The first recorded sighting by Europeans of Western Australia was in October 1616, when the Dutch navigator Dirk Hartog landed at Shark Bay, near Carnarvon. Von Edels discovered land a little further south in 1618, while, in 1619, Frederick Houtman sighted small rocky islands off the coast near Geraldton and named them Abrolhos, meaning 'lookout'.
British authorities settled at the Swan River in 1828 and on May 2 1829, HMS Challenger commander Captain Charles Fremantle raised the British flag at the head of the Swan River and proudly took possession of the territory. Captain James Stirling arrived during the following month on his ship "Parmelia" and with settlers in tow, founded Perth at a site near the present town hall on August 12, 1829.
The Swan River colony experienced initial difficulties including a shortage of labour, financial problems and poor communication. To cope with such problems, the British Government sent convicts to Western Australia from 1850 to 1868 to assist with development.
Offset by the vast tranquil waters of the Swan River, the beautiful city of Perth is a tourist's delight. Modern and vibrant, it contrasts with its historic counterpart - the port city of Fremantle accessible within 20 minutes by car from Perth.
Tourists commonly refer to Perth as the "friendly city", and famous notables have also renamed the city after their personal experiences. Astronaut John Glenn called Perth the "City of Lights" after his historic fly-over in 1962 and victorious America's Cup skipper Dennis Connor referred to it as the "most isolated city in the world".
Most paint Perth as bright, fun, friendly and "laid back" (relaxing) but visitors to the city can be sure to find their own descriptions after their holiday.Whet your appetite with a day on the Swan River, a picnic to the Darling Ranges, a visit to a vineyard or a stroll around Perth or Fremantle. From outdoors to indoors, a fabulous range of city and suburban shops will satisfy even the most particular tourist. Everything from traditional Australian gifts and garments, opals, Kalgoorlie gold and precious diamonds to succulent local seafood, tender red meat and fresh fruit and vegetables.