TWO EXPEDITIONS OF DISCOVERY
NORTH-WEST AND WESTERN
DURING THE YEARS 1837, 1838, AND 1839,
Under the Authority of Her Majesty's Government.
MANY NEWLY DISCOVERED, IMPORTANT, AND FERTILE DISTRICTS,
OBSERVATIONS ON THE MORAL AND PHYSICAL CONDITION OF THE ABORIGINAL INHABITANTS, ETC. ETC.
BY GEORGE GREY, ESQUIRE.
GOVERNOR OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA;
Late Captain of the Eighty-third Regiment.
IN TWO VOLUMES.
T. AND W. BOONE, 29 NEW BOND STREET.
CONTENTS OF VOLUME 2.
CHAPTER 1. FROM GANTHEAUME BAY TO THE HUTT RIVER.
WRECK OF THE SECOND BOAT IN GANTHEAUME BAY. EXPLORE IN ITS VICINITY. ESTUARY AND SCENERY ABOUT IT. PROVISIONS DIVIDED. START FOR PERTH. GEOLOGICAL REMARKS. CROSS A DISTRICT OF RED SANDSTONE. PLAINS ABOUNDING IN THE WARRAN PLANT. SUPERIOR NATIVE PATHS AND WELLS. ESTUARY OF THE HUTT. DESCRIPTION OF THE COUNTRY AND SCENERY. PROGRESS OPPOSED BY NATIVES. THE HUTT RIVER. FIRST HILLS OF THE SOUTHERN IRONSTONE FORMATION.
CHAPTER 2. FROM THE HUTT RIVER TO WATER PEAK.
WILD TURKEYS SEEN. DIFFICULTY OF URGING THE PARTY FORWARD. THE BOWES RIVER. NATIVE HUTS. THE VICTORIA RANGE AND DISTRICT. THE BULLER RIVER. THE CHAPMAN RIVER. SEARCH FOR A MISSING MAN. SCENE WITH NATIVES. RETURN OF PARTY FROM SEARCH. THE MAN FOUND. THE GREENOUGH RIVER. CROSS THE HEADS OF TWO BAYS. MORE NATIVE HUTS. AUSTRALIND. THE IRWIN RIVER. SEARCH FOR WATER. WATER PEAK HILL. BENIGHTED IN RETURNING TO THE PARTY.
CHAPTER 3. FROM WATER PEAK TO GAIRDNER'S RANGE.
RETURN TO THE PARTY. DESTRUCTION OF USELESS BAGGAGE. CRITICAL SITUATION. DIVIDE THE PARTY, AND PROCEED WITH THE STRONGEST TO PERTH FOR ASSISTANCE. ARRANGEMENTS AT STARTING. THE ARROWSMITH RIVER. NATIVES. MOUNT HORNER. GAIRDNER'S RANGE. GENEROUS CONDUCT OF ONE OF THE MEN.
CHAPTER 4. FROM GAIRDNER'S RANGE TO PERTH.
THE HILL RIVER. DISCOVERY OF A NATIVE PROVISION STORE. BARREN COUNTRY. SUFFERINGS FROM THIRST. SMITH'S RIVER. LONG AND UTTER DESTITUTION OF FOOD AND WATER. UNSUCCESSFUL SEARCH FOR WATER WITH KAIBER. HIS TREACHEROUS INTENTIONS. RETURN TO THE MEN. DISTRESSING SYMPTOMS FROM THIRST. LAST EFFORTS. FORTUNATE DISCOVERY OF A MOIST MUD-HOLE. PANGS OF HUNGER. RIVER OF RUNNING WATER. NATIVE SUPERSTITIONS. MISERY FROM RAIN AND COLD. PASS THE MOORE RIVER. JOYFUL INTERVIEW WITH A FRIENDLY TRIBE. NATIVE HOSPITALITY. SUPERSTITIONS OF MY MEN. ARRIVAL AND RECEPTION AT PERTH.
CHAPTER 5. FROM WATER PEAK TO PERTH.
(MR. WALKER'S PARTY.)
PARTY SENT IN SEARCH FROM PERTH. RETURN WITH CHARLES WOODS. SECOND PARTY IN SEARCH, UNDER MR. ROE. ARRIVAL OF MR. WALKER AT PERTH. NARRATIVE OF THEIR PROCEEDINGS FROM WATER PEAK. EXTREME DISTRESS FROM HUNGER AND THIRST. DEATH OF MR. SMITH. TIMELY DISCOVERY OF THE REST BY MR. ROE. MR. ROE'S REPORT.
CHAPTER 6. SUMMARY OF DISCOVERIES.
RIVERS AND MOUNTAIN RANGES DISCOVERED. DISTRICTS OF BABBAGE AND VICTORIA. MR. MOORE'S VOYAGE TO HOUTMAN'S ABROLHOS AND PORT GREY. DISTRICT TO THE NORTH OF PERTH.
CHAPTER 7. VOYAGE HOMEWARDS.
CHAPTER 8. THE OVERLANDERS.
CLASS OF PERSONS. THEIR MODE OF LIFE. SUDDEN ACCUMULATION OF WEALTH. EFFECTS OF THEIR ENTERPRISES. MAGNITUDE OF THEIR OPERATIONS. RAPID INCREASE OF WEALTH IN NEW SETTLEMENTS. SPREAD OF STOCK STATIONS. COURSE OF THE OVERLANDERS THROUGH AUSTRALIA. COMMUNICATION BETWEEN SOUTHERN AND WESTERN AUSTRALIA. GENERAL CONSEQUENCES OF THE SPREAD OF COMMERCE AND EMIGRATION.
CHAPTER 9. NATIVE LANGUAGE.
RADICALLY THE SAME THROUGHOUT THE CONTINENT. CAUSES OF A CONTRARY OPINION. DIFFERENCE OF DIALECTS. EXAMPLES. CAUSES OF ERROR IN FORMER ENQUIRERS.
CHAPTER 10. THEIR TRADITIONAL LAWS.
ERRORS OF THEORETICAL WRITERS REGARDING THE SAVAGE STATE. COMPLEX LAWS OF SAVAGE LIFE. CONSIDERATIONS ON THEIR ORIGIN.
CHAPTER 11. LAWS OF RELATIONSHIP, MARRIAGE, AND INHERITANCE.
RELATIONSHIP AND MARRIAGE. DIVISION OF FAMILIES. LAW OF MARRIAGE. COINCIDENT INSTITUTIONS AMONGST THE NORTH AMERICAN INDIANS. ORIGIN OF FAMILY NAMES. SECOND COINCIDENCE. BETROTHMENTS. WIDOWS. OBLIGATIONS OF RELATIONSHIP. DIFFICULTY OF PURSUING THE ENQUIRY. PROPERTY VESTED IN INDIVIDUALS. UNIVERSALITY OF THIS CUSTOM. LINE OF INHERITANCE. CERTAIN LAWS REGARDING FOOD.
CHAPTER 12. CRIMES AND PUNISHMENTS.
SUPERSTITIOUS REVENGE OF NATURAL DEATH. MURDER. STEALING A WIFE. BREACH OF MARRIAGE LAWS. IMPLICATION OF A MURDERER'S FAMILY IN HIS CRIME. ORDEAL AND PUNISHMENT FOR OTHER TRANSGRESSIONS.
CHAPTER 13. SOCIAL CONDITION AND DOMESTIC HABITS.
POPULATION. TERM OF LIFE. CONDITION OF OLD AGE. AND OF YOUNG WOMEN. AVERAGE PROPORTION OF BIRTHS. IDIOTS AND LUNATICS. INFLUENCE OF POLYGAMY ON SOCIAL HABITS. MODE OF CONVERSATIONAL INTERCOURSE. CONSEQUENCES OF JEALOUSY. DANCES. CEREMONIES ON MEETING.
CHAPTER 14. FOOD AND HUNTING.
ERRORS REGARDING SCARCITY OF THEIR FOOD. VARIETIES OF IT IN DIFFERENT LATITUDES. CAUSES OF OCCASIONAL WANT. LIST OF EDIBLE ARTICLES. IMPLEMENTS FOR DESTROYING ANIMALS. CONTENTS OF A NATIVE WOMAN'S BAG. DIFFERENT METHODS OF CATCHING KANGAROOS. COOKING A KANGAROO. METHODS OF TAKING AND COOKING FISH. FEASTING ON A STRANDED WHALE. KILLING WILD DOGS. TURTLE. BIRDS. OPOSSUMS. FROGS. SHELLFISH. GRUBS, AND WALLABIES. EDIBLE ROOTS AND SEEDS. MODE OF COOKING AND PREPARING THEM. FUNGI. GUMS. COMMON RIGHTS IN CERTAIN FOOD.
CHAPTER 15. SONGS AND POETRY.
GENERAL PRACTICE OF SINGING. SONG OF AN OLD MAN IN WRATH. POETS. TRADITIONAL SONGS. NATIVE OPINION OF EUROPEAN SINGING. EXAMPLES OF SONGS FOR VARIOUS OCCASIONS. INFLUENCE OF SONGS IN ROUSING THE ANGRY PASSIONS OF THE MEN.
CHAPTER 16. FUNERAL CEREMONIES, SUPERSTITIONS, AND REMARKABLE CUSTOMS.
