In 1827 Captain James Stirling was sent by English authorities in New South Wales to the west coast of Australia to explore and report on the “suitability of the land for colonization,” and to examine the “River of the Black Swan.” On the 8th of March 1827, Captain Stirling and a party of eighteen people left the naval ship “Success” in two boats at noon to cross the bar at the mouth of the river, and proceeded to row up the river.
About 11 o’clock a spot was reached whence the River takes on an eastern direction just above a considerable creek on the left. We there found insurmountable obstruction to our further progress. In fact we had reached the termination, for beyond this was the bed of a torrent, but no longer a river, nor even a continuation of water, except in a succession of distant parts. Here then on high banks we pitched out tent. The richness of the soil, the bright foliage of the shrubs, the majesty of the surrounding trees, the abrupt and red coloured banks of the river occasionally seen, and the view of the blue summit of the mountains, from which we are not far distant, make the scenery around this spot as beautiful as anything of the kind I have ever witnessed.
- 13th of March, 1827 (Captain J. Stirling’s Log Entry)
In 1829, Captain Stirling was sent back to the west coast by the English Government as its first Governor and after taking up his post he refused to allow convicts to settle the Swan River saving the area for sons of English landed gentry, who brought with them a strong tradition of loyalty to the reigning monarch and faith in the established Church of England. The land on which All Saints Church stands was first settled by Major Frederick Chidley Irwin, who was a cousin to Captain Stirling. Irwin gave the acre of land upon which the Stirling party had camped, to the Anglican Church authorities.