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  • peter-macinnis 5 Nov 2011 at 21:30
    The reference here to Governor Stirling "bushranging" does not imply the current sense of an act carried out by armed robbers, but the original sense, even then extinct, of travelling through wild bush.

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Sydney Gazette  


WE resume our extracts from the

agreeable little pamphlet of Colonel Hanson. He seems, on the settlements on the coast, quite in raptures with the security enjoyed by the people of the Swan, and the somewhat new harmony philosophy introduced into this society by habit, we presume ! It would, in fact, he quite unnecessary, as the Colonel ap- pears to imagine, to go, as the ancient sage did, with a lanthorn in search of an honest man on the banks of the dark rolling Swan ; but it unhappily occurs that the primitive innocency of those grave settlers, has been either greatly polluted by subsequent importations, or the vicious have become unrestrained in the people thus mis-eulogised by this enterprising and acute traveller; for Sydney has been, within the last year, favoured with a sample of Swan River convicts; and the Perth Gazette records numerous delin

quencies in that immaculate society. The proposal to transfer the benefit of convict labour, to these colonies, has not origi- nated now. Years ago, the perception   of the settlers themselves was very sen- sibly quickened by tbe rapidity with which we had advanced as a colony, amidst crime end depravity ; and the stationary position of the free inhabitants   of the Swan, with its genteel and unadul- terated population ; but we dissent from the argument of the Colonel, that the line of black and white would, or should be, a marked distinction between the free, freed, and bond. The maintenancc of an external badge of degradation, which this clause seems to support, is at variance with the generous precepts

of Christianity, and with the principles of the British Constitution. Every man should be permitted to reform ; and we see no more reason why a black, of sub- sequent approved morals, should be re- fused admittance into the society of the highest classes, as that the same merci- less degree of expulsive power should be applied to a man who had been a bank- rupt; and yet by future honourable in- dustry aspired to the just possession of ultimate independence.

We have the reason explained, in the following extract, why the reputation of the anchorage was strongly decried about the period that the colony was planted. It appears to have arisen from the stupid obstinacy of the masters, in braving the dangers of the seasons, notwithstanding that Governor Stirling strongly repre- sented its palpable insecurity, and the hazard incurred by any neglect of his experienced admonition.

" A most difficult and enterprising journey (says the Colonel) had been ac- complished a short time before I arrived, between the Swan River and King   George's Sound-it was conducted by Captain Bannister, late of His Majesty's Service, and a few other fearless indivi-

duals who accompanied him. The dis- tance between the two places as the crow   flics, is about 250 miles ; but as they had no other guide than a compass, and no correct means of ascertaining their situa- tion by astronomical observations, they unhappily deviated from the straight route, and when it is remembered what mountains and forests they had to tra verse on their journey, it cannot be matter of astonishment to find, that they reached the south coast of New Holland, 60 miles to tho westward of their desti- nation. Their cattle all died from fa- tigue, and they were themselves reduced to subsist entirely on shell fish, picked up from the rocks. Happily they fell in with a tribe of good, humane natives from King George's Sound, by whom they were generously succoured, and con- ducted at length to the end of their event- ful and enterprising journey-worn down to the last extremity poor fellows, by fa- mine, fatigue, and all their concomitant evils. Bannister however is now as fresh as ever; and perfectly ready to start upon a second excursion of the same na- ture. He has written a very interesting account of his journey, and he describes the country generally which he passed over, as equal in beauty and fertility to any country in the world.

" A fishing establishment has been formed at Rottnest Island, which pro- mises to furnish an excellent article for exportation. The snapper, a fish about the size of a cod, is caught in great abundance upon the coa t. and when cured is I think equal to any salt fish I ever tasted. The salmon is also an ex- cellent fish for the same purpose, which   is, I believe, caught in the Swan River.   A small Dock-yard near Perth is also giving proofs of Maritime science, under the auspices of Governor Stirling.- Two vessels are now on the stocks-one of

them, I believe, is private property ; but the other, of about fifty tons burthen, is intended as a Government schooner, to ply between the capital and the minor

settlements on the coast.

