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)