Peppermint Grove is a place and a shire of 104 ha. in the inner west of metropolitan Perth, its eastern boundary being Freshwater Bay on the Swan River. It is about 4 km. north of Fremantle and 8 km. west of Perth. The name came from the peppermint trees (Agonis flexuosa), which grew in the area.
The residential settlement of Peppermint Grove began in the gold-boom 1890s, attracting successful colonists and entrepreneurs and becoming the place of the very well to do. Its Melbourne equivalent is Toorak and the Sydney equivalent is Vaucluse. Peppermint Grove’s access to Perth was by private means or by train from the Cottesloe station, about one km. away.
On 2 October, 1895 Peppermint Grove was made a Road Board District. Apart from its roads function the Board acted as a brake on locals who appropriated beach space for boatsheds. Domestic water came from underground bores, rainwater tanks and government supplies. The Presbyterian church (c.1896) was the first church in the suburb. A state primary school was begun in 1897, followed by several private schools. The Presbyterian Ladies College (c.1915), was the sixth school in Peppermint Grove. A Catholic school (1905) closed in the 1950s.
There are several striking Federation-period mansions in Peppermint Grove, a few of later design, and nearly all of the dozen or so cottages have since been acquired and demolished. The Peppermint Grove families were distinguished by a desire to establish a suburban environment for raising children and for a spacious outdoor life. The Roaring Twenties were distinguished by tennis and crabbing in the shallows.
In the post-war period many male residents of Peppermint Grove were at the forefront of business and the industrialisation of the Western Australian economy. In the 1977 Who’s Who 27 Peppermint Grove residents were listed, a higher number than any other suburb. Peppermint Grove’s population was 1,580 persons.
During the 1960s some elderly residents subdivided their large allotments for denser housing. The Village was challenged by a new shopping centre just west of Peppermint Grove. In the 1990s the chief issues concerning the community and its shire council were the preservation of historic homes, a neighbourhood watch organisation with a salaried liaison officer and the undergrounding of power lines. Riverfront home sites sell at around $6,000 a square metre.
Peppermint Grove’s census populations have been 1,043 (1911), 1,468 (1954) and 1,465 (1991).
- Pascoe, Robert, Peppermint Grove: Western Australia’s Capital Suburb, Oxford University Press, 1983