THE STORY OF THE FIRST GROUP
SETTLEMENT IN WESTERN
AUSTRALIA 1829 TO 1841
E. O. G. SHANN, M.A.
University of Western Australia
OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS
LONDON: HUMPHREY MILFORD
Printed in England at
The Westminster Press
411a Harrow Road
T H E S E pages tell, mainly in the actors' own words, how a Hampshire clergyman's widow and seven of her children colonized the extreme south corner of Australia, the country behind Cape Leeuwin. The materials used were (I) diaries kept by members of the group at odd periods between 1829 and 1841, (2) letters to England collected between 1830 and 1837 by Miss Capel Carter, a cousin of the Bussells, with whom they all corresponded, and (3) letters between members of the family whenever they were separated in the colony. Immediately after Miss Carter's death in 1837 the collection she had made was carried back to the Swan River by John Garrett Bussell, the eldest son and leader of the group. They were preserved at Cattle Chosen, near Busselton, where, aloof from the rest of the colony, the Bussells and some families who had been associated with them from their first landing, lived in a village atmosphere strongly reminiscent of Southern England, though different, of course, in physical setting.
Had he not gone a-colonizing, John Garrett Bussell would have become an English vicar. One suspects that he felt at times the exotic contrast between his training and his life in the wilds, and realized that posterity would feel it too. The compiler, as he pieced together their story of courage in the face of hardships, saw that he must limit himself, out of respect to the pious founder of Busselton village, to a task of compilation, allowing the Bussells' pens to depict, as they saw it, the little world they made. Like every tale of beginnings, it is one of small things, although the tellers often affect the grand manner. The tolerant reader may yet find it more than 'a shallow village tale', and catch from the letters some hint of the new colours, the strange mischances, the kindly and the stark emotions which still await those who adventure to that strange and distant coast.
The compiler has to thank Mrs. Frances Cookworthy, stepdaughter of J. G. Bussell, and last survivor of those mentioned in the text, for her advice and for information on many doubtful points, and especially for her description of the scene in the sitting-room at Cattle Chosen, one Sunday evening in 1841, when evening prayer was interrupted by news of the murder of George Layman, by the spear of the black Gaywal. He wishes to thank, too, for their generosity in affording him every necessary material, three of J. G. Bussell's descendants, Mrs. Prinsep, his daughter, Mrs. Milward, his granddaughter, and Mr. F. B. Vines, the present owner of 'Cattle Chosen', his grandson, and with them Dr. R. Fairbairn, Mary Bussell's grandson.
He must also place on record that the work of compilation could not have been attempted without the first sorting of the disordered papers by Miss Patience Barnard of Busselton, and her untiring zeal in deciphering and copying them.
Any expressions of opinion which may have intruded are entirely his own, and may not be shared by the descendants of those who figure in the story.
SOUTH PERTH, W.A.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
|I.||The Occasion and the Scene of Settlement||1|
|III.||The Ladies Follow||28|
|V.||John and Yulika, Explorers||51|
|VII.||Relations with the Natives||92|
|IX.||Dissolution of the Group||121|
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
|John Garrett Bussell||frontispiece|
|Map of Augusta and the Vasse||facing page 16|
|'Cattle Chosen', about 1870||145|