Australia's Western Third: A History of Western Australia from the First Settlements to Modern Times

Australia's Western Third: A History of Western Australia from the First Settlements to Modern Times

Australia's Western Third: A History of Western Australia from the First Settlements to Modern Times

Australia's Western Third: A History of Western Australia from the First Settlements to Modern Times

Excerpt

THE COLONY of Western Australia was founded by British immigrants from the United Kingdom at a time when there were only two other colonies in the whole of Australasia. New South Wales had been occupied in 1788 as a settlement to which convicts and their guards might be sent in order to ease the pressure on the accommodation in the gaols of the home country. The island colony of Van Diemen's Land, later Tasmania, helped after 1804 to supply food for the settlement on the mainland and provide work for some of its convicts. Thus when Perth was founded on the banks of the Swan River in August 1829, there was no Adelaide, no Melbourne and no Brisbane. Apart from the two convict headquarters of Sydney and Hobart, there was no other large town in Australia, and none at all in New Guinea or New Zealand. In 1829 Australia's population amounted to 62,000 white people, of whom twothirds lived in New South Wales and one-third in Van Diemen's Land; nearly half the population were convicts serving their sentences. Very little was known about the interior of Australia, or about the aboriginal population. Most of the white settlers and their servants lived in and around the two convict ports, or grazed sheep on some of the inland plains of New South Wales to the west of Sydney.

Although most of the Australian coastline had been visited or mapped at one time or another by European sailors and merchants, there were no colonists at all on the northern, western or southern shores. The Dutch, French and English navigators of the previous three hundred years had agreed that these coastal lands appeared to be unsuitable for agriculture and the inhabitants unwilling or unable to engage in trade. Many seamen had driven their ships on to the western coast, or had been wrecked on one of the reefs or islands off-shore when under- estimating their distance from the Cape of Good Hope before . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.