The narrative of a voyage to the Swan River

A Plan of Swan River Settlement and Surrounding Country.jpg






Account of that Settlement from an Authentic Source;




Western Australia;









"The spread of cultivation is no wild or impracticable plan; it is one fraught with all the blessings Providence has to bestow; it is a pursuit in which Art and Nature go hand in hand to certain and unceasing triumphs; while the common mother, Earth, seems smiling upon the labours of her children, and the unclouded eye of Heaven looks down well pleased upon the exertions it has ordained and blessed."—Sadler's Ireland, p. 418.


No. 165, STRAND


Little College Street. Westminster.





I am fully sensible that this little work, which I have the honour of dedicating to you, presents nothing new to your notice, and that it would be unworthy of the patronage of your name if its object were not to afford some useful information to those who intend to emigrate to Western Australia. The rapid progress which this Colony has made since its recent establishment must be highly gratifying to you, under whose administration it was founded. Sincerely wishing that you may live to see it become as flourishing as your hopes can anticipate,

I have the honor to subscribe myself,

with great respect,


Your obliged, humble Servant,



From the abundant and increasing population of the United Kingdom, it is expedient, and, perhaps, necessary, that many should emigrate, and endeavour to obtain in a foreign land that eligible investment of their capital, and that promising scope for their industry, which circumstances prevent their finding at home.

Colonies and countries in every quarter of the globe have successively, of late years, excited general interest; and many of His Majesty's subjects have been induced to seek their fortunes in that settlement which, at the moment, was most popular: and while the want of novelty and of success have ceased to draw the attention of the Public and the schemes of the adventurer to the hot plains of Africa, or the banks of the Oronooko— while the frozen Winter of the North chills the adventurer who wishes to emigrate to the Canadas—while the Tory and the Whig abhor the idea of becoming the subjects of republican America, and thereby increasing the strength of a foreign nation—while the religious parent trembles to expose his children to the evil society and the vices of Sydney and Hobart Town, the new Colony on the Swan River, has suddenly risen into notice; and while it obtains the good wishes of every friend to his country, so, also, it has led hundreds to emigrate to it, and induced many more seriously to consider the eligibility of removing themselves and their families to a Colony so exclusively English, holding forth many and great advantages and promising all reasonable success.

As the statements in the public prints have been very contradictory—some describing this Colony as a Paradise, and the richest country in the world, others studiously exaggerating its disadvantages, and representing it as a scene of calamity and disappointment, it may neither be useless nor uninteresting to give a plain, unbiassed account of the Colony in its present infant state, from one who, being a resident in it, is certainly capable of describing it with accuracy, and whose letters to his Father and Brother, whom he entreats to follow him, cannot be suspected of being written with any view to exaggerate, conceal, or deceive.

If this little work should fall into the hands of him who reads only for amusement, to kill that time which is killing him, the Editor cannot expect to offer any thing which may either excite his feelings or attract his attention: the novel reader will be disgusted with details of real life on board ship, or in the desert; and the plans and expressions of a practical agriculturist will be very insipid to him, whose notions of rural pursuits are derived from romantic accounts of romantic shepherdesses, gracefully reclining over limpid streams. But the patriot will not disdain to read a plain description of a newly-formed settlement, which will rapidly increase in opulence and in strength; he will rejoice at the establishment of a Colony which will extend the commerce of his country, and, while it adds to its trade, will consequently increase its resources. If the scholar and the man of science should take up this book as a relaxation from study or research, let them not be disgusted with the plain, but artless statements of an unpretending young man, who has just quitted the comparative retirement of a country village, and bursts at once upon scenes to which he had hitherto been a stranger. These statements are published to afford information to the emigrant, and not gratification to the learned. Classic elegance of expression is not yet to be expected from the uncultivated plains of Western Australia. Criticism will be disarmed at the sight of letters written, after a hard day's toil, by the flickering of a settler's lamp: and, for himself, the Editor ventures to hope that, as he is totally unaccustomed to write for the press, the style of this, his first literary offering to public notice, will not be examined with minuteness, nor condemned with severity. As to the matter of this work, although he does not attempt to defy censure, he yet trusts he has written nothing to deserve it.

It is no easy task to remove prejudice, or to change general opinion, and, at present, the Colony is by many represented, and believed to be a scene of disappointment, and the grave of hope. A short explanation of the causes of various unfavourable statements, may induce less regard to be paid to those who disparage the Settlement from envy, selfishness, or to conceal their own folly and unavoidable loss.

If the Colony succeed, the trade and number of emigrants to the Convict Settlements will be reduced; and hence the most calamitous accounts of the distress and barrenness of Western Australia have been circulated from Sydney and Hobart Town, with studied eulogiums upon the prosperity and fertility of these places.

At its first establishment, several adventurers arrived from Hobart Town, intending to monopolize the most valuable land upon speculation: but the wise and just regulations of the Governor frustrated their plans, and they returned to Van Dieman's Land, railing against the place they had quitted, with all the bitterness of envy and disappointment.

A great number of the emigrants from this country were totally incompetent to undertake the management of land; most of them expected to meet with luxuries in a wilderness, and fertile land on the very edge of the sea. But they soon found that the means of subsistence could not be obtained without labour; and that rich land, as in other countries, is less abundant than poor. Then many "gave themselves up to despair," and left the Settlement without ascertaining its resources, or attempting to overcome those difficulties which are the invariable attendants upon the establishment of a new Colony.

