The Perth Cultural Centre is the location of the city's major arts, cultural and educational institutions, including the Art Gallery of Western Australia, Western Australian Museum, State Library of Western Australia, State Records Office, and Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (PICA). The State Theatre Centre of Western Australia is also located there, and is the home of the Black Swan State Theatre Company and the Perth Theatre Company. Other performing arts companies based in Perth include the West Australian Ballet, the West Australian Opera and the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, all of which present regular programmes. The Western Australian Youth Orchestras provide young musicians with performance opportunities in orchestral and other musical ensembles.
Perth is also home to the internationally regarded Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts at Edith Cowan University, from which many successful actors and broadcasters have launched their careers. The city's main performance venues include the Riverside Theatre within the Perth Convention Exhibition Centre, the Perth Concert Hall, the historic His Majesty's Theatre, the Regal Theatre in Subiaco and the Astor Theatre in Mount Lawley. Perth Arena can be configured as either an entertainment and sporting arena, and concerts are also hosted at other sporting venues, including Subiaco Oval, Challenge Stadium, and Members Equity Stadium. Outdoor concert venues include Quarry Amphitheatre, Supreme Court Gardens, Kings Park and Russell Square.
A number of annual events are held in Perth. The Perth International Arts Festival is a large cultural festival that has been held annually since 1953, and has since been joined by the Winter Arts festival, Perth Fringe Festival, and Perth Writers Festival. Perth also hosts annual rock concerts the Big Day Out and Soundwave. The Perth International Comedy Festival features a variety of local and international comedic talent, with performance held at the Astor Theatre and nearby venues in Mount Lawley, while Sculpture by the Sea showcases a range of local and international sculptors' creations along Cottesloe Beach. There is also a wide variety of public art and sculptures on display across the city, throughout the year.
Perth has featured in a variety of artistic works in various mediums. An early novel, Moondyne, set in the Swan River Colony, was written by a former Fenian convict, John Boyle O'Reilly, and a A Faithful Picture, edited by Peter Cowan, gives a good idea of the early days of the colony. Songs that refer to the city include "I Love Perth" (1996) by Pavement, and "Perth" (2011) by Bon Iver, while a number of films feature Perth: Last Train to Freo, Two Fists, One Heart, Thunderstruck, Bran Nue Dae, Japanese Story and Nickel Queen. The industrial metal band Fear Factory recorded the video for their single "Cyberwaste" in South Fremantle.
Because of Perth's relative isolation from other Australian cities, overseas artists often exclude it from their Australian tour schedules. This isolation, however, has developed a strong local music scene, and the development of local music groups such as John Butler Trio, Eskimo Joe, Pendulum, Pond, Tame Impala and Birds of Tokyo. Celebrity musical performers from Perth have included the late AC/DC lead singer Bon Scott, who has been remembered with a statue in Fremantle, and veteran performer and artist Rolf Harris, given the nickname "The Boy From Bassendean". The largest performance area within the State Theatre Centre, the Heath Ledger Theatre, is named in honour of Perth-born film actor Heath Ledger.
Tourism in Perth is an important part of the state's economy, with approximately 2.8 million domestic visitors and 0.7 million international visitors in the year ending March 2012. Tourist attractions are generally focused around the city centre, Fremantle, the coast, and the Swan River.
In addition to the Perth Cultural Centre, there are a number of museums across the city. The Scitech Discovery Centre in is an interactive science museum, with regularly changing exhibitions on a large range of science and technology based subjects. Scitech also conducts live science demonstration shows, and operates the adjacent Horizon planetarium. The Western Australian Maritime Museum in Fremantle displays maritime objects from all eras. It houses Australia II, the yacht that won the 1983 America's Cup, as well as a former Royal Australian Navy submarine. Also located in Fremantle is the Army Museum of Western Australia, situated within a historic artillery barracks. The museum consists of several galleries which reflect the Army's involvement in Western Australia, and the military service of Western Australians. The museum holds numerous items of significance, including three Victoria Crosses.
There are many heritage sites in Perth's CBD, Fremantle, and other parts of the metropolitan areas. Some of the oldest remaining building, dating back to the 1830s, include the Round House in Fremantle, the Old Mill in South Perth, and the Old Court House in the city centre. Registers of important buildings are maintained by the Heritage Council of Western Australia and local governments.
