The efforts of Mrs. Chisholm and other benevolent persons, to encourage emigration and send out willing hands to turn the Australian wilderness into a garden, were very well in theory. But these philanthropists overlooked, or were ignorant of the fact, that, with the exception of the squatters (who are but a small portion of the community), the bushmen had no homes, nor any portion of the wilderness to turn into gardens; that for want of these they are leading a half-savage life, rarely stopping with one employer more than a few weeks, and spending their earnings in gross excess and licentiousness. Thus these well-intentioned efforts were worse than useless; and Mrs. Chisholm herself has had bitterly to regret her mistake, and to declare that, had she known the difficulty of procuring land in Australia, she would never have recommended emigration thither as a remedy for the social evils of her own country.
Although New South Wales was settled in 1788, and Van Diemen's Land in 1804, it was not until 1834 that the first permanent settlement was effected in Victoria—or, as it was then called, "the Port Philip District." In that year, Mr. Henty, of Launceston (Van Diemen's Land), encouraged by the reports of whalers and others who had visited the coasts of South Australia, conveyed a number of sheep across Bass's Strait, and commenced a pasturage and whaling establishment at Portland Bay.
The following year, Mr. Bateman, in conjunction with some companions, purchased six hundred thousand acres from the natives of Port Philip, for about £200 worth of trinkets, and settled on a promontory in Port Philip Bay, now known as Indented Head. They were not long left in quiet possession, for before many days a vessel passed their settlement and anchored higher up the Bay. This was a rival party of colonists from Launceston, headed by Mr. Falkner, who has ever since been one of the most able and energetic men in the colony. Mr. Falkner's party proceeded eight miles up the river Yarra Yarra, and selected a spot for their settlement where no white man had ever stood before; and which is now, after twenty-one years, the site of the city of Melbourne, with her shipping, steamers, and wharves; her banks, theatres, and hotels; and her port thronged with the vessels of all nations.
Many others of Mr. Falkner's associates soon arrived; and Mr. Bateman, alarmed at this invasion of his territory, went up from Indented Head, and established a rival camp in sight of Falkner's. He applied to the Governor of Van Diemen's Land against Falkner's invasion, and being dissatisfied with the decision, he applied to the home government, who disallowed his claims, but awarded him and his companions £7,000 as compensation for their enterprise as first settlers.
The country being now thrown open, crowds of adventurers flocked over from Van Diemen's Land and New South Wales, with cattle, sheep, and horses, and the land was widely occupied with their flocks and herds. These early settlers endured terrible hardships and difficulties; their stock perished in great numbers in the bush-fires that constantly ravaged the country, and they suffered still more severely from the incursions and determined hostility of