Page:The Visit of Charles Fraser to the Swan River in 1827.djvu/28

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


secondly, the facility with which he can bring his produce to market, either by land or water, the coast being easy of access on any part near the river, and no impediments[1] existing in the interior; thirdly, the great abundance of fresh water of the best quality, an advantage which New South Wales, east of the Blue Mountains, does not possess, excepting on the immediate banks of rivers and creeks; fourthly, the great abundance of limestone.

"Ten miles from the entrance of the Swan River, the Moreau of the French branches off to the south, according to the report of the party who went to explore it. It seems of equal extent with the Swan River, and the country on its banks is of the same description.

"The island of Berthollet, distant one mile from Buâche, is a barren inhospitable spot, producing abundance of hares, seals, and mutton birds. Its shores present many tesselated cliffs of limestone, resembling the turrets of a Gothic cathedral. There is no water on this island.

"The island of Buâche is composed principally of low ridges of light sandy loam, traversing the island from north to south, and terminating on the south with high cliffs or banks of sand, the loftiest parts of which are thickly covered with Cypress (Calytris), and the surface, towards the sea, is considerably interrupted by limestone rocks. The soil, though light, appears to me—from the immense thickets of a species of Solanum[2] which it produces, and which attains the height of 10 feet—to be capable of producing any description of light garden crops. The interior of these ridges are singularly divided by transverse dykes or banks, forming deep pits, which receive all the water from the ridges, the dykes preventing its escape otherwise than by absorption. The pits are covered with gigantic Solana, and a beautiful species of Brunonia. Fresh water may be found on each of these islands by digging 2 feet deep. The north side of the island is in many places covered with extensive thickets of arborescent Metrosideros, and the soil I found to be of a very fine brown loam, studded with detached blocks of limestone, and susceptible of producing any description of crop. In one of these thickets we sowed various sorts of culinary seeds and introduced several plants of the banana.

  1. This is not the fact. The sandy nature of the land is a serious impediment in the matter of roads for carriage of produce and goods, and road material in the country generally is absent where agricultural development is practical.
  2. May be Solanum simile.