The State and Position of Western Australia/Appendix

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A TABLE showing the variations of the Thermometer and Barometer at Perth, Western Australia, from 1st January to 31st December 1831.

Dates. Thermometer. Barometer. Prevailing Winds.


Max. Med. Min.
Max. Med. Min.
106 87 68
102 82 62
96 78 60
98 73 48
78 61 44
70 52 38
67 50 33
76 59 42
78 51½ 45
79 63½ 48
95 74½ 54
96 78 60
30.10 29.91½ 29.72½
30.20 30.02½ 29.85
30.20 30.05 29.92
30.25 30.10 29.95
30.40 30.15 29.90
30.30 29.90 29.50
30.40 30.05 29.70
30.40 30.10 29.80
30.30 30.10 29.70
30.40 30.07½ 29.75
30.15 29.90½ 29.66
30.25 30.07½ 29.90
N. by N. E. & S. W.
N. E. & S. W.
N. E. & S. W.
E. N. E. & S. W.
N. & S. W.
W. & N. E.
N. & S. W.
N. E. & S. W.
W. & N. E.
N. E. & S. W.
W. & S. W.
N. E. & S. W.
Generally fine and very sultry.
Thunder on 7th, 13th, and 14th, with rain on these days. Remainder of month fine.
Rain on 27th and 28th, at full moon; remainder fine.
Fine, with the exception of three rainy days.
Much rain, and heavy dews.
Lightning and thunder 8th, 12th, and 13th; frequent showers, but neither long continued nor heavy.
The greater part fine. Severe thunder-storm on 8th, ice on 9th, thunder on 16th.
A good deal of rain. A strong gale on the 5th.
Mostly cloudy and occasional showers. Thunder on the 2nd, 10th, and 19th.
Variable, cloudy, and rainy for the greater part.
Squally, cloudy, and rainy at beginning. Latter part fine.
Generally fine, a regular land and sea breeze, with a little rain.

N. B. The Thermometer stood in a thatched hut, not well situated to receive the sea breeze. In comparison with one kept in a brick house near the river, a difference of 15 degrees was observable, being so much lower during the hot months in the latter, especially during the prevalence of the sea breeze. The observations were taken at 7 in the morning, 2 in the afternoon, and 7 in the evening.(Signed.)W. Milligan, M. D., 63rd Regiment.


Extract from a Meteorological Journal of King George’s Sound, Western Australia, for the year ending 30th April 1 832, by A. Collie, Esq., Colonial Surgeon.

Mean Temperature. No. of Days’ Rain
in the Month.
Total Quantity of Rain in the
month by Pluviameter.
8 A. M. Sunset.
May, 1831 61 63 13 2.2015
June 56 58 18 6.4014
July 52 56 16 6.4453
Aug. 53 56 17 6.6268
Sep. 55 58 14 3.2403
Oct. 58 59 11 1.6721
Nov. 60 61 10
Dec. 62 63 07 0.1295
Jan., 1832 67 65 05 0.2652
Feb. 67 66 04 0.8841
March 65 66 13 0.3356
April 61 60 11 2.5383



Extract from Dr. Wm. Milligan’s Report on the Diseases of Western Australia, for the Year ending 31 December, 1831. (Addressed to the Governor.)

The favourable opinion I have already expressed of the influence of this climate on European constitutions, and of the place as a residence for invalids from India, is strengthened by a further experience of two years.

I have met with several individuals here, who on leaving England were great sufferers from dyspepsia, and disorders of the digestive organs, generally from the nervous affections which so often accompany these—from hypochondria, from asthma, and from bronchial diseases—who have recovered their health in a remarkable degree since their arrival. Some of slight figure have become more robust and stronger. Parturition with the female sex is expeditious and safe; being accomplished by the efforts of nature alone, within from three to six hours. No woman has died in childbirth in this colony since its commencement, nor am I aware of any who died within a month after.

Children thrive remarkably well, and I may add every description of live stock, although collected from different climates,—England. India, South America, Africa, &c., and various plants and vegetables, collected from as many different sources, find here a congenial temperature.

Indeed I am disposed to conclude, that when the settlers are well lodged and fed, and the country more cultivated and improved, but few diseases will be met with; I might perhaps say, only dysentery and ophthalmia, and these of a mild character.

(Signed)Wm. Milligan, M. D.

His Majesty’s sloop Sulphur,
10th December, 1832.


