Perth, Western Australia Explained

State:Western Australia
Pop Footnotes:(June 2007)
Density Footnotes:(2006)
Stategov:Perth (and 41 others)
Fedgov:Perth (and 10 others)

Perth is the capital and largest city of the Australian state of Western Australia. With a population of 1,554,769 (2007), Perth ranks fourth amongst the nation's cities, with a growth rate consistently above the national average.[1]

Perth was founded on 12 June 1829 by Captain James Stirling as the political centre of the free settler Swan River Colony. It has continued to serve as the seat of Government for Western Australia to the present day.

The metropolitan area is located in the south west of the continent between the Indian Ocean and a low coastal escarpment known as the Darling Range. The central business district and suburbs of Perth are situated on the Swan River. Perth is ranked 4th on The Economist's 2008 list of the World's Most Livable Cities.[2]

Perth became known worldwide as the "City of Lights" as city residents lit their houselights and streetlights as American astronaut John Glenn passed overhead while orbiting the earth on Friendship 7 in 1962.[3] The city repeated its feat as Glenn passed overhead on the Space Shuttle in 1998.[4] [5]


See main article: History of Perth, Western Australia.


Before European settlement the area had been inhabited by the Whadjuk Noongar people for over 40,000 years, as evidenced by archaeological findings on the Upper Swan River.[6] These Aborigines occupied the southwest corner of Western Australia, living as hunter-gatherers. The lakes on the coastal plain were particularly important to them, providing both spiritual and physical sustenance.

Rottnest, Carnac and Garden Islands were also important to the Noongar. About 5,000 years ago the sea levels were low enough that they could walk to the limestone outcrops.

The area where Perth now stands was called Boorloo by the Aboriginals living there at the time of their first contact with Europeans in 1827. Boorloo formed part of Mooro, the tribal lands of the Yellagonga, one of several groups based around the Swan River and known collectively as the Whadjuk. The Whadjuk were part of a larger group of thirteen or more tribes which formed the south west socio-linguistic block known as the Noongar (The People), also sometimes called the Bibbulmun.

On 19 September 2006, the Federal Court of Australia brought down a judgment recognising Noongar native title over the Perth metropolitan area, in the case of Bennell v State of Western Australia [2006] FCA 1243.[7]

Early European sightings

The first documented European sighting of the region was made by the Dutch Captain Willem de Vlamingh and his crew on 10 January 1697.[8] Subsequent sightings between this date and 1829 were made by other Europeans, but as in the case of the sighting and observations made by Vlamingh, the area was considered to be inhospitable and unsuitable for the agriculture which would be needed to sustain a settlement

The Swan River Colony

See main article: Swan River Colony. Although the British Army had established a base at King George Sound (later Albany) on the south coast of western Australia in 1826 in response to rumours that the area would be annexed by France, Perth was the first full scale settlement by Europeans in the western third of the continent. The British colony would be officially designated Western Australia in 1832, but was known informally for many years as the Swan River Colony after the area's major watercourse.

On 4 June 1829, newly arriving British colonists had their first view of the mainland and Western Australia's Foundation Day has since been recognised by a public holiday on the first Monday in June each year. Captain James Stirling, aboard the Parmelia, said that Perth was "as beautiful as anything of this kind I had ever witnessed." On 12 August that year, Mrs. Helen Dance, wife of the Captain of the second ship Sulphur, cut down a tree to mark the founding of the town.

It is clear that Stirling had already selected the name Perth for the capital well before the town was proclaimed, as his proclamation of the colony, read in Fremantle on 18 June, ended "[g]iven under my hand and Seal at Perth this 18th Day of June 1829. James Stirling Lieutenant Governor"[9] The only information on the source of the name comes from Fremantle's diary entry for 12 August, which records that they "named the Town Perth according to the wishes of Sir George Murray."[10] Murray was born in Perth, Scotland, and was in 1829 Secretary of State for the Colonies and Member for Perthshire in the British House of Commons. It is therefore often asserted that the name was given in Murray's honour.[11] [12] [13]

Beginning in 1831, hostile encounters between the British settlers and Aborigines of the local Noongar tribe – both large-scale land users with conflicting land value systems – increased considerably as the colony grew. This violent phase of the region's history culminated in a series of events in which the British overcame the indigenous people, including the execution of Whadjuk tribal chief Midgegooroo, the death of his son Yagan in 1833, and the Battle of Pinjarra in 1834.

