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PERTH WESTERN AUSTRALIA

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BIOGRAPHICAL DETAILS

The City of Perth

Website: Historical photos of Perth

Perth is the capital and largest city of the Australian state of Western Australia (WA). It is the fourth most populous city in Australia, with an estimated population of 2.02 million (on 30 June 2014) living in Greater Perth. Part of the South West Land Division of Western Australia, the majority of the metropolitan area of Perth is 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. Perth is formally divided into a number of 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, by influence of Sir George Murray, then British 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.

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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 well as 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 Glenn passed overhead while orbiting the earth on Friendship 7 in 1962. The city repeated the act as Glenn passed overhead on the Space Shuttle in 1998. Perth came 9th in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s August 2014 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.

Indigenous history

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 Aborigines 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. About 5,000 years ago, when sea levels were low, it was possible to reach the limestone outcrops on foot.

The area where Perth now stands was called Boorloo by the Aborigines living there in 1827, at the time of their first contact with Europeans. Boorloo formed part of Mooro, the tribal lands of the Yellagonga. It is 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 (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 [2006] FCA 1243. The judgment was overturned on appeal.

Early European sightings

The 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.

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Although 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.

On 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, 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. 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 the Whadjuk elder Midgegooroo, the death of his son Yagan in 1833, and the Battle of Pinjarra in 1834.

By 1843, when Yellagonga died, his people 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 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.

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.

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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 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 Northbridge and 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.which? Also, an inlet on the Swan River is currently being built to connect the city to the river. 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.

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Perth is set on the Swan River, named after the native black swans in 1697 by Willem de Vlamingh, captain of a Dutch expedition and namer of WA’s Rottnest Island. Traditionally, this water body has been known by Aboriginal inhabitants as Derbarl 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 6,417.9 square kilometres (2,478.0 sq mi).

Much of Perth was originally built on a series of freshwater wetlands running from Herdsman Lake in the west through to Claisebrook Cove in the east.

The coastal suburbs’ placement is advantageous due to proximity to 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. 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.

Perth receives moderate though highly seasonal rainfall, making it the fourth wettest Australian capital city after Darwin, Sydney and Brisbane. Summers are generally very hot and dry, lasting from December to late March, with February generally being the hottest month of the year, while winters are relatively mild and wet, making Perth a classic example of a Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification Csa). Perth is a particularly sunny city for a Mediterranean climate, with an average of 8.8 hours of sunshine per day, which equates to around 3200 hours of annual sunshine, and also having 138.7 clear days annually.

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 from Western Australia’s north-west which can bring significant rainfall. The highest ever recorded temperature in Perth was 46.2 °C (115.2 °F) on 23 February 1991, although Perth Airport recorded 46.7 °C (116.1 °F) on the same day. On most summer afternoons, a sea breeze, also known as the “Fremantle Doctor”, blows from the southwest, providing relief from the hot north-easterly winds. Temperatures often fall below 30 °C (86 °F) a few hours after the arrival of the wind change. In the summer, the 3 pm dewpoint averages at around 12 °C (54 °F).

Winters are relatively cool and wet, with most of Perth’s annual rainfall between May and September. The lowest temperature recorded in Perth was −0.7 °C (30.7 °F) on 17 June 2006. The lowest temperature within the Perth metropolitan area was −3.4 °C (25.9 °F) on the same day at Jandakot Airport.

The rainfall pattern has changed in Perth and Southwest Western Australia since the mid-1970s. A significant reduction in winter rainfall has been observed with a greater number of extreme rainfall events in the summer months, such as slow-moving storms on 8 February 1992 which brought 120.6 millimetres (4.75 in) of rain, the highest recorded in Perth, and a severe thunderstorm on 22 March 2010, which brought 40.2 millimetres (1.58 in) of rain and caused significant damage in the metropolitan area.

Perth is one of the most isolated major cities in the world. The nearest city with a population of more than 100,000 is Adelaide, which is 2,104 kilometres (1,307 mi) away. Only Honolulu, (population 953,000) and 3,841 kilometres (2,387 mi) from San Francisco, is more isolated.

Perth is geographically closer to both Dili, East Timor (2,785 kilometres (1,731 mi)), and Jakarta, Indonesia (3,002 kilometres (1,865 mi)), than to Sydney (3,291 kilometres (2,045 mi)), Brisbane (3,604 kilometres (2,239 mi)), or Canberra (3,106 kilometres (1,930 mi)).

Perth is Australia’s fourth-most-populous city, having overtaken Adelaide’s population in the early 1980s. At the 2006 Census 1,445,079 residents in the Perth statistical area were counted. In 2014 there were approximately 2.02 million residents in the metropolitan area.

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In 2006, the largest ancestry groups in the Perth metropolitan areas were: 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 26,700 Indigenous Australians in the city.

Perth’s population is notable for the high proportion of British and Irish born residents. At the 2006 Census, 142,424 England-born Perth residents were counted,[62] narrowly behind Sydney (145,261), despite the fact that Perth had just 35% of the overall population of Sydney.

