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1 correction by peter-macinnis - Show corrections


After a few days more in Perth, we began to gird up our loins— which I take it is Hebrew for rolling your swag, or packing yoar Dortmanteau— and nrcDared for the . home

ward track through the groat Southern jarrah forest, and having been duly registered as maii matter at the G.P.O. we started on November 7 ra Narrogin, Pinjarrah, and AustralindforBunbury.thc chief timber port, from which we were to catch the Macedon for Adelaide. This time instead of the ' van' we travelled in an old original Cobb'a coach with leather thoroughbraces in place 'of springs. It was quite like old times to see the big swaying red vehicle roll up to the office, and, barring the 'bobby' on the box, it might have been one of the original coaches that were so familiar in the bygone diggings days, and which even now are by no means extinct in some parts of . the colonies. Iho first part of the journey was over the wretched wood block road from Perth to the Canning pre viously described, during' tho transit of which the passengers reached for things' promis cuously and railed against tho road anthori ties. We lunched at Narrogin, and then turning south along the -foot of tho Darling Range began soon to again traverse the timber country. We passed close to Jarrahdale, the head-quarters of the Company of that, name, whero there is plant and machinery sufficient to cut 2,000 cubic feet of timber per day. This Company employ 150 meniand rah their wood down to Eockingham Bay on their own railway line— a 3 ft. 6 in. gaugo,wl£h steel r.iils. ? . ? '. '.'?

We reached Pinjarrah, a place. -on the Murray Kiyer previously ?mentioned, at nightfall. Pinjarrah, a';' pleasant-looking, sleepy old place, is surrounded -wiih fine orchards and vineyards; the fruit frpin^ which finds its way to Mandnrah', the -seaport of the district, at the Murray-moutH,; about twenty- miles away, where- it .is canned for consumption in the North 'or for espbrt. r There was quite an excitement in the town owing; to the arrival of Colonel Angelo, the Commandant of the local- forces,- who was to be J Xtcd that night by the local cbrpo, My friend and self had therefore to -takepotluck in the' way of accommodation, and- with many apologies from tho landlady were shown to a room. It ? was- a , small room' itho landlady said, and when I saw it I quite believed her ; in fact I don't just rememberto have, seen a smaller. It contained two beds; a chair, and a cockroach.- By carrying, out thetinair, and chivying out the cockroach, we managed to squeeze in.andretiring to bed, slopt the sleep of the righteous, and were awakened by times on a raw wet morning to continueour journey SOUtll. , ? - ? ? .'.'; .,-:. . Tho country from Pinjarrah .improves, and considerable tracts of moderately timbered land might easily be prepared for the' plough, bnt very little of it is under, crop. ? .Hunning streams of fresh water from, the tilla crossed the road every mile or two, although, it was now well into November, and the gnjss was only . beginning to change, from green to yellow, Where cultivation was carried on the crops appeared first- class,, ? and some land near the watercourses looked as thongh that much-admired fruit the 'Murphy,' would grow therein to .perfection. In general appearance; and , climate^ espe cially, this part: of the -country bordering on tte sea' more resembles Warrnambool — the Austalian home of the. Irish appl^— than any other place I can think of. There is not, however, the same extent. of rich land, bnt yet there are many thousand acres that have never known plough or spade that, would well repay the labour of turning them over. About 100 miles from Perth we camp on the historical City of Australind. Most people remember the guileless Mr. Scadder;and his celebrated City of Eden. . Well, for Eden read Australind, if you expect, a. city, and yea have it. Australind was laid out';by the old West . Australian Company } some forty odd years ago as the capital of their newly acquired grant of many . thousands of acres. On the map the city covers some miles of country, and ? contains squares, gardens, churches, theatres, : and, pll the accompaniments of a large town. rIn-reality there are half-a-dozen old-fashionqd houses, The city is, however, , most charmingly situated on the eastern Bhore.of ;Leschenault Estuary— a picturesque sheet of water some twelve miles or so in length by say a' mile and a half broad, into which ,-twp fine rivers— the .Collie and the ; Preston empty themselves. Less , unlikely^ things have happened than, now. the ;9riginal projectors, are dead and gone, and even the West Australian Company : itself is ;defunct, that the city which- they once hoped such-great things for. shonld actually take a start and become something more than a