centre, a specialist borrowing library for teachers of kindergarten, pre-primary and primary classes, was built on the East Hamersley site by the Department of Education (now Education and Training) to serve schools in the northern suburbs.
Cars are the preferred mode of transport in the suburb. At the 2001 census, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that 70.7% of Hamersley's residents were drivers or passengers of cars in their commute to work, a figure only slightly lower than the north metropolitan average of 71.3%. Other private modes of transport included motorcycling (0.7%), cycling (0.7%) and walking (0.7%). The low number of walking commuters compared to the north metropolitan average of 1.1% and the Perth Statistical Region average of 1.81% is most likely due to the limited number of workplaces within walking distance.
Hamersley is situated at the intersection of several key arterial roads and highways. It is connected to North Beach (7 km), Scarborough (10 km) and Perth Airport (22 km) via Reid Highway, to the Perth CBD (15 km) and to Joondalup (17 km) via Reid Highway and Mitchell Freeway, and to the Balcatta industrial area and Karrinyup Shopping Centre (7 km) by Erindale Road. Traffic within Hamersley is distributed by a number of backbone streets, of which the main ones are Eglinton Crescent, Belvedere Road, Rannoch Circle, Blissett Way and Vickers Street.
However, the controlled access highways on Hamersley's southern and western boundaries physically isolate the suburb from its neighbours and limit southbound exits to just two, Erindale Road and Wanneroo Road. This results in considerable rush hour congestion on the stretch of Erindale Road between Eglinton Crescent and Reid Highway. In 2004, Main Roads Western Australia provided a grant of $48,000 to the City of Stirling under its Black Spot Programme to improve the traffic flow in this area.
Public transport in Hamersley is generally in the form of Transperth buses operated by Swan Transit from the Warwick railway station at its northwestern corner, linking via the Joondalup railway line to the Perth CBD.
At the 2001 census, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that 8.9% of Hamersley's residents used public transport to get to work. Although this percentage had declined from 9.2% in the 1996 census, it was still higher than the north metropolitan average of 8.0%. Public transport usage was highest (14.7%) in the section of Hamersley closest to the train station, and lowest (2.5%) in the Vickers Street section to the southeast, where many residents live more than 10 minutes' walk from the nearest bus stop.
On 6 November 2011, Hamersley services were reconfigured – the 449 service between Warwick station and Centro Warwick and the 387 daytime service between Warwick and Perth via Balcatta Road travel along Eglinton Crescent and link the western part of the suburb with other areas. Eastern Hamersley does not have a direct service, other than those along Erindale and Wanneroo Roads. However, service along Wanneroo Road is very limited outside standard weekday hours.
Originally, Hamersley was served by a shuttle service to Wanneroo Road, Nollamara, to connect with other routes to the Perth CBD. In September 1973, the Metropolitan Transport Trust introduced the 358 and 359 services, which linked Greenwood to Perth via Eglinton Crescent and Glendale Avenue/Aintree Street respectively, travelling along Blissett Way, then becoming limited-stops Wanneroo Road services. An after-hours service, the 369, was also introduced. In 1987, following the construction of the Warwick Transfer Station and the Mitchell Freeway, services along Glendale Avenue and through East Hamersley ceased, with two new routes – the present-day 347 and the Freeway-bound 387 – being created to serve Eglinton Crescent.
On 21 March 1993, the Joondalup railway line came into operation as part of the Northern Suburbs Transit System, resulting in the creation of the 449 and 457 services to replace the 387 service. The 449 operated only during the morning and evening rush-hour, while the 457 operated after-hours and at weekends. These services operated virtually unchanged until 6 November 2011.
Hamersley has consistently favoured the centre-right Liberal Party at both federal and state elections throughout its history. However, in the last two state elections, Hamersley booths recorded a majority for the centre-left Australian Labor Party (ALP). Hamersley has also shown a higher preference than the regional average for progressive minor parties such as the Australian Greens and Australian Democrats. Hamersley is both socially and geographically between the safe Liberal suburbs west of the Mitchell Freeway such as Carine, Duncraig and North Beach, and the safe Labor suburbs east of Wanneroo Road such as Balga and Girrawheen.
At federal level, Hamersley is within the Division of Stirling, a marginal seat which historically has alternated between the Liberal Party and the Australian Labor Party. It has been held since 2004 by Michael Keenan of the Liberal Party. At polling place and subdivision level, Hamersley has supported the Liberal Party at every election since its first in 1972, although in the 2001 election, the booth at East Hamersley Primary School was only won by the Liberal Party with a 0.3% two-party-preferred majority. Hamersley was in the Division of Cowan for elections held between 1984 and 1996.
In the Western Australian Legislative Assembly, Hamersley is split between the electorates of Girrawheen and Balcatta, both safe seats for the Australian Labor Party. At polling place level, Hamersley supported the Liberal Party at every election since its first in 1971 until the 1996 election. In both the 2001 and 2005 elections, polling places in Hamersley, as with those in many northern Perth suburbs, switched to the Australian Labor Party at state level. However, at the 2008 election, all booths except East Hamersley, which was tied, returned a majority for the Liberals.
At local level, Hamersley is represented within the City of Stirling by the two councillors of the Hamersley Ward, which covers the suburbs of Carine, Hamersley, Gwelup and northern Balcatta. At present, Ron Sebrechts, whose term expires in October 2009, and Peter Rose JP, whose term expires in October 2011, represent Hamersley Ward.
In the early 1970s, the Hamersley Progress Association was formed to represent the views of Hamersley residents to all levels of government. It was, however, fairly short-lived. In 1999, the Hamersley Reference Group was formed to advise then-Federal Member for Stirling Jann McFarlane MHR on issues related to the ABC radio transmission towers and their effect on local residents. It was renamed to Radio Interference Group – Hamersley Towers after it moved to complete community management, and lobbies the government and makes submissions to public inquiries on behalf of the community on the issue.
Polling place statistics are presented below combining the votes from the Glendale and East Hamersley polling places in the federal and state elections as indicated.