What We Thought Would Kill Us - Hillarys Boat Harbour

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Hillarys Boat Harbour has arguably become one of the most successful tourism, commercial, recreational and boating developments in Perth. With its protected swimming beach, cafes, restaurants, retail, commercial, tourism, leisure and marine activities, the harbour attracts between four to five million visitors annually, provides the recreational and leisure needs of the wider regional population and directly employs more than 1,200 people, (Department of Transport (DOT), 2011). People love it.

However, at the time of its development in the 1980s, the boat harbour became one of the most hotly and sometimes violently disputed developments in Perth’s history. Protestors lay down in front of bulldozers demanding that the government stop works on the project.

This case study has been undertaken by the Committee for Perth to examine the then community’s concerns and fears about the boat harbour and whether they have come to fruition, or whether Hillarys Boat Harbour is an example of how development that the community feels threatened by in the short term can, in the long term, become our biggest assets or even be judged as unambitious by the next generation(s).

Acknowledgement of Country

The Committee For Perth acknowledges the traditional custodians throughout Western Australia and their continuing connection to the land, waters and community. We pay our respects to all members of the Aboriginal communities and their cultures; and to Elders both past and present.