Page:The Visit of Charles Fraser to the Swan River in 1827.djvu/9

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The Visit of Mr. CHARLES FRASER, Colonial Botanist of New South Wales, with Captain STIRLING, in H.M.S. "Success," to the Swan River in 1827, with his Report on the Botany, Soil, and Capabilities of the Locality.



(A Paper read before the West Australian Natural History Society
by Mr. J. G. Hay, 20th March, 1906).



The visit of the Colonial Botanist of New South Wales, with Captain Stirling, in H.M.S. "Success," to the Swan River in 1827 was pregnant with considerable importance, as it was mainly on Mr. Fraser's report that the subsequent settlement was directed.

Previously to 1826, the British practically made no claim to Western Australia, being content to allow that portion to remain under the name of New Holland.

If reference be made to Captain Phillip's instructions, it will be seen that he was directed to occupy all that portion of New Holland lying eastward of the 135th degree of longitude; and although, only a few years after, Captain Vancouver[1] took possession (on Michaelmas Day, 1791) of the land he discovered and named King George the Third Sound, yet no occupation of this territory was immediately effected.

It was only after the expedition of 1800-4, ordered by Napoleon[2], had usurped Flinders' discoveries, and named the whole southern coast "Terre Napoléon," and other French ships had visited these


  1. Captain George Vancouver, with H.M.S. "Discovery" and "Chatham, was on a mission to the north-west coast of America, when, with a crew stricken, by dysentery, he made the southern coast, at about Chatham Island, and left it at Termination Island.
  2. Napoléon's expedition, sent out under the French Republic, consisted of the "Géographe," Commodore Baudin, and the "Naturaliste," Captain Hamelin, who was afterwards sent back to France with despatches when a second visit to Western Australia was made with the "Géographe," accompanied by a schooner bought in New South Wales, and christened by the French the "Casuarina," into which Lieutenant Freycinet was placed in command.