Sorrento is a northern coastal suburb of Perth, the capital city of Western Australia. Its Local Government Area is the City of Joondalup. At its northwestern corner is the Hillarys Boat Harbour, built in the late 1980s.
Prior to white settlement, the Whadjuk Aboriginal people, who called the area Mooro, gathered abalone and other shellfish in large numbers off the nearby reefs.
The first European to settle in the area was Patrick Marmion, master whaler, who operated a whaling station in the area in 1849. There are still some remains of the old whaling station at the present-day Surf Lifesaving Club site, and a monument to Marmion can be found in Geneff Park in Padbury Circle.
The area was popular with fishermen in the 1930s, and numerous boatsheds and shacks were built there. Residential settlement commenced in the early 1950s and until 1981, it was part of the suburb of Marmion.
In 1958, the Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions bought land in Sorrento at what was then the end of the West Coast Highway, and in 1967, the Sisters and boarding students moved from Highgate to the new site. The college became coeducational in 1985, and in 1989, the Catholic Education Commission took over management of the school.
In preparation for Australia's defence of the 1987 America's Cup at Fremantle, the State Government commissioned the building of Hillarys Boat Harbour, the first major marina in the north metropolitan area. The retail complex on the site, called Sorrento Quay, commenced trading in December 1987 and was officially opened in January 1988. Also, in May 1987, the Government declared Marmion Marine Park over a region from Burns Beach to Trigg, to which the new marina complex provided a gateway.
At the ABS 2001 census, Sorrento had a population of 7,321 people living in 2,796 dwellings. Sorrento's oceanside location, proximity to three private schools and to Hillarys Boat Harbour has seen the suburb become affluent since the 1980s, and the ABS identified many managers and professionals living within the suburb. However, many tradespeople and service employees also live in the area.
The Sorrento Quay retail development within the Hillarys Boat Harbour sits on the northwestern boundary of the suburb. Off the coast is the beautiful Marmion Marine Park, which provides a home for many species of marine animals.