The human history of Western Australia commenced between 40,000 and 60,000 years ago with the arrival of Indigenous Australians on the northwest coast. The first inhabitants expanded the range of their settlement to the east and south of the continent. The first recorded European contact was in 1616, when Dutch explorer Dirk Hartog landed on the west coast, having been blown off course while en route to Batavia, nowadays called Jakarta.
Although many expeditions visited the coast during the next 200 years, there was no lasting attempt at establishment of a permanent settlement until December 1826 when an expedition on behalf of the New South Wales colonial government, led by Major Edmund Lockyer, landed at King George Sound. On 21 January 1827 Lockyer formally took possession of the western third of the continent of Australia for the British Crown. This was followed by the establishment of the Swan River Colony in 1829, including the site of the present-day capital, Perth. The harsh conditions faced by the settlers resulted in population growth being minimal until the discovery of gold in the 1880s. Since the gold rush, the population of the state has risen steadily, with substantial growth in the period since World War II.
Western Australia gained the right of self-government in 1890, and joined with the five other states to form the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901. The desire of Western Australians to revert to complete self-governance, separate from the Commonwealth, culminated in 1933 with a successful referendum for secession supported by 68% of electors. In 1935 the British parliament declined to act since secession would require the assent of the Australian parliament, and the movement lapsed with an improving economy and generous federal grants.
When Australia's first inhabitants arrived on the northwest coast 40,000 to 60,000 years ago the sea levels were much lower. The Kimberley coast at one time was only about 90 km from Timor, which itself was the last in a line of closely spaced islands for humans to travel across. Therefore, this was a possible (even probable) location for which Australia's first immigrants could arrive via some primitive boat. Other possible immigration routes were via islands further north and then through New Guinea.
Over the next tens of thousands of years these Indigenous Australians slowly moved southward and eastward across the landmass. The Aborigines were well established throughout Western Australia by the time European ships started accidentally arriving en route to Batavia (now Jakarta) in the early 17th century.
The first European to sight Western Australia was the Dutch explorer, Dirk Hartog, the first European to suggest to have found a continent there, who on 26 October 1616 landed at what is now known as Cape Inscription, Dirk Hartog Island. Before departing, Hartog left behind an inscribed pewter plate affixed to a post. In 1696 the plate was discovered and replaced by Willem de Vlamingh and repatriated to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. A multitude of Dutch visits followed during that century, charting virtually the whole of the west coast, the West Australian south coast and Australia's northern coast.
The first English vessel to visit, when attempting to sail the Dutch-established Brouwer Route to the Indies, was Tryall, an East India Company-owned East Indiaman under the command of John Brookes who in 1622 sighted Point Cloates before later on 25 May wrecking on Tryal Rocks, off the northwest coast of Australia. Some of the 143 crew remained on the Monte Bello Islands for 7 days, during that time sighting Barrow Island, before sailing to Batavia in a longboat. A second boat brought some more crew to Batavia, so just over 40 people survived, including Brookes. Almost one hundred crew apparently perished in the wreck. Tryall became Australia's oldest known shipwreck.
A later English visitor was William Dampier, who in 1699 sailed down some of the western coast of Australia. He noted the lack of water and in his description of Shark Bay in his account "A Voyage to New Holland", he expressed his frustration:
as the 7th of August when we came into Shark's Bay; in which we Anchored at three several Places, and stay'd at the first of them (on the W. side of the Bay) till the 11th. During which time we searched about, as I said, for fresh Water, digging Wells, but to no purpose.
A number of sections of the Western Australian coastline were given names which did not last past the exploratory era in names of features – such as Eendrachtsland. However some names, such as 't Landt van de Leeuwin (Leeuwin's Land), materialised at a later date as Cape Leeuwin.
