|Swan River Colony|
|Today part of||Australia|
The Swan River Colony, also known as the Swan River Settlement,or just Swan River, was a British colony established in 1829 on the Swan River, in Western Australia. This initial settlement place on the Swan River was soon named Perth, and it became the capital city of Western Australia.
The name was a pars pro toto for Western Australia. On 6 February 1832 the colony was renamed the Colony of Western Australia,when the colony's founding lieutenant-governor, Captain James Stirling, belatedly received his commission. However, the name "Swan River Colony" remained in informal use for many years afterwards.
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History of Australia
The first recorded Europeans to sight land where the city of Perth is now located were Dutch sailors. Most likely the first visitor to the Swan River area was Frederick de Houtman on 19 July 1619, travelling on the ships Dordrecht and Amsterdam. His records indicate he first reached the Western Australian coast at latitude 32°20', which is approximately at Warnbro Sound.He did not land because of heavy surf, and so proceeded northwards without much investigation.
On 28 April 1656, Vergulde Draeck en route to Batavia (now Jakarta) was shipwrecked 107 km (66 mi) north of the Swan River near Ledge Point. Of the 193 on board, only 75 made it to shore. A small boat that survived the wreckage then sailed to Batavia for help, but a subsequent search party found none of the survivors. The wreck was rediscovered in 1963.
In 1658, three Dutch Republic ships, also partially searching for Vergulde Draeck visited the area. Waekende Boey under Captain S. Volckertszoon, Elburg under Captain J. Peereboom and Emeloort under Captain A. Joncke sighted Rottnest but did not proceed any closer to the mainland because of the many reefs. They then travelled north and subsequently found the wreck of Vergulde Draeck (but still no survivors). They gave an unfavourable opinion of the area partly due to the dangerous reefs.
The Dutch captain Willem de Vlamingh was the next European in the area. Commanding three ships, Geelvinck, Nijptangh and Weseltje, : 42 he arrived at and named Rottnest on 29 December 1696, and on 10 January 1697 visited and named the Swan River. His ships could not sail up the river because of a sand bar at its mouth, so he sent out a sloop which even then required some dragging over the sand bar. They sailed until reaching mud flats probably near Heirisson Island. They saw some Aboriginal people but were not able to meet any close up. Vlamingh was also not impressed with the area, and this was probably the reason for a lack of Dutch exploration from then on.
In 1801, the French ships Géographe captained by Nicolas Baudin and Naturaliste captained by Emmanuel Hamelin visited the area from the south. While Géographe continued northwards, Naturaliste remained for a few weeks. A small expedition dragged longboats over the sand bar and explored the Swan River. They also gave unfavourable descriptions regarding any potential settlement due to many mud flats upstream and the sand bar (the sand bar wasn't removed until the 1890s when C. Y. O'Connor built Fremantle harbour).
Later in March 1803, Géographe with another ship Casuarina passed by Rottnest on their way eventually back to France, but did not stop longer than a day or two.
The next visit to the area was the first Australian-born maritime explorer, Phillip Parker King in 1822 on Bathurst. King was also the son of former Governor Philip Gidley King of New South Wales. However, King also was not impressed with the area.
The founding father of Western Australia was Captain James Stirling who, in 1827, explored the Swan River area in HMS Success which first anchored off Rottnest, and later in Cockburn Sound. He was accompanied by Charles Fraser, the New South Wales botanist.
Their initial exploration began on 8 March in a cutter and gig with parties continuing on foot from 13 March. In late March, Success moved to Sydney, arriving there on 15 April. Stirling arrived back in England in July 1828, promoting in glowing terms the agricultural potential of the area. His lobbying was for the establishment of a "free" settlement –unlike penal colonies at New South Wales, Port Arthur and Norfolk Island –in the Swan River area with himself as its governor. As a result of these reports, and a rumour in London that the French were about to establish a penal colony in the western part of Australia, possibly at Shark Bay, the Colonial Office assented to the proposal in mid-October 1828.
In December 1828 a Secretary of State for Colonies despatch reserved land for the Crown, as well as for the clergy, and for education, and specified that water frontage was to be rationed. The most cursory exploration had preceded the British decision to found a settlement at the Swan River; the most makeshift arrangements were to govern its initial establishment and the granting of land; and the most sketchy surveys were to be made before the grants were actually occupied. A set of regulations were worked out for distributing land to settlers on the basis of land grants. Negotiations for a privately run settlement were also started with a consortium of four gentlemen headed by Potter McQueen, a member of Parliament who had already acquired a large tract of land in New South Wales. The consortium withdrew after the Colonial Office refused to give it preference over independent settlers in selecting land, but one member, Thomas Peel, accepted the terms and proceeded alone. Peel was allocated 500,000 acres (2,000 km2), conditional on his arrival at the settlement before 1 November 1829 with 400 settlers. Peel arrived after this date with only 300 settlers, but was still granted 250,000 acres (1,000 km2).
|Swan River Colony|
ship arrivals in 1829
|25 April|| HMS Challenger |
|31 May|| Parmelia |
|6 June||HMS Sulphur|
|6 August||Saint Leonard|
|23 August||Marquis of Anglesea|
|17 October||Governor Phillip|
|23 October|| Lotus |
|31 October||Admiral Gifford|
|11 November||Lion (Lyon)|
|28 November||HMS Success|
|15 December|| Gilmore |
The first ship to reach the Swan River was HMS Challenger. After she anchored off Garden Island on 25 April 1829, Captain Charles Fremantle declared the Swan River Colony for Britain on 2 May 1829.
