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York Walks - Convicts and Crossings

Urban Walk

inPerth & Surrounds
Avon Valley, Yanchep, Lancelin & Cervantes, Peel, Perth Hills, Perth Metro, Rottnest, Swan Valley

  • 1-3 hours
  • 3.4 km

Follow the footsteps of York’s convicts and those who lived here in the convict era. Feeling intrepid? Cross the river by suspension bridge or the ancient ford in summertime.

Have fun and a fantastic view of the river as you sashay and sway across a replica of the 1888 swing bridge
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Trail Start

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York Visitor Centre, York Town Hall, 100km (1 hour plus) east of Perth

Trail End

Get directions

York Visitor Centre, York Town Hall, 100 km (1 hour plus) east of Perth

See if you can spot the oldest section, built by convict labour in 1853 for Samuel Smale Craig, a Scottish settler and businessman. Photo:

The York Agricultural Society, who petitioned the British Government to send convicts to WA, held their Annual Show and fair here until the 1890s, when Municipal Gardens were developed. It's now a great spot for a family outing and picnic, with natureplay area, skatepark and BBQs. Photo: / Shire of York

Warning - unstable surface - it swings!
Cyclists dismount. Have fun and a fantastic view of the river as you sashay and sway across! This is a replica of the first suspension bridge erected in 1888 nearer to the current South Street roadbridge. Photo: Karina Leonhardt

Consecrated in 1858, the tower and other additions were added between 1891 and 1905. It contains a magnificent Alfred Pease pipe organ and stained glass windows designed by Robert Juniper. Photo: Debbie Matthews

Made famous by Janet Millett, wife of the rev. Edward Millett, chaplain at York 1863-1869. Her book 'An Australian Parsonage' gives a lively personal view of life in York during the convict era. Only the Rectory kitchen remains from her day. Photo: Shire of York

A lovely example of Flemish bond brickwork; alternating headers(ends) and stretchers(long sides) of bricks in patterned rows. Photo:

A mudbrick walled and shingle-roofed cottage built on the land originally allocated to Pensioner Guard John Kairey. Pensioner Guards were granted land for services guarding convicts on the voyage to Australia. Photo:

The ancient ford crossing is usually passable in summer from October through to April. Unlevel, unstable path surface (rocky). Cyclists dismount. Take great care if there is water flowing and do not use in winter months or at any time if water is more than ankle deep. Photo: Shire of York

Site of Noongar significance, Bilya means bellybutton - the umbilical cord, source of life. For thousands of years the river was a rich source of food and water for the Ballardong people.
Photo: Karina Leonhardt

York Croquet Club was one of the first in Western Australia, founded in 1909 as seen in this extract from the Eastern Districts Chronicle. The Club is still going strong today, welcoming all. Photo: Winnywinn - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Still thriving at the site of the old Tennis Courts is a historic grapevine, which is probably the last remnant of Craig's Orchard, established on several acres of riverbank land in the 1890s. Photo: Shire of York

Henry, son of George Henderson, Convict No. 1417, developed a brickworks here, digging natural clay from the land behind the house. He supplied 200,000 bricks for building the Town Hall in 1911. Photo:

Designed by Government Architect George Temple-Poole and built on the site of the York Convict depot, it replaced the Depot Medical Quarters that had previously served the town. Photo:

The last remaining part of York's Convict Depot. Time your walk to get here in Museum opening hours of 1-3pm Tues, Weds, Thurs, and 11am-3.30pm at weekends. Visitors say "it's like a Tardis - there's so many exciting, colourful exhibitions and child-friendly hands-on activities in here". Photo: Shire of York

The first settler cemetery in York is now tucked behind the main crossroads, the site of the first St.John's Church marked by a wooden cross and relocated headstones. Photo: Shire of York
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A versatile trail that can be walked (or cycled) in short or long loops, with the river crossings and facilities in Avon Park being fun for families with children.

Starting from York Visitor Centrre at the Town Hall, set off along Avon Terrace and cut through the laneway to the river beside the Courthouse and Post Office. After crossing the suspension bridge, in summer you can make a complete 3.4km loop to the north using the ford, and anytime a short loop to the south, with a longer option to visit the Residency Museum and St.John's cemetery, via Clifford street which has a number of 1850s/60s Pensioner Guard cottages.

Distance options: 3.4 kilometres total - or short loop from suspension bridge to south street is .800 metres, top half loop is 1.6km or bottom half loop is 2.4km.

York is just over an hour’s drive from Perth through beautiful bush and rolling farmland and has several linking walk and cycle trails that you can mix and match to suit yourself. 

York Visitor Centre

(08) 9641 1301

Other Links

Be trail ready for York Walks - Convicts and Crossings

Here is everything you need to know before visiting this trail.

Time / Duration

20 minutes to an hour depending on the route taken.


800 metres to 3.4km depending on which loops you do.

What To Pack

Group A (Urban trails or short trails near facilities) required.

Trail Start

York Visitor Centre, York Town Hall, 100km (1 hour plus) east of Perth

Get directions

Trail End

York Visitor Centre, York Town Hall, 100 km (1 hour plus) east of Perth

Get directions

Hazards & Warnings

Cyclists dismount when crossing the suspension bridge, - it swings! Optional ford crossing in summer months only (usually passable from October to April ) cyclists dismount as surface is rocky and unstable. Beware snakes in summer months.


Car and coach parking, water access and public toilets at Howick street. Town Hall has Visitor Centre with shop, water access and public toilets with toilet for people with disabilities and first aid equipment during opening hours 9.30am-4pm daily. Public telephone and many cafes in Avon Terrace. Lots of children's hands-on activities at the Residency Museum.'
  • Cafe
  • Car Park
  • Child Activities
  • Coach Parking
  • Dog Friendly
  • First Aid Equipment
  • Picnic Area
  • Public Telephone
  • Public Toilet
  • Shaded Area
  • Shop
  • Toilet Facilities for Disabled
  • Visitor Information Centre
  • Water Access Points

Best time of year

All year round; weather can be hot in January and February

Trail Access

Road 2WD, walk from town

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