Get into the festive spirit with these vintage photos of Christmas in Perth

Perth Vintage Christmas Decorations, Barrack Street, Hay Street, Cinema City, 1982
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Mariah’s come out of hibernation, the jingling of bells is in the air, and the festive season is well and truly underway. Santa Claus is coming to town, baby!

We’re channelling the Christmas cheer of times gone by with a festive journey into the wonderful, fantastic, very excellent State Library of Western Australia Facebook page – bringing you a splendid selection of Perth’s Christmas decorations from the past century.

We’ll start things off with the not-too-distant past: Santa greeting kids in twinkling soft-focus, in the latticework surrounds of Whitfords Shopping Centre in 1992. (Hopefully they all got to go to Lone Star Saloon afterwards.)

Perth Vintage Christmas, Santa, Whitfords Shopping Centre, 1992

A couple of years later in 1994, the rather restrained nativity scene at Galleria is made all the more exciting by the promise of Daryl Braithwaite’s upcoming performance. Do you think they could truly grasp the cultural impact The Horses would come to have on society?

Perth Vintage Christmas, Christmas Nativity Daryl Braithwaite Galleria 1994

Travelling further back to the ’80s, we’re pretty mesmerised by the technicolour twinkling of these Christmas lights throughout the city.

Perth Vintage Christmas Decorations, Murray Street, 1981
Murray Street, 1981
Perth Vintage Christmas Decorations, Barrack Street, 1984
Barrack Street, 1984
Perth Vintage Christmas Decorations, William Street, Murray Street, 1984
Corner of William Street and Murray Street, 1984
Perth Vintage Christmas Decorations, Barrack Street, Hay Street, Cinema City, 1982
Cinema City, corner Barrack Street and Hay Street, 1982

Just a few years earlier, another CBD cinema was also decked out for Christmas – as well as the arrival of the first ever Star Wars film:

Perth vintage cinemas, Hoyts Hay Street Mall 1978 Star Wars
Hay Street, 1978
Perth Vintage Christmas Decorations, William Street, Hay Street, 1971
Hay Street, William Street, 1971

The ’60s were no slumps when it came to their Christmas lights, either – just check out these impressive displays on Murray Street, photographed almost identically a few years apart:

Perth Vintage Christmas Decorations, Murray Street, 1955-1960
Perth Vintage Christmas, Murray St ca1960

At approximately the same time in 1964, a mammoth Santa looms over the Bairds façade on the corner of William and Murray Streets.

Perth Vintage Christmas Decorations, Santa, Bairds, 1964
Perth Vintage Christmas Decorations, Hay Street, 1966
Hay Street, 1966

Shopping is an inescapable part of Christmas, with beloved department store Boans an integral part of Perth shoppers’ festive fun – whether having a leisurely peruse through the tinsel-filled, gleamingly violet displays in 1966, or in the throng of shoppers filling the sales floor in the late ’50s.

Perth Vintage Christmas Decorations, Boans, tinsel, 1966
Perth Vintage Christmas Decorations, Boans, ca1958
Boans, circa 1958

While you couldn’t tell from the below photograph, the 1908 Silver Chain Christmas Tree Fête was filled to the brim with Christmas crowds.

The fête was held at St Georges Hall to fundraise transportation (a horse and trap) for Nurse Cherry, who had to get to each patient on foot – rain, hail or shine!

Alongside music performances and stalls for refreshments and ice cream, the Silver Chain stall pictured here was decorated rather modestly with streamers – although the rest of the hall was decorated with hundreds of red roses.

Perth Vintage Christmas, Silver Chain Christmas Fair St Georges Hall 1908

And of course, as we’re sure these kids lining up for the 1935 6PR Childrens Party would agree, no Christmas is complete without a visit from Santa – whether arriving by chopper in 1966 or, as in 1940, sailing in on a boat with Goldilocks and the three bears!

Perth Vintage Christmas, 6PR Father Christmas Ambassador's Theatre, 1935
Perth Vintage Christmas, Helicopter Santa 1966
Perth Vintage Christmas, Santa, boat, 1940
Perth Vintage Christmas, Santa, Goldilocks and 3 Bears, 1940
Perth Vintage Christmas, Santa, Goldilocks and 3 Bears, 1940
Perth Vintage Christmas, Santa, beach, 1937

Wow, we’re feeling rather peckish after that trip through the past – and what better way to sate our hunger than with a delicious Christmas dinner from the 1985 Foodlands catalogue?

Perth Vintage Christmas display, Foodlands Catalogue 1985

Or a delicious Watsonia canned ham from 1954?

Perth Vintage Christmas Display, 1954

Some photos are available to purchase via the State Library of WA. All photos, unless stated, via the State Library of WA.

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