Page:The Visit of Charles Fraser to the Swan River in 1827.djvu/42

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38

marine succulent plants. At Point Fraser there is a material change observable in the botany; a magnificent species of Angophora[1] is seen on the summit of the ranges; the Casuarina on the banks assume a more arborescent character than any seen hitherto on the river; Banksia grandis forming a superb feature in the botany of this part, often exceeding 40 feet in height; the Zamia is seen attaining the height of 30 feet; its beautiful pinnated leaves, associated with the superb Xanthorreas, so abundant here, imparts to the forest an appearance perfectly tropical. Proceeding up the river, the country opens into immense plains of the most fertile description. The soil is a rich brown earth, extending to the base of the mountains. The forest land between the river and the ranges is covered with the most magnificent shrubs and stupendous Angophora[1], occupying the same situation in the geography of the botany of this country that the iron bark does on the Eastern coast. Stringy bark[2] was likewise seen on the ranges in considerable quantities.

From this time to the 20th we were employed in surveying the islands of Rottnest, Buâche, and Berthollet, but my limits will not allow me to give you any particulars respecting them. On the 21st of March we weighed and stood to leeward, steering towards Jurien Bay; but, the wind shifting, we bore up for Geographe Bay. On the 24th we made the bay, and as we sailed along the shore towards it we observed a party of about thirty natives on the beach. They likewise saw us, and seemed very anxious not to be left behind, and kept pace with the ship, although going five knots, till 2 o'clock, when we anchored in the bay, thus having walked at least thirty miles. They then seated themselves in a body at the base of a mountain, abreast the ship. We collected some presents, such as knives and pieces of stuff, handkerchiefs, beads, etc., and also some bread, sugar, etc., and sent them on shore. The natives seated themselves to await the boats approach, and on its arrival made every sign of friendship and invited our people on shore. We accordingly landed, and by distributing the presents and dancing completely won the savages' hearts. At last two chiefs ventured to come on board, and they were struck with astonishment at the size of the ship and the many different things they observed on board, more particularly the galley fire, at which they expressed the liveliest pleasure, vociferating, "Quabba, quabba!" After we had rigged them out in mariners' jackets, trousers, etc., we landed them, much gratified with their visit and in perfect amity with us.

We then shaped a course for King George Sound, and after having been beating for several days to windward off Cape Leeuwin we, on the 2nd of April, reached our destination, and came to an anchor off the entrance of Port Royal. The settlement consists of


  1. 1.0 1.1 Not Angophora, but Eucalyptus calophylla, the red gum of Western Australia.
  2. The jarrah, Eucalyptus marginata.