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Swan Valley

The Swan Valley is a region in the upper reaches of the Swan River between Guildford and Bells Rapids, Western Australia. It is bordered to the east by the Darling Scarp. Both Ellen Brook and Jane Brook lie within the region and flow into the Swan River.

The area was explored in 1827 by Captain James Stirling who later became governor of the Swan River Colony. He was so impressed with the area that he wrote in his diary:

"…the richness of the soil, the bright foliage of the shrubs, the majesty of the surrounding trees, the abrupt and red colour banks of the river occasionally seen, and the view of the blue mountains, from which we were not far distant, made the scenery of this spot as beautiful as anything of the kind I have ever witnessed…"

Captain Stirling returned to establish the colony in 1829. Within the first ten years, two of Perth's oldest churches were built. The first, St. Mary's Church in Middle Swan was followed by All Saints Church in Henley Brook at the site of Stirling's 1827 camp. St. Mary's was rebuilt in 1869 but All Saints still retains its original structure and is Perth's oldest standing church.

All Saints Church lies not far from Baudin’s Cottage on the opposite side of the Swan River. It is the oldest church in Western Australia. It has been hosting services since 1841 and is a delightful spot to wander, discover the craftsmanship of the early settlers and walk through the cemetery. This is the place Captain James Stirling camped and the sign at the entrance of the church grounds states: “It was here the vision of a State arose in his heart and mind.”

The Swan Valley is noted for its fertile soil, uncommon in the Perth region, its viticulture, wineries and the recent expansion of tourism-based destinations. There are many small though excellent boutique and family-owned wineries, microbreweries and rum distilleries. Roadside local-produce stalls sell seasonal local produce throughout the year including grapes, melons, asparagus, stone fruits, citrus and strawberries.

In recent years the Swan Valley has attracted a strong food element in the form of chocolate factories, coffee roasters, beekeepers, a lavender farm, olive groves, dried-fruit producers along with many restaurants and cafes often serving fresh locally sourced products.