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Perth is situated on the coast of Western Australia, surrounding the Swan River. The river so named in 1697 when Willem de Vlamingh, a Dutch navigator saw the unique black swans adorning itís banks.

Perth was not settled by the British Crown until 1829. The Swan River colony was established later in that same year. Unlike the rest of Australia, Perth was populated by free settlers. Due largely to itís remote location, convicts were shipped here in 1850 to help alleviate itís labour shortage. As a result industry in Perth boomed. Some of the buildings built by convict labour can still be seen standing in Perth today, such as the Government House, Perth Town Hall, Trinity Church and the Old Courthouse.

By January 1871, the City of Perth (named after itís Scottish namesake) was incorporated and several other municipal councils boards were established.

The gold rushes of Kalgoolie and Coolgardie in the mid 1890's caused a population explosion in Perth. With an abundance of wealth, construction in the city soared as well. Later in the 1960ís, with the discovery of an abundance of iron ore and nickel, the city had another resurgence of growth and construction, with the cities first office towers starting to show their silhouettes in the cityís skyline.

Perthís climate offers more days of sunshine and blue skies in the year than any other major city in Australia. It boasts over 80 kilometers of white, soft, sandy beaches and warm waters to enjoy. There are the usual shops to visit, restaurants and bars in abundance, world-class golf courses; or take a day trip along the coast to visit the many vineyards, or to chance finding wild dolphins along the many coves and bays to swim with. Catch a ferry out to Rottenest Island for a day trip, or weekend for a quick break from city life Ė you can hire self-contained cabins to stay in there. Dine in the Islandsí few restaurants and bars after a day in the sun. Rottenest is a very popular destination for the locals over Christmas and New Yearsí celebrations however, so book early to avoid disappointment - although due to its popularity, and raffle style booking system, donít be too surprised to still miss out.

Perth is home to one of the finest Aboriginal Art collections in Australia. There are museums to see, gardens to visit and many city walks to explore. For the outdoor enthusiasts, the Swan River and the coastal waters offer an abundance of opportunities for sailing, fishing, windsurfing, swimming and many other water sports. After a day of activity, take a walk down to the Barrack Street jetty, for a great meal of fresh seafood.

The Facts:

Western Australia Area 2,525,500 square kilometers

Western Australia Population (1995) 1.7 million

City of Perth Area 8.75 square kilometers

Total Area of Parkland and Reserves 95 hectares

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Useful links:
Lonely Planet online (Perth) For a more indepth look
WA News Latest news in Western Australia
Grass is Greener Homepage