History of West Australia/Chapter 6
PERTH AND FREMANTLE FOUNDED, AND PROGRESS IN 1829.
PIONEER HARDSHIPS—SITES OF FREMANTLE AND PERTH SELECTED—ERECTION OF FIRST BUILDINGS—SUFFERINGS AND LABOURS—THE CANNING EXPLORED—MILITARY CAMP AT MOUTH OF SWAN—CIVIL OFFICERS’ GRANTS—THE UNIQUE SITUATION OF PEOPLE—JUNE AND JULY—GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS GOT IN ORDER—LAND "REGULATIONS AND INSTRUCTIONS"—ARRIVALS IN AUGUST—FIRST LITTLE FLEET IN COCKBURN SOUND—PARMELIA OBTAINS STORES FROM DUTCH ISLANDS—WRECK OF MARQUIS OF ANGLESEA—EFFECTS OF CLIMATE—TOWN LOTS ASSIGNED IN PERTH AND FREMANTLE—AREA OF COUNTRY OPEN TO SELECTION—WILD FLOWERS—FIRST LAND GRANTS—ARRIVAL OF SHIPS IN SEPTEMBER—LIEUTENANT PRESTON, R.N., ASCENDS DARLING RANGES—ENSIGN DALE EXPLORES HELENA RIVER—OCTOBER INCREASE OF POPULATION-NAMES OF SHIPS ARRIVING IN OCTOBER, NOVEMBER, AND DECEMBER, WITH FREIGHTS—MR. THOMAS PEEL LANDS WITH EMIGRANTS—PROGRESS TO THE END OF 1829—THE FIRST CLERGYMAN-ACTIVITY IN PERTH—THE GOVERNOR'S REPORT AND STATISTICS—FURTHER EXPLORATION—LIEUTENANT PRESTON AND MR. COLLIE AT MURRAY MOUTH, PORT LESCHENAULT, AND PORT VASSE—MR. DALE’S SECOND EXPEDITION—DR. WILSON'S EXPEDITION FROM KING GEORGE’S SOUND.
THE first duty devolving on Governor Stirling and his officers was to mark out the site of two towns, one on the seaboard, the other inland on the Swan, which should prove a suitable administrative Centre to the country on its banks. A more unenviable situation could hardly be imagined than that which now encompassed the foundation builders. It was the depth of winter; the weather was cold and bleak, and without houses they had at once to enter the theatre of hardship and suffering. As one writer has put it, they were like so many shipwrecked people who, with well-provisioned boats, escaped the perils of the deep only to land in an uninhabited country. They were almost helpless. The season was too late for the planting of crops; all that lay before them was the building of places of refuge, living on the food they had brought with them, and clearing sections of the forest for the coming autumn. Even this could not be done until the departments were established and the Surveyor-General was able to make rough surveys. Therefore they had to wait and patiently bear their exposure to the climate. The country was barren for all the use the pioneers could make of it for some months.
A great lonely land rose before them, containing nothing to welcome them, nothing to encourage them but the stretches of soil which possibly would blossom to their toil. Their forlornness was complete, and, cast upon the shore of a country thousands of miles from any of their kind, with no conveniences, no houses wherein to rest their bodies, no immediate signs of wealth, some of them began to regret their embarkation. To the parents who had brought young children with them the position was rendered doubly uncomfortable. Captain Stirling in his first despatch to Sir George Murray wrote that in addition to their loneliness, their "ignorance of the Country, and of the navigation of the coast," and their anxiety as to whether they would succeed or fail, were pregnant sources of uneasiness.
But the pioneers had begun, and they were determined to finish. Captain Stirling and his chief officers were dominated by a laudable activity at this time. Originally Stirling seemed to consider Garden Island should be used as the Government centre, because he still feared the French would dispute their right to the mainland, but he and his officers soon decided against such a course. They therefore went before the main body of settlers to choose the sites whereon they could build their cottages. The question of a situation for the seaboard town was easily solved, and the land on the south point of the Swan River was at once picked upon. They arranged that the first houses should be erected near the hill or cliff which abutted on the sea, now known as Arthur Head. To this prospective town they gave the name of Fremantle, in compliment to Captain Fremantle, R.N., who first hoisted the British flag, a few hundred yards away, on this part of Western Australia.
A more central site was required for the main settlement whence the Civil establishment could administer the affairs of the colony. To select a convenient situation, Governor Stirling got his boats over the bar of the river, and, accompanied by his staff, slowly sailed up the Swan. Many sheltered spots were examined, but while some were suitable for the erection of buildings they did not seen to be central enough. With much interest they looked to right and left of the river, first at the low banks covered with dwarfed vegetation, then, as they went further up, at the larger trees, which certainly appeared beautiful and unique, being altogether different from any trees many of them had seen before. They came to cliffs, which bounded one side of a wide expanse of water, while on the other were quickly rising banks and wooded coves. Beyond this they went and came to another fine expanse—Fresh Water Bay,—high overhanging banks terracing little valleys and vistas amid the woodland. Here a variety of shrubs and strange trees was observed. Among them were the banksia and casuarina. The bright green of the new growth in the former lent an attractive tint to the whole neighbourhood, while the wind eerily moaned and whispered in the latter. Still further on they sailed, past curved banks, over which hung shrubs and bracken, and past little tablelands commanding lovely views of the river, the dark range of hills in the distance, and the umbrageous floor of the plains on either side of the Swan, where was the land they had come to acquire. Jagged rocks projected boldly from the steep banks in some places, and in others half hid themselves behind the shrubbery. They sailed on until they reached the point where the Canning River joins the Swan.
Here seemed to be a central position, and certainly a more charming site for a town could not have been found. The river opens out to a remarkable width—nearly three miles. On the right the Canning quickly winds out of sight, hiding itself in a plain richly dowered with trees. The land between this and the further course of the Swan is cut down to a narrow, shallow strip, which, gradually widening as the rivers separate, rises to higher ground towards those flats which caused Captain Gilbert such inconvenience. Half way between the point and the flats it becomes a hill, whence is obtained a wide view of the wooded slopes on the opposite shore, and the panorama of river and the Darling Ranges.
The wide expanse already mentioned is called the Melville Water. On its left is a high landmark, known as Mount Eliza, which, hanging over the river leaves a narrow ornate shore line at its foot. Past Mount Eliza the Swan describes a half-circle, and as Captain Stirling turned it he was pleased with the scene of gentle slopes which lay before him. These slopes rise in almost natural terraces from the Swan, and were clothed with verdure, and numbers of banksia, casuarina, and other trees. He landed and ascended the slopes. There was an extensive prospect of wooded country at the back, of Mount Eliza and the wide expanse of water at his right, of the sun-sheened river with the high-wooded background in front of him, and the Swan meandering out of view, backed by the mountains, on the left. He judged that this position was about midway between the sea and the mountains, and there he decided should be the basis of the settlement.
