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Title: Western Australia, comprising a Description of the Vicinity of Australind, and Port Leschenault. Author: Thomas John Buckton. * A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook * eBook No.: 1400771h.html Language: English Date first posted: February 2014 Date most recently February 2014 Produced by: Ned Overton. Project Gutenberg Australia eBooks are created from printed editions which are in the public domain in Australia, unless a copyright notice is included. We do NOT keep any eBooks in compliance with a particular paper edition. Copyright laws are changing all over the world. Be sure to check the copyright laws for your country before downloading or redistributing this file. This eBook is made available at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg Australia Licence which may be viewed online.
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The second map accompanying this book is not available. The usage of italics in several passages has been made consistent. The "Leschenault Shark" described on pages 81-2 is now known as the whale shark.
Thanks to the Battye Library, Perth, W.A.
Containing the Settlements
KING GEORGE'S SOUND
Map courtesy Trove; NLA Map No. nk2456-104
Click on the map to enlarge it.
PLAN Shewing the Situation of the
NEW SETTLEMENT OF AUSTRALIND
IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA
60 MILES DISTANT SOUTH
of Swan River.
Map courtesy Battye Library, Western Australia (microfilm).
Click on the map to enlarge it.
Author of "China Trade," &c. &c.
JOHN OLLIVIER, No 59, PALL MALL.
PRINTED BY T. BRETTELL, RUPERT STREET, HAYMARKET.
SIR JOHN BARROW, Bart.
F.R.S., &c. &c. &c.
Permit me to evince, by dedicating this small work to you,
the high sense I entertain of your important public services, and
of the aid which you have lent to the cause of geographical
science and discovery.
If I do not greatly err, it was to your pen, through one of our most celebrated periodical works, that public attention was first called to the superior advantages possessed by Western Australia for Colonial Settlement, and the best description which has yet appeared of its geography, climate, and natural resources.
Anxious to exhibit a faithful view of the present condition of that Colony, without disparagement of other establishments, I feel that I cannot do wrong by dedicating to you, as the first influential patron of the Colony, my humble attempt to accomplish that object, trusting you will overlook its numerous imperfections.
|7, Albany Terrace,
26th August, 1840.
Distress arising from Excess of Labour and Capital in this Country—Want of both in the Colonies—Difficulties in adjusting the Supply of Labour and Capital in the Colonies—Object of the Work—Principle of Colonization enunciated by Mr. Wakefield—General adoption of his Views by leading Politicians—Forms a Guarantee of Success to future Emigrants—Discovery of Western Australia—History of its Settlement—Negotiations with the Government for the Advancement of this Colony—Regulations at length established for encouraging Emigration to it—Projected Town to be named Australind—Benefits arising from the Patronage of great Companies
Geographical Position and Extent of Western Australia—Aspect of the Country—Geological Character
Rivers, Bays, and Harbours
Soil and Climate
Natural Productions—Timber, Grasses, Flax—Corn-Flowers—Fruits—Wool, Coal, &c.—Animal Kingdom—Beasts, Birds, Reptiles, Insects, Fish, Fisheries
The Native Inhabitants—Their Numbers, Habits, Character, Manners and Customs—Their capacity for Civilization, and Disposition towards British Settlers
Government—Laws—Military Force—Public Officers—Church—Missionaries—Schools—Agricultural Society—Fishing Associations—Banks—Exchanges—Trust and Life Insurance—Newspaper—Projects—Prisons—Penitentiary at Rottenest—Crimes—Imports and Exports—Revenue and Expenditure
Government Regulations for the Protection of Settlers in Western Australia—Old Terms
Regulations for the guidance of those who may propose to embark as Settlers for the New Settlement on the Western Coast of New Holland—January 1829
Information for the use of those who may propose to embark as Settlers for the New Settlement in Western Australia.—February 1829
Information for the use of those who may propose to embark as Settlers for the New Settlement in Western Australia—July 1830
Journal of a Voyage from Cockburn Sound, Swan River, to Port Leschenault, the Vasse, and King George's Sound, in H. M. Colonial Schooner, "Champion," Lieutenant Belches, R.N., Commander; in the months of August, September, and October, 1838, by W. N. Clark
Gage's Roads—Official announcement—Government Gazette
Prices of Provisions and Stock.—Wages
Settlement of Australind, in Western Australia, under the Western Australian Company
Observations on the Leschenault District, and more particularly on the Lands there purchased by the Company: by Captain Sir J. Stirling, R.N., late Governor of Western Australia
Terms of Land Sales
Regulations for Labourers emigrating to the Settlement of Australind, in Western Australia
Scale of Emigrant's Outfit
DISTRESS ARISING FROM EXCESS OF LABOUR AND CAPITAL IN THIS COUNTRY—WANT OF BOTH IN THE COLONIES—DIFFICULTIES IN ADJUSTING THE SUPPLY OF LABOUR AND CAPITAL IN THE COLONIES—OBJECT OF THE WORK PRINCIPLE OF COLONIZATION ENUNCIATED BY MR. WAKEFIELD GENERAL ADOPTION OF HIS VIEWS BY LEADING POLITICIANS—FORMS A GUARANTEE OF SUCCESS TO FUTURE EMIGRANTS DISCOVERY OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA—HISTORY OF ITS SETTLEMENT—NEGOTIATIONS WITH THE GOVERNMENT FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF THIS COLONY—REGULATIONS AT LENGTH ESTABLISHED FOR ENCOURAGING EMIGRATION TO IT—PROJECTED TOWN TO BE NAMED AUSTRALIND BENEFITS ARISING FROM THE PATRONAGE OF GREAT COMPANIES.
It is now universally admitted that there exists in this country, great competition for employment in every kind of labour, bodily and mental, amongst all classes of persons, whether well or ill-educated. The debates in Parliament, the evidence supplied to Committees of both Houses, and almost every newspaper, furnish proof that the number of persons in this kingdom who are struggling with difficulty for the means of subsistence, is extremely great; that the happiness and prosperity of society at large is thereby materially lessened, and that even the stability of our political institutions is occasionally placed in jeopardy by this state of things.*
[* H. G. Ward, Esq. M.P., Speech in the House of Commons, 27th June, 1839, on Colonization.—Quarterly Review, No. 78, Art. 8.]
If any one should doubt the correctness of these opinions, let him direct his attention to the present state of pauperism: let him reflect on the meagre pittance awarded as wages both to the agricultural and the manufacturing labourer; on the numbers in the manufacturing districts constantly unemployed; on the growing disposition to turbulence amongst the labouring classes, of which Chartism is the exponent; and, finally, let him reflect on the multitudes of the Irish poor subsisting by mendicancy and plunder.* Whatever the peculiar views of individuals may be on the subject of population, corn-laws, pauperism, &c., no person, taking due pains to inform himself, can doubt for a moment that there has long been in the United Kingdom a much greater number of persons than could find full employment at wages, or other remuneration sufficient for their comfortable subsistence. To express the result in a word,—labour is in excess in this country in proportion to the means for its profitable investment. Whilst such a state of things indisputably exists at home, it is at the same time equally certain, although not equally known or understood, that in our colonies there is as great a want of labour as there is a surplus of it here. Hence has arisen a desire amongst the working classes, in proportion to their knowledge of the opening for their employment in our colonies, to emigrate, but the first difficulty that presents itself to the labouring man at home, is the supposed impossibility of removing himself from the place where his services are little valued, to the favoured spot where such services would be richly remunerated: the cost of conveying himself any considerable distance, appearing to him to present an insuperable bar to the attainment of his object: and thus in too many cases his hopes and well-intentioned projects have been at once extinguished.
[* In Ireland there are 2,300,000 persons for whose labour there is no demand for thirty weeks in the year.—Evidence; Poor Law Inquiry Commission.]
Capital is also found in a state of excess here, and of deficiency in the colonies. The manufacturer, the merchant, and farmer constantly perceive this excess manifested in the great competition of their respective rivals in business, and in the low rate of profits consequent thereon. In removing to a colony, our farmers, merchants, and manufacturers find that the greatest difficulty they have to contend against, is the excessively high rate of Wages, if not the absolute destitution of all assistance from labourers. Could they conscientiously or lawfully avail themselves of slave labour, as in the ancient flourishing period of Greek colonization, or as still permitted in the United States; ** they would speedily be enabled to produce a great surplus of articles having exchangeable value, and thereby attain individual wealth, and advance the general prosperity of the colony in which they might be settled.
[** There are 2,000,000 Slaves in the United
States, and their value, at £.60 each, is a property saleable for
£.120,000,000!—See Minutes of Evidence on Colonial Lands,
By a more recent calculation, the number of slaves in the United States is estimated at 3,000,000, which, at the present valuation of £.100 each, gives a nominal value of £.300,000,000 sterling!!]
Repeated experiments *** have been made to engage labourers from this country, partly for wages, and partly in consideration of the expense the capitalist had been put to in conveying them to the colonies. One result has almost uniformly followed these experiments: the labourer, having speedily found that he could, by the competition of other capitalists, obtain higher wages than he had bargained for, and that by labouring at high wages for a few months, he could acquire land sufficient for producing what he considered necessary for his own subsistence—disregarded his contract—became at once independent, and a landed proprietor.
[*** Ibid, p. 63.]
The object of this little work is to exhibit to capitalists and labourers proposing to emigrate, a remedy for the evils above stated, and to furnish them with the best attainable information, respecting a colony where such a remedy may be most successfully applied.
The merit of discovering that sound principle of colonization,—a sufficiency of labour, with a high rate of wages and of profits, at the same time that it prevents great excess of either,—is due to Mr. Wakefield, who ten years ago first expounded his enlightened views on this subject, in his entertaining and instructive Letter from Sydney.* These views were followed up in 1833, by his work entitled England and America, The subject was of too much importance, it involved too many interests, and those of too great magnitude, to permit the Colonial Department to treat it with disregard. From a Speech of Lord Howick's, in the House of Commons, on Emigration, in February 1831, the government appears to have been induced to weigh with care the views of the Colonization Society, which had adopted Mr. Wakefield's opinions. Lords Ripen and Glenelg were certainly influenced thereby. Tins principle was recognized by the Legislature in 1834, in the Act for Colonizing South Australia, 4th and 5th Will. IV.** On the 8th of June, 1836, a Select Committee of the House of Commons was appointed to investigate the subject; *** and their "Report on the Disposal of Lands in the British Colonies," further sanctioned that principle of colonization, which, after being once clearly unfolded, surprises by its simplicity, by its almost universal capability of adaptation, by its practical utility, and by the necessity of its application at this period in explanation of some of our economical difficulties, and as a remedy for many of our social evils ****.
[* Edited by Robert Gouger, and published in 1829.]
[** The last Act of the Unreformed Parliament.]
[*** In 1838, these views were fully confirmed by the numerous and intelligent witnesses examined before the Transportation Committee.
[**** See the Earl of Durham's Report on the affairs of Britkh North America, p. 73, and Report in Appendix (B), by Mr. Charles Buller, M. P. The merit due to this latter Report has been awarded publicly by Mr. Buller to Mr. E. G. Wakefield.]
The principle may be thus briefly stated:—
That all unoccupied lands in the colonies being property of the Crown, no person shall be allowed to obtain waste land therein except by purchase of the Crown, in certain considerable quantities, and at a uniform price per acre, fixed sufficiently high to keep a continued supply of combinable labour in each colony, proportioned to the available capital invested therein.
That the Funds raised by the sale of lands in any colony, shall be employed in conveying thither labourers from the United Kingdom who desire to emigrate, free from all expense to them: preference being given to young adult persons, especially if recently married; and care being taken to preserve equality of numbers of both sexes.
The carrying out of this principle in the case of the colony of South Australia immediately produced striking effects. In 1839, the sales of land in it, yielded nearly 200,000l.! This fact, and the successful results which have followed in the colony in question may assure every one who embarks as capitalist or labourer, to better his fortunes at a distance from his native home, that no government will venture hereafter to act in opposition to a principle which, while it appeals to the common sense of mankind by its simplicity, is found to be so correct by its practical success.
Having stated the remedy for the evils formerly and still felt in some of our colonies, it is now proposed to furnish the best attainable information respecting the colony of Western Australia, where all the evils consequent, on the one hand, upon a superabundance of capital with few or no labourers to work it, and on the other, upon a superabundance of labour without capitalists to work for, may be avoided, and where, under the guarantee of the Colonial Department, of the enlightened local government, and of the Western Australian Company, that sound principle may be developed which will most effectually ensure the happiness and prosperity of those who embark for the mild and genial climes of Australia.
Provision has been carefully made by Act of Parliament, that convicts shall not be sent to Western Australia. No parent, anxious for the honour of his family, will have, in Western Australia, any cause of fear from the corrupting influences of convict labourers or convict domestics.
It is in this colony where the Western Australian Company propose to sell land, and where the first town, to be named Australind, is intended to be built by the body of colonists who are shortly to emigrate thither. This town will be situated near the junction of the rivers Brunswick and Collie, and the territory to be now settled lies adjacent to those rivers and Leschenault inlet, or estuary, in Koombanah Bay.
The History of Western Australia, with reference to its discovery may be very succinctly narrated.
"Recent researches in the British Museum (says Mr. Ogle) have led to the presumptive proof that the great continent of Australia was first discovered by the Portuguese very early in the sixteenth century; but it was merely the northern part that was then discovered, and after exploring the coasts of New Guinea. It was the year 1616 before any discovery was made of the western coast (the immediate object of our attention); the merit of which is due to the Dutch navigator Hartog. He fell in with this coast on his passage from Holland to the East Indies in latitude 35° south, within three degrees of Swan River, and within one degree of the important harbour of Leschenault, (which is proposed to be designated Port Australind.) The land which Hartog called Eendracht, from the name of his vessel, comprises the principal portion of Western Australia."
In 1618, Zeachen named the coast from 11° to 15° south latitude, Arnhem's Land and Van Diemen's Land. The island bearing the latter name was first seen by Tasman. In 1619, Edels sailed along the western coast; and in 1622 we first hear of Leeuwin's Land. Peter Van Nuyts sailed along the southern coast which bears his name, from Cape Leeuwin to Spencer's Gulf. In 1628, another Dutch commander gave his name to De Witt's Land. Western Australia was ordered by the States General, in 1655, to be called New Holland. Little farther progress in exploring this continent appears to have been made from this time till 1770, when Captain Cook anchored in Botany Bay on the eastern coast. The history of the formation of the first colony on that coast which had been named by our great circumnavigator "New South Wales," and its subsequent progress to its present condition, is too well known to require notice here. Captains Flinders, King, and others have since contributed greatly to our knowledge of the coasts of this continent.
The adaptation of the western coast of New Holland to purposes of colonization, and its great importance in a political and commercial point of view, first began to excite the serious attention of the British Government in the year 1827, through the representations of Captain (Sir James) Stirling, R.N. The surveys and favourable reports of the coast, by that officer, together with information, officially received, of an intention on the part of France to take possession of some part of it, led ultimately to the formation of the settlement at Swan River by the British Government in the year 1829. Sir James's first report is dated the 18th April, 1827, from on board His Majesty's ship Success, A second expedition to the Swan River was made in His Majesty's ship Rainbow, the following year. In 1828, the government having declined to undertake the charge of settling the country. Captain Stirling and other gentlemen entered into arrangements, with the knowledge of the Colonial Department, for colonizing Western Australia as a private undertaking; but their proceedings were suddenly brought to a termination by the declared intention of the government to take possession of the country without further delay—a wise decision in every respect, for it was easy to perceive, even at so early a date, the probable consequences of the possession of that territory by a foreign power. Sir George Murray was then at the head of the Colonial Office; and a state document, bearing date from Downing-street, 6th December, 1828, made public the intentions of government with regard to Western Australia. By that paper, however, it appeared that the government was willing to incur no expense in conveying settlers to the new colony, or in supplying them with necessaries after their arrival. Encouragement, nevertheless, was offered to persons to proceed to the Swan River in proportions of not less than five female, to six male settlers, by promises of receiving grants proportioned to the capital they might invest, the payment of passage being included in such investment. This payment alone entitled the party to an allowance of 200 acres of land, at a valuation of 1s. 6d. per acre, the cost of conveyance being estimated at 15l. each. It was determined that no convict should be sent to this new settlement, and that the government should be administered by Captain (Sir James) Stirling, R.N., as civil superintendent, or lieutenant-governor.
Immediately upon these intentions of government being made known, four gentlemen * submitted to Sir George Murray a proposal to send out a large body of emigrants to the settlement, on condition of obtaining a proportionate grant of land there. Certain modifications of this proposal were required by the government, which were not acceptable to the associated gentlemen, but were agreed to by Mr. Thomas Peel separately, who ultimately undertook the responsibility of the enterprise. This gentleman contracted to send out 400 settlers, on condition of receiving a grant of half a million acres of land. An idea became prevalent at the time that undue advantages had been conferred upon him, in consequence of his relationship to a member of the existing administration; but nothing could be more groundless than such a suspicion, as may be seen from the terms of the agreement (now open to the public **), and which were equally availed of by Colonel Lautour and other persons, who also embarked in the same enterprize.
[* Thomas Peel, Esquire, Sir Francis Vincent, Bart., E. W. Schenley, and T. P. Macqueen, Esquires.]
[** Major Irwin gives Mr. Peel credit for introducing men of good conduct, who were well acquainted with farming pursuits and trades; and for bringing into the colony towards the fulfilment of his contract, a population of 300 souls, with a property of £.50,000.]
Under these circumstances, early in the year 1829, a number of emigrants left England for Swan River, in Western Australia. They began to arrive in the month of August in the same year, and were located along the banks of the Swan and the Canning rivers. At the close of the year, the number of settlers was 1290, consisting of 850 residents, and 440 non-residents. The value of property introduced, giving claims to grants of land, was 41,550l.; the extent of lands actually allotted was 525,000 acres; * the number of locations effected was 39: the number of cattle imported 204; of horses, 57; of sheep, 1096; of hogs, 106; and 25 ships had arrived in the settlement between the months of June and December 1829.
[* A grant of 100,000 acres was made to Governor Stirling, which was selected from the Isle of Buache (since named Garden Island) containing from 8,000 to 9,000 acres, with a limitation as to crown lands of a certain portion of the N.E. of the island, and other parts convenient for government buildings; and from 91,000 to 92,000 acres nearest to Cape Naturaliste in Géographe Bay.]
Dr. Wilson, R.N., who arrived off Swan River on the 16th October in that year, thus describes the condition of the infant settlement:—
"Full of surmises and conjectures, we arrived at, and anchored in Gage's Roads, near the other ships, and were shortly afterwards boarded by a well-dressed and smart-looking gentleman, who immediately began to rate our poor skipper for not having hove-to when he perceived nim endeavouring to reach the vessel; but on receiving a short answer, his wrath began to subside, and he was pleased to be communicative.
"He told us that the governor resided at Perth, some distance up the river, where the head-quarters were established; that another river, named the Murray, had been recently discovered; that a great number of settlers had already arrived from England, most of whom yet resided at Freemantle,** the sea-port town; that nineteen ships had entered the roads; that all the land on the banks of the river was already given away; and that the dismantled vessel (which we supposed might be the temporary abode of the governor and other public officers) was the Marquis of Anglesey, driven on shore in a N.W. gale. "At Perth," continues the Doctor, "we landed at a jetty of considerable length. We found the governor on the point of starting with some friends and attendants on an expedition up the river. He invited Captain Barker and myself to join the party, but I declined the honour, having met with an old friend. Lieutenant Roe, R.N., who filled the situation of Surveyor-General.——— At daylight I arose, and took a walk through the town; the intended principal street of which, named St George's Terrace, where the future beaux and belles of Western Australia may, in after times, show off their reciprocal attractive charms—was, at present, only adorned with lofty trees, and a variety of lovely flowers. In my perambulations, I fell in with the written *** newspaper of the place, appended to a stately eucalyptus tree, where, among other public notices, I observed the governor's permission for one individual to practise as a notary, another as a surgeon, and a third as an auctioneer."
[** So named, in compliment to Captain Freemantle, of Her Majesty's ship Challenger, from the circumstance of his having taken possession of it some time before the arrival of Governor Stirling.]
[*** A copy of an early number of the Perth manuscript newspaper is in possession of Mr. J. Cross, Holborn.]
Dr. Wilson next describes a levee of the governor, held in the open air.
"Many passengers had arrived by the Atwick, who, it appeared, were now to be presented. The first was a gigantic, fierce-looking gentleman, dressed, I suppose, in the newest London fashion, who had been at some pains with his toilette; and it was evident that he considered himself of no small importance. I thought at first, that he was ill-adapted for the line of life into which he was about to enter; but on further consideration, I concluded that if he took as much pains to cultivate the land, as he appeared to have successfully bestowed on the culture of his whiskers, he might surpass those less careful in their attire; especially as his martial frown might tend to keep his servants in due obedience. Next came a pert-looking, smartly-dressed gentleman, who seemed to plume himself on his white kid gloves, neatly-tied cravat, well-polished boots, and scented white handkerchief. I thought he would have been more at home in distributing ribbons and lace to the fair, than in growing corn, or wandering about the wilds of Australia. Next came a stout-looking personage, having all the appearance of a substantial English yeoman, whose jolly features, albeit a little shrunk from his sea-fare, indicated a long acquaintance with beef and ale. He had not half told his story, when he was interrupted (contrary to all rules of etiquette) by the dapper-looking gentleman, who, doubtless, thought his conversation more agreeable to his Excellency. Then came a modest-looking young man, who presented two letters to his Excellency, and looked round the surrounding throng, with an expression of face that seemed to say, "My fortune is made." He appeared confirmed in this opinion, by a few civil words from his Excellency, who put the letters in his pocket. Many more had an interview; the greater part of whom did not appear adapted to undergo the privations and fatigues necessarily attendant on settling in a new country, even under the most favourable circumstances. His Excellency was evidently tired before the conclusion of the levee: his situation was certainly not much to be envied. All the land on the banks of the Swan, of which they naturally expected to obtain a slice, was already, and perhaps improvidently, given away; therefore, although their own sanguine expectations might have contributed to blind them, yet there existed some legitimate cause for grumbling."
Miss Roberts remarks upon the discontent of the early settlers on finding so large a portion of the most promising land selected and allotted to one individual before he left England:—
"The cry of 'Estate given away!'—'No good land to be found!' had to be repeated over and over again before it could be believed possible. The unexpected delay in getting settled frittered away the limited property of many of the emigrants; their provisions became exhausted before they could renew the supply; and much hardship and privation were undergone. The Tranby people were amongst the most provident and successful of the early settlers." *
[* Two Years at Sea.]
In the course of two years, a settlement was completely formed; and it may now be stated that it was securely established, for without any external aid, and notwithstanding very adverse measures proceeding from sources over which the colonists had no controul, they have continued, up to the present time, steadily to advance towards a state of internal prosperity and independence.
Governor Stirling, after having devoted, for a period often years, so much energy towards the establishment and advancement of this colony, intimated, in 1837, his desire to return to England. About the same time the governorship of Southern Australia became vacant, and John Hutt, Esq. with the concurrence of the South Australian Company, and of other parties in England chiefly interested in the new colony, became a candidate for that appointment; Lord Glenelg, then Secretary of State for the Colonies, acting, however, upon a recommendation of the South Australian Commissioners, selected Colonel Gawler for that office. His Lordship communicated this fact in his reply to Mr. John Hutt, dated April 4, 1838, accompanied with a handsome tribute to his capacity, and a voluntary proffer of the government of Western Australia.
"Adverting," observes his Lordship, "to the high character of the testimonials transmitted in your letter, I shall have great pleasure, if you will permit me, in submitting to the Queen your name for the appointment of Governor of Western Australia, which has recently become vacant by the resignation of Sir James Stirling."
This offer was consequently accepted.
On the 24th July, 1838, a public dinner was given by the friends of the colony and of colonization to Governor Hutt, at the Albion Hotel, Aldersgate Street, previously to his departure.**
[** See Morning Chronicle, July 25, 1838.]
"Lord Worsley, M.P., was in the chair: supported on the right by the newly-appointed Governor, J. Stephen, Esq., J. Sharp, Esq., and J. Irving, Esq.; and, on the left, by the Earl of Lovelace, William Hutt, Esq. M.P., Sir Thomas Barrett Lennard, Bart, and Sir J. Ommaney.
"Among the company, which amounted to one hundred and twenty, were also noticed Gordon Gardner, Esq., Rowland Hill, Esq., Richard Norman, Esq., A. Borrodaile, Esq., J. B. Lennard, Esq., C. Mangles, Esq., General Sandwith (H.E.I.C.S.), John Wright, Esq., W. M. James, Esq., D. Wakefield, Esq., J. F. Maubert, Esq., J. Montefiore, Esq., Dr. Babington, T. Bland, Esq., Lewis Samson, Esq. &c. &c.
"The Right Honourable the Chairman opened the proceeding by observing that the meeting had been convened for a purpose likely to benefit their fellow creatures.
"Mr. Stephen (Under Secretary for the Colonies) adverted also to the objects that had brought the company together that day. He had been (he said) nearly a quarter of a century in the Colonial Office, and, in that time, had seen reason to retract many of the opinions which he had formerly entertained; among which were those on the subject of the colonization of vacant and uncultivated territories. The opinion which he had, at first, loosely taken up, had been adopted by many honourable members, and especially, indeed, by Sir George Murray, under whose immediate auspices the Colony of Western Australia was formed; but he had no doubt that that eminent person would now be ready to acknowledge that he had arrived at a precipitate and erroneous conclusion on the subject Mr. Stephen proceeded to remark that this colony, having a large territory not acquired by purchase, had been for a long course of years placed in embarrassments and difficulties which few would have been able to contend with, and which none could have more bravely battled than had these colonists. The difficulties which the colonists had to contend with were such as only the Anglo-Saxon race would have surmounted. An Englishman (he said) went about his duty with a consciousness that he was able to perform it, and he left his home for remote parts, to lay the foundations of mighty empires, with a dignity and deliberation of which he (Mr. Stephen) deemed his countrymen alone capable. Few, however, in the colonies, had time to attend to public interests; the colonists themselves were too much occupied with the urgency of procuring the first necessaries of life, and in arranging their domestic concerns, and they, therefore, threw on the Governor more cares than were cast upon the Government in England. The Governor was thus obliged to think for every one in public concerns: there was with him a most severe exercise of the understanding, and a Continual call upon-his kindness of heart Therefore, it was, that he (Mr. Stephen) more deeply, and from the bottom of his heart rejoiced, that the arduous and responsible duties of this situation in Western Australia were about to devolve upon one who was anxious for the prosperity of the colony, and he was delighted to see the power conferred upon such a person. He hoped, however, to see the Governor return with health in nowise impaired, with spirits unbroken, and with his fame established as a benefactor to that part of Australia in which this colony was situated.
"The noble Chairman expressed a hope that the Governor would be enabled to promote the comfort and prosperity of the settlers, and, when he came home, might point with satisfaction to a flourishing colony, now but little known, but to which public attention was becoming awakened. He would caution all, however, against supposing that they could go to Western Australia and readily make money without labour, or prosper in idleness.
"Mr. Irving observed, that already the whale fishery in the colony was of so much importance, that it had attracted the attention of the Americans.
"Governor Hutt, in addressing the meeting, passed some high encomiums on his predecessor. He then said he was happy to see that gentlemen interested in different colonies were likewise anxious for the success of Western Australia. The new Governor concluded his address by declaring that he should consider himself responsible for the prosperity of the aborigines." *
[* The Western Australian Journal, or Perth
Gazette, of December 8, 1838, published at the Swan River,
contains the following notice: "Mr. John Hutt, the gentleman who
is appointed to relieve Sir James Stirling in the administration
of the government of this colony, was formerly Governor
(Collector) of North Arcot, a very important province in the
presidency of Madras. Private letters give us favourable hopes of
Mr. Hutt's abilities and disposition to advance the colony."
And it is observed in the Spectator of June 2nd, 1838, that "the strong recommendations of Mr. John Hutt for the office of Governor of South Australia, appear to have impressed Lord Glenelg with the necessity of employing his industry and ability somewhere. * * There is reason to hope that Mr. Hutt, if properly supported by the Colonial Office here, will be enabled to establish a better order of things in Western Australia. He will struggle with the difficulties arising from the ignorance of the first founders, and of former governments, and in a few years we may have the satisfaction of knowing that two flourishing colonies, free from the taint of negro and convict slavery, cheaply governed from their own resources, and offering constantly increasing markets for the products of British manufacturing industry, are established on the lately wild and solitary shores of Australia."]
Governor Hutt arrived in the Brothers, and landed at Freemantle the 2nd January, 1839, entering upon his office just one day after the ex-governor had taken leave of Perth, which was on new year a day.
The appointment of his Excellency Governor Hutt, excited much interest not only amongst his own personal friends at home, but likewise among all who had the interest of the Swan River Settlement at heart. Regretting as they did its languishing condition, they determined to exert themselves strenuously to remove some of the evils attendant on the unsound views of colonization whereon that settlement had been established, and to attempt, with all possible speed, to arouse the government to sanction the application of those more correct principles which had been successful beyond expectation in South Australia.
A meeting of such friends was consequently held, and pursuant to resolutions they passed, a committee was appointed, consisting of William Hutt, M.P., William Tanner, R. Norman, and James Irving, Esquires, and Captain Mangles, for the purpose of communicating with Lord Glenelg, the Secretary for the Colonies, on the subject. Their views are developed in the following letter:—
"54, Conduit Street, May 3, 1838.
"A party of gentlemen, comprising nearly all the persons interested in the Colony of Western Australia, who are now in England, have requested me to transmit to your Lordship the enclosed Resolutions, in which they unanimously concurred, relative to certain measures which they would respectfully, but very earnestly recommend to your Lordship's consideration for the amelioration of that colony.
"The question which has occupied these parties and myself is, how to render this settlement as attractive to British capital and labour as the other colonies of Australia.
"In some respects the Western Colony of Australia is superior to all the others, while in none does it appear inferior to any. With a soil and climate equal, there is every reason to conclude, to those of New South Wales, or South Australia, Western Australia, from its greater proximity to the Indian Archipelago, to India and China, and above all, to the Mother Country (where capital and labour are equally superabundant) enjoys so great a superiority of position that its very inferior progress would be a matter of surprise, if the fact were not explained by certain economical circumstances which are peculiar to this settlement.
"In Western Australia there never has been anything like a constant supply of labour for hire. Without such a supply it is impossible that capital should increase or even be preserved. During nine years there has been, in this colony, a want of the only means by which capital may be augmented.
"Upon the whole, therefore, we are of opinion that the one thing needful for placing Western Australia on a footing of equality with the other Australian settlements, is,—measures that shall provide a regular supply of labour in proportion to the wants of the capitalists.
"We are, however, satisfied that a mere emigration of labourers, however extensive, would not accomplish the object in view. With such excessive cheapness of land as exists in this colony, the emigrant labourers would very quickly save from their wages the means of becoming landowners, and thus, unless a fresh emigration took place, the want of labour would be as much felt as ever; or rather, it would be felt more severely, because some of those who had recently been workmen for hire, would now be anxious to obtain servants, and would, therefore, augment the general demand for labour. Mere emigration, therefore, appears to us quite inadequate to the object. We are of opinion that, along with the emigration of labourers, it is indispensable to render land more difficult of acquisition than it has hitherto been in this colony.
"We conceive that the directions given to Sir James Stirling, in your Lordship's despatch of the 7th March, 1837,* will tend very materially to establish this desirable state of things. Should your Lordship's regulations, however, prove insufficient to bring about a due price for land, we would beg to propose that a portion of the then remaining grants should be purchased from the settlers by the means hereafter referred to and explained.
