History of West Australia

History of West Australia: A Narrative Of Her Past Together With Biographies Of Her Leading Men is a folio size book (250 mm x 320 mm), compiled by W.B. Kimberly over a period of 18 months, and published in 1897.


Due to its age, all of the material in the book is in the public domain and may be freely reproduced.


Warren Bert Kimberly, an American, came to Australia from Chicago in the mid-1880s and edited commemorative histories of the gold mining towns of Ballarat and Bendigo, both published by F.W. Niven & Co. in Melbourne. In late 1895 he approached Sir John Forrest with a proposal for a similar project if the Government of Western Australia would make a £2000 subsidy grant. Forrest countered with an offer that the government would guarantee the purchase of 100 of the completed books. Kimberly accepted and with assistant and Melbourne journalist J.J. Pascoe completed the 340,000 word project in 18 months.[1]

The book consists of two parts: The first (and larger) section up to page 348 deals with the history of Western Australia from the earliest European hypotheses of the country's existence in the 14th century through to May of the year of publication (1897), including extensive detail on European exploration across the state from 1829.[2] Two appendices which are essentially essays, follow and deal mainly with gold and the gold mining industry which was the dominant social and economic factor in the state at the time of publication.[3]

The second section is a volume of 163 biographies of notable Western Australians. Page numbering restarts from 1 through to 236 and typically include several pages of text as well as a large portrait photo for each entry.


  • CHAPTER I. – The Discovery of Australia
  • CHAPTER II. – The Discovery of Australia (Continued)
  • CHAPTER III. – The Aborigines
  • CHAPTER IV. – Western Australia Annexed
  • CHAPTER V. – Foundation of the Colony
  • CHAPTER VI. – Perth and Fremantle Founded, and Progress in 1829
  • CHAPTER VII. – Incidents and Progress in 1830
  • CHAPTER VIII. – Exploration ; Social Condition Abolition of Land Grant System; 1831
  • CHAPTER IX. – Famine Prices and Progressive Incidents; 1832
  • CHAPTER X. – Native Strife and Progressive Incidents; 1833
  • CHAPTER XI. – Condition of Settlement; Agitation and Native Troubles; 1834-5
  • CHAPTER XII. – Animation in Pastoral Pursuits; Occurrences from 1836 to 1838
  • CHAPTER XIII. – Land Laws; Exploration; Australind Settlement; 1839–42
  • CHAPTER XIV. – Depression; Birth of Industries; Convict Agitation; 1843 to 1848
  • CHAPTER XV. – A Penal Settlement; 1849 to 1853
  • CHAPTER XVI. – The Convict System; 1854 to 1860
  • CHAPTER XVII. – Transportation Ceases; North-West; an Election; 1861 to 1868
  • CHAPTER XVIII. – Representative Government Exploration; 1869 to 1878
  • CHAPTER XIX. – Public Works; Constitutional Agitation; Gold Discoveries; 1879 to 1888
  • CHAPTER XX. – Responsible Government; 1889 to 1892.
  • CHAPTER XXI. – The Goldfields; 1893 to 1897

Appendix IEdit

  • "The Interior Gold Region Of Western Australia" (pp 341–348), by S. Göczel, mining engineer and metallurgist discusses the current science and geographical issues relating to the location and extraction of gold deposits.

Appendix IIEdit

  • "The Mineral Resources" (pp 349–357), by F. C. B. Vosper deals with the major goldfield regions as well as mining machinery and mining laws.

























  1. ^ Stannage, C.T. (ed) (1981). A New History of Western Australia. University of Western Australia Press, Nedlands. p. 679. ISBN 0-85564-181-9.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  2. ^ Including details of attitudes towards the indigenous population prevalent at the time Garrick, Phyl (December 1984), "Two historians and the Aborigines: Kimberly and Battye [Paper in: Reece, Bob and Stannage, Tom (eds). European-Aboriginal Relations in Western Australian History]", Studies in Western Australian History (8): 111–130, ISSN 0314-7525
  3. ^ Kimberly, W.B. (compiler) (1897). History of West Australia. A Narrative of her Past. Together With Biographies of Her Leading Men. Melbourne: F.W. Niven.

Further readingEdit

  • Garrick, P. (1984) Two historians and the aborigines: Kimberly and Battye, commentary on their different attitudes. Studies in Western Australian History, No.8 (Dec. 1984), p. 111-130
  • Geraldton Advertiser, 30 May 1898, p. 2d – review of book
  • Kimberly, W.B. (1895) Bendigo and vicinity : a comprehensive history of her past, and a resume of her resources ; together with the biographies of her representative pioneers, public, commercial, and professional men, Melbourne: Niven.
  • "A HISTORY OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA". The West Australian. Perth: National Library of Australia. 19 June 1897. p. 3 Supplement: Supplement to the West Australian. Retrieved 18 December 2011.