Page:The Visit of Charles Fraser to the Swan River in 1827.djvu/18

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.

14

surrounding country and distant mountains, is particularly grand[1]. This seems to be the extreme easterly boundary of the lime-stone[2].

"The islands[3] on the flats are composed of a rich deposit carried down by the floods. Their margins are covered with Metrosideros and Casuarina[4], and their interior with seaside succulent plants. On one side of these islands I caught sight of a plant with an arborescent habit, which, on examination, proved to be a species of Zamia with spiral fruit, differing only from Z. spiralis in habit. Here the equatorial Goodenia, formerly alluded to, disappears. The difficulty[5] which the party now experienced from having mistaken the channel, and in having, consequently, to drag the boats over the mud, were great, but by perseverance were overcome. From the extensive beds of oyster shells[6] which lie a foot deep in the soft mud, our feet became dreadfully lacerated. These flats are extensive, but by employing flat-bottomed boats they may be easily crossed[7].

"At Point Fraser[8] the bank may be said to terminate, and the channel appears to be that of a beautiful inland river. From the entrance to this spot it may more properly be called an estuary. The flats, or levels, at this spot are very fertile, composed of a rich alluvial deposit, but evidently occasionally flooded, drift timber having been seen 5 feet above the surface. Here are extensive salt-marshes,


  1. The view from the King's Park, on Mount Eliza, is the finest of its kind in all Australia. In no other city is there such a combination of city, suburb, and river, backed by a mountain range. It certainly is a view that no visitor should miss.
  2. This has since been found not correct.
  3. These islands (Heirisson's) it is intended one day to convert into recreation gardens. One of them has already been chosen by some of the black swans for a nesting ground. These swans were obtained from other localities under Sir John Forrest's administration, and after a little nursing at the Mill Pond, South Perth, were liberated on the river. They are now again thoroughly at home on the river named after them, by Vlaming, on the 5th of January, 1697.
  4. Casuarina glauca.
  5. The French, with one boat, had a greater difficulty; whereas the English party had two boats, and consequently a greater number of hands.
  6. These shells make excellent footpaths in Perth.
  7. A canal was cut through the isthmus of Burswood Island in 1830, and a dam constructed to divert the water in such a manner as to keep open a channel. This canal has long since been allowed to close up, and barges and boats have to make the circuitous course round the three sides of this so-called island. Another canal, some years ago, was cut through the mud-flats, and is still used.
  8. Point Fraser (named after the Colonial Botanist of New South Wales) is the south-eastern extremity of the City of Perth. The Swan River here takes a northerly sweep.