Gloomy Prospects in Western Australia

Thomas Peel

There was one man in Western Australia, during the early years, who had spent £50,000 in bringing with him to the colony everything that could be required for farming and sheep breeding on a magnificent scale. He brought with him 300 labourers; but the land was by no means so fertile as he imagined and he had scarcely commenced his farming operations, when he found that his only escape from ruin was to enter, single handed, on the self dependent life of the ordinary settler.

Settlers Leave

Matters grew worse and worse and those of the disappointed colonists who had sufficient prudence to start before their means were all exhausted either returned to Europe or sought the other colonies, where several achieved success, notably the brothers Henty, who settled at Launceston (Tasmania) and established at Portland Bay the whaling station already mentioned. The gloomy reports of those who reached England prevented any further accession of immigrants and in 1835 it was rumoured, though erroneously, that the British Government intended to abandon the place.

Slow Progress

In the following year (1836), the Colony of South Australia was founded and a great extent of territory previously marked as belonging to West Australia was assigned to the new settlement. These two colonies, during their early years, experienced trials and difficulties of the same kind; but while South Australia, in a short time, emerged to a career of brilliant prosperity, West AUstralia, for forty years, never enjoyed even a transitory gleam of success.


History of Australia