Perth is the capital city of Western Australia, situated on the Swan River. The settlement was founded by Captain Stirling back in 1829 and was named after the town of the same name in Scotland, said to be in the honour of Scotsman Sir George Murray, who was the then Secretary of State for the Colonies. The population of the area increased with the discovery of gold in the 1890's. It is one of the most isolated metropolitan areas in the world and is closer to Singapore and Jakarta than it is Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Perth is regarded as the administrative centre for business and government for the state of Western Australia, which has an economy dominated by agriculture, mining and petroleum.
The Western Australian Cricket Association Gound, or WACA for short, has been the home of cricket in the state (including the now-named Western Warriors) since 1893 after being built on swamp land. It staged its first Test in 1970 and has hosted other sports including: football, baseball, rugby union and Aussies rules, while also being used as a venue for rock concerts. However many of the other attractions are now staged at the larger Subiaco Oval. Major redevelopments were undertaken at the WACA in the 1980's with the construction of the Prindiville and Lillee-Marsh grandstands, as well as the erection of six floodlight towers which stand 70 metres high. The capacity was reduced in 2002 but a $250m redevelopment of the stadium is planned to get underway in March 2011.
The WACA became known for two things - a bouncy pitch and the Freemantle Doctor, a cooling afternoon breeze that drifted off the ocean across the ground. Both features made Perth a prime location for pace bowlers to flourish, while spinners will get plenty of work into the wind. However batsmen can enjoy the conditions too; Matthew Hayden struck a then world record 380 against Zimbabwe in Perth. The pace and bounce was established by the high clay content in the pitches and also by the intense heat in the state. In recent times a little life has gone out of the surfaces, though England will get the chance to have a look at first hand as they play a warm-up match at the ground before the first Test in Brisbane.
England have not enjoyed their previous trips to Perth, managing just one triumph in 12 Test matches. That solitary success came back in 1978/79 when Australia's team was weakened by World Series cricket, with current national selector Geoff Miller bowling the tourists to victory. In recent times England have been whacked at the WACA and they have yet to bowl Australia out twice at the ground.