In compliance with your Excellency’s request, as to my opinion of the climate of Swan River, I beg leave to state, as a climate, with regard to health, I am not aware of any other that can be compared with it.

As a proof of its salubrity, during three years his Majesty’s sloop Sulphur was employed upon that station, not a single death, and very few important cases of disease, occurred; notwithstanding the very great exposure of her men, not only to wet, but also night air, in consequence of her boats having been a great deal employed at a distance from the anchorage. When exploring the country for several days, and sometimes weeks, these people have been exposed to the sun, fatigued in the evening, after a day’s excursion, slept in the open air, and that repeatedly in wet weather, without suffering in the slightest degree.

Another point ought also to be taken into consideration—the debilitated state of those constitutions which were undergoing this exposure, in consequence of having been so long a period upon salt provisions and without vegetable diet—out of three years and ten months the Sulphur was employed upon the Swan River service, her crew were only 256 days upon fresh diet. A life of this description in any other climate, I have no hesitation in asserting, would have been productive of the most serious disease.

I have, &c., &c.,
(Signed)J. W. Johnson, M. D.,
Surgeon, H. M. S. Sulphur.

To his Excellency Governor Stirling, &c., &c.


Description of the Roadsteads and Harbours of Western Australia, communicated in a Letter addressed to the Author by Capt. Preston, R. N.
Cockburn Sound. In approaching the land keep the Haycock on Garden Island N. E. ½ N. (magnetic) till within 1½ miles of Garden Island, when you will have passed over the five fathoms’ bank, and will be in nine to eleven fathoms water; then steer to the northward, till the Challenger Buoy comes in one with the Stags and Spit Beacons: a pilot will then come on board, but you may safely run into Cockburn Sound by the chart, keeping the Challenger and Stags on the right hand, and the Middle Beacon and Flat Ledge on the left. The Snapper Buoy and Pointer Beacon show the south passage into Owen’s Anchorage or into Gage’s Roads. Not knowing if the buoys and pilots are complete in the channel into Cockburn Sound, it would be advisable for ships to make Rottnest Island; keep it on your right hand and run for Gage’s Roads, as off Fremantle you are sure of getting a pilot, when you may anchor either in the Roads or Owen’s Anchorage, according to the season. Owen’s Anchorage is good and safe at all seasons of the year; and, in my humble opinion, there is not the slightest necessity to go into Cockburn Sound, unless a ship requires to be hove down, when Port Royal will be found well adapted for that purpose; as his Majesty’s ship Success was hove keel out, during the most tempestuous winter (1830), and was never obliged to be rightened through any swell setting in to the Anchorage. The number of ships that were driven on shore during that winter, was entirely owing to their not being properly found with anchors and cables, and want of common precaution. The masters of the ships had all sufficient warning and opportunity to run into Owen’s Anchorage from the Governor (Sir James Stirling); besides, long before the gale came on, the barometer fell so much as to make us keep an anchor-watch on board the Sulphur, which we very seldom had occasion to do.

From March to the beginning of September gales of wind from N. W. to S. W. may be expected on the coast. They usually commence at N. N. E., and are always preceded by very great depression of the barometer. As they haul round to the westward, they are accompanied by heavy squalls of wind and rain, and generally blow most heavily when at N. W. Before the wind gets to the S. W. the glass is seen to rise suddenly, and the change generally takes place in a heavy squall; after which the weather becomes clear and moderate.

Ships should not run for the land during a gale, unless they are well acquainted with it, and certain of, their latitude and longitude. In running for the land, in blowing weather, I have often been certain of my reckoning by the soundings.

The appearance of Rottnest and Garden Island is low and sandy; but, in clear weather, the main land will be seen distinctly over them.

The distance from Owen’s Anchorage to Scott’s Jetty, in Fremantle Bay, is about two miles and a quarter.

King George’s Sound, with its Harbours.

In running into King George’s Sound there is no danger through either channel. A spit runs off the N. E. end of Michaelmas Island, but shoals gradually to the shore. After you are inside the Island, you may anchor in any part of the Sound in moderate weather. There are two secure Harbours in the Sound, Princess Royal and Oyster; the former will admit ships drawing eighteen or nineteen feet water; the latter vessels drawing ten feet. Wood, water, and ballast, may be obtained at both places.

(Signed)William Preston.

To Capt. F. C. Irwin, &c., &c., &c.

