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Arts, Culture and Heritage

Arts, culture and heritage are valued components to city life for their ability to engage, challenge, excite and surprise people and help us reflect on our unique cultural identity. Through direct investment in these activities, the City of Perth is a leader in the development of our rich cultural landscape.

Core services provided by the City's Arts, Culture and Heritage team include management of the City’s cultural collections, integrated planning for the management and conservation of the city’s built heritage and the provision of meaningful public programming showcasing Perth’s unique cultural identity.

Cultural Development Plan 2019 – 2029

Cultural development is of vital importance to a capital city. The Cultural Development Plan 2019 - 2029 responds to issues that are affecting Perth and the region now and into the future, such as: the need to celebrate and showcase our strong and unique cultural identity; culture’s role in developing a sustainable and vibrant built environment; the important role of cultural activities in protecting and cherishing our natural heritage and environmental assets; the fact that Perth’s creative industries lag behind other global cities and the important role arts and culture play in diversifying our economy; the need for leadership, communication and engagement in driving cultural development in Perth; the importance of cultural development in easing social issues, promoting liveability and creating a safe, inclusive and welcoming environment.

The Cultural Development Plan 2019 - 2029 is a statement of the value of culture, the importance of arts, culture, heritage, events and centres of life-long learning to our future prosperity, sustainability, liveability and wellbeing. The essence of cultural development is delivering outcomes through continued investment in cultural activities in Perth. Cultural activities are key to delivering outcomes that are measurable and make a meaningful difference in the lives of all members of Perth’s diverse community.

The Cultural Development Plan 2019 - 2029 has been developed using the internationally recognised Cultural Planning Framework and Cultural Outcomes Measures, developed by local government, for local government, led by the Cultural Development Network (CDN) and the National Local Government Cultural Forum. Information on the National Local Government Cultural Forum and the Cultural Planning Framework methodology can be found on CDN's website.

The Arts, Culture and Heritage team is also responsible for delivering a number of significant outcomes as part of the City of Perth’s 2018/2019 Reconciliation Action Plan.

  • City of Perth History Centre

    The History Centre forms part of the City’s cultural collections and is dedicated to collecting and preserving items relating to the City’s history. The collection includes photographs, books, oral histories and ephemera ranging from Aboriginal occupation and the early days of European settlement to the present day.

    Read more about the History of the Council.

    To find out more visit the History Centre.

  • Origin of street names
    The first accurate plan of Perth with street names was prepared by Alfred Hillman under the direction of the Surveyor General. It was issued in 1838 and revised in 1841 and 1845. The first plan of Perth showed some rather peculiar phases. For instance, it demonstrated that it was never intended that the centre of the City should be around Barrack and Hay Streets. The centre of the city as originally laid out was at the intersections of Goderich and Lord Streets, the site of the Roman Catholic Cathedral. The main portions of the city were at the intersections of St Georges Terrace and William Streets as well as James and Stirling Streets. This was evident as these streets were all surveyed as the widest streets in the city.  

    Many of the names of the streets have been changed since the original plan was drawn. The plan was first changed in 1897 when the City of Perth decided to re-arrange street names and get rid of the anomaly of having two names for different portions of the same street.  (note early map of street names).

    Dates given are from the original plans in the Department of Land Administration which the street names were first shown. 

Finding Perth

Perth’s cultural identity is living, breathing and evolving. It is intrinsically woven through our built, natural and social landscapes.

Through the Finding Perth project the City aims to celebrate our diverse cultural identity, increase access to the City’s cultural assets and highlight Perth’s truly unique history and heritage. Finding Perth is an initiative to digitise and fully integrate various cultural and historical collections and make them publicly available for viewing online in a dynamic and interactive format.

As a precursor to the development of Finding Perth some of the City’s cultural assets and data have been mapped online:

Public Art Collection

By investing in the City's Public Art Collection, as well as commissioning temporary, ephemeral works, the City is a leader in the development of a rich cultural landscape, helping to create vibrant and active public spaces - essential for a safe and stimulating environment.

St Georges Terrace commemorative plaques

Walk along St Georges Terrace and you are stepping back through history. Find the street plaques showing people who have left their mark, in some significant way, on Western Australia. They include politicians, doctors, pioneers, teachers, sports people and civic leaders.

The plaques commence on the southern side of St Georges Terrace outside Perth Concert Hall and progress chronologically in a westerly direction and then back again on the northern side finishing at Irwin Street. The City of Perth is proud to commemorate the contributions made by these distinguished West Australians.

Art galleries and museums

Whether you’ve got an hour to kill and fancy the peace and serenity of an art gallery or you want to make a day of exploring Perth's museums and galleries, there’s a plethora of delightful experiences to be had in the city.

Untold Stories of Perth Podcast

From snake charmers, planned segregation, and refugees desperate to fit in, this fascinating look at the Untold Stories of Perth is based on new and existing oral history interviews from the City of Perth's Cultural Collections.

Follow the link below to listen online or subscribe to the Untold Stories of Perth podcast.

Untold Stories of Perth Podcast Cover


For more information on the City of Perth’s Cultural Collections, please contact our Cultural Collections team at If you have an enquiry about the City of Perth’s history & heritage, please contact our History Centre team at