Perth is the capital city of the largest Australian state. Isolated on the west coast of the continent for many years, Perth was separated by enormous deserts from all the other colonies until a road was built across the Nullarbor Plain. From the time the British settled there in 1829, Perth's early growth was slow. The settlers resisted accepting convicts for many years but eventually had to give in. There were not enough people to fill jobs and build public works, so convicts were made to take on these roles from the 1850s. Perth became the last Australian colony to take convicts from Britain, with the last ones arriving in 1868. Perth is now one of Australia's major tourist attractions and welcomes visitors from around the world, many of whom come to experience its beautiful Indian Ocean beaches.
Each of Australia's eight capital cities has a unique history. Some, like Sydney, depended on convicts for their early survival. Others, such as Adelaide, refused to accept convicts and developed differently as a result. Having a reliable source of fresh water was a common requirement, which is why all of the cities are located beside a water supply of some sort. Many cities struggled through their early years, until the 19th century Gold Rush provided them with the funds to build magnificent civic buildings, as well as roads, bridges and railways. Today, each of the capitals has its own character and attractions, and their development plans will determine the shape of Australia's future.