History of West Australia/Chapter 5

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CHAPTER V.

FOUNDATION OF THE COLONY.


FATHERS OF WESTERN AU5TRALIA—COLONISING ASSOCIATION PETITIONS SIR GEORGE MURRAY—REPLY OF GOVERNMENT—TERMS OF MR. PEEL’S GRANT—A SECOND PROPOSED SETTLEMENT UNSUCCESSFUL—GOVERNMENT DECIDE TO PROCLAIM THE COLONY—GOVERNMENT CIRCULAR—BASIS UPON WHICH ESTABLISHED—THE PEOPLE WHO WERE ATTRACTED—CAPTAIN STIRLING APPOINTED LIEUT.-GOVERNOR—THE TRANSPORT PARMELIA HIRED TO CONVEY CIVIL ESTABLISHMENT, WITH H.M.S. SULPHUR AS CONSORT—CAPTAIN FREMANTLE HOISTS BRITISH FLAG ON BANKS OF THE SWAN—AT KING GEORGE'S SOUND—PROVISIONARY ACT OF PARLIAMENT—CAPTAIN STIRLING MAKES ALL PREPARATIONS—CIVIL OFFICERS—PARMELIA SAILS AND IS JOINED BY THE SULPHUR—PARMELIA PASSENGER LIST—DESCRIPTION OF VOYAGE—DEATH OF ASSISTANT SURGEON AT THE CAPE—ARRIVAL IN COCKBURN SOUND—PARMELIA GROUNDS—PIONEERS LAND ON GARDEN ISLAND—GOVERNOR STIRLING'S FIRST PROCLAMATION.


ABOUT two years after Major Lockyer founded the King George's Sound Settlement the official application was made to the British Government which resulted in the establishment of the Colony of Western Australia. The story told by Captain Stirling in England had excited that virile quality for colonisation so characteristic of Englishmen. The Swan River country, it was said, offered magnificent opportunities to the wealthy, the energetic, and the courageous. It rejoiced in a healthy climate, large areas of fructive soil, and was so situated as to serve with products and live stock several neighbouring countries and islands. Needless to say, these representations, combined with the descriptive reports of Captain Gilbert and Mr. Fraser, made numbers of wealthy and even influential people think seriously of investing their capital and applying their strength to such a promising field.

Captain Stirling and Mr. Thomas Peel were practically the fathers of Western Australia. The former was enthusiastic in his efforts to extend the sphere of British influence, and establish a colony which should bring much wealth to both the settlers themselves and the mother country. The latter, who was closely related


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to Peel, the great English statesman, possessed considerable capital which he desired to invest, and he was not afraid to risk it and his life in a country so far away as Australia. The population of New South Wales was at this time approaching 50,000, and fortunes had already been made out of land which had enormously risen in value. This was a spur to him. Captain Stirling was anxious to settle Britishers in Australia, not only to supply English, Indian, and other markets with produce and and livestock, but because he believed, in common with others, that by so doing the English language and the English constitution would finally spread over the Eastern Archipelago and among the many hazy islands of the south seas.

In 1828 an association was formed, of which some authorities say Captain Stirling was a promoter, but in which Mr. Peel was a chief spirit, to petition the English Government for a grant of land on the west coast of New Holland. A memorial to this effect, dated 4th November, 1828, was forwarded to Sir George Murray, the Home Secretary, and signed by Mr. Thomas Peel, Sir Francis Vincent, Col. Macquean, and Mr. Schenley. They asked for a grant on the Swan, promising in return to convey and settle numbers of people in the ountry. They estimated the cost of sea passage of each person at £30, and desired that land should be assigned them at the rate of one acre to every eighteenpence thus expended. It was their avowed intention to send out 10,000 persons within four years, each person to be indentured for a given period, at the end of which he, or she, would receive 200 acres out of the grant made to the association. For every person at £30 a passage 400 acres were asked for. Certain objects were stated to be intended—to supply the English navy with beef and pork, the East India Company's forces with horses, and to produce cotton and tobacco.

Such a gigantic proposal involved the outlay of enormous capital. Could it be successfully carried out, the question of populating the western portion of Australia were quickly solved. It was not considered necessary by the petitioners to acquire more information about the soil and general resources of the country proposed to be settled. They were abundantly satisfied and convinced by what they had heard from Captain Stirling, and read from the explorers' reports, and were ready to risk princely fortunes.

The English Government, while considering the proposals, were not willing to go to such lengths as the petitioners desired. As shown, they looked with special favour on the proposal to establish a colony in West Australia because of the likelihood of French colonisation. West Australia was already annexed and declared as British territory, but it was thought advisable to people it with English settlers, and while taking advantage of its resources leave no possible opening wherein France could gain a foothold. They therefore entertained the petition, and determined at the same time to declare a colony, but did not intend that the State should incur any great expense in its establishment. The public finances were somewhat straitened, and the convict colonies of New South Wales and Tasmania involved a considerable outlay of public money.

