John Forrest National Park


Shire of Mundaring

Place Number



Great Eastern Hwy Greenmount

Location Details

Address includes: 70 & Lot 136 Throssell Rd, Swan View; Lot 10159 Great Eastern Hwy, Hovea; Lot 11664 Toodyay Rd, Red Hill; Lots 68 & 70 Throssell Rd, Greenmount; Lot 69 Burton Pl, Greenmount; Lot 135 Great Eastern Hwy, Greenmount.

Other Name(s)

Greenmount National Park
National Park, Darling Range

Local Government




Construction Date

Constructed from 1898

Demolition Year


Statutory Heritage Listings

Type Status Date Documents
Heritage List YES 08 Mar 2016
State Register Registered 17 Dec 2004 HCWebsite.Listing+ListingDocument, HCWebsite.Listing+ListingDocument

Heritage Council Decisions and Deliberations

Type Status Date Documents
(no listings)

Other Heritage Listings and Surveys

Type Status Date Grading/Management
Municipal Inventory Adopted 22 Apr 1997 1 - Exceptional significance
Register of the National Estate Registered 21 Mar 1978
Aboriginal Heritage Sites Register Permanent
Aboriginal Heritage Sites Register Interim
Aboriginal Heritage Sites Register Recorded
Art Deco Significant Bldg Survey Completed 30 Jun 1994

Child Places

  • 02660 Eastern Railway Deviation

Statement of Significance

The John Forrest National Park has very high historic, social and scientific significance for the State and the Shire of Mundaring.

Physical Description

The John Forrest National park is located on the escarpment tot he north of Greenmount Hill and the Great Eastern Highway. The Jane Brook flows through the heavily treed park providing a focus for the public areas and picnic activities in the park. Whilst being set aside as a national Park to protect the natural beauty of the area, the man made features are also a focus for attention. These include the railway reserves which now provide an accessible and easy grade walk/trail/bridle trail through the park. Major elements of the rail reserves include the Swan View Tunnel to the west and the concrete and steel bridge over the Jane Brook at the main picnic area. Three timber trestle bridges remain but were buried to stabilise them. Other man made features include elements remaining from the work carried out bu the labour camps of the depression years. These comprise stone and timber structures such as car parks, paths amd terraces with stone retaining walls, built up garden beds, picnic and shade shelters (originally with blackboy thatched roofs), bridges and a weir damming the Jane Brook to provide a swimming pool. The use of local materials has resulted in sensitively integrated work that impacts very sympathetically on their surroundings and has mellowed very well with the natural environment over the years. There is however a need for considerable maintenance on many of the structures. Other substantial structures are located off the main car park at the picnic area and consist of the painted weather-board and corrugated iron tea rooms, and brick tavern. In addition, there are some staff houses. Some building have had various alterations and additions carried out over the years and would benefit by modifications to better integrate the various elements.


