Mr. Richard Dale's First Excursion to trace the Helena River, in October, 1829
Mr. RICHARD DALE’S
First Excursion to trace the Helena River, in October, 1829.
Oct. 15th.—Left Perth at 8 o’clock, a.m. and forded the Swan at the islands at a quarter past 9 o’clock, proceeding E. by S. till 10, when we altered our course to the E.N.E. and N.E., and at 11 o’clock again changed it to E. by S. and crossed a large reedy swamp running E.S.E. with a small stream to the eastward, the soil on its banks being a loam much mixed with sand, but thickly covered with grass trees; at half-past 10 o’clock met with another stream running at N.W., and at 2 arrived at a broad brook running to the W.N.W.; we proceeded about a quarter of a mile along its banks, which has a most verdant appearance, resembling the richest parts of the Swan, and when we left it, took its course from the S.E.; at twenty minutes to 3 o’clock ascended the mountains, first passing over a hill about a hundred yards high, at the top of which, and up to within a few yards of the summit of another conical one, we found a rich soil and very good grass, which continued along the mountains for about a mile and a half to the end of this day’s journey. The country we passed over, after passing the Swan River, till we came within a short distance of the mountains, was generally sandy, and thickly wooded with large trees. Bivouaced by the side of a small stream, at twenty minutes to 4 o’clock, running W.—Fifteen miles extent of the first day’s journey. Oct. 16th.—Recommenced our journey at 7 o’clock, a.m., and in half an hour came to a valley with a broad brook running through it to the W.N.W.; the soil on its banks being very rich and fertile, proceeded about two miles up it, when we crossed it over a fallen tree, and took a S.E. direction over a high hill on account of the banks becoming steep; at a quarter past 9 o’clock met two of the natives, with whom we were on friendly terms, near a small creek, running into the main stream from the W.S.W.; we shortly after crossed the brook, and lost sight of it for about three hours, our general course during that time being E.S.E. The soil for the first eight miles of this journey appeared good, particularly whenever the country opened and showed small valleys. The latter part of it, when we left the brook and proceeded along the summit of the hills, was generally rocky, and the surface covered with load-stones.—Thirteen miles extent of the second day’s journey.
Oct. 17th.—Proceeded at a quarter to 7 o’clock, a.m., and continued following the brook up in an E.S.E. direction, when we left it running S.E. and ascended a high hill, from which we had a view of the country for nine miles up the stream, and could perceive no change in it to induce us to continue our journey. Returned on our way home at half-past 11 o’clock over a hilly country, the surface of which was sandy and very thickly wooded with large trees; bivouaced at a quarter to 4 o’clock in a small valley, with a broad stream running through it to the N.W.; and a good soil on the banks of it.—Seventeen miles extent of the third day’s journey.
Oct. 18th.—Started at 7 o’clock, a.m. steering W.N.W., and in two hours and a half reached the top of the mountains, being about two and a half miles to the southward of the part we ascended on our first day’s journey; in descending them we found in some places good soil, but on leaving them to the time of our arriving at the islands on the Swan River (a distance of about eleven miles) the country was generally swampy and sandy.—Seventeen miles extent of the fourth day’s journey.