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gradually re-acquired the English tongue, and exercised very useful influence over his late subjects. The governor of Van Diemen's Land granted him a free pardon, and, as it was disagreeable to him to remain in the scene of his savage life, he became a constable in Van Diemen's Land.
But either some original infirmity, or long absence from civilized social life, had impaired his intellect, and he rarely and unwillingly conversed on the events of his extraordinary career.
When, in June, 1836, a magistrate, Mr. Stewart, despatched by Sir Richard Bourke, arrived to assert her Majesty's rights and to announce the invalidity of all purchases from the aborigines, he found the country already occupied, and the work of colonization steadily proceeding. Nearly two hundred men had arrived from Van Diemen's Land, and were settled around the estuary of Port Phillip; 35,000 sheep, under the charge of strong armed parties, with a number of horned cattle and horses, were spread for many miles over the site of the present Ballarat gold fields, each party seeking to appropriate as large a run as possible.
HISTORY OF PORT PHILLIP.
Until very recently, on the station of Messrs. Jackson, at Saltwater River, was to be seen one of the great bells, mounted on a lofty frame, which used to be rung from station to station to summon assistance when an attack from the blacks was anticipated.
In the same year Sir Thomas Mitchell, the Cook of Australian inland exploration, re-explored and surveyed the overland route from New South Wales, part of which had been traversed by Messrs. Hovell and Hume, and described the fine plains of Victoria, to which he gave the name of Australia Felix, “ the better to distinguish it from the parched deserts of the interior country, where we had wandered so unprofitably, and so long."* He then discovered and named Mount Byng, the hill since become world-famous as Mount Alexander.
The publication of this report in the Colonial and English papers, and afterwards of Sir T. Mitchell's travels, fanned up the flame of the Port Phillip fever, and very soon, along the overland route, pool after pool was drunk dry by the thousands of stock marching on to the promised land.
In April, 1837, Sir Richard Bourke visited the new colony, and gave directions for laying out the town of Melbourne on two hills, East and West Hill, sloping down to the banks of the River Yarra. In June the first land sale took place, and speculation commenced, and did not cease until it ended in wide-spread insolvency in 1841 and 1842.
The steady course of depending on their increase of flocks and herds was abandoned; every one went into town and country lots; village sites were laid out in all directions, some of which remain projects or miserable hamlets to this hour. Emigrants crowded in from all parts of Great Britain. At Hobson's Bay, the entrance to the Yarra, more than one hundred three-masted ships were to be seen at anchor at one time. Labour rose to an enormous price; brickmakers earned 8s. a day; the common four-pound loaf was sold for 3s. 6d.; and mere huts were let at the rate of £100 a year. Meantime, fortunately, the living pastoral treasures of Australia came pouring in, and increased and multiplied on the fine downs and grass-covered hills, while some wise, hard-working settlers devoted themselves to agriculture.
During this period the Port Phillip district was nominally under the government of the central authority at Sydney, but in reality the people governed themselves, with the help of a magistrate and a few policemen, while a neighbouring colony of the same date was enjoying all the costly magnificence of elaborate government machinery,
* Mitchell's “ Australia Felix."
In 1839 C. J. La Trobe, Esq., the present governor, was appointed superintendent of Port Phillip district, with an authority little more than nominal, as the surveys, post-office, customs, &c., were managed by subordinates responsible to the chief departments at Sydney; and even up to 1839 the sales of rural land took place at Sydney.
This centralization of authority in a distant city, having different interests, and the appropriation of funds derived from Port Phillip land. sales to emigration into Sydney district, were long subjects of grievance on which, as they have been redressed, it is not necessary to dwell.
When representative institutions were conceded to New South Wales, six representatives were apportioned to the Port Phillip district; but it was soon found impossible to find that number of colonists able and willing to live for six months of the year six hundred miles away from their estates; and for several sessions before 1850 the Port Phillippians virtually declined to elect representatives.
In 1841 an administrative division took place between the two provinces ; the land funds, part of which had been unfairly appropriated for the emigration purposes by New South Wales, were surrendered ; and, in spite of the efforts of a very influential party in New South Wales, Port Phillip acquired a separate existence. At the same time the separation is so recent, that the account of the history, and of religious, educational, and legal institutions, of New South Wales, during the last ten years, equally applies to Victoria.
In 1842 Melbourne obtained a municipal corporation, under 5 and 6 Victoria, cap. 76. Victoria has, however, never been a penal colony, although long and still suffering from the overflowings of the felonry poured into Van Diemen's Land.
It would not serve any useful purpose to record the struggles of Port Phillip to obtain an independent existence, now that the question has been finally settled.
The general quality of the soil in Port Phillip has given the settlers an advantage over land purchasers in less fertile districts of Australia, and the absence of an expensive local government has enabled the colonists to escape a local debt like that which so long weighed down South Australia.
In fact, the brief history of Port Phillip proves how much more safely, successfully, and inexpensively colonies may be planted by colonists, than by enthusiastic amateurs and speculating companies.
In 1852 the assembling of the first Legislative Council of Victoria marked the commencement of a new era of independence and prosperity, crowned by the golden discoveries at Ballarat and Mount Alexander.