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.