[* See Land Regulations, Appendix, A.]
"The next question is as to the means of raising the sum required. Let it be assumed that a plan has been adopted, whereby no land will ever be attainable in this colony for less than 10s. per acre; in that case, we have reason to know, that the future sales of land in the colony would be a sufficient security whereon to raise funds, not only to pay for the land to be resumed, but also for the emigration of labourers, so as immediately to bring the whole system into operation.
"Such, my Lord, is the general view which we take of a subject to which our most serious attention has been directed.
"Something, however, remains to be explained. In order that the system should work well, we are of opinion that the administration of it should be confided to some special authority, the more responsible to Her Majesty's government the better, but not otherwise occupied than with the sufficiently difficult and troublesome task of endeavouring to place this colony in a state of prosperity. The particular means by which we should propose to give effect to our general views, are as follow:—
"First,—That the limits of the colony be defined by Act of Parliament, so that the extent of land forming the security for loans be settled and known.
"Secondly,—That the Crown have authority to resume such portions as may be deemed necessary of the lands now occupied, paying for the same out of the funds so raised on such loan.
"Thirdly,—That all the Crown lands of the colony be open to purchase as soon as surveyed, but never at a less price than shillings per acre.
"Fourthly,—That the proceeds of all the future sales (excepting they be a security for the fund to pay for the land resumed) shall be employed in defraying the cost of emigration to the colony.
"Fifthly,—That Commissioners be appointed to act under the Colonial Department, and to carry the whole system into effect, with power to sell land in England; to employ the receipts in defraying the passage of such labourers as the purchasers may wish to take to the colony; to raise loans for emigration on the security of future sales, and to regulate the emigration of labourers.
"In taking the liberty of proposing these measures, we have endeavoured to confine ourselves to points which appear to us of essential importance, and we venture, most earnestly, to recommend the whole subject to your Lordship's consideration, being convinced, ourselves, that except by means of the adoption of some such measures, this colony will not be relieved from its present disparaging circumstances; but that if some plan of this nature be adopted, and carefully carried into execution, Western Australia may very soon become one of the most flourishing of Her Majesty's foreign possessions.
"I have the honour to be,"Your Lordship's most humble and obedient Servant,(Signed) "William Hutt."
"P.S.—Whenever it may be convenient to your Lordship, after the perusal of these papers, to grant an interview to the Committee named in one of the resolutions, Sie gentlemen composing it trust they may be permitted to see your Lordship on the subject of them."
To the above Lord Glenelg replied:—
"Downing Street, May 22, 1838.
"I am directed by Lord Glenelg to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 3rd instant, enclosing resolutions adopted at a meeting, held on the 2nd instant, of persons interested in the colony of Western Australia. His Lordship desires me to convey through you to those gentlemen his thanks for the trouble they have taken in making these suggestions.
"Lord Glenelg is fully aware of the extreme inconvenience resulting from the system upon which the colony of Western Australia was originally founded. The vast extent of territory granted without purchase to different individuals his Lordship believes scarcely less injurious to the grantees themselves than to the colony to which they resorted. Grants, however, confirmed are held under a title which it would be impossible to set aside, except with the concurrence of the proprietors. It was with a view to remedy this evil as far as possible, and to remove what appeared to his Lordship the great barrier to the improvement of the colony, that the instructions contained in his despatch of the 7th March, 1837, were addressed to Sir James Stirling. The result of these instructions has not yet been reported by the Governor, but his report may be daily expected; and should it not be satisfactory, Lord Glenelg will be prepared to consider any other proposal which may afford a prospect of effecting the object, with a due regard to those individual interests which have been long since created.
"It does not appear to Lord Glenelg necessary to resort to Parliament in order to define the limit of the colony. This is an ancient branch of the royal prerogative, which might be exercised in the case of Western Australia as conveniently and efficaciously as it has been exercised in former and in modern times in the case of almost every other British colony. It seems, however, to be supposed that a parliamentary definition of these limits is required, in order that the contractors for loans on the future territorial revenue may have a satisfactory guarantee as to the extent of the territory whence the revenue is to be drawn. But if it should be desirable to raise such loans, the lenders would possess a perfectly valid and satisfactory pledge, if possessed of the assurance of the Crown, that until the loans were paid off, the limits of the colony should not be reduced within certain prescribed lines of latitude and longitude. The regulation which is proposed, that all the Crown lands should be open as soon as surveyed to purchase at a fixed minimum price, has long since been established by Her Majesty's Government.
"The peculiar obstacles to which reference has been made affecting Western Australia, have in a great measure prevented the beneficial operation of the system in that colony; but Lord Glenelg trusts that the measures already taken, accompanied by an increase in the minimum price of land, which his Lordship proposes to effect, will tend to the rapid supply of labour, and to the consequent development of the resources of the colony.
"Although fully prepared to admit the expediency of defraying the cost of emigration to the colony from the proceeds of land sales,—a system which is now operating most advantageously in New South Wales,—Lord Glenelg is not prepared to acquiesce in the propriety of prescribing the exclusive application of those proceeds to that single object, in terms so unqualified as you have suggested.
"Lord Glenelg is not convinced of the necessity for the appointment of Commissioners for carrying this system into effect. No proof exists of the inadequacy of the means at present at the command of Her Majesty's Government as it respects the older Australian colonies; and the expense of creating a distinct office for the service of Western Australia would be a serious objection to the proposal, unless its necessity were clearly established. I am to add that Lord Glenelg will be happy to receive yourself and the other gentlemen named in one of the resolutions, on Thursday, the 24th instant, at eleven o'clock.
(Signed) "George Grey."
This refusal on the part of the Government to sanction the views of the committee did not deter them from further exertions to carry their object into effect. Repeated interviews and correspondence with the Colonial Secretary on the subject took place, and various plans were submitted, by which, as it appeared to the committee, the interests of the colony might have been promoted; but Lord Glenelg's views were different, and all hopes of support from the Government in the formation of a company for the acquirement of public lands in Western Australia, and the transmission of emigrants thither, were for a time put an end to by a communication from the Colonial Office, dated 5th January, 1839. Upon the seals of the Colonial Office being delivered to Lord John Russell, the committee renewed their exertions, and on the 6th July, 1839, William Hutt, Esq. laid the following proposals before the Colonial Secretary.
"1. That any person depositing with the Agent-general for the colonies the sum of 20l. shall become entitled thereupon to a corresponding credit in the purchase of land in the colony; and further, upon the introduction of any qualified labourer, male or female, into the colony (the qualifications requisite being hereafter defined), the depositor or his assignee will be entitled to claim from the Colonial Treasurer re-payment of the 20l. deposited.
"2, That in the present weak state of the Survey Department, persons desirous of purchasing land in the districts at present unsurveyed, be permitted to put up at any time any portions therein, not less than five or ten square miles, provided they furnish private surveys, or accurate descriptions of the land they desire to purchase; the expense of such surveys, &c. being defrayed out of the proceeds of the sale, whether the applicant be the eventual purchaser or not.
"3. That the necessity of a second auction, where the lands remain unsold after the first exhibition at public sale, be dispensed with, and such unsold lands be disposable to any persons offering the minimum price."
Prompt attention having been given to these proposals by Lord John Russell, certain rules were drawn up in the Emigration Office, and the Lords of the Treasury notified that they did not object to the adoption, for the present, of the arrangement respecting bounties on the introduction of emigrants by purchasers of land in Western Australia; but they had to suggest that in the event of any extensive demand arising for land in that settlement, care should be taken that a sufficient portion of the purchase-money be reserved to defray all charges for the survey of allotments, and the perfecting the titles to them. The following were the rules finally established by the Government, who issued their instructions accordingly to his Excellency Governor Hutt:—
"Bounty on Emigrants introduced by purchasers of land in Western Australia.
"Government Emigration Office,2, Middle Scotland Yard, October 12, 1839.
"1. With a view to promoting the improvement of Western Australia, it has been determined, with the sanction of Her Majesty's Government, that all persons who may hereafter buy lands in that settlement shall be allowed, out of the proceeds of their purchases, a bounty on the introduction of useful labourers into the colony.
"2. As there is no accumulated fund now existing in the colony, and the bounty can only be paid out of the accruing land revenues, its application cannot be made retrospective, or be extended to parties in respect of purchases already made in Western Australia. It will only be claimable in regard to all future purchases.
"3. In order to enable parties resident in England to take advantage of the present measure, they will be at liberty to deposit money with Mr. Barnard, in this country, for the purchase of land in Western Australia, upon which they will become at once entitled to propose a corresponding number of emigrants to go out to the colony upon bounty.
"4. The proper course of proceeding in acting upon the foregoing article, will be to attend at Mr. Barnard's office. No. 2, Parliament Street, to make such deposit as the party may wish, in sums not less than 100l. or a given number of hundreds of pounds, on which a receipt will be furnished for the payment, and advice will be sent to the colony, directing credit to be allowed for the same amount in any purchase of land effected in the regular way by the depositor, or his agent.
"5. In case, however, the depositor does not intend to make the purchase himself, it will be necessary, in order that the Government may not become involved in disputes as to agency, that the person to whom credit is intended to be given, should be expressly named at the time that the deposit is made.
"6. The present notice will take effect in England from the date it bears; and in the colony, from the date of its reaching the Governor, when it is to be immediately published.
"7. Purchasers or depositors are to be entitled to claim bounty on emigrants introduced by them, if coming within the description presently to be specified, at the rate of one adult person of 15 years and upwards, two children between seven and fifteen, or three children between one and seven, for every 20l. which they pay.
"8. The amount of the bounty is to be 18l. for every person of fifteen and upwards, 10l. for every child between seven and fifteen, and 5l. for every child between one and seven. Infants less than twelve months old are not to be paid for.
"9. The following is to be the description of people for whom bounty shall be claimable. They must belong to the class of mechanics, handicrafts-men, agricultural labourers, or useful domestic servants. Persons proposing to invest a small capital in land or in trade are quite inadmissible.
"10. They must principally consist of married people and their families.
"11. Single women, without their parents, are only admissible if they are emigrating under the immediate care of some married relatives, or else attached as domestic servants to ladies going out as cabin passengers in the same ship.
"12. Single men can only be allowed in a number not exceeding that of the single women, proposed by the same person under the preceding clause.
"13. The age of the adults is not to exceed forty, unless in special cases, where a large family, all of them grown up to useful ages, may appear to justify a relaxation of this rule in favour of the parents. The Board named in article 18 is to decide on the admission or rejection of this ground of exception in particular cases.
"14. Good character, and decisive written testimonials, both to respectability of character and to capacity in the professed trade or calling will be indispensable.
"15, The bounty will only be payable for parties actually landed in the colony. No money can be issued for emigrants who may die on the passage.
"16. The emigrants must arrive in the colony within the period of three years from the date of the payment, whether in the colony or at home, which constitutes the claim, and after that period the claim will be at an end.
"17. It will be necessary that the purchaser, or depositor, or his authorised agent, should, on the arrival of any emigrants introduced for his account, affix a certificate to a list of them, declaring that he applies for bounty to be paid for those persons.
"18. The emigrants are to appear before such Board or Officer as may be appointed for the purpose by the Governor, in order to let it be ascertained that they fall within the preceding description, and that in all respects they comply with the regulations laid down in this notice; and the payment of bounty is to be absolutely subject to the conclusion of this authority that the parties are properly entitled to it. As soon as the Board, or Officer, as the case may be, is satisfied that the emigrants are of the right characters, descriptions, and ages (which latter point should, as far as possible, be supported by baptismal certificates in all cases where doubts are likely to suggest themselves), a certificate will be given to that efiect, stating the amount of the bounty claimable for the particular party of emigrants, and the same will be paid immediately to the master of the vessel in which they arrived.
"19. This notice, so far as regards payments and deposits, to be in force in this country for two years from its date; and in the colony, for two years from the date of its publication by the Governor.
(Signed) "T. Frederick Elliot,"Agent General for Emigration."
In a letter from Mr. Stephen of the Colonial Office, dated 23rd October, 1839, to Mr. Elliot, he states that Lord John Russell had addressed an instruction to the Governor of Western Australia, containing the following modification of the above regulations.
"That if any person shall demand a survey of not less than five square miles, and the Government surveyors shall be too much occupied to perform that duty within a month from the date of the application, and if the applicant shall name a private surveyor, whom the Governor shall approve as a competent, impartial, and trustworthy person for the service, and the surveyor so named shall be willing to undertake it, at a reasonable and moderate rate of remuneration, to be previously determined by the Governor, such remuneration being of course considerably less in amount than the purchase-money, then the Governor shall devolve the duty of making the proposed special survey on the person so to be nominated, who shall, however, have no claim on the Government, but merely on the applicant; the amount of which claim the applicants, on proof that they have paid it, shall be at liberty to deduct from the price of the land.
"That with regard to the measure of dispensing with the necessity of a second auction, where lands remain unsold after the first exhibition, there will be no objection to the sale of lands under such circumstances at the minimum price, or at such enhanced price, as under peculiar circumstances may be considered fair and reasonable; subject, however, always to the condition, that the total amount of land which should be at any one time purchaseable from the Government, either on those terms or by auction, should never in the whole amount to such an excess as may prevent the selling price from rising just above the upset price." *
[* Report on Emigration; ordered to be printed 10th March, 1840, p. 41.]
To prevent any future misunderstanding, the Western Australian Committee on the 14th November, 1839, requested explanation on the following points:—
"1. Is it to be understood, that when an applicant, with the Governor's assent, undertakes the survey of a block of land of five or more square miles, that the block is to be put up for sale in the mass, or in sections?
"2. Is it proposed to put up land, so surveyed, at the existing minimum price of land generally, or is the upset price to be determined by the Governor in each particular case after application?
"3. Is it proposed to delay sales, after the surveys are completed, for indefinite periods, or to cause them to take effect at any given interval after notification of survey; say, for instance, one month?
"4. Is it to be understood that the applicant is to defray the expense of surveys, and not to be indemnified for the cost, if he should not become the eventual purchaser at auction; or is it intended, that provided he bid the minimum price, he will be reimbursed the expenses of the survey, whoever may be the successful competitor?
"5. Is the power reserved to the Governor to limit the quantity of land for sale, and to enhance the upset price, if he think fit, to be exercised in respect to applications, by public notices and general regulations previously issued?"
On the 4th December, 1839, Mr. R. Vernon Smith, sent the following reply:—
"1. It is not intended, under the circumstances to which you refer, to authorise a special survey of more than five square miles; but the block to that extent, when surveyed, will be put up to sale in the mass.
"2. The land will be put up for sale at the existing minimum price, or at any other general minimum price which may be hereafter established.
"3. Some definite time will be limited by the Governor and Council, after the completion of the survey, within which time the land will be put up for sale.
"4. If the land, when surveyed, is not sold, the applicant will bear the expense of the survey; but if sold, either to him or any one else, an allowance will be made equal to the amount of the charge which would have been incurred by the Government if the survey had been made in the ordinary course of settlement. It should be understood, however, that in case of special surveys, the Government will be responsible only for the expense of ascertaining the exterior boundaries, and not for the expense of running or ascertaining any interior division lines.
"5. With regard to the question, whether the power reserved to the Governor to limit the quantity of land for sale, and to enhance the upset price if he think fit, is to be exercised in respect to applications by public notices and general regulations previously issued; Lord John Russell understands that question to mean whether, if an application for a special survey be made in reference to regulations in force at the time of the application, it will be competent to the Government to alter those regulations, so as to exclude the applicant from having the survey made on the terms contemplated in his offer. On this, his Lordship said, that if the applicant for a special survey will bind himself to become the purchaser so soon as the survey can be effected, and will either deposit the purchase-money, or give adequate security for the payment of it, then his title would not be defeated by any intervening regulations; but a mere offer, by which the applicant is not bound, could not be admitted to bind the Government to adhere to the then existing terms of the sale, if the public interest should require a change in those terms." *
[* Report on Emigration; ordered to be printed 10th March, 1840, p. 42.]
The first warrant appointing "The Colonization Commissioners of South Australia, was revoked and a new one issued on the 10th January, 1840, nominating Robert Torrens and Thomas Frederick Elliot, Esquires, and the Hon. Edward Ernest Villiers, to such Commission, under the Act of Parliament. The same day these gentlemen were also appointed by the Queen "The Colonial Land and Emigration Commissioners." On the 14th of the same month. Lord John Russell transmitted the latter Commission with instructions ** to the following purport:—
[** Colonial Land Board; ordered to be printed 4th Feb. 1840, p. 2.]
That having consolidated the duties of the South Australian Commissioners and the agent-general for emigration to a board of three persons, he for the present declined explaining, further than had already been previously done, their duties as Colonization Commissioners for South Australia; but addressing himself to their duties in their other capacity of a General Board for the sale of lands and for promoting emigration, he arranges such duties under the four heads:—first, the collection and diffusion of accurate statistical knowledge; secondly, the sale in this country of waste lands in the colonies; thirdly, the application of the proceeds of such sales towards the removal of emigrants; and, fourthly, the rendering of periodical accounts, both pecuniary and statistical, of their administration of this trust Copious instructions are given under each of these heads, the substance of which is that Government should not promote emigration without first supplying authentic information for the guidance of the emigrant; that the inquiries of applicants are to be answered, Government not being held responsible for the accuracy of such answers; that they should diffuse compendious accounts of the agriculture, commerce, natural products, physical structure, and ecclesiastical and political institutions of each of the colonies wherein they may offer lands for sale; that unoccupied lands in the Colony are by law vested in the Crown, and that every private title must rest upon a royal grant as its basis; such lands being held in trust for the public good; that ministers are responsible for its proper appropriation, which is declared to be, public works in the Colony, for Colonial Government and for Emigration. That the respective Governors of the colonies (not the Commissioners) would convey waste lands to the purchasers, such Governors would still make contracts for sale of land, but would act concurrently with the Commissioners: reference is then made to other colonies, where the land is wholly or partially granted, but the Australian colonies are pointed out as the principal field for their operations. The principle which distinguishes exclusively South Australia in the disposal of laud is then recommended. His Lordship also suggests that officers should be employed to select the emigrants, the most eligible being young married couples without children; that due care should be taken with respect to the ships, medical attendance, and that the emigrants should be provided for after they arrived in the colony for a period of seven or fourteen days. The Commissioners are finally instructed to report at least twice a year, and as occasion may require. In the above instructions Lord John Russell states, that "the plan of selling at one uniform price per acre, was established in South Australia, while in New South Wales and Western Australia, Government had sanctioned and adopted the plan of sales by auction at an upset price of 12s. per acre.
Mr. Irving having applied to the Colonial Land and Emigration Commissioners, to know if 12s. per acre was the present established upset price of Government Lands in Western Australia; and if the Commissioners intended to recommend an immediate change in the mode of selling such lands, either with regard to the upset price or the substitution of a fixed price instead of by auction; their reply of the 21st March, 1840, signed by John Walpole, Esq., was that—
"The Governor of Western Australia had been for some time in possession of authority to raise the upset price to 12s. at his discretion, but that no information had been received that he had made use of that power. Instructions however had then been given to raise the price to 12s. positively, and they would be sent to the colony by the first opportunity; also, with respect to the mode of sale, if any change should be recommended by that Board, and sanctioned by the Secretary of State, immediate notice of it would be given to the public; but that meanwhile the Commissioners could only say that sale by auction continued to be, as it had been, the established rule of proceeding in Western Australia."
[ADDENDUM: The remaining 500 acres of Town Land are now selling in sections, at 10l. per quarter acre. See Appendix, G.]
This outline of the history of Western Australia, as respects the means which have been attempted for its improvement, is given as introductory to the announcement of the fact, that a company, under the denomination of the "Western Australian Company," has now been established for the purpose of investing capital in the purchase and re-sale of lands upon the pledge of Her Majesty's Government to apply in this older colony the principles of colonization which have had such eminent success in South Australia. This company has purchased extensive tracts of land in the colony, and amongst them an extensive grant in the maritime county of Wellington, near the junction of the Collie and the Brunswick rivers, which discharge themselves into Leschenault inlet, at the mouth of which there is a safe and commodious roadstead. On this grant the company propose to found a town to be called Australind, the site of which has been chosen for its fitness with respect to naval and commercial advantages, the fertility of the adjoining country, and the beautiful scenery which it commands. These advantages they expect will ultimately render Australind the commercial capital of the colony. A body of colonists are preparing to emigrate thither, under the auspices of the Company. The Company, possessing 170,000 acres of this territory, are disposing of 50,500 acres, whereof 500 (part of 1000,) are to be appropriated for the new town of Australind. Each lot is to consist of 100 acres of country land, together with one acre of town land, and the price at which it is to be sold is 101l., or 20s. the acre, the company pledging themselves to apply one-half of the purchase-money received by them to provide for the conveyance of emigrants as labourers to Australind, whereby the value of the land so disposed of will be greatly enhanced: the remaining half of the purchase money will be reserved to meet the Company's expenses. The comparative shortness of passage and cheapness of conveyance to Western Australia, enables this Company to accomplish its object of transmitting labourers for 50 per cent. on the purchase-money, whilst the expense to New South Wales and New Zealand absorbs 60 per cent. of the money raised by land sales in those more remote settlements.
Here it may be well to explain how the existence of a great Land and Colonization Company in England promotes the welfare of colonists embarking under its auspices. It is unquestionable that the public is best served by individual competition in many branches of human industry, and it is also equally indubitable that there are many objects which can scarcely be accomplished by individual effort, however strenuous or efficient; amongst these may be mentioned government, religion, beneficent and scientific institutions, the construction of roads, embankments, harbours, docks, canals, railways, bridges, churches, and other public edifices; and lastly, although not the least important, the transplanting into a new country a society complete and perfect in all its grades, due regard being had to the political and economical elements of human wealth and happiness therein.
A company embarking in any enterprise does so mainly with a view to the promotion of the advantage of its members, and in the case of a body formed for the purchase and re-sale of lands and conveyance of emigrants, this view to individual advantage can be in no way more surely promoted than by attention to measures calculated to advance the general welfare and success of the settlers. Complaints of dissatisfied persons will, under any circumstances, occasionally arise; and in a new state of society in a country only partially redeemed from the wilderness, with a comparatively small number of neighbours, without the elegancies or even sometimes the conveniences of life, some lingering desire for the enjoyments of the mother country may be awakened in the breast of the new settler; but it is the interest as well as duty of a Land and Emigration Company to overcome such natural feelings by conducing in every practicable way to the substantial benefit of the settler in an obvious mode. If, on the contrary, discontent and dissatisfaction are strengthened by inattention to the welfare of the colonists, the report of it in the mother country stops immigration into the settlement, capital and labour cease to flow thither; and the settlers, equally with the company, are sufferers by their unfortunate investments.
It is well known that projects of the most obviously useful character are not only delayed in their execution, but wholly frustrated from the want of cordial co-operation: "what is every body's business is nobody's:" whilst this is the case in a country already greatly overstocked with capital and labour, the same want of public spirit and ability of co-operation must necessarily be much more seriously felt in a new and thinly-peopled country, where labour is generally deficient, and where capital is fully employed at high rates of interest. Objects of pressing moment and of the most obvious utility to the settlement are thereby left unaccomplished, and the tendency of civilization to advance is stayed. But a largo company of landed proprietors, comprising men of large fortunes and great influence, intelligent, honourable, and public spirited, will, for their own sakes, gladly aid in various ways every object of utility to the colony, and will, by their combined sagacity, often provide beforehand for such objects; nay, even before the necessity of them has occurred to the settler himself.
Such a company not engaging themselves in competition with the settler, but acting always in co-operation with him as a powerful ally, cannot be otherwise than of he greatest advantage to the colony.
The selection of individuals of the best morals and of the most useful and eligible classes,—a selection made from abundant materials for choice,—is another benefit of the highest importance to a new settlement. So also is their attention to the health and age of the emigrants, to the numbers of the sexes, to the promotion of marriage by worthy, but poor persons, and the placing of them in a position soon to command independence.
The capitalist adventuring money in the purchase of lands in the colony has the satisfaction to know that no great deterioration can possibly thereafter take place in the value of such lands; for the moment any discontented settlers should feel inclined to sell them, the same moment a company with an abundant and immediately available capital are ready to purchase; it being manifestly their interest that the price of land should steadily rise.
The whole settlement and the whole body of shareholders at home will concur and heartily combine to work for their individual and general advantage: thereby accomplishing what it would be idle to expect from uncertain, uncombined, and desultory immigration, regardless of every principle needful for the welfare and happiness of a colony. Here is no "squatting," no revertence to semi-barbarism in desolate and uncleared wildernesses, no destitution of civil, religious, and scientific communion: but, at once, the élite of our society are removed in a complete and perfect state as such, into a new country indeed, but one where all their energies can be successfully exercised. This could not be accomplished otherwise than by the aid of a great company.
Another of the advantages arising from a large body so constituted, is the acquiring of the latest and best information on all matters relating to the colony, and the candid communication of such information and intelligence to every one interested therein.
To the benefits above glanced at it will not escape notice that the following may be added;—most of these companies having in their direction gentlemen connected with one or both houses of parliament, and with the great commercial and agricultural communities, no circumstance affecting the interests of a colony in which they are interested will escape observation; on the contrary, such will be narrowly watched, precautions will be taken to avert any measure of evil tendency, and to facilitate the advancement of beneficial ones; the influence of such persons not being perhaps in any case wholly futile. As the colonist looks to his mother-country for political government, so will he regard with kindred feelings the parent company under whose auspices he embarked himself and capital, for that aid and guidance in cases of doubt and difficulty, which will be cheerfully awarded. And as the company exists also by their authorized agents in the colony, they are ever alive to events passing therein, bearing on their interests, which are identical with those of the settler; nothing either there or at home can escape the general vigilance in promotion of every measure conducive to the advancement of the colony and the happiness and prosperity of the colonists.
GEOGRAPHICAL POSITION AND EXTENT OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA—ASPECT OF THE COUNTRY—GEOLOGICAL CHARACTER.
Australia is situated in the Southern Hemisphere, lying between latitude 10° and 40° south, and between longitude 113° and 154° east. It is washed by the waters of the Indian Ocean on the west, and by the Pacific on the east; having China about 30° to the northward, from which it is separated by the Eastern Archipelago, including the magnificent islands of Java, Sumatra, and Borneo.
Western Australia, as defined by Her Majesty's commission, comprehends all that portion of New Holland which is situate to the westward of the 129th degree of east longitude, making its greatest extent from north to south about 1280 miles, and its extreme breadth from east to west 800 miles, a territory as large as France and Spain united, although the settled district is at present comprised between 32° and 35° south latitude. This portion of Australia is not only within a few days' sail of the Malaccas, but may be reached from Bombay and the Mauritius in three weeks, and from the Cape of Good Hope, Ceylon and Madras within a month. It is nearer to England than Van Diemen's Land, Port Jackson, and Sydney, by from 2,000 to 3,000 miles, or by a passage of from four to six weeks.
All the best authorities concur in describing the position of Western Australia as equal if not superior in a commercial point of view to that of the other settlements on this continent.
Sir J. Stirling, in a dispatch dated 20th January, 1830, observes that
"The position which this settlement occupies, with reference to the trade of these seas, has been in some measure shown by the arrival of ships from various parts of the world; some of these, from England, have landed all their cargoes here, but the greater part have called without inconvenience, and have disposed of part of their passengers and cargo here, and have then proceeded on their routes; two vessels have gone hence to the Malay Islands," &c.
Captain (now Major) Irwin says * that
[* The State and Position of Western Australia, &c. By Captain F. C. Irwin. London, 1835.]
"The great advantages which Western Australia derives from its position will be obvious from a glance at a map of the world; but persons acquainted with the coasts of New Holland, and the monsoons that blow in the Indian seas, will be better able to appreciate how much it is favoured as to situation.
"The north-west winds prevail from March till September.
"The passage to and from the Mauritius is favourable throughout the year.
"The season most propitious for making a voyage from the colony itself to India is from the beginning of April to the beginning of September. By leavings Swan River during that period a vessel immediately gets into the south-east trade wind, which carries her across the line, when she meets with the south-west monsoon, that takes her at once to Madras. At this season fine weather may be reckoned upon for the whole of the way."
The very essential point, then, of the advantageous relative position of Western Australia would appear to be satisfactorily and indisputably established.
The country near the sea generally presents either an open forest, plains covered with short brushwood mixed with grass, or open downs. Numerous lakes, fresh and salt, extend along the coast, and on the south-western shore there is a succession of estuaries, or inlets, (each a receptacle of several rivers,) as those of Wilson, Parry, Irwin, Broke, Augusta, Hardy, Vasse, Leschenault, and Peel, all situate between King George's Sound and the estuary called Melville Waters, which receives the Swan and Canning Rivers in lat. 32° 2', and long. 115° 40'. The banks of the rivers, especially the Swan, Collie and Brunswick, present scenery much admired by all who have visited the country. In some parts both borders exhibit extensive meadows, ornamented with trees and flowering shrubs. Elsewhere, precipitous banks look down on grassy plains on the opposite side. Those banks are enamelled with a profusion of the amaranthine tribe of plants (the everlasting flower), and are fringed with noble mahogany and other lofty trees.
Eastward of the Swan River, at a distance of thirty-five or forty miles from the coast, a range of hills, called the Darling, crowned with ever verdant mahogany trees, runs nearly the whole length of the present settlement, varying from 800 to 1,600 feet above the level of the sea; with two predominant mountains, St. Anne's and Mount William, which are computed to reach an altitude of nearly 3,000 feet. This range meets the sea at Cape Chatham in 35° 1' S. lat. and 116° 30' E. long., and its average width is from 30 to 40 miles. Besides this, there are two other ranges of mountains of primitive formation; the highest and easternmost having its termination near King George's Sound in 35° S. lat. and 118° E. long.; * and the most inferior in altitude and extent having its southern boundary at Cape Leeuwin, in 34° 20' S. lat. and 115° E. long., disappearing at Cape Naturaliste, and shewing itself again at Moresby's flat-topped range, about half way between Swan River and Shark's Bay.
[* The chain called Koikyennuruff is highrer than the Darling Range, one of its peaks, Toolbrunnup, attaining the elevation of at least 3,000 feet.]
Disappointment has been felt by fanning emigrants, at first sight of some of the Australian shores, since they appear too sandy for agricultural purposes; ** but a view of the coast, as they have afterwards discovered, is no criterion of the quality of land in the interior, where, in many parts, according to Major Irwin, the scenery is beautiful, the undulations of hill and dale exhibiting a rich and cheerful aspect. Dense forests of the majestic mahogany tree present themselves in some districts, and gigantic gum trees (Eucalyptus) of several species, 150 feet high, and girth 25 to 40 feet, abound in others; the elegant Casuarina flourishes in the swamps; the Banksia, 50 feet high, decorates the drier soil, and the remarkable forms of the Kingia Australis (grass-tree), the Xanthorrœa hastile, and the Zamia spiralis display themselves in every direction, and impart a striking peculiarity to the scenery. Valleys and luxuriant pastures spread themselves through various districts, and especially in those of the south-west, where pools of fresh water, springs, rivulets, and brooks are of frequent occurrence, their presence being attested by the lively verdure of the vegetation. The banks of the rivers are, in many places, picturesque, and flowers of all hues, paint the landscape, charm every eye with their beauty, and beguile the fatigue of the traveller. In many places, the shores are covered with rushes of great height and thickness. Prodigious thistles and ferns are met with eleven or twelve feet in height. Thickets of Acacia and Cypress contribute to variegate the scene. The summits of hills are studded with magnificent Angophoras; and the botanist notices in his rambles the different species of Leptospermum, Metrosideros, Melaleuca (or Australian tea-tree), Viminaria, Daviesia, Anthropodium and Anigozanthus, with many other plants and flowering shrubs.
