Since Western Australia's inception as a penal colony, the state capital of Perth has played an important part in the nation's development. There are now more than two million people calling Perth, Australia's fourth largest city, home.
In Western Australia lies the city of Perth, a stunning metropolis that has undergone significant development in recent decades. Although Perth was established in 1829 as a penal colony, it wasn't until the 1950s, when a large number of immigrants arrived and the city was rebuilt, that it truly flourished.
In fewer than 50 years, the population went from around 5,000 to well over 1 million. In this series of blog posts, we'll look at how these shifts have impacted Perth's cultural landscape. The city's origins as a penal colony will be discussed in detail, as will the attractions available to visitors and the reasons why this is a great place to go whether you're into history or just looking for a fun vacation spot. OK, so let's get going!
From convicts and colonies to the boom and bust economy and the city's location, you'll learn a lot about Perth's history. You may learn something important about our state's history regardless of your particular area of interest, be it the indigenous culture of Western Australia, the architectural styles of our buildings, or the people whose efforts have made Perth the thriving city it is today.
Willem de Vlamingh, a Dutch captain, was the first European to reach Western Australia. Since he mistook the island's famous quokkas for huge rats, he gave Rottnest Island the unflattering moniker "rats nest" upon his arrival in 1696.
At the beginning of 1697, he sailed up the Swan River, which he later named after the local black swan population. The land, however, was not well received by de Vlamingh. While British Captain James Stirling visited the area in 1827, colonisation did not develop because the Dutch were too preoccupied with trading.
After returning to England, Stirling immediately began advocating for the creation of a free settlement in WA. Then in 1829, with the help of Captain Charles Fremantle, he established the Swan River Colony, his long-held dream come true.
The first Governor of Western Australia, Sir James Stirling, established the settlements of Fremantle near the mouth of the Swan River and Perth, named after a place in Scotland and situated halfway between Fremantle and the most fruitful portions of the new colony, in the early 1800s.
For tens of thousands of years before to the arrival of British colonists, Aboriginal people flourished in Western Australia. Tension and conflict escalated between Indigenous Australians and driving the Aboriginals off their land, incoming immigrants as the colony expanded.
Outside of the Canning and Swan Rivers and the Guildford area, many settlers had trouble cultivating their crops. To ensure its survival, the free settlement turned became a criminal colony, and between 1850 and 1868, Britain shipped over 10,000 prisoners to Western Australia. Since 1839, young criminals were not deemed convicts but were instead allowed to serve as apprentices for local enterprises.
Infrastructural and public work construction were seen as promising areas in which to employ convict labor and promote the economy. The result was the Perth Town Hall, Government House, Supreme Court building, St. Mary's Church, Old Perth Prison, and Fremantle Lunatic Institution, all of which were built by convict labor (now the Fremantle Arts Centre).
Yet the gold rush of the 1890s was the real boon to the colony, causing Perth's population to skyrocket as thousands of hopeful miners flocked to Kalgoorlie and Coolgardie.
As the premier of Western Australia, Sir John Forrest assumed that position in 1890, after the territory was finupply Scheme were two of the several public wally granted self-government. The Fremantle Harbour works and the Goldfields Water Sorks projects managed by engineer C.Y. O'Connor and commissioned by Forrest's government.
Forrest also played a key role in 1901, when Western Australia officially became a state after joining the rest of Australia. On the other hand, secession, or the idea of breaking away from the Commonwealth of Australia, is still occasionally discussed in WA. Others claim that the federal government routinely ignores Western Australia's best interests in favour of those of the eastern states.
It was during the Great Depression that the secession movement gained traction in the 1930s. In reality, 68% of voters in a 1933 referendum organised by the State Government favoured separation.
The next stage was for the British Parliament to pass an amendment to the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act, which would legalise the Federation of Australia. At some point, however, the British House of Commons (the lower house) concluded that it lacked the authority to grant WA independence.
The secession movement gradually lost support, especially as the economy began to recover. Subsequent pushes for secession, including the Westralian Secession Movement party founded by mining magnate Lang Hancock in the 1970s, have been unsuccessful.
