Ship-building, house building, crafts loading timber, land clearing ? ? ? ? ? makes this one of the best townships since leaving Dandenong. A very good building has been rented for a schoolhouse, the pedagogue is a really good one and the attendance is large. All the land is taken up around this township with the exception of that held by “the big Heath”
From Queensferry to Bass, by way of Settlement Point through the estate of Mrs Cuthbert, the mother of this district, by old Gay B? to Westaway estate. Half a mile from this point is the ? settlement is the colony where Hobson landed with his convicts, but which was soon abandoned from want of water, in 1825. ?or explorers they must have been, for the Bass River is permanent and nearly eight miles distant. There is a fine view from this ? Dead Man’s Land (Phillip Island) ahead, the land of Heath on the right, Poverty Point with its jetty and light ?ing in the district, while Cleeland’s ? with the jetty shows Newhaven to advantage. About 1200 yards from the old settlement is the place where Mr Purves, the representatives of Moornington, has ? the Government to put a jetty, ignoring the just claims of Queenferry, because a few of his own order have neglected land here, not ? ? ? ? or making themselves ? ? ? ? ? and other timber to the hawking skippers of vessels that trade to the port. So much for representation by Ter?ls Court barristers. Two miles from here ? ? .
About 8000 acres, bought on the 29th January, 1852. ? from that time to this have not had a shilling expended on improvements, as Mr McHame fenced one part and Mr Lyall the others. On this gentleman’s property is situated the cemetery which has been a bone of contention between Kennedy, formerly of Woods Point, and the Government. In their need of money, and backed up by District Surveyor Oaklands, the Government sold not only the ten more gazetted as cemetery but the bodies as well, four in number, and when our nonentity of a representative asked Mr Casey the question, his answer was this - "Michell, the schoolmaster, died in the horrors; Marlin died through drink on the River Bass," and so on. Does this man, with his teetotal proclivities mean to say that because a man imbibes he should be denied Christian burial, even at Sorrento or his brother Nick's farm? From this to Bass you pass through splendid land for grazing purposes, but of too salty a nature for agricultural pursuits. Robertson, of Colac, cannot best us in the price obtained for fat cattle.
Now we are at the Bass - among a people 50 years behind the time. Imagine one of the oldest townships in the colony with not one street made. Everything is in a state of nature, or worse, for Nature is industrious and bountiful, but here the inhabitants are so thoroughly indolent that except to go half a mile to catch a horse in the wrong direction. I know of nothing they are fit for, unless it is selling a steer or horse occasionally to get some flour or tea and sugar which is mainly supplied to them by the pawnbroker skippers, who have been known to take an order to Melbourne and deliver it to the amount of 1s 6d. I should think these skippers should take out hawkers licenses. Every one here owns cattle, and a fine chance they have, as no much land is owned by absentees, such as banks, JP Bear, Duerdin, Sargood, and others, who have never expended one shilling on improvements. I have been talking to one man who owns 80 acres, and runs 150 head of cattle outside his own ground, and another who owns 10 acres, runs 70 head on his neighbor’s land. The banks did not purchase this land in the first instance, but got it from the unfortunates that went down in the commercial crash of 1866. No pound disgraces the district, much to the satisfaction of the buttery aristocracy.
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