Alexandra Hasluck Books

James Stirling

A short monograph published by Oxford University Press, 1963.
by Alexandra Hasluck

Publication Details:
Oxford University Press, 1963
Paperback 30 pp
ISBN: n/a

One of a series on Great Australians published in pocket-book size slim volumes with a summary introduction to the life of the person and a list for further reading. It tells the story of James Stirling's career but particularly his exploration of the west coast of Australia as Captain of the Success in 1827 and its settlement in 1829. Over the first visit of seventeen days the Swan River was explored as far as the cutter and the gig from Success could go up it and the islands off the coast near the mouth of the river were inspected and surveyed. Stirling persuaded the British government to take possession. At the end of December 1828, the warship Challenger was dispatched to Swan River, arriving in May 1829, when her commander, Captain Fremantle, took formal possession of the west coast of Australia. Captain Stirling appointed as Lieutenant-Governor arrived with his wife and family and various civil servants a month later on the Parmelia. He governed the new colony for ten years. As he sailed away the Swan River Colony became but an episode in his life which he believed had given him nothing but experience. However, it had given him a place in history that none of his later career, successful as it with his promotion to admiral in the Royal Navy in 1862, could do. Sometimes regarded as an opportunist, he acted with energy and enthusiasm that impressed everyone. The author in this short monograph explores James Stirling's role in the formation of the infant colony and concludes that the Stirlings were the right people, in the right place, at the right time.

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