Several persons went out with a view of forming commercial establishments which, in process of time may be most lucrative, but at first seemed impracticable and ridiculous. They soon proceeded in search of situations more favorable to their views, and decried the country without inquiring into its natural advantages, the quality of the land in the interior, or the prospect of success which it presented to the farmer.

Such are the causes of the reports which have arisen, to the great disadvantage of the new Colony; but time will, ere long, remove prejudice by the force of truth—and Western Australia will succeed and flourish, in spite of false statements and studied misrepresentation.


Auger, Mr., Bourton.
Banbury, Mr., Long Itchington.
Barnfield, Mr., Wolstone.
Boultbee, Rev. T., Prior's Salford.
Bracebridge, C. H. Esq., Atherstone Hall.
Brammall, Rev. D., Elham.
Bunce, Rev. J. B., Harbledown.
Burbury, Mr., Wotton Grange.
Butlin, William, Esq., Rugby.
Carter, Mr. William, Coventry.
Chinn, Rev. H. B., Long Lauford.
Cooper, Mr. Edward, Coventry.
Copson, Mr. Edward, Brandon.
Cox, Mr., Sowe.
Curling, Mrs., Canterbury.
Downes, Rev. J. W., Stanford.
Duningham, Rev. John, Hackney Grammar School, 3 copies.
Eden, Hon. and Rev. William, Beakesbourne, 3 copies.
Edmunds, Rev. Robert, Church Lauford.
Elkington, Mrs., Coventry.
Foster, Mr. Robert, Fillongley.
Foster, Mr. Robert, North Street, Westminster.
Grey de Ruthyn, Baroness, 10 copies.
Garner, Mr. Thomas, Cawston.
Garner, Mr. Joseph, Dunchurch.
Gaven, ——, Esq., Park Square, Regent's Park.
Gillbee, Rev. Charles, Barby.
Gillbee, Mr. Walter, Barby.
Hall, Mr., Dunchurch.
Harding, Rev. Wm., Fellow of Wadham College, Oxford.
Harper, H. R., Esq., Burton, Latimer Hall.
Harper, Rev. Latimer, Chilvers Coton.
Hodson, Rev. J. H., Yelvertoff.
Hook, Rev. W. F., St. Trinity, Coventry.
Howkins, Mrs., Upper Baker Street.
Humfrey, Rev. L. C., Laughton
Humfrey, Rev. C., Thedingworth.
Jenkins, Rev. John, Branston.
Kellam, Mr., Ryton-on-Dunsmore.
Kellam, Mr. W., ditto.
Lake, Captain, Rugby.
Linwood, Miss, Hinkley.
Lockinge, Rev. H., Northampton.
Lucas, Mr., Lutterworth.
Marriott, Miss, Newton.
Marriott, Rev. Robert, Cottesbatch, 2 copies.
Marshall, Mrs., Allesley.
Moor, Rev. J. H. C., Second Master of Rugby School.
Powell, Captain, Upper Baker Street, London.
Powell, William, Esq., Kildorrery.
Powell, Mrs., Canterbury.
Rugby Clerical Society.
Rudge, Mr., Hillmorton.
Sale, Mr. William, Clifton.
Slye, J. W., Esq., West Haddon.
Spence, Rev. H. M., West Haddon, 2 copies.
Spratt, Mrs., Canterbury.
Thickins, Rev. John, Fillongley.
Tindal, Rev. James, Mouseley.
Turner, Mr., Coventry.
Watson, Richard, Esq., Lutterworth.
Watson, Thomas, Esq., Walcote.
Williams, Rev. Charles, Barby.


The following Narrative and Account are compiled from several letters addressed by a young man of respectability (now resident at the Swan River) to his relations in England. The reader may rest assured, that no statement is presented herein which is not in strict accordance with the truth.

The Appendix contains such further information as, the Editor presumes, will be interesting and serviceable to the determined emigrant, to whom he begs leave to offer his sincere advice and candid opinions, with his best wishes.

75%.svg Chapter 1 Description of the Voyage from Portsmouth—Bay of Biscay—Sea Sickness, cure of—Description of the Island of Mayo—Description of the Island of St. Paul—The Ship's Arrival in Gage's Roads, Cockburn Sound.
75%.svg Chapter 2 Description of the Country as you approach it—Landing Passengers—Interview with the Governor—Account of Perth and Freemantle, the two Towns First established—Procuring a Grant of Land—Exploring Expedition—Meeting some Natives, &c.
75%.svg Chapter 3 Useful Information to Emigrants—what should be attended to by a Steerage Passenger—the Conduct to be observed on Board-ship—what Things are requisite on the Passage—what to take with him as a Settler.
75%.svg Remarks On The Proper Choice Of Country to the Determined Emigrant. Preliminary Remarks
75%.svg Section I On The Choice Of Country.
75%.svg Section II Government Regulations.
75%.svg Section III Of the unfounded Statements which have been circulated relative to the Colony and its natural Capabilities.
75%.svg Section IV Miscellaneous Observations, and Advice to Emigrant, Passenger, and Settler.
75%.svg Addenda