Government Notice - Journal of an excursion to Cape Lewin, April 1830

Government Notice - Journal of an excursion to Cape Lewin, April 1830  (1830) 
by James Stirling

On the 29th the Lieut Governor, accompanied by Captn Currie and several other gentlemen, embarked on board the Emily Taylor and sailed from Gages Roads. On the following Sunday the vessel reached Cape Lewin, and anchored on the evening of that day near the mouth of an Inlet communicating with the Sea in the NW corner of the Bay eastward from the Cape.

The following day was given to the examination of the country near the anchorage.

On Tuesday an expedition was undertaken to ascertain the nature of the shores of the Inlet to the NW.

On Wednesday and Thursday other similar excursions were made, and the site of a Town to be called "Augusta", being determined on, the Settlers who were passengers on board the brig commenced their disembarkation.

On Friday the Lieut Governor, accompanied by several gentlemen and boats, proceeded to explore the principal river. They ascended the Stream all that day and great part of the next, and eventually returned to the vessel at a late hour on Sunday evening.

On Monday the disembarkation was completed; the Downs to the NW of the Inlet were visited; and the necessary water got on board.

On Wednesday morning the brig quitted her anchorage, and proceeded to examine the coast of the Bay to the Eastward. Having reached the "Black Point" of Flinders on the evening of that day, her course was directed on her return to Gages Roads, wherein she arrived on the 16th inst.

The results issuing out of this Expedition may be classed under two heads. First, the knowledge which has been acquired of the district visited; and secondly, the Establishment in it of a small but efficient body of Settlers, with the fairest prospect of their success.

The portion of the southern coast seen during this Excursion, taken in connection with the knowledge already possessed, leads to the belief that these are three distinct parallel ranges of primitive mountains travesing the Territory of Western Australia from North to South. The highest and easternmost of these has its southern termination near to King George's Sound. The second terminates at Cape Chatham, and is that of which General Darling's Range behind Cockburn Sound is a portion.

Cape Lewin is the southern termination of the third range. This seems to be inferior in extent as well as in altitude to the other two ranges, as it disappears at Cape Naturaliste and is not again seen except in "Moresby's flat topped Range", 300 miles to the north on the same meridian.

On these ranges and in their intervening valleys the soil varies according to position and altitude. On the higher hills and mountains the surface is rugged and stony: in the regions intermediate between their summits and their bases the soil is excellent; but in the principal valleys and lower grounds, where the sand-stone formation prevails, it is of a very inferior description, except were the deposit of Rivers may have altered its character. These general rules are exemplified in the neighbourhood of the newly established Town of Augusta, and may be taken as applicable generally to all other parts of the Territory, except on the Sea Coast, where the regular formations have been invaded and modified by extraneous substances, generally of a calcareous nature.

The position chosen for the new Town possesses the advantages of excellent soil, plenty of good water, a pleasant aspect, and east access in moderate weather to the anchorage and to the interior country. The Inlet is of considerable extent, and leads to a River named the "Blackwood" which runs to the North about 15 miles, and 10 miles to the east before it ceases to be navigable for boats. its banks are covered with good timber of the stringy bark and red gum kinds, but the soil is a light sandy loam which is seldom sufficiently strong for cultivation. The best soil, the finest blue-gum timber, and some good grass are to be found on the hilly land; but even on the rest of the land there is generally food for Cattle, and on the Downs skirting the coast affords very good sheep pasturage.

The anchorage is sheltered from the usual winter winds, but is open to those which blow between South and ESE. Its merits cannot be estimated without further experience. If it should not be found objectionable, the qualities of the surrounding country, and the position of Augusta with reference to the navigation of these seas will make it a convenient place for vessels to stop at on their way to the Eastern Colonies from England, India and the Cape; and on these grounds there is reason to hope for its considerable commercial prosperity.

Signed J. S. Roe

Surveyor General's Office
May 16th 1830

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