OBSTRUCTIONS IN THE NAVIGATION OF THE CANNING AND SWAN RIVERS— GREAT OBSTACLES TO THE TRANSIT OF TIMBER
To the Editor of the Inquirer and Oomnerdd Ifaet.
Sib,— Believing that all well-directed efforts for the development of our resources should btf encouraged and supported by tbe Press, and^tii* weight of its influence given to any menu* calculated to increase our trade; atid facilitate the conversion of our forests into gold; it was iritb. much pleasure that I read the excellent remark* in the Inquirer, of 15th HFnrchj upon the ablv letter of Mr B. Mason, concerning onr Twwti— »
Trade. ? ~^;' Complaints are constantly being made of eut* gration from our shores, and every legitanutto attempt to stay such emigration «hoaM be encouraged; The Sandalwood Trade has deriinrij but we have a better in the Timber Trade. -The first employed many hands — the other will employ more, both directly and indirectly* Etisetirted (and I suppose with truth) that the supply is unlimited, the demand is iafgej and certainly increasing; bat the price enhanced by the 4iffi-- cultica -of'-transporty -operatcn to tLccfcTanrtitt — development of the trade; (tending* as it doe*, to dishearten both employer and employed), tbe increase of price benefiting neither exporter, producer, nor -those engaged in its transport, but representing only so mach precious time waited^ or labour expended for nought. It is nut for me to enter upon that part of the subject which is of a mercantile nature 3 such as its purchase J-y merchants^ shipping to proper places, stowing £s readiness for ships, &c», See., lot I have no doobfc that all this will be speedily brought into good. order, if that portion of the question — its quick and cheap transport— can be accomplished* With that, end in view, therefore^ 1 jnakeftie following remarks, and afford what information I have upon the subject of its water^tranflport, and I venture to say tnat Mr Mason V edatfttie of £15 per cent saved will not be a faigkobe^if the work6 I enumerate below are carried out* ~ We have two rivers penetrating to within no very great distance of those forests of which we . so often boast, but which oue would think w« never intended to use tor our benefit. In those rivers there are various impediments to carl* gation. These ought' ioiig since to bare bees removed, and must be now, if it is ever, intended to bring the produce of the country into a profit able market ; more especially the Timber, whiclk requires a different class of boat to auy we now have, but which will be speedily supplied, and which, aided by steam, will be able to take th* Timber irom the landing to the ship at any tiiwk the ship can receive it on board. The two rivers of which I speak an the Swan and the Canning:.
I will first speak of the Canning, as ? upon it» waters most ot the Timber exported from Freman tle is borne; and would observe that the bsxges engaged iu its transport have been detained *s long as three weeks; not being able, ! either ligitfe or loaded, to recross the shallows the/ have passed in ascending the river for a load, and cbnatantlir it requires two or three flats to bring jn Joad ?ef- ficient for one over the shallows into dew water ; increasing the expense, losing vfune., ao3, causing treble labour and actual Joss' to those engaged ia the business^ - iwaiiim rktmA. Iftjf ^ ' ' otherwise healthy occupation wearisome, «u-- pleasat and unhealthy. The Canning SSmt is entered through the Canning Bridge^on. the old Perth and fremantle road; south side of Melville Water. This bridge being of good height, forms no part of the obstnietipflsjto the navigation during the winter floods; deep'water is found tor about four miles, when 50a' come to an estuary or wide reach of water^imt shattow. having, at low water^ or the general sommer^ level, about irom 1 toot 6 inches to S feet deptik of water. The reach extends upwards about » mile, when you eater round a low point^ thm second estuary, or muddy reach, as it iscsltia by boatmen. This is shallower than the first tjy about 6 inches, and, in addition, has several patches of weed in it, which it is hsid io amid, and upon which of course thece is much leas water. ^ Having passed these reaches (the bed cf which is a vcrj soft mad on the deepest «d^ «od ' oyster shell ^ankfi -m the ether), VqnBUtecJk uarrow reach, and after abont 200 yardBof^^ov '' water, fiud deep water tor about a mile, «no^^m obstacles to navigation on the in#t&^#iia^* 'sand flats.' These extend, ^llfeMlmZ missions of deep water,' for $j)ou$ # dpi. 'kftiiki these shallowe you cannot fin^-iaJWi w«K more than a loot, «adfiome5mes ther^LtlAwiiu that depth, in very high water; sam^te4aBtoiA ' much as two feet six inches, but tiusfc^eryttftfc as the tide flows but little «nd verj$tf^&jm^ These shallows passed, deep water, wHfi'^fft exception Tpf a yard or two *4ixuA.j&m&b&L is toned to the landing-place to where the Timber* Sandalwood, &c, ifiToarted.^ In ttdt appW«irt remove fe few^Sia^ ina cK^o»a&^5r^*- hang^ tr^^i^^iap^^ ?winter. ' -Tto^^S^S^^^^fe
fce|i^%t£ppdw»zed piece of fiat land, and of a good height for getting the timber into the boat. Having'ihai as shortly as I could stated the aiffidaities of the Canning navigati6ni I will proceed W speak of the Swan. The difficulties of its navigation commence at, and. are principally confined to, the estuary called Berfii Bay or Perth Water. Its bed is soft mud, varied in some, places with oyster shell banks. In its shallowest part, and which reaches about half a mile, there is, in low: water* not more than 15 or 16 inches water. There is about that depth, or nerhans an inch more, on the sand flats at the
