History of West Australia/Chapter 7
INCIDENTS AND PROGRESS IN 1830.
INEFFICIENT PIONEERS—SCENES ON FREMANTLE BEACH—TRIALS OF THE LIEUTENANT-GOVERNOR—SETTLERS LEAVING—THEIR BAD REPORTS—INSUFFICIENT READY CAPITAL—USELESS GOODS—STIRLING'S DESPATCHES RE INEFFICIENT PIONEERS—HIS REPORT CONCERNING CLIMATE, SOILS, WATER SUPPLY, AGRICULTURE, AND PRODUCTS SUITABLE TO THE SOIL—ROYAL GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY PAPER—ARRIVAL OF VESSELS, PASSENGERS, AND STOCK IN JANUARY AND FOLLOWING MONTHS—SIMILAR CLASS TO PREDECESSORS—WAGES—BOATS—PROVISIONS AND STOCK OBTAINED FROM NEIGHBOURING SETTLEMENTS—IDLERS STILL AT FREMANTLE IN AUTUMN—INDUSTRIOUS SETTLERS AT WORK, TESTING LIMESTONE, MAKING BRICKS, CLEARING, BUILDING DWELLINGS, AND PLANTING—FLOODS, DISTRESS, WRECK—ROCKINGHAM—ESCAPE OF CATTLE; WILD HERDS—SCAB IN SHEEP—PROGRESS IN PERTH—INNS—COURT OF QUARTER SESSIONS—SURVEY DEPARTMENT—PEEL'S GRANT—GRANTS IN 1830 ON SWAN, HELENA, CANNING, AND MURRAY RIVERS—STIRLING ESTABLISHES MILITARY SETTLEMENT AT LESCHENAULT, AND ROE EXPLORES—GRANTS AT LESCHENAULT—TWO NEW COUNTIES DECLARED; LESCHENAULT AND PLANTAGENET—STIRLING'S SELECTIONS—AUGUSTA FOUNDED—EXPLORATION—PRESTON GOES ALONG THE COAST TO MOUNT FAIRFAX—DALE DISCOVERS MOUNT BAKEWELL AND THE AVON—LIEUTENANT ERSKINE EXPLORES AVON VALLEY—STIRLING EXAMINES THE AVON, AND DALE GOES FARTHER EAST AND SOUTH—SITES OF THREE INLAND TOWNS DECLARED, VIZ., YORK, BEVERLEY, AND NORTHAM—FIRST GRANTS ON THE AVON—GUILDFORD FOUNDED—THE CROPS LATE IN 1830—THE ABORIGINES, TWO MURDERS—ANOTHER COLONIAL OFFICE CIRCULAR—LIEUTENANT-GOVERNORS SUPREME CONTROL—CHARTER FOR ESTABLISHMENT OF LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL.
WHEN serious, practical work was well started it was evident that numbers of the original settlers were very ill suited to pioneering. The community assembled at Fremantle and on the banks of the Swan contained men of diverse attainments, but unfortunately few who were able to battle with the bush, and institute order in the wilderness. The conclusions of one writer who reached the colony in September, 1829, are representative, and exhibit the qualifications of many of the forefathers of Western Australia. Immediately after leaving England their want of courage was proven, and this writer—a young farmer—depicts the scenes which took place on board his emigrant ship in the Bay of Biscay. The children, who were half dead with fright and sickness, were unattended below decks, for their parents and other grown-up passengers were absolutely crying with fear and agitation. When the bay was crossed more peace prevailed, and the passengers became communicative. Of those on board his vessel this farmer wrote, "It was with no small surprise that I discovered not one passenger in ten knew anything about farming, although they all professed their object to be the acquisition and occupation of land. Several of them resided in London and large towns all their lives, and scarcely knew wheat from barley."
Their arrival at Fremantle was typical of that of too many immigrants. "Most of them," records the young farmer, "were so dejected at not finding themselves upon the richest country in the world, that they seemed to require consolation and advice to go up the river and look about them, rather than afford any assistance to those who kept up their spirits, and resolved to 'put their shoulder to the wheel.'" They huddled together on the beach, or made their way at once to Perth, where the Lieutenant-Governor was pestered by their ignorant questions. He was expected to tend their every wish, and was openly blamed for attracting them to he colony. Some of them, so our chronicler says, assumed consequential airs, and seemed to consider that the Governor was more their servant than the King's representative. Captain Stirling's temper was often severely tried, but, although he was occasionally hasty, he was extremely considerate even when the most ridiculous requests were made of him. Whenever he rode or walked out he was constantly being stopped by these foolish people and asked silly questions and favours. The representative of Royalty held many impromptu levees beneath the banksia trees. He worked hard and constantly, and his health suffered severely during the first few months. While leading a party of explorers, who were examining the Swan River country on a hot day, he became heated from his exertions, and incautiously bathed in a cold stream which was met in the woods. He was seized with a cold and fever, and was laid up for some days.
Even at this early period many settlers left the Swan River, and, wherever they went, gave the most doleful and exaggerated accounts of the sterility of the country and the hardships of the settlers. So persistent were these reports that it took some years to dispel their baneful influence; indeed, it would seem that they were not dispelled until very recent years. Several persons arrived from Sydney and Hobart Town in 1829, who, when their hopes—generated by the glowing reports received from London and elsewhere—were disappointed, returned to their former stations or went to Cape Colony, and told a dismal tale to all who would listen to them. And this before the country was surveyed, or in the slightest degree tested from a productive standpoint! Some of those who came from England, and lounged idly on the Fremantle beach, sent home by the first opportunity loud complaints, but as their letters did not reach their destination for a long period, their effect in that quarter was protracted. No just opinion could be expressed at so early a period on the resources of the Swan River.
Not only were these people discouraged and impotent when they did not find the conveniences and beauties which exist only in imagination, but they were without the necessary means to cultivate the soil. The capitalistic class too often invested nearly the whole of their money in goods and stock so as to obtain a large grant of land. They therefore had little left to
tide them through the usual period of unremunerative toil which takes place in every colony, and because they could not employ labour or pay those servants they had the colony suffered in being ineptly tried, and the gentlemen settlers had themselves to become labourers. This was a prevailing cause of depression in the settlement for some years, but was more pronounced some months later. Many, also, invested in stock and goods that were of no possible value, and were, indeed, a burden. One vessel arriving in 1829 carried a passenger who after selling his store in London invested part of his money in the purchase of pointers, greyhounds, pheasants, and rabbits. His wife was accompanied by a favourite lap dog, for which a sea passage of five guineas had to be paid. This couple had several children with them. Another adventurer obtained the services of a man who had been twenty years in the marines, whom he designed for the dignified position of bailiff. Others landed pianos, travelling carriages, expensive furniture, and luxuries to which they had been accustomed in England, but which crippled their resources in Western Australia. It was as if they expected to find a mansion prepared for their reception, instead of a houseless country in which they would have to plan and labour long before these things could be enjoyed. A promiscuous list of unnecessary goods were strewn on the Fremantle beach—the relics of civilisation which served to remind every new arrival of the foolishness of those who had gone before. As there was no proper place of storage for such goods, many of them were destroyed by exposure.
