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Outpost of Empire

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Captain James StirlingIn 1829, Western Australia became a colony of the British Empire. The Aboriginal people who inhabited the land were made subjects of the Crown. Colonists introduced their own system of law and Government, based on those in Britain. Governors ruled the colony and determined its destiny.

Captain James Stirling was the driving force behind colonisation of the west coast of Australia.

His enthusiasm and energy persuaded the British Government to support foundation of a settlement at the Swan River in 1829. Stirling became the colony's first Governor and governed for nearly ten years.


Progress was slow in the 1830's and the colony struggled to develop a sound economy.

Despite the hardship, leading colonists tried to transplant English society to Western Australia. They wanted to maintain social distinctions that reflected the social order of England.

Government House was the centre of the colony's social life, as well as it's political headquarters.

Prominent colonists valued invitations to it. They sought to consolidate their property gains and assert their social importance by developing contracts with the Governor and trying to win his favour.


Acknowledgement of Country

The Government of Western Australia acknowledges the traditional custodians throughout Western Australia and their continuing connection to the land, waters and community. We pay our respects to all members of the Aboriginal communities and their cultures; and to Elders both past and present.