Perth is the capital and largest city of the Australian state of Western Australia. It is the fourth-most populous city in Australia, with an estimated population of 2.02 million (as of 30 June 2014) living in Greater Perth. Perth is part of the South West Land Division of Western Australia, with the majority of the metropolitan area of Perth located on the Swan Coastal Plain, a narrow strip between the Indian Ocean and the Darling Scarp, a low coastal escarpment. The first areas settled were on the Swan River, with the city's central business district and port (Fremantle) both located on its shores. The Perth Metropolitan Region includes 30 local government areas, which themselves consist of a large number of suburbs, extending from Two Rocks in the north to Rockingham in the south, and east inland to The Lakes.
Perth was originally founded by Captain James Stirling in 1829 as the administrative centre of the Swan River Colony. It gained city status (currently vested in the smaller City of Perth) in 1856, and was promoted to the status of a Lord Mayorality in 1929. The city is named after Perth, Scotland, due to the influence of Sir George Murray, Member of Parliament for Perthshire and Secretary of State for War and the Colonies. The city's population increased substantially as a result of the Western Australian gold rushes in the late 19th century, largely as a result of emigration from the eastern colonies of Australia. During Australia's involvement in World War II, Fremantle served as a base for submarines operating in the Pacific Theatre, and a US Navy Catalina flying boat fleet was based at Matilda Bay. An influx of immigrants after the war, predominantly from Britain, Greece, Italy and Yugoslavia, led to rapid population growth. This was followed by a surge in economic activity flowing from several mining booms in the late 20th and early 21st centuries that saw Perth become the regional headquarters for a number of large mining operations located around the state.
As part of Perth's role as the capital of Western Australia, the state's Parliament and Supreme Court are located within the city, as is Government House, the residence of the Governor of Western Australia. Perth became known worldwide as the "City of Light" when city residents lit their house lights and streetlights as American astronaut John Glennpassed overhead while orbiting the earth on Friendship 7 in 1962. The city repeated the act as Glenn passed overhead on the Space Shuttlein 1998. Perth came 8th in the Economist Intelligence Unit's August 2015 list of the world's most liveable cities, and was classified by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network in 2010 as a world city.
|TIME ZONE :||AWST (UTC+8)|
|LANGUAGE :||English 79.1%, Chinese 2.1%, Italian 1.9%, other 11.1%, unspecified 5.8%|
|RELIGION :||Catholic 26.4%, Anglican 20.5%, other Christian 20.5%, Buddhist 1.9%, Muslim 1.5%, other 1.2%, unspecified 12.7%, none 15.3%|
|AREA :||6,417.9 km2 (2,478.0 sq mi)|
|COORDINATES :||31°57′8″S 115°51′32″E|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: 49.80%|
• Female: 50.20%
|ETHNIC :||English (534,555 or 28.6%), Australian (479,174 or 25.6%), Irish (115,384 or 6.2%), Scottish (113,846 or 6.1%), Italian (84,331 or 4.5%) and Chinese (53,390 or 2.9%). There were 26,486 Indigenous Australians in the city.|
|AREA CODE :||8|
|POSTAL CODE :||+61 8|
|DIALING CODE :|
Tourism in Perth is an important part of the state's economy, with approximately 2.8 million domestic visitors and 0.7 million international visitors in the year ending March 2012. Tourist attractions are generally focused around the city centre, Fremantle, the coast, and the Swan River. In addition to the Perth Cultural Centre, there are a number of museums across the city. The Scitech Discovery Centre in is an interactive science museum, with regularly changing exhibitions on a large range of science and technology based subjects. Scitech also conducts live science demonstration shows, and operates the adjacent Horizonplanetarium. The Western Australian Maritime Museum in Fremantle displays maritime objects from all eras. It houses Australia II, the yacht that won the 1983 America's Cup, as well as a former Royal Australian Navy submarine. Also located in Fremantle is the Army Museum of Western Australia, situated within a historic artillery barracks. The museum consists of several galleries which reflect the Army's involvement in Western Australia, and the military service of Western Australians. The museum holds numerous items of significance, including three Victoria Crosses. Aviation history is represented by the Aviation Heritage Museum in Bull Creek, with its significant collection of aircraft, including a Lancasterbomber and a Catalina of the type operated from the Swan River during WWII. There are many heritage sites in Perth's CBD, Fremantle, and other parts of the metropolitan areas. Some of the oldest remaining building, dating back to the 1830s, include the Round House in Fremantle, the Old Mill in South Perth, and the Old Court House in the city centre. Registers of important buildings are maintained by the Heritage Council of Western Australia and local governments. A late heritage building is the Perth Mint.