That among the settlers were those whose minds and bodies were quite unfitted to encounter the struggles and distresses which are the unavoidable concomitants of a new settlement is without doubt, "and," says Captain Stirling in his despatches of January, 1830, "many if not all have been more or less disappointed on their arrival, either with the state of things here, or their own want of energy to surmount the difficulties pressing around them—not greater, however, than such as must necessarily be experienced in the beginning of every new colony; and, it may be added, far less severe than those which the American colonists had to encounter, or those who first established themselves on the opposite side of Australia." Always hopeful, he was convinced "that from this state of depression the active and stout-hearted have now recovered, and ten or twelve of the leading men having occupied their lands, and having declared themselves fully satisfied with the quality of the soil, and the condition of their cattle, the undertaking is safe from the effects of a general despondency which at one time threatened to defeat the views of His Majesty's Government." But he did not desire that any more unsuitable people should be attracted to the colony, and strove to make this known in England. "If it be possible," he wrote, "to discourage one set of people, and encourage another, I would earnestly request that, for a few years, the helpless and the inefficient may be kept from the settlement, whilst to the active, industrious, and intelligent may be a confident assurance of a fair reward for their labours."
In January, 1830, Captain Stirling summed up his conclusions of the first few months of settlement. Referring to the climate in summer, he said it was at first deemed prudent that the workmen should not toil exposed to the sun between the hours of two and three in the hot months. But their observations soon proved that the heat did not produce that lassitude which was anticipated, even while they were undergoing great exertion. He adds that, with the exception of ten or twelve days, the summer had been tempered by southern breezes, and was thereby rendered very agreeable. Rain had not fallen for about three months, but this drought fortunately occurred at the season proper for harvest. The grasses and other herbage were much injured by the great glowing heat of the sun, and it was noticed that the plants on sandy soils sustained the heat much better than those on the clay. None of those whose roots were near the surface escaped the effects of the baking which this latter kind of soil sustained.
He preserved a cautious attitude in regard to the productive power of the soil and the effect upon it of the climate:—"The most skilful of the farmers who have come from England profess themselves at a loss to form a judgment here, as processes in vegetation are going forward before their eyes, even in mere sands, which are wholly irreconcilable to their pre-existing notions and modes of judging. I think, however, I am safe in stating that the sandy soils on the coast produce a shrubby herbage on which horned cattle, horses, and sheep have lived now throughout the hottest and the coldest parts of the year; that there is between the hills and the sea a breadth of red loamy soil on which grain and artificial grasses may be produced; that the banks of the rivers and numerous streams offer the richest alluvial loam, and that the hills themselves, although occasionally very rugged, are capable of becoming good sheep pasture, as the soil on their sides, where it exists at all, is invariably excellent, resting on granite and ironstone."
The supply of water for the people and cattle was described as abundant. The rivers, though small, served as so many canals for boat navigation, while lakes, streams, and springs were found in every direction, and on the seashore wells were rarely sunk in vain. Because of this abundance, and the considerable provision of food for live stock which the territory seemed to possess, he believed pastoral pursuits would be found more profitable than agricultural, and would be chosen by the large bulk of settlers. The settlers, he said, contemplated tillage for gardening only, and farming for their own consumption. Grain could be imported from Java, New South Wales, and Van Diemen's Land at a cheaper rate than it could be produced in the settlement. The special products for which he thought the soil was adapted included flax of a superior kind, and a species of hemp, both of which grew spontaneously. The abundance of timber might find a profitable market, and wines, olives, figs, opium, and tobacco might be looked to as future sources of export. All these would have to wait until, by securing a stock of the necessaries of life, the subsistence and comfort of settlers were provided for.
In 1830 the Royal Geographical Society was founded, and the first paper read before the original members dealt with Western Australia. This was compiled by Sir John Barrow, an officer in the Admiralty Service, who was a founder of the famous body. After referring to the advance made during the first few months by the settlers, he appended a sketch of the aborigines and their language, taken from the reports of Dr. Scot Nind, and an interesting paper by the eminent botanist, Robert Brown.
There was no abatement in the influx of population for many months. In January, 1830, nine vessels arrived. These were the Norfolk, Nancy, Leda, Skerne, Minstrel, Industry, Eagle, Lady of the Lake, and the Wanstead, carrying in all 242 men, women, and children, 11 horses, 156 cattle, 826 sheep, and about 40 pigs, besides fowls, wine and spirits, and general provisions. During the remainder of 1830 27 ships put into port, viz.:—The Tranby, Hooghly, Egyptian, Thomson, Thames, and Protector, in February; the Warrior, Emily Taylor, Prince Regent, Emelia and Ellen, and Bussorah Merchant in March; the James Pattison in April; the Britannia, Bombay, James, Eliza, Rockingham, Orelia, and William in May; the Medina and Skerne in July; the Edward Loomb and H.M.S. Comet in August; the Thistle in September; the Orelia and Faith in November; and the Nimrod in December. The people and live stock introduced by these were—men, women, and children, 812; horses, 18; cattle, 274; sheep, 5,679; with general cargo, goats, pigs, and poultry. The total arrivals for the year 1830 were therefore:—People, 1,054; horses, 29; cattle, 430; and sheep, 6,505. The total number of passengers and settlers who landed off passing ships which put into Cockburn Sound is probably not included in this list. On 9th January a detachment of the 30th Regiment arrived by the Norfolk, and on 30th April detachments of a regiment in India landed from the James Pattison. According to one computation cargo to the value of £145,277 was discharged.
These large bands of people fared somewhat better than their predecessors, but yet they represented about the same percentage of suitable and inefficient pioneers, and brought with them the same proportion of valueless goods, and were in a similar want of capital. Certificates of permission to reside in the colony had to be obtained from the Colonial Secretary, without which they were liable to imprisonment. When the grants were apportioned the battle and hardships, the uphill work, had to be performed. Their subsequent life was sometimes instinctive of quiet happiness and tranquility, but at other times the seclusion, after the elbowing, electrical, excited city life of England, became most unbearable, and they complained bitterly of their self-sentenced banishment in letters to their friends. In these epistles the colony was by many represented to be "a scene of disappointment, and the grave of hope." The beach at Fremantle now contained an increased number of tents, and before these lay the newcomers' investments in goods, waiting to be appraised by the authorities to determine the area of land they were entitled to. In removing goods to their selections large prices were paid for labour. The general rate of wages for labourers was eight shillings a day—an enormous advance on English prices, but not abnormal when the surroundings were taken into consideration. Labour of all kinds was scarce and well paid, but not suitable to the special requirements of the settlement. A carpenter was paid seven or eight shillings a day, with an allowance of rum, while a builder was often paid more. There was a most unfortunate absence of skilled labour, hence the rustic attempts at building and carpentering. So high were wages in comparison with those at home, that most indentured servants wished to be free in order to obtain precarious employment here and there. In fact, their sons from ten to fourteen years old, who were not indentured, repeatedly earned more in a month than they did. Many of these boys cultivated careful habits, and rose to be among the richest West Australians. Five guineas a day had often to be paid for boats used in the river to carry goods and stores to the holdings. This was a severe strain on pioneer purses and those who were lucky enough to own boats conducted lucrative businesses. Some settlers had to keep the boats for days before they could transport all their property, and when contrary winds were met, which was frequent, they experienced much difficulty in getting the heavily burdened boats up and down the river. Many hours were often vainly spent making a few yards headway or in releasing the boats from the mud-banks which abounded. So necessary were boats that in the first few months ingenious settlers contrived to make them out of native wood. In the absence of proper appliances their task was not easy; but though the boats were rudely carved they served their purpose excellently, and turned in lucrative profits. Flat-bottomed boats were usually constructed, to navigate the shallow parts of the river.
To ensure requisite supplies to the settlement while waiting for the proper season of cultivation, and to prevent a famine, the Lieut.-Governor obtained provisions and stock from the Cape, Sydney, Van Diemen's Land, and also from the Dutch Islands in the north—the centre of old-time Eastern trade. A ship-load of bullocks and pigs was introduced from Java, stock was ordered from the Cape and eastern settlements, and grain was procured all round, as vessels happened to be trading to the different settlements. The actual cost of importation of food supplies to the local Government was charged to the settler. This plan, while preventing any immediate possibility of a famine, did not succeed. From the want of suitable storehouses the grain and other such provisions suffered from exposure to the weather and the ravages of vermin, especially the white ant. Numbers of the bullocks and pigs introduced by the Government were not properly attended to, and wandered into the bush, roved beyond the boundaries of settlement, and formed the nucleus of wild herds and droves.
