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beautiful hills thinly wooded. The Macquarie River, which is formed of a junction of the Campbell and Five Rivers, takes a winding course through the plains, which can easily be traced from the highlands by the verdure of the trees on the banks, which are the only trees throughout the extent of the plains. The level and clean surface (marked in plough ridges) gives them very much the appearance of lands in a state of cultivation."
On the south bank of the Macquarie, the governor encamped for a week, occupying his time in making excursions in different directions through the country on both sides the river; and on Sunday, 7th May, 1815, fixed on a site suitable for the erection of a town at some future period, to which he gave the name of “Bathurst.”
This discovery, due to the courageous perseverance of the three gentlemen before named, and rendered available by the wise energy of Macquarie, combined with the fine-woolled sheep of M'Arthur, prepared and assured the fortunes of these great colonies of Australia, and laid the foundation of an empire on the sweepings of our gaols. Macquarie was vain, hopeful, ambitious, and not unjustly proud of what, in his despatches to Earl Bathurst, he called “his discovery;" but, his utmost expectation only extended to supporting a considerable but isolated population by pastoral and agricultural pursuits. He expressly stated, in his curious general order, that “ The difficulties which present themselves in the journey from hence (Sydney) are certainly great and inevitable; those persons who may be inclined to become permanent settlers will probably content themselves with visiting the capital rarely, and of course will have them seldom to encounter.”
What would have been his pride and admiration could he have foreseen that, within a few miles of the plains of pasture land which have realized to the first settlers hundreds of thousands of pounds in wool, gold lay in heaps for gathering ; and that within the lifetime of Wentworth, the explorer, an unbroken army of gold adventurers would crowd the highway from Sydney to the “ City of the Plains," and in one year double the exports and the consuming powers of the colony !
The road to Bathurst Plains, executed in an incredibly short period, under the direction of Governor Macquarie, was materially improved by succeeding governors, and especially by the surveyor-general, Sir Thomas Mitchell, the Cook of Australian inland discovery. Sir Thomas Mitchell effected works second only in importance and merit of design and execution to the Simplon Pass over the Alps. It is un
NEWCASTLE, ON THE RIVER HUNTER.
fortunate that he was not permitted to carry out other public works which he suggested at a period when the barracks and gaols were filled with idle convicts.
Amongst other improvements, the road was diverted from Mount York, where the drivers were in the habit of cutting down and attaching part of a tree to their drays, to Mount Victoria.
Under Macquarie, in addition to the Bathurst, the Argyle district, one of the best agricultural and pastoral districts on the road, of which Goulburn is the centre, was discovered ; as also Port Macquarie, afterwards a penal settlement, at the mouth of the River Hastings, leading to a fertile district, as yet, in consequence of the price of land and labour, unoccupied to its full extent. Mr. Oxley, the surveyorgeneral, traced the Rivers Lachlan and Macquarie to the west of the Blue Mountains, where they disappear in a swamp in dry seasons, and in seasons of extraordinary rain form an inland sea. The governor also formed one penal settlement on the fertile soil of Emu Plains, and another in the coal district at the mouth of the River Hunter, not improperly named Newcastle. He materially improved the aspect of Sydney by laying it out on a new plan, and gave encouragement to every useful enterprise.
He was wise enough to see the importance and did his best to create a class of small farmers, who, tilling the ground with their own hands, would be independent of hired labour, and assist in protecting the colony against the effects of a dearth of corn. With this view, he gave grants of thirty acres each to emancipated convicts. Unfortunately, he did not accompany this wise measure with an importation of female population. Among the gossiping libels against the yeomanry class current among the squatocracy is a statement that Macquarie's settlers sold all their farms for rum. This statement was investigated by Mrs. Chisholm; she found a great number of the settlers in the Hawkesbury voting for members of council on their original grants. That under the horrid single-man system many should have flown to rum for consolation is not extraordinary. The old saw says
“ Without a wife,
“A farmer's is a dreary life.” Very little could be expected from a population of which not one in five could obtain an honest helpmate, and which knew little of clergymen except as sellers of rum and dispensers of lashes. of educating the masses had hardly begun to make way even in the mother country, and thus it was only the inoculation of whatever good there was in the colony, and the facility of getting an honest living,
that prevented the colonists of Macquarie's time from becoming a nation of robbers and murderers.
The ignorant and the vicious were turned loose in New South Wales with the lash and the gallows for those who were found out, but with independence for those who were industrious. The result showed how human nature can run clear where not pressed down by poverty or compressed in towns.
The Rum Hospital was a specimen of the tone of morality during the early years of New South Wales. It was built by three gentlemen, under a contract with the governor, which gave them a monopoly of the sale and importation of rum for a certain number of years. The workmen were, as much as possible, paid in rum, and public-houses were multiplied to an extent exceeding the proportion in the lowest and poorest haunts of Great Britain.
Many individuals, profiting by the enormous government expenditure, became wealthy; and all the sober, and many who were not sober, of the free or freed population were prosperous.