Cockburn Sound and Owen’s Anchorage.

The following' account of the buoys at the entrance of the above harbours has been extracted from the Nautical Magazine for March 1835, into which it was copied from the Perth Gazette, forwarded to that publication by the Surveyor-General, Lieutenant J. S. Roe, R. N.

The Challenger Buoy, painted black, is moored in six fathoms water, about twenty-five yards to the north-east of the Challenger Rock, which is nearly awash, and is situated near the north-western termination of Sea Reef; extending a mile and a quarter in a north-west direction from the north-west point of Garden Island. This buoy is visible from a ship’s deck, through a spy-glass, at the distance of five or six miles, and is a principal object to be made out by a ship approaching the channel between Carnac and Garden Islands.

Stags Beacon, painted black, is placed about three furlongs in the direction of S. 65° E. (magnetic) from the Challenger buoy, in five fathoms water, about five yards to the N. N. W. of a small rock, with only six or seven feet water upon it. This rock is the northernmost of many which rise out of five and six fathoms water, and from a reef called the “Stags.”

Mid Beacon, painted white, is situated opposite to the Challenger buoy, in nearly four fathoms water, and in a line with the outer small island off the south point of Carnac, towards which it is intended shortly to remove it about eighty yards, into three fathoms on the southern edge of Middle Shoal. Mid Beacon will then float at the distance of 100 yards to the S. S. W. of eight and nine feet water on the Middle Shoal.

Flat Ledge Beacon, painted white, is placed in three fathoms and a half water, about 130 yards N. W. by W. from the Flat Ledge, a small reef, covered by only six feet water. This beacon will be shortly removed into three fathoms, about 130 yards in a south-east direction, to the south side of the Flat Ledge.

A ship may safely enter Cockburn Sound by passing to the north of the Challenger Buoy and Stags Beacon, and to the south of the Mid and Flat Ledge Beacons; steering S. E. by E. ¾ E. in Mid-channel. This course may be prolonged until the Flat Ledge and Mid Beacons are brought in a line; then haul up to the east, until the largest rock of the Stragglers, appearing as two small hammocks, comes in sight round the north-east point of Carnac. This will clear the north-east spit, which extends three quarters of a mile from the north-east point of Garden Island, and a course may then be shaped for any part of the Sound.

To seaward of the Challenger, the principal dangers to be avoided are situated on the Five Fathoms Bank, and consist of Seaward Reef, a small patch, six or seven feet under water, about three miles and a quarter W. by N. (magnetic) from the north end of Carnac; and the Casuarina Shoal, with one and two fathoms upon it, about two miles and a half of W. ½ N. from the north-west point of Garden Island. Further to the south lies Coventry Reef, a small patch of rocks just awash, bearing S. 18½° W., and distant eight miles from some remarkable sand-hills on the coast near the middle of Garden Island, called “Sandown.”

Lambert Channel, through which his Majesty’s ship Alligator got to sea from Owen’s Anchorage on the 19th of December, is a valuable outlet to sea or to Cockburn Sound, from Owen’s Anchorage or Gage’s Roads, without passing round Rottnest Island, which, during strong northerly winds that would distress a ship in either of these situations, may be considered almost impracticable. In the absence of means at the present time for buoying this channel, it may be found by keeping the summit of Buckland Downs a very little open to the south of the Mewstone, in the direction of N. E. ¾ E. and S. W. ¾ W. (magnetic). This mark will carry a ship through in not less than four fathoms, and about 100 yards to the northward of a small rock four or five feet under water, which is detached about a cable’s length to the north-east of the breakers on the western bank, and is called the Passage Rock. At a cable’s length to the north-west of it is a small patch of two fathoms and three-quarters. A ship must pass between them in four to five fathoms water, and then haul up to the W. by S. to avoid a small shoal spot with 3¼ upon it.

The soundings will then quickly deepen to 7, 5, 6, 8, and 9 fathoms, and a course may be shaped to pass half a mile to the westward of the Challenger Buoy. This channel being narrow, and not yet buoyed off, should not be attempted by a stranger without previously securing a boat or conspicuous cask near the Passage Rock, and another near the patch of two fathoms and three-quarters to the north-westward of it.