Perth, Western Australia's capital, expanded further as the century progressed. From the 1930s on, the city saw a proliferation of multi-story structures. The original 1940s structure of Perth Airport was replaced by the current 1986 international terminal. In the decades following World War II, immigration to Perth brought with it a plethora of new cultural expressions.
More urban growth in Perth occurred in the 1960s and 1970s as a result of the resource boom in Western Australia. After 132 years of American control, the America's Cup was finally won by the Royal Perth Yacht Club's Australia II in 1983. Perth is a city that has grown and changed throughout the years into something special.
The Noongar are the indigenous people of Western Australia, and the Swan Coastal Plain in particular is their ancestral home. The Swan River served as a rough divider between the four main tribes of Perth's Noongar people at the time of colonization in 1829: the Mooro, the Beeliar, the Beeloo, and the Weeip (or Derbarl Yerrigan).
Until recently, the metropolitan area's northern boundary was the Swan River, although the Moors' territory extended well beyond that. The ocean, the river, and a vast network of freshwater lakes provided the majority of the population's food needs.
The Noongar people hold the river in high regard, and they have passed down numerous legends about the Wagyl, a water-serpent believed to be responsible for the formation and upkeep of the river and other water features in the Perth area.
Seasonally, the Noongar would move inland in search of food (such as kangaroos, possums, and wallabies), and then return to the coast in late spring. They set up their primary base in the area that is today called Kings Park. The mudflats, which eventually became Heirisson Island, were also a popular destination due to their usefulness as a fishing area.
When the British colonized the area in 1829, the Dutch and the French were already present, and the Noongar likely had interaction with them before Captain James Stirling's arrival. Native Australians were displaced from their country and subjected to often harsh and unsympathetic colonial administration, therefore tensions between the two groups were high.
In an effort to settle six Noongar Native Title claims across Perth and the south-west of Western Australia, the State Government and the representative group, the South West Aboriginal and Land and Sea Council, agreed a framework agreement in December 2009. Self-Guided Tour Maps of "Karla Yarning: Tales from the Home Fires" May Also Be of Interest.
In 1829, the British government founded the Swan River Colony, which eventually grew into the modern-day metropolis of Perth. Aborigines called Noongar have called the south-west region of Western Australia home for at least 35,000 of those years. Whadjuk Noongar is the name of the indigenous population who have long held claim to the city proper.
Captain James Stirling, the colony's first governor, chose the name Murray's Land in honour of Sir George Murray, the British Secretary of State for the Colonies at the time. Previous surveys by Captain Stirling are believed to have been awestruck by the Swan River and its surrounding rich country.
The Swan River's winding course determined the location of the earliest settlements because water travel was crucial to communications in the nascent colony before roads were constructed. Governor Stirling selected a location on the river, 18 kilometres from Fremantle's port, as the future capital of the colony.
The colony was officially established on August 12, 1829, when Mrs. Helen Dance, the wife of the commander of HMS Sulphur, drove an axe into a tree (not far from where the present-day Perth Town Hall stands). The location of the city was ideal, as it was in the middle of both the ocean and the Upper Swan's agricultural regions. The colony's finances suffered in the early years, but by 1850 it was believed that using prisoner labour would help.
Around 10,000 convicts were shipped from Britain between 1850 and 1868. Several public buildings, including the Perth Town Hall, were erected between 1856 and 1879 thanks to the influx of convicts. While historically significant, Perth did not become a "city" until Queen Victoria designated it as a bishopric in 1856.
On December 10, 1858, the inaugural Perth City Council meeting was held. When gold was discovered in the area around Kalgoorlie in the 1890s, the city had a boom that resulted in the construction of numerous stately structures, some of which may be seen today.
The city's population grew rapidly as well. Western Australia established its system of representative government in the 19th century's second half and formally joined the other Australian States to form the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901. The city of Perth's Central Business District (CBD) changed dramatically throughout the 1960s as a result of the money created by another mining boom at the time.
When US astronaut John Glenn told the world he had seen Perth's lights during his historic orbit of the Earth in February 1962, the city's nickname stuck. When the British Empire and Commonwealth Games were staged in Perth later that same year, the city became a focal point for the entire world. When Perth hosted the 2011 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) on October 28-30, international leaders from the Commonwealth flocked to the city.
