British Colonial Developments, 1774-1834

By Vincent Harlow; Frederick Madden | Go to book overview

drawn at this time from a country1 influenced, if not dependent on, France, their Lordships entertain no doubt that it is well deserving the attention of His Majesty's Government to encourage the produce of fine wool in the colony of New South Wales.2


67
REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF INQUIRY ON THE STATE OF AGRICULTURE AND TRADE IN NEW SOUTH WALES, 18233

. . . From the access that was afforded by the road over the Blue Mountains to the country around Bathurst, the stock owners derived considerable advantage from the pasturage of those tracts in the year 1816, after two seasons of continued drought. Since that period, permission has been given to all persons that applied for leave, to drive their sheep and cattle to Bathurst for the purpose of temporary occupation and pasturage. A large tract of land on the south side of the river has been retained for the use of the Government herds; and, with the exception of one valley in which Mr. Fitzgerald has been allowed to fix a cattle station, the herds and flocks of the settlers are on the north side, and as far as the line of the Campbell River.

Mr. Cox occupies a considerable tract of land immediately opposite the station at which the Government buildings have been placed. No grant had been executed of this land, but I understood from Mr. Oxley that it was intended to be conferred on Mr. Cox. This gentleman has hereerected farm buildings, and made inclosures, in which he is making experiments with the artificial grasses. It is here also that he has very considerable flocks of sheep, amounting to 5,000, and herds of cattle, which, from the late accession of other occupants, have been obliged to resort to new and more distant tracts. Twenty-four flocks, of which ten belonged to Mr. Cox, were distributed over the Bathurst Plains and adjoining vallies in the month of November 1819, and the whole number of sheep then amounted to nearly 11,000.

The remaining proprietors had availed themselves of the temporary permissions given by Governor Macquarie, and had placed their sheep and cattle under the care of their convict servants, who were lodged in

____________________
1
Spain supplied almost four-fifths of the wool imported into Britain until the decline after 1810.
2
From the classified returns for 1807 (Customs 4/4) it appears that 105,079 lb. were being imported into Britain, mainly from sheep of Spanish stock in Europe. In 1810, 83 bales came from Australia, while some 2,221 bales were imported from Germany and 19,748 bales from Spain.
3
Parl. Papers, 1823 (136), vol. x, pp. 620-4. Yohn Thomas Bigge had been Chief Justice of Trinidad. He was appointed Commissioner to inquire into the state of N.S.W. in 1818, with wide powers which brought him into conflict with Governor Macquarie. In 1822 he was sent on the Commission of Eastern Inquiry with Major W. M. Colebrooke to the Cape of Good Hope, Mauritius, and Ceylon.

-384-

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