Medina Beacon, painted red, and the Alligator Beacon, white, point out the channel into Owen’s Anchorage. The former is placed in four fathoms water, on the northern edge of the Parmelia Bank, which extends from Woodman’s Point to Carnac; and the Alligator Beacon is in five fathoms water, on the southern spit of the Success Bank. They are nearly a mile apart, in a line between Fremantle and the Haycock on Garden Island, with seven to nine fathoms water between them. A ship should steer between them, and, after passing over a bank of three fathoms water, bring up about a mile from the shore, and nearly the same distance to the south-eastward of a beacon which has been placed in two fathoms water, at fifty yards to the westward of the fish-rocks. Should this beacon disappear, the Fish-rocks may be found by keeping the largest Seal-rock on with the south-end of the Mewstone, and bringing the extremity of Rous Head in a line with a conspicuous large sand patch on the coast to the northward.

The Snapper Buoy and Pointer Beacon, as represented in the printed chart of 1831, have not been laid down, in consequence of the channel between Carnac and the Western Bank, for which they were intended as leading marks, having been found too intricate for general use, until means are available for marking off some of the principal dangers in it. The same cause has superseded the present necessity for placing the Basket Beacon at Second Head, and the Brothers Beacon at Beacon Head; nor has it been considered necessary at present to place the Spit Beacon off the north-east point of Garden Island, the foregoing directions for avoiding it being amply sufficient for keeping a ship out of danger in that quarter.


Swan-River Mission.

In the course of the past year a few friends of Missions in Glasgow, sensible of the claims which the natives of Western Australia have on them, proposed to the Church Missionary Society to send a missionary there, and that the expense of the station should be borne by themselves and other friends interested in the object. The same proposal was repeated last winter by persons in Dublin anxious to promote the same cause, but the Society declined both proposals, assigning as a reason that they had chosen China, as the next station to which they proposed to extend their operations.

The failure of these applications has led to the formation in Dublin of a Society called “The Swan River Mission,” having for its object the sending out missionaries of the Church of England, and also schoolmasters, to the Aborigines and the colonists. The committee of this Society are now occupied in looking out for suitable persons to send thither in those capacities.

Messrs. F. and C. E. Mangles, East India Agents, Austin Friars, London, on hearing a short time since of the existence of the Society, liberally offered them a free passage for a missionary; and as the author is persuaded there are many persons in the United Kingdom who would, in a similar spirit, extend a helping hand to the Society, he hopes this publication may be instrumental in bringing such individuals acquainted with it.

Its committee is composed of the Rev. Messrs. Irwin (of Sandford Chapel), Lloyd, and Marks (chaplains of Molyneux’s Asylum), and the Rev. H. Verschoyle (Chaplain of the South Penitentiary); together with the following lay-members: A. Ferrier, Pollock, Kincaid, and Churchill (M. D.), Esqrs. Secretary, the Rev. Hamilton Verschoyle, No. 2, Pembroke-place. The committee are thus particularized, as their names will be a sufficient guarantee for the character of the Society, with all who are acquainted with the religious and benevolent institutions of Dublin.

Postscript.—Since the above was in type, the author has learned from the Secretary, that unforeseen difficulties have arisen in the way of the Committee, while endeavouring to carry out their plans, and that they have come to the opinion that London would be the most suitable place for the position of the Parent Society. At the same time they express their perfect readiness to co-operate, to the utmost of their power, as a branch society; and offer, as a proof of their zeal in the cause, to engage for the raising of the sum of 100 l. towards the purpose originally contemplated.


Proposals for the Erection of a Church and Parsonage at Augusta, Western Australia.—Contributions Sixpence each.

A Lady, warmly interested in the welfare of relations and friends, settled at the above-named Colony, is extremely anxious that they, and the respectable community to which they belong, should not, in giving up the many advantages of their native land, be deprived of its most precious privilege—the means and opportunity of religious worship and instruction. In order to promote their attainment of this blessing, she has undertaken to raise a subscription for the erection of a Church, on the principles of the Establishment and under episcopal jurisdiction, and a residence for a minister of the Church of England. She has limited the sum to be contributed to sixpence, not only because she trusts to find it sufficient, but that it overcomes any reluctance she might otherwise experience in making her solicitations for this distant though promising part of our empire—to feel she is asking for that which it can inconvenience none to bestow, however numerous and extensive may be their charities.

“It is calculated that 500 l. will be sufficient for the above-mentioned purpose.