DEATH AND BURIAL OF A NATIVE NEAR PERTH. BURIAL OF A NATIVE IN THE LESCHENAULT DISTRICT. CUSTOM OF LACERATING THEMSELVES, AND WATCHING AMONG THE GRAVES. THE BOYL-YAS OR NATIVE SORCERERS. KAIBER'S ACCOUNT OF THEM. THEIR OPINION OF THE NIGHTMARE. VENERATION FOR CRYSTAL STONES. CIRCUMCISION. OTHER CUSTOMS.
CHAPTER 17. CHARACTERISTIC ANECDOTES.
MIAGO'S IMAGINARY SPEECH AS GOVERNOR. WARRUP'S ACCOUNT OF HIS JOURNEY WITH MR. ROE. TRANSACTIONS WITH THE NATIVES IN A CASE OF POTATO STEALING. JUDICIAL CASE OF ASSAULT.
CHAPTER 18. INFLUENCE OF EUROPEANS ON THE NATIVES.
CAUSES WHY IT HAS NOT HITHERTO BEEN BENEFICIAL. WRETCHED STATE OF THE NATIVE POPULATION. PREJUDICES AGAINST THEM. EVIL EFFECTS FROM THEIR FEROCIOUS CUSTOMS REMAINING UNCHECKED. PLAN FOR PROMOTING THEIR CIVILIZATION.
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
1. Native of Western Australia. Captain Grey, delt. G. Foggo, Lithographer. M. and N. Hanhart, Lithographic Printers.
2. Mount Victoria and Mount Albert.
3. Glaucus, Sp.
4. Cymothoa, Sp.
5. Stenopteryx, Sp.
6. Form of basaltic dykes at Gregory's Valley, St. Helena.
7. Geological Section from Gregory's Valley, St. Helena.
8. Crossing Cattle over the Murray, near Lake Alexandrina. Drawn on stone by George Barnard from a sketch by G. Hamilton, Esquire. M. and N. Hanhart, Lithographic Printers, 64 Charlotte Street, Rathbone Place.
9. Basaltic Rocks, Campaspi River, near Port Phillip. Drawn on stone by George Barnard from a sketch by G. Hamilton, Esquire. M. and N. Hanhart, Lithographic Printers, 64 Charlotte Street, Rathbone Place. Published by T. & W. Boone, London.
REPTILES AND AMPHIBIA.
10.1. Ronia catenulata (Gray).
10.2. Aprasia pulchella (Gray).
10.3. Delma fraseri (Gray).
11.1. Lialis burtonii (Gray).
11.2. Soridia lineata (Gray).
12.1. Moloch horridus (Gray).
13.1. Elaps gouldii (Gray).
13.2. Elaps coronatus (Schlegel).
13.3. Calamaria diadema (Schlegel).
13.4. Lialis burtonii (Gray).
14. Hydraspis australis (Gray).
15. Chelodina oblonga (Gray).
16.1. Hyla binoculata (Gray).
16.2. Hyla adelaidensis (Gray).
17.1. Breviceps gouldii (Gray).
17.2. Helioporus albo punctatus (Gray). 17.2.a. fore foot. 17.2.b. hind foot.
18. INSECTS 1. Brachysternus (E.) lamprimoides.
19.1. INSECTS 2. Biphyllocera kirbyana.
19.2. INSECTS 2. Biphyllocera fabriciana.
20. INSECTS 3. Helaeus echidna.
21. INSECTS 4. Bardistus cibarius.
22. INSECTS 5. Tympanophora pellucida.
23. INSECTS 6. Choerocydnus foveolatus.
24. INSECTS 7. Hesperia sophia.
25. INSECTS 8.1.a. Hecatesia thyridion female.
25. INSECTS 8.1.b. Hecatesia thyridion male upper side.
25. INSECTS 8.1.c. Hecatesia thyridion under.
25. INSECTS 8.1.d. Hecatesia thyridion fenestra in wing of male.
25. INSECTS 8.2. Hecatesia fenestrata male.
26. INSECTS 9. Cossodes lyonetii.
27. INSECTS 10. Trichetra isabella male.
28. INSECTS 11. Trichetra isabella female.
A. Genealogical List, to show the manner in which a native family becomes divided.
B. Mount Fairfax, the Wizard Hills, and Champion Bay.
C. Contributions towards the Geographical distribution of the Mammalia of Australia, with notes on some recently discovered Species, by J.E. Gray, F.R.S., etc. etc., in a letter addressed to the Author.
D. A List of the Birds of the Western coast, furnished by Mr. Gould.
E. A Catalogue of the Species of Reptiles and Amphibia hitherto described as inhabiting Australia, with a description of some New Species from Western Australia, and some remarks on their geographical distribution, by John Edward Gray, F.R.S., etc. etc., in a note to the author.
F. Notes on some Insects from King George's Sound, collected and presented to the British Museum, by Captain George Grey, by Adam White, Esquire, British Museum, addressed in a letter to the author.
EXPEDITIONS OF DISCOVERY.
CHAPTER 1. FROM GANTHEAUME BAY TO THE HUTT RIVER.
WRECK OF THE SECOND BOAT IN GANTHEAUME BAY.
A few moments were sufficient to enable us all to recollect ourselves: two men endeavoured to keep the boat's stern on to the sea, whilst the rest of us lightened her by carrying everything we could on shore, after which we hauled her up. The custom had always been for the other boat to lie off until I made the signal for them to run in, and it accordingly was now waiting outside the breakers. Her crew had not seen our misfortunes owing to the height of the surf, which, when we were under it, shut us out from their view, and now perceiving that we were on shore and the boat hauled up, they concluded all was right; and notwithstanding I made every possible sign to them not to beach, running as far as I could venture into the sea and shouting out to them, my voice was drowned by the roar of the surge, and I saw them bounding on to, what I thought, certain destruction. We of course were all turned to render assistance. They fortunately kept rather to the south of the spot on which we had beached, and where it was much less rocky, so that the danger they incurred in reaching the shore was slight in comparison to ours; yet some of the planks of this boat were split throughout their entire length.
EXPLORE IN ITS VICINITY. COUNTRY ABOUT GANTHEAUME BAY. GEOLOGICAL REMARKS. CROSS A DISTRICT OF RED SANDSTONE.
Whilst all hands were employed in endeavouring to repair damages I ascended a hill to reconnoitre our present position and found we were in a country of a pleasing and romantic appearance, and although the land was not good the nature of the soil made me aware that we were most probably in the vicinity of a large tract of better quality; indeed this was the only part of South-west Australia in which I had met with the ancient red sandstone of the north-west coast; immediately behind the sandhills on which I stood was a thick Casuarina scrub which sloped down into a deep valley, and beyond this rose lofty and fantastic hills. After I had for some time looked round on this scene I returned to the party and received the report of the carpenters, who, having examined the boats, stated their inability to render either of them fit for sea. To this I had already made up my mind; and even if the boats had been uninjured I doubt whether we could ever have got them off again through the tremendous surf which was breaking on this part of the shore; whilst to have moved them to any distance would, in our present weak and enfeebled state, have been utterly impossible.
ESTUARY AND LANDING-PLACE AND SCENERY ABOUT IT.
No resource was now left to us but to endeavour to reach Perth by walking; yet when I looked at the sickly faces of some of the party and saw their wasted forms I much doubted if they retained strength to execute such a task; but they themselves were in high spirits and talked of the undertaking as a mere trifle. I gave orders for the necessary preparations to be made and then started with two or three hands to search for water. On reaching the valley I have before mentioned we found a small stream, and following this to the northward for about a mile came out upon one of the most romantic and picturesque-looking estuaries I had yet seen: its shores abounded with springs and were bordered by native paths, whilst the drooping foliage of several large sorts of Casuarina, the number of wild swans on its placid bosom, and the natives fishing in the distance, unconscious of our presence, imparted to the whole scene a quiet and a charm which was deeply felt by those who had now for so many days been either tossed about by the winds and waves or had long been wandering over barren and inhospitable shores. We did not indeed find much good land about this estuary, but there were rich flats upon each side of it, whilst the nature of the rocks and the lofty and peculiar character of the distant hills gave promise of the most fertile region I had yet seen in extra-tropical Australia.
We followed the shores of the estuary to the northward and eastward until we saw a point where it appeared to separate into two branches. The natives decamped as soon as they observed us coming, and Kaiber, who watched them with the most intense interest, indulged in various speculations as to the number they would bring back when they returned. We joined the party and traced the shores of the estuary to its mouth, which turned out to be the opening we saw in the morning: this mouth is completely sheltered by a line of breakers and reefs, which, although they present a most formidable appearance from the sea, can be doubled by keeping pretty close along the shore in approaching the mouth of the river. Owing to this reef there are no breakers on the bar, but its mouth is very narrow and so shoal that I doubt if a boat could be got in at any other time than high water: some of the sailors with me however thought otherwise; but there is at all events convenient landing at this point under the shelter of the reef.
The men not having quite completed their preparations for starting, I moved off at dawn to resume the survey of Gantheaume Bay and its vicinity. The estuary appeared this morning even more lovely than yesterday, and as the heavy morning mists arose, unfolding its beauties to our view, all those feelings came thrilling through my mind which explorers alone can know; flowering shrubs and trees, drooping foliage, a wide and placid expanse of water met the view; trickling springs and fertile flats were passed over by us; there was much barren land visible in the distance, though many a sign and token might lead the practical explorer to hope that he was about to enter upon a tract of an extent and fertility yet unknown in south-west Australia. A total change had taken place in the geological formation of the land: a rock as yet unobserved in the south-west portion of the continent occupied the principal place here; and with this rock was associated limestone; the springs had a strong sulphureous smell, and the lofty broken character of the distant mountains had an almost grand appearance to those who had so long wandered through low and level countries.
