175th Aniversery of the Foundation of the Colony of WA

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 Shark Bay , 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.

THE ROUNDHOUSE FREMANTLE

The Round House is the oldest remaining building in Western Australia. It was built as a gaol and was the first permanent building in the colony.

It was designed by HW Reveley, the colony's first civil engineer, and built in 1830 - 1831. The Round House had eight cells and a gaolers residence which all opened up into a central courtyard.

THE OLD RIFLE RANGE, KING'S PARK

September saw the regiment providing an honour guard to commerate the old Pensioner Guard/Volunteer Rifle Range in King's Park. This range was intially established behind the then Pensioner Barracks to allow the Pensioners to perform rifle practice but was also used by all Volunteer units. The range ran from behind the barracks to where the State War Memorial is to day. Fraiser Ave, the public access to King's Park virtually lies atop of the old range. The above picture of the regiment in front of the Queen Victoria Memorial places the regiment on the old range.

OLD FREMANTLE PRISON

The Old Fremantle Prison was built in the 1850's to house the states convicts  both those transported from England and those convicted locally. The prison was finally closed in 1991 ending almost 150 years as a place of incarceration in WA. Their is an excellent web site which describes the history of this heritage structure at www.fremantleprison.com.au

The Regiment participated at the Foundation Day commeration of WA's convict heritage. This is held annually at the prison. Decendents of WA's convict population recieve certifcates honouring their ancestors contibution to WA's history.