Pioneering spirit, Ancient Land
The song ‘Western Australia for me’ was written by the Irish Lawyer George Fletcher Moore. It was first sung by George Fletcher Moore at the first Ball at the governor’s house in 1831 enjoyed by 180 ladies and gentlemen to the wee hours of 6 a.m.
Swans were so abundant on the river when first discovered as to give the name Swan River Settlement. I dare not say that I christened the colony, but certainly after the above song, the name of Western Australia was adopted.
George Fletcher Moore graduated in law in Ireland in1820. Seeing little prospect of advancement he decided to pursue a legal career in the English colonies. He sailed from Dublin to Western Australia on board the Cleopatra, arriving at the Swan River Colony on 30 October 1830. In February 1832, he was appointed a Commissioner of the Civil Court. Rewarded with land and a regular salary, Moore purchased stock and by 1833 he had one of the largest flocks of sheep in the colony.
Moore was unusual amongst his contemporaries in a number of ways. He was vocal about the colonies economic problems being brought about by mismanagement. His criticisms made him unpopular with many of the colonies establishment. Moore also developed friendly, lasting relationships with the Indigenous Australians of the area. He began to take a scholarly interest in their language and customs and in1833, Moore published in the Perth Gazette the first account of the customs of the Aborigines of the area. He later co produced a book with John Hutt called A Descriptive Vocabulary of the Language in Common Use Amongst the Aborigines of Western Australia.
Moore was an active explorer and the Moore River (near New Norcia) was named after him.
In about 1878, the editor of The West Australian, Sir Thomas Cockburn Campbell, sought and was granted permission to serialise Moore’s letters. The letters appeared in the West Australian in 1881 and 1882. On seeing them in print, Moore decided to republish them in book form. They were published in 1884 as Diary of Ten Years Eventful Life of an Early Settler in Western Australia.