Retail shopping in the Perth CBD is focused around Murray Street and Hay Street. Both of these streets are pedestrian malls between William Street and Barrack Street. Forrest Place is another pedestrian mall that connects the Murray Street Mall to Wellington Street and the Perth railway station. A number of arcades run between Hay Street and Murray Street, including the Piccadilly Arcade, which houses the Piccadilly Cinema. Other shopping precincts include Harbour Town in West Perth, featuring factory outlets for major brands, the historically significant Fremantle Markets, which date back to 1897, and the Midland townsite on Great Eastern Highway, combining historic development around the Town Hall and Post Office buildings with the modern Midland Gate shopping centre further east. Joondalup's central business district is largely a shopping and retail area lined with townhouses and apartments, and also features Lakeside Joondalup Shopping City. Joondalup was granted the status of "tourism precinct" by the State Government in 2009, allowing for extended retail trading hours.
The Swan Valley, with fertile soil, uncommon in the Perth region, features numerous wineries such as the large complex at Houghtons, the state's biggest producer, Sandalfords and many smaller operators, including microbreweries and rum distilleries. The Swan Valley also contains specialised food producers, many restaurants and cafes, and roadside local-produce stalls that sell seasonal fruit throughout the year. Tourist Drive 203 is a circular route in the Swan Valley, passing by many attractions on West Swan Road and Great Northern Highway.
Kings Park, located in central Perth between the CBD and the University of Western Australia, is one of the world's largest inner-city parks, at . There are many landmarks and attractions within Kings Park, including the State War Memorial Precinct on Mount Eliza, Western Australian Botanic Garden, and children's playgrounds. Other features include DNA Tower, a 15m high double helix staircase that resembles the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) molecule, and Jacob's Ladder, comprising 242 steps that lead down to Mounts Bay Road.
Hyde Park is another inner-city park located north of the CBD. It was gazetted as a public park in 1897, created from of a chain of wetlands known as Third Swamp. Avon Valey, John Forrest and Yanchep national parks are areas of protected bushland at the northern and eastern edges of the metropolitan area. Within the cities northern suburbs is Whiteman Park, a bushland area, with bushwalking trails, bike paths, sports facilities, playgrounds, a tram on a circular track, motor and tractor museums, and Caversham Wildlife Park.
Perth Zoo, located in South Perth, houses a variety of Australian and exotic animals from around the globe. The zoo is home to highly successful breeding programs for orangutans and giraffes, and participates in captive breeding and reintroduction efforts for a number of Western Australian species, including the numbat, the dibbler, the chuditch, and the western swamp tortoise.
More wildlife can be observed at the Aquarium of Western Australia in Hillarys, which is Australia's largest aquarium, specialising in marine animals that inhabit the western coast of Australia. The northern Perth section of the coastline is known as Sunset Coast; it includes numerous beaches and the Marmion Marine Park, a protected area inhabited by tropical fish, Australian sea lions and bottlenose dolphins, and traversed by humpback whales. Tourist Drive 204, also known as Sunset Coast Tourist Drive, is a designated route from North Fremantle to Iluka along coastal roads.
The climate of Perth allows for extensive outdoor sporting activity, and this is reflected in the wide variety of sports available to citizens of the city. Perth was host to the 1962 Commonwealth Games and the 1987 America's Cup defence (based at Fremantle). Australian rules football is the most popular spectator sport in Perth – nearly 24% of Western Australians attended matches in 2005. Other popular sports include cricket, basketball, association football (soccer), and rugby union.
Perth is home to several professional sporting teams participating in national competitions:
Perth has hosted numerous state and international sporting events. Ongoing international events include the Hopman Cup during the first week of January at the Perth Arena. In addition to these Perth has hosted international Rugby Union games, including qualifying matches for 2003 Rugby World Cup. The 1991 and 1998 FINA World Championships were held in Perth.
Four races (2006, 2007, 2008 and 2010) in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship have been held on a stretch of the Swan River called Perth Water, using Langley Park as a temporary air field. Several motorsport facilities exist in Perth including Perth Motorplex, catering to drag racing and speedway, and Barbagallo Raceway for circuit racing and drifting. Perth also has two thoroughbred racing facilities: Ascot, home of the Railway Stakes and Perth Cup; and Belmont Park.
Bull Creek Drive
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