Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Perth (AU), Yagan Square, "Kaya Perth" -- 2019 -- 0280.jpg
Clockwise from top: Perth's skyline viewed across the Swan River from South Perth; Perth Stadium; Elizabeth Quay; Kaya Perth at Yagan Square; Kings Park; Cottesloe Beach; and WA Museum Boola Bardip
Perth is located in Australia
Coordinates31°57′21″S 115°51′38″E / 31.9559°S 115.8606°E / -31.9559; 115.8606 (Perth)Coordinates: 31°57′21″S 115°51′38″E / 31.9559°S 115.8606°E / -31.9559; 115.8606 (Perth)
Population2,192,229 (2021)[1] (4th)
 • Density341.5804/km2 (884.689/sq mi)
Established4 June 1829
Area6,417.9 km2 (2,478.0 sq mi)(GCCSA)[2]
Time zoneAWST (UTC+08:00)
State electorate(s)Perth (and 41 others)[7]
Federal division(s)Perth (and 10 others)
Mean max temp Mean min temp Annual rainfall
24.8 °C
77 °F
12.8 °C
55 °F
730.9 mm
28.8 in

Perth is the capital and largest city of the Australian state of Western Australia.[8] It is the fourth most populous city in Australia and Oceania, with a population of 2.1 million (80% of the state) living in Greater Perth in 2020.[1] Perth is part of the South West Land Division of Western Australia, with most of the metropolitan area on the Swan Coastal Plain between the Indian Ocean and the Darling Scarp. The city has expanded outward from the original British settlements on the Swan River, upon which the city's central business district and port of Fremantle are situated. Perth is located on the traditional lands of the Whadjuk Noongar people, where Aboriginal Australians have lived for at least 45,000 years.[9]

Captain James Stirling founded Perth in 1829 as the administrative centre of the Swan River Colony. It was named after the city of Perth in Scotland, due to the influence of Stirling's patron Sir George Murray, who had connections with the area. It gained city status in 1856, although the Perth City Council currently governs only a small area around the central business district. The city's population increased substantially as a result of the Western Australian gold rushes in the late 19th century. It has grown steadily since World War II due to a high net migration rate. Post-war immigrants were predominantly from the British Isles and Southern Europe, while more recent arrivals see a growing population of Asian descent. Several mining booms in other parts of Western Australia in the late 20th and early 21st centuries saw Perth become the regional headquarters for large mining operations.

Perth contains a number of important public buildings as well as cultural and heritage sites. Notable government buildings include Parliament House, Government House, the Supreme Court Buildings and the Perth Mint. The city is served by Fremantle Harbour and Perth Airport. It was a naval base for the Allies during World War II and today, the Royal Australian Navy's Fleet Base West is located on Garden Island. All five of Western Australia's universities are based in Perth.

The city has been ranked as one of the world's most liveable cities, and was classified by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network in 2020 as a Beta global city.[10]

As of 2021, Perth is divided into 30 local government areas and consists of more than 350 suburbs. The metropolitan boundaries stretch 123 kilometres (76 mi) from Two Rocks in the north to Singleton in the south,[11] and 62 kilometres (39 mi) east inland to The Lakes. Outside of the central business district, important urban centres within the metropolitan area include Armadale, Fremantle, Joondalup, Midland, and Rockingham. Most of those were originally established as separate settlements and retained a distinct identity after being subsumed into the wider metropolitan area. Mandurah, Western Australia's second-largest city, forms a conurbation with Perth along the coast, though for most purposes it is still considered a separate city.


The name Perth was selected in recognition of Perth, Scotland[12][13][page needed] as the birthplace of the Secretary of State for War and the Colonies, and Member for Perthshire in the British House of Commons, Sir George Murray. It was included in Stirling's proclamation of the colony, read in Fremantle on 18 June 1829, which ended "Given under my hand and Seal at Perth this 18th Day of June 1829. James Stirling Lieutenant Governor".[14] The only contemporary information on the source of the name comes from Charles Fremantle's diary entry for 12 August 1829, which records that they "named the town Perth according to the wishes of Sir George Murray".[15][16][17]

