More than 180 years ago, Mary Ann Friend opened her leather-bound journal and recorded her thoughts on the Swan River Colony.
"The town of Fremantle strongly resembles a country fair and has a pretty appearance, the pretty white tents looking much like booths," she wrote.
"At present there are not above five or six houses - it is situated at the entrance of the Swan."
Mrs Friend left England to embark on a two-year voyage with her husband Capt. Matthew Curling Friend in 1829.
She chronicled the couple's round trip from Portsmouth to Australia in an immaculate 366-page journal using ink, pencil and watercolours.
The journal includes a detailed description of Mrs Friend's seven-week stay in the Swan River Colony in 1830, providing one of the earliest accounts of life in WA.
The State Library of WA bought the journal for almost $200,000 at a London auction last year. It has since undergone significant conservation work and will soon be returned to Fremantle for the first time as part of a four-month exhibition.
State Library of WA Battye historian Kate Gregory said the journal provided an important first person account of the State's colonial history.
"It's enormously significant for our understanding of the everyday goings on of that early colony," Dr Gregory said.
"It's fairly nuanced because there are these funny anecdotes and descriptions of things interspersed with this picture of it being quite grim."
The journal is littered with sketches and includes three unpublished watercolour illustrations of Fremantle. It provides an insight into the scorching conditions and intolerable pests and rodents that plagued the early settlement camp.
"Am just roasted!!! The thermometer 92 in the shade," Mrs Friend wrote on February 7, 1830.
"Had kangaroo tail for dinner, a present from Mr Henty resembles ox tail had likewise paroquets and quails for dinner - quite colonial."
Mrs Friend's age at the time of her visit to Australia remains a mystery. Dr Gregory predicted she was in her late 20s.
The journal is written to Mrs Friend's sister but it is believed she planned on publishing it as a piece of travel writing.
The couple returned to Tas- mania to settle in July 1832 and Mrs Friend died in George Town six years later.
The journal will be on display at the WA Museum Shipwreck Galleries in Fremantle from November 12 to March 3.
It has also been converted to a digital format and will soon be available online through the State Library of WA.Quails for dinner - quite colonial."Mary Ann Friend