Excerpts – Vol2

Excerpts from Western Australian Exploration 1836 – 1845

Gantheaume Bay to the Greenough River

The distant range I named the Victoria; and being now certain that the district we were in was one of the most fertile in Australia, I named it the “Province of Victoria”. There is no other part of extra tropical Australia which can boast of the same number of streams in an equal extent of coast frontage, or which has such elevated land so near the sea; and I have seen no other which has so large an extent of good country. It is however bounded both to the N & S by, comparatively speaking, unproductive districts; but what the character of the country to the NE & SE may be, still remains to be ascertained.

George Grey, p. 155

New Discovery of Available Sheep Runs

… an extensive tract of grassy country, well suited for sheep pasture, has lately been discovered by Messrs Drummond and myself about ten miles to the northward of Mr Drummond’s station on the Moore River. I was unwilling to make any report until I had seen the full extent of the good land, and could, with accuracy give in a description of it; but as it appears that the discovery of this country has already attracted a good deal of public attention, I will give, as I can recollect, a short account of it.

Having been informed by some natives that there was a large river about two days journey to the north-west of the Moore River, we proceeded in that direction to see if such was the case. Shortly after leaving the Moore River, we crossed a sandyplain, varying from two to three miles in breadth, and extending a long way parallel with the river; beyond this there is white gum forest for about 6 or 9 miles, with occasionally patches of good land, when the character of the country changed, and grassy hills appeared in every direction, covered with a small herb which remains green during the summer months, and which the sheep are so fond of eating. This country appeared to be free from blackboys, and to be intersected by several small brooks, which were running at the time. We halted at a good spring; the natives informed us that there were several in that district, – I have no doubt but that their account is true, the soil being chiefly alluvial. We travelled through a grassy country for about eight or nine miles, and then came to a sandy plain, – shortly after a gum forest, – and then arrived at the river, about 25 miles from the Moore River. There was no appearance of permanent water in it here, and the country adjoining was indifferent. We then proceeded to the eastward, in the direction from which that river appeared to come, and found some large pools, in which I think there is permanent water during the summer months. The natives said that there were larger pools higher up, but being obliged to return to the Moore River, we had not time to go any further to the eastward.

On our way home we again crossed the grassy country, which appeared to extend for 15 miles from these large pools. Mr Drummond, Sen., said that he had been 10 miles to the eastward of our track, and that the good land extended for a long way in that direction. I have no doubt but that there is a large extent of good land, as the country has been crossed in different directions, and found to be of the same character. No poisonous plants were seen, which adds materially to its value.313 The natives took us too much to the eastward,314 their object being to show us some lakes comparatively of little consequence; I think the greatest extent of good land is in the direction of NNE from the Moore River; and it appears rather singular, that, if Messrs Moore and Roe had gone a day’s journey more to the northward, they would have discovered this country.

John Scully, p. 318-19.

Native Title

In theory, an indigenous party claiming native title over a specific area of Western Australia must prove a continuing association with that area since 1829 when Fremantle took formal possession for the Crown, rather than 1826, when the first British settlement was established at Albany. The journals of exploration recording the first contact with Aborigines of a particular region and describing their customary use of the land and its resources are a valuable primary source for historians preparing native title reports.

Appendix 5, p. 421