There is no equivalent Noongar terminology for the Perth metropolitan area;[citation needed] it is sited primarily on Whadjuk country, which extends approximately[note 1] north to Two Rocks, south to Mandurah, and east as far as York.[18][19][20] Boorloo (also transcribed as Boorlo or Burrell) referred to Point Fraser[21][22] in East Perth, and means "big swamp",[22] which describes the whole chain of lakes where the CBD and Northbridge are sited.[23] However Boorloo is also used to denote the central business district,[24][25] the local government area,[26] or the capital city in general.[27][28][29][30][31][32][33][34][better source needed]



Perth is located on the traditional land of the Whadjuk people, one of several groups in south-western Western Australia that make up the Noongar

Archaeological evidence demonstrates that the Noongar people have inhabited the Perth area for at least 45,000 years.[9] Noongar country encompasses the southwest corner of Western Australia. The wetlands on the Swan Coastal Plain were particularly important to them, both spiritually (featuring in local mythology) and as a source of food.[35]

The present-day location of the CBD forms part of the traditional territory of the Mooro, a Noongar clan, who at the time of British settlement had Yellagonga as their leader. The Mooro was one of several Noongar clans based around the Swan River, known collectively as the Whadjuk. The Whadjuk themselves were one of a larger group of fourteen tribes that formed the south-west socio-linguistic block known as the Noongar (meaning "the people" in their language), also sometimes called the Bibbulmun.[36]

On 19 September 2006, the Federal Court of Australia brought down a judgment finding that Noongar native title continued to exist over the Perth metropolitan area in the case of Bennell v State of Western Australia [2006] FCA 1243.[37] An appeal was subsequently lodged and in 2008 the Full Court of the Federal Court upheld parts of the appeal by the Western Australian and Commonwealth governments.[38] Following this appeal, the WA Government and the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council negotiated the South West Native Title Settlement, including the Whadjuk Indigenous Land Use Agreement over the Perth region, which was finalised by the Federal Court on 1 December 2021.[39] As part of reaching this agreement, the Noongar (Koorah, Nitja, Boordahwan) (Past, Present, Future) Recognition Act was passed in 2016, recognising the Noongar people as the traditional owners of the south west region of Western Australia.[40]

Early European sightings

The Dutch Captain Willem de Vlamingh and his crew made the first documented sighting of the present-day Perth region by Europeans on 10 January 1697. They initially explored the area on foot, reaching what is now central Perth.[41] They named the river running through the area Swarte Swaene-Revier after the black swans of the area.[42] Other Europeans made subsequent sightings of the area between this date and 1829, but as in the case of the observations made by Vlamingh, they adjudged the area inhospitable and unsuitable for the agriculture that would be needed to sustain a European-style settlement.[43]

Swan River Colony

Although the Colony of New South Wales had established a convict-supported settlement at King George's Sound (later Albany) on the south coast of Western Australia in 1826 in response to rumours that the area would be annexed by France, Perth was the first full-scale settlement by Europeans in the western third of the continent. The British colony would be officially designated Western Australia in 1832 but was known informally for many years as the Swan River Colony after the area's major watercourse.[44]

On 4 June 1829, newly arriving British colonists had their first view of the mainland, and Western Australia's founding has since been recognised by a public holiday on the first Monday in June each year. Captain James Stirling, aboard Parmelia, said that Perth was "as beautiful as anything of this kind I had ever witnessed". On 12 August that year, Helen Dance, wife of the captain of the second ship, Sulphur, cut down a tree to mark the founding of the town. Beginning in 1831, hostile encounters between the British settlers and the Noongar people – both large-scale land users, with conflicting land value systems – increased considerably as the colony grew. The hostile encounters between the two groups of people resulted in multiple events, including the murder of settlers (such as Thomas Peel's servant Hugh Nesbitt), the execution of the Whadjuk elder Midgegooroo, the death of his son Yagan in 1833, and the Pinjarra massacre in 1834.

The relations between the Noongar people and the Europeans were strained due to these events. The increasing use of the land for agricultural purposes restricted the hunter-gatherer practices of the native Whadjuk Noongar. They were forced to camp around prescribed areas, including the swamps and lakes north of the settlement area.

