In Search of Ngurabirding-Part 4(b)

This post is continued from Part 4 (a) previous:
John McKail and George Cheyne: Town, Sea or Land?

 

albany-to-cape-riche-von-summer-1848Above: John McKail arrived at Albany immediately prior to the 19th Century’s great off-shore whaling boom (1836-1842), a phenomena which should have resulted in much greater migration of moneyed settlers to the area despite world-wide economic recession. But King George’s Sound was already a hard-sell being neither farming country nor flush with Colonial resources and it’s chances were halved again as it was left to languish in the shadow of Sir James Stirling’s beloved but deeply troubled Swan River settlement, Perth. Image:  King Georges Sound to Cape Riche  Survey by F. Von-Summer, 1848.

 

At Albany, George Cheyne escaped the self-serving clutches of Richard Spencer’s local governance by removing himself eastwards up the coast in order to take advantage of the shipping traffic, but the ex-garrison’s tiny population still improved by way of labouring class and small-time investment level immigrants. After Cheyne, Spencer, Sherratt and Symers, only one other man was persuaded to take a big-time investment plunge at Albany. Captain John Hassell did so from 1839 with the most Machiavellian of land-based assaults, thereby commencing the highly competitive South Coast pastoralist era, subject of the In Search of Ngurabirding sub-series. In the meantime, McKail’s sea-based heritage, modest means and exploitative trader mentality, along with his sizable persona and penchant for social discourse (pub-going), kept him focused on the settlement’s immediate facilities and short to medium-term prospects, the result of which came to serve him well.

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Campbell Taylor and the Cape Arid Connection – Part 1

Originally Published 01 March 2015:

East Along The Coast

 

Cape Arid Aerial Dirkus49 CopyrightAbove: Cape Arid featuring Middle Island and the eastwards view toward Point Malcolm. This is the place where Aboriginal and Settler historical records along the South Coast began and where the story of one particular pioneer, Campbell Taylor, stands out. Photo courtesy Dirk Veltcamp, Panoramio 2008

There had been fleeting interaction, possibly as early as 1600, between the Aborigines and various seafaring parties, but from the commencement of permanent settlement late in 1826, the coast between Cape Arid and King George’s Sound began to entwine the lives of the Indigenous with the determined economic activities of the newcomers.

The first known act of the settlement era, the kidnap of the little native girl Major Lockyer named Fanny, bound the mainland off Middle Island with King George’s Sound. The association evolved, continuing into the early part of the 20th century, after which the abandonment of the coastal sheep stations signaled the end of the pioneer reign.

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The Supporting Cast

Originally Published 27 June 2014:

Other people who are relevant to these pages during the 1840’s and onwards include the ex naval Lieutenant Peter Belches and the former East India Company men John Laurence Morley and Thomas Lyell Symers. We’re also interested in what Captain John Hassell and his wife Ellen got up to, what developments George Cheyne was able to forge and the arrival of John McKailHugh & John McKenzie and Thomas Meadows Gillam. Also, the ever shifting fortunes of the ship’s carpenter James Dunn.

Albany pencil and washAbove:  This pencil and wash sketch of Albany dated February 1854 shows the village status of the town at that time. The jetty in the foreground, commenced by McKail and Dunn in the Spring of 1837, was 75 yards long and located where the Marina and Boatshed Markets are today. McKail had blocks at the foot of the jetty and along Stirling Terrace just east of the London Hotel where (probably) he and James Dunn lived during that time. The sketch is unattributed.

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George Cheyne and The South Coast Fishery

Originally Published  30 April 2014:

Battle of Vinegar Hill

Above: The Battle of Vinegar Hill, Co Wexford, Ireland, 1798. George Cheyne wasn’t there, but his brother John was. “Charge of the 5th Dragoon Guards on the insurgents – a recreant yeoman having deserted to them in uniform is being cut down” (William Sadler II)

 

The Cheynes were mostly medical men.  Surgeons and Druggists from Edinburgh. The wider clan claimed prominent churchmen, merchants and military officers as well; one or two gentlemen in there too. In short, they were a numerous and generally successful middle-class clan of their times.

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Upriver

Originally Posted 24 April 2014:

Three Things Relative To The Period 1834-1841: Part 2

View-from-mt-clarence- stirilings

Stirling Ranges from Mount Clarence. Photo courtesy of Red Bubble

It’s not a great picture, I know, but the view from Mount Clarence looking north offers a glimpse of two distant ranges. The nearer and smaller of the two (out of view to the left) is the Porongurups; the larger and more distant (in picture) is the Stirling Ranges. Each of the earliest visitors to Albany climbed Mount Clarence and Mount Melville and spotted the hills much as they appear above. Experienced cartographers amongst them, the newcomers would have reasoned that Oyster Harbour probably acted as catchment for ground drainage and that more than likely a series of waterways ran south from the ranges back toward King George’s Sound.

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The Garrison Years (and shortly after)

Originally published 12 April 2014:

The fourth story in the OUTDONE collection, When Patrick Taylor Met Charles Darwin, is set in March, 1836, nine full years after the Amity’s arrival. By this time the New South Wales colonial outpost Major Lockyer had called Frederickstown had been usurped by the newly formed Swan River Colony, a business venture established by the monumentally ambitious Scottish Naval Officer, James Stirling.

 

Colour Lithograph reproduction of an etching on woven paper, with some hand colour retouching

A westward look at Frederickstown, on the north shore of Princess Royal Harbour. Colour Lithograph reproduction of an etching on woven paper, with some hand colour retouching, made by Major Lockyer prior to April 1827

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Taking Advantage

Originally Published  5 May 2014:

” The Cleveland was making its way across the Great Australian Bight, a bleating hulk reeking of sheep shit and urea, butting against the waves like an angry Highland Ram. “

 

East - west across the Great Australian Bight runs counter to the prevailing wind. In 1840, it took the full month of February for the heavily laden Cleveland to sail from Adelaide to King George's Sound. The sailing foreshadows a later overland journey between the two places made by Edward John Eyre, the owner of the Cleveland's cargo on that voyage.

East – west across the Great Australian Bight runs counter to the prevailing wind. In 1840, it took the full month of February for the heavily laden Cleveland to sail from Adelaide to King George’s Sound.

The Cleveland was a transport ship hired by an icon of early Australian exploration, Edward John Eyre. He was 24 when he made the crossing from South Australia and familiarised himself with the far south-west corner of the continent for the first time. During that trip Eyre met a young Noongar boy whose name he recorded as WYLIE. Wylie went to Adelaide with Eyre when Eyre returned to South Australia six or seven weeks later, afterwards making the journey back to  Menang Noongar country by foot; a walk which made both of them famous.

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