" I attended the second or third mar- ket day after my arrival 3t Perth, anti bought fine fresh butter at 4s 6d a pound -potatoes for 9d, and vegetables at the same scale of price. In short, during my stay there for two months, I neither heard nor dreamt of any want, and I will appeal to those friends who occasionally breakfasted with me, whether I had not on my table as excellent a meal as they

would wish to sit down to. I cannot speak of my dinners, as my friends were too hospitable, ever to permit my dining at home. Whilst writing on the subject of supplies, I could wish that you had seen an entertainment, given by the Go- vernor, to the ladies and gentlemen of the colony. I think you would have ac- knowledged, that the whole affair, would have done credit to any part of the world. We quadrilled and waltzed until mid- night - sat down to a sumptuous supper, laid out for a hundred and fifty people - returned to the dance, enlivened by Champagne,and separated only, when the rising sun began to smile upon our orgies.

" Both a Literary and Agricultural Society have been formed at Perth. I had the honour of being present at one of their meetings, and I was much flat- tered at being elected an honorary mem- ber. They have petitioned Government, at home, upon various points-one of them, I believe, suggests the means of obtaining manual labour, and this is the only point upon which I venture to differ with my worthy friends at the Swan. I do differ though, after having seen the splendid public works, which have been erected, and are now in progress, at the sister colony of Van Diemen's Land crected by means of penal labour.

" The inhabitants of the Swan River may justly pride themselves on the indi- vidual respectability of each emigrant, and it is certain that they may sleep safely with all they possess, under a ' wicket opening with a latch;' but if a man em-

barks on a project of this description, I

with the view of henefitting his family, and of establishing himself in a new country, he surely does not intend to live like Robinson Crusoe for five and twenty years in a wilderness, and gradually sub- side into a country labourer, without en- deavouring to restore to his wife and family as large a portion as he can, of the luxuries and comforts they have quitted. This picture may be somewhat overdrawn, but I maintain that until cart and carriage roads of communication are, constructed, there will be no sort of enjoyment to the settler beyond the mere animal pleasure of eating and drinking, and superintending the management of his own farm. I have heard it said, that Government intend sending out some thousands of poor labourers, to perform the work that may be required of them - but let me ask in reply who is to pay

these labourers their hire? We all know the settler will have but limited means to defray the expence, and if he has means at all, he will surely apply the labour to his private property, where he is certain to reap personal and immediate advantage from it. Even to preserve roads in repair, after they are first formed, is not only expensive in itself, but it requires also that the countries through which they pass shall be well peopled, and capable of affording the necessary labour. If therefore the horror of having convicts within sight of a man's property shall operate so forcibly with my friends at the Swan, as to prevent them from being sent to the Colony at all, I really do not see that the settlers have any prospect of   solid enjoyment beyond their own rural habitations for a very long time.

" If the Indian Governments could be

prevailed upon to send a few hundreds of their transported convicts, to form public roads on the Swan river, the aid they would afford would be most invaluable; and the climate, though cold in winter, would not, I am certain, be unhealthy. The expence of maintaining them would be inconsiderable to the Government, and as the line of black and while would

be a very marked distinction, I do not see that the settler, under this arrange- ment, would have cause to dread the slightest contamination to society.  

" The season of the year at which possession was first taken of the Swan River, may be said to have proved one of its greatest misfortunes. The Gover- nor and public functionaries arrived in the very depth of Winter, when few or no tents were provided for their accom- modation, and no sort of covering had been prepared on shore. They landed in the first instance at Garden Island, about nine miles by water from Freemantle, and the season even for Winter, being unusually severe, the poor ladies and children were all of them exposed to the most harrassing privations, and obliged frequently to sleep under umbrellas, as their only covering from the rain. Mer- chant ships, with all sorts of supplies, flocked at the same period to Gage's Roads. It was in vain, I understand, that Governor Stirling represented the insecurity of the anchorage-the masters persisted in braving the dangers of the season, and the consequence was inevit- able, that a great many merchant ships were successively driven on shore. It is unnecessary to dwell upon the unfavour- able impression which the public must hare received from these unlooked-for misfortunes. The inclemency of the sea- sons-the dangers of the place, and the sufferings of the first adventurers, were all of them magnified in a manner that is scarcely credible. One gentleman, well known in the Colony, had freighted a ship with property of every description, to become an extensive proprietor of land ; but having unfortunately touched at the Cape of Good Hope for refreshment, he was there shewn so gloomy a picture of the settlement, and told such unfounded tales of their misery and distress, that he actually sold off the whole of his live stock, and lost by that measure the enor-

mous sum of £8000.

