Local Studies Collection


The Bassendean Local Studies Collection originated in 1986 with the deposit of Jennie Carter’s research material gathered for her social history of Bassendean, a book commissioned and published by the Town of Bassendean. Since then the Local Studies collection has been built up, initially with volunteer assistance from the Bassendean Historical Society and since 2000, with the services of a professional Librarian.

The Local Studies Collection has its own dedicated area which includes a research room for library patrons. The collection has been extensively developed, re-organised and catalogued since 2005 and this has led to greatly improved access to its resources. Content can be searched in the Library Catalogue. The Local Studies Collection is a council and community cultural Centre, a place of civic engagement, where people of all backgrounds gather for reflection, discovery, participation and growth.

History of West Guildford (later Bassendean)

One of the earliest areas of Perth to be settled, West Guildford has a rich and interesting history, encompassing  Aboriginal history, French explorers, the arrival of English explorers in 1827, the Swan River Colony in 1829, later "gentleman farmers", and from the 1850's convicts and Pensioner Guards. The district grew rapidly during the goldrush years of the 1890’s and 1900’s and from the early 1900’s, the suburb’s working class character was largely developed because of its attraction as a residential area for the labour force of the Midland Railway Workshops. This trend was reinforced with the establishment in the 1920’s of large, industrial businesses like Hadfields and Cuming Smith. Post-World War II emigration saw an influx of a mix of European nationalities, giving Bassendean its cosmopolitan flavour.

Read more about the suburb's history here and find information and pictures of ten local historical sites on Historypin.

Access Election Results 1901-1954 and Municipal Meeting Reports 1901-1954

Municipal Name Changes Sourced from State Records Office

Further Reading

Bassendean History Book

Two commissioned history books about Bassendean have been written;  A History of Bassendean (1947) by Alf Thomas and Bassendean : A Social History 1829-1979  (1986) by Jennie Carter. Both are available to borrow from the Library in printed format. You can  listen and borrow Bassendean :  A Social History 1829-1979 in mp3 format.

In 2012, Jennie Carter was commissioned by the Town of Bassendean to write a Bassendean : A brief history

The Local Studies Collection

A valuable repository about the development, society and culture of the Bassendean, Ashfield and Eden Hill communities, in which historical and current materials relating to the geographical, sociological, educational, cultural, economic and political aspects of the area are collected.

Types of material include books, pamphlets, diaries, letters, local government archives, maps, photographs, oral history tapes and transcripts, microfiche, videotapes, maps, newspapers, periodicals and ephemera. Search the Local Studies Collection by using the Library Catalogue

Further Reading

Learn more about the Local Studies Collection with a short presentation here.

Opening Hours

The collection is staffed from Monday-Friday, 9.00am - 4.00pm, access can be facilitated throughout the week if prior arrangements are made.

Support the Local Studies Collection 

  • Visit new displays each month in person at the Bassendean Memorial Library.
  • Browse online information on the Bassendean Memorial Public Library website and Bassendean Library Facebook page 
  • Read about people, places and events with Trove Lists » Bassendean Memorial Library
  • Do an online jigsaw of a local history picture.
  • Participate in community engagements (community walks and talking history talks)
  • Do an oral history interview about some aspect of local history (Ashfield, Eden Hill and Bassendean) see the Oral History Inverview Nomination Form 
  • Update and add to existing information on places and events by contacting the Local Studies Librarian.
  • Volunteer in the Local Studies Collection.
         Congratulations to one of the Local Studies volunteers David Blampey for winning the Town’s Lifetime Volunteering Award 2022
  • Donations of documents, photographs and family information relevant to West Guildford, Bassendean, Ashfield and Eden Hill are always welcome.
  • Download the Memory Makers Form and return it completed to the Local Studies Librarian to ensure your family is represented in the Local Studies Collection.

Aboriginal History

Aboriginal Oral History Interviews

Disclaimer: Please be advised that some voices in these audio recordings may be of deceased Aboriginal people

The Town of Bassendean's Oral History Program records the oral histories of Aboriginal people with a custodial or cultural connection to the Bassendean district. Access contemporary Aboriginal oral history audio interviews with Sound Cloud here including Albert, Gwen and Vanessa Corunna, Nat Gillespie, Edward and Richard Wilkes, Bella and Herbert Bropho, Gina Williams and Allan Kickett

Further Reading

Residential History

Researching the history of your house is made easy with the free guide How To Trace the History of Your House by Carol Leigh

To help identify when your house was built and its type of architecture, a title can be purchased online from Landgate.