“Subscriptions will be received by the Rev. Thomas Dale, M. A., Minister of St. Matthew’s Chapel, Denmark Hill, and Evening Lecturer of St. Sepulchre’s, London; and by John Cole Symes, Esq., Fenchurch Street, London; by Lawrence Desborough, Esq., Grove Hill, Camberwell; and George Spence, Esq., Jesus College, Cambridge.”


Native Institution.

With a view to try the experiment of civilizing the natives in the neighbourhood of Perth,—the plan will of course be extended to other districts where its beneficial effects have been made apparent,—his Excellency, the Governor, has been pleased to appoint Mr. F. Armstrong interpreter, with a limited salary, at present; but it will be subject to further improvement in proportion to the increased utility of the institution. Mr. Armstrong brings to the task a considerable knowledge of the native language, obtained through several years of diligent inquiry, and frequent association with the natives in their primitive haunts; we are gratified, therefore, to find so judicious a selection made, and are disposed to augur favourably of this further attempt at conciliation, under the direction of one who has hitherto voluntarily devoted his time to the acquirement of the native language, and has zealously sought an intimate acquaintance with the habits and manners of the tribes around us.

A slight sketch of the proposed system to be adopted may not be unacceptable to our readers; we shall therefore glance over a few of the principal heads. At the outset the natives are to understand that they are to procure their own means of subsistence, either by the remuneration they may derive from work or labour performed for individuals, or by the exercise of their own native arts, such as fishing, hunting, &c. It does not form any part of the intended plan to maintain the natives at the public expense, or support them in a state of indolence,—a boat will be provided for them, for the purpose of fishing, and any surplus quantity they may have will be disposed of for their benefit, under the direction of Mr. Armstrong. They will not be subject to any restraint, but have free ingress and egress, at all times, to such grounds as may be set apart for them; we believe it is in contemplation to devote the grounds under Mount Eliza to that purpose, to which they can have access without passing through the town.

The advantages the natives will have in attaching themselves to the institution, will be—protection from violence, whether from each other or from white people, medical aid in time of sickness, and a regular supply of food ensured by cautious guidance and a provident superintendence; which it is hoped will gradually bring them to a more civilized and happier state of existence.

The following we believe to be the substance of the objects to which it is the desire of his Excellency that the interpreter should direct the attention of the natives:—

1st. That the Government is actuated, in forming this institution, by a disposition to do the natives a good.

2nd. That Mr. Armstrong, understanding the native language, and being a friend to the natives, has been appointed to reside with such of them as may please to live at Mount Eliza Bay.

3rd. That the Governor has given a boat for their use in fishing.

4th. That when they have fish to spare, Mr. Armstrong will help them to dispose of it for flour or money.

5th. That when they are sick, Mr. Armstrong will take them to the doctor to be cured.

6th. That they will be shown how to build huts for themselves.

7th. That as long as they behave well they shall not be molested by any one, whether black or white; and if they are, the Governor will take their part.

8th. That they are to employ and maintain themselves by fishing, or such other work as Mr. Armstrong may point out; and that if they do not procure enough for their own supply, they must go without.

9th. That if they like to go away from Eliza Bay, they may always do so, and come back at their pleasure: but while there they must behave well, and do as Mr. Armstrong directs them; and if they are not well conducted, Mr. Armstrong will not let them remain there.—From the W. A. Journal of Dec. 13, 1834.


Extraordinary Recovery of a Child by the Swan-River Natives.

