Page:The Visit of Charles Fraser to the Swan River in 1827.djvu/19

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admirably adapted to the growth of cotton[1]. This has already been produced at Sydney, and pronounced by the ablest judges in Britain to be of very superior quality. There can be no question but that, both as to soil and climate, the banks of the Swan River would prove better adapted to the cultivation of this plant than Port Jackson, and the seed that should be tried is that of Sea Island Cotton.

"The hills on the bank of the river are exceedingly barren, resembling those of Port Jackson, but producing a magnificent species of Angophora[2], which seems to assume the same situation in the botany as the genus Eucalyptus does in that of Port Jackson. Banksia grandis was here seen to attain the height of fifty feet, and its trunk frequently exceeded two feet and a half in diameter.

"Amongst the new botany of this tract may be enumerated a species of Metrosideros of great elegance, forming thickets on the flats, and intermingling with two other species of the same genus, but of less beauty; its flowers of the most brilliant scarlet[3]; the general height of the tree, 6 feet. There were also a pink-flowered handsome species of Centaurea, a remarkable dwarf species of Hakea, two species of Daviesia and Dryanda Armata.

"I observed a species of Psittacus[4], in large flocks, whose

  1. The cultivation of cotton at the close of the eighteenth century was enthusiastically taken up by one Baron De La Clampe, a retired French officer of the ancient regime, who after serving in India against the English, and being taken prisoner, desired to emigrate to New South Wales rather than join the army of the French Revolutionists. Mons. De La Clampe's plantation at Castle Hill, In New South Wales, was visited by Mons. Peron in 1802, and fine specimens, similar to Nanking cotton were then inspected.
  2. Eucalyptus calophyila, the red gum of Western Australia. An excusable Mistake by Fraser, as a strong resemblance exists to the apple-tree gums of New South Wales.
  3. Metrosideros, with flowers of a brilliant scarlet, would be probably either Melaleuca lateritea or Beaufortia squarrosa.
  4. Psittacus, Mr. A. W. Milligan, the Western Australian ornithologist, says:— "The ground-feeding cockatoo I take to be Cacatua Leadbeateri, or Leadbeater's cockatoo. It is possible, however, that it may be Licmetis nasica (commonly known as the corella), which also feeds upon and digs into the ground." On referring to Gould, that celebrated ornithologist says:— "Cacatua Leadbeateri. The pink cockatoo of the colonists of Swan River. This beautiful species of cockatoo enjoys a wide range over the southern portions of the Australian continent. It never approaches very near the sea, but evinces a decided preference to the interior of the country. It annually visits the Toodyay district of Western Australia, and breeds at Gawler, in South Australia." Of Licmetis he says:— "Licmetis nascius. The habitat of the present species would appear to be confined to Victoria and South Australia, where it inhabits the interior rather than the neighborhood of the coast. Like the Cacatua galerita (great sulphur-crested cockatoo), it assembles in large flocks, and spends much of its time on the ground, where it grubs up the roots of orchids and other bulbous plants, upon which it mainly subsists, and hence the necessity for its singularly-formed bill." And of the other species he says:-"Licmetis pastinator. Western long-billed cockatoo. All ornithologists now admit that there are two species of the genus Licmetis, one inhabiting the western and the other the eastern portions of Australia."