History of Forrest Chase
Forrest Chase has been a Perth Retail Original for over 30 years, but the landmark dates back over 120 years to the retail days of Perth Department store Boans.
Boans Emporium was the first permanent structure to reside where Forrest Chase now stands. Boans Bros was founded on November 7, 1895 and constructed by brothers Benjamin and Harry Boan. The opening was so successful, by then end of the first day’s trading the store was virtually sold out! Boans Bros was a successful department store, destined to become the single largest private employer in Western Australia. A landmark and City icon over most of the 20th century, Boans survived a fire in 1979 and endured for another 7 years before being transformed into the City’s new Myer department store, which still remains an integral part of Forrest Chase.
The GPO building was completed in 1923 after 2 decades of planning and construction. Central Arcade, a large ramshackle barnlike building standing between Boans and the new GPO building was then demolished to make way for Forrest Place, named after the first Premier of WA, Sir John Forrest. In 1924 the Padbury Buildings were constructed by William Padbury. These low set buildings ran the full length of Forrest Place between Wellington and Murray Streets, adjacent to the higher set Boans Bros store and the new Forrest Place.
Recent upgrades to Forrest Place have re-established the space as a prominent and important landmark within Perth City. Forrest Place is a common meeting place and event hub for art and music displays, concerts, fashion parades, school holiday activities and the popular Friday Twilight Hawkers Market and Home Grown weekend markets.
To this day, Forrest Chase remains a popular destination and meeting place, filled with memories shared across many generations.
* The land where Forrest Chase resides is recognised Wadjuk Boodjar (Wadjuk Country).
Padbury Buildings were built in 1924 and ran the full length of Forrest Place between Wellington and Murray Streets. In 1990, the buildings and contribution of Walter Padbury were commemorated in a brass plaque on Padbury Walk between Forrest Chase and Carillon City. The plaque reads:
“The Walk Is Named In Memory of Walter Padbury 1817 – 1907. Walter Padbury was orphaned in 1830 in the new colony of Western Australia. At the age of 12 he was left penniless and homeless. He achieved a unique greatness from the southern west to the northern Pilbara. No one opened up more land than he for agriculture and grazing. He was a major importer and exporter, the State’s first millionaire, a champion of the poor, and a great philanthropist.”
The plaque has been removed by Lendlease and returned to the City of Perth.