A name had to be awarded the site, and out of respect to the Lieutenant-Governor, who was a Scotchman, the pioneers decided to call it Perth, after the Scotch city of that name. Perhaps there is no more prettily situated city in all Australia than Perth, and the pioneers showed excellent judgment in electing to form their town there. Not only was it central, but it had undoubted claims to great natural beauty. From a utilitarian point of view, it might have been better in the first few years had the Lieutenant-Governor built the inland town on the same side of the Swan River as the town on the seaboard. By so doing there would have been no necessity to erect bridges at different parts, and land transit could have been conveniently used as well as river. As it was all goods, no matter of what kind, after being landed at Fremantle had to be transhipped to boats, and a most laborious trip was experienced before they were landed at Perth. Thus for many years no roads connected the two towns. Captain Stirling evidently considered that the river afforded such excellent opportunities for transit that having the inland town on the northern bank was no inconvenience whatever.
These duties performed the pioneers returned to the seaboard. Other passengers were got over from Garden Island, where, however, the depot for the storage of provisions and stock was kept for some time longer, and a number of women and children remained. A few huts and tents were erected at Fremantle, but the main body of pioneers removed to the site of Perth. The men generally preceded the women and carried loads of goods with them. They put up rude tents and brush wood huts, where the females lodged until it was decided where their future homes were to be. The men thus had their minds fully occupied, but the females had no such resource. Looking out on a wintry day from their insecure lodgings to the dripping primeval woods, which they had come to subdue, might well discourage them, and hushed by the great silence and feeling of remoteness which enshrouded them, they might well repent. These were unfortunate sufferings for people of their grade of society—those more experienced in hardships would have been much better able to bear hem.
Captain Stirling supervised the whole of the operations which took place. He, the representative of Royalty, worked with the rest and spared not himself, so that life might be made more comfortable for his people. By his own exertions he infused spirit into his band. The assistance of the military proved very useful, and having few artificers, all more or less had to lend a hand until other ships arrived bearing the indentured labourers. On the slopes immediately above the Swan, near the present site of Government House, the chief camp was placed. An area had first to be cleared to permit of the erection of tents and other buildings. The old stillness of Mount Eliza and the Swan River was now broken by the sounds of the woodman's axe and the click of hammers. The natives, after some days, drew near, but offered no molestation, and allowed these usurpers of their domains to establish themselves in all peacefulness. They looked with surprise at the energetic efforts of the white men, and were astonished when they observed the buildings go up. While some of the shelters for pioneers were merely composed of canvas; some people did not have that convenience, and had to be content with rude brushwood houses, little better than the mias of natives. The wind coursed through them by day and night, which in the winter was no pleasant experience. Log huts were raised of upright poles, side by side, with a roof of shingle, or reeds gleaned from the river.
A change was thus inaugurated in the wild sites of the two towns, but little progress could be made until more people arrived. All anxiously and eagerly looked forward to greeting anyone of their own kind, for with increased numbers the Australian bush would lose some of its loneliness, and there would be some satisfaction in having the sympathy of others similarly placed. Meanwhile, Mr. Roe explored and surveyed, and Mr. Drummond examined the soil to arrive at a conclusion as to its fertility and suitability for special productions. Before this, however, a party of officers and men from H.M.S. Challenger went out exploring to discover more suitable country for the settlers. On the 26th June they landed at Brown Mount in Cockburn Sound, having for their specific object the exploration of the Canning River and the intervening country. This was then only partially known, and no official report had been made as to its resources. Landing at ten in the morning, the party proceeded in an east by south direction, and travelled about twelve miles that day. The formation was irregular, dark red earth alternating with sandy soil. The billowy surface was thinly covered with trees, beneath which was a fair growth of grass. Some six miles from the landing place they observed a fresh water lagoon, and when night drew nigh they pitched their tents on the S.E. extremity of an extensive lake. Next day, some two miles further on, they passed south of a deep large swamp, and still another but smaller one an equal distance away. Two streams, six or seven feet wide, were crossed, and then nine miles from their starting point of the morning a more goodly scene disclosed itself before them. They had ascended a slight eminence without observing it and there before them lay a vast plain, bounded to the eastward by a range of majestic mountains. Pushing forward, the plain was left behind, and they entered between two ranges and there discovered the Canning River, "rushing over its rocky bed with considerable impetuosity." The soil over the plain was not of the best class, was characterised as suitable for brickmaking, sandy and gravelly. On a small island formed by a small stream debouching from the river's course, they bivouacked that night. In the morning they rose early and ascended a mountain 1,000 feet in height, in the hopes of obtaining a comprehensive view, but the dense atmosphere rendered it impossible to see more than a few miles to the west on the track of approach, while to the east a succession of tree-covered "lofty mountains" was alone discernible. Going down to the river again they followed its course for five miles to the northward, observing good red soil. Then they examined surrounding country, went near a swamp, went beyond the branching of the Canning, and noted fine soil in places. At night they camped twelve miles distant from the ravines left in the morning. On the following day they made for the coast down the left bank of the river, which, they reported, presented for some ten miles scenes of the richest verdure and most luxurious vegetation. On June 30 they reached the junction of the Canning and Swan Rivers at
Melville Water, and concluded their explorations that day. This expedition travelled over about 100 miles of country, but saw no natives, merely a few of their "wigwams."
Captain Irwin had by this time established comfortable quarters for his detachment at the mouth of the Swan, and there he was most hospitable to the pioneers who from time to time called upon him. He was taking as much interest in the movements of Stirling's band as any member of it, and intended becoming an agriculturist himself, and when the assignments were made received a rich grant of land in a suitable location. Throughout the whole course of his heavy labours Captain Stirling carefully conducted the affairs of State. Some of the civil officers who had accompanied him intended to combine with their duties those of the settler. They brought to the colony stock upon which they were to receive their grants. Some of them, however, had not taken this course, and so as to enable them to fare as well as the others, on the 8th June Governor Stirling issued an order that by a special allowance they could select land up to 2640 acres upon the guarantee "on their honour" that they would import the proportionate amount of stock and goods before the end of the year. This liberal concession was taken advantage of, and at every opportunity the civil officers inspected the country on the river, and when they selected a site which suited their purposes, made application to the authorities for a grant. Excursions were made almost daily up and down the river and among the woods on either bank when their quarters had been for the time completed. This was a much more congenial occupation than that they had heretofore negotiated. There was something cheerful in the liberty given them of exploring the woodlands for a fertile spot where, surrounded by no mean natural beauty, they might build an Australian home and finally perhaps surround themselves with sleek flocks and herds, and productive gardens.
