In 1929, Western Australia (WA) celebrated the centenary of the founding of Perth and the establishment of the Swan River Colony, the first permanent European settlement in WA. A variety of events were run in Perth, regional areas throughout the state, and even across Australia such as the Western Australian Centenary Air Race.
In 1926, the 25th anniversary of federation passed without much recognition, due in part to the sense of isolation that help to form Western Australia's identity. There was limited acknowledgement from the other states of the unique circumstances of Western Australia's situation, due to what historian Geoffrey Blainey described as "the tyranny of distance". It was this isolation that helped focus the community on celebrating its centenary; later, it would also be the catalyst for a growing secessionist movement.
A celebration committee began preparations in 1928, and in 1929 produced a number of publications including calendars of events. As 1929 approached, most towns formed their own committees and organised events, these ranged from special race meetings to regional shows, formal dinners, dances and sporting events. Additionally some towns and community organisations also renamed existing local features like parks and buildings, while others set aside an area for a monument which was then unveiled in the presence of dignitaries including the Governor, Premier and descendants of the early settlers.
Other events held in Perth in 1929
In April 1929 there was a demonstration held in Perth of fire brigades from around the country.
In July 1929 there were interstate football games held in Perth.
Many locations in Western Australia had buildings or locations that became known as Centenary memorials; for example the Municipality of Fremantle built a Centenary Building, the Claremont Showground has a Centenary Pavilion that still stands, and Northam had a Centenary Hill.
Avenues of trees were planted in Kings Park in commemoration of the event as well as honouring people involved in the celebrations.
The Perth Branch of the Royal Mint produced a commemorative medal. Most of the 85,000 medals struck were bronze, and the majority were given to Western Australian school children. 900 silver medals were also made, as were 3 gold medals.
12 August 1929
Centenary Celebration Period
The Centenary Celebration Period was designated as 28 September 1929 – 12 October 1929.
Despite a range of events involving various national bodies in the year, the specific main event was the 1929 Centenary Parade, which was held on Wednesday 2 October (which had been made a public holiday) and known as the Historic and Industrial Procession, passing through Perth.
2 October 1929
Wednesday 2 October 1929 was a public holiday in Perth.
The main Centenary procession (1929 Centenary Parade) involved considerable preparation of floats representing commercial and regional attributes of the state. It passed through the streets of Perth.
The Centenary Ball and celebrations at the Perth Oval were also held.
The afternoon at Perth Oval on the same day was the site of a Naval and Military Tournament.
In September, 1929, a choir of 1,000 voices sang at a Children's Thanksgiving Mass in Victoria Square, and also in a Centenary concert in His Majesty's Theatre.
In October, the Premier, Philip Collier announced that prisoner sentences of more than one month would be reduced at the rate of two days for each month of sentence remaining, after allowing for good conduct. Prisoners serving sentences during His Majesty's pleasure were excluded from the remissions.
Proximity to Depression
Western Australian historian Geoffrey Bolton ties in the events and the subsequent difficult times due to the economic depression in his book A Fine Country to Starve in (1972). While more recently Annette Davis looked at the popular entertainment values of the era.
Historical Society plaques
The Royal Western Australian Historical Society commissioned plaques that were ceremonially placed upon locations of significance to Western Australia. Locations included:
- The Round House, the oldest building still standing in WA
- All Saints Church, Henley Brook, at the camp site of Captain James Stirling's furthest up-stream exploration in 1827
- Chippers Leap
- Colebatch, Hal Sir, 1872–1953 (1929), A Story of a hundred years : Western Australia, 1829–1929, Fred. Wm. Simpson, Government PrinterCS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Kirwan, John Sir (1929), The centenary of Western Australia, s.n.
- Western Australian Centenary Celebrations. Executive Committee (1929), Souvenir programme : Western Australia's centenary, 1829–1929, Issued by the Centenary Celebrations Executive Committee
- Wilson, J. Graham (1929), Western Australia's centenary 1829–1929 : first century's progress with antecedent records, 1527–1828, Historic Press
- Centenary of Albany, Western Australia
- The Foundation of Perth 1829, a painting depicting the founding of Perth in 1829
- Silver Centenary, a plane built in 1929–1930 and named in honour of the centenary.
- WAY 79, the 1979 celebration of the 150th anniversary
- Australian Bicentenary, the national event held in 1988
- Western Australian 175th Anniversary, in 2004
- "East-West Air Race Ends". The Age. 7 October 1929. Archived from the original on 15 September 2009. Retrieved 24 October 2008.
- "1929". Secession 1929-1939. Battye Library. Retrieved 27 October 2008.
- "Isolation 1929". Secession 1929-1939. Battye Library. Retrieved 27 October 2008.
- / Colebatch, Sir Hal (editor).A Story of a hundred years : Western Australia, 1829-1929 Perth, Government. Printer.
- Western Australian Centenary Celebrations. Executive Committee. Centenary celebrations calendar 1929. Bulletins No. 2 & No. 4. 9 March 1929 – 17 October 1929 (held in Battye Library)
- "VOLUNTEER FIRE BRIGADES". The Register. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 13 April 1928. p. 14. Retrieved 23 May 2015.
- "GENERAL CONFERENCE, PERTH". The Methodist. Sydney: National Library of Australia. 15 June 1929. p. 5. Retrieved 23 May 2015.
- The Methodist Church of Australasia ninth general conference : souvenir, Methodist Church of Australasia General Conference, 1929, retrieved 23 May 2015
- "FOOTBALL". The West Australian. Perth: National Library of Australia. 26 June 1929. p. 5. Retrieved 23 May 2015.
- Photo and description of the Cenenary Pavilion[permanent dead link]
- Glenn Burghall (13 October 2014). "Western Australian Centenary 1929 Medal (part 1)". The Perth Mint. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
- Glenn Burghall (15 October 2014). "Western Australian Centenary 1929 Medal (part 2)". The Perth Mint. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
- State Reference Library image [permanent dead link]
- State Reference Library image[permanent dead link]
- State Reference Library image[permanent dead link]
- Anne Beeching (1988) Nancy takes the stick : the life of Nance, Contessa Filippini, ISBN 0-7316-3372-5
- item 12 Memorials and Memories – Kings Park and Botanic Garden Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority
- Bolton, G. C. (1994) A fine country to starve inNedlands, W.A : University of Western Australia Press in association with Edith Cowan University. ISBN 1-875560-36-X Previous ed.: Nedlands, W.A. : University of Western Australia Press, 1972 ISBN 0-85564-061-8
- Davis, Annette. (1990) Good times for all? Popular entertainment and class consciousness in Western Australian Society during the interwar years. Western Australia between the Wars, 1919-1939, p.68-79 – Studies in Western Australian history, Vol.XI
- "The Man of the Week". Western Mail. Perth: National Library of Australia. 20 June 1929. p. 4. Retrieved 20 November 2012.