General Rumour to Restrict Settlement Location

Sydney Herald

4 July 1831

A very general rumour is prevalent, since the arrival of the Eleanor on Sunday, the 26th ult. that instructions have been received from England, to restrict emigrants in their selection of grants, to vacant land to the south of the present settlements, and that on no account are the limits of the Colony to be extended to the northward.

If these instructions have been transmitted, it is probable the prosperity of the Colony will be retarded, and great impediments will be thrown in the way of our products, as the growth of all intertropical productions will be prevented. Corn, tobacco, wine, fruits, coffee, cotton, sugar, &c. are subjects, to the growth of which in the warmer regions of this country, our attention must ultimately be turned. The colder regions to the southward will then be admirably adapted for the production of grain.

By this means also colonization will approximate between the three sister colonies. Immense tracts of good land exist on the rivers and bays of Bass' Straits; and it is to be regretted that many eligible situations are still unoccupied, and that no point of junction has been fixed upon for settlers, who might find it advisable to proceed on their own account to colonise the sea coast, in place of driving them, by compulsive means, two and three hundred miles into the interior.

The fertile regions on the coast and rivers, should be first located, that surplus grain may be easily transported by water, and the country be gradually opened for future settlers.

As we are unable to reason on the subject, till such orders are published, we beg to contribute to the imperfect knowledge we possess of these regions, by presenting to our readers a copious and interesting extract from the Journal of an overland tour to Bass' Straits, performed by Mr. Hamilton Hume in 1824, the first successful attempt to penetrate from the settlement; a feat which has not been repeated, except in part by Captain Sturt.

It were much to be wished that exploring parties were sent out to investigate the capabilities of the land to the south of Bateman's Bay, and to have provisions in store for parties going in various directions, overland to the coast.

There are, without doubt, many excellent stations for settlements not yet discovered, which in a few months, might amply repay the expense incurred by the expedition.

Travellers are not in general disposed, like Mr. Hume, to bear their own charges, and, unless a powerful motive be held forth for action, disinterested individuals are reluctant to encounter the fatigues and privations of such dangerous journies.

To Mr. Hume the country was greatly indebted in 1824, and has been ever since, for his exertions; and we are confident no one would more ardently volunteer his services, to renew his efforts to discover a passage from the sea to the interior, by some of those rivers that must flow from the inner parts of this continent to the ocean, but which are yet undiscovered.