Lieutenant-Colonel Irwin came to the Swan River colony aboard HMS Sulphur, a ship he commanded that carried a detachment of the 63rd Regiment for the protection of the settlement. He was the Colony's Administrator for one year in from 1847-1848.
Irwin was in charge of the small military post and he saw himself as playing an important role. His own interest in the venture can be seen in the first allotment of the townsites in the infant city of Perth - his name appears on top of the list!
He became, by virtue of his position as officer commanding the troops, senior member and vice chairman of the Legislative Council appointed by Governor Stirling in January 1831. He also had been called upon, in the early days of the colony, to exercise the functions of chief ruler, and he also acted for a year as Administrator in 1847 to 1848, between Governors Lt-Col Andrew Clarke and Captain Charles Fitzgerald.
It is said that he did much for the well being of the settlement, being part of all the "movements that had for their object the moral and spiritual welfare of the colony".
He was apparently "stern and uncompromising in regard to all matters of morality" but "merciful and just in all his pronouncements".
Irwin was relieved from the post in 1848 by Captain Charles Fitzgerald.
Reviewed 2012 - 2013