On the 5th December, 1828, they replied to the application, agreeing to make a grant, but on a reduced scale. They would allocate land to the association and to anyone at the rate of 200 acres on sea passages reckoned at £15 per head, with an additional allowance of 40 acres on every £3 invested in stock of any description. The association should have a priority of choice of country, while Captain Stirling, who was designed to assume control of the colony, should also have an extensive grant awarded him.

Mr. Peel's partners would not agree to these proposals, and thereupon retired from the association. But Mr. Peel was determined to proceed, and after further correspondence with the Government definite terms were arranged. They provided "that half a million of acres should be allotted to Mr. Peel after the arrival of a vessel sent out by him with four hundred settlers, and if, at the expiration of the year 1840, it should be found that the requisite investment in the colony of one shilling and sixpence the acre had been made, another half million of acres would then be assigned him by degrees, as fresh importations of settlers and capital were made, in accordance with the original terms published at the Colonial Office." Mr. Peel was further informed that a tract of 250,000 acres, for which he was allowed a priority of choice, would be reserved for him until November 1, 1829, but in the event of his non-arrival in the colony by that time, or with fewer emigrants than stipulated, he would be granted as many acres as his actual number of settlers and amount of investment would cover at the rate of 40 acres for every £3.

The terms were agreed to, and Mr. Peel applied for and was awarded, in anticipation of his compliance with the stipulations, 250,000 acres extending along the Swan and Canning Rivers towards Fremantle.

A second proposal to establish a settlement was made about the same time without satisfactory results. We have not the privilege of examining records bearing on this, but from a work on Western Australia, written by Mr. Nathaniel Ogle, F.G.S., &c., in 1839, is taken the following:- "The writer, in 1828-9, was desirous, from private information he had received, to emigrate, with nearly a thousand well-selected companions, to Leschenault and La Vasse. A frigate of nearly 1700 tons, built at Archangel for the Greeks, was selected; the capital ready was ample; it was deemed necessary to require the use of the ship on the coast for three years, to supply the colony with labourers, cattle, and provisions. The Government, after much correspondence, refused them permission to use their ship for that period, because she was foreign built, which caused the expedition to be abandoned—to his great and lasting regret."

The English Government having determined to proclaim a colony, quickly arranged the basis upon which it was to be formed, and published a circular to that effect on the same date that their reply was addressed to Mr. Peel. This circular specially provided that the affairs of the colony should be conducted as economically, so far as the State was concerned, as the circumstances would permit. To this end, probably, they decided that the terms they were offering to Mr. Peel should be offered to any persons who wished to emigrate. They promised that grants of land should be made upon the capital invested in stock and passage money for capitalists and servants, to be reckoned at eighteenpence per acre, or 40 acres for every £3. The Government would not hold itself liable in any way, nor must settlers expect any assistance in subsidies from them. This circular, issued from the Colonial Office on 5th December, 18, read:—

"Although it is the intention of His Majesty's Government to form a settlement on the western coast of Australia, the Government do not intend to incur any expense in the conveyance of settlers, or in supplying them with necessaries after their arrival. Such persons, however, as may be prepared to proceed to that country at their own cost before the year 1829, in parties comprehending a proportion of not less than five female to six male settlers, will receive grants of land in fee simple (free of quit rent) proportioned to the capital they may invest upon public or private objects in the colony, to the satisfaction of His Majesty's Government at home, certified by the Superintendent or other officer administering the colonial government, at the rate of 40 acres for every sum of £3 so invested, provided they give previous security; first, that all supplies sent to the colony, whether of provisions, stores, or other articles, which may be purchased by capitalists there, or which shall have been sent out for the use of them or their parties on the requisition of the Secretary of State, if not paid for on delivery in the colony, shall be paid for at home, each capitalist being to be held liable in his proportion; and, secondly, that in the event of the establishment being broken up by the Governor or Superintendent, all persons desirous of returning to the British Islands, shall be conveyed to their own homes at the expense of the capitalist by whom they may have been taken out.

"The passage of labouring persons, whether paid for by themselves or others, or whether they be male or female, provided the proportion of the sexes before mentioned be preserved, will be considered as an investment of capital, entitling the party by whom any such payment may have been made to an allowance of land at the rate of £15, that is to say, of 200 acres of land for the passage of every such labouring person over and above any other investment of capital. Any land thus granted which shall not have been brought into cultivation or otherwise improved or reclaimed from its wild state, to the satisfaction of the Government, within twenty-one years from the date of the grant, shall at the end of twenty-one years revert absolutely to the Crown."

These terms were read by those people who were taking an interest in the proposals, and were circulated in the various English counties, and in Scotland and Ireland. Before anything further transpired a second circular was issued by the Government, dated Colonial Office, Downing Street, 13th January, 1829. This provided that:—

"The license to occupy will be given to the settler on satisfactory proof being exhibited to the Lieut.-Governor (or other officer administering the local government) of the amount of property brought into the colony, to be invested as specified. The proofs required of this property will be such satisfactory vouchers of expenses as would be received in auditing public accounts. But the title to the land will not be granted, in fee simple, until the settler has proved, to the satisfaction of the Lieut.-Governor (or other officer administering the local government), that the sum required (viz., 1s. 6d. per acre) has been actually expended in some investment of the nature specified below. or in the cultivation of the land. or in solid improvements,—such as buildings, roads, or other works of that kind.

