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Historic Gates Rededicated in Guildford Down Under

Published on: 10 Apr, 2012
Updated on: 11 Apr, 2012

Schoolchildren at the rededication of the Stirling Memorial Gates in Guildford, Western Australia. Pictures courtesy of Dr Pamela Statham Drew.

by David Rose

People in Guildford, Western Australia (WA), gathered at a ceremony for the rededication of the town’s historic Stirling Memorial Gates.

The dedication was led by the Governor of Western Australia, His Most Excellency, Malcolm McCusker, and was attended  by other local dignatries and children from local schools.

Sir James Stirling was the first governor of Western Australia. He married a Guildford girl, Ellen Mangles, and in their later lives they returned to Guildford, England, lived at Woodbridge Park and are buried in the graveyard at St John’s Church in Stoke Road.

Barbara Dundas from Guildford WA has been involved in the planning of the restoration and rededication of the gates which date back to 1929, when the town celebrated its 100th anniversary.

She has been in contact with this website after reading my story on Sir James Stirling that first appeared on the St Catherine’s Village website last year.

Pictured from left: Barbara Dundas; Rachel Blythe, the great great grand-daughter of Sir James Stirling; Richard Wilkes, an aboriginal elder who gave the 'Welcome to Country' address for the local Nyungah people; and the City of Swan's aboriginal liaison officer.

Of the ceremony, Barbara writes: “Mr McCusker spoke on the significant role of Sir James Stirling. The Mayor of the City of Swan spoke on the history of the gates, a local aboriginal elder spoke on his family’s connections to the land and the need for reconciliation.

“The head boy from Guildford Grammar School presented a speech on the importance of young people knowing and understanding their local heritage. The head boy and girl from the Guildford Primary School presented a bouquet of wild flowers to the Governor’s wife. Children were led by a piper down Stirling Street to the gates and marched through them.”

Also present was Dr Pamela Statham Drew, who has written the definitive biography of Sir James Stirling. She has visited Guildford, Surrey, on several occasions, including being present at the UK launch of her book that took place at the Stirling Centre at St John’s Church in 2003.

The Guildford Dragon News would be pleased to see new links formed between Guildford in Surrey and Guildford WA.

Key people there include Celia Miller, who is the president of the Swan Guildford Historical Society and a member of the Guildford Association in WA.

The president of the Guildford Association is Ben Allen.

Barbara Dundas is a member of the  Swan Guildford Historical Society and the Guildford Association. She chaired the Stirling Memorial Gates committee (under the auspices of the Guildford Association) and teaches society and environment and history at a local school. She has developed history/ educational packages in the area. She also works as a heritage consultant.

Barbara says they would particularly like to make contact with schools in Guildford, Surrey.

Dr Pamela Statham Drew and the Mayor of the City of Swan, Charlie Zannino.

There are also a number of spare copies of the brochure for the rededication which they would like to forward to the Stirling Centre at St John’s Church.

We will be pleased to secure some links for them. If anyone reading this can help, please email me, David Rose, at

To see David Rose’s previous story about Sir James Stirling, click here.

Wikipedia states: The City of Swan is a local government area of Western Australia, of which Guildford is one of its wards. It is located in Perth’s north-eastern metropolitan region and the Swan Valley, centred approximately 20 km north-east of the Perth’s central business district. The City of Swan covers an area of 1,043 km² (much of which is uninhabited) and has a population of about 105,000. At the 2001 census, 10% of the population were born in the United Kingdom, while significant Southern European and South-East Asian minorities are also located there.

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