By 1843, when the tribal chief Yellagonga died, his tribe had begun to disintegrate after having been dispossessed of the land around the main settlement area of Perth. They retreated to the swamps and lakes north of the settlement area including Third Swamp, known to them as Boodjamooling. Boodjamooling continued to be a main campsite for the remaining Noongar people in the Perth region, and was also used by travellers, itinerants, and homeless people. By the gold-rush days of the 1890s they were joined by miners who were en-route to the goldfields.[14]

In 1850, Western Australia was opened to convicts at the request of farming and business people looking for cheap labour.[15] Queen Victoria announced the city status of Perth in 1856.[16]

Federation and beyond

After a referendum in 1900,[17] Western Australia joined the Federation of Australia in 1901.[16] It was the last of the Australian colonies to agree to join the Federation, and did so only after the other colonies had offered several concessions, including the construction of a transcontinental railway line to Perth (via Kalgoorlie) from the eastern states.

In 1933, Western Australia voted in a referendum to leave the Australian Federation, with a majority of two to one in favour of secession.[17] However, an election held shortly before the referendum had turned out the incumbent "pro-independence" government, replacing it with a government which did not support the independence movement. Respecting the result of the referendum, the new government nonetheless petitioned the Agent General of the United Kingdom for independence, where the request was simply ignored.[18]

Perth's growth and relative prosperity, especially since the mid-1960s,[19] has resulted from its role as the main service centre for the state's resource industries, which produce gold, iron ore, nickel, alumina, diamonds, mineral sands, coal, oil, and natural gas.[20] Whilst most mineral and petroleum production takes place elsewhere in the state, the non-base services provide most of the employment and income to the people of Perth.[21]


Perth is one of the most isolated metropolitan areas on Earth. The nearest city to Perth with a population over 1 million is Adelaide in South Australia, which is 2104km away. Perth is geographically closer to East Timor, Singapore and Jakarta, Indonesia, than it is to Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane. The antipode of Hamilton, Bermuda is located 45 kilometres offshore from Point Peron in Perth's southern suburbs.

Central business district

The central business district of Perth is bounded by the Swan River to the south and east, with Kings Park on the western end, while the railway lines form a northern border. St Georges Terrace is the prominent street of the area with 1.3 million m² of office space in the CBD.[22] Hay Street and Murray Street have most of the retail and entertainment facilities. The tallest building in the city is Central Park, which is the sixth tallest building in Australia,[23] although it is to be surpassed by the BHP Tower in 2012.[24]

Geology and landforms

Perth is set on the Swan River, named after the native black swans in 1697 by Willem de Vlamingh, captain of a Dutch expedition and namer of WA's Rottnest Island.[25] Traditionally, this water body has been known by local inhabitants as Derbal Yerrigan.[26] The city centre and most of the suburbs are located on the sandy and relatively flat Swan Coastal Plain, which lies between the Darling Scarp and the Indian Ocean. The soils of this area are quite infertile. The metropolitan area extends to Yanchep in the north and Mandurah in the south, total distance of approximately 125 kilometres (78 mi). From the coast in the west to Mundaring in the east is a total distance of approximately 50 kilometres (30 mi) resulting the area of Perth is over 1.5 million acres (6,100 km²).

The coastal suburbs take advantage of Perth's oceanside location and clean beaches. To the east, the city is bordered by a low escarpment called the Darling Scarp. Perth is on generally flat, rolling land — largely due to the high amount of sandy soils and deep bedrock. The Perth metropolitan area has two major river systems; the first is made up of the Swan and Canning Rivers. The second is that of the Serpentine and Murray Rivers, which discharge into the Peel Estuary at Mandurah.


Perth receives moderate though highly seasonal rainfall. Summers are generally hot and dry, lasting from late December to late March, with February generally being the hottest month of the year, making Perth a classic example of a Mediterranean climate. Summer is not completely devoid of rain with sporadic rainfall in the form of short-lived thunderstorms, weak cold fronts and on very rare occasions decaying tropical cyclones from Western Australia's north-west which can bring significant falls. The hottest ever recorded temperature in Perth was 46.2 °C (115 °F) on 23 February 1991, although Perth Airport recorded 46.7 °C (116.1 °F) on the same day.

