Western Australia Day

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Western Australia Day
Also calledFoundation of the Colony (1833–1876)
Foundation Day (1877–2011)
WA Day
Observed byWestern Australia
TypeState holiday
SignificanceFoundation of Western Australia in 1829
DateFirst Monday in June
2022 dateJune 6  (2022-06-06)
2023 dateJune 5  (2023-06-05)
2024 dateJune 3  (2024-06-03)
2025 dateJune 2  (2025-06-02)
Related toAustralia Day, Norfolk Island Foundation Day

Western Australia Day or simply WA Day[1] (formerly known as Foundation Day)[2][3] is a public holiday in Western Australia (WA), celebrated on the first Monday in June each year to commemorate the founding of the Swan River Colony in 1829. Because of the date of Western Australia Day, WA does not have the King's Official Birthday public holiday in June, as do the other Australian states; it is held in September or October instead.[4]


HMS Challenger, under Captain Charles Fremantle, anchored off Garden Island on 25 April 1829. Fremantle officially claimed the western part of Australia for Britain on 2 May. The merchant vessel Parmelia – with the new colony's administrator Lieutenant-Governor James Stirling, other officials, and civilian settlers on board – arrived on the night of 31 May and sighted the coast on 1 June. It finally anchored in Cockburn Sound on 6 June. The warship HMS Sulphur arrived on 8 June, carrying the British Army garrison. The Swan River Colony was officially proclaimed by Stirling on 11 June.[5][6][7]

Ships carrying more civilian settlers began arriving in August, and on the King's birthday, 12 August, the wife of the captain of Sulphur, Helena Dance, standing in for James Stirling's wife Ellen Stirling, cut down a tree to mark the founding of the colony's capital, Perth.[5]

In 1832, Stirling decided that an annual celebration was needed to unite the colony's inhabitants, including both settlers and Aboriginal Australians and "masters and servants". He decided that the commemoration would be held on 1 June each year (or if a Sunday, on the following Monday), the date originally planned by Stirling for Parmelia's arrival in recognition of the first and greatest British naval victory over the French in 1794, the "Glorious First of June".[6][8]

The holiday was celebrated as Foundation Day up until 2011; in 2012, it was renamed Western Australia Day as part of a series of law changes recognising Aboriginal Australians as the original inhabitants of Western Australia.[3]


  1. ^ "What is WA Day?". Celebrate WA. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
  2. ^ "Western Australia Day (Renaming) Bill 2011". Parliament of Western Australia. Retrieved 11 April 2012.
  3. ^ a b King, Rhianna (2012). Foundation Day makes way for WA Day – WA Today. Published 10 April 2012. Retrieved 10 April 2012.
  4. ^ "Public holidays in Western Australia". Government of Western Australia, Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety. 3 January 2018. Retrieved 30 March 2018.
  5. ^ a b "The story behind WA Day". Celebrate WA. Perth, WA. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  6. ^ a b Calder, Mary E. (1977). Early Swan River Colony. Adelaide, SA: Lansdowne Press. p. 22. ISBN 9780727003485.
  7. ^ Fraser, Malcolm A. C. (1898). "Western Australian Year-book for 1896–1897". Western Australian Year-Book for (10 ed.). Perth, WA: The Registrar General: 13. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
  8. ^ "Government Notice". The Perth Gazette and Western Australian Journal. 27 April 1833. p. 66. Retrieved 30 January 2015.