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Photographs supplied by Graeme Saunders / Bryan Hardy

The monument commemorates surveyor and explorer John Septimus Roe (1797 - 1878). 

Roe was recuperating from a severe illness when he was offered the post of surveyor-general at the new settlement to be established at Swan River. To enable him to accept the position the Admiralty gave him two years leave, later extended for over forty years. From the time he arrived in the transport Parmelia in June 1829 until his death, Roe was influential in the development of Western Australia. He made surveys of the sea approaches to the Swan River, surveyed the sites of Fremantle and Perth, and `with one sickly assistant` superintended the marking of the town lots and land taken up by the pioneer settlers.

He was responsible for drawing up most of the land regulations. As surveyor-general he became a member of the Executive and Legislative Councils. He was interested in civic development and was the sponsor of many early moves in the progress of Perth. Historians have called Roe `the father of Australian explorers`. This title takes into account not only the survey work he did on the Australian coast and his inland expeditions but the inspiration he gave to such younger explorers as John and Alexander Forrest, who were with him as surveyors, and the Gregory brothers, who also worked with him.

A proposal to erect a memorial in King's Park to John Septimus Roe, Western Australia's first Surveyor-General, was endorsed at a general meeting of the W.A. Historical Society last night. The society's memorials committee, through its chairman (Mr. M. J. L. Uren), presented a report recommending that the project should be launched forth with. "After a lengthy examination of possible sites and forms of the memorial," the report stated, "your committee is unanimous in its choice of a site in King's Park about halfway between the main gates and the State War Memorial. The memorial would be placed on the escarpment, with the belvedere providing a vantage point for a magnificent view of Perth."

"A bust of J. S. Roe would be the centrepiece of the pavement and the pavement would be a reproduction in colour of the first plan of the City of Perth. Appropriate wording on the plaques would tell of the services Roe gave to Western Australia. "The form of the memorial is, we feel, modest yet worthy. Mr. Marshall Clifton, our honorary architect who does so much valuable work for us, has deliberately made a design which will be competitive neither with the natural beauty of the park nor with other memorials placed therein. At the same time the Roe Memorial will be a pleasing feature and a suitable expression of appreciation." The meeting decided to instruct its council and memorials committee to approach the King's Park Board for the desired site, to seek the support of the Government, kindred societies and the public in financing the memorial and to make an initial donation of £10 from the society's funds.
West Australian (Perth), 26 November 1949.


Address:Forrest Drive, Kings Park & Botanic Garden , Kings Park , 6005
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -31.966293
Long: 115.837282
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:People
Sub-Theme:Government - Colonial
Designer:Marshall Clifton
Artist:Margaret Priest


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Sunday 4th November, 1956
Front Inscription

John Septimus Roe

First Surveyor-General of W.A.

Prepared this plan for Perth in 1838

Source: MA,ADB
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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