Winters are relatively cool and wet, with most of Perth's annual rainfall falling between May and September, although this has declined steadily over recent years. The coldest temperature recorded in Perth was -0.7 °C (30.7 °F) on 17 June 2006. The coldest temperature within the Perth metropolitan area was -3.4 °C (25.9 °F) on the same day at Jandakot airport.[27] Even in mid-winter, maximum daytime temperatures only rarely fall below 16 °C (60 °F). Though most rainfall occurs during winter, the wettest day ever was unusually on 9 February 1992 when 121 millimetres (4.75 in) fell. On most summer afternoons a sea breeze, also known as "The Fremantle Doctor", blows from the south-west, cooling the city by up to 15°C.

Climatic Table
Mean daily maximum temperature29.7 °C
85.5 °F
30.0 °C
86.0 °F
28.0 °C
82.4 °F
24.6 °C
76.3 °F
20.9 °C
69.6 °F
18.3 °C
64.9 °F
17.4 °C
63.3 °F
18.0 °C
64.4 °F
19.5 °C
67.1 °F
21.4 °C
70.5 °F
24.6 °C
76.3 °F
27.4 °C
81.3 °F
23.3 °C
73.9 °F
Mean daily minimum temperature17.9 °C
64.2 °F
18.1 °C
64.6 °F
16.8 °C
62.2 °F
14.3 °C
57.7 °F
11.7 °C
53.1 °F
10.1 °C
50.2 °F
9.0 °C
48.2 °F
9.2 °C
48.6 °F
10.3 °C
50.5 °F
11.7 °C
53.1 °F
14.0 °C
57.2 °F
16.3 °C
61.3 °F
13.3 °C
55.9 °F
Mean total rainfall8.6 mm
0.34 in
13.3 mm
0.52 in
19.3 mm
0.76 in
45.5 mm
1.79 in
122.7 mm
4.83 in
182.4 mm
7.18 in
172.9 mm
6.81 in
134.6 mm
5.30 in
79.9 mm
3.14 in
54.5 mm
2.15 in
21.7 mm
0.85 in
13.9 mm
0.55 in
869.4 mm
34.23 in
Mean number of rain days2.
Source: Bureau of Meteorology


Perth houses the Parliament of Western Australia and the Governor of Western Australia. Under the new one-vote, one-value laws seats in city and country areas will be roughly of equal population size, which will mean that 42 of the Legislative Assembly's 59 seats will be based in Perth at the next state election. Perth is represented by 11 seats in the Federal House of Representatives, although some seats extend outside the Metropolitan area. The metropolitan area is divided into over 30 local government bodies. The City of Perth is the local government authority responsible for the Perth Central business district, however this covers a very small section of the Perth urban area.

The state's highest court, the Supreme Court, is located in Perth,[28] along with the District[29] and Family[30] Courts. The Magistrates' Court has six metropolitan locations.[31] The Federal Court of Australia and the Federal Magistrates' Courts occupy the Commonwealth Law Courts building on Victoria Avenue, Perth,[32] which is the also the location for annual Perth sittings of Australia's High Court.[33]

The Metropolitan Region Scheme is the statutory town planning scheme for land use in the Perth metropolitan area, and has been in operation since 1963.[34]


Perth is Australia's fourth largest city, having overtaken Adelaide's population in the early 1980s. At the 2006 Census 1,445,079 persons resident in the Perth statistical area were enumerated.

Ethnic groups

align=center colspan=2Perth Metropolitan Area
Population by year (ABS)
20081,600,000 (projected)
20091,650,000 (projected)
Significant overseas born populations
Country of BirthPopulation (2006)
United Kingdom171,024
New Zealand34,661
South Africa18,828
People's Republic of China7,684
United States5,558

In 2006, the largest ancestry groups in the Perth metropolitan areas were: English (534,555 or 28.6 per cent), "Australian" (479,174 or 25.6 per cent), Irish (115,384 or 6.2 per cent), Scottish (113,846 or 6.1 per cent), Italian (84,331 or 4.5 per cent) and Chinese (53,390 or 2.9 per cent). There were 3,101 Aboriginals in the city (0.2 per cent).[26]

Perth's population is notable for the high proportion of British-born residents. At the 2006 Census 142,424 British-born Perth residents were counted, narrowly behind Sydney (145,261), despite having just 35% of the overall population of Sydney.