handsome plan; but I think Buhbury has now established itself, and as ; it is mnch more; conveniently situated! that it will undoubtedly be the : port for : the south-western district — a district which, if it were but for its timber alone, must be one of increasing importance year by year for many a Ion? year to come. '?? \ The town of Bunbury Btands; on a peninsula f onr ed by the outlet of Leschenanlt Inlet on the one side and the sea 'on the other. The peninsula terminates in. a high sandhill, on which the lighthouse is, erected, and from the loot of thiB hill a reef runs cut in a northerly direction, and makes the harbour, which, however, is not the safeBt :maginablfi. There is, however, a fine jetty about a quarter of a mile in length, at which the timber-ships can lie in all weathers but when north-easterly galea are prevalent. Bunbury is the chief port of shipment for timber, magnificent forests of jarrfih and other valuable woods being found in' its im mediate neighbourhood and stretching far iuland. We saw some noble timber, at tbe jetty-end ready for shipment, logsseventy and eighty feet long, besides all descriptions of sawn wood. The town itself is old-IaShioned looking ; bnt there is an air of progress! about it, and several places of business that in ap pearance and stock are mo3t creditable.

In starting for Western Australia; I was informed that the country teemed with game, and so had out my 'Greener' and loaded up a supply of cartridges. Now, I had been laboriously lugging my guncase from Dan to Beersheba without getting a chance to prove my skill, for except a few kangaroo, which I didn't want, some highly odoured musk ducks, and an impertinent little striped beast known as a numbat (which some one wanted to persuade me was a wombat), I had seen nothing to draw trigger on. Folk told me, however, not to miss the chance of a day's shooting at Bun- bury, so once more my guncase was lugged along. Same old game. Nothing at all, except the game they made of me. Indeed, were it not that a reputable man, who ap- parently knew the nature of an oath, made a solemn affidavit before a Justice of the Peace that certain waterfowl existed in the neighbourhood, I would never have believed that there was a duck in the country. As a fhootist I was completely Eol(e)d, but as a fishist as thoroughly he(a}eled (pray forgive this little error, it slipped out) for fish in abundance and of the finest descriptions are to be caught anywhere and almost anyhow, except between the finger and thumb. My n;ate and I went out on the Estuary bank snd caught between thirty and forty fine whiting in a few hours, and might have cauf/ht as many more but that we had heird it was injurious to exert oneself too much between meals, and so allowed the fish to do all the fishing except the mere lifting them out cf the water. 2se:-:t day we drove out through the grand forest country to the hospitable homestead of Mr. Guy Thompson, Brookhampton, en route to theBlackwood River. Brockhampton is a cattle station in the heart of the forest, but contains large quantities of tine open blackloy country, for strange to say, the West Australian graEstree or blackboy grows for the most part on the better class land. The southern districts, so far as I saw them, are far better adapted for cattle than sheep ; still there are some considerable tracts of good open country on which sheep will do, but these, for the most part, are beyond the forest lands, and lie. to the eastward. We got a new wrinkle in wild-flog outwitting here, which is v.orth noting. Some of the settlers have adopted the device of fencing with four-inch mesh-wire netting, with a single wire above, and find that the dingoes do not find their way through. This mode of fencing is stated not to be dearer than a six-wire sheep-proo

fence, and infinitely more effective. The dingoes are a great pest in these districts, as owing to the thick nature of much of the country they are difficult to come at. After spending a pleasant day with Mr. Thompson out over his run, to went on nest morning to the Blackwood, striking that river at about sixty miles from Bnnbnry, and travelling for the most part over roads that Wtrald be creditable in any of the eastern colonies, but which are all the more com mendable in so sparsely settled a district We saw some splendid timber lands on the ?way— mile after mile cf jarrah forest, the trees rising to great altitudes, and the trunks fcr the most part as straight he a gun barrel. Any cutting done so far is a mere nibbling at the outskirts of this fine forest, which ex tends over three hundred miles north and south by a width of say on the average of cer tainly not less than sixty miles. I believe it has been estimated by a competent authority that there are 30,000 square miles of forest country in Western Australia, and almost Without exception the