Parmelia arrived on 31 May carrying Stirling and his party and HMS Sulphur arrived on 8 June carrying members of the 63rd Regiment and families. Three merchant ships arrived shortly after: Calista on 5 August, St Leonard on 6 August and Marquis of Anglesea on 23 August.
A series of accidents followed the arrivals which probably nearly caused the abandonment of the expedition. Challenger and Sulphur both struck rocks while entering Cockburn Sound and were fortunate to escape with only minor damage. Parmelia however, under Stirling's "over confident pilotage", also ran aground, lost her rudder and damaged her keel, which necessitated extensive repairs. With winter now set in, the settlers were obliged to land on Garden Island. Bad weather and the required repairs meant that Stirling did not manage to reach the mainland until 18 June, and the remaining settlers on Parmelia finally arrived in early August. In early September a major disaster occurred: Marquis of Anglesea was driven ashore during a gale and wrecked beyond repair. The ship did not break up, as had been expected, but instead survived to become Western Australia's first prison hulk.
The first reports of the new colony arrived back in England in late January 1830. They described the poor conditions and the starving state of the colonists, deemed the land totally unfit for agriculture, and reported (incorrectly) that the settlers had abandoned the colony. As a result of these reports, many people cancelled their migration plans or diverted to Cape Town in South Africa, or to the more well-established New South Wales colony.
Nevertheless, a few settlers arrived and additional stores were dispatched. By 1832 the population of the colony had reached about 1,500. Aboriginal people were not counted at that time, but in the south west have been estimated to number 15,000. The difficulty of clearing land to grow crops was so great that by 1850 the population of settlers had increased only to 5,886. This population had settled mainly around the southwestern coastline at Bunbury, Augusta and Albany.
Karl Marx, in Das Kapital , used the Swan River Colony to illustrate a point about the necessity of a dependent workforce for capitalist production and colonization.
|Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
The Swan River is a river in the south west of Western Australia. The river runs through the metropolitan area of Perth, Western Australia's capital and largest city.
Rottnest Island, often colloquially referred to as "Rotto", is a 19-square-kilometre (7.3 sq mi) island off the coast of Western Australia, located 18 kilometres (11 mi) west of Fremantle. A sandy, low-lying island formed on a base of aeolianite limestone, Rottnest is an A-class reserve, the highest level of protection afforded to public land.
The human history of Western Australia commenced between 40,000 and 60,000 years ago with the arrival of Indigenous Australians on the northwest coast. The first inhabitants expanded across the east and south of the continent.
Admiral Sir James Stirling was a Scottish naval officer and colonial administrator. His enthusiasm and persistence persuaded the British Government to establish the Swan River Colony and he became the first Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Western Australia. In 1854, when Commander-in-Chief, East Indies and China Station, Stirling on his own initiative signed Britain's first Anglo-Japanese Friendship Treaty. Throughout his career Stirling showed considerable diplomatic skill and was selected for a number of sensitive missions. Paradoxically, this was not reflected in his personal dealings with officialdom and his hopes for preferment received many rebuffs. Stirling also personally led the attack in Western Australia on a group of approximately seventy Bindjareb men, women and children now known as the Pinjarra massacre.
John Septimus Roe was the first Surveyor-General of Western Australia. He was a renowned explorer, a member of Western Australia's legislative and executive councils for nearly 40 years, but also a participant in the Pinjarra massacre on 28 October 1834.
Parmelia was a barque built in Quebec, Canada, in 1825. Originally registered on 31 May in Quebec, she sailed to Great Britain and assumed British registry. She made one voyage for the British East India Company (EIC), in 1827–1828. In 1829 she transported the first civilian officials and settlers of the Swan River Colony to Western Australia. She then made two voyages transporting convicts to New South Wales, Australia. A fire damaged her irreparably in May 1839.
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The Vergulde Draeck, also spelled Vergulde Draak and Vergulde Draek, was a 41.8-metre (137 ft), 260-tonne (290-ton) ship constructed in 1653 by the Dutch East India Company.
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Captain Mark John Currie RN played a significant role in the exploration of Australia and the foundation of the Swan River Colony, later named Western Australia.
Commander Peter Belches RN (1796–1890) was an early explorer in Western Australia.
Charles Fraser or Frazer or Frazier was Colonial Botanist of New South Wales from 1821 to 1831. He collected and catalogued numerous Australian plant species, and participated in a number of exploring expeditions. He was a member of the Stirling expedition of 1827, and his report on the quality of the soil was instrumental in the decision to establish the Swan River Colony.
James Drummond was an Australian botanist and naturalist who was an early settler in Western Australia.
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Dr Alexander Collie was a Scottish surgeon and botanist who journeyed to Western Australia in 1829, where he was an explorer and Colonial Surgeon.
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Western Australia Day or simply WA Day is a public holiday in Western Australia (WA), celebrated on the first Monday in June each year to commemorate the founding of the Swan River Colony in 1829. Because of the date of Western Australia Day, WA does not have the Queen's Official Birthday public holiday in June, as do the other Australian states; it is held in September or October instead.
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