Each step I took rendered my spirits more buoyant and elastic, and each hill, the position of which I fixed, gave me, from its appearance, renewed hopes. Under such agreeable circumstances the morning wore rapidly away, and, having rendered my survey as complete as I could, we returned to the boats.
COMMENCE THE MARCH TO PERTH. PROVISIONS DIVIDED.
We were now all ready to commence our toilsome journey; the provisions had been shared out; twenty pounds of flour and one pound of salt provisions per man, being all that was left. What I have here designated by the name of flour was quite unworthy of being so called. It was of a dark yellowish brown colour, and had such a sour fermented taste that nothing but absolute necessity could induce anyone to eat it. The party however were in high spirits; they talked of a walk of three hundred miles in a direct line through the country (without taking hills, valleys, and necessary deviations into account) as a trifle, and in imagination were already feasting at home and taking their ease after the toils they had undergone.
I gave them all warning of the many difficulties they had yet to encounter, and did this not with the intention of damping their ardour but in the hope of inducing them to abandon some portion of the loads they intended to carry. I entrusted a small pocket chronometer to Mr. Walker, and another to Corporals Coles and Auger; and to Ruston I gave charge of a pocket-sextant which belonged to the Surveyor-General at Perth. Coles and Auger also undertook to carry a large sextant, turn about; all my own papers, such charts as I thought necessary, and some smaller instruments I bore myself; but Kaiber, in order to relieve me, took charge of my gun and some other articles. Mr. Smith carried his sketchbook and box of colours. I ought here to state that, in all the difficulties which beset those individuals to whom I entrusted anything, they never, except on one occasion, and by my orders, abandoned it: indeed I do not believe that there is a stronger instance of fidelity and perseverance than was evinced by some of the party in retaining, under every difficulty, possession of that which they had promised to preserve for me.
Our loads having been hoisted on our shoulders away we moved. I had before chosen my line of route, and the plan I had resolved to adopt was to walk on slowly but continuously for an hour, and then to halt for ten minutes; during which interval of time the men could rest and relieve themselves from the weight of their burdens whilst I could enter what notes and bearings I had taken during the preceding hour.
We were embarrassed for the first portion of our journey this afternoon by a thick scrub, through which we could only make our way with great difficulty, but on coming to a watercourse running into the southern part of Gantheaume Bay from the south-east I turned up its bed, and we were then able to move along with tolerable facility. This watercourse ran at the bottom of a red sandstone ravine resembling the old red sandstone of England; and the remainder of the evening was spent in clambering about the rocks and endeavouring to avoid such natural obstacles as impeded our route. Our progress was slow, and just before nightfall I turned up a branch ravine trending to the southward, when we soon found ourselves at the foot of a lofty cascade down which a little water was slowly dropping; and on climbing to its summit it appeared to be so well adapted for a halting-place for the night that I determined to remain here. The men made themselves comfortable near the waterholes, and Mr. Smith and myself crept into a little cave which occasionally served as a resting-place for the natives, the remains of whose fires were scattered about. A wild woodland and rocky scenery was around us; and when the moon rose and shed her pale light over all I sat with Mr. Smith on the edge of the waterfall, gazing alternately into the dim woody abyss below, and at the red fires and picturesque groups of men, than which fancy could scarcely image a wilder scene.
NATIVE PATH AND WELL.
Before the day had fully dawned we were under weigh. Our course for the first mile or two was embarrassed by ravines and scrub similar to that we had yesterday met with; our progress was therefore very slow, but we at length emerged on elevated sandy downs, thickly clothed with banksia trees, and across these we came upon a well-beaten native path running to the south by east, which was exactly our line of route. We had not followed this path for more than four miles when we found a most romantically-situated native well, surrounded by shrubs and graceful wattle trees, and of a depth and size such as we had never before observed. Here then we seated ourselves, and upon such scanty fare as we had made a sparing breakfast. This however but very insufficiently supplied our wants; and as we sat at this little well, thus surrounded with such fairy scenery, a variety of philosophic reflections crossed our minds and found vent in words. Nothing could be more delightfully romantic than our present position. Both as regarded danger, scenery, savages, and unknown lands, we were in precisely the situation in which Mr. Cooper and other novelists delight to depict their travellers, with this one woeful difference—our wallets were empty. It was in vain I fumbled about in mine; I could neither find the remains of a venison pasty, a fat buffalo's hump, or any other delicacy: indeed I had not the means of keeping life and soul together for many days longer. Deeply did we regret that we were not favoured for a few days with the company of Mr. Cooper, that he might in our present difficulties fully initiate us into the mysterious, nay, almost miraculous means by which his travellers, even in the most dreary wilds, always contrived to draw forth from their stock of provender such dainties that the bare recollection of them made our mouths water; but the necessities of the moment would not permit me for more than a few minutes to indulge in these speculations, and we turned therefore from seductive travels of the imagination to the more stringent ones of reality.
HEAVY LOADS CARRIED BY THE MEN.
I now entreated the men to disencumber themselves of a portion of the loads which they were attempting to carry. Urged by a miscalculating desire of gain, when the boats were abandoned they had laid hands upon canvas and what else they thought would sell at Perth, and some of them appeared to be resolved rather to risk their lives than the booty they were bending under. The more tractable threw away the articles I told them to get rid of; but neither entreaties nor menaces prevailed with the others.
For the next three miles we still followed the native path which continued to run south by east. The whole of this distance was over open sandy downs, abounding in kangaroos; but we now suddenly emerged into a rich limestone country of gently sloping hills and valleys, affording, even at this season of the year, fair feed for sheep or cattle, and we found springs of water at every few hundred yards, generally situated at the edge of a large clump of trees.
After having for some time rested here I quitted the native path, which trended too much to the eastward, and, leaving also the direction of the limestone country which ran inland, we continued a south by east course over a gravelly tableland in places covered with beds of clay on which rested ponds of water. The country here was perfectly open, with clumps of trees to the eastward. Emus and kangaroos were wandering about the plains.
Two miles more brought us to an almost impenetrable belt of scrub which lay east and west, directly athwart our path, so that we were obliged to face it; and in two hours and a half I had forced my way through it. The others followed, slowly emerging from the bush after me and, as we were all totally exhausted, as well as dreadfully torn and bruised, we halted at its edge for the night, and lighting our fires lay down to court that repose we had so fairly earned. We had however only walked fifteen and a half miles today.
I again this morning used every effort to induce some more of the men to abandon a portion of their loads. I represented to them their weak state, the small supply of provisions they had with them, and the difficulty they already found in keeping up with the party; but all these arguments and every other I could make use of were unavailing; the tenacity with which they clung to a worthless property, even at the risk of their lives, is almost incredible, and it is to be borne in mind that this property was not their own, but what they had taken from the wreck of the boats. Did I even induce one to throw anything away another avaricious fellow would pick it up; and their thoughts and conversation, instead of running upon making the best of their way home and saying their lives, consisted in conjectures as to what they would realize from their ill-gotten and embarrassing booty.
SUPERIOR NATIVE PATH AND WELLS.
The course I pursued was one of 180 degrees and we soon fell in with the native path which we had quitted yesterday; but it now became wide, well beaten, and differing altogether by its permanent character from any I had seen in the southern portion of this continent. For the first five miles we traversed scrubby stony hills, thickly wooded with banksia trees; but the limestone here again cropped out and we entered a very fertile valley, running north and south and terminating in a larger one which drained the country from east to west. This valley is remarkable as containing one Xanthorrhoea (grass-tree) being the farthest point to the north at which I have found this tree. In it also was a gigantic ant's nest, being the most southerly one I had yet seen. All these circumstances convinced me that we were about to enter a very interesting region. And as we wound along the native path my wonder augmented; the path increased in breadth and in its beaten appearance, whilst along the side of it we found frequent wells, some of which were ten and twelve feet deep and were altogether executed in a superior manner.
NATIVE WARRAN GROUND. PLAINS ABOUNDING IN THE WARRAN PLANT.
We now crossed the dry bed of a stream and from that emerged upon a tract of light fertile soil, quite overrun with warran plants,* the root of which is a favourite article of food with the natives. This was the first time we had yet seen this plant on our journey, and now for three and a half consecutive miles we traversed a fertile piece of land literally perforated with the holes the natives had made to dig this root; indeed we could with difficulty walk across it on that account, whilst this tract extended east and west as far as we could see.
(*Footnote. The Warran in a species of Dioscorea, a sort of yam like the sweet potato. It is known by the same name both on the east and west side of the continent.)
It was now evident that we had entered the most thickly-populated district of Australia that I had yet observed, and moreover one which must have been inhabited for a long series of years, for more had here been done to secure a provision from the ground by hard manual labour than I could have believed it in the power of uncivilised man to accomplish. After crossing a low limestone range we came down upon another equally fertile warran ground, bounded eastward by a high range of rocky limestone hills, luxuriantly grassed, and westward by a low range of similar formation. The native path about two miles further on crossed this latter range, and we found ourselves in a grassy valley, about four miles wide, bounded seawards by sandy downs. Along its centre lay a chain of reedy freshwater swamps, and native paths ran in from all quarters to one main line of communication leading to the southward.