Thus the month of June passed, and Captain Stirling gave instructions that the instruments and other articles of the officials should be delivered them by the storekeeper, and also wrote out a list of names of those who were to be victualled by the Government. His own name appears in this list, and rations for two were set down for him, which a few weeks later were increased to four. It was a month that was never forgotten by the colonists from the Parmelia. They had so much work to do, and were surrounded by such singularly unique conditions, that each required the strength of many men to show any substantial advance. The forlornness of their position was somewhat lessened when the initial difficulties were surmounted, and the sites for their future residences were determined on. And when it was possible to take their families from Garden Island, and install them in huts or tents, at Fremantle or Perth, the position was rendered still more bearable. It needs little imagination to picture them in their camp on the slopes of the Swan. On every side were woodlands extending to the horizon, and they found interest in listening to the notes of Australian birds, and in watching the movements of the blacks, who occasionally were courageous enough to approach and scrutinise them. Morning and evening the musical notes of the magpie made the woods resound, and at night the weird wail of the curlew came out of the distance, as from a human being in lamentation. By day they saw the black swan move slowly over the river, followed the noisy flight of game above them, and sometimes observed the natives with spear in hand rushing about in the shallow waters, and, while the spray dashed round them, spear the fleeing fish. Truly, they felt themselves in a new world.
Throughout July, one of the coldest, most unattractive months in the West Australian year, they sedulously laboured to ameliorate their condition and to shelter themselves from the climate. A considerable improvement was made, and by August the departments of Government were got in order to receive the settlers who were soon expected to join them. Although several of the pioneer party carefully inspected the country immediate to the Swan and the Helena Rivers, final grants were not made until some weeks later. During this period Lieutenant Roe was active in his explorations, and where selections were applied for made rough but remarkably accurate surveys. With his assistants he executed an enormous amount of work in a few weeks, so that by September and the following months the administration could apportion most of the grants that were applied for.
The detailed "regulations and instructions" upon which land was to be alienated were arranged by Captain Stirling and his Board of Counsel, and an official notice was issued on the 28th August. This lengthy document was placed in prominent positions where intending selectors could study its provisions. The first clause provided that "the territory is progressively to be divided into counties, hundreds, townships, and sections; each section is to contain one square mile, or 640 acres; each township 25 sections; each hundred four townships, and each county 16 hundreds." The Crown intended reserving 600 sections in each county for general public expenses, educational support and endowment, and to defray the cost of public works and the administration of justice. Land was not open to location until surveyed and mapped, and would then be granted in complete sections of one square mile each. No allotment, it was wisely decided, should have more than a fourth of its exterior boundary line frontage on a river. By this means a large number of settlers were able to obtain the advantage of a river frontage. No grants would be made to indentured servants, nor to persons landing in the settlement at the expense of other individuals.
As to town properties, "the area reserved as the site of the Town of Perth will comprise an extent of three square miles, and will be divided into building lots, generally containing nine-tenths of an acre each." The building lots in Perth and Fremantle were to be granted, per instructions from the Home Government, on a 21 years' lease, and the local Government reserved to itself the right of resuming, giving an appraised value as compensation. Each person taking up an allotment was allowed to sell at any time, and at the expiry of 21 years, if not resumed, received the vested right to it.
The mode of procedure for taking up grants was laid down:— "All persons who may be desirous to receive allotments of land, are to make application to the Lieutenant-Governor, according to a form, which will be furnished to them at the office of the Colonial Secretary. If the application be admissible, it will be referred to the Board of Commissioners for the management of Crown property, who will report to the Lieutenant-Governor the extent of land to which the applicant may appear to be entitled, upon a strict examination into the value and description of property imported by him.
"The kinds of property on which claims may be founded, are such only as are applicable to the improvement and cultivation of land, or necessary in placing the settler in his location; and the value thereof will be estimated by the Commissioners, according to such fair standard of reference as they may see fit to adopt.
"On receiving the report of the Board, the Lieutenant-Governor will accord permission to the applicant to proceed to select such land, to the extent recommended, as may suit his particular views, and having selected, the applicant is to make his selection known to the Surveyor-General, by filling up the form which may be attached to the permission to select. This report of selection will be examined by the Surveyor-General, and transmitted by him to the Lieutenant-Governor, with such remarks as may be necessary to enable the Lieutenant-Governor to decide on the propriety of the allotment being made, and, if no prior claim to the land in question, or other objection exist, the applicant will receive a grant thereof, in the usual form of a primary conveyance.
"Land thus granted will belong in perpetuity to the grantee, his heirs and assigns, to be held in free and common sociage, subject, however, to such reservations and conditions as may be stated in the conveyance."
Then appear the permanent and non-permanent liabilities of grants, by which the land is held liable to taxation for public purposes, river frontages to a special tax for a fund to deepen the river and facilitate navigation, and the Government held the right of constructing roads, canals, bridges, churches, schools, and works of defence, through and on private property. No land could be sold by the settler until he had improved it to the extent of 1s. 6d. per acre, except where special permission was obtained from the Lieutenant-Governor. Other liabilities, as promulgated in the Colonial Office Circular of 13th January, were also mentioned.
In June and July the foundations of settlement were laid, and then began the influx of a rapid, almost phenomenal, stream of pioneers. In February the pioneer Parmelia left England, and the other ships which had been hired by the Government and private individuals, waited for some weeks to give Governor Stirling an opportunity to organise his Civil establishment for their reception. Three vessels reached Cockburn Sound in August. On the 5th August the Calista landed 73 men, women, and children on Western Australia shores, together with 14 horses, 200 sheep, and a general cargo. Next day came the St. Leonard, freighted with a general cargo, 26 horses, 11 cows, 6l bullocks, and 70 sheep. On the 23rd August the Marquis of Anglesea put into the sound, burdened with 104 men, women, and children, 2 horses, 1 cow, 4 calves, 50 sheep, and a general cargo. These 177 people, with the 67 who had landed from the Parmelia, made a total of 244 settlers, besides the 57 officers and men who had arrived by the Sulphur. The nucleus of the flocks and herds of the colony was formed, and after the half blind stock—suffering from their long incarceration—were landed, they were driven to pasture on the banks of the Swan. If any of the natives were observing this new move they must have been unusually astonished when the woolly sheep and horned cattle scattered, and hungrily browsed on the herbage. The Parmelia colonists were delighted at the familiar sight of the dumb animals, and it implanted renewed hope in them as they meditated on the stretches of pasture which were ready to receive the stock. At this time ships were constantly on the oceans bound from England for Western Australia. There was an almost continuous line of them, some separated only by a few days from each other, some by weeks.
