Perth is the capital and biggest city of Western Australia, an Australian state. Greater Perth is Australia’s fourth-most populated metropolis, with an estimated population of 2.02 million (as of 30 June 2014). Perth is situated in Western Australia’s South West Land Division, with the bulk of its metropolitan area lying on the Swan Coastal Plain, a small strip between the Indian Ocean and the Darling Scarp, a low coastal escarpment. The Swan River was the first region to be populated, with the city’s major business sector and port (Fremantle) being lying on its banks. The Perth Metropolitan Region is made up of 30 local government areas, which are made up of a huge number of suburbs that stretch from Two Rocks in the north to Rockingham in the south, and east inland to The Lakes.
Perth was created in 1829 as the administrative center of the Swan River Colony by Captain James Stirling. In 1856, it was granted city status (which is now held by the smaller City of Perth), and in 1929, it was elevated to the title of Lord Mayorality. Due to the influence of Sir George Murray, Member of Parliament for Perthshire and Secretary of State for War and the Colonies, the city is named after Perth, Scotland. The city’s population grew significantly as a consequence of the late-nineteenth-century Western Australian gold rushes, owing primarily to emigration from Australia’s eastern colonies. During Australia’s participation in World War II, Fremantle served as a base for submarines operating in the Pacific Theatre, while Matilda Bay was home to a US Navy Catalina flying boat fleet. Following the war, an inflow of immigrants, mostly from the United Kingdom, Greece, Italy, and Yugoslavia, resulted in significant population expansion. This was followed by a spike of economic activity as a result of numerous mining booms in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, which saw Perth become the regional headquarters for a number of big mining enterprises situated around the state.
Perth’s position as Western Australia’s capital includes the state’s Parliament and Supreme Court, as well as Government House, the house of the Governor of Western Australia. Perth was dubbed the “City of Light” as locals turned on their streetlights and home lights as American astronaut John Glenn flew above while orbiting the Earth on Friendship 7 in 1962. In 1998, the city reprised the ceremony when Glenn flew above on the Space Shuttle. Perth ranked eighth on the Economist Intelligence Unit’s ranking of the world’s most liveable cities in August 2015, and was designated a global city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network in 2010.
Perth – Info Card
|TIME ZONE :||AWST (UTC+8)|
|LANGUAGE :||English 79.1%, Chinese 2.1%, Italian 1.9%, other 11.1%, unspecified 5.8%|
|RELIGION :||Catholic 26.4%, Anglican 20.5%, other Christian 20.5%, Buddhist 1.9%, Muslim 1.5%, other 1.2%, unspecified 12.7%, none 15.3%|
|AREA :||6,417.9 km2 (2,478.0 sq mi)|
|COORDINATES :||31°57′8″S 115°51′32″E|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: 49.80%
• Female: 50.20%
|ETHNIC :||English (534,555 or 28.6%), Australian (479,174 or 25.6%), Irish (115,384 or 6.2%), Scottish (113,846 or 6.1%), Italian (84,331 or 4.5%) and Chinese (53,390 or 2.9%). There were 26,486 Indigenous Australians in the city.|
|AREA CODE :||8|
|POSTAL CODE :||+61 8|
Tourism in Perth
Perth’s tourism industry contributes significantly to the state’s economy, with around 2.8 million domestic tourists and 0.7 million overseas visitors in the fiscal year ending March 2012. The city center, Fremantle, the shoreline, and the Swan River are all popular tourist destinations. In addition to the Perth Cultural Centre, the city is home to a variety of museums. The Scitech Discovery Centre in West Perth is an interactive scientific museum with rotating displays on a wide variety of science and technology topics. Scitech also hosts live scientific demonstrations and manages the Horizonplanetarium, which is located nearby. In Fremantle, the Western Australian Marine Museum shows maritime artifacts from various ages. Australia II, the boat that won the America’s Cup in 1983, is housed here, as is a former Royal Australian Navy submarine. The Army Museum of Western Australia, housed in a historic artillery barracks, is also in Fremantle. The museum is divided into exhibits that depict the Army’s engagement in Western Australia as well as the military service of Western Australians. The museum has a number of significant artifacts, including three Victoria Crosses. The Aviation Heritage Museum near Bull Creek has a notable collection of aircraft, including a Lancaster bomber and a Catalina of the kind flown from the Swan River during WWII. There are several historical sites in Perth’s CBD, Fremantle, and other metropolitan districts. The Round House in Fremantle, the Old Mill in South Perth, and the Old Court House in the city centre are among the oldest existing structures, dating back to the 1830s. The Heritage Council of Western Australia and local governments maintain major building registers. The Perth Mint is a late-period historic structure.
