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3-063 (Raw)

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author,male,Aitken, John,61 addressee
Narrative Discourse
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Public Written
Bride, 1898
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3-063-raw.txt — 2 KB

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Mr Batman, who arrived in May 1835, was the first person who visited Port Philip from Van Diemen's Land. Messrs. Jackson, Evans, and myself, arrived in Hobson's Bay in September of the same year, for the purpose of exploring the country preparatory to bringing stock over from Van Diemen's Land. The country appeared to us so well adapted for grazing purposes, both as regarded pasturage and climate, that we lost no time in going back to Van Diemen's Land for our stock. [49] In March 1836, I landed with my sheep, &c., at Arthur's Seat, owing to the ship getting aground in the Bay, and travelled with them to this place, called by His Excellency Sir Richard Bourke, Mount Aitken, where I have continued to reside ever since. Mr. Batman and Mr. Arthur brought sheep over from Van Diemen's Land about the end of 1835, or the beginning of 1836.3 The above-mentioned gentlemen were the only parties who brought stock prior to my arrival.
Various other parties arrived soon after me with stock, viz.: - Messrs. Jackson, Evans, Brock, Brodie, Sams, Wedge, Franks, Malcolm, Smith, Sutherland, Whyte, Clarke, and Fawkner. The latter gentleman was the Cain, or the first tiller of the soil in this province. Unfortunately he made a poor selection opposite the present city of Melbourne, in the swamp, and consequently it turned out a failure. Owing to this circumstance the impression became general that, however well adapted the country was for the grazing of sheep and cattle, it was altogether unsuited for agricultural purposes. The consequence of this false impression was that the Van Diemen's Land farmers immediately raised the price of wheat to £1 per bushel, as they imagined this country would be entirely dependent upon them for supplies of breadstuffs.
In June and July 1837, settlers from the Sydney side commenced to arrive. Amongst the earliest were Messrs. Howey, Ebden, Mollison, Hamilton, Coghill, and Hepburn, a great number of others immediately following them.
With reference to the natives: - On landing at Arthur's Seat, they were most friendly, assisting me to land my sheep, &c. About 80 was the number I then saw, being the Western Port tribe, some of whom accompanied me in my journey round the Bay to Melbourne.
The Mount Macedon tribe of natives came to my tent soon after my arrival at Mount Aitken. I did all in my power to conciliate them, by giving them rations of rice, sugar, flour, &c. while they remained about the place. [50]
The number of the tribe, as near as I could guess, was about 100 - men, women, and children. I consider that this tribe was more savage than the Western Port tribe, a neighbour of mine (Mr. Franks) and his servant being murdered while serving out food to them. Two of Mr. Gellibrand's men were killed soon after by the same tribe. I had great reason to be thankful that I succeeded in saving myself and shepherds from sharing a similar fate.