Cockburn Sound bore quite a busy sight with these vessels anchored off the shore. The Challenger had not yet left, while the Sulphur was instructed by the English Government to remain attached to the settlement for some time, to protect the pioneers and be ready for any emergency. Captain Dance, the commander, repeatedly went up into the land to visit the settlers. The Parmelia had been seriously damaged by her contact with the sand-banks, and lay in the offing. Captain Luscome considered the damages so great that he wished to abandon her, and wrote to Governor Stirling that in his opinion the local Government were responsible. To this His Excellency did not agree, explaining that he had brought the Parmelia into harbour not as her commander, but at the special request of the master, and threatened that if Captain Luscombe abandoned her it would be at his own serious risk. Captain Luscombe then petitioned for assistance from the Sulphur to repair the damages, which was finally granted. The Calista, St. Leonard, and Marquis of Anglesea completed the little fleet.
When Captain Stirling recognised that it would be impossible for the settlers to produce any crops in the 1829 season, he despatched the Parmelia, after her repairs were completed, to the Dutch Islands for provisions. A successful voyage was made, and the barque returned to Cockburn Sound in January, 1830, laded with corn, cattle, and pigs.
A severe storm broke upon these vessels after they had been together but a few weeks, and struck a very severe blow to the settlement, and especially to individual settlers. Approaching with terrific force from the north-west, it soon strained the anchors of the ships to their highest tension, and finally carried the Marquis of Anglesea on to the shore under the cliffs of Arthur Head, where she became a total wreck. The Calista dragged three anchors into most dangerous proximity to the coast, but the storm abating in time saved her. No lives were lost in the Marquis of Anglesea, but stores, and especially a large consignment of bricks, caused a most serious loss. The Government subsequently used the ship as a storage hulk. This calamity brought unexpected distress on many people, and reports were pertinaciously circulated for a long period as to the openness and unsafeness of Cockburn Sound as a harbour.
The hardships endured by the August band of pioneers were little short of those which the Parmelia people had been exposed to. While the capitalistic class had brought stock and goods out with them they seem to have paid little attention to essentials. As a result many of them were without shelter, and it is stated that women and children lived in the caves at the mouth of the Swan for some time before suitable shelter could be procured for them. Others were landed at the depot at Garden Island, and forlornly waited there until it was convenient to receive them on the mainland. The labourers, who were often accompanied by their wives and families, suffered perhaps more keenly than the rest. The warmth which slowly draws on in the month August relieved them of some bodily suffering. Many of the first arrivals sowed vegetables in what they considered suitable spots, and it encouraged them greatly when they saw them spring from the soil but before they could make any success of gardening they had to study the new conditions of soil and climate, so diverse from what existed in England. The whole year seemed to be turned upside down, and the more ignorant were greatly astonished to find a winter in August, a spring in October, summer at Christmas, and autumn at the usual period of English spring. Many mistakes were therefore made in their efforts at culture, and it required careful study and some experience before the best use could be made of the land.
Notwithstanding all the vicissitudes to which these pioneers of June and August were introduced, they do not seem to have suffered in health from their exposure. Captain Stirling draws special attention to this in his despatches, and mentions that from the "inconvenience which a large portion of the settlers suffered—from want of dwellings, and exposure to the night air for weeks together,—the opinion is universal that the climate is favourable to health in a very uncommon degree." This opinion was borne out to a remarkable extent in the ensuing few years, and colds and fevers were almost unknown.
Mr. Roe, with his assistants, made a survey of allotments in Perth and Fremantle during July and August, and in September the records show the first were assigned. In that and following months numerous lots were taken up, some in fee simple. On the 5th September, 1829, F. C. Irwin, John B. Wittenoom, May Hedges, George Leake, and P. P. Smith received the pioneer lots. On the same days lots were sold at Fremantle to William Lamb, John Hobbs, Lionel Samson, and Thomas Bannister. Other lots were taken up in 1829 in Perth, by John Septimus Roe on 3rd November, Charles Simmons, M.D., on 24th October, William Shaw on 8th October, John Morrell on 8th October, John Tichbon on 17th October, Thomas Davis on 17th November, William Hokin on 17th October, Thomas Bannister on 21st October, James Henry on 28th November, James MacDermott on 8th October, Samuel Cox on 27th October, Richard Jones on 22nd October, Hugh MacDonald on 27th October, David Paterson on 2nd November, George Embleton on 3rd November, William Leeder on 8th October, Henry Trigg on 14th October, William Nairne on 28th November, Robert Lyon on 7th November, and C. Browne on 8th October. Several of these gentlemen took up two, three, and more lots.
The only lot taken up in 1829 in Fremantle, in addition to those already mentioned, was by John Bateman.
Not only did the Surveyor-General survey the sites of Perth and Fremantle during the first three months, but he also made a running survey of the surrounding country. Before coming out Captain Stirling had been permitted a priority of choice of country for his grant, which was made in return for his services on behalf of the Swan River country. Late in September the first grants of land were allotted, and the people moved to the sites and commenced the erection of temporary buildings. Governor Stirling wrote the Home Government that "in November the country on the banks of the Swan and Canning Rivers, extending between the sea and the mountains, and to the distance of 50 miles to the southward of Perth, was thrown open." Over this wide area the pioneers roamed, seeking for the particular spots where they might begin their work. Although this country was thrown open, a considerable portion of it was unknown. The original grants were made on the Swan and Canning Rivers, and no difficulty was experienced by the settlers in taking up their residence. In some the natives may have inspired fear, but the first settlers removed to their grants regardless, as Governor Stirling wrote, "of any danger from the natives, who, indeed, were found to be so harmless, that single individuals even who had traversed the country, and particularly among the mountains, had never met with any interruption, nor sustained any insult or injury at their hands." This was an excellent beginning. It was only after they had been unwisely and unsystematically treated that reprisals began.
The warmth of spring enabled the pioneers to more closely explore the woods. In September a multitude of wild flowers of every imaginable colour adorned the banks of the Swan, and afforded unspeakable delight to the people. The variety of these flowers was sufficient to astonish even those who were most fanciful and hopeful of the Swan River country. They nestled on the banks, covered the hills, dotted the plains and vistas, and lent such a lovely air to the scene that the imaginative among them might well consider the Swan River country a huge garden. Some of the flowers rose but a few inches above the ground, others several feet, while the shrubs and climbers were almost as brilliantly decorated as the smaller plants. Although these flowers had not the depth of colour possessed by the wild flowers of England, they outshone them in brightness and lividness. These, with the rapidly increasing volume of sound sent forth by the birds, the indescribable language of the woodlands, rendered the settlers more content, but still anxious of the outcome of their enterprise.
