Page:The Visit of Charles Fraser to the Swan River in 1827.djvu/21

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17

"From the above point the country resembles in its features that which borders all the rivers of New South Wales the course of which is west of the Blue Mountains, varying alternately on each bank into hilly points and extensive flats. The hills are covered with magnificent Angophoras, Zamias, and Xanthorrhœa. The soil is a rich red loam of very great depth, throwing up a luxuriant herbage, amongst which I observed Anigozanthus rufus. Clematis aristata, and a beautiful species of Borya (?) The flats, which are composed of the richest brown loam, equal to any on the east, are thinly studded with gigantic blue gums, and occasional stripes of suffrutescent Acacias and papilionaceous shrubs, occupying in this country the same situation in the geography of its botany as the green wattle in New South Wales. Banksia and Zamia are still seen on the high lands.

"It is worthy of remark that, in New South Wales, the presence of Banksia, Zamia, and Xanthorrhœa are considered sure criterions of a bad soil; and, such being the impression on my mind, I pronounced all the land on which they were seen to grow to be sterile, until I examined a ridge on the banks, producing them in great luxuriance, when, to my astonishment, I found the soil to be a red earth of great depth, producing the most luxuriant Brome grass.

"In proportion, as we ascend the river, the flats increase in breadth and luxuriance, each being backed by a terrace of forest land of the finest description, extending for miles from the river, and resembling in character those seen on the banks of the Macquarie River, west of Wellington Valley. On further observation, towards the source of the river, these flats were seen to extend to the base of the mountains, interspersed with stripes of good forest land, on which I observed a considerable portion of stringy bark[1]. The variety of plants seen on this tract was great; amongst the new ones I observed I may enumerate seven species of Hakea, a species of Lambertia[2], four species of Isopogon, three species of Leptospermum, a species of Petrophila, and a liliaceous plant not seen in flower. Banksia grandis was remarked in a stunted state.

"The base of the mountains (which was named Darling's Range, in honor of General Darling) is covered with fragments of quartz and chalcedony. The soil is a red sandy loam. Here I observed a species of Hakea with holly-shaped leaves[3]. Further up the soil improves to a light-brown loam, but, from its rocky nature,


  1. No stringy bark exists, but this would refer to the jarrah (Eucalyptus marginata).
  2. Lambertia multiflora, with yellow flowers.
  3. Hakea with holly-shaped leaves would be either H. glabella, cristata, or amplexicaulis.