Although the British Army had established a base at King George Sound (later Albany) on the south coast of Western Australia in 1826 ( to forestall rumoured annexation by France) Perth was the first full scale settlement by Europeans in the "western third" of the continent.
The town was established in 1829, as the capital of the Swan River Colony, a free settler colony.
In 1850, as Western Australia, it became as a convict colony, at the request of farming and business people who wanted cheap labour.
The name Perth was chosen in 1829 by James Stirling. Stirling, a Scot, implemented the wish of Sir George Murray, Secretary of State for War and the Colonies, that the settlement be named after Perthshire, which was his birthplace as well as his parliamentary seat in the British House of Commons.
On August 12 that year, Mrs Helen Dance cut down a tree to mark the day of the founding of the town.
In 1901, the colony joined the Federation of Australia.
The city has prospered as a result of repeated mining booms, especially for gold, iron ore, nickel, and alumina: Western Australia is rich with mineral resources.
Perth is set on the Swan River, so named because of the native black swans.
It is a city that fills the sandplain that lies adjacent to the Darling Scarp; extending to Joondalup in the north, Mandurah in the south and Mundaring in the east.
The coastal suburbs take advantage of Perth's oceanside location and clean beaches.
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.
Perth summers are generally hot and dry, with February normally the hottest month of the year.
The hottest ever recorded temperature in Perth was 46.2°C on 23 February 1991.
Winters are cool and moist, though winter rainfall has been declining in recent years.
The official temperature for Perth has only twice reached 0°C, on 15 July 1997 and 27 July 1998.
Even in mid-winter, maximum daytime temperatures only occasionally fall below 16°C .
Because Fremantle was the first landfall in Australia for migrant ships coming from Europe in the 1950s and '60s, Perth experienced an influx of British, Italian and Greek migrants.
More recently, large-scale immigration to Perth by air from the UK has continued, giving Perth the highest-proportion of British-born residents of any Australian city.
In some suburbs in southern Perth, the populations of are up to 20 per cent British by birthplace.
There has also been substantial immigration from Eastern Europe, including former Yugoslavia and former Soviet republics.
Perth also has substantial immigrant communities from South East Asia such as Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia, China and India.