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17 corrections, most recently by Kununurra-Historical-Society - Show corrections





Sir,—Since I last wrote you Police-sergeant Troy arrived, at Derby from the Kimberley goldfield. This I have already wired you from Cossack. Troy's report is not yet officially made public here, as he reports to the Govern- ment Resident at Derby, who, in his turn, reports to the Governer before the report is published. But, as a matter of fact, the report is well known, and is so far satisfactory. Troy found 60 diggers on the field proper, and on his re- turn to Derby met between 200 and 300 diggers on the road to the diggings. All were getting on well, and we have since heard that one of the parties with wheelbarrows was the first to arrive on the field. The road is easy, and there is water all along tho route, the longest stage being twelve miles. The diggers were reticent, but all were getting


A good many steamers have arrived at Derby since I last wrote, and the diggers keep starting up country as soon as their horses are fit after the voyage. The Otway arrived about the middle of July, 10 days overdue. She brought several parties of Western Australians, well equipped for the diggings. There were also a sergeant of police and other constables, who are to act as an escort for gold from the field. Mr. Hare, the new Government Resident for Cambridge Gulf, also came by the Otway, and proceeded by

the same steamer to relieve Mr. Price, the late Government   Resident, who has been appointed Goldfields' Warden. Mr. Price returns by the Otway to Derby, where the escort awaits him, the Government thus showing their preference for the

Derby route.

As the Otway was the first boat for the South, I took the opportunity of going on to Cambridge Gulf by her. The weather was warm and the sea like a mill pond, going and coming, and the trip was a most enjoyable one. I should mention here that in May last the s.s. Menmuir, when leaving King Sound, was reported by her captain to have struck a rock in the fairway of Sunday Straits, at a spot marked on the chart 20 fathoms. The s.s. Afghan some time after also reported striking at the same spot. The latter vessel was entering the Sound with a flood tide, the current being equal to eight knots an hour. Nautical men in Derby ridicule the idea of the existence of any such rock, as with such a current a vessel striking a rock would either tear, her bottom out or turn, over, while neither of the vessels I have named made any water. Captain Pincombe, of the Otway, who knows this coast as well as any one, on my questioning him upon the subject, asked me to go on the bridge, and he would take his vessel over the spot, and he did so. There is a great disturbance on the spot, and both rudder and propeller are powerless until the place is passed. It was on this spot that the Menmuir hung for

half an hour when entering the Sound against the tide with a full head of steam. There is probably a ledge o£ rock on the bottom, which is the cause of the disturbance.

The Otway left the anchorage at Derby at 2 a.m. Satur- day, and reached the entrance to Cambridge Gulf at day- light on Tuesday. There is not much of interest till Adolphus Island is reached, when the course lies through a narrow passage. On passing that island we came in sight     of View Hill, a very prominent hill, and the old landing place. It was at one time intended to make that the site of the town, but it was found that there was not enough level ground for a town site, and besides, the country behind was subject to floods in the rainy season. In April last the steamer Albany brought a party from Perth to establish a settlement, and the Hon. James Forrest accompanied the party. The Albany passed View Hill, and proceeded up the gulf about 20 miles, when a good landing was found under a high hill, now called Mount Albany. All the steamers that have since arrived have discharged at this place—called Anthon landing—and it is there that the people are settled. The place is as badly adapted for a town site as can well be imagined. It covers an area of about two acres, incapable of extension, as there is a marsh on two sides, an almost precipitous hill behind, and the harbour in front. As a fact, this is not the Government town, which is a mile and a half further down the harbour, but, as all goods and passengers are landed there, the people have naturally sat down on the most con- venient place. The site of Wyndham, the Government town, is well chosen and well laid out. So far no allot- ments have been sold, as plans have not yet been prepared. No one has settled on the town of Wyndham.

Mr. Morris, the resident engineer, came up by the Otway to examine and report upon the requirements of this port.

One of the most needed works is the erection of a jetty, and   Mr. Morris has taken soundings with a view of finding the best place. The best soundings were found at Athon landing. If the jetty is erected there the town of Wyndham will not be occupied, while if it is put up at Wyndham, the present settlement will shift to Wyndham. To meet the wants of the present settlers about 40 lots have been surveyed. All those are occupied, but not purchased. When put up for auction the value of improvements will be added to the value of land, and the present holders may be outbid—a most unsatisfactory state of things. Not only are all the surveyed lots occupied, but also tho reserve and roads or streets, the Government Resident's tent being on the main


The want of water is a great drawback to the settlement, the only good well being three miles distant, and four and a half from Wyndham. There are wells being sunk be- tween the present settlement and Wyndham ; but the re- sult so far is not satisfactory. Water costs sixpence to a

shilling per bucket. All the diggors camp at the three mile well preparatory to starting for the goldfield.

