The Very Brief History of the Foundation of the Swan River Colony
In the early 1800s the British became concerned about the possibility of a French colony being established on the coast of Western Australia and thus, in 1826, the New South
Wales governor, Ralph Darling, established a settlement at King George Sound (Albany) . A penal settlement in the area was considered but rejected. Instead, a small detachment headed by Edmund Lockyer with 18 soldiers,
one captain, one doctor, one storekeeper and 23 convicts was sent to discourage any French colonial ambitions.
Capt James Stirling explored the Swan River area in HMS Success
in 1827. On arriving back in England in July 1828, he promoted in glowing terms the agricultural potential of the area. His lobbying was for the establishment of a "free" (unlike the now well established penal settlements at New South Wales, Port Arthur and Norfolk Is) colony in the Swan River area with himself as its governor. As a result of these reports, and a rumour in London that the French were about to establish a penal colony in the western part of Australia, possibly at
, the Colonial Office assented to the proposal
In 1828 Capt Stirling departed England with a fleet of ships containing settlers, soldiers (the 63rd of Foot) and supplies to found the new colony. The fleet
arrived in WA waters over a period weeks in 1829. An unfortunate series of accidents with ships running aground almost caused the new colony to fail at the first hurdle. Finally in on the King's birthday in 1929 the
western portion of the Australian continent was formally annexed and the Swan River Colony established with Capt James Stirling as its first governer.
After the formal declaration of the colony control of
King George Sound was transferred from New South Wales to WA and continued under a Government Resident. Capt Stirling decreed that the settlement would be named "Albany" from 1832.
2004 finds us
in the175th year since the first settlers arrived in WA. The celebrations have involved the commeration of many significant events in WA's history. The PVRAR1860 has been invited to participate in a number
of these events. Below is a series of pictures of some of the events in which we participated.