Other relevant information about your house and previous owners can be sourced from the Local Studies Collection including;

  • the West Guildford Rate Books
  • local history texts and Town publications
  • oral history audio interviews and transcripts,
  • war service records of soldiers,
  • family history details from biographical files
  • local pictures provided in the Library catalogue,
  • WA Post Office Directories provided by the WA State Library,
  • local newspapers online from Trove, courtesy of the National Library of Australia and
  • by checking the Town of Bassendean Local Heritage Survey (LHS) and previous Municipal Heritage Inventories.

Free use of the Library Edition of Ancestry.com provides access to online records of the WA Government Railway employees and Western Australia’s electoral rolls.

Putting together the information from various sources can give a history of your house, however incomplete.

As a home owner, you can also arrange to view house plans by contacting Planning Staff at the Town of Bassendean Customer Service

Oral History Collection

The Oral History Program records the memories and experiences of people who have lived, worked or played in Bassendean.

Current oral histories can be found on the Library Catalogue and are available as transcripts. Access to the oral history audio collection are available on the Bassendean Memorial Library website so that you can listen from the comfort of your home. 

The Oral History Program includes people from all backgrounds who have a connection to the Town of Bassendean.

If you would like to share your story with us, or know someone whose story should be recorded, please complete the Interview Nomination Form or contact the Local Studies Librarian.

Family History

Family History or genealogy, is a fun and fascinating activity, conducted by both children and adults. Is your family associated with the district? A list of frequently asked questions about family history can be found here.

May Holman MLA (1893-1939)

May Holman, MLA, was born in 1893 and died in 1939. Mary Alice (May) Holman was elected to the Western Australian Parliament in1925. She was only the second woman elected to an Australian Parliament and Australia’s first Labor women parliamentarian. She was elected unopposed to the seat of Forrest left vacant by the death of her father J.B. Holman. Prior to her election she was acting as secretary of the Timber Worker’s Union and by the time of her tragic death in a road accident in April 1939 she had been re-elected five times making her the first women to serve more than ten years in any Parliament in the British Commonwealth.

May lived with her family in Ida Street, Bassendean from 1920-1939 where a plaque commemorates the now demolished family home (now known as Mann Way).
May was involved in local fund raising efforts for the Perth Hospital Appeal and was crowned "Queen of Giving" in the fundraising competition1924.

In 1914 (9 May) May married Joseph Gardiner, however their marriage resulted in divorce in 1920.

Between 1933 and 1939 she was secretary of the Parliamentary Labor Party.  A founder and life time driving force behind the Labor Women’s Organisation she was appointed an alternate Australian delegate to the League of Nations in 1930 and she also served on the Board of Management of Perth Hospital. An accomplished musician she was for many years the youngest woman elected to an Australian Parliament. She is commemorated with May Holman Drive, Bassendean.

The State Library holds a rich collection of material relating to May Holman, especially her private archive.
Biography - Mary Alice (May) Holman
May Holman - Podcast

May O’Brien (nee Miller) 1933-2020

Bassendean resident, the late Mrs May Lorna O'Brien (nee Miller) became the first tertiary qualified Aboriginal teacher in Western Australia in 1954 and helped to shape Aboriginal education throughout her life. She grew up at the Mount Margaret Aboriginal Mission and with her husband Jack, later lived in Penzance Street, Bassendean and attended the Bassendean Church of Christ. As an educator over 25 years, May fought for Aboriginal rights, helped to establish Aboriginal committees on education and wrote a report on Aboriginal education, helping to bridge the gap between cultures. 1n 1984 she was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to study programs on indigenous issues in North America, and went on to hold senior positions
in the Dept. of Education. May O'Brien was awarded the British Empire Medal in 1977 for work in Aboriginal education. She was state finalist in the WA Senior Australian of the Year 2011. After her retirement from the public service in 1988, May authored many books and supported Aboriginal literacy initiatives in Western Australia. In 2022 she was posthumously inducted in the WA Women’s Hall of Fame. 

