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Western Australia


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Cockburn Local History

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Cockburn is a city that is located in Western Australia and is considered to be a vibrant and active community. The city was named after Admiral Sir George Cockburn, who was known for his naval leadership during the Napoleonic Wars. Created in 1979 after the merger of the city of Spearwood with the Kwinana town, the city of Cockburn has a rich history and has played a significant role in Western Australia’s development since its creation. Below, we take a look at its fascinating past and how it has evolved over time.

The history of Cockburn goes back thousands of years, with the indigenous people of the area being the Beeliar people. These people were known for their expertise in fishing and hunting, and the area is still considered sacred to this day by their descendants. In 1829, when Captain Fremantle landed in this area, the Cockburn Sound was named after the aforementioned Admiral. The city of Cockburn grew around this area, and its development has been shaped by its proximity to the port, which has helped contribute to its growth over the years.

The area that would later become the city of Cockburn was first surveyed in 1833 by John Septimus Roe, the Surveyor-General of Western Australia at the time. The first recorded European settler in the area was Henry Vincent, who arrived in 1843 and took up land along the Beeliar Wetlands. The area remained sparsely settled until the late 1800s when timber milling and farming began to take root. The establishment of the Rockingham-Perth railway line in 1893 opened up the area for further development. The railway station at Spearwood was created along the line, leading to further growth as people moved into the area.

The early 1900s were an era of growth for the city. Industries such as fisheries, market gardening, and dairying thrived as the population grew. The first high school in the area, South Fremantle Senior High School, was constructed in 1958, with further schools following in later years. The city continued to grow in the second half of the twentieth century, with substantial subdivisions happening in areas like South Lake, Munster, and Beeliar. The city was officially declared in 1979, marking the end of the Spearwood and Kwinana Town Councils. Since then, the population of the city has grown exponentially, leading to a vibrant and diverse community.

The city of Cockburn has had an interesting and varied history. Its origins as a sparsely settled area of Western Australia have given way to a vibrant and active community with a wide range of industries and people. The city has played an important role in the development of Western Australia, and its location near the port has helped contribute to its continued growth and prosperity. The history of the area is still being written, with new developments and communities continually being established, and it is sure to continue to play a significant role in Western Australia’s future.

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