Page:The Visit of Charles Fraser to the Swan River in 1827.djvu/13

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"The soil on the North Head is sandy; its productions much the same as that of the south. Two hundred yards from the beach the soil changes to a light-red loam, improving, as the hills ascended, to that of a fine virgin earth[1]. The valleys separating these hills along the coast are of the richest description, as far as my observations led, and inland extending to Pelican Point[2], beyond which their character was not ascertained. These hills[3] are admirably adapted for the site of a town, their elevated situation commanding a view of the whole of Canning Sound[4], with the adjacent coast, the interior for some distance, and the meanderings of the river. Their lying open to all breezes, too, is an additional advantage.

"The limestone with which these hills are studded renders them admirably adapted for the production of the vine; and, as they are free from timber and brushwood, they may at once be brought into a state of cultivation.

  1. This very fulsome account was not borne out by Captain Fremantle R.N., who, in a despatch to the Admiralty, dated 8th October, 1829, said:—"The soil of the sea coast was generally sandy; but on arriving at the fresh water in the Swan and Canning rivers the banks were rich, and the soil capable of producing anything." Vlaming's description of the same spot, visited on the 5th January, 1697, is still more pithy. The Dutchman says:—"As regards the country it is sandy, and in the place where we were had been planted with a good many shrubs, among which were some quite three and four fathoms (vademen) thick, but bearing no fruit, in short, full of prickles and thorns. Several of these yielded gum nearly like wax, of a brownish-red color."
  2. Now known as Crawley Point.
  3. These hills are Buckland Hill and those in the neighborhood, but the evident intention of fixing a town there was abandoned by Captain Stirling in 1829, for the provision of two towns, as mentioned in Captain Fremantle's despatch of 8th October, 1829:—"The Lieutenant-Governor had fixed on a site for a town about 12 miles up the Swan River, on the right bank, just below the islands, where he intended removing to immediately with the whole of the party landed on Garden Island. The town is to be called Perth, There is also another town to be built, at the mouth of the river, for the convenience of the shipping in Gage Roads, near the spot where the party from the ship first established themselves" The capital, Perth, was so named after the birthplace of Sir George Murray, the Secretary of State for the Colonies, who had granted Stirling's request of giving him Garden Island, and 90,000 acres besides, for his visit to the Swan River in 1827. The seaport town was called after Captain Fremantle, R.N., of H.M.S. "Challenger," who arrived at the mouth of the Swan River on 2nd May, 1829, and hoisting the British flag on the South Head, took formal possession, in the name of His Majesty King George IV., of all that part of New Holland which is not included within the territory of New South Wales. Exactly one month after, Captain Stirling arrived with the first settlers in the hired transport "Parmelia."
  4. Canning Sound, in 1827, gave place, in 1829, to Gage Roads and Cockburn Sound.