This document was issued as a necessary step to rectify the absence of a legal instrument providing the authority detailed in Stirling's Instructions
of 30 December 1828.
The 1829 Act
providing for the government of the Colony had not been passed until after the fleet had set sail from England and, as a result, there was no formal legislative basis for Stirling's appointment as Lieutenant-Governor. Stirling's authority had 'rested on bluff'. In his own words: 'I believe I am the first Governor who ever formed a settlement without Commission, Laws, Instructions and Salary'.
On 1 November 1830 the first steps were taken under the 1829 Act to provide for the government of the Colony. The Act had empowered the King, on the advice of the Privy Council, to authorise any three persons within the Colony 'to make, ordain and establish all such Laws, Institutions and Ordinances, as may be necessary for the Peace, Order and Good Government of His Majesty's Subjects and others within the said Settlements'.
This power was used to provide for the constitution of the Colony's first Parliament in an Order-in-Council sent to the Colony on 28 April 1831
provided for a Legislative Council to consist of five members – the Governor, Senior Military Officer, Colonial Secretary, Surveyor-General and Advocate-General. No steps were taken to implement the Order, however, until after this Commission was received in the Colony the following year.
Battye, JS, Western Australia: A History from its Discovery to the Inauguration of the Commonwealth
, Oxford, Clarendon Press, (WA) 1924.
Black, D, The House on the Hill: A History of the Parliament of Western Australia 1832–1990
, Parliament of Western Australia, Perth, 1991.
Clark, CMH, Select Documents in Australian History, 1788–1850
, Angus & Robertson, Sydney, 1950.
Crowley, FK, Australia's Western Third: A History of Western Australia From the First Settlements to Modern Times
, Macmillan, London, 1960.
Lumb, RD, The Constitutions of the Australian States
, (Fifth edition), University of Queensland Press, Brisbane, 1991.
Stannage, CT, A New History of Western Australia
, University of Western Australia Press, Perth, 1981.
|Long Title:||Commission appointing Stirling as Governor and Commander-in-Chief, 4 March 1831|
|No. of pages:||3 pages + 1 page of Commission written in full|
|Measurements:||75 x 65 cm|
|Features:||Royal seal attached|
|Location & Copyright:||State Records Office of Western Australia|
|Reference:||SROWA: WAS 1354, Cons 622/1|