free ebooks

An Historical Journal of the Transactions at Port

The turpentine which exudes freely from the bark

-Water_.--The island is well supplied with many streams of very fine water, some of which are sufficiently large to turn a number of mills: it is probable that most of these rivulets originate from springs near Mount Pitt. On a hill, near the middle of the island, between Cascade and Sydney bays, there is a pond of fresh water, about half an acre: there is no rivulet near it, nor can any spring be perceived, yet, in the greatest drought, it constantly remains full, and has a very good taste. All these streams abound with very fine eels.

-Soil_.--From the sides of the cliffs which surround the coast, to the summit of Mount Pitt, there is a continuation of the finest soil, varying from a rich brown mould to a light red earth. Some large stones are found on different parts of the island.

-Air_.--As a proof of the salubrity and wholesomeness of the air, it is to be remarked, that there had been scarcely any sickness since I landed, nor had we any illness whatever, except a few colds.

-Timber and trees_.--There are only five sorts of trees on the island which can be called timber; viz. the pine, a wood resembling the live oak; a yellow wood; a hard black wood; and a wood resembling the English beech. The pine-trees are of a great size, many of them being from one hundred and eighty to two hundred and twenty feet high, and from four to eight feet diameter some distance from the ground. Those trees, which measure from one hundred to one hundred and eighty feet high, are in general sound, and are without branches for eighty or ninety feet, but the upper part is too knotty and hard to be useful; indeed, it frequently happens, that after twenty feet have been cut off from the butt, the trees becomes rotten and shaky, and is also very brittle; for which reason, no dependance can be put on them for masts or yards. The turpentine which exudes freely from the bark, is of a milk-white glutinous substance; but it is rather remarkable, that there is none in the timber. We tried to render this turpentine useful in paying boats, and other purposes, but without success; as it would neither melt nor burn: we also tried to make pitch or tar, by burning the old pines; but there being no turpentine in the wood, our efforts were useless. The pine is very useful in buildings, and being dispersed in various parts of the island, is well calculated for such buildings as hereafter may be necessary: from what I have been able to observe, it is very durable, as that which we had used for erecting houses, stood the weather very well. Two cobles were built of this wood, one of which was built in June, 1788: she was water-soaked, owing to our want of any kind of stuff to pay her with.

The live-oak, yellow-wood, black-wood, and beech, are all of a close grain, and durable; in general they are from fourteen to twenty inches diameter. The branches of the live-oak are fit for timbers and knees of boats or small vessels.

There are a variety of other small trees on the island, but as they are not useful, it is unnecessary to enumerate them here; though I should not omit the fern-tree, the bark of which serves many purposes, instead of twine and rope. The cabbage-palm were in great plenty when I first landed on the island, but, by continual cutting, they were almost destroyed. There is a plant among the underwood, which produces a kind of pepper; its leaves are broad, and have an aromatic, pungent taste: the core which contains the seed, shoots out between the leaf and the stalk, and is in general two or three inches long, and full of small seeds, which have nearly the same taste as the leaves; but, on their being dried, the smell and taste leaves them: it is also difficult to find them in a state of ripeness, as the parroquets destroy them before they can arrive at any degree of perfection.

eBook Search
Social Sharing
Share Button
About us is a collection of free ebooks that can be read online. Ebooks are split into pages for easier reading and better bookmarking.

We have more than 35,000 free books in our collection and are adding new books daily.

We invite you to link to us, so as many people as possible can enjoy this wonderful free website.

© 2010-2013 - All Rights Reserved.

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Contact Us