[** Sand in this country is not of necessity an indication of sterility, for it appears from Captain (now Major) Irwin, that—"the sandy lands, which have more or less loam in them, are becoming more valued every year, and heavy crops of wheat and barley have been had from them with the aid of very little manure." Further:—"The productive powers of even inferior sandy soils are often extraordinary, and show what the combination of heat and moisture may effect in this country." &c. p. 10.]
The immediate vicinity of Leschenault is remarkable for the beauty of its scenery, the fertility of its soil, and the superior quality of the timber. The rivers which flow into the inlet are navigable for some miles, and never dry. They are skirted by rich pastures covered with lucerne and other esculents, and present sites unusually favorable for stock and grain farms.
Dr. Lhotsky observes that Australian sky and nature yet await real artists to pourtray them, the enchantment-like appearance of the forests defying description. Miles of the country are covered, he says, with ornamental shrubs and flowers; and the foliage, which is of every variety of colour, is seen in perfection under the serene azure of the morning and evening skies.
No volcano * has yet been discovered in Western Australia; in which particular it offers a marked contrast to New Zealand. All the usual formations are found, but they seem to occur without order, and in defiance of all known geological laws in the Old World. Oxley observes that
[* An extinct volcano has been discovered in South Australia in S. lat. 37° 52' 29" and long, about 142° 20' E. It is called Mount Napier, and vesicular lava is abundant in its neighbourhood.]
"The whole form, character, and composition of this country is so singular, that a conjecture is hardly hazarded before it is overturned; every thing seems to run counter to the ordinary course of nature in Other countries."
The whole of the territory yet occupied, or explored, appears to rest upon a granitic base, which assumes the stratified form of gneiss, near Doubtful Island Bay.* Basaltic rocks, resembling those existing on the north coast of Ireland, are found in Géographe Bay; ** and other basaltic formations are by no means infrequent. The base of the steep rocks which overhang the beach in the vicinity of Cape Naturaliste is formed of immense beds of granite and schist, passing alternately into each other, and presenting in their dip an angle of inclination of fifteen degrees. They enclose, in many instances, large masses of extraordinary aggregate, containing petrifactions of bivalve and other marine shells, every particle of which is thickly incrusted with primate crystals. Veins of iron, of considerable thickness, traverse the rock in various directions, as well as immense beds of feldspar. The granite is covered by a bed of micacious schist, in an advanced stage of decomposition, over which are a number of cavernous apertures in a bed of decomposed pudding-stone, containing modules of granite of various colours. These apertures contain rock-salt in large quantities, forming thick incrustations on every part of the surface, beautifully crystalized, and penetrating into the most compact parts of the rock. The most remote parts of these caverns have a pleasing appearance from the reflection of the crystals; their height above the sea being about fifty feet. Large modules of sandstone are found in the bottom of each, strongly impregnated with salt. The summit of the cliff is formed of limestone.
[* Sir J. Stirling's Statistical Report; dated October 15, 1837.]
[** It is worthy of remark, that the whole coast of Géographe Bay is a perfect source of active springs, discharging themselves on the beach in rapid rills of considerable extent every six or seven yards.]
The northern extreme of the Cape is formed of majestic cliffs of limestone two hundred feet in height, presenting two magnificent ranges of caverns. Two of the lower range are superb, the roofs and sides being covered with beautiful stalactites of great magnitude, and exceedingly brilliant. In one of them are found stalagmites, of extraordinary size, adhering to modules of granite, with which the base is covered. The outer or great cavern is about fifty feet wide, and forty-five to fifty feet in height; its extreme length about one hundred feet. The sides, roofs, and stalactites, present an extraordinary assemblage of colours, from the immense variety of liverwort and minute fungi with which they are covered. Some of the stalactites were found to measure fifteen feet.
Roofing-slate has been discovered on the granite range, besides indurated clay, lime, siliceous and calcareous petrifactions, magnetic iron-ore, peacock iron-ore, chromate of lead, and crystals of quartz. Copper has been discovered by Captain King in the vicinity of Camden Bay, and Coal by Captain Grey to the north of the settled districts. Mill-stone grit, quite equal to the stone from which French burrs are made, has been found above Swan River, about forty miles from Perth. It may also be expected, from the frequent occurrence of the red sand-stone formation, that when time will permit further researches, especially in the northern districts, more important mineralogical treasures will be found. It is understood to be the intention of Mr. Roe, the surveyor-general, to class the numerous geological specimens which, for some time past, have been collecting in the surveyor's office from different parts of the colony; to arrange them according to the several districts; and eventually to form a map, marking out the spots where the different earths have been found, and thus tracing the course of the strata.
RIVERS, BAYS, AND HARBOURS.
The principal rivers of Western Australia are the Swan, the Avon, the Canning, the Murray, the Harvey, the Preston, the Collie, with its tributary the Brunswick, the Vasse, the Blackwood, the Donnelly, and the Kalgan, which last is situated to the south-west of the settlement. It is not to be denied, however, that if we except a river recently discovered by Captain Grey to the north of the settlement, and which he has named after the present governor, the "Hutt," no rivers of magnitude have yet been observed in Western Australia.
Of bays, inlets, and harbours, the most notable are Shark's Bay, Breton Bay, Melville Water, Gage's Roads, Owen's Anchorage, Cockburn's Sound, Safety Bay (or Warnborough Sound), Peel Inlet, Koombanah Bay and Leschenault Inlet, Géographe Bay, Flinders Bay, Tor Bay, King George's Sound, and Doubtful Island Bay.
In the year 1697, Vlaming, a Dutch navigator, first discovered the river to which he gave the name of Swan, on account of the number of black swans which he saw there; and on the 17th of June, 1801, M. Bailly and M. Heirisson entered the mouth of this river, in a cutter belonging to the French corvette Naturaliste and ascended it during three successive days, in which period they observed large flocks of black swans, pelicans, and parroquets. They were struck with the forests, and the geological formations on both banks. On this occasion, some of the officers of the expedition visited and examined, for the first time, the Isle of Rottenest, about twelve miles distant from the mouth of the estuary, named Melville Water, On the north-east side of Rottenest there is good temporary anchorage, with the usual coast winds and weather.
The entrance to Melville Water, between the two heads which form the passage, is over a bar; but there is a channel of six feet depth at low water. About a mile within the headland the water deepens, and then commences a succession of cliffs, or natural wharfs, rising out of four, five, and six fathoms water. For several miles, in an upward course, there are from five to eight fathoms depth of water, over a broad expanse of the river. This magnificent basin requires only a good entrance to make it one of the finest harbours in the world, being seven or eight miles in length by three or four in width. It is thought that the entrance might be rendered navigable for vessels of burthen, and that the blocks of stone procured by quarrying would go far towards paying the expense of excavation.* Into this expansive sheet of water flow the Rivers Swan and Canning; the Avon being supposed to be a continuation of, and, therefore, identical with the former, to which the Helena is a tributary stream. These rivers have their sources in the Darling Mountains, which extend nearly the whole length of the colony. The Canning is narrower than the Swan, and navigable for a less distance. It was first explored by a party from His Majesty's ship Challenger in June 1829, and the general impression resulting from their observations was,
[* Mr. Ogle estimates the cost of such an undertaking at about 20,000l., and proposes that a toll should be levied on all ships entering that harbour for payment of the interest of the capital so employed.—Page 217.]
"That, with trifling exceptions, the soil, above the salt water, is of a quality suited to all the purposes of agriculture."
The Helena was traced by Mr. Dale in two excursions which he made in the same year. It runs through a valley for fifty or sixty miles, and boasts of rich alluvial soil on its banks, especially near to its junction with the Swan. The river Murray empties itself, about forty-five miles south of Freemantle, into Peel's Inlet, which is about fifteen miles in length, and varies from two to five miles in breadth. Two smaller streams flow into the same estuary; and, it appears from recent explorations, that the neighbouring district contains some very rich land, valuable both for tillage and grazing. The Murray is navigable for good-sized boats, for about sixteen miles into the interior.
About fifty miles further to the south is Leschenault Inlet, which receives the two rivers, the Preston and the Collie. In March 1830, a few months after their discovery by Lieutenant Preston and Dr. Collie, from whom these rivers derive their names, a party penetrated to the range of hills which extends along the whole of the settled district of Western Australia, nearly parallel to the coast, from which it is distant only a few miles. Their official report states that
"The country inland from Port Leschenault, as far as it has been seen, offers fertile soil and good stock stations. The climate is decidedly cooler than in this district (Perth), and judging from the quantity of grass, and the verdure of the foliage, it appears to sustain a dry season not so long in duration as that experienced in this quarter (Perth)."
For these reasons, in the year 1830, the Lieutenant-Governor recommended it to the notice of settlers, and directed all the district comprised within a line south-east one hundred miles from the entrance, and thence eastward, to be added to the district thus open for location. Leschenault, or Wellington county, is, in fact, as fine a country for every purpose as any in Australia; and all the most recent reports confirm the first favourable opinions of its harbour and other natural advantages. The inlet is a fine estuary, fifteen or eighteen miles in length, and in some parts three or four wide, having four and five fathom water in it, and although there is a bar at its entrance, no surf exists upon it in consequence of its being sheltered by the point which projects some distance, and forms a good outer harbour or roadstead. In this roadstead, vessels of considerable size have lain in safety during the whole of the winter months. In addition to the benefit of this anchoring ground, and the admitted practicability of hereafter clearing the entrance into the inlet, the whole district is abundantly watered, and affords facility for water carriage; the land is of fine quality, and admirably adapted to cultivation and to the rearing of cattle, horses, and sheep; these advantages, and its capability for a whaling station, point out Leschenault as a spot where judgment and industry must secure great returns to the capitalist. Sir James Stirling represents this station as
"Easily approachable, attention being given to the shoal off" Point Casuarina; that the inlet is by no means inconvenient for the reception and discharge of cargoes; and that when the entrance is deepened, it would become a magnificent harbour."
Lieutenant Bull, R.N., has transmitted from Leschenault the following statement respecting the security of that harbour, written by the master of an American whaling-ship:—
"It is with pleasure that I find I have it in my power to write you a favourable account of the safety of this bay for winter-harbour. I rode out in perfect security the gale from the 1st to the 8th of June, and the heaviest part at single anchor, with only fifty fathoms of chain out. I, therefore, consider it my duty to make this harbour known, and to write my opinion of it as a sailor."
The following corroborative testimony is taken from the appendix to Mr. Potter Macqueen's late pamphlet, entitled Australia as she is, and as she may be:— *
[* Journal of a Voyage from Cockburn Sound, Swan River, to Port Leschenault, the Vasse, and King George's Sound, in Her Majesty's Colonial Schooner, Champion, Lieutenant Belcher, R.N. Commander, in the Months of August, September, and October 1838, by W. N. Clark. [=Appendix B.]]
"On Saturday, 18th of August, arrived at Port Leschenault, where we found the American whaler, Pioneer, at anchor in the bay. Lieutenant Bull, R.N., the Government Resident, came on board, and brought the Champion into a safer berth, nearer shore, as the weather was threatening. Here we were wind bound for six days, and had thus an opportunity of trying the capabilities of the anchorage amidst very stormy weather. In describing the anchorage, I give the opinions of Mr. Belcher (Lieutenant commanding) and the commander of the Pioneer, whose nautical abilities cannot be questioned. The Bay of Leschenault, called in the native language Koombaana, is very easy of access; the best mark for ships approaching from sea is Mount Williams, seen at a great distance, and bearing north-east of the bay. The probable distance from the bay may be about forty miles. The anchorage is situated in latitude 33° 15', and 115° 32' east longitude; it is perfectly secured."
About twenty-nine miles S.S.W. of Wellington county, the river Vasse flows into an inlet of the same name, within Géographe Bay. This inlet or estuary is the receptacle of the various small rivers that originate in Whicher's range; it abounds in fish. The Vasse flows through a district, rich in herbage resembling clover, and enamelled with daisies, buttercups, marigolds, and other beautiful field flowers. It is an admirable cattle run. The Vasse irrigates the northern district of Sussex county. The river Blackwood, supposed to be the largest on this coast, falls into Hardy's Inlet, in Flinders' Bay, at the southern extremity of the same county.
Hardy's inlet also receives the river Scott. Augusta is the name of a town site at the entrance of this inlet, settled in May 1830, and the scenery in the neighbourhood is beautiful and romantic. The banks of the Blackwood are in many places covered with a dense forest of enormous trees; and some of the finest land ever seen by Sir James Stirling during his various excursions, were also observed along its shores.* This river has been traced forty or fifty miles from its junction with the Chapman branch, and little alteration in size or appearance is said to be perceptible. Augusta is adapted for a whale-fishing establishment: the fur seal also abounds.** There are some enterprising settlers located here, and in this neighbourhood,*** who live upon the most amicable terms with the aborigines. On the coast, between Augusta and Point d'Entrecasteaux, the landing is often rendered difficult, if not dangerous for a boat, by rollers of formidable magnitude.
[* It is included in the Leschenault grant.]
[** Vide Major Irwin, p. 68.]
[*** Captain Molloy, Messrs. Turner, Kellum, Bussell, Chapman, and others, with a small detachment of military.]
The river Kalgân (or French river) which discharges itself through Oyster Harbour, into King George's Sound, is of considerable length, and is fed by many tributary streams and chains of pools. Excursions were made up this river in 1831 by Dr. Collie, and by Mr. Dale. For the first twenty miles of their route, dense forests of mahogany, white-gum trees, casuarinas, banksias, wattles, and other shrubs presented themselves; but as they penetrated further, the country became more open, and numerous ponds of brackish water were found.
Another river has been more recently discovered in the northern part of Western Australia, and named Fitzroy, after the commander of Her Majesty's ship Beagle. It discharges itself into King's Sound, in Dampier's Archipelago. The entrance is wide, but numerous sand-banks, partly dry at low water, render it unnavigable for vessels of any burthen: it was traced up a distance of about thirty miles, and the rise and fall of the tide in it was found to be twenty-two feet at the full and change of the moon. The water was fresh at half-ebb, close to the entrance of the river.*
[* Fine grassy plains and forest scenery were observed; and a native grape, of good flavour, was found near the banks of this river: a nut, resembling the nutmeg, a native cotton-tree, and a small kangaroo, with a nail or hook at the end of its tail, were also amongst the curiosities discovered in this expedition.]
Shark's Bay presents several safe anchorages, and affords secure access to the districts in its immediate vicinity; but the best anchorage on the whole coast is in Cockburn Sound, S. lat. 32° 10', which is locked in by Garden Island (or Buache), having everywhere good holding ground and soundings of at least fifteen fathoms. It may be deemed a place of perfect shelter at all seasons and under any circumstances. Sir James Stirling does not scruple to describe it as
"perfectly secure at all times, and available for vessels of the greatest dimensions, as well as for any number of them."
Its entrance is round the north point of Garden Island, and between it and a small barren islet named Carnac. If this Sound is liable to an objection, it is that of distance from the Swan River, which is six or seven miles to the north of it; on this account, and from the circumstance that Cockburn's Sound is not properly buoyed down, Gage's Roads have been commonly preferred, except in seasons when north-west gales may be expected.** Owen's Anchorage, at two miles and a quarter from the jetty at Freemantle, is a good and safe station for ships in the blowing season; and they may remain in Gage's Roads, opposite the town, even during that season, except in very severe gales, the approach of which, in this latitude, is always indicated by the barometer; when Owen's Anchorage must be made for. To run, however, for the anchorages during heavy weather or by night, is hardly prudent, unless a commander be well acquainted with the coast, some shipwrecks having occurred in October 1839, as appears in the appendix. Governor Hutt has lately deemed it expedient to prohibit the pilots of Freemantle from bringing ships to anchor in Gage's Roads between the 1st of May and the 1st of October.***
[** See Sailing Directions, in Appendix, B.—to be deleted; see "Erratum".]
[*** See Copy of Official Order in the Appendix, D.]
Of Géographe Bay, we have the following information on the authority of Sir James Stirling:
"On the western side of that great indentation, there is usually to be found good stiff holding ground. The best anchorage in that part is in Summer's Bay, situated in the south-western corner, on about four or five fathoms, having the extremities of the point to the N.W., bearing about N.W. by N. In that position a vessel is sheltered from the great western or ocean swell; and, I think, if well found with anchors and cables, any ship might ride there in safety throughout the winter; she would, at all events, be more secure than in Table Bay. In the first place, because she would be covered by the land three or four points more to the northward, and the holding-ground is better." ****
[**** We believe it to be also the opinion of Sir J. Stirling, that Dunsborough, in this neighbourhood, is admirably adapted for a naval station.]
The Vasse Inlet is very safe in summer; for gales of wind are scarcely known in that season, and the bottom is good and tenacious. The anchorage off Port Leschenault (Wellington) may also be frequented even after the end of summer, for Captain Stackpole, commanding an American whaling ship, pronounces it a secure winter harbour, as before stated. It is open from N.W. by N. to N. ½W.
King George's Sound, which receives the river Kalgân, through Oyster Harbour, in 35° 6' 20" S. lat. and 118° 1'. E. long., possesses all the qualities which constitute a good haven. Its position, however, being to the eastward and to leeward of Cape Leeuwin, in the vicinity of which strong westerly gales prevail, this circumstance detracts from the value of its other advantages. Within this Sound, near the entrance to Princess Royal Harbour, is a town site bearing the name of Albany. The bar at the entrance to Oyster Harbour has thirteen feet of water on it at high tide; and inside are facilities, presented by nature, for repairing vessels, and for loading and unloading.
Harbours for boats and small vessels also exist near the entrance of Peel's Inlet, Augusta, Nornalup, Torbay, Collingwood Bay, and Cape Riche.
SOIL AND CLIMATE.
Sir J. Stirling's Report furnishes us with the first information respecting the nature of the soil. "The surface of the country is generally covered with those substances which are technically called earths, in contradistinction to soils;" * and although not remarkably rich, is favourable in other respects to farming purposes. In its natural state there is scarcely any part which does not produce some description of plant, and even in the least favoured portion its defects appear to be of that class which art, aided by climate, will be enabled hereafter to overcome. The best districts then known (in the year 1837) were those on the Avon, the Hotham, the Williams, Arthur, Beaufort, and South-east River, together with the portions of country adjacent to the Swan, the Murray, the Harvey, Brunswick, Preston, Collie, Capel, and Vasse. Sir J. Stirling wishes it to be borne in mind that his remarks can only apply to the very small part of this vast territory which had then been explored, and that in the progress of the settlement, circumstances would continually arise to give peculiar value to lands. The following is a statement of the character of the soil to the north and north-west of the present settlements, taken from the Report of the West Australian Agricultural Society, at a meeting held in the capital of Perth the 3rd August, 1838, and signed by G. F. Moore, Esq., chairman of the committee:—
[* Vide Sir J. Stirling's Report, dated 15th October, 1837.]
"The recent arrival here of Mr. Grey" (it is stated) "who has been engaged in examining the north-west coast of this colony, has given us the very agreeable intelligence of the existence of a country most peculiarly suited to the growth of cotton and sugar. Several rivers of considerable extent and magnitude, large tracts of soil of the most fertile character, and a natural vegetation of the most luxuriant description, situated in the suitable latitude, and within easy access of a supply of Indian, Malay and Chinese labourers, present a combination of advantages, rarely to be met with in the British dominions, and which it is believed that the British government will not long continue to overlook."
The above is corroborative of a portion of Sir J. Stirling's dispatch. No. 144, dated 29th August 1836. It appears from the "Perth Gazette" of 27th April 1839, that Lieut. (now Captain) Grey, in furtherance of instructions received from H. M. Government to effect a survey of the North-western coast, and as far as practicable the Western shores of Australia, fell in, on the 5th March 1839, with a large river in lat. 24° 56', about 50 miles S. of Cape Cuvier, and discovered a most beautiful tract of country, presenting to the eye immense alluvial plains. Every two or three miles they crossed a running stream, and the whole face of the country was clothed with the richest grass, offering a fine opening for the establishment of grazing farms. This was in the neighbourhood of Moresby's range; and a very fair country was likewise passed over from 28° to 29° 30' south latitude; the general character of the soil being good.
These accounts being of an official character, and possessing a strong guarantee for their authenticity, have been made to take precedence of private statements, whatever degree of credibility may be due to them. An anonymous correspondent of the Perth Gazette of the 16th February, 1839, who seems to write with plainness and impartiality, expresses himself thus:—
"On many parts of the coast of this vast island, or continent, the wide margin of sand which belts the greater part of its circumference is interrupted by tracts, considerable in extent, of tolerably fertile soil and grazing land; as in several instances in New South Wales and Southern Australia, and within the limits of this (the Western) settlement at Géographe Bay, Leschenault, and between King George's Sound and Augusta. In Western Australia, the numerous rivers, inlets, and lakes or lagoons, are generally bordered by slips of rich alluvial flats, and frequently backed by some extent of stiff loam or clay, which, though of difficult cultivation at first, is reducible to tillage with manure. Tillage and pasturage should be combined."
The qualities of soil, in the absence of extended and numerous reports, by competent judges, will be best appreciated by its productions; and these will be enumerated in the proper place, when specifying the nature of the crops and the variety of fruits which thrive in this region. At present it will be sufficient to quote a few general remarks taken somewhat indiscriminately from letters written home by settlers. A communication forwarded to C. Mangles, Esq., dated Perth, Swan River, 12th November, 1836, written in a strain of cheerfulness, after shewing that the settlement was in a highly prosperous condition, makes the following statements. The reader must, however, bear in mind that here, as in all very early settlements, the system of husbandry is rather of a barbarous description.
"Wheat grown here averages about twenty-four bushels an acre; on land properly manured from thirty-five to forty bushels per acre. Hops grow very well, and, indeed, every thing else: in short, this is the finest climate I have ever been in. The flocks of sheep are over the mountains, and thriving as well as could be wished." The writer then remarks on the nourishing condition of his melons, cucumbers, pumpkins, potatoes, grapes, and fruits of all kinds."
Mr. Moore, in a letter dated 5th March, 1831, says—
"That for fifteen miles up the Swan River, white sands present themselves on either side with some mixture of vegetable mould: on the white sand, the Australian mahogany is found in abundance and of excellent quality. About three miles above Perth, the alluvial flats are covered with luxuriant crops of grasses. Tobacco, hemp, flax, eringo, celery, and parsley, are indigenous. Indeed there is every variety of soil, having something of peculiar production, either of tree, shrub, herb or flower. Some places appear like well-ordered parks; yet you no where find impenetrable jungle, save in the swamps and lagoons."
Mr. Moore also says—
"I have acquired some knowledge of the indications of soil: mahogany is indicative of sandy land; red gum, of stiff, cold clay; wattle, of moisture; and the broom and dwarf grass-tree, of what we term shrubby herbage"—P. 185.
It thus appears, as before remarked, that although in many parts the soil is sandy, even that is very far from being sterile, for it bears well various kinds of corn, fruit, and vegetables, with tolerable management, and, with manure, produces them luxuriantly. A farmer, writing to his brother in June, 1833, from his settlement on the Swan River, says, that—
"Crops, in general, last harvest, were very abundant; wheat, on the best soils, in several instances, averaged thirty-two bushels per acre on land that had been only once ploughed, and without manure."
Mr. Joseph Hardy, in a letter dated from Peninsula Farm, Swan River, 14th July, 1832, not satisfied with the accuracy of what was asserted by certain discontented settlers over their bottle, quitted them and went to judge for himself of the character of the country of his adoption. He says—
"After reaching the Peninsula (where I now reside) I was convinced that the land was of a useful character, and might be made to suit the general purposes of agriculture, although inferior to much of the land higher up the Swan. The last year, 1831, has convinced me that when the land has tillage and management, it will grow wheat, barley, oats, rye, potatoes, and turnips in great abundance."
Another correspondent, writing on the 27th January, 1833, observes—
"That near the hills, about twenty miles from the coast, the land is really good, and so thinly wooded as to be well adapted either for grazing or tillage."
It is stated in the third Annual Report of the Western Australian Agricultural Society, that by recent explorations, the existence of extensive pastoral districts in the interior, has been ascertained. Of the district of Wellington, Mr. Clark, in his Report of 1838, observes, that—
"The whole of the country around Leschenault seemed to be of a very superior quality, and extends in one unvaried mass for twenty miles from the sea coast into the interior, connecting itself with the Vasse district to the South, and that of the Murray to the North."
Sir J. Stirling observes of the Wellington district, that although he does not profess to be a judge of soils, he entertains a very favourable opinion of this part of the country, in which he is confirmed by the judgment of others. It presents a varied surface, and offers every variety of soil, from the richest alluvium to the most unpromising sand, but, on the general average, it is a very fine district for all the operations of the settler. For the last two years. Sir James has had an establishment there, and his agent has always spoken in the highest terms of his sheep, cattle and corn: nor was there any complaint during the whole of last summer, which was elsewhere a season of excessive drought. The district abounds in grass and fine timber, and in game and fish. There is another important peculiarity in the country around Leschenault, its being available for the location of a great body of small settlers, in consequence of the general diffusion of water for common use.
The Australian soil varies, however, according to laws of its own. In other countries rivers are the great fertilizers: in Australia, the most productive soil is generally found on the sides and summits of considerable elevations. The surface of the country being singularly devoid of vegetable decay, the most fertile soil will necessarily be found where the rivers and floods have deposited their alluvium.*
[* It appears probable that both the land and water here are still in a course of formation: that the various anomalies in each, which fill the minds of Europeans with wonder, are only the natural appearances of an imperfect, or rather of an unfinished work; and that they will vanish when the causes, now in operation, shall have produced their full effect.]
In April, 1837, the Governor, accompanied by Messrs. Phillips, Harris, Spofforth, Hillman, Hunt, and Dobbins, went out on an excursion to the Southern districts. The period selected for this journey, the end of the driest season of the year, had been chosen with a view of ascertaining the supply of water in the country to be visited, and it was satisfactory to them to find the Murray, a powerful stream, sufficient both in fall and current for the establishment of a hundred mills, within two miles, above the western base of the hills. A county town-site was accordingly selected at that station, possessing the 'great attractions of good soil and running water, and the means for making the river navigable for boats from Marrarrup to Pinjarra, whenever circumstances may render such an improvement desirable. Four miles south of this spot is a rich valley watered by a large permanent stream: eleven miles further is Mount William, near the summit of which was found a running spring, traced down by the party for two miles through a mountainous country; and the party halted for the night at the confluence of this brook with another from the south-west, about 200 yards above their junction with the Murray. At a distance of five miles from Mount William, the country about the banks of the river was found to be open and beautiful, with rich alluvial flats; and the pools in that direction were of great length, depth, and breadth, and the water excellent. The hills in the vicinity were covered with good red loam, and produced a considerable quantity of herbage, available for cattle and sheep, and were rendered very agreeable in appearance by gigantic trees. As the party proceeded further to the south-east, with a view of establishing an intermediate position favorable to communication between the southern and western coasts, they discovered, in the vicinity of Mount Barker, a large range of pasture land, together with a greater supply of water from springs than had heretofore been supposed to exist. On the following day excellent water was again found in numerous pools of the river, the banks of which affording the most abundant supply of herbage, rendered the situation suitable for the support of vast quantities of stock, and also for the formation of farms. On the 20th April they arrived at the river Arthur, which, at that season, had no current, but consisted of large pools and springs of excellent water; although, from the appearance of its bed, it was supposed that it must be a considerable river in winter. On the 21st April they arrived at Mr. Harris's station, on the Williams, after passing over a very good country for several miles on the left side of the river. On the 22nd, a short excursion was made to the eastward; and thence W.S.W. to the town site of Williamsburgh; pursuing the same course from the river Williams, at the point where the King George's Sound road crosses it; the first four miles, through a hilly district, were found well adapted to the support of sheep. Then, crossing the track which they had pursued, the party passed through a mahogany range for two miles, and encamped for the night in a valley where the grass and soil were both of good quality. Continuing the same course on the 24th, and after traversing a scrubby range for four miles, the party descended into a broad valley, which continued to intersect their path at intervals throughout the remainder of the day, over a space of fourteen miles. Pools and springs of water were abundant, and the soil, for the most part, rich, although occasionally overgrown with the tea tree. It was bounded by low hills of available, but not rich soil; yet favorable to the formation of small farms. The journal of this excursion concludes thus:
"On the 25th April our course was changed to W. by N., being then about twenty-five miles S. by E. from Mount William. We soon entered a mountainous region, on the hills of which there was much available land, although heavily timbered. The valleys generally were open, and the vegetation fresher than in the portion of the range to the north of the Murray. In four miles we encountered a valley abounding in springs and containing good grass. We followed it down for two or three miles, until it joined a considerable course coming from the N.N.W., down which we pursued our way, but finding its direction to be to the S.S.E., we left it, and proceeded over a fair hilly country to another but smaller stream, which we were also obliged to abandon, for the same reason. In the afternoon we met, soon after starting, with several springs and streams, flowing to the southward, some of which we crossed with difficulty, and at sunset, after a stormy afternoon, we stopped for the night in a rich mountain glen, producing enormous mahogany and red gum trees, and much good grass. From this, on the following day, we continued to pass through a very romantic country, in which rich valleys and good hill sides prevailed, together with a good supply of water in all directions. In the afternoon we halted on the right bank of a strong stream or river, in an exceedingly rich alluvial flat, about one mile eastward of the western base of the hills. On the 27th April we descended to the plain, and took up a direction parallel with the range, about two miles from it From this to the Murray, we passed over a country, the whole of which, for thirty-five miles on the line of our course, may be called arable land, varying in quality, but all available, easily cleared, and well supplied with water in the driest season, although probably in winter too wet for cultivation in its natural state."