"Any land thus allotted, of which a fair proportion, at least one-fourth, shall not have been brought into cultivation, or otherwise improved to the satisfaction of the local government, within three years from the date of the license of occupation, shall, at the end of three years, be liable to one further payment of 6d. per acre, for all the land not so cultivated or improved, into the public chest of the settlement; and at the expiration of seven years more, so much of the whole grant as shall still remain in an uncultivated or unimproved state will revert absolutely to the Crown. And in every grant will be contained a condition, that at any time within ten years from the date thereof the Government may resume, without compensation, any land not then actually cultivated or improved, as before mentioned, that may be required for roads, canals, or quays, or for the site of public buildings.

"After the year 1830, land will be disposed of to those settlers who may resort to the colony, on such conditions as His Majesty’s Government shall determine.

"It is not intended that any convicts be transported to the new settlement.

"The Government will be administered by Captain Stirling, of the Royal Navy, as Lieut.-Governor of the settlement, and it is proposed that a bill shall be submitted to Parliament, in the course of the next session, to make provision for its civil and judicial administration."

The nature of invested capital, besides passages, was specified as:—(1) Stock of every description. (2) All implements of husbandry and other articles applicable to the purposes of the productive industry, or necessary for the establishment of the settler on the land where he is to be located. (3) The amount of any half—pay or pension which the applicant may receive from Government.

In the schedule of grants for imported labour, not only women were included, but children above ten years of age. Children of labouring people under ten years old were also provided for, by allowing 40 acres for every child above three years old, 80 acres for those above six, and 120 acres for children above nine and under ten. So as to cheapen the cost of establishment to the Government, grants were to be made to anyone holding civil or military positions. The Government agreed to bear the cost of the civil and military functionaries, but each of them might have his pay awarded in the shape of land. The first officers were required for the internal administration of the proposed colony, the latter to protect settlers from the natives, to maintain law and order among the settlers themselves, and to defend the community against outside enemies. Among the civil officers were to be the Lieutenant-Governor, who had sole control both of civil and military affairs, a Colonial Secretary, Harbour Master, Storekeeper, Surveyor, Assistant Surveyor, Clerk to Colonial Secretary, Agriculturist and Naturalist, Surgeon, Assistant Surgeon, and also Artificers.

In the commission of the Governor the territory comprising the colony "called Western Australia" was described as "extending from Cape Londonderry, in latitude 13 degrees 44 minutes, to west Cape Horn, in latitude 35 degrees eight minutes south, and from the Hartog's Island, on the western coast, in longitude 112 degrees 52 minutes to 129 degrees of east longitude, reckoning from the meridian of Greenwich; including all the islands adjacent in the Indian and Southern Oceans within the latitudes aforesaid of 13 degrees 44 minutes and 35 degrees eight minutes south, and within the longitudes aforesaid of 112 degrees 52 minutes and 129 degrees east from the said meridian of Greenwich."

An opportunity for becoming a large landed proprietor such as this was not to be lightly passed over: When these terms were made public those who were anxious to take up land in the new distant country, and those who were willing to leave their old homes, the homes of their ancestors, as indentured labourers and servants, began the preparations for their departure. It was provided that the grants should be made in the colony by the Lieutenant-Governor and his officers. The intending pioneers secured all the information obtainable, which, indeed, was no more than has already been mentioned. The colony of Western Australia was not founded by a people who were desirous of leaving their ancestral homes because of outraged feelings, the insolences of office, or of settled persecution. All were told of a bright sunny land, a healthy climate, a fructive soil which only required tilling to bring up the richest products, wide pastures, a right to all of which could be obtained by merely paying their passages to this new country and taking with them as much stock as they cared. There seemed to be no great obstacles, no insurmountable difficulties, to be faced. The soil, they persuaded themselves, would quickly yield forth its fruits; the aborigines were peaceably inclined; there were no wild animals to prey upon their lives. A new world seemed to be born unto them, where they could pass in sweet rural simplicity, in secluded tranquillity, an ideal existence.

Many of them knew nothing of the great hardships which must be courageously and patiently endured in pioneering a new colony. They recognised not the toils required to tame the Australian bush, and subdue the forest. They seemed to believe that food would spring spontaneously from the ground as if at the command of some divinely-sent Ceres. They were willing to leave Old England so far behind, and to do this demanded in those days of slow ships and spasmodic communication a brave heart indeed. Although the country was bright and lustrously promising, it was thousands of miles away, apparently in another world, and there was every chance that they would never again behold the old home faces. But they were ready to bear even this so that they could have the possibility of returning wealthy in a few years. The friends of many of them pleaded with them not to embark on so perilous an undertaking, and the parts of diaries which bear on these entreaties and the ultimate leaves-taking are stirringly pathetic.