" The loss that was sustained by the underwriters, in the first instance, must have proved an additional source of dis- praise to the Colony. Though ships may lie as safe in Cockburn's Sound as in any harbour of the world, and for six mouths of the year a Westerly gale is never known ; yet, strange to say, an impression different from the truth, appears to obtain in England, and now I am told, an in- surance ii not procurable at all.

" It is not among the least of its mis- fortunes, that so considerable a time has been permitted to elapse, without any

communication with the Government at home. We were the first even to bring the intelligence to Captain Stirling, that he was promoted from Lieutenant Gover-

nor to be Governor and Commander in

Chief of Western Australia. The grati- fying information, though tardy in its arrival, produced the gladdest sentiments throughout the whole Colony.

" I hope I shall be pardoned for say-

ing, that in my humble judgment, there, could not possibly have been selected, a man more fit for the arduous, irksome, and responsible situation he fills, than Captain Stirling. His firmness of cha-

racter, and steadiness of purpose, under all the trying vicissitudes to which he has been exposed, is far beyond any feeble praise I can bestow. His paternal kind- ness and consideration for every class of settler, has deservedly secured him the confidence and esteem both of high and low, and he possesses at the same time so sanguine a spirit of enterprize, and so great a love of bushranging, that it is impossible to come within his ken, and not feel excited by his influence. If the home authorities, however, have not been as frequent in their communications as might have been expected, the Admiral on the Indian station, Sir Edward Owen, has done every thing in his power to cheer up their spirits; in the short space of

two months there were two men of war called to ascertain their wants, and there cannot be a doubt but this distinguished officer, on his return to Europe, will bring the condition of the Colony to the particular notice of the home authorities.

" Several minor settlements have been formed since the establishment of Wes- tern Australia. I believe there was a party sent to Geographe Day, imme- diately South of the Swan, but the an- chorage was so completely exposed to

Westerly winds during the Winter season that the place has been since abandoned. Another spot has been chosen, named Port Augusta, of which I shall have occasion to speak as I proceed. This Port is formed by the projection of Cape Lewin, and the rocks South of it, which protect the anchorage entirely from Wes  

terly winds, and as the winds from the   Eastward are mere summer gales, I think the place will speedily establish its own reputation.

" There has been a most extraordinary fatality amongst the medical men since the first establishment of Western Aus- tralia. I think it is eleven or twelve who who either died, ran mad, or been drowned since the formation of the Colony. One Doctor was literally drowned on the flats abovePerth, where a boat can   scarcely swim. They shew you a spot, about three yards wide, which they call ' the Doctor's Hole,' where they say he contrived to take his departure ; but how he managed it, I am at a loss to guess, except in the way of a Yahoo acquaint- ance of mine, many years ago at Hyde-   rabad, who rose from table considerably  

elevated with Charles Russell's Claret,   and tumbled into a tank in front of the

Residency, about two feet deep. The   hero, fancying he must be out of his

depth, struck out most manfully, but   finding the weight of his clothes was fast sinking him below the surface of the water, he resigned himself to his melan-

choly fate, and would have been inevitably   drowned, if one of the party* had not   heard the splash, and kindly walked into the water to put the fool upon his legs.

"The Sulphur sloop of war, commanded     by Captain Dance, is stationed for the service of this Colony, and as she has been a considerable time from home, and in want of various supplies, she was to sail in the month of October for the minor ports, and then proceed for refreshment to Van Diemen's Land. Thiswas too   tempting an opportunity to be lost, as Captain Dance very kindly offered me a


" We had the satisfaction of convey- ing the Governor and his family to King George's Sound, for whose extreme kind- ness and attention, during my long stay, it is impossible I can feel sufficiently grateful. Mrs. Stirling is a Mangles the sister of my friend Charles Mangles, whom you knew in command of an India- man. My previous knowledge of her brothers, and of other branches of her family, proved a passport to her kindness, and I can safely say, that neither herself nor any other person belonging to her can ever be forgotten by me.

" On our way to Port Augusta, which we first visited, we established the exact position of a most dangerous shoal, about 15 or 16 miles from Cape Naturalis; according to Mr. Periam, the master of the Sulphur, the outer breaker bears from the Cape about N. b. E. and extends about three quarters of a mile. This would be a fatal shoal for any ship to strike upon. Captain Dance, however, says, that in bad weather the sea breaks upon it mountains high, which in the day time would give sufficient warning of its vicinity. God help the unfortunate barque that might strike upon it in the night.