Swan River Colony (1829–1832)
Colony of Western Australia (1832–1901)
|British Crown Colony|
|•||1829–1832||James Stirling first|
|•||1895–1900||Gerard Smith last|
|•||Federation of Australia||1901|
The first formal claim of possession for Great Britain was made on 29 September 1791 by Commander (later Captain) George Vancouver RN, on a spot he named Possession Point, at the tip of the peninsula between the waters he also named Princess Royal Harbour and King George the Third's Sound at Albany ("the Third" was dropped from the name in 1826).
In the early 19th century the British became concerned about the possibility of a French colony being established on the west coast of Australia. In 1826 the Governor of New South Wales, Ralph Darling, ordered the establishment of a settlement at King George's Sound. An army detachment was sent from Sydney headed by Major Edmund Lockyer with eighteen soldiers, one captain, one doctor, one storekeeper and twenty-three convicts.
On 21 January 1827 the whole of Australia was finally claimed as British territory when Major Lockyer formally annexed the western portion of the continent in a ceremony on King George Sound.
In March 1831 the penal settlement was withdrawn, and the control of King George's Sound was transferred from New South Wales to the Swan River Colony. Captain James Stirling decreed that the settlement would be named "Albany" from 1 January 1832.
The first significant European settlements were established on the Swan River by James Stirling in 1829. The colonists first sighted land on 1 June, an official Proclamation was made on 18 June and the foundation of the colony took place on 12 August. As Lieutenant Governor, Stirling had sole authority to draft laws and decide day-to-day affairs.
By 1859, all the other Australian colonies had their own parliaments and colonists in Western Australia began pushing for the right to govern themselves. The British Colonial Office opposed this because of the slow rate of growth and the presence by then of convicts. Petitions asking for some of the positions in the Legislative Council to be filled by popularly elected colonists were presented to London in 1865 and 1869. In 1870 this was granted, although the Governor could still veto the Council's decisions.
Much of the land around the Swan River Colony was unsuitable for agriculture and it was inevitable that the colony would have to expand beyond the Swan River area after the most fertile locations were quickly settled.
Sheep farming was the most successful early agricultural activity, and the basis of all expansion until the 1850s.
While Western Australia was initially a "free settlement", economic problems for settler capitalists led them to seek the transportation of British convicts. WA became a penal colony in 1850.
The Gregory brothers led major exploration expeditions to many parts of the colony, including:
By 1859, all the other Australian colonies had their own parliaments and colonists in Western Australia began pushing for the right to govern themselves. The British Colonial Office opposed this because of the slow rate of growth and the presence of convicts. Petitions asking for some of the positions in the Legislative Council to be filled by elected members were presented to London twice during the 1860s.
By 1868, over 9,000 convicts had been transported to Western Australia on 43 convict ship voyages.
The first permanent settlements in the North West (later divided into the Pilbara and Kimberley regions) took place in the mid-1860s, initially at the Harding River, De Grey River and Roebourne (gazetted in 1867). Pearling also came to dominate the North West, initially in Nickol Bay, with a fleet at Tien Tsin Harbor (later renamed Cossack). In the North West, unlike southern WA, the labour force was dominated by Indigenous Australians, often under harsh forms of unfree labour.
In 1870, some members of the Legislative Council were elected for the first time, although only male settlers with significant property could vote and the Governor could still veto the Council's decisions.
John Forrest led two major expeditions:
During the 1870s, the Murchison and Gascoyne regions were also settled by Europeans.
Until the 1880s the economy of the state was based largely on wool and wheat. A major change in the colony's fortunes occurred in 1885 when gold was discovered and prospectors by the tens of thousands swarmed across the land in a desperate attempt to discover new goldfields.
