Captain James Stirling founded Perth as part of the Swan River Colony in 1829. The British Government agreed to found the colony as the first free settlement in Australia and the first settlers arrived in Western Australia in June 1829. John Septimus Roe, naval officer, surveyor and explorer laid out the city of perth
Although the territory was claimed on behalf of Britain, explorers from nations including Holland and France had been visiting the Western Australian coastline since the early 1600s. Willem de Vlamingh ventured up the Swan River in 1697. He believed they were the first Europeans to do so and named the river "Swan River" as he saw numerous black swans swimming around. Willem de Vlamingh called the land he discovered New Holland.
Western Australia had been populated by indigenous people for approximately 50.000 years. Relations between the new British settlers and the Noongar people were at first amicable but the settlers adopted traditional hunting grounds as farmland and blocked access routes, tensions arose between the parties. Many Noongar people were sent away from their land and faced great hardship. For the settlers there were also problems: illnesses and isolation and they struggled to farm the difficult land.
Transport of convicts to the Swan River began in 1850 to help solve the problem of labour shortage that was restricting the growth of the colonyThe convict period, which lasted to 1868, saw approximately 10.000 male convicts arrive in WA. As a result some of Perth's most significant buildings, including the government House, were constructed during this period. In 1856 Queen Victoria proclaimed Perth a City.
In 1890 Perth underwent great structural changes due to the influx of population following the discovery of gold. The prosperity brought about the construction of many fine buildings. Today, nickel, iron and gas resources are fuelling a new expansion drawing skilled migrants from around the world.
Many buildings have dissapeared in the 20th redevelopment but those that remain are a reminder of different times. The old Court house built in 1836 is the oldest still standing.