It's no surprise that Perth, Western Australia, is seeing unprecedented population growth, with the city itself expected to reach a staggering,000 residents in the near future. According to the respected Economist Intelligence Unit, it is routinely one among the world's Top 10 most liveable cities.
The State's natural riches are, once again, the source of economic growth in the metropolis. The main distinction is that many corporations and enterprises have decided to call Perth their home.
Founding Of Perth
Capital of the Swan River Colony since 1829, Perth was founded by Captain James Stirling on Whadjuk land. For the first time, private finance was used to build a free-settler colony in Australia. It wasn't until about 1850 that the colony started receiving large numbers of convicts specifically for the purpose of constructing roads and other public works.
King George Sound (present-day Albany) was originally called Kinjarling, "the place of rain," by the Menang Noongar people. On 25th of December 1827, Major Edmund Lockyer, aboard the brig Amity, founded a military garrison there.
In this case, Lockyer was dispatched from Sydney by Governor Ralph Darling. After a few months, he also sent the Success's captain, James Stirling, to look around the Swan River area for a potential settlement. On March 5th, 1827, Stirling visited Rottnest Island with New South Wales colonial botanist Charles Fraser.
Three days later, Stirling and his crew headed out to explore the Swan River and determine whether or not the area was suitable for farming and colonisation.
Upon his return to Sydney, Stirling briefed Governor Darling on his findings. He spoke eloquently about the strategic value of establishing a settlement near Swan River. Fraser, impressed by the lushness of the vegetation and the towering trees, also commented on the region's excellent soil.
Despite Stirling and Darling's enthusiastic support for the idea, At first, British colonial authorities were uninterested due to concerns over the enormous price of setting up a new colony. Stirling, who had returned to Britain for a short time and hoped to become governor of the new colony, claimed that establishing Swan River as a free settlement backed by private money would reduce the government's outlay of funds.
Positive coverage in the London press aided Stirling's efforts to persuade the administration (some fed by Stirling). These accounts piqued the curiosity of the British people, who were particularly keen to establish a new colony in Australia that would not bear the stigma of the convict settlement of New South Wales.
The promise of undeveloped territory was also enticing to potential financiers. The best known was Thomas Peel, cousin of Robert Peel (who was Home Secretary and then Prime Minister). After receiving thousands of petitions from people hoping to leave the country, the government agreed to the creation of the Swan River Colony on the condition that it receive only token public money and that no criminals be brought to work there.
If Thomas Peel could successfully land 450 settlers by November 1, 1829, he would be granted 500,000 acres. Even though he had pledged to appear on this date with more settlers, Peel actually showed up later. His private colony was plagued by issues, and London considered it a failure. As a result, the amount of land given to Peel was cut in half.
British territory on Australia's west coast was officially claimed by Captain Charles Fremantle, captain of the Challenger, on May 2, 1829. Shortly after, the Parmelia and the Sulphur brought the first immigrants to the Swan River. On June 18th, a proclamation was read at Garden Island, officially recognising James Stirling as lieutenant governor of the newly colonised Whadjuk territory.
At once, Stirling saw that coastal soil was unfit for farming. His plan for the new colony included a commercial port at Fremantle and a capital city, which he named Perth after Glasgow, Scotland, located some 19 kilometers up the Swan River.
On August 12, 1829, a big group made its way across the wilderness to place the cornerstone of the city of Perth. Without finding any suitable stones 'contiguous to our objective', Mrs Helena Dance, the sole woman in the party, honoured the occasion by chopping a tree with an axe.
Western Australia's capital, Perth, is a beautiful city that has grown rapidly in recent decades. The city was founded in 1829 as a penal colony, but it wasn't until the 1950s, after a large influx of immigrants and a period of rebuilding, that it began to experience sustained economic growth. From convicts and colonies to the boom and bust economy and the city's location, this series of blog posts explores how these changes have affected Perth's cultural landscape. Rottnest Island has been called "rats nest" since the time of the first European to visit the area, the Dutch captain Willem de Vlamingh. Although British Captain James Stirling sailed to the area in 1827, no permanent British settlement was established.
