HotFreeBooks.com
Expedition into Central Australia
by Charles Sturt
1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

EXPEDITION INTO CENTRAL AUSTRALIA

IN 2 VOLUMES. (both in this one eBook)

STURT, CHARLES (1795-1869)



PRODUCTION NOTES: 1. Notes have been placed in square brackets[] where indicated in the published text or at the end of the paragraph, as appropriate. 2. Italics in the published text have been capitalised in the eBook, with the exception of common and scientific names appearing in the appendices at the end of volume 2, which appear in the eBook as normal text. 3. Plates and maps have not been included. Plates to both volumess have been listed in the Table of Contents. 4. Errata have been corrected. Original text has been placed in the eBook between braces{}.



NARRATIVE OF AN EXPEDITION INTO CENTRAL AUSTRALIA PERFORMED UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF HER MAJESTY'S GOVERNMENT, DURING THE YEARS 1844, 5, AND 6, TOGETHER WITH A NOTICE OF THE PROVINCE OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA IN 1847.

IN 2 VOLUMES.



TO THE RIGHT HONORABLE THE EARL GREY, ETC. ETC. ETC.

MY LORD,

Although the services recorded in the following pages, which your Lordship permits me to dedicate to you, have not resulted in the discovery of any country immediately available for the purposes of colonization, I would yet venture to hope that they have not been fruitlessly undertaken, but that, as on the occasion of my voyage down the Murray River, they will be the precursors of future advantage to my country and to the Australian colonies.

Under present disappointment it must be as gratifying to those who participated in my labours, as it is to myself to know that they are not the less appreciated by your Lordship, because they were expended in a desert.

I can only assure your Lordship, that it has been my desire to give a faithful description of the country that has been explored, and of the difficulties attending the task; nor can I refuse myself the anticipation that the perusal of these volumes will excite your Lordship's interest and sympathy. I have the honour to be,

My Lord,

Your Lordship's Most obedient humble servant, CHARLES STURT.

London, November 21,1848.



NOTICE.

It might have been expected that many specimens, both of Botany and Ornithology, would have been collected during such an Expedition as that which the present narrative describes, but the contrary happened to be the case.

I am proud in having to record the name of my esteemed friend, Mr. Brown, the companion of Flinders, and the learned author of the "Prodromus Novae Hollandiae," to whose kindness I am indebted for the Botanical Remarks in the Appendix.

To my warm-hearted friend, Mr. Gould, whose splendid works are before the Public, and whose ardent pursuits in furtherance of his ambition, I have personally witnessed, I owe the more perfect form in which my ornithological notice appears.

I have likewise to acknowledge, with very sincere feelings, the assistance I have received from Mr. Arrowsmith, in the construction of my Map, to whose anxious desire to ensure correctness and professional talent I am very greatly indebted.

I hope the gentlemen whose names I have mentioned will accept my best thanks for the assistance they have afforded me in my humble labours. It is not the least of the gratifications enjoyed by those who are employed on services similar to which I have been engaged, to be brought more immediately in connection with such men.

London, November 21, 1848.



CONTENTS



VOLUME I.

CHAPTER I CHARACTER OF THE AUSTRALIAN CONTINENT—OF ITS RIVERS— PECULIARITY OF THE DARLING—SUDDEN FLOODS TO WHICH IT IS SUBJECT—CHARACTER OF THE MURRAY—ITS PERIODICAL RISE—BOUNTY OF PROVIDENCE—GEOLOGICAL POSITION OF THE TWO RIVERS— OBSERVATIONS—RESULTS—SIR THOMAS MITCHELL'S JOURNEY TO THE DARLING—ITS JUNCTION WITH THE MURRAY—ANECDOTE OF MR. SHANNON—CAPTAIN GREY'S EXPEDITION—CAPTAIN STURT'S JOURNEY—MR. EYRE'S SECOND EXPEDITION—VOYAGE OF THE BEAGLE—MR. OXLEY'S OPINIONS—STATE OF THE INTERIOR IN 1828— CHARACTER OF ITS PLAINS AND RIVERS—JUNCTION OF THE DARLING—FOSSIL BED OF THE MURRAY—FORMER STATE OF THE CONTINENT—THEORY OF THE INTERIOR.

CHAPTER II PREPARATIONS FOR DEPARTURE—ARRIVAL AT MOORUNDI—NATIVE GUIDES—NAMES OF THE PARTY—SIR JOHN BARROW'S MINUTE—REPORTS OF LAIDLEY'S PONDS—CLIMATE OF THE MURRAY—PROGRESS UP THE RIVER—ARRIVAL AT LAKE BONNEY—GRASSY PLAINS—CAMBOLI'S HOME—TRAGICAL EVENTS IN THAT NEIGHBOURHOOD—PULCANTI— ARRIVAL AT THE RUFUS—VISIT TO THE NATIVE FAMILIES—RETURN OF MR. EYRE TO MOORUNDI—DEPARTURE OF MR. BROWNE TO THE EASTWARD.

CHAPTER III MR. BROWNE'S RETURN—HIS ACCOUNT OF THE COUNTRY—CHANGE OF SCENE—CONTINUED RAIN—TOONDA JOINS THE PARTY—STORY OF THE MASSACRE—LEAVE LAKE VICTORIA—ACCIDENT TO FLOOD—TURN NORTHWARDS—CROSS TO THE DARLING—MEET NATIVES—TOONDA'S HAUGHTY MANNER—NADBUCK'S CUNNING—ABUNDANCE OF FEED—SUDDEN FLOODS—BAD COUNTRY—ARRIVAL AT WILLIORARA—CONSEQUENT DISAPPOINTMENT—PERPLEXITY—MR. POOLE GOES TO THE RANGES— MR. BROWNE'S RETURN—FOOD OF THE NATIVES—POSITION OF WILLIORARA.

CHAPTER IV TOONDA'S TRIBE—DISPOSITION OF THE NATIVES—ARRIVAL OF CAMBOLI—HIS ENERGY OF CHARACTER—MR. POOLE'S RETURN—LEAVE THE DARLING—REMARKS ON THAT RIVER—CAWNDILLA—THE OLD BOOCOLO—LEAVE THE CAMP FOR THE HILLS—REACH A CREEK—WELLS— TOPAR'S MISCONDUCT—ASCEND THE RANGES—RETURN HOMEWARDS— EAVE CAWNDILLA WITH A PARTY—REACH PARNARI—MOVE TO THE HILLS—JOURNEY TO N. WEST—HEAVY RAINS—RETURN TO CAMP— MR. POOLE LEAVES—LEAVE THE RANGES—DESCENT TO THE PLAINS— MR. POOLE'S RETURN—HIS REPORT—FLOOD'S CREEK—AQUATIC BIRDS—RANGES DIMINISH IN HEIGHT.

CHAPTER V NATIVE WOMEN—SUDDEN SQUALL—JOURNEY TO THE EASTWARD—VIEW FROM MOUNT LYELL—INCREASED TEMPERATURE—MR. POOLE'S RETURN— HIS REPORT—LEAVE FLOOD'S CREEK—ENTANGLED IN THE PINE FOREST—DRIVE THE CATTLE TO WATER—EXTRICATE THE PARTY—STATE OF THE MEN—MR. POOLE AND MR. BROWNE LEAVE THE CAMP—PROCEED NORTHWARDS—CAPT. STURT LEAVES FOR THE NORTH—RAPID DISAPPEARANCE OF WATER—MUDDY CREEK—GEOLOGICAL FORMATION— GYPSUM—PUSH ON TO THE RANGES—RETURN TO THE CREEK—AGAIN ASCEND THE RANGES—FIND WATER BEYOND THEM—PROCEED TO THE W.N.W.—RETURN TO THE RANGES—ANTS AND FLIES—TURN TO THE EASTWARD—NO WATER—RETURN TO THE CAMP—MR. POOLE FINDS WATER—MACK'S ADVENTURE WITH THE NATIVES—MOVE THE CAMP.

CHAPTER VI THE DEPOT—FURTHER PROGRESS CHECKED—CHARACTER OF THE RANGES—JOURNEY TO THE NORTH-EAST—RETURN—JOURNEY TO THE WEST—RETURN—AGAIN PROCEED TO THE NORTH—INTERVIEW WITH NATIVES—ARRIVE AT THE FARTHEST WATER—THE PARTY SEPARATES— PROGRESS NORTHWARDS—CONTINUE TO ADVANCE—SUFFERINGS OF THE HORSE—CROSS THE 28TH PARALLEL—REJOIN MR. STUART—JOURNEY TO THE WESTWARD—CHARACTER OF THE COUNTRY—FIND TWO PONDS OF WATER—THE GRASSY PARK—RETURN TO THE RANG—EXCESSIVE HEAT— A SINGULAR GEOLOGICAL FEATURE—REGAIN THE DEPOT.

CHAPTER VII MIGRATION OF THE BIRDS—JOURNEY TO THE EASTWARD—FLOODED PLAINS—NATIVE FAMILY—PROCEED SOUTH, BUT FIND NO WATER— AGAIN TURN EASTWARD—STERILE COUNTRY—SALT LAGOON—DISTANT HILLS TO THE EAST—RETURN TO THE CAMP—INTENSE HEAT—OFFICERS ATTACKED BY SCURVY—JOURNEY TO THE WEST—NO WATER—FORCED TO RETURN—ILLNESS OF MR. POOLE—VISITED BY A NATIVE—SECOND JOURNEY TO THE EASTWARD—STORY OF THE NATIVE—KITES AND CROWS—ERECT A PYRAMID ON MOUNT POOLE—PREPARATIONS FOR A MOVE—INDICATIONS OF RAIN—INTENSE ANXIETY—HEAVY RAIN— MR. POOLE LEAVES WITH THE HOME RETURNING PARTY—BREAK UP THE DEPOT—MR. POOLE'S SUDDEN DEATH—HIS FUNERAL—PROGRESS WESTWARD—THE JERBOA—ESTABLISHMENT OF SECOND DEPOT—NATIVE GLUTTONY—DISTANT MOUNTAINS SEEN—REACH LAKE TORRENS— EXAMINATION OF THE COUNTRY N.W. OF IT—RETURN TO THE DEPOT— VISITED BY NATIVES—PREPARATIONS FOR DEPARTURE AGAIN INTO THE NORTHWEST INTERIOR.

