Mandurah City has become a popular lifestyle alternative for Perth retirees and its connection with the Perth Central Business Dsitrict has been strengthened with the opening of the Perth-Mandurah railway line in December 2007 and a direct road connection to the Kwinana Freeway built by late year 2010. A housing affordability survey of 227 cities in 2008 ranked it the least affordable city in Australia.
The city attracts a large number of tourists, including many international visitors. The city centre foreshore is home to a variety of wildlife including dolphins, pelicans, shags, and an abundance of marine life including the blue manna crab which has become synonymous with the area. Mandurah is known for its protected waterways, beaches and excellent boating and fishing activities. The City of Mandurah holds a nationally significant arts festival in April each year, called the 'Stretch' festival which attracts wide community participation. The population of Mandurah is around 85,000 people (2009–2010).
The Noongar Aboriginal people, who inhabited some regions of Western Australia, named the area Mandjar ('meeting place'). After European settlement the name changed, possibly due to mispronunciation, to Mandurah. In December of 1829, Thomas Peel arrived in Western Australia from the United Kingdom with workmen, equipment and stores on the ship Gilmore. He had financed the trip in exchange for a grant of land in the Swan River Colony. Unfortunately for him, the contract stipulated that he was to arrive by no later than 1st of November 1829 and, as such, his original land grant was then nullified. Strongly, Peel built a small settlement named Clarence south of the Swan River colony at what is popularly called today as Woodman Point. Many problems with the settlement along with Peel's own ill-health led him to get the remaining Clarence settlers to the area known today as Mandurah. Thomas Peel died in year 1865 but Mandurah continued to grow, albeit very slowly, over the years leading to the 20th Century. Since its founding, Mandurah was administered under the Murray Road Board until year 1949, when the Mandurah Road Board was established. However, dissension within the board during the 1950s saw it suspended while Commissioner Richard Rushton oversaw the town's affairs. On 26th of April 1960, the Mandurah Road Board was reconstituted, and on 1st of July 1961, in accordance with the Local Government Act 1960, the Shire of Mandurah was founded. With a mining boom in nearby Jarrahdale, Pinjarra, and Wagerup and an industrial boom in Kwinana combined with an idyllic lifestyle by the coast saw Mandurah grow rapidly, and on 1st of July 1987 was upgraded to the Town of Mandurah. Just three years later on 14 April 1990. Mandurah became the fifth non-metropolitan settlement in Western Australia to become a city.
Much of Mandurah's economic form is based on retail, tourism, and manufacturing/construction. However, Mandurah is also the centre of Western Australia's third largest mining region. This includes bauxite mining and alumina refining at Pinjarra and Wagerup with the Huntly Mine at Pinjarra the largest in the world. Mandurah is also just one hour away from the Boddington Gold Mine, which has recently become Australia's largest producing gold mine. It is expected that a significant portion of workers at the mine will live in Mandurah.
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