The history of any city is always fascinating to explore. It helps to bring in visitors from near and far, so it’s worth emphasising the interesting history behind the modern city. Perth was founded nearly 190 years ago, so there’s a lot of history to explore. However, some people feel that parts of the city are neglected for their historical value, and they would like that to change. The Historic Heart project is aiming to promote the history of the city’s east end breath new life into the area. Meanwhile, another project is educating people about Perth’s links to the gold mining industry with a virtual trail from The Elizabeth Key to The Perth Mint.

The Heart of Gold Discovery Trail covers 12 locations of historical importance between Elizabeth Key and Perth Mint. As a self-guided tour, it’s available for anyone to take using a handy app, which provides interesting facts about Perth and its golden history. Designed for all ages, the app uses a variety of media, including audio stories, images, and interactive games. At the end of the trail, anyone who has completed it can get a special Heart of Gold medallion from the mint. On top of that, they’ll also be entered into a draw to win a real gold nugget.

Image of Perth Mint from Wikimedia

If you don’t want to leave it to chance, you could always buy your own gold or silver from the mint. Maybe you’ll enjoy the silver rooster coin from their Lunar series, based on the animals of the Chinese lunar calendar. If you visit lpm.hk for more, you can also pre-order the 2018 silver coin that commemorates the year of the dog. The final coin will be for 2019 in the year of the pig. Or you can just stick to visiting the Perth Mint and get a discount on the gold exhibition during October if you have completed the Heart of Gold trail.

Western Australia has more than 40 operation gold mines and Australia is the second largest producer of gold in the world. There was recently some controversy surrounding a proposed royalty hike for gold miners in WA, but the Western Australian Liberals have said they won’t support the move. WA Treasurer Ben Wyatt has criticised the decision, saying that the Liberals have sided with industry over families. Although the historical gold trail has been created by an apolitical group, it does highlight how important gold is to the state. Those who oppose the tax hike say that quashing it is the right thing to do for the economy.

Another way that Perth will see a championing of the city’s history is through the Historic Heart project. Run by 2016 West Australian of the Year Adrian Fini, the project aims to revitalise the east end of Perth, which many see as forgotten and neglected. The aim is to promote the area’s historical architecture, as well as the 10 small museums to be found there.

Historic Heart has secure $250,000 from the government and an equal amount from the business community to fund their projects. The group wants to launch art-led initiatives to get people interested in the area. They are starting with 65 planter boxes and benches, which have been decorated by local artists and will feature native wildflowers. The planters are placed between Barrack Street and Perth Mint, and people can vote for their favourite on the Historic Heart Website. They are available to see now.

Image of Barrack Street from Max Pixel

There are also self-guided walking tours for people to enjoy that will help them explore the area and its architecture, as well as the local museums. Other goals for the group included large-scale artworks unveiled every one or two months, plus events and activities. They want to increase the amount of foot traffic Perth’s east end receives to make it a livelier neighbourhood. These initiatives should help to promote local businesses, including cafes and restaurants, and show people that there is more to the area than they might think. Even the project manager and secretary for Historic Heart, Sandy Anghie, said that she had not known the area well before getting involved with the project.

If you want to go on the art walk and see the planters that have been set out, you can find a map at historicheart.com with all the locations and information about the artists. There’s also an architecture walk you can follow, which features a number of notable buildings, including Perth Town Hall, St. Mary’s Cathedral, and Fire Brigade No. 1 Station. Plus, there are various residential and commercial buildings of note and even a heritage-listed fig tree. There’s the Art Deco Criterion Hotel, the former Salvation Army Headquarters, built in 1899, and Miss Maud’s, where they have been serving Swedish treats since 1911. You can download a map for the architecture walk on the website too.

You can also find a guide to the small museums in the area, which include the Old Courthouse Law Museum, the Royal Perth Hospital Museum, and the Mercy Heritage Centre. There’s both a map and an app for you to download as a guide to these interesting places. Or you can simply visit the Historic Heart website to find out a bit more about each of the museums and their opening times. If the creative industries are more your thing, you can find information about galleries, quirky stores, artisan food shops, and more in the East End Creatives section of the site. Another interesting resource is the map showing what the group wants to do in the area and highlighting what there is to love about the east end.

If you feel like there are parts of Perth you don’t know well enough, try out one of these awesome trails to learn about the history of the city and its current lively culture too. Both the walks from Historic Heart and the Heart of Gold trail are free, so there’s nothing stopping you giving them a go. Whether you’re a Perth native or you’re visiting the city, it’s a great way to start exploring.

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