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is the capital of the Australian state of Western
Australia. A population of 1,507,900 (December
2006 estimate) makes Perth by far the largest city
in Western Australia and home to three-quarters of
the state's residents. The city is also the fourth
most populous urban area in Australia, and with a
growth rate of 2.1% (2006) is currently the fastest
growing major city in Australia (when measured by
percentage). It is expected that
Perth's population will grow at 2.5% per annum in
2007, due primarily to the booming Western Australian
economy. State Final Demand, for instance, is growing
at 10.2%, 12 months to March 2007 (ABS).
was founded on 11 June 1829 by Captain James Stirling
as the political centre of the free settler Swan River
Colony. It has continued to serve as the seat of Government
for Western Australia to the present day.
metropolitan area is located in the south west of
the continent between the Indian Ocean and a low coastal
escarpment known as the Darling Range. The central
business district and suburbs of Perth are situated
on the Swan River. The nearest city to Perth with
a population over one million people is Adelaide,
which is 2,104 km (1,307 mi) away, making Perth the
most isolated city with a population of more than
one million in the world.
History of Perth, Western Australia
in 1829 by Captain James Stirling as the political
centre of the British free settler Swan River Colony,
Perth has continued to serve as the seat of government
for Western Australia to the present day.
European settlement the area had been inhabited by
the Whadjuk Noongar people for over 40,000 years,
as evidenced by archaeological findings on the Upper
Swan River. These Aborigines
occupied the southwest corner of Western Australia,
living as hunter-gatherers. The lakes on the coastal
plain were particularly important to them, providing
both spiritual and physical sustenance.
Carnac and Garden Islands were also important to the
Noongar. About 5,000 years ago the sea levels were
low enough that they could walk to the limestone outcrops.
area where Perth now stands was called Boorloo by
the Aboriginals living there at the time of their
first contact with Europeans in 1827. Boorloo formed
part of Mooro, the tribal lands of the Yellagonga,
one of several groups based around the Swan River
and known collectively as the Whadjuk. The Whadjuk
were part of a larger group of thirteen or more tribes
which formed the south west socio-linguistic block
known as the Noongar (The People), also sometimes
called the Bibbulmun.
19 September 2006, the Federal Court of Australia
brought down a judgment recognising Noongar native
title over the Perth metropolitan area, in the case
of Bennell v State of Western Australia  FCA
Early European sightings
first documented European sighting of the region was
made by the Dutch Captain Willem de Vlamingh and his
crew on 10 January 1697. Subsequent sightings between
this date and 1829 were made by other Europeans, but
as in the case of the sighting and observations made
by Vlamingh, the area was considered to be inhospitable
and unsuitable for the agriculture which would be
needed to sustain a settlement.
The Swan River Colony
the British Army had established a base at King George
Sound (later Albany) on the south coast of western
Australia in 1826 in response to rumours that the
area would be annexed by France,
Perth was the first full scale settlement by Europeans
in the western third of the continent. The British
colony would be officially designated Western Australia
in 1832, but was known informally for many years as
the Swan River Colony after the area's major watercourse.
4 June 1829, newly arriving British colonists had
their first view of the mainland and Western Australia's
Foundation Day has since been recognised by a public
holiday on the first Monday in June each year. Captain
James Stirling, aboard the Parmelia, said that Perth
was "as beautiful as anything of this kind I
had ever witnessed." On 12 August that year,
Mrs. Helen Dance, wife of the Captain of the second
ship Sulphur, cut down a tree to mark the founding
of the town.
is clear that Stirling had already selected the name
Perth for the capital well before the town was proclaimed,
as his proclamation of the colony, read in Fremantle
on 18 June, ended "[g]iven under my hand and
Seal at Perth this 18th Day of June 1829. James Stirling
Lieutenant Governor" The only information on
the source of the name comes from Fremantle's diary
entry for 12 August, which records that they "named
the Town Perth according to the wishes of Sir George
Murray." Murray was born in Perth, Scotland,
and was in 1829 Secretary of State for the Colonies
and Member for Perthshire in the British House of
Commons. It is therefore often asserted that the name
was given in Murray's honour.
in 1831, hostile encounters between the British settlers
and Aborigines of the local Noongar tribe –
both large-scale land users with conflicting land
value systems – increased considerably as the
colony grew. This violent phase of the region's history
culminated in a series of events in which the British
overcame the indigenous people, including the execution
of Whadjuk tribal chief Midgegooroo, the murder of
his son Yagan in 1833, and the one-sided Battle of
Pinjarra in 1834.