In 1887 a new constitution, including proposals for responsible government, was drafted and sent to London by Governor Broome for approval. It was argued that due to the increasing wealth being generated by gold rushes, Western Australia should become a self-governing colony. An Act granting self-government was passed by the British Parliament in 1890, giving the Colony independence from the UK in matters other than foreign policy, defence and "native affairs". Section 70 of the self-government act established an Aboriginal Protection Board, under the control of the British Parliament, not the Western Australian one. Governor Broome had earlier warned the British Colonial Office that the Western Australians were not to be trusted in matters relating to Aboriginal persons. A further clause to the constitution stated that 5,000 pounds or one percent of state revenues, whichever was the greater, was to be allocated to Aboriginal persons for their welfare and advancement. Many settlers resented these clauses, and Western Australia has never honoured this clause to its own constitution. A previous Governor, Sir William Robinson, was re-appointed to supervise the change. He travelled by train from Albany to Perth and towns en route lit bonfires and people gathered at railway sidings to celebrate his arrival and the new constitution. His arrival in Perth on 21 October 1890 saw the city decorated with elaborate floral arches spanning the city's main streets and buildings were decked with banners and flags.
In 1891 the rush to the Murchison goldfields began when Tom Cue discovered gold at the town which now bears his name. In the years that followed dozens of gold towns – Day Dawn, Nannine, Peak Hill, Garden Gully, Dead Finish, Pinnicles, Austin Island and Austin Mainland – flourished only to be abandoned when the seams were exhausted and the gold fever moved on.
The influx of miners from the eastern colonies and from overseas increased the presence of trade unions in Western Australia. The Trades and Labor Council, Perth was established in 1891 and Perth Trades Hall opened (1912). The first edition of the Westralian Worker appeared on 7 September 1900 and was followed shortly afterwards by the opening of the Kalgoorlie Trades Hall, the first such hall in Western Australia. A Trades Hall was opened in Fremantle in 1904.
An influx of people from Victoria, South Australia, and Tasmania led to Australian rules football becoming the dominant football code when several local rugby football clubs switched codes.
Sir John Forrest – the first Premier of Western Australia and its only premier as a Colony – clashed with Robinson over Section 70. While Forrest had argued that Western Australians should accept Section 70 in order to obtain self-government, by 1892 he was attempting to have it changed. William Traylen MP argued that "as our revenue is growing up now, and the natives can scarcely be said to be increasing in numbers, we shall be paying a very undue proportion of our income as a colony for the purpose of supporting the Aboriginal native race".
Gold inspired a new wave of exploration, including David Carnegie who, in 1896, led an epic expedition that traveled through the deserts north of Coolgardie, through the Gibson and Great Sandy Deserts to Halls Creek in the Kimberley, before returning to Coolgardie.
In the late 19th century there was talk of the gold-rich region around Kalgoorlie seceding from Western Australia, as a colony/state called "Auralia". This campaign coincided with the reluctance in Perth regarding Western Australia taking part in Australian federation.
In 1899, Forrest succeeded unilaterally passed the Constitution Amendment Act, taking control of Aboriginal Affairs without approval of the British House of Commons. Many Aboriginal people argue that the 1899 amendment was an illegal usurpation of British government power and one percent of accumulated Government revenues should be set aside for Aboriginal welfare, as intended.
On 1 January 1901, following a proclamation by Queen Victoria, Western Australia, along with the other five British colonies of New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria, formed the federation of the Commonwealth of Australia, of which they each became component states. However, Western Australia was rather reluctant to join the union, doing so only after a railway line connecting the west coast to the east coast was offered.
The wealth generated from gold soon disappeared and by the early years of the 20th century the economy was once again dependent on wool and wheat. This dependency meant that a dramatic fall in wool and wheat prices in the late 1920s – early 1930s saw the state's economy collapse. It was not to recover until after World War II when the Federal Government's postwar immigration policy saw a huge influx of migrants, nearly all of them from Europe, in the period 1947 to 1970.
Important events in Western Australia included the following:
An overview of Australian Aboriginal kinship groupings within Western Australia, 1979. Tribal Boundaries map based on Norman Tindales 1974 map. It was published in Western Australia: An Atlas of Human Endeavour by the State Government, given to every school aged child in Western Australia, in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the settlement of the Swan River Colony (the cities of Perth and Fremantle) by a small English military force and several hundred free colonists in 1829.
