Page:Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London, Volume 1 (2nd edition).djvu/24

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State of the Swan River Colony 1st Jan., 1830.

which rivers of the first magnitude might discharge their waters unseen and unknown. The whole of this coast is fronted with innumerable islands, with deep channels between them, through which, according to Captain King's expression, ' the tide rushes with frightful rapidity.' He suspects the great mass of land called Dampier's Land, extending from Cape Levique to Pointe Gantheaume, to be an island, behind which there is an opening of at least eight miles in width; and here, as well as in the Buccaneers' Archipelago, he found the rise and fall of the tides six and thirty feet, which on other parts of the coast did not exceed eight or nine feet. From these phenomena Captain King comes to the same conclusion with that excellent old navigator Dampier.
' From all that is at present known,' he observes, ' of this remark-
' able opening, there is enough to excite the greatest interest;
' since, from the extent of the opening, the rapidity of the stream,
' and the great rise and fall of the tides, there must be a very ex-
' tensive gulf or opening, totally different from everything that has
' been before seen.' But in parts of the coast so dangerous, no survey can be made, except in boats, or by !and, along the shore.


' It will not be necessary for me,' says Captain Stirling, in his official despatches to Government, ' to recapitulate the inconve-
' niences we had to encounter on our first arrival. The winter
' season, the loneliness of our situation, and ignorance of the
' country, and of the navigation of the coast, and our anxiety as to
' whether we should succeed or fail, were sources of uneasiness
' which are happily passed away. It is our present condition that
' will interest yon most, and to that i shall confine myself.'

The first operation on arriving at Swan River, was to mark out the site of two towns, to one of which was given the name of Freemantie, close to the entrance of the river; to the other that of Perth, about nine miles higher up, on its right or northern bank. In August, 1829, the settlers began to crowd in; and having received their respective allotments, commenced the erection of temporary buildings. 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 fifty miles to the southward of Perth, was thrown open to them. And many at once established themselves on their lands, regardless 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.

As settlers continued to flock in, towards the end of the year