1843, when the tribal chief Yellagonga died, his tribe
had begun to disintegrate after having been dispossessed
of the land around the main settlement area of Perth.
They retreated to the swamps and lakes north of the
settlement area including Third Swamp, known to them
as Boodjamooling. Boodjamooling continued to be a
main campsite for the remaining Noongar people in
the Perth region, and was also used by travellers,
itinerants, and homeless people. By the gold-rush
days of the 1890s they were joined by miners who were
en-route to the goldfields.
1850, Western Australia was opened to convicts at
the request of farming and business people looking
for cheap labour. Queen Victoria announced the city
status of Perth in 1856.
Federation and beyond
a referendum in 1900, Western Australia joined the
Federation of Australia in 1901. It was the last of
the Australian colonies to agree to join the Federation,
and did so only after the other colonies had offered
several concessions, including the construction of
a transcontinental railway line to Perth (via Kalgoorlie)
from the eastern states.
1933, Western Australia voted in a referendum to leave
the Australian union, with a majority of two to one
in favour of independence. However, an election held
shortly before the referendum had turned out the incumbent
"pro-independence" government, replacing
it with a government which did not support the independence
movement. Respecting the result of the referendum,
the new government nonetheless petitioned the United
Kingdom for independence, where the request was simply
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,
manganese, diamonds, mineral sands, coal, oil, and
natural gas. Most of the world's major resource and
engineering companies have offices in Perth. Partially
as a result of this influx, Perth has become highly
ethnically diverse, with over 27% of inhabitants having
been born overseas (495,240 persons) and a further
414,000 having an overseas born parent (2001 census).
11% speak a language other than English at home. Two
thirds of the Perth population are of the Christian
faith, with other major religions including Buddhism
and Islam. The proportion of the population that has
no religious affiliation has remained consistent since
is one of the most isolated metropolitan areas on
Earth. The nearest city to Perth with a population
over 1 million is Adelaide in South Australia, which
is 2,104 kilometres (1,307 mi) away. Perth is geographically
closer to East Timor and Jakarta, Indonesia, than
it is to Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane. It is the
antipode of Hamilton, Bermuda.
Central Business District
central business district of Perth is bounded by the
Swan River to the south and east, with Kings Park
on the western end, while the railway lines form a
northern border. St Georges Terrace is the prominent
street of the area with more than two thirds of the
1.3 million m² of office space in the CBD. Hay
Street and Murray Street have most of the retail and
entertainment facilities. The tallest building in
the city is Central Park, which is the sixth tallest
building in Australia.
is set on the Swan River, so named because of the
native Black Swans. Traditionally, this water body
has been known by local inhabitants as Derbal Yerrigan.
A Dutch expedition in 1697 captained by Willem de
Vlamingh led to Vlamingh naming the river after the
black swans. The city centre and most of the suburbs
are located on the sandy and relatively flat Swan
Coastal Plain, which lies between the Darling Scarp
and the Indian Ocean. The soils of this area is quite
infertile. The metropolitan area extends to Yanchep
in the north, Mandurah in the south, total distance
of approximately 125 kilometres (78 mi) by road. From
the Coast in the west to Mundaring in the east, a
total distance of approximately 50 kilometres (30
mi) by road. This means that the area of Perth is
over 1.5 million acres (6,100 km²).
coastal suburbs take advantage of Perth's oceanside
location and clean beaches. To the east, the city
is bordered by a low escarpment called the Darling
Scarp. Perth is on generally flat, rolling land -
largely due to the high amount of sandy soils and
deep bedrock. This abundance of sand has resulted
in West Australians' being given the nickname sandgropers
by the rest of the country. The Perth metropolitan
area has two major river systems; the first is made
up of the Swan and Canning Rivers. The second is that
of the Serpentine and Murray Rivers, which discharge
into the Peel Estuary at Mandurah.
receives moderate though highly seasonal rainfall.