Noongar - occupying the area of the South West Agricultural Division of Western Australia - affected from 1827 onwards, and today represented by the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council. It includes five cultural groups:Perth Type: Matrilineal moieties and totemic clans. Patrilineal local descent groups. Includes Amangu, Yued, Whadjuk, Binjareb, Wardandi, Ganeang and Wilmen.
Nyakinyaki Type: Alternate generational levels similar to Western Desert type, with patrilineal local descent groups. Includes Balardong and Nyakinyaki.
Bibelmen type: Patrilineal moieties and patrilineal local descent groups. Includes Bibulmen and Minang.
Wudjari type: similar to Nyakinyaki except they have named patrilineal totemic local descent groups.
Nyunga type: similar to Wangai with two endogamous named divisions (Bee-eater and King fisher), in which marriage took place within one's own division but children were in the opposite, modified from the Western Desert system. Includes Nyunga.Yamatji - occupying the Murchison, Gascoyne- affected from the 1840s onwards, represented today by the Yamatji Bana Baaba Marlpa Land and Sea Council.Nganda type:Patrilineal totemic local descent groups, no moieties or sections. Includes Nganda and Nandu.
Inggadi-Badimaia gtype: Sections not well defined, Patrilineal totemic local clans grouped into larger divisions. Includes Inggada, Dadei, Malgada, Ngugan, Widi, Badimaia, Wadjari, and Goara.
Djalenji-Maia type: Sections corelaed with kin terms, Matrilineal descent groups. Includes Noala, Djalenji, Yinigudira, Baiyungu, Maia, Malgaru, Dargari, Buduna, Guwari, Warianga, Djiwali, Djururu, Nyanu, Bandjima, Inawongga, Gurama, Binigura and Guwari.
Nyangamada type: Sections with indirect matrilineal descent, with patrilineal local descent groups. Includes Bailgu, Indjibandji, Mardudunera, Yaburara, Ngaluma, Gareira, Nyamal, Ngala, and Nyangamada.Wankai or Wongai - occupying the Goldfields and Nullarbor regions of Western Australia affected from the 1880s onwards, represented today by the Goldfields Land and Sea Aboriginal Council Corporation.Galamaia-Gelago type: Like Nyunga, but practising circumcision. Includes Galamaia, Ngurlu, Maduwongga, and Gelago.
Mirning Type: Patrilineal local totemic descent groups, No moieties or sections. Similar to the Western Desert type. Includes Ngadjunmaia, Mirning.Kimberley peoples - in the Kimberley region - speaking a variety of languages and affected from the 1870s onwards, represented today by the Kimberley Land Council.Garadjeri type: As for Nyangamada. Includes Garadjeri, Mangala, Yaoro, Djungun, Ngombal, Djaberadjabera, and Nyulnyul.
Bardi type. Patrilineal local descent groups, no moieties or sections. Includes Warwar, Nimanburu, Ongarang, Djaul Djaui.
Ungarinyin type: Patrilineal. Includes Umedi, Wungemi, Worora, WunumbulNgaanyatjarra - occupying the Central Desert region - and being much less affected than the other Aboriginal groups of Western Australia.Aboriginal history of Western Australia
The history of the Aboriginal inhabitants of Western Australia has been dated as existing for 50-70 thousand years before European contact. This article only deals with documented history from non indigenous sources since European settlement in Perth.Admiral Gifford (ship)
Admiral Gifford was a wooden schooner that was lost while travelling between Port Macquarie and Sydney, New South Wales, on 8 October 1834 with a cargo of grain, hides and tallow.Buka cloak
Buka, or Boka, is the name for the cloak traditionally worn by Noongar people, the Indigenous people of south-western Australia.
Unlike in the south-east, where people such as Yorta Yorta wore possum-skin cloaks, the Noongars made use of the pelt of the kangaroo.
While in the south east, there was a lot of sewing involved, there was less involved in the south-west. It normally consisted of the whole skin of two to three kangaroos sewn together, with the tail hanging at the bottom of the cloak.
