Page:Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London, Volume 1 (2nd edition).djvu/27

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7
State of the Swan River Colony 1st Jan., 1830.

' becoming good sheep pasture, as the soil on their sides, where
' it exists at all, is invariably excellent, resting on granite and
' whinestone.' He states that the supply of water for the use of the people and for cattle is abundant everywhere. Though the rivers are not of great magnitude, they are of value, by serving as so many canals for boat navigation. Lakes, streams, and springs are found in every direction; and even on the sea-shore wells have been rarely sunk in vain. From this abundance, and from the considerable provision of food for live stock which the territory sees to possess, he thinks the pastoral life will be found more profitable than the agricultural, and will be chosen by the bulk of the settlers.

It is too early yet to form any estimate as to the number of cattle, horse, and sheep which may be kept on an average of any given extent of land; but that very considerable numbers may be sustained is evident from the fact, that, at the very driest season of the year, when no rain had faith for three months, there were both food and water in abundance. This is an important fact, as the power of supporting these animals without artificial food will secure not only a clear profit to their owners, but a supply hereafter of animal food for the use of the settlement. The live stock which have been introduced is described as being, in several instances, of the very best quality, and, with very few exceptions, arising chiefly from neglect, all kinds of it have done well. The bullocks and sheep, even in the dry season, fatten upon the natural grasses and herbage. Horses from England have not prospored so well, but even these have maintained themselves without any food beyond the natural herbage. In short, he observes, ' I am happy
' to say, with reference to grazing, that there is every reason to be
' satisfied with the result of our experience up to the present time.'

The views of those settlers who look forward to tillage are as yet confined to gardening and farming for their own consumption. Grain is not likely to be cultivated to any great extent, as it can be imported from Java and the surrounding colonies of New South Wales and Van Dieman's Land at a cheaper rate than it can be produced in the new settlement, at least for some time to come. Captain Stirling thinks, however, that flax of a very superior kind, and a species of hemp, both growing spontaneously, may probably be cultivated to advantage; that timber, which is abundant, may find a profitable market; that wines, olive, figs, opium, and tobacco, may be looked to as future sources of export; but that these and other articles must await the time when the present subsistence and comfort of the settlers shall have been provided for, and a stock of the necessaries of life permanently secured.

Many of the settlers of Perth and Freemantle have employed