30th December 1828
It having been resolved by His Majesty's Government to occupy the Port on the
Western Coast of New Holland, at the Mouth of the River called "Swan River",
with the adjacent Territory, for the purpose of forming a Settlement there. His
Majesty has been pleased to approve the selection of yourself to have the
Command of the Expedition appointed for that Service, and the Superintendance of
the proposed Settlement.
You will accordingly repair, with all practicable dispatch to the place of your
destination, on board the vessel, which has been provided for that purpose.
As Swan River and the adjacent Territory are not within the limits of any
existing Colony, difficulties may easily be anticipated in the course of your
proceedings, from the absence of all Civil Institutions, Legislative, Judicial,
Until provision can be made, in due form of Law, for the Government of the
projected Colony, the difficulties, to which I refer, must be combated, and
will, I trust, be overcome by your own firmness and discretion.
You will assume the Title of Lieutenant Governor, and in that character will
correspond with this Department, respecting your proceedings, and the wants and
prospects of the Settlement you are to form.
Amongst your earliest duties will be that of determining the most convenient
site for a Town, to be erected as the future Seat of Government.
You will be called upon to weigh maturely the advantages, which may arise from
placing it on so secure a situation as may be afforded on various points of the
Swan River, against those which may follow from establishing it on so fine a
Port for the reception of shipping as Cockburn Sound is represented to be: and
more effectually to guard against the evils, to be apprehended from an
improvident disposal of the land in the immediate vicinity of the Town, you will
take care, that a square of three Miles (or one thousand nine hundred and twenty
Acres) is reserved for its future extension, and, that the land within this
space is not granted away (as in ordinary cases) but shall be held upon leases
from the Crown, for a Term not exceeding twenty one years. You will, from the
commencement of the undertaking, be observant of the necessity of marking out,
and reserving for Public purposes, all those peculiar positions within, or in
the vicinity of the projected Town, which, from natural advantages, or
otherwise, will probably be essential to the future welfare of the Settlement.
In laying the foundations of any such Town, care must be taken to proceed upon a
regular plan, leaving all vacant spaces which will in future times be required
for thoroughfares, and as the sites of Churches, Cemeteries, and other Public
Works of utility and general convenience.
You will cause it to be understood that His Majesty has granted to you the power
of making all necessary locations of Land.
For your guidance, in this respect, ample instructions will, at a future period,
be prepared. In the meantime I enclose a Copy of the Instructions of the
Governor of New South Wales on this subject, to which you will adhere as closely
as circumstances will admit.
You will bear in mind, that, in all locations of Territory, a due proportion
must be reserved for the Crown, as well as for the maintenance of the Clergy,
support of Establishments for the purposes of Religion, and the Education of
youth, concerning which objects more particulars will be transmitted to you
I think it necessary, also, to caution you, thus early (as Land on the Sea or
River Side will, naturally, be the first to be located) that you must be careful
not to grant more than a due proportion of Sea or River Frontage to any Settler.
The great advantage to be derived from an easy Water Communication will of
course not escape your consideration, and this advantage should be divided
amongst as many Settlers as can conveniently benefit by their position in the
In regard to the Surveys and Explications of the Country, which you may think it
right to set on foot, it is perhaps premature to give you any Instructions, upon
a point where so much must be left to your own discretion, and the intelligence,
as to the nature of the soil, and of the Country which you may obtain, on the
spot; looking, however, to the future prospects of the Settlement, and to the
advantages of its local position, I should be inclined to think, that it will be
expedient to make the Country South of Swan River the scene of your labors,
rather than the tract of Country North of that Stream, and, that you will do
well to invite the Settlers to locate themselves according to this suggestion.
You will endeavour to settle, with the consent of the parties concerned, a Court
of Arbitration for the decision of such questions of Civil Rights as may arise
between the early Settlers, and, until a more regular form of administering
Justice can be organized.
You will recommend by your Counsels, and example the habitual observance of
Sunday, as a day of rest, and Public worship, as far as may be compatible with
the circumstances in which you may be placed.
With these few and general Instructions for your guidance, assisted by the oral
and written Communications, which have taken place between yourself and this
Department, you will, I trust, be able to surmount the difficulties to which you
may be exposed at the outset, enhanced, though they will be by the want of any
regular Commission for administering the Government.
An Instrument of that nature, accompanied with all the requisite Instructions,
will be transmitted to you, as soon as the indispensable forms of proceeding in
such cases will allow.