Western Australia

Western Australia
Flag of Western Australia.svgCoat of arms of Western Australia.svg
FlagCoat of arms
Slogan or nicknameThe Wildflower State; The Golden State
Map of Australia with Western Australia highlighted
Location relative to other Australian states and territories
Coordinates26°S 121°E / 26°S 121°E / -26; 121
Capital cityPerth
DemonymWestern Australian, West Australian, Sandgroper (colloquial)
GovernmentConstitutional monarchy
 • GovernorKim Beazley
 • PremierMark McGowan (Labor)
Australian state 
 • Established (as the Swan River Colony)2 May 1829
 • Responsible government21 October 1890
 • Federation1 January 1901
 • Australia Act3 March 1986
 • Total2,645,615 km² (1st)
1,021,478 sq mi
 • Land2,529,875 km²
976,790 sq mi
 • Water115,740 km² (4.37%)
44,687 sq mi
(June 2019)[1]
 • Population2,621,680 (4th)
 • Density1.04/km² (7th)
2.7 /sq mi
 • Highest pointMount Meharry
1,249 m (4,098 ft)
Gross state product
 • Product ($m)$183,919[2] (4th)
 • Product per capita$98,997 (2nd)
Time zone(s)UTC+8 (AWST)
Federal representation 
 • House seats16/151
 • Senate seats12/76
 • PostalWA
 • ISO 3166-2AU-WA
 • FloralRed-and-green or Mangles kangaroo paw
(Anigozanthos manglesii)
 • AnimalNumbat
(Myrmecobius fasciatus)
 • BirdBlack swan
(Cygnus atratus)
 • FishWhale shark
 • FossilGogo fish
(Mcnamaraspis kaprios)
 • ColoursBlack and gold

Western Australia[a] (abbreviated as WA) is a state occupying the entire western third of Australia. It is bounded by the Indian Ocean to the north and west, and the Southern Ocean to the south,[b] the Northern Territory to the north-east, and South Australia to the south-east. Western Australia is Australia's largest state, with a total land area of 2,529,875 square kilometres (976,790 sq mi), and the second-largest country subdivision in the world, surpassed only by Russia's Sakha Republic. The state has about 2.6 million inhabitants – around 11 percent of the national total – of whom the vast majority (92 per cent) live in the south-west corner, 79 per cent of the population living in the Perth area,[3] leaving the remainder of the state sparsely populated.

The first European visitor to Western Australia was the Dutch explorer Dirk Hartog, who visited the Western Australian coast in 1616. The first European settlement of Western Australia occurred following the landing by Major Edmund Lockyer on 26 December 1826 of an expedition on behalf of the New South Wales colonial government.[4] He established a convict-supported military garrison at King George III Sound, at present-day Albany, and on 21 January 1827[4] formally took possession of the western third of the continent for the British Crown. This was followed by the establishment of the Swan River Colony in 1829, including the site of the present-day capital, Perth.

York was the first inland settlement in Western Australia. Situated 97 kilometres (60 miles) east of Perth, it was settled on 16 September 1831.[5]

Western Australia achieved responsible government in 1890 and federated with the other British colonies in Australia in 1901. Today, its economy mainly relies on mining, oil and gas, services and construction. The state produces 46 per cent of Australia's exports.[6] Western Australia is the second-largest iron ore producer in the world.[7]


John Forrest was the first Premier of Western Australia.
Ngaanyatjarra children, from the desert regions of Western Australia

The first inhabitants of Australia arrived from the north about 40,000 to 60,000 years ago. Over thousands of years they eventually spread across the whole landmass. These Indigenous Australians were long established throughout Western Australia by the time European explorers began to arrive in the early 17th century.

The first European to visit Western Australia was a Dutch explorer, Dirk Hartog, who on 25 October 1616 landed at what is now known as Cape Inscription, Dirk Hartog Island. For the rest of the 17th century, other Dutch and British navigators encountered the coast, usually unintentionally, as demonstrated by the many shipwrecks along the coast of ships that deviated from the Brouwer Route (because of poor navigation and storms).[8] Two hundred years passed before Europeans believed that the great southern continent actually existed. By the late 18th century, British and French sailors had begun to explore the Western Australian coast.

The origins of the present state began with the establishment by Lockyer[4] of a convict-supported settlement from New South Wales at King George III Sound. The settlement was formally annexed on 21 January 1827 by Lockyer when he commanded the Union Jack be raised and a feu de joie fired by the troops. The settlement was founded in response to British concerns about the possibility of a French colony being established on the coast of Western Australia.[4] On 7 March 1831 it was transferred to the control of the Swan River Colony,[5] and named Albany in 1832.

In 1829 the Swan River Colony was established on the Swan River by Captain James Stirling. By 1832, the British settler population of the colony had reached around 1,500, and the official name of the colony was changed to Western Australia. The two separate townsites of the colony developed slowly into the port city of Fremantle and the state's capital, Perth. York was the first inland settlement in Western Australia, situated 97 kilometres (60 mi) east of Perth and settled on 16 September 1831. York was the staging point for early explorers who discovered the rich gold reserves of Kalgoorlie.

Population growth was very slow until significant discoveries of gold were made in the 1890s around Kalgoorlie.

In 1887, a new constitution was drafted, providing for the right of self-governance of European Australians and in 1890, the act granting self-government to the colony was passed by the British Parliament. John Forrest became the first Premier of Western Australia.

In 1896, the Western Australian Parliament authorised the raising of a loan to construct a pipeline to transport 23 megalitres (5 million imperial gallons) of water per day to the Goldfields of Western Australia. The pipeline, known as the Goldfields Water Supply Scheme, was completed in 1903. C.Y. O'Connor, Western Australia's first engineer-in-chief, designed and oversaw the construction of the pipeline. It carries water 530 km (330 mi) from Perth to Kalgoorlie, and is attributed by historians as an important factor driving the state's population and economic growth.[9]

Following a campaign led by Forrest, residents of the colony of Western Australia (still informally called the Swan River Colony) voted in favour of federation, resulting in Western Australia officially becoming a state on 1 January 1901.

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Wes-Australië
azərbaycanca: Qərbi Avstraliya
Bân-lâm-gú: Se Ò-chiu
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Заходняя Аўстралія
Fiji Hindi: Western Australia
Bahasa Indonesia: Australia Barat
Kapampangan: Albugang Australia
Lëtzebuergesch: Westaustralien
Limburgs: Wes-Australië
Bahasa Melayu: Australia Barat
Mìng-dĕ̤ng-ngṳ̄: Să̤ Ó̤-ciŭ
Nederlands: West-Australië
Nordfriisk: Western Australia
Norfuk / Pitkern: Westen Ostrielya
norsk nynorsk: Vest-Australia
Gagana Samoa: Ausetalia i Sisifo
Simple English: Western Australia
slovenščina: Zahodna Avstralija
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Zapadna Australija
українська: Західна Австралія
Tiếng Việt: Tây Úc
粵語: 西澳洲