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1 correction by charlesgilbert - Show corrections

SOUTHERN DISTRICTS.

The following communication from the Resident at the Vasse, relative to the formation of a line of road from the Black wood to the Warren, and determining upon the site of a bridge over the Warren River, has been forwarded to us for publication : —

Besident Magistrate's Office, Busselton, 26th March, 1866. Sir,— I have the honour to report for His Excellency's information, that in conjunction with Messrs. J. Manning and T. C. Carey, I pro ceeded to the southward, for the purpose of fixing the site of a bridge over the Warren Eiver, and for the more important intention of finding a passable road from the Blackwood Bridge to the site selected at the Warren River, thus im mediately counecting these important districts. On the 27th we arrived at the lower Black wood Bridge, via the new line and St. John's Brook ; from this locality we followed the cart track leading to the homestead of Mr. Higgins, through a hilly, but rich, and grassy, couutry. Mr. Higgins arrived from Toodyay about two years back, with a flock of. 1,000 ewes. Although his losses through sheep becoming blind, also from the nature of the grasses and bleak climate, were in the first instance heavy, his flocks are now

increasing, and in fine condition. Mr. Higgins is also clearing extensively for cereals. After a short rest we followed the Nanup Brook Valley, eastward, for a distance of 3 miles. The hills bordering this valley rise to a height of from 300 to 400 feet, clothed with a wide and luxuriant vegetation, and heavily timbered, affording shelter for large flocks of cockatoos. The Nannop Brook runs during the driest seasons. Leaving the valley by a deep gorge, falling in from a southerly direction, we suc ceeded in gaining the table land ; passing over a burnt country, for a distance of 4 miles, we were brought to a halt by a rill of water, apparently passing through a stiff soil, but actually bordered by a green bog, more than a chain in width ; after considerable floundering, the pack-horse falling several times, we succeeded in gaining the firm soil of the opposite bank; leaving this stream we passed through a narrow, but dense, thicket; from thence, for a distance of 5 miles, was a continual struggle through rank vege tation, fallen timber, aud boggy draiuages. At 6 p.m., finding our horses required rest, we camped on the border of a swampy water-course, filled with a complete net-work of tangled vege tation. After a night of some little fear and trembling, caused by a gale of wind, and the creaking of some lofty trees, unavoidably and uupleasantly hanging over our heads, we again mounted, and proceeded in a southerly direction to the Don nelly, passing through a similar country, as on the previous evening. At 10 a.m. we descended by a precipitous track into the valley of the Donnelly; the hills rise to a height of from 300 to 500 feet, and in many places perpen dicular; after a short rest and consultation we came to the decided conclusion that our outward attempt to find a road was a complete failure ; again proceeding on our journey we passed over a rough hilly country, filled with springs and run ning streams, and generally well grassed. Passing the south branch of the Donnelly, and proceeding a distance of 3 miles, we zested our horses in a beautiful field of green grass. From this spot we passed over a more undulating country, filled with springs and deeply grassed. At 6 p.m. we came on a fine running stream, flowing through a country perfectly dense, with a rank vegetation. We had a fall of rain during the night. Making an early start in the morning, and passing through a perfect entanglement of vegetation and fern-tree thickets, at 9 a.m. we made the road, within 5 miles of Mr. Lefroy's residence; reaching that gentleman's cottage, and after a short con sultation as to roads and bridges, health and increase of stock, and capabilities of soil for cereals, we proceeded to the neat residence and homestead of Mr. Walcott, who is in charge. Accompanied by this gentleman we arrived at the termination of our survey at 4 p.m. Mr. Brockman being from home, we proceeded to examine several localities on the banks of the river suitable for a bridge, eventually decided on a spot in the paddock of that gentleman, the approaches to and from the river allowing a level line of road. Mr. Brockman's garden and premises displayed considerable care and attention; the garden contained some beautiful flowers, then in full bloom— such as the balsam and other rare plants. Having decided with Mr. Carey to return to the Blackwood Bridge by a more westerly route, Mr. Manning proceeded, via the Bunbury road, to join bis cart at the homestead of Mr. Rose; Mr. Carey, myself, aud P. C. Forrest, with two natives, who stated they were the rightful owners of the country through which we proposed to travel, wishing our friend Mr. M. Brown success in his search for land, in what he calls the splendid country, we started on our return route on the 2nd inst., leaving the Warren Valley by an easy ascent, we passed, for the first 5 miles, over a piece of spleudid country, timbered with the black butt and carri, and clothed in a dense vege tation, with numerous springs and running streams. Some of the carri tribes, I would say, reached 200 feet in the clear, with a diameter of 10 feet; in one or two instances I observed several trees of nearly 300 feet in height. From 5 to 10 miles we continued to pass over a rank vegetation, shaded during the whole of the day by lofty trees or dense thickets, of a beautiful cork- barked casuarina, with a dense underlay at grass, and forming a most delightful shade. At 6 p.m. we camped for the night on a small tributary of the Donnelly, with an abundance of grass. On the fol lowiug morning, after passing over some few miles of good feeding country, we entered a sandy ridge, sprinkled over with water-washed quartz; crossing this ridge, we again entered a burnt country, evi dently covered with a dense vegetation, but contain ing no amount of grass. At 1 p.m. we agaiu reached the main branch of the Donnelly, where we rested till 3 p.m., when we made a start with the hope of reaching the Blackwood that night, or early the next morning. A few miles after leaviug the Donnelly, we passed through a ridge of hard aud useless scrubs. At 4 p.m. obtained a distant view of the coast ranges extending from Flinders' Bay to the Donnelly. At 6 6 p.m. reached a country of more useful vegetation, and at 7 p.m. camped on a fine deep stream, flowing from the eastward, evidently formed by the.numerous streams passed on our outward track ; we here found a hut, once the property of a Mr. Hurst, a squatter in this locality. On the following morning, leaving this deep glen, we followed the natives through a number of glades called ' Yatamak,' and which, it appears, have been traversed by the denizens of the forest — perhaps for ages. At 1 p.m. we made Black wood Bridge ; the same evening arrived at St. John's Brook, and on the following day reached Busselton at 1 p.m. I may now venture to offer a few remarks for His Excellency's perusaL First — With reference to the road. I consider our return route will afford one of the finest and most beautiful lines of road I have ever seen in the colony, abounding with food and water, and traversing a large extent of country which will afford pasturage both for sheep and cattle. I con sider the road will be much used by the Blackwood settlers in driving stock to the coast runs, and by the Warren settlers in their dealings with Busselton. With reference to the Donnelly and Warren country, I observed the occasional outcropping of a dark granite, also trap formation, also a considerable intermixture of pure quartz, in chocolate-coloured soil, which is mixed with a large amount of evidently fertilizing ironstone grit, rendered productive by the constant ploughing of the soil by fallen trees and bush fires; in numerous instances, for miles, our horses sank knee-deep in rich mould. Taking a general view of the Southern country, I consider it is of an alpine nature, with a splendid climate. We observed a scud of clouds flying over the forests every morning, which never disappeared till some hours after sun-rise. I believe this district will feed, with care and by paddock enclosures, an equal amount of stock with any other district in this colony, although I fear that until fed down some losses will occur. The intro duction of English grasses will, I am persuaded, succeed admirably; the ironstone ranges of the southern districts being clothed with the soft scrubs, and contain a large proportion of vegetable matter, the bush fires only occurring about once in four years. Trusting Bis Excellency will pardon this verbose description, I have the honor to be, Sir, Your obedient servant, J. S. HARRIS. The Hon. the Colonial Secretary, Perth.

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