tree3 are valuable as timber. What wealth this means to the colony cannot easily be estimated. A gentleman connected with the timber trade kindly gave me the following informa tion, which will be found interesting:— Jarrah and taart timbers, also sandal wood, have been shipped from the port of Bunbury for many years, bat only during the past twelve years in any quantity. About that time a New Zealand firm established a trade here, exporting several shiploads of jarrah in the shape principally of round piles and hewn logs. The sawn timber shipped at that time waa all cat by hand. It was pro cored at from seven to twenty-five miles from Bunbury, and was of excellent quality ; but since that period Mr. M. C. Davies, of Ade laide, S.A., established himself in the Collie Banges, and at first shipped piles and hewn timber, together with hand-sawn, but on proving the very high quality of the timber in that locality at once fitted up steam saw mills, which have now been in operation without a break for upwards of seven years. This station produces about 2,500 loads of timber (sawn) annually, besides round piles and hewn logs. The timber is carted by bollock and horse teams to Bunbury, a dia tance of twenty-two miles, and there shipped fcy sailing vessels. The principal place of destination is South Australia. Some ha3 fceen shipped to the Gripe of Good Hope, New Zealand, 'Victoria, and other places; but there is certainlyno donbtthattheinestimable qualities of the jarrah are very little known beyond the Continent of Australia. The trade ia only in its infancy, the forests in the neighbourhood of Bunbury alone being prac tically inexhaustible. The timber station of Mr. M. C. Davies [ia well worthy a visit. It is situated in the midst of a forest of splendid timber in an ironstone range of hills, at an elevation of about 1,230 feet above the sea. About sixty hands are employed on the station felling logs, hauling them to the mill, sawing, &c. Skilled mechanics at high rates of wages are maintained constantly on the staff, and all repairs consequently performed on the spot. Many of the employe's are married, and their families are located in comfortable timber houses. About thirty five to forty teams are engaged carting the marketable timber to Bunbury, employing some 80 horses and 160 bullocks. These, of course, materially add to the trade of the district and town. For instance, in the item of horsefeed alone, large quantities of corn and chaff are imported from South Australia, . not sufficient being grown in the neighbour hood for the use of the cattle engaged in this trade. A very fair harbour is found at Bun trary, and now that the Government arelaying down moorings specially adapted for vessels loading in the timber trade, additional facili ties will be provided, rendering it safe and speedy loading. Only two casualties to ship ping have occurred during the past ten years. The Midas, a barque of 600 ton3, was driven ashore during a cyclone, and the A. II. young, entirely and solely through gross carelessness and neglect. The construction of a railway from Bunbury to the timber station is in contemplation, and will, it is hoped, be carried out. If so, the export of timber can be easily doubled, fcr the wet weather during winter now causes the roads to be very bad, and so very little carting can be done except during the summer months. At present the demand for the jarrah from Sooth Australia alone is so large that the stations cannot fairly keep pa:e with it. Therefore it is confidently anticipated that increased power must be established to keep np the supply, and that the exports of this valuable timber will be proportionately in creased. The tuart timber is of a denser nature than the jarrah, of a cream white colour, and a very handsome and very hard wood. It is not so plenti ful &b the jarrah, and is only found in the southern portion of the colony. and is also much scattered. For toughness, strength, and durability it is unequalled, being specially adaptpd for the construction of railway wagons and carriages, wagons, carts, and such work. Large ordera have been and are now in course of execution. The timber is being cut on the Capel Biver, about sixteen miles Eouth of Bunbury, and is of an exceptionally fine quality. The demand for this timber is increasing to such an extent that Mr. Davies has commenced erection of steam sawmills specially adapted to this branch of the trade. The Bunbury Timber Company, the Balla rat, and several others, have also large mills and appliances in this neighbourhood, though in the case of the latter the timber port is Lockville, some twenty to twenty-five miles down the coast. Mr. M. C. Davis has also large works at Port Augusta, an inlet on the south coast, where the timber is karri, a gigantic species of blue gum (Eucalyptus Divesicolor, or E. Colossea — the latter