From Fringe City to Metro Marvel: Joondalup Marks 25th Anniversary

Published on:
Friday, 30 June, 2023

1998. It’s the year the Adelaide Crows won their second consecutive AFL premiership, Aussie rockers Powderfinger released their album Internationalist, setting them on the path to global stardom.

Mobile phones were the size of house bricks, The Wiggles’ first self-titled TV series aired on Channel 7 and the likes of Good Will Hunting and The Wedding Singer were playing at movie theatres.

It was also a big year for the northern corridor of Perth as the City of Joondalup became a city in its own right on 1 July 1998.*

The Joondalup story, in fact, began more than four decades earlier in 1955 with the Plan for the Metropolitan Region – Perth and Fremantle, Western Australia also known as the Stephenson-Hepburn Report.

In the late 1970s the Joondalup Centre Act was proclaimed and the Joondalup Development Corporation (JDC) established.

The JDC’s task was a complex and ambitious one: deliver on the vision set out by Sir Charles Court for a satellite city on the shores of Lake Joondalup that would become the civic, cultural and economic capital of Perth’s northern corridor.

Five members were appointed to the JDC on 25 February 1977.

At that time, aside from the then City of Wanneroo administration building (1979) and Wanneroo Hospital (1980), Joondalup was all but bushland.

Joondalup as we now know it began to develop in earnest through the 1980s and early ’90s.

This coincided with the Mitchell Freeway – construction of stage five began in December 1984, stages five and six officially opened on 6 August 1986 – and Joondalup train line extensions (December 1992) closed the distance between Perth CBD and the northern suburbs.

Among many other big moments, the 1988-1994 period saw the opening of the West Australian College of Advanced Education (Edith Cowan University, 1987), Lakeside Joondalup Shopping City (opened 2 November 1994), Joondalup Police Station and Courthouse (1992,93) and Arena Joondalup (Stage one opened 25 April 1994).

Away from the city centre, residential growth grew significantly across the suburbs. More and more people were attracted by the lifestyle opportunities and headed north to build homes on big blocks and raise families.

Hillarys Boat Harbour, completed prior to the America’s Cup, on 15 November 1987, would soon become one of WA’s most popular tourist attractions.

Joint Commissioners oversaw the City of Joondalup in its first 18 months and the city’s first council was established in 1999 with John Bombak the inaugural Mayor of Joondalup.

Under the banner Creating the Future, the council had its first formal sitting on 12 December 1999.

Fast forward 25 years, and what is Joondalup now?

Joondalup is recognised on the international stage for its liveability and healthy lifestyle opportunities and for being home to an engaged and connected community.

The Joondalup City Centre is the heartbeat of the northern corridor of Perth with 13,000 businesses delivering more than $6.9bn in economic activity.

The Joondalup Activity Centre Plan has an objective to grow employment in the Joondalup City Centre to 45,000 jobs by 2050 – and current jobs growth indicates the city is on track to achieve that target.

There have been many highlights for Joondalup and its community over the 25 years, too many to mention, but two of the more notable achievements include:

  • Joondalup named as the most liveable city (with a population of 150,000-400,000) at the 2011 United Nations-backed Livcom Awards.
  • Construction commencing on Ocean Reef Marina. For over a decade the city, backed by overwhelming support from its community, invested the significant financial and human resources required to progress this transformational project to a shovel-ready stage.

There have also been many people who have contributed to Joondalup’s success, again too many to mention.

However, Honorary Freemen Margaret Cockman, Bill Marwick, Nick Trandos and Brian Cooper must be acknowledged.

“Everything good about the Australian way of life can be found in this stretch of paradise known as Joondalup,” City Mayor Albert Jacob said.

“Home to stunning natural assets, including 17km of world-class coastline and beautiful lakes and wetlands, Joondalup’s liveability is second to none.

“We have flourished into a successful, highly liveable and vibrant civic and cultural destination that is home to a diverse range of successful businesses and professional services.

“Our city values the contribution of its past and present Indigenous people and is committed to reconciliation outcomes.

"We are a destination city, a bold, creative, prosperous city that continues to make its mark on the global stage.

“It’s been a successful journey so far, but there are still many chapters to be written in the Joondalup story.”

Here’s to the next 25 years and beyond.

*On 1 July 1998 the City of Wanneroo was formally abolished and the City of Joondalup and Shire of Wanneroo were established. Wanneroo would become a city again in 1999.

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