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Port Dalrymple.

This port, which was discovered by Flinders, in 1798, lies thirty degrees E. S. E. of Three Hammock Island. The town of Launceston stands about thirty miles from its entrance, at the junction of the North Esk, and the South with the river Tamar. It is little more than an inconsiderable village, the houses in general being of the humblest description. Its population is between three and four hundred souls. The tide reaches nine or ten miles up the river Esk, and the produce of the farms within that distance, may be sent down to the town in boats. But the North Esk descends from a range of mountains, by a cataract immediately into the river Tamar, and is consequently altogether inaccessible to navigation.

The Tamar has sufficient depth of water as far as Launceston, for vessels of a hundred and fifty tons burthen; but the navigation of this river is very intricate, by reason of the banks and shallows with which it abounds, and it has been at length prudently resolved to remove the seat of government nearer the entrance of Port Dalrymple. A town called


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George Town, has been for the last three years in a state of active preparation; and it is probable that the commandant, and indeed the entire civil and military establishmentsnote of this settlement, have by this time removed to it. In this case the greater part of the population of Launceston will soon follow. This desertion of its inhabitants will considerably diminish the value of landed property in that town, and consequently be productive of great loss to them; but there can be no doubt that the change of the seat of government will in the event materially contribute to the prosperity of the settlement in general. This abandonment, therefore, or rather intended abandonment of the old town, has been dictated by the soundest principles of policy and justice; but although the equity of the maxim that the interests of the few should cede to the good of the many, is incontrovertible, it is nevertheless to be hoped, that some means will be contrived of indemnifying the inhabitants of Launceston for the great injury which they will suffer from the removal of the seat of government to George Town.

Within a few miles of Launceston, there is the most amazing abundance of iron. Literally


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speaking, there are whole mountains of this ore, which is so remarkably rich, that it has been found to yield seventy per cent. of pure metal. These mines have not yet been worked; the population, indeed, of the settlement would not allow it; but there can be no doubt that they will at no very remote period become a source of considerable wealth to its inhabitants.

There is a communication by land between Launceston and Hobart Town, which are about one hundred and thirty miles distant from each other in a straight line, and about one hundred and sixty, following the windings of the route at present frequented. No regular road has been constructed between these towns, but the numerous carts and droves of cattle and sheep, which are constantly passing from one to the other, have rendered the track sufficiently distinct and plain. In fact, the making a road is a matter of very great ease, both here and in Port Jackson. The person whoever he may be that wants to establish a cart-road to any place, marks the trees in the direction he wishes it to take, and these marks serve as a guide to all such as require to travel on it. In a very short time the tracks of the horses and carts that have passed along it become visible, the grass is gradually trod down, and finally


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disappears, and thus a road is formed; not, indeed, so good as one of the usual construction, but which answers all the purposes of those who have occasion to make use of it. Wherever there happens to be a stream, or river that is not fordable, it is customary to cut down two or three trees in some spot on its banks, where it is seen that they will reach to the other side of it. Across these, the boughs that are lopped off themselves, or smaller trees felled for the purpose, are laid close together, and over all a sufficient covering of earth.

Of this description are all the roads and bridges in Van Diemen's Land, and many of them, even in Port Jackson; but in this respect it will be recollected that the latter is much in advance of the former. The reason why the settlements on this island are so much behind the parent colony, is not to be traced so much to the greater recency of their origin, as to the circumstance of their inhabitants being for the most part established along the banks of navigable waters. At Port Dalrymple, the majority of the settlers have fixed themselves on the banks of the North Esk, within the navigable reach of that river. The Derwent too, it has been seen, is navigable for vessels of the largest burden for twenty miles from its entrance. A little higher up, indeed, there are


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falls in it which interrupt its navigation; but it is hardly yet colonized beyond these falls, and whenever that shall be the case, it may be easily rendered navigable for boats by the help of ferries for a considerable distance further. Such of the agriculturists as have not settled on the banks of this river, have selected their farms in the district of Pitt Water; which extends along the northern side of that spacious harbour, called “North Bay.” These have consequently the same facilities as those on the banks of the Derwent for sending their produce to market by water, and they naturally prefer this, the cheapest mode of conveyance. It may, therefore, be perceived that the superior advantages which are thus presented by an inland navigation, are the main causes why the construction of regular roads has been so much neglected in these settlements. So far, indeed, is this want of roads from being an inconvenience to the inhabitants of them, that the facilities afforded by this inland navigation for the transport of all sorts of agricultural produce to market, is the principal point of superiority which they can claim over their brethren at Port Jackson.

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