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All about Perth – History of Perth

Well, as I’ll be living there one day I may as well provide some information about our future home. I’ll break this post into a number of sections

Perth is the capital and most populous city of the Australian state of Western Australia, and is the fourth largest city in Australia, with a population of approximately 1.47 million in June 2005

It is a coastal city, located beside the fantastic Indian Ocean, and situated on the Swan River in the lower south-western portion of the Australian continent.

History of Perth

Although the British Army had established a base at King George Sound (later Albany) on the south coast of Western Australia in 1826 – to forestall rumoured annexation by France — Perth was the first full scale settlement by Europeans in the “western third” of the continent.

The town was established in 1829, as the capital of the Swan River Colony, a free settler colony. In 1850, as Western Australia, it became host to convicts, at the request of farming and business people who wanted cheap labour.

Naming and founding

The name Perth was chosen in 1829 by James Stirling. Stirling, a Scot, implemented the wish of Sir George Murray, Secretary of State for War and the Colonies, that the Swan River Colony settlement be named after Perthshire, which was his birthplace as well as his parliamentary seat in the British House of Commons.

On 1 June 1829, the colonists had their first view of the mainland and Western Australian’s Foundation Day has since been recognised by a public holiday on the first Monday in June each year. James said that Perth was “as beautiful as anything of this kind I had ever witnessed.” On August 12 that year, Mrs Helen Dance, wife of the Captain of the ship Sulphur, cut down a tree to mark the day of the founding of the town. Queen Victoria announced the city status of Perth in 1856.

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After a referendum in 1900, Western Australia joined the Federation of Australia in 1901. WA was the last of the Australian colonies to agree to join, and did so only after the other colonies offered several concessions, including the construction of a rail line to Perth (via Kalgoorlie) from the Eastern States. In 1933 Western Australia voted in a referendum to leave the Commonwealth with a majority of three to one in favor of independence, but the election held at the time overturned the incumbent “pro-independence” government, replacing it with a government who did not support the independence movement. When the new government petitioned the United Kingdom for independence, the United Kingdom refused to act against the wishes of the government of the day.

Perth has prospered by becoming a key service centre for the natural resource industries, being the closest city to huge reserves of gold, iron ore, nickel, alumina, diamonds, mineral sands, coal, oil and natural gas. Most of the world’s major resource and engineering companies have offices in Perth.

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Written by Mark

As the founder of Getting Down Under, Mark is passionate about demystifying the process associated with a move to Australia. Having launched Getting Down Under in early January 2006 and made the move to Australia from the UK in the same year, Mark continues to share resources and support for those looking for assistance. If you have a question for Mark, please post in our Community Forums. Please note All information provided on Getting Down Under should be considered in conjunction with our disclaimer. Please seek professional advice if you have any doubts!

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