Interesting Facts about Perth
1. Interesting fact: Perth is the most isolated capital city in the world - it's over 1,300 miles to the next large city.
2. With an average of 8 hours of sunshine per day all year round, Perth is said to be the sunniest capital city in the world.
3. The annual Perth International Art Festival is the oldest international arts festival in the entire southern hemisphere.
4. Fun fact: Perth is closer to Bali than Sydney. And it's often cheaper to fly to Bali than to Sydney (plus the cocktails are cheaper there!).
5. Perth became known as the "City of Light" when astronaut John Glenn orbited above back in 1962 and could spot Perth because everyone turned on all their lights.
6. Random fact: About five thousand years ago, you could walk from Perth to Rottnest Island. Now you have to take a ferry.
7. Interesting fact: Thanks to the mining industry, Perth has the highest per capita number of self-made millionaires of any city in the world.
8. Speaking of money, the Perth Mint is the oldest mint in the world which still operates out of its original premises.
9. Useful fact: You can travel around the centre of Perth for free by staying in the Free Transit Zone or using the free CAT buses.
10. Perth was nearly the capital city of a country: Western Australians voted in 1933 to become separate from the rest of Australia, but the process was stopped.
11. Weird fact: The longest name for a place in or near Perth is Ngangaguringguring Hill.
12. Perth is the capital of Western Australia, a state which takes up a massive one third of the area of Australia.
Things to See in Perth
: Long before white settlers came to Perth, the local Aboriginal Nyungar tribe lived all over the south-west of Western Australia, including where Perth now stands, for between 40,000 and 60,000 years. It's much more recently that explorers started sailing past Perth: various groups of people came down the Western Australian coast, including the Dutch in the 1600s, the Flemish at the turn of the 17th century and the French in the early 1800s. History tells us that none of these visitors had a favourable opinion of setting up a colony in Perth and it wasn't until the British started looking that the city of Perth really began to be a reality.
: Captain James Stirling and his ship explored the Perth area in 1827 and he came back to declare the formation of the Swan River Colony in 1829, the year generally accepted as the foundation of Perth. Unfortunately, the plan to establish agriculture in the area of Perth didn't go as well as hoped, and the British then decided to start sending convicts to Perth from 1850, using the prisoners to help build and grow the small city. Queen Victoria offically named Perth a city in 1856; the name is derived from the Scottish city of the same name.
: When gold was discovered in outback Western Australia in the 1878s, activity in the state really started to take off, which meant that as the capital city, Perth finally began to grow and prosper. In the 1890s, the population of Perth tripled and city-style infrastructure including railways began to be built. This was also the decade that saw the opening of Fremantle Harbour, the Perth Zoo and the Perth Mint.
Twentieth century Perth
: In the early 1900s, Perth continued to grow as a city, adding such landmarks as the University of Western Australia, the Perth to Kalgoorlie pipeline, starting at Mundaring Weir, and the all-important telephone line to Adelaide, helping the world's most isolated city become a little less cut off from the rest of Australia. As the mining industry in the north of the state expanded rapidly with large discoveries of iron ore, natural gas, diamonds and various other minerals, Perth grew as it housed the infrastructure and head offices to support these mines. Mining and agriculture were by far the dominant industries of the century for Western Australia, and Perth was the place where these were all controlled.
Tourism takes off
: It seems surprising that one relatively minor sports event could change a city so much, but in 1983, a yacht run by Perth businessman Alan Bond won the America's Cup yacht race. This meant that the next cup was to be held in Perth, and it led to a massive makeover of the port city of Fremantle, and a huge boost to the Perth tourist market. The opening of the Burswood Casino complex in 1985 also encouraged large numbers of tourists to visit from Asia, and additional hotels and other tourist infrastructure were created. From the turn of the twenty-first century when budget airlines such as Virgin Blue began to enter the Australian domestic market, it suddenly became much cheaper to fly to Perth and increases in tourism continued.