Perth /ˈpɜrθ/ is the capital and largest city of the Australian state of Western Australia (WA). It is the fourth most populous city in Australia, with an estimated population of 1.97 million (on 30 June 2013) living in Greater Perth.Part of the South West Land Division of Western Australia, the majority of the metropolitan area of Perth is located on the Swan Coastal Plain, a narrow strip between the Indian Ocean and the Darling Scarp, a low coastal escarpment. The first areas settled were on the Swan River, with the city's central business district and port (Fremantle) both located on its shores. Perth is formally divided into a number of local government areas, which themselves consist of a large number of suburbs, extending from Two Rocks in the north to Rockingham in the south, and east inland toThe Lakes.
Perth was originally founded by Captain James Stirling in 1829 as the administrative centre of the Swan River Colony, and gained city status in 1856 (currently vested in the smaller City of Perth). The city is named for Perth, Scotland, by influence of Sir George Murray, then British Secretary of State for War and the Colonies. The city's population increased substantially as a result of the Western Australian gold rushes in the late 19th century, largely as a result of emigration from the eastern colonies of Australia. During Australia's involvement in World War II, Fremantle served as a base for submarines operating in the Pacific Theatre, and a US Navy Catalina flying boat fleet was based at Matilda Bay. An influx of immigrants after the war, predominantly from Britain, Greece, Italy and Yugoslavia, led to rapid population growth. This was followed by a surge in economic activity flowing from several mining booms in the late 20th and early 21st centuries that saw Perth become the regional headquarters for a number of large mining operations located around the state.
As part of Perth's role as the capital of Western Australia, the state's Parliament and Supreme Court are located within the city, as well as Government House, the residence of the Governor of Western Australia. Perth became known worldwide as the "City of Light" when city residents lit their house lights and streetlights as American astronautJohn Glenn passed overhead while orbiting the earth on Friendship 7 in 1962. The city repeated the act as Glenn passed overhead on the Space Shuttle in 1998. Perth came 9th in the Economist Intelligence Unit's August 2014 list of the world's most liveable cities, and was classified by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network in 2010 as a world city
Perth's skyline, viewed from Mill Point.
The Perth Cultural Centre is the location of the city's major arts, cultural and educational institutions, including the Art Gallery of Western Australia, Western Australian Museum, State Library of Western Australia, State Records Office, and Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (PICA). The State Theatre Centre of Western Australia is also located there, and is the home of the Black Swan State Theatre Company and the Perth Theatre Company. Other performing arts companies based in Perth include the West Australian Ballet, the West Australian Opera and the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, all of which present regular programmes. The Western Australian Youth Orchestras provide young musicians with performance opportunities in orchestral and other musical ensembles.
Perth is also home to the internationally regarded Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts at Edith Cowan University, from which many successful actors and broadcasters have launched their careers. The city's main performance venues include the Riverside Theatre within the Perth Convention Exhibition Centre, the Perth Concert Hall, the historic His Majesty's Theatre, the Regal Theatre in Subiaco and the Astor Theatre in Mount Lawley. Perth Arenacan be configured as either an entertainment and sporting arena, and concerts are also hosted at other sporting venues, including Subiaco Oval, HBF Stadium, and nib Stadium. Outdoor concert venues include Quarry Amphitheatre, Supreme Court Gardens, Kings Park and Russell Square.
A number of annual events are held in Perth. The Perth International Arts Festival is a large cultural festival that has been held annually since 1953, and has since been joined by the Winter Arts festival, Perth Fringe Festival, and Perth Writers Festival. Perth also hosts annual rock concerts the Big Day Out and Soundwave. The Perth International Comedy Festival features a variety of local and international comedic talent, with performance held at the Astor Theatre and nearby venues in Mount Lawley, while Sculpture by the Sea showcases a range of local and international sculptors' creations along Cottesloe Beach. There is also a wide variety of public art and sculptures on display across the city, throughout the year.
Perth has featured in a variety of artistic works in various mediums. An early novel, Moondyne, set in the Swan River Colony, was written by a former Fenian convict, John Boyle O'Reilly, and a A Faithful Picture, edited by Peter Cowan, gives a good idea of the early days of the colony. Songs that refer to the city include "I Love Perth" (1996) by Pavement, and "Perth" (2011) by Bon Iver, while a number of films feature Perth: Last Train to Freo, Two Fists, One Heart, Thunderstruck, Bran Nue Dae, Japanese Story and Nickel Queen. The industrial metal band Fear Factory recorded the video for their single "Cyberwaste" in South Fremantle.
