City of Cockburn, PO Box 1215, Bibra Lake DC, Western Australia, 6965
Telephone: (08) 9411 3444

The Friendship Way

The City's Friendship Way is located along Spearwood Avenue, from Cockburn Road in North Coogee to Beeliar Drive in Yangebup. 

Friendship Way is split into five sections,  each commemorating an important connection the City has established - with the traditional owners of the land, with its sister cities and with the principles of global peace.  

Section 1 - Mobile, USA

Location: Between Cockburn Road and Hamilton Road, in Spearwood

Mobile (pronounced Mobeel) in Alabama hosts a major ship building industry.  Before James Stirling landed in Cockburn Sound in 1828, he was involved in military campaigns in Mobile in 1814, illustrating a history between the two cities that spans 200 years. Stirling was possibly the first person to visit both places! The two cities share strong shipbuilding industries.

Mobile boasts a rich culture with a symphony orchestra, several art museums, a professional ballet and an abundance of historical architecture.

A giant blue needle-like sculpture adorns the intersection of Cockburn Road and Spearwood Avenue.  The needles shape is derived from the navigation marker that tells ships 'pass south of this point' while inviting visitors to enter the city here.  

The diagonal cross of Alabama is worked into the design of the needle.  Across the road from the needle, the sign wall spells out Mobile's traditional Cajun welcome in British naval signalling flags:

Laissez les bon temps roulette!  (let the good times roll!)  

Pink and Yellow are Mobile's mardis gras colours and the junction at Spearwood Avenue and Hamilton Road junction is planted with pink and yellow ground cover shrubs.  Port Jackson fig trees are planted either side of the road, and as they grow they are intended to recall the sultry humid conditions of the deep south of the USA. 


Section 2 - World Peace

Location: Between Hamilton Road and Rockingham Road in Spearwood

This section of Spearwood Avenue passes between the City's Peace Park and the RSL Memorial Park, paying homage to the principles of peace, while recognising historical battles fought.

On one side of the road, a memorial exists to recognise Australia's participation in international conflict since the end of the Second World War, paying respect to those who risked their lives in defence of country.

On the other side of the road, the Hiroshima Peace Park is dedicated to commemorating peace, by memorialising the often atrocious consequences of war. The Peace Park is dedicated to the memory of the Hiroshima bombing (August the 6th) which is when the almond trees planted here will blossom.

A colourful porcelain plaque has been inserted in the footpath alongside each tree, containing an image of a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, their name, role and year of the award. All 127 Nobel peace prize laureates have been included.

At the Hamilton Road end of the Peace section is a large sign wall like the one on the Mobile section, sporting a white dove of Peace.  In 2017, a sculpture to world peace will be installed in the median at the Rockingham Road end of the Peace section.


The City has planted a row of flowering almond trees alongside the road, at each Nobel Peace Prize  tile. The almond trees were chosen as an alternative to cherry blossoms (which don't grow well in Perth's climate). Cherries are a symbol of the fleeting and often ephemeral nature of life.

The Cherry Blossom festival in Japan has been adopted by America as a symbol of reconciliation and kinship between the Japanese and American people.


Section 3 - Aboriginal Australia

Location:  Doolette Street to Discovery Drive in Bibra Lake


The City of Cockburn's original inhabitants are the Nyungar Aboriginal people. Their ancient culture is recognised and respected by the City of Cockburn.

Nyungar is the generic name that describes Aboriginal people who come from South West roughly south of a line between Esperance and Geraldton.

In the median near to Doolette Street a giant ghostly hand holds up a shining ball. This is derived from a creation myth, told by Nyungar elder Noel Nannup. The monument captures the moment when the first woman who came into being realised she must care for the other creatures still coming into existence around her - a responsibility the Nyungar people uphold to this day.

A central theme of Aboriginal mythology is a respect for wise and responsible husbandry of the land, its creatures and people.  The grass tree, the smoking ceremony, and local creation stories have been chosen to draw attention on the continuing connection the Nyungar have to this place.

The road verges and median have been densely planted with grass trees, salvaged from development sites nearby. This is both an act of conservation and a testament to the Nyungar understanding that the spirit of the land is strongest where the grass trees grow the thickest. 


In the median strip near Discovery Drive, Aboriginal artist Sharon Egan has installed a steel sculpture recalling the smoking ceremony, welcoming passers-by through this section of Friendship Way.

The City of Cockburn acknowledges that we stand on the traditional lands of the Nyungar people. The Beeliar group are one of the clans of the Whadjuk group of Nyungar. What we know as Cockburn today lies within the Beeliar Boodjar, which stretches from Cockburn Sound to the Canning River.

Listen to and read the Local Dreaming Story

  Audio  |  PDF


Section 4  - Yueyang, China

Location:  Discovery Drive to Barrington Street, Bibra Lake

The City of Yueyang is famous for its history, monuments, festivals and folklore and China is an important trading partner with Cockburns industrial areas. 
Located on the massive Dongting Lake, Yueyang hosts:

  • The worlds first dragon boat races,
  • The Tuanhu Lotus Festival; and
  • The annual Dongting Lake Bird Watching Festival.

Yueyang is situated above Lake Dongting, enclosed by imposing battlements, which are surmounted with classical watch towers and pavillions. 

The ends of the Yueyang section are marked by a stone lion on a pedestal.  The lions are three metres tall, hand carved, granite and weigh several tonnes.  Halfway along the Yueyang section, large wall panels describe a cartoon caricature of Yueyang's various festivals and monuments. 

The panels depict the Yueyang Tower, the Dongting Bridge, the legends of Junshan Island, the Tuanhu Lotus Festival, the International Dragon Boat Festival, the classical view of the Dongting Lake and the Dongting Lake Birdwatching Festival. 

The large mural on the retaining wall on this section of the Friendship Way has been designed to recall these aspects of the City. An explanation of the mural can be found here:

   About the Yueyang Mural     See the Mural in Detail

The median is planted with dwarf red flowering oleanders, which will grow into a giant red carpet of flowers. The dark purple flowers of the hibiscus, which surround the Lions are native to both Australia and to China. Formal plantings of giant bamboo and golden hibiscus shroud the lions.

The trees lining the road are Catalpa trees, whose timber is used for the most prestigious objects in China. Musical instruments, fine furniture and even the famous Watch Tower in Yueyang have used Catalpa in their construction.  

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Section 5 - Split, Croatia

Location: Barrington Street to Beeliar Drive in Beeliar

Cockburn received an influx of settlers from the former Yugoslavia at the end of the second world war. Many newcomers were from Croatia, on the Adriatic Sea. The similar climate and landscape of the Croatian coast (Dalmatia) and Cockburn enabled the new settlers to prosper from market gardening in the City.

The Croatian community continues to contribute to the City's economic and cultural life. 

Cultivate is a tall red and blue sculpture near the junction of Spearwood Avenue and Beeliar Drive, commemorating the significant contributions the local Croatian community have made to the City since their arrival.

Three crowned leopards overlook the roundabout at Spearwood Avenue and Beeliar Drive on brick and limestone columns.  These leopards are the coat of arms of Ancient Roman Emperor Diocletion who founded Split by building his retirement villa there. The ruined villa forms the heart of the modern City. The three leopards form the centre piece of the modern Croatian Flag.  The Emperor's limestone and brick palace walls are replicated on the columns the lions sit upon.  

The verge alongside the Split section is planted with grapevines, pears and olives which are staples of market garden produce.  Pencil cedars are planted to recall the Mediterranean countryside.  The roadside vineyard is planted over a huge red and white gravel Croatian flag, which represents the fruits of Croatian effort from Cockburn's soil.


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