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2-051 (Original)

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author,male,Stirling, James,39 addressee,male
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Government English
Imperial Correspondence
Ward, 1969
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Lieutenant-Governor Stirling to Sir George Murray
Perth, Western Australia, 20 January, 1830.
On September 9 I had the honour to announce to you my arrival here, and the commencement of this Settlement; I now beg leave to lay before you the following Information relative to its progress since that period, its present condition and future prospects.
As soon as the difficulty attendant on landing and housing the establishment was surmounted, I caused an exploration of the country immediately in the neighbourhood of the port to be made, and two towns to be laid out: one, named Freemantle [sic], at the entrance of Swan River: the other, Perth, about nine miles higher up, on its right or northern bank. Allotments in these towns were speedily occupied by the first settlers, who arrived in August. and the more diligent among them commenced the erection of temporary buildings. On October I found it necessary to open a district of country for location. In the first instance, I selected for that purpose on the banks of the Swan River; and, being urged by further applications for hand, on November 2 I threw open the country extending between the sea and the mountains fifty miles southward from Perth, including the district originally reserved for Mr. Thomas Peel. In these districts, the first comers found suitable locations, and, acting under the impulse of novelty, there were many who at once established themselves on their lands, regardless of danger from the natives and of the difficulty they encountered in removing their goods from the coast. This adventurous and laudable spirit. which it was politic to encourage, I am happy in saying met with no cheek: and single individuals have traversed the country freely, at great distances from the towns, hitherto without interruption or injury.
In the course of October, November and December, some ships and many settlers came in. Their arrival before the country could be properly surveyed occasioned great inconvenience. Viewing no evil so great to the settler as delay in assigning to him his hand. I was accordingly forced to grant locations on unsurveyed lands, and to determine on the sites of towns without experience of their merits. An evil still greater than these arose from the number of early arrivals on the coast, hitherto unsurveyed; its consequence, one merchant ship. the Marquis of Anglesa, by anchoring in an exposed situation, got on shore; and latterly, His Majesty's ship Success, in coming in without a pilot, struck on she rocks and has received damage, not irreparable I believe, but serious.
The survey of Cockburn Sound is now, however, complete: and, having made arrangements for buoying the channel and establishing proper pilots, I hope we shall have no more accidents of that description.
Among the settlers who arrived, there were many indentured servants, who had been recommended to their employers by parish officers, and whose habits were of the loosest description. To control these and to protect their masters in their just rights, as well as to secure the safety of persons and property, I was obliged before the conclusion of the year to appoint a magistracy and a body of constables; the first, from among the most wealthy and prudent of the settlers; the latter, including the steady and most respectable part of the working class. [154] To render the decisions of the magistrates more formal, I selected a gentleman bred to the law and of moderate temper to act as their chairman, and as adviser to the government in matters of law. Since these appointments, I am happy in saying there have been fewer irregularities; and as the population of the Settlement is now generally diffused over a large surface, and as part have commenced agricultural labour, drunkenness and similar evils will be less frequent than when the people congregated in one or two towns with little to do.
The erection of a decent place of worship, the regular performance of divine service, and the administration of the sacrament on Christmas-day were the last events of the year deserving of notice. To the zeal and energy of the venerable Archdeacon Scott, who is still here on his passage to England, I owe the furtherance of these great objects.
The explorations, which have been effected at the instance of government and by private individuals, have put us in possession of knowledge relative to the coast to the extent of seventy miles northward from Rottenest [sic], and ninety miles to the southward of it. In that extent the only discoveries of note are six rivers of no great magnitude, and one bar harbour capable only of receiving boats. The land seen on the coast to the northward is represented as indifferent, while that to the south is reported to be good. With the country between the sea coast and the hills, ten leagues to the north and south of Perth, we are well acquainted; and three or four parties having severally penetrated the hilly district beyond the first range to the extent of twenty miles, we possess some information relative to its soil and products.