In October/November 1835, Samuel Anderson became Gippsland’s first settler and Victoria’s third, just a few months after John Batman’s party settled Melbourne. Where most early settlers seeking a new life on the southern coast of mainland Australia saw only unproductive, enclosed country around Western Port, Samuel saw the opposite, fertile, productive land. A bumper harvest from a trial wheat and potatoes crop beside a freshwater river at Bass, turned a bookkeeper, come trader into a farmer, possibly Victoria’s first agriculturist and market gardener. Joined by his friend and business partner, Robert Massie in 1837, these two men went on to create a thriving and diverse farming enterprise in the isolated, south-east wilderness of Western Port. Not content with just growing crops, they also went on to build their own sailing vessel to transport farm produce to the rapidly-expanding settlements of Launceston and Melbourne, most likely a flour-mill to grind their grain and a salt-works, all on nearby estuarine mud flats, far from just about anywhere. A deep recession across the colony in the early 1840s created a financial maelstrom, workers’ wages were cut, stealing became more prevalent and murders increased. Many companies and small businesses failed. Caught up in this crisis, Samuel and Robert’s lives are changed forever. This is a story of resolute, hard-working, and courageous Scottish pioneer settlers who saw potential where others couldn’t, backed their own judgement with their own money, skill and hard work to help lay the foundations and clear the way for the productive and diverse Western Port community we see today. This book is for readers interested in the role Van Diemen’s Land played in Victoria’s early history, their Aboriginal peoples, the exploration of Western Port, and the early pioneer-settlers who crossed Bass Strait, or ventured into Gippsland, either over the alps from Sydney or by the sea through Western Port or Port Welshpool.
ISBN – 9780646802671