" There is also a dangerous ledge of rocks running seaward from the land, im- mediately north of Cape Lewin, on which a fine ship was lost, a short time ago. How the wiseacre managed to get his vessel upon so palpable a danger, is matter of astonishment to any man who knows any thing of navigation.

"We arrived at Port Augusta about   three days after we sailed from Cockburn Sound, and remained there about 24 hours. We found the party gradually progressing in all the arts of colonization,   and Captain Molloy, the resident, up to his ears in business. Mrs. Molloy, a very interesting young woman, com- plains sadly of solitude; but as she appears to be in the way " Ladies wish to be who love their Lords," she will not be long without occupation.

" The natives in this neighbourhood arc said to be friendly, and the soil ap- pears most productive. The town will be built upon the face of a rising ground, looking south upon the sea, and a few   years will possibly shew a passing stranger one of the most picturesque little sea ports in the world. Mrs. Molloy's garden abounds with the choicest flowers ; but I am sorry to say I am unable to describe them more particularly, than that they are all of them very fragrant, and very beautiful. The ship having merely called to land supplies at Port Augusta, we got under weigh the following afternoon, and bent our course towards King George's


" Here we were somewhat unfortunate

in our progress, as we passed to leeward   of our port during the night. A little government schooner, the Helen, com- manded by a superb little fellow, Lieute- nant Preston, of the navy, was off the har-

bour on our arrival, having beaten us in the passage most lamentably. We were just able to lay up for Baldhead, the en- trance to the Sound, when, ye Gods ! there came a " sneezer" from the shore,

as Jack would say, which made every sail grin again ! I thought it would have torn the masts out of the ship -we bore up to it, however, and were kept at sea seven days longer, merely from being a mile and a half too far to the eastward. Pres-

ton hugged the land (as sailors say) during the night, and got into the sound the fol- lowing morning. At length, however, we did arrive, and anchored the ship in Prince Royal Harbour, which, in point of perfect safety, is equal to any port in the world. We carried in four and a half fathoms the shoalest water, and were embayed in a bason as smooth as a mill pond,

" King George's Sound is a settlement that well deserves the praise I had heard bestowed upon it - it possesses every na- tural advantage the most sanguine emi- grant can desire, and is blessed with a climate it is impossible to eulogise too highly.

" The site for the town is well chosen, between two moderately high mountains, connected with each other, by a ridge of excellent soil, from which water of the purest quality, is trickling down in natu- ral and abundant rills to the beach. It is strange to find that King George's * Frank Russell I believe.  

Sound, though so long occupied as a   penal settlement from Sydney, exhibits at this moment hardly a vestige of man's   work-what the convicts can have been about during the many years they have becn stationed there, it is difficult to ima- gine. Mr. Carew, the present comman- dant, declares, that the most positive   orders existed, not to erect a single dwell- ing house or public work, of any descrip- tion, beyond the miserable huts that were necessary for the cover of the party. What   the object of such dog and manger policy could possibly have been, the high autho- rities in Eastern Australia can best ex-   plain. Mr. Collie, the resident of the place, had from his very slender means,   erected a comparatively comfortable little dwelling house for the Governor and Mrs. Stirling, which they occupied on their arrival. It is close to a government garden, about two miles east of the town, on the slope of a long declivity, stretching down to the sea, anti commanding a most   superb view of the entrance to the harbour; with Baldhead and its gigantic cliffs frowning defiance to the south, and break sea Island stretching its rocky protecting arms far across the anchorage.

"The government garden, under the fostering c ire of Dr. Colley, gives the most satisfactory proofs of what can be   done in this genial and delightful climate. I am told the penal settlement carried away with them every particle of seed they could possibly scrape together, and of courso left the gardens very badly sup- plied. They have shewn, however, a very proper spirit on the occasion, by foregoing the use of potatoes altogether, and devoting the whole of their stock to seed. The coming crops will amply repay them for their very prudent policy, and in the mean time, they have abundance of cauliflowers, cabbages, beans, peas, and   almost every other esculent vegetabl .

" The good land in the immediate neighbourhood of the town, may be said   to run in patches of fifty and a hundred acres. The site of the government garden, which I have already noticed, was of the richest possible soil. The Scotch gar- dener told me there was nothing on earth that would not grow upon it. The vein continues down the face of the mountain, towards the sea, about one hundred acres possibly, until it arrives at an extensive swamp and back water, where the soil be- comes poor and sandy. Fifty acres of this rich soil the governor has given me a grant of, and I have called it Torrens, in memory of the steadiest and warmest friend that man ever was blessed with."

