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Stirling


Detail - Stirling, Chart of Swan and Canning Rivers 1829, 24/2/13 Battye Library [009453D]Claisebrook, 1861. Battye Library [001331D]Stirling, Chart of Swan and Canning Rivers 1829, 24/2/13 Battye Library [009453D]

In 1827 Captain James Stirling explored the Swan River accompanied by botanist Charles Fraser. They sailed to Point Belches (Mill Point) and like Vlamingh and Heirisson before them, were stopped at the Point Fraser mud flats before sailing further up river.


"The Boats took the Ground, and we sought in vain by Walking from Shore to Shore to find a Channel. The only alternative left was to drag the boats over the bank, which was practised for a distance of two Miles, until night overtook us when the increasing tenacity of the mud obliged us to desist." [9]

Botanist Charles Fraser, with Stirling also describes the mud the party faced around what was to become known as the Causeway and its islands:

"The islands on the flats are composed of a rich deposite (sic) carried down by the floods … from extensive beds of oyster shells, which lie a foot deep in soft mud, our feet became dreadfully lacerated. These flats are extensive, but by employing flat bottomed boats they may be easily crossed." [10]

Both Stirling and Fraser commented on the Indigenous people they met at Point Fraser, the abundant fish, many springs, the swamps and the mosquitoes and the fact that the swans and ducks, so numerous at Point Fraser, became increasingly more plentiful as they progressed up the River.

The only point examined on the south bank opposite where Perth was to be settled was Point Belches where the party found Banksias and Eucalyptus, "a beautiful Isopogon, a species of Acacia, and a Jacksonia, with crimson flowers." [11]

Fraser commented that from this point, the view "of the meanderings of the river and the Moreau (Canning River), with the surrounding country and distant mountains is particularly grand."

The area around what was to be known as Claisebrook, was particularly attractive. Here Stirling and his party saw:

"A small creek of fresh water issuing from an extensive lagoon clothed with arborescent species of Metrosideros of great beauty. The banks are covered with the most interesting plants, amongst which I observed two species of Calytris, a species of Acacia, with a scolopendrous stem: and several Papilionaceous plants." [12]

They were amazed at the number of black swans, ducks, pelicans and aquatic birds.

They commented on the Indigenous people they met at Point Fraser, the abundant fish, many springs, the swamps and the mosquitoes and the fact that the swans and ducks, so numerous at Point Fraser, became increasingly more plentiful as they progressed up the River. Stirling described what he saw as "a rich and romantic country".

Page last updated: Tuesday 23 November 2010