About half-past seven o’clock on the evening of the 11th ult., it was reported to Mr. Norcott that one of Mr. Hall’s children, a boy, between five and six years of age, was missing, and that he had not been seen since one o’clock on that day, when his brother left him on the beach looking at some soldiers who were fishing there. The natural conclusion was, that the child had mistaken his path on returning home, and had wandered into the bush. Immediate search was made, conceiving that he could not have gone far from the settlement, and was kept up for two hours, indeed until the darkness of the night compelled the party to relinquish all hope of finding him. At four o’clock the next morning, Mr. Norcott, accompanied by Corporal Blyth, of the 21st regiment, Smith, of the Police, and the two natives, Migo and Molly-dobbin, who are now attached to the Mounted Police Corps, set out to renew the search, fully calculating upon finding the little boy in less than an hour. They soon came upon the track where he had been the preceding day, and pursued it for some distance to the northward, when it was lost to all but the natives, who, notwithstanding the wind had been blowing very fresh, and had rendered the traces imperceptible to an unpractised eye, still continued to follow them up, along the beach, for about four miles, when they intimated that he had turned into the bush. Here they still followed him into an almost impenetrable thicket, through which they said he must have crawled on his hands and knees. Their progress was now very slow, in consequence of the thick bush, and the difficulty of perceiving the track on the loose sand; but the acuteness of the natives, who are certainly most astonishingly gifted, led them through it, and in about an hour’s time they regained the beach, the boy having made a circuit inland of about 400 yards. The track was now more strongly marked, and was perceptible to the whole party, continuing so over a space of about five miles, occasionally turning in and out of the bush. At the end of about nine miles further the natives were quite at fault, owing to his having left the beach and entered a thicket, which it was with difficulty they could push themselves through; they, however, persevered, and delighted the party, by every now and then crying out, “Me meyal geena,” meaning, “I see the foot-marks.” Mr. Norcott, who was on horseback, finding great difficulty in passing through the scrub, took a position on a high hill, overlooking the interesting progress of the natives in the hollow below. They were then making their way through a perfect mass of matted bush; and Mr. Norcott informs us, such was the apparent difficulty in tracking the child, that he was about to despair of success, when, to his astonishment, they held up a cap, which was known to belong to the boy. This circumstance cheered them in their pursuit, and about half an hour afterwards the track directed them again to the beach. They proceeded until they reached the Sand Cliffs, about ten or twelve miles from Clarence, one native continuing to walk a little way in the bush, in order to be certain that the boy had not crossed, or left the beach, and the other remaining with the party on the beach. Here it was ascertained he had again taken to the bush, and they found no difficulty in tracking him until they came to an elevated spot, where the wind had entirely effaced the marks of his feet. This was a most anxious moment, as even the natives seemed to be doubtful whether they would again discover the track. Migo, however, descended the hill, persisting in search along the plains inland, and, after having made a circuit of about half a mile, was once more fortunate to fall in with the track; but notwithstanding they had found it, they were sorely perplexed to retain it, and were kept near the spot for two hours, off and on, losing and again discovering it. The party had nearly given up all hope of seeing the child, when Molly-dobbin pointed out the track on the side of a deep ravine. They were then about 600 yards from the beach. The natives then went down into the ravine, and commenced hallooing, thinking that the child might be asleep in the bush, and still persevered in pressing through the thickest scrub, and the most difficult country to penetrate through which they had yet passed; in a short time they once more found themselves on the beach; and observing, by the tracks, that the child had evidently been there within a very short period, they journeyed on with a better hope of obtaining their object, and restoring the lost child to his afflicted parents. No sooner were these feelings of gratification excited, at viewing the recent footsteps, than, at a distance of about three hundred yards, the child was seen lying on the beach, its legs washed by the surf, and apparently in a state of insensibility. Mr. Norcott galloped up to him, and, calling him by name, the boy awoke and instantly jumped up. Another hour, and probably the child would have perished, as the waves were rapidly gaining on him. The joy and delight of the two natives is represented to have been beyond all conception; and their steady perseverance, Mr. Norcott says, was beyond any thing he could have anticipated from them: and really, when it is considered that they walked a distance of nearly twenty-two miles, with their eyes, for ten hours, constantly fixed upon the ground, and at the same time evincing the most intense anxiety to be instrumental in rescuing the child from its impending fate, we cannot but esteem the act, and highly applaud the noble disposition of these two savages.

Mr. Norcott took the child up, and placing him on the horse before him, the party made for the nearest road home, where they arrived about nine o’clock at night, having been over a distance of thirty-nine miles, after being out seventeen hours, without the slightest refreshment.

It is certainly surprising that the child should have got so far, in the manner he must have been frequently compelled to force himself through the bush. He is not three feet high. His clothes were much torn, and his body was covered with scratches and bruises.

Mr. Norcott, in speaking of the conduct of the natives, conceives that he cannot too highly commend their behaviour, and adduces this circumstance as an instance of the great advantage derived from having these two natives, Migo and Molly-dobbin, permanently attached to the Corps.—Extract from the W. A. Journal of Jan. 3, 1835.


Government Notice.

Perth, August 22, 1834.

