Royal Naval Biography/Stirling, James

Civil Superintendent of the New Settlement on the Western Coast of Australia.
[Post-Captain of 1818.]

This officer was made lieutenant, Aug. 19, 1808; advanced to the rank of commander, June 19, 1812; appointed to the Brazen of 18 guns, Oct. 12 following; re-appointed to the same vessel, on the peace establishment, Sept. 5, 1815; and posted, Dec. 7, 1818. In that sloop he was principally employed on the Jamaica and Leeward Island stations.

Captain Stirling’s next appointment was, Jan. 25, 1826, to the Success 28, fitting at Plymouth, for the East India station. In the early part of 1827, he was sent to examine the western coast of New Holland, from Cape Leeuwin northwards, in order to ascertain an eligible situation for the establishment of a colony; and the report made by him, after a survey of 500 miles of coast, led to the selection of the Swan River, which he explored to its source, through an “exceedingly picturesque country.” In December, 1828, the terms on which emigrants would be permitted to locate there were issued from the Colonial Office, and it was at the same time announced that the government of the projected settlement would be administered by Captain Stirling, as civil superintendent. He has since returned thither in the hired ship Parmelia, accompanied by Commander Mark John Currie, R.N. as harbour master. Lieutenant Roe, R.N. as surveyor-general, and some other officers, selected for their scientific acquirements, who are to hold subordinate appointments in the colony. The Sulphur bomb-vessel, Commander William Townsend Dance, sailed at the same time, having on board a detachment of the 63rd regiment, under Captain Irwin, to be landed as a protection against the incursions of the natives.