A few early arrivals were still helplessly lodged on the beach and among the shrubbery at Fremantle in the autumn of 1830, and their numbers were constantly augmented from fresh ships arriving. They remained by the sea, wasting time and consuming provisions. One such, writing home, in enumerating his disappointments, said the land was wretchedly bad by the coast, and he "was told" it was no better inland. He had not gone to see for himself, but wasted his substance on the barren seashore. The more industrious and enterprising, among whom were gentlemen farmers from Yorkshire, Kent, and other counties, worked continuously, and practical results were already accruing. In the intervals of clearing small fields for crops, and fencing little meadows for their stock, they tested the limestone for slack and started brick-making. In 1830 brick-making was actively and successfully carried on near Perth. Thus they were able to greatly improve their dwellings, and brick houses now began to rear their heads at intervals on the banks of the river and in Perth. These settlers were happy in their choice of sites for residences. The Government by their regulations, published in August, 1829, had wisely circumscribed the river frontage of every holding, and surveyed the sections to run back some distance from the Swan. In this way every settler was able to enjoy the advantage of river carriage, and the residences were within easy walking distance of each other. The principal early grants were situated above Perth, along the beautiful reaches of the river winding up to Guildford. The river frontage of grants, on either side, fairly evenly faced each other, and the settlers built their houses near the river, on some prominent bank, or on a gentle slope terraced by small hills. In the best Swan country cottages thus adorned almost every curve. Near the sleeping apartments were the yards and outhouses used for the yarding and protection of stock. Efforts were being made at gardening, and vegetables had taken kindly to the soil. The luxury of vegetables after their long fast was much appreciated, and they were eaten ravenously. Behind the house was generally a small field of one, two, or even five acres, from which the timber was cleared, and where the earth was broken with hoes or primitive ploughs. A patch of soil was generally prepared between the house and the river. The indentured servants minded the sheep and cattle where fences had not been erected, and the energetic settler studied the climate and soil daily, hewed down the bush, or tended his vegetables, and prepared his fields for culture. Morning and night the music of the feathered tribe mingled with the rural sounds of bleating sheep, lowing kine, and barking dogs. The solitude began to have more charms for the energetic and determined. Many of them were soon busily engaged in sowing crops. Each settler apparently held different ideas of the Swan River seasons and the proper time to plant. Some sowed the seeds of cereals and vegetables early in the autumn, others in May, and still others thought they would be wiser to wait until August and even September. They anxiously watched the results of these experiments, and each farmer carefully scrutinised the crops of his neighbours to see which were faring best. So diverse were soils and seasons from the English, that they knew not what to do.
Severe storms burst over the Darling Ranges, the Swan River country, and the coast, in May or June, 1830, and the waters in the upper parts of the river rose phenomenally high. Those settlers who had erected their houses on the high banks did not suffer, but the floods rushed over the flats and brushed away everything movable. Several new arrivals lived in tents on the flats with their goods and stock congregated round them, and awaited the recording of their grants. The waters carried off goods, and the stock broke away into the woods and augmented the herds which had already escaped. Some of the people had a narrow escape from drowning.
Those on the seas fared little better, and vessels anchored in Cockburn Sound were severely strained during the stress of the gale. Several ships were riding at anchor in the southern extremity of the sound, one or two of which had just arrived with settlers. During the night four vessels broke their moorings and lay on the sandy beach when morning dawned. No lives were lost, but there were narrow escapes, and numbers of passengers landed in the surf. The Rockingham was among the vessels, and the country upon which she grounded was thenceforward known as Rockingham.
A few weeks later a settler from Tasmania put into Rockingham with a large herd of cattle on board his ship. Not being able to get near shore, these cattle, although almost blind from confinement in the ship, were thrown into the water and driven to the beach. There were no yards ready to receive them and no men to watch them, and they wandered into the bush and were not again recovered. They apparently found their way to the Murray River, upon whose pasture they grew fat and multiplied, and formed, with the others previously escaped, wild herds, which afforded an exciting pastime to hunters in after years. This settler, who was young and careless was sent to the Swan River by his father to form a large cattle station.
Much trouble was being experienced by settlers with their stock. Cattle and sheep certainly thrived on the herbage, for even where it was scanty they grew fat. But in the absence of yards and fenced-in fields they often wandered away, and many were lost. As soon as possible yards were erected, and in addition bells were hung on sheep and cattle of every flock and herd. The tinkling of these, wafted by the breeze, told the settler where his property had strayed. The flocks which were introduced from Tasmania very extensively gave early signs of being afflicted with scab, and the woolly ranks of some settlers were thinned out by this malignant disease. Much loss was thereby occasioned, and other settlers had to exercise the greatest care to keep their flocks unaffected.
Building was actively continued in Perth, and brick and weatherboard residences dotted the slopes, mostly at first in St. George's Terrace. Some of these houses were made comfortable and attractive when the indentured servants arrived. The natives, too, were constant visitors, and eagerly received the food which was too liberally offered them. Inns were deemed indispensable concomitants of a village, and one or two were launched during the first part of 1830. They were largely patronised by both capitalists and servants, and proved a source of much evil to the latter. The crime of the colony was very slight, but so as to be relieved of the duty of judgment, Captain Stirling had opened a Court of Quarter Sessions, of which Mr. W. H. Mackie, a trained lawyer, was appointed chairman. Mr. Mackie was also the legal adviser to the Administration. A store or two was opened, those of Messrs. Samson and Shenton being among the earliest. Stores and inns were also doing well at Fremantle, where some stone houses had arisen.
Substantially the history of Western Australia up till the end of 1830 was one of exploration, land alienation, and the preliminary trials of pioneers. Some large grants were made during the year. The Surveyor-General worked incessantly through the summer. Complaints were made that delays occurred in obtaining surveys and in the recording of grants. This was the fault of the regulations, for Mr. Roe afforded claimants for Crown lands every assistance in his power. He prepared maps of the country surveyed and explored, and new arrivals were able to examine these. He instructed them as to the mode of procedure in securing grants, and how in their first application to the Lieutenant-Governor to accurately describe the land they desired to obtain. The Board of Counsel found their duties decidedly onerous. Appraising the value of property introduced by pioneers was not easy, but every effort was made to facilitate administration. The civil officers, when their administrative duties were over for the day, were wont to repair to their own grants, where they supervised the preparations being made for cultivation, the erection of dwelling-houses, or laboured in the fields. Indeed, some of the officials were among the most earnest, energetic, and progressive settlers.
The first large grant in 1830 was allotted on January 12 to Mr. Thomas Peel, who selected 250,000 acres, described as in Cockburn Sound. This huge block of country had its northern coastal boundary near Mount Brown, south of Clarence, and went to the east almost to the present South-Western Railway, and included a large portion of the Murray River to below and inclusive of Pinjarra. Some excellent soil was acquired, but a large portion was quite useless for agriculture. Mr. Peel introduced numerous other servants than those which arrived in December, 1829, and among them were artisans of all classes, and men experienced in farming pursuits. The number is given as 300 by some authorities, while others credit him with one or two hundred more. He projected developments on an elaborate scale, but from the first he had difficulty with his servants. He proceeded to erect a house on the property and intended cultivating immense areas, which were to be drained and watered by canals, while the remainder was to be devoted to pasturage for his flocks and herds. After removing to his grant, appointing bailiffs and inspectors over his army of servants, we hear little more of him for some time.