Cyril Jackson, KBE, 1863-1924

Cyril Jackson was the first Chairman of the West Guildford Road Board from 1901-1903. He lived at Daylesford House at 7 Daylesford Road, a state heritage site and private residence. Early West Guildford Road Board meetings were held there prior to the Road Board Offices being built. Jackson was the first Inspector General of Schools in Western Australia and returned to England with promotions based on his success with education reforms in Western Australia. A bachelor, Anglican, keen musician and sports man he was knighted in 1917 and died in 1924 and is buried at St Peter’s Church in Limpsfield, Surrey, England. Local places, the Cyril Jackson Senior Campus and the Cyril Jackson Recreation Centre are named for him.

Daylesford House  State Heritage Registration inHerit - State Heritage Office

1988 Australian Bicentennial Commemorative Plaques Heritage Trail

The 1988 Australian Bicentennial Commemorative Plaques Heritage Trail brochure- available to download or pick up a printed copy from the Bassendean Memorial Library.

This guide is for plaques located at Success Hill Reserve, along North Road, Bassendean Parade and West Road, dedicated to people who have shaped the Town of Bassendean. This brochure was produced as a Local Studies Collection Working Group project 2019.

Bassendean War Memorial and Memorial Rose Garden

World War l

Access to all Service Records for men listed on the Bassendean War Memorial are available online at 

Bassendean (West Guildford) War Memorial in Perth, Western Australia | Discovering Anzacs | National Archives of Australia and Archives NZ - Trove (nla.gov.au)

Service Records for soldiers who fought and fell and who are listed on the Bassendean War Memorial are available at Bassendean (West Guildford) War Memorial- Fought and Fallen, in Perth, Western Australia. | Discovering Anzacs | National Archives of Australia and Archives NZ - Trove (nla.gov.au)

The Service Records are made accessible by the National Archives of Australia. Learn more about the Bassendean War Memorial at the Australian War Memorial’s Places of Pride and Bassendean Memorial Rose Garden.

West Guildford Artist at War, Corporal Reginald Walters

Local signwriter, Reg Walters came to Western Australia with his family in the mid 1880’s. He served with the Western Australian 10th Light Horse Regiment as a regimental artist.

View an online exhibition The Project — Reg Walters: An Artist At War of his unique chalkboard works, based on his collection of photographs, souvenir cards and a diary held in the WA State Library. 

Learn more about the history of the district, Bassendean War Memorial, WWl soldiers and gallantry award winners, WWll service men and women and gallantry award winners and suggestions for local excursions for HASS students here.

World War ll

Many local men and women served in World War ll.

  • Access a list of names of WWll service men and women, who were born in Bassendean, from the online nominal roll with online links to their war service summaries and commemorative certificates here.
  • Access a list of names of WWll service men and women, whose locality on enlistment was in Bassendean, from the online nominal roll with online links to their war service summaries and commemorative certificates here.
  • Access a list of fifteen names of WWll service women, who were born in Bassendean, from the online nominal roll with online links to their war service summaries and commemorative certificates here
  • Access a list of twenty seven names of WWll service women, who were not born in Bassendean but whose locality on enlistment was Bassendean, from the online nominal roll with online links to their war service summaries and commemorative certificates here.

View a short media presentation about the Bassendean War Memorial 

A Timeline of Events about Community Contributions in Making the West Guildford Soldier’s Memorial

Local Soldiers Who Died in Service

Bassendean War Memorial Brochure

History Picture Jigsaws (Online)


View Kenny Street  (25 pieces)
This picture was taken from the Bassendean Fire Station tower looking south westerly.

Lockridge Hotel (25 pieces)

Built in 1896 on the corner of present River Road and Anzac Terrace, this state heritage listed site is a private residence and not open to the public.

Daylesford House (25 pieces)

Built in 1898 for Cyril Jackson, this state heritage listed  site is a private residence and not open to the public.

Whitfield Street (25 pieces)

Whitfield Street is named for Francis Whitfield, a resident magistrate of Guildford and later a farmer at York. This picture shows the street looking south and the police station on the left.

