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William Dance

Captain William Townsend Dance arrived in Fremantle, with his wife Helena, as commander of HM sloop Sulphur 6 June 1829.

It was Mrs Dance who cut down the tree 12 August 1829 on the occasion of the official ceremony of the foundation of the Swan River Colony, commemorated by a plaque set in the footpath of Barrack Street, Perth, at the approximate location. It was also the king's birthday.

dance plaque

Ellen Mangles Stirling would have 'laid the foundation' but she was unwell (Statham-Drew suggests diarrhoea) and Helena Dance was the only lady in the colony available.

After retirement, Charles Dance was residing in Hertford before being incarcerated in the debtors prison there, and in 1850 he was residing in Plymouth before being sent to the debtors prison in Exeter.

He later lived until his death in Alphington Road, Exeter.

References and Links

Statham-Drew, Pamela 2003, James Stirling: Admiral and Founding Governor of Western Australia, UWAP.

Whiteley, E.S. 1967, 'H.M.S. Sulphur', Early Days, vol. 6, part 6: 45-55.

Thanks to Margaret Baddeley, personal communication, re Dance's later life.

'Dances with trees', Dodgy Perth.

Garry Gillard | New: 22 October, 2015 | Now: 5 October, 2023