The following is the account of the excursion of Messrs. W. K. Shenton and Richard Wells to the Collie and Brunswick Rivers, in the county of "Wellington:—
On the 30th November, 1837, they left Mr. Davis's farm, on the Canning, with twenty days' provision, and two pack horses; crossed the Southern River, and at noon arrived at a district lightly timbered with casuarina, and affording sufficient food and water for their horses. They then crossed the dry beds of three water courses, and in the afternoon arrived at the Serpentine River, which at that point was running strongly over a rocky iron-stone bed. On the next day they proceeded southerly through a forest country—passing by a running brook, called the Daudalup; and on the following morning, came to another and a larger stream; where the richness of the grass and the beauty of the country excited the admiration and beguiled the fatigue of the travellers. Here they also observed a herd of wild cattle, and numerous tracks in every direction. Shortly afterwards they came in sight of Mount William; and in the afternoon arrived at four fresh lakes. Before five o'clock, P. M., they crossed the Harvey River by a good ford; and proceeded to a large lake called Cadára, which they left on the morning of 4th December, keeping the eastern aide, and passing through an undulating open forest of mahogany and white gums without brush or underwood, and where limestone appeared occasionally through the soil. After nine the next morning a large swamp presented itself beyond which the forest thickened, and produced much underwood. Here the kangaroos were numerous. Before noon the party halted at a lake called Wanalup. At ten the following morning was observed the "Derbal, at estuary of Leschenault, on the shore of a narrow belt of good soil and feed.' At half-past eleven they made the Collie; they observed large flocks of ducks upon the river, and followed it to its mouth over a good loamy soil, and through excellent grass, on which, and on sow thistles, and a species of jacobea, or groundsel, which grows four or five feet high, their horses luxuriated that evening. The town-site of Waterloo (county Wellington) commences with a very rich swampy hollow, and the upper part above, where the Collie is at present navigable, is excellent land, with rich vegetation. The sow thistles which abound in this neighbourhood are from ten to twelve feet high, with the stem of the diameter of a crown piece. They followed this river to its junction with the Brunswick, where the natives had constructed with brushwood a dam or weir across a broad sheet of water. The soil about this point was very good and clothed with grass, knee-high, and particularly thick and free from bushes or scrub. The fresh water spring, marked on the plans in the Survey Office, was found, but the river being fresh at this time of the year, they had no occasion to remain by it. After bivouacking in a pleasant spot about a quarter of a mile from the point, they proceeded E.S.E. next mornings and perceived the River Collie, flowing through a district so dense with vegetation, consisting of grass, sow thistles, groundsel, and fern, that, after forcing their way with great labour, they were compelled to make the high land again, which resembled in character that of the Swan, but was considered more pleasing from its greater variety of surface. Subsequently, however, they crossed the river and were agreeably surprised at finding abundant feed for stock, not in the valleys only, but also on the hill sides and summits, on soil of an excellent description, free from stones, and capable of being readily cleared and cultivated; "apparently," remarks the journalist, "it would produce heavy crops of corn. "After examining," he continues, the extremely rich flats in the valley, we proceeded up the same; found a spring in the hill-sides, and a running brook." The party then ascended a hill both sides and summit of which exhibited rich pasture and fine soil, and whence they had a glimpse of the ocean and the coast towards Géographe Bay, besides the estuary and valley of the Preston river; although this eminence was too thickly wooded to afford them as extended a prospect as they desired. On the 9th December, a small water course was observed, and a great extent of broom trees, indicative of good soil. In the afternoon the party fell in with the Brunswick river, and they describe the vegetation on both banks to be luxuriant; the timber being particularly straight and sound. On the 11th December the same favourable observations were made respecting the condition of the soil, and the party met with several emus and kangaroos, cockatoos and pigeons in abundance. "In fact" (observes the writer) "all the land we had passed over this day till near five o'clock was, with trifling exceptions, sufficiently good for corn or other crops, and quite equal in quality to much that is cultivated for such purposes on the Swan and Canning; and to the tops of the hills in the district from the Collie to Mount William, the verdure of spring yet prevails." Next morning the party reached the Murray, half a mile above Pinjarra. "Messrs. Oakley and Buglass," Bays the reporter, "have here an establishment, and perhaps a better example of the reward that perseverance and industry will ensure, may not be met with in this colony. This is now their second season; they are cutting twenty-two acres of fine wheat, and have, with very trivial assistance, erected a good dwelling-house, barn, dairy, and stock-yard and also shewn much ingenuity in the making many of their agricultural implements."
On leaving Pinjarra, another herd of wild cattle was surprised by the party, for, upon being observed, they fled like deer.
In January 1838, the Governor visited the stations at the Vasse and at Wormerup, and aided in establishing a military post near the entrance into Leschenault inlet.
"The nature and the capabilities of the site for the county town, Australind, for the district of Wellington, have also been examined during this excursion, and it is found to be a most favourable position. Distinguished by its connection with the good country behind it and on its northern sides, the quality of the soil, the supply of water, and the convenience of water carriage, admirably adapt this place to become an attractive and thriving township. This district, from its proximity to the sea, and its extensive pastures, will unquestionably, before long, take the lead of all our grazing districts."
The Governor and party crossed overland from the Vasse to Port Leschenault. For a distance of about twelve or fourteen miles to the Capel, the country was found extremely fine; indeed, a finer country, our informant says, was never seen. Leaving it, they proceeded to Leschenault by a course which did not afford the same opportunities of judging of the general character of the country. They passed principally over elevated ground. On their arrival at Leschenault, the rivers Collie, Preston, and Brunswick were ascended and closely examined, as far as the navigation would permit, say about fourteen miles. The country about the Brunswick was new to all parties, and the land upon this, as well as the other rivers, was found very rich, and well adapted for the purposes of agriculture and grazing. Mr. Scott and family were placed on a beautiful spot, for a farm, on the Preston; several other families were expected to follow them in the course of a short time. The large quantity of good land found so near the coast was a matter of gratification to all who inspected it, and will give to this district many striking and peculiar advantages. The natives of the Vasse, and at Wormerup were living in amity with the settlers. They were rendering themselves useful in cattle-tending, and other simple avocations.
Sir James Stirling, in July 1838, made an overland excursion to port Leschenault; and all the gentlemen who joined this expedition confirm, in the most flattering terms, the previous reports of the qualifications of the Leschenault district, as a locality highly favorable for extensive occupation by a number of hardy and industrious emigrants. As a grazing country, it is acknowledged to be far superior to any other portion of the colony; the establishments for rearing horses for the Indian market, and the most productive dairies of the colony will consequently be found, before long, in this quarter. The communication with the surrounding sheep-runs, at no great distance from Leschenault, is open and easy of access. The accounts of the late governor are fully borne out by his successor.
The Perth Gazette of the 23rd November last, says—
"His Excellency, Governor Hutt, has returned from his short tour to the southward, highly gratified. He visited, in the course of it, the settlements on the Canning and the Murray rivers, as well as at Leschenault Inlet and Géographe Bay; and every where he saw decided marks of prosperity among the settlers; whilst, highly as his expectations had been raised respecting the land to the south of the Murray River, or from Pinjarra to the Vasse, he has now been enabled to satisfy himself, from his own observation, that Western Australia possesses, in that direction, a tract of country which may compete in beauty and fertility with some of the most loudly praised soils of the sister colonies. Nothing can exceed the state of the crops, which would in many instances do credit to farms in England. The rankness and abundance of the grass in these districts offer fine pasture for stock, and the colonists have hitherto turned their exclusive attention to the rearing of horses and homed cattle, which are increasing rapidly; It seems almost as if these were marked out to be the dairy districts of the colony; but latterly sheep have been introduced, and are doing remarkably well The experiment has been tried, and fully succeeded, of driving sheep from York to the Vasse. The governor's most favourable ideas have been more than confirmed of the capabilities and prospects of the colony."
A communication is now open by land from the north to the south of the interior of Western Australia. Mr. Harris, in ten days, drove a flock of 200 ewes from King George's Sound to Williams River; the distance was performed at the rate of sixteen miles a day: and when the road is properly marked, sheep may easily be driven this journey in six days. He mentions several good feeding and watering places on this route, as Kokocup, Mount Barker, and at Mount Barron: the latter thirty-five miles from Albany, and three east of the present line of road, which it is intended to turn in that direction. The sheep from Sydney and Van Diemen's Land may thus be landed at Albany, in King George's Sound, avoiding the risk of a boisterous passage round Cape Leeuwin at the end of a long voyage.
The following official report, presented in October 1839, just received, will further illustrate the qualities of the soil.
Eighth Annual Report of the Agricultural and Horticultural Society of Western Australia.
To His Excellency Governor Hutt, Patron.
"Sir,—In accordance with the established custom of this Society during the government of your respected predecessor, we do ourselves the honour of forwarding our Annual Report to you, as patron of the Society, with a full assurance that, as a body whose endeavour it has always been to develop and encourage the several capabilities of the colony, we shall continue to receive that kindly consideration and support which, since the formation of the society, we are proud to acknowledge.
"The absence of an opportunity for transmitting our Report to England has enabled us to give a statement with greater accuracy of our crops and wool; the former, with pleasure we observe to be nothing inferior to those of any of our former seasons; at the same time we regret that the number of acres has not materially increased—a circumstance mainly attributable to the great scarcity and high rate of labour, and to the greater attention which has been devoted to grazing. From the seasonable and protracted rains which have fallen this year, and the experience of ten years, we confidently hope that this side of New Holland is not subject to any such periodical droughts as those which are found to be so destructive in New South Wales. The crop of natural grass in the grazing districts has been this season unprecedented, both for its early appearance and luxuriant growth. Gardens and green crops generally have, as usual, fully answered the expectations of the cultivator. We consider it unnecessary to particularize, when green crops have been alike so abundantly prolific. Fruits of every kind, as hitherto reported, from all climates, continue to progress. The vine, more particularly, from the great attention which has been paid to its increase and culture, and the uniform abundance of its fruit, promises ere long to supply us with at least a fair substitute for the wine which we have hitherto received from the Cape. The absence of persons skilled in the art alone prevents a commencement of its manufacture this season. A few casks, as an experiment, have already been made, and the flavour much extolled. There are now in the colony upwards of two hundred varieties of the vine, many of them in bearing.
"It is with great pleasure we are able to state, that the increase of our sheep flock has been equal to that of former years, for, although in numerical amount, it would at a first glance appear to be less, it must be borne in mind that in the number quoted last session, was included many wethers and that year's lambs, few of which have borne; it may also be expected that when the ewes are kept to a greater age than is usual, many may have proved barren; the increase is, however, satisfactory, and the flocks universally heal Jhy. The more settled condition of the colonists, we hope it may be proved, has enabled them to give greater attention to the getting up of their wool. In one or two instances, the fleeces of this colony, from the last year's clip, obtained the highest prices in the London market We hope that a little more experience among our young graziers will, in the course of a few years, place us in a high position in the market.
"Horned cattle have steadily increased. Working bullocks are not so much in demand as formerly, a general preference being given to horses, more particularly for road-work. Cows are in great request, and the few that have lately been imported have realized high prices. An importation to some extent of sheep, cattle, or both, would be certain of meeting a ready sale, and we are aware that a considerable sum has for some time been accumulating for this express purpose. As regards the transition of sheep and stock generally, the recent trial, made by Mr. Harris, a medical gentleman resident on the Swan, and his unlooked-for success in driving a flock from King George's Sound to the Williams River, without the loss of a single head, we consider a matter of such vital importance to this colony, that we deem a few remarks not inappropriate in our Report When it is considered that stock may now be landed, from the sister colonies, at King George's Sound without incurring the risk consequent upon the boisterous and frequently protracted passage round Cape Leeuwin, where the great majority of loss has generally been experienced, it may fairly be hoped that the importation will be more extensive. Mr. Harris describes the line of road which he pursued to be through a generally good country, and sufficiently watered; his journey to. the Williams River occupying him ten days.
"We are happy to learn that your Excellency has decided on lining the new district round Kojenup, and the country in the line of road between it and the Avon. We anticipate that the lands will be eagerly sought after, as well by the capitalists at the Sound, from its proximity to their port, as by ourselves, though at a greater distance, for their known good quality, and the facilities already mentioned for stocking them.
"Horses, both for saddle and draught, are in such demand, that the prices seem to be limited only by the desire of the owners. The value of this description of stock, particularly brood mares, may be considered to have risen forty or fifty per cent. The importation of a number of mares from the neighbouring colonies would be most acceptable. Those from Sydney and Van Diemen's Land have generally been preferred, as exhibiting more bone, strength, and figure than those from the Cape. Horses thrive remarkably with us; it is very rarely found necessary to use medicine of any kind. We have still the greater number of the fine stallions we formerly enumerated, both thorough-bred and of the heavier kind, besides several young ones of our own breeding. We beg leave here to express to your Excellency our great satisfaction at the recent passing of an Act of Council for the protection of breeders of stock, and others, from stray horses, &c. &c., by which we hope that the purity of our several kinds will be more certainly preserved.
"Goats continue to increase as rapidly as heretofore. Cashmere goats have been introduced since our last Report, and we hope next year to be enabled to state that the wool produced from them will amply realise the expectations of the spirited individuals who have imported them. We are pleased to find, now, that the greater part of the unsettled of our working community has been culled; labour, though greatly unequal to the demand, is becoming more steady; few of that class now talk of leaving, and many who left us some years since are gradually returning to us from the neighbouring colonies.
"Although a few labourers and artizans have, during the year, arrived in the colony, we regret to state that our interests are still suffering very seriously from the want of servants, male and female, particularly farming men, shepherds, and domestic servants. The accession of boys and girls which we received from the Children's Friend Society proved, for the most part, very useful. We hope the guardians will not forget us in their future dispensations of juvenile emigrants.
"We beg to call your Excellency's attention to the inefficient strength of the Survey Department, and the consequent backward state of surveys—a circumstance, in the absence of private surveyors, and the heavy rate of wages, severely felt, both by present proprietors and purchasers of lands. We would wish to impress this subject most earnestly on your Excellency, with a hope that your suggestions to the Home Government might accelerate the removal of so serious an evil, which, together with the great want of labour, we conceive to be the only serious impediments to the more rapid rise of the colony.
"It must be gratifying to your Excellency to observe, that the ship Shepherd, direct to London, is just on the point of sailing, freighted solely by the produce of this colony, principally in wool and oil, and to learn that a great quantity still remains for a future opportunity.
"In conclusion, we feel that we have cause to congratulate your Excellency on the general prosperity which appears to exist amongst the colonists, and find that every individual desirous of employment has no difficulty in obtaining plentiful occupation at wages far beyond the average rate in the other colonies.
"To prove that this is a most desirable country for the industrious' labourer, we would adduce very many instances of comparatively opulent men, on their own land, and with their own flocks, who came to this colony ten years since as servants from England, where they were unable to maintain their families without the assistance of their parishes.
"The wages which we are now paying, are, for reaping, 27s. to 30s. per acre; yearly farm servants, 30l. to 36l., with board; shepherd's ditto, ditto ditto; female domestics, from 12l. to 18l.; country carpenter's, 8s. per day; labourers, 5s. to 6s. per ditto.
"We have the honour to be your Excellency's obedient servants,
|W. L. Brockman,||William Burgess,|
|G. F. Moore,||R. H. Bland,|
|Peter Brown,||R. Hinds,|
|George Leake,||J. K. Phillips,|
|Alfred Waylen,||S. Moore,|
|T. N. Yule, Honorary Secretary."|
|Green crops of all }
kinds, hay, &c. }
|Total in crop||"||2457||2725½||268½|
The climate of extra-tropical Australia is peculiarly favourable to the human constitution, probably from the deficiency of vegetable decomposition. Endemic diseases are almost unknown; even small-pox, measles, and hooping-cough are strangers; but the hot north wind produces ophthalmia; and the teres, or round-worm, is the common pest of childhood. Dysentery is the most prevalent disease; but one proof, and that a strong one, of the healthy nature of the atmosphere, is the facility with which all disorders, even the worst cases of venereal affection, yield to the simplest remedies. Deaths from disease are exceedingly rare.* Of the settlers, some who declared they could not live in England from asthma, or other complaints, have enjoyed such robust health, that they have performed exploring excursions on foot, for several days successively, carrying their provisions, and sleeping under trees.
[* M'Culloch's Dictionary, voce Australia, p. 224.]
From a meteorological journal, kept by Mr. Collie at King George's Sound, it appeared that the mean temperature for the year, taken at eight in the morning, and at sunset, varied from 52° in the coldest month to 66° in the hottest; that rain fell the least in February, and most in June, namely, four days in the former, and eighteen days in the latter month; and that the quantity was least in November, being from that month to March less than one inch; in April and May 2½ inches; from June to August 6½ inches; in September, 3, and in October 1½ inch.* It cannot therefore admit of a doubt that Western Australia is supplied with rain in sufficient abundance to produce plentifully all the fruits of the soil.
[* To those who have not ready access to thermometrical tables in England, it will be interesting to compare the degree of heat and quantity of rain in Western Australia as above stated with those in London during the month of May last (1840). In that city the thermometer indicated the highest degree of heat on the 31st, being 73½°, and the lowest on the 20th, when it was 35°: the mean temperature during the days of that month was 63½°, and during the nights 46½°, whilst the mean temperature of night and day together was 55°. The quantity of rain fallen in London during the same month (May) was two inches.]
The genial effect of climate upon Australian beauty may be judged from the following quotation: **
[** A letter from Sydney, the principal town of Australia, p. 130.]
"Nevertheless, in spite of many proverbs which declare that there is no standard of taste, the same human form, which more than two thousand years ago was embodied by Phidias and Praxiteles, is still considered the model of perfection by all refined Europeans. Where does that form most commonly breathe? In Greece, and even in the very Cyprus, where Adonis was conceived, and where the Goddess of Beauty had two temples. You may laugh or sneer, but the latitude of Sydney *** corresponds exactly with that of Paphos; and it is no less true that the native Australians **** bear a stronger resemblance to the modern Greeks than to any other people * * * . As to form and mien, you shall judge for yourself. The young men of Australia, like Alfieri and Mr. Hope's modern Greek, are passionately fond of horses. If you would see one of them, look in Flaxman's Illustrations of the Iliad, at the figure of Diomed returning with the spoils of Rhesus. The Australian girls, like the girls of Genoa, Naples, and the Archipelago, are passionately fond of swimming. If you would see a group of them, look at Flaxman's sea nymphs obeying the command of Thetis—
[*** So also does that of Western Australia.]
[**** The descendants of Europeans.]
'Ye sister Nereids, to your deeps descend!'
But Flaxman's outlines represent only form and mien. * * * I do not pretend, however, that all the girls of Australia are equally beautiful; but I do declare, what you know to be true of the Ligurian girls, that three out of four of them would be considered beauties in May-fair."
The following official Reports from medical men will convey the best evidence of the salubrity of the climate:—
"The favourable opinion I have already expressed of the influence of this climate on European constitutions, and of the place as a residence for invalids from India, is strengthened by a further experience of two years.
"I have met with several individuals here, who on leaving England were great sufferers from dyspepsia, and disorders of the digestive organs, generally from the nervous affections which so often accompany these—from hypochondria, from asthma, and from bronchial diseases—who have recovered their health in a remarkable degree since their arrival. Some of slight figure have become more robust and stronger. Parturition with the female sex is expeditious and safe; being accomplished by the efforts of nature alone, within from three to six hours. No woman has died in childbirth in this colony since its commencement, nor am I aware of any who died within a month after.
"Children thrive remarkably well, and I may add every description of live stock, although collected from different climates,—England, India, South America, Africa, &c., and various plants and vegetables, collected from as many different sources, find here a congenial temperature.
"Indeed I am disposed to conclude, that when the settlers are well lodged and fed, and the country more cultivated and improved, but few diseases will be met with; I might perhaps say, only dysentery and ophthalmia, and these of a mild character.
(Signed) "Wm. Milligan, M.D."
"His Majesty's Sloop Sulphur,10th December, 1832.
"In compliance with your Excellency's request, as to my opinion of the climate of Swan River, I beg leave to state, as a climate, with regard to health, I am not aware of any other that can be compared with it.
"As a proof of its salubrity, during three years His Majesty's sloop Sulphur was employed upon that station, not a single death, and very few important cases of disease, occurred; notwithstanding the very great exposure of her men, not only to wet, but also night air, in consequence of her boats having been a great deal employed at a distance from the anchorage. When exploring the country for several days, and sometimes weeks, these people have been exposed to the sun, fatigued in the evening, after a day's excursion, slept in the open air, and that repeatedly in wet weather, without suffering in the slightest degree.
"Another point ought also to be taken into consideration—the debilitated state of those constitutions which were undergoing this exposure, in consequence of having been so long a period upon salt provisions and without vegetable diet—out of three years and ten months the Sulphur was employed upon the Swan River service, her crew were only 256 days upon fresh diet. A life of this description in any other climate, I have no hesitation in asserting, would have been productive of the most serious disease.
"I have, &c. &c.
"J. W. JOHNSON, M.D."Surgeon, H.M.S. Sulphur.
"To his Excellency Governor Stirling, &c. &c."
Medical men attached to our colonial, military, and naval establishments, have all certified to the peculiar salubrity of the climate of Western Australia; and it is the opinion of the late governor, that, in consequence of its genial effect upon the mind, in producing cheerfulness, and rendering the perceptions more acute, it is not improbable that the mental powers of future generations will be materially improved. Sir James Stirling is convinced that it is peculiarly conducive to health, from his own extensive experience. During all his various excursions into the bush, although frequently sleeping on the ground, exposed to the night air in wet clothes, after fording the rivers, he was never affected by a cold.
Sir James Stirling, in his official report, thus observes—
"That the climate is congenial to health as well as to enjoyment, there is no reason to doubt. The children born in this colony appear to be of rapid growth, and are exempt from many of those diseases which afflict and destroy in childhood so many persons in more rigorous climates."
This salubrity is attributed to the peculiar dryness of the atmosphere. Mr. Ogle declares his belief that this climate is the healthiest and most genial in the world.
Mr. Moore, in his interesting collection of letters says—
"The climate in summer, in the middle of the day is very warm; most agreeable in the morning and evening; cool and pleasant at night; sometimes even culd, as it approaches morning." (p. 49.)
But, unfortunately, such of our compatriots as have no experience of warmer zones, have a horror of any climate which is said to be hot, though they may know it, at the same time, to be dry; a prejudice which is only to be removed by personal experience. The climate is, unquestionably, congenial to animal life in general. In the Agricultural Report, referred to above, we find the following communication:—
"A strict practical observer of nine years has informed us that our climate and soil are most favorably adapted to the condition of the horse, * * * * The Indian Establishment commenced at Leschenault, for the rearing of horses, is a matter of great importance."
Mr. Ogle observes, that
"The horses have English blood, size and speed, mingled with the Arab blood:—some fine draught horses, of Brabant extraction, are also in the colony. The sheep are deduced from the purest Merinos, and their fleeces have been improved by the climate of Australia." (p. 104.)
From the report of Mr. Clark, inserted in the Appendix to Mr. Macqueen's pamphlet, we learn that
"The interior of Leschenault is peculiarly adapted for the rearing of horses and cattle, while the sea-coast and hills afford a great extent of sheep-runs. Swine, too, thrive amazingly."—(pp. 54, 55.)
The late governor. Sir James Stirling, observes of this district, that
"The climate around, and to the south of Leschenault (Wellington), is the finest in the world, whether it be considered with reference to health or cultivation. It is free from excessive drought, as may be proved by the abundance of perennial streams; and this it owes, no doubt, to its geographical position, the conformation of the coast, and the prevailing winds."
The following description of the charms of this climate is also extracted from a private letter, which we have seen, written by the present Governor:—
"Mornings and evenings, sunrise and sunset, in this land, are peculiarly calm, hushed, and beautiful. I never see the evening sun sink beyond Mount Eliza, without recalling Guido's Assumption of the Virgin, which was the pride of the British Institution (I think) three years ago. Distant objects seem actually painted on the horizon, and their edges appear more sharply carved out than I ever noticed in Italy." Again: "There are many proofs of the extreme dryness of this climate. You may treat articles of steel with a degree of neglect which would be most injurious in England: they hardly ever rust here. Iron hoops may be observed scattered in all directions on the ground where Europeans have been congregated. The hoops of casks in which stores have been brought out, have been lying exposed to the atmosphere for years; these are rusted, but very little decayed. Mildew is very rare here indeed.
"Thursday, 30th May. My gardener tells me there was ice in the garden early this morning. I found it cold enough for the use of fires all the day in rooms not exposed to the sun. We find winter clothing very comfortable: I did not bring out enough,—reckoning upon the summer lasting two-thirds of the year: instead of which, I find the duration of hot and of cold weather is pretty nearly as in England. Many persons would now wish to add a feather-bed (to the mattress) and a blanket at night
"The seasons are the opposite of those of England,—January being the middle of summer, and July of winter. The summer extends from the first of November to the first of March; the spring and autumn are brief, but well defined; the winter of a bracing coolness, with occasional frosts. The spring months are September, October, and November; the summer, December, January, and February; autumn, March, April, and May: winter, June, July, and August March, April, and August are generally considered the rainy months. The average temperature of spring is 65.5.; of summer, 72; of autumn, 66; and of winter, 55, The barometrical pressure is about 29.94319 inches, and the average of the thermometer 64 F. Of course, as the land rises above the level of the ocean, a difference of temperature is felt.
"The wet season commences with light showers in April, which continue to increase in number and force throughout Mav, June, and July, and from that period to decrease, until they cease altogether, in the month of November, when the dry weather begins. These two seasons, with an intermediate spring following the conclusion of each, embrace the circle of the year. It is usual to call the wet season the winter, and the dry season the summer, but neither of them has the character of the corresponding season in Europe.
"The prevailing wind in the seas adjacent to Cape Leeuwin is from the westward throughout the year. On the coast, however, land and sea breezes take place with great regularity during the summer. In the winter season gales of wind from the north-west and south-west are very frequent, and are usually accompanied by heavy falls of rain. At such periods the atmosphere is charged with moisture to a considerable degree, and the quantity of rain that has been ascertained to fall at King George's Sound in the course of the six winter months equals the quantity experienced in the western counties of England. The atmosphere in the summer season retains so little moisture, that Bone but hardy and fibrous plants can withstand the drought The air is so clear, and the reflection of solar heat so great, that the thermometer occasionally reaches in the shade near the ground 105°, but the effect at those times upon the European constitution is not injurious. This can only be accounted for, under so great a heat, by the peculiar dryness of the air, and the regular succession of cool nights after the warmest days. The experience of the last eight years has established in the minds of the colonists the full belief that the climate of the settlement is in a remarkable degree conducive to health and to contort, but it certainly is not equally suitable to the growth of those vegetable products which flourish to great advantage in moister climates. With reference to this point of difference between England and this new colony, it is perhaps fortunate that it does not resemble the former country, but may rather be considered, in temperature, as a supplement to the southern districts of the United Kingdom, and as affording every range of temperature between the Land's End and the equatorial regions for the production of commodities which cannot be raised in the colder atmosphere of the mother country.
"As Australia, in every thing regarding climate, is the opposite of England, it may be observed, that the north is the hot wind, and the south the cool; the westerly the most unhealthy, and the east the most salubrious; it is summer with the colonists when it is winter at home, and the thermometer is considered to rise before bad weather, and to fall before good. To these diversities it may be added that the swans are black, and the eagles white; the mole lays eggs, and has a duck's bill; the kangaroo has five claws on its fore paws, three talons on its hind-legs, like a bird, and yet hops on its tail; there is a bird which has a broom in its mouth instead of a tongue: the cod is found in the rivers, and the peroh in the sea; the valleys are cold and barren, and the mountain tops warm and fertile; the nettle is a lofty tree, and the poplar a dwarfish shrub; the pears are of wood, with the stalk at the broad end; the cherry grows with the stone outside; the fields are fenced with mahogany; the humblest house fitted up with cedar, and the myrtle plants are burnt for fuel. Such are the opposites of England and Terra Australia."
The unquestionable character of the evidence afforded above relative to the fitness of the soil for producing the richest treasures of the vegetable kingdom, to the discovery of many of the most useful minerals, as well as to the extraordinary salubrity of the climate for Europeans, must have fully established the eligibility of Western Australia for the investment of capital, and the employment of labour therein.
NATURAL PRODUCTIONS—TIMBER, GRASSES, FLAX—CORN, FLOWERS—FRUITS WOOL, COAL, &c.—ANIMAL KINGDOM BEASTS, BIRDS, REPTILES, INSECTS, FISH, FISHERIES.
The best proof of excellent qualities of soil and climate is derivable from the natural productions, whether indigenous or exotic, which flourish within their influence.
Superior timber, fit for almost any purpose of house or ship-building, wheelwrights' work, cabinet-making, &c. abounds in Western Australia This subject has been investigated by Mr. Trigg, in consequence of its having been loosely asserted that the country was not well-timbered.* This gentleman reports, with particular reference to mahogany,** of which he appears to have considerable practical knowledge, that on leaving the Swan and Canning rivers, and exploring the mountain range, near Rushy Stream, he found mahogany forests of four miles in depth, which are known to extend for a length of 140 miles, or to cover an area of 358,400 acres, giving timber enough to build 18,000 line-of-battle ships, or twenty British navies!
[* See Report of the Agricultural Society of Western Australia, 3rd August, 1838, printed at Perth, Western Australia, by C. Macfaull.]
[** The tree called in Australia the mahogany, is not precisely the tree commonly known by that name, though the wood bears a strong resemblance to it.]
"The length of stem of this tree, taking the average, may be sixty-five feet, many being much longer, and without a knot or branch in all that length; and they are nearly equal in size all the way up, and may be said to be monuments of nature. Some objection has been raised to our exporting Australian timber to Europe, on account of the distance. I do not think (observes Mr. Trigg) it a serious objection, for even under our great want of labour, and consequent expense of shipment, I should have no objection to be bound (were I inclined again to go into business) to ship any quantity over 300 loads in four, six, and eight-inch plank, from the farthest point of road, at the rate of 6l. 10s. per load, of fifty cubic feet, and in some places, I have no doubt, it could be shipped much cheaper."
Some of this mahogany, amongst other valuable qualities, is proof against destruction by the white ant, and of great durability under all circumstances. Such portions as are lighter in weight and colour are used for sashes, doors, mouldings, cabinet-work, &c., being greatly preferable to the Sydney cedar for these purposes; but it is also used for boat-building, possessing all the required pliability. During the nine years of Mr. Trigg's experience it was never touched by worms. The plank used in the repairs of Her Majesty's ship Success, in Cockburn Sound, at the commencement of the colony, remained, up to the latest accounts, entirely unmolested by worms. When this frigate was overhauled at Portsmouth, the officers of the dock-yard found this timber in such perfect preservation, that, on their report, the lords of the admiralty instructed Sir James Stirling to send a quantity of it to England: specimens, taken out of the Success, are preserved in the model room of the surveyor-general of the navy at Somerset House.
The Australian mahogany tree is of magnificent proportions; its girth being sometimes upwards of forty feet, and the length of its stem one hundred and forty feet before the eye meets with a branch. The best mahogany, observed by Sir J. Stirling in the Western Provinces, grows behind Roe's Range, in the Wellington (or Leschenault) county.
A tree more peculiar, however, to this region, is the Shea-oak or Casuarina, which, besides its graceful form in the landscape, is admirably adapted for shingles, less liable than other kinds to decay, or to injury from the attacks of the white ant.
Acacias are numerous, and the Cypress exists in many parts.
Of the Gum-tree of this country, all persons must have heard. It is of three species;—the blue, white, and red. The blue gum-tree (which grows to a gigantic height) has been estimated by an eminent ship-builder in England, to be equal, if not superior to teak, in the construction of ships. Captain Banister speaks, as follows, of the blue gum-tree which he observed in one of his expeditions: *
[* See Captain Irwin's "State and Position," &c. p. 14.]
"If others had not seen them, I should be afraid to speak of their magnitude. I measured one; it was forty-two feet in circumference (breast high from the ground) and in height before the appearance of a branch, 140 or 150 feet, and as straight as the barrel of a gun: from the immense growth of these trees (he adds), I formed an opinion that the land upon which they grew could not be bad; what we did see was a brown loam, capable of any cultivation, and, where the underwood was not remarkably thick, grass and herbage grew luxuriantly."
Dr. J. B. Wilson, R.N., bears similar testimony to the gigantic size of this remarkable tree.
"The blue gum," says Mr. Trigg, "is rather a fine-grained wood, and works well, especially for wheelwrights, and millwrights, and is better than the white gum of Mount Eliza. When seasoned, it is very hard; it would be found valuable for sheaves or blocks; answer all the purposes to which lignum-vitæ is applied, and be much cheaper, from its size and abundance. The red gum-tree may be used to advantage for rails, paling, and shingles; for which latter purpose it is likely to become an article of export; it may also be made serviceable for staves, if well assorted. It is usually the indication of good land. The Tewart of the Vasse and Augusta is said by the same authority to be a similar kind of wood, and being more "free in growth," and of great length, might be used for keels, keelsons, beams, &c. in ship-building. This country produces also fine scented sandal wood. Wattles grow abundantly, the bark of which contains the tanning principle. One great characteristic feature of the scenery, and of the vegetation of Australia, is the grass tree (Xanthorrea hastile).* Mr. Moore observes that the sight of one of these put him in mind of a tall black native, with a spear in his hand, ornamented with a tuft of rushes. "These vary in size," he says, "from those peeping over the surface to those in the swampy grounds, eight or ten feet high, with a spear equally long, growing out at the stem, and bearing at the top a beautiful flower; on the spear is found an excellent, clear, transparent gum, and from the lower part of the tree oozes a black gum, which makes a powerful cement, used by the natives for fastening stone heads on their hammers.** The country, indeed, presents an endless variety of flowering trees and shrubs." In the course of his excursions, Mr. Moore met with a variety of sylvan productions: he notices a tree like a crab-apple, bearing, in abundance, round nuts of a-walnut taste; a species of thorn (the mespilus) bearing a fragrant white blossom and fruit like the sloe. In another place he "cut some bark from a tree, which smelled like raspberry jam."
