Saturday 12 November 1836

[, on board the wrote. | Read source notes.]

12 November-Still bad weather, and about noon one of the heaviest squalls we have yet had. I shall now give another extract of my letter to the Commissioners, of this date:

As various opinions are afloat as to the eligibility of the settlement here, I will now state my reasons in detail for the removal of the stores from Kangaroo Island, and the subsequent motions.

1st. I ought to have been sent out at least six months before anybody else, which would have given me time to settle emigrants or stores as they arrived.

2nd. Having seen so much beautiful country on this side [Gulf Saint Vincent, I was resolved on employing all the surveying gentlemen here, while I went round the other side and round Gulf Spencer, after which the site of the Capital would be fixed, and final arrangements made. The Rapid was therefore dispatched to Nepean Bay, and I went onshore in Rapid Valley to give up my cabin, and bring up some back work.

3rd. Hearing such lamentable accounts from our party at Nepean Bay from scarcity of water, I thought it best for the whole to come over, and for the want of another efficient officer I was obliged to divide the party into two instead of three; therefore the largest party, with Mr Kingston, should come to Holdfast Bay, and Mr Gilbert’s stores to accompany him also, Rapid Bay not having so good a beach for landing stores; and besides, should a gale come on, and a ship go on shore, all would be lost, whereas, at Holdfast Bay, lives and property in such a disaster would at least be saved, and most likely the ship also; had I a third party I would have landed them at Yankalilla. I could not make a store ship of the Cygnet to go from one part of the Gulf to another as stores might be wanted, from her inefficient sailing qualities, and her not being the kind of vessel required for such service.

4th. Looking generally at this place I am quite confident it will be one of the largest settlements, if not the capital of the new colony, the Creek will be its Harbour. Six months labour would clear a road down to it, and if not there is a hard, sandy beach the whole way, on which a mail coach might run. I next view the range of mountains going with a gradual slope into the plain where it ends altogether, and we see no other hills which gives me great hopes that this plain extends all the way to the Murray, and in spite of all the opinions on the subject now, I am positive there is quite enough of good rich land for every purpose; the low parts of this plain are covered with fresh water lakes, many of which are full of rushes, and in the winter a great part of the plain may be covered with water, but the ground rises gradually towards the mountains, and that part can never be flooded, and it has the same appearance that exists on the hills about Rapid Bay, the second valley, and other parts which are extremely rich. Much remains to be done also by proper management of the waters that have hitherto run in natural courses, by collecting them with proper dams, and conducting them through more eligible channels. This will I am sure be one of the finest plains in the world.

5th. If I had time to examine the other side of this Gulf, Port Lincoln, and Gulf Spencer, perhaps some better place might have been found for the stores; even then we should have wanted more men for their protection, as the natives on Yorke’s Peninsula and Gulf Spencer are represented much more hostile; when I say better place, I allude to the anchorage, and landing stores on a lee shore; in other respects they cannot be better, having here plenty of wood and water, and for those who have stock there is plenty of good grass.

Towards night the wind moderated.

Share this page:

Comments or Questions:

No comments yet.