The cloak was worn over one shoulder and under the other. It was fastened at the neck using a small piece of bone or wood. By wearing the cloak this way it allowed for movement of both arms without any restrictions and allowed for daily activities to be carried out with ease.
Cloaks were reversible. They were worn the fur on the inside when particularly cold and could be turned the other way when it was raining. The cloaks were also used as rugs to sleep on at night.
Today many Aboriginal people have new cloaks and rugs made from kangaroo skins. They are used in performances or often as they were traditionally as a nice warm rug or cloak.Cyclone Chris
Severe Tropical Cyclone Chris was one of the most powerful cyclones to strike Western Australia on record, packing winds gusting up to 290 km/h (180 mph).Cyclone Vance
Cyclone Vance was a tropical cyclone that struck Western Australia during the active 1998–99 Australian region cyclone season, and was also one of six tropical cyclones to form off the coast of Australia during that season. When making landfall the Learmonth Meteorological Office (35 km south of Exmouth) recorded the highest Australian wind gust of 267 km/h (166 mph). The previous highest gust was 259 km/h (161 mph) at nearby Mardie during Cyclone Trixie. This record was surpassed in 2010 after a world record wind-gust of 408 km/h (254 mph) at Barrow Island during Cyclone Olivia in 1996 was declared official by the World Meteorological Organisation.
Forming on 19 March 1999, in the Timor Sea, Vance then curved west-southwest where it recurved and struck the Gascoyne and Pilbara coasts of Western Australia on 22 March as a Category 5 cyclone on the Australian scale and dissipating the following day.
Vance caused severe damage across the western coast of Australia. The hardest hit town was Exmouth where 70 percent of the buildings sustained severe damage. However, because of advance warnings there were no reports of fatalities. Damage totaled AU 100,000,000 (1999 USD).David Black (historian)
David William Black (born 1936) is a Western Australian historian. He has lectured and written extensively on Australian and Western Australian history, especially political history. He was Professor in History and Politics in the School of Social Sciences and Asian Languages at Curtin University of Technology until his retirement in 2002, and is now Professor Emeritus. He is currently Chairperson of the Parliamentary History Advisory Committee, and a Parliamentary Fellow (History).
Black has had numerous publications and considerable media exposure in regard to parliamentary history in Western Australia.
Black was appointed Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the 2010 Australia Day Honours for "service to education and to the social sciences, particularly through the promotion and preservation of the political and parliamentary history of Western Australia".Flying Foam massacre
The Flying Foam Massacre was a series of confrontations between white settlers and Aboriginal people around Flying Foam Passage on Murujuga (Burrup Peninsula), Western Australia. The confrontations occurred between February and May 1868, and were triggered by the killing of two police officers and a local workman. The confrontations resulted in the deaths of unknown number of Jaburara (or Yaburrara, Yapurarra) people with estimates ranging between 15 and 150 dead.J S Battye Library
The J S Battye Library (more properly known as the J. S. Battye Library of West Australian History) is an arm of the State Library of Western Australia. It stores much of the state's historical records and original publications including books, newspapers, periodicals, maps, and ephemera, as well as oral history tapes, photographs and artworks, films and video, and non-government records which are kept in the library's Private Archives collection. The library provides a range of services, including reference, copying, and genealogical services, as well as consultancy and reader education.Jadira
The Jadira are a people and territory mentioned by Norman Tindale in his classic ethnographic map of Australian tribes. The status of Jadira in the sense defined by Tindale has been recently questioned by Paul Burke.No. 25 Squadron RAAF
No. 25 (City of Perth) Squadron is a general reserve squadron of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). It is based at RAAF Base Pearce in Perth, Western Australia, and forms part of the Combat Reserve Wing. The squadron was formed in early 1937 and until early 1939 was designated as "No. 23 Squadron". During World War II, it provided local air defence for the Perth region, before undertaking Army co-operation duties in 1943–1944 and then converting to the heavy bomber role in 1945. In the heavy bomber role, the squadron took part in operations against Japanese targets in the Netherlands East Indies and supported Allied ground operations during the Borneo Campaign.