The grants of land apportioned on the Swan, Canning, Helena, and Murray Rivers in 1830 were:—On the Swan, Walter B. Andrews, 129 acres in fee simple, 5th April; D. B. Agett, 2,000 acres in fee simple, 30th September; Peter Brown, 54 acres in fee simple, 1st July; John Butler, 250 acres in fee simple, 1st April; James Birkett, 1,000 acres, 26th April; John Bamber, 10 acres, 10th March; William Burges, 1,920 acres in fee simple, 12th April; Edward Birkett, 1,026 acres, 2nd June; W. Locke Brockman, 2,028 acres in fee simple, 20th March; Thomas Bailey, 320 acres, 17th November; Archibald Butler, 2,000 acres, 19th April; M. J. Currie, 32 acres in fee simple, 1st June; M. and J. S Clarkson, 205 acres in fee simple, 31st December; Robert Collins, 100 acres, 20th November; Joseph Cooper, 165 acres, 29th November; John Duffield, 500 acres, 29th November; G. T. Derby, 1,000 acres, 19th April; James Dodds, 20 acres, 1st September; Robert Dale, 1,920 acres in fee simple, 20th October; George Earl, 200 acres, 19th March; George Eyre, 10 acres, 1st October; W. T. Graham, 100 acres, 24th October, and 17½ acres, 15th November; J.W. and J. Hardy, 204½ acres, 31st December; James Henty, 1,555 acres in fee simple, 1st January; Charles Heal, 1,123 acres, 1st September; William Habgood, 250 acres, 29th November; George Johnson, 20½ acres in fee simple, 31st December; Lionel Lukin, 1,096 acres, 28th May; E. B. Lennard, 2,028 acres in fee simple, 23rd July; W. H. Mackie and F. C. Irwin, 3,240 acres in fee simple, 19th October; John L. Morley, 10 acres in fee simple, 1st January; William Preston, 856 acres, 1st January; Elizabeth Rowland, 20½ acres, 31st December; C. D. Ridley, 1,432½ acres in fee simple, 1st May; A. H. Stone, 17 acres, 29th May; Peter Shadwell, 1,452 acres in fee simple, 1st September; Thompson, Douglas, and Trimmer, 1,000 acres, 24th March; John Thompson, 20½ acres, 31st December; Alfred Waylen, 36 acres, 19th April, and 784 acres, 29th May; and John Whatley, 1,000 acres in fee simple, 2nd February.
On the Canning the grants were:—Henry Bull, 520 acres in fee simple, 19th April; C. B. Churchman, 107 acres in fee simple, 20th April; John Ferres, 2,746 acres, 1st January; Stephen George Henty, 5,000 acres, 5th July; Lowis, Yule, and Houghton, 200 acres, 20th July; Thomas Middleton, 1,386 acres, 3rd December; John Morgan, 2,000 acres in fee simple, 3rd December; James McDermott, 5,320 acres, 20th July; John Randall Phillips, 2,000 acres, 7th December; and Charles H. Wright, 47 acres in fee simple, 15th November. The selections granted on the Helena were:—Henry Camfield, 1,186 acres, 20th July; John Henry Monger, 200 acres, 4th October; Edward Picking, 3,000 acres, 18th November; and S. N. Talbot, 6,040 acres, 20th May. George Durmage acquired 20,000 acres at Cockburn on 15th January, and M. C. Friend 5,000 acres on the Murray on 28th May.
Many of the gentlemen mentioned were entitled to larger grants, but they waited for a wider choice of good country that exploration might succeed in finding. Their goods were valued, and their applications for certain areas registered, which they could select where they wished. Some grants ran out direct east and west from the rivers, and others trailed to different points of the compass. One grant of 1,500 acres on the upper reaches of the Swan, north of Guildford, was so narrow that it extended to the ocean, thus having a river frontage at one end, and ocean at the other. Between some of the grants inferior soil intervened, and these were not alienated from the Crown for many years.
The boundaries of settlement were meanwhile greatly extended. On 3rd March Captain Stirling, with Surveyor-General Roe, a few experienced and practical settlers, and a detachment of the 63rd Regiment, left Fremantle in the schooner Eagle for the scenes of the explorations of Messrs. Collie and Preston. His special mission was to establish a new settlement. After examining the whole extent of coast of Geographe Bay, the party anchored about two miles inside of Cape Naturaliste, and spent nearly two days exploring the neighbouring country. Considerable good land was found in the valleys, and among the cliffs a variety of mineral products were seen, including magnetic iron ore and copper pyrites. At the Vasse River the country was observed to be particularly sandy, yet the straight and vigorous growth of the trees gave a contradiction to the apparent meagreness of the soil. But it did not satisfy them, and they went to Port Leschenault, which was decided to be the most favourable site for a settlement. So promising did the country there appear that the Lieutenant-Governor determined to at once prepare the way for settlers. The detachment of the 3rd was landed, and a proper position for a military station was selected on the northern point of the entrance. Stores and provisions were disembarked, and then with the abundance of building materials around them they erected comfortable temporary quarters.
While these preparations were going forward, separate excursions were made into the country on every side. The most important was that led by Surveyor-General Roe, whose party penetrated through the wooded plains into the hilly country. After going some ten miles up the Collie, where their progress was obstructed by many fallen trees, they, ten in number, took three days' provisions and walked in a south-easterly direction. Their steps led them into a "beautiful open forest country, swelling gradually in hill and valley, and abounding in excellent timber, growing in good soil." Two dry creeks were examined and crossed, whereupon they turned their faces to the east, and two miles away descried, from between the high trees, a range of mountains. At the base of these they again came upon the Collie, there from eight to fifteen yards wide. Wading through the water, the explorers went upon the ranges, whence they looked out on a panorama of wooded heights and elevated plateaux of promising looking grazing and agricultural country to the northeast, of valleys in every direction, and of billowy plains leading to the sea. They descended the hills for water and ascended them at another point, which was named Mount Lennard, after a member of the party. This elevation was rich in grasses and trees. In a south-south-west direction several dry creeks were found, to the east of which, among the mountains, the country appeared rich and fertile. The broad valley of the Preston River was observed from another summit, and the party retraced their steps after examining the Preston and the country which it waters. The Collie country was considered decidedly superior to the rest at Port Leschenault, but upon the whole the district seemed to possess much good land. It was sandy, and held out, particularly in the goodness of the hilly country, "great attractions to settlers." The name of Roe's Ranges was bestowed on the south end of this line of mountains. The Eagle left Port Leschenault on the 16th March, and the inlet at the mouth of the Murray was cursorily scrutinised. It was characterised as similar to those at Port Leschenault, Vasse River, and Melville Water, and would "probably hereafter afford great facilities in catching and curing fish for exportation, as well as for the water carriage of commodities."
On the 6th March, 1830, therefore, a military station was established at Port Leschenault, and the first white people took up a temporary residence near Bunbury. Captain Stirling issued a Government notice on the 22nd March advising those who were entitled to grants of land to select in the southern district. He made preparations to assist settlement, and sent several persons there from Perth within a few weeks. One farmer who accompanied the first expedition expressed the conviction that "with proper industry we shall all do better there than in the country round about Perth, for the climate is cooler and certainly the land preferable, and therefore on both accounts better adapted to the growth of vegetables and corn."