[* They are commonly known in the colony by the name of "Black Boys."]
[** This gum-resin may be obtained in inexhaustible quantities: large samples of it have been already sent to England, and a varnish has been produced from it for carriage panels, &c.]
And again, 4th December, 1831.
"I have just heard of a tree which is at Freemantle, bearing fruit which answers for preserves and pies; it is said to resemble an apple, with a thick pulp and rough kernel."
The beef-wood tree is a hard wood, and adapted to purposes of cabinet-making; it is a common production of the soil of this country, and bears a splendid orange blossom, resembling that of the laburnum at a distance, but much finer.
The Banksia, called the honeysuckle-tree, from a sweet tasting substance contained in its flowering cone, has a hard, grey, gravelly-looking bark, as if composed of coarse granite. It furnishes the best firewood.
It has been somewhat rashly asserted of Australia, as well as of the intertropical regions of Africa, that none of the native flowers have fragrance. Mr. Moore, writing in August 1831, the winter season in Australia, says—
"The air at this moment is perfumed by a shrub resembling jessamine, bearing a yellow flower; this is the fifth odoriferous plant I have met with; the ground seems almost covered with it"
And, again, in July of the following year, he remarks—
"The air is already fragrant with many flowers and shrubs coming into bloom; what will it not be when we have groves of oranges, limes, almonds, peaches, apples, &c., as unquestionably we shall have!" *
[* Moore's Letters, pp. 77 and 171.]
The grasses of this country are luxuriant and various. Several species of poa, holcus and avena, are found here,** and indeed, numerous varieties of English grasses. Horses thrive well, and may be kept in good condition upon grass alone; though maize and other corn are sometimes given to them when regularly employed in agricultural labour: corn is never taken during exploring excursions, the horses being turned out to pasture.*** Kangaroo-grass has much the appearance of a field of oats before harvest. The native lucerne bears a leaf, a pod, and a blossom, like those of the pea.
[** Ibid, p. 135.]
[*** "Hay is cut in November, and may be made up six hours after cutting, without risk of its heating in the stack. Although the grass is much burnt up in the summer, live stock keep in good condition upon it; and young cattle are remarked to be as large at nine months old as they would be in England at twelve: this is attributed to their being enabled to graze all the year without being penned. The fine condition of the herds shews the pasture to be good. Indeed, so very nutritious is the herbage, that farmers frequently give no other food than the hay of that country to their English horses, which appear in excellent condition, although employed in drawing heavy loads."—Irwin.]
Mr. Moore, who seems to possess a keen relish for the beauties of nature, observes that
"There are in this country a hundred different kinds of plants, shrubs, flowers, &c., of which he knows not the names; but one plant, very abundant, is called wild carrot; then there are the trefoil, penny-royal, rib grass, sorrel, dock, fern, moss (hygrocrocis), sow-thistle (carduus), burnet, yarrow, eringo, parsley, celery, samphire (sedum), wyay or native yarn, davisia, and several blue, white, red, and yellow climbers and creepers, clematis, anigozanthus, chrysanthemum, orobus solis, orchis, cardinal, rockets, daisies, primroses, buttercups, geraniums, flowers resembling bunches of violets, close to the ground, the everlasting pink growing in great quantities wherever a tree has been burnt down; a blue-flowered grass with yellow stamina, resembling the Star of Bethlehem, or spider lily; and a beautiful purple flower, which looks as if it were trimmed with lace, and called here the laceflower, besides many others."
Asparagus, and tobacco, as well as hemp and flax, have been discovered to be indigenous. The flax (phormium tenax) has been observed of good quality, though smaller than that of New Zealand, and in much less abundance. In the district of the Brunswick river, where the soil of the valleys is generally rich. Sir James Stirling has pulled flax (linum) of spontaneous growth, seven and a half feet in length. An attention to so fine a production must needs prove profitable. A valuable substitute for hemp or flax has also been discovered in the bark of a tree, of which excellent cordage has been made. It is called the tree-hark hemp. The catalogue of native edible productions is not very extensive;. but every production of the soil which ministers to the necessities or luxuries of life, which can be collected from temperate and from tropical regions, may be produced upon the soil of Western Australia.
The admirable adaptation of this country to the purposes of wheat-growing, is proved beyond all doubt.* Samples of Western Australian wheat have been seen in England, which averaged from 62lbs. to 65lbs. per bushel; the land yielding it at the rate of about 60 bushels to the acre.** Barley also grows in great excellence, and makes fine malt; for, from a bushel and a half thereof (dried in the sun) and one pound of hops, twenty gallons of good ale, and fifteen of small beer have been brewed.*** The quantity of land producing wheat was, in 1838, treble that which was so cultivated in 1834; and there has been a similar increase in barley. Kaffre corn appears, from the 3rd Annual Report of the Western Australian Agricultural Society, to be almost entirely superseding maize, as it thrives better without the expense of manure.
[* Sir J. Stirling's Report, June 1837.]
[** During the calamitous visitation of drought, which desolated New South Wales in 1838 and 1839, considerable quantities of wheat were exported from this colony to Sydney and South Australia.]
[*** Captain Irwin, p. 10.]
Turnips, particularly the Swedish, give a sure and productory crop. Potatoes, which do not here, as in the West Indies or tropical Africa, lose their farinaceous properties and become sweet like an inferior parsnip, produce every where fair crops, and, in the alluvial soils, good ones. Radishes, grown only in sand, have measured. Captain Irwin informs us, four feet round the root; and a plant of mangel-wurzel, grown in sandy soil on the Upper Swan, was six feet in circumference!
"The culture of the vine, fig, peachy and melon tribe has been carried thus early to a very considerable extent, and if ever it should be desirable for the mother country to possess a wine-growing colony, the soils and seasons of this country afford reasonable ground for anticipating a successful issue to such a speculation." ****
[**** Sir J. Stirling's Report, 1837.]
Mr. Drummond, the government botanist, who during several years was placed in charge of the public garden at Perth, says, in a report on its progress:—
"The Vines planted in May 1831, have made shoots, in what is past of this season, sixteen feet long, and the strongest and finest wood I have ever seen: the Olives brought out by Captain Mangles, R.N., have been laid, and produced 150 plants; all the other plants in the garden thrive as well as the best friends of the colony can wish."
We have before us a manuscript catalogue of the fruits, flowers, and vegetables growing in the government garden at Perth in the year 1839, which we transcribe for the satisfaction of the reader.
Fruits.—Bananas, apples, apricots, peaches, Cape currants and gooseberries, strawberries, mulberries (red and white), figs, olives, and melons.
Flowers.—Dahlias, geraniums, pinks, roses, laburnum, oleander, persicaria, ixieis, gladioli, and several others. Cape bulbs, aloes (including yuna gloriosa).
Vegetables.—Artichokes, asparagus, cabbages, cucumbers, chillies and capsicums, clover, fennel, parsley, beetroot, radishes, turnips, onions, pumpkins, sugar-cane, tobacco, thyme, sage, New Zealand flax, fern, and common English furze.
Trees.—Ash, oak, elder, chesnut and walnut trees, cassia occidentalis, doliclius lignosus, acacia verticelata, and others.
The following is a list of such plants as have been established by William Tanner, Esq. and Mr. Charles Brown, on the Swan River:
"Citron, lime, shaddock, blood orange, oranges of sorts, lemon, pinus pinea (stone pine), pinus picea, vanilla, acacia vera (gum arable), banhinia acuminata(?) (ebony), hæmatoxylum campechianum (logwood), Minorca box, Irish joy, Irish yew, sago, betel vine, mahogany, fuchsias, olives of sorts, ginger, arbutus unedo, loquat, psidium Chinense, morus tinctoria (fustick), allspice, rose apple, Tottenham Park muscat grape, apricot, sweet potatoe (not the same kind as that grown at Perth), cactus speciosissimus anthophyllus, others of the cactus tribe, Strelitzia regina, aloe, aloe (American), magnolias, coffea arabica, poplar; apple, pear, and peach of sorts; geraniæ of sorts.—Mr. Charles Brown has in his nursery at Perth, grape vines—black Hamburg, black muscadine, black prince, black morocco, black sweetwater, black Zante currant (two sorts), Wortley Hall black, white cluster, white frontignac, white muscadel; peaches (five sorts), cherry plum (green-gage and orlean), apricots, pears (two sorts), apples (four sorts), pear quince, olives, oranges, lemons, shaddocks, guava (two sorts), figs (twelve sorts), besides a large variety of grape vines, the names of which are not known." *
[* Perth Gazette, June 1, 1839.]
Sheep's Wool, in this, as in all the settlements in Australia, will be the staple produce. The colony abounds with almost unlimited ranges of natural pasture; and is congenial by climate, soil, and the grasses which it grows spontaneously, to the general health of sheep. The interior of Western Australia is particularly valuable for its sheep pastures. These are extensive tracts of undulating surface, covered with a short succulent grass, and are found to be admirably suited for Merino flocks. Sheep are there exempt from a disease supposed to originate from feeding in marshy pastures. Recent explorations have not only confirmed former opinions of the extent of the pastoral districts in the interior, but have added some not before known. Added to which, the increased experience of those settlers on the only located district of this description, more than confirms the opinions formerly entertained of it for the breeding of fine-woolled sheep. The following information, on the prospects of the settlement in regard to the growth of wool, is derived from Sir J. Stirling's Statistical Report, dated 15th of October, 1837:
"The number of sheep in the colony at the present time is 12,000. Their rate of increase is found to be, exclusive of the wethers and the proceeds of wool, about 40 per cent. per annum, or they double their numbers in each period of two years. No obstacle is found at present to the extension of sheep keeping, and, therefore, at the rate specified, without any fresh importations, the number of sheep in the colony, in 1847, may be expected to amount to 400,000, giving an export in wool of the value of 100,000l."
In the year 1834, the number of sheep existing in Western Australia did not exceed 3,545; but in the year 1838, the number had increased to 15,590; and, in 1839, to 21,038.
The exports of wool from Western Australia had advanced from 5,884lb, valued at 500l., in the year 1834, to 22,450lb, valued at 1684l. sterling in 1837; the quantity being nearly quadrupled in the short space of three years.
The return profit of sheep-farming is estimated at from 75l. to 80l. per cent. per annum. Such a profit, combined with the means of extending indefinitely the number of sheep farms, must attract, in the course of a few years, to this branch of investment, a large amount of capital.
The cattle existing in Australia have all been introduced within a recent period. In the year 1834, the number of head of live stock was as follows:
|Bulls and Steers||97|
|—||500 total horned cattle.|
In the year 1837, the stock had increased thus:
From the latest accounts there were, in 1839,
An augmentation which justifies the observation contained in the Appendix to Sir J. Stirling's Statistical Report to the end of June 1837; viz. that
"Horses and cattle may be expected to multiply rapidly from this time forward. In addition to the numbers of the latter, stated in the preceding return, there are known to exist four or five wild herds * in different parts of the colony, which have maintained themselves without protection against the natives for several years, and are rapidly increasing their numbers."
[* These consist of strayed cattle.]
The Perth Gazette of 13th July, 1839, states the important fact, that the Cashmere goat has been introduced into the colony by W. Tanner, Esq.
Clay of all sorts, and fit for all purposes, is found in many parts of the colony: brick, pottery, pipe, or china clay is abundant in the Wellington district; and above Perth, on the banks of the Swan, there is the finest plaster-stone in the world. Lime-stone, and all the more valuable materials for building purposes, abound on the shores of the Wellington district. Pottery and tile making have not, hitherto been resorted to with complete success, not from any deficiency of the raw material, but from lack of skill and labour; these manufactures, therefore, are open to enterprise, with every prospect of success.
Coal has been discovered in the northern parts of this colony, by that enterprising and intelligent officer, Captain Grey.
The natural history of Western Australia is similar to that of New South Wales. The indigenous animals are few in number, and some of them have no prototypes in the old world. No wild beasts of the feræ genus have yet been discovered, unless the wild dog is to be so considered.
Animal existence in Australia assumes a form more anomalous than even that which marks its botany. The following tables have been constructed from the "Règne Animal," of Cuvier, with the additions of Griffith, Gray, &c., the Zoology of Shaw, the Transactions of the Linnæean Society, and the works of various travellers in Australia.
|No. of Species
|No. of Species
|No. of Species
It has not yet been possible to construct a satisfactory table for Insects and Fish.
From these results, however, it appears that the native animals of Australia are few in number, and very peculiar in kind. Of all the known Mammalia in the world, but fifty-eight species, or about the one-seventeenth part of the whole, belong originally to this region; and, of these fifty-eight, more than one half are of the Marsupial order. The four important orders of Carnivora,* Quadrumana, Pachydermata, and Ruminantia, are, absolutely, without any known land-representatives in this extensive portion of the globe. Of the Edentata, the genera Echidna, and Ornithorhynchus, are destitute of teats, and do not suckle their young. The former genus (Echidna) consists of two species of porcupines, one entirely covered with thick spines, the other clothed with hair, in which the spines are half hidden. The Ornithorhynchi consist, also, of two species—O. rufus and O. fuscus, Possessing the body, the fur, and habits of a mole, the webbed feet, and the bill of a duck, being ovoviviparous, and having the internal formation of a reptile, these creatures lead a burrowing life amid the mud of rivers and swamps. They are very shy in their habits.
[* Deducting the marine mammals of the seal genus (Phoca), the dingo or native dog,—that constant companion of man,—is the sole representative of Cuvier's order of Carnivora.]
Of the Rodentia, two species belong to the sub-genus, Hydromys, and consist of creatures that seem to unite some of the peculiarities of the dormouse, rat, and beaver. A new genus of Rodentia was made knovm by Mitchell's expedition in 1835, which is called by Ogilby, Conilurus, to mark its general resemblance to a rabbit. It is, however, a rat; and the species found by Mitchell, the only one at present known, is remarkable for the formidable defence which it builds for itself, against the dingo (native dog), and birds of prey.** Two species of mice (both peculiar), and the Dipus Mitchellii (the Australian Jerboa), complete the list of Rodentia, unless the Myrmecobius rufus, or "red shrew mouse," belong to that order.
[** "The flat-tailed rat builds an enormous nest
of branches and boughs, so interlaced as to be proof against any
attacks of the native dog!"—Mitchell: ii. 61.
"There was also the rabbit-rat, which climbs trees like the Opossum."—Ibid.
Another remarkable animal, closely allied to Perameles, (Choeropus Ecaudatus), was discovered by Major Mitchell;—the feet resembling those of a pig—having the marsupial opening downwards, instead of upwards, as in the kangaroo—being about the size of a rabbit, but without a tail.
The Pataroo, or kangaroo rat, is an animal with a long pointed head, short fore paws, and long hind ones, like other kinds of kangaroo. It is about the size of a rabbit, when six months old.]
With these few exceptions, the whole of the Australian Mammalia consist of the very peculiar order, Marsupialia, of which order more than four-sevenths are absolutely limited to this continent, and its adjacent islands. The leading peculiarity in animals of this order is the birth of the young in an immature state. From the time of this premature birth, without limbs or other external organs, the little animal remains attached to the teat of its mother (which enlarges so as completely to fill the mouth), and lies enclosed in a natural pouch, formed by the skin of the abdomen. It is this pouch which is the distinctive mark of the order; and its use induced Linnæus to arrange such species of these animals as he knew, under his genus, Didelphys, a word signifying double uterus. At the period of full development, the young fall from the teat, and this may be regarded as the real moment of birth; but, for a long time thereafter, the dam continues to carry her offspring in the same receptacle; and the latter, even after they can walk, constantly return thither on the approach of danger. The Kangaroo (Macropus) the largest animal of this order, and of Australian Mammalia, is sometimes equal in size to a young calf, very large in its hinder quarters, and disproportionally small forwards. Its fore legs are very short, and quite useless to the animal for progression, which is effected by a succession of leaps, assisted materially by the leverage of its long and powerful tail. The attitude is erect, except when feeding; the colour, generally, various shades of grey. One species, however, is red and white. The other animals are the Potoroos (Hypstprymnus), Phalangers, the Dasyuri, the Parameles, the Petaurista, the Phascolarctos, and the Phascolomys. The different species of these genera vary in size from that of a rat to that of a dog; the largest, the Thylacinus, or dog-faced Opossum, and Dasyurus ursinus (the devil of the colonists), being confined to Van Diemen's Land. The former resembles closely an ill-made dog, but is marked with Zebra-like stripes. The Phalangers (ring-tailed opossums), are not all distinguished by united toes. The Petaurista (flying opossums), are a sub-genus of the Phalangers, sometimes called flying Phalangers: such is the squirrel opossum. The Parameles (bandicoots) approach, in form and habits, to the badgers, and, indeed, are called pouched badgers. The Phascolarctos consists of only one known species, and is a sort of sloth. The Phascolomys contains, at present, but one species, called by the colonists, Wombat. It is a plantigrade animal, extremely slow in its motion, and about the size of a badger. The Potoroo is, also, only of one species; it is a diminutive kangaroo, commonly called the kangaroo rat. Kangaroos are gregarious and herbivorous; * their flesh is savoury and nutritious, resembling venison; and their fleece and hide are likewise valuable to man. They are naturally watchful, gentle, and timid; but, when pursued, and no longer able to bound away, they will turn and fight both dogs and men, courageously using, not only their powerful hind legs, but their short fore-paws, with great vigour and dexterity.
[* Some species, however, are partially carnivorous.]
The Ornithology of Australia is less anomalous than its Mammalogy; there being but two of the Australian orders of birds which are wholly peculiar,—the Syndactyles, and Scansores.
Accipitres.—The birds of prey found in Australia correspond in general with those found in Europe; they are armed with hooked beaks and talons, and are capable of pursuing other birds, and even the weaker quadrupeds and reptiles. One kind of vulture, described by Latham, is so courageous and bold, that he has even been known to attack the natives themselves, when pressed by hunger. The cream-bellied falcon, the orange-speckled hawk, and the milk white hawk, are common varieties; the last especially is found to make great havoc among the poultry. The most singular among the rapacious birds is a White Eagle. Among the Owls, that which is most frequently met with is the buck-buck, as it is called by the natives. This bird may be heard, every night during winter, uttering a cry corresponding with its name. Although the cry is known to every one, yet the bird itself is known to few, in consequence of its shyness, and appearing only in the night. The note of the bird is somewhat like that of the European cuckoo, and the colonists have given it that name. Some persons, too, are led away by the popular error that every thing else, like the seasons of the year, is the reverse in this country to what they are in England; and the cuckoo, as they call this bird, is pointed out in consequence of its singing by night, as one of the proofs of this fact.
Dentirostres.—In this order are some species of transcendant plumage. The Superb Warbler, a bird having the habits of the redbreast, is, perhaps, the most beautiful. There are also some variegated thrushes; and a species of thrush, called thunder-bird, has obtained from the colonists the name of the laughing jackass, from his peculiarly loud and dissonant cry. The Wattle-bird utters a chattering note. The larks are but poor imitations of those of Europe, and appear to belong to Cuvier's genus of field-larks.
Fissirostres.—Swallows and goat-suckers, of this order, are numerous.
Conirostres.—Beautiful birds of Paradise are found in Australia, as well as New Guinea. There are also several magpies and crows of this order.
Tenuirostres.—The various species of the Epimachi are, like the birds of Paradise, confined to the northern parts of Australia; like them, their plumage ranks amongst the most beautiful; and, like them, too, they have been the subjects of innumerable fables.
Syndactyles.—The king-fishers and bee-eaters of Australia are peculiar to the country; the most beautiful in plumage being the sacred king-fisher, and variegated bee-eater.
It is said, by Dr. Litchfield, that some specimens of the trochilus, or humming-bird, have been recently found in Australia; the brilliancy of their colours, and the elegance of their forms, are but ill conveyed by description. The American Indians, struck with the fire and splendour of their hues, which shine with the united radiance of gems and gold, have given their feathers the expressive name of hairs of the sun. The nest of the humming bird is constructed of a silken down, procured from flowers; the eggs are never more than two in number, and the male and female assist each other in the labour of incubation. The cry uttered by the humming bird resembles the syllables se're, and is made only when they are in search of one another. They fight desperately with each other, and exhibit equal courage in attacking other birds, who approach their nest; they frequently attack larger birds with provocation, put them to flight, and even pursue them. Humming birds feed on the nectar leaves, and some naturalists think, on insects also; they rarely live long in a state of captivity.
Scansores.—All the Australian species of this order are likewise peculiar, consisting of parrots, parroquets, cockatoos, &c. They are very numerous in the Australian woods, and have every variety of plumage. They have stout, hard, solid beaks, rounded on all sides, and enveloped at the base by a membrane, in which the nostrils are pierced, and enclosing a fleshy and rounded tongue, two circumstances which give them the greatest facility in imitating the human voice. The inferior windpipe, which is complicated and furnished on each side with three muscles, also contributes to this facility; they feed on all sorts of food, climb among branches of trees by the aid of the beak and claws, and build in the hollow psirts of the trunk.
Every large island in the tropics has its peculiar species of parrots, the short wings of the birds preventing them from crossing any large extent of water; none are equal in delicacy of tint and beauty to the birds of Australia.
The toucan is easily distinguished from all other birds, by an enormous beak, which is almost as thick and as long as the body, light and cellular, internally arcuated near the end, and furnished with a long, narrow, and ciliated tongue. These birds live in small flocks, feed on fruit and insects, and also devour the eggs of other birds, and even their unfledged offspring. The structure of the beak compels them to swallow their food without mastication: when they have seized it, they toss the morsel into the air, catch it as it falls, and thus swallow it with greater facility.
Gallinæ.—Pheasants, quails, and pigeons, are tolerably numerous; and, according to P. Cunningham, the mountain pheasant is a bird of song. One of the most remarkable varieties of the pigeon is the bronze-winged.
Grallæ.—The cassowary, or Emu, is found in nearly all parts of Australia. It is a very wild creature, and runs faster than an English greyhound. The eggs are very much elongated, and of a green colour; the flesh is somewhat coarse, but eatable, especially that of the young. The emu may be tamed, when caught young.
Australia has also some species of bustard, curlew, herons, avasets, rails, snipes, &c.
Palmipedes—That rara avis of the poet, the cygnus niger, or black swan, is found here. Like the other kinds of swan, it droops when in a state of captivity, and becomes less graceful and imposing in its carriage. Swans are amongst the fiercest of the feathered tribes; they are even known to combat with the eagle, striking hard and repeated blows with the wing, which is said to be powerful enough to break the leg of a man. The swan is generally a bird of peace, but, as with other animals, not forgetting the rational lord of the creation, the fiercest passions originate from the most delightful. The rival males in this species fight with the utmost desperation, each, in turn, trying to suffocate the other by holding his head under the water. These duels, which sometimes last whole days, often terminate in the death of one or both of the champions. Gannets, or Boobies, are so numerous as to have given the latter name to an island on the North Coast; penguins, petrels, and ducks, of a peculiar kind, also abound in this region. The Cereopsis, allied to the goose, is an important addition to the poultry-yard, and might be advantageously acclimated in England.
William Hutt, Esq., M.P., has presented to the Western Australian Company, amongst other specimens in natural history, those of Podargus Cuvieri, male and female, the Australian goat-sucker, of gigantic proportions; of the Calyptorhynchus, male and female, the beak, as the name imports, being covered with feathers; Platycercus zonarius, a rare bird, having a yellow breast; specimens of the bronze or golden-wing Pigeon, male and female; and of the Ardea nycticorax, female (called Ibis), remarkable for the pectinated form of the middle claw, which has a very finely minute comb attached sideways to the claw.
Reptilia.—The reptiles of Australia are comparatively more numerous than either the Mammalia or the Aves. They consist of two or three genera of turtles; as many varieties of alligators, a considerable number of lizards and serpents, both venomous and harmless. The great lacertcæ, as alligators, &c., do not appear to have been found in "Western Australia. The land-lizard, and the Coluber-porphyitacus (crimson-sided snake), are of extraordinary beauty. Serpents, also, of different species, have been seen floating upon the water, in chase of the curious ponquin. Frogs are numerous. The chlamydosaurus Kingii (a lizard) is remarkable for a frill behind the head and above the shoulders.
Pisces.—The fish are without number, from the whale to the shrimp. The snapper (sparus) seems the most common, and weighs from ten to forty pounds. A small white-fleshed fish, tasting like young salmon, is caught in great numbers. There is a silver-coloured fish, apparently devoid of scales, which glitters like polished silver, and about a foot and a half in length; under the nose it has long pendulous cartilaginous antennæ, with which it is supposed it collects its food, which it grinds in an apparatus in its mouth like mill-stones: the backbone is of a transparent kind of whalebone, and it has two stomachs. Cockles, muscles, oysters, cray-fish, prawns, teem all along the coasts. Great quantities of the bêche-la-mer are found on the shores near the Swan River. The sharks are numerous, and sometimes play pranks which almost tax our belief.*
[* Anecdote of the Leschenault
Shark.—"One fine morning, with a light breeze from the
southward and eastward, and very little swell, the Harvest, lying
in Koombâna Bay, Port Leschenault, was found to be drifting. She
was riding at single anchor, and rather short cable, in
consequence of the fine weather; more cable was veered out, but
it was of no avail. She continued drifting, until it was thought
advisable to let go the best bower, of twenty-two hundred weight,
the former being a stream anchor, of only fourteen hundred.
"The surprise of the master and officers was very great, knowing as they did that the bottom was excellent holding-ground; but as the first anchor might have been foul, they weighed, and, to their still greater astonishment, found all right and clear. At this period some person on board expressed a suspicion that all was not right with the buoy, which was immediately ordered to be hauled on board, an operation usually requiring but little strength; in this case, however, it was found necessary to put on a strong purchase-tackle, when the men forward sung out, 'There's a young whale fast to the buoy-rope by the tail!' which proved, however, to be an enormous shark, judged to be nearly thirty feet long, fast to the buoy-rope near the anchor, by what is termed by sailors a 'cow-hitch' round the small of the tail. The shark had evidently hitched himself, and in his struggles to get loose had hitched himself still faster, and at the same time had capsized the anchor, which, being only fourteen hundred weight, it could easily do, and thereby causing the vessel to drift so unaccountably. The head and shoulders of this huge monster were not seen, as the available purchase was not sufficiently powerful to hoist the whole of it out of the water, there being at the same time a large whale alongside, and the men and heavy purchase-tackle were engaged in the operation of 'cutting-in.' 'The liver of the shark was obtained, and produced, when tryed down, above thirty-five gallons of oil, now in the possession of the Government resident of that place."]
The enormous cuttle fish, rolling like a huge cask on the tumbling waves, is also observed stretching forth its monstrous tentaculæ, seven or eight feet long, to catch the little nautilus which inadvertently floats within its grasp.
Insecta.—The insects are very numerous, and many of the butterflies, moths, and beetles, are brilliant and beautiful. Locusts abound in the hottest season. In swampy places musquitoes are found, and are troublesome to those who dwell near them; they are scarcely known in the upper lands. Scorpions and centipedes are found among dead wood, and in the clefts of the rocks; but are neither numerous nor troublesome. Flies, the blow-fly, musca carnivora, in particular, are numerous in some districts, and great plunderers of the larders.
The gum-grub, or gru-gru, is by some gastronomists considered a great dainty, being similar to fine marrow, when fried with bread crumbs: the natives prefer it raw. The insect is about six inches long, and about half an inch in diameter.
Some species of ants in Australia are provided with wings, and may be seen issuing from a hole in the earth, flying about in every direction, and then suddenly disappearing, after strewing the ground with their wings. A similar species of ant abounds in Western Africa in the rainy season.
Botany.—The names of Banks, Brown, and Cunningham, are imperishably associated with the botany of Australia; an outline of the arrangement of its different orders is exhibited in the following table.
|No. of Species
The first great division of plants is into two classes; first, the Cryptogamous, such as mosses, ferns, fungi, &c., which have no blossoms, nor visible means of fructification, and the Phanerogamous, which are reproduced by visible organs. This class includes all the higher orders of vegetables, but is subdivided into Monocotyledonous plants, such as have but one seed lobe; and Dicotyledonous plants, which are possessed of two or more;—the former comprising the grasses, cyperaceæ, &c.; and the latter those productions of the earth, the organization of which is most complicated, as trees, superior shrubs, &c.
The indigenous and useful timber has been treated of in a former part of this chapter: it is generally of the hardwood kind, and consists of all the varieties of Eucalyptus and Casuarina, with some varieties of the rose-wood, sandal-wood, cedar, &c. Most of the eucalypti are called gum-trees, though the exudations of many of them are properly resins, being insoluble in water; whilst others yield a manna as pure as any of Arabia. Another species yields the gum Arabic. There is a tree here called the tea-tree (Melaleuca), the leaves of which are used by the Sealers on Kangaroo Island as a substitute for the Chinese plant, and afford a good beverage. There are also some medicinal trees, as the sassafras and castor-oil tree. The stringy-bark tree is found to be an excellent substitute for the common pine. The mahogany is hard, dark, heavy, and durable.* Palms are limited to the North and East shores, on the former of which, the tropical mangrove grows in all its luxuriance; and, indeed, the peculiar aspect of Australian vegetation disappears in this part of the continent, being superseded by one assimilating more to that of India.
[* Two specimens of Australian mahogany are in the possession of the Secretary to the Colonial Club, St. James's Square. The beauty of the grain is finely brought out by the polish.]
Australian trees are commonly evergreens; many of them are also remarkable for the inverted position of their leaf; the margin, and not either surface, being directed towards the stem. It is worthy of remark, that the trees in Australia are rarely so numerous as to impede horse travelling. Flowering plants of very great beauty abound; but the lily, tulip, and honey-suckle, exist in the form of standard trees of great size. There are also odoriferous plants, which scent the atmosphere to a great distance; and prickly shrubs, which grow upon sandy soils, and bind them down, preventing the drift which is the bane of the Arabian and African deserts. Grasses are abundant and nutritious. The grass-tree is peculiar to the country, and portions of the stem (the upper part) are esculent. The zamia spiralis produces a large bulbous excrescence, which, when properly prepared, is used as food by the natives, and somewhat resembles cassada. There is, however, a great deficiency of indigenous vegetables and fruit fit for human food. Even from reeds a light kind of cake is made. The principal native fruits yet discovered are a kind of currants (like cranberries), raspberries, a few tasteless fruits, and a species of nut. Flax, tobacco, a species of cotton, tares, indigo, chicory, trefoil, and burnet (the last a capital substitute for tea), are also among the natural productions. Mushrooms are pretty abundant. To the above account may be added that the pitcher-plant (Nepenthes distillatoria), once supposed to be peculiar to Ceylon, is found in Australia. A plant of a very singular description has been discovered, by Mr. Preis, growing in the sand. From the account given of it, we should be almost tempted to imagine that it constituted a link between the animal and the vegetable kingdoms; it swells up when touched, and then dies away; it is red in colour, but of a shape difficult to depict.