The first grants, as shown in the records of the Western Australian Lands Department, were made on the 29th September. The original recipients on that date were :—R. H. Bland, 8,000 acres; Peter Brown (Colonial Secretary), 5,000 acres; Charles Boyd, 640 acres; Mark John Currie (Harbour Master), 2,564 acres; T. W. Dance (of Sulphur), 5,000 acres; William Dixon, 2,268 acres; Sir James Hume (Bart.), 2,666 acres; George Leake, 14,887 acres; Peter A. Lantour, 10,000; John Whatley (M.D.), 1,500 acres; John S. Roe, 3,100 acres; Lieutenant-Governor Stirling, 4,000 acres; William Shaw, 1,000 acres; Lionel Samson, 4,696 acres; and Charles Ridley, 1,750 acres; all on the Swan River. They had chosen places where the soil appeared most promising, and where they could partake of the advantage of river transit.
The other assignments during 1829 were :—H. C. Fremantle (Captain of Challenger), 5,000 acres in interior, 30th September; Thomas Bannister (Militia), 2,000 on Canning River, 14th November; Henry Camfield, 1,000 acres on Swan River, 13th November; M. C. Carew, 100 acres on Helena River, 15th November; John Alexander Dutton, 3,600 acres on Canning River, 14th November; P. H. Dod, 1,000 acres on Swan River, 7th November, and 1,000 acres on Swan River, 14th December; John O. Davis, 7,026 acres on Canning River; R. Dawson, 1,280 acres on Canning River, 9th November; James Drummond (agriculturist, &c.), 1,000 acres on Swan River, 6th November, and 100 acres on Helena River, 19th November; Joshua Gregory, 1,000 acres on Swan River, 6th November; John Hobb, 4,000 acres on Canning River, 9th November; W. Lamb, 8,119 acres on Swan River, October; Peter A. Lantour, 100 acres on Helena River in November; R. Wardell, 1,000 acres on Swan River, November; Daniel Scott, 4,000 acres on Swan River, October; William K. Shenton, 100 acres on Helena River in November; W. H. Mackie and F. C. Irwin, 200 acres on Swan River; and P. Rogers, 4,000 acres on Canning River in November.
The names of officers of the Navy and Militia appear in this list and show that they availed themselves of the offer of the British Government to take up land in lieu of pensions or pay.
During the month of September, while parts of the Swan River country were ringing with the sounds of civilisation, two other vessels landed their burdens on the shores. These were the Thomson, on the 20th September, with Government stores, seven head of cattle, six sheep, and one lamb, and the Amity, which put in two days later, freighted with Government stores. During this month, too, the second exploration party, since settlement, went out, it was commanded by Lieutenant William Preston, R.N., an officer attached to H.M.S. Success upon her visit to Swan River. He was now on board the Sulphur, and with officers and men left that ship on 8th September, 1829, to cross the mountains to see what lay beyond. They sought to get their boats over the bar of the Swan, but were prevented by a heavy sea, and therefore went to Woodman's Point, where, after being thoroughly drenched, they landed baggage and provisions. The night was spent at Fremantle, and next day, while the men were sent to the Point for the impedimenta, Lieutenant Preston took boats and sailed up the river.
The Canning was reached towards evening, and on the second low point beyond Point Heathcote they rested for the night. In the trees above them paroquets and cockatoos chirped and called, the small shrubs redoled with "beautiful flowers," while the banksia, casuarina, and grass trees rustled to a north-west wind. It was a pleasant rural resort, but occasional showers spoilt all chance of comfort. Mr. Dale and Mr. Knight joined the party on that and the following day, and some soldiers from the settlement also accompanied the expedition. The progress up the Canning was slow on the 10th, because of the strength of the stream, but by several members walking the boat was able to make more headway. Mr. Dale, while traversing the right bank alone, came upon five natives, who greeted him in a friendly spirit. The boat was pulled to the spot, and Lieutenant Preston joined the little gathering. Presents were now exchanged, the whites contributing a swan, rings, knives, beads, &c., in return for spears, and a stone hatchet. Then they parted, and near by the explorers pitched their tents on an elevated bank. Little headway was made on the following day owing to the rapid stream. The weather was showery, and some time was spent among the natives. Difficulty was experienced in getting the boats up the shallow parts of the river and over the rapids, and on the 12th September twelve of the party left the rest and set out for the ranges. At nine o'clock the foot of them was reached, and a lateral valley was ascended, all following the little stream which bisected it. On either side quartz and granite rocks were observed, and when near noon they found "a beautiful small waterfall," they rested. There grew the cedar and stringy bark, the banksia and blue gum. Three quarters of an hour after resuming their journey the summit of the first range was attained, and was estimated to be 1,000 feet high. Ironstone was now mixed with the quartz and granite, and the vegetation was similar to that lower down. Several ridges of the mountains were explored, between which were marshy dales. Early in the afternoon they halted for the night. They rested amid this virgin scene, and the quietness was unbroken except for the yell of a native dog, the shout of a native, and the language of cockatoos and paroquets.
Other marshes and dales and ridges were crossed next day, and the rough travelling made the men very weary, and when a dense wood was entered they pitched their tents by a small stream. In the dales the soil was a mixture of siliceous sand and clay, and on the ridges large fragments of granite rock and ironstone lay strewn about, and immense trees reared their heads. The elevated parts were almost bare of vegetation. A kangaroo-rat was seen early on the 14th, which Mr. Gilbert, a member of the party, fired at. The report rang through the woods, and proved that those were favourite haunts of the aborigines, for cries of fear rent the air from women and children, and the pathfinders were astonished to see them "flying in every direction." A fire was found burning close by, where Preston placed feathers and handkerchiefs as peace-offerings. In a turn of the woods a little further on, a boy of about seven years old was seen hurrying away. So great was his fear that he let his spear fall to the ground, which, picking up, Preston stuck in the earth, so that he might get it again. From the apex of a very high ridge a wide view was obtained of higher ridges about thirty miles away, and there the party rested for awhile, appreciating the charm of the scene. A deep dale was now entered, in the centre of which was "a beautiful rivulet running over broken pieces of granite rock" to the N.N.W., whence rose a steep incline. The height of this ridge was reckoned to be about 1,800 feet, and standing on a small clear space, they commanded an extensive survey of the country to the east. Successive ridges rose before them, the furthest about 35 miles distant, which so discouraged their hopes of finding good agricultural land that they determined to retrace their steps. On every side these ridges cut the sky amid a grim silence, and there no farmer or pastoralist could expect to erect a homestead and ply his occupation. The provisions were too reduced to take them a long journey, and they went back over the hill, and four miles and a half away found three native huts. There they camped. Heavy rain set in, and continued all night long, so that all were wet, and some of the provisions were spoiled. The officers slept in the huts, but the rain penetrated even there. The only sound that was heard above the rain and wind at night was the howling of native dogs. Every Australian bushman knows how weird and dispiriting are their mournful cries when darkness enshrouds the unkempt woods.
