The Hay River Brigade
Before we go on with the story of John Maher after the issuing of his Ticket-of-Leave, it’s important to look into what had already taken place at Albany relative to his arrival. This applies to the earliest period of free settlement and the story of the Spencer family, in particular, who first lived at the Old Farm – Strawberry Hill, within Albany, as well as at another farm close to the Hay River about twenty miles away.
Above: Panoramic view of the Gardens at the Old Farm -Strawberry Hill as it is today. Note the Norfolk Pine standing tall in the rear to the right. Image courtesy federation-house.wikispaces.com Continue reading
Originally Published 30 April 2015:
Above: The Lower Kalgan River meanders past Mount Boyle into Oyster Harbour and King George’s Sound reflecting the rural idyll of old Albany. Campbell Taylor’s childhood home lay on the upper part of the hill. Built in 1837 by his father Patrick, the living room gave commanding views, a sweeping landscape of trees, grass and water to the south and west. The Taylor property was given the name Glen Candy, while the hillside area itself became known as Candyup. Nobody knows if the name is of Aboriginal or European origin. Photo source also unknown.
Campbell Taylor was five when the family returned to the Candyup homestead in 1848.
Born at the Vasse River, he was brought to Albany with the rest of the family in October 1843 when he was just ten months old. After three damaging and dangerous years at Cattle Chosen his father wanted nothing more than to escape the Bussells and go back to a place that was both safe and his, but the Candyup house had fallen into disrepair and the grounds overgrown, so Patrick moved the family into the second of his town cottages, the one on the foreshore, Lot 23, Lower Stirling Terrace. Here Christina Capel Taylor was born and for reasons of proximity and economy the family ended up staying for the next five years. Continue reading
Originally Published 01 March 2015:
East Along The Coast
Above: 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.
Originally Published 26 July 2014:
Above: Woodburn Homestead and Farm in 1913. The original dwelling is front and centre of the picture. By 1913 Woodburn had been sold to the Moir family. Photograph donated to the Albany History Collection by Gordon Norman.
Following on from last week’s post I wanted to look into the circumstances of John Dunn’s killing, more particularly when it was reported and what happened once it was. I won’t go into great detail about the background because it will be dealt with in later posts, but because of the jump in time I’m making here (from 1850 to 1880) some summary is needed.
Originally Published 16 July 2014:
Down On His Luck by Frederick McCubbin; National Gallery of Victoria
I fell for Campbell Taylor’s history for a whole lot of reasons, not least because he was among a select group of sons to first Albany settlers. These sons will come to occupy slabs of space in future history books relating to settlement along the South Coast, but only when their endeavors are properly researched. Taylor was a contemporary of the Belches, Symers, Gillam, Dunn, Moir, Wellstead and Dempster families, between them pioneer settlers from Albany to Cape Arid. The Dunn family being of primary interest for now.
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 McKail, Hugh & John McKenzie and Thomas Meadows Gillam. Also, the ever shifting fortunes of the ship’s carpenter James Dunn.
Above: 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.
Originally Published 30 April 2014:
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.
Originally Published 20 June 2014:
Australia Map 1851: Drawn and engraved by J Rapkin. Illustrations by J. Marchant.
The story behind Albany’s early characters, both European and Indigenous, has as much about it as any great Australian drama. Most readers should now recognise the centrality of the Taylor’s of Candyup to this work. The experience of the Taylor’s tells an inclusive story of Albany, which in itself tells the story of the South Coast and on again as settlement of the South Coast helps tell the West Australian and All-Australian stories of how we got to where we are today.
The story behind this particular group of characters, who came together in the remote coastal setting of King George’s Sound during the 1830’s, has as much about it as any colonial history, told or untold. It is not the making of a great world power, but is every bit as compelling in its own unique way.
Originally Published 4 June 2014:
I thought I’d deviate for a moment and try and pull Patrick’s epic year of 1837 a little more together. That way it’s done properly and I won’t need to come back to it. It’ll be worth it, because this was no ordinary time.
Specifically, I want to try and find out who William was, the King George’s Sound native mentioned in the previous post and described in the Bussell family diaries, and whether or not it was him who lost his life at Garden Island. Also, I want to look more closely at the Albany/Perth expedition hosted by Dr Joseph Harris and Alfred Hillman in February of that year and Patrick’s role in joining it. I want to see if he had attached himself to any particular Aboriginal help by that time and if so, who it might have been. There is also the very interesting case of the Albany Aborigines going to Perth as a group subsequent to the death of the Albany man in Patrick’s company on Garden Island that year. As a back drop to this is the September wedding and the violence which broke out at the Bussell homestead, ‘Cattle Chosen’, ahead of it, and I want to try and see how exposed Patrick and Mary were to what happened. All of this took place within a colony beset by wider settler/native aggressions and an almost desperate sense of economic ill health.
Epic, just about describes it.
Originally Published 28 May 2014:
Above: Henry Camfield spent ten years roaming the Swan River, Van Diemen’s Land and New South Wales looking for love. When he found it, it came in the form of an orphan girl, Annie Breeze, but there were to be no children of their own. Painting; The Lovers, by Willliam Powell Frith.
As I set about constructing each of these posts I’m reminded by the content that I’m writing about a band of settlers who are known. What it feels like I’m doing is reinforcing the influence of an already established group. It’s a struggle to deal with that until I remember that in our white post-colonial world recorded history is all there is. You can only review the evidence. So, The View’s look back can only ever be about revising what’s already known while trying to find something recorded that hasn’t been added or discussed yet.