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ately take possession of his land, but retained the appointment till the month of December, 1824, when he resigned it with the intention of proceeding forthwith to his farm; but, being seized in the mean time with an inflammatory fever, he died in Sydney in the month of January following, in the twenty-third year of his age, and during my own absence in England. The land consequently fell to my younger brother, Mr. Andrew Lang, who had arrived in the colony a few months before as an agricultural emigrant, and who afterwards obtained an order for a grant of land on his own account from Earl Bathurst, which he selected in the same district to the extent of twelve hundred and eighty acres, about thirty miles farther up the river. My surviving brother did not take possession of the land on which my late brother had proposed to settle, till January, 1826; and, as he had to reside in Sydney the whole of that year, he entrusted it to the management of an emancipated convict overseer, who proved a very inefficient servant, and did very little in the way of improving it. Nothing in reality could be said to have been effected on the land till the beginning of the year 1827, when my brother settled upon it himself.
My deceased brother’s grant—which he had named Dunmore, as a mark of filial affection towards a revered relative still alive, to whose Christian principles and uncommon energy of character I shall ever be under the strongest obligations—consisted partly of a belt of heavily timbered alluvial land, extending about a mile and a half in length along the windings of the river, which at that part of its course and for several miles higher up is both deep
and broad-sufficiently so indeed for the largest vessels -although towards the ocean, which is about forty miles distant by water, there are shallows which a large vessel could not get over. Beyond the belt of alluvial land, there are two large lagoons, nearly parallel to the course of the river, the frequent resort of innumerable wild ducks, and occasionally of pelicans and black
The beds and banks of the lagoons consist of the richest alluvial soil, the rest of the farm being good forest pasture-land, very lightly timbered.
The settlement of the Scots Church in Sydney having been attended with much greater difficulty and expense than was anticipated, and certain influential Scotsmen in the colony having rather augmented than diminished the burden that was thus entailed on its friends, my relatives had been induced to make common cause with myself, in bringing whatever capital and credit they could command in the colony to bear upon the ultimate accomplishment of that object. My brother was consequently left with comparatively little capital to commence with upon his land; but he was fortunate enough to escape the influence of the sheep and cattle mania, which was then just at the highest; for while various other settlers, who had also but recently commenced farming at Hunter's River, mortgaged their land to buy large herds of cattle to stock it, he remained satisfied with the few he already possessed, and determined not to buy more till he could pay for them. With these cattle a dairy establishment on a small scale was formed on the farm, while agricultural operations were commenced on the alluvial land. The dairy was managed by the Irish Roman Catholic family, of whose colonial history I have already given an outline; the dairy produce, which was then bearing a high price in the colony, being regularly forwarded to Sydney to meet the various items of expenditure incurred in the maintenance of the other convict-servants on the farm.
These servants, whose number was, gradually increased from four to upwards of thirty-as additional men could from time to time be obtained from the colonial government, and as maintenance could be raised for them from the land—were variously employed in felling and burning off trees for the clearing of land for cultivation, or in grubbing up the roots of those that had been already felled ; in ploughing, sowing, reaping, threshing and grinding wheat ; in planting, hoeing, pulling, and threshing Indian corn; and in the numberless other operations that require incessant attention and incessant exertion on a large agricultural establishment in New South Wales, where the soil, the intending emigrant will bear in mind, is not hidden from the view as in the British provinces of North America, for six or seven months together, under an impenetrable covering of frozen snow, but where the plough and the hoe and the sickle are kept in successive and unintermitting motion all the year round.
In this way about one hundred and fifty acres of heavily-timbered land have been successively cleared and cultivated ; the stumps of the trees, which are usually left standing in the first instance, being for the most part rooted or burnt out. The extent of land under wheat last year was about eighty acres, an equal extent being under maize, including a late crop on part of the wheat-land. The wheat is ground into flour and sold in that state in the town of Maitland, in the immediate neighbourhood, the maize being either forwarded for sale to Sydney or used in feeding horses, or in fattening pigs and poultry on the farm. Potatoes and tobacco are also grown for sale, besides supplying the consumption on the farm, which, in the latter article especially, is by no means inconsiderable. The dairyproduce during the four summer months, November, December, January, and February, is cheese, which is sold in Sydney by the hundred weight or ton; during the rest of the year it consists of butter, which is forwarded to Sydney by the steam-boat in a fresh state every week, and sold in the market; the quantity forwarded weekly for some time before I left the colony being I believe from seventy to one hundred pounds. The price of that article of produce varies from one shilling to eighteen-pence a pound.
In the course of last year, (1832,) when the cattle on my brother's farm had increased to a herd of about three or four hundred, he purchased a flock of finewoolled sheep, which, if I recollect aright, cost fifteen shillings each, with the intention of forming a grazing establishment on his own grant of land, which had previously been lying waste. The dairy-cattle being accordingly separated from the herd, all the rest with the sheep and young horses were sent, under charge of a hired overseer and two convict-servants, to form a grazing station at the distance of thirty miles.
In the mean time, as several hired mechanics with
their families were occasionally employed on the farm, besides free sawyers and other hired labourers, all of whom received rations of flour, &c., as part of their wages, it was found that there was a considerable loss of time and waste of material in grinding wheat for so many people--about fifty in all-with the common steel mills in general use in the interior. A horse-mill was therefore erected, and, in consequence of its being resorted to by the neighbourhood, a windmill was afterwards added ; a threshing-mill, and a mill for the manufacture of Scotch barley—the first that had been constructed in the colony-being subsequently appended to the original machinery.
A garden, in which all the sorts of fruit-trees I have enumerated in the preceding chapter were successfully cultivated, had been formed on the farm several years ago by a free emigrant Scotch gardener, hired for the purpose; but being within reach of the inundations of the Hunter, it was completely destroyed by a high flood in the year 1830. A second garden, however, has since been formed beyond reach of the inundations, with a vineyard and orchard, both of which, when I visited the district in the month of June last, (1833,) were in a high state of forwardness. The gardener is one of the machine-breakers, transported from the agricultural counties of England in the year 1831, He had been employed in the same capacity for many years, in the garden of a clergyınan in Shropshire, and was assigned to my brother on his arrival in the colony. He is without exception the most industrious man I have ever seen, and one of the commissions I was charged with