Swan Guildford Historical Society

Swan Guildford Historical Society Logo


The town of Guildford was established in 1829. Located at the convergence of the Swan and Helena rivers, it was an ideal place to establish a river trade.
Stirling Square Gun

Stirling Square gun

Judy Hamersley

Judy Hamersley

Our History

In the days before a reliable road system was established, goods from Fremantle or Perth were transported to the inland port at Guildford. In return, produce from farms in the Swan Valley, and from country towns including Northam and York were brought to Guildford, on their way to market. As a result, Guildford became a market town and transport hub, the agricultural cradle of the new settlement.

The Swan Guildford Historical Society was established in 1962 by Judy Hamersley, granddaughter of Fanny and Charles Harper who lived at Woodbridge. Judy understood the importance of the area, and knew Guildford as a generational gathering place for Aboriginal people before white settlement – in an area they knew as Mandoon, and as a thriving area for pioneers in the Swan River Colony that was established in 1829.

Judy’s mission was to gather artefacts for a museum and record the history of the area for current and future generations. Judy advertised in local papers for items with historical links to Guildford and surrounding areas. She was quickly inundated with artefacts that became the starting point for our museum. Today, Guildford is now recognised as a historic town, classified by the national trust, and the wider Swan Valley area is one of Western Australia’s most visited tourism destinations. 

From these early beginnings, the Society and its museum have grown to be a must-see tourist destination. We conduct guided tours of the Colonial Gaol, Taylor’s Cottage, and a 19th Century wash house, which display many items from our collections. A display of farming machines and a blacksmiths forge are located in the Gaol’s exercise yard.

We welcome you to visit us to learn more about the early days of settlement.


Judy Hamersley House, our Headquarters


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Opening Hours


Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday


10AM to 2PM

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