It is June 1st, Western Australia Day or Foundation Day to the traditionalists!
185 years ago James Stirling aboard the Parmelia attempted to join Captain Fremantle in Cockburn Sound.
One of my favourite times of the school year, when I was young, was WA Week. We dressed up as pioneers and learned all about the Swan River Colony. We also used to have Arbor Day in that week, and I vividly remember planting trees around my school each year. I think these are the times when I really fell in love with history.
Unfortunately we don’t seem to have so much time for the fun and celebration of this anymore. Maybe we can start a revival.
To help celebrate the birth of the Swan River Colony I have made a resource for you all to use. Drop by my Teachers Pay Teachers Store and download it for free.
The pack includes a booklet to fill in and a PowerPoint presentation with information about the history side of things. Please distribute it to as many people as are interested. The contents will complement aspects of the history curriculum from years 3 to 5.
In putting this pack together I have once again found interest and awe in the stories of that time. I can only begin to imagine what it must have been like for Ellen Stirling, making the voyage from England to Australia on a small boat with a three year old and another on the way. Giving birth to her second son on the journey, then arriving in an isolated and foreign land to begin a new settlement. Next time I complain about something I will think of her!
It is also difficult to imagine what the Aboriginal people thought and felt at seeing these foreign people invade the rhythm of life they were accustomed to. Then of the untold horrors they were to become involved in as a result of the settlement growing.
It has been a short history compared to so many other cities around the world, but an interesting one. I have been talking to my children about these things today, so they can appreciate their local history a little bit more. We even went for a trip to the Perth Town Hall to see the plaque about Mrs Dance cutting down the tree. I always loved that story when I was little, my 8 year old self thought there was something unusual about a lady being given the job of cutting down a tree to found the city of Perth. I always wondered who that Mrs Dance was and what she was like!
Happy WA Day to all my fellow Western Australians.