There is said to have been a desire among many people to make the settlement as select as possible; to embrace only well-connected, thoroughly educated gentlemen and their servants. This may have weighed with some, but was not general. Coteries were certainly formed before leaving England, but under the levelling conditions which Australian life demanded they were soon broken up. Nor were all the intending emigrants ignorant of the trials they would have to meet, nor were they unfitted by habit and experience to bear the heat and burden of colonial life. These men possessed considerable knowledge of farming, were ready to toil and suffer themselves, and with the help of suitable labour could as quickly as Nature would allow render Australian wilds productive. They carefully reflected on what was before them, and did not come to a decision in ignorance or by haphazard. There were, too, experienced, hard working agriculturists from the best farming counties of Great Britain, men of practice as well as theory. By them the real foundations of Western Australian productive industries were laid, and only fortuitous, and therefore unforeseen, circumstances prevented their inaugurating an immediate era of great and wide-reaching agricultural prosperity. Substantially, Western Australia had for its pioneers more highly educated men of good society than perhaps any other British dependency. It would certainly have been better had the first arrivals been all simpler-minded men, inbred to constant labour, and possessing in their determined minds and strong bodies the essentials of a character which will not be daunted, which will reduce the waste to beneficent productiveness, which will penetrate to the ends of the earth to serve its purposes.

At first the Home Secretary debated whether the colony should be managed by a Civil Superintendent or a Lieutenant-Governor. The latter course was decided on, and Captain Stirling was appointed to the office. He was exceedingly concerned about the welfare of the settlers and the colony which he was to establish. He gave advice to all these he met as to what was required, and took a personal interest in the result of this experiment in colonisation. He had the honour of being the first governor of a colony in Australia that was untainted by the convict element. A Scotchman by birth, he had passed most of his life in the navy, and had visited nearly every part of the world. He had done excellent colonising and exploration work on the east coast of Australia, was in fact a member of exploring parties in the then immense colony of New South Wales, and had been to some extent connected with her settlements north and south. With the trained abilities of a naval officer he combined certain statesmanlike qualities, and a laudable enthusiasm for colonisation. Sincere, generous, and hard-working, he was well chosen to found Western Australia. He had considerable trouble in organising the first band of pioneers—the officers and artificers who were to accompany him to the colony. The English Government secured a hired transport—the Parmelia—to convey him and his establishment to the Swan River, and provided him with a consort in H.M.S. Sulphur, which carried the military establishment—a detachment of the 63rd regiment of light infantry.

While all these preparations were going forward in England, Commodore Schomberg, of the Indian squadron, despatched one of his vessels, H.M.S. Challenger, in command of Captain Fremantle, to the Swan River. The designed object was to hoist the British flag at the intended site of the new colony, and then to protect it until the arrival of the civil and military establishments. In April, 1829, Captain Fremantle anchored off the Swan River, and immediately landed on the north side of the mouth, where he hoisted the British flag. In the name of His Majesty King George IV. he took formal possession of "all that part of New Holland which is not included within the territory of New South Wales." During ensuing months the officers of the Challenger made surveys in Cockburn Sound, and organised parties which landed in the bay and the river and inspected surrounding country.

Slight advance was made during this period at King George's Sound. The number of people had increased but little, and what efforts were made at cultivation were generally disappointing. A few choice patches gave good returns in vegetables. Military discipline prevailed, and New South Wales still had control of the settlement, but devoted little attention to it. Those disconnected with its administration gained a livelihood among the whalers and sealers, who had somewhat increased in number. Several exploring parties went into the surrounding country, while Dr. Scott Nind, who appears to have been the surgeon to the band, closely studied the language, habits, and customs of the aborigines. His vocabulary of the native language was highly useful, and was the first compiled on the aborigines of this part of the world published in London. In 1829, Major Lockyer was relieved of the command by Captain Barker, who sedulously applied himself to improve the conditions of the settlement. Greatly through his influence a peaceful intercourse was inaugurated and maintained for many years between the white and black men. Military and naval officers visited King George's Sound, and made excursions into the country. Captain Barker was an explorer of some importance, and paid the penalty of death for his hardihood and sincerity in this direction. While seeking to ascertain whether any connection existed between St. Vincent Gulf and Lake Alexandrina in South Australia, he was, on the 30th April, 1831, murdered by natives. His brother officers erected to his memory a monument and tablet in St. James' Church, London.

In the 1829 session of Parliament the English Government submitted to the House of Commons a measure providing for the constitution of Western Australia. This was entitled "an Act to provide, until 31st December, 1834, for the government of His Majesty's settlement in Western Australia, on the western side of New Holland." Its principal clause ran:—

"That it shall be lawful for His Majesty, His heirs and successors, by any order or orders to be by Him or them made with the advice of His or their Privy Council, to make, ordain, and (subject to such conditions and restrictions as to Him or them shall seem meet) to authorise and empower any three or more persons resident and being within the said settlement to make, ordain, and establish all such laws, institutions, and ordinances, and to constitute such courts and officers as may be necessary for the peace, order, and good government of His Majesty's subjects and others within the said settlement."

This was the only Act of Parliament specifically relating to Western Australia for many years, and though it received the Royal Assent as early as 14th May, 1829, no charter, or order in council in the nature of a charter, was promulgated until the 1st November, 1830.