DANGERS OF DELAY.
In these swamps we first found the yunjid, or flag (a species of typha) and the sow-thistle of the southern districts; one we came to was a thick tea-tree swamp, extremely picturesque, and producing abundance of these plants, some of which were collected by the men to eat in the evening. To my surprise Mr. Walker here came up to me and asked if I did not think it would be better to halt for a day or two at places of this kind to allow the men to refresh themselves. The idea of men halting and wasting their strength and energies in searching for native food whilst they had so fearful a journey before them, and no supplies, appeared to me to be preposterous in the extreme: to obtain a sufficiency of food, even for a native, requires in Australia a great degree of skill and knowledge of the productions of the country; but for a European, utterly unaccustomed to this species of labour and totally unacquainted with the productions of the land, to obtain enough to support life for any period, whilst at the same time he has to search for water, is quite impossible. Even Kaiber, from his ignorance of the roots, declared that he should starve in this country. I saw therefore that did I adopt the proposed plan of travelling only a few miles a day, and occasionally halting for a day or two to refresh ourselves upon some thistles and periwinkles, I should infallibly sacrifice the lives of the whole party; and under this impression I declined to accede to the suggestion. Amongst indolent and worn-out men however it subsequently became an extremely popular notion, and, as future events clearly showed, a fatally erroneous one. I from the first opposed it both by my words and example; and in this instance, as soon as I conceived that the men were sufficiently rested, I moved on.
After travelling another mile we found ourselves at the head of a large and picturesque estuary which lay north and south; the native path ran along its shores, which were of great richness and beauty, and the estuary itself lay to our west and was about two miles across; on the east a series of rich undercliff limestone hills gradually rose into lofty and precipitate ranges, between which and the estuary was the fertile valley along which we wound our weary way; while groups of graceful acacias with their airy and delicate foliage gave a great charm to this beautiful spot. We moved slowly along, and ere we had made two miles more the shades of night began to fall and I halted the party.
RICH AND FERTILE DISTRICT.
The abundance of grass which grew around enabled us to enjoy the almost unknown luxury of a soft bed, yet as I lay down my thoughts were far from pleasant when I found that we had only walked twelve miles today, and this distance had been accomplished by several of the party with the greatest difficulty. Three of them were the men who carried those heavy loads which I could not yet induce them to abandon; now I could not but reflect that, if their difficulty was so great in walking in a country abounding with water, that it would be almost impossible for them to get along in one where it was scarce; moreover the mere physical exertion of getting unwilling men to move by persuasions and entreaties was harassing in the extreme, and indeed had so agitated me that the night had nearly worn away ere I closed my eyes. The rich flats we were on today have apparently at no distant period formed part of the head of the estuary.
Such a heavy dew had fallen during the night that when I got up in the morning I found my clothes completely saturated, and everything looked so verdant and flourishing compared to the parched up country which existed to the north of us, and that which I knew lay to the south, that I tried to find a satisfactory reason to explain so strange a circumstance, but without success. It seemed certain however that we stood in the richest province of South-west Australia, and one which so differs from the other portions of it in its geological characters, in the elevations of its mountains which lie close to the sea coast, in the fertility of its soil, and the density of its native population, that we appeared to be moving upon another continent. As yet however the only means I had of judging of the large number of natives inhabiting this district had been from their paths and warran grounds, but it was most probable that we should ere long fall in with some of them.
We started at dawn pursuing a south-south-east direction, and at the end of one mile rounded a bluff point; the limestone hills to the eastward gradually decreased in elevation and we ascended one of them to gain a view of the surrounding country. I found that the summit of this range consisted of a terrace about half a mile wide, richly grassed and ornamented with clumps of mimosas; to the eastward rose a precisely similar limestone terrace, whilst to the westward lay the estuary with its verdant and extensive flats.
APPEARANCE OF NATIVES.
As we wound our way along this terrace a large party of natives suddenly appeared on the high ground to the eastward of us. They evinced no fear whatever but advanced to within about two hundred yards, when I went forward with Kaiber to induce them to hold an interview with us; this however I could not bring about, for whenever I advanced they retreated, and when I retired they advanced; they also now began to shout out to their distant fellows, and these again cooeed to others still farther off, until the calls were lost in the distance, whilst fresh reinforcements of natives came trooping in from all directions.
INDICATIONS OF HOSTILITY. PROGRESS OPPOSED BY NATIVES.
Our situation was growing critical for had any of the party been wounded we could not attempt to save his life by remaining with him without the almost certain danger of losing our own, whilst on the other hand to have abandoned him under such circumstances would have been impossible. I was most anxious to get rid of these natives in peace, as they now could not be induced to come to us, being most probably fearful of our numbers. I hoped therefore they would let us go quietly on our way and moved the party forward; but they now followed us with loud shouts, whilst those in the distance came running up. I again halted but they would hold no communication, and when in despair I again moved the party on we saw a number hastening to occupy a thick scrub through which we had to pass. The men now became so dissatisfied and alarmed that I found I should be unable much longer to restrain them from firing if I did not disperse the natives.
I therefore halted the party, and cocking my gun moved rapidly towards them, motioning them away; they retired as I advanced, but directly I turned they again followed us; I now ran towards them with my gun pointed, when they made off before me once more, and in order to complete their dispersion I had intended to fire over their heads; but to my great mortification and their intense delight, my gun snapped, and, as they found the weapon I had with me, and with which I had menaced them in so authoritative a manner, appeared to produce no effect, they took courage, and, turning about, made faces at me and an insulting noise which was meant to imitate the snapping of the gun. Their inimical intentions now became more manifest; I however ran at them again, and fired my second barrel over their heads, which caused a rapid retreat; but they halted on a rising ground about three hundred yards from us, and finding on the muster of their forces that they had sustained no damage, they made preparations, as if resolved to commence hostilities in earnest.
As these natives had now unfortunately learnt to despise our weapons I was compelled to act promptly, or blood would undoubtedly have been shed. I therefore took my rifle from Coles and, directing it at a heap of closely matted dead bushes which were distant two or three yards to the right of their main body, I drove a ball right through it: the dry rotten boughs crackled, and flew in all directions, whilst our enemy, utterly confounded at this distant, novel, and unfair mode of warfare, fled from the field in confusion, the majority of our party rejoicing at the bloodless victory: we then wended our way along the native path which led us down to the flats bordering the estuary, and finding there an underground stream of water bubbling along through a limestone cavity and having several openings upwards, we halted to refresh ourselves.
I had hoped that finding hostile natives in our vicinity would have made the stragglers keep up better with the party, but they would neither hasten on nor throw away their loads, so that my patience was sorely tried; a man of the name of Stiles was the worst; nothing could induce him to move along, and even the threat of leaving him behind produced no effect; I however kept pushing steadily onwards, for I never thought of the length of the journey we had to perform without trembling for the result. We were now walking on a course of 180 degrees, and followed this line for two miles and a half through a similar country. We still found many native paths running along the estuary, and saw the natives fishing, but they carefully avoided us, making off for the high lands as fast as they could.
ESTUARY OF THE HUTT RIVER. DESCRIPTION OF THE COUNTRY AND SCENERY.
The estuary became narrower here, and shortly after seeing these natives we came upon a river running into it from the eastward; its mouth was about forty yards wide, the stream strong, but the water brackish, and it flowed through a very deep ravine, having steep limestone hills on each side: many wild-fowls were on the river, but we could not get a shot at them. Being unable to ford the river here we followed it in a south-east direction for two miles, and in this distance passed two native villages, or, as the men termed them, towns, the huts of which they were composed differed from those in the southern districts in being much larger, more strongly built, and very nicely plastered over the outside with clay and clods of turf, so that although now uninhabited they were evidently intended for fixed places of residence. This again showed a marked difference between the habits of the natives of this part of Australia and the south-western portions of the continent; for these superior huts, well marked roads, deeply sunk wells, and extensive warran grounds, all spoke of a large and comparatively-speaking resident population, and the cause of this undoubtedly must have been the great facilities for procuring food in so rich a soil.
MOUNT VICTORIA AND MOUNT ALBERT.
We now came to two very remarkable hills bearing north-east of us and distant about three miles, which I have named Mount Victoria and Mount Albert. They lay about one mile apart, and were of the form shown in Illustration 2, which will give a good idea of the flat-topped hills hereabouts.
THE HUTT RIVER.
The river still ran in a deep wooded valley bordered by rich flats, high hills lying both to the right and left of our line of route. Two miles and a half more on a course of 135 degrees brought us out on some gravelly barren plains, and just before coming to these, and in passing through a scrub, we raised a flight of white cockatoos, of a species new to me. One of the men got an ineffectual shot at them.
FIRST HILLS OF THE SOUTHERN IRONSTONE FORMATION.
After traversing these plains for two miles in a south-east direction we came upon a valley through which flowed a branch of the river we had this day discovered, running in a bed of fifty yards across, and having in its centre a rapid stream falling in small cascades; it appeared at times subject to extensive inundations, and here its course was through barren plains covered with rocks piled up in strange fantastic masses, and the bed was composed of that kind of red sandstone which at Perth is called ironstone; this being the farthest point north at which I have remarked it.