being ?the more appropriate name) which is stated by some to be in every way equal as a tim ber to jarrah, which it closely resembles in colour and grain, while others again condemn it and say that its indiscriminate exportation will have a prejudicial effect on the jarrah trade. Personally I know nothing about the rights of the question, but can enly say that as a timber tree there is nothing in Australia for size anyway to beat it. It towers aloft to incredible heights, mostly as round as a gas pipe, and outwardly as smooth, with a pale creamy bark. We were not able to penetrate far into the karri country, but collected a good deal of information about the tree. The deuce of it was that when our stock of facts and statistics was all in we felt ourselves all out, and hardly knew what to believe. We found from various sources that the karri-tree at its be3t reached an altitude of 400 feet, 350 feet, 200 feet, and 170 feet, while its girth wa3 from the size of a tun butt to that of Cooper and Bailey's biggest circus tent— according, I suppose, to the humour of our informant and our supposed capacity for cramming. One daring gentleman, whose avocation it was to impel the progression of emasculated bovines attached to a ponderous two-wheeled vehicle —-in colonial vernacular, a ' bull-puncher'— engaged in timber hauling, replied to the question what the karri country was actually like, thus— ' Well, see here, Mister. I've seen them there trees that tall zs you'd want a tefleracope for to see the top on 'em, and by gob you'd want a mikecscope for to see the grass under 'em. I've seen 'em standin' that it would take ye 'bout 'alf a hour, or may be a minnit or so more (for I likes to be particklar wen talkin' to a gent like yon) for to walk round 'em; an' ye may blieve me or not as ye like, but I wonst see a boiler one a layin' down an1 1 jist drnv my team o' twelve bloomin' bullocks half way np the holler an' then turned 'em round an' drnv 'em out same ways as I kem in— so 'elp me never I did mister, an' if you don't bieve me arks Albany Bill, he see' it, too. Thankee, Sir, I don't mind if I do. Mine's English ale.' We made np our minds after this that we had only seen the smallest specimens of this forest giant. By striking an average we came to the conclusion that from 130 to 250 feet in height would be among the larger trees, rath a proportionate girth. I had reliable data for a tree measured by a surveyor — 210 feet in girth round the lower buttress and thirty feet diameter three feet above ground level. We found the Blackwood to be a fine river, flowing with a south-westerly trend throngh most romantic forest country, where vegeta tation of all kinds— from the lordly karri, severe but stately Jonah, noble heavv

Eoliaged redguin, down through the thoosand and-one eucalypta, mimosas, banksias, casu rinas, hakias, and bushes of all kinds, mostly bright-flowered, were struggling and pushing upwards towards the light in the rank rich soil that the sun seldom get3 a chance to see and sweeten. We passed through some valleys of considerable extent, not too heavily timbered to make the land unprofitable to clear, and also some tracts of blackboy plain that seemed waiting for the plough. All the stock we saw was in excel lent condition ; but much of it seemed to be greatly neglected. It would be smart practice for a new chum to send him out to muster cattle in the Blackwood country. If his head was thick enough to re tain his brains without spilling them he would shortly develop into a first-olas3 stockman. The country generally at this end of the colony is more like that of Gippsland than any other I know of. It should be mentioned that there are no poison plants worth mentioning until one gets back further east, but all of course would be eradicated by proper farming, which I regard as the legiti mate use of most of the southern country ; that is, dairy farmins or sheep combined with agriculture. Hop3, potatoes, maize, flax, and fruit of almost all kinds would grow to per fection in many of the rich alluvial gulliea and np the sides of the less timbered ranges. I do not know whether the idea has been put forward before or not, but it struck me that the policy of the West Aus tralian Government in the near futurs should be the formation of a railway throngh the heart of the forest country to Albany, where the largest ships in the world could lie at the wharfs in all weatherr and load limber, of which there is an unfailing supply for hundreds of years, any attacks hitherto made on this fine forest being merely like the nibbling of a mouse at a great cheese. Other valuable products would follow in due course ; still I fear the pernicious system of centralization bo common in the colonies will prevent any thing which misjht advance the importance of an outpcrt at the expense of the capital. (.To be continued.)