Convict era and gold rushes

In 1850, at a time when penal transportation to Australia's eastern colonies had ceased, Western Australia was opened to convicts at the request of farming and business people due to a shortage of labour.[46] Over the next eighteen years, 9,721 convicts arrived in Western Australia aboard 43 ships.

Queen Victoria announced the city status of Perth in 1856.[47] Despite this proclamation, Perth was still a quiet town, described in 1870 by a Melbourne journalist as:

"...a quiet little town of some 3000 inhabitants spread out in straggling allotments down to the water's edge, intermingled with gardens and shrubberies and half rural in its aspect ... The main streets are macadamised, but the outlying ones and most of the footpaths retain their native state from the loose sand — the all pervading element of Western Australia — productive of intense glare or much dust in the summer and dissolving into slush during the rainy season."[48]

With the discovery of gold at Kalgoorlie and Coolgardie in the late 19th century, Western Australia experienced a mining boom,[49] and Perth's population grew from approximately 8,500 in 1881 to 61,000 in 1901.[50]

Federation and beyond

After a referendum in 1900,[51] Western Australia joined the Federation of Australia in 1901.[47] It was the last of the Australian colonies to agree to join the Federation, and it did so only after the other colonies had offered several concessions, including the construction of a transcontinental railway line from Port Augusta in South Australia to Kalgoorlie to link Perth with the eastern states.[52]

In 1927, Indigenous people were prohibited from entering large swathes of Perth under penalty of imprisonment, a ban that lasted until 1954.[53]

In 1933, two-thirds of Western Australians voted in a referendum to secede from the Australian Federation. However, the state general election held at the same time as the referendum had voted out the incumbent "pro-independence" government, replacing it with a government that did not support the independence movement. Respecting the result of the referendum, the new government nonetheless petitioned the Imperial Parliament at Westminster. The House of Commons established a select committee to consider the issue but after 18 months of negotiations and lobbying, finally refused to consider the matter, declaring that it could not legally grant secession.[51][54]

Perth entered the post-war period with a population of approximately 280,000 and an economy that had not experienced sustained growth since the 1920s. Successive state governments, beginning with the Willcock Labor Government (1936-1945), determined to change this. Planning for post-war economic development was initially driven by Russell Dumas, who as Director of Public Works (1941-1953) drew up plans for Western Australia's major post-war public-works projects, including the raising of the Mundaring and Wellington Dams, the development of the new Perth Airport, and the development of a new industrial zone centred on Kwinana. The advent of the McLarty Liberal Government (1947-1953) saw the emergence of something of a consensus on the need for continuing economic development. Economic growth was fuelled by large-scale public works, the post-war immigration program, and the success that various state governments had in attracting substantial foreign investment into the state, beginning with the construction of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Refinery at Kwinana in 1951–52.[55]

The result of this economic activity was the rapid growth of the population of Perth and a marked change in its urban design. Commencing in the 1950s, Perth began to expand along an extensive highway network laid out in the Stephenson-Hepburn Report, which noted that Perth was beginning to resemble a pattern of development less in line with the British experience and more in line with North America.[56] This was encouraged by the opening of the Narrows Bridge and the gradual closure of the Perth-Fremantle Tramways. The mining-pastoral boom of the 1960s only accelerated the pace of urban growth in Perth.

In 1962, Perth received global media attention when city residents lit their house lights and streetlights as American astronaut John Glenn passed overhead while orbiting the earth on Friendship 7. This led to its being nicknamed the "City of Light".[57][58][59] The city repeated the act as Glenn passed overhead on the Space Shuttle in 1998.[60][61]

Perth's development and relative prosperity, especially since the mid-1960s,[62] has resulted from its role as the main service centre for the state's resource industries, which extract gold, iron ore, nickel, alumina, diamonds, mineral sands, coal, oil, and natural gas.[63] Whilst most mineral and petroleum production takes place elsewhere in the state, the non-base services provide most of the employment and income to the people of Perth.[64]