CHAPTER VIII LEAVE THE DEPOT FOR THE NORTH-WEST—SCARCITY OF WATER—FOSSIL LIMESTONE—ARRIVE AT THE FIRST CREEK—EXTENSIVE PLAINS— SUCCESSION OF CREEKS—FLOODED CHARACTER OF THE COUNTRY—POND WITH FISH—STERILE COUNTRY—GRASSY PLAINS—INTREPID NATIVE— COUNTRY APPARENTLY IMPROVES—DISAPPOINTMENTS—WATER FOUND— APPEARANCE OF THE STONY DESERT—NIGHT THEREON—THE EARTHY PLAIN—HILLS RAISED BY REFRACTION—RECOMMENCEMENT OF THE SAND RIDGES—THEIR UNDEVIATING REGULARITY—CONJECTURES AS TO THE DESERT—RELATIVE POSITION OF LAKE TORRENS—CONCLUDING REMARKS.

CHAPTER IX FLOOD'S QUICK SIGHT—FOREST FULL OF BIRDS—NATIVE WELL— BIRDS COLLECT TO DRINK—DANGEROUS PLAIN—FLOOD'S HORSE LOST—SCARCITY OF WATER—TURN NORTHWARD—DISCOVER A LARGE CREEK—BRIGHT PROSPECTS—SUDDEN DISAPPOINTMENT—SALT LAGOON— SCARCITY OF WATER—SALT WATER CREEK—CHARACTER OF THE INTERIOR—FORCED TO TURN BACK—RISK OF ADVANCING—THE FURTHEST NORTH—RETURN TO AND EXAMINATION OF THE CREEK— PROCEED TO THE WESTWARD—DREADFUL COUNTRY—JOURNEY TO THE NORTH—AGAIN FORCED TO RETURN—NATIVES—STATION ON THE CREEK—CONCLUDING REMARKS.

PLATES TO VOLUME I.

Chaining over the Sandhills Sketch of the Route Sunset on the Murray Colonel Gawler's Camp on the Murray Ana-branch of the Darling Mus Conditor Parnari Lower put of the Rocky Glen Geological formation of the Ranges Put of the Northern Range General appearance of the Northern Ranges at their termination Native Village The Depot Glen Milvus Affinis Water Hole Red Hill, or Mount Poole Mr. Poole's Grave Lake Torrens Pond with Fish Native Well

* * * * *

Mr. Arrowsmith, has prepared a large Map of Captain Sturt's routes into the centre of Australia, from the original protractions and other official documents, now in his hands.

On this Map are delineated the whole of the details resulting from his numerous route,—the dates marking his daily progress—the description of the country—its dip-the depressed Stony Desert, which is probably the great northern prolongation of the Torrens Basin of Mr. Eyre,—&c. &c. &c.

This Map in two sheets may be had in a cover, price 7 shillings.



VOLUME II.

CHAPTER I REFLECTIONS ON OUR DIFFICULTIES—COMMENCE THE RETREAT—EYRE'S CREEK—PASS THE NATIVE WELL—RECROSS THE STONY DESERT—FIND ANOTHER WELL WITHOUT WATER—NATIVES—SUCCESSFUL FISHING— VALUE OF SHEEP—DECIDE ON A RETREAT—PROPOSE THAT MR. BROWNE SHOULD LEAVE—HIS REFUSAL TO DESERT THE PARTY—MR. BROWNE'S DECISION—PREPARE TO LEAVE THE CAMP—REMARKS ON THE CLIMATE— AGAIN LEAVE THE DEPOT—SINGULAR EXPLOSION—DISCOVER A LARGE CREEK—PROCEED TO THE NORTH—RECURRENCE OF SAND RIDGES—SALT WATER LAKE—AGAIN STRIKE THE STONY DESERT—ATTEMPT TO CROSS IT.

CHAPTER II THE HORSES—ASCEND THE HILLS—IRRESOLUTION AND RETREAT— HORSES REDUCED TO GREAT WANT—UNEXPECTED RELIEF—TRY THE DESERT TO THE N.E.—FIND WATER IN OUR LAST WELL—REACH THE CREEK—PROCEED TO THE EASTWARD—PLAGUE OF FLIES AND ANTS— SURPRISE AN OLD MAN—SEA-GULLS AND PELICANS—FISH—POOL OF BRINE—MEET NATIVES—TURN TO THE N.E.—COOPER'S CREEK TRIBE, THEIR KINDNESS AND APPEARANCE—ATTEMPT TO CROSS THE PLAINS— TURN BACK—PROCEED TO THE NORTHWARD—EFFECTS OF REFRACTION— FIND NATIVES AT OUR OLD CAMP AND THE STORES UNTOUCHED— COOPER'S CREEK, ITS GEOGRAPHICAL POSITION.

CHAPTER III CONTINUED DROUGHT—TERRIFIC EFFECT OF HOT WIND—THERMOMETER BURSTS—DEATH OF POOR BAWLEY—FIND THE STOCKADE DESERTED— LEAVE FORT GREY FOR THE DEPOT—DIFFERENCE OF SEASONS— MIGRATION OF BIRDS—HOT WINDS—EMBARRASSING POSITION— MR. BROWNE STARTS FOR FLOOD'S CREEK—THREE BULLOCKS SHOT— COMMENCEMENT OF THE RETREAT—ARRIVAL AT FLOOD'S CREEK—STATE OF VEGETATION—EFFECTS OF SCURVY—ARRIVE AT ROCKY GLEN— COMPARISON OF NATIVE TRIBES—HALT AT CARNAPAGA—ARRIVAL AT CAWNDILLA—REMOVAL TO THE DARLING—LEAVE THE DARLING—STATE OF THE RIVER—OPPRESSIVE HEAT—VISITED BY NADBUCK—ARRIVAL AT MOORUNDI.

CHAPTER IV REMARKS ON THE SEASON—DRY STATE OF THE ATMOSPHERE— THERMOMETRICAL OBSERVATIONS—WINDS IN THE INTERIOR—DIRECTION OF THE RANGES—GEOLOGICAL OBSERVATIONS—NON-EXISTENCE OF ANY CENTRAL CHAIN—PROBABLE COURSE OF THE STONY DESERT—WHETHER CONNECTED WITH LAKE TORRENS—OPINIONS OF CAPTAIN FLINDERS— NO INFORMATION DERIVED FROM THE NATIVES—THE NATIVES—THEIR PERSONAL APPEARANCE—DISPROPORTION BETWEEN THE SEXES—THE WOMEN—CUSTOMS OF THE NATIVES—THEIR HABITATIONS—FOOD— LANGUAGE—CONCLUSION.

AN ACCOUNT OF THE SEA COAST AND INTERIOR OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA; WITH OBSERVATIONS ON VARIOUS SUBJECTS CONNECTED WITH ITS INTERESTS.

CHAPTER I DUTIES OF AN EXPLORER—GEOGRAPHICAL POSITION OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA—DESCRIPTION OF ITS COAST LINE—SEA MOUTH OF THE MURRAY—ENTERED BY MR. PULLEN—RISK OF THE ATTEMPT— BEACHING—ROSETTA HARBOUR—VICTOR HARBOUR—NEPEAN BAY— KANGAROO ISLAND—KINGSCOTE—CAPT. LEE'S INSTRUCTIONS FOR PORT ADELAIDE—PORT ADELAIDE—REMOVAL TO THE NORTH ARM— HARBOUR MASTER'S REPORT—YORKE'S PENINSULA—PORT LINCOLN— CAPT. LEE'S INSTRUCTIONS—BOSTON ISLAND—BOSTON BAY— COFFIN'S BAY—MR. CAMERON SENT ALONG THE COAST—HIS REPORT— POSITION OF PORT ADELAIDE.

CHAPTER II PLAINS OF ADELAIDE—BRIDGES OVER THE TORRENS—SITE OF ADELAIDE—GOVERNMENT HOUSE BUILDINGS AND CHURCHES—SCHOOLS— POLICE—ROADS—THE GAWLER—BAROSSA RANGE—THE MURRAY BELT— MOORUNDI—NATIVES ON THE MURRAY—DISTANT STOCK STATIONS— MOUNT GAMBIER DISTRICT—ITS RICHNESS—ASCENT TO MOUNT LOFTY— MOUNT BARKER DISTRICT—SCENE IN HINDMARSH VALLEY—PROPORTION OF SOIL IN THE PROVINCE—PASTORAL AND AGRICULTURAL— PORT LINCOLN—CLIMATE OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA—RANGE OF THE THERMOMETER—SALUBRITY.

CHAPTER III SEASONS—CAUSE WHY SOUTH AUSTRALIA HAS FINE GRAIN—EXTENT OF CULTIVATION—AMOUNT OF STOCK—THE BURRA-BURRA MINE—ITS MAGNITUDE—ABUNDANCE OF MINERALS—ABSENCE OF COAL—SMELTING ORE—IMMENSE PROFITS OF THE BURRA-BURRA—EFFECT OF THE MINES ON THE LABOUR MARKET—RELUCTANCE OF THE LOWER ORDERS TO EMIGRATE—DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CANADA AND AUSTRALIA—THE AUSTRALIAN COLONIES—STATE OF SOCIETY—THE MIDDLE CLASSES— THE SQUATTERS—THE GERMANS—THE NATIVES—AUTHOR'S INTERVIEWS WITH THEM—INSTANCES OF JUST FEELING—THEIR BAD QUALITIES— PERSONAL APPEARANCE—YOUNG SETTLERS ON THE MURRAY— CONCLUSION.

MR. KENNEDY'S SURVEY OF THE RIVER VICTORIA

APPENDIX

ANIMALS BIRDS NO. I. LIST OF SPECIMENS, AND THE NAMES OF THE VARIOUS ROCKS, COLLECTED DURING THE EXPEDITION NO. II. LOCALITIES OF THE DIFFERENT GEOLOGICAL SPECIMENS, COLLECTED BY THE CENTRAL AUSTRALIAN EXPEDITION BOTANICAL APPENDIX, BY R. BROWN, ESQ., D.C.L., F.R.S., F.L.S, &C.



PLATES TO VOLUME II.

View from Stanley's Range Native Grave Cooper's Creek Geophaps plumifera Strzelecki's Creek Mr. Eyre's House at Moorundi Piesse's Knob King William Street, Adelaide Port Adelaide Mount Bryan Murray River Cinclosoma Cinnamoneus



ERRATA

Errata have been corrected. Original text has been placed in the eBook between braces{}.