The useful productions of other lands are now, however, extensively acclimatized, and corn crops and orchards are found in every fertile spot in the settled districts; almost every species of corn, including maize, is cultivated with success; whilst, of foreign fruits, the orange, lemon, citron, nectarine, apricot, peach, plum, cherry, fig, mulberry, quince, banana, guava, melon, pine-apple, grape, and many others, have long been a source of profit to the small settlers.
Perhaps no coast frequented by Europeans exists where whales are found in greater numbers than upon that of Western Australia. Three hundred of these valuable fish were seen during one voyage of Her Majesty's ship Sulphur down the coast; some of which were the black, and others the sperm whale. The former come into soundings, within the bays, whilst the latter are seldom seen there. They abound along the whole shore. At present, the Americans and the French engross an immense proportion of this lucrative fishery. From what cause can this monopoly arise? Have the natives of France and America a keener eye to profit, or a more enterprising spirit than our own countrymen?
"The Greenland fishery (observes Mr. Burn *) may now be almost said to exist no more; with its decadence, one, among others, of our nurseries for seamen is gone. It is useless to inquire how this national loss has accrued; the effects are at present felt, and may hereafter be much more so, unless pains be taken to remedy the evil, which can only be done by a fostering care and encouragement in every maritime channel. Does Britain do so? Does she see clearly that naval supremacy, and naval supremacy alone, can uphold, extend, and consolidate that empire upon which, as she justly boasts, the sun never sets? I do not think she does; or, if she does, she by no means works her opinion. Even if the South Sea fisheries were of no advantage to the mother country, still it is the bounden duty of her flag to watch over and protect the interests of her children. The cost is nothing, weighed against the gain. Thousands of our seamen throng the Pacific even as it is; but thousands more would be created under a wise and paternal government."
[* Vindication of Van Diemen's Land.]
If the hardy seamen formerly engaged in the Greenland and Davis' Straits' fisheries, now almost exhausted, were aware of so rich a field for their exertions as exists on the coasts of Australia, and especially of its western province, they would apply their skill, experience, and industry, in that direction. Great numbers of persons of this class must now be languishing for want of employment in the ports of Hull, Newcastle, and Aberdeen. The shipping and men, engaged in these fisheries, from Hull, amounted, at one time, to nearly one half of the entire numbers so employed by Great Britain. In the year 1829, that single port sent thirty-three vessels of large burthen, with about fifty men in each; whilst the total number now fitted out by all England hardly exceeds thirty! Since, therefore, there is such a manifest failure in the fisheries to the north and north-west of the globe, it behoves our countrymen to fix their attention upon the fisheries in the southern ocean, where they can hardly fail to share the reward attendant upon skill and enterprise, which is now monopolized by foreigners.
From an authentic source we have also the following statement, dated West Australia, 1839:
"The Americans have been gathering golden harvests in these seas during the present year (1839), and they barter the produce of their labours in the fisheries for work done in the colony."
These foreign whalers have, indeed, increased so much lately, that the governor has deemed it expedient to recommend the appointment of a consul at Perth or Freemantle, for the protection of life and property. The Americans, if not disturbed when at a distance from the coast, might certainly abstain from entering, and fishing in the bays.
The Supplement to Sir J. Stirling's Report contains the following observation:
"Unfortunately for the settlement, neither its capital, nor the amount of its population, admit at present of its entering into extensive operations in that line, however lucrative they appear to be."
From another document we copy the following particulars on this subject; it is dated the 3rd of October, 1838.*
[* Report of the Committee appointed at a Meeting of the Agricultural Society on the 3rd of August, 1838, to take into consideration the present state and condition of the Colony of Western Australia.]
"The capture of oil entitled to British certificate in 1837 was, in round numbers, one hundred tons, and of bone about five tons. Over and above this quantity, there was taken in the bays of the colony, by American vessels, or vessels from New South Wales, about four hundred tons of oil, and the corresponding amount of bone. In the current season the Freemantle Company has casked fifty tons; Duffield's party, — tons; Bull's party, seven tons; the Harvest, in Leschenault Bay, has taken ninety tons; and the Pioneer, in Safety Bay, thirty-five tons. The proceedings on the south coast are not as yet known here.
"The bay-fisheries, as at present carried on in this colony, notwithstanding the undeniable abundance of fish, will be found more profitable to the boatmen and the store-keepers than to the absent proprietors of shares; but vessels may be employed in the bays with great profit, provided they be fitted out and manned in England upon the lays customary in the mother-country.
"The influence which Western Australia exerts upon the whaling business is worthy of attention. Vessels sailing from England in November, and arriving by Christmas-time at the edge of the southern ice, in latitude 40° south, and on the meridian of Greenwich, may fish successfully from thence to Cape Leeuwin during the months of January, February, March, and April; and if they arrive in the ports of this colony about the 15th of May, they will have a few days to tranship cargo and refresh their crews, before it will be time to take up their stations for bay-fishing. This commences about the 20th of May, and lasts till October. They may then send home, by freight-ships, their previous captures, and proceed on the sperm-fishery off Timor and the Seychelles, reaching Table Bay about the 1st of January: from whence, after taking in refreshments and sending home their oil, they may proceed again on the same route of continuous employment The seas around the Moluccas and Japan open, moreover, excellent stations for ships fishing out of the ports of the colony; and it cannot be doubted that, as the centre of such operations, Western Australia will enable the whalers, on the plans above-mentioned, to drive their competitors, whether Englishmen or Americans, out of the market. In illustration of this, take the following comparative statement of an American and English vessel, if the latter be employed as above-mentioned:—The expense of outfit for ships of equal tonnage will be the same for both, and we will suppose the lays out of London and America to be the same, although, as there are no deductions for casks and agency amongst the latter, the lay is actually greater in the ratio of 33⅓ per cent to 33½ per cent, minus the aforesaid deductions.
"But out of an eighteen months' voyage, the American is three months coming out and three months going home; while the British vessel, pursuing the continuous voyage alluded to, is employed the whole eighteen months in fishing. Again, the average price of American oil for seven years in America has been 14l. 16s. per ton, and in London 26l. Here, then, in quantity (if time be the measure of success) there is a difference of 33⅓ per cent., and in value a difference of 60 per cent: total gross advantage 93⅓ per cent. But from this must be deducted freight home at 5l. per ton, or 20 per cent. and cost of colonial agency and of colonial expenses, to 5 per cent., and also freight of provisions and supplies of casks from time to time sent out, amounting to about 20 per cent. more; leaving a clear advantage of 48⅓ per cent. to one mode of fishing over the other, arising out of the facilities offered by this colony. But this particular mode admits of employing much smaller vessels; and on the whole, without stating this estimate as exactly accurate, such are the peculiar merits of this place as the centre of fishing operations.
"Other descriptions of fishing may be carried on in this country with great advantage. Seals, sharks' fins, tortoiseshell, and trepang are abundant; but the present number of colonists, and their limited means, forbid all hope of seeing these sources of maritime wealth in a productive state for many years.
Sir J. Stirling, in a subsequent statistical document brought up to the end of June 1837, reports thus:
"In a recent despatch, I had the honour to bring under notice the state and prospects of the fisheries on this coast. I am satisfied that the extension of this pursuit will be most rapid, for if the profitable nature of bay fishing be considered, as well as the saving of expense by employing, in the seas adjacent to this colony, smaller vessels than those usually fitted out from London, together with the advantage arising from the constancy of their employment in fishing, without the necessity of long voyages to and from their whaling grounds, it may be fairly estimated, that the profits on capital so employed here will be one-third higher than on vessels sailing out of English ports. This advantage is of great importance at the present time, when the British whaler, loaded with an outfit exceeding by one-third that of the American ship, in consequence of taxation within the United Kingdom, has no chance of competing with foreigners in the markets of the Continent or China, and, consequently, four vessels out of five, engaged at present in the South Sea fisheries, belong to America.
"The produce of the colonial fishery in the present season is expected to attain the value of 4,200l., in oil, whalebone and seal-skins. In 1847, I anticipate the export of these articles will reach to the amount of 100,000l.
To these statements the following additions, from a private source, may be made.
"There is a plentiful supply of white fish on the coast, including the snapper, and many others not known in Europe. Some of them are well flavoured, and similar to the cod, haddock, &c. Fish have been taken in large quantities off Rottnest Island (outside Gage's Roads), in Cockburn Sound, at the Murray River, and elsewhere. Some samples sent to foreign markets have brought good prices; and there is no doubt that when capital and enterprise are employed in this speculation, it will prove a fruitful source of wealth to the colony—having such markets near as are afforded by Java, and the other Malay isles, the Mauritius, India, and China. As salt is found in the colony, and especially in Rottnest Island, the means for curing are at hand.
"Soon after the Sulphur's arrival, at an early period of the settlement, her crew, with that of the Challenger frigate, were engaged in fishing; and, on one occasion, they caught so vast a quantity of a species called the king fish, that the net they were using broke, and the fish were literally driven on shore. After filling three large boats with them, a considerable heap was left on the beach. Upwards of three hundred people were amply supplied on this occasion, including the civil and military establishments then on Garden Island; and also the crews of the above ships and the Parmelia transport. Close to Garden Island (an excellent fishing station) is a bank on which the finest whiting are caught in great quantities; they are larger than those taken on the English coast, and equal to them in flavour. The crew of the colonial schooner Ellen, once caught on the Five Fathom Bank, outside of that island, a place greatly frequented by the snapper, in less than two hours, and with half-a-dozen hooks and lines, fish of that description, to an extent exceeding five hundred weight. Some of them weighed from twenty to forty pounds each.
"In the Swan River there is a great abundance of fish of the herring tribe, of a flatter description, and broader than those in the English seas. Some of these, along with the snapper, were cured, and taken to Java by Mr. Sholl, the purser of the Sulphur, acting as the agent of the local government, and were pronounced by the Malays, at Sourabaya, to be well adapted for the Java market."
In 1837 two American vessels fishing off this coast, carried off about £.30,000 worth of oil and whalebone: up to May 1838, forty American vessels, the greater part engaged in the whale fishery, had touched on the west coast for provisions.
THE NATIVE INHABITANTS:—THEIR NUMBERS, HABITS, CHARACTER, MANNERS, CUSTOMS, AND LANGUAGE; THEIR CAPACITY FOR CIVILIZATION, AND DISPOSITION TOWARDS BRITISH SETTLERS.
The aborigines are a wandering race, without towns or villages, or fixed habitations of any kind; their temporary occupation of any spot depending upon its capability of affording them game, fish, or other food. They are so thinly scattered over the surface of this continent, that extensive tracts may be traversed without encountering a single native. Their dispersion throughout the territory prevents them from entering into any other communities than those which are necessary for rendering successful their hunting and fishing occupations. The tribes into which they are divided, usually comprise about 120 persons of both sexes, and of all ages. The number of the aborigines cannot be correctly ascertained: Sir James Stirling conceives the nearest estimate of the population to be that which assigns one native to two square miles.
As personal strength is one effect of superior physical structure, the following results may be interesting. They are the averages deduced from the power exhibited in the arms and loins of 29 Australians, 56 Timorians, 17 Frenchmen, and 14 Englishmen. These people were found capable of bearing respectively the following pressures:—
|Strength||Of arms in
|Of loins in
|17 New Hollanders||"||50.8||10.2|
Their character is not so degraded as has been represented. Although the law of retaliation prevails among them, they are not known to be cannibals, nor to scalp or torture their captives. Sir James Stirling and others agree in considering that many among them are very intelligent, and possess most acute perceptions. In a description of the natives of another district of Australia, though probably equally applicable to those of the western portion of the continent. Major Mitchell says:
"My experience enables me to speak in the most favourable terms of the aborigines, whose degraded position in the midst of the white population affords no just criterion of their merits. The quickness of apprehension of those in the interior was very extraordinary; for nothing, in all the complicated adaptations we carried with us, either surprised or puzzled them. They are never awkward; on the contrary, in manners and general intelligence they appear superior to any class of white rustics I have seen. Their powers of mimicry are extraordinary; and their shrewdness appears even through the medium of imperfect language, and rendering them in general very agreeable companions."
They can trace a step by sight with the accuracy of a bloodhound by scent; and by their sagacity in finding the tracks of animals, and the best pastures for grazing, they become useful as herdsmen or shepherds. They climb the loftiest trees by boring the bark with a stick hardened by fire, and inserting a toe in a small notch, and holding on the stick, until they reach the branches, where their prey seldom escapes them. The nets with which they take fish are said to be as well made as our own, and their weirs for the same purpose ingeniously contrived. Their mode of cooking a kangaroo-steak is a proof of their skill in the culinary art;—it is placed in a scooped-out stone, which is readily found in the streams, and pressed down by heavy stones on the top of it; the heat is applied beneath and round the first top stone; at the critical moment the stones above are quickly removed, and the steak appears in its most savoury state.
"Certain usages established by custom are frequently appealed to by them as rules of conduct. Of these, the principal relate to the right of individuals to certain portions of hunting-ground derived by inheritance from their immediate ancestors, to the practice of boring the cartilage of the nose of the young men on their admission to the rights of manhood, and to the retaliation for injuries received, which all are enjoined, as well as entitled, to seek, whether the offender belong to the same or to a neighbouring community. It has been found very difficult to ascertain the exact locality or tribe to which individuals belong, in consequences of alliances which are very frequent amongst individuals of different tribes. This species of brotherhood, by adoption, carries with it the obligation of becoming parties to each other's quarrels: and although it appears to be followed by the advantage of mutual protection as far as such individuals are concerned, it gives rise, at the same time, to many hostilities. The intercourse between tribes is seldom of a friendly character, but it is remarkable that their conflicts seldom extend to the loss of lives. Almost continually engaged, as they are, in feuds arising out of the invasion of each other's territory, or the abduction of each other's women, it might be expected that when they meet to fight, the weaker party would be exterminated; whereas these contests, after a great deal of clamour, and a few unimportant wounds, generally end in the murder of a child, or of a female, by mutual consent, admitted as an atonement for the offence or ground of quarrel. Independent of these occasional warlike meetings of tribes, almost every native is under an engagement to avenge, at a convenient opportunity, the death of some departed friend, or an insult previously offered to himself. This purpose, which he cannot forego without discredit, gives rise to acts of the greatest treachery, and not unfrequently ends in the surprise and sudden death of some individuals belonging to the same tribe with the avenger, or some of his neighbours. They rarely, therefore, sleep a second night at the same place; the spear seldom quits the hand of the man from boyhood till death; and they become accustomed to witness, endure, and practise the greatest outrages." *
[* Perth Gazette.]
"In their intercourse with the whites, they accommodate themselves with astonishing readiness to the language, the habits, and even the weaknesses of their new friends. They are remarkably cheerful, and make themselves very useful in many employments; but they are not to be relied upon; for in a great many instances it has been found that, after living for months in the house of a settler, they have been all along employed by the rest of the tribe as spies, for the purpose of conveying intelligence as to the best points of attack on life or property. Living in a constant state of warfare, they are bold, crafty, and persevering, and lay their plans with judgment equal to the vigour with which they put them in execution. With such qualities as these, they would be too powerful as a nation for the present number of colonists, if it were not for their mistrust of each other. They cannot combine their efforts, nor act on a concerted plan; for if they were to do so, there are many of them who would readily betray the rest, and voluntarily lead the whites to their retreat, for the sake of a few pounds of flour."
The aborigines of Western Australia have been used as postmen and policemen, and have performed their duties with integrity and diligence. A race who are so soon induced to perform such duties will speedily become useful allies to the settler. As yet, however, they must be carefully watched, and not too much confided in. The present Governor, who has devoted very great attention to the improvement of the aboriginal race of Western Australia, has lately succeeded in inducing them to labour at the much desired operations of road-making.**
[** The rate of wages paid the natives is 1s. 6d. per day, but they are very indifferent workmen.]
In physical structure the natives of Western Australia are rather slenderer than those farther to the south-east and in the interior; but some of them are remarkable for the symmetry of their proportions. Their heads are not so inferior in form and size as many known tribes of savages, and in general the forehead is well shaped. They do not appear to have any knowledge of a God, though there are traces of some instinct notion of a future state of existence. A boy accused of theft denied the charge, and appealed to his parents, who had long been dead, in corroboration of his declaration of innocence. In Eastern Australia the bodies of the dead are carried repeatedly round the grave for miles, to puzzle the dead so that he may not find his way back; they also pretend to receive instructions from him before covering up the grave; which acts infer a belief that the dead still live.
Sir James Stirling speaks of the influence exercised over them by their reputed magicians.
"This magician, or doctor," as described by Dr. Scott Nind, "is called Mulgarradock, and is considered to possess the power of driving away wind or rain, as well as bringing down lightning or disease upon any object of their or others' hatred. In attempting to drive away storm or rain, they stand out in the open air, tossing their arms, shaking their clothes, and making violent gesticulations, which they continue a long time, with intervals, if they are not successful. Almost the same process is used to remove disease; but in this case they are less noisy, and make use of friction, sometimes with green twigs previously warmed at the fire, frequently making a short puff, as if to blow away the pain. The hand of the Mulgarradock is also supposed to confer strength or dexterity, and the natives frequently apply to him for that purpose. The operation consists in simply drawing his hand repeatedly, with a firm pressure, from the shoulder downwards to the fingers, which he afterwards extends until the joints crack.
"Their funeral solemnities are accompanied by loud lamentations. A grave is dug about four feet long and three wide, and perhaps a yard in depth. The earth that is removed is arranged on one side of the grave in the form of a crescent; at the bottom is placed some bark, and then small green boughs: and upon this the body, ornamented and enveloped in its cloak, with the knees bent up to the breast and the arms crossed. Over the body is heaped more green boughs and bark, and the whole is then filled with earth. Green boughs are placed over the earth, and upon them are deposited the spears, knife, and hammer of the deceased, together with the ornaments that belonged to him: his throwing-stick on one side, and the curl or towk on the other side of the mound. The mourners then carve circles in the bark of the trees that grow near the grave, at the height of six or seven feet from the ground; and lastly, making a small fire in front, they gather small boughs, and carefully brush away any portions of the earth that may adhere to them. The face is coloured black or white, laid on in blotches across the forehead, round the temples, and down the cheek-bones; and these marks of mourning are worn for a considerable time. They also cut the end of the nose and scratch it, for the purpose of producing tears. During the period of the mourning, they wear no ornaments or feathers. It frequently occurs that two individuals bear the same name; and in this case, should one of them die, the other changes his name for a certain period, in order that the name of the deceased should not be uttered. When a female is interred, her implements are in like manner deposited in her grave."
The conclusion drawn by Dr. Scott Nind, that these ceremonies prove their belief in a future state, is hardly conclusive; nor is it to be inferred that they believe in ghosts, because some men were afraid of an anatomical drawing. They believe in omens, and consider that the cry of the night-cuckoo portends death.
Betrothment with them appears to take place at the will of the parents, from the earliest age, even before birth. Polygamy is prevalent among them, which, with their limited means of subsistence, and the effects of exposure, tend to limit their increase. They all evince an ear for music, and are fond of dancing. The only attempt at a musical instrument yet seen among them, is a kind of drum, made of kangaroo-skin stretched over a bundle, and beaten with the fists of the women and children; they strike in correct time, and sing simultaneously, and in a monotonous kind of chant. To this music the men and boys dance, singing at the same time. This dance is evidently expressive of their gallantry and readiness to defend the weaker sex. They retreat together in exact step, then turn and give on tip-toe a curious agitation to the legs, which are widely distended; suddenly they rush towards the women, raising their voices, extending their arms, and placing themselves in a defensive attitude.
Another and chief amusement is a representation of hunting the kangaroo. It is thus well described by Captain Irwin:—
"Their facility of imitation renders their pantomimic dances, which they delight in, lively pictures of some of their pursuits. In these dances, called by them corrobories, they engage generally at night near a blazing fire. Their representation of killing the kangaroo is peculiarly striking. Two are selected out of the circle to represent the hunter and the kangaroo; one assumes the attitude of the animal when grazing, and exhibits the cautious timidity natural to it, pausing from time to time, rising up on end, looking about, and anxiously listening, as it were, to ascertain whether an enemy be nigh. The hunter, approaching against the wind, with extreme caution steals on his prey, and, after frequent change of his position, retreating or throwing himself on the ground, the scene at length closes with the triumph of the hunter, on his discharging the spear which is supposed to pierce the animal."
Major Mitchell observes that
"The habits and customs of the aboriginal inhabitants are remarkably similar throughout the wide extent of Australia. Their mode of life, as exhibited in the temporary huts made of boughs, bark, or grass,* and their climbing of trees to procure the opossum, by cutting notches in the bark, alternately with each hand, prevails from shore to shore in Australia, as well as in Van Diemen's Land."
[* Many uses of these rude people resemble those of the wandering Arabs; and recal to mind that passage in Nehemiah, c. viii. v. 15:—"Go forth unto the mount, and fetch olive branches, and pine branches, and palm branches, and branches of thick trees, to make booths, as it is written." Thus, the natives of Australia, whenever they wander, and wish for a temporary shelter, put two or three sticks, or stems of the grass-tree, in the earth, and interweave them with bark, grass, or branches of trees.]
They have certain modes of decorating their persons. The children, when very young, are tatooed, principally on the chest and shoulders; the cicatrix thus raised is a distinguishing mark of the tribe. The septum of the nose is perforated, and ornamented by the insertion of a feather, or the bone of a bird or a kangaroo. These ornaments are gradually thrown aside, as they advance in years, and, in old age, are generally discontinued.
Kangaroo-skins afford their females cloaks, in which, furnished with a bag behind, they carry their children. The men wear girdles spun from the wool of the opossum, and a sort of tail of the same material is appended to this girdle, both before and behind. Sometimes the men wear kangaroo cloaks in the winter-season, and ornament their heads with dogs' tails, cockatoo-feathers, and any thing their fancy prompts to fasten in their hair. The women seldom adorn themselves, and cut their hair short; both smear themselves with a pigment they call wilga, which is red, and mixed with grease.
A bandage, or fillet, is often worn round the temples, which is whitened with pipe-clay; under which the natives wear another of a red colour.
The food of the natives embraces a great variety of articles. In the estuaries and rivers, and on the coast, there is abundance of fish at certain periods of the year, and kangaroos of various sorts, together with opossums, dalgerts, and other small animals, which are obtained in considerable numbers; roots and gums of several kinds are also used by them, and birds' eggs, lizards, frogs, grabs, and crayfish from the swamps, are also resorted to as varieties, or used in cases of urgent want. They do not appear to be reduced at any time to very great difficulties in procuring subsistence, but their habits preclude the possibility of keeping any accumulated stock of the necessary articles, and therefore their time and attention are almost constantly occupied in the pursuit of their daily food.
Dr. Wilson * gives the following account of the zest with which a native devours the grass-tree grub. During an excursion from Freemantle, and after passing across the Darling mountains, in a course East half South, accompanied by Captain Bannister, Lieut. Everard, and Mr. Talbot, they encountered a number of the natives.
[* "See Narrative of a Voyage round the World."]
"One of them," observes the Doctor, "who appeared to be superior to the others, both in rank and intelligence, shewed us various roots which they used for food, and also the manner of digging for them; and, in return for our civility, in giving him and his fiends a little biscuit, he procured a handful of loathsome-looking grubs from a grass-tree, and offered them to us, after having himself ate two or three, to show os that they were used by them as food. His polite offer being courteously declined, he snapped them up, one by one, to evince that what we had refused was esteemed by him as a bonne bouche."
Captain Grey, however, does not mention this habit with such a feeling of disgust; he observes that the Bar-de (the native name for the white grub alluded to), has a fragrant, aromatic flavour; and is eaten either raw or roasted, and forms a dessert after their repasts. The presence of these grubs in a grass-tree is thus ascertained:—If the top of one of these trees is observed to be dead, the natives give it a few sharp kicks with their feet, when, if it contains any bar-de, it begins to give way; if this take place, they then push it over, and, breaking the tree to pieces with their hammers, extract the bar-de.
Neither do the natives hesitate to use other insects as food. Mr. Leigh relates that, upon approaching a number of ant-hills, he observed the manner in which the natives avail themselves of their contents, when hungry:—
"They take a portion of the ant-hill, and shake and jostle it about until the ants are nearly all out in their hands: they then convey the crawling insects, in the shape of a ball, into their mouths, sucking and munching them with evident satisfaction."
Their weapons are not numerous, but such as they possess are wielded by them with admirable dexterity. Bows and arrows are not used by them; but they have several kinds of spears. The ordinary spear is barbed with a species of hard wood,* strongly fixed with the skin of the kangaroo, and further secured with gum. The point of this spear is said to be sharp as a needle, and is hurled by them with astonishing accuracy of aim; at a distance of fifty or sixty yards they will transfix a small loaf of bread. It is remarkable, however, that the wounds made by these spears are seldom of a dangerous character when not inflicted in some vital part of the human body. That inflammatory symptoms do not ensue may be attributed to the temperate habits of the people. The war-spear is serrated with sharp stones fixed in gum, and is much heavier than those used for the chase: the spears are all hurled with the aid of a rod, with a groove or niche at one end, and called a wammera. They do not appear to use any poisoned weapons. Their shield, or hieleman, is of very small dimensions, being made out of a piece of wood about two feet eight inches in length, and of very little thickness. It affords them protection from missiles, by the adroitness with which it is handled.
[* Called "Bimbel" by the natives.]
The bommerang, or koilee, is a very singular missile. It is a thin curved stick, somewhat in the shape of a cutlass, and about two feet four inches in length; it can be thrown by a skilful hand, so as to rise upon the wind, with a rotatory motion and in a crooked direction, towards any given point with great precision, and to return, after a considerable flight, to within a yard or two of the thrower; or, by first striking the ground, to bound so as to hit at a given distance, en ricochet, any object behind a tree. Major Mitchell conceives that the bommerang originated in the utility of such a missile for the purpose of killing ducks, 'where they are very numerous, as on the interior rivers and lagoons, and where, accordingly, it is found to be much more in use than on the sea-coast, and better made, being often covered with good carving.
Of their different kinds of clubs, besides those of the ordinary form, one resembles a pick-axe; another is more peculiar (the malga), and shaped at the formidable end something like a scimetar: the mago is a stone-hatchet, the handle of which is so light and elastic as greatly to aid the effect of a blow. The knife is a stick, having sharp-edged stones fixed in a groove therein with gum.
The young natives of the interior usually carry a small wooden shovel, with one end of which they dig up different sorts of roots, and, with the other, break into the large ant-hills for the larvæ, which they eat.
Besides fishing nets, the natives make bags, or reticules, in a very neat manner, out of a tough small rush.
They are in nowise a nautical people; and the sort of canoe which, in some parts, is used to carry them across narrow creeks, is of the most rude description. The greatest skill and taste displayed by the Australian is in the burial mounds, which nearly resemble the barrows of the Celts, and the head of the corpse is laid towards the East, as originally practised by that ancient people.
The following sketch of their character is from the pen of Mr. G. F. Moore,* whose letters have served for previous quotations:—
[* See Perth Gazette, 31st August, 1839.]
"What a singular race of beings! Shrewd and intelligent, yet not possessing even the first rudiments of civilization: utterly ignorant of art or science, yet able to obtain a ready livelihood where a civilized being might be starved: knowing nothing of any metal, possessed of no mechanical tool, and yet able to fashion weapons of a most formidable description; having neither house nor home; domesticating neither bird nor beast,—for their imperfect taming of the wild-dog can scarcely be considered an exception; cultivating neither grain nor fruit; naked, yet unwilling to bear the trammels of clothing; looked down upon as the lowest in the scale of human beings, yet proudly bearing themselves, and contemning the drudgery of the man who despises them: confiding, cheerful, kindly of disposition, yet treacherous, inflexible in revenge, and glorying in massacre; enjoying the most unrestrained state of liberty, yet in daily danger of death: living, in short, in a state of society resolved into its very first elements; having no worship, and little superstition—revering no God—dreading no devil—under subjection to no man—knowing no law, human or divine—without rule of conduct in this life, without hope of reward or fear of punishment in the next. Here is a people truly singular as their own vegetable productions—unique as their animals,—and in a condition as rare in the world as their own swans. They are a race worthy of the study of the philosopher, meriting the attention of the philanthropist, and requiring the aid of the missionary."
GOVERNMENT—LAWS—MILITARY FORCE—PUBLIC OFFICERS CHURCH MISSIONARIES SCHOOLS AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY FISHING ASSOCIATIONS BANKS—EXCHANGES—TRUST AND LIFE INSURANCE—NEWSPAPER PROJECTS PRISONS PENITENTIARY AT ROTTENEST—CRIMES IMPORTS AND EXPORTS REVENUE AND EXPENDITURE.
The local administration of Western Australia is provided for by the Royal Commission and instructions to the Governor, and by Act of Parliament, and an Order in Council, dated the 1st of November, 1830.
An executive council is appointed to advise and assist in the administration of the government, two of whom, together with the governor, constituting a quorum; and the executive councillor whose name is first placed in the instructions shall, in the event of the death or absence of the governor, assume the administration of the government in the same manner as the governor or commander-in-chief himself; but in no case can any judge take upon himself these functions.
By the same authority the governor is empowered to appoint justices of the peace, coroners, constables, and other officers for putting the law into execution; to levy troops, to erect ports, prescribe boundaries to districts, counties, townships, and parishes, to appoint fairs, markets, ports, harbours, quays, &c,.
The legislative power conferred on the governor and the members of the legislative council has been hitherto exercised only in the adoption of certain recent acts of parliament of a general tendency; and in the passing of a few ordinances connected with matters of local interest. The state of the law in this colony is therefore as yet in strict accordance with the letter and spirit of the law of England, as far as it is applicable to the circumstances of this country. In the absence of every institution foreign to the practice of the mother-country, as well as the non-existence of foreign customs, language, and blood in this settlement, it possesses an attraction for free emigrants in a great degree peculiar to itself.
The existing distribution of the military force will be understood from the return subjoined. In this department a considerable increase of force is requisite for the protection of the colonists. Whatever may have been the views of the government on the earlier formation of this settlement, the settlers consider themselves by its declarations entitled to be protected, and secured in the quiet enjoyment of the lands assigned to them, or bought by their outlay. Without this they cannot fulfil the location-duties, nor can they make any progress in the extension of the settlement. This protection of the white population is moreover necessary to the security of the aboriginal race: if not given, a constant state of warfare and violence between the two must follow; and while the former is hindered in his progress towards the establishment of the country, the latter will be rendered vindictive and cruel in proportion to the injury he receives from, and inflicts upon, the settler. To correct or prevent these evils, the only course which seems advisable is to declare the present limitation of the settlement to be that territory which is included between the 31° of latitude and the south coast; and from the west coasts to the meridian of Doubtful Island Bay. Within that district military stations should be formed at the following points:
The above-mentioned military stations are proposed with reference to the best lines of inter-communication for mutual support, and also with reference to the several districts in which lands have been given and locations begun.
The number of persons exclusively engaged in the civil, judicial, clerical, and military branches of the public service, amounts to one hundred and sixty.
In other public offices, independent of the government, such as printers, innkeepers, &c., there are employed about thirty-four; the whole population being 2032, in 1837.
The building intended for public offices at Perth will be found to be of the greatest value to the public service, by brining under one roof all the different departments, and by inducing regularity in the despatch of business.
Divine service according to the Established Church, is attended at Perth by about two hundred persons, and in that town, as well as in Guildford and Albany, there are Independent Chapels. The latest accounts, however, state that a site has been fixed upon for a Church at Perth.*
[* It is to be hoped that the appeal of the Archbishop of Canterbury, made on the 24th of July, 1839, will receive due attention. It was in the form of a petition from the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge, praying the House of Lords to take measures for increasing the amount of spiritual instruction in the colonies in connexion with the Established Church, especially in the Australian colonies.]
