It is estimated that the Aboriginal people inhibited the region for more than 38,000 years. The evidence of their presence was found due to the archaeological remains at the Upper Swan. The aboriginals who inhabited the area were the Noongar and they called the region Boorloo and according to historians the name translates to ‘big swamp’. Todays, it is known that the present day Central Business District of Perth was part of the original territory of the Mooro one of the Noongar clan. This clan was among those that were based around the Swan River. These clans were collectively called the Whadjuk.
It is documented that Dutch Captain Willem de Vlamingh and his team made the first written spotting of the modern-day Perth region by the Europeans on January 10, 1697. Some Europeans analysed what was between the areas and they decided that this area was not a settlement and not suitable for agriculture that would be needed to maintain European settlement.
In 1829, Perth was established on the Whadjuk country by Captain James Stirling. It was founded to serve as the capital of the Swan River Colony. In its early times, the city was the first free-settler colony in Australia. It was made with private capital and by 1850 convicts migrated to the area for building public infrastructure and roads.
Although the New South Wales Colony had established a prisoner-occupied settlement at King George's Sound (later Albany) on the south coast of Western Australia in 1826 in response to rumours that the area would be occupied by France, Perth became the first fully-fledged European settlement in the western third of the continent. The British colony was to be officially established in Western Australia in 1832 but was known infrequently for many years as the Swan River Colony after the great local river.
On 4 June 1829, the newly arrived British colonies began to settle on the continent, and the establishment of Western Australia was marked by a public holiday on the first Monday in June each year. Captain James Stirling, who was riding in Parmelia, said Perth was "as beautiful as anything I have ever seen". On the 12th of August that year, Helen Dance, the wife of the captain of the second ship, Sulphur, cut down a tree to mark the city's founding.
Since it was the hot new colony, it was a huge interest by people wanting to move here after its establishment. People wanted to migrate to the colony and they did as within six months 25 ships full of migrants reached the Swan River Colony. During this time, Captain James Stirling urged the interested migrants to avoid coming to the colony as food, money and other resources were scares. It didn’t help that most settlers brought goods instead of capital while migrating. Thus, supplies were sourced from Sydney and Van Diemen’s Land to fulfil the demands instead of being generated at Perth. After the rumours of supply shortage and other hardships migrants faced became widespread, the migration of settlers slowed substantially.
Like many other British Colonies, Perth became a place for convict settlement after Captain Sterling resigned and operations within the colony streamlined. Since the colony still required labour and money mobility, it was decided that male convicts would be imported. In 1838, Western Australia became a penal settlement and Perth was given the status of a City by Queen Victoria in 1856. By 1868 the population of convicts greatly outnumbered the population of settlers.
In the later period of 19th century, the discovery of gold at Kalgoorlie and Coolgardie caused a boom of mining in Western Australia and Perth’s population increased exponentially. It went from 8,500 in 1881 to 61,000 in 1901.
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