The Settlement of the Swan River Colony

By loois17
  • Arrival in Fremantle

    Fremantle, as it is known today, officially 'began' in April 1829. It was started when the HMS Challenger ship arrived in the waters off the coast of Western Australia, near the Swan River, and formally took 'possession' of the land.
  • The Beginning of the Swan River Colony

    By the year 1832, there were 1500 people in the "Swan River Colony". The first 20-30 years of life were very difficult as the ground of the Swan River was not fertile enough to grow crop that could satisfy the settlers' needs.
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    From Free Colony to Penal Colony

    Between 1842 to 1850, two hundred and thirty four juvenile offenders were sent to Western Australia, but as long as they assumed they apprenticed themselves to local tradesmen, they were considered 'free settlers'.
  • The Depression

    In 1843, there was a major depression that nearly ended the Swan River Colony forever.
  • The York Agricultural Society

    The Depression was improved after the York Agricultural Society suggested that:
    "That it is the opinion of this meeting that, inasmuch as the present land regulations have entirely destroyed our labour fund, we conceive that the Home Government are bound in justice to supply us with some kind of labour, and after mature deliberations we have come to the determination of petitioning the Secretary of State for the Colonies for a gang of forty convicts to be exclusively employed in public work."
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    Convicts in Western Australia

    The first seventy-five convicts arrived in Portsmouth in 1850, and gradually increased to nine thousand more convicts by 1868. The penal colony was suggested by the York Agriculture Society, due to a depression in 1843 that nearly ended the previous free colony forever.
  • Perth to Fremantle Railway

    In 1881, the Perth to Fremantle Railway was opened to the public. This development led to more improvements to the colony.
  • The Library Institute, Town Hall and Gas Street Lamps

    In 1887, the Library Institute was created, the Town Hall was built, and gas street lamps were installed.
  • The Telephone Exchange

    In 1888 the first telephone exchange was located in the Town Hall.
  • The Water Supply

    The water supply was built in 1890.
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    The Gold Rush in the 1890's saw Fremantle become an established gateway to Western Australia. As gold was discovered, more prospectors arrived, searching for gold. The Gold Rush increased agricultural output and atrracted more wealth. It brought many new businesses to the port, and was the first major arrival of immigrants willing to work.
  • Hospitals, Harbour & Markets

    In 1897 the hospital, harbour and markets were opened.
  • Opening of the Harbour

    The harbour was opened in 1897, but before that, the primary port facility was the kilometre long "Long Jetty".
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    Fremantle's Part in World War II

    During World War II, the Fremantle Harbour was the home to Allied naval vessels on active service. It also accommodated battleships, troop transports, hospital ships, support vessels and many passenger ships.