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To the westward of Sydney, and as far as the Nepean river, the agricultural lands are more extensive than the agriculture. Some few farms on the Hawkesbury, those of Captain P. P. King, of Mr. R. Jones, on the South Creek, and of Mr. W. E. Cox, on Mulgoa, are the only ones which, in the midst of a good deal of cultivation visible about Penrith, Richmond, Liverpool, and Paramatta, exhibit much agricultural skill and industry.
On crossing the Nepean to Camden and Argyleshire, the farming, with some exceptions, does not improve; sheep-breeding here being the primary object. In the list of exceptions alluded to, the estate of Camden stands prominently, being surpassed only by the farms of the Australian Agricultural Company. The estate is the property of Messrs. James and William M'Arthur, whose name and family have been constantly associated with improvements in the colonial industry. The situation of the estate is picturesque; its geological character, its position on the river Nepean, and its proximity to Sydney market, are extremely favourable to agriculture. A great deal of progress has been already made, to which the farm and the grounds, orchards, and vineyards, that surround the neat residence, bear ample testimony. But still the greatest work remains to be done. I allude particularly to irrigation, for which time and cheap labour are alone wanting. It is to Mr. M'Arthur that the colony is indebted for the bringing out, at his own cost, several German families from the vinegrowing districts *, for the sole purpose of introducing
* “ Camden (New South Wales), 26th Dec. 1839. – Camden, the immense estate of Mr. James MacArthur, lay on my way from Sydney, as if to relieve the wearisome monotony of the land. I found there all that we love to find out of cities, -- society, books, a nice house, a garden, plenty of fruit, and kind, agreeable, well-informed hosts. But notwithstanding these comforts, so rarely found in a new
the most approved mode of cultivating the grape, for raisins and for wine. Both objects have succeeded
country, I met with objects which interfered with my enjoyment, and produced a melancholy feeling in my mind.
“I had gone with my host to look at the farm, the fields, and the vineyard, - contiguous to which last stood in a row six neat cottages, sur. rounded with kitchen gardens, and inhabited by six families of German yine-dressers, who emigrated two years ago to New South Wales, either driven there by necessity, or seduced by the hope of finding, beyond the sea, fortune, peace, and happiness, – perhaps justice and liberty. The German salutation which I gave to the group that stood nearest, was like some signal-bell, which instantly set the whole colony in motion, Fathers, mothers, and children came running from all sides to see, to salute, and to talk to the gentleman who came from Germany. They took me for their fellow-countryman, and were happy, questioning me about Germany, the Rhine, and their native town. I was far from undeceiving them. The sincere, the heartfelt pressure of hands which I received, under the idea that I was a German, was too delightful to permit me to destroy the illusion. I felt truly their friend, and was willing that they should call me their countryman, treat me as such, offer me their Christmas cake, present to me their children, and say to them, “This gentleman comes from Germany; he is a German, like we are ;' which announcement was followed on their part by numberless bows, obeisances, and kissing of hands! All smiled : nevertheless, in their gratified countenances I remarked an indefinable expression, which had more to do with sadness than with mirth. I leant against the verandah: they surrounded me, listening with the most intense interest to the answers which their questions called forth. The women seemed only to support and suckle their infants mechanically ; the men neglected their smoking ; the eyes of all were fixed on mine, as if they feared that I should vanish from their sight, or as if they could read their destiny in my looks. After talking of various matters, they at length all simultaneously cried, “But are you not come here to stay with us? Oh, do stay ! we shall not then be so alone!
" Never shall I forget the expression of their faces on hearing my negative : they looked at each other as if to say, 'We ought to understand this, he has reasons for returning to Germany; we, alas ! know none but those which forced us to quit it!!
“ And yet, in a material point of view, their condition is more happy. Abundance, health, security, liberty, and justice procure for them advantages with which they were very imperfectly acquainted in their native land.
“ It is the regret with which every emigrant naturally looks back to the country he has abandoned, added to a feeling of isolation, that weighs so heavily on the hearts of these poor vine-dressers. To proceed to a new country, in a number sufficiently large to form a nation or community within itself, greatly relieves and moderates the evils of emigration ; but to abandon our country for another, where the people
remarkably well; and, whether fermented or distilled, these grapes yield a wine and brandy of superior quality.
