Industry and Business
Small businesses like grocers, bakers, and dairies kept the farming communities of the Cockburn district running smoothly, and hotels provided some much-needed respite and leisure. But it was heavy industries like lime-burning, abattoirs, and smelting that brought money and workers into Cockburn and set it up for future prosperity.
The Cockburn district had a unique experience of war, particularly World War Two, as both an agricultural district and one with many military installations around its isolated coastal areas.
Find out more about wartime production, rationing, internment and the home front.
Sport and social lives
The hardworking farmers and labourers of the Cockburn district liked to play hard too, and their leisure time was filled with sports, dances, social clubs, and more. They formed local soccer, AFL, cricket, and tennis clubs with gusto, and trained and raced horses in Hamilton Hill and Jandakot.
The Cockburn district was built by migrants at every stage of its history. Early agricultural land policies encouraged migration to build farms and supply a growing colony, and the gold rush of the 1890s saw Chinese, Afghan, southern and eastern European migrants arrive to try their luck. Many moved into Cockburn temporarily, but many more paved the way for their families and friends to follow them, and built Cockburn into the diverse city it is today.
Buildings and places
Stories about the historical buildings and places around the Cockburn district, including community halls, churches, schools, and public space, as well as the history of all the suburbs in Cockburn.
The Cockburn district grew quickly after World War Two. Find out about the new industries, growing suburbs, and wide array of new residents in a modern district.
The owners of the land that became Cockburn were the Beeliar Nyungar, and they called their land Beeliar Boodjar. When the first Europeans arrived in Western Australia, the Beeliar Nyungar were led by Midgegooroo and Yagan. Some of their language was recorded by an early settler, but for many years afterwards they were neglected and dispossessed by Europeans.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are warned that these articles may contain images of people who are now deceased.
Digitisation of Cockburn's historical collections has been part of several projects over the years. Volunteers helped to scan and catalogue the photographic collection, mostly held at Azelia Ley Museum, and staff at Spearwood Library digitised the audio, video, and document collections, including Cockburn's 1978 local history book, Cockburn: the Making of a Community by Michael Berson.
Cockburn History is a collaborative effort between the Cockburn Libraries, City of Cockburn, and Azelia Ley Homestead Museum.
Azelia Ley Museum
The Azelia Ley Homestead Museum and its associated outbuildings are located in Manning Park, Hamilton Hill. The heritage listed residence was built in 1923 for a member of the Manning family and offers a glimpse into the life of a prosperous settler family living in the Cockburn district.
The City of Cockburn Aboriginal Oral History Project records and summarises the oral histories of eleven indigenous people with a custodial or cultural connection to the Cockburn district. This recorded interview of Roma Loo-Kickett by Nikki Brannigan and Uta Eckhardt took place November 2005. Full audio and a summary below.
(Tape 1 — Side A)
(Tape 1 – Side B)
(Tape 2 — Side A)
9 Coleville Crescent,
Po Box 1215, Bibra Lake DC,
Western Australia, 6965
Cockburn Nyungar moort Beeliar boodja-k kaadadjiny. Koora, yeyi, benang baalap nidja boodja-k kaaradjiny.
Ngalak kaadatj dayin boodja, kep wer malayin. Ngalak kaadatj koora koora wer yeyi ngalang birdiya.
City of Cockburn acknowledges the Nyungar people of Beeliar boodja. Long ago, now and in the future they care for country.
We acknowledge a continuing connection to land, waters and culture and pay our respects to the Elders, past, present and emerging.