In the year 1835 an association was formed in London for promoting religion according to the rites of the Church of England, under the designation of the "Western Australian Missionary Society." An Italian gentleman of the name of Giustiniani was selected as their first minister. He arrived there in July 1836, erected a chapel and school-house at Guildford, and commenced the formation of a farm on the Swan River, at which it is understood to be the intention of the Society to collect natives, with a view to their instruction and future civilization.
A school for young gentlemen was some time since opened by the Colonial Chaplain in Perth, the course of instruction in which comprises the entire range of classical education which is usually given in England. In connection with this school, and subject also to the superintendence of the Colonial Chaplain, a school is opened for instruction in the various branches of elementary education. There is a school for young ladies, and also a girls' school in Perth; besides which, tuition has been given in several private families by either resident or visiting governesses. In addition to this, a Sunday school is regularly "kept and well attended there in the Church. At Guildford there is about to be established also an elementary school, and a Sunday school is held in the church of the Western Australian Church Missionary Association. In the district of the Upper Swan instruction is also given in a Sunday school held in a private house, which is tolerably well attended.
This institution had its beginning in the first year of the settlement. It comprises almost all the owners of land. Its members are admitted by ballot. The regular meetings take place on a fixed day in each quarter of the year, and are usually well attended. The Society has promoted good conduct amongst farm servants, by giving distinctions and prizes to the best-conducted and most efficient labourers, and in other respects it has tended in a very considerable degree to promote the usual objects of such institutions.
There are at present four establishments of this description; the first at Freemantle, consisting of 30 subscribers, at the rate of fifty pounds each; the second, called the "Perth Fishing Company," is divided into 60 shares, at fifteen pounds each. The fishing-ground of these two companies is near to the entrance of the Swan River. The two other establishments occupy stations in Doubtful Island Bay, on the south coast. One of these is the property of a gentleman named Cheyne; the other belongs to a Mr. Sherratt. The latter was established last year, and found abundance of employment. It is supposed that the aggregate produce of the fisheries in the present season will amount to 4,200l. in oil, whalebone, and seal-skins.
The establishment of a Bank had been long an object of desire in this colony. The want of such an institution occasioned the greatest inconveniences in the transfer of property, as well as in the safe custody of balances in hand. The funds applicable to such purposes could not, however, be obtained in the colony until this present year. On the 1st June, 1838, however, a Joint Stock Bank commenced business, and it last year paid a dividend of 11 per cent. According to the last report their business had increased 100 per cent. Being supported by eighty individuals of respectability, its credit is undoubted, and as it proposes to limit its discounts to actual transactions in the course of business, and to issue notes to a very small amount, it will yield a safe and sufficient profit' to the proprietors, and promote materially the general interest of the settlement.
The circulation of this Bank on the quarter's average ending 26th March, 1839, was. .. ..
Its ostensible capital is 10,000l., but its credit is so good, that it has not been found necessary to call for more than an eighth part of its proposed funds, in consequence of deposits being made by its customers at its commencement to the extent of four thousand pounds. It is also proposed to render it available as a bank of savings, and if it succeed in this respect, it will tend much to create habits of frugality and temperance amongst the labouring people.
The discount on bills is 12½ per cent. per annum, and interest is allowed on deposits at 5 per cent. per annum.
It is the intention of the Australian Banking Company in London to establish a Branch Bank in Western Australia.
Treasury Bills were negociated at a premium of 1½ per cent., but the demand for them will cease when the colonial exports are equal to their imports. Private bills on England are subjected to a discount of five per cent.
Persons desirous of investing capital in the purchase of lands in Western Australia, may find it advantageous to know that an association has been established in London, under the title of "The British and Colonial Trust and Assurance Company," with a view of combining the administration of Trusts with the business of Life Assurance, one object of which institution is to relieve the settlers who are possessed of property from an embarrassing and doubtful choice.
There is published in the colony at present a weekly newspaper, under the name of the Perth Gazette.
Preliminary surveys and plans are in course of preparation for the accomplishment of the following objects, in which the colonial community takes a very lively interest.
1. The erection of a Church at Perth, the expense of which it is proposed to provide for principally by private subscriptions.
2. The establishment of a communication between Perth and the opposite side of the river by a series of dykes and bridges.
3. The formation of a small mole at Freemantle connected with a tunnel through Arthur's Head, to be completed at the cost of the Whaling Company, the greater part being already effected.
The principal gaol of the colony is at present at Freemantle, but it will probably be necessary, in the course of a short time, to construct a more suitable edifice for that purpose, at or near the seat of government. From the removal of the gaol establishment to Perth, considerable saving will accrue in the administration of justice, and the management of the prisoners will be more immediately under the inspection of the higher authorities.
The government has constituted in the Isle of Rottenest a sort of penitentiary for native culprits; the water being thought, where walls are too costly, a practical barrier to their dexterity in escape. One recommendation of this isolated imprisonment is the facility which it affords for the application of some regular discipline, where the natives are removed from their old haunts and companions. They are much addicted to theft, and are frequently guilty of personal violence.
During the years 1836, 1837, and part of 1838.
The following tables of the state of crime in "Western Australia exhibit the remarkable fact, that out of the small number of thirty-eight persons convicted during a period of nearly three years, no fewer than twenty-three were persons not properly forming any portion of the settler-population, being Lascars, soldiers, aboriginal natives, &c.; and it may be added, as a matter of sincere congratulation, that one notice of the periodical quarterly sessions was withdrawn, there being not a single case for trial.
Number of persons charged with Crime (convicted, acquitted, discharged for want of prosecution, and against whom no bills were found), from the April Quarter-Sessions of the Peace, 1836, to the July Sessions, 1838, both inclusive.
|Number of persons||indicted||36||12||48|
Analysis of Persons indicted.
|2.||Under 14 years of age||1||1|
|3.||Forming no part of the bonâ fide settler-population:|
|Soldiers of the garrison, 5—one soldier's wife||3||3 }|
|Convicts emancipated or runaway, by confession or suspected on reasonable grounds||1||— }|
|Aboriginal natives of the colony||10||— }|
Specific Crimes and Misdemeanours, and number of Persons charged with each, during the above period stated in List (A).
Annual Return of Persons indicted during the
1836 and 1837.
On two aboriginal natives for murder and felonious stabbing: in one case commuted to transportation for life; in the other case a reprieve till the royal pleasure be known. Sentence recorded
Against a European for arson of a dwelling-house.
Transported for life.
Transportation—for 7 years
|Whipping (in addition to imprisonment)||2|
The relative position of Western Australia, as has been already remarked, is peculiarly favourable for communication with the commercial world; most of its rivers are navigable for small vessels and boats, besides being applicable to purposes of irrigation, and valuable as a water power for mills; many of its harbours are easily accessible and secure, and its anchorages good. With such advantages it must necessarily become, in course of time, a seat of considerable maritime traffic, as well as of vast agricultural and pastoral operations. The peculiar adaption of this territory for commercial pursuits is already becoming more generally and duly appreciated, for within the four months previous to the end of April 1839, there had never been so many vessels or means of communication with England since it was a colony.
The bane of this colony hitherto; the master evil which has hitherto withdrawn all the advantages of which it is susceptible from the capability of its soil, its central situation and proximity to the Malay Archipelago, Hindostan, and the Mauritius, is the enormous price of labour, resulting from the facility with which land was procurable by all. This lias produced a derangement of the essential machinery of all production.* The friends of Western Australia, however, with the aid of Government, are now directing their strenuous endeavours to remedy this great evil. Their objects have already been developed in another part of this volume, when treating of the proper mode of selling the Colonial lands, which has been applied with such unexampled success to the province of Southern Australia. There can be no doubt that Western Australia will exhibit a rapid progression, and elucidate the full advantages of a wise system of Colonial legislation.
[* The following fact affords a homely illustration of the total want of all domestic help in the ménage of a West Australian settler. We could name the mother of a family who had no other means of keeping her infant out of harm's way, when her various avocations required her absence, than that of placing it in a hen-coop.]
The following tables are compiled from the last official
|Wool, 21,120 lbs.||1,584|
|Live Stock, Vegetables, &c||1200|
From King George's Sound:—
|Live Stock, Vegetables, &c||300|
|Wool, 129 bales||£.1,935|
|Potatoes, Onions, Fruit, &c||1,500|
|Bone and Seal Skins||625|
Table of the description and value of Merchandise imported into Western Australia, during the year 1837.
|Articles imported.||From Great Britain.||From British Colonies.||Total.|
|Glass and earthenware||240||230||470|
|Tobacco and cigars||390||390|
|Rope, line, and twine||40||95||135|
|Rice, sago, &c||590||590|
|Butter and cheese||130||525||655|
|Iron and lead||50||50|
|Shoes and leather||350||50||400|
|Gunpowder and shot||45||35||80|
|Soap and candles||265||280||545|
|Ditto for Commissariat Department||5,000||5,000|
The number of ships entered inwards during the year is 14; tonnage, 3,013.
Table of the description and value of Merchandise imported into Western Australia, during the year 1838.
|Articles imported.||From Great Britain.||From British Colonies.||Total.|
|Wine and Beer||500||3,215||3,715|
|Flour and Bread||250||3,075||3,325|
|Oats, Barley, &c.||100||878||978|
|Machinery and Ironmongery||600||370||970|
|Glass and earthenware||340||280||620|
|Tobacco and cigars||160||333||493|
|Rope, line, and twine||355||70||425|
|Sugar and Molasses||10||3,655||3,665|
|Rice, sago, &c||1,466||1,466|
|Tea and Groceries||140||897||1,037|
|Butter and cheese||130||264||394|
|Gunpowder and shot||80||18||98|
|Soap and candles||200||1,396||1,596|
|Timber, Spars, &c.||80||80|
|Books and Stationery||260||260|
|Carts and Carriages||80||20||100|
|Casks, Oil and Bone||300||1,150||* 1,450|
[* From the United States.]
|Arrears of Revenue 1st January, 1838||1,900||3||7|
|Duty on imported Spirits||£.2,429||5||6|
|Licences to retail do.||410||8||4|
|Rent on Spirits in Bond||93||2||6|
|Licences in Civil Court||14||0||0|
|Sales of Crown Lands||37||5||0|
|Receipts in aid of Revenue||7,361||14||11|
|Miscellaneous Civil Services||5,075||0||8|
The annual cost for the year 1838, of the Civil, Judicial, Ecclesiastical, and Military Departments, was in the following proportions:—
|Sir James Stirling's passage allowance||800||0||0|
|Amount paid for supplies||2,688||7||7|
|On account of allowance for fuel and light||29||13||0|
|For miscellaneous purchases||23||3||8|
|For land and water transport||714||9||6|
|For extra staff of Commissariat department||246||7||6|
|For military allowances||380||0||1|
|For special services||143||6||0|
|Pay of Commissariat officers||669||18||0|
|Consignment of specie and bills||1,024||15||7|
|Advances to department||1,308||9||7|
Although it is the intention of His Majesty's Government to form a settlement on the Western coast of Australia, the Government do not intend to incur any expense in conveying settlers, or in supplying them with necessaries after their arrival.
Such persons, however, as may be prepared to proceed to that country, at their own cost, before the end of the year 1829, in parties comprehending a proportion of not less than five female to six male settlers, will receive grants of land, in fee simple (free of quit rent), proportioned to the capital which they may invest upon public or private objects in the Colony to the satisfaction of His Majesty's Government at home, certified by the superintendent or other officer administering the Colonial Government, at the rate of forty acres for every sum of £.3 so invested, provided they give previous security; first, that all supplies sent to the Colony, whether of provisions, stores, or other articles which may be purchased by the capitalists there, or which shall have been sent out for the use of them or their parties, on the requisition of the Secretary of State, if not paid for on delivery in the Colony, shall be paid for at home, each capitalist being to be held liable in his proportion; and, secondly, that on the event of the establishment being broken up by the Governor or Superintendent, all persons desirous of returning to the British islands shall be conveyed to their own home, at the expense of the capitalists by whom they may have been taken out. The passages of labouring persons, whether paid for by themselves or others, and whether they be male or female, provided the proportion of the sexes before-mentioned be preserved, will be considered as an investment of capital, entitling the party by whom any such payment may have been made, to an allowance of land at the rate of £.15, that is, of two hundred acres of land for the passage of every such labouring person over and above any other investment of capital.
Any land thus granted, which shall not have been brought into cultivation, or otherwise improved or reclaimed from its wild state, to the satisfaction of Government, within twenty-one years from the date of the grant, shall, at the end of the twenty-one years, revert absolutely to the Crown.
All these conditions, with respect to free grants of land, and all contracts of labouring persons and others, who shall have bound themselves for a stipulated term of service, will be strictly maintained.
It is not intended that any convicts, or other description of prisoners, be sent to this new settlement.
The government will be administered by Captain Stirling of the Royal Navy, as Civil Superintendent of the settlement; and a bill, in the nature of a civil charter, will be submitted to Parliament in the commencement of its next session.*
[* Correspondence, Swan River Settlement: ordered to be printed 13th May, 1829, p. 7.]
Colonial Office, 5th December, 1828.
Regulations for the guidance of those who may propose to embark as Settlers for the New Settlement on the Western Coast of New Holland.
1. His Majesty's Government do not intend to incur any expense in conveying settlers to the new colony on the Swan River, and will not feel bound to defray the expense of supplying them with provisions or other necessaries after their arrival there, nor to assist their removal to England or elsewhere, should they be desirous of quitting the colony.
2. Such persons as may arrive in that settlement before the end of the year 1830, will receive, in the order of their arrival, grants of land, free of quit-rent, proportioned to the capital which they may be prepared to invest in the improvement of the land, and of which capital they may be able to produce satisfactory proofs to the Lieutenant-governor (or other officer administering the colonial government), or to any two officers of the local government appointed by the Lieutenant-governor for that purpose, at the rate of 40 acres for every sum of £.3 which they may be prepared to invest.
3. Under the head of "investment of capital" will be considered stock of every description, all implements of husbandry, and other articles which may be applicable to the purposes of productive industry, or which may be necessary for the establishment of the settler on the land where he is to be located. The amount of any half-pay or pension which the applicant may receive from Government will also be considered as so much capital.
4. Those who may incur the expense of taking out labouring persons, will be entitled to an allowance of land, at the rate of £.15; that is, of 200 acres of land, for the passage of every such labouring person, over and above any other investment of capital. In the class of "labouring persons" are included women, and children above ten years old. Provision will be made by law, at the earliest opportunity, for rendering those capitalists who may be engaged in taking out labouring persons to this settlement liable for the future maintenance of those persons, should they, from infirmity or any other cause, become unable to maintain themselves there.
5. The licence of occupation of land will be granted to the settler, on satisfactory proof being exhibited to the Lieutenant-governor (or other officer administering the local government) of the amount of property brought into the colony. The proofs required of such property will be such satisfactory vouchers of expenses as would be received in auditing public accounts. But the full title to the land will not be granted in fee-simple until the settler has proved, to the satisfaction of the Lieutenant-governor (or other officer administering the local government), that the sum required by Article 2 of these Regulations (viz. 1s. 6d. per acre) has been expended in the cultivation of the land, or in solid improvements, such as buildings, roads, or other works of the kind.
6. Any grant of land thus allotted, of which a fair proportion, of at least one-fourth, shall not have been brought into cultivation, otherwise improved, or reclaimed from its wild state, to the extent of 1s. 6d. per acre, to the satisfaction of the local government, within three years from the date of the licence of occupation, shall, at the end of the three years, be liable to a payment of 6d. per acre into the public chest of the settlement; and at the expiration of seven years more, should the land still remain in an uncultivated or unimproved state, it will revert absolutely to the Crown.
7. After the year 1830, land will be disposed of to those settlers who may resort to the colony on such conditions as His Majesty's Government shall see occasion to adopt.
8. It is not intended that any convicts, or other description of prisoners, be transported to this new settlement.
9. The government will be administered by Captain Stirling, of the Royal Navy, as Lieutenant-governor of the settlement; and it is proposed that a bill should be submitted to Parliament in the course of the next session, to make provision for the civil government of the new settlement.*
[* Disposal of Lands in the Colonies: ordered to be printed 1st of August, 1836, p. 255.]
Colonial Office, 13th January, 1829.
Information for the use of those who may propose to embark as Settlers for the New Settlement in Western Australia.
1. His Majesty's Government do not intend to incur any expense in conveying setters to the new colony on the Swan River, and will not feel bound to defray the cost of supplying them with provisions or other necessaries after their arrival there, nor to assist their removal to England, or to any other place, should they be desirous of quitting the colony.
2. Such persons as may arrive in that settlement before the end of the year 1830 will receive, in the order of their arrival, allotments of land, free of quit-rent, proportioned to the capital which they may be prepared to invest in the improvement of the land, and of which capital they may be able to produce satisfactory proofs to the Lieutenant-governor (or other officer administering the colonial government), or to any two officers of the local government appointed by the Lieutenant-governor for that purpose, at the rate of 40 acres for every sum of £.3 which they may be prepared so to invest.
3. Under the head of "investment of capital" will be considered stock of every description, all implements of husbandry, and other articles which may be applicable to the purposes of productive industry, or which may be necessary for the establishment of the settler on the land where he is to be located.
4. Those who may incur the expense of taking out labouring persons, will be entitled to an allotment of land, at the rate of £15; that is, of 200 acres of land, for the passage of every such labouring person, over and above any other investment of capital. In the class of "labouring persons" are included women, and children above ten years old. With respect to the children of labouring people under that age, it is proposed to allow 40 acres for every such child above three years old; 80 acres for every such child above six years old; and 120 for every such child above nine and under ten years old. Provision will be made by law, at the earliest opportunity, for rendering those capitalists who may be engaged in taking out labouring persons to this settlement, liable for the future maintenance of those persons, should they, from infirmity or any other cause, become unable to maintain themselves there.
5. The licence to occupy will be given to the settler on satisfactory proof being exhibited to the Lieutenant-governor (or other officer administering the local government) of the amount of property brought into the colony, to be invested as above specified. The proofs required of this property will be such satisfactory vouchers of expenses as would be received in auditing public accounts. But the title to the land will not be granted in fee-simple until the settler has proved, to the satisfaction of the Lieutenant-governor (or other officer administering the local government), that the sum required by Article 2 (viz. 1s. 6d. per acre) has been actually expended in some investment of the nature specified in Article 3, or in the cultivation of the land, or in solid improvements, such as buildings, roads, or oilier works of that kind.
6. Any land thus allotted, of which a fair proportion, at least one-fourth, shall not have been brought into cultivation, or otherwise improved, to the satisfaction of the local government, within three years from the date of the licence of occupation, shall, at the end of the three years, be liable to one further payment o£ 6d. per acre for all the land not so cultivated or improved, into the public chest of the settlement; and, at the expiration of seven years more, so much of the whole grant as shall still remain in an uncultivated or unimproved state, will revert absolutely to the Crown. And in every grant will be contained a condition, that, at any time within ten years from the date thereof, the government may resume, without compensation, any land not then actually cultivated or improved, as before mentioned, which may be required for roads, canals, or quays, or for the site of public buildings.
7. After the year 1830, land will be disposed of to those settlers who may resort to the Colony, on such conditions as His Majesty's government shall determine.
8. It is not intended that any convicts be transported to this new settlement.
9. The government will be administered by Captain Stirling, of the Royal Navy, as Lieutenant-governor of the settlement; and it is proposed that a bill shall be submitted to Parliament, in the course of the next session, to make provision for its civil and judicial administration.*
[* Disposal of Lands in the Colonies: ordered to be printed 1st August, 1836, p. 256.]
Colonial Office, 3rd February, 1829.
Information for the use of those who may propose to embark as Settlers for the New Settlement in Western Australia.
1. It has at no time formed any part of the plan of His Majesty's Government to incur any expense in conveying settlers to the new colony on the Swan River. Government will not feel bound to defray the cost of supplying provisions or other necessaries to settlers after their arrival there, nor to assist their return to England, nor their removal to any other place, should they be desirous of quitting that colony.
2. Such persons as emigrate to the Swan River Settlement, and arrive there after the 31st of December, 1830, will receive, in the order of their arrival, allotments of land proportioned to the capital which they have at command for the improvement of the land, at the rate of 20 acres for every sum of £.3 which they may be prepared to invest in such improvements.
3. Under the head of "capital" will be considered, at a fair rate of valuation, stock of every description, all implements of husbandry, and other articles which may be applicable to the purposes of productive industry, or which may be necessary for the establishment of the settler on the land where he is to be located.
4. Those who incur the expense of taking out labouring persons to this colony will be entitled to land to the value of £.15; that is, to 100 acres, for the passage of every such labourer, over and above any investment of other capital.
In the class of "labouring persons" are included women, and also children above twelve years old. They will further be allowed 30 acres for every child under the age of six, and 60 acres for every child between the age of six and twelve.
5. The licence to occupy will be given to the settler, on satisfactory proof being exhibited to the Lieutenant-governor (or other officer administering the local government), of the amount of property, as above specified, which has been brought into the colony to be invested. The proofs expected to be produced of the value of this property will be such vouchers of expenses as would be received in auditing public accounts. The title to the land in fee-simple will not be granted, however, until the settler has proved, to the satisfaction of the Lieutenant-governor (or other officer administering the local government) that the sum required by Article 2 (viz. 3s. per acre) has been actually expended in some investment of the nature specified in Article 3, or has been laid out on the cultivation of the land, or on some other substantial improvement, such as buildings, roads, or other works of utility.
6. Any land thus allotted, which shall not have been brought into cultivation, or upon which improvements shall not have been effected in some other manner, to the satisfaction of the local government, within two years from the date of the licence of occupation, shall, at the end of that period, be liable to an annual payment into the public chest of the settlement of 1s. per acre as quit-rent; and at the expiration of another period of two yearly so much of the whole grant as shall still remain in an uncultivated state, or without such improvement being effected upon it as shall be satisfactory to the local government, shall revert absolutely to the Crown, or become liable to such additional quit-rent as the local government may think fit to impose, reference being had to the value of the adjoining lands. But in cases where land so circumstanced is required for roads, canals, or quays, or for any other public purpose, the local government will be at liberty to retain the land absolutely, in place of allowing it to revert to the original grantee, on the condition of paying an additional quit-rent.*
[* Disposal of Lands in the Colonies: ordered to be printed 1st August, 1836, p. 257.]
Colonial Office, 20th July, 1830.
"On Saturday the 18th of August arrived at Port Leschenault, where we found the American Whaler Pioneer at anchor in the Bay. Lieutenant Bull, R.N., the Government Resident; came on board, and brought the Champion into a safer berth, nearer shore, as the weather was threatening. Here we were wind hound for six days, and had thus an opportunity of trying the capabilities of the anchorage amidst very stormy weather, and of visiting the three establishments on the main land belonging to Mr. John Scott, the Governor's tenant, Mr. Bull, and Mr. Little, who is connected with the Indian establishment In describing the anchorage, I give the opinions of Mr. Belches and the commander of the Pioneer, whose nautical abilities cannot be questioned. The Bay of Leschenault, called in the native language 'Koombaana,' is very easy of access; the best mark for ships approaching from sea, is Mount 'Williams,' seen at a great distance, and bearing north-east of the bay. The probable distance from the bay may be about forty miles. The anchorage is situated in latitude 33° 15' and 115° 32' east longitude; it is perfectly secured from the north-west and W.N.W. gales by a long reef of rocks, which breaks the force of the sea, and makes the water inside of the reef comparatively smooth. Towards the north-west it is secured from these gales by the main land, intended for the town-site of 'Bunbury,' which forms a sort of peninsula towards the sea, and connects itself with the reef before alluded to by 'Point Casuarina.' When it is considered that our most violent winds are those from the north-west, west, and south-west, it must appear to the most common observer that Koombaana Bay, is a port of infinite value to this part of the Settlement, and calculated to rise into importance, especially in India. It is only exposed towards the north, but the winds from that quarter are neither heavy, nor are they of any duration, so no apprehension need exist on that score. The depth of water in the bay varies from three to four fathoms, with a bottom composed of hard clay and mud, which forms good holding ground. In fact, to establish the safety of the place beyond a doubt. Captain Adams states, that when he returns to this coast, he will anchor the Pioneer during the winter at Leschenault, taking the precaution to lay down a 15 cwt. anchor. The inlet of Leschenault (which has an estuary of larger extent than Melville Water) is encompassed by land of the richest quality, and the same observation applies to that on the bank of the 'Preston,' a river which empties itself into the estuary. We visited the farms of his Excellency the Governor, of which Mr. John Scott is tenant, and were highly delighted with the appearance of the country, richness of the soil, and luxuriance of the grass. Scott has nine acres of wheat in cultivation, and five acres of barley and oats, all which looked remarkably well. The stock-yard for cattle, which he has nearly finished, is decidedly the most substantial and farmer-like in the Colony. The greater part of this farm of 5000 acres, is composed of rich soil, capable of raising any crops. Mr. Bull has a small plot of ground, of 15 acres, immediately above Scott; but that gentleman's attention is chiefly directed to the whale fishery, from which he expects to reap a rich harvest next year. On entering his house we found the table covered with surveying instruments, maps, &c., on which a gentleman remarked, with a smile, 'Now, if any of Bull's friends had called, he would have turned away, shaking his head and saying, I have made a mistake, this cannot be Bull's house!' Mr. Ommaney, from the Survey office, it appeared, had taken up his residence there. Mr. Little's establishment is on the right bank of the Preston, immediately opposite Mr. Bull's. The whole of the country around seemed to be of a very superior quality, and if the description of the people on the spot can be credited, it extends in one unvaried mass for twenty miles from the sea-coast backwards into the interior, connecting itself with the Vasse district towards the south, and that of the Murray towards the north. Leschenault is situated at the distance of seventy-five nautical miles from Rottnest, ninety-eight miles from Perth, by land, and 180 miles from King George's Sound. The Williams' river is only forty miles distant; in all probability the same fine country connects the two Settlements. The interior of Leschenault is peculiarly adapted for the rearing of horses and cattle, while the sea-coast and hills afford a great extent of sheep runs. Swine thrive amazingly on the native roots, sow thistles, &c.; we saw five in the bush at Scott's farm with which he takes no trouble, but turns them adrift along with the other stock; and Captain Adams declared that he had not seen fatter pigs in America. I certainly never saw their equals in any part of this Colony. While at anchor in the bay, a whale came in, and the crew of the-Pioneer gave chase in three boats. The whale was soon struck in the immediate view of both ships, and its bellowing gave note that the harpoon had done its duty. After towing one boat to sea with amazing velocity, and just when a second lance had been thrown, one of the crew, alarmed at the vicinity of the large animal, and the noise, jumped overboard, when it became imperative to cut the rope, in order to save the man's life, leaving the whale to escape with a quantity of gear. Much disappointment was excited on board, and some even said that they might have left the coward to shift for himself, and secured the whale, especially as two other boats were behind.
"On Friday, the 24th, as the squth-west gale still continued blowing in heavy squalls, Mr. Belches and I went on shore to examine the site of the intended town of 'Bunbury;' we first walked along the sea-shore and saw a remarkable natural curiosity, a formation of pure basaltic rocks, resembling (though in miniature) the Giants' Causeway in Ireland. The columns in the chasms, formed by the power of the waves, were in some places six feet in height, and beautifully shaped; we then turned aside, and entered on the town site, and were surprised to find, within a stone's throw of the beach, a level plain of twenty or twenty-five acres, composed of vegetable mould of the richest quality, without a single stump or shrub to impede the progress of the plough. This is to be divided into allotments of half an acre each. To the right was a wooded hill and dell (part of the town site), containing excellent soil, and abounding in picturesque views of the bay and of the river. In fact it is a remarkable feature in this district, that step on shore from the boat when you will, or where you will, one is sure to find good land and fine grass, which at this season looked most luxuriant If the Anglo-Indian settle at Leschenault, which offers every inducement, 'Bunbury,' from its natural resources and position, will be a town of very considerable importance.
"On Saturday the 25th, we left Port Leschenault, and beat out of the Bay, the wind being still unfavourable. The Pioneer remained at anchor. The Settlement of the Vasse is twenty-nine miles from Leschenault, and we arrived there at two o'clock P. M. on the same day. The position of the place is ascertained by a tub placed on the top of a pole, opposite the residence of the Messrs. Bussell, which is about two miles inland. The Vasse Inlet, inhabited by the families of Messrs. Layman and Chapman, is situated six miles nearer Leschenault Some grumbling took place, because, in landing the goods for all the settlers, a preference was given to the tub, instead of the Inlet, and parties had to convey their goods seven miles by land, having no boats fit for the purpose of coasting. There was a great deal of trouble in landing the goods for this part of the Settlement, the anchorage in the winter months being dangerous, owing to an exposure to the north-west winds, which sweep the whole of Géographe Bay. The Vasse district is a most splendid cattle run, and the feed appears to be the same, if not better, than that at Port Leschenault Mr. Layman informed me, that two of his heifers produced six pounds of butter weekly each. At the Vasse Inlet, Mr. Layman has twenty-two head of cattle, and five acres of wheat in crop: Mr. Chapman, twenty-five head of cattle: the Messrs. Bussells, seven miles further towards 'Cape Naturaliste,' have thirty-five head of cattle, nine horses, one hundred and twenty goats, and ten acres of wheat and rye in cultivation; a man of the name of Dawson has three cows and three acres of wheat. The crops in this district are very luxuriant; garden vegetables of all kinds thrive in great abundance. On the 28th left the Vasse, and tried to weather Cape Naturaliste; but the wind being adverse, we could not succeed, and brought up in Castle Bay, a very safe anchorage, on the north-east side of the Cape. The water here was as smooth as that of the anchorage at Garden Island, as this bay is protected from the N.W. and S.W. There is deep water close to the shore. The Pioneer joined us in the bay, for the purpose of taking in wood and water, and remaining till the end of the whaling season.
"On the 31st of August, arrived at King George's Sounds and anchored in the outer harbour, not being able to fetch the port in Princess Royal Harbour, owing to an adverse gale of wind. Whilst the sailors were dropping the anchor, a whale was observed close to the ship.
"The Settlement in Western Australia under this designation is 320 miles from the head quarters at Swan River, by sea, and is situated in 35° 2' south latitude, and 118° east longitude. The town site is very beautifully placed in a gorge between two hills—'Mount Clarence' on the right hand from the Harbour, and 'Mount Melville' on the left. The scenery, on entering both the Sound and Princess Royal Harbour, is of a bold and grand description, far surpassing that at Swan River. The town of 'Albany' extends along the base of these hills, forming a sort of semicircle to the Harbour; and, with its white dwellings and neat gardens, is a very pretty object The land in the town site is composed of black peat soil, plentifully watered by streams which rush down from the hills in all directions, and flow into Princess Royal Harbour. One of them is strong enough to turn a mill on a large scale. This land is not confined to the valleys merely, but is found at the top of the rising grounds around the town. Strawberry-hill, the residence of Sir Richard Spencer, is situated about a mile and three quarters from the town. A well-made road, with hard footing, conducts the traveller through the paths, affording charming views of the rugged and peaked 'Parrongurup' hills far in the interior, until the farm (as it is called) suddenly emerges into view, and, with its smiling luxuriance, puts one in mind of England: it is really a sweet place. Sir Richard had five acres of wheat in cultivation, which looked remarkably well, between thirty and forty head of cattle, and several horses; he has also a flock of sheep on a farm on the Hay River, about thirty miles in the interior, of which his second son has charge. Several flocks of these useful animals are stationed in the interior by various parties, and are thriving well. Mr. Belches' flock, and Mr. Macdonald's, both under the charge of the latter, have a range of excellent pasture ground, well watered, situated about twenty-nine miles from the Settlement.
