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Five Islands.

The next considerable tract of unappropriated land is the district called the Five Islands. It commences at the distance of about forty miles to the southward of Sydney, and extends to Shoal Haven river. This tract of land lies between the coast and a high range of hills which terminate at the north side abruptly in the sea, and form its northern and western boundary: the ocean is its eastern boundary,


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and Shoal Haven river its southern. The range that surrounds this district on the north and west is a branch of the Blue Mountains; and the only road at present known to it, is down a pass so remarkably steep, that unless a better be discovered, the communication between it and the capital by land, will always be difficult and dangerous for waggons. This circumstance is a material counterpoise to its extraordinary fertility, and is the reason why it is at present unoccupied by any but large stockholders. Those parts, however, which are situated near Shoal Haven river, are highly eligible for agricultural purposes; since this river is navigable for about twenty miles into the country for vessels of seventy or eighty tons burden; a circumstance which holds out to future colonists the greatest facilities for the cheap and expeditious conveyance of their produce to market. The land on the banks of this river is of the same nature, and possesses equal fertility with the banks of the Hawkesbury. There are several streams in different parts of this district, which issue from the mountain behind, and afford an abundant supply of pure water. In many places there are large prairies of unparalleled richness, entirely free from timber, and consequently prepared by the hand of nature for the immediate reception of the ploughshare. These advantages, combined with its proximity to


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Sydney, have already begun to attract the tide of colonization to it, and will no doubt render it in a few years one of the most populous, productive, and valuable of all the districts. The soil is in general a deep fat vegetable mould. The surface of the country is thinly timbered, with the exception of the mountain which boundsit to the Northward and Westward. This is covered with a thick brush, but is nevertheless extremely fertile up to the very summit, and peculiarly adapted both from its eastern aspect and mild climate for the cultivation of the vine. This large tract of country was only discovered about four years since, and has not yet been accurately surveyed. Its extent, therefore, is not precisely known; but it without doubt contains several hundred thousand acres, including the banks of the Shoal Haven river. These produce a great abundance of fine cedar, and other highly valuable timber, for which there is an extensive and increasing demand at Port Jackson.

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