Central business district

The central business district of Perth is bounded by the Swan River to the south and east, with Kings Park on the western end and the railway reserve as the northern border.[citation needed] A state and federally funded project named Perth City Link sank a section of the railway line to allow easy pedestrian access between Northbridge and the CBD. The Perth Arena is an entertainment and sporting arena in the city link area that has received several architectural awards from institutions such as the Design Institute of Australia, the Australian Institute of Architects, and Colorbond.[65] St Georges Terrace is the area's prominent street, with a large amount of office space in the CBD. Hay Street and Murray Street have most of the retail and entertainment facilities. The city's tallest building is Central Park, the twelfth tallest building in Australia.[66] The CBD until 2012 was the centre of a mining-induced boom, with several commercial and residential projects being built, including Brookfield Place, a 244 m (801 ft) office building for Anglo-Australian mining company BHP.[67]

Perth CBD skyline from Kings Park, 2019

Metropolitan area

Perth's metropolitan area extends along the coast to Two Rocks in the north and Singleton to the south,[68] a distance of approximately 125 kilometres (80 mi).[69] From the coast in the west to Mundaring in the east is a distance of approximately 50 km (30 mi). The Perth metropolitan area covers 6,418 km2 (2,478 sq mi).[2]

The metropolitan region is defined by the Planning and Development Act 2005 to include 30 local government areas, with the outer extent being the City of Wanneroo and the City of Swan to the north, the Shire of Mundaring, City of Kalamunda and the City of Armadale to the east, the Shire of Serpentine-Jarrahdale to the southeast and the City of Rockingham to the southwest, and including Rottnest Island and Garden Island off the west coast.[70] This extent correlates with the Metropolitan Region Scheme, and the Australian Bureau of Statistics' Perth (Major Statistical Division).[70]

The metropolitan extent of Perth can be defined in other ways – the Australian Bureau of Statistics Greater Capital City Statistical Area, or Greater Perth in short, consists of that area, plus the City of Mandurah and the Pinjarra Level 2 Statistical Area[71] of the Shire of Murray,[72][73] while the Regional Development Commissions Act 1993 includes the Shire of Serpentine-Jarrahdale in the Peel region.[74]

Geology and landforms

Perth is on the Swan River, named for the native black swans by Willem de Vlamingh, captain of a Dutch expedition and namer of WA's Rottnest Island, who discovered the birds while exploring the area in 1697.[75] This water body was known by Aboriginal inhabitants as Derbarl Yerrigan.[76] The city centre and most of the suburbs are on the sandy and relatively flat Swan Coastal Plain, which lies between the Darling Scarp and the Indian Ocean. The soils of this area are quite infertile.

Much of Perth was built on the Perth Wetlands, a series of freshwater wetlands running from Herdsman Lake in the west through to Claisebrook Cove in the east.[77]

To the east, the city is bordered by a low escarpment called the Darling Scarp. Perth is on generally flat, rolling land, largely due to the high amount of sandy soils and deep bedrock. The Perth metropolitan area has two major river systems, one made up of the Swan and Canning Rivers, and one of the Serpentine and Murray Rivers, which discharge into the Peel Inlet at Mandurah. The Perth-Gingin Shrublands and Woodlands and Banksia Woodlands of the Swan Coastal Plain straddle the metropolitan area.


Perth receives moderate, though highly seasonal, winter-based rainfall. Summers are generally hot, sunny and dry, lasting from December to March, with February generally the hottest month. Winters are relatively cool and wet, giving Perth a hot-summer Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification Csa).[78][79] Perth has an average of 8.8 hours of sunshine per day, which equates to around 3,200 hours of sunshine and 138.7 clear days annually, making it Australia's sunniest capital city.[80]

Summers are dry but not completely devoid of rain, with sporadic rainfall in the form of short-lived thunderstorms, weak cold fronts and on occasions decaying tropical cyclones from Western Australia's northwest, which can bring heavy rain. Temperatures above 40 °C (104 °F) are fairly common in the summer months. The highest temperature recorded in Perth was 46.2 °C (115.2 °F) on 23 February 1991, although Perth Airport recorded 46.7 °C (116.1 °F) on the same day.[80][81] On most summer afternoons a sea breeze, known locally as the "Fremantle Doctor", blows from the southwest, providing relief from the hot northeasterly winds. Temperatures often fall below 30 °C (86 °F) a few hours after the arrival of the wind change.[82] In the summer, the 3 p.m. dewpoint averages at around 12 °C (54 °F).[80]

