Perry's Legacy

Perry Lakes was an athletics ground built in Floreat, Perth for the 1962 Commonwealth and  Empire Games (nope never heard of them either).   Some would have us believe it was a dog from day one, unfit for purpose etc.  But Perry Lakes Stadium, until it met the wrecker's ball last year, had a certain elegance and grandeur that bought a whiff of something sophisticated to mid-century Perth.   Generations of budding athletes, and anyone that made it into the inter-school aths team had the opportunity to feel like an olympian for a swift moment or 30.  Its modernist lines and counter-levered canopy just made you feel like you could run faster and be a champion for one day.

This blog Perth 6000 times has also turned an eye to PL's faded glory in this post, where you will find some interesting interior shots.  OK, so it doesn't look that great, but it was derelict by then.

Apparently it was full of asbestos (isn't everything in Australia from that time) and given its location in the heart of the fashionable Western suburbs, the ground and majestic grandstand was always destined to meet the dozers.

Landcorp have developed the site for executive housing which they have creatively called "Perry Lakes".  Marketers have squarely targeted the Boomers and Xgens who will reminisce with fondness their youth and better days, and dig deep for the $1m for 500 square metres of deemed heritage land.

So what has become of athletics in Perth?  Over the road from the old site, we now have the new State Athletics Stadium which is by all accounts a much better prospect for those serious about running fast and jumping high.   But utterly charmless.  Maybe it was built on a budget, but the grandstand does nowt for me.

I was there today.  Not doing anything energetic myself, I hasten to add.

But there is hope!  Back at the old Perry Lakes site the original scoreboard still stands, like a mini stadia in itself, echoing the materials and lines of the now ghost grandstand.  I'm optimistically thinking it might be turned in into a cafe or kiosk, as a nod (hate that expression) to the mid-century styling that dominated this pocket of Perth and the memories of so many, of decades gone.  Or maybe they've just not got round to bowling it yet.    


  1. Hope they are keeping the scoreboard building too, such a shame the land is worth too much for the building. Our local council demolished a beautiful art deco building(town hall) in the late 80's and replaced it with a three story glass building, horrible.

  2. Asbestos demolition scares me almost as much as modern public building aesthetics!
    Long live the score board!

  3. Really interesting to hear about this. It would be nice is they could keep that one little building just so people don't forget what was there. Those homes are going to be expensive!

  4. Yep, fond (???) memories of Perry Lakes - nearly died, more than once attempting to compete in/complete the 1500 when I was at school!
    I have a lovely vintage tablecloth from when Perth hosted the Empire Games ('62, I think?) Perry Lakes has a staring role.


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