Page:Australia, from Port Macquarie to Moreton Bay.djvu/101

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at Mariaville, which is about thirty-six miles distant from the town of Port Macquarie. All the available land on the banks of the Hastings has been, at various times, purchased at the Government land sales, but the quantity of land which has been brought under cultivation is not very great. The principal agricultural farms in the county of Macquarie are situated on the banks of the Wilson river, a tributary of the Hastings, and a never-failing stream, flowing through a narrow valley. These farms form a contiguous chain for twelve or fifteen miles, and a very good road connects the whole of them with the embryo township of Ballengarra, the point at which the Wilson river becomes navigable for boats, and which is about twenty miles distant by water from the town of Port Macquarie. These farms are all composed of alluvial soil of the utmost richness; wheat, maize, barley, tobacco, &c. have always been grown on them with the greatest success; and the Colonial Government, during the time that Port Macquarie was a penal settlement, established a sugar plantation on the banks of the Wilson river. The canes succeeded very well, and some sugar was fabricated; but a heavy flood having nearly destroyed the machinery of the sugar-mills, the undertaking was abandoned.

The climate of the district of Port Macquarie is much more agreeable than that of Sydney; the mountains approaching nearer to the coast collect the vapours from the sea, and cause more frequent