Following the end of hostilities, No. 25 Squadron was disbanded in mid-1946 but was re-raised two years later as a Citizen Air Force unit based out of Pearce. From 1948 the squadron's reservists flew jet fighters to provide air defence over Western Australia, but the squadron ceased flying duties in 1960 and switched to the ground support role. In 1989, flying operations resumed as No. 25 Squadron assumed responsibility for jet introduction training and fleet support; this role ceased in 1998 and since then the squadron has been tasked with providing a pool of trained personnel to the Air Force.Pintupi Nine
The Pintupi Nine were a group of nine Pintupi people who lived a traditional hunter-gatherer desert-dwelling life in Australia's Gibson Desert until 1984, when they made contact with their relatives near Kiwirrkurra. They are sometimes also referred to as "the lost tribe". The group were hailed as "the last nomads" in the international press when they left their nomadic life in October 1984.Poseidon bubble
The Poseidon bubble was a stock market bubble in which the price of Australian mining shares soared in late 1969, then crashed in early 1970. It was triggered by the discovery by Poseidon NL of the early indications of a promising nickel deposit in September 1969.
In the late 1960s, nickel was in high demand due to the Vietnam War, but there was a shortage of supply due to industrial action against the major Canadian supplier Inco. These factors pushed the price of nickel to record levels, peaking at around £7,000/ton (£113,000 in 2018 adjusted for inflation) on the London market early in November 1969. In September 1969, the mineral exploration company Poseidon NL made a major nickel discovery at Mount Windarra 22 kilometres (14 mi) northwest of Laverton, Western Australia. In early September its shares, which had been trading at $0.80, began rising on insider trading (at that time insider trading was not illegal). On 1 October Poseidon announced that drilling had struck 40 metres of ore averaging 3.56% nickel and the price immediately rose until it was trading at $12.30. After this very little further information came to light but the price continued to climb on speculation; at one point, a UK broker suggested a value of up to $382 a share.The price of Poseidon shares quickly became too high for many investors, so some turned to stocks in other companies exploring near Windarra, and eventually other nickel mining stocks in general. As the price of mining shares grew, new companies were listed by promoters hoping to cash in. From October to December 1969 the ASX All Mining index rose by 44%. Mining stocks peaked in January 1970, then immediately crashed. Poseidon shares peaked at an intraday high of $280 in February 1970, and fell rapidly thereafter.By the time Poseidon actually started producing nickel, the price of nickel had fallen. Also, the nickel ore was of a lower grade than originally thought and extraction costs were higher. Profits from the mine were not sufficient to keep Poseidon afloat, and in 1974 it went into receivership. Western Mining then took over management of the mine, operating it until 1991. Mount Windarra produced 5.3 million tonnes of ore grading 1.5% nickel during its minelife.In 1974, the Rae Committee handed down its report on the Poseidon bubble, in which it documented numerous cases of improper trade practices. It recommended a number of changes to the regulation of stock markets, which ultimately led to Australia's national companies and securities legislation.In the late 1901, Robert Champion de Crespigny's Normandy Resources took over Poseidon, becoming Normandy Poseidon, the largest gold miner in Australia. In 2001 Normandy Mining was taken over by the Newmont Mining Corporation, which also at that time acquired Canadian company Franco-Nevada. The acquisitions made Newmont the world's largest producer of gold.Postage stamps and postal history of Western Australia
Western Australia, a state of Australia and formerly a British colony, established its postal service soon after the British settled in 1829; in December of that year, Fremantle's harbourmaster was appointed postmaster. A post office in Albany opened on 14 October 1834, and the main post office moved to Perth in 1835.Riji
Riji are the pearl shells traditionally worn by Aboriginal men in the north-west part of Australia, around present day Broome. The word Riji is from the Baada language. Another word for it is jakuli.
