Swan River Colony

The ‘Swan River Colony’ was the name given to the original British settlement in Western Australia. On 2 May 1829 Captain Charles Fremantle claimed the colony for Britain. Fremantle had anchored off Garden Island near the mouth of the Swan River, which is downstream from the modern city of Perth. The colony was officially named ‘Western Australia’ in 1832. The first European to explore the river was Dutchman, Willem de Vlamingh, in 1697. It was Vlamingh who named it ‘Swan River’ after its black swans: to European eyes black was an unusual colour for swans and worthy of note. In 1801, French explorer, Ensign Francois-Antoine Boniface Heirrisson, sailed up the Swan River. Continued French interest in the western part of the continent prompted New South Wales’ Governor Darling to take action. In 1827 Captain James Stirling explored the Swan River for Britain and reported favourably on the supply of fresh water and the fertility of the surrounding soil. He returned as Governor of the Swan River Colony in 1829


Click the link below to view a map that shows land grants in the Swan River Colony, Perth and the route of the Swan River to Fremantle where it enters the Indian Ocean.


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