A new county was now added to the colony, and in the month following the expedition the first grants were allotted at Leschenault, and an enormous area was taken up by men who made no immediate use of the land. On the 26th April, 1830, F. A. Lautour selected 103,000 acres on the estuary, where the Australind settlement was subsequently established. James Henty had 69,000 acres registered on the same date, most of which grant was situated on the south banks of the Collie, with the present Collie Agricultural area as the western boundary. W. K. Shenton was granted 9,416 acres on 26th April on the north bank of the Collie, immediately north of Henty's grant. Shenton's Elbow was within the grant. The same settler had part of his selection near Point Lautour. The Surveyor-General, John S. Roe, received a grant of 2,180 acres on 26th April, which lay on the western boundary of Mr. Shenton's selection, north of the Collie. The centre of Mr. Roe's grant lay where the Bunbury to Perth railway crosses the Collie. Messrs. John Bamber and W. G. Sams each received 4,500 acres on 26th April. Three days later, on 29th April, Thomas Padbury was assigned 1,050 acres on the east bank of Preston River, north of and adjoining the Dardanup Commonage. A few weeks later Mr. Padbury died in the arms of his son, Mr. Walter Padbury, bitterly disappointed in his hopes of a rapidly acquired fortune in Western Australia. On the 29th May William Gellibrand received 12,226 acres. Of all these grantees, in 1837 Messrs. Gellibrand, Henty, Lautour, Bamber and Sams had left the colony, Mr. Padbury was deceased, while Messrs. Roe and Shenton alone held their property. The settlement at Leschenault was one of name only for some years, for though Captain Stirling established military there and organised a party of settlers he seems to have recalled them before the end of the year. We have seen no records to tell us when this was done or why.
At about the same time the country near King George's Sound was named the Plantaganet County. On the 26th of April Dr. Alexander Collie received 5,000 acres, John L. Morley 4,000 acres, Lieutenant Wm. Preston 2,560 acres, and on 24th June Captain Thomas Bannister 5,903 acres (in fee simple) in grants, at Plantaganet.
Captain Stirling seems from the first to have thought much of the land at Geographe Bay. An old map at the Colonial Office in London shows he selected 90,000 acres at Cape Naturaliste, about 10,000 at Garden Island, and smaller holdings on the Swan. The main portion of his grant in the south lay near the beach, between Leschenault and Port Vasse, with a few smaller sections scattered in the districts. Except for his efforts at agriculture and pasturage in the Swan country, he does not seem to have used his other properties for some years. Indeed he was too busy supervising the administration, in which he was required to fill multitudinous offices, and in exploration, to devote much attention to his private affairs.
A few weeks after his return from Leschenault, and when he had assigned land in that district, the Lieutenant-Governor set out in company with Captain Currie and a band of settlers with the intention of forming still another settlement should his examination of the country on the southern main prove satisfactory.
Embarking on the Emily Taylor, the party sailed from Gage's Roads on the 29th April, rounded Cape Leeuwin, and anchored near the mouth of an inlet east of the cape. Several days were passed examining the splendid downs, and large stretches of good soil on the Blackwood River. On the 16th May Captain Stirling returned to Fremantle. During the first week of May, 1830, the site of a town—Augusta—was chosen, and private persons and military who were intended to form a settlement there were disembarked. In a Government notice of May 11, 1830, the site of Augusta was stated to possess the advantages of excellent soil, ample good water, easy access in moderate weather as well to the anchorage as to the contiguous country. The inlet upon which it was situated led to the Blackwood. This river first ran several miles north, and then east, and the light sandy loam on its banks produced excellent timber. But the finest country, the best timber, and the most luxuriant pasturage were found on the hilly lands. Skirting the coast were downs of good sheep pastures, while the rest of the land was suitable for cattle. The country seen by this expedition led Stirling to judge that there were three distinct ranges of primitive mountains traversing Western Australia from north to south. Says the report, "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. . . . 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 sandstone formation prevails, it is of a very inferior description, except where the deposit of rivers may have altered its character."
The Swan River Colony now possessed four distinct settlements—Swan River, King George's Sound, Augusta, and Leschenault. The settlers at Augusta, as remote and isolated as imagination can portray, began their labours without flourish. The great Southern Ocean laved the shores which lay near their settlement, the blacks wandered about the Blackwood at their rear, and far away in the north were the few settlers at Leschenault, and in the east the band at King George's Sound. Three parties were left at Augusta by the Lieutenant-Governor. Captain Molloy, an officer who elected to follow the peaceful walks of agriculture and pastoral pursuits in preference to warfare, was president of these and the other chiefs were the Messrs. Bussell and Turner. No grants of land appear to have been assigned them for some time.
Exploration work was now energetically carried on, and officers of the Army and Navy eagerly followed this interesting occupation. They suffered severe hardships in exploiting new country and advancing the posts of civilisation. There was romance and adventure in first stepping into virgin valleys, wandering over rocky hills, and peering among interminable woodlands. Moreover, while assisting settlement and serving their country, they found relaxation in making these excursions. They were some relief to the secluded life they were compelled to lead in Western Australia. Ensign Dale and Lieutenant Preston were the most successful pathfinders, the former on land, the latter round the coast. The next important outing of Lieutenant Preston was begun on 6th November, 1830, when he sailed up the western coast in the hired cutter Colonist to search for ports, anchorages, and inlets, and to report on the nature of the coastal country. He went northwards until he obtained a view of Mount Fairfax and Wizard Hills near Geraldton, and while he reports inspecting some good bays he observed no country suitable for settlement. The coast was often exceedingly rocky, and in the neighbourhood of the Abrolhos the cutter grounded on a coral reef.
Before this, however, Mr. Dale had astonished the colonists by the extent of rich country that he proved they possessed. He groped his way amid the jarrah forests, surmounted the eastern ranges, and from his keen observation and good judgment, was able to supply the local Government with useful information. His most notable exploration up to this time was that upon which he set out on 31st July, 1830. He decided to penetrate the mysteries of the ranges of mountains to the east, so often seen from summits of the Darling Range, and he left the Swan River in company with Mr. Brockman, a storekeeper, and a soldier, prepared for an extensive journey. The party was equipped with horses and ample provisions. The weather was excessively cold and the low lands swampy. After crossing the swamps the travellers spent days in struggling over a continuation of rough hills or mountains. The swollen streams which divided the valleys and declivities in the hills gave them much trouble, and required much ingenuity in fording. Not knowing the easiest and quickest route, they naturally traversed an unnecessary distance, and on ascending each rugged hill they hoped that upon the other side would lay the plain they so much wished to see. They pioneered their way first among stunted growth and then among jarrah trees, which grew to enormous heights and dimensions on the ironstone ridges; were checked by boggy swamps in places, and found it difficult to keep the desired course owing to the density of vegetation. To get their baggage over one stream a long rope had to be attached to a tree growing upon its banks, and the packages pulled separately across. Some of the ridges were sterile and uninviting, while others were rendered glorious by those stately monarchs of the West Australian woodland—the jarrah. A rich and picturesque valley was descended on the 6th August, whose banks, ornamented with verdure and sloping down to a small rivulet, presented the exact appearance of a lawn. Near there they camped the night wrapt in the almost dreadful silence of the mountains. On the other side of a hill which they surmounted next day they fell in with a brook too rapid and deep to ford. But the chasm was crossed by bridging the swollen waters with poles cut in the forest. An elevated hill was ascended which was named Mount Mackie, in compliment to the chairman of the Court of Quarter Sessions.
At sunrise on 8th August the thermometer indicated 31½° and the travellers were glad to resume their march to maintain the circulation of blood. The soil was so soft and yielding during the next two days that little headway could be made. On the 10th, after following a river some distance, the horses were completely exhausted by their severe exertions, and tethering them, Dale and his companions proceeded on foot. They had meanwhile extricated themselves from the jarrah, and had entered open forest country. Through this they had toiled, meeting groves of the strange looking "blackboys" whose dark bodies and bower of grass at the top bore a remarkable resemblance to human beings. Then came the rugged, gnarled paper bark trees with their bright garniture of leaves, the zamia palm, the red gum, and finally the white gum trees rising like ghosts in the forest. The first glimpse of these unclothed bodies and giant arm-like limbs was startling, and the weird effect was assisted by the wind eerily soughing in the neighbouring casuarina.
