Government Notice relative to Port Augusta
GOVERNMENT NOTICE relative to Port Augusta.
Surveyor General's Office, Perth,
11th May, 1830.
On the 29th ultimo, the Lieutenant-Governor, accompanied by Capt. Currie, and several other gentlemen, embarked on board the Emily Taylor, and sailed from Gage's Roads. On the following Sunday, the vessel reached Cape Leeuwin, and anchored in the evening of that day, near the mouth of an inlet communicating with the sea in the N.W. course 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 N.W.
On Wednesday and Thursday, after 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 Lieutenant-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 N.W. of the inlet were visited, and the necessary water got on board.
On Wednesday mornings the brig quitted her anchorage, and proceeded to examine the coasts 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 Gage's Roads, wherein we arrived on the 10th instant.
The result 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 knowledge already possessed, leads to the belief, that there are three distinct ranges of primitive mountains traversing 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 Leeuwin is the termination of the third range. This seems to be inferior in extent, as well as in altitude, to the two other ranges, as it disappears at Cape Naturaliste, and is not again seen except in "Moresley'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 the 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 where the deposit of rivers may have altered its character. These general rules are exemplified in the neighbourhood of the newly-formed 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 easy 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 fifteen miles, and then ten miles to the east, before it comes 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 strong enough for cultivation. The best soil, the finest blue gum timber, and some good grass, are to be found on the hilly lands; but even on the rest of the land there is generally food for cattle, and on the downs skirting the coast, fine sheep pasturage. The anchorage is sheltered from the usual winter winds, but is open to those which blow between south and E.S.E. 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 terms, there is reason to hope for its considerable commercial prosperity.