Champion Bay and the Geraldine
The following is au extract from the re- port of Capt. James. It is gratifying to find that the proprietors' high opinion of the value of this mine, is confirmed by that of a practical authority such as Mr.
To the Directors of the Geraldine Mining Company.
GENTLEMEN, - I have with pleasure to inform you our party are fully engaged at work, and that all reports, as represented, are highly creditable in every shape and form. * * I have not been enabled to examine the bed of the river minutely up to this date, but all that is visible is truly as- tonishing. At the S.S.W. end there is a fine lode, averaging about 2 feet 4 inches wide; 1 foot 6 inches of this lode is a solid mass of galena, and 10 inches of clay, zinc, and the sulphuret of iron, on which I have directed the men to sink a shaft, to take the lode about 4 fathoms deep, and con- tinue on its course for ten fathoms, if possible. The lode at the N.E. end is about 6 feet wide. The rock to sink through is of a very hard description, but in 3 months the 10 fathoms may be completed. We are not enabled to sink at present more than one shaft, which is quite sufficient to raise a large quantity of lead. I am glad to find within 3, 8, and 12 miles, and also around the mines, there is a sufficient quantity of wood to last for years. I have seen limestone about 8 miles from the mines, all on a very good road, and in the vicinity of the mines clay suitable for making common bricks. The supply of fresh water is abundant. From the direction the lode takes, I feel positive of being enabled to trace it into high ground, which will be of considerable advantage in the height of winter.
* * Mr Burges and party did not arrive at Champion Bay before the 10th of Nov. * *
I scruple not in saying that in a few months we shall have on the surface some hundred tons of lead. There is at present 30 good tons raised. I have seen the copper vein several times, but the present appearance of the lode will not warrant any company becoming purchasers. * * Mr A. Gregory has discovered another small vein of lead about 1½ miles to the East of the mine ; the spe- cimens from it are very good indeed. I am happy to find the natives are not at all troublesome. The most suitable place adapted for the smelting ope- rations will be on our own section; around it there is a quantity of wood. I have sent a fine specimen of lead to Champion Bay, about 9 hun- dred weight.
We have been favored by W. Burges, Esq., with the following report of the over- land journey with stock, and also his opinion of the new country and its capabilities. It appears that the great drawback at present is the daring character of the natives, who are evidently not yet imbued with that wholesome fear of the power of the white man, which will alone induce them to re- frain from molesting him. We should like to ask His Excellency what Mr Drummond is to do with the natives he apprehends at the Bowes for sheep-spearing — and whether they are to be brought to Perth for trial? Of course as they are British subjects they must not be punished without going
through the farce of being tried: —
Bowes River, Nov. 29, 1850.
Dear Sir. —As I dare say many of your readers are anxiously waiting to hear the re- sult of our journey to the Champion Bay dis- trict, I send you a condensed account of our trip, as being pressed for time will not allow me to go minutely into particulars. I am hap- py to say that, thank God, we all arrived safe at Champion Bay on Monday, the 11th inst., after a more easy and prosperous journey than we could possibly have anticipated, consider- ing the description of country to be passed over, the distance, the late time of the year, and the peculiar dryness of the season. Had we not unexpectedly fallen one afternoon into a patch of a new poison, our loss in cattle and sheep would have been little or none, but as it was, out of a herd of over 200 head of cattle of all ages, we only lost two cows, one heifer, and four yearlings by poison, and only nine sheep out of a flock of two thousand three hundred, and this not a flock selected for a long journey, but a general flock of all ages ; three or four days before the flock left York we had two lambs dropped, one of these was lost in the first scrub they got into, and the other arrived here safe and well. I would advise persons bringing stock over to this dis-
trict, not to start so late in the season as we
did (September), and not to bring any cows near calving or with very young calves by their side, as the calves will not be able to tra- vel, and both cow and calf most likely be lost
after having caused much.trouble and delay. Had it not been for the detentions we sustained in recovering cows which had run back to look for their lost calves, and being frequently obliged to halt for a day to allow the sick cat- tle to recover from the effects of the poison, and also from having often to halt, sometimes for two days at a time, while the Messrs Greg- ory went a-head to explore our route, we should have reached our destination some time sooner. The greatest credit is due to the Messrs Gregory for the zeal and ability which they displayed in selecting th line of route through a country which was deemed a bar- rier for want of feed and water. After leaving Mr Drummond's station at Dundaragan, we had not a single hill to ascend, nor a river, brook, or gully to cross which caused us any serious difficulty; in fact, we had to use the spade and pick only twice during the whole journey, and that for only about 15 minutes each time, in breaking down the banks of two brooks. We had plenty of feed for our sheep and cattle at ever halt, water for ourselves, horses, and working bullocks every night, and for the herd and sheep every night but one, until our arrival at Champion Bay ; nor had we even to make a forced march, our longest day's journey being only 14 miles. There is no impediment whatever to bringing over cattle and sheep by this route, at the proper season of the year, and of course as the line of route becomes better known, the difficulties will decrease. The general character of the country passed over is certainly most unpre- possessing, sand plain after sand plain, and it required the most perfect knowledge of its natural formation, to be able to find out those little spots for halting places, like the oases of the desert. The Irwin is a country par- ticularly adapted for cattle and tillage; there cannot be a finer