head, of the bay. Of course this depth is insuf ficient for loaded barges ; consequently they have to be half unloaded ou an island just below the bridge, or in the canal above it, and even with three or four tons, the steam-flat Pioneer, which jhas a very light draught of water, has been detained for hours. It is scarcely necessary to speak of the old Bridge, as I earnestly trust the Government intend to push on the work of the new one* so as it (the old bridge) may be taken away before the floods of the winter come down, ot of course it will be impossible to bring boats below the Bridge. There is a small mud-bank just below the Bridge, and another above. The canal itself is pretty fair, but of course will require deepening, if the other places I have mentioned are deepened to about two feet, or two feet ax inches would be belter, at low water. Leaving the canal, deep water is found to the lower end of Long Beach, distant 4 miles, where there is a Bhort sand flat, say about a hundred yards, and from thence to Guildford, a distance of eight or nine miles, with one or two trifling ex ceptions, there is plenty of depth. In connection with this part of the River I need^earcely mention its importance as the means br which the principal part of our export of wool,
.tandalwood» gum, flour, &c., is conveyed to the port, and that already, with increased facilities the trade has . greatly increased, and the price of transport reduced nearly one half, and would be Itill further reduced, if barges could always arrive in Berth from Guildford with a full load and without the detention caused by the ob structions I have mentioned ; benefiting all par ties alike. Water carriage I believe to be the best and cheapest in all parts of the world, and should be promoted here especially, as our roads so soon ?bow the effects of traffic upon them. ? Leaving Guildford, and ascending the Upper Swan, there are but few shallows to its navigable head, theonly impediment being fallen trees, to the dumber of which almost every year adds- one or more, tHe outermost branches of which are removed by boatmen; but the main portion remains, forming a nucleus, arottnd which gather broken limbs of treesj sand, soil, and other snb Btances, forming} in the course of time, a little bland on a shallow* and so adding to the causes of those floods which so often sweep over the land on its banks. It is scarcely to be credited that this fine stream* navigable for 15 miJes above Gaildford (and of course nearer the Hills, where plenty of Timber can be obtained, and upon whose banks mntih corn and hay are grown, and the head of which would save Gingin and Victoria Plains settlers many miles of carting, by aarvin? as. a landing-place for them), should be
allowed thus, year after year, to get worse in its navigation. Mr Mason has suggested, as a means to accom plish these works, the sending oi a small party of prisoners. This would be sufficient for the tipper portions of both rivers, with the help of settlers' hones, (which would doubtless be readily given) ; but in grapple effectually with the sand and mud flats requires Other means, and in my opinion the time has arrived when the Government should set a steam dredge in motion,, as the cheapest and most effectual mode of deepening these rivers, because, supposing these works completed, there are -others of scarcely less importance, viz., the t-HV-C'^ n pu«* — 'f ft-w'-**'» Perth J«fcty to the first beatfon * for large boats are often in the same dilemma as barges on the flats, having to half unload their boats before they can reach the Jetty with ship -cargo, and leave the Jetty half loaded for the ship- Then there is Point Walter, through which a canal needs to be made, saving, as it would, much time to barges and steamers. But if the first expense of a steam engine be objected toj a dredge, worked by manual labour, might be employed — such a one as I am informed has been working at Port Adelaide, cutting a channel to the depth of seventeen feet, raising and depositing about sixty yards of soil $ the price paid on the wharf being Is 6d per cubic yard. Now we will suppose a dredge at work, deepening. Perth Bay and the flats at its head ; the soil raised could be boated by the Govern ment barges to the space between the two Jetties, forming, as it soon would, the recreation-ground we all so much desire $ thus promoting our profit and pleasure at the same time. There are many reasons I could urge for the immediate undertaking of these works, but would leave it in your hands, feeling assured you agree with Mr Mason and myself in the main, question that this done, Timber can be delivered on board ship at much less cost), and with every chance of greater profit to this portion of the Colony. A great recommendation of the above works is that they are sure to be remunerative in the same way as railways are in different parts of the world. Hoping that I have not trespassed on your space too much, and that the matter may be taken up in a liberal spirit by the Public and the Government, I am, Sir, Yours truly, G. BANDELL. Perth, April 4, 1865.