The club was actually founded in 1902 as Union Football Club (not to be confused with the defunct Unions club from Fremantle) and competed in the Perth 3rd Rate Association Competition (however an earlier 'East Perth' had formed in 1891). The club was successful and was promoted to the 1st Rate Association. After continuing to succeed at this level they applied to join the WAFL and hence became a member in April 1906. The club became known as East Perth in accordance with the WAFL's policy of having each club represent a district in Perth.
The club began playing its games at Medibank Private Stadium from 2000 (better known in Perth as Leederville Oval, formerly the home of bitter rivals West Perth, but the club only officially moved there in 2003.
It went on to become one of the most powerful clubs in the West Australian league.
Its first home ground was Wellington Square. It then moved to Perth Oval between 1910 and 2002, although it played games at the WACA from 1988-89.
By 1980, the club had made a submission to enter the VFL/AFL, however this was withdrawn.
East Perth later acted as the host club for West Coast Eagles players recruited from interstate from 2000-2001 until the host club arrangement was abolished.