Dale took two days' provisions with him from the camp, and after walking six miles along a stream, an abrupt and in some places almost perpendicular range of hills was met and named the Dyott Range, in compliment to General Dyott, the colonel of the 63rd Regiment. The southern base of this range presented a wall-like barrier. Strewn over the hills were large masses of granite. The elevated lands had a rich and verdant appearance, and were clothed in grass to the summits, and moderately wooded with gum trees. While examining a mass of granite a cavern was discovered with arched interior. The explorers were greatly astonished to observe a remarkable looking carving on the walls. They knew not that the natives practise this art, rude and simple though it be. On one wall the artist had evidently attempted to carve an image of the sun. The circular figure was about 18 inches in diameter, and emitted rays from its left side. Within the circle were lines which met each other nearly at right angles. Near this representation were the impressions of an arm and of several hands. Listening, they heard the natives themselves some distance away among the hills hailing each other. The rain poured down in torrents, but the band was fortunate enough to obtain good shelter for the night under a shelving rock of considerable size, which had the shape and appearance of the thatched roof of a cottage. They had walked eighteen miles that day and were glad to rest. A litter of native dogs was found and two were subsequently taken to Perth.
Proceeding north by west, on 11th August they reached he most abrupt and conspicuous summit of the Dyott Range, which, on the suggestion of Mr. Brockman, was named Mount Bakewell, in honour of a friend, Lord Bakewell. They then went back to their horses. The next day was passed in exploring the hills and the fine river which, washing their base, was afterwards named the Avon. From Mount Bakewell, Dale was, owing to the clouded atmosphere, only able to obtain a dim view of a fertile looking valley on either side of the stream undulating north to S.S.E. in forest lands. Greatly impressed with the excellent country examined, he returned to Perth on the 15th, and delighted Government and settlers with the reports of his success. He took back with him several specimens of minerals, such as varieties of granite, rock crystal, and limestone.
These discoveries of Ensign Dale were deemed the most promising of all yet made in the west of Australia, and led to the opening up of lucrative agricultural and pastoral areas. It came as an encouraging feature to the minds of settlers on the Swan that behind the Darling Ranges were expansive stretches of pasture for their stock, and lightly wooded valleys and plains where they might till the soil. The wealth of the colony was augmented, and all were impressed with the importance of Dale's exploration. The chief speculation and interest was concentrated on the new river, which in itself indicated great possibilities in what was then called the interior. Lieutenant-Adjutant Erskine, of the 63rd Regiment, left Perth on the 6th September to obtain wider information of the eastern country. On the 7th he crossed the first tier of hills S.E. of Perth, where the ascent and descent were sudden, the surface rocky and thinly wooded. Beyond this he camped by a clear mountain stream. After traversing eighteen miles on the next day, over successive ridges and three mountain streams, one of which was so strong and deep that the horses had to swim across, he again rested for the night. Large flocks of birds and droves of kangaroos were seen during the following day's march, and rough ironstone ridges and one particularly high hill had to be surmounted. So severe was the path that one horse became jaded, and another's back was rubbed into sores. The country during the next few days was hilly and rough, and on the 12th Erskine rested his wearied horses all day long, and passed his time in walking among the trees to the southward, along the course of a stream. There he saw some excellent soil. The Avon was reached on the 13th September, and to his agreeable surprise Lieutenant Erskine found a number of natives fishing in the stream. Some days were passed in examining the country along the river's course, and the explorers were loud in their praise of its fertility. The natives were very numerous, and became more friendly than Erskine wished. He began his home journey on the 17th, and reached Perth on September 22, bearing bright news of goodly country, rich pasturage, and abundant game.
Early in October Lieutenant-Governor Stirling determined to personally visit these fine lands in order the better to decide upon the apportioning of grants and to supply information to his people. He was accompanied by several settlers, and was led thither by Mr. Dale. The party took with them the best horses they could obtain at Swan River, and made the journey rather more rapidly than did Dale on his first trip. He was able to guide them by a nearer and easier route. Captain Stirling inspected the rich valleys which skirted the Avon waters, and was charmed with the abundance of pasturage then existing on every side. He was not able to trace the source and mouth of the river, but went into the country round about to prove the extent of pastoral and agricultural land. On this occasion the country was rendered beautiful by the profusion of flowers which the spring had brought to perfection. The brightest blue, white, orange, and red blossoms relieved the deep green of the sward, and lent an idyllic air to the sylvan scene. The vistas in the woods appeared as gardens containing the choicest painted blooms, the climbers and shrubs were bedecked, and in pursuing their way the explorers bruised these delightful flowers beneath their own and their horses' feet.
While the Lieutenant-Governor hurried back to Perth to declare the country open to selection, Ensign Dale and a party of six volunteers, including Messrs. Clarkson, Hardy, Camfield, and W. Stirling, and five horses to carry baggage and ten days' provisions, left him to explore east as far as circumstances would permit, and to examine more of the Avon country. 0n the 28th October they separated from the returning band and passed along the northern base of the Dyott Range for a mile and a half, and when nearing the Avon observed excellent loamy soil. Crossing this quiet stream they proceeded south half east, and emerged into undulating country decked with the bright yellow-flowered wattle, and lightly timbered with gum and sandalwood trees. The soil was a good red loam, and this eastern side of the Avon appeared much richer than the western. They continued along the river's banks for nearly three miles, when they scaled a ridge which bounded a change in the aspect of the country; for beyond were "large open downs, or wolds," extending several miles north and south, and covered with sandy soil and short brushwood. Pushing on they again entered wooded country, and in the evening rested by a stream about eleven miles east of Mt. Bakewell. Most of the country passed over was rich and promising land, decked with flowers, and although it was diversified by useless patches, all agreed that it had the appearance of an English demesne. Next morning they traversed grassy undulating plains, bounded on the right by an apparently fertile valley, rising to low hills, upon which the trees were grouped as in a plantation. After this came an unusually sandy stretch of some four miles in extent, when they plunged into a thickly wooded area, amid which they found a stream flowing northwards. Quitting the woods they at once entered open downs running for many miles north and south and about two miles wide. Just here a kangaroo, which seemed a necessary concomitant of these scenes, was sighted, and all made chase in the wake of a greyhound. The marsupial was in his own domain, and the hunters knew not the country. Their chase was fruitless. They went fifteen miles to the eastward that day, through land tolerably well adapted for pasture. After journeying another fifteen miles on the 30th October over sandy billowy commons stretching north and south, which led to open broken country exhibiting expanses of woodland scenery, they entered the gloom of a dense forest of gum trees and brushwood. Difficulty was experienced in penetrating this. Five miles were covered before they reached a ti-tree and samphire swamp containing brackish water. At its eastern extremity were two remarkable isolated hills, which they sighted earlier in the day, and which they desired to examine. To the northern one Dale gave the name of Mount Caroline, and to the southern Mount Stirling, after a member of the party, Mr. W. Stirling. Each hill was composed of a mass of granite. Near them they camped.
At sunrise next morning all climbed Mount Stirling on hands and knees to obtain a bird's-eye view of the country. Low ranges of hills lay about thirty miles to the south-east, on the western side of which was a broad valley, surmounted by a bluish vapour. Several round hills rose in the same direction, while marshes of water were observed in other directions. Their provisions were now nearly exhausted, but rather than miss the opportunity of exploring the southern country they set off, first south to south-east, then west-south-west. On November 1 they found extensive downs and deep woods. On one of the downs were pools of water, showing traces that the natives had but lately been there. Numerous herds of kangaroos bounded away from them. One animal was killed and welcomed as an addition to their deplenished food-supply. A superior description of country was sighted about twenty miles south-south-west from Mount Stirling; fine grasses, wattles, gum, and sandalwood thriving on a red loam. Native fires were observed in this district.
