With fresh water streams and abundant wildlife, the river foreshore was a place of significance for Aboriginal people. Settlers also enjoyed the place but the first industries and temporary housing for goldrush immigrants in the 1890s transformed the area’s amenity. East Perth was increasingly turned to industrial uses by the end of the 19th century.
A multiplicity of small power stations became increasingly unable to handle the rising urban demand for electricity.
Early settlers’ land holdings gave way to prosperous urban residents in the southern part of the emerging suburb and less expensive housing in the central section. People enjoyed living in East Perth but found themselves increasingly located close to noxious industries.
Local governments ran their own small power stations to meet local demand. They generated and distributed electricity separately.
Small numbers of workers were employed to operate local generators for a limited number of customers. Linesman erected the early distribution network.