* * * * * * *



VOLUME I



PREFACE.



The prominent part I have taken in the furtherance of Geographical Discovery on the Australian continent, and the attention, it will naturally be supposed, I have paid to the subject generally, will lead the reader perhaps to expect that I should, at the commencement of a work such as this, put him in possession of all the facts, with which I myself am acquainted, as to the character of those portions of it, which had been explored, before I commenced my recent labours. This may reasonably be expected from me by my readers, not only to enable them to follow me into the heartless desert from which, it may still be said, I have so lately returned, with that distinctness which can alone secure interest to my narrative; but, also, to judge whether the conclusions at which I arrived, and upon which I acted, were such as past experience ought to have led me to adopt.

It has struck me forcibly that such information would undoubtedly be desirable, not only to render my own details clearer, but to explain my views, since I should exceedingly regret that any imputation of rashness or inconsistency were laid to my charge; or if it was thought, I had volunteered hazardous and important undertakings, for the love of adventure alone.

The field of Ambition, professionally speaking, is closed upon the soldier during the period of his service in New South Wales. Had it been otherwise, however, no more honourable a one could have been open to me, when I landed on its shores in 1826, than the field of Discovery. I sought and entered upon it, not without a feeling of ambition I am ready to admit, for that feeling should ever pervade the breast of a soldier, but also with an earnest desire to promote the public good, and certainly without the hope of any other reward than the credit due to successful enterprise. I pretend not to science, but I am a lover of it; and to my own exertions, during past years of military repose, I owe the little knowledge I possess of those branches of it, which have since been so useful to me.

It will not be deemed presumptuous in me, I trust, to express a belief that the majority of my readers will find much to interest them in the perusal of this work; which I publish for several reasons—firstly, in the hope, that a knowledge of the extremities to which I was driven, and of the unusual expedients to which I was obliged to resort, in order to save myself and my companions from perishing, may benefit those who shall hereafter follow my example; secondly, that as I published an account of my former services, my failing to do so in the present instance might be taken as evidence that I lacked the moral firmness which enables men to meet both success and defeat with equal self-possession; and thirdly, because, I think the public has a right to demand information from those, who, like myself, have been employed in the advancement of geographical knowledge. I propose, therefore, to devote my preliminary chapter to a short review of previous Expeditions of Discovery on the Australian continent, and so to lay down its internal features, that my friends shall not lose their way.

I propose, also, to give an account of the state of South Australia when I left it in May last, for, as the expedition whose proceedings form the subject matter of these volumes, departed from and returned to that Province, such an account appears to me a fitting sequel to my narrative.



TRAVELS IN AUSTRALIA



CHAPTER I.



CHARACTER OF THE AUSTRALIAN CONTINENT—OF ITS RIVERS—PECULIARITY OF THE DARLING—SUDDEN FLOODS TO WHICH IT IS SUBJECT—CHARACTER OF THE MURRAY —ITS PERIODICAL RISE—BOUNTY OF PROVIDENCE—GEOLOGICAL POSITION OF THE TWO RIVERS—OBSERVATIONS—RESULTS—SIR THOMAS MITCHELL'S JOURNEY TO THE DARLING—ITS JUNCTION WITH THE MURRAY—ANECDOTE OF MR. SHANNON—CAPTAIN GREY'S EXPEDITION—CAPTAIN STURT'S JOURNEY—MR. EYRE'S SECOND EXPEDITION—VOYAGE OF THE BEAGLE—MR. OXLEY'S OPINIONS—STATE OF THE INTERIOR IN 1828—CHARACTER OF ITS PLAINS AND RIVERS—JUNCTION OF THE DARLING—FOSSIL BED OF THE MURRAY—FORMER STATE OF THE CONTINENT—THEORY OF THE INTERIOR.

The Australian continent is not distinguished, as are many other continents of equal and even of less extent, by any prominent geographical feature. Its mountains seldom exceed four thousand feet in elevation, nor do any of its rivers, whether falling internally or externally, not even the Murray, bear any proportion to the size of the continent itself. There is no reason, however, why rivers of greater magnitude, than any which have hitherto been discovered in it, should not emanate from mountains of such limited altitude, as the known mountains of that immense and sea-girt territory. But, it appears to me, it is not in the height and character of its hilly regions, that we are to look for the causes why so few living streams issue from them. The true cause, I apprehend, lies in its climate, in its seldom experiencing other than partial rains, and in its being subject to severe and long continued droughts. Its streams descend rapidly into a country of uniform equality of surface, and into a region of intense heat, and are subject, even at a great distance from their sources, to sudden and terrific floods, which subside, as the cause which gave rise to them ceases to operate; the consequence is, that their springs become gradually weaker and weaker, all back impulse is lost, and whilst the rivers still continue to support a feeble current in the hills, they cease to flow in their lower branches, assume the character of a chain of ponds, in a few short weeks their deepest pools are exhausted by the joint effects of evaporation and absorption, and the traveller may run down their beds for miles, without finding a drop of water with which to slake his thirst.

In illustration of the above, I would observe that during the progress of the recent expedition up the banks of the Darling, and at a distance of more than 300 miles from its sources, that river rose from a state of complete exhaustion, until in four days it overflowed its banks. It was converted in a single night, from an almost dry channel, into a foaming and impetuous stream, rolling along its irresistible and turbid waters, to add to those of the Murray.

There can be no doubt, but, that this sudden rise in the river, was caused by heavy rains on the mountains, in which its tributaries are to be found, for the Darling does not receive any accession to its waters below their respective junctions, of sufficient magnitude to account for such an occurrence. [Note 1. below]

[Note 1. The principal tributaries of the Darling, are the Kindur, the Keraula, the Namoy, and the Gwydir. They are beautiful mountain streams, and rise in the hilly country, behind Moreton Bay, in lat. 27 degrees, and in longitude 152 degrees E.]

When, on the return of the expedition homewards the following year, some two months later in the season than that of which I have just been speaking, Oct. 1844, there had been no recurrence of the flood of the previous year, but the Darling was at a still lower ebb than before, and every lagoon, and creek in its vicinity had long been exhausted and waterless. [Note 2. below] Now, it is evident, as far as I can judge, that if the rains of Australia were as regular as in other countries, its rivers would also be more regular in their flow, and would not present the anomaly they now do, of being in a state of rapid motion at one time, and motionless at another.

[Note 2. It may be necessary to warn my readers that a creek in the Australian colonies, is not always an arm of the sea. The same term is used to designate a watercourse, whether large or small, in which the winter torrents may or may not have left a chain of ponds. Such a watercourse could hardly be called a river, since it only flows during heavy rains, after which it entirely depends on the character of the soil, through which it runs, whether any water remains in it or not.]

A lagoon is a shallow lake, it generally constitutes the back water of some river, and is speedily dried up. In Australia, there is no surface water, properly so called, of a permanent description.]

But, although I am making these general observations on the rivers, and to a certain extent of climate of Australia, I would not be understood to mean more than that its seasons are uncertain, and that its summers are of comparatively long duration.

In reference to its rivers also, the Murray is an exception to the other known rivers of this extensive continent. The basins of that fine stream are in the deepest recesses of the Australian Alps—which rise to an elevation of 7000 feet above the sea. The heads of its immediate tributaries, extend from the 36th to the 32nd parallel of latitude, and over two degrees of longitude, that is to say, from the 146 degrees to the 148 degrees meridian, but, independently of these, it receives the whole westerly drainage of the interior, from the Darling downwards. Supplied by the melting snows from the remote and cloud-capped chain in which its tributaries rise, the Murray supports a rapid current to the sea. Taking its windings into account, its length cannot be less than from 1300 to 1500 miles. Thus, then, this noble stream preserves its character throughout its whole line. Uninfluenced by the sudden floods to which the other rivers of which we have been speaking are subject, its rise and fall are equally gradual. Instead of stopping short in its course as they do, its never-failing fountains have given it strength to cleave a channel through the desert interior, and so it happened, that, instead of finding it terminate in a stagnant marsh, or gradually exhausting itself over extensive plains as the more northern streams do, I was successfully borne on its broad and transparent waters, during the progress of a former expedition, to the centre of the land in which I have since erected my dwelling.

As I have had occasion to remark, the rise and fall of the Murray are both gradual. It receives the first addition to its waters from the eastward, in the month of July, and rises at the rate of an inch a day until December, in which month it attains a height of about seventeen feet above its lowest or winter level. As it rises it fills in succession all its lateral creeks and lagoons, and it ultimately lays many of its flats under water.

The natives look to this periodical overflow of their river, with as much anxiety as did ever or now do the Egyptians, to the overflowing of the Nile. To both they are the bountiful dispensation of a beneficent Creator, for as the sacred stream rewards the husbandman with a double harvest, so does the Murray replenish the exhausted reservoirs of the poor children of the desert, with numberless fish, and resuscitates myriads of crayfish that had laid dormant underground; without which supply of food, and the flocks of wild fowl that at the same time cover the creeks and lagoons, it is more than probable, the first navigators of the Murray would not have heard a human voice along its banks; but so it is, that in the wide field of nature, we see the hand of an over-ruling Providence, evidences of care and protection from some unseen quarter, which strike the mind with overwhelming conviction, that whether in the palace or in the cottage, in the garden, or in the desert, there is an eye upon us. Not to myself do I accord any credit in that I returned from my wanderings to my home. Assuredly, if it had not been for other guidance than the exercise of my own prudence, I should have perished: and I feel satisfied the reader of these humble pages, will think as I do when he shall have perused them.

An inspection of the accompanying chart, will shew that the course of the Murray, as far as the 138 degrees meridian is to the W.N.W., but that, at that point, it turns suddenly to the south, and discharges itself into Lake Victoria, which again communicates with the ocean, in the bight of Encounter Bay. This outlet is called the "Sea mouth of the Murray," and immediately to the eastward of it, is the Sand Hill, now called Barker's Knoll—under which the excellent and amiable officer after whom it is named fell by the hands of the natives, in the cause of geographical research.

Running parallel with its course from the southerly bend, or great N.W. angle of the Murray, there is a line of hills, terminating southwards, at Cape Jarvis; but, extending northwards beyond the head of Spencer's Gulf. These hills contain the mineral wealth of South Australia, and immediately to the westward of them is the fair city of Adelaide.