On the return journey emus and kangaroos were seen, but their experiences were similar to those on the outward march, except that the weather continued wet. Fremantle was reached on the 19th September. Very few patches of good soil were inspected by this expedition, in comparison with the distance traversed, and little after results accrued from their efforts. Lieutenant Preston remarked that the ironstone so plentiful on the ranges possessed distinct magnetic polarity.
Another expedition left Perth a few weeks later to trace the Helena River. This was commanded by Ensign Dale, of the 63rd Regiment. Starting from the camp at Perth, on October 15, Dale crossed the river at the flats, or Heirrison Islands, as they now got to be called. Upon landing on the opposite bank he proceeded east by south, in order to pass through outside country. After penetrating some distance into the bush he altered his course to north-east, and crossed a large reedy swamp running with a small stream to the eastward. The soil on the banks contained a loam mixed with sand and was thickly covered with grass trees. Other brooks and streams were crossed during the day, in some parts of which the country was rich and verdant, but, taking the whole land between the Swan and the mountains, where they arrived in the afternoon, it was generally sandy, and thickly wooded with large trees. The next two days were spent in examining the surrounding country, and seeking the source of the Helena. Some of the hills contained good soil, while a few of the valleys seemed very fertile. On the 18th October Dale returned to Perth without having accomplished his object. Several little streams were crossed by the party, and the soil on the Helena was noted to be for the most part rich, and promised productivity under cultivation.
A great accession of population was secured in October. No fewer than nine ships reached the colony from England, New South Wales, and Van Dieman's Land, all heavily freighted with settlers, stock, and provisions. The number of passengers that now began to pour into the country from Great Britain was astonishing, and showed what effect the fulsome reports of a beautiful rich new country had on the minds of those who pined for colonial experience, or wished to be away from the old-time cobwebs, which had been accumulating for centuries, and had enmeshed them and their ancestors. These voluntary exiles stepped upon the sandy shore-line, and went up into the woods among the jarrah and banksia and sheoak, in twos and threes, and in bands. Those who invested in stock applied for, and finally received, their grants; the servants worked for them.
Of these nine ships the first to arrive was the Georgiana, on the 5th October. Next day came the Lotus, bearing 60 men, women, and children, a general cargo, three horses, seven head of cattle, and 48 sheep. Then followed, on the 9th, the Ephemina, with twelve more settlers, tea and sundries, four horses, five cows, 155 sheep, and fowls; on the 12th, the Orelie, with 11 men, women, and children, a general cargo, three horses, 17 cows, and 127 sheep; on the same day the Caroline with 66 passengers, a general cargo, 12 horses, nine cows, one bull, 182 sheep, and 24 pigs; also on the 12th, the Cumberland, with four pioneers, and wheat; on the 17th the Governor Phillips, with Government stores, and two working bullocks; on the 19th the Atwick, with 72 men, women, and children, a general cargo, five horses, four cows, 37 sheep, and 20 goats, and on the 22nd the Admiral Gifford, containing a cargo of spirits and corn.
Two vessels came into port in November, and two in December. The Lion anchored on the 11th November, and had on board a general cargo, 15 cows, and 400 sheep. The Dragon ranged alongside on 14th November, and sent on shore 200 sheep and four pigs, while on 15th of December the Gilmore disembarked 182 passengers, a general cargo, three horses, four cows, three calves, pigs, and fowls. The arrival of the pioneer, H.M.S. Success, in December, completed the total for the year.
The Gilmore contained the enterprising Mr. Thomas Peel, with his emigrants. By not arriving within the stipulated period—November—this father of the establishment forfeited the land on the Swan and Canning Rivers reserved for him, and it was therefore thrown open to other settlers. The amount of property he introduced to the colony is variously estimated, but what with his stores, implements for cultivation purposes, and this band of settlers—probably 182 men, women, and children—he had the right of making an extensive selection of land. He was not able to choose a selection in 1829, and after disembarking his people, and storing his goods, he examined the country preparatory to selecting.
Considerable progress was made by the administration in 1829, and at the end of the year a comfortable little camp was established on the Swan slopes. Offices had been erected for the different departments of Government, and the officers daily attended them and transacted their business. There was much hustle in the camp then, for the incoming people generally merged to the administrative centre, otherwise they secured shelter where they could on the seaboard, on the banks of the Swan, in the woods. At Perth several cottages were going up, mostly built of wood and clay, or stone and bricks, with mud for mortar. As the workmen went to and fro in the process of building, or cut down the shrubs and trees to make room for structures, the scene was instinctive of activity. In August the first clergyman—the Rev. J. B. Wittenoom—arrived, and he had to brave and bear with the others. He conducted Divine service at first in the open, but quickly sought to build a modest temple. In the erection of a cottage for himself, and a church for his people, he planned and wrought, carried wood and stones, and laboured daily. Some difficulty was found in getting artisans, and as a result the inexperienced and inefficient had to do work that they previously had little conception of. The Governor was able to erect a gubernational cottage near the present site of the Legislative Council buildings in St. George's Terrace, and he had the offices of the civil departments gathered round him. Some order thus began to reign in Perth, and the progress made was most satisfactory considering the great obstacles which had to be overstepped in June. The first white child was born in Western Australia on 25th December. This was a daughter of Lieutenant Roe, now the wife of Mr. S. P. Phillips, of Culham. A child was born by the wife of a soldier at about the same time.
But from a productive point of view little advance was evident. Those who had received their grants of land forthwith started to build homes, generally a room at a time, adding more as opportunity would allow. This took many weeks to perform, so that beyond the planting of vegetables the soil was untried. In December the passengers up the Swan were relieved by the sight here and there of modest residences near the banks among the trees, and as they sailed or rowed up sylvan solitudes they were delighted occasionally to hear the distant work of carpenters and woodmen.
At the end of the year Captain Stirling wrote his despatches, detailing the progress since establishment. In these he evidences great caution, and while incidentally mentioning the hardships endured, quickly turns to the subjects of resources and the present state of the settlement. Owing to the time of their arrival little knowledge had been gained of the peculiar conditions of the soil, and he did not desire to yet give any definite opinions, but he was still convinced of their favourable position with reference to the trade of the eastern seas. This has been shown, he observes in a later despatch, "in some measure by the arrival of the ships from various parts of the world, to the number of more than thirty, in the seven months of the first year of the establishment of the colony."