Tottie Everingham and milk cow  (10 pieces)
As a result of the  infectious disease Rinderpest c 1923-24 local cows and goats were killed and  dairies were decimated. Many community members photographed their beloved pets prior to their demise.

Old Perth Road  (16 pieces)
This picture shows the corner of Padbury’s Building and shops on Perth Road, prior to the extension of Guildford Road to the West Road intersection which was made in the mid 1970’s. This image is c1961.


Recommended Resources

Local and Libraries


Bassendean Historical Society Inc.

Bassendean Historical Society Inc.
Formed in 1991, the volunteer members of the Bassendean Historical Society provided access to the Pensioner Guard Cottage at 1 Surrey Street, Bassendean from 1991-2021 when owned by the Town of Bassendean.

Rail Transport Museum WA

The Railway Museum at Bassendean, Perth Western Australia is Western Australia's premier museum devoted to railway history and aims to tell the story of all railways across the state.

Western Australian State Library

State Library of WA
The Battye Library holds a large collection of material relating to Western Australia.

Trove- National Library of Australia

Is a search engine giving access to millions of items in Australian collections.  Simply by searching for ‘Bassendean’ you will find many relevant images, newspaper articles and maps. You can limit your search to Western Australia by using the advanced newspaper search. See also over one hundred Trove Lists, selected and organised by the Local Studies Librarian, about people, places and events in Ashfield, Eden Hill and Bassendean.

Post Office Directories

The Western Australian Post office Directories 1893 - 1949
The post office directories are an invaluable source of information for anyone who is doing family history or research on Western Australia during the period 1893-1949.

Western Australia’s cultural collections

Culture WA

Search the WA State Library, State Records, WA Museum separately or all agencies together

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Information

Aboriginal history

Aboriginal history | DLGSC

  • Includes Gnarla Boodja Mili Mili (Our Country on Paper)  An online interactive map acknowledging the names of Noongar places throughout the Perth CBD area, also known as Boorlo or Burrell
  • Moore River Native Settlement Centenary photographic collection
  • No Less Worthy, A publication acknowledging the significant contribution of WA Aboriginal volunteers to the World War One effort.
  • Right Wrongs Toolkit '67 Referendum – WA 50 years on

Storylines | State Library of Western Australia (slwa.wa.gov.au)

Storylines is an Indigenous online archive managed and hosted by the State Library of Western Australia.

Reconciliation Australia

Reconciliation Australia Reconciliation Australia is the lead body for reconciliation in Australia. We inspire and build relationships, Reconciliation Australia is the lead body for reconciliation in Australia which inspires and builds relationships, respect and trust between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non- Indigenous Australians and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians.

Danjoo Koorliny Walking Together

Danjoo Koorliny Walking Together Hosted at UW Danjoo Koorliny Walking Together project is a large-scale, long- term, systems-change journey designed and led by Aboriginal leaders to help us all walk together towards 2029 (200 years of colonisation in Perth) and beyond. Danjoo Koorliny is a spirit-led movement of the people. 

Department of Lands, Planning and Heritage

Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage (www.wa.gov.au) Planning and managing land and heritage for all Western Australians. Planning for our future, respecting our past, creating opportunities for today.

The Norman Tindale index

The new online index was created by the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries' Aboriginal History WA to assist Aboriginal people to research their family and community histories. The Town of Bassendean recognises the stolen generations and that the regressive policy of the past that removed children from family on basis of being Aboriginal continue to have negative impacts today. We encourage Aboriginal people to use the online resource launched by Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt to assist individuals to access their family history.

The information includes genealogical research collected by anthropologist Norman Tindale between 1935 and 1966. 

To access Tindale records, applicants will need to complete a family history request form available from www.dlgsc.wa.gov.au/aboriginal-history

 WA Indigenous family history resources

 WA Indigenous family history resources | State Library of Western Australia (slwa.wa.gov.au)


Many of the archival records held in the Battye Library relating to Aboriginal people are in different collections.  Here is a select bibliography of publications available at the State Library which includes online biographical indexes for personal names, published biographical indexes for personal names, archival materials for research into Indigenous family history and historical indexes for personal names, places and key events.