No man who has read the numerous statements regarding the settlements in question, can, from a single expression, glean any disposition on the part of the co- lonists to question the competency and honor of Sir James Stirling, in the extra- ordinary exertions incumbent on him in his new and adventurous province-and we have therefore merely the additional testimony of the Colonel, on a subject too apparent to be easily or safely disputed. The observations respecting the settle- ment at King George's Sound, present a singular idea of the wastefulness-of labor at all our penal settlements ; and the prodigal expenditure of vast sums in the support of establishments which ought to

be abolished.

The account furnished by the Colonel induces us to think favorably indeed of the salubrity of the climate, and the other na ural qualifications of the spot. Indeed the resort to it, of colonists from the other and older settlement, is conclusive proof of its adaptation to agriculture. Yet a portion of the coast, so long as in the hands of a body of convicts, ought to have exposed some formidable vestiges of even misapplied industry. If they really were precluded from building any other

than the " miserable huts" which were

necessary for their simple covering, surely they were not similarly prohibited from stirring up the " bowels of harmless earth;" for literally, says the Colonel, " the country exhibits no trace of previous occupation." " What the convicts can have, been about, during the many years they have been stationed here, it is diffi- cult (he adds) to imagine." The policy of keeping up dens of infamy, when the interior of the Colony is destitute of roads to connect the heads of navigable rivers, or great pastoral and agricultural dis- tricts, has always been questioned by  

people of reflection; and we trust the day is not distant, when the force of the penal establishments will at last be en- gaged in some profitable and popular un- dertaking.

Woehave pondered much in our mind   for a reason why the Right Reverend Bishop Whately has made the subject of the Transportation Laws the object of his particular enquiry. The state of pau- perism, with its natural concomitant crime, has certainly enlisted the ardent attention of the philanthropist and states- man, because so long as we in England perceived the growth of population ad- vancing with fearful rapidity beyond the obvious means of the autient limits of the empire to support it, the nearer we approach to convulsion, which must demo- lish the constitutional equilibrium of the people, and lead to the prostration of that subordination in society, which is the only security that the world enjoys against an universal anarchy. It was natural therefore to see the great source of cor- ruption-the national Poor Laws revised -to have theory upon theory offered to mitigate by emigration the tendency to discontent and danger; but it was not so easy to trace any just reason for the vitu- perative and laborious censure and com- ment on the effect of our local regula- tions as affecting the cause of reformation,       and the salutary purposes of example   and punishment among the prisoners in these penal colonies. Vanity wore fre-

quently produces emulation, than the solid desire to advantage the body poli-

tic; and that sort of ..ambition wjiic, «{Kings from this fertile source of insipi

dity and insolence is more tenacious c'f its purposes, than when the emanation

from a less bi>oiled fountain. Thus we

see care observed in the latter-rashness and folly connected with the former. But Bishop Whately is not we find so much

an abstract and theoretical commentator         as most people believe. Association has   drawn his particular notice to a very rare subject, for his brother was a felon i

New South Wales, and endured the benefits of convict discipline from the year 1798 to 1804. It is no wonder that the Right Reverend Gentleman has a panacea for a discussion, in which the   members of his own family can afford him many practical hints ; and it is clear that he relies on them for the discipline of the present day, having no pos ible resemblance to that dilated on by Bishop Whately. We are hound to conclude that the alleged inefficiency is that which did

exist when his brother was a felon.

Our horrible and blood thirsty friends are peculiarly unfortunate in the selec- tion of honourable allies, because few persons distinguished by genuine noble- ness of breast, and brilliancy of head, will have any thing to do with a Botany Bay fortune hunter. Some years ago, when a gentleman now in Sydney called on a merchant, and announced himself from the Colony, he was not left a minute without a watch, least his pitch fingers made free with the property around him. Thus, he said, the very country is infec-

tious, and unless it be such persons as   the Bishop, who has been accustomed to   hear of it, and felt a family luck connect- ing himself with felony, and Bestial Grey Bennett, who hated it because we  

suppose he wished all women to be burned, no person has voluntarily offered himself to the analization of a topic disagreeable even to contemplate. The Bishop hates discipline, because in 1798 his brother had not probably the honour of being flogged. Had he known the ordeal of the present day, the Bishop would very likely have adopted a very different tune.