« AnteriorContinuar »
BREAKFAST ON SHORE.
we all were, at once again placing our feet on the solid earth!
Our introduction to the land of Australia could not have been more characteristic,--landed by demi-savages on a wild beach, with a walk before us of some miles, literally in the bush! But what a delightful walk! Such loveliness was all around us, our path being actually among green-house plants—heaths of all varieties, bright and beautiful-parrots and other birds in gay plumage, and one bird whose notes brought home to my heart. .
Sydney at last burst upon us: its situation is beautiful, and its environs infinitely superior to all our anticipations. After crossing in an open boat a ferry calm as a lake, at a place called Billy Blue's, we at last entered the town; and, having made our way to the principal hotelPetty's—sat down once more, and for the last time together, to breakfast ;—and such a breakfast !-all fresh and land-like-fresh eggs, fresh butter, and fresh cream. How it may be with genuine nauticals I know not, but with landsmen the first breakfast on shore, after a four months' voyage, is an event not to be forgotten.
16th October.—The Lady Kennaway was towed up to the harbour this morning by her boats ; and I now bid her farewell.
Sketch of the history of New Holland—Its first discovery by the Dutch
Captain Cook-Australia selected as a penal settlement-Rapid rise of the colony-Ignorance respecting it in England— High estimation in which it is now held—Early discoveries in the country-Port Jackson— The first settlers-Botany Bay-Port Philip—Port Adelaide—Swan River-More. ton Bay-Sydney-First impressions of the town-Its beautiful situationState of commercial affairs-Embarrassments of Government-Claims of our surgeon-Appearance of Sydney– Its streets and shops— Numerous public-houses—High rents— Want of drainage-Order and decency preserved— The people— Their features and figures-Prudence of the ladies -Absence of beauty—Universal use of carriages—A primitive four-inhand— Rapid locomotion—Sir George Gipps—Old government-houseThe new mansion—The churches-Dr. Lang—Public buildings—Market -Court-house-Royal hotel-Hints to young settlers—Materials of the houses--Suburban villas-Absence of porters and cabs-Amusements, Theatres—The convicts—Internal communicatiou— The Roads— Nature of the soil—Beautiful prospect—A review— The weather-LightningPrecocity of the females in Australia—Damp clothes— The botanical gardens—The bench and the bar— Visit to a suburban villa—Hospitality -The chief of G-y.
Sydney, 17th-29th October.-Before giving my first impressions of this great and valuable British colony, I shall advert very briefly to the vast continent of which it forms a part. New Holland is in area as large as the whole of Europe, and has been well termed “The fifth quarter of the globe.” It extends from 109° to 153° east
longitude, and from 11° to 39° south latitude, and its distance from Great Britain is upwards of sixteen thousand miles.*
The Dutch were the first discoverers of this country. In 1605, a vessel called the Duyfen was sent from the port of Bantam, then belonging to Holland, to explore the coasts of the neighbouring islands; and on its return, it fell in with the land which is now called Australia, to the south of Endeavour Strait, on the eastern shore of the Gulf of Carpentaria. No settlement was made on this first discovery; but the Dutch, in their trade with Batavia, not long afterwards discovered and gave names to the greater part of the northern coasts of this great country; and completed their knowledge of that part of it by De Witt's and Carpenter's visiting, in the year 1628, the vast sea that now bears the name of the latter the Gulf of Carpentaria. This enterprising people were also the first who acquired any knowledge of the western shores, which in the year 1622 they explored and named at different points as far to the southward as Cape Lewin, which received its appellation from the ship that first approached it, the Leeuwin or Lioness. Thus the Dutch may be said to have been the discoverers of one-half of the whole continent of Australia, and hence its name of New Holland.
The celebrated Captain Cook was the first British subject that ever explored the coast of this continent, having in 1770 discovered the eastern coast of Australia from Cape Howe to Cape York, to which he gave the name of New South Wales. Captain Bass in 1798, Captain Grant in 1800, and Captain Flinders in 1805, surveyed
* The area of Europe is, in square miles .
And of Australia
the shores to the westward, from Cape Howe to Cape Lewin ; so that, in the short space of fifty years, the whole of this immense country not discovered by Holland, had become known to England.
In 1788, the first British settlers landed on the shores of Australia. Government selected this distant land as a place of secondary punishment for the criminals of Britain and Ireland ; and in that year Captain and Governor Philip landed with the first colonists—a cargo of delinquents; and the beautiful cove on the waters of Port Jackson was the spot selected on which to plant the standard of England, and erect the capital of what was destined to become one of the most valuable appendages of the British Crown.
There is no part of the earth known to the human race, regarding which history is so silent and meagre in its information as New South Wales; and, on the other hand, there is no country that has in so short a period attracted so strongly to itself the notice of mankind; nor, considering its short existence, and the materials out of which it was reared, is there any colony in the world that has so benefited, by its trade and otherwise, the parent from which it sprung ; while, at the same time, it has created a political and social existence for itself, with a rapidity unexampled in the annals of colonisation.
From the extreine distance of this country from England, little was known by those unconnected with its export and import trade, of its real state, or of its rapidlyincreasing importance ; and I am satisfied that I do not err in saying, that until within these ten years, few in Britain had any knowledge of it at all, or any ideas concerning it, except as connected with Botany Bay-the receptacle of the "superfluity of naughtiness" of the empire.
Although known to the Dutch for nearly two hundred years, it is unnecessary for me to say that it is a land unknown to history, or that it is a new country in every sense of the word, except as regards its geology, which exhibits evidences of its having been subjected to the revolution of ages, and to the same convulsions that have affected other portions of the globe. We in vain seek on its shores for any work of man linked with the past. Half a century has scarce elapsed since the wild savage roamed through the woods on whose site the capital now stands ; and it is not much more than half that period since the very name of the country was a by-word, and, to have been called a son of its soil, would have been deemed a reproach. Those days have now, however, passed away. Information in every branch of knowledge has spread through the land ; enterprise, capital, and character, have penetrated into its towns and valleys; no longer exists the belief that beings with heads below their shoulders, or with no heads at all, are to be found there; and this vast country, once degraded in the eyes of the virtuous and honourable, has become the desired of the sons of every grade of society, from the peer to the peasant of England, and of almost every nation under heaven.
I refer those who are curious as to the early discoveries made in this country, to the travels of Oxley, Cunningham, Sturt, and Mitchell, to whose indefatigable labours, energy, and daring, the world is indebted for whatever is known of it. They have traversed a great part of Australia Proper, and much of it that has been explored by no other Europeans. Nothing is at present known with regard to the interior : beyond about four hundred miles from the sea, it is at present a complete terra incognita.