Page:The Visit of Charles Fraser to the Swan River in 1827.djvu/23

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


is incapable of cultivation. I saw a beautiful species of Dryandra, and a species of Hakea and several syngenesious plants. The summit of the mountain is studded with noble Angophoras. Here, too, I found a beautiful species of Arthropodium[1] with filiform leaves, an arborescent species of Hakea[2], a species of Dryandra, and two species of Isopogon. The view from this summit is extensive, resembling that seen from Princess Charlotte's Valley, which I witnessed in 1817[3]vide Oxley's Journal—but divested of the permanent swamps. The highest part of the range is of ironstone, but it is remarkable that there is no underwood. The ranges are of equal height, so that no view could be had to the eastward.

"At the source of the river I observed thickets of an arborescent species of Acacia, and gigantic thistles[4] 11 feet in height. Here I found a magnificent species of Hibiscus[5] with brilliant sky-blue flowers, and a species of Euphorbia[6]. The ridges on the banks are perforated with immense numbers of deep pits, the origin or cause of which we could not at first ascertain. They proved to be made by the natives for the purpose of catching land tortoises, with which these ridges abound.

"We found the river to be navigable until it almost ceases to be a stream, or where there is not room for a boat to pass[7]. The water is fresh 16 miles below its navigable source, and that at the end of a very dry season; what, therefore, must it be in the wet season?[8]. Mons. Freycinet[9] states that he found no fresh water, although he was in the country during the rains, a decisive proof that we must have penetrated at least 25 miles higher than he did. We saw nothing of the lake[10] laid down by him, and judge it to be a

  1. Arthropodium Preissii.
  2. Hakea glabella.
  3. Fraser was formerly a private soldier in the army, and Oxley alludes to him as "Fraser, our soldier-botanist."
  4. These thistles must have been introduced, probably by the French in their exploration of the Swan.
  5. May be Hibiscus hakeaefolius.
  6. Euphorbia. May refer to Phyllanthus calcinus, which is quite a common Euphorbiaceous plant.
  7. The furthest portion of the Swan shown on Stirling's map is its junction with Ellen's Brook (named after his wife). The river now is navigable beyond this.
  8. This is extraordinary, as that part of the river shown by Stirling as "river-water fresh here" would scarcely be as far as the present site of Guildford, where it is only fresh with the winter rains.
  9. There is no mention in Peron's Journal of Mons. Freycinet (who was a lieutenant) being in Midshipman Heirisson's boat.
  10. The French, on their map, showed a "pond" of fresh water on the west side of the river, close to its bank, at the termination of their survey. This would be about the site of Guildford.