Perth, the capital city of Western Australia, was officially founded on the 12th of August 1829 by Lieutenant Governor James Stirling on King George IV’s 67th birthday and was later proclaimed a city in 1856.
Captain James Stirling, a British naval officer, in command of the frigate HMS Success, originally set out to explore the Swan River area as an alternative site for a British settlement, as the settlement on Melville Island, in the Northern Territory, was failing. He arrived in March 1827 and with a small party explored the Swan River as far as it could go (Upper Swan) before it became too shallow. He reported back to Governor Darling declaring the area to have excellent soil, a plentiful water supply, a pleasant climate and being in a strategic position.
However, in London they decided not to proceed with the new settlement, despite Stirling’s concerns that the area may be settled by the French if the British didn’t act promptly. On Stirling’s return to London in 1828, he continued to push the Government for the establishment of a colony and eventually convinced them to proceed. In 1829 Captain Charles Fremantle sailed to Arthur’s Head near the mouth of the Swan River and took possession of the western part of the continent (New Holland) on behalf of the Crown. He was later joined by Stirling who arrived on the 2nd of June with 150 civilian settlers from England, on the ship Parmelia, to begin the Swan River Settlement. The following week the H.M.S. Sulphur arrived with a detachment of soldiers and they all set up temporary camps on Garden Island .
On the 18th June, 1829, the area was officially proclaimed a colony and with that, Captain Stirling, became Lieutenant Governor James Stirling .
Originally Perth was to be established at Cockburn Sound or alternatively Point Heathcote, however, Lieutenant Governor Stirling, disobeyed the advise. He believed the town site would better suited near “building materials, streams of water and facility of communications” and decided on a location 16km up river. Stirling did obey one request however, that of Sir George Murray (Secretary of State for the Colonies). Sir Murray requested the town to be named Perth, after his hometown in Scotland, which he represented in the House of Commons. The day was marked with Mrs Helen Dance, the wife of H.M.S. Sulphur’s captain, cutting down a tree (near the present day Town Hall on Barrack Street).