In Search of Ngurabirding-Part 4 (a)

John McKail and George Cheyne: From the Swan River to The Ship Inn, Cape Riche and Eticup

 

Flinders chart -cut

 

In the continuing search for Ngurabirding we complete the background to John Maher’s 1854 arrival at Albany with a look at the activities, enterprises and connections of the disputatious pair John McKail and George Cheyne. These two figures headed-up influential family groups which ran maritime related businesses in the town while seeking to exploit land-based potential outside it and through their stories we gain a deeper understanding of how things were at Albany during this time.

I’ve covered much of George Cheyne’s background already so will only include what’s relevant here. Go to George Cheyne and the South Coast Fishery for information on the Cheyne family presence at Albany, including both George’s direct relatives as well as his wife Grizzel (Grace) Melville’s. For more on how the cash-starved Cheyne managed to claim Cape Riche from under the nose of the surveyor Henry Ommaney read George Cheyne and the Quest for Cape Riche.

In this post we also explore the working class elements of Albany society in the years leading up to the establishment of the Convict Hiring Depot in 1851. This element comprised sealers, whalers and town labourers, including a handful of well-known Menang men who interacted with the moneyed settlers by way of employment and by frequenting some of their more notorious drinking establishments. Continue reading

Campbell Taylor and Cape Arid Connection – Part 2

Originally Published 30 April 2015:

The 1840s

 

Candyup from the west side (640x480)

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

An All-Australian Story

Originally Published 20 June 2014:

 

Australia Map 1851 - Rapkin, Marchant, Allen

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.

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The Demise Of The Taylor Fortune: Part 2

Originally Posted 22 May 2014:

Bussell_family (550x345)

The Bussell family eventually prospered at ‘Cattle Chosen’ but had to get tough first.

 

The Bussell’s were lucky to get something of a windfall every time one of the children turned 21, but by 1837 the reverend’s life-insurance policy had paid out in full and without Capel Carter back in England sending their goods and offering her help they were well and truly on their own. By this time, they had at least borne the brunt of those early set backs and ‘Cattle Chosen’ was beginning to look like a viable life choice. Having just survived though, the Bussells were keen to shed their liabilities.

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