But before the introduction of this measure to the House of Commons, Captain Stirling with his band of pioneers left England. After the circular was issued by the Colonial Office, in December, 1828, he was required to immediately make arrangements to repair to the colony. By working at fever point he was able to sail about two months later. Within that period his staff was organised. These officials were not allowed much time in which to consider the question of joining the new colonists. Captain Stirling's judgement led him to obtain the services of excellent men. He chose for his Colonial Secretary Mr. P. Brown, a gentleman who had already some experience in official work, and who rendered splendid service in the administration of Western Australian affairs for many years. Perhaps the most important post of all was that of Surveyor-General. The coast had to be charted, and the country surveyed and allotted to the settlers, and to prevent disagreement and litigation, and to organise a useful land department a man of the best recommendations must be had. No better choice could have been made than that of Lieutenant John Septimus Roe, who had gained so much knowledge of the coasts of Western Australia while attached to Lieutenant King's expeditions. Lieutenant Roe entered the naval service as a midshipman on the 11th June, 1813, and served nine years as midshipman and mate, and five and a half years as lieutenant. In the year previous to joining the civil establishment of Western Australia he was engaged in the Admiralty in writing sailing directions. His charts, compiled on various places he had visited, won for him testimonials and thanks from several high dignitaries, including the Lord High Admiral. Mr. Roe was appointed Surveyor-General on 28th December, 1828. A naval officer of long experience was appointed Harbour Master—Commander M. J. Currie, R.N.; Dr. Chas. Simmons was awarded the office of Surgeon; Mr. James Morgan that of Storekeeper; and Mr. James Drummond as appointed and did the colony very substantial service as Agriculturist, Botanist, and naturalist. While interesting gentlemen to take official positions, Captain Stirling had to order the requisite stores, such as food supplies, &c., for his people. On the 13th January, 1829, he wrote to Mr. Hay, Under Secretary of the Colonial Office, asking that provision be made of funds for the payment of civil officers, military, and artificers, and for other expenses. He suggested that authority be given the Storekeeper to draw bills on the Treasury, which should be approved by the Lieutenant-Governor, failing which he advised that specie be put in H.M.S. Sulphur for that purpose. Both courses were to a certain extent adopted. The officers and artificers were engaged at rates of wages approved of by Sir George Murray, the Home Secretary. Some difficulty was experienced in employing artificers, and only three were obtained in time to sail by the Parmelia. The remainder, it was arranged, should proceed by the transport Calista, which was to sail a little later.

On the 3rd February, 1829, the Parmelia weighed anchor at Portsmouth, and made sail for Cowes Roads. After tacking occasionally she grounded on Peal Bank at three in the afternoon. Two hours later she floated and stood towards Spithead, where she anchored. During following days Captain Stirling, the officers and artificers embarked for the passage to Swan River. The baggage and stores were got on board, and at 3 o'clock in the afternoon of February 6th the first band of pioneers sailed from Spithead to found the present colony of Western Australia. Their leave-taking had been made in tears, and the heartiest good wishes were hailed to them as they slowly moved off. Captain J. H. Luscombe was the master of the Parmelia, a barque of 443 tons burden.

The following is a list of the passengers who embarked on board this vessel :—

Names.

 

Ages of Children.

Captain Stirling, R.N. … Lieut.-Governor
Mrs. Ellen Stirling … …
Andrew Stirling … … 3 years
William Stirling … … his Nephew
Geo. Mangles … … …
Geo. Eliot … … … 11 years
Thos. Blakey … … …
Sarah Blakey … … …
John Kelly … … …
Elizabeth Kelly … …
James Morgan … …
Mr. P. Brown … … … Colonial Secretary
Mrs. Caroline Brown …
MacBride Brown … … 2 years
Ann Brown … … … 6 months
Richard Evans … … …
Margaret McLeod … …
Mary Ann Smith … …
Mr. James Morgan … … Storekeeper
Mrs. Rebecca Morgan …
Rebecca Morgan … … 12 years
Ann Shipsey … … …
Patrick Murphy … …
Commander M. J. Currie, R.N. Harbour Master
Mrs. Jane Currie … …
Frederick Ludlow … …
Mildred Kitts Ludlow …
Jane Fruin … … …
Mr. Jno. S. Roe … … Surveyor
Mrs. Matilda Roe … …
Chas. D. Wright … …
Mr. Hy. C. Sutherland … Assistant Surveyor
Mrs. Ann Sutherland … …
Mr. W. Shilton … … Clerk to Colonial Secretary
Mr. Jas. Drummond … … Agriculturist
Mrs. Sarah Drummond … …
Thomas Drummond … … 18 years
Jane Drummond … … 16 years
James Drummond … … 15 years
John Drummond … … 13 years
Johnson Drummond … … 9 years
Euphemia Drummond … 3 years
Elizabeth Gamble … …
Mr. Chas. Simmons … … Surgeon
Mr. Tully Daly* … … Assistant Surgeon
Mrs. Jane Daly … …
Jessie Jane Daly* … … 8 years
Joseph T. Daly … … 6 years
Hy. Jno. Daly … … … 4 years
Edwd. N. Daly … … 2 years
Eliza Rose Daly … … 2 months
Jas. Elliott … … …
Alex. Fandam … … … Cooper
Mary Fandam … … …
Wm. Hoking … … … Artificer
Mary Hoking … … …
Jno. Hoking … … … 14 years
William Hoking … … 12 years
Mary Hoking … … … 10 years
Thos. Hoking … … … 8 years
David Hoking … … … 6 years
Chas. Hoking … … … 2 years
Thos. Davis … … … Smith
Catherine Davis … …
Jno. Davis … … … 3 years
Charlotte Davis … … 2 years
John Davis … … … his Nephew 13 years
James C. Smith … … Boatbuilder
Sarah Smith … … …

* Drowned in Table Bay (Cape of Good Hope) on 25th April, 1829.

