In Search of Ngurabirding-Part 4(b)

This post is continued from Part 4 (a) previous:
John McKail and George Cheyne: Town, Sea or Land?

 

albany-to-cape-riche-von-summer-1848Above: John McKail arrived at Albany immediately prior to the 19th Century’s great off-shore whaling boom (1836-1842), a phenomena which should have resulted in much greater migration of moneyed settlers to the area despite world-wide economic recession. But King George’s Sound was already a hard-sell being neither farming country nor flush with Colonial resources and it’s chances were halved again as it was left to languish in the shadow of Sir James Stirling’s beloved but deeply troubled Swan River settlement, Perth. Image:  King Georges Sound to Cape Riche  Survey by F. Von-Summer, 1848.

 

At Albany, George Cheyne escaped the self-serving clutches of Richard Spencer’s local governance by removing himself eastwards up the coast in order to take advantage of the shipping traffic, but the ex-garrison’s tiny population still improved by way of labouring class and small-time investment level immigrants. After Cheyne, Spencer, Sherratt and Symers, only one other man was persuaded to take a big-time investment plunge at Albany. Captain John Hassell did so from 1839 with the most Machiavellian of land-based assaults, thereby commencing the highly competitive South Coast pastoralist era, subject of the In Search of Ngurabirding sub-series. In the meantime, McKail’s sea-based heritage, modest means and exploitative trader mentality, along with his sizable persona and penchant for social discourse (pub-going), kept him focused on the settlement’s immediate facilities and short to medium-term prospects, the result of which came to serve him well.

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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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George Cheyne and The South Coast Fishery

Originally Published  30 April 2014:

Battle of Vinegar Hill

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.

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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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