His Excellency drew up statistics dealing with the condition of the Swan River Settlement at the end of 1829, which were as follow:-
"Number of residents, 850; non-residents, 440; value of property giving claim to grants of land, £41,550; lands actually allotted, 525,000 acres; locations actually effected, 39; number of cattle, 204, of horses, 57, of sheep, 1,096, of hogs, 106; number of ships that arrived between June and 8th December, 25."
The area of land granted as shown by these figures does not agree with the records, and suggests that Captain Stirling includes the grants allowed to himself, Mr. Peel, and the civil and military officers. The figures throughout are large, and, if all the settlers had been capable of pioneer work, exhibit a splendid basis for future productive prosperity.
The arrivals were so numerous that Captain Stirling in the latter months found it necessary to explore the country to a greater extent than had hitherto been done, and he sent out parties in different directions, until by the end of the year he recorded that he obtained a knowledge "relative to the coast 70 miles to the northward of Rottnest, and 90 miles to the southward." Nothing remarkable was observed north of the Swan, but excellent country was discovered to the south.
On the 17th November, Lieut. Preston, R.N., of the Sulphur, and Dr. Collie left Cockburn Sound prepared to make an extensive trip along the coast and into the southern country. Before they returned on the 30th November they explored Geographe Bay, and brought back the encouraging news which largely led to southern settlement, and resulted in the foundation in after years of Bunbury and Busselton. Early in the morning they left the ship in two whaleboats, and went through the channel between Garden Island and Cape Peron. They carefully noted their route, and compiled a report and map of soundings and positions which were likely to be useful in the navigation of the coast. During that day they sailed into the Murray River to discover the depth of water and the suitability of the mouth for a harbour. In the evening they landed on the western bank of the river, and passed the night amid trees and shrubs with squalls of wind and rain as cheerless visitors. For two days they remained in and about the Murray, and found some good but somewhat irregular channels approaching it, while the country was noted to be sandy and often void of vegetation near the shore, but inland they saw an expansive plain of rich country. Large numbers of natives seemed very anxious to thoroughly scrutinise the boats, and sought to detain the party a considerable time among them. Animated interviews were held, and several aboriginals waded into the water to admire the novelty of boats and white men.
The Murray was left on the 20th, but little headway was made during the next two days, for strong sea breezes compelled them to run the boats through the surf on shore. At their first landing place they were not able to get fresh water until, ascending a high sand mound, they discerned a lake running parallel with the beach, a mile inland. Little of interest was viewed down the coast. Sand mounds fronted the sea, while occasional regular-looking eminences arose behind. Port Leschenault was reached on the 23rd, where they landed and pitched their tents, intending to examine the inlets. Numerous natives soon drew near to them, "who testified the greatest and most friendly eagerness" to be allowed to approach.
About two miles and a half from their camp a river was discovered "flowing over a shallow to the estuary. There are two mouths to the river, with a low sandy island between them and the one we entered; the westernmost was afterwards found the most shallow." A mile further up another island was come upon in the river beyond which they filled their barricoes with fresh water. Then they turned back. About thirty or forty natives assembled on the banks and ran into the shallow water to closely watch them. None of them carried weapons, and all held green boughs in their hands. The soil and productions seen this day seemed good and luxuriant, except for a few heights where sand predominated. It was late when they returned to the camp, but they secured little rest, for a member of the crew was soon missed. A search was made for him without avail, nor did he appear next morning. It had been intended to continue the tour down the coast to Port Vasse on the 24th, but rather than be open to blame for abandoning the fellow, they remained. He was not an altogether desirable assistant, and all believed he had voluntarily deserted them. A diligent search was made in the country immediate to the coast, and meanwhile Mr. Collie and Mr. Preston again went up the river for fresh water. As they were returning the man was found on the banks. He told the story that while away from the party he saw an almost naked native woman who greeted him with such shrieks as to attract two men. He rushed to a river which he swam while spears were falling round him from the natives. He got off in safety. The explorers now took him back to the camp. At different points up the river the natives curiously congregated on the banks to watch the progress of the boat, and when it passed them they made a circuit and gathered round the explorers' camp, carrying green boughs in their hands. The subsequent interview was amicable, and the natives went away apparently satisfied with what they had seen and received in gifts.
In the afternoon of the same day another river was discovered and examined for a short distance. The soil here was of blackish brown earth—a good mixture of loam and mould—about two feet deep. Ferns, sow thistles, stringy bark and other trees grew on the banks. These two rivers thenceforth became known as the Collie and Preston Rivers. Port Vasse was entered early on the 25th. This port was better known than Leschenault, and the commanders of the party being evidently little impressed by what country they saw, made their way back to the latter on the same day. Smoke was observed at several parts of the intervening coast, and natives were seen on the beach and shouted as they went by.
At Port Leschenault, Messrs. Collie and Preston more thoroughly examined the rivers which bear their name. Several swans were shot and one or two cooked, and multitudes of ducks were seen. During the following days they made their way up the coast, and after examining the several months of the Murray River, returned to the ship on the 30th. The Lieutenant-Governor thus acquired more elaborate information both of the southern coast and the possibilities of the country.
Early in the month of December, Mr. Dale made a further attempt to trace the Helena River, upon the lower levels of which settlers were already gathering. He set out on the 7th, and on this occasion, after crossing the Swan above Perth, took a more easterly course than previously. A light sandy loam was observable till within four miles of the mountains, when it changed to a red soil, which continued through the valley ascending the first mountain. About three miles further on they crossed the Helena, which had little current. The journey to this was mostly over a hilly and rocky country, generally sandy, with occasional patches of good soil. Thenceforward the route eastward lay over rocky hills, from many of which fine views were obtained of the country on every side. Huge trees reared their heads on these eminences, and among them grew beautiful wild flowers. The largest trees were of wide girth and very straight, while smaller ones in places had an exceedingly rugged, gnarled appearance. Mr. Dale went east and south until he reached the apex of a mountain, rising apparently 1,400 feet from its base. From there he descried a range of mountains, about "twenty-five miles" to the east, at whose base he saw the smoke of various native fires. Then he turned back, and reached Perth on the 15th December. His journey proved an arduous one, and by its means more information was obtained of the eastern country, which, however, did not promise well under cultivation, but some of the hills were believed to offer good pasture for sheep. The Helena was traced to "a chain of ponds."