"I was told that the sheep country commences generally at this distance, and between that and Albany, there are numerous blocks of good arable land, where farms, varying from 100 to 500 acres, might be easily located. In particular, my attention was called to a rich valley between 'Wilson's Inlet' and the harbour, and my informant Mr. Sherratt, stated, that if a canal were cut, it would open up a district of country unrivalled for good soil. Timber, adapted for every purpose, which might be easily floated down to the harbour, by means of the canal, exists in abundance, and it was described as exceeding the teak wood of India for ship building. The rich valley, of great extent, discovered by Dr. Wilson, is situated somewhere near the inlet, and the farmed district of Kujenup is not far distant; this is described as the finest in the colony. With regard to the whaling, it appears to have been successful: the Samuel Wright, Gratitude, and Delphos, three American whalers, have been stationed in the Bays near the Sound, for some time; the crew of the former had caught and hied down twenty-three whales, and this vessel may be immediately expected at the Swan. A French whaler, the Harmonie, has also been successful. A French frigate of 36 guns had visited the Settlement, expecting to find it abandoned by the English, and uninhabited; such is the ignorance of our position in Europe. The harbours of King George's Sound are so well known that it is needless to describe them—suffice it to say, that the Champion rode out a tremendous gale of wind in Princess Royal Harbour, during our stay, with the most perfect safety. Nature has done every thing to make this harbour the finest in the world, and the art of man, in seconding her efforts by producing exports, will do the rest The Settlers at the Sound are most kind and hospitable, and it is to be hoped that their well-founded expectation of success will ere long be realized. It is not generally known that there are three harbours to the southward of King George's Sound equally safe, and in which ships have remained during the whole of the winter months:—viz. 'Two People Bay,' 'Cape Riche,' and 'Doubtful Island Bay.'
"On Sunday the 9th September, we left Princess Royal Harbour, and proceeded to sea, but encountering, a severe, gale of wind, were obliged to put back and anchor under Bald Head, eight miles from Albany.
"On the 13th again went to sea, with a fair wind, saw three whales near that dangerous breaker, called 'Maude's Reef'; we observed the water break repeatedly over it, and Mr. Belches, took the bearings.
"On the 14th a gale of wind from the W.N.W. checked our progress, and drove us 200 miles from land. Such was the extreme violence of the gale, and the turbulence of the sea, that it was deemed advisable to heave-to, which accordingly was done, and for two days and nights the Champion rode out one of the most terrific gales of wind, accompanied with thunder and lightning, that ever swept the Southern Ocean: one continued blast of wind that raised the angry sea, which dashed its raging waters over the deck, the white foam reaching half mast high; the sails were insufficient, and many of them split; at one time our sole dependence was on the main sail, and if it had given way, which was every moment expedited, disastrous consequences might have ensued; one sea stunned the chief mate for a minute—he was struck on the head. This terrible storm proved the Champion to be an excellent sea boat, but with her present rigging she is not fitted to make the voyage between King George's Sound and Swan River in the winter season, when the west and north-west winds invariably blow with exceeding violence. Finding it impossible to proceed, we bore up for the Sound, and on the 18th again arrived in harbour, and anchored under Point Possession, four miles from the settlement It was supposed that during the continuance of the storm we had drifted towards the south-east, but it afterwards appeared, that while the wind seemed to be driving the ship one way, a very strong current (although at the time imperceptible to us) was impelling her in another direction.
"On the 25th. the westerly gales having ceased, we left the Sound after a farther stay of seven days. During this period accounts arrived of the complete success of the Foreign Whaling vessels on this coast It is calculated that they have got between 600 and 700 tuns of oil, besides the whalebone, thus taking away from our shores a large amount of produce, which ought to be acquired by British vessels, if any spirited English merchants would make the attempt. If this fishery pays the Americans and French, it must surely be productive of great advantages to our own nation to pursue the same traffic. At Swan River, Cockburn Sound, Safety Bay, and Port Leschenault, have been proved to be excellent harbours during the most stormy months, and thus we have a range of coast from the original Settlement to the east boundary of the Colony, admirably adapted for the whale fishery and sealing, and possessing seven harbours, exclusive of Castle Bay and Port Augusta, into which vessels may run in stormy weather, and remain at anchor with the greatest safety.
"On the 26th we were again obliged to run for the anchorage Bald Head, owing to adverse winds.
"On the 27th, the wind having changed in our favour, we began to beat the vessel out to sea, and in the passage between Break Sea Island and Bald Head, unexpectedly experienced very great danger. The Champion was on the tack from Break-Sea, in order to weather Bald Head, when, all at once, the captain sung out, "Put the helm up;" the command was instantly obeyed, and we saw the white froth of a large breaker on our lee, within only 150 yards of the ship. The danger was then avoided, and it was evident it was the same breaker described by Flinders or Vancouver, but which has never been seen since the foundation of the Colony, although the officers of some of the ships of war endeavoured to find out the spot, and attributed the existence of such a rock to a mistake. The day on which Mr. Belches discovered it was remarkable for an exceeding high swell of the ocean, with a very light wind, and it may not be observed to break again for a long time. If the Champion had not been providentially rescued from this danger, she must have struck the rock, as she was directly on it, and all lives on board would have perished; it is right in the passage into the Sound, between Bald Head and Break-Sea Island, from sea, and many ships must have passed close to it without observation. The wind again fell to a calm, and we were obliged to return to our old quarters.
"On the 28th, again made sail, and beat out of the Sound, without noticing this breaker, although a strict look-out was kept. The Samuel Wright, American Whaler, was observed going into harbour with a fair wind.
"On the 29th and 30th, hard gales from the north-west, and hove-to during a great part of the time.
"Monday, 1st October, fine weather again.
"Tuesday, the 2nd, at seven A. M. spoke the Lewis, of Rochester, an American Whaler cruising on the coast; we told the Captain that the Samuel Wright was at the Sound, and he bent his course thither. At 10 A. M. a furious gale sprung up from our old quarter, the north-west, and the vessel was again hove-to for three-days.
"On the 3rd, several very heavy seas broke over her; one of them nearly pitched Mr. Belches overboard, whilst he was taking a sight of the sun.
"On the 5th, the gale having moderated and veered round to the westward, again made sail, and steering for Cape Lewins, distant about 150 miles, by observations (we had drifted towards the southward considerably).
"6th and 7th, again hove-to, during a very severe gale of wind.
"8th and 9th, working for the Vasse, and arrived there on the evening of the 10th. During our first start from the Sound, on the 9th of September, the weather was either most stormy and adverse, or else a dead calm took place, which was sure to be the precursor of a north-wester.
"On the 13th arrived in Gage's Roads, after an adverse and dangerous voyage of nearly five weeks from the Sound.
"Wm. Nairne Clark."
The Act for the regulation of Pilotage, &c. into the harbours of Western Australia, contains the following heads; amongst others:—
Proper persons to be appointed by the Governor, and licensed to act as Pilots.
All vessels, excepting coasting vessels, arriving or departing, shall receive Pilots on board, or on declining to receive them, to pay a fine equal to the amount of pilotage.
Pilot neglecting to take charge, or misconducting himself, to forfeit any sum not exceeding 10l.
Rates of pilotage to be fixed by Proclamation, from time to time.
Harbour-Master duties are then defined.
No rubbish to be thrown out of vessels into harbour, under penalty, not exceeding 10l.
By the Governor's Proclamation, dated 26th April 1839, the following places, and no other, are declared to be the proper places for lading and unlading of goods in the several ports, harbours, or anchorages, respectively undermentioned, viz:—
|The Freemantle Whaling Company's Jetty||Freemantle.|
|The Commissariat Jetty||Perth.|
|The Public Jetty||Albany.|
And such place in Koombaana or Leschenault Bay, and in Géographe Bay, opposite to the Settlement in the Vasse District, as the Resident of each District respectively shall point out at the time of granting his warrant for the lading or unlading of the goods.
Colonial Secretary's Office, Perth, September 24, 1839.
The recent disasters which have occurred to the shipping on the coasts of this Colony being attributable, in a great measure, to the dangerous practice of anchoring and discharging vessels in Gage's Roads during the winter months, and especially at the period of the equinoctial gales, notwithstanding the caution of the late Governor, Sir James Stirling, to the contrary, which has been posted up at Lloyd's, and is annexed to a chart of the anchorage published by Arrowsmith in the year 1833, His Excellency the Governor has been pleased to direct the Harbour Master and Pilots of the port of Freemantle to refuse to bring vessels to anchor in Gage's Roads, from the 1st of May to the 1st of October, and to require them always to proceed either to Owen's Anchorage, or over to Garden Island, both of which positions have been proved to be perfectly secure at all times of the year.
By His Excellency's command,
(Signed) Peter Brown, Colonial Secretary.
The following is a list of the average prices of provisions and stock, with the rate of wages for different kinds of labour during the year 1838.
|Sterling Prices.|||||Sterling Prices.|
|Horned Cattle, each||28||0||0|||||Mutton per lb.||0||1||4|
|Horses "||60||0||0|||||Pork, Fresh "||0||1||2|
|Sheep "||4||4||0|||||Rice "||0||0||3|
|Goats "||2||0||0|||||Coffee "||0||1||6|
|Swine "||3||0||0|||||Tea "||0||4||6|
|Milk, per quart||0||0||8|||||Sugar "||0||0||5|
|Butter, fresh, per lb.||0||3||6|||||Salt "||0||0||2|
|Do. Salt "||0||2||6|||||Wine, Cape, per gall.||0||4||0|
|Cheese "||0||1||9|||||brandy, French "||0||16||0|
|Wheaten bread "||0||0||6|||||Beer, Colonial "||0||2||0|
|Beef, fresh "||0||1||4|||||Tobacco, per lb.||0||2||6|
|Salt, 1½ per lb.|||||Starch, 2/ to 2/6 per lb.|
|Butter (Salt) 2s. per lb.|||||Flask Powder, 4/ "|
|Do. (Fresh,) 2/6 to 3/6 per lb.|||||Blasting Do. 1/ "|
|Tea, 5/ to 5/6 per lb.|||||Shot, 6d. "|
|Bacon, 2/3 per lb.|||||Fowls, from 5/ to 6/ per couple|
|Hams, 1/6 per lb.|||||Pigeons, from 1/6 to 2/ "|
|Salt Beef, 8d. per lb.|||||Wild Ducks, 2/ to 2/6 each|
|Salt Pork, 9d. to 10d. per lb.|||||Teal, 2/ to 3/ per couple.|
|Raisins, 6d. to 7d. per lb.|||||Swans, 6/ each.|
|Sperm Oil, American, 4s. per gallon|||||Eggs, 3d. "|
|English do. 12s. per gallon|||||Potatoes, from 2d. to 4d. per lb.|
|Black Oil, 3s. "|||||Cabbages, 3d. each|
|Wheat, 10/ to 15/ and sometimes 20/ per bushel|| |
|Dried Fruits from the Cape, 8d. per lb.|
|Flour, 4d. to 6d. per lb.|| |
|Gin, with duty paid (the duty being 6/ per gallon) 20/ per gal.|
|Hay, £.6 per ton at the Farm|||||Vinegar, 6/ "|
|Soap, 8d. to 9d. per lb.|||||Ale and Porter, 2/ per bottle|
N.B.—By recent accounts from Western Australia, it appears that the prices of Wheat, Flour, Fresh Meat, Butter, &c. have sustained a very material diminution.
|Domestic||30/ to 40/||per month,||with Board and Lodging.|
|Predial||40/ to 50/||Do.||with Do.|
|Or from||5/ to 6/||per day||without Do.|
|Trades||8/ to 12/||Do.||without Do.|
|Shepherds||60/ to 70/||per month||with Do.|
Office, No. 6, Adelphi Terrace,
Thomas John Buckton, Esq.
Chief Commissioner in Australia,
M. Waller Clifton, Esq., F.R.S.
Messrs. Smith, Payne, and Smiths, No. 1, Lombard Street.
Messrs. Wright and CO., No. 6, Henrietta Street, Covent Garden.
Francis McDonnell, Esq.
Messrs. Few, Hamilton, and Few, Henrietta Street, Covent Garden.
"Upwards of ten years have now elapsed since Western Australia was taken possession of as a Dependency of the British Crown, when a Settlement was formed upon the Banks of the Swan, and in the immediate vicinity of that river. Perth and other small towns, were founded, and, subsequently, some inconsiderable Settlements have been formed at King George's Sound, and other points. The laws of Great Britain are fully established, and the social condition of the Colony is superior to that of many of the new Settlements; still it cannot be denied that Western Australia, as a Colony, has not, since its establishment, made any rapid or material advance. This result is principally to be attributed to ejroifs committed in the disposal of land—the want of combination in the investment of British capital there—and the superior facilities hitherto afforded to emigration by Government to other points of Australia.
"The Colony of Western Australia—possessing a fertile soil and a salubrious climate—evidently affords greater facilities for commerce than the other Australian Colonies, from its greater proximity to Great Britain, the Mauritius, and the Cape of Good Hope, and from being within easier reach of the densely-peopled and productive countries of Asia and the rich Indian Archipelago; yet, notwithstanding these manifest and acknowledged advantages. Western Australia has almost remained stationary, whilst the comparatively recent Colony of South Australia has risen into a degree of importance, and attained a state of prosperity not less astonishing than advantageous to those who embarked in the formation of that settlement. Its principal town, Adelaide, already possesses streets, squares, churches, markets, banks, 700 or 800 stone or brick houses, with 6000 inhabitants, although less than four years ago its site was a desert, distant 600 miles from any habitation of civilized man. This greater progress of the younger Colony, with less natural advantages, proves the superiority of the method of colonization pursued with respect to it, over that which had been adopted in Western Australia.
"A new era for the latter colony has, however, now happily commenced. Her Majesty's Government have determined to apply to the older Colony the principles of colonization, which have had such eminent success in South Australia; and the Western Australian Company has been formed to co-operate in those views, by the investment of capital in the-acquirement of land, and the conveyance of settlers and emigrants to the most favourable point which could be selected upon the Western coast of the continent of New Holland, within the boundaries and under the jurisdiction of the Colony of Western Australia.
"With these objects in view, the Company have purchased extensive blocks of land near Leschenault, in the maritime County of Wellington, in which district some few settlers have already established themselves. One of these tracts, containing more than 100,000 acres, is beautifully situated on the inlet formed by the embouchure of four rivers, which pass through this property, or form its boundary, at the mouth of which inlet there is one of the best ports on the Western coast of New Holland. Here the chief town of the new Settlement, to be called Australind, will be established. The selection of this spot has been the result of careful investigation.
"It may be mentioned that one fact has weighed principally with the Company in making a choice of this field of Emigration; namely, its great distance from the Convict Settlements, and the consequently superior social condition which already exists in Western Australia, where the strongest repugnance to the convict system has prevailed since the first establishment of the Colony, notwithstanding the urgent want of labour from which it has suffered.
"A body of Colonists are preparing to emigrate and settle at Australind and on the adjoining territory, under the auspices of the Company, and in charge of their Chief Commissioner, who, together with his family, accompanied by an efficient Surveying establishment, and a skilful Medical Officer, will be despatched thither as soon as possible.
"To those intending to become Settlers, and to other persons disposed to acquire property in Western Australia, the Company will sell a certain portion of their territory situated in the immediate vicinity of the port lying on the north bank of the navigable River Collie, with the River Brunswick flowing through its whole length, having Roe's Range on the east, and the inlet with the outer harbour on the west The Sales will be made in Lots, consisting each of one hundred acres of rural land, and one acre (in four sections of a quarter of an acre each), in the town of Australind, the site of which will contain one thousand acres, exclusive of reserves for public objects, such as quays, streets, squares, churches, and public gardens, in or adjoining the town.
"The Company will also offer separate Lots, of one quarter of an acre each, in the proposed town.
"The terms on which these sales will be made will hereafter be published. At present it is sufficient to observe, that of the money to be paid by purchasers of rural land and town allotments, one moiety, or fifty pounds percent., only will be reserved to meet the expenses of the Company: the other moiety will be laid out by the Company for the exclusive benefit of the purchasers, in improving the value of the land by defraying the cost of emigration to the Settlement, and the construction of public works therein.
"Suggestions have been made to the Company for the establishment at their principal town, of schools of a superior order, for the youth of both sexes, which might furnish the means of giving a sound education to the children, not only of settlers in me Australian Colonies, but also of the Officers of the Civil and Military service of Her Majesty, and the Honourable East India Company, in India, Ceylon, and the Mauritius, who, it is believed, will gladly avail themselves of such an eminent advantage.
"The Company, impressed with a conviction of the benefits which would result from such educational establishments, will be disposed to afford every assistance in the futherance of their formation and maintenance.
"These are the general objects of the Company, to which the attention of the public is now invited.
"Attendance will be given daily at the Office of the Company, for the purpose of furnishing the fullest information on every point connected with their proposed plans, in reply to personal or written applications."
|Western Australian House,
6, Adelphi Terrace, Strand, London,
14th July, 1840.
"The temperature of the district is agreeable to the senses, and favourable to all the operations of settlers; it is free from extremes of heat and cold; rain falls more or less in every month of the year, and the permanency of several of the streams affords sufficient proof of abundant moisture. The south-western portion of New Holland (in which Leschenault is situated) appears to be, in fact, the only part of that Island which is free from the occasional recurrence of desolating droughts. The letters of Mr. Eliot, and of others, speak of the high condition of the stock, and of the abundance of grass, at the driest period of last summer, which proved to be in Australia generally a season of unexampled scarcity.
"The land purchased by the Company extends over an excellent range of country; I have passed through it from North to South, near its western boundary, and from South to North, at the base of the hills; and I have traversed it obliquely from the mouth of the Brunswick to the Harvey, where the latter issues from the mountain range. In the course of our excursions, I saw upon the Brunswick a great deal of land of the richest description; I saw also, excellent and valuable land upon the Harvey and on the shore of the estuary; also upon the plain which extends from the Collie to the Harvey, there is a vast range of arable and useful land. The valleys within the hills, and not unfrequently the hills themselves, are covered with rich grasses, and abound in good positions for farms. No part of Australia is so uninterruptedly good; and although in so wide an extent as the Company's range, some inferior patches exist no doubt, I am not aware of any district in which so great a proportion of useful land can be found. It is every where abundantly watered; a chain of lakes beautiful in appearance, and convenient for settlement, extend northwardly from the head of boat navigation on the Brunswick; there are many pools of water on the plain, and the hilly portion of the territory is also well supplied with water. There is lime-stone on the western side, and granite for building near the hills; timber is abundant, and brick earth plentiful in every part.
"Amongst the natural productions of the district may be instanced ship-timber, Acacia bark, and flax of extraordinary length. These, hereafter, may be produced in considerable quantities for exportation. I am not aware whether any of the gums are of value in commerce, but there are several varieties in great abundance. Fish and game are very plentiful, and also nutritious grasses of various sorts. Very good hay may be made on the meadow lands without previous cultivation.
"The nature of the anchorage off the mouth of Leschenault inlet may be seen from the surveys, and its safety for ordinary-sized merchant ships, may be inferred from the fact, that an American whaling ship remained at anchor in it throughout the winter of 1838; the Captain's account of the anchorage will be found in the Perth Gazette of July 14, 1838. Another whaling vessel, the Elizabeth, remained also at that anchorage during the whole of last winter. These instances lead to the conclusion that, with due precaution, vessels may resort to that place at any season of the year. The mouth of the inlet has not more than three or four feet water on its bar; but I am disposed to believe that if any extensive trade were to grow up, the entrance might be deepened to sixteen or eighteen feet; within the bar there is space and depth of water for a considerable number of ships. Even at present, cargoes may be landed with facility, there being no surf on the bar.
"Farms have been laid out at the entrance of the inlet, and at the head of the Navigation on the Preston and the Collie. The inhabitants do not at present exceed a hundred; there is a considerable number of sheep, &c.; wheat grows well; and potatoes may be grown at all times of the year in suitable situations. The first occupants of that district express themselves greatly pleased with it; and I do not doubt that the individuals who may acquire an early choice of allotments upon the lands purchased by the Company will rejoice greatly in the acquisitions they may make."
"The Company hereby submits to sale 51,000 acres, (part of the territory which they have already acquired in the vicinity of Leschenault Inlet, on the coast of Western Australia) in lots, consisting each of 100 acres of rural land, with one acre (in four sections of a quarter of an acre each) in the intended town of Australind, the site of which will contain 1,000 acres, exclusive of reserves for public objects, such as quays, streets, squares, churches, markets, and public gardens, in or adjoining the town.
"These 500 lots will be offered for sale at 101l. per lot, or 20s. per acre.
"A deposit of 10l. per cent. must be paid to the Company's bankers, on application for the required land orders on the amount of the purchase-money for the same, and the residue thereof paid, on a day of which public notice will be given; and in case of default being made, in payment of the residue, within two weeks after the day appointed for the same, the deposit shall be forfeited to the Company, together with all title to choice of land, in respect of such deposit.
"On payment of the residue of the purchase-money, each purchaser shall be entitled to receive for each 101l. so paid, a land order, authorising and requiring the officers of the Company in the Settlement to deliver to him or to his agent, an allotment of 100 rural acres, and one acre (in four sections) in the town of Australind, to be severally selected according to priority of choice, to be determined by lot, subject to the provisions hereinafter mentioned.
"These land orders will be transferable at the will of the holders, on giving written notice thereof to the Secretary of the Company in England, or to the Chief Commissioner of the Company in the Settlement.
"The lots for priority of choice will be drawn at the Company's Office, in London, in the presence of the Directors, and of such of the purchasers, or their agents, as may attend, on a day of which public notice will be given.
"The choice of the allotments, of which priority shall have been so determined by lot in England, will take place in the Settlement as soon after the arrival of the first body of Colonists as the requisite surveys and plans shall have been completed, and will be made under such regulations as the Chief Commissioner of the Company, in the Settlement, authorised in that behalf, shall prescribe. Neglect or refusal to comply with such regulations in regard to any section, shall occasion a forfeiture of the right of choice by the purchaser, and vest it in the Company's Officer on behalf of the purchaser.
"Of the money, to be paid by purchasers to the Company, 50 per cent. will be reserved to meet the expense of the Company; the other moiety will be laid out by the Company for the benefit of the purchasers, in giving value to the land, by defraying the cost of Emigration to the Settlement, and in public improvements therein. Thus, in addition to the change of system adopted by Government as to the public lands of the Colony generally, one half of the purchase-money of these private lands will be employed in adding to the value of the property, by conveying population to the Settlement. Considering the shorter distance of Australind from England, and the greater facility of reaching the freight markets of India and China, Emigrant ships may be hired at so much less for this voyage than for that to New South Wales, or New Zealand, that 50 per cent. on the purchase-money will be as efficient for emigration as a higher rate in the other cases. The difference was unavoidable on account of the original price of the Company's territory.
"Purchasers of land orders, intending to emigrate with the first body of Colonists, will be entitled to claim from the Company, out of the fund set apart for Emigration, an expenditure for their own passage and that of their families and servants, equal to fifty per cent. of their purchase-money, according to Regulations framed by the Company. But unless the claim be made in London, by written application to the Secretary, delivered at the office of the Company on or before a day of which public notice will be given, it will be considered as waived. In the selection of emigrants of the labouring class, the Company will give a preference to applicants who shall be under engagement to work for capitalists intending to emigrate, and to persons purchasing land of the Company.
"Except for cabin passages, the whole of the fund set apart for emigration will be laid out by the Company in providing a Free Passage for young married persons of the labouring class, and, as far as possible, in equal proportions of the sexes.
"The remaining five hundred acres in the town of Australind are offered in sections of a quarter of an acre each, at the price of 10l. per section. Deposits, in respect of which, of 10l per cent. on the whole amount of the proposed purchase money must be paid on application, and the residue of the same afterwards, in manner before mentioned with respect to the larger allotment, and to be subject likewise to the foregoing stipulations and provisions. The holders of the land orders for these quarter-acre sections, will draw for priority of choice in common with other purchasers, in manner to be arranged by the Directors. One-half of the fund received for quarter-acre sections, at the rate of 10l. each, or 10,000l., will be strictly laid out by the Company, on objects of public utility and convenience in the town of Australind.
"Written applications for land orders will be received and registered by the Secretary of the Company, until a day, of which public notice will be given, when the orders will be awarded, strictly according to priority in the register of applications, and all deposits received will be returned, in case, by reason of the above rule of priority, or from any other cause, the directors shall be unable to award the required land orders to the whole of the applicants.
"Maps of the Colony, forms of land orders, and other information, will be furnished, on application to the Secretary, at the Office, 6, Adelphi Terrace.
"1. The Company has undertaken to lay out 50l. per cent. of the money received from purchasers of land, in defraying the cost of emigration to the Settlement Purchasers and others may, therefore, submit the applications of labouring persons, as hereafter described, to the approval of the Company for a free passage. In the selection of Labouring Emigrants, the Company has undertaken to give a preference, to applicants who shall be under engagement to work for capitalists intending to emigrate, and for persons purchasing land of the Company.
"2. The Company offers a free passage to its Settlement, including provisions and medical attendance, during the voyage, to persons of the following description:—namely, Agricultural Labourers, Shepherds, Bakers, Blacksmiths, Whitesmiths, Shipwrights, Boat Builders, Wheelwrights, Curriers, Tanners, Coopers, Farriers, Harness Makers, Tailors, Cordwainers, Miners, Braziers, Tinmen, Millwrights, Cabinet Makers, Carpenters, Stone Masons, Brick Makers, Lime Burners, and all persons engaged in the erection of buildings.
"3. Persons of the foregoing occupations, who may apply for a free passage to Australind, must transmit to the Office of the Company, free of expense, the most satisfactory testimonials as to their qualifications, character, and health.
"4. Such persons must be actual labourers, going out to work for wages in the Colony, of sound mind and body, not less than fifteen, nor more than forty years of age, and married. The marriage certificate must be produced.
"5. To the wives of labourers, thus sent out, the Company offers a free passage with their husbands.
"6. To single women, not exceeding thirty years of age, a free passage will be granted, provided they go out under the protection of their parents or near relatives, or under actual engagement as servants to ladies going out as cabin passengers on board the same vessel. The preference will be given to those accustomed to farm and dairy work, to sempstresses, straw-platters, and domestic servants.
"7. A free passage will also be granted to single men under thirty years of age, whose qualifications and character are satisfactory, provided they are accompanied by one or more adult sisters, likewise not exceeding thirty years of age.
"8. The children of parents sent out by the Company will receive a free passage if they are under one or full seven years of age at the time of embarkation. For all other children (namely, those between one and seven years of age), three pounds each must be paid in full, before embarkation, by the parents, or friends, or by the parish.
"9. Persons not strictly entitled to be conveyed out by the emigration fund, if not disqualified on account of character, will, at the discretion of the Directors, be allowed to accompany the free Emigrants, on paying to the Company the sum of 20l. for every such adult person. The charges for children are as follows;—namely, under one year of age, no charge; one, year and under seven, one third of the charge for adults; seven years of age and under fourteen, one half the charge for adults: but if the parents be of the labouring class, the children will be taken out on the terms stated in Regulation 8.
"10. All Emigrants, adults as well as children, must have been vaccinated, or have had the small-pox.
"11. Emigrants will generally be embarked at the Port of London, but the Directors will occasionally appoint other Ports of embarkation, as circumstances may require.
"12. The expense of reaching the port of embarkation must be borne by the Emigrants; but on the day appointed for their embarkation, they will be received, even though the departure of the ship should be delayed, and will be put to no further expense.
"13. Every adult Emigrant is allowed to take half a ton weight, or twenty cubic feet of baggage. Extra baggage is liable to charge, at the ordinary rate of freight per ton.
"14. The Emigrants must procure the necessary tools of their own trades; and before they will be permitted to embark, they must provide themselves with an outfit of clothing, bedding, and other necessaries for the voyage. According to the annexed scale. The outfit may be obtained upon payment to the Company, or to the outfitter, of the prices affixed to the several articles in the list.
"15. On the arrival of the Emigrants at the Settlement, after appearing before such Board or Officer as may be appointed by the Governor of Western Australia, they will be received by an Officer of the Company, who will supply their immediate wants, assist them in reaching the place of their destination, be ready to advise with them in case of difficulty, and at all times to give them employment in the service of the Company, if from any cause they, should be unable to obtain it elsewhere. The Emigrants will, however, be at perfect liberty to engage themselves to any one willing to employ them, and will make their own bargain for wages.
|"Western Australian House,
"6, Adelphi Terrace, Strand,
"6th July, 1840.
"The Articles necessary for the Emigrant's Outfit, may be obtained by payment of the undermentioned prices, at the Company's Office (Emigration Department), or of Messrs. Richard Dixon and Co., No. 12, Fenchurch Street, London.
"N.B.—No other mattresses, or bedding, will be allowed to be shipped, except such as have been approved by the Company, as under stated.
|Two Fustian Jackets, lined, at||5||3||each.|
|Two pair ditto Trousers, at 4s. 3d. Lined at||5||3||per pair.|
|Two ditto Duck ditto, at||2||3||ditto.|
|Two Round Frocks, at||2||5||each.|
|Twelve Cotton Shirts, at||2||0||each.|
|Six pair worsted Stockings, at||1||6||per pair.|
|Two Scottish Caps, at||0||11||each.|
|Six Handkerchiefs, at||0||8||ditto.|
|Six coarse Towels, at||0||7||ditto.|
|One pair of Boots, with hobnails, &c., at||7||6||per pair.|
|One pair of Shoes, at 4s. 3d. and||5||0||ditto.|
|Four pounds of Soap, at||0||8||per pound.|
|One pair Blankets, at 8s. and||9||6||per pair.|
Two pair Sheets, at 4s. 3d. per pair, or for two persons
|One Coverlet, at 1s. 10d. and,||2||0||each.|
For each adult Female.
Two Gowns, or eighteen yards printed Cotton, at
Two Petticoats, or six yards coloured Calico, at
|Two Ditto Flannel, or six yards Flannel, at||1||2||ditto.|
|Twelve Shifts, or thirty yards long Cloth, at||0||6||ditto.|
|Six Caps, or three yards Muslin, at||1||0||ditto.|
|Six Handkerchiefs, at||0||8||ditto.|
|Six Aprons, or six yards Check, at||0||8||per yard.|
|Six Neckerchiefs, at||0||8||each.|
|Six Towels, at||0||7||ditto.|
|One Pair Stays, at||3||6||per pair.|
|Six Pair Black Worsted Stockings, at||1||2||ditto.|
|Two Pair Shoes, at 3s. 6d. and||4||0||ditto.|
|One Bonnet, at||2||0||each.|
|Needles, Pins, Buttons, Thread, Tape, &c, an assortment of||2||0|
|Four Pounds Marine Soap, at||0||8||per pound.|
|Two Pounds Starch, at||0||8||ditto.|
One Mattress and Bolster for each couple, of coloured wool
Knife and Fork, Plate, Spoon, Drinking Mug, &c., say,
Children must be provided with a proportionate Outfit, including mattress, &c. which may be had upon payment of the undermentioned sum for each child, namely:—
|One year of age, and under seven||1||0||0|
|Seven years of age, and under fourteen||1||10||0|
Page 25. The remaining 500 acres of Town Land are now selling,
in sections, at 10l. per quarter acre. See Appendix, G.
Page 41. Dele the second note, referring to sailing directions.
PRINTED BY T. BRETTELL, RUPERT STREET, HAYMARKET.
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