Winters are cool and wet, with most of Perth's annual rainfall between May and September. Winters see significant rainfall as frontal systems move across the region, interspersed with clear and sunny days where minimum temperatures tend to drop below 5 °C (41 °F). The lowest temperature recorded in Perth was −0.7 °C (30.7 °F) on 17 June 2006.[81] The lowest temperature within the Perth metropolitan area was −3.4 °C (25.9 °F) on the same day at Jandakot Airport, although temperatures at or below zero are rare occurrences. The lowest maximum temperature recorded in Perth is 8.8 °C (47.8 °F) on 26 June 1956. It occasionally gets cold enough for frost to form.[83] While snow has never been recorded in the Perth CBD, light snowfalls have been reported in outer suburbs of Perth in the Perth Hills around Kalamunda, Roleystone and Mundaring. The most recent snowfall was in 1968.

The rainfall pattern has changed in Perth and southwest Western Australia since the mid-1970s. A significant reduction in winter rainfall has been observed with a greater number of extreme rainfall events in the summer,[84] such as the slow-moving storms on 8 February 1992 that brought 120.6 millimetres (4.75 in) of rain,[81][82] heavy rainfall associated with a tropical low on 10 February 2017, which brought 114.4 millimetres (4.50 in) of rain,[85] and the remnants of ex-Tropical Cyclone Joyce on 15 January 2018 with 96.2 millimetres (3.79 in).[86] Perth was also hit by a severe thunderstorm on 22 March 2010, which brought 40.2 mm (1.58 in) of rain and large hail and caused significant damage in the metropolitan area.[87]

The average sea temperature ranges from 18.9 °C (66.0 °F) in October to 23.4 °C (74.1 °F) in March.[88]

Climate data for Perth
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 45.8
Average high °C (°F) 31.2
Average low °C (°F) 18.1
Record low °C (°F) 8.9
Average rainfall mm (inches) 19.1
Average precipitation days 2.9 2.3 4.5 6.8 11.2 14.5 17.2 15.9 14.6 9.2 5.5 3.5 108.1
Average afternoon relative humidity (%) (at 15:00) 39 38 40 46 50 56 57 54 53 47 44 41 47
Mean monthly sunshine hours 356.5 319.0 297.6 249.0 207.0 177.0 189.1 223.2 231.0 297.6 318.0 356.5 3,221.5
Percent possible sunshine 83 83 74 70 63 57 57 63 64 72 77 79 70
Average ultraviolet index 12 11 9 6 4 3 3 4 6 8 10 12 7
Source 1: Bureau of Meteorology[89][90]
Temperatures: 1993–2020; Extremes: 1897–2020; Rain data: 1993–2020; Relative humidity: 1994–2011
Source 2: Time and Date[91]
Dew point: 1985-2015


With more than two million residents, Perth is one of the most isolated major cities in the world. The nearest city with a population of more than 100,000 is Adelaide, over 2,100 km (1,305 mi) away.[92] Perth is geographically closer to both East Timor (2,800 km or 1,700 mi), and Jakarta, Indonesia (3,000 km or 1,900 mi), than to Sydney (3,300 km or 2,100 mi).[92]


Perth is Australia's fourth-most-populous city, having overtaken Adelaide's population in 1984.[96] In June 2018 there were an estimated 2,059,484[1] residents in the Greater Perth area, representing an increase of approximately 1.1% from the 2017 estimate of 2,037,902.[1]

Ancestry and immigration

Country of birth (2021)[97]
Birthplace[note 2] Population
Australia 1,258,506
England 169,938
New Zealand 59,459
India 58,229
South Africa 38,793
Malaysia 31,268
Philippines 30,806
Mainland China 27,237
Scotland 23,280
Vietnam 17,174
Italy 16,536
Ireland 16,412
Singapore 15,387
Indonesia 13,031
Zimbabwe 10,743

At the 2021 census, the most commonly nominated ancestries were:[97]

Perth's population is notable for the high proportion of British- and Irish-born residents. At the 2021 Census, 169,938 England-born Perth residents were counted,[97] ahead of even Sydney (151,614),[99] despite the latter having well over twice the population.