On gaining the level interior, the Murray passes through a desert country to the 140 degrees meridian, when it enters the great fossil formation, of which I shall have to speak hereafter. In lat. 34 degrees, and in long. 142 degrees, the Darling forms a junction with it; consequently, as that river rises in latitude 27 degrees, and in long. 152 degrees, its direct course will be about S.W. There is a distance of nine degrees of latitude, therefore, between their respective sources, and, as the Darling forms a considerable angle with the Murray at this junction, it necessarily follows, as I have had occasion to remark, that the two rivers must receive all the drainage from the eastward, falling into that angle. If I have been sufficiently clear in explaining the geographical position and character of these two rivers, which in truth almost make an island of the S.E. angle of the Australian continent, it will only remain for me to add in this place, that neither the Murray nor the Darling receive any tributary stream from the westward or northward, and at the time at which I commenced my last enterprise, the Darling was the boundary of inland discovery, if I except the journey of my gallant friend Eyre, to Lake Torrens, and the discovery by him of the country round Mount Serle. Sir Thomas Mitchell had traced the Darling, from the point at which I had been obliged from the want of good water to abandon it, in 1828, to lat. 32 degrees 26 minutes, and had marked down some hills to the westward of it. Still I do not think that I detract from his merit, and I am sure I do not wish to do so, when I say that his having so marked them can hardly be said to have given us any certain knowledge of the Cis-Darling interior.

More than sixteen years had elapsed from the period when I undertook the exploration of the Murray River, to that at which I commenced my preparations for an attempt to penetrate Central Australia. Desolate, however, as the country for the most part had been, through which I passed, my voyage down that river had been the forerunner of events I could neither have anticipated or foreseen. I returned indeed to Sydney, disheartened and dissatisfied at the result of my investigations. To all who were employed in that laborious undertaking, it had proved one of the severest trial and of the greatest privation; to myself individually it had been one of ceaseless anxiety. We had not, as it seemed, made any discovery to gild our enterprise, had found no approximate country likely to be of present or remote advantage to the Government by which we had been sent forth; the noble river on whose buoyant waters we were hurried along, seemed to have been misplaced, through such an extent of desert did it pass, as if it was destined thus never to be of service to civilized man, and for a short time the honour of a successful undertaking, as far as human exertion could ensure it, was all that remained to us after its fatigues and its dangers had terminated, as the reader will conclude from the tenour of the above passage; for, although at the termination of the Murray, we came upon a country, the aspect of which indicated more than usual richness and fertility, we were unable, from exhausted strength, to examine it as we could have wished, and thus the fruits of our labours appeared to have been taken from us, just as we were about to gather them. But if, amidst difficulties and disappointments of no common description, I was led to doubt the wisdom of Providence, I was wrong. The course of events has abundantly shewn how presumptuous it is in man to question the arrangements of that Allwise Power whose operations and purposes are equally hidden from us, for in six short years from the time when I crossed the Lake Victoria, and landed on its shores, that country formed another link in the chain of settlements round the Australian continent, and in its occupation was found to realize the most sanguine expectations I had formed of it. Its rich and lovely valleys, which in a state of nature were seldom trodden by the foot of the savage, became the happy retreats of an industrious peasantry; its plains were studded over with cottages and corn-fields; the very river which had appeared to me to have been so misplaced, was made the high road to connect the eastern and southern shores of a mighty continent; the superfluous stock of an old colony was poured down its banks into the new settlement to save it from the trials and vicissitudes to which colonies, less favourably situated, have been exposed; and England, throughout her wide domains, possessed not, for its extent, a fairer or a more promising dependency than the province of South Australia. Such, there can be no doubt, have been the results of an expedition from which human foresight could have anticipated no practical good.

During my progress down the Murray River I had passed the junction of a very considerable stream with it [Note 3. The Darling], in lat. 34 degrees 8 minutes and long. 142 degrees. Circumstances, however, prevented my examining it to any distance above its point of union with the main river. Yet, coming as it did, direct from the north, and similar as it was to the Darling in its upper branches, neither had I, nor any of the men then with me, and who had accompanied me when I discovered the Darling in 1828, the slightest doubt as to its identity. Still, the fact might reasonably be disputed by others, more especially as there was abundant space for the formation of another river, between the point where I first struck the Darling and this junction.

It was at all events a matter of curious speculation to the world at large, and was a point well worthy of further investigation. Such evidently was the opinion of her Majesty's Government at the time, for in accordance with it, in the year 1835, Sir Thomas Mitchell, the Surveyor-General of the colony of New South Wales, was directed to lead an expedition into the interior, to solve the question, by tracing the further course of the Darling. This officer left Sydney in May, 1835, and pushing to the N.W. gradually descended to the low country on which the Macquarie river all but terminates its short course. In due time he gained the Bogan river (the New Year's Creek of my first expedition, and so called by my friend, Mr. Hamilton Hume, who accompanied me as my assistant, because he crossed it on that day), and tracing it downwards to the N. W., Sir Thomas Mitchell ultimately gained the banks of the Darling, where I had before been upon it, in latitude 30 degrees. He then traced it downwards to the W.S.W {S.S.W. in published text} to latitude 32 degrees 26 seconds. At this point he determined to abandon all further pursuit of the river, and he accordingly returned to Sydney, in consequence, as he informs us, of his having ascertained that just below his camp a small stream joined the Darling from the westward. The Surveyor-General had noticed distant hills also to the west; and it is therefore to be presumed that he here gave up every hope of the Darling changing its course for the interior, and of proving that I was wrong and that he was right. The consequence, however, was, that he left the matter as much in doubt as before, and gained but little additional knowledge of the country to the westward of the river.

In the course of the following year Sir Thomas Mitchell was again sent into the interior to complete the survey of the Darling. On this occasion, instead of proceeding to the point at which he had abandoned it, the Surveyor-General followed the course of the Lachlan downwards, and crossing from that river to the Murrumbidgee, from it gained the banks of the Murray. In due time he came to the disputed junction, which he tells us he recognised from its resemblance to a drawing of it in my first work. As I have since been on the spot, I am sorry to say that it is not at all like the place, because it obliges me to reject the only praise Sir Thomas Mitchell ever gave me; but I mention the circumstance because it gives me the opportunity to relate an anecdote, connected with the drawing, in which my worthy and amiable friend, Mr. Shannon, a clergyman of Edinburgh, and a very popular preacher there, but who is now no more, took a chief part. I had lost the original drawing of the junction of the Murray, and having very imperfect vision at the time I was publishing, I was unable to sketch another. It so happened that Mr. Shannon, who sketched exceedingly well with the pen, came to pay me a visit, when I asked him to try and repair my loss, by drawing the junction of the Darling with the Murray from my description. This he did, and this is the view Sir Thomas Mitchell so much approved. I take no credit to myself for faithfulness of description, for the features of the scene are so broad, that I could not but view them on my memory; but I give great credit to my poor friend, who delineated the spot, so as that it was so easily recognised. It only shews how exceedingly useful such things are in books, for if Sir Thomas Mitchell had not so recognised the view, he might have doubted whether that was really the junction of the Darling or not, for he had well nigh fallen into the mistake of thinking that he had discovered another river, when he came upon the Darling the year before, and had as much difficulty in finding a marked tree of Mr. Hume's upon its banks, as if it had been a needle in a bundle of straw. Fortunately, however, the Surveyor-General was enabled to satisfy himself as to this locality, and he accordingly left the Murray, and traced the junction upwards to the north for more than eight miles, when he was suddenly illuminated. A ray of light fell upon him, and he became convinced, as I had been, of the identity of this stream with the Darling, and suddenly turning his back upon it, left the question as much in the dark as before. Neither did he therefore on this occasion, throw any light on the nature and character of the distantinterior.

In the year 1837 the Royal Geographical Society, assisted by Her Majesty's Government, despatched an expedition under the command of Lieuts. afterwards Captains Grey and Lushington—the former of whom has since been Governor of South Australia, and is at the present moment Governor in Chief of New Zealand—to penetrate into the interior of the Australian continent from some point on the north-west or west coast; but those gentlemen were unable to effect such object. The difficulties of the country were very great, and their means of transport extremely limited; and in consequence of successive untoward events they were ultimately obliged to abandon the enterprise, without any satisfactory result. But I should be doing injustice to those officers, more particularly to Captain Grey, if I did not state that he shewed a degree of enthusiasm and courage that deserve the highest praise.

As, however, both Sir Thomas Mitchell and Capt. Grey [Note 4. Journals of Expeditions of Discovery in North-West and Western Australia, during the years 1837-8-9, by Captain George Grey.] have published accounts of their respective expeditions, it may not be necessary for me to notice them, beyond that which may be required to connect my narrative and to keep unbroken the chain of geographical research upon the continent.

In the year 1838, I myself determined on leading a party overland from New South Wales to South Australia, along the banks of the Murray; a journey that had already been successfully performed by several of my friends, and among the rest by Mr. Eyre. They had, however, avoided the upper branches of the Murray, and particularly the Hume, by which name the Murray itself is known above the junction of the Murrumbidgee with it. Wishing therefore to combine geographical research with my private undertaking, I commenced my journey at the ford where the road crosses the Hume to Port Phillip, and in so doing connected the whole of the waters of the south-east angle of the Australian continent.

In this instance, however, as in those to which I have already alluded, no progress was made in advancing our knowledge of the more central parts of the continent.

In the year 1839 Mr. Eyre, now Lieutenant-Governor of New Zealand, fitted out an expedition, and under the influence of the most praiseworthy ambition, tried to penetrate into the interior from Mount Arden; but, having descended into the basin of Lake Torrens, he was baffled at every point. Turning, therefore, from that inhospitable region, he went to Port Lincoln, from whence he proceeded along the line of the south coast to Fowler's Bay, the western limit of the province of South Australia.

He then determined on one of those bold movements, which characterise all his enterprises, and leaving the coast, struck away to the N.E. for Mount Arden along the Gawler Range; but the view from the summit of that rugged line of hills, threw darkness only on the view he obtained of the distant interior, and he returned to Adelaide without having penetrated further north than 29 degrees 30 minutes, notwithstanding the unconquerable perseverance and energy he had displayed.

