This second edition has been brought up to date following the latest developments in the state. The human history of Western Australia, as of all Australia, stretches back some 60,000 years. It is often assumed that European colonisation was very recent relative to the rest of Australia, but in fact it was contemporary with the first penal colony in Queensland, and while a South Australian settlement was still a gleam in Londons eye. Albany was first settled in 1826 and the Swan River settlement (later to become Perth) in 1829. It was also the first part of Australia to be even seen by Europeans: the Portuguese back in the early 1600s. The first 60 or 70 years of European settlement were very difficult, but when the gold rushes came in the late 1800s, WA was set on the path of mineral wealth that still drives its economy today.
Russell Earls Davis graduated in Law at Sydney University and practiced as a solicitor in Sydney. He later entered the ministry of the Anglican Church, moved to Western Australia, and spent 28 years as chaplain at the prestigious Hale School, teaching history. His first book on Australian history, Bligh in Australia, was published in 2010.