Brookes’ Universal Gazetteer, page 767
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WAL    767    WAL

and other particulars, are noted in the different
counties.

Wales, blew South, a nartfe given to the E.
coast of New Holland. It was first explored by
captain Cook, in 1770; and a design was formed,
in consequence of his recommendation, to settle
a colony of convicts at Botany Bay. Captain
Philip, being appointed govenor of the intended
settlement, sailed from Portsmouth, in May, 1787,
with a detachment of marines, and 778 convicts,
of whom 220 were women.
He arrived at Bota-
ny Bay in January, 1788; but, subsequently,
finding this bay very ineligible for a colony, he
fixed upon Port Jackson, about 13 m. further to
the N., and here a settlement was begun, to which
he gave the name of Sydney cove. With respect
to the country, a vast chain of lofty mountains,
about 60 miles inland, runs nearly in a N. and S.
direction further than the eye can reach. The
general face of it is diversified with gentle risings
and small winding valleys, covered, for the most
part, with large spreading trees, which afford a
succession of leaves in all seasons ; and a variety
of flowering shrubs, almost all new to a European,
but of little fragrance, abound in those places
which are free from trees. The climate appears
not to
be disagreeable ; the heat is never excessive
in summer, nor the cold intolerable in winter :
storms of thunder and lightning are frequent.
During the summer months, December, January,
and February, the mean heat is about 80 degrees
at noon, but it is greatly mitigated by a regular
seabreeze. In the inland districts, to the E. of
the mountains, the climate is about 5 degrees
colder. The soil possesses every variety, from
the sandy heath and the cold hungry clay to the
fertile loam and the deep vegetable mould. In
the interior a rich loam, resting on a substratum
of fat clay, several feet in depth, is found even
on the tops of some of the highest hills, which in
general are not less fertile than the valleys. The ,
alluvial lands on the banks of the Nepean and
Hawkesbury are of the greatest fertility, being a
rich vegetable mould many feet in depth, formed
by depositions from these rivers daring their inun-
dations. Wheat and maize are extensively culti-
vated by the colony, and barley, oats,
rye, &c.,
are also raised. Every species of culinary vege-
table known in Britain is produced in New South
Wales, and many of them attain a superior de-
gree of perfection, though a few also degenerate.
The fruits are excellent and of great variety : or-
anges, peaches, apricots, nectarines, grapes,
pears, piums, pomegranates, raspberries,strawber-
ries, melons,
&.C., attain the highest degree of
maturity in the open air ; while the pine apple
may be produced by the aid of the common forc-
ing glass. The price of provisions is however
liable to great extremes, in consequence of the
inundations of the Nepean and Hawkesbury,
which sometimes destroy, in a moment, the
brightest hopes of the farmers. The native quad-
rupeds are principally of the opossum kind, of
which the most remarkable is the kangaroo.
The native dogs are extremely fierce, and can-
not be brought to the same degree of familiarity
as those with which we are acquainted. There
are also weasels and ant-eaters, with that singu-
lar animal the duck-billed platypus, in which the
jaws of a quadruped are elongated into the com-
plete bill of a bird. Horses and cattle have been
introduced, and their increase throughout the col-
ony has been very rapid. There are many beau-
tiful birds of various kinds; among which the

principal is a black swan, its wings edged wit
white, its bill tinged with red ; and the ostrich or
cassowary, which frequently reaches the height
of seven feet or more. Several kinds of serpents,
large spiders, and scolopendras, have also been
met with ; and three or four species of ants, par-
ticularly green ants, which build their nests up-
on trees in a very singular manner. There are
likewise mrny curious fishes; though the finny
tribe seem not to be so plentiful here as they gen-
erally are in higher latitudes. Some sharks have
been seen in Port Jackson ; and in the rivers and
salt creeks there are alligators.

The Aborigines of New S. Wales are repre
sented as, perhaps, the most miserable and savage
race of men existing. They go entirely naked ;
and, though pleased at first with some ornaments
that were given them, they soon threw them away
as useless. It does not appear, however, that
they are insensible of the benefits of clothing, or
of some of the conveniences of which their new
neighbours are possessed. Some of them, whom
the colonists partly clothed, seemed to be pleased
with the comfortable warmth they derived from
it; and they all expressed a desire for iron tools.
The color of the natives is rather a deep choco-
late than a full black; but the filth with which
their skin is covered prevents its true color from
appearing. Their hair is generally clotted with
a red gum, and they paint themselves with va-
rious colors : they will also sometimes ornament
themselves with beads and shells, but make no
use of the beautiful feathers of their birds. Most
of the men want one of the fore teeth in the up-
per jaw, which appears to be a badge of honour
among them, and it is common for the women
to cut off two joints of the little finger. Of the
cultivation of the ground they have no notion,
nor can they be prevailed upon to eat our bread
or dressed meat. Hence they depend entirely
for subsistence on the fruits and roots they can
gather, and the animals and fish they catch.
They frequently set fire to the grass, in order to
drive out the opossums, and other animals, from
their retreats, and they have been observed to
set decoys for quails. As all these resources
must be precarious, it is no wonder that they are
frequently distressed for provisions. Thus, in
the summer, they would eat neither the shark
nor the stingray, but, in winter, any thing was
acceptable. They sometimes bake their provi
sions, by the help of hot stones, like the inhabi-
tants of the islands in the Southern Ocean, but •
more frequently eat them raw. Among the fruits
used by them is a kind of wild fig; and they eat
also the kernels of a fruit resembling the pine-
apple. The principal part of their subsistence,
however, is fish. They sometimes strike the fish
from the canoes with spears, sometimes catch
them with hooks, and also make use of nets,
which are generally made of the fibres of the flax
plant, with very little preparation, and ai-e strong
and heavy : the lines of which they are composed
being twisted like whipcord. Some of them,
however, appear to be made of the fur of an- ani-
mal, and others of cotton. Their hooks are made
of tbe inside of a shell very much resembling the
mother-of-pearl. Their canoes are nothing more
than large pieces of bark tied up at both ends with
vines; and, considering the slight texture of
these vessels, the dexterity with which they are
managed, and the boldness with which they ven
ture out to sea in them, are wonderful. Their
huts consist of pieces of bark laid toget her in the


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Brookes' Universal Gazetteer of the World (1850)


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