Late in 1826, the Governor of NSW,
Ralph Darling, sent Maj Edmund Lockyer with a detachment of soldiers
from the 39th Dorsetshire Regiment and a party of convicts to King
Georges Sound, where Albany now stands. They established a secondary
penal colony, discovering that Durmont d'Urville had already visited the
area and surveyed the Sound.
Stirling at the foundation ceremony of Perth WA. Uniforms left to
right are Victorian Rangers, Victorian Infantry Brigade and Victorian
Capt James Stirling, of HMS Success,
was not satisfied that Darling's action was sufficient, and obtained his
permission to look for a more suitable site on the west coast. In 1827
Stirling explored the Swan River, reporting on its great strategic
value. On 2 May 1829 Capt Charles Fremantle, of HMS Challenger, arrived
and took possession of not just the west coast, but the rest of New
Holland not already included in territory claimed by the British
Stirling was appointed
Lieutenant-Governor of the new colony of Western Australia, establishing
Perth as capital in 1829.
Capt F.C. Irwin, of the 63rd West
Suffolks was appointed to command a detachment of the regiment,
consisting of one other officer and 66 men. As a further defence
measure, all men between 15 and 50 had to enrol for military service.
- Prior to Federation, the only Army in
WA was a part-time volunteer force
consisting of eight infantry companies:
two at Perth,
- two at Fremantle and one each at
- Northampton, plus an artillery field battery.
strength was between 500-600.
More than 1200 West Australians
volunteered for the Boer War in South Africa (1899-1902). On Tuesday 1
January 1901, the armed forces of all six Australian States came under
control of the Commonwealth Government.
Sir John Forrest (known as the
"emperor of the west") took control of all defence forces on 1
March 1901 - a date accepted by historians as the birthday of the
Australian Army. It was not until
1902, however, that a military leader was selected to command all
Australian land forces - Maj Gen Sir Edward Hutton, a former British
soldier with experience in NSW, Canada and the Boer War.