The Colonization Commissioners of
South Australia, have received the fol- lowing dispatches from their Surveyor- General, Colonel Light: -
Brig Rapid, in Nepean Bay, Aug 23 1836.
" I have the pleasure to report the safe arrival of this vessel, after a passage of 104 days from the Lizard to her anchor- ing on the 19th instant in the bay called Antichanclcer Bay, by Capt. Flinders. The next day we anchored at the south east end of Nepean Bay ; having had the wind from the north-west against us, we had to beat up, and passed along
shore to the southward and eastward of Cape Jervis.
" I can hardly express the delight I felt at the beautiful appearance of the main land. With good glasses, at the distance we were off (about three miles), it looked more like land already in pos- session of persons of property than that
left to the course of nature alone.
" At present I can only state what first possesses the mind on the arrival in a country so little known. In this bay there is excellent anchorage, in three, four and five fathoms water, safe in every
" In this place a good settlement may be formed, and this one of the worst in the island.
" There are several English sailors who have run from ships and settled in the island. Some of those worthies paid us a visit last night and they say at their dwellings they are never in want; they have plenty of corn, good gardens, water, and all they require in the wild life they have by choice embraced. If, therefore, these men, without agricultural imple- ments, and without the best knowledge of farming, can procure wheat, melons, cabbages, turnips, fine potatoes, rear pigs and poultry, what may not be done by emigration of men professedly adapted ? 'The whole face of the island appears, as far as we can see, to be covered thickly with gum trees and shrubs and the soil I saw was very moist, with trunks of trees in every direction ; but nothing can be easier than clearing the whole surface; yet this is not (to appear- ance at least) to be compared to Cape Jervis ; and the sealers told me the land on the main was very suporior.
" August 24. — 'This morning the Lady Mary Pelham sailed. I at first thought of sending a letter by her, but hearing the John Pirie would sailshortly for Hobart Town, I shall wait her departure.
" Four, P. M.— I have been on shore, and walked from the little bay abreast of us to the point fixed on by Mr. Ste- phens; Mr. Woodford, our surgeon, accompanied me, who knows more of land than I do ; and he says, with vcry little labour, much may be made of it; and certainly the beautiful appearance of the wild shrubs promises most flatter- ingly ; but, as I said before, this must he one of the worst spots on the island,
as none of the sealers have settled here.
" On the 29th I visited the northern
side of the bay: I was delighted to find it exceed my expectation. Ships of con- siderable burden may anchor close to the Company's Point, in a very safe harbour, and barges could transport from them to the town; and when the whole bay is accurately surveyed, and well sounded, vessels of 200 tons may anchor very near the shore. In going over I had at one time three feet water only at one place ; but it was dead low water, spring tides, and very shortly after came into two fathoms. A passage could be easily cleared, whenever a colony is established.
" August 30.—Mr. Field and a small party went this day to the river, and walked nearly five miles along its bank, while I was examining and observing the direction of the shoal : he reports well of
the fresh water.
"31.—I started this morning to look at the river; the water was fresh near the sea, and the whole appearance of the flat ground around seems very promising. Ships of any size may anchor about a mile and a half from the mouth of the river, and ride safely in any wind.
" Sept. 1.—Went on shore, and
walked to the river, and had a look at the plain which appears to be at least forty miles in circumference, and not so thickly
covered as the cost near us."
South AustraW-i, Ripid Bay, Cape Jervis,
September 10, 105(5.
" GENTLEMEN—On the 7th instant we weighed and stood over for Kangaroo Island for the main ; but being becalmed soon after, we came to an anchor and remained till next morning, when we again weighed with a very light breeze from the southward, and at 1. p.m. came to an anchor in the bay to the eastward of the point called by Captain Flinders, N. W. High Bluff. I went on shore to look at the valley, which, from the ship had so pleasing an appearance. I was quite delighted to find it exceed all my anticipations, a further description of this
valley will accompany the plan.
