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Swan View Officially Gazetted in August 1895

Before the Eastern Railway Deviation (1894 - 1896) opened this area, it was virgin bushland.

Morrison Road was once known as Boundary Road as it was the northern boundary of Captain James Stirling's (W.A.s first Governor) Woodbridge land grant. This land was later purchased by James Morrison, a land developer. From 1893 blocks of land, varying from one acre, five acres and larger were offered for sale and used for orchards, market gardens, poultry and dairy farming.

The Olivant family picnicking in Swan View circa 1911

The name Swan View was suggested by Inspecting Surveyor F.S. Brockman, as the view from these blocks shows the Swan Valley and coastal plain.

The population at the end of 1920 was only 185 people, and by 2021, 5,307 people lived in the area with an average of 9 people per hectare. The use of the land remained the same until the 1950s when urban dwellers settled in the area. The suburb grew rapidly and the Swan View Primary School was opened in 1954. A high school followed in 1977.

The opening of the Swan View Tunnel

Built in 1895, the Swan View tunnel was the first railway tunnel to be built in Western Australia. It was opened for traffic in 1896. Seventy years later in 1966, it was closed.

From its opening, there were complaints from locomotive crews about the conditions. Travelling uphill was unpleasant, and the open cabin combined with poor ventilation meant that the drivers and firemen were engulfed in smoke and fumes. It was not only the train staff that suffered and the conductors were instructed to ensure all the windows and doors were closed before entering the tunnel so the passengers did not have to endure the lack of ventilation.

This first serious accident occurred in 1903 when a driver fainted and fell from the engine after being overcome by asphyxiating fumes. The fireman heard the bump, but in the darkness, and belching smoke, paid no attention to the sound. It wasn't until the train came out of the tunnel, that the driver's absence was noticed. The fireman stopped the train and searched the tunnel. Miraculously he found the driver who had fallen clear of the wheels and had sustained only minor injuries!

Following this and many other accidents, it was decided to build a tunnel bypass on the northern side. this was completed in 1945 and the tunnel was only used for downhill moving trains. This was used until the Avon Valley dual gauge railway came into full operation and then closed in 1966.

Check our website for more history on the Shire of Mundaring.


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