On This Day …

1st June, 1829

File:Jane Eliza Currie - Panorama of the Swan River Settlement, 1831.jpg

Jane Eliza Currie – Panorama of the Swan River Settlement, 1831

Although the Union Jack was raised at Swan River on the 2nd of May, the 1st of June is remembered as Foundation Day for Western Australia, because the first settlers arrived on this day.

Imagine arriving to a new land, indeed an as yet uninhabited area to set up your new life. Talk about starting from scratch. They didn’t move into prebuilt homes as many of us do when we move. They had to build them themselves. And even before that, they had to cut down the trees to have materials to build them with!

While some settlers possibly brought items of furniture with them, there is a great probability they had to make that as well. I dare say they sat around on tree stumps for a long while.

And then there was food. Whist there would have been provisions in the form of grain aboard ship, and other non-perishables, but they would have needed to establish vegetable gardens quickly to feed themselves.

Can you imagine being a mum with little children, living in a tent while waiting for your home to be built, trying to satisfy your family with whatever rations you could muster up? My hat is off to our pioneering ancestors!

Oddly, on the same day, twenty-one years later, the first convicts arrived. Perth was not intended as a penal colony originally, but the people cried out for extra labourers — even though it seems they may not have needed them — and they came in the form of prisoners.

If you were a settler in the 1800s, what special item would you have made sure to pack to take to your new land?

Published in: on 1st June, 2012 at 7:34 pm  Comments (4)  

4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Hmm, hard to decide. My first thought was Lard! (I have no idea why, maybe cos it would have made everything else taste better??) But after a think, I believe I’d make sure I packed lots of seeds along with seed potatoes for that veggie garden I’d be planting. Now, if I knew the dimensions of the sea chest I was packing for Terra Australis than I’d be sure to cram in all manner of helpful provisions.

    And as I ponder this further, I realise that even if I landed on Australian soil with naught but the ragged clothes on my back and the word of God in my heart– I would be rich, and well equipped for anything that I might face.

    • Haha! Great answer Lucy. You really are thinking like a pioneer.:)

  2. I can’t see Lucy’s answer 😦

    I would pack a little wooden piccolo to play when I needed to put my babies to bed. Something to add music and memories to the adventure. (I’m assuming we all have a blanket and pan of porridge for our tummies) And a journal to fill with said adventures!


    • You make me giggle Dorothy. 🙂 Yes, must have the journal for said adventures, then people like us who want to research history can unearth them and digest all their delights. (Oops, forgot to approve Lucy’s comment earlier.)

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