Summers are generally hot and dry, lasting from late
December to late March, with February generally being
the hottest month of the year therefore making Perth
a classic example of a Mediterranean climate. Summer
is not completely devoid of rain with sporadic rainfall
in the form of short-lived thunderstorms, weak cold
fronts and on very rare occasions decaying tropical
cyclones which can bring significant falls. The hottest
ever recorded temperature in Perth was 46.2 °C
(115 °F) on 23 February 1991. inters are relatively
cool and rather moist, though winter rainfall has
been declining in recent years. The coldest temperature
recorded was -0.7 °C (30.7 °F) on 17 June
2006, and the only temperature ever recorded below
the freezing point. Even in mid-winter, maximum daytime
temperatures only occasionally fall below 16 °C
(60 °F). Though most rainfall occurs during winter,
the wettest day ever was unusually on 9 February 1992
when 121 millimetres (4.75 in) fell. On most summer
afternoons a sea breeze, also known as "The Fremantle
Doctor", blows from the south-west, cooling the
city by up to 15°C.
houses the Parliament of Western Australia, and the
Governor of Western Australia. Under the new one-vote,
one-value laws seats in city and country areas will
be roughly of equal population size, which will mean
that 34 of the Legislative Assembly's 57 seats will
be based in Perth at the next state election. Perth
is represented by 11 seats in the Federal House of
Representatives. The metropolitan area is divided
into over 30 local government bodies. The City of
Perth is the local government authority responsible
for the Perth Central business district, however this
covers a very small section of the Perth urban area.
High Court holds regular sittings in Perth, with permanent
Federal Court operations. The highest court under
Western Australian law, the Supreme Court is based
in Perth, along with the District, Family and Magistrates'
The Metropolitan Region Scheme (MRS) is the legal
land plan covering the Perth metropolitan region.
It is a large town planning scheme for land use in
the Perth metropolitan area. The MRS has been in operation
since 1963 and provides the legal basis for planning
in the Perth metropolitan region.
population is predominantly of European ancestry.
The city was founded by British and Irish settlers,
and the British Isles remained the city's almost sole
source of immigrants up until the mid-20th century.
British-born residents constituted 31% of Perth's
total population in 1971.
the mid-20th century significant numbers of Italians
and Greeks had settled. As Fremantle was the first
landfall in Australia for many migrant ships coming
from Europe in the 1950s and 1960s, Perth started
to experience a diverse influx which included Dutch,
Germans, Croats, Serbs, Poles, Czechs, Russians and
Macedonians and many others. The names of many of
these migrants are listed on the honour board outside
the Maritime Museum.
also has a vibrant Jewish community — numbering
5,082 in 2006 — who emigrated primarily from
eastern Europe and more recently from South Africa.
recently, large-scale immigration to Perth by air
from the United Kingdom has continued, giving Perth
the highest proportion of British-born residents of
any Australian city. According to the 2001 census,
23.5 per cent of residents in the Joondalup North
statistical subdivision in the north of the city were
born in Britain, closely followed by Rockingham in
the south with 19.8 per cent. The proportion of British-born
in the Perth metropolitan area as a whole in 2001
was 12.4 per cent, or 164,488 persons. This is significantly
higher than the national proportion of 5.5 per cent.
