Western Australia Day

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Western Australia Day (formerly known as Foundation Day)[1][2] is a public holiday in Western Australia, celebrated on the first Monday in June (2 June in 2014) to commemorate the founding of the Swan River Colony in 1829. Because of the celebration of Western Australia Day, WA does not celebrate the Queen's Birthday Holiday in June, as most states do; it is held in September or October instead.[3]


HMS Challenger, under Captain Charles Fremantle, anchored off Garden Island on 25 April 1829. Fremantle officially claimed the western part of Australia for Britain on 2 May. The merchant vessel Parmelia – with the new colony's administrator Lieutenant-Governor James Stirling, other officials, and civilian settlers on board – sighted the coast on 1 June. It anchored in Cockburn Sound on 2 June. Another warship, HMS Sulphur, arrived on 6 June, carrying the British Army garrison. The Swan River Colony was officially proclaimed by Stirling on 11 June.

Ships carrying more civilian settlers began arriving in August, and on 12 August, Helen Dance, wife of the captain of Sulphur, cut down a tree to mark the founding of the colony's capital, Perth.

In 1834, Stirling decided that an annual celebration was needed to unite the colony's inhabitants, including both settlers and Aborigines, and "masters and servants" (the terms used at the time for employers and employees). He decided that an annual commemoration would be held on 1 June. It appears that the date was chosen by Stirling not only because it represented the sighting of the coast from Parmelia, but because it was also the date of a significant British naval victory in 1794, the "Glorious First of June".[4]


  1. ^ "Western Australia Day (Renaming) Bill 2011". Parliament of Western Australia. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 
  2. ^ King, Rhianna (2012). Foundation Day makes way for WA Day – WA Today. Published 10 April 2012. Retrieved 10 April 2012.
  3. ^ "Public holidays in Western Australia". Government of Western Australia, Department of Commerce. 2013. Retrieved 26 January 2014. 
  4. ^ DPC 2004