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aries is occupied by settlers or squatters, holding a license from Government, for which they pay an annual tax of ten pounds—upon whom is also levied the only direct tax in this country, namely, sixpence for every ox, and threehalfpence for every sheep. The amount collected is understood to be expended in local purposes, for the benefit of the settlers.
From Peisley's to my son's station at Connobolas, is fourteen miles. For a part of the way the country is better than any we have yet passed : it abounds in boxtrees and apple-trees, which, in this land, are generally signs of a clearer forest and better soil than where the other gums and stringy bark trees predominate. As we drew near, we got a good view of his runs, as sheep-walks are called, which form a long stretch of country, on the slope of a glen, ending in the towering top of the lofty Connobolas, a mountain seen from a great distance, and said to be about 4,450 feet above the level of the sea. We left the dray track, called a road, some miles before coming to his residence, and took to the bush. I was not a little surprised at the first view of his gunyah or house: it belonged to no recognised order of architecture. However, I was too much rejoiced at finding myself at the end of my long journey, to feel inclined critically to inspect his domicile; but felt thankful that the object of my journey was now likely to be attained, and that I was permitted to see both my sons safe and well in the land of their choice.
AUSTRALIA -LIFE IN THE BUSH.
Connobolas— The woods—Advantages and disadvantages of the station
Our mansion—The upper station-Our next door neighbours—Fare in the bush-Damper-Elegancies of life-James Simpson-Loss of our horses-Frequent loss of stock— The birds and plants of ConnobolasVisit to Boree Nyrang-Sheep-shearing in Australia - Australian agriculture— Absence of any winter-—“ The settlers"— Trying times The corrobory-Native customs— The King of Boree— The natives—DressMarriage-Origin of the race—Their customs and food—Cannibalism, Religion—Their diminished numbers — Laws regarding murder — The Australian ibis—Pine range— Large gum-tree-Bullock drays— Their drivers—Their oaths and drunken habits—The convicts—Opinion of their own position, Travelling in Australia-Sunday in the bush— Removal to the upper station-Houses in the bush-Our domestic arangements— The bushrangers — Their unpleasant proximity-Keeping open house– The native dogs-Ophthalmia-Snow-Our complete seclusion.
Connobolas, November 8th.—The ranges of this station reach for miles to the top of the high and farseen Connobolas. The lower station, where my son at present lives, is distant four miles from that occupied by the former settler, whose house was at the base of the mountain. At this lower station, the country is better for sheep than it is higher up: there is more boxwood, and less of the stringy bark tree. This is upon a limestone stratum, always a good foundation for soil ; that upon a conglomerate, and, in some places, an iron stone, where the grass is sour, and not so nutritious. The woods of
this country are unfailing indexes to the soil. Box and apple-trees, two of the genus eucalyptus, are sure to lead the settler to good pasture, to a more open forest, and to more extensive glades, with no undergrowth to intercept the flocks and herds in their roaming.
Like all other places, this has its advantages and disadvantages. My son's views have for some time been turned towards Moreton Bay, as have those of many others; and there are some settlers, who, though still residing upon their land within the boundaries, have already sent flocks and herds thither, six hundred miles away, where they themselves have never been. Before my son can put his plans into execution, however, some months must elapse, as the drought has been such that the Liverpool plains cannot be crossed, there being no grass or water on them. Connobolas has its drawbacks : its stringy bark ranges, and comparative cold in winter, from its great elevation; the numbers of cattle belonging to different stockholders wandering at will on the mountain; the difficulty of collecting one's own stock in the recesses and innumerable glens and gulleys of these hills; the near neighbourhood to the haunts of the bushrangers,—all these circumstances detract from the advantages of the place; and
my son’s land being surrounded with large stations, renders it difficult to get any lower and warmer runs for his sheep in winter. But it has also many great advantages: it is extremely healthy ; possesses excellent grass in this dry season, while all around is parched up, and a plentiful supply of water-an object of the first importance in all parts of Australia ; and the distance from Sydney is as moderate, and the communication as good, as in the case of the other settled districts, with the exception of the sea-coast sections. These things I hear : before making
up my own mind upon such matters, I must have time to see, Meanwhile, we must make ourselves as comfortable here as we can. I have now been three days in this far corner of the wilds of the bush ; sleeping and living very comfortably, despite the uncouthness of our abode.
“ Parva Domus Magna Quies,” was written over some Roman door; and here we do, indeed, rejoice in a small and quiet house. It is divided into two rooms, not by any wall or partition, but by my old cloak, which is made to do duty as a curtain. The abode is as primitive as anything can well be. It was erected in a day, and is formed of slabs of bark, supported by boughs of trees. Daylight or starlight penetrate it at every corner, affording to those of an astronomical turn excellent opportunities of studying the heavens, while they recline on their couch ; admitting, too, as freely, the cold by night, as the heat by day. Yet, in spite of the torments of myriads of flies, and the apprehension of an attack from the bushrangers, who prowl about these mountains; with no door to the mansion, a sheet for a carpet, and a thing called “a stretcher” for a bed, placed beneath the bare bark of the sloping roof, I have slept as soundly as I ever did on my own bed in my own home.
We rode out to-day to survey the run: we went to the foot of the “Old Man of Connobolas," as the highest mountain is called, and saw there the house occupied as a station by my son's predecessor; and a more sequestered and beautiful spot I never beheld. In front, the mountain towers in three high ridges, wooded to the summit, with here and there spots green and devoid of trees. A little streamlet runs before the door, and behind and on both sides the dense forest shuts in the house. Two glens
stretch upwards from the spot, and lose themselves in the recesses of the ranges; and one of them—the channel of the “creek," as the rivulet is called—winds downwards to the gunyah.
A path, admitting of the passage of a gig or dray, leads to Boree, a district of country fourteen miles off, where our nearest neighbours reside. This upper station is, indeed, a sweet place, and, but for the close neighbourhood of the bushrangers, who scruple not at any thing to obtain a booty, however small, and to whom no one dare give food or water, lest the law punish the charity, it would be a delightful retirement from all the ills of lifea perfect hermitage.
My son proposes moving thither shortly. The distance from any other habitation, and from help of any kind, when needed, would, to me, be a great objection to this or any such situation. But, in this strange country, it is considered no objection ; on the contrary, it is held to be an advantage. It is not long ago since a gentleman in the county of New England, challenged a new comer for
sitting down” within ten miles of him, which he considered to be an encroachment on his runs. Sitting down is the expression used by the blacks for encamping or settling at any place.
I had heard so much of the fare of the bush, that the very word “damper” was associated in my mind with something like the black bread of Russia, or the pine bread of Sweden. I am glad to say, however, that it is the very best bread I ever ate. The merino mutton is very excellent, though not equal, in my opinion, to our blackfaced wedder; and, what with the hundred shapes which flour assumes in this country, and other aids, living in the woods is as good as any one need desire, albeit the