About Kings Park

Kings Park is the largest inner city park in the world. It is just under 1000 acres with 2/3 of it preserved as "native bushland." Seventeen hectares are utilized as a botanical garden and the rest is playgrounds, cafes and expansive lawns for public use.

People in other parts of the world sometimes think of Australia as an island, but it is actually a continent, having broken off from the ancient Gondwanan super continent about 167 million years ago.  Australia is the sixth largest continent in the world after Russia, Canada, China, USA and Brazil.  It is nearly as wide (East to West) and only slightly shorter (North to South) than the USA.  A comparative size analysis can be seen at this link.

Perth itself is a city of about 2 million people and is one of the windiest cities in the world with prevailing winds sweeping ashore uninterrupted from the vast Indian Ocean to its West.  In much of the year a strong thermally induced Sea Breeze known as the Fremantle Doctor blows in from the sea every afternoon.

The climate in Perth is "Mediterranean" with hot(ish) summers with a week or two with temperatures in the high 30's and low 40's C (Low 100s F.)  These sweltering days are short lived however and the Fremantle Doctor helps make them bearable.  It is never terribly humid being similar to the San Francisco area of the US although not nearly as mountainous.  Even in winter, when temperatures stay around 15 C (60s F) the direct sun can be brutal and sunscreen is suggested year round.

The park land was set aside back in 1872 when the population of Perth was about 9,000 and there were less than 25,000 people in all of Western Australia. WA is five times the size of Texas and it is more than 1300 miles from Perth to the nearest city of more than 1 million people. Perth is the most isolated city in the world in terms of geographic distance to anything of consequence.

The park is on a high hill overlooking the Swan River Basin and Matilda Bay. Across the basin is a clear view of the Perth Hills aka The Darling Range, named after General Ralph Darling who put together the expedition of Captain James Stirling aboard the HMS Success that established the Swan River Colony (Perth.) The hill on which Kings Park sits is named Mt. Eliza after Darling's wife. No one ever accused Perth's early settlers of being anything short of politically astute. The park is actually on the most attractive land in all the Swan River Valley... just the sort of place I would have put my house if I had been Stirling. (No one ever accused me of being in the least, politically astute.)

The land in the Swan River Valley is very poor.  There have been no "earth creating events" here for millions of years.  The primary geologic player has been erosion with the rain, wind and sea working year after year to leach out and erase any remnant of nutrient in our "soil" and leaving only a layer of sand atop a limestone base. Not really ideal conditions for growing plants, much less food crops. This poor soil played a huge role in checking any population growth in the area until gold was discovered in 1892. That year Perth's population doubled and it was over 130,000 two years after that.

It rains only about 3 or 4 months and all in the winter months of the year (June-August) and the rest of the time the sun streams down unimpeded by clouds. We have a mild climate, but the sun is strong, even if not hot. The poor soil and oppressive sun of our area may seem like a detriment to botanical life, but instead it has provided a perfect laboratory for life to adapt. Being so remote to the rest of the world, the plants here, like the animals, have taken a path not shared by the rest of the world and as a consequence there are more than 4000 known species of plants in the southwest corner of WA, more than in any other similar sized area in the world, and over 80% of them occur nowhere else in the world.

Welcome to Kings Park.
"Black Swan in Perth Water"

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