Survey to dig up farm history

AN archaeological survey is underway at Peninsula Farms April 4 to 10.

The National Trust brought in UWA archaeology students and staff to document the landscape and plan future conservation and interpretive works. 

They were assisted by the uni’s Centre for Forensic Anthropology, bringing in ground penetrating radar last week trying to identify the original building footprints.

Peninsula Farm may be the oldest colonial residence still standing in Perth, but there were many changes in the early days.

It was home to early colonist Joseph Hardey, who came over with the first Methodists to arrive in WA on the ship Tranby.

The extant house was built in 1839, but it wasn’t the first Tranby House. An earlier house was built downstream in 1830, but it soon washed away in a flood. Little is known about the second house built, and then Hardy recorded in a diary that he finished the roof on the third and current house by 1839.

“It seems likely that this is the current house and, if so, would be one of the oldest brick houses in the state,” the state heritage listing says.

Some of the oak, olive and mulberry trees on the site were planted in these early days.

The farm remained in the family until 1913, but wasn’t officially dubbed Tranby House until 1923 at the state centenary. 

Over the years outbuildings like cottages and stables were added, though those were mostly demolished in the 1960s and 70s when the Bond Corporation was planning a redevelopment.

That plan was cancelled amid public opposition, and the property was acquired by the National Trust in 1972. 

The findings of the survey will be used as part of the final masterplan. 

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