The ethnic make-up of Perth changed in the middle of the twentieth century, when significant numbers of European immigrants arrived in the city. Prior to this, Perth's population had been almost completely Anglo-Celtic in ethnic origin. As Fremantle was the first landfall in Australia for many migrant ships coming from Europe in the 1950s and 1960s, Perth started to experience a diverse influx of people, which included Italians, Greeks, Dutch, Germans, Croats, Bosnians, Serbs, Poles, Czechs, Russians, Ukrainians, and Macedonians and many others. The Italian influence in the Perth and Fremantle area has been substantial, evident in places like the "Cappuccino strip" in Fremantle featuring many Italian eateries and shops. In Fremantle the traditional Italian blessing of the fleet festival is held every year at the start of the fishing season. In Northbridge every December is the San Nicola (Saint Nicholas) Festival, which involves a pageant followed by a concert, predominantly in Italian. Suburbs surrounding the Fremantle area such as Spearwood and Hamilton Hill also contain high concentrations of Italians, Croatians and Portuguese. Perth also has a vibrant Jewish community — numbering 20,106 in 2006 — who emigrated primarily from eastern Europe and more recently from South Africa.

Another more recent wave of arrivals include European minorities from Southern Africa. The South Africa-born overtook those born in Italy to become the fourth largest birthplace group after 2001. By 2006, there were 18,825 South Africa-born in Perth, accounting for 1.3 per cent of the city's people. Many Afrikaners and Anglo-Africans from South Africa and Zimbabwe emigrated to Perth during the 1980s and 1990s, to the extent that the city has been described as "the Australian capital of South Africans in exile".[35] The phrase "Packing for Perth" has become associated with South Africans who choose to emigrate abroad, sometimes regardless of the destination.

In the last three decades, South East Asia has become an increasingly important source of migrants, with communities from Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Mainland China, and India all now well-established. There were 53,390 persons of Chinese descent in Perth in 2006 — 2.9 per cent of the city's population.

The Indian community includes a substantial number of Parsees who emigrated from Bombay — Perth being the closest Australian city to India — and the India-born population of the city at the time of the 2006 census was 14,094 or 0.8 per cent. Perth is also home to the largest population of Anglo-Burmese in the world; many settled here following the Independence of Burma in 1948 and the city is now the cultural hub for Anglo-Burmese worldwide. There is also a substantial Anglo-Indian population in Perth, who also settled in the city following the Independence of India.


See also: Economy of Western AustraliaBy virtue of its population and role as the administrative centre for business and government, Perth dominates the Western Australian economy, despite the major mining, petroleum and agricultural export industries located elsewhere in the state.[36] Perth’s function as the State’s capital city, its economic base and population size have also created development opportunities for many other businesses oriented to local or more diversified markets. Perth’s economy has been changing in favour of the service industries since the 1950's. Although one of the major sets of services it provides are related to the resources industry and, to a lesser extent, agriculture, most people in Perth are not connected to either; they have jobs that provide services to other people in Perth.[37]

As a result of Perth's relative geographical isolation, it has never had the necessary conditions to develop significant manufacturing industries other than those serving the immediate needs of its residents, mining and agriculture and some specialised areas, such as, in recent times, niche ship building and maintenance. It was simply cheaper to import all the needed manufactured goods from either the eastern states or overseas.

Industrial employment influenced the economic geography of Perth. After WWII, Perth experienced suburban expansion aided by high levels of car ownership. Workforce decentralisation and transport improvements made it possible for the establishment of small-scale manufacturing in the suburbs. Many firms took advantage of relatively cheap land to build spacious, single-storey plants in suburban locations where parking, access and traffic congestion were minimal. "The former close ties of manufacturing with near-central and/or rail-side locations were loosened."[36]