His lifelong dream came true in 1829 when, with the aid of Captain Charles Fremantle, he founded the Swan River Colony. Fremantle, near the mouth of the Swan River, and Perth, named after a place in Scotland and located halfway between Fremantle and the most fruitful portions of the new colony, were founded by Sir James Stirling, the first Governor of Western Australia. Britain sent over 10,000 convicts to Western Australia to ensure the colony's survival, with the expectation that they would be put to work building the colony's infrastructure and performing other public works. Perth's population exploded during the 1890s gold rush, when the colony really started to benefit. Sir John Forrest took office in 1890, and since then, many public works projects, including the Fremantle Harbour works and the Goldfields Water Sorks, have been funded independently.
In 1933, a referendum showed that 68% of voters supported separation after the secession movement gained momentum in the previous decade. The Swan River roughly divided the four major Noongar tribes living in Perth at the time of colonisation in 1829; the Noongar are the indigenous people of Western Australia. Legends of the Wagyl, a water-serpent credited with the creation and upkeep of the river and other water features in the Perth area, have been passed down through generations because of the high regard in which the river is held. Australia II of the Royal Perth Yacht Club won the America's Cup in 1983, ending the United States' 132-year reign as the sport's dominant power. A framework agreement was reached between the State Government and the South West Aboriginal and Land and Sea Council in 2009 to resolve six Noongar Native Title claims in Perth and the south-west of Western Australia.
- Perth, Western Australia's capital city, has been instrumental in the growth of the state and the country since the colony's early days as a penal colony.
- Greater than two million people now call Perth, Australia's fourth largest city, home.
- Perth, the capital of Western Australia, is a beautiful metropolis that has expanded greatly in recent decades.
- The city of Perth was founded in 1829 as a penal colony, but it wasn't until the 1950s, after a large influx of immigrants and a period of rebuilding, that it began to experience sustained growth and prosperity.
- The population increased from a few thousand to more than a million in fewer than 50 years.
- The cultural landscape of Perth, Western Australia, has changed over the years, and this series of blog posts will examine those changes.
- The city's history as a penal colony, as well as the sights to see and the many reasons to visit if you're a history buff or just looking for a good time, will be covered in depth.
- Fremantle, near the mouth of the Swan River, and Perth, named after a place in Scotland and located halfway between Fremantle and the most productive portions of the new colony, were founded in the early 1800s by Sir James Stirling, the first Governor of Western Australia.
- Aboriginal people flourished in Western Australia for thousands of years before the arrival of British colonists.
- As the Australian colony grew, tensions rose as newcomers sought to displace the indigenous people living there.
- Between 1850 and 1868, Britain sent over 10,000 prisoners to Western Australia, turning the free settlement into a criminal colony.
- But secession, or the idea of splitting off from the Commonwealth of Australia, is still occasionally discussed in WA.
- It has been argued that the federal government consistently puts the interests of the eastern states ahead of Western Australia's.
- The secession movement gained momentum in the 1930s, right in the middle of the Great Depression.
- In a referendum held by the State Government in 1933, 68% of voters supported secession.
- The British House of Commons (the lower house) eventually decided that it did not have the power to grant WA independence.
- The capital of Western Australia, Perth, grew considerably in the latter part of the century.
- Immigration to Perth in the decades after World War II introduced a wide variety of new cultural practises.
- Growth in Perth's metropolitan area accelerated in the 1960s and 1970s as a direct result of Western Australia's resource boom at the time.
- Perth is a city that has evolved into something unique over time.
- Originary Perspectives The Swan Coastal Plain is especially significant to the Noongar, the indigenous people of Western Australia.
- Tensions between the indigenous people of Australia and the colonial government were high because of the expulsion of indigenous people from their homeland and the often harsh and unsympathetic administration of the colonial government.
- A framework agreement was reached between the State Government of Western Australia and the South West Aboriginal and Land and Sea Council in December 2009 to resolve six Noongar Native Title claims in Perth and the south-west of the state.
- The Settling of Europe The British government established the Swan River Colony in 1829, which developed into the bustling city of Perth we know today.
- Some indigenous people, the Noongar, have lived in what is now the south-west corner of Western Australia for 35,000 years or more.
- The original inhabitants of the area now known as the city proper called themselves the Whadjuk Noongar.
