Page:Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London, Volume 1 (2nd edition).djvu/29

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

themselves on the opposite side of Australia. Captain Stirling, however, observes, that ' from this state of depression the active
' and stout-hearted have now recovered; and ten or twelve of
' the leading men having occupied their lands, and having declared
' themselves fully satisfied with the quality of the soil and the
' condition of their cattle, ! consider the undertaking to be now
' safe from the effects of a general despondency, which at one
' time threatened to defeat the views of his Majesty's government
' in this quarter.'

Among the heads of families there is a great majority of highly respectable and independent persons; in the working class a great variety. Some masters have been careful in the selection of their servants and workmen; but the greater part have either engaged the outcasts of parishes, or have brought out men without reference to character—men who, incapable of succeeding at home, are not likely to prosper in a new settlement to the extent of their groundless and inconsiderate expectations. ' If it be possible,' says Captain Stirling. ' to discourage one set of people and to
' encourage another, I would earnestly request that, for a few
' years, the helpless and inefficient may be kept from the settle-
' ment, whilst to the active, industrious, and intelligent, there may
' be a confident assurance of a fair reward for their labours.'

The state of the colony, abstracted from the official returns, at the end of the year 1829, and of six months from the first arrivals, was as follows:—

Number of residents, 850. Non-residents, 440. Value of property giving claim to grants of land, 41,550l. Lands actually allotted, 525,000 acres. Locations actually effected, 39. Number of cattle, 204; of horses, 57; of sheep, 1096; of hogs, 106. Number of ships arrived between June and December, 25.

Though, strictly speaking, there is no harbour at or near Swan River, this deficiency is, to a certain degree, compensated by the capacious anchorage in Cockburn Sound, capable, as Captain Stirling informs us, of containing in safety a thousand ships. By the entrance being buoyed off, it is rendered of easy access for large ships; but being strewed over with rocks, it becomes wholly impracticable when the buoys are removed. Any number of vessels would lie in perfect safety in this large sound from an enemy's squadron on the outside, as the middle part of it is out of mortar range, either from the sea or the land side. Such a port, situated as this is, in the hands of an enemy, might become, in any future war, ten times more destructive to British trade than even the Isle of France was in the last.

No other port or harbour exists on this line of coast, with the exception of Port Leschenault, accessible only, as has been observed, to boats. The great Baie Geographe, whose shape and