Letter from A. Collie, Resident at Albany, King George's Sound, July 31st, 1832
Albany, King George's Sound,
Western Australia, July 31st, 1832.
In the expectation that this may reach your Excellency in England, and thinking that any additional information respecting the colony may be of importance, I beg you will allow me the honour to state, that in the end of May and beginning of June, I made an excursion into the interior, sixty-five miles and a half in a direction of N. 328° E. (true) in four days and a half I passed on the south and west side of Mount Barker, and soon came into a very level country, with few trees, growing in a gravelly loam, thinly covered with grass. This is the general feature of the country as far as I proceeded, presenting the greatest facilities to overland communication with Swan River. I ascended Warre-up or Road Hill, which is N. 328° E. (true) from Mount Clarence, distant forty-eight miles and a half; a few miles north of it is a channel, with, at my visit, large ponds of good water; a Java bullock, in high condition, fed upon its banks. Beyond this the ground gradually rises into moderate and very traversable hills and valleys, the soil improves, the grass, even at such a season, became abundant, and water stood in pools in the channels of the valleys. I returned by the west end of the Koikyennuruff Range, and ascended Madyerip, the western hill, which I suppose to be 1400 feet above the level of the sea; it is wholly composed, like part of Toolbrunup, of a quartzy sandstone: a plain, with numerous salt lakes, lies to the north of it, and neither from it nor from Warre-up did any mountains appear toward the interior. I skirted the south side of Porrongurup, and Mr. Henty had previously seen the north. The blue gums and other trees are very fine, and there may be about 1000 acres of very superior grassy land, well watered, upon it.
In the middle of July, I traced a valley where there is a rapid mountain stream, (I think the Hay) from a mile west of Mount Barker, to N. 307° E. (true) from Mount Clarence, distant twenty-two miles and a half, and found on its sides, as well as on the sides of the valleys entering it, which also contained streams of water, a considerable extent of good soil,—of excellent young grass shooting up where that of the former year had been burnt, and in some places, a thick covering of old grass. A herd of fourteen horned cattle were pasturing on the verdant slopes, and appeared by their traces to have passed the summer there. Their high condition testified in favour of their feed.
This winter has been more rainy, and a little colder but less boisterous (a hoar frost on three mornings) than the last, and more favorable to vegetation; the potatoe and wheat crops doing very well.
The few adventurers here are timid at the present aspect. Numbers are wanted, to aid and assist each other, create a mutual demand and supply, and extend themselves into the interior, or capital, to bear the enormous expenses of first improvement. Security against want, and extravagant prices of the necessaries of life, would do much to attract the labourer, who is of paramount importance.
I have the honor to be.
Your Excellency's most devoted Servant,
A. Collie, Resident.