By the time of 2006 census, the number of British-born
in the Perth metropolitan area had increased to 171,024
— though their proportion of the city's population
had dipped slightly to 11.8 per cent.
second largest group of migrants — 32,544 or
2.5 per cent in 2001 — are from New Zealand,
due to the fact that New Zealanders, unlike other
foreign nationals, are eligible for 'special category'
visas, which allow them to live and work in Australia
with little restriction. For this reason, the New
Zealand-born community in Perth is increasing proportionately
faster than any other birthplace group. By 2006,
34,661 Perth residents had been born in New Zealand,
or 2.4 per cent of the city's population.
third largest group of settlers to Perth originates
in Malaysia — according to 2006 census data,
there were 18,993 Malaysian-born in the city (1.3
per cent), this includes Malaysian Chinese and Tamils,
as well as Malays.
more recent wave of arrivals include European minorities
from Southern Africa. The South Africa-born overtook
those born in Italy to become the fourth largest birthplace
group after 2001. By 2006, there were 18,828 South
Africa-born in Perth, accounting for 1.3 per cent
of the city's people. Many Afrikaners and Anglo-Africans
from South Africa and Zimbabwe emigrated to Perth
during the 1980s and 1990s, to the extent that the
city has been described as "the Australian capital
of South Africans in exile".
phrase "Packing for Perth" has become associated
with South Africans who choose to emigrate abroad,
sometimes regardless of the destination. One of the
state's Senators, Andrew Murray, emigrated from Zimbabwe
in 1989. Southern African expatriates are also represented
in the state's sporting teams. Sean Ervine is a former
Zimbabwean cricketer who now represents the Western
Warriors, while Zimbabwe native David Pocock and Durban-born
Dane Haylett-Perry play for local rugby union side
the Western Force.
also has well-established immigrant communities from
Europe — Italians are the fifth largest migrant
group, numbering 20,611 Italy-born residents or 1.6
per cent in 2001. By 2006, there were still 18,814
Italy-born, accounting for 1.3 per cent of the city's
people. The Italian influence in the Perth and
Fremantle area has been substantial, evident in places
like the "Cappuccino strip" in Fremantle
featuring many Italian eateries and shops. In Fremantle
the traditional Italian blessing of the fleet festival
is held every year at the start of the fishing season.
Suburbs surrounding the Fremantle area such as Spearwood
and Hamilton hill also contain high concentrations
of Italians, Croatians and Portugese.
the last three decades, South East Asia has become
an increasingly important source of migrants, with
communities from Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Hong
Kong, China, and India all now well-established. There
were 53,390 Chinese in Perth in 2006, hailing from
throughout the Chinese diaspora — 2.9 per cent
of the city's population.
Indian community includes a substantial number of
Parsees who emigrated from Bombay — Perth being
the closest Australian city to India — and the
India-born population of the city at the time of the
2006 census was 14,094 or 0.8 per cent.
2006, the largest ancestry groups in the Perth metropolitan
areas were: English (534,555 or 28.6 per cent), "Australian"
(479,174 or 25.6 per cent), Irish (115,384 or 6.2
per cent), Scottish (113,846 or 6.1 per cent), Italian
(84,331 or 4.5 per cent) and Chinese (53,390 or 2.9
per cent). There were 3,101 Aboriginals in the city
(0.2 per cent).
See also: Western Australia for general information
on education in Western Australia
is home to four public universities, and one private
university: the University of Western Australia, Murdoch
University, Curtin University of Technology, Edith
Cowan University, and the University of Notre Dame
University of Western Australia, which was founded
in 1911, is renowned as one of Australia's leading
research institutions. The university's monumental
neo-classical architecture, most of which is carved
from white limestone, is a notable tourist destination
in the city.
University of Technology is Western Australia's largest
university by student population, and was known from
its founding in 1966 until 1986 as the Western Australian
Institute of Technology (WAIT) and had amalgamated
with Western Australian School of Mines and the Muresk
University was established in the 1970s, and is Australia's
geographically largest campus (2.27 square kilometres),
necessary to accommodate Western Australia's only
Cowan University was established in the early 1990s
from the existing Western Australian College of Advanced
Education (WACAE) which itself was formed in the 1970s
from the existing Teachers Colleges at Claremont,
Churchlands, and Mount Lawley. It incorporates the
Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA).
