In our search for Ngurabirding we are building background to the arrival of his father, Ticket-of-leave man John Maher, in the Albany area during 1854. Maher took up work as a farm labourer or shepherd on one of the Spencer sheep runs closer to Mount Barker, north of the main settlement. Last post we looked at settlement along the Hay River, which runs west and north of the town, by the family of Sir Richard and Lady Spencer. This post we keep one eye on the Spencer family while looking at the uptake of land on the other river which has its source close to Mount Barker, but which empties into the sea just east of the Sound. The Kalgan.
Attracted by the hills that lay about its general path, there were various forays and excursions up the old French River from the outset. Major Lockyer even attempted to overland to the Swan River following its northward course during his three month stay into the new year of 1827. But it wasn’t until four years later when the Kalgan‘s source was located about 40 miles upstream, near to the historic location of Kendenup.
Moorilup was first set eyes upon in a European context by the settlement’s original non-military leader, Dr Alexander Collie, late in April 1831. Collie, who was only 18 months at the Sound, was led on this particular expedition by Mokare, charismatic front-man of the King Ya-nup. Mokare and his brothers were very closely associated with each of the key European figures at the Albany settlement as they came and went, transferring their allegiance and friendship in an apparently seamless fashion until death took them over.
Collie was the last European leader Mokare would know.
From New Zealand and Bass Strait to Kangaroo Island, Middle Island and King George’s Sound
Above: The business of hunting fur seals boomed in the 1790s, arriving in Australian waters around 1798. At the time seal rookeries were crowded and hundreds of thousands of the animals were slaughtered in the opening years. Australian sealers graduated westwards from New Zealand and Bass Strait, impacting the South Coast between Albany and Esperance during the 1820s. Photo courtesy SV-Take it Easy website.
I had intended to complete Part 2 of this subseries with a look at a couple of rogue mariners from the east who had come to make Albany their home during the 1830s and 40s. These were the sealers John Bailey Pavey and Robert Gamble. However, the more I looked into it the more story I saw needing to be told, not least the incredible feats of journey made in small open boats but also with regard to those who came to live on the poor and criminal edge of white society at Albany. While the conflicting interests of the moneyed settlers and the colony’s officials tells one story, the contrast between those powerful land owners and the working classes is quite another. Thus, we temporarily set aside our main subject while we seek insight into the less known, less discussed, less regarded individuals of the day, those who influenced the town and coast peripheral to the Taylors of Candyup. 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 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 Posted 24 April 2014:
Three Things Relative To The Period 1834-1841: Part 2
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.