The Eddystone Lighthouse was sighted on Sunday, February 8, and next day H.M.S. Sulphur joined company from Plymouth. The Parmelia hove to and sent a boat containing specie, &c., on board the Sulphur, after which sail was made. The detachment of the 63rd on the latter vessel comprised three subalterns, one staff officer, two sergeants, three corporals, one bugler, and 46 men, under Captain F. C. Irwin. The first day on the Parmelia was spent by sailors in preparing for the long passage, and by passengers in getting used to the motions of the ship. All eyes eagerly sought for the last glimpse of England, and when that was gone comfort was to be had in the presence of the Sulphur, which, with its white sails leaning to the wind, made a handsome consort vessel. For two days she kept on the lapboard beam, and then she followed astern. Sometimes she stood up boldly to their gaze, and the passengers could watch her prow dashing the water into glistening foam, or else her hull dipping in the distance. They thus continued for some days, and as they held on their south-west course, with all sails set, emerging into the great Atlantic, they were an inspiring picture. After the first difficulties were over the passengers employed the time in little games and quiet communion, while Captain Stirling moved among them, or anxiously meditated on the course to be taken when the destination was reached. Dances were organised for their evening entertainment, but on no account would Captain Stirling permit card-playing. Fine weather was experienced until the following Saturday, February 14, when a heavy swell came up from the south. The ship pitched heavily at times, and on Sunday the sky clouded and rain fell, and the sails were close reefed. At 11 a.m., while the Sulphur loomed up on the larboard beam, all who were able congregated for Divine Service, a function which was not omitted throughout the long voyage. The breezes moderated towards the close of the day, and there was fine weather for some hours, but storms soon came upon them and rain fell at intervals for several days. Squalls, swells, and fresh winds alternated with fine breezes, and sails were reefed or let out, and the ship tacked, in turn. On Tuesday a strange sail was seen on the starboard quarter, and on Thursday the Parmelia spoke the Sulphur. The weather had now moderated and under all increasingly warm sun good progress was made.

The voyage was not monotonous, for a systematic routine was soon established. The unbroken view of ocean begets a restfulness in the human mind, and to the normally constituted there is little dulness on the sea. The simple side of character is brought out, for to some extent the mythical "Golden Age" reigns over those crossing the oceans. Islands, strange ships, the inhabitants of the oceans, attract attention; and the pioneers took delight in watching the eccentric movements of whales and dolphins, or followed the gyrations of the sea-birds in their aerial flight. Mr. Nathaniel Ogle wrote that pioneers were entertained by a diversity of interesting sights. "The beaming sun gives the character of liquid silver to the waves; flying fish glitter in the sunbeams; dolphins follow in the vessel's wake, gambol about her bows, or fly from the pursuing albicore;" and there is "the mysterious silent albatross, searing like a spirit above the waves." At night the ploughing ship creates, "as if to illuminate her track, new-born phosphoric fire, which springs in showers as the surges are dashed by her bows, and falling, subside into undulating curves of liquid light, which follow, until the gleam is lost in distance." Then as the "line" is crossed new constellations appear and the sky is fretted with strange heavenly bodies.

The Island of Tenerife was seen W.S.W. twelve miles distant on Sunday, the 22nd February, and while that massive picturesque peak rose, sphinx-like, out of the ocean within their gaze, they again met and in praise and prayer worshipped their God. Next day Teneriffe was a hazy cloud in their rear. At intervals the Sulphur was spoke to see that all was well, and thus from day to day they went on, striving to get all the speed they could from the winds, which were now becoming variable. Two strange sails cut the horizon on the 9th March, and when they were abreast of one of them the Parmelia sent a boat on board. This vessel proved to be the Batavia (the same name as Pelsart's ship wrecked on the Abrolhos), from Batavia, bound for England. Letters announcing their welfare were sent to England on this vessel by the pioneers, and all sails were set, and soon the home-bound ship was lost sight of. Other storms were experienced, and on Sunday, the 15th March, the mainyard was backed, and a boat despatched to the Sulphur to learn the state of those on board the man-of-war. For some days this consort ship would now be out of sight and then she would appear over the bows of the Parmelia, astern, or on either rode. The position was constantly changing. When nearing the American coast the more timid passengers on the Parmelia were in fear lest they would be attacked by one of the many pirate ships which then roamed those regions. An alarm was one day given of a pirate in sight, but the presence of the man-of-war daunted any intention it may have had of seizing the Parmelia. This was on the 24th March. A suspicious-looking ship spoke them and asked for provisions, and, in answer to enquiries, said she was from Buenos Ayres bound for Antwerp. Throughout the passage down the Atlantic ships were being met with. A few days before Table Bay at the Cape was reached storms were experienced, which lasted some days, and the two vessels were separated from each other and did not join company again until within the port.