- It was on the river, about 18 kilometres from Fremantle's port, that Governor Stirling decided to build the colony's new capital.
- Mrs. Helen Dance, the wife of the captain of HMS Sulphur, formally planted the colony's flag in a tree on August 12, 1829. (not far from where the present-day Perth Town Hall stands).
- Between 1850 and 1868, Britain sent over approximately 10,000 convicts to Australia.
- Between 1856 and 1879, the Perth Town Hall and other public structures were built with the help of convict labour.
- Despite its rich history, Perth wasn't considered a "city" until Queen Victoria made it a bishopric in 1856.
- Many of Kalgoorlie's grand buildings date back to the 1890s, when the city experienced a building boom thanks to the nearby discovery of gold.
- As the city expanded, so did its population.
- During the 1960s, Perth's Central Business District (CBD) underwent significant change thanks to the wealth generated by the city's second mining boom of the decade.
- In the latter half of that year, Perth hosted the British Empire and Commonwealth Games, drawing attention from all over the globe.
- No one should be surprised by the fact that Perth, Western Australia, is about to become home to a shocking thousand people.
- The reputable Economist Intelligence Unit consistently ranks it as one of the top 10 most liveable cities in the world.
- The natural resources of the state are once again driving the city's economy.
- In 1829, Captain James Stirling established Perth on Whadjuk land as the capital of the Swan River Colony.
- The first free-settler colony in Australia was established with private funding.
- The colony did not begin receiving large numbers of convicts for the purpose of building roads and other public works until sometime around 1850.
- Kinjarling, meaning "the place of rain," was the Menang Noongar people's original name for King George Sound (modern-day Albany).
- After a few months, he also dispatched James Stirling, captain of the Success, to scout out the Swan River region in search of a suitable location for a new settlement.
- With New South Wales colonial botanist Charles Fraser in tow, Stirling travelled to Rottnest Island on March 5th, 1827.
- He elaborated at length on the strategic merits of settling in the area around Swan River.
- British colonial authorities were initially uninterested despite Stirling and Darling's passionate advocacy for the plan due to worries over the enormous cost of establishing a new colony.
- Stirling, who had briefly returned to Britain and hoped to become governor of the new colony, argued that establishing Swan River as a free settlement backed by private money would decrease the government's outlay of funds.
- British interest in establishing a new colony in Australia, one that wouldn't be associated with the convict settlement of New South Wales, was piqued by these accounts.
- Investors were enticed by the prospect of developing previously untapped land.
- Most notably, Robert Peel's cousin Thomas Peel (who was Home Secretary and then Prime Minister).
- The government agreed to the creation of the Swan River Colony after receiving thousands of petitions from people hoping to emigrate, but only under the conditions that it receive only token public money and that no criminals be brought there to work.
- Thomas Peel was offered 500,000 acres on the condition that he settle 450 people there by November 1, 1829.
- Problems plagued his private colony, and London wrote it off as a failure.
- Captain Charles Fremantle of the Challenger formally annexed the western coast of Australia to the British Empire on May 2, 1829.
- The first settlers arrived in the Swan River not long after on the Parmelia and the Sulphur.
Frequently Asked Questions About A Brief History of Perth
Colony of Western Australia (1829 - 1901). From 1849 to 1868 the settlement became a penal colony accepting convicts by transportation from England. In 1890 the Colony gained self-governance and at the time of Federation, 1 January 1901, it became the State of Western Australia.
The city of Perth has its origins in 1829 when the Swan River Colony was established by the British Government. The area is also home to the Aboriginal Noongar people who have lived in the south-west region of Western Australia for more than 35,000 years.
Perth has the strongest economy, the lowest unemployment, major industries and exports, complemented by political stability, excellent healthcare, infrastructure, education and, of course, a temperate climate.
Another benefit specific to Perth is its unique and incredible coastline. It is a seaside city, with incredible beaches and landscapes for you to enjoy whenever you please. On top of the amazing weather, this makes for a new life that feels like an eternal vacation.
Living in Perth is generally considered more affordable than the eastern capitals, with the exception of Adelaide. You can expect the estimated monthly costs of a combined electricity, water, and refuse bill to average aound $299.84 per month for an 85 m2 apartment.