Russell Square, Northbridge - historically the favoured meeting place of the Italian community of "Little Italy"[100]

The ethnic make-up of Perth changed in the second part of the 20th century when significant numbers of continental European immigrants arrived in the city. Prior to this, Perth's population had been almost completely Anglo-Celtic in ethnic origin. As Fremantle was the first landfall in Australia for many migrant ships coming from Europe in the 1950s and 1960s, Perth started to experience a diverse influx of people, including Italians, Greeks, Dutch, Germans, Turks, Croats, and Macedonians. The Italian influence in the Perth and Fremantle area has been substantial, evident in places like the "Cappuccino strip" in Fremantle featuring many Italian eateries and shops. In Fremantle, the traditional Italian blessing of the fleet festival is held every year at the start of the fishing season. In Northbridge every December is the San Nicola (Saint Nicholas) Festival, which involves a pageant followed by a concert, predominantly in Italian. Suburbs surrounding the Fremantle area, such as Spearwood and Hamilton Hill, also contain high concentrations of Italians, Croatians, and Portuguese. Perth has also been home to a small Jewish community since 1829[101]  – numbering 5,082 in 2006 – who have emigrated primarily from Eastern Europe and more recently from South Africa.

A more recent wave of arrivals includes White South Africans. South Africans overtook those born in Italy as the fourth-largest foreign group in 2001. By 2016, there were 35,262 South Africans residing in Perth.[102] Many Afrikaners and Anglo-Africans emigrated to Perth during the 1980s and 1990s, with the phrase "packing for Perth" becoming associated with South Africans who choose to emigrate abroad, sometimes regardless of the destination.[103][104] As a result, the city has been described as "the Australian capital of South Africans in exile".[105] The reason for Perth's popularity among white South Africans has often been attributed to the location, the vast amount of land, and the slightly warmer climate compared to other large Australian cities – Perth has a Mediterranean climate reminiscent of Cape Town.

Since the end of the White Australia policy in 1973, Asia has become an increasingly important source of migrants, with communities from Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Mainland China, and India all now well-established. There were 112,293 persons of Chinese descent in Perth in 2016 – 5.3% of the city's population.[97] These are supported by the Australian Eurasian Association of Western Australia,[106] which also serves a community of Portuguese-Malacca Eurasian or Kristang immigrants.[107]

Middle Eastern immigrants have a presence in Perth. They come from a variety of countries, including Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, The United Arab Emirates, Oman, Yemen, and Afghanistan.

Perth also has one of the largest Latin American populations in Australia, with Brazilians and Chileans being the largest Latin American groups in Perth.[108]

The Indian community includes a substantial number of Parsees who emigrated from Bombay – Perth being the closest Australian city to India – in 2021 those with Indian ancestry accounted for 3.5% of Perth's population[97] Perth is also home to the largest population of Anglo-Burmese in the world; many settled here following the independence of Burma in 1948 with immigration taking off after 1962. The city is now the cultural hub for Anglo-Burmese worldwide.[109] There is also a substantial Anglo-Indian population in Perth, who also settled in the city following the independence of India.

At the 2021 census, 2% of Perth's population identified as being Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.[note 5][110]


At the 2016 census, 73.5% of inhabitants spoke only English at home, with the next most common languages being Mandarin (2.3%), Italian (1.4%), Vietnamese (1.0%), Cantonese (1.0%) and Arabic (0.7%).[102]


32.1% of the 2016 census respondents in Perth had no religion,[111] as against 29.6% of national population.[112] In 1911, the national figure was 0.4%.[113]

Catholics are the largest single Christian denomination in the Greater Perth area at 22%.[114] The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross claims over 2,000 members.[115] Perth is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Perth.[116] Anglicans are 13.8% of the population.[114] Perth is the seat of the Anglican Diocese of Perth.[117]

