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Perth is the capital and second-largest city of the Federation of West Australia. Founded in 1829 and established as the national capital of West Australia upon the nation's independence in 1903, Perth has served not only as the seat of government and economy, but also that of important reforms that have shaped the nation, including the 1990 March Riots.
First settled as early as 1826 and founded in 1829, Perth grew as a small town until 1856, when Britain's Queen Victoria granted it city status within the Colony of Western Australia. In 1901, the Commonwealth of Australia was proclaimed, minus Western Australia, which overwhelmingly voted against joining the new federation. Two years later, when West Australia was granted its independence by Edward VII of Britain, Perth became capital of the new nation, and as a result, the city's main hospital - the Perth Public Hospital - was renamed King Edward VII Memorial Hospital in his honor.
"Years of Peace" Era (1905-1930)
Between 1903 and 1932, the population of Perth boomed as the capital and then-largest city of the new republic, quadrupling from 67,000 in 1903 to over 268,000 in 1930.
Great Depression; Socialism takes hold (1930-1932)
In January 1930, the national economy was pulled into the ever-growing Great Depression that had begun in America the previous October, and Perth was no exception. Over a thousand unemployed factory workers marched on the city and national Capitols in early 1931, riots over the skyrocketing unemployment rate wracked the streets throughout the decade, and worst of all, fringe groups - particularly the corrupt West Australian Communist Party - began to take advantage of the chaos and nominated Fred Paterson as Prime Minister in the 1932 elections. Paterson won by a landslide, due to rising public discontent with the federal government's handling of the economic situation, but proved hardly better at all, turning the nation into a semi-socialist and heavily militarized state by 1937.
Militarism era (1932-1990)
From 1932 to 1990, Perth's population plateaued at roughly 600,000, largely due to acts of terrorism and public unrest that plagued the city, as well as the occasional bombing raids by Allied forces during World War II, the Indonesian War, and the Great Australian War, particularly in WWII, when American B-29s and B-49s based in Australia and Kerguelen devastated Perth's industrial sector.
March Riots (1990)
Main Article: 1990 March Riots
With the collapse of the Manila Pact Alliance, the nation began to clamor for greater public freedoms and to end the extreme militarism that had wracked the continent for over fifty years. Finally, in March of 1990, with most Eastern European nations free from the yoke of Soviet Communism, uprisings across West Australia and its annexed territories reached a fever pitch in the March Riots centered in the Perth city suburbs of Armadale, Bayswater, and Belmont. Police attempting to quell the rioters were overwhelmed and imprisoned themselves as the crowds grew to include much of the city's population and marched on both the national and city capitols as well as the central business district. When the crowds surrounded the national capitol, Prime Minister Peter Symon ordered the military in and authorized them to use extreme force as determined. Much to Symon's disbelief, air force personnel and army troops refused to blatantly slaughter innocent civilians and instead joined the protesters, calling for an immediate end to militarism and socialism as well. After much debate among Senate members and his aides, Symon finally relented after revelation of his nuclear deals with the Soviet Union in the late 70s and stepped down as Prime Minister of West Australia, along with his entire cabinet and the Senate at 9:07 p.m. AWST on March 12, briefly leaving the nation leaderless as the people carefully chose new and trustworthy, but temporary leaders for the Senate and Acting Prime Minister in the unofficial August 22 elections.