47 years. many hands. one unique story.
Matilda Bay occupies a unique and significant place in the history of Perth, and Western Australia.
Our restaurant is situated on Matilda Bay itself, and takes its name from the magnificent bay named after Matilda Roe, wife of John Septimus Roe, the first Surveyor of Western Australia.
Designed by Mr John White, a prominent architect and UWA lecturer, our venue first opened its doors in February 1968. At that time, the restaurant was a classical restaurant serving French cuisine. With a change in management in the mid 70’s came a change in style, to the Spanish El Sombero with Corrida Grill upstairs. In 1980 the upstairs area of what is now Matilda Bay served Perth’s best steak under the name of Crawley Bay Steakhouse, and downstairs was the elegant Waterfront Restaurant. Fast forwarding to 1984, present day owner Warwick Lavis acquired a taste for Matilda Bay.
Cool as a cucumber.
Warwick and his team stepped in with a view of breathing life back into a venue that had been allowed to fall into disrepair. Between 1984 and 2004, the venue established itself as Perth’s preferred destination for fine yet relaxed dining. In October 2005, Warwick and his team redeveloped the upstairs function facilities delivering an impressive platform for Weddings, Private Functions and Seminars framed by the stunning panoramic views of Matilda Bay, Kings Park and Perth city.
The journey continued in 2007 with a multi million dollar refurbishment of our Matilda Bay Restaurant and Bar.
Curious and little known fact: The land Matilda Bay is situated on was the area used for Western Australia’s first international airport. Two Catalina bases where located on the river during World War II. The first was established on Matilda Bay, the most sheltered anchorage by the United States Navy early in the war.
In 1943, Qantas Empire Airways arrived on the other side of Pelican Point to set up a base in Nedlands Bay. The purpose of the base was to accommodate a service to Ceylon, and ultimately Britain as war had cut the existing Empire flight routes. This was to become the worlds’ longest air hop, a significant 3,513 miles, and proved to be a significant aviation achievement.