In the following year, the colonists of South Australia, with the assistance of the local government, raised funds to equip another expedition to penetrate to the centre of the continent, the command of which was entrusted to the same dauntless officer. On the morning on which he was to take his departure, from the fair city of Adelaide, Colonel Gawler, the Governor, gave a breakfast, to which he invited most of the public officers and a number of the colonists, that they might have the opportunity of thus collectively bidding adieu to one who had already exerted himself so much for the public good.

Few, who were present at that breakfast will ever forget it, and few who were there present, will refuse to Colonel Gawler the mead of praise due to him, for the display on that occasion of the most liberal and generous feelings. It was an occasion on which the best and noblest sympathies of the heart were roused into play, and a scene during which many a bright eye was dim through tears.

Some young ladies of the colony, amongst whom were Miss Hindmarsh and Miss Lepson, the one the daughter of the first Governor of the province, the other of the Harbour-master, had worked a silken union to present to Mr. Eyre, to be unfurled by him in the centre of the continent, if Providence should so far prosper his undertaking, and it fell to my lot, at the head of that fair company, to deliver it to him.

When that ceremony was ended, prayers were read by the Colonial Chaplain, after which Mr. Eyre mounted his horse, and escorted by a number of his friends, himself commenced a journey of almost unparalleled difficulty and privation [Note 5. Journals of Expeditions of Discovery into Central Australia, and Overland from Adelaide to King George's Sound, in the years 1840 and 41, by E. J. Eyre, Esq.]—a journey, which, although not successful in its primary objects, yet established the startling fact, that there is not a single watercourse to be found on the South coast of Australia, from Port Lincoln to King George's Sound, a distance of more than 1500 miles. To what point then, let me ask, does the drainage of the interior set? It is a question of deep interest to all—a question bearing strongly on my recent investigations, and one that, in connection with established facts, will, I think, enable the reader to draw a reasonable conclusion, as to the probable character of the country, which is hid from our view by the adamantine wall which encircles the great Australian bight.

On this long and remarkable journey, Mr. Eyre again found it impossible to penetrate to the north, but steadily advancing to the westward, he ultimately reached the confines of Western Australia, with one native boy, and one horse only. Neither, however, did this tremendous undertaking throw any light on the distant interior, and thus it almost appeared that its recesses were never to be entered by civilized man.

From this time neither the government of South Australia, or that of New South Wales, made any further effort to push geographical inquiry, and all interest in it appeared to have past away.

It remains for me to observe, however, that, whilst these attempts were being made to prosecute inland discovery, Her Majesty's naval service was actively employed upon the coast. Captain Wickham, in command of the Beagle, was carrying on a minute survey of the intertropical shores of the continent, which led to the discovery of two considerable rivers, the Victoria and the Albert, the one situated in lat. 14 degrees 26 minutes S. and long. 129 {139 in published text} degrees 22 minutes E., the other in lat. 17 degrees 35 minutes and long. 139 degrees 54 minutes; but in tracing these up to lat. 15 degrees 30 minutes and 17 degrees 58 minutes, and long. 130 degrees 50 minutes and 139 degrees 28 minutes respectively, no elevated mountains were seen, nor was any opening discovered into the interior. Captain Wickham having retired, the command of the Beagle devolved on Lieut. now Captain Stokes, to whose searching eye the whole of the coast was more or less subjected, and who approached nearer to the centre than any one had ever done before [Note 6. below], but still no light was thrown on that hidden region; and the efforts which had been made both on land and by water, were, strictly speaking, unsuccessful, to push to any conclusive distance from the settled districts on the one hand, or from the coast into the interior on the other. Reasoning was lost in conjecture, and men, even those most interested in it, ceased to talk on the subject.

[Note 6. Discoveries in Australia, and Expeditions into the Interior, surveyed during the Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle, between the years 1837 and 43, by Captain J. Lort Stokes.]

It may not be of any moment to the public to be made acquainted with the cause which led me, after a repose of more than fourteen years, to seek the field of discovery once more. It will be readily admitted, that from the part, as I have observed in my preface, which I had ever taken in the progress of Geographical Discovery on the Australian continent, I must have been deeply interested in its further developement.

I had adopted an impression, that this immense tract of land had formerly been an archipelago of islands, and that the apparently boundless plains into which I had descended on my former expeditions, were, or rather had been, the sea-beds of the channels, which at that time separated one island from the other; it was impossible, indeed, to traverse them as I had done, and not feel convinced that they had at one period or the other been covered by the waters of the sea. It naturally struck me, that if I was correct in this conjecture, the difficulty or facility with which the interior might be penetrated, would entirely depend on the breadth and extent of these once submarine plains, which in such case would now separate the available parts of the continent from each another, as when covered with water they formerly separated the islands. This hypothesis, if I may so call it, was based on observations which, however erroneous they may appear to be, were made with an earnest desire on my part to throw some light on the apparently anomalous structure of the Australian interior. No one could have watched the changes of the country through which he passed, with more attention than did I—not only from a natural curiosity, but from an anxious desire to acquit myself to the satisfaction of the Government by which I was employed.

When Mr. Oxley, the first Surveyor-General of New South Wales, a man of acknowledged ability and merit, pushed his investigations into the interior of that country, by tracing down the rivers Lachlan and Macquarie, he was checked in his progress westward by marshes of great extent, beyond which he could not see any land. He was therefore led to infer that the interior, to a certain extent, was occupied by a shoal sea, of which the marshes were the borders, and into which the rivers he had been tracing discharged themselves.

My friend, Mr. Allan Cunningham, who was for several years resident in New South Wales, and who made frequent journeys into the interior of the continent as botanist to his late Majesty King George IV. and who also accompanied Captain P. P. King, during his survey of its intertropical regions, if he did not accompany Mr. Oxley also on one of his expeditions, strongly advocated the hypothesis of that last-mentioned officer; but as Mr. Cunningham kept on high ground on his subsequent excursions, he could not on such occasions form a correct opinion as to the nature of the country below him. His impressions were however much influenced by the observations made by Captain King in Cambridge Gulf, the water of which was so much discoloured, as to lead that intelligent and careful officer to conclude, that it might prove to be the outlet of the waters of the interior, and hence a strong opinion obtained, that the dip of the continent was in the direction of that great inlet, or to the W. N. W. I therefore commenced my investigations, under an impression that I should be led to that point, in tracing down any river I might discover, and that sooner or later I should be stopped by a large body of inland waters. I descended rapidly from the Blue Mountains, into a level and depressed interior, so level indeed, that an altitude of the sun, taken on the horizon, on several occasions, approximated very nearly to the truth. The circumference of that horizon was unbroken, save where an isolated hill rose above it, and looked like an island in the ocean.

When I reached the point at which Mr. Oxley had been checked, I found the Macquarie, not "running bank high," as he describes it, but almost dry; and although ten years had passed since his visit to this distant spot, the grass had not yet grown over the foot-path, leading from his camp to the river; nor had a horse-shoe that was found by one of the men lost its polish. In this locality there are two hills, to which Mr. Oxley gave the names of Mount Harris and Mount Foster, distant from each other about five miles, on a bearing of 45 degrees to the west of south. Of these two hills Mount Foster is the highest and the nearest, and as the Macquarie runs between them to the westward, it must also be closer than Mount Harris to the marshes. I therefore naturally looked for any discovery that was to be made from Mount Foster, and I according ascended that hill just as the sun was setting. I looked in vain however for the region of reeds and of water, which Mr. Oxley had seen to the westward; so different in character were the seasons, and the state of the country at the different periods in which the Surveyor-General and I visited it. From the highest point I could gain I watched the sun descend; but I looked in vain for the glittering of a sea beneath him, nor did the sky assume that glare from reflected light which would have accompanied his setting behind a mass of waters. I could discover nothing to intercept me in my course. I saw, it is true, a depressed and dark region in the line of the direction in which I was about to go. The terrestrial line met the horizon with a sharp and even edge, but I saw nothing to stay my progress, or to damp my hopes. As I had observed the country from Mount Foster, so I found it to be when I advanced into it. I experienced little difficulty therefore in passing the marshes of the Macquarie, and in pursuing my course to the N. W. traversed plains of great extent, until at length I gained the banks of the Darling, in lat. 30 degrees. S. and in long. 146 degrees. E. This river, instead of flowing to the N. W. led me to the S. W.; but I was ultimately obliged to abandon it in consequence of the saltness of its waters. I could not, however, fail to observe that the plains over which I had wandered were wholly deficient in timber of any magnitude or apparently of any age, excepting the trees which grew along the line of the rivers; that the soil of the plains was sandy, and the productions almost exclusively salsolaceous. Their extreme depression, indeed their general level, since they were not more than 250 or 300 feet above the level of the sea, together with their general aspect, instinctively, as it were, led the mind to the conviction that they had, at a comparatively recent period, been covered by the ocean. On my return to the Blue Mountains, and on a closer examination of the streams falling from them into the interior, I observed that at a certain point, and that too nearly on the same meridian, they lost their character as rivers, and soon after gaining the level interior, terminated in marshes of greater or less extent; and I further remarked that at certain points, and that too where the channels of the rivers seemed to change, certain trees, as the swamp oak, casuarina, and others ceased, or were sparingly to be found on the lower country—a fact that may not be of any great importance in itself, but which it is still as well to record. The field, however, over which I wandered on this occasion was too limited to enable me to draw any conclusions applicable to so large a tract of land as the Australian continent. On this, my first expedition, I struck the Darling River twice, 1st, as I have stated in latitude 30 degrees S. and in long. 146 degrees; and seconndly, in lat. 30 degrees 10 minutes 0 seconds S., and in long. 147 degrees 30 minutes E. From neither of these points was any elevation visible to the westward of that river, but plains similar to those by which I had approached it continued beyond the range of vision or telescope from the highest trees we could ascend; beyond the Darling, therefore, all was conjecture.

