Page:Diary of ten years.djvu/318

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see, that sheep grazing requires a large tract of land to run over, and if a large price is demanded for land, there is an end to that at once. If you will insist upon concentrating population, there is also an end to that occupation. What does Mr B— say, after being six years here? I shall settle myself 15 miles from the nearest neighbour, that I may have room to myself on all sides for my cattle, and not be plagued with those eternal annoyances of mutual trespasses of cattle; for, bear in mind that, with labour dear, as it must be in a new colony, fencing with post and rail costs near £100 per mile. Agriculture, except for self-supply, is also out of the question. You cannot compete for a long time with other well-established competitors who have their ground already brought into cultivation, their teams at work, their labour lower, their markets established, their mode of traffic arranged, and many other obvious things. But I have dwelt perhaps too long upon this subject.

Saturday night, 14th June.—The period that has elapsed since my last entry has been one of some novelty and interest to me. When I went to Perth, the Governor renewed his offer of giving me protection of police, if I should be inclined to take a ten days trip anywhere. I took advantage of his proposal. Came up here on Wednesday night, devoted Thursday to preparations and planning what course I should take.

Wednesday.—Have been plagued all day with natives wanting to grind wheat. At last came a hue and cry that they had stolen a quantity from some neighbours. The man most guilty had gone off, and I made some here punish those whom they said were guilty, by giving them a small blow or two across the back with a switch. It was only women and children, who had to stand as scapegoats for the rest; but it will make them think of it more seriously.

* * * * * *

I returned last night from a fortnight's exploration in the