It became manifestly better policy to live by work or trade than by robbery.
Of churches there were two, and these barely filled ; of the few clergymen the majority were occupied as magistrates, in awarding lashes to refractory servants, in farming, in breeding stock, and dealing in anything that would bring a profit.
When New South Wales was considered worthy of an archdeacon, one honourable exception, the much-loved Parson Cowper,* was passed over and neglected, according to the rule of the day, in favour of an ex-wine-merchant. The Roman Catholics, amounting to some thousands, were not allowed to have the comfort of a priest of their own religion.
Considering that the Roman Catholic cannot, like the Protestant, retire to any solitude and there relieve his mind by prayer and confession to God,—that he deems the intervention of the priest, especially on his deathbed, essential to his salvation,-it is not extraordinary that the Irish part of the prisoner-population should have been turbulent and desperate; they felt themselves condemned to misery in this world, and perdition in the next—dying “unhousel'd, disappointed, unaneld.”
The tone of society in the towns was horrible: no educated or honourable class ; no church worthy of the name; no schools except for the wealthy, and these chiefly taught by convicts; slave-masters who sold rum; slaves who drank it; an autocrat surrounded by
• A son of the Rev. Mr. Cowper is one of the most respectable and influential men in the colony, and a valuable member of the Legislative Council.
FIRST JUDGE-COMMISSION OF INQUIRY.
parasites, whose fortunes he could make by a stroke of his pen ;except military honour, and the virtue cherished by a few who lived apart, there was as little virtue and honour as freedom in this wretched, prosperous colony.
From the foundation of New South Wales to the end of Governor Macquarie's administration, about 400,000 acres of land were granted to private individuals. Of these, in course of time, many town lots have become of enormous value, and some of the country land; but much was barren, and not worth cultivation when better land was rendered accessible by roads.
In 1817, the first judge, Mr. Field, arrived; a branch of the Bible Society was established ; and a Roman Catholic priest, Father O'Flynn, landed and spent some time in the colony, but, not having been duly authorized by the home government, he was compelled to return. Bigotry was in full bloom before Christianity had taken root.
In 1819 arrived a commissioner of inquiry, John Thomas Bigge, Esq., and his secretary, Thomas Hobbs Scott, Esq. He remained until February, 1821, having collected a body of evidence, which was afterwards printed for the use of the House of Commons, and contains many curious stories. The publication of this report had a considerable effect in directing the attention of the British public to the resources of Australia, and eventually caused the influx of a superior class of emigrants. But it was not until Governor Darling's time that the demand for convict labourers, on terms then in force, began to exceed the supply. Colonists, chiefly the Scotchmen, discovered the advantage of agricultural pursuits in a colony in which, with a grant of land, they became entitled to rations for twelve months for themselves and their wives, and convict labourers at the rate of one for each thirty acres, who were also rationed by the government for the space of eighteen months. The inquiry by Mr. Commissioner Bigge was partly owing to the representations made and a work published by Mr. William Wentworth, during a visit paid to England for the purpose of being called to the bar.
Among other subjects that came under the notice of the commissioner was the ecclesiastical government of New South Wales. The report of Mr. Bigge recommended the appointment of an archdeacon. Mr. Scott, the secretary, lost no time in taking orders, and in 1825 reappeared in the colony as Archdeacon Scott.
In the year that the royal commissioner quitted the colony a Wesleyan chapel was opened, and the foundation-stone of a Roman Catholio cathedral was laid by the governor, at the request of Father Therry,
good Father Therry,—who shared with Parson Cowper the honour, the respect, the affection, of the poor colonists, and of the outcast prisoner population, whom they so faithfully tended. Goldsmith's picture may stand for either of them :
In 1822 Governor Macquarie embarked for England, after a longer and more successful administration than any governor in the Australian colonies has hitherto enjoyed. He found New South Wales a gaol, and he left it a colony; he found Sydney a village, and he left it a city; he found a population of idle prisoners, paupers, and paid officials, and he left a large free community, thriving on the produce of flocks and the labour of convicts.
1821 To 1825.
OVERNOR BRISBANE AND GOVERNOR DARLING-CHARTER OF JUSTICE GRANTED
EXECUTIVE COUNCIL APPOINTED_DISCOVERIES OF BRISBANE RIVER-PANDORA'S PASSOVERLAND ROUTE TO PORT PHILLIP - BRISBANE SUDDENLY SUPERSEDED BY DARLING-THE LAND BOARD-CASE OF SUDDS AND THOMPSON.
MACQUARIE was succeed
undistinguished by remarkable actions on his part, was full of events of importance to a colony which was fast acquiring a population and could no longer be controlled by a purely military despotism. From the day of Macquarie's departure a struggle commenced between the people and the government which has not yet ended, and will not end until the Australians acquire complete rights of self-government and self-taxation.
Under any circumstances Sir Thomas Brisbane's task would have been difficult. The fortunes made in the colony had attracted a class of emigrants not prepared to submit to a despotic system which the