Murray Street and Hay Street are the main retail streets in Perth’s CBD. Between William Street and Barrack Street, both of these streets are pedestrian malls. Forrest Place is a pedestrian mall that connects Murray Street to Wellington Street and the Perth train station. Between Hay Street and Murray Street, there are many arcades, notably the Piccadilly Arcade, which hosted the Piccadilly Cinema until it closed in late 2013. Other shopping districts in Perth include Harbour Town in West Perth, which has factory outlets for major brands, the historically significant Fremantle Markets, which date back to 1897, and the Midland townsite on Great Eastern Highway, which combines historic development around the Town Hall and Post Office buildings with the modern Midland Gate shopping center further east. The core business district of Joondalup is mostly a commercial and retail sector bordered by townhouses and flats, and it also includes Lakeside Joondalup Shopping City. The State Government designated Joondalup as a “tourist precinct” in 2009, allowing for longer retail operating hours. The Swan Valley has multiple wineries, including the enormous complex at Houghtons, the state’s largest producer, Sandalfords, and many smaller businesses, including microbreweries and rum distilleries, due to its rich soil, which is unusual in the Perth area. The Swan Valley also has specialized food manufacturers, several restaurants and cafés, and roadside local-produce vendors selling seasonal fruit all year. Tourist Drive 203 is a circular route in the Swan Valley that passes through various sights along West Swan Road and the Great Northern Highway.
At 400.6 hectares, Kings Park in downtown Perth, between the CBD and the University of Western Australia, is one of the world’s biggest inner-city parks (990 acres). There are many landmarks and attractions within Kings Park, including the State War Memorial Precinct on Mount Eliza, Western Australian Botanic Garden, and children’s playgrounds. DNA Tower, a 15m high double helix staircase that mimics the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) molecule, and Jacob’s Ladder, a 242 step stairway that leads down to Mounts Bay Road, are two more attractions. Another inner-city park is Hyde Park, which is situated 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) north of the CBD. It was designated as a public park in 1897, formed from 15 hectares (37 acres) of the Third Swamp network of wetlands. Avon Valley, John Forrest, and Yanchep national parks are sections of protected wilderness on the city’s northern and eastern outskirts. Within the city’s northern suburbs is Whiteman Park, a 4,000-hectare (9,900-acre) bushland area, with bushwalking trails, bike paths, sports facilities, playgrounds, a vintage tramway, a light railway on a 6-kilometre (3.7 mi) track, motor and tractor museums, and Caversham Wildlife Park.
Perth Zoo, located in South Perth, houses a variety of Australian and exotic animals from around the globe. The zoo is home to highly successful breeding programs for orangutans and giraffes, and participates in captive breeding and reintroduction efforts for a number of Western Australian species, including the numbat, the dibbler, the chuditch, and the western swamp tortoise. More wildlife can be observed at the Aquarium of Western Australia in Hillarys, which is Australia’s largest aquarium, specialising in marine animals that inhabit the 12,000-kilometre-long (7,500 mi) western coast of Australia. The northern Perth section of the coastline is known as Sunset Coast; it includes numerous beaches and the Marmion Marine Park, a protected area inhabited by tropical fish, Australian sea lions and bottlenose dolphins, and traversed by humpback whales. Tourist Drive 204, also known as Sunset Coast Tourist Drive, is a designated route from North Fremantle to Iluka along coastal roads.
Climate of Perth
The city enjoys a Mediterranean-style climate. Summers are hot and dry, while winters are damp and warm. Between November and April, summer temperatures average 30°C (86°F). During the height of summer, maximum temperatures may reach and occasionally surpass 40°C (104°F). Extremely hot days often have relatively little humidity, making circumstances more tolerable.
Summertime temperatures in Perth increase swiftly in the morning, but are relieved in the afternoon when the “Fremantle Doctor” blows inland from the coast, cooling the city by up to 15°C. The doctor runs out of gas before reaching the interior districts, leaving the hills and beyond to swelter until after dusk.
Temperatures in the winter (June-August) are typically about 15°C. On clear evenings, minimum temperatures may fall below 0°C. Even though Perth has long dry intervals, when it rains, it pours. Storms with high winds have periodically pounded a winter night in the past, but they have often resulted in little more damage than a felled tree or a flattened fence. More recently, severe storms have produced hail and caused more substantial damage.
Perth is best visited in the spring (Sep-Nov) and autumn (Mar-May). Spring (especially October/November) is possibly the finest time to visit since, following a good winter’s rain, the beautiful wild flowers of Kings Park and the Avon Valley blossom magnificently. Many floral species, both in cities and in the bushlands, bloom in large numbers, so it is good to get over-the-counter hay fever or antihistamines from a local drugstore before making a journey to observe them with little pain. Beachgoers from cooler climates may find the summer months excessively hot, therefore it is advisable to come between March and April or October and November, and to bring a hat, sunscreen lotion, and sunglasses.
The locals usually go on vacation at the height of summer or winter, either to escape the weather or to celebrate it. In the winter, Perth residents often go north to Broome or Bali for warmth, or stay in modest chalets in the south and south west to enjoy the chilly wet atmosphere and seasonal delicacies.