Because of Perth's relative isolation from other Australian cities, overseas artists often exclude it from their Australian tour schedules. This isolation, however, has developed a strong local music scene, and the development of local music groups such as John Butler Trio, Eskimo Joe, Pendulum, Pond, Tame Impala, Karnivooland Birds of Tokyo. Celebrity musical performers from Perth have included the late AC/DC lead singer Bon Scott, who has been remembered with a statue in Fremantle, and veteran performer and artist Rolf Harris, given the nickname "The Boy From Bassendean". The largest performance area within the State Theatre Centre, the Heath Ledger Theatre, is named in honour of Perth-born film actor Heath Ledger.
Tourism in Perth is an important part of the state's economy, with approximately 2.8 million domestic visitors and 0.7 million international visitors in the year ending March 2012. Tourist attractions are generally focused around the city centre, Fremantle, the coast, and the Swan River. In addition to the Perth Cultural Centre, there are a number of museums across the city. The Scitech Discovery Centre in is an interactive science museum, with regularly changing exhibitions on a large range of science and technology based subjects. Scitech also conducts live science demonstration shows, and operates the adjacent Horizon planetarium. The Western Australian Maritime Museum in Fremantle displays maritime objects from all eras. It houses Australia II, the yacht that won the 1983 America's Cup, as well as a former Royal Australian Navy submarine. Also located in Fremantle is the Army Museum of Western Australia, situated within a historic artillery barracks. The museum consists of several galleries which reflect the Army's involvement in Western Australia, and the military service of Western Australians. The museum holds numerous items of significance, including three Victoria Crosses. There are many heritage sites in Perth's CBD, Fremantle, and other parts of the metropolitan areas. Some of the oldest remaining building, dating back to the 1830s, include the Round House in Fremantle, the Old Mill in South Perth, and the Old Court House in the city centre. Registers of important buildings are maintained by the Heritage Council of Western Australia and local governments. A late heritage building is the Perth Mint.
Retail shopping in the Perth CBD is focused around Murray Street and Hay Street. Both of these streets are pedestrian malls between William Street and Barrack Street. Forrest Place is another pedestrian mall that connects the Murray Street Mall to Wellington Street and the Perth railway station. A number of arcades run between Hay Street and Murray Street, including the Piccadilly Arcade, which houses the Piccadilly Cinema. Other shopping precincts include Harbour Town in West Perth, featuring factory outlets for major brands, the historically significant Fremantle Markets, which date back to 1897, and the Midland townsite on Great Eastern Highway, combining historic development around the Town Hall and Post Office buildings with the modern Midland Gate shopping centre further east. Joondalup's central business district is largely a shopping and retail area lined with townhouses and apartments, and also features Lakeside Joondalup Shopping City. Joondalup was granted the status of "tourism precinct" by the State Government in 2009, allowing for extended retail trading hours. TheSwan Valley, with fertile soil, uncommon in the Perth region, features numerous wineries such as the large complex atHoughtons, the state's biggest producer, Sandalfords and many smaller operators, including microbreweries and rum distilleries. The Swan Valley also contains specialised food producers, many restaurants and cafes, and roadside local-produce stalls that sell seasonal fruit throughout the year. Tourist Drive 203 is a circular route in the Swan Valley, passing by many attractions on West Swan Road and Great Northern Highway.
Kings Park, located in central Perth between the CBD and the University of Western Australia, is one of the world's largest inner-city parks, at 400.6 hectares (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. Other features include DNA Tower, a 15m high double helix staircase that resembles the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) molecule, and Jacob's Ladder, comprising 242 steps that lead down to Mounts Bay Road. Hyde Park is another inner-city park located 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) north of the CBD. It was gazetted as a public park in 1897, created from 15 hectares (37 acres) of a chain of wetlands known as Third Swamp. Avon Valey, John Forrest and Yanchep national parks are areas of protected bushland at the northern and eastern edges of the metropolitan area. Within the cities northern suburbs is Whiteman Park, a 4,000-hectare (9,900-acre) bushland area, with bushwalking trails, bike paths, sports facilities, playgrounds, a tram on a 4-kilometre (2.5 mi) circular 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 thenumbat, 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.