University of Notre Dame Australia was established
in 1990. Notre Dame was established as a Catholic
university with its lead campus in Fremantle and a
large campus in Sydney. It is the only Western Australian
University with a campus in another major Australian
city. Its campus in Fremantle is set in the west end
of Fremantle within historic port buildings built
in the 1890's giving Notre Dame a distinct European
University atmosphere. Notre Dame is affiliated with
the University of Notre Dame in Indiana USA. It is
also the fastest growing University in Australia.
of TAFE (Technical and Further Education) provide
trade and vocational training, including Diploma level
courses. TAFE was formed in the 1970s to provide technical
courses previously offered by WACAE.Culture
West Australian Art Gallery houses the state's premier
art collection and hosts numerous impressive visiting
exhibitions, like 2006 Norman Lindsay exhibition.
Additional exhibits occur at Perth Institute of Contemporary
Arts and many other smaller venues on a regularly
Perth Concert Hall is the city's main concert venue
and hosts theatre, ballet, opera and orchestral performances.
Other theatres include an auditorium at the Perth
Convention Exhibition Centre (completed in 2005),
the historic His Majesty's Theatre and Burswood Dome,
which hosts music concerts. Outdoor concerts are held
in Kings Park and Subiaco Oval, and the Convention
Centre on the foreshore replaces the Burswood Dome
until a more satisfactory building is established.
Sport in Western Australia
main sports are cricket and Australian rules football.
The climate of Perth allows for extensive outdoor
sport activity, and this is reflected in the wide
variety of sports available to citizens of the city.
Perth was host to the 1962 Commonwealth Games and
also the 1987 America's Cup defence (based at Fremantle).
Australian rules football is the most popular spectator
sport in Perth - some 1,030,000 people attended WAFL
or AFL matches in 2005. Perth is home to several elite
sporting teams from various sports:
* Australian rules football: West Coast Eagles and
the Fremantle Dockers
* Rugby League: WA Reds
* Cricket:Retravision Warriors
* Football (soccer): Perth Glory FC
* Basketball: Perth Wildcats
* Rugby Union: Western Force
* Netball: Perth Orioles NOW West Coast Fever
Perth also has and is currently home to numerous state
and international sporting events such as:
* In 2002, Perth hosted the World Lacrosse Games,
which included the World Lacrosse Championships (won
by the United States), the Australian Youth Lacrosse
Championship, a Masters (35+ year old), Grandmasters
(45+), and International Open Championships.
The 1991 and 1998 FINA World Championships were held
* Every year Perth hosts the Hopman Cup, an international
tennis tournament, generally in the first week of
January. This is held at the Burswood Dome, and is
* Perth is the terminus for the annual Avon Descent,
a two-day, 134 kilometre white water race.
* Until 2006, Perth hosted the annual Rally Australia.
* From 2006, Perth is now host to the final leg of
the Red Bull Air Race held on a stretch of the Swan
River called Perth Water until 2008, unless the contract
* Every summer the Australian cricket team plays a
test match and a one day international match at the
WACA Ground, as well as a second match between the
two touring teams.
* Perth hosts the Gravity Games, an international
Surface Water Sport competition, annually in summer.
also boasts a large river with expansive ski zones
which has led to the popularisation of many Surface
Water Sports such as Skurfing, Wakeboarding, Kiteboarding,
Skiing, Biscuiting to name just a few.
Music of Perth
is relatively isolated from other Australian cities
so overseas artists often exclude it from their Australian
tour schedules. This isolation, however, has developed
a strong local music scene, leading some to dub Perth
the "new Seattle".
three Farriss brothers, who are members of the world
renowned band INXS come from Perth, and AC/DC lead
singer Bon Scott is from the Fremantle area.
has been a hotbed of local indie rock music recently
producing such nationally and internationally respected
acts as The Sleepy Jackson, Jebediah, Little Birdy,
Eskimo Joe, The Bank Holidays, New Rules For Boats,
Snowman, The Fergusons, The Waifs and End of Fashion.
