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The name Northbridge is often misapplied to areas and landmarks which are east of William Street and/or north of Newcastle Street, such as the Perth Cultural Centre, which are technically still part of the suburb of Perth.
The area is accessible by foot from Perth railway station and Perth Busport. It is served by a free CAT bus and also has a significant number of public car parks, both open and high rise.
The area is largely a mix of commercial, public and residential properties.
The area now known as Northbridge originally hosted freshwater swamps where the current railway station and railway lines are.
Draining of the swamps commenced in the 1860s, by convict labour, facilitating the construction of more permanent buildings. The gold boom of the 1890s saw the construction of many hotels for the accommodation of prospectors, including the Brass Monkey (built 1896). The 1890s saw the area house the attorney-general and many others from the elite classes.
It was for that elite population that several private schools were established in the area, such as Scotch College (1897) and Presbyterian Ladies' College (1915). These schools were subsequently relocated. Around the time of World War I, as the elite began to move out of the area, the area became a hub of European immigration, especially Greek and Macedonian.
In the 1950s, post-war European migration brought with it a culture of outdoor coffees and al-fresco lifestyle.
The area was previously a part of the Perth CBD, and was known by informal names such as "North of the Bridge" and "North of the Line".
Northbridge was split from Perth and officially gazetted as a suburb in 1982.
Northbridge today is a predominantly ethnic precinct, and contains a wide array of cuisine, including Asian and Mediterranean cuisine, and contains Perth's main nightlife district, which is centred on James Street and Lake Street. Northbridge's restaurant, cafe and bar scene varies from laneway bars and hole in the wall eateries, to prominent multi storey venues such as the Brass Monkey and Metro City concert club. Northbridge also hosts Perth's main Chinatown area centred around Chung Wah Lane.
The area has a historical connection to the Greek and Italian communities, with Perth's first Orthodox Church located on Parker Street.
The main public open space area in the suburb is at Russell Square. The Northbridge Piazza also serves as an open air communal space, which has been used as a venue to show free movies, live music performances, and broadcasts of popular sporting events.
In March 2018, Yagan Square was officially opened, a new public space between the CBD and Northbridge. The Digital Tower, the Marketplace and recreational areas are now available for tourists and residents.
Northbridge History Project
Rosie O'Grady's Irish pub, Northbridge
In the early 2000s the Northbridge History Project was supported by the Government of Western Australia, on the recommendation of a report to the Premier Richard Court. The project finished in 2010.
Northbridge History Study Days were conducted in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010.
During the project duration publications were produced, and an archive of the project was made, with publications and reports available on the project website.
Papers from 2007
The book published in 2009 compiling the Study Days papers had the following items from two years:
1. Felicity Morel-EdnieBrown The swamp stealers : topography and change in Northbridge
2. Jenny GregoryNorthbridge and Carlton : ethnoscapes of consumption?
3. Susanna Iuliano Espresso bar lifestyle : Italian migrants and cafe culture in Northbridge, Western Australia
4. Nonja PetersOn the street where you live : inner city immigrant enterprise
5. John N. Yiannakis 'The chicken of the egg', Greek settlement in Northbridge : Greeks in metropolitan Western Australia
8. Richard Offen Northbridge heritage : friend or foe
9. Peter Conole The Northbridge era in Western Australian policing
10. Bobbie Oliver 'Be workmen true, to workmen still', labor history and heritage in Northbridge
11. Keith B. Shilkin Jewish Northbridge
12. Christine Choo Socially and economically disadvantaged in Northbridge : a recent history (1960s-2007)
13. Kirrily Jordan and Jock Collins Cosmopolitan Northbridge : a changing inner-city ethnic landscape
Perth City Link
The former separation of the Perth CBD and Northbridge will be changed with the completion of the Perth City Link project - which will see the former railway yard that was just to the west of the Perth railway station changed to an urban development project.
Notable people from or who have lived in Northbridge include:
Gum Yuen (1875 - 1943), furniture maker and restaurateur