Buddhism and Islam each claim more than 40,000 adherents. Over 39,000 members of the Uniting Church in Australia live in Perth.[118] Perth has the third largest Jewish population in Australia,[119] numbering approximately 20,000,[118] with both Orthodox and Progressive synagogues and a Jewish Day School.[120] The Baháʼí community in Perth numbers around 1,500.[118] Hinduism has over 20,000 adherents in Perth;[118] the Diwali (festival of lights) celebration in 2009 attracted over 20,000 visitors. There are Hindu temples in Canning Vale, Anketell and a Swaminarayan temple in Bennett Springs.[121] Hinduism is the fastest growing religion in Australia.[122] Perth is also home to 12,000 Latter-day Saints[123] and the Perth Australia Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


Perth, like the rest of Australia, is governed by three levels of government: local, state, and federal.[124]


The Perth metropolitan area is divided into thirty local government bodies, including the City of Perth which administers Perth's central business district. The outer extent of the administrative region of Perth comprises the City of Wanneroo and the City of Swan to the north, the Shire of Mundaring, City of Kalamunda and the City of Armadale to the east, the Shire of Serpentine-Jarrahdale to the southeast and the City of Rockingham to the southwest, and including the islands of Rottnest Island and Garden Island off the west coast.[125]


Perth houses the Parliament of Western Australia and the Governor of Western Australia. As of the 2008 state election, 42 of the Legislative Assembly's 59 seats and 18 of the Legislative Council's 36 seats are based in Perth's metropolitan area.

The state's highest court, the Supreme Court, is located in Perth,[126] along with the District[127] and Family[128] Courts. The Magistrates' Court has six metropolitan locations.[129]


Perth is represented by 10 full seats and significant parts of three others in the Federal House of Representatives, with the seats of Canning, Pearce, and Brand including some areas outside the metropolitan area.

The Federal Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia (previously the Federal Magistrates Court)[130][131] occupy the Commonwealth Law Courts building on Victoria Avenue,[132] which is also the location for annual Perth sittings of Australia's High Court.[133]


By virtue of its population and role as the administrative centre for business and government, Perth dominates the Western Australian economy, despite the major mining, petroleum, and agricultural export industries being located elsewhere in the state.[134] Perth's function as the state's capital city, its economic base and population size have also created development opportunities for many other businesses oriented to local or more diversified markets. Perth's economy has been changing in favour of the service industries since the 1950s. Although one of the major sets of services it provides is related to the resources industry and, to a lesser extent, agriculture, most people in Perth are not connected to either; they have jobs that provide services to other people in Perth.[135]

As a result of Perth's relative geographical isolation, it has never had the necessary conditions to develop significant manufacturing industries other than those serving the immediate needs of its residents, mining, agriculture and some specialised areas, such as, in recent times, niche shipbuilding and maintenance. It was simply cheaper to import all the needed manufactured goods from either the eastern states or overseas.

Industrial employment influenced the economic geography of Perth. After WWII, Perth experienced suburban expansion aided by high levels of car ownership. Workforce decentralisation and transport improvements made it possible for the establishment of small-scale manufacturing in the suburbs. Many firms took advantage of relatively cheap land to build spacious, single-storey plants in suburban locations with plentiful parking, easy access and minimal traffic congestion. "The former close ties of manufacturing with near-central and/or rail-side locations were loosened."[134]

Industrial estates such as Kwinana, Welshpool and Kewdale were post-war additions contributing to the growth of manufacturing south of the river. The establishment of the Kwinana industrial area was supported by standardisation of the east–west rail gauge linking Perth with eastern Australia. Since the 1950s the area has been dominated by heavy industry, including an oil refinery, steel-rolling mill with a blast furnace, alumina refinery, power station, and a nickel refinery. Another development, also linked with rail standardisation, was in 1968 when the Kewdale Freight Terminal was developed adjacent to the Welshpool industrial area, replacing the former Perth railway yards.[134]

With significant population growth post-WWII,[136] employment growth occurred not in manufacturing but in retail and wholesale trade, business services, health, education, community and personal services, and in public administration. Increasingly it was these services sectors, concentrated around the Perth metropolitan area, that provided jobs.[134]

Perth has also become a hub of technology-focused startups since the early 2000s that provide a pool of highly skilled jobs to the Perth community. Companies such as Appbot, Agworld, Touchgram, and Healthengine all hail from Perth and have made headlines internationally. Programs like StartupWA and incubators such as Spacecubed and Vocus Upstart are all focused on creating a thriving startup culture in Perth and growing the next generation of Perth-based employers.[citation needed]


Education is compulsory in Western Australia between the ages of six and seventeen, corresponding to primary and secondary school.[137] Tertiary education is available through several universities and technical and further education (TAFE) colleges.