The first owner of Swan Location 15, part of which forms the area now known as John Forrest National Park, was absentee landlord Sir James Hume. Neither he nor subsequent owner Richard lewis had improved the area enough by the 1840's to prevent it reverting to the crown. Except for bush camps of sawyers and ex-convicts, the main area remained relatively unknown until the early 1890's when two events, both connected tot he Chief Engineer's office, opened up the area. The first event related to attempts by the Chief Engineer CY O'Connor to reduce the cost and lessen the steep, dangerous grades of the original Eastern Railway via Smith's mill (Glen Forrest). In 1893, the new route was chosen and it followed the course of Jane brook. Because of a misunderstanding about the names of the watercourses, it was known as mahogany Creek Deviation. In June 1896, soon after the line opened for passenger trains, a man and eight horses died when a train left the rails in the park after a coupling fracture at Lion Mill (Mt Helena) Station. The second event which affected the area was related to water supply. One of the contractors on the deviation, William Hedges, alerted the premier John Forrest and O'Connor to the possible use for water catchment of the steeper sections of Swan Location 1160 he had purchased from Sam Viveash. At the time O'Connor was looking for a reservoir site for the Coolgardie Water Supply Scheme. Hedges site proved too small for what was required, but it was set aside for water conservation and in March 1896, Surveyor General H.F. Johnston prohibited further sale of crown land in the area. From 1885 to 1895, Crown land in the area south of the Jane Brook was leased to George Smith of Clayton Farm (Site 79), and his nephew Thomas of Smiths Mill. They grazed their horses and bullocks in a paddock known as 'The Glen'. Thomas may have used timber illegally cut from the nearby forest in his mill. When W.H. McGlew took over the lease in 1896, he cleared the area and sank and stone lined the 'Dream Well' for his dairy herd. Despite these grazing rights being cancelled in c 1900, McGlew continued to use 'The Glen' up to c 1920. In 1896, about the same time as McGlew leased 'The Glen', Smiths Mill carpenter William Priest managed to obtain a 10 acre (4 ha) orchard block 1.5 kms south-east of the Swan View Tunnel (Site 178). Freehold title was granted to Priest in 1900, by which time he had cleared the block, built a house and planted fruit trees. His house and orchard were destroyed by fire soon after their resumption in 1928. In 1895, Crown land north of the Jane Brook was granted to William Sexton, and by 1900 he had removed the prime timber to his Parkerville sawmill. The first serious protection for the area came in December 1898. Instead of allowing it to be sub divided, Surveyor General Johnston set aside 3 200 acres (1 295 ha) of Crown land (excluding Priest's land) for a temporary parkland. This temporary reservation was made permanent on 30th November 1900, when it was declared an "A" Class reserve. In reality, the park was still used for grazing, timber cutting and game shooting, and the absence of a park railway station discouraged visits from those without a vehicle. The appointment of William Priest as caretaker was an attempt to protect the park's flora and fauna. Before it assumed control of the National Park in 1915, Greenmount Road Board lobbied unsuccessfully to allow the sub division of the York road frontage. The Greenmount Road Board had carried out very little in the way of 'improvements' to the park, and in 1928, the management of the park passed to the two man State Gardens Board. In 1929, the Greenmount National Park by-laws came into being. Greenmount National Park took on many aspects of its present appearance as a result of the Depression of 1929-1933. It was the State Gardens Board and the labour force available from the unemployed in camps at Blackboy Hill (Site 82) and Hovea which transformed the Park's appearance and increased its popularity. The works included the construction of a scenic road through the Park, the damming of the Jane Brook to create a swimming pool and weir, car parking, terracing paths bridges and the distinctive timber and blackboy thatched picnic shelters. In addition, the 560 or so men at Hovea were employed cutting firewood which was distributed free to the unemployed. The Park was opened to the general public in 1932, and by 1939, 800 trees and shrubs had been planted. In the 1930s in response to increased usage of the Park, Caisley's Darlington Bus Service dropped bush walkers off at the National Park entrance opposite Darlington Road. In 1936, a shelter shed for people on the weekend train services was built at the newly created National Park stop on the Eastern Railway. The post war period saw further development with the completion of a tearooms whose stone foundations were quarried from 'The Glen'. In 1947, to honour the state's first premier and supporter of the park, it was renamed John Forrest National Park. To augment the Park's water supply, two additional dams were built, one of which was on Glen Brook, south of the swimming pool. In 1951, the Mahogany Creek Dam briefly held the state's first introduced platypus and in 1962, it flooded, inundating McGlew's former cow paddocks. In 1978, a tavern / restaurant was built near the main car park area. Today, the 2 500 ha site, which includes the Swan View Tunnel (Site 178), is administered by the Department of CALM.


Integrity: Very High




Ref ID No Ref Name Ref Source Ref Date
I Elliot; ibid. p 239
CALM; "John Forrest national Park management Plan 1994-2004 CALM 1994

State Heritage Office library entries

Library Id Title Medium Year Of Publication
11940 John Forrest National Park, conservation management strategy and heritgae inmpact statement Heritage Study {Cons'n Plan} 2022

Place Type



Epoch General Specific
Present Use PARK\RESERVE Park\Reserve
Original Use PARK\RESERVE Park\Reserve

Construction Materials

Type General Specific
Roof TIMBER Other Timber
Wall TIMBER Other Timber
Other TIMBER Log

Historic Themes

General Specific
SOCIAL & CIVIC ACTIVITIES Sport, recreation & entertainment

Creation Date

18 Jun 1997

Publish place record online (inHerit):


Last Update

10 Feb 2017


This information is provided voluntarily as a public service. The information provided is made available in good faith and is derived from sources believed to be reliable and accurate. However, the information is provided solely on the basis that readers will be responsible for making their own assessment of the matters discussed herein and are advised to verify all relevant representations, statements and information.