If you walk quickly along St George’s Terrace, you probably miss it. Your eyes scan the traffic in front of you as you cross the busy road, or navigate around dawdlers clogging the footpath, and you don’t look down as you round the corner into Barrack Street. Without realising, you could be walking past one of Perth’s most significant landmarks every day – but because of its position laid into the footpath, you forget to look.
It’s Point Zero – the geographical marker from which all distances to Perth are measured. But it’s not just a cartographic note. When it was marked at the south-east corner of the Old Treasury building in 1925, Point Zero represented the centre of the city – its hub, its soul, its beating heart.
When Perth city was designed, it was divided into two distinct sections. The western side of the city, facing the ocean, serviced the port. The eastern side of the city, including the State Buildings where Point Zero is marked, was the administrative and civic heart of the city, housing the courts, the police station and government buildings. It served the people. Now, the redevelopment and restoration of the Cathedral Square precinct returns the city’s civic pulse back to Point Zero – to where it all began.
If you look down as you walk past the State Buildings, you’ll see an arc inlaid in the pavement. There’s a plaque on the building’s wall that announces the spot as Point Zero. It was laid in 1975. It’s an unassuming marker for something so important – but now, with Cathedral Square’s revitalisation, the whole precinct stands proudly as the beating heart of the city. With sophisticated retail, dining and hotel offerings for international guests, the precinct looks out to the rest of the world and draws people back in to the centre of Perth.