There is a good deal of doubt as to which is the best route to the diggings. There is no doubt that it is shorter from Cambridge Gulf ; but the Derby route is a better one. Men from the field who arrived while the Otway was in the gulf reported that the road was a good one for packhorses, but not for teams, and that some teams had broken down. The Government will adopt the Derby route, and the escort

will travel on that road.

There were many reports current at Cambridge Gulf from the diggings, but few can be relied upon. It is very certain that rations are scarce on the field, but as there are some strong teams on the road from Derby that want will soon be met. There are reports of good finds of gold in the Leopold Range, near Derby, but they require confirmation. No blacks have yet come in to the settlement, nor have they come to the station on the road. They are very numerous and very wild, and will yet give trouble.

Alligators are very plentiful in the Gulf, and can be seen at any time at low water, on the muddy banks. I accom- panied the Government party to see the site of Wyndham, and while Mr. Morris was having the mangroves cut, so as to allow of sounding the following day, I went with Mr. Anderson, a director of the Adelaide S. S. Company, to Stony Point, to gather shells and fossils. The follow- ing day an alligator, 25 feet long, was fired at and hit, but not killed, on the very spot where we had been collecting. It is a common mistake that alligators and crocodiles can- not turn quickly. I have seen both turn and pop into the water when disturbed, like a rabbit into its burrow.

Before leaving the settlement I will relate a story (which has the merit of being true) current there. The portable cooking stove of the Government Resident, like his tent, is placed on the main road, and is without covering. One day a leg of mutton was being cooked, when a hungry digger passing that way sniffed the savoury dish, and pulled up. Eyeing the joint, he said to the Chinese cook, "whose is that?" " My master's," replied John. "Who is your master ?" " My master, Master Price. Government Resi- dent, is my master," replied John. The digger stroked his beard meditatively, looking hard at the mutton ; then, stretching out his hand, he seized the joint, and turning to the cook said, " Tell your master I've taken this. He can get another, I can't." Up till now the cook has failed to identify that digger.

The following is a fac simile of a voucher in the posses- sion of the secretary of the hospital :—  

"Junley 24.  

"1 night work at the Horspill. Luckin barer  

the sum of 15d.

" For C TOOLEY.  

" Paid C TOOLEY.

" I certify a Auticieri M.P. Wal 10s." C Tooley was employed to lay out the body of a man who died in the settlement, and sent in a bill for his valuation of services rendered. The bill was taxed by the chemist,

who reduced it one-third.

On our arrival at the anchorage we found the steamers Hero and Port Darwin there, and the place presented quite a busy appearance. On Saturday morning the Hero weighed anchor and proceeded outwards, but took the ground about 15 miles from the anchorage. The following morning the Otway and Port Darwin weighed and started   out, the Otway leading and feeling her way with lead going on both sides. The navigation is very difficult between the anchorage and View Hill. There is a deep channel, but it winds, and, not being buoyed, it is difficult to find. As we passed the Hero she had steam up, and soon after got off and followed us. As the three boats

steamed through the narrow passage separating Adolphus   Island from the mainland—about a quarter of a mile apart   —the s.s. Tagliaferro passed inwards. These four large steamers in hitherto comparatively unknown waters were worth seeing. Such a sight has never before been wit- nessed, and probably never will be again.

On arriving in King Sound we ascertained that the steamers Catterthun and Simla had arrived after our depar- ture ; and after unloading passengers, horses, and cargo, had again sailed. We found the steamer Triumph, from New Zealand, at anchor, unloading. She had 275 pas- sengers, 150 horses, and 500 tons of cargo, all for Derby. A sailing vessel with cargo arrived just before, while two steamers and two other sailing vessels are due from the South. The Janet, three-masted schooner, 41 days out from Fremantle, is given up for lost. She had, besides crew, passengers and 60 horses, besides a large cargo for Derby. Two vessels, the Electra and Flowerdale, sailed after the Janet, and have arrived at Derby, after 18 and 20 days' passages respectively.

After leaving Derby the Otway sailed for the pearl fishing grounds near Beagle Bay, thence for Cossack, the nearest telegraph station to King Sound, and 600 miles   distant by land. The contract of an English company h[as]   been accepted to construct a telegraph-line from Cossack Derby in two years, but it is rumoured that tho contract not likely to be completed.

I am, &c.,


S.S. Otway, N.W. Coast, W.A., August 2.

General Willoughby is returning to Europe, accredited by the Queen of Madagascar as the first Ambas- sador, since her succession, to the five Treaty Powers. The object of his mission is to give and obtain assurances of continued friendly relations.—Times of India.

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