Primary and secondary

Students may attend either public schools, run by the state government's Department of Education, or private schools, usually associated with a religion.

The Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE) is the credential given to students who have completed Years 11 and 12 of their secondary schooling.[138]

In 2012 the minimum requirements for students to receive their WACE changed[how?].[139]


Perth is home to four public universities: the University of Western Australia, Curtin University, Murdoch University, and Edith Cowan University. There is also one private university, the University of Notre Dame Australia, and a local campus of the Melbourne-based University of Divinity.

The University of Western Australia, which was founded in 1911,[140] is renowned as one of Australia's leading research institutions.[141] The university's monumental neo-classical architecture, most of which is carved from white limestone, is a notable tourist destination in the city. It is the only university in the state to be a member of the Group of Eight, as well as the Sandstone universities. It is also the state's only university to have produced a Nobel Laureate:[142] Barry Marshall, who graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery in 1975 and was awarded a joint Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine in 2005 with Robin Warren.

Curtin University, previously known as Western Australian Institute of Technology (1966-1986) and Curtin University of Technology (1986-2010), is Western Australia's largest university by student population.

Murdoch University was founded in 1973 and incorporates Western Australia's only veterinary school and, until its controversial closure in 2020, Australia's only theology programme to be completely integrated into a secular university.

Edith Cowan University was established in 1991 from the existing Western Australian College of Advanced Education which itself was formed on 11 December 1981 from the existing Teachers Colleges at Claremont, Nedlands, Churchlands, and Mount Lawley after Graylands had merged into Claremont, Churchlands and Mount Lawley in 1979. It incorporates the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts.

The University of Notre Dame Australia was established in 1990. Notre Dame was established as a Catholic university with its lead campus in Fremantle and a large campus in Sydney. Its campus is in the west end of Fremantle, using historic port buildings built in the 1890s, giving Notre Dame a distinct European university atmosphere.

The Melbourne-based University of Divinity established a campus in Perth in 2022 through its admission of Wollaston College, the theological college of the Anglican Diocese of Perth, as a collegiate college of the University.

Colleges of TAFE provide trade and vocational training, including certificate- and diploma-level courses. TAFE began as a system of technical colleges and schools under the Education Department, from which they were separated in the 1980s and ultimately formed into regional colleges. Two are in the Perth metropolitan area: North Metropolitan TAFE (formerly Central Institute of Technology and West Coast Institute of Training); and South Metropolitan TAFE (formerly Polytechnic West and Challenger Institute of Technology).



The main newspapers for Perth are The West Australian and The Sunday Times. Localised free community papers cater to each local government area. The local business paper is Western Australian Business News.


Radio stations are on AM, FM and DAB+ frequencies. ABC stations include ABC News (585AM), 720 ABC Perth, Radio National (810AM), Classic FM (97.7FM) and Triple J (99.3FM). The six local commercial stations are 882 6PR and 1080 6IX on AM; Triple M Perth (92.9FM), Nova 93.7, Mix94.5, and 96FM on FM. DAB+ has mostly the same as both AM and FM plus national stations from the ABC/SBS, Radar Radio and Novanation, along with local stations My Perth Digital, Hot Country Perth, and 98five Christian radio. Major community radio stations include RTRFM (92.1FM), Sonshine FM (98.5FM),[143] SportFM (91.3FM)[144] and Curtin FM (100.1FM).[145]


Perth is served by thirty digital free-to-air television channels:

ABC Perth studios in East Perth, home of 720 ABC Perth radio and ABC television
in Western Australia

ABC, SBS, Seven, Nine and 10 were also broadcast in an analogue format until 16 April 2013, when the analogue transmission was switched off.