Perth /ˈpɜːθ/ is the capital and largest city of the Australian state of Western Australia. It is the fourth-most populous city in Australia, with an estimated population of 2.04 million (as of 30 June 2015) living in Greater Perth. Perth is part of the South West Land Division of Western Australia, with the majority of the metropolitan area of Perth 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. The Perth Metropolitan Region includes 30 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 to The Lakes.
Perth was originally founded by Captain James Stirling in 1829 as the administrative centre of the Swan River Colony. It gained city status (currently vested in the smaller City of Perth) in 1856, and was promoted to the status of a Lord Mayorality in 1929. The city is named after Perth, Scotland, due to the influence of Sir George Murray, Member of Parliament for Perthshire and 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 is 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 astronaut John 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 7th in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s August 2016 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.