Rijis were worn as pubic coverings, like a loin cloth, and attached with hairstring from a belt or band around the waist. Only men initiated to the highest degree could traditionally wear them.They were often incised with sacred patterns, which could be tribal insignia, or have other meanings, or tell stories. Riji are associated with water, spiritual powers and healing due to the luminous shimmering quality of their surfaces. Bardi equate the light reflecting off the shells to lightning flashes, which are prominent during the monsoon, and to lights flashing off the cheeks of the Rainbow Serpent, who is closely linked to water and rain.
One of the unique patterns used in the Kimberley region of Western Australia is a pattern of interlocking designs. The incised designs are highlighted with a mixture of ochre and Spinifex resin, which is rubbed into the grooves. Decorated and plain pearl shells are used for rain-making and magical purposes or for trade.
Riji were objects of great value and were traded with inland Aborigines along ancient trade routes over vast areas of the continent. They have been found at Yuendumu in the desert, south-eastern Arnhem Land, Queensland and South Australia.
Often plain pearl shells were decorated further along trade routes, far from their place of origin.
Aboriginal artists Aubrey Tigan and Butcher Joe Nangan created riji out of mother-of-pearl buttons and cloth. Artists still make Riji today in the Broome area. Some use the older, sacred patterns, while others choose to use more modern designs.State Register of Heritage Places
The State Register of Heritage Places is the heritage register of historic sites in Western Australia deemed significant at the state level by the Heritage Council of Western Australia.
Places listed on the register include buildings, structures, gardens, cemeteries, memorials, landscapes and archaeological sites.WA Inc
WA Inc was a political scandal in Western Australia. In the 1980s, the state government, which was led for much of the period by premier Brian Burke, engaged in business dealings with several prominent businessmen, including Alan Bond, Laurie Connell, Dallas Dempster, John Roberts, and Warren Anderson. These dealings resulted in a loss of public money, estimated at a minimum of $600 million and the insolvency of several large corporations.
Bond and Connell were major contributors to the party in government, the Labor Party and its remarkable fundraising structure, the John Curtin Foundation. A royal commission (the Royal Commission into Commercial Activities of Government and Other Matters) was established in 1990 by Labor premier Carmen Lawrence to examine the dealings.
Connell alleged [in evidence to the Commission] that Hawke dropped a proposed gold tax after Connell and various Perth high-flyers donated $250,000 each to Labor during an infamous lunch in Brian Burke's office in 1987—a claim the former PM vigorously denied.
Burke's loyalty to those who had donated their efforts (and money) to Labor was no less fervent. Taking the John Curtin Foundation axiom to the next level, Burke created the West Australian Development Corporation and installed fellow Catholic John Horgan (pictured second from left, top) on $800,000 a year, an extraordinary figure for a public servant not only then but now.—Journalist Tony Barrass, 2009.
In 1991, political scientist Paddy O'Brien identified the members of the government most associated with WA Inc deals as premier Burke and his successor Peter Dowding, deputy premier David Parker, industrial development minister Julian Grill and attorney-general Joe Berinson.Wesfarmers
Wesfarmers Limited is an Australian conglomerate, headquartered in Perth, Western Australia, with interests predominantly in Australian and New Zealand retail, chemicals, fertilisers, coal mining and industrial and safety products. With AU$65.98 billion in the 2016 financial year, it is the largest Australian company by revenue, overtaking Woolworths and BHP. Wesfarmers is the largest private employer in Australia, with approximately 220,000 employees.Wesfarmers was founded in 1914 as a co-operative to provide services and merchandise to Western Australian farmers. It was listed on the Australian Securities Exchange in 1984 and grew into a major retail conglomerate.Yapurarra
The Yapurarra or Jaburara ('Northerners') were an Indigenous Australian people who once lived about the Pilbara region of Western Australia and the Dampier Archipelago. The traditional tribe is virtually extinct, though some people of Jaburara descent are still active.
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