"All yesterday was employed in con- veying necessary things on shore, as so much time is lost in going to and from the ship. I determined on pitching four tents here, and remain till I complete my examination of this place.
"September 12—I am happy to re- port most highly of this beautiful place, which for the present I call Rapid Valley. 'There are three countymen with me; one of them a gardener, and the other two also good judges of land ; they have been digging up a good portion, and pro- nounce it most excellent soil. We have put in some seeds, that on our return we
may form a better judgment of its quality The water in the river is very good indeed and I am told there is no want of it all the year round.
"I have engaged one of the sealers from Kangaroo Island, with his two native wives, and find them very useful;
the women are the hunters, and we have already been the better for their exertions with the tail and hind quarters of an enormous kangaroo, which is fine food ; and to those who are fond of ox-tail soup I should recommend a trip to South Australia to eat Kangaroo tail soup,
which, if made with all the skill that soups in England are, would as far
surpass the ox as turtle does the French potage.
" Five, P.M.—It has been blowing and raining all day, and we could do nothing with the theodolites or sextants. Mr. Pullen and I therefore walked along the bank of the river, which, from the long grass and various impediments, I found rather fatiguing. The (sirca??) is small, clear and good; some places
quite shallow, others five or six feet deep, the breadth generally about fifteen feet. The greatest part is so covered with long
rushes that the water is not to be seen, but these are easily cleared and by dam- ming up near the mouth a most beautiful lake may be made, the ground by nature being already formed for it.
" Wednesday, Sept. 14.—Yesterday Mr Pullen and myself went on the hills to take some angles, after which we
walked on in the direction of the head of the river. Looking up at the Gulf from the lushest hills we saw a most beautiful country, and, indeed, in every direction as far as we could see, the ground appeal to be of the same de- scription as that we stood on. The sides of some of the hills are much covered with loose stones, which are easily re- moved, and would be serviceable in building. The high wind, heavy rain, and the long grass, with the steepness of some of the hills, made our walk so fa-
tiguing that we could not reach the head
of the river, although to appearance we were not above a mile from it, and we
returned to our tents most completely knocked up. We passed a beautiful spring of water, and I have not the slightest doubt but that water may be had by digging in almost any of the valleys. There is a great quantity of moss on the hills; and in this vale gera- niums, wild parsley, mallows, butter-
cups, daisies, sow thistle, and innumer- able other plants abound. The air here, at present, is generally cold. In fine
weather the thermometer in the tent at
noon is up to 68, and once to 70, and at night down to 50, and once to 48. This is a great range, which would not be the case in any other habitation than a tent.
" I am fully persuaded that ships may lie here at least 9 months in the year, and the other months in Nepean Bay. At this time of the year—and the sealers told me they consider September to be the most blowing month in the year- we have not experienced any thing more than common gales, and they have been almost always from the S.W. Three days since it blew very hard from the eastward, but the brig rode it out in the bay in smooth water. She is anchored about two miles from the beach, in eight fathoms water, and, although so far off, is quite locked in from the winds at S W. by W., and within half a mile ot the shore there is a good bottom, in four and five fathoms water.
" I have now done with my examina- tions and surveys here for the present, and shall proceed to the next bay, which appears to be wider and much deeper
" Sept. 16.—I was preparing, by get- ting our tents, &c. from the shore, to start for the next day, when Captain Martin, of the John Pirie schooner came , and I now hasten to conclude this report, as he was going direct to his vessel in Nepean Bay, from whence he sails in a day or two for Hobart Town and I hope you will receive this through that channel. Captain Martin has been in a whale boat several miles up the gulph, and landed in several places. He says the whole shore is like this, com- posed of fine land ; and he found no want of water but once, and thereby digging about two hot they got abun- dance. I regret very much that want of time prevents my sending a plan of the bay and valley, but that you may form a better idea of the whole, I will send a hasty sketch of it. I remain, gentlemen, your obedient servant,
(Signed) WILLIAM LIGHT.
" P.S. I am so much pleased with this place, that I have written to my agents to request them to purchase 500 acres