Industrial estates such as Kwinana, Welshpool and Kewdale were post-war additions contributing to the growth of manufacturing south of the river. The establishment of the Kwinana industrial area was supported by standardisation of the east-west rail gauge linking Perth with eastern Australia. Since the 1950s, heavy industry has dominated the location including an oil refinery, steel-rolling mill with a blast furnace, alumina refinery, power station and a nickel refinery. Another development, also linked with rail standardisation, was in 1968 when the Kewdale Freight Terminal was developed adjacent to the Welshpool industrial area, replacing the former Perth railway yards.[36]

With significant population growth post-WWII [38], employment growth occurred not in manufacturing but in retail and wholesale trade, business services, health, education, community and personal services and in public administration. Increasingly it was these services sectors, concentrated around the Perth metropolitan area, that provided jobs.[36]


See also: Education in Western Australia for information on education in Western Australia

Perth is home to four public universities: the University of Western Australia, Murdoch University, Curtin University of Technology, Edith Cowan University. There is also one private university, the University of Notre Dame.

The University of Western Australia, which was founded in 1911,[39] is renowned as one of Australia's leading research institutions. The university's monumental neo-classical architecture, most of which is carved from white limestone, is a notable tourist destination in the city. It is the only university in the state to be a member of the Group of Eight, as well as the Sandstone universities.

Curtin University of Technology is Western Australia's largest university by student population, and was known from its founding in 1966 until 1986 as the Western Australian Institute of Technology (WAIT) and had amalgamated with Western Australian School of Mines and the Muresk Institute. It has a rapidly growing research reputation and is the only Western Australian university to produce PhD recipients of the AINSE gold medal, the highest possible recognition for PhD level science and engineering research excellence in Australia and New Zealand.[40]

Murdoch University was established in the 1970s, and is Australia's largest campus in geographical area (2.27 square kilometres), necessary to accommodate Western Australia's only veterinary school.

Edith Cowan University was established in the early 1990s from the existing Western Australian College of Advanced Education (WACAE) which itself was formed in the 1970s from the existing Teachers Colleges at Claremont, Churchlands, and Mount Lawley. It incorporates the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA).

The University of Notre Dame Australia was established in 1990. Notre Dame was established as a Catholic university with its lead campus in Fremantle and a large campus in Sydney. It is the only Western Australian University with a campus in another major Australian city. Its campus in Fremantle is set in the west end of Fremantle within historic port buildings built in the 1890s giving Notre Dame a distinct European University atmosphere. Though Notre Dame shares its name with the University of Notre Dame in Indiana USA, it is a separate school, claiming only "strong ties" with its American namesake. It is also the fastest growing University in Australia.

Colleges of TAFE provide trade and vocational training, including Diploma level courses. TAFE was formed in the 1970s to provide technical courses previously offered by WACAE.


Like the other mainland Australian state capital cities, Perth is served by five free to air stations: ABC, Seven, Nine, Ten and SBS (like all other states of Australia). A community station, Access 31, closed in August 2008. Foxtel provides a subscription-based satellite and cable television service. Perth has its own local newsreaders on ABC, Seven, Nine and Ten. Seven's weekly presenters are Rick Ardon and Susannah Carr; presenters for Nine are Dixie Marshall and Greg Pearce, and the presenter for Ten is Narelda Jacobs. The ABC news anchor is Karina Carvalho.

Television shows produced in Perth include local editions of current affairs programs, Today Tonight and the Stateline, and other types of programming such as The Force (documentary), Can We Help (viewer request), and The Western Front (sport).An annual telethon has been broadcast since 1968, to raise funds for charities including Princess Margaret Hospital for Children. The 24 hour Perth Telethon claims to be "the most successful fundraising event per capita in the world"[41] and raised more than A$7.5 million in 2008.

The main newspapers for Perth are The West Australian and The Sunday Times. The local Community paper has different issues for each local government area. There are also many advertising newspapers, such as The Quokka.

Radio stations on both AM and FM frequencies. ABC stations include News Radio (585AM), 720 ABC Perth, Radio National (810AM), Classic FM (97.7FM) and Triple J (99.3FM). The 6 commercial stations are: FM- 92.9, Nova 93.7, Mix 94.5, 96fm, and AM- 882 6PR and 1080 6IX. Major community radio stations include RTRFM (92.1FM), Sonshine FM (98.5FM) and Curtin FM (100.1FM).