At the close of the year 1829, I was again sent into the interior to trace its streams and to ascertain the further course of the Darling. I proceeded on this occasion to the south of Sydney, and intersecting the Murrumbidgee, a river at that time but little known, but which Mr. Hume had crossed, in lat. 35 degrees 10 minutes, and long. 147 degrees 28 minutes 30 seconds E., on his journey to the south coast, at a very early period of discovery, and which thereabouts is a clear, rapid and beautiful stream. I traced it downwards to the west to lat. 34 degrees 44 minutes, and to long. 143 degrees 5 minutes 0 seconds E. or thereabouts, having taken to my boats a few miles above the junction of the Lachlan with it, in lat. 34 degrees 25 minutes 0 seconds and in long. 144 degrees 3 minutes E.; having at that point left all high lands 200 miles behind me, and being then in a low and depressed country, precisely similar to that over which I had crossed the previous year. As on the first expedition, so on the present one, I descended rapidly into a country of general equality of surface; reeds grew in extensive patches along the line of the river, but beyond them sandy plains extended, covered with salsolae of various kinds. From the Murrumbidgee, I passed into the Murray, the largest known river in Australia, unless one of greater magnitude has recently been discovered by Sir Thomas Mitchell to the north.

In lat. 34 degrees and in long. 142 degrees, I arrived, (as I have already had occasion to inform my readers), at the junction of a very considerable stream with the Murray. At this point, being then 200 miles distant from the south coast in a direct line, I was less than 100 feet above the level of the sea; circumstances prevented my examining this new river however for many miles above its junction with the main stream, but coming, as I have elsewhere remarked, direct from the north, and possessing, as it did, all the character and appearance of the Upper Darling, I had no doubt as to its identity; in which case no stronger fact could have been adduced to prove the southerly fall or dip of the interior as far as it had been explored. Proceeding down the Murray, I reached at length the commencement of the great fossil formation, through which that river flows. This immense bed rose gradually before me as I pushed to the westward, until it gained an elevation of from 2 to 250 feet, but on my turning southward, it presented an horizontal and undulating surface, until at the point at which the river enters the Lake Victoria, it suddenly dipped and ceased. The lower part of this formation was entirely composed of Serritullae, but every description of shell with the bones and teeth of sharks and other animals, have subsequently been found in the upper parts of the bed, the summit of which is in many places covered with oyster shells so little changed by time, as to appear as if they had only just been thrown in a heap on the ground they occupy.

The general appearance of the country through which I had passed, and the numerous deposits of fine sand upon the face of it, like sea dunes, still more convinced me, that, when the events which had produced such a change in the physical structure of the continent took place, a current of some description or other must have swept over the interior from the northward; and that this current had deposited the great fossil bed where it now rests; for I cannot conceive that such a mass and mixture of animal remains could have been heaped together in any other way. From the outline of this bed, it struck me that some natural obstacle or other had checked the detritus, brought down by the current, as sand and gravel are checked and accumulated against a log or other impediment athwart a stream, presenting a gradual ascent on the side next the current and a sudden fall on the other. Such, in truth, is the apparent form of the great fossil bed of the Murray. This idea, which struck me as I journeyed down the river, was strengthened, when at a lower part of it I observed a ridge of coarse red granite, running across the channel of the river, and disappearing under the fossil formation on either side of it. It appeared to me to be probable that this ridge of granite might rise higher in other places, and that stretching across the current as it did, that is to say from west to east, the great accumulation of fossil and other remains had been gradually deposited against it, forming a gradual ascent on the northern side of the ridge, and a precipitous fall upon the other.

I have already observed that at a particular point the rivers of the interior, which I had traced on my first expedition, appeared to lose their character as such, and that they soon afterwards ceased in some extensive marsh, the evaporation and absorption over such extensive surfaces being greater than the supply of water they received. This point is about 250 or 300 feet above the level of the sea, and if we draw a line eastward, from the summit of the fossil formation, and prolong it to the western base of the Blue Mountains, we shall find that it will pass over the marshes of the several rivers falling into the interior, and will strike these rivers where their channels appear to fail, as if that had been the former sea-level.

The impressions I have on this interesting subject are clear enough in my own mind, but they are difficult to explain, and I fear I have but ill expressed myself so as to be understood by my readers. I only wish however to record my own ideas, and if I am in error in any particular, I shall thank any one of the many who are better versed in these matters than myself to correct me.

I have stated in a former part of this chapter, that I undertook a journey to South Australia in 1838. I advert to the circumstance again because it is connected with the present inquiry. After I had turned the north-west angle of the Murray, and had proceeded southwards to latitude 34 degrees 26 minutes (Moorundi), where Mr. Eyre has built a residence, I turned from the river to the westward, along the summit of the fossil formation, which, at the distance of a few miles, was succeeded by sandstone, and this rock again, as we gained the hills, by a fine slate, and this again, as we crossed the Mount Barker and Mount Lofty ranges, by a succession of igneous rocks, of a character and form such as could not but betray to a less experienced geologist even than myself the abundant mineral veins they contained. On descending to the plains of Adelaide I again crossed sandstone, and to my surprise discovered that the city of Adelaide stood on the same kind of fossil formation I had left behind me on the banks of the Murray, and it was on the discovery of this fact that the probability of the Australian continent having once been an archipelago of islands first occurred to me.

A more intimate acquaintance with the opinions of Flinders, as to the probable character of the interior of the continent, from the character and appearance of the coast along the Great Australian Bight; the information I have collected as to the extent of the fossil bed, and my own past experience, have led me to the following general conclusions. That the continent of Australia has been subjected to great changes from subigneous agency, and that it has been bodily raised, if I may so express myself, to its present level above the sea; that, as far as we can judge, the north and N.E. portions of the continent are higher than the southern or S.W. parts of it, and that there has consequently been a current or rush of waters, from the one point to the other—that this current was divided in its progress into two branches, by hills, or some other intervening obstacle, and that one branch of it, following the line of the Darling, discharged itself into the sea, through the opening between the western shores of Encounter Bay and Cape Bernouilli; that the other, taking a more westerly direction, escaped through the Great Australian Bight. From what I could judge, the desert I traversed is about the breadth of that remarkable line of coast, and I am inclined to think that it (the desert) retains its breadth the whole way, as it comes gradually round to the south, thus forming a double curve, from the Gulf of Carpentaria, on the N.E. angle of the continent, to the Great Bight on its south-west coast; but my readers will, as they advance into my narrative, see the grounds upon which I have rested these ideas. If such an hypothesis is correct, it necessarily follows, that the north and north-west coasts of the Continent were once separated from the south and east coasts by water; and as I have stated my impression that the current from the north, passed through vast openings, both to the eastward and westward of the province of South Australia, it as necessarily follows, that that province must also have been an island. I hope it will be understood that I started with the supposition that the continent of Australia was formerly an archipelago of islands, but that some convulsion, by which the central land has been raised, has caused the changes I have suggested. It was still a matter of conjecture what the real character of Central Australia really was, for its depths had been but superficially explored before my recent attempt. My own opinion, when I commenced my last expedition, inclined me to the belief, and perhaps this opinion was fostered by the hope that such would prove to be the case, as well as by the reports of the distant natives, which invariably went to confirm it, that the interior was occupied by a sea of greater or less extent, and very probably by large tracts of desert country.

With such a conviction I commenced my recent labours, although I was not prepared for the extent of desert I encountered—with such a conviction I returned to the abodes of civilized man. I am still of opinion that there is more than one sea in the interior of the Australian continent, but such may not be the case. All I can say is, Would that I had discovered such a feature, for I could then have done more upon its waters tenfold, than I was enabled to accomplish in the gloomy and burning deserts over which I wandered during more than thirteen months. My readers, however, will judge for themselves as to the probable correctness of my views, and also as to the probable character of the yet unexplored interior, from the data the following pages will supply. I have recorded my own impressions with great diffidence, claiming no more credit than may attach to an earnest desire to make myself useful, and to further geographical research. My desire is faithfully to record my own feelings and impulses under peculiar embarrassments, and as faithfully to describe the country over which I wandered.

My career as an explorer has probably terminated for ever, and only in the cause of humanity, had any untoward event called for my exertions, would I again have left my home. I wish not to hide from my readers the disappointment, if such a word can express the feeling, with which I turned my back upon the centre of Australia, after having so nearly gained it; but that was an achievement I was not permitted to accomplish.



CHAPTER II.



PREPARATIONS FOR DEPARTURE—ARRIVAL AT MOORUNDI—NATIVE GUIDES—NAMES OF THE PARTY—SIR JOHN BARROW'S MINUTE—REPORTS OF LAIDLEY'S PONDS—CLIMATE OF THE MURRAY—PROGRESS UP THE RIVER—ARRIVAL AT LAKE BONNEY—GRASSY PLAINS—CAMBOLI'S HOME—TRAGICAL EVENTS IN THAT NEIGHBOURHOOD—PULCANTI— ARRIVAL AT THE RUFUS—VISIT TO THE NATIVE FAMILIES—RETURN OF MR. EYRE TO MOORUNDI—DEPARTURE OF MR. BROWNE TO THE EASTWARD.

Entertaining the views I have explained in my last chapter, I wrote in January, 1843, to Lord Stanley, at that time Her Majesty's principal Secretary of State for the Colonies, tendering my services to lead an expedition from South Australia into the interior of the Australian continent. As I was personally unknown to Lord Stanley, I wrote at the same time to Sir Ralph Darling, under whose auspices I had first commenced my career as an explorer, to ask his advice on so important an occasion. Immediately on the receipt of my letter, Sir Ralph addressed a communication to the Secretary of State, in terms that induced his Lordship to avail himself of my offer.

In May, 1844, Captain Grey, the Governor of South Australia, received a private letter from Lord Stanley, referring to a despatch his Lordship had already written to him, to authorise the fitting out of an expedition to proceed under my command into the interior. This despatch, however, did not come to hand until the end of June, but on the receipt of it Captain Grey empowered me to organise an expedition, on the modified plan on which Lord Stanley had determined.

Aware as I was of the importance of the season in such a climate as that of Australia, I had written both to the Secretary of State, and to Sir Ralph Darling, so that I might have time after the receipt of replies from Europe, in the event of my proposals being favourably entertained, to make my preparations, and commence my journey at the most propitious season of the year, but my letter to Sir Ralph Darling unfortunately miscarried, and did not reach him until three months after its arrival in England. The further delay which took place in the receipt of Lord Stanley's despatch, necessarily threw it late in the season before I commenced my preparations for the long and trying task that was before me. By the end of July, however, my arrangements were completed, and my party organised, and only awaited the decision of Mr. John Browne, the younger of two brothers who were independent settlers in the province, whose services I was anxious to secure as the medical officer to the expedition, to fix on the day when it should leave Adelaide.