country in any part of Aus- tralia for small agricultural farms, than the large flats or plains on the lower Irwin; the soil is superior, and little or no clearing, in fact, on the largest flat there is none; they are not alluvial flats, but strong, rich, uplands on limestone. This country brought under the plough, would soon thrust South Austra- lian flour out of the market. I have not seen the Upper Irwin, but I have been told the flats there are equally good, but far more ex- tensive, and I consider in the large flat on the Lower Irwin, there are a thousand acres, clear, ready for the plough. The first strange natives we came in contact with, were on the Irwin, and they seemed friendly honest, and peaceable. Before we reached the Greenhough we passed over an extensive tract of patchy country, which by and by, when this district becomes thickly peopled, and the natives brought into subjection, will be very valuable for out stations, like the back lands at York ; but here, and in all the Champion Bay dis- trict, the natives are numerous, and are daring determined robbers, and the sooner the local Government takes efficient steps to bring them into subjection to the laws the better, and the less trouble and expense it will cost — it must be done sooner or later. They attacked our sheep on the road, and killed one, but my brother rode at them, beat them off, and took it from them; also since we have been on our station. Mr Drummond has done all in his power through his interpreter and Dr Foley, to persuade them not to molest us, and warned them of the consequences; they made him very fair promises, but nevertheless, they continue to attack both our sheep and Mr Brown's, one fellow even made an attempt to spear Mr Brown's native shepherd while with his flock, but the lad perceived him and shot him dead on the spot; we are obliged to have two armed shepherds with each of our flocks, and even then they cannot keep them off; this is an expence, which is enough with the other heavy items, to ruin any sheep farmers here. What can Mr Drummond do among such powerful tribes, with only two native police men ? and even if he should ar- rest a native for any act of aggression, he has no place of confinement for him, and it might be a considerable time before an opportunity would offer of sending him to Perth.
The Bowes' country where we are stationed for the present, is a very good general grazing country, suited for cattle, sheep, and horses, but not for agriculture beyond the supply of the station; a person who would come to the Bowes expecting to see a sward of grass he could mow with a scythe, would certainly be disappointed, as the soil is inferior to the better description of that at York, stony on the surface, and the grass in tufts ; but never- the less, the Bowes is far superior to the best part of York as a grazing country, insomuch, that the grasses here now, in this peculiarly dry season, are as green as they would be at York in August, and I dare say, will, from what I haye already seen of the climate, re- main comparatively green the whole summer. This must have been an extraordinary dry season, as the brooks which at this time last year were all running strong have now water only in pools, but springs seem abundant, as almost every brook and gully, a far as I have seen, contain either water, or places where it can be had by digging a few feet. The gene- ral grasses here are also quite different to those at York ; the spear grass is not in any quantity, and the principal species are the kangaroo grass, and other kinds totally un- known at York, of a very curious description, and which keep green and soft even better than the kangaroo grass ; a strong luxuriant species of doub grass, something similar to that known in India, grows along the rivers and brooks. Another great advantage which this country possesses over York as a wool
growing country, is the absence of the spear grass, the hawthorn or gooseberry-leaved bush and the blackboy, which so much injure both the animal and the wool, and we will not be compelled, in order to avoid their injurious effects, to shear our sheep before the wool has properly ripened ; there is also another very great advantage which I expect this country will alford the sheep farmer — he can have his lambs dropt early, which will insure him a better lot of lambs, and a heavier clip of lamb's wool, than he could have at York. I was led to suppose that this good feeding country was limited in extent, but I do not at all think so, from what I have seen so far as the eye can reach, the same description of country seems to extend. The formation is very pe- culiar, being very undulating, and every small elevation is of different quality both in soil and grass from that next to it, which makes the country have a very patchy appearance.
There is some poison plant here, but then it is not to be found mixed up with the feed, but is confined to the summits of scrubby hills where a shepherd has no business to take his
I consider this district is particularly suited for dairy farming, in consequence of the feed continuing green so late in the season, and also from the extraordinary general coolness of the climate; I have a thermometer placed against the but of a shady wattle tree, where it remains day and night, some mornings it has been as low as 55 deg., seldom up to 60, at midday generally from 70 to 75, and about 64 at sunset; we have had only two hot days since we arrived here, the 14th and 15th inst. and that was just before thunder ; we have had several light showers within the last week; as far as I have yet experienced, it appears to be a most delightful climate; on the whole, I am very much pleased with the district as a grazing country, to which we intend confining our operations, and if wc can only keep the natives in order, I have no doubt but it will soon be thickly located. The best proof that can be adduced in favor of the line of route is, that both our cattle and sheep improved in condition on the journey, and even the work- ing bullocks in the teams arrived here in far better condition than when they left York, and our horses, although very hard worked, kept up their condition well, and are now quite as well as when they left. My brother, im- mediately on his arrival here, dispatched one six-bullock team with the company's stores to the mine, which returned on Friday last, and he then sent off two six-bullock teams again for the mine on Saturday.