The ethnic make-up of Perth changed in the second part of the 20th century, when significant numbers of continental European immigrants arrived in the city. Prior to this, Perth’s population had been almost completely Anglo-Celtic in ethnic origin. 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 of people, which included Italians, Greeks, Dutch, Germans, Croats, and many others. 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. In Northbridge every December is the San Nicola (Saint Nicholas) Festival, which involves a pageant followed by a concert, predominantly in Italian. Suburbs surrounding the Fremantle area such as Spearwood and Hamilton Hill also contain high concentrations of Italians, Croatians and Portuguese. Perth also has a small Jewish community – numbering 5,082 in 2006 – who have emigrated primarily from Eastern Europe and more recently from South Africa.

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Another more recent wave of arrivals includes white minorities from Southern Africa. South African residents overtook those born in Italy as the fourth largest foreign group after 2001. By 2006, there were 18,825 South Africans residing in Perth, accounting for 1.3% of the city’s population. Many Afrikaners and Anglo-Africans emigrated to Perth during the 1980s and 1990s, with the phrase “packing for Perth” becoming associated with South Africans who choose to emigrate abroad, sometimes regardless of the destination.[64] As a result, the city has been described as “the Australian capital of South Africans in exile”. The reason for Perth being so popular among white South Africans has often been the location (closer to Africa than other large Australian cities), the vast amount of land, and the slightly warmer climate compared to other large Australian cities – Perth has a Mediterranean climate reminiscent of Cape Town.

Since the late 1970s, Southeast Asia has become an increasingly important source of migrants, with communities from Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Mainland China, and India all now well-established. There were 53,390 persons of Chinese descent in Perth in 2006 – 2.9% of the city’s population. These are supported by the Australian Eurasian Association of Western Australia, which also serves a community of Portuguese-Malacca Eurasian or Kristang immigrants.

The 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%. Perth is also home to the largest population of Anglo-Burmese in the world; many settled here following the independence of Burma in 1948 and the city is now the cultural hub for Anglo-Burmese worldwide.[citation needed] There is also a substantial Anglo-Indian population in Perth, who also settled in the city following the independence of India.

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Religion

Protestant Christianity, predominantly Anglican, make up approximately 28% of the population. Perth is the seat of the Anglican Diocese of Perth[citation needed] and of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Perth.[citation needed] Roman Catholics make up about 23% of the population,[69] and Catholicism is the most common single denomination.[69] Perth is also home to 12,000 Latter-day Saints and the Perth Australia Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Perth is also home of the seat of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross as the Church of St Ninian and St Chad in Perth was named the principal church of the ordinariate.

Buddhism and Islam each claim more than 20,000 adherents.[69] Perth has one of the larger Jewish populations in Australia,[citation needed] numbering approximately 20,000,[69] with both Orthodox and Progressive synagogues and a Jewish Day School.[citation needed] The Bahá’í community in Perth numbers around 1,500.[69] Hinduism has over 20,000 adherents in Perth;[69] the Diwali (festival of lights) celebration in 2009 attracted over 20,000 visitors. There are Hindu temples in Canning Vale, Anketell and a Swaminarayan temple north of the Swan River.Approximately one in five people from Perth profess to having no religion, with 11% of people not specific as to their beliefs.

Perth houses the Parliament of Western Australia and the Governor of Western Australia. At present, 42 of the Legislative Assembly’s 59 seats and 18 of the Legislative Council’s 36 seats are based in Perth’s metropolitan area as of the 2008 state election. Perth is represented by 9 full seats and significant parts of three others in the Federal House of Representatives, with the seats of Canning, Pearce and Brand including some areas outside the metropolitan area. The metropolitan area is divided into over 30 local government bodies, including the City of Perth which administers Perth’s central business district.

The state’s highest court, the Supreme Court, is located in Perth, along with the District and Family Courts. The Magistrates’ Court has six metropolitan locations. The Federal Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia (previously the Federal Magistrates Court) occupy the Commonwealth Law Courts building on Victoria Avenue, Perth,[79] which is the also the location for annual Perth sittings of Australia’s High Court.

The Metropolitan Region Scheme is the statutory town planning scheme for land use in the Perth metropolitan area, and has been in operation since 1963.

Perth has hosted numerous state and international sporting events. Ongoing international events include the Hopman Cup during the first week of January at the Perth Arena. In addition to these Perth has hosted international Rugby Union games, including qualifying matches for 2003 Rugby World Cup. The 1991 and 1998 FINA World Championships were held in Perth. Four races (2006, 2007, 2008 and 2010) in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship have been held on a stretch of the Swan River called Perth Water, using Langley Park as a temporary air field. Several motorsport facilities exist in Perth including Perth Motorplex, catering to drag racing and speedway, and Barbagallo Raceway for circuit racing and drifting. Perth also has two thoroughbred racing facilities: Ascot, home of the Railway Stakes and Perth Cup; and Belmont Park.

The WACA Ground opened in the 1890s and has hosted Test cricket since 1970. The Western Australian Athletics Stadium opened in 2009.

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