A number of grass-trees (Xanthorrhoea) grew near the spot where we had halted; they appeared unhealthy and stunted, but indeed I suspect they are a new and undescribed variety. Being desirous of procuring anything I could for the men to eat I had the tops of some of these trees cut off and boiled, they were however still so hard that to chew them was impossible, and it was evident that we had not yet reached a parallel of latitude calculated to produce tender-topped grass trees.
I knew our latitude and position this night exactly, as I had seen Mount Naturaliste of the French in the course of the day. There could be no doubt whatever that we were in a very remarkable district, for we stood upon the point where the geological formations of the north-western and south-western portions of the continent were associated together, and the flora of which was so made up of those of both that it was impossible to tell which predominated. There were many other interesting circumstances connected with the surrounding country, some of which have been already mentioned. I named the river and estuary now discovered the Hutt after William Hutt, Esquire, M.P., brother of His Excellency the Governor of Western Australia.
INDISPOSITION OF MR. SMITH.
Mr. Smith this day complained of weakness, not sufficiently however in the least to alarm me. He had hitherto been nearly always in the rear of the party without lagging, but I thought two of the men in a much weaker state than he was.
CHAPTER 2. FROM THE HUTT RIVER TO WATER PEAK.
WILD TURKEYS SEEN.
We moved off this morning on a course of 180 degrees. The first mile of our journey was over low scrubby ironstone hills. We then came down upon rich flats through which the main branch of the Hutt ran; and followed the course of this branch for about two miles. It was not running but there were many pools with water in its bed: the flats were rich and grassy and on the hills to the westward (the Menai Hills) we descried wild turkeys, being the farthest point north at which I had seen this bird.
As I saw that the ground in front of us was very steep and abrupt, so that the weak and weary would have found it a difficult task to master such an ascent, I turned off on a course of 168 degrees, ascending a sandy tableland covered with scrub. When we had walked three miles in this direction the table-hill of Captain King bore east by south distant five miles. We now proceeded parallel to the sea, which was distant one mile through an indifferent country. This course continued for about five miles, and on the ranges to the eastward the country still appeared to be grassy and good.
RELUCTANCE OF THE MEN TO HASTEN ONWARDS. DIFFICULTY OF URGING THE PARTY FORWARD.
Although we had walked very slowly many of the party were completely exhausted, and one or two of the discontented ones pretended to be dreadfully in want of water, notwithstanding they carried canteens and had only walked eight miles since leaving the bank of a river; I was therefore obliged to halt, and could not get them to move for three hours. I am sorry to say that some who should have known much better endeavoured to instil into the minds of the men that it was preferable only to walk a few miles a day and not to waste their strength by long marches; utterly forgetting that most of the party had now only seven or eight pounds of fermented flour left, and that if they did not make play whilst they had strength their eventually reaching Perth was quite hopeless. This however was a very popular doctrine for thoughtless and weary men, who were overloaded and yet from a feeling of avarice would not abandon any portion of what they were carrying. The majority of the party not only adopted these views in theory but doggedly carried them into practice; and from this moment I abandoned all hope of getting the whole party into the settled districts in safety. Poor fellows! most of them paid dearly for the mistaken notions they now adopted. Mr. Smith, with his usual spirit, was for pushing on, although his strength was inadequate to the task. I laid under the shade of a bush lost in gloomy reveries and temporary unpopularity; Kaiber by my side lulled me with native songs composed for the occasion, and in prospective I saw all the dread sufferings which were to befall the doomed men who sat around me, confident of their success under the new plan; but like all prophets I was without honour amongst my own acquaintance; and after considering the matter under every point of view I thought it better for the moment to succumb to the general feeling, yet to lose no opportunity on every subsequent occasion of endeavouring to rouse the party into a degree of energy suited to our desperate circumstances.
At the end of the three hours I again begged several of the party, who appeared to be in an exhausted state, to abandon a portion of their useless loads; but they were quite sure that by making short marches, not exhausting their strength, and now and then halting for a day or two to refresh, they could carry them into Perth, and therefore refused to part with them. Mr. Smith and myself found that stopping in this way and getting cold rendered our limbs so stiff and painful when we walked on again that we could scarcely move; and I suspect that such was the case with the other men, for when we started again I could hardly get them along. One man of the name of Stiles, who was a stout supporter of the new theory, made us stop for him nearly every five minutes.
THE BOWES RIVER.
After walking one mile we fortunately came to a very deep valley, having such steep limestone cliffs on each side that it assumed quite the character of a ravine: it was about a mile wide and in it was a watercourse winding through deep flats. We however only found water in pools; the course of the stream was very tortuous and its mouth was almost blocked up by sandhills. The valley itself was both picturesque and fertile, and the appearance of the country to the east and north-east was highly promising. The stream I called the Bowes.
NATIVE RESTING-PLACE. NATIVE HUTS.
This spot was a favourite halting-place of the natives; and from the number of huts and other indications which we saw the district must be very densely populated. The huts were of the same superior construction as those which we had seen near the Hutt, and the traces were very recent, but the natives themselves were either at a distance or kept carefully out of our way. The valley that we were now in, as well as the other limestone valleys in this province, partook exactly of the character of those in the carboniferous limestone districts of England inasmuch as they were deep gorges, or ravines, now traversed by watercourses or streams apparently much too insignificant to have grooved them out.
PROVOKING INDOLENCE OF THE MEN.
Our finding water here was fortunate for I now showed the men that, had they walked one mile farther instead of halting in the manner they had done, they would have had abundance of it, and would have been, at this moment, at least, five miles nearer home. I also directed Mr. Walker to examine Stiles and to state whether he was in good health or not. He did so and reported him quite well. I therefore when we started again gave Stiles warning that I should not halt every minute for him but would leave him behind, at the same time ordering him to walk in front of the party, next after me.
I continued a course of 180 degrees up a steep limestone range, behind which apparently ran a branch of the watercourse we had just passed: a good country lay to the eastward of us. Stiles now delayed us so much that some of his comrades spoke to him very warmly on the subject, whilst others still held to the opinion that walking a few miles a day and sometimes halting a day or two to refresh was the true mode of proceeding. We only made two miles this evening and I threw myself on the ground so worn and harassed that I could not sleep.
AN EXTENSIVE FERTILE COUNTRY.
Sunday April 7.
Before the sun had appeared above the horizon I managed to get the party fairly started, and we followed a course of 180 degrees over elevated sandy downs which rested on a limestone formation. The first four miles of our journey was not very encouraging; we could only see as far to the eastward as the flat-topped range; and although the slopes of these hills looked very fertile I had no means of judging how far back this good country extended; we had however been creeping gradually up an ascent, and when we gained the summit of this I turned to look to the northward after the straggling party, who were slowly mounting the hill, some of them staggering along under loads so heavy that I should have hated the tyranny of any man who could have compelled them to carry such a weight; but as it was I could only grieve to see men, from the hope of gain, rushing so inevitably on their fate. Having gazed till weary at this painful picture of the weakness of human nature, I turned to the north-eastward, and there burst upon my sight a most enchanting view. In the far east, that is, some twenty or five-and-twenty miles away, stretched a lofty chain of mountains, flat-topped and so regular in their outline that they appeared rather the work of art than of nature. Between this range and the nearest one lay a large rich valley vying with the most fertile I have ever seen in an extra-tropical country. In front of us lay another valley which drained a portion of the large one, and in both rose gently swelling hills and picturesque peaks, wooded in the most romantic manner. Whilst I stood and looked on this scene, my woes were forgotten. Such moments as these repay an explorer for much toil and trouble.
THE VICTORIA RANGE AND DISTRICT. THE PROVINCE OF VICTORIA.
The distant range I at once named the Victoria in honour of Her Majesty; and being now certain that the district we were in was one of the most fertile in Australia I named it the Province of Victoria. There is no other part of extra-tropical Australia which can boast of the same number of streams in an equal extent of coast frontage, or which has such elevated land so near the sea; and I have seen no other which has so large an extent of good country. It is however bounded both to the north and south by comparatively-speaking unproductive districts; but what the character of the country to the north-east and south-east may be still remains to be ascertained.
Another mile on a course of 180 degrees brought us to the valley in our front; it was of the same rich and romantic character as that which I have just described, being in depth about two hundred feet, down limestone rocks, in places assuming the character of cliffs. In its bottom was a watercourse containing water in pools only; but it must be borne in mind that it was now the very end of the dry season. The party all came up, and we laid ourselves down under the grateful shade of the mimosas. Those who chose took their fill of water. I had made a rule never to taste it except to wash out my mouth from sunrise until we halted for the night; for I found that drinking water promoted profuse perspiration and more ardent thirst, and I preferred practising a little self-denial to enduring the greater pangs arising from indulgence.
Whilst I stretched my weary length along under the pleasant shade I saw in fancy busy crowds throng the scenes I was then amongst. I pictured to myself the bleating sheep and lowing herds wandering over these fertile hills; and I chose the very spot on which my house should stand, surrounded with as fine an amphitheatre of verdant land as the eye of man has ever gazed on. The view was backed by the Victoria Range, whilst seaward you looked out through a romantic glen upon the great Indian Ocean. I knew that within four or five years civilization would have followed my tracks, and that rude nature and the savage would no longer reign supreme over so fine a territory. Mr. Smith entered eagerly into my thoughts and views: together we built these castles in the air, trusting we should see happy results spring from our present sufferings and labours, but within a few weeks from this day he died in the wilds he was exploring.