On the 4th of the month (August), I saw Mr. W. Browne, who informed me that his brother had determined to accept my proposals, and that he would join me with the least possible delay; upon which I felt myself at liberty to make definitive arrangements, and to direct that the main body of the expedition should commence its journey on Saturday, the 10th. On the morning of that day I attended a public breakfast, to which I had been invited by the colonists, at the conclusion of which the party, under the charge of Mr. L. Piesse (who subsequently acted as storekeeper) proceeded to the Dry Creek, a small station about five miles from Adelaide. At that place he halted for the night. Mr. Browne not having yet joined me, I kept Davenport, one of the men, who was to attend on the officers, with a riding horse for his use, and the spring cart (in which the instruments were to be carried), for the purpose of forwarding his baggage to the Murray, on the banks of which the party was to muster.

I have said that on the 10th of August I attended a public breakfast, to which I and my party had been invited by the colonists, on the occasion of our quitting the capital. I may be permitted in these humble pages to express my gratitude to them for the kind and generous sympathy they have ever evinced in my success in life, as well as the delicacy and consideration which has invariably marked the expression of their sentiments towards me. If, indeed, I have been an instrument, in the hands of Providence, in bringing about the speedier establishment of the province of South Australia, I am thankful that I have been permitted to witness the happiness of thousands whose prosperity I have unconsciously promoted. Wherever I may go, to whatever part of the world my destinies may lead me, I shall yet hope one day to return to my adopted home, and make it my resting-place between this world and the next. When I went into the interior I left the province with storm-clouds overhanging it, and sunk in adversity. When I returned the sun of prosperity was shining on it, and every heart was glad. Providence had rewarded a people who had borne their reverses with singular firmness and magnanimity. Their harvest fields were bowed down by the weight of grain; their pastoral pursuits were prosperous; the hills were yielding forth their mineral wealth, and peace and prosperity prevailed over the land. May the inhabitants of South Australia continue to deserve and to receive the protection of that Almighty power, on whose will the existence of nations as well as that of individuals depends!

Not having had time as yet to attend to my own private affairs, I was unable to leave Adelaide for a few days after the departure of Mr. Piesse. A similar cause prevented Mr. James Poole, who was to act as my assistant, from accompanying the drays. On the 12th Mr. Browne arrived in Adelaide, when he informed me that he had remained in the country to give over his stock, and to arrange his affairs, to prevent the necessity of again returning to his station. He had now, therefore, nothing to do but to equip himself, when he would be ready to accompany me. When I wrote to Mr. Browne, offering him the appointment of medical officer to the expedition, I was personally unacquainted with him, but I was aware that he enjoyed the respect and esteem of every one who knew him, and that he was in every way qualified for the enterprise in which I had invited him to join. Being an independent settler, however, I doubted whether he could, consistently with his own interests, leave his homestead on a journey of such doubtful length as that which I was about to commence. The spirit of enterprise, however, outweighed any personal consideration in the breast of that resolute and intelligent officer, and I had every reason to congratulate myself in having secured the services of one whose value, under privation, trial, and sickness, can only be appreciated by myself.

The little business still remaining for us to do was soon concluded, and as Mr. Browne assured me that it would not take more than two or three days to enable him to complete his arrangements, I decided on our final departure from Adelaide on the 15th of the month; for having received my instructions I should then have nothing further to detain me. That day, therefore, was fixed upon as the day on which we should start to overtake the party on its road to Moorundi. The sun rose bright and clear over my home on the morning of that day. It was indeed a morning such as is only known in a southern climate; but I had to bid adieu to my wife and family, and could but feebly enter into the harmony of Nature, as everything seemed joyous around me.

I took breakfast with my warm-hearted friend, Mr. Torrens, and his wife, who had kindly invited a small party of friends to witness my departure; but although this was nominally a breakfast, it was six in the afternoon before I mounted my horse to commence my journey. My valued friend, Mr. Cooper, the Judge, had returned to Adelaide early in the day, but those friends who remained accompanied us across the plain lying to the north of St. Clare, to the Gawler Town road, where we shook hands and parted.

We reached Gawler Town late at night, and there obtained intelligence that the expedition had passed Angus Park all well. I also learnt that Mr. Calton, the master of the hotel, had given the men a sumptuous breakfast as they passed through the town, and that they had been cheered with much enthusiasm by the people.

On the 16th we availed ourselves of the hospitality of Mrs. Bagot, whose husband was absent on his legislative duties in Adelaide, to stay at her residence for a night. Nothing however could exceed the kindness of the reception we met from Mrs. Bagot and the fair inmates of her house.

On the 17th we turned to the eastward for the Murray, under the guidance of Mr. James Hawker, who had a station on the river. At the White Hut, Mr. Browne, who had left me at Gawler Town, to see his sister at Lyndoch Valley, rejoined me; and at a short distance beyond it, we overtook the party in its slow but certain progress towards the river. At the Dust Hole, another deserted sheep station on the eastern slope of the mountains, I learnt that Flood, an old and faithful follower of mine, whom I had added to the strength of the expedition at the eleventh hour, was at the station. He was one of the most experienced stockmen in the colonies, and intimately acquainted with the country. I had sent him to receive over 200 sheep I had purchased from Mr. Dutton, which I proposed taking with me instead of salt meat. He had got to the Dust Hole in safety with his flock, and was feeding them on the hills when I passed. The experiment I was about to make with these animals was one of some risk; but I felt assured, that under good management, they would be of great advantage. Not however to be entirely dependent on the sheep, I purchased four cwt. of bacon from Mr. Johnson of the Reed Beds, near Adelaide, by whom it had been cured; and some of that bacon I brought back with me as sweet and fresh as when it was packed, after an exposure of eighteen months to an extreme of heat that was enough to try its best qualities. I was aware that the sheep might be lost by negligence, or scattered in the event of any hostile collision with the natives; but I preferred trusting to the watchfulness of my men, and to past experience in my treatment of the natives, rather than to overload my drays. The sequel proved that I was right. Of the 200 sheep I lost only one by coup de soleil. They proved a very valuable supply, and most probably prevented the men from suffering, as their officers did, from that fearful malady the scurvy.

I had them shorn before delivery, to prepare them for the warmer climate into which I was going. And I may here remark, although I shall again have to allude to it, that their wool did not grow afterwards to any length. It ceased indeed to grow altogether for many months, nor had they half fleeces after having been so long as a year and a half unshorn.

I did not see Flood at the Dust Hole; but continuing my journey, entered the belt of the Murray at 1 p.m., and reached Moorundi just as the sun set, after a ride of four hours through those dreary and stunted brushes.

My excellent friend, Mr. Eyre, had been long and anxiously expecting us. Altogether superior to any unworthy feeling of jealousy that my services had been accepted on a field in which he had so much distinguished himself, and on which he so ardently desired to venture again, his efforts to assist us were as ceaseless as they were disinterested. Whatever there was of use in his private store, whether publicly beneficial or for our individual comfort, he insisted on our taking. He had had great trouble in retaining at Moorundi two of the most influential natives on the river to accompany us to Williorara (Laidley's Ponds). Mr. Eyre was quite aware of the importance of such attachees, and had spared no trouble in securing their services. Their patience however had almost given way, and they had threatened to leave the settlement when fortunately we made our appearance, and all their doubts as to our arrival vanished. Nothing but jimbucks (sheep) and flour danced before their eyes, and they looked with eager impatience to the approach of the drays.

These two natives, Camboli and Nadbuck, were men superior to their fellows, both in intellect and in authority. They were in truth two fine specimens of Australian aborigines, stern, impetuous, and determined, active, muscular, and energetic. Camboli was the younger of the two, and a native of one of the most celebrated localities on the Murray. It bears about N.N.E. from Lake Bonney, where the flats are very extensive, and are intersected by numerous creeks and lagoons. There, consequently, the population has always been greater than elsewhere on the Murray, and the scenes of violence more frequent. Camboli was active, light-hearted, and confiding, and even for the short time he remained with us gained the hearts of all the party.

Nadbuck was a man of different temperament, but with many good qualities, and capable of strong attachments. He was a native of Lake Victoria, and had probably taken an active part in the conflicts between the natives and overlanders in that populous part of the Murray river. He had somewhat sedate habits, was restless, and exceedingly fond of the FAIR sex. He was a perfect politician in his way, and of essential service to us. I am quite sure, that so long as he remained with the party, he would have sacrificed his life rather than an individual should have been injured. I shall frequently have to speak of this our old friend Nadbuck, and will not therefore disturb the thread of my narrative by relating any anecdote of him here. It may be enough to state that he accompanied us to Williorara, even as he had attended Mr. Eyre to the same place only a few weeks before, and that when he left us he had the good wishes of all hands.

In the afternoon of the day following that of our arrival at Moorundi, Mr. Piesse arrived with the drays, and drew them up under the fine natural avenue that occupies the back of the river to the south of Mr. Eyre's residence. Shortly afterwards Davenport arrived with the light cart, having the instruments and Mr. Browne's baggage. Flood also came up with the sheep, so that the expedition was now complete, and mustered in its full force for the first time, and consisted as follows of officers, men, and animals:—

Captain Sturt, LEADER. Mr. James Poole, ASSISTANT. Mr. John Harris Browne, SURGEON. Mr. M'Dougate Stuart, DRAFTSMAN. Mr. Louis Piesse, STOREKEEPER. Daniel Brock, COLLECTOR. George Davenport,) SERVANTS Joseph Cowley, ) Robert Flood, STOCKMAN. David Morgan, WITH HORSES. Hugh Foulkes, ) John Jones, ) —— Turpin, ) BULLOCK DRIVERS William Lewis, sailor, ) John Mack ) John Kerby, WITH SHEEP.

11 horses; 30 bullocks; 1 boat and boat carriage; 1 horse dray; 1 spring cart; 3 drays. 200 sheep; 4 kangaroo dogs; 2 sheep dogs.

The box of instruments sent from England for the use of the expedition had been received, and opened in Adelaide. The most important of them were two sextants, three prismatic compasses, two false horizons, and a barometer. One of the sextants was a very good instrument, but the glasses of the other were not clear, and unfortunately the barometer was broken and useless, since it had the syphon tube, which could not be replaced in the colony. I exceedingly regretted this accident, for I had been particularly anxious to carry on a series of observations, to determine the level of the interior. I manufactured a barometer, for the tube of which I was indebted to Captain Frome, the Surveyor-General, and I took with me an excellent house barometer, together with two brewer's thermometers, for ascertaining the boiling point of water on Sykes' principle. The first of the barometers was unfortunately broken on the way up to Moorundi, so that I was a second time disappointed.