Although Western Australia offers a number of public holidays, they are unlikely to cause significant disruption to your travel plans. Most stores are still open, public transportation is still available (although on a modified schedule), and the sky is still blue. Good Friday, Anzac Day (25 April), and Christmas Day (25 December) are the exceptions, with most stores and restaurants closed. The other seven public holidays are: New Year’s Day (Jan 1), Australia Day (26 Jan), Easter Monday, Labour Day (first Monday of March), Queen’s Birthday (last Monday in September), Foundation Day (first Monday in June), and Boxing Day (26 December).
Geography of Perth
CENTRAL BUSINESS DISTRICT
Perth’s core business area is flanked on the south and east by the Swan River, on the west by Kings Park, and on the north by the railway reserve. Perth City Link, a state and nationally sponsored project, sank a part of the railway line to connect Northbridge and the CBD for the first time in 100 years. The Perth Arena is a structure in the city link region that has won many architectural honors. St Georges Terrace is the area’s most prominent roadway, with 1.3 million m2 of office space in the CBD. The majority of the shopping and entertainment amenities are located on Hay Street and Murray Street. Central Park, the city’s highest structure, is also the eighth tallest structure in Australia. The CBD has lately seen a mining-induced boom, with various commercial and residential developments under construction, notably Brookfield Place, a 244 m (801 ft) office skyscraper for Anglo-Australian mining corporation BHP Billiton.
GEOLOGY AND LANDFORMS
Perth is located on the Swan River, which was called after the local black swans observed by Willem de Vlamingh, commander of a Dutch expedition and namer of WA’s Rottnest Island, when exploring the region in 1697. Historically, Aboriginal people called this body of water Derbarl Yerrigan. The city center and the most of the suburbs are on the sandy and relatively flat Swan Coastal Plain, which runs between the Darling Scarp and the Indian Ocean. The soils in this region are very infertile. The metropolitan area stretches along the coast for roughly 125 kilometers, from Two Rocks in the north to Singleton in the south (78 mi). The distance between the shoreline in the west and Mundaring in the east is roughly 50 kilometers (31 mi). Perth’s metropolitan area encompasses 6,418 square kilometers (2,478 sq mi).
Much of Perth was constructed on a network of freshwater wetlands that stretched from Herdsman Lake in the west to Claisebrook Cove in the east.
The city is bounded to the east by the Darling Scarp, a low escarpment. Perth is located on typically flat, undulating plains, owing to the abundance of sandy soils and deep bedrock. The Perth metropolitan region features two significant river systems: the Swan and Canning Rivers, which flow into the Peel Inlet at Mandurah, and the Serpentine and Murray Rivers, which flow into the Peel Inlet at Mandurah.
Economy of Perth
Perth dominates the Western Australian economy due to its population and position as the administrative center for business and government, despite the fact that the state’s primary mining, petroleum, and agricultural export sectors are situated elsewhere in the state. Perth’s role as the state’s capital, as well as its economic base and population size, have generated chances for many additional firms focused to local or more diverse markets.
Since the 1950s, Perth’s economy has shifted in favor of service sectors. Although one of the key sets of services it offers is linked to the resources sector and, to a lesser degree, agriculture, the majority of Perth residents are not involved in either; instead, they work in occupations that give services to other Perth residents.
Perth has never had the necessary conditions to develop significant manufacturing industries other than those serving the immediate needs of its residents, mining, agriculture, and some specialized areas, such as niche ship building and maintenance in recent times, due to its relative geographical isolation. It was simply less expensive to import all of the necessary manufactured items from either the eastern states or from outside.
Perth’s economic geography has been shaped by industrial employment. Perth witnessed suburban growth after WWII, supported by high levels of automobile ownership. Small-scale manufacturing in the suburbs became viable as a result of workforce decentralisation and transportation advancements. “The prior intimate linkages of manufacturing with near-central and/or rail-side sites were relaxed.” Many corporations took advantage of relatively inexpensive land to develop large, single-story facilities in suburban areas with plenty of parking, easy access, and minimum traffic congestion.
Post-war developments such as Kwinana, Welshpool, and Kewdale contributed to the rise of industry south of the river. The development of the Kwinana industrial sector was aided by the standardization of the east-west rail gauge that connected Perth with eastern Australia. Heavy industry has dominated the region since the 1950s, including an oil refinery, steel-rolling mill with a blast furnace, alumina refinery, power plant, and nickel refinery. Another development, again related to rail standardisation, occurred in 1968, when the Kewdale Freight Terminal was built next to the Welshpool industrial sector, replacing the previous Perth railway yards.
With large population increase after WWII, job growth happened in retail and wholesale commerce, business services, health, education, community and personal services, and public administration rather than manufacturing. These service industries, which are centered around the Perth metropolitan region, are increasingly providing employment.