Perth Cultural Centre is both an area of central Perth and the collective name for the main buildings of the Art Gallery of Western Australia, Western Australian Museum, Alexander Library, State Records Office and Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (PICA).

The Perth International Arts Festival is a cultural festival which has been held annually since 1953.


The Western Australian Museum holds an extensive display of Aboriginal artefacts as well as numerous zoological and social exhibits.

The new (2002) Western Australian Maritime Museum in Fremantle displays maritime objects from all eras and includes a former Royal Australian Navy submarine. It also houses Australia II, the yacht that won the Americas Cup in 1983.

Art galleries

The Art Gallery of Western Australia houses the State Art Collection. It curates and hosts numerous impressive visiting exhibitions, like the 2006 Norman Lindsay exhibition. Additional exhibits occur at PICA and many other smaller venues on a regular basis across Perth.


See main article: Sport in Western Australia. The most popular sports are Australian football, cricket and netball.The climate of Perth allows for extensive outdoor sport activity, and this is reflected in the wide variety of sports available to citizens of the city. Perth was host to the 1962 Commonwealth Games and the 1987 America's Cup defence (based at Fremantle). Australian football is the most popular spectator sport in Perth — some 1,030,000 people attended WAFL or AFL matches in 2005.

Perth is home to several professional sporting teams participating in various national competitions:

Perth has hosted numerous state and international sporting events. On going international events include the Hopman Cup during the first week of January at the Burswood Dome and the final leg of the Red Bull Air Race held on a stretch of the Swan River called Perth Water, using Langley Park as a temporary air field. In addition to these Perth has hosted international Rugby Union games, including qualifying matches for 2003 Rugby World Cup. The 1991 and 1998 FINA World Championships were held in Perth.[42] Several motorsport facilities exist in Perth including Perth Motorplex, catering to drag racing and speedway, and Barbagallo Raceway for circuit racing and drifting.

Music and performing arts

See main article: Music of Perth.

See also: List of musical acts from Western Australia.

Perth Concert Hall is the city's main concert venue and hosts theatre, ballet, opera and orchestral performances. Other theatres include an auditorium within the Perth Convention Exhibition Centre (completed in 2005), the historic His Majesty's Theatre and Burswood Dome, which hosts music concerts. Outdoor concerts are held in Kings Park, Subiaco Oval and Members Equity Stadium and the Convention Centre on the foreshore replaces the Burswood Dome until a more satisfactory building is established.

Because of Perth's relative isolation from other Australian cities overseas artists often exclude it from their Australian tour schedules. This isolation, however, has developed a strong local music scene, leading some to dub Perth the "new Seattle".[43]

The late AC/DC lead singer Bon Scott was from the Fremantle area.

Veteran performer and artist Rolf Harris was born in Perth and is known as "The Boy From Bassendean".

Perth has been a hotbed of local rock music producing such nationally and internationally respected acts as Pendulum, John Butler Trio, Eskimo Joe, End of Fashion, Little Birdy, Jebediah, The Sleepy Jackson, The Panics, The Bank Holidays, Snowman and Birds of Tokyo. Whilst the Hip-Hop and R&B scene has seen rise to artists such as Che'Nelle and Samantha Jade whom has an international recording contract with America's Virgin Records. The local music culture revolves around a series of venues such as The Amplifier Bar and The Rosemount Hotel. The WAMI awards (West Australian Music Industry Awards), have been acknowledging local music since 1985..

The more popular rock concerts held in Perth are the Big Day Out (nationwide) and V Festival (Australia). The city is also referenced in the Pavement song "I Love Perth".

Perth has a very changeable and, at times, energetic Folk music culture. Bands such as The Settlers regularly played at Clancy's Fish Pub in Fremantle and the earlier line ups of the Mucky Duck Bush Band that now has regular bush dances in Whiteman Park. A favourite spot was the Hayloft in West Perth — home of WA Folk music in the 1970s and later moving to the Peninsula Hotel in Maylands. Perth is also home to a vibrant alternative sexuality music scene, focused especially around such nightclubs as "The Court" and "Connections". It also has a large growing electro indie scene through such nightclubs as "Cassette", the "Brass Monkey" and "Universal Bar". Perth is also known for its thriving Drum & Bass scene and is known as the capital city for Drum & Bass Music in Australia. Perth has produced several big name Drum & Bass producers such as Greg Packer and Pendulum who regularly tour overseas.