The party began their return journey on 2nd November, and some of the more timid prepared their arms in case of encounters with natives, who seemed numerous in that productive country. They proceeded in a west by north direction for eighteen miles, through dense woodlands, by two salt water lagoons, and over grassy hills, which appeared to contain better soil than the valleys. Early in the day they suddenly came upon four natives, two men and two women. The terror and surprise manifested by these on beholding the Europeans showed that it was their first glimpse of a white race. The men advanced making hostile demonstrations, apparently to cover the retreat of the women, but, directly, they too scurried away as fast as legs could carry them, and disappeared behind a hill. On the 3rd, after traversing rich and extensive valleys, the explorers resighted the Avon, at an estimated distance of eighteen miles S.E. of Mount Bakewell. The stream was about thirty yards wide at this point, but on tracing its course towards the mountain it was seen to narrow, and became partly concealed by the ti-trees which lined its banks. They camped at a beautiful spot where the river had again become broad and deep. Behind them were two low peaked hills. A brace of ducks was killed and made an excellent evening meal. Mr. Dale now decided to allow the gentlemen of his party to carefully examine the valley of the river so that they might have an opportunity of obtaining a thorough knowledge of the country preparatory to selecting their grants. Messrs. Clarkson, Hardy, and Camfield made a particularly elaborate examination. On the 5th all left the Avon; the Darling Ranges were crossed behind the Canning, and Perth was reached on November 7. Tracts of very fine country, luxuriantly grassed, were traversed on the way. Dale and his party of experienced farmers went over those districts now known as York and Beverley.
The Lieutenant-Governor arranged to throw this fine area open to selection, and sent surveyors to Mount Bakewell, who roughly marked out the boundaries of suitable country. In addition, late in 1830, they marked out the sites of three towns, namely, York—which Captain Stirling chose at the base of Mount Bakewell, and named in honour of the Messrs. Clarkson, who were Yorkshire farmers—Beverley and Northam. But at that time, and for many subsequent months, no houses took the place of the fine trees which adorned the land where these towns now stand. It was some years afterwards that the first town allotments were apportioned, Messrs. Bland and Trimmer being the first applicants in York.
The results of Dale's discoveries in the interior on the Avon River were not long in forthcoming, and those persons who were entitled to grants hurriedly applied for areas. The good land about the Canning and Swan had by this time been nearly selected, and hence the discovery of the Avon Valley proved a very substantial boon, especially as the main body of selectors apparently objected to going so far south as Leschenault and Augusta. One colonist, George Fletcher Moore, who reached Western Australia in October, 1830, searched for some time before he could obtain a suitable grant. Writing on 12th November, 1830, he says, "The only land available for present purposes is on and near the banks of the rivers: all this is now allotted on both sides of each river (Swan and Canning) almost to their source." On the 8th December of the same year he complains that "all the lands up the Swan and Canning have been long since granted," and therefore people looked eagerly to the new country over the mountains. The bright story of those who went forth to spy out the land had given great delight. A remarkable rush for grants in the interior at once took place, and the immense areas alienated in a few weeks is an irrefutable argument against the system of colonisation upon which Western Australia was established. From the 25th November, 1830, to 29th December, 1830, one record shows that nearly a quarter of a million of acres—223,077—were apportioned in grants in what was then known as the Avon country. These grants were mostly along the country examined by Dale and his companions, and not many of their boundaries joined.
The first grant in the old Avon county was apportioned in fee simple to Francis Henry Byrne on 25th November, 1830. Mr. Byrne was entitled to 13,343 acres, and he selected 11,000 in this district. Robert Dale was granted on 9th December 2,560 acres, in fee simple, on the south-western bank of the Avon, south-east of Mount Mackie, and near the Dyott Ranges. On the same date Du Bois Agett received 6,280 acres river frontage on the northern bank at Spencer's Brook; W. Locke Brockman, who accompanied Dale when this country was discovered, obtained 15,830 acres out of 20,160 acres to which he was entitled, river frontage, on south-west bank, including Mount Mackie; Michael and James Smith Clarkson were apportioned 18,261 acres on the bank opposite Mr. Brockman, N.N.W. of York, on 28th December; Henry Camfield selected 5,000 acres on 14th December, river frontage, adjoining the Messrs. Clarkson, but nearer York; William Stirling was granted on 16th December 4,000 acres, river frontage; south of York, near the station Mr. R. H. Bland subsequently controlled; John W. and Joseph Hardy were allotted 16,342 acres on 28th December, river frontage, immediately south of and adjoining the York town site; and the selection of Thompson, Douglas, and Trimmer of 37,000 acres was granted on 9th December, and possessed a river frontage, the main portion surrounding Spencer's Brook. The other grants made in 1830 were:—On 9th December, H. W. Reveley, 4,400 acres; Walter Pace, 5,000 in fee simple; on 10th December, Richard Lewis, 1,280; on 11th December, Joshua Gregory, 7,880; on 13th December, E. Picking, 3,000; on 14th December, W. B. Andrews, 5,000; James Wallcott, 16,083, fee simple; Mark John Currie, 5,000; E.G. Collinson, 1,280; W. H. Mackie and F. C. Irwin, 7,000; on 15th December, John Butler, 6,000; Archibald Butler, 5,000; John Henry, 1920; Richard Isaac, 1,106; Edward B. Lennard, 3,286 and 5,000 (in Beverley agricultural area); William Milligan, 2,060; Thomas Maxwell, 800; G. Fletcher Moore, 6,000 and 6,000 (near Beverley); 16th December, Alfred H. Stone, 5,320 (Beverley); 17th December, Charles D. Ridley, 8,750; 18th December, William Heal, 1120; 29th December, Thomas Hurrey, 573; George Johnson, 746; Elizabeth Rowland, 200 and on the 30th, James Dodd, 2,000 acres. Although the settlers eagerly took up these grants, the difficulties of ingress to them prevented immediate use being made of the land. No suitable stock route was known, and hence for many subsequent months the Avon valley remained untouched, and 1831 was far advanced before a definite attempt was made to form settlements there. Previous to this a town was surveyed and declared on the Helena River, near where it joins the Swan. This town was named Guildford. The Cowcher family was the first to receive lots there—70 to 75—in September, 1830; Stephen Parker, Susannah Parker, John N. Parker, and Stephen Stanley Parker the second—lots 22 to 25—on 12th October; and the Meares family were awarded lots 55 to 66 in November, 1830.
By the end of the year marked progress was made in Perth, on the Swan, Canning, and Helena Rivers, and Garden Island. Perth had grown from the rough camp stage, and possessed modest cottages, built with some attempt to uniformity and alignment in streets. But Fremantle was still camp, and continued to be the favourite resort of dissatisfied
people, and the sluggards who aspired to obtain fortunes which demanded no special exertion from them. The settlers were the most progressive. The earlier pioneers had finished their houses, necessarily rambling rough structures, and were constantly making some new developments on their property. After planting their crops they spent the intervening time till harvest in preparing for more security for their stock, and in denuding patches of land of timber and small growth, and fallowing it. The better class—the experienced farmers—obtained a good growth of cereals and vegetables, and some had even planted fruit trees and much-prized English flowers. The new arrivals were astonished to observe fair crops of peas, barley, radishes, and turnips on the white sand at Garden Island in early summer. It was so singular and unusual to them that they expressed themselves as quite unable to form an opinion as to local soils. A few settlers remained on Garden Island throughout 1830. The prospect of the crops up the Swan and Canning were not generally bright. There were some good fields of wheat, maize, barley, oats, and rye, which had been planted and tended by farmers of experience, but many of the inefficient thought that the ground only required scratching for the reception of seed. These over-sanguine persons wooed great disenchantment. On the Swan above Perth, melons, cucumbers, pumpkins, cabbages, peas, and all the ordinary garden vegetables were produced with moderate success. A large proportion of crops failed altogether, because the sowers had planted at the wrong season. By this circumstance they had to live on their capital for still another year. Few indeed obtained enough for their own consumption. All the fields were small, caused by the original want of energy. Good cows sold in December at £25 each, and sheep were correspondingly high.