Retail shopping in the Perth CBD is focused around Murray Street and Hay Street. Both of these streets are pedestrian malls between William Street and Barrack Street. Forrest Place is another pedestrian mall, connecting the Murray Street mall to Wellington Street and the Perth railway station. A number of arcades run between Hay Street and Murray Street, including the Piccadilly Arcade, which housed the Piccadilly Cinema until it closed in late 2013. Other shopping precincts include Harbour Town in West Perth, featuring factory outlets for major brands, the historically significant Fremantle Markets, which date back to 1897, and the Midland townsite on Great Eastern Highway, combining historic development around the Town Hall and Post Office buildings with the modern Midland Gate shopping centre further east. Joondalup's central business district is largely a shopping and retail area lined with townhouses and apartments, and also features Lakeside Joondalup Shopping City. Joondalup was granted the status of "tourism precinct" by the State Government in 2009, allowing for extended retail trading hours. The Swan Valley, with fertile soil, uncommon in the Perth region, features numerous wineries such as the large complex at Houghtons, the state's biggest producer, Sandalfords and many smaller operators, including microbreweries and rum distilleries. The Swan Valley also contains specialised food producers, many restaurants and cafes, and roadside local-produce stalls that sell seasonal fruit throughout the year.Tourist Drive 203 is a circular route in the Swan Valley, passing by many attractions on West Swan Road and Great Northern Highway.
Kings Park, located in central Perth between the CBD and the University of Western Australia, is one of the world's largest inner-city parks, at 400.6 hectares (990 acres). There are many landmarks and attractions within Kings Park, including the State War Memorial Precinct on Mount Eliza, Western Australian Botanic Garden, and children's playgrounds. Other features include DNA Tower, a 15m high double helix staircase that resembles the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) molecule, and Jacob's Ladder, comprising 242 steps that lead down to Mounts Bay Road. Hyde Park is another inner-city park located 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) north of the CBD. It was gazetted as a public park in 1897, created from 15 hectares (37 acres) of a chain of wetlands known as Third Swamp. Avon Valley,John Forrest and Yanchep national parks are areas of protected bushland at the northern and eastern edges of the metropolitan area. Within the city's northern suburbs is Whiteman Park, a 4,000-hectare (9,900-acre) bushland area, with bushwalking trails, bike paths, sports facilities, playgrounds, a vintage tramway, a light railway on a 6-kilometre (3.7 mi) track, motor and tractor museums, and Caversham Wildlife Park.
Perth Zoo, located in South Perth, houses a variety of Australian and exotic animals from around the globe. The zoo is home to highly successful breeding programs for orangutans and giraffes, and participates in captive breeding and reintroduction efforts for a number of Western Australian species, including the numbat, the dibbler, the chuditch, and the western swamp tortoise. More wildlife can be observed at the Aquarium of Western Australia in Hillarys, which is Australia's largest aquarium, specialising in marine animals that inhabit the 12,000-kilometre-long (7,500 mi) western coast of Australia. The northern Perth section of the coastline is known as Sunset Coast; it includes numerous beaches and the Marmion Marine Park, a protected area inhabited by tropical fish, Australian sea lions and bottlenose dolphins, and traversed by humpback whales.Tourist Drive 204, also known as Sunset Coast Tourist Drive, is a designated route from North Fremantle to Iluka along coastal roads.
Before European colonisation, 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 Noongar people occupied the southwest corner of Western Australia and lived as hunter-gatherers. The wetlands on the Swan Coastal Plain were particularly important to them, both spiritually, featuring in local mythology, and as a source of food. Rottnest, Carnac and Garden Islands were also important to the Noongar people.
The area where Perth now stands is also known as Boorloo by the Noongar people. Boorloo formed part of Mooro, the tribal lands of Yellagonga's group, one of several based around the Swan River and known collectively as the Whadjuk. The Whadjuk were part of a larger group of fourteen tribes that formed the south-west socio-linguistic block known as the Noongar (meaning "the people" in their language), also sometimes called the Bibbulmun. On 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 1243. The judgment was overturned on appeal.
Early European sightings
The first documented 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 that would be needed to sustain a settlement.