At 5 p.m. on Thursday, the 16th April, the Parmelia brought to in squally weather within Table Bay. Captain Stirling, who piloted the vessel in, went on shore with passengers on the 17th and remained at that settlement for thirteen days. Cape Colony had been established for some years, and although not then a pronounced success so far as the problem of colonisation went, it possessed valuable and remunerative resources. If necessary, Stirling recognised, it would prove a useful basis for replenishing stores and procuring stock for Swan River. Live stock of all descriptions was abnormally cheap, and Captain Stirling purchased four draught oxen, a plough, waggon, verdigris, and other products, for use at Swan River. He remained at Cape Town only so long as was absolutely necessary, striving to expedite the passage because of the lateness of the season in Western Australia.

A tragical event to two of the party at the Cape caused great sorrow to the remainder. Dr. Tully Daly, who had sailed as assistant surgeon for the settlement, and was accompanied by his wife and five children, proceeded to return from the shore to the ship on Saturday evening, the 25th April. The boat was manned by the second mate and four sailors. A heavy swell was running from the northward, and when the side of the vessel was reached the boat swamped, and cast its occupants into the sea. Dr. Daly had his eldest daughter, eight years old, with him, and both were drowned. The whaleboat was lowered and the body of the doctor was recovered, but the child was lost in the darkness, and no sign of it was ever seen again.

Next day the body of Dr. Daly was buried on shore, and the pioneers followed, with gloomy thoughts, their dead comrade to the grave. Captain Stirling at once wrote to England asking for the appointment of another medical man.

The Parmelia weighed and left Table Bay on Thursday afternoon, the 30th April. The first part of the run to the coast of Australia was characterised by bad weather, which, however, ultimately cleared. The pioneers were now in the Southern Hemisphere, and had their faces set towards their future fields of labour. The Sulphur soon disappeared in the rear, and they had to proceed alone. While the passengers sought to qualify themselves for their new life at Swan River, Captain Stirling busied himself in giving instructions to his civil officers. He drew up the instructions which were to guide the different departments, and those received by Lieutenant Roe were dated, "Parmelia, at sea, 12th May, 1829." The duties required of the Surveyor-General were set down, and provided that the books were to be submitted to the Lieutenant-Governor on the first day of each month. In the document presented to the Colonial Secretary, Mr. Brown, he is desired to open his office, for despatch of business, at eight in the morning, to close at two p.m., and to call on the Governor at ten a.m. each day, to submit documents and transact other business.

On the 16th May, a document was issued on board constituting a "Board of Counsel and Audit in the management of the Property of the Crown, and of Public Property within the Settlement." Commander Mark J. Currie was appointed presiding commissioner, and Lieutenant John S. Roe, and Mr. William Stirling, his coadjutors, all without salary. On the same date, Mr. James Drummond was appointed to the honorary position of superintendent of Government farms, gardens, and plantations; Mr. G. W. Mangles, superintendent of Government stock; Mr. H. W. Reveley, civil engineer to settlement; Mr. William Stirling, registrar; Mr. John Morgan, storekeeper; and Mr. H. O. Sutherland, assistant surveyor. Most of these appointments were purely honorary, and bore no salary. They were confirmed on the 8th of June, after landing.

By this time the destination was neared, and it was with eager interested glances that all strained their eyes over the water when the lookout called, "Land ahead." The log book of Lieutenant Roe, R.N., from which the narrative of the voyage is taken, strangely concludes on the 12th May, and no record is to hand stating the exact date when land was sighted. It was apparently in the last week of May. All the pioneers were struck by the first glimpse caught of Rottnest Island and the mainland. Dark bands of trees clothed the hills in park-like shapes, while near the shore lines of bright white sand were seen. The feelings of the pioneers may well be imagined as they drew nearer to the shore, for before them lay the promised land for whose wealth and attractions they had left their homes. There was no view of homesteads embowered in bright gardens, of waving' cornfields. Indeed the prospect was a barren one, but behind the sand dunes the goodly country lay. As Cockburn Sound was entered the passengers congregated on deck. Surviving members of the pioneer band state that Captain Stirling was asked by Captain Luscombe to take the helm on entering port, in order to guide the vessel among the reefs and banks which were known to exist. Captain Stirling therefore took command, and before much way had been made the Challenger, under Captain Fremantle, was observed and saluted. After going up some distance, the Parmelia struck on a sandbank, which was thereupon named the Parmelia bank. Twice did the Parmelia strike, and it was only by excellent seamanship that she was saved. The passengers were immediately landed, in boats from the Challenger and Parmelia, on Garden Island. The stores were put on shore there. It was wintry weather, and while waiting to be taken on the mainland the passengers erected tents and brushwood houses in a sheltered spot. Mr. Drummond immediately occupied himself in planting a garden, and as botanist searched in every nook and corner for specimens, and managed to secure a good collection. The rest of the band made final preparations for beginning their new work. Two days after the arrival of the Parmelia, her consort, the Sulphur, anchored in Cockburn Sound.