Instructions having been received by me from his Majesty’s Principal Secretary of State for the Colonies to appoint Mr. W. H. Mackie as Commissioner of the Civil Court, under an arrangement made by authority of his Majesty’s Government for consolidating in one individual the two offices of Criminal and Civil Judge, hitherto held respectively by Mr. W. H. Mackie, as Chairman of the Quarter Sessions, and by Mr. G. F. Moore, as Civil Commissioner; the cessation of Mr. Moore’s duties in the Civil Court, pursuant to those instructions, affords me the opportunity of expressing in the most public manner my unqualified approbation of his conduct while he has held that office. Qualified no less by education than by natural talent and temper for administering justice with wisdom and integrity, the necessity which has led to this discontinuance of Mr. Moore’s duties in the Civil Court will be duly appreciated by the public at large, no less than by myself; and he will have the satisfaction of carrying with him, into whatever employment, whether of a public or private nature, which he may undertake, not only the consciousness of high desert, but of knowing, from this public testimony to his merit, the esteem in which he is held by me, as the chief authority in this settlement.

(Signed)James Stirling,
By His Excellency’s Command.Governor.
(Signed)Peter Brown, Colonial Secretary.


Profits of Sheep Farming.

(This Article originally appeared in the Cape Advertiser, and is now copied from the Western Australian Journal of Nov. 29, 1834.)

The sheep of this colony (the Cape) have hitherto been reared chiefly for food. But as, with little or no care, they increase much faster than the human race, and as their flesh, being impatient of salt, is unfit for exportation, this article of produce, though most agreeable to the consumer, has long since ceased to hold out any great prospects of wealth to the producer. Genuine Cape sheep, with their thin wiry hair, may be purchased in any numbers from the distant farmers for 1 s. 6 d. to 2 s. ahead. * * * *

The total number of these sheep in the colony may be taken at two millions, and using round numbers, we may take their value at the same number of rix-dollars, or 150,000 l.

The manufacture of woollen cloth from the wool of pure Cape sheep is unknown. A small quantity has lately been forced into the service of the hatter, and the remainder has either been suffered to rot where it was shed, or entombed in the uncomfortable mattress, or the pack-saddle of the horse, ass, or ox. It was unfit for any market.

Some improvement in this branch of agriculture has lately been effected; but in 1830 the total quantity of wool exported from this fine grazing colony, admirably adapted to the construction and habits of the animal, was 33,407 lbs., at an average price of 10 d. per lb.; so that the whole crop of wool did not exceed in value the sum of 1,475 l. 5 s. 10 d.

In New South Wales the climate and face of the country, in their adaptation to the rearing of sheep, very much resemble those of the Cape. We believe no difference exists in any point considerable enough to establish a claim of superiority on either side. And up to 1816 so little sensible were the stockholders of New South Wales of the capabilities of their country, with respect to the production of wool for exportation, that we find Mr. Riley, an able and zealous improver, strenuously urging them to “a consideration of the obvious propriety of transforming the hair that disgraced so many of their sheep into golden fleeces.” The total export of wool for that year amounted to no more than about 80,000 lbs. But at that moment the spirit of improvement seems to have caught the whole agricultural population, and the following facts will give our readers some notion what miracles a whole population can perform, when they act in concert and from upright principles.

In 1816, as we have seen, the quantity of wool exported from New South Wales was about 80,000 lbs., more or less.
In 1822 it amounted to 125,000 lbs.
In 1825 it was 411,000
In 1828 it had increased to 834,343
In 1830 it exceeded 991,000
And in 1834 it is estimated at 2,700,000.

Nothing in the history of agriculture has been known parallel to this—except in the neighbouring colony Van Diemen’s Land, into which sheep were introduced for the first time in 1826. Indeed it was only discovered to be an island in 1798, and taken possession of by the British in 1803. In 1830 the population, exclusive of a few savage natives, amounted to only 21,125, of whom about 10,000 were convicts. And what quantity of wool did these 11,125 recent free settlers export to the United Kingdom in 1830, only twenty-seven years after the foundation of the colony? No less than 993,979 lbs.

By the above statement we see that the quantity of wool exported from New South Wales, since 1822, has been more than doubled every three years. But its improvement in quality has not been less admirable. In 1816 it was described by Mr. Riley as “hair which disgraced the sheep.” In 1820 a few bales of wool from Mr. Macarthur’s flock sold in England at 5 s. 6 d. per lb., and one at 10 s. 4 d. The common price was 2 s. In 1830 the Australian wool sold in the London market at the following prices, viz.:—

Best, 2 s. to 5 s.; second and inferior, 1 s. 2 d. to 2 s.; lamb’s, 1 s. 2 d. to 2 s. 1 d.

