Page:The Visit of Charles Fraser to the Swan River in 1827.djvu/20

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.


voice is more plaintive than that of the white cockatoo. It feeds on the roots of orchideous plants, to obtain which it scratches the ground to a considerable depth.

"While attending to a boat in the river, which the party was dragging over the mud, I distinctly heard the bellowing of some huge animal, similar to that of an ox, proceeding from an extensive marsh further up the river[1]. (Could this be the dugong of the French?)

"Immediately afterwards, I was visited by three natives, armed; they made signs for me to depart, but offered no violence. On hearing the voices of the party they retired in the woods.

"One mile up the river from the last point is a small creek[2] of fresh water, issuing from an extensive lagoon clothed with arborescent species of Metrosideros of great beauty. The banks are covered with the most interesting plants, amongst which I observed two species of Calytris, a species of Acacia[3] with a scolopendrous-stem, and several Papilionaceous plants. The Angophoras on the flats are gigantic. These flats are formed of tolerable loam, of great depth, and capable of producing fair crops.

"The Zamia seen from the islands was here observed to attain the height of 30 feet. Xanthorrhœa arborea, too, was of equal size, and, associated with the splendid Banksias, imparted to the forest a character perfectly tropical.

"I was astonished at observing the facility with which water was obtained in this apparently sterile tract, for on digging to a depth of 3 feet it was found in abundance, and of the best quality.

"Proceeding up the river from the above-mentioned creek, the country assumes a distinct appearance from that seen below. On the left is an extensive marsh[4], bordered by thickets of Casuarina surrounded by a flat of the richest description, rivalling in point of soil that of the Hawkesbury. Here I first observed the Brome, or kangaroo-grass of New South Wales, in great luxuriance (with the exception of some seen on the banks at Point Fraser). Bastard and blue gum[5] is seen here in considerable quantities and of great size. The opposite bank is high, and covered with Eucalyptus and Banksia. The soil is a light sandy loam.

  1. This would not be very far from the lair of the animal that so startled Mons. Heirisson's party in 1801.
  2. Claise Brook. Now the main sewer of Perth, the site of the septic tank treatment of sewage.
  3. Acacia diptera.
  4. Walter's Brook, named by Stirling after his uncle. This is now the city boundary, dividing Perth from Maylands.
  5. May refer to the flooded gums of this State.