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Chapter I. The Immigrants.

IN the month of October, a few years ago, a vessel made the land on the western side of Tasmania. The voyage had been unusually tedious, and the delight of the passengers at the long looked for shore was freely expressed.

The white-crested quartz coast caught the eye. It was the same which Tasman first saw two hundred and thirty years ago. It is still the mighty barrier of the Island Home, ever hurling back the ever-repeated assaults of the angry western waves.

Rounding the south-west cape, the course was eastward till the Eddystone rock was left on the larboard bow. The wild birds rose with a screaming salute to the new comers, and the breakers roared a welcome against the cliffs. Then the voyagers to the north-east that they might enter Storm Bay. The coal regions of Recherche Bay and Southport were left behind, and a natural obelisk of basalt off the south end of Bruni Island was their landmark.




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Entering Storm Bay, the romantic magnificence of the scenery of Tasmania came before them in successive kaleidoscopic views of beauty. To their left stretched the long and narrow island of Bruni, nearly divided at its centre, where Cook's celebrated Adventure Bay murmurs on a sandy beach. Every varying form of peak and swelling top was brought forward by the slate and basalt rocks of that coast. To the right rose the shaggy woody heights of Tasman's Peninsula, once the scene of volcanic fury, and for many years the principal convict establishment of Van Diemen's Land.

The Iron Pot, with its lighthouse, guided them out of Storm Bay, and beyond its junction with D'Entrecasteaux channel. But the gay Frenchmen of revolutionary times had left it for seventy years; while the dark-eyed maidens, about whom they wrote such romantic tales, have passed away with all their race.

The wind now dropping off, the seamen amused themselves with fishing, and brought up that splendid fish the Trumpeter, a great luxury to those who have long feasted on salt junk. A puff coming, the ship made its way into the broad waters of the Derwent river. The scenery increased in interest. To the richness of uncultivated nature was now added the spring green of farms. The pretty tenements of settlers were dotted about on bossy heights, in sheltered coves, or amidst the dark foliage like bowers in groves. Everywhere was seen the English taste in


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love for flowers, and everywhere the English fancy for a garden home.

But when the long line of lofty tiers was brought into vision, when Alp on Alp arose to the rear of budding settlements, when cascades of sunlit charms were noticed glistening through the woods, when the stern front of that table mountain, Wellington, towered grim monarch of the country round, the admiration of the passengers became unbounded, and they loudly hailed the isle as the gem of the Southern Ocean.

When, also, the soft breath of the shore came off to them, laden as it was with the perfume of acacias, and the mingled odours from aromatic shrubs, the younger and more imaginative among the group were reminded of the Indian clime from which they had come, and the spicy groves of Indian seas. And would they here have the sensuous enjoyment of such perfumed air, and not receive along with it the miasmatic poison so often dwelling in the dearest, loveliest vales of the romantic East?

A young man, who seldom left his mother's side on the deck while these changing landscapes flitted by, now smilingly said to her—

‘What would our Persian poet, Ferdusi, say to this, mamma? It put me in mind of his verse,—

“The tender silken grass invites the tread;
With murky odour breathes the fanning air;
Pure waters glide along their perfume bed,
As though the rose gave them her essence rare.”




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And I cannot help exclaiming with him, as I look upon such a panorama of charms, especially with the eye of a prospective dweller in the land,—

“Oh! never—never—long as time shall last—
May shadows o'er these beauteous scenes be cast!
Still may they in eternal splendours glow,
And be like paradise, as they are now.”

‘Bravo! Horace,’ his mother cried. ‘But—’ and here she looked archly at him, ‘you may, for aught you know, be fortunate to find that Ferdusi's

“Afrasiab's daughter there, Manizha bright,
Makes the whole garden, like the sun, all light.”

‘Now really that is too bad of you, mamma, thus to make sport of my rhapsody, and drag me down from the sublime to the ridiculous. After all, who knows that what the poet's Asiatic Paradise failed to exhibit of a Manizha bright, this very lovely Tasmania may develop before my enraptured gaze?’

A merry laugh of the pair followed.

A rocky promontory was gained, and there, lighted up with the farewell rays of a setting sun, was Hobart Town. The forests were in a deepening shade; the bright beach of Sandy Bay glowed in the sunset; the scattered houses of the city were set in orchards and gardens, that rose and fell with the billowy hills, and Mount Wellington had its massive front festooned with clouds still laughing in the sunlight.

As the ship swung at her cable in Sullivan's cove, the passengers landed with light and joyful hearts, though with somewhat unsteady sea legs.

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