The whole of the enormous quantity they now export, it is expected, will realize an average price of 2 s. per lb., which will give for the crop of 1834 the sum of 270,000 l.

With respect to the number of sheep from whose backs this prodigious sum of money is annually extracted, we have, at the moment, no certain information of later date than 1828. But as from 1819 to 1828 they had increased from 75,369 to 556,391, we may safely estimate their present number to be about two millions.

The sound of these words brings our thoughts back to the Cape. We have about two millions of sheep; but the wool exported this year will probably not exceed 100,000 lbs., nor realize a higher sum than 7000 l.

For what purpose are these statements submitted to our readers? Not to vex them by any humiliating contrast, but to encourage them by a splendid example of successful industry, which they have now the opportunity and means to imitate, and perhaps surpass. Only fourteen years ago the wool exported from both the Australian colonies did not exceed in quantity that which we now raise. They had to import the Merino breed from Europe to improve their coarse and inferior flocks, exposed to a voyage twice as long as, and more than doubly hazardous that, our imports have to encounter. We have a more abundant population, labour cheaper, and most certainly not of a worse description, and every thing else at least equally favourable. And we have at the present moment in prospect two additional advantages which render our position decidedly superior to theirs.

In the first place, an addition is about to be made to the capital of the colony, not as a balance for exports, the produce of many years’ labour—but an absolute addition, without any equivalent being rendered to the source from which it comes—of probably not less than 1,200,000 l. sterling, or about eight times the value of all the sheep at present in the colony.

In the next place, we have discovered a market where we can be supplied with sheep of equal if not superior quality, at nearly one half the distance, and at a much cheaper rate than in Europe. This is no other than New South Wales itself, which has already begun to export these valuable animals; and from the largeness of the stock and the rapidity with which they increase, constantly doubling their numbers in about two years and a half, there is no risk in our demand, however extensive, making any sensible impression on their means of supplying us.

The first investment has already arrived in Cape Town. It consists of thirty males of the pure Saxon breed, selected from the flock of Alexander Riley, Esq., of Raby.

The history of this Saxon breed is also worthy of notice, as it affords another instance of the wonderful results of sheep farming. They come originally from Spain, where they are called Merinos. The late King of Saxony, when elector, was the first who introduced them into his dominions. He purchased a small flock from the King of Spain, and exerted so much diligence and care in promoting their growth, that they soon succeeded better in Germany than in Spain itself. In the London market, in March 1832, the best Saxon wool of the Electoral flocks, sold at from 4 s. to 6 s. 6 d. per lb.; while the best Spanish wool, the Leonesa, fetched no more than from 2 s. to 2 s. 9 d. And as to their increase, the following fact may suffice:—In 1830 there were imported from Germany into the British market alone, 26,073,822 lbs.; while the quantity imported from Spain did not exceed 1,643,515 lbs.

Indeed the Merino seems to improve by every removal from its native soil and climate. Even in England, the climate of which forms a perfect, and to sheep a most severe, contrast with that of Spain, the Merinos not only thrive but improve, both in the carcass and in the quality of their wool. And we have already seen that in 1820 Mr. Macarthur obtained the highest price ever known in the London market, for a bale of wool taken from Merinos in New South Wales.

Thus, if the scheme we now recommend, obtain the approbation of our fellow-colonists, we shall probably lay a better foundation for our future flocks, which are to constitute the wealth and power of the colony, than has ever yet been laid in any country. Our breed—the future Cape breed of sheep—will have proceeded from Spain to Saxony, from Saxony to Australia, and from Australia to South Africa—improving at every stage.

These sheep we have seen, in a climate in every respect the same as ours, double their numbers in every two years and a half, more or less. In 1838½ we shall, therefore, have 200,000 sheep. In 1841 we shall have 400,000. In 1843½ they will have increased to 800,000. In 1846 to 1,600,000. In 1848¼, or, say, in 1850, we shall have THREE MILLIONS and TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND sheep, bearing fleeces of the finest quality in the world, bringing into the colony an annual return of not less than 350,000 l., independently of their skins and tallow.

Is this extravagant? Look at Australia. It has been accomplished there, as it were, under our own eyes, in less than eighteen years, though means and resources there, compared with what ours will be, were as but one to ten.

London: Printed by Mills and Son,
Gough-square, Fleet-street.