THE BULLER RIVER.
The stream we were on I named the Buller; we rested some time by it and when we moved on some of the advocates of the eight or ten mile a day system very unwillingly followed the party. We fell in with a native path which wound up through a thick scrub in pleasing sinuosities, and emerged upon a tableland similar to the one we had traversed this morning.
THE CHAPMAN RIVER.
I now followed a course of 169 degrees, and after walking three miles more we arrived at the edge of a valley of the same character as that wherein the Buller flowed, and through it we had another view of the fertile country to the eastward: into this valley we descended and, finding a watercourse running through it with water in pools, I seated myself with such of the party as were up, about half a quarter of a mile from the Mount Fairfax of Captain King, and named this stream the Chapman.
SEARCH FOR A MISSING MAN.
Mr. Walker now came up with the remainder of the party and reported that Stiles was missing. As he could have no difficulty in finding us I merely took the precaution to make the men sit in such positions that he could distinguish us from the summit of the opposite cliffs when he arrived there, and we patiently awaited that moment. Time however wore on, and some of the men finding a species of geranium with a root not unlike a very small and tough parsnip, we prepared and ate several messes of this plant. At length, no signs of Stiles having been seen, I sent Mr. Walker, Corporal Auger, and Kaiber to the top of the cliffs we had descended to try if they could discern anything of him or his tracks. During their absence I expressed, in the hearing of some of the men, my anxiety lest he should have lingered behind and have fallen in with the natives; upon which they smiled and said that "Tom Stiles was a man who did not care about the natives; and that only that morning he had said he didn't mind for all the natives in the island, d—- them;" and that they thought he had stopped behind on purpose.
GATHERING OF NATIVES. SCENE WITH NATIVES.
The absence of Mr. Walker and his party continued much longer than I expected, and just at the moment that I had become rather alarmed about it Coles reported to me that he saw natives on the opposite cliff, jumping about and running up and down brandishing their spears in the manner they do before and after a fight. Coles was at this time posted as sentry on a terrace just above where we were, and the ascent to which was very difficult. I got up on this as fast as I could; it was only two or three yards broad and ran apparently along the whole length of the valley. The natives used it as a path, and a very steep hill rose behind it. I could not however make out the natives, and as the opposite cliffs were a long way off I thought that Coles might have been mistaken. When I told him this he merely said "Look there, then, Sir," and pointed to the top of Mount Fairfax, distant about 400 yards due north of us, and sure enough there were a party of natives, well armed and going through a variety of ceremonies which the experience of centuries had proved to be highly efficacious in getting rid of evil spirits. In the present instance however their wonted efficacy failed, but the natives appeared every moment to be getting more vehement in their gestures.
Our situation by no means pleased me: Stiles and a separate party of our own men had mysteriously disappeared in the direction where Coles had first seen the natives, by whom we were in a manner surrounded, and that in an abominable position, for they could steal amongst the underwood close above us in our rear, and annoy us with missiles of all sorts; whilst from the extent and thickness of the scrub it was impossible to occupy it effectually against treacherous (or rather, bold and skilful) enemies. On the other hand I could not quit my present position and occupy a more favourable one, for, in the event of Mr. Walker and Corporal Auger being pressed by the natives and retreating on us, it was our duty to be at that spot where they would calculate on finding us and an effectual assistance. I made therefore the best disposition of my little force I could, and, occupying the centre of the party, I had the satisfaction of seeing our wild friends on Mount Fairfax, blowing strongly at us and capering more furiously than ever when they beheld our unaccountable manoeuvres.
It was fortunate that poor Kaiber was absent, for so fearful an exhibition of sorcery would have altogether upset his nerves; but the British soldiers and sailors I had with me remained surprisingly calm; whilst the natives, having exhibited their antics for a few minutes more, suddenly withdrew in a hurried manner. I therefore made up my mind for a surprise, and we anxiously waited to see from what quarter the attack would come.
CONTINUATION OF SEARCH FOR THE MISSING MAN. RETURN OF PARTY FROM SEARCH.
The cause of their disappearance was however soon explained. Mr. Walker, Corporal Auger, and Kaiber came winding down the hills under Mount Fairfax, and gave the following account of their proceedings: On ascending the cliffs opposite to us they had found Stiles's tracks, and had followed them until they reached the sea beach; on passing the stream on their way there they found a place where he had halted and made up all his flour into dampers; but on coming out on the shore they saw a large party of natives seated on the sandhills in front, whilst others were fishing in the sea at this point; and the tracks of Stiles turned off into the interior: this hero, who wished to encounter all the natives of the island single-handed, had evidently fled from them. Mr. Walker had been unable to follow his tracks any further and had therefore thought it most prudent to return to the main party.
From the circumstances of Stiles having thrown away part of his clothes, and having made such a large quantity of dough to bake into dampers at the first convenient opportunity, together with various expressions he had dropped in the presence of the men, there could be no doubt but that he had purposely quitted the party; yet to abandon him to his fate amongst natives, who were by no means friendly in their gestures and appearance, required a degree of resolution I was unprepared at that moment to exercise. To leave him without a search was to sacrifice one life, to allow one man to perish, whilst occupying one or two days in looking for him would merely increase the temporary sufferings of the rest; whilst the loss of time would probably occasion no other bad result than a little more personal privation; and this, in order to try to save the life of a fellow-creature, I conceived it to be my own duty and that of the rest of the party to undergo. Influenced by these reasons I desired all hands to prepare to start in search of Stiles.
Strange however to say, my resolution was scarcely made known ere much grumbling arose; and this chiefly amongst those men who had lately been loudest in their praises of the system of only marching a few miles a day and occasionally halting for a day or two where we could get native roots to eat, in fact, amongst those whose foolish ideas had led Stiles to desert the party. We however moved on in the direction of the spot where Kaiber had lost the tracks, and on our way over the high ground we met a native with his spear and a handful of fish; he was lost in thought and we were close to him before he saw us: when he did so he took no notice whatever of us, but without even quickening his pace continued in his original line of direction, which crossed ours obliquely. As he evidently did not wish to communicate with us I directed the men not to take the least notice of him, and thus we passed one another. He must have been a very brave fellow to act so coolly as he did when an array so strange to him met his eye.
ANOTHER PARTY OF NATIVES.
On arriving at the beach to the south of a bay or harbour,* which the pressure of circumstances precluded me from examining, we could find nothing of Stiles's tracks: he appeared to have gone off due east in the hope of crossing our route, but, being in advance of us, and consequently not finding our traces, it was impossible to say in which direction he might have turned. The natives now mustered a very large force and occupied the high hills (almost cliffs) which lay a few hundred yards to our left, and, as they had such an advantageous position and could at any moment surprise us amongst the low sandhills where we were searching for Stiles's footsteps, our situation was one of great danger. At length, finding it impossible to keep the men steady, I moved them up to the higher ground, where we could have met the natives upon a footing of equality. They appeared, although very numerous, to be now by no means hostile, merely standing on a high hill, watching us and calling out "Yoongar kaw," or "Oh, people!" whilst Kaiber, who knew nothing of their vile magical practices, and therefore regarded them as mere ordinary flesh and blood, was very ready to communicate with them; but as they made no other advances, I thought it better merely to remain near them for the night, occasionally firing a gun in hopes Stiles might hear it, and with this intention I selected a spot for our encampment.
(*Footnote. For a further description of this harbour, which has been since denominated Port Grey, see the account of the schooner Champion's Expedition in the 6th chapter.)
We started very early this morning and Kaiber exerted himself to the utmost to find Stiles's traces. At the end of three miles, on a course of 180 degrees, we descended from the elevated scrubby plains we had been moving along to the lowlands, and on reaching this came upon the bed of a small watercourse. I here halted the party; and as it was uncertain when we might again fall in with water I commenced a search for it with Kaiber, but after travelling rapidly over a good deal of ground without seeing either water or any traces of Stiles we rejoined the party very much fatigued.
THE MAN FOUND.
For the next two and a half miles we wound along low, grassy, swampy plains, thinly wooded with clumps of Acacias, and then entered upon low scrubby plains bounding the sea-shore. I here caught sight of Stiles just ahead of us and coming in from the eastward: he was very glad once more to find himself in safety; and his comrades seemed pleased to see him again, although many a suppressed murmur had met my ears during our morning's walk at the trouble I was taking to look for him.
THE GREENOUGH RIVER.
Four miles further over similar plains in a south by east direction brought us to a river, about five-and-twenty yards wide, which I named the Greenough; and travelling up it a short distance we found a spot where we could cross by stepping from rock to rock. Its waters were quite salt. I continued our route for about three miles, when I found it was impossible to induce some of the men to walk any further; they laid sullenly down and were so fully convinced that I was pursuing a wrong system in marching so far in a day, and never halting for two or three days to refresh, as they wished, that I could do nothing with them, and was therefore forced to sit down too. Corporal Auger soon afterwards found water near us, and I moved the party down to it.
Finding water in some degree revived their spirits and I contrived to get them to proceed seven miles more before nightfall, the way being over sandy open plains very favourable for walking.
MORE NATIVE HUTS.