Swan River Colony
Although the Colony of New South Wales had established a convict-supported 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 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.
On 4 June 1829, newly arriving British colonists had their first view of the mainland, and Western Australia's founding has since been recognised by a public holiday on the first Monday in June each year. Captain James Stirling, aboard Parmelia, said that Perth was "as beautiful as anything of this kind I had ever witnessed". On 12 August that year, Helen Dance, wife of the captain of the second ship, Sulphur, cut down a tree to mark the founding of the town.
It 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 1829, ended "given under my hand and Seal at Perth this 18th Day of June 1829. James Stirling Lieutenant Governor". The only contemporary 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. The town was named after the Scottish Perth, in Murray's honour.
Beginning in 1831, hostile encounters between the British settlers and the Noongar people – both large-scale land users with conflicting land value systems – increased considerably as the colony grew. The hostile encounters between the two groups of people resulted in a number of events, including the execution of the Whadjuk elder Midgegooroo, the death of his son Yagan in 1833, and the Pinjarra massacre in 1834.
The racial relations between the Noongar people and the Europeans were strained due to these happenings. Because of the large amount of building in and around Boorloo, the local Whadjuk Noongar people were slowly dispossessed of their country. They were forced to camp around prescribed areas, including the swamps and lakes north of the settlement area including Third Swamp, known to them as Boodjamooling. Boodjamooling continued to be a main camp-site 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.
In 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
After 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 from Port Augusta in South Australia to Kalgoorlie to link Perth with the eastern states.
In 1933, Western Australia voted in a referendum to leave the Australian Federation, with a majority of two to one in favour of secession. However, an election held shortly before the referendum had voted out the incumbent "pro-independence" government, replacing it with a government that did not support the independence movement. Respecting the result of the referendum, the new government nonetheless petitioned the Agent General of the United Kingdom for independence, where the request was simply ignored.
Perth's growth and relative prosperity, especially since the mid-1960s, has resulted from its role as the main service centre for the state's resource industries, which extract gold, iron ore, nickel, alumina, diamonds, mineral sands, coal, oil, and natural gas. Whilst most mineral and petroleum production takes place elsewhere in the state, the non-base services provide most of the employment and income to the people of Perth.
The City has a temperate Mediterranean type climate. Summers are hot and dry whilst winters are generally wet and mild. Summer temperatures average 30°C (86°F) between November and April. Maximum temperatures during the height of summer can reach and sometimes exceed the 40°C (104°F) mark. Very hot days tend to have very low humidity making conditions more bearable.
In the Perth metropolitan area the summertime temperature rises rapidly during the morning, relived in the afternoon when the "Fremantle Doctor" blows inland from the ocean to cool the city by up to 15°C. The doctor runs out of puff before reaching the areas further inland, leaving the hills and beyond to swelter till after sunset.
Winter (Jun-Aug) temperatures are usually around 15°C. Minimum temperatures sometimes drop below 0°C on clear nights. Though Perth goes through lengthy dry spells, when it does rain, it pours. In the past storms with strong winds occasionally hammer a winter night, but they generally caused no more destruction than a toppled tree or flattened fence. More recently intense storms have created hail and more serious damage.
Spring (Sep-Nov) and Autumn (Mar-May) are ideal times in which to visit Perth. Spring (particularly October / November periods) is perhaps the very best to see the sights as after a decent winter's rainfall, the famous wild flowers around Kings Park and the Avon Valley bloom splendidly. The metropolitan areas as well as the bushlands have many flowering species which often flower en-masse, so it is wise to purchase over-the-counter hay fever or antihistamines from a local chemist before making a trip to see them with minimal discomfort. Beach-goers from colder climes might find the summer months too harsh, so it is perhaps best to visit during March–April or October–November as well as taking a hat, sun-screen lotion and sunglasses.
The local inhabitants tend to holiday during the height of summer or winter, either to escape the climate, or to celebrate it. In winter Perth inhabitants often travel north to Broome or Bali for the warmth, or oppositely stay in small chalets in the south and south west during the winter to enjoy the cool wet climate and seasonal foods.
Although Western Australia has many public holidays they are unlikely to cause much inconvenience to your travels. Most shops are still open, public transport still runs (to a reduced timetable) and the sky is still blue. The exceptions are Good Friday, Anzac Day (25 April) and Christmas Day (25 Dec), when most shops and restaurants are closed. Generally only offices, banks and government services are closed for the other 7 public holidays; New Year's Day (Jan 1), Australia Day (26 Jan), Easter Monday, Labour Day (first Monday of March), Queen's Birthday (last Monday in September), Foundation Day (first Monday in June) and Boxing Day (26 December).