Models Gemma Ward and Megan Gale, comedians Tim Minchin and Rove McManus, and actors Heath Ledger, Melissa George and Isla Fisher, all grew up in Perth.

Perth also boasts the internationally regarded Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts of Edith Cowan University, from which many successful actors and broadcasters have launched their careers, notably actor Hugh Jackman.

Perth is home to the West Australian Symphony Orchestra which performs a regular programme of orchestral music, usually from its base at the Perth Concert Hall. The Perth International Arts Festival also includes music in its schedule. Opera is provided by West Australian Opera.

WA Youth Music allows young musicians in Perth to gain performance opportunities by playing in a musical ensemble. The Western Australian Youth Orchestra is WA Youth Music's premier and flagship ensemble, however the organisation offers several other ensembles including the WA Youth Symphonic Band and the WA Youth Chorale. Acceptance is granted to amateur players under the age of 25 years. Auditions are held in November of each year.


Perth is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Perth. Roman Catholics make up about 23% of the population, and Catholicism is the most common single denomination. Other forms of Christianity, predominantly Anglican, make up approximately 28% of the population. Approximately one in five people from Perth profess to having no religion, with 11% of people are not specific as to their beliefs. Buddhism and Islam each claim more than 20,000 adherents, and Perth is also home to less than 5,000 Latter-Day Saints and the Perth Australia Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Perth has one of the larger Jewish populations in Australia, numbering approximately 10,000, with both Orthodox and Progressive Synagogues and a Jewish Day School. The Bahá’í community in Perth numbers around 1500.



See main article: Transport in Perth.

See also: Transperth.

Perth is served by Perth Airport in the city's east for regional, domestic and international flights and Jandakot Airport in the city's southern suburbs for general aviation and charter flights.

Perth has a road network with three freeways and nine metropolitan highways.

The Northbridge tunnel, part of the Graham Farmer Freeway, is the only significant road tunnel in Perth.

Perth metropolitan public transport, including trains, buses and ferries, are provided by Transperth, with links to rural areas provided by Transwa. There are 59 railway stations and 15 bus stations in the metropolitan area. The rail system has recently undergone significant redevelopment, with a new railway line built between Perth and Mandurah which doubled the length of Perth's railways. The railway was opened on 23 December 2007, a year after the original deadline.

Recent initiatives include progressive replacement of the bus fleet and the SmartRider contactless smartcard ticketing system.Perth provides zero-fare bus and train trips around the city centre (the "Free Transit Zone"), including three high-frequency CAT bus routes. Additionally, the rail network has been expanded in the northern and southern suburbs as part of the New MetroRail project.

The Indian Pacific passenger rail service connects Perth with Adelaide and Sydney via Kalgoorlie. The Transwa Prospector passenger rail service connects Perth with Kalgoorlie via several Wheatbelt towns, while the Transwa Australind connects to Bunbury, and the Transwa Avonlink connects to Northam.

Rail freight terminates at the Kewdale Rail Terminal, 15 kilometres south-east of the city centre.

Perth's main container and passenger port is at Fremantle, 19 kilometres south west at the mouth of the Swan River.[44] A second port complex is being developed in Cockburn Sound primarily for the export of bulk commodities.

Water supply

Reduced rainfall in the region in recent years has lowered inflow to reservoirs by two-thirds over the last 30 years, and affected groundwater levels. Coupled with the city's relatively high growth rate, this had led to concerns that Perth could run out of water in the near future.[45] The Western Australian State Government has responded by introducing mandatory household sprinkler restrictions in the city. In November 2006, a sea water desalination plant was opened in Kwinana (see Kwinana Desalination Plant), able to supply over 45 gigalitres (10 billion imperial or 12 billion U.S. gallons) of potable water per year;[46] [47] its power requirements were met by the construction of the Emu Downs Wind Farm near Cervantes.[48] Consideration was given to piping water from the Kimberley region, but the idea was rejected in May 2006 due primarily to its high cost.[49] Other proposals under consideration included the controversial extraction of an extra 45 gigalitres of water a year from the Yarragadee aquifer in the south-west of the state. However, in May 2007, the state government announced that a second desalination plant will be built at Binningup, on the coast between Mandurah and Bunbury.