We passed a large assemblage of native huts of the same permanent character as those I have before mentioned: there were two groups of those houses close together in a sequestered nook in a wood, which taken collectively would have contained at least a hundred and fifty natives. We halted for the night in the dry bed of a watercourse, abounding in grass, so that we again enjoyed the luxury of a soft bed. At first I thought that we were near natives from hearing a plaintive cry like that of a child, but Kaiber assured me that it was the cry of the young of the wild turkey.
CROSS THE HEADS OF TWO BAYS.
In the course of this day we travelled across the heads of two bays, which were indistinctly visible through the woods.
The first three miles of our route this day lay over sandy scrubby plains; we saw however a good country to the eastward. I found that a man of the name of Charley Woods was much knocked up; he was a supporter of the eight or nine miles a day system, and had a very heavy load with no portion of which could I induce him to part; he however insisted on sitting down every half mile and detaining the party, and as I found that they got more worn out and weaker, and the impression in favour of long rests and short marches became much stronger, I thought it more prudent to acquiesce for the present.
We now reached a very thick belt of trees, pushing through which was a task of great difficulty, but at length we emerged upon some clear hills overlooking a very extensive and fertile valley, from which arose so dense a fog that portions of it appeared to be a large lake. Into this valley we descended, and the remainder of the day until near noon was spent by me in endeavouring to get the men to move.
THE IRWIN RIVER. AUSTRALIND.
We this morning for the first time met with Zamia trees, and about 12 P.M. came down upon the large sandy bed of a dried up river which I named the Irwin after my friend Major Irwin, the Commandant at Swan River; following this for half a mile we found a native well, dug to a considerable depth in the bed, but all our scraping here was vain. Water was found at a great depth, but so shallow that we could not dip it up. Some of the men saw four native boys playing in the grassy plains near us; directly however the little fellows perceived us, they scampered off at their utmost speed, and no doubt ever since that period they have been firm believers in the existence of ghosts.
The men now began to complain much of the want of water, and I for some time followed the traces of these native boys, who had come from the southward and eastward, in the hope that their tracks would lead us to it, but the grumbling and discontent of some of the men was so great that I found it almost impossible to induce them to move. My object was to get them to walk to a high peaked hill distant about five miles from us in a due south-east direction, and under which I felt certain, from its height, that we should find water, but I was obliged at last to give up this idea: Charles Woods would not stir at all, and several of the men followed his example; they laid down on the ground and no inducement could prevail on them either to move or to abandon a portion of their loads; and this obstinacy on their part was accompanied in some instances with the most blasphemous and horrid expressions. Indeed I could not conceal from myself the fact of its being the general impression that my mode of proceeding was "killing the men," and that consequently some of them had arrived at the resolution of compelling me by their conduct to adopt their favourite system of short marches and long halts. But I was still aware of the disastrous consequences which must necessarily result from such a mode of proceeding, and determined to have nothing to do with it.
In the course of the afternoon I managed to get the party to move about a mile and a half in an easterly direction, but they here again sat down and could neither be induced to walk or to part with their bundles.
SEARCH FOR WATER.
As they had not tasted water today I selected the best walkers, namely, Corporals Auger and Coles, Hackney, Henry Woods, and Kaiber, and went off to look for some to bring to the rest. We were now on a well-beaten native path which traversed a fertile tract of country, and along this we continued our route, walking as rapidly as we could, for night was coming on apace. From this path we made frequent divergencies but found no water; in one instance we met with a native well of great depth, where a party of them had been drinking a few days before, but it was now quite dry.
FIND IT AT WATER PEAK. WATER PEAK HILL.
We therefore continued our search, and just as it was growing dark had made about seven miles of a circuitous course and found ourselves at the foot of the high-peaked hill seen this morning, named by me Water Peak. I still hurried along the native path, and was so wrapped up in the thoughts of our present position that I passed, without seeing it, a beautiful spring that rose to within a few inches of the surface. Near this the natives had built a small hut, covered with boughs, concealed in which they might kill the birds and animals which came to drink at this lone water; the keen eye of Coles in a moment detected the little pool, and our thirst was soon assuaged.
For a few minutes we lay on the bank of this clear spring, resting our wearied limbs and admiring the scenery around us. There is a something in the wild luxuriance of a totally new and uncultivated country which words cannot convey to the inhabitant of an old and civilized land, the rich and graceful forms of the trees, the massy moss-grown trunks which cumber the soil, the tree half uptorn by some furious gale and still remaining in the falling posture in which the winds have left it, the drooping disorder of dead and dying branches, the mingling of rich grasses and useless weeds, all declare that here man knows not the luxuries the soil can yield him: it was over such a scene, rendered still more lovely by the falling shadows of night, that our eyes now wandered.
BENIGHTED IN RETURNING TO THE PARTY.
I roused the men again and we commenced our return to the party, loaded with a supply of water. It was now dark and we soon wandered from the path. Kaiber took a star for his guide and led us straight across the country; but our route lay through a warran ground, full of holes, and in the darkness of the night we every now and then had a tremendous tumble, so that at the end of about four miles I thought that it would be imprudent to proceed farther, as we every moment were in danger of breaking a limb or seriously injuring ourselves. I therefore halted for the night, and as we were unable to light a fire both on account of the heavy dew and of having no proper materials with us, the first portion of it passed wretchedly enough, indeed, weary as I was, I found it necessary to walk about in order to preserve some slight degree of warmth in my frame.
At length however the men, who were much too cold to sleep, got up and, renewing their efforts, succeeded in kindling a blaze. Kaiber soon collected plenty of wood, and as I was unable to sleep I passed the night in meditating on our present state.
POSITION AND PROSPECTS.
I felt sure that if the men persisted in their resolution of moving slowly a lingering and dreadful death awaited us all; yet my opinion was a solitary one. Mr. Walker had in many instances plainly and publicly shown that he on this point differed with me; and he was a medical man, and one who certainly never shrank from any danger or toil which he thought it his duty to encounter. The most therefore I could say against those who were opposed to my system of moving was that I conceived them to be guilty of a grievous error in judgment; but it was not until our separate opinions had been tested by the future that it could be definitely pronounced who was right. Nevertheless those who have been much with men compelled to make long marches cannot fail to have remarked how readily and foolishly they find excuses to enable them to obtain a halt, and such persons would probably have agreed with me in suspecting that natural indolence of disposition, strengthened by fatigue and privation, might induce men to adopt, without a very strict investigation, any opinion falling in with their immediate feelings of feebleness.
Being firmly convinced that these men intended to pursue a plan of operations which would entail great misery both upon themselves and the others, I considered that I ought undoubtedly to endeavour to save them from the danger which I foresaw impending over them; and this could only be accomplished by my making forced marches to Perth and sending out supplies to meet them before they were reduced to the last extremities. Had I foreseen a week ago that I should be compelled eventually to adopt such a step I would then have taken with me all such as were willing to march and have left the others; but this time had passed. My movement to Perth must now be accomplished with the greatest expedition or it would be useless; and to take anyone with me who was so much reduced as to have delayed, impeded, or perhaps altogether to have arrested our progress, would have sacrificed the lives of all.
CHAPTER 3. FROM WATER PEAK TO GAIRDNER'S RANGE.
RETURN TO THE PARTY.
The morning's dawn found us in the vicinity of our comrades, and, just as the thick grey mists began heavily to ascend from the low plains on which I had left the party, we emerged from the bush upon the native path down which we had travelled the preceding evening; here I turned northward, and a few minutes more placed the party in our view. Some of them were missing. I felt alarmed lest a new misfortune had happened and, hurrying on, eagerly asked where they were. The answer given will describe more truly their position than the most minute detail could do; it was: "They are just gone into the bush to suck grass, Sir." This semblance of extreme thirst must however, I suspect, have been in some measure a piece of affectation upon their parts, for upon the morning of the day before they had had a plentiful supply of water: whether however their extreme sufferings were true or feigned mattered not, we fully supplied their wants; and then I immediately ordered preparations to be made for our further progress.
We moved on in the direction of the spring of water which lay about half a mile to the eastward of our true line of route. Our movements were soon again delayed by Woods, who began as usual to lie down and declare his inability to proceed any further.
DELAYS CAUSED BY USELESS BAGGAGE. DESTRUCTION OF USELESS BAGGAGE.
I desired him to leave behind the heavy load he was carrying; but as upon former occasions he again declared his determination to die rather than part with this mysterious bundle, which appeared to possess an extraordinary value in his estimation. It was easy to see from his appearance that he was now really ill and unable to carry such a weight as he was striving to do. At length he again laid himself down, declaring that he was dying, and, as I determined no longer to see his life endangered by his so obstinately insisting on carrying this bundle, I took it up, and, informing him of my intention to pay him the full value of any property of his that I might destroy, I proceeded to open it with the intention of throwing all useless articles away.
Upon this announcement of mine he burst into tears, deplored alternately his dying state and the loss of the bundle, and then poured forth a torrent of invectives against me, in the midst of which I quietly went on unfolding the treasured parcel and exposing to view the following articles: Three yards of thick heavy canvas; some duck which he had purloined; a large roll of sewing thread, ditto; a thick pea jacket which I had abandoned at the boats, and had, at his request, given to him; and various other old pieces of canvas and duck; also a great part of the cordage of one of the boats, which he had taken without permission.
