Welcome to the Digitising King George’s Sound homepage. King George Sound on the south west coast of the continent of Australia was the site of the first permanent European settlement in what was to become Western Australia. A land already occupied by Nyungah – the indigenous people of the region – who had lived successfully in the area for about 30,000 years, on Christmas Day 1826 a contingent of British soldiers and convicts from Sydney New South Wales arrived and quickly established an outpost. That outpost today is called Albany.
Here, you have access to digitised original documents and their transcriptions, the text describing the operation of the settlement between 1826 and 1831 just before the place’s absorption into the Swan River colony formed on Western Australia’s west coast in June 1829. Significant are the documents from the Colonial Secretary of New South Wales and the mindset the colonial government had to a far-flung outpost outside of New South Wales.
There are other documents available about the King George Sound outpost between 1826 and 1831, and one suggests readers consult these in conjunction with those available here. The ‘Historical Records of Australia’ series III, volume 6 contains much on the King George Sound settlement, and can be browsed in the National Library of Australia’s Trove digital collection. Mulvaney and Green’s 1992 transcription of Collet Barker’s journals in Commandant of Solitude: The Journals of Captain Collet Barker, 1828-1831 is also seminal reading.
A note on terminology
Every effort occurred in transcribing the handwritten text as accurately as possible. This included replication of historical spelling mistakes or imprecise grammar, and use of place names:
- The spelling of the historical name ‘King George’s Sound’ for the outpost is maintained in the documents, but ‘King George Sound’ following the modern vernacular of dropping possessives exists in descriptions and supporting documentation;
- Frederickstown is another name for the settlement, but none of the documents presented here contain the name and it is therefore not used;
- For reading ease, the ligature ß that is preserved in modern German and that once existed in English is transcribed as ‘ss’.