External links

Notes and References

  1. Web site: Regional Population Growth, Australia, 2006-07. Australian Bureau of Statistics. 31 March 2008. 2008-10-05.
  2. "Urban idylls",
  3. (1970) Perth — a city of light Perth, W.A. Brian Williams Productions for the Government of WA, 1970 (Videorecording) The social and recreational life of Perth. Begins with a 'mock-up' of the lights of Perth as seen by astronaut John Glenn in February 1962
  4. Web site: Moment in Time — Episode 1. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 15 February 2008. 2008-07-14.
  5. News: Grandfather Glenn's blast from the past. The Daily Telegraph (UK). 5 November 1998. 2008-07-14.
  6. Web site: The Pleistocene Pacific. Sandra Bowdler. Published in ‘Human settlement’, in D. Denoon (ed) The Cambridge History of the Pacific Islanders. pp.41-50. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. University of Western Australia. 2008-02-26.
  7. Web site: Bennell v State of Western Australia [2006] FCA 1243]. 2007-04-14. Federal Court of Australia Decisions. Australasia Legal Information Institute.
  8. Web site: Early Voyages to Terra Australis, now called Australia. 2008-02-26. Major. Richard Henry. 1859. Project Gutenberg of Australia.
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  13. Book: Statham, Pamela. 1981. Swan River Colony. Stannage, Tom. A New History of Western Australia. Nedlands. University of Western Australia Press. 0-85564-181-9.
  14. Web site: Town of Vincent — History. Adapted from 'History of the Town of Vincent', from Town of Vincent 2001 Annual Report, p.52 (possibly based on J. Gentili and others). Town of Vincent. 2008-02-26.
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  18. Web site: Deputy Premier 2nd Collier Government 1933-1935. 2008-02-26. 2005-05-11. John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library.
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  20. Web site: Australia's identified mineral resources, 2002. 2008-02-26. 2002-10-31. PDF. Geoscience Australia.
  21. Web site: Discussion Paper: Greater Perth Economy And Employment. PDF. Department for Planning and Infrastructure. 25 August 2003. 2008-10-05.
  22. Web site: Perth, commercial area information. 2008-02-26.
  23. Web site: World's tallest skyscrapers by country. 2008-02-26.
  24. Web site: BHP Square, Perth. 2008-02-26.
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  26. Web site: Indigenous Affairs. pdf. Department of Indigenous Affairs. 2006-05-11.
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  29. Web site: About the District Court. District Court of WA. 16 October 2008. 2008-10-16.
  30. Web site: About the Family Court. Family Court of WA. 16 October 2008. 2008-10-16.
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  38. Web site: Australian Historical Population Statistics 2008. Australian Bureau of Statistics. 5 August 2008. 2009-01-01.
  39. Web site: Visitors — History of the University. 2007-04-14. University of Western Australia. The University of Western Australia has helped to shape the careers of more than 75,000 graduates since it was established in 1911..
  40. Gold Medals
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  42. News: David. Marsh. 'New Era' For Swimming. The West Australian. West Australian Newspapers Ltd. 139. 1997-05-28. 2007-04-14.
  43. Web site: Creative WA. 2007-09-12. Tourism Western Australia.
  44. Web site: Port Information. 2007-04-14. Fremantle Ports.
  45. News: Eloise. Dortch. Plan for a second desalination plant. The West Australian. West Australian Newspapers Ltd. 1. 2005-05-07. 2007-04-14. A document dated 12 January obtained by The West Australian under Freedom of Information laws shows that the Water Corporation fears Perth will begin running out of water by late 2008 without one of the two developments..
  46. Web site: Premier opens Australia's first major desalination plant. 2007-04-14. 2006-11-19. Water Corporation. When fully operational it will produce on average 130 million litres per day and supply 17 per cent of Perth's needs..
  47. News: Kwinana desalination plant open in months. ABC News Online. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 2006-09-26. 2007-04-14.
  48. Web site: Water Technology — Perth Seawater Desalination Plant, Seawater Reverse Osmosis (SWRO), Kwinana. 2008-02-27. 2007-11-15. Water Corporation.
  49. Web site: Kimberley Water Source Project. 2008-02-27. 2006-04-28. Department of Water. PDF.