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Perth (Australia)

Perth is a vibrant and modern city sitting between the cerulean(蔚藍的)Indian Ocean and the ancient Darling Ranges(達嶺山脈). It claims to be the sunniest state capital in Australia, though more striking is its isolation from the rest of the country - Perth is over 4400kms (2750mi) from Sydney by road.

The city centre's sterile concrete-and-glass skyscrapers unfortunately dominate a picturesque riverside location. Still, behind the domineering edifices hide a handful of 19th-century buildings and facades and some saving-grace patches of GREenery.

Perth is situated on Australia's western coast, close to the south-western tip of the country. The city centre is fairly compact, situated on a sweep of the Swan River(天鵝河). The river, which borders the city centre to the south and east, links Perth to its port, Fremantle(弗里曼特爾). The western end of Perth rises to the pleasant Kings Park(英皇公園), which overlooks the city, then extends to cosmopolitan Subiaco(蘇比雅克). Further west, suburbs extend as far as Scarborough and Cottesloe beaches on the Indian Ocean.

Spring (September to November) and autumn (March to May) are the best times to visit, as Perth experiences hot, dry summers and mild, but rainy, winters. One peculiarity of the local weather is the breeze that blows in from the sea in the late afternoon - call it the 'Fremantle Doctor', and you might as well wear a T-shirt saying 'I'm not from around here'.

Every year around February/March the Festival of Perth offers entertainment in the form of music, drama, dance, visual art and films. The Northbridge Festival is hosted at the same time. The Perth Royal Show takes place every September while the Artrage Festival is in October.

The site that is now Perth had been occupied by groups of the Nyoongar tribe for thousands of years. They, and their ancestors, can be traced back some 40,000 years.

In December 1696, three ships in the fleet commanded by de Valmingh - Nijptangh, Geelvinck and Het Weseltje - anchored off Rottnest Island(洛特尼斯島). On 5 January 1697, a well-armed party landed near present-day Cottesloe Beach(科特索海灘)then marched eastwards to the Swan River near Freshwater Bay. They tried to contact some of the Nyoongar to enquire about the fate of survivors of the Ridderschap van Hollant, lost in 1694, but were unsuccessful. They sailed north, but not before de Vlamingh had bestowed the name Swan on the river.

Perth was founded in 1829 as the Swan River Settlement, but it GREw very slowly until 1850, when convicts were brought in to alleviate the labour shortage. Many of Perth's fine buildings, such as Government House and Perth Town Hall, were built using convict labour. Even then, Perth's development lagged behind that of the eastern cities, until the discovery of gold in 1890s increased the population four-fold in a decade and initiated a building boom.

Perth's penchant for rampant speculation has meant that many of the city's 19th-century buildings have since disappeared amid a deluge of concrete edifices of dubious architectural value. This growth has undoubtedly been fuelled by western Australia's vast mineral wealth. In the 1980s, it was said that Perth had more millionaires per capita than any other city in Australia. Huge business empires emanated at a rate completely disproportionate to a city of that size, and soon enough, with the high-profile fall from grace of beer, yachting, media and Vincent van Gogh mogul Alan Bond in particular, Perth came to epitomize(成為……的縮影)the decade's obsession with making a fast buck. Alan Bond came to national prominence with the unlikely win of the boat he paid for - Australia II - at the America's Cup in 1983. Fremantle yacht club hosted the tournament four years later, bringing the previously sleepy 19th-century port to life. Perth became known as the kind of place where anybody could become a millionaire, except, unfortunately, for the local Nyungar population, which remains comparatively disadvantaged.

The political and corporate scandals which have rocked the city in recent years have added to its frontier, get-rich-quick image. In fact, they were a throwback to the bad old days of the 1980s, when the line between government collusion and government regulation was dangerously blurred, and by a Labor government of all things. Richard Court's Liberal government presided over the GREater part of the 1990s and oversaw a property boom in Perth similar to that which overtook most of Australia's major urban centres.

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