In 2004 the city of Perth celebrated the 175th anniversary of the founding of the Swan River Colony. But the settlements in this area actually date back thousands of the years to the time when Australian Aborigines first inhabited it. The first Europeans to discover the region came in 1697, when the Dutch navigator Willem de Vlamingh arrived and named it the Swan River after the numerous, and very unique, black swans that lived on the banks.

In 1829 Captain Charles Howe Fremantle claimed the area for the British Crown, and later that year Captain James Stirling officially established the Swan River Colony, and founded the village of Perth. Unlike the colonies on the Eastern States, free settlers populated Perth. It was their hardships that later led to the arrival of convicts to the Australian colonies in the 1850s.

Named after the Scottish city, Queen Victoria officially proclaimed Perth a city in 1856, by which time the city had already started to grow in size. The first city council met in 1858, and the city was officially incorporated in 1871. With the discovery of gold to the east of Perth the city became a boomtown in the 1890s, and today many of the fine buildings from that era attest to its prominence and wealth.

A follow up boom for Perth in the 1960s, when iron ore and nickel began to be mined, have transformed Perth into a modern and friendly city that is home to people from around the world.

Browse the Experience Perth - Brief History webpage.