Mokare’s Mob – Part 4a

Mokare and Dr Alexander Collie (1793-1835)

 

And so to Dr Collie himself, Albany’s original ailing academic.

Doctor, botanist and casual explorer, by the early 1830s Collie had become a reknown natural history collector as well. His naval experience aboard HMS Blossom cruising the coasts of the Americas, including the Pacific Islands and far north, prior to his arrival in West Australia in 1829, bolstered his enthusiasm for collecting as well as his reputation for it among the scientific institutions back in Britain.

At the Swan River, Collie, whose health was fundementally compromised by lung disease, was based aboard the colony’s loaned naval vessel HMS Sulphur, effectively a troop ship, which had accompanied the Parmelia out to Western Australia on an approximate three year term, and upon which, somewhat ironically, the suffering Aberdeenshire graduate held the position of Ship’s Surgeon.

Collie attended the officials and associated military contingent of the 63rd Regiment whose job it was to support the colony’s lieutenant governor. Stirling used the Sulphur as a means of security, for procuring personnel and supplies, and for familiarising himself with the south-west corner as the need for more and better agricultural land increased. Thus, for nearly two years Collie coasted between Albany and the Swan River as often as Stirling saw fit for the ship’s use, which was intermittent but not infrequent.

Collie stayed busy during the lay-offs, profiting both directly and indirectly from his collections as (in tandem with Lieutenant Preston, also of the Sulphur) he combined them with smaller scale overland exploration initiatives to York and Pinjarra, along with coastal excursions south to Leschenault and the Vasse River (Bunbury and Bussleton) and then north to the Murchison (Geraldton) in search of the mouth of the Avon River which no one had yet realised was a branch of the Swan.

Collie’s ill-health was the equivalent of Mokare’s, both suffering and dying young at Albany, the difference being that Collie understood the benefits of containment, warmth and sustenance whereas Mokare, though much reduced, was still first and foremost a man of physical exertion and the outdoors. Collie’s witnessing of the sick and dying Aborigines at Albany, along with the understanding he was not only presiding over but monetarily gaining from the usurping of their lands, led him to an apologetic end in which he sought to ease his guilt by requesting burial in the same place as Mokare. A redemptive act of lasting symbolic importance, perhaps, but not one of consequence.

Most of the items comprising the Yurlmun: Mokare Mia Boodja exhibition were sourced by Dr Collie during his time at Albany which commenced twenty-two months after his arrival at Fremantle.

 

HMBV Sulphur by Craig Mitchell

Above: Dr Alexander Collie was attached to the pioneer vessel of the Swan River Colony, HMS Sulphur, as Ship’s Surgeon. When not ashore collecting and exploring, Collie lived aboard the vessel as part of a small permament crew from time of arrival in June 1829 until it delivered him to Albany mid-April, 1831. Image:  Scale model of HMS Sulphur made by Craig Mitchell. Photo by Brett Green, taken from HSGalleries website.

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In Search of Ngurabirding – Part 3

Moorilup

 

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.

 

Moorilup Banner

 

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.

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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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Prelude and Postscript to a Wedding

Originally Published 4 June 2014:

sidetracked river

 

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.

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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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More thoughts on the origin of the name Glen Candy

Originally Published 18 April 2014:

Sugar Slaves

CANDY is an acknowledged borrowing from Arabic qandi (candied). 
The word developed from the CANE of sugar-cane (stalk-Genesis41:5).

 

Patrick Taylor left Spithead, Portsmouth, on February 9th, 1834, aboard the James Pattison arriving at the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa, 13 weeks later. He celebrated his 27th birthday on March 2nd, exactly three weeks into the voyage when the ship was somewhere off the north-west coast of Africa, probably between the Canary Islands and Cape Verde. The weather will have been humid and hot.

By 1834, trading in slavery throughout the British Empire had been abolished over 25 years. I don’t know how aware Patrick was of his own family background in the business nor if it even occurred to him as they sailed off the western face of Africa, but there’s enough in the thought to warrant a closer look at how the wealthy young settler came to name his country property just outside Albany, Glen Candy.

 

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Glen Candy, Candyup and the Lower Kalgan River

Originally published 14 April 2014:

” Every breath Patrick Taylor took filled him with joy. Having just turned twenty-seven, he had not only survived the voyage to the Swan River Colony but reversed his condition in the process. He was religious, had always believed, but since meeting Mary Bussell the glory of God had surpassed all expectation. ‘He’ was everywhere. Visible. Palpable. In every single thing. “

 

Candyup from the west side (640x480)

Looking south-east across the Lower Kalgan toward Mnt Boyle and Glen Candy, the hillside location of Patrick Taylor’s home. In later years the southern flank and then the district became known as Candyup. Taylor’s house passed to his son, Campbell, and was then sold. It burnt to the ground in a bushfire in 1940.

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King Georges Sound, Oyster Harbour and John Septimus Roe – Part 1

Originally Published: March/April 2014

We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love… and then we return home.  Australian Aboriginal Proverb

 

Sound

Albany: On King George’s

The first story in the ‘OUTDONE’ collection is called ‘Time and Place’.  I called it that because I felt it placed significance on the historical nature of the stories as well as the geographic location of Albany, in a West Australian as well as global context. Much later, I discovered the two key words in the title formed part of an oft-quoted proverb (above) and that the proverb’s source, while exactly unknown, is attributed to the indigenous Australian community. That made me feel pretty good because while this first story isn’t primarily concerned with Aboriginal Australia the collection most certainly is.

Also, the proverb encapsulate’s the secondary meaning I intended the story to convey; that is, an inner sense of awareness about our time alive. Two hundred years ago geographic discovery was the thing. We live in a global digital age now, but my belief is that regardless of race and era mankind has always held an inner sense of mystery and wonder related purely and simply to existence.

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