An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, Volume 1 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 744 pages of information about An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, Volume 1.

The island contains about eleven thousand acres of ground.  In the level parts where the earth cannot be washed away by the heavy rains, the soil varies from a rich brown mould to a light red earth, without any intermixture of sand.  These are again varied by some extensive pieces of light black mould and fine gravel, which are found to produce the best wheat.  The rains which fall during the winter months wash the mould from the sides of the steep hills into the bottoms, leaving a grey marly substance, which will not admit of cultivation in that state.  This, however, is the case only among the very steep hills that are cleared of timber, and have been four or five years in cultivation.  Those of an easy ascent preserve their depth of soil, and many of them have borne six successive crops of wheat.  From the quantity of soil thus washed away from the sides of the steep hills into the bottom (some of which were only a water-way between the hills), there were level spots of ground covered to a great depth with the richest mould.  Of the eleven thousand acres of ground in this island, there are not two hundred that might not be cultivated to the greatest advantage, if cleared of timber, and allowed a sufficiency of labourers, of cattle, and of ploughs.

APPROPRIATION OF THE LAND

The ground cleared of timber for the public use, and that marked out for the settlers lots, comprised one half of the island, and was distributed in the following manner: 

Acres
Number cleared of
of Acres Timber

Ground allotted to settlers on grant or lease 3,239 920 Ground allotted to officers by grant, lease, or permission 132 132 Ground allotted to individuals of different descriptions 100 100 Ground reserved for government, and contiguous to the above allotments 1,400 — Ground cleared of timber, and occupied for the public benefit 376 376
----- -----
Total quantity of ground occupied as above 5,247 1,528

Supposed contents of the island, about 11,000
Supposed quantity of ground unoccupied, about 5,753
Supposed quantity of ground not cleared of
timber 9,472

Most of the ground cleared of timber was under cultivation in 1793 and 1794, and produced above thirty-four thousand bushels of grain; but, from the sudden and effectual check given to private industry during the year 1794, and the great proportion of the labourers working for their own support and other ways disposed of, not more than a third of the government-ground, and a fifth of the ground belonging to individuals, was in any state of cultivation during the last year.  That portion of the ground thus neglected became over-run with rank and strong weeds, which formed a great cover to the numerous rats; beside that the injury done to the soil by the growth of these weeds was very much to be deplored.  The humane attention, however, shown to the wants of the industrious individual by Governor Hunter, in directing the maize bills to be paid, it was hoped would not only relieve many deserving people, but also revive that industrious disposition which the settlers had in general manifested.

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An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, Volume 1 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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