It appears to me that the tubes of these delicate instruments are not secured with sufficient care in the case, that the corks placed to steady them are at too great intervals, and that the elasticity of the tube is consequently too great for the weight of mercury it contains. The thermometers sent from England, graduated to 127 degrees only, were too low for the temperature into which I went, and consequently useless at times, when the temperature in the shade exceeded that number of degrees. One of them was found broken in its case, the other burst when set to try the temperature, by the over expansion of mercury in the bulb.

The party had left Adelaide in such haste that it became necessary before we should again move, to rearrange the loads. On Monday, the 18th, therefore I desired Mr. Piesse to attend to this necessary duty, and not only to equalize the loads on the drays, and ascertain what stores we had, but to put everything in its place, so as to be procured at a moment's notice.

The avenue at Moorundi presented a busy scene, whilst the men were thus employed reloading the drays and weighing the provisions. Morgan, who had the charge of the horse cart, had managed to snap one of the shafts in his descent into the Moorundi Flat, and was busy replacing it. Brock, a gunsmith by trade, was cleaning the arms. Others of the men were variously occupied, whilst the natives looked with curiosity and astonishment on all they saw. At this time, however, there were not many natives at the settlement, since numbers of them had gone over the Nile, to make their harvest on the settlers.

On Monday I sent Flood into Adelaide with despatches for the Governor, and with letters for my family, as well as to bring out some few trifling things we had overlooked, and as Mr. Piesse reported to me on that day that the drays were reloaded, I directed him, after I had inspected them, to lash down the tarpaulines, and to warn the men to hold themselves in readiness to proceed on their journey at 8 a.m. on the following morning—for, as I purposed remaining at Moorundi with Mr. Eyre until Flood should return, I was unwilling that the party should lose any time, and I therefore thought it advisable to send the drays on, under Mr. Poole's charge, until such time as I should overtake him. The spirit which at this time animated the men ensured punctuality to any orders that were given to them. Accordingly the bullocks were yoked up, and all hands were at their posts at early dawn. As, however, I was about to remain behind for a few days, it struck me that this would be a favourable opportunity on which to address the men. I accordingly directed Mr. Poole to assemble them, and with Mr. Eyre and Mr. Browne went to join him in the flat, a little below the avenue. I then explained to them that I proposed remaining at Moorundi for a few days after their departure. I thought it necessary, in giving them over into Mr. Poole's charge, to point out some of the duties I expected from them.

That in the first place I had instructed Mr. Poole to mount a guard of two men every evening at sunset, who were to remain on duty until sun-rise; that I expected the utmost vigilance from this guard, and that as the safety of the camp would depend on their attention, I should punish any neglect with the utmost severity. I then adverted to the natives, and interdicted all intercourse with them, excepting with my permission. That as I attributed many of the acts of violence that had been committed on the river to this irritating source, so I would strike the name of any man who should disobey my orders in this respect off the strength of the party from that moment, and prevent his receiving a farthing of pay; or whoever I should discover encouraging any of the natives, but more particularly the native women, to the camp. I next drew the attention of the men to themselves, and pointed out to them the ill effects of discord, expressing my hope that they would be cheerful and ready to assist one another, and that harmony would exist in the camp; that I expected the most ready obedience from all to their superiors; and that, in such case, they would on their part always find me alive to their comforts, and to their interests. I then confirmed Mr. Piesse in his post as store-keeper; gave to Flood the general superintendence of the stock; to Morgan the charge of the horses, and to each bullock-driver the charge of his own particular team. To Brock I committed the sheep, with Kirby and Sullivan to assist, and to Davenport and Cowley (Joseph) the charge of the officers' tents. I then said, that as they might now be said to commence a journey, from which none of them could tell who would be permitted to return, it was a duty they owed themselves to ask the blessing and protection of that Power which alone could conduct them in safety through it; and having read a few appropriate prayers to the men as they stood uncovered before me, I dismissed them, and told Mr. Poole he might move off as soon as he pleased. The scene was at once changed. The silence which had prevailed was broken by the cracks of whips, and the loud voices of the bullock-drivers. The teams descended one after the other from the bank on which they had been drawn up, and filed past myself and Mr. Eyre, who stood near me, in the most regular order. The long line reached almost across the Moorundi flat, and looked extremely well. I watched it with an anxiety that made me forgetful of everything else, and I naturally turned my thoughts to the future How many of those who had just passed me so full of hope, and in such exuberant spirits, would be permitted to return to their homes? Should I, their leader, be one of those destined to remain in the desert, or should I be more fortunate in treading it than the persevering and adventurous officer whose guest I was, and who shrank from the task I had undertaken. My eyes followed the party as it ascended the gully on the opposite side of the flat, and turned northwards, the two officers leading, until the whole were lost to my view in the low scrub into which it entered. I was unconscious of what was passing around me, but when I turned to address my companions, I found that I was alone. Mr. Eyre, and the other gentlemen who had been present, had left me to my meditations.

In the afternoon Kusick, one of the mounted police, arrived with despatches from the Governor, and letters from my family. He had met Flood at Gawler Town, whose return, therefore, we might reasonably expect on the Friday.

Amongst the first purchases that had been made was a horse for the service of the expedition, which had not very long before been brought in from Lake Victoria, Nadbuck's location, distant nearly 200 miles from Adelaide, where he had been running wild for some time. This horse was put into the government paddock at Adelaide when bought, but he took the fence some time during the night and disappeared, nor could he be traced anywhere. Luckily, however, Kusick had passed the horses belonging to the settlers at Moorundi, feeding at the edge of the scrub upon the cliffs, and amongst them had recognised this animal, which had thus got more than 90 miles back to his old haunt. He had, however, fallen into a trap, from which I took care he should not again escape; but we had some difficulty in running him in and securing him.

Prior to the departure of the expedition from Adelaide, a considerable quantity of rain had fallen there. Since our arrival at Moorundi also we could see heavy rain on the hills, although no shower fell in the valley of the Murray. Kusick informed us that he had been in constant rain, and it was evident, from the dense and heavy clouds hanging upon them, that it was still pouring in torrents on the ranges. We feared, therefore, and it eventually proved to be the case, that Flood would not be able to cross the Gawler on his return to us. He was, in fact, detained a day in consequence of the swollen state of that little river, but swam his horse over on the following day, at considerable risk both to himself and his animal. He did not, in consequence, reach us until Saturday. In anticipation, however, of his return on that day, we had sent Kenny, the policeman stationed at Moorundi who was to accompany Mr. Eyre, up the river in advance of us at noon, with Tampawang, the black boy I intended taking with me, and had everything in readiness to follow them, as soon as Flood should arrive. He did not, however, reach Moorundi until 5 p.m. It took me some little time to reply to the communications he had brought, but at seven we mounted our horses, and leaving Flood to rest himself, and to exchange his wearied animal for the one we had recovered, with Tenbury in front, left the settlement. The night was cold and frosty, but the moon shone clear in a cloudless sky, so that we were enabled to ride along the cliffs, from which we descended to one of the river flats at 1 a.m. and, making a roaring fire, composed ourselves to rest.

It may here be necessary, before I enter on any detail of the proceedings of the expedition, to explain the general nature of my instructions, the object of the expedition, and the reasons why, in some measure, contrary to the opinion of the Secretary of State, I preferred trying the interior by the line of the Darling, rather than by a direct northerly route from Mount Arden.

As the reader will have understood, I wrote, in the year 1843, to Lord Stanley, the then colonial minister, volunteering my services to conduct an expedition into Central Australia. It appeared to his Lordship as well as to Sir John Barrow, to whom Lord Stanley referred my report, that the plan I had proposed was too extensive, and it was therefore determined to adopt a more modified one, and to limit the resources of the expedition and the objects it was to keep in view, to a certain time, and to the investigation of certain facts. After expressing his opinion as to the magnitude of the undertaking I had contemplated, "There is, however," says Sir J. Barrow, in a minute to the Secretary of State, "a portion of the continent of Australia, to which he (Captain Sturt) adverts, that may be accomplished, and in a reasonable time and at a moderate expense.

"He says, if a line be drawn from lat. 29 degrees 30 minutes and long. 146 degrees, N.W., and another from Mount Arden due north, they will meet a little to the northward of the tropic, and there, I will be bound to say, a fine country will be discovered. On what data he pledges himself to the discovery of this fine country is not stated. It may, however, be advisable to allow Mr. Sturt to realize the state of this fine country.

"This, however, is not to be done by pursuing the line of the Darling to the latitude of Moreton Bay, which would lead him not far from the eastern coast, where there is nothing of interest to be discovered, nor does it appear advisable to pursue the Darling to the point to which he and Major Mitchell have already been, for this reason. His preparations will, no doubt, be made at Adelaide; from thence to the point in question is about 600 miles, and from this point to the fine country, a little beyond the tropic, is 700 miles, which together make a journey of 1300 miles. Now a line directly north from Adelaide, through Mount Arden, to the point where it crosses the former in the fine country, is only 800 miles, making a saving, therefore, of 500 miles, which is of no little importance in such a country as Australia.

"But Mr. Sturt assigns reasons for supposing that a range of mountains will be found about the 29th parallel of latitude, and Mr. Eyre, whilst exploring the Lake he discovered to the northward of the Gulf of St. Vincent, Adelaide, notices mountains to the N.E., in about the latitude of 28 degrees. Supposing, then, a range of mountains to exist about that parallel, their direction will probably be found to run from N.E. to S.W., which is that generally of the river Darling and its branches; and in this case it may reasonably be concluded that these mountains form the division of the waters, and that all the branches of the several rivers (some of them of considerable magnitude) which have been known to fall into the bays and gulfs on the W. and N.W. coasts, between the parallels of 14 degrees and 21 degrees, have their sources on the northern side of this range of mountains; but, even if no such range exists, it is pretty evident, from what we know of the southern rivers, adjuncts chiefly of the Darling, that somewhere about the latitudes of 28 degrees or 29 degrees the surface rises to a sufficient height to cause a division of the waters, those on the northern side taking a northerly direction, and those on the southern side a southerly one.

1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14     Next Part
Home - Random Browse