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2-161 (Raw)

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addressee,male author,male,Bourke, Richard,60
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Government English
Imperial Correspondence
Clark, 1977
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2-161-raw.txt — 8 KB

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I have had occasion to mention incidentally in Despatches addressed to Yr. Lordship that I had thought it necessary to go from hence to Port Phillip in the month of March last for the arrangement of various matters connected with the successful occupation of that remote part of this Government. I delayed making any specific report of what I observed during my visit, or directed to be done in consequence of it, until I could forward a Map of the Country over which I travelled. By the kind assistance of Captain King of the Royal Navy, who accomnpanied me on the tour, I am now enabled to transmit a sketch of the ground adjacent of the waters of Port Phillip, extending inland in a northerly direction to Mt. Macedon, the nearest point of Major Mitchell's late survey, with which it is thus connected. [95] To the Country thus described, which when more accurately defined hereafter, will probably form a County of a large size, I have, at the desire of the Residents, permitted my name to be attached on the Manuscript, awaiting His Majesty's gracious allowance before publication takes place. If Your Lordship thinks well of having this Sketch added to the Map of the Colony, which I presume Major Mitchell is about to publish in London, I have to request he may be informed on the subject.
I have now to acquaint Your Lordship that I found, on my arrival on the spot selected for a settlement by Mr. Batman on the banks of the Yarra River at the head of the Inland Sea called Port Phillip, an assembled Population consisting of from sixty to seventy families. The situation appearing to be well chosen, I directed a Town to be immediately laid out, which Your Lordship will perceive by the Map has received the name of Melbourne. Conceiving it to be an object of some importance to enable the families I have mentioned to place themselves with as little delay as possible on property of their own, I directed 100 allotments to be measured and offered for sale at Melbourne on the first of this month. I also directed a few allotments to be put up in Williams Town on the shore of Hobson's Bay, where stores and Commissariat Establishments are likely to be soon formed. I have not yet received an account of the sales, but I have no doubt the allotments are readily purchased at advanced prices.
I found, at the beginning of March last, that the population in the whole district exceeded 500 souls, and, before I left Melbourne at the end of that month, the flocks, which had been sent from V.D.'s Land, numbered more than 100,000 sheep. The Country, which I traversed by the routes marked blue on the sketch, is of a varied description, but generally the pasture may be described as superior in quality to the average of the Districts of New S. Wales, which have been earlier settled. It is not for the most part well watered, but the general character of the Country is such as to render it a very desirable position for Settlers, whether Graziers or Agriculturists, and there is I think little doubt of its soon becoming the resort of Emigrants from Europe, as it is now one of those Inhabitants of Van Diemen's Land, who find it difficult to extend their possessions or to establish their families to their liking on the Land remaining for selection in the Colony. [...]
As there is thus but little doubt that this Settlement will increase rapidly in numbers and wealth, it becomes of some importance to consider in what way its Government can be best administered and the Inhabitants obtain the benefit of the essential Institutions of Civil Society. [96]
With respect to Government, I apprehend that the great distance between Sydney and Melbourne, whether the communication be by land or water, will render it extremely difficult for some time at least to keep up those frequent references upon ordinary as well as important subjects, which are required to be made to the seat of Government. The distance by land exceeds 550 miles, and the route passing for nearly 400 miles through a country as yet but little traversed or known, the time required to accomplish it on Horseback can hardly be taken at less than ten days. A passage by water may be effected in steam vessels in about four days; but the Steamers to encounter in winter the sea on the Eastern and Southern Coast of New South Wales must be of considerable size and power, and the Establishment of such will not, I imagine, be attractive to private speculation until the new settlement has made so considerable a progress as to create a commercial intercourse of some importance between the two places. But it may be further observed that the vicinity of Launceston in V.D.'s Land to Port Phillip seems to point out the former as the mart to which the Inhabitants of the latter will for some time resort. To keep up, therefore, a regular intercourse between the Districts of Port Phillip and Sydney, it would be necessary for the present to Establish Govt. Steam vessels. The expence of these would be very heavy, and it is for consideration whether to diminish the necessity for frequent intercourse by the appointment of a Military Officer as Lieut. Governor or Commandant with Civil as well as Military Authority will not be a preferable expedient. To a Functionary of this character all the officers of Government at Port Phillip and in the Sothern [sic] Districts might be required to report and receive his orders and the authority for their proceedings, whilst periodical Reports should be made on his part to the Government at Sydney.
With respect to legislation, I do not consider that the appointment of a Lieut-Governor would render necessary a separate Council or assembly for the Southern Districts of New South Wales. There would be no great inconvenience in requiring the attendance at Sydney for the Session of those, who might be appointed or elected Members of the Colonial Legislature.
With respect to the administration of the Law, Your Lordship will perceive, by my the annexed Letter of the Attorney General, that he proposes an addition of a fourth Judge to the Bench of the Supreme Court of New South Wales in order that one of the four may be available for holding assizes twice a year at Port Phillip and discharging the other duties both there and in Sydney, which he describes. The arrangement proposed by Mr. Plunkett would probably be sufficient for some time without the institution at Port Phillip of Quarter Sessions or a Court of Requests. But, to provide with regularity a passage between Sydney and Melbourne for the Judge and attendants on the Court, it would be necessary to establish the Government Vessel, to which I have alluded in a former paragraph of this Despatch, and on which subject I have the honor to address Your Lordship a separate Despatch by this opportunity under another cover. [97]
The Expense, which it may be necessary to incur under the proposed arrangement, is detailed in an annexed Schedule and submitted for consideration. I imagine the whole charge for Port Phillip may for some time be defrayed by the Sale of Land within the districts and the receipt of duties of Customs. The latter for the Quarter ending the 5 January last amounted to £329.
In my Despatch of the 15 Septr. last, No. 101, I informed your Lordship of the measures I had adopted for opening to location the district in question, and of the appointments I had made from hence for the purpose. I found, when at Port Phillip, that the Police Magistrate, Captn. Wm. Lonsdale, late of the 4th Foot, had conducted the varied duties of his station with great ability and zeal, and that through his activity and discretion the comfort of the settlers and the preservation of good order in the district had been fully provided for. I found also that great kindness and attention had been paid to the Aboriginal Natives both by him and the Missionary Langhorne. I have given to them both every assistance in my power, and I indulge a hope, notwithstanding some unfortunate occurrences, that the intercourse between these natives and the white Population of Port Phillip will be carried on with greater benefit to the former than has hitherto been experienced in other parts of the Colony.
I have not had occasion to make any material addition to the Establishments of Port Phillip reported in my Despatch of 15 Septr. last. Additions both to the fixed and contingent charges will, however, be unavoidable as the Settlement encreases in numbers. The expenditure on account of the Settlement from the occupation by this Government in October last to the close of the year amounts to about £3000, and has been defrayed from the Revenue of Crown Lands, to which Revenue it is probable the Sale of Crown Lands situated within the District will hereafter make a considerable addition, I propose to put such lands up to Sale as soon as the necessary surveys are completed.