The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Biographical Index

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Biographical Index (ABI) is compiled by an indexer who reads through books from the AIATSIS collection and creates records for the names of people mentioned in them. The items indexed cover the whole of Australia.

There are about 70,000 records in the ABI and it is being continuously updated from both historical and contemporary Australian Indigenous works



BlackWords provides access to a vast record of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers and their publications. Discover authoritative information, research, full text, and teaching and learning resources on all forms of creative writing, including film, television, criticism and scholarship. BlackWords is an important AustLit project.

Genealogy Resources


Family History WA

Family History WA (formerly WAGS)
Visit this site to find out about the society’s products and services and view links to all Local Studies Centres in the metropolitan area.

Metropolitan Cemetery Board

Metropolitan Cemetery Board

The Metropolitan Cemeteries Board manages and maintains six cemetery and memorial garden sites around Perth. The Board provides basic death details in records available online.

WA Pioneer Index BDM at Department of Justice

Birth, Death and Marriage WA Online Index

The Pioneers Index provided by the Department of Attorney General, the State’s Birth, Death and Marriage online index.

BIRTHS (1841-1932)

DEATHS (1841-1971)

MARRIAGES (1841-1936)

WA Reverse Marriage Index

WA Reverse Marriage Index 1906-1965

Supplementing information contained in the WA Online Index the WA Reverse Marriage Index allows you to search for both men and women marrying in Western Australia within the date range.

Friends of Battye Library 


Bicentennial dictionary of Western Australia’s

Historical Repositories


Royal WA Historical Society Inc.

Royal Historical Society of WA
The society collects and preserves the history of Western Australia and has an extensive reference library and photographic collection.

State Records Office

State Records Office
The State Records Office provides recording keeping services to Government, preserves the State Archives collection and makes state archives accessible for researchers.

The State Records Office of WA has scanned local sewerage plans so you can explore the changed landscape of Perth through historical survey plans.



Retromaps are online plans used as part of the installation of a sewerage scheme throughout the Perth metropolitan area.

National Archives of Australia

National Archives of Australia
In addition to holding more than 100 years of Australian Government records, the National Archives is a great place to research your family history.  Search war service records if your family members served in the Australian Armed Forces.  Immigration records of those who migrated to Australia in the 20th century are also available.


The AIF Project is an online database that draws on a wide range of sources to provide details on the 330,000 men and women who served overseas in the (First) Australian Imperial Force, 1914-1918.This site provides free access to World War l service record summaries and is searchable by name, state, number.


The Commonwealth War Graves Commission honours the 1.7 million men and women of the Commonwealth forces who died in the First and Second World Wars, and ensures they will never be forgotten.

Department of Veterans Affairs Nominal Rolls

Nominal rolls list members of Australia's defence forces who served during World War Two, Korean War, Vietnam War and First Gulf War

Heritage Council

Heritage Council of WA The WA Heritage Database lists the State Register of Heritage Places as well as those on local government heritage inventories, Commonwealth heritage lists and places classified by the National Trust.

Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage

The Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage is responsible for planning and managing land and heritage for WA.

Australia Dictionary of Biography Online

Australian Dictionary of Biography Online
Australia's pre-eminent dictionary of national biography. Find concise, informative and fascinating descriptions of the lives of significant and representative persons in Australian history.


Landgate is the statutory authority responsible for property and land information in Western Australia

Anzac Portal

The Anzac Portal has a wealth of free resources, prepared by qualified historians and educators. Online lessons, digital books, videos, podcasts and more for primary and secondary levels provides a range of education resources to support classroom teaching of Australia’s wartime history.

WA Military Digital Library

WA Military Digital Library

Records from the WA Army Museum archives including nominal rolls, scrapbooks, unit histories, photographs and personal documents.


Local Studies Librarian: Janet Megarrity
Telephone: (08) 9279 2966
Fax: (08) 9279 1869
Address: Bassendean Memorial Library, 46 Old Perth Road, Bassendean, 6054

Acknowledgement of Nyoongar People. 

The Town of Bassendean acknowledges the Nyoongar people as traditional custodians of the land and water and acknowledges their continuing connection to land and community. We pay our respects to them, to their culture and to their Elders, past, present and emerging.