Perth: the capital city of Western Australia

The city covers an area of 5306 square kilometres and is built on the Swan River.

The first people to live in Perth

The first people to live in the area were the Aboriginal peoples. They had occupied the land for thousands of years before European settlers arrived. The Wujuk people lived in the area in the south-west.

The first European settlers were led by Captain James Sterling, who came to the Perth area in 1829 and at first the the aboriginal people and the settlers got on well. However, by the end of the 1830s, the Europeans had displaced the Aboriginal peoples from the best land and they were later moved to reserves set aside for them by the government.

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The city was officially named in 1829 by Captain Sterling, after a city in Scotland.

The city is run by a city council, elected by the people of the city. A Lord Mayor leads the city council.

The State Parliament of Western Australia is in Perth.

Perth buildings are a mix of old and new.

Perth buildings are a mix of old and new.

Perth has a Mediterranean climate which means that the summers are warm and dry and the winters are cool and wet. During the summer the average temperature is about 29C but can reach 40C. However most afternoons when the temperature is high, an ocean wind blows across the city and cools it. This wind is known as the 'Fremantle Doctor'. In winter the average temperature is about 17C and rarely falls below 9C.

Perth is the business centre for Western Australia and is a modern city. The buildings are a blend of old and new.    

The Swan River is named for the black swans that live there © Getty Images

The Swan River is named for the black swans that live there © Getty Images

The city is famous for its Botanic Gardens in Kings Park. Here it is possible to see some of the more than 8000 varieties of wildflowers, found in no other part of the world, which grow in Western Australia. The annual Wildflower festival attracts thousands of visitors from around the world.        

The Swan River was originally named 'Black Swan River', because of the birds that once nested along its banks.  

The Festival of Perth was first held in February 1953 and has since become one of Australia's most important arts festivals. The Perth Cultural Centre houses the state ballet and opera companies, and includes a theatre, art galleries and the Western Australian Museum.

Fremantle is Perth's port and it is at the mouth of the Swan River, 19 kilometres from the city. Fremantle is the home of a large fishing fleet. It is also a popular place for sailing events.

Perth: A short timeline of European settlement and development 1829 - 1987

1829

First British settlement on the banks of the Swan River

1831

First newspaper

1850

Convicts arrive to build roads and public buildings

1854

The first adhesive (sticky) stamp in Australia is issued in Perth

1856

Perth proclaimed an official city

1869

First telegraph line runs from Perth to Fremantle1920

First successful flight by plane from Perth to Melbourne. J. Howard and C. J. de Garis are the pilots

1872

Land set aside for what will become Kings Park

1877

Perth linked to the rest of Australia by telegraph

1880

Cobb & Co stage coach services begin

1881

Railway line from Perth to Fremantle opened

1887

Telephone exchange opens

1893

Electric street lighting in the city

1897

First ship enters the new Fremantle harbour

1913

University of Western Australia opens

1916

Trans Australian Railway links Perth to the eastern states

1959

First Narrows Bridge opened. It's the biggest precast, prestressed concrete bridge in the world.

1962

Perth hosts the Commonwealth Games

1968

Damaging earthquake hits Perth

1987

America's Cup Yacht race held in Fremantle. The first time the race was held outside the United States of America


There are many fine beaches close to the city of Perth.  © Getty Images

There are many fine beaches close to the city of Perth.  © Getty Images

The new Narrows Bridge is both a railway bridge and a freeway.© Getty Images

The new Narrows Bridge is both a railway bridge and a freeway.© Getty Images

Read about things to do in Perth

http://www.australia.com/en/places/perth.html