Proclamation of Western Australia

June 18, 2018

On 18 June 1829, the Swan River Colony (now Perth) was proclaimed and established by Lieutenant-Governor, Captain James Stirling. Whilst it was renamed the Colony of Western Australia in 1832, its original name stuck for many subsequent years.

Stirling and his party of colonists first sighted land on 1 June 1829. After sailing up the Swan River and stopping off at Garden Island for a couple of weeks, they landed on the mainland at Rous Head on 18 June and established the new western colony. His Majesty had authorised Stirling to proclaim the colony, draft laws and decide day-to-day affairs.

Today’s city of Perth was officially founded two months later on 12 August 1829 – to coincide with then King George IV’s birthday – on a small hill overlooking the Swan River (now the Perth Town Hall). The occasion is today commemorated by a plaque set in the footpath nearby (on Barrack Street). Captain Fremantle’s assistance to Stirling and the early Swan River colonists was honoured upon Fremantle’s 25 August 1829 departure by Stirling naming the port settlement at the mouth of the Swan River, “Fremantle”.

WA’s population growth was slow until its 1880s gold rush, after which its population rose steadily, accelerating after WWII and during the recent mining boom.

To mark the arrival of Stirling and his colonists, WA celebrated “Foundation Day” on the first Monday of June up until 2011. Since 2012, it has been called Western Australia Day. [WA also commemorates Proclamation Day on 21 October 1890, the day that the Colony secured its own constitution, elected parliament and self-government.]

Celebrate the Proclamation of (the Swan River Colony) Western Australia by:

  • getting into the spirit of WA by donning the colours gold and black
  • [if you are in or near Perth] visiting sites commemorating WA’s colonial history such as the Barrack Street plaque, the Proclamation Tree in Fremantle (commemorating self-governance from 1890) or the statues with plaques of First Governor, Captain James Stirling (in Hay St, Perth) or that of Captain Charles in Fremantle (North Fremantle)
  • [if you live outside of WA] planning a visit to the Sandgroper State to enjoy its hospitality, natural wonders, vastness and history
  • going to a nearby waterway in the hope of observing a “black swan event” as did the early Dutch explorers of the WA coast (late 1600s)
  • listening to a song on WA, life there or one of its towns, or to the music from some of its emerging musical artists 
  • tuning in to watch a WA sporting team in action and/or
  • sharing this Action Plan post on social media with family, friends, Western Australians and those proud of our Australian history.

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