A detachment of soldiers was eventually placed on Garden Island, to protect the stores and the main body of passengers, and on 1st June Captain Stirling, his staff, and a bodyguard put off for the Swan River. They preceded the others to pave the way. Slowly the boat approached the north shore of the Swan River—Rous Head—and the moment that Captain Stirling stepped on shore the history of the colony of Western Australia began. Captain Irwin was instructed by the Lieutenant-Governor to take formal possession of the British flag, and relieve the marines stationed there by Captain Fremantle. Then, in the name of His Majesty, Captain Stirling took control of the whole of the land extending before them.

The first order was issued proclaiming the Colony of Western Australia on 18th June, 1829, and read:

"PROCLAMATION."

"By His Excellency James Stirling, Esquire, Captain in the Royal Navy, and Lieutenant-Governor of His Majesty's Settlement in Western Australia.

"Whereas His Majesty having being pleased to command that a settlement should forthwith be formed within the Territory of Western Australia, and whereas with a view of effecting that object an expedition having been prepared and sent forth, and in accordance with His Majesty's pleasure the direction of the expedition and the government of the proposed settlement having been confided to me, and whereas in pursuance of the promises possession having been taken of the territory aforesaid, and the segment wherein being now actually effected.

"I do hereby make the same known to all persons whom it may concern, willing and requiring them duly to regulate their conduct with reference to His Majesty's Authority represented in me as good and loyal subjects may and ought to do, and to obey all such legal commands and regulations as I may from time to time see fit to enact, as they shall answer the contrary at their peril.

"And whereas by the establishment of His Majesty's Authority in the territory aforesaid, and the laws of the United Kingdom as far as they are applicable to the circumstances of the case, do therein immediately prevail and become security for the rights, privileges, and immunities of all His Majesty's subjects found or residing in such territory. I do hereby caution all to abstain from the commission of offences against the King's peace or the laws of the realm upon pain of being arrested, prosecuted, convicted, and punished in the same manner, and to all intents and purposes as is usual in the case of similar offences committed in any other part or parts of His Majesty's dominions subject to British law.

"And whereas, for the ends of justice and the preservation of peace, I may hereafter see occasion to nominate and to appoint a properly qualified person to execute the office of sheriff of the territory, having under his direction responsible individuals filling the offices of high constable, constables, bailiffs and surveyors of highways, and whereas I may hereafter see occasion to issue a commission to certain deserved persons to proceed to the cognizance of offences against the laws; to hear and determine complaints of injury; to commit offenders for further trial to the custody of the sheriff; and to conduct themselves in the execution of their office according to such mode of proceeding as justices of the peace may lawfully adopt; I here command that due obedience and respect be shown to all such persons in their several places and jurisdiction.

"And whereas the protection of law doth of right belong to all people whatsoever who may come or be found within the territory aforesaid, I do hereby give notice that if any person or persons shall be convicted of behaving in a fraudulent, cruel, or felonious manner towards the aboriginal race of inhabitants of this country, such person or persons will be liable to be prosecuted and tried for the offence as if the same had been committed against any others of His Majesty's subjects.

"And whereas the safety of the territory from invasion and from the attacks of hostile native tribes may require the establishment of a militia force, which on emergency may be depended on to assist His Majesty's regular troops in the defence of the lives and property of the inhabitants of the territory, and moreover the efficiency of such an armed body depending wholly on its organisation, discipline, and preparation for service, all male persons whatsoever between the ages of fifteen and fifty years are hereby required to enrol themselves in the muster roll of the militia of the county in which they may reside, and to observe that the days for muster and exercise and the names of the officers whom I may see fit to appoint to command them will be duly notified, and that on proof of their disobedience to such officers or of negligent performance of the duties required of them they will be subject in the absence of martial law to a pecuniary fine, and to imprisonment until the same shall be liquidated.

"And whereas His Majesty having been graciously pleased to confide to me the power to make all necessary locations and to grant unoccupied land within the aforesaid territory under such restrictions as are or may be contained in the several instructions issued or to be issued to me by authority of His Majesty's Government: I do hereby give notice that the conditions and existing regulations under which Crown lands will be granted will be exhibited to public inspection at the offices of the Secretary to Government and of the Surveyor of the territory, subject to such alterations and amendments as may from time to time be ordered, and all persons desirous of obtaining lands or of becoming settlers for any other purpose in this territory are as soon as may be practicable after their arrival in this settlement to appear at the office of the Secretary to Government and there to make application for permission to reside in the settlement, and all persons found at large without having obtained such permission will render themselves liable to be committed to custody; and all persons in like manner who may intend to quit the territory are to give a week's notice of their intentions to depart, upon pain of being liable to be apprehended and detained and of rendering the master of the ship in which they may be about to depart subject to a fine as set forth in the Government regulations.

"God Save the King."