In Van Diemen's Land, the agricultural districts are superior in appearance to those of New South Wales. The details of farms and farming are better understood and defined, and the practical results are such, that no country reminds the traveller so much of the old one as Van Diemen's Land. There, the tasteful and comfortable mansions and cottages, surrounded by pleasure-grounds, gardens and orchards, the neat villages, and prominently placed churches, forming as it were the centres of cultivated plains, divided and subdivided by hedgerows, clipped or bushed, and through which an admirably constructed road winds across the island, are all objects which forcibly carry back the mind to similar scenes of rural beauty in England and Scotland.
have nothing in common with us but the bond of the same humanity, is to renounce our nationality and our race,—two things which are not given to man that he may cast them off whenever it pleases his fantasy. The language which the one establishes, and the character to which the other gives birth, are insuperable barriers to amalgamation, and constant causes of isolation. We may strive to bend our character, and to assimilate it to that of the country in which we live, but which is not ours; we may make a certain approach towards perfection in a language which we can speak, but which is not our mother-tongue; and, nevertheless, the smallest occasion will serve to make us feel that we are strangers, far from our own soil.
" We already speak tolerable English,' said the Germans but yet we find it very difficult to explain ourselves as we would wish to do: no one here understands German. Ah ! if Mrs. MacArthur, who is so kind, - if Mr. MacArthur, who is so generous,-understood it, they would at least know how grateful we feel towards them.'
" How many, many times -- an object of kindness on a foreign soil - have I not been in their situation, and shared their feelings ! How many difficulties, too, have I not conquered, in the study of languages which have no affinity with my own ! and yet, whenever the heart and soul have been moved, how difficult have I found it to adapt them to the faintest expression of that which moved me. It is on such occasions that the recollection of country is recalled, and the sentiment of nationality revives.” — MS. Journal of the Author.
As in New South Wales, the agricultural industry chiefly spreads over valleys, which are superior to those of the sister colony as regards their extent of available lands, and the fertility of their soil. Of these, the valley of the Tamar is the largest and the richest, both as regards its capabilities of present production and fertility, and those which invite to future improvements. It stretches from north to south into the centre of the island, and ramifies in the directions of the Meander, Lake, Blackman's, Macquarie, South and North Esk rivers. Its length, from the head of the Macquarie to George Town, is 100 miles; its average breadth may be estimated at thirty, and its superficial extent at 3000 square miles. It has forty miles of inland navigation for vessels of 600 tons, and the best macadamised roads cross it in every direction. Its sides are prominently indented with bold, erect ranges of greenstone, which, under the process of disintegration, are yielding to its soil the most valuable elements of production. From the nature of the drift, the eligibilities of the land and water communications, and particularly from the position of the valley relatively to Lake Arthur, which lays above it at an elevation of 3700 feet, forming a natural reservoir for irrigation, the valley of the Tamar constitutes as important a portion of the island as the valley of the Hunter does of New South Wales.
Next to it, in extent and agricultural importance, is the valley of the Derwent, which is composed of the valleys of the Jordan, Ouse, and Clyde. It is more broken and indented, and more elevated at its head, than the contiguous valley of the Tamar, and it offers to agriculture a smaller proportion of readily available land. For improvements, however, whether on private or crown lands, it presents a wide capable of largely adding to the agricultural resc of the island.
The vale of the Pittwater, accompanying (with its coal mines), the course of the Coal river, and the vale of the river Huyon, with its inland navigation, and the flanks of its ridges, bearing the richest soil and vegetation, form the two last, but not the least valuable, valleys of Van Diemen's Land.
Besides these, several minor vales, on the northern, western, and eastern coast of the island, deserve to be noticed; some as already supplying the market with agricultural produce, some as waiting only for the hand of industry to be rendered productive. Of these, the cultivated land of Port Sorell, Emu Bay with the Hampshire hills behind, Circular Head with its fine tilled fields spreading over the projecting point of land, and Woolnorth, surrounded with marshes open to improvement, compose the agricul. tural littoral to the west of Port Dalrymple. To the east are the flat-bottomed, marshy, scrubby valleys of Forrester, Bubiala, and Anson's rivers, which offer every inducement to agriculture, but require, like other parts still in a state of nature, an outlay of capital and labour.
The farms of the above valleys are numerous. Generally, it may be said, in respect to them, that they exhibit the appearance of English farms : several, indeed, upon which the industry of their owners has carried out every kind of improvement, in buildings, fencings, working of the land, and particularly in draining and irrigation, bear the strongest resemblance; while others show that capital and time only are wanted to assimilate them to those of the “old country.”
Of all the farms which came under the writer's notice, none claims greater attention, and deserves higher encomium, than the farm of Mona Vale, the property of William Kermode, Esq., M. C.
On that farm, the introduction of improvements