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Hobart Town.

Hobart Town, which is the seat of the Lieutenant-Governor of Van Diemen's Land, stands nine miles up the river Derwent. It was founded only fifteen years since, and indeed the rudeness of its appearance sufficiently indicates the recency of its origin. The houses are in general of the meanest description, seldom exceeding one story in height, and being for the most part weather-boarded without, and lathed and plastered within. Even the government house is of very bad construction. The residences, indeed, of many individuals far surpass it. The population may be estimated at about one thousand souls.

This town is built principally on two hills, between which there is a fine stream of excellent


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water, that issues from the Table Mountain, and falls into Sullivan's Cove. On this stream a flour mill has been erected, and there is sufficient fall in it for the erection of two or three more. There are also within a short distance of the town, several other streams which originate in the same mountain, and are equally well adapted to similar purposes. This is an advantage not possessed by the inhabitants of Port Jackson; since there is not in any of the cultivated districts to the eastward of the Blue Mountains a single run of water which can be pronounced in every respect eligible for the erection of mills. Windmills are in consequence almost exclusively used for grinding corn in Sydney; but in the inland towns and districts, the colonists are in a great measure obliged to have recourse to hand mills, as the winds during the greater part of the year, are not of sufficient force to penetrate the forest and set mills in motion.

The elevation of the Table Mountain, which is so called from the great resemblance it bears to the mountain of the same name at the Cape of Good Hope, has not been determined; but it is generally estimated at about six thousand feet above the level of the sea. During three-fourths of the year it is covered with snow, and the same violent gusts of wind blow from it as from this, its mountain name-sake; but no gathering


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clouds on its summit give notice of the approaching storm. The fiery appearance, however, of the heavens, affords a sufficient warning to the inhabitants of the country. These blasts are happily confined to the precincts of the mountain, and seldom last above three hours; but nothing can exceed their violence for the time. In the year 1810, I happened to be on board of a vessel which was bound to Hobart Town: in consequence of the winds proving scanty, we were obliged to anchor during the night in D'Entrecasteaux's Channel. The following morning we got under weigh, expecting that the sea breeze would set in by the time the anchor was hove up. The seamen had no sooner effected this and set all sail, than we were assailed with one of these mountain hurricanes. In an instant the vessel was on her beam-ends, and in another, had not all the sheets and halyards been let go, she would either have upset or carried away her masts. The moment the sails were clued up we brought to again; and as we were in a harbour perfectly land-locked and very narrow, the vessel easily rode out this blast. It only lasted about two hours; but the sea breeze did not succeed it that day. The next morning, however, it set in as usual.

During the continuance of this mountain


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tornado, the waters of the harbour were terribly agitated, and taken up in the same manner as dust is collected by what are called whirlwinds in this country. So great indeed was its fury, that it required us to hold on by the ropes with all our force, in order to enable us to keep our footing.

The harbour at and conducting to the river Derwent, yields to none in the world; perhaps surpasses every other. There are two entrances to this river, which are separated by Pitt's Island; one is termed D'Entrecasteaux's Channel, the other, Storm Bay. D'Entrecasteaux's Channel, from Point Collins up to Hobart Town, a distance, following the course of the water, of thirty-seven miles, is one continued harbour, varying in breadth from eight to two miles, and in depth from thirty to four fathoms. The river Derwent itself has three fathoms water for eleven miles above the town, and is consequently navigable thus far for vessels of the largest burthen. Reckoning therefore from Point Collins, there is a line of harbour in D'Entrecasteaux's Channel and the Derwent, together of forty-eight miles, completely land-locked, and affording the best anchorage the whole way.

The entrance, however, by Storm Bay, does


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not offer the same advantages; for it is twenty-two miles broad from Maria's Islands to Penguin Island, and completely exposed to the winds from south to south-east. This bay consequently does not afford the same excellent anchorage as D'Entrecasteaux's Channel. It contains, however, some few nooks, in which vessels may take shelter in case of necessity. The best of these is Adventure Bay, which is shut in from any winds that can blow directly from the ocean, but is nevertheless exposed to the north-east winds, which have a reach of twenty miles from the opposite side of the bay. There is consequently, when these winds prevail, a considerable swell here; but the force of the sea is in a great measure broken by Penguin Island; and vessels having good anchors and cables have nothing to fear.

Storm Bay, besides thus forming one of the entrances to the river Derwent, leads to another very good harbour, called North Bay. This harbour is about sixteen miles long, and in some places six miles and a half broad. The greater part of it is perfectly land-locked, and affords excellent anchorage in from two to fifteen fathoms water. That part in particular called Norfolk Bay, forms a very spacious harbour of itself, being about three miles in breadth and nine in length. This bay, besides being better


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sheltered than the rest of the harbours, contains the greatest depth of water, having in no place less than four fathoms.

All the bays and harbours which have been just described, abound with right whale at a particular season of the year. These leviathans of the deep quit the boisterous ocean, and seek the more tranquil waters of these harbours, when they are on the point of calving. This happens in November, and they remain there with their young between two and three months. During this period there are generally every year a few of the colonial craft employed in the whale fishery; but the duties which are levied in this country on all oils procured in vessels not having a British register, amount to a prohibition, and completely prevent the colonists from prosecuting this fishery further than is necessary for their own consumption, and for the supply of the East India market. Between two and three hundred tons annually suffice for both these purposes.

The whales frequently go up the river Derwent as far as the town; and it is no uncommon sight for its inhabitants to behold the whole method of taking them, from the moment they are harpooned until they are finally killed by the frequent application of the lance. This


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sight indeed has been occasionally witnessed by the inhabitants of Sydney; since it has sometimes occurred that a stray fish has entered the harbour of Port Jackson, while some of the South Sea whalers have been lying there, and that these have lowered their boats and killed it.

All the bays and harbours in Van Diemen's Land, and most of those likewise which are in Bass's Straits, and on the southern coast of New Holland, abound with these fish at the same season. If the colonists, therefore, were not thus restricted from this fishery, it would soon become an immense source of wealth to them; and I have no doubt that they would be enabled to export many thousand tons of oil annually to this country. But it is in vain that nature has been thus lavish of her bounties to them; in vain do their seas and harbours invite them to embark in these inexhaustible channels of wealth and enterprize. Their government, that government which ought to be the foremost in developing their nascent efforts, and fostering them to maturity, is itself the first to check their growth and impede their advancement. What a miserly system of legislation is it, which thus locks up from its own subjects, a fund of riches that might administer to the wants, and contribute to the happiness of thousands! What barbarous tantalization to compel them


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to thirst in the midst of the waters of abundance!

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