Climate data for Perth, Western Australia
|Record high °C (°F)||45.8|
|Average high °C (°F)||31.3|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||24.8|
|Average low °C (°F)||18.2|
|Record low °C (°F)||8.9|
|Source: Bureau of Meteorology|
Central business district
The 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 reserve formed a northern border. A state and federally funded project named Perth City Link sunk a section of the railway line, to link Northbridgeand the CBD for the first time in 100 years. The Perth Arena is a building in the city link area that has received a number of architecture awards. St Georges Terrace is the prominent street of the area with 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 seventh tallest building in Australia. The CBD has recently been the centre of a mining-induced boom, with several commercial and residential projects being built, including Brookfield Place, a 244 m (801 ft) office building for Anglo-Australian mining company BHP Billiton.
Geology and landforms
Perth is set on the Swan River, named for the native black swans by Willem de Vlamingh, captain of a Dutch expedition and namer of WA's Rottnest Island who discovered the birds while exploring the area in 1697. Traditionally, this water body had been known by Aboriginal inhabitants asDerbarl Yerrigan. 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 are quite infertile. The metropolitan area extends along the coast to Two Rocks in the north and Singleton to the south, a total distance of approximately 125 kilometres (78 mi). From the coast in the west to Mundaring in the east is a total distance of approximately 50 kilometres (31 mi). The Perth metropolitan area covers 6,418 square kilometres (2,478 sq mi).
Much of Perth was originally built on a series of freshwater wetlandsrunning from Herdsman Lake in the west through to Claisebrook Covein the east.
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. 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 Inlet at Mandurah.
By virtue of its population and role as the administrative centre for business and government, Perth dominates the Western Australian economy, despite the major mining, petroleum, and agricultural export industries located elsewhere in the state. Perth's function as the state's capital city, its economic base and population size have also created development opportunities for many other businesses oriented to local or more diversified markets.
Perth's economy has been changing in favour of the service industries since the 1950s. Although one of the major sets of services it provides is related to the resources industry and, to a lesser extent, agriculture, most people in Perth are not connected to either; they have jobs that provide services to other people in Perth.
As a result of Perth's relative geographical isolation, it has never had the necessary conditions to develop significant manufacturing industries other than those serving the immediate needs of its residents, mining, agriculture and some specialised areas, such as, in recent times, niche ship building and maintenance. It was simply cheaper to import all the needed manufactured goods from either the eastern states or overseas.
Industrial employment influenced the economic geography of Perth. After WWII, Perth experienced suburban expansion aided by high levels of car ownership. Workforce decentralisation and transport improvements made it possible for the establishment of small-scale manufacturing in the suburbs. Many firms took advantage of relatively cheap land to build spacious, single-storey plants in suburban locations with plentiful parking, easy access and minimal traffic congestion. "The former close ties of manufacturing with near-central and/or rail-side locations were loosened."
Industrial estates such as Kwinana, Welshpool and Kewdale were post-war additions contributing to the growth of manufacturing south of the river. The establishment of the Kwinana industrial area was supported by standardisation of the east-west rail gauge linking Perth with eastern Australia. Since the 1950s the area has been dominated by heavy industry, including an oil refinery, steel-rolling mill with a blast furnace, alumina refinery, power station and a nickel refinery. Another development, also linked with rail standardisation, was in 1968 when the Kewdale Freight Terminal was developed adjacent to the Welshpool industrial area, replacing the former Perth railway yards.
With significant population growth post-WWII, employment growth occurred not in manufacturing but in retail and wholesale trade, business services, health, education, community and personal services and in public administration. Increasingly it was these services sectors, concentrated around the Perth metropolitan area, that provided jobs.
Perth Metropolitan Area
While the city of Perth sits on the north side of Perth Water on the Swan River, the metropolitan area spreads out in all directions.
Where commerce and culture intermingle
A port of history and food and entertainment
Restaurants, bars, clubs, cafes and Art
The place for a swim and many other activities
A wide range of attractions in the Valley.
The spread out parts of Perth
Wine, trees, hills, parks, and dams
Outside the city
1-2h outside the city are many small townships and an Island.
Smaller suburbs outside of the inner city
Where locals like to relax