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Biographical information
After New South Wales, Stirling returned to the west coast of Australia. Success reached Whadjuk Noongar Boodjar (Country), Wadjemup (Rottnest Island), on 5 March 1827. After staying the night outside Thomson Bay, Stirling and crew reached Derbarl Yerrigan (the Swan River), also Country belonging to Wadjuk Noongar, the following day. He spent a fortnight around here and was particularly impressed with the land. [1]
Links to slaver
Stirling had multiple connections to the slave trade. His intergenerational family businesses traded in slave-produced goods in the United States and Caribbean. His brother Walter Stirling received compensation for the loss of enslaved people in Guiana and Barbados. Stirling was stationed in the Royal Navy at Jamaica, where his Uncle Charles Stirling was Commander-in-Chief. They received prize money for capturing ships, some of which contained slave-produced goods. Stirling's father-in-law James Mangles owned a ship which transported enslaved people between Africa and the Caribbean. [Georgie refs]
Attitudes around race
Attitudes around labour
Christopher Pease, Swan River 50 miles up, 2006: View of the Swan River, taken at the commencement of fresh water, in 1827, painted by Frederick Garling during the exploration by James Stirling:
Images notes
Christopher Pease on his artwork: 'This scene is taken from William John Huggins 1827 work Swan River 50 miles up. It depicts Captain Stirling’s exploration party coming ashore along the banks of the Derbarl Yerrigan (Swan River). In the foreground several Wajuk people sit passively as onlookers. On 29 September 1829 the first land grants were made open to the public. In 1839 the Ribbon Grants were initiated. These land grants divided the land into strips along the river. Each strip of land was given to individual families. For the Wajuk people this concept of individual land ownership was a foreign one. If you were to go to the river for water, egg, fish, waterfowl, turtle or worship after 1839 you were trespassing.'