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

The Gun

Originally Posted 4 July 2014:

 

Double Barrel Shot Gun 1841

Above: A double-barrel, break action, breech loading shotgun with innovative Pinfire mechanism first patented in France during 1846. Probably the type of gun Edward John Eyre sent Wylie two years later to commemorate their famous walk of 1841. Unattributed photograph from the public domain.

During the winter of 1848, a week after Reverened Wollaston arrived at Albany to find the roof of the church still not on, the ship Arpentuer arrived into Princess Royal Harbour bearing a parcel for the local native, Wylie.  Though the package was wrapped, its contents were easily recognisable.
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Wylie – Who was he?

Originally Published 7 May 2014:

There are many artistic impressions of Wylie and Eyre (usually together), all inspired by their remarkable story of survival. Few, if any of those are accurate portraits. There are sketches, drawings and photographic images of Eyre made during his Colonial career which show us what he looked like, but very few of Wylie. I went in search of images and information that could bring us closer to who this young South Coast Noongar actually was.

 

Wylie - old engraving

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Taking Advantage

Originally Published  5 May 2014:

” The Cleveland was making its way across the Great Australian Bight, a bleating hulk reeking of sheep shit and urea, butting against the waves like an angry Highland Ram. “

 

East - west across the Great Australian Bight runs counter to the prevailing wind. In 1840, it took the full month of February for the heavily laden Cleveland to sail from Adelaide to King George's Sound. The sailing foreshadows a later overland journey between the two places made by Edward John Eyre, the owner of the Cleveland's cargo on that voyage.

East – west across the Great Australian Bight runs counter to the prevailing wind. In 1840, it took the full month of February for the heavily laden Cleveland to sail from Adelaide to King George’s Sound.

The Cleveland was a transport ship hired by an icon of early Australian exploration, Edward John Eyre. He was 24 when he made the crossing from South Australia and familiarised himself with the far south-west corner of the continent for the first time. During that trip Eyre met a young Noongar boy whose name he recorded as WYLIE. Wylie went to Adelaide with Eyre when Eyre returned to South Australia six or seven weeks later, afterwards making the journey back to  Menang Noongar country by foot; a walk which made both of them famous.

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