Uncork the Wonders of the West. Image courtesy of Tourism Western Australia.Despite Western Australia's immense size, only 10 per cent of the country’s population live here and most of those are concentrated in the state's South East corner. Western Australia's capital, Perth, is known for its beautiful gardens and is considered to be the most isolated city in the world. In fact, it is closer to Southeast Asia than to any other Australian city.

Western Australia lays claim to the world’s most ancient landscape and visitors here will discover fascinating rock formations, escarpments and gorges. The desert that separates Western Australia from the rest of the continent has created a zone of biological isolation, resulting in some unique native fauna and flora. Western Australia lives up to its name as the Wildflower State. Every Spring, more than 11,000 species of wild flowers carpet the deserts, plains and forests, most of which are unique to this part of the world.

History

Before the arrival of Europeans Western Australia was inhabited by Aborigines who occupied four distinct cultural and geographical zones, with a total population of around 60,000. Kimberley rock art estimates their presence dates back 80,000 years. The first European visitors to the region were Dutch explorers from 1616, and settlement dates back to 1826 when an expedition was dispatched from Sydney to claim New Holland (the early name for Western Australia) for Britain and discourage French interest. A military outpost was established at Albany, with the Swan River region, now Perth, settled in 1829. Convicts arrived in 1850 and helped to build the colony’s infrastructure and public buildings, however with only wool as a viable industry the colony struggled to support its early settlers.

Discovery of gold at Halls Creek in the Kimberley in 1885, and subsequent strikes at Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie, brought wealth and independence to the state. Western Australia has remained a primary producer with its wealth of natural resources including gold, diamonds, iron ore, gas and minerals, and its vast northern pastoral properties producing cattle for the Asian markets.

Population

1,798,000

Capital City

Perth

Area

2,529,880 square kilometres - Australia's largest state

Climate

Because of its size, Western Australia has different climatic zones. The north is tropical and has distinct wet and dry seasons, the interior is dry with very hot summers and the south enjoys a more moderate Mediterranean climate.

Time Zone

Western Standard Time
Daylight Saving: Western Australia does not have daylight saving

State Emblems

Animal Emblem: Black Swan
Floral Emblem: Red and green kangaroo paw

Major Attractions

Perth, Monkey Mia and Shark Bay, the Kimberleys, Margaret River wineries, Wave Rock, the Pinnacles, wildflowers in the mid west, Recherche Archipelago, the Goldfields, Karijini National Park, Valley of the Giants.