The number of people who left the colony was largely increased in the latter part of the year, including many of those who held grants. In order to comply with the conditions of improvement they arranged with incoming settlers to divide the grant. The latter were required to perform the location duties sufficient to retain the whole area. Others left their properties, and paid no attention to them whatever. All of these articulated their disappointments so loudly that the colony suffered acutely.
The relationship between the settlers and the blacks had up to the latter half of 1830 been decidedly happy. The whites showed no fear of their black neighbours, and treated them most liberally. Hardly a day passed without bands of natives visiting the settlers on the banks of the Swan and the Canning. The settlers gave these aborigines damper, potatoes, and other provisions, which they soon appreciated far more than their native foods. Besides, they were so much more easily collected. The surprised blacks took constant delight in watching the toil of the whites, and in examining the rapid results of their labour. The consequence of liberality began to be apparent towards the end of 1830, when the natives seemed to more and more depend on he settlers for their subsistence. So persistently did they beg for food that the settlers tired of and suffered from their liberality, and ultimately sent the natives away without the usual gifts. After going from settler to settler these black beggars evidently became envious of the more palatable food of the whites. Their envy took a substantial form, and after a period of temptation they cunningly stole when a safe opportunity arose. Little notice was taken of this at first, but when they acquired a taste for beef and mutton, and speared, instead of the Kangaroo and emu, the sheep and cattle of the settlers, a more serious air was lent to their visitations.
And so the position remained until early in November, when several natives were detected robbing a house. The aborigines afterwards hurried away through the woods, where they made merry with the plunder. The Colonial Secretary, who was accompanied by Mr. G. F. Moore and a few soldiers, gave chase. A conflict took place, during which one native was shot, three wounded, and seven were taken prisoners to Perth. The prisoners were kindly treated, and after a few days released, the authorities hoping that the proof given of the superiority of European weapons, and also the urbane treatment extended to the natives, would cause them to preserve a peaceful attitude in the future.
It was not so. While some natives were amenable to the civilising influences of the whites, others preferred to steal and even kill where they could not obtain by fair means. Of the former class were a few who occasionally assisted the white settlers in their work, and esteemed them as superior beings. They were most delighted when rowed down and up the rivers in boats, and one settler tells how a native, while with him in a boat, grew sleepy and asked permission to lay his head upon the white man's knee. The request was granted after the precaution was taken to spread paper over the European's trousers to save them from the grease and red earth with which the aboriginal's hair was dressed. Then the black slept peacefully in all trustfulness.
The other class of blacks, many of whom had quickly learnt the meaning of simple English words, continued their depredations. It is not known that any settlers murdered blacks up to this time or even punished them; but, notwithstanding the natives' former evident welcome of the whites, they now murdered a man named McKenzie on the Murray River. Whether this was in accordance with their law of life for life or was unprovoked is not certain. It was subsequently discovered that the blacks on the Murray were more fierce than those on the Swan.
A second murder was committed in 1830. In November and December the settlers about the Swan suffered somewhat heavily through thefts by natives. A man named Smedley detected a native stealing potatoes from Mr. A. Butler's garden on the banks of Melville Water. He fired at and killed him. Shortly afterwards a party of natives surrounded the house of Mr. Butler, and brutally murdered his servant, Entwistle. Two natives named Yagan and Midgegooroo seemed to head the avengers. Entwistle was killed near his doorstep before the eyes of his two sons, both mere children, who rushed into the hut from the fearful sight and hid beneath the bed. The blacks followed them but did not find them. Yagan and Midgegooroo cunningly escaped punishment from the authorities.
The conditions upon which land was apportioned were slightly altered in the middle of the year by restricting the area allowed for a given investment on servants or stock, but this regulation did not immediately come into effect. On 20th July, 1830, a circular was issued from the Colonial Office, in which the Home Government carefully pointed out, as before, that at no time was it their intention of assisting settlers by incurring expense in conveying them to and removing them from the colony, or defraying the cost of provisions. Those persons emigrating after 31st December, 1830, were to receive 20 acres instead of 40 for every £3 invested, and 100 acres instead of 200 on the passage of every labourer. By this rule immigrants were entitled to only half the acreage previously allowed, this step being taken apparently to prevent the alienation of areas which were too large for the colonists to improve and adequately develop.
The Government of Western Australia was wholly vested in the hands of Captain Stirling up to this time. He had his advisers, but practically they had no voice in the decisions. The Governor's duties were both onerous and difficult, for every class of colonial life was under his direct control. The first few months of a colony require no great efforts at statesmanship, but demand a sound Supervisor of Works, and this was the chief position filled by Captain Stirling. Indeed, he was the pastoral father of all the unhappy people who had come to the Swan River Settlement; and all but the best class of pioneers went to him with their puny complaints. He was repeatedly being begged to assist people to leave the colony, and even had to decide in disagreements between employees and employers.
Up to November 1830 his duties were not clearly defined by the British Government. The Provisory Act for the Government of Western Australia received Royal Assent in May, 1829, but it was not until the 1st November, 1830, that steps were taken to provide the colony with any legislative machinery or to define its charter. On that date His Majesty, sitting in Council, ordered and authorised the appointment of any three or more persons residents in Western Australia "to make, ordain, and establish all such laws, institutions, and ordinances, and to constitute such courts and officers as may be necessary for the peace, order, and good government of His Majesty's subjects and others within the said settlement." It was provided that these laws, orders, and ordinances should be laid before both the English Houses of Parliament as soon as convenient. His Majesty, in pursuance of the authority vested in him by the Act before mentioned, ordered that "the Governor for the time being of the said settlement of Western Australia, or the officer administering the Government thereof, the senior officer of His Majesty's Land Forces next in command, the Colonial Secretary of the said territory for the time being, the Surveyor-General hereof for the time being, and the Advocate-General thereof for the time being "should be empowered with the legislative authority subject to the following conditions and restrictions:—"That all such laws and ordinances as aforesaid, shall by the said Governor or officer administering Government, be with all convenient expedition transmitted to His Majesty for his approbation or disallowance through one of his principal Secretaries of State, and that the same or any part thereof shall not be in force within the said settlement after His Majesty's disallowance thereof, or of any of them, or of any such part thereof, or of any of them aforesaid, shall be made known therein; and further, that no such law or ordinance shall be made unless the same shall have first been proposed by the said Governor or officer administering Government; and further, that in making all such laws and ordinances, the said several persons shall and do conform to all such instructions as His Majesty shall from time to time be pleased to issue for the purpose; and further, that no Court of Justice be constituted by the several persons aforesaid without said settlements, except by a law or ordinance to be by them for that purpose made under and subject to the conditions and instructions aforesaid."
The Executive or Legislative Council thus constituted was opened in the following year, and Captain Stirling, Captain Irwin, Mr. P. Brown, Lieutenant Roe, and Mr. George Fletcher Moore (who had been appointed Advocate-General) were its first members.