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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
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
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 
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
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
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 ignored.
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 1991.
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
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
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' Courts.
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
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
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
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
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 respectively.
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 Institute.
University was established in the 1970s, and is
Australia's geographically largest campus (2.27
square kilometres), necessary to accommodate Western
Australia's only veterinary school.
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
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 across Perth.
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
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 in Perth.
* 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 broadcast internationally.
* 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 is stretch.
* 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
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
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 Love Perth".
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 Opera.
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 each year.
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
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
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
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