In the same month Dr. J. B. Wilson, R.N., left King George's Sound with Mr. Kent, a soldier, two convicts, and an intelligent native, named Mokare, to explore the country in the direction of the Swan River. Major Lockyer, Captain. Wakefield, and Messrs. Tallemath and Butler had gone some distance inland to the north-east, but none of their journals or reports exists among the Western Australian records. From the settlement Dr. Wilson proceeded N.N.W., and seven miles distant his band crossed a considerable stream running east, evidently a branch of a neighbouring river. Large lagoons were passed, and a smaller stream crossed within the next few miles, the former of which, Mokare said, were popular resorts of natives, who, in dry seasons, congregated there when smaller sheets of water elsewhere failed. The soil, which had hitherto been poor, began to improve as they went further on, and the banksia trees gave way to others more ambitious. The rich alluvial soil compared "with the best on the banks of the celebrated Swan," although it had no great breadth. On the "gently swelling, lightly wooded adjacent hills" were fine sheep walks. Going N.W. by W. they "passed through a country beautifully diversified by moderately elevated hills and fertile verdant valleys, adorned and enriched by streams of the purest water." After ascending a summit and obtaining a panoramic view of the surroundings, whence they saw the peaks of Porrongor-up and Morril-up, they resumed the original course, and passed over a tract of some eight miles of "very barren country." From there they went more northward, and entered "a rich and romantic country," where were good cow pastures. They camped the night among these scenes, and in the morning the kangaroos skipped so constantly in the distance in the open forest that the men were given a half-holiday to hunt them, while the leaders examined the country to the east and west. On both sides the land continued good. Upon assembling, about noon, all were disappointed at no kangaroos having been caught. The marsupials were too wary to allow the strangers approach close to them, while they were too fleet for the dogs attached to the expedition.
A native came upon them while they were making their repast in these beautiful wilds, who joined them in their meal with the utmost confidence. He was well made, and showed the effects of good living in so productive a country. Mokare knew the new arrival, and both sought to alter the intentions of Dr. Wilson to proceed west, vociferatlng that to the eastward the best lands lay, where their tribe would be glad to receive them. But their united eloquence was of no avail, and the native bushman had to go his way alone, and was soon hidden by the great trees which adorned his birthplace.
Further north good, open forest-land was met, and about sunset a valley almost destitute of trees was reached. Of this Dr. Wilson writes:—"So much has been said of the scenery in New South Wales resembling noble English domains, that the comparison is rather trite. Imagine a rich valley of considerable width, extending east and west as far as the eye can survey, bounded on the south and north by a succession of undulating and moderately elevated hills, thinly but sufficiently ornamented with trees of gigantic form, and you may have some conception of the beauty of the spot." There, near a pool of water, they bivouacked that night, and Mokare having shot a kangaroo all were in high glee, and enjoyed to the full their lovely surroundings. Up to this point they had passed country adapted either for pastoral or agricultural purposes, and almost regretted the necessity of at once turning west. Not far in this direction they observed a circular basin of water about half a mile in diameter, upon whose shining surface were innumerable black swans, ducks, teal, and other aquatic birds. Circling the lake, to the width of about fifty yards, was a belt of tall reeds, at the inner margin of which the water was about six feet deep. This lake, set in a background of hills, they named Loch Katrine.
Still further westward they soon left the good land behind and travelled some miles over barren scrub, "as miserable and useless as any to be found in New South Wales." So great was the transformation that they early complained of being "disheartened and tired" by a "fatiguing journey." When a more fertile spot was reached they halted and camped. Their way next day lay over some good land, alternating with indifferent, and a fine stream running south was encountered. which was named the Kent, after their companion. Then, N.N.W., they got among the mountains, and rested the night by a stream, "in the midst of a wide and picturesque glen". Thence they made S.S.W., and named a stream of some magnitude the Macquoid, in compliment to the High Sheriff of New South Wales. Going over "hills and dales," they were caught while making a detour of a large swamp by a thunderstorm, and "as at this time the thunder was rolling heavily along, the peals rendered more terrific and sublime by the echoing hills, the rain pouring down in torrents, and some of the explorers—some of whom wished themselves elsewhere—up to the middle in water," they named that swamp the Dismal Swamp. South of this, barren ironstone and quartz country, interrupted by strips of good land, was proceeded through. Immediately beyond, "the transitions from good to bad land, and vice versa, were frequent and sudden;" and perceiving to the east by south a high, isolated, conical hill, they directed their steps to it. A valley of great extent, containing a rich red loam was crossed, and at one p.m. they "halted in a deep hollow glen, through the bottom of which rushed with velocity an impetuous mountain torrent" at the base of the mountain. After resting, Dr. Wilson, Mr. Kent, and Mokare made the ascent, and reached its highest summit at six, where the view amply repaid their fatigue. Dr. Wilson writes, "I have seen many far-famed views in the four ancient divisions of the globe, and have no hesitation in saying, that this of the fifth, if it did not surpass, fell but little short of any of them. The highest peak is about 30 yards square, perfectly level, paved with minute particles of quartz, and at each angle is an immense block of granite. In compliment to the officers of the 39th Regiment this was named Mount Lindesay." On looking out over the country, "round to the southward it resembles the ocean convulsed in a storm; or a better idea may be formed of its appearance by imagining segments of circles increasing in height as they increase in diameter." While looking down, Dr. Wilson named a high peaked hill, N.W. by W., Mount Roe, in honour of the Surveyor-General; a double-peaked hill, in nearly the same direction, Mount Mitchell; and another peak, W. by N., Mount Franklin.
Next morning, while exploring the base, streams were observed emerging from Mount Lindesay, and one of some magnitude, running directly south, was denominated the Denmark River, after a physician of the fleet. The banks of this river were rich, and the surrounding hills contained very fine soil, and the blue gum timber Dr. Wilson considered the finest he ever saw. With some regret, he and his party left this delightful scenery, and proceeded south-east, over hilly country, with land "sometimes good, sometimes indifferent, and sometimes very barren." The valleys were generally of good quality. By rapid marching they soon reached the coast, where they met with and named the Hay River, after Mr. Hay, the Under Secretary of State. Another river crossed was named the Heeman, and a high, conical hill, observed some distance away, received its name—Mount Hallowell—after an admiral of that time. Mount Shadforth (in compliment to the Lieutenant-Colonel of the 57th Regiment) was named, and the party returned to King George's Sound along the coast.
Dr. Wilson on this occasion went among some of the finest scenery in all Western Australia. It required no little hardihood to go boldly into such wild country, and his unchallenged course brings into bolder relief the harmless, peaceable disposition of the aborigines. Dr. Wilson and his companions were the means of supplying highly valuable information to the Government of the colony, but even to-day much of the country he passed through is almost unchanged. He concludes his description of the journey with a high compliment to the fertility of the country, which "contained as much, perhaps more, land fit for all rural purposes than any portion of equal extent in New South Wales." It was well watered, contained magnificent timber, and presented stirring scenery.