Colonial settlement on Rottnest Island
The first Europeans took up residence on Rottnest Island shortly after the first settlement of the Swan River Colony was established in 1829. Rottnest Island was considered to be of interest as a place with potential for salt harvesting, farming and fishing.
In December 1830, Benjamin Smyth surveyed Rottnest Island for the Surveyor General. A plan for the township to be known as Kingstown was proposed, containing 177 lots of 1/3 of an acre and other lots of 10 acres to be offered to the public. These lots were contained within the area now known as Thomson Bay and extended around to what became Bickley Bay on the site where Kingstown Barracks stands today. William Clarke and Robert Thomson took up town lots and pastureland and Smyth's survey of 1831 showed the town lots and sites for various designated purposes. Farming involved successful cereal cropping and other attempts at establishing vegetable gardens and vineyards.
Thomson Bay was named after Robert Thomson, who became a major landholder on Rottnest Island during the 1830s.