The local music culture revolves around a series of
venues such as The Amplifier Bar and The Rosemount
Hotel. The WAMI awards (West Australian
Music Industry Awards), have been acknowledging local
music since 1985.
more popular rock concerts held in Perth are the Big
Day Out (nationwide) and Rock-It (Perth only). The
city is also the setting to the Pavement song "I
has a very changeable and, at times, energetic Folk
music culture. Bands such as The Settlers regularly
played at Clancy's Fish Pub in Fremantle and the earlier
line ups of the Mucky Duck Bush Band that now has
regular bush dances in Whiteman Park. A favourite
spot was the Hayloft in West Perth - home of WA Folk
music in the 1970s and later moving to the Peninsula
Hotel in Maylands. Perth is also home to a vibrant
alternative sexuality music scene, focused especially
around such nightclubs as "The Court" and
"Connections". It also has a large growing
electro indie scene through such nightclubs as "Cassette",
the "Brass Monkey" and "Universal Bar".
Perth is also known for it's thriving Drum & Bass
scene and is know as the capital city for Drum &
Bass Music in Australia.
is home to the West Australian Symphony Orchestra
which performs a regular programme of orchestral music,
usually from its base at the Perth Concert Hall. The
Perth International Arts Festival also includes music
in its schedule. Opera is provided by West Australian
Youth Musicallows young musicians in Perth to gain
performance opportunities by playing in a musical
ensemble. The Western Australian Youth Orchestra is
WA Youth Music's premier and flagship ensemble, however
the organisation offers several other ensembles including
the WA Youth Symphonic Band and the WA Youth Chorale.
Acceptance is granted to amateur players under the
age of 25 years. Auditions are held in November of
is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Perth
and the Anglican Diocese of Perth.Infrastructure
is served by Perth Airport in the city's east for
regional, domestic and international flights and Jandakot
Airport in the city's southern suburbs for general
aviation and charter flights.
has a road network with three freeways, nine metropolitan
highways and no toll roads.
Northbridge tunnel, part of the Graham Farmer Freeway
is the only significant road tunnel in Perth.
metropolitan public transport, including trains, buses
and ferries, are provided by Transperth, with links
to rural areas provided by Transwa. There are 59 railway
stations and 15 bus stations in the metropolitan area.
The rail system has recently undergone significant
redevelopment, with a new railway line built between
Perth and Mandurah which doubled the length of Perth's
railways. The railway was opened on 23 December 2007,
a year after the original deadline.
initiatives include progressive replacement of the
bus fleet and the SmartRider contactless smartcard
ticketing system. Perth provides zero-fare bus and
train trips around the city centre (the "Free
Transit Zone"), including three high- requency
CAT bus routes. Additionally, the rail network has
been expanded in the northern and southern suburbs
as part of the New MetroRail project.
Indian Pacific passenger rail service connects Perth
with Adelaide and Sydney via Kalgoorlie. The Transwa
Prospector passenger rail service connects Perth with
Kalgoorlie via several Wheatbelt towns, while the
Transwa Australind connects to Bunbury, and the Transwa
Avonlink connects to Northam.
freight terminates at the Kewdale Rail Terminal, 15
kilometres south-east of the city centre.Perth's
main container and passenger port is at Fremantle,
19 kilometres south west at the mouth of the Swan
River. A second port complex is being developed in
Cockburn Sound primarily for the export of bulk commodities.
rainfall in the region in recent years has lowered
inflow to reservoirs by two-thirds over the last 30
years, and affected groundwater levels. Coupled with
the city's relatively high growth rate, this had led
to concerns that Perth could run out of water in the
near future. The Western Australian State Government
has responded by introducing mandatory household sprinkler
restrictions in the city. In November 2006, a sea
water desalination plant
was opened in Kwinana, able to supply over 45 gigalitres
(1.0×1010 imperial or 1.2×1010 U.S. gallons)
of potable water per year; it is powered by electricity
produced at the Emu Downs Wind Farm near Cervantes.
Consideration was given to piping water from the Kimberley
region, however the idea was rejected in May 2006
due primarily to its high cost. Other proposals under
consideration included the controversial extraction
of an extra 45 gigalitres of water a year from the
Yarragadee aquifer in the south-west of the state.
However in May 2007, the state government announced
that a second desalination plant will be built at
Binningup, on the coast between Mandurah and Bunbury.