When these various articles were produced it was difficult to tell which was the prevailing sentiment in the minds of some of the party—mirth at thus seeing the contents of the mysterious bundle exposed, or indignation that a man should have been so foolish as to endanger his own life and delay our movements for the sake of such a collection of trash. A pair of shoes and one or two useful articles were retained, the remainder were thrown away, and in a few minutes we were again under weigh for the spring of water.
HALT AT WATER PEAK.
Another hour's march brought us to the spring; and those who with me had been marching through a great part of the night gladly laid down to rest; but I soon roused myself again, being urged by the pangs of hunger. Fortunately I had shot a crow in the morning, and now, gathering a few wild greens that grew about the water, I cooked a breakfast for myself and the native without being obliged to draw upon my little store of flour. This frugal repast having been washed down by a few mouthfuls of water, I resumed my meditations of the previous night.
The following appeared to be our true position. We were about one hundred and ninety miles from Perth, in a direct line measured through the air. None of the party had more than six or seven pounds of flour left; whilst I had myself but one pound and a half, and half a pound of arrowroot; the native had nothing left and was wholly dependant on me for his subsistence. Now we had been seven days on our route, and had made but little more than seventy miles, and as the men were much weaker than when they first started it appeared to me to be extremely problematical whether we should ever reach Perth unless some plan different from what we had hitherto pursued was adopted. And even granting that we did eventually make this point, it was evident that we must previously be subjected to wants and necessities of the most cruel and distressing nature.
NEW PLAN OF PROCEEDING.
Yet it was quite manifest from recent events that the majority of the party had not only made up their minds not to accelerate their movements, but had fully resolved to compel me to pursue their system of short marches and long halts. Being fully aware of the danger which threatened them, it remained for me to act with that decision which circumstances appeared to require, and to proceed by rapid and forced marches to Perth, whence assistance could be sent out to the remainder. For this purpose it was necessary that all those who accompanied me should be good walkers and resolute men; for if any accident happened to the portion of the party I took with me, arising either from want of energy, want of discipline, or any other causes, that portion of the party which remained behind would have been reduced to the last extremity.
DIVIDE THE PARTY, AND PROCEED WITH THE STRONGEST TO PERTH FOR ASSISTANCE. ARRANGEMENTS AT STARTING.
Having formed this resolution, it became necessary to make a selection of those who were to accompany me. In determining however upon this point I had but little difficulty; for it was evident that those men who during our late toils had shown themselves the most capable of enduring hardships, privations, and the fatigue of long and rapid marches, were those who were the best suited for the service I now destined them for. The following was the division I made of the party: I named:
Corporal Auger, Corporal Coles, H. Woods, W. Hackney, Kaiber, the native,
as those who were to accompany me, and left the remainder under the command of Mr. Walker.
EMBARRASSMENT REGARDING THE CHART.
In making my arrangements with Mr. Walker a very serious difficulty arose upon his part, and one from which I immediately augured the worst of consequences. On quitting the boats I brought away with me Captain King's chart of the coast between North-west Cape and Cape Leeuwin, and had hitherto carried it along with my papers and sketches. I wished Mr. Walker to take this chart with him for the purpose of recognising his position by means of the islands and headlands as he advanced along the coast. No inducements upon my part could however persuade him to take charge of it. It was in vain that I urged on him the well known fact that nothing encourages men in a long journey so much as knowing the exact distance they have travelled and what extent of country they have still left to traverse. It was in vain that I assured him he would, from his inexperience in calculating distances in the bush, soon get confused in his reckoning; and that the men, finding out his error, would lose all trust and confidence in him, whence would spring want of discipline and disorders of various kinds; he knew that I much valued this chart and had apparently taken it into his head that I wished to disencumber myself of it and to entail the duty of carrying it on him.
He at length proposed to me to allow him to cut the chart up, in which case he said he would carry on the part he wanted and leave the rest. I would not however part with so valuable a document, for it contained my route up to that point, and the public utility of the expedition mainly depended on the preservation of it. He next requested me to make a copy of it for him; this I assured him under existing circumstances it was utterly impossible for me to do with sufficient accuracy to answer the intended purpose, and I therefore would not attempt it. He then applied to Mr. Smith, who coincided in my opinion; but ever willing to oblige he made as accurate a copy as he could, which I in vain represented to Mr. Walker he would find utterly useless. His unreasonable reluctance however I could not overcome.
POINT OF RENDEZVOUS FIXED.
The next matter to arrange was what place should be fixed on as the point of rendezvous to which assistance was to be sent to those who were left to follow with Mr. Walker. This was soon arranged. Mr. Smith had previously been with me to a place called Goonmarrarup, on the Moore River about fifty-five miles to the north of Perth; and it was agreed that the party should proceed along the coast as they best could until they made the Moore River, where I would have another party stationed with provisions to meet them; and in order that they might not pass this river it was settled that the party who went out to meet them should separate into two, one of which would remain at this point on the Moore River, about twelve miles from the sea, whilst the other was to proceed down to it, leaving, besides their tracks, marks to show where they had passed; and then, in the event of not finding those they were in search of, this last detachment was to push still further northward to look for them.
As soon as the arrangements were concluded I assembled the men and publicly repeated these directions to them; and to such as Clotworthy I addressed strong admonitions as to their future conduct. Many of them did not appear to be in the least aware of the critical situation they were placed in; I however entertained great fears for the safety of some of them. Poor Smith was at this time in a very delicate state of health, and his courage and gentleness had so endeared him to me that the sight of his sickly face made me long to be on the march to send out help to him. For Mr. Walker I had no fear; I have never known anyone endowed with a greater degree of patient endurance; indeed had he not, from a mistaken good nature, been too familiar with the men, no one could have been more admirably adapted for the trying position in which he was placed; and even as events turned out I doubt if anyone could have been found who would have endured more, or would have gone through greater exertions to save those under his command.
The party I left, and who were not required to proceed by forced marches, consisted of:
Mr. Walker, Mr. Smith, Thomas Ruston, C. Woods, T. Stiles, A. Clotworthy.
SEPARATION OF THE PARTY. ADVICE TO THOSE LEFT BEHIND.
Before parting with Mr. Walker and Mr. Smith I again urged them to push steadily onwards and never to idle for an instant; but I do not think that either of them were fully aware of the dangers they had to contend with. Poor Smith, as he squeezed my hand, begged me to send out a horse for him, if one could be procured, and also some tobacco; he said the only thing he dreaded was want of water.
Mr. Walker smiled and told me to look out for myself that he was not in Perth before me, and several others seemed to participate in his feeling and to regard my plan of proceeding as the height of folly.
I left with Mr. Walker's party everything that was really useful, such as the cooking saucepan and the only hatchet we had. These were very valuable to them, for had they come into a grass-tree country they might have subsisted for a long time upon the tops of these trees, as Mr. Elliott did upon a former occasion; for he together with two men lived upon them for fourteen days. This very useful implement they however threw away the second day after we parted. We also left them all the fishing-hooks.
Mr. Walker's party instantly commenced on the system of halting, and instead of moving on in the afternoon remained where they were that day for the purpose of resting themselves.
The country we travelled over for the first two miles was pretty good, being a series of grassy plains. At this point we came to a belt of thick wood which we found exceedingly difficult to traverse. We then continued our south by east course for four miles further over undulating sandy downs, and halted for the night in a small clump of Banksia trees which afforded plenty of wood for our fires.
About an hour before daylight I roused the party, and as soon as it was light enough to distinguish the surrounding objects we started. Our route lay along a series of undulating sandy hills which sloped down to a fertile plain, four or five miles in width, on the western side of which rose a low range of dunes, and beyond these was the sea. We found the walking along these hills very difficult on account of the prickly scrub with which they were covered, and the general appearance of the country to the eastward was barren and unpromising.
COURSE IMPEDED BY A THICK WOOD.
The course I pursued was about south by east, but we soon found ourselves embarrassed in thick woods through which it was almost impossible to force a way: the trees were not large but so matted together that it required my utmost exertions to prevail upon the men to persist in pushing through them, indeed it will afterwards be found that these woods had a most disastrous effect upon the spirits of that portion of the party which followed me. It was however absolutely necessary to make our way through one of these which formed a belt of nearly a mile in width, running almost east and west as far as the eye could see in each direction.
I therefore gave a bold plunge into the bushes, followed by the native and slowly by the other men, who kept alternately groaning from fatigue and pain and uttering imprecations against the country they were in. Having cleared this wood I turned rather more inland, and we pursued our route over barren scrubby plains, and, after having travelled about fifteen miles over this uninteresting description of country, we suddenly found ourselves on the top of a low range which overlooked a most luxuriant valley of about three miles in width, its general direction appearing to be from the east-south-east.
THE ARROWSMITH RIVER.
I immediately knew from the appearance of the country that we were near some large river; and whilst descending into the valley I indulged in speculations as to the size of that we were about to discover, and as to whether Providence would grant me once again to drink a draught of cool river water.
I soon however began to fear that my expectations were to be disappointed. We had already proceeded more than two miles of the distance across the valley; and although the soil was rich and good we had yet seen nothing but dry watercourses, inconsiderable in themselves yet apparently when united forming a large river. I still however entertained hopes of finding water, for I saw numerous tracks of natives about, and the whole of this valley was an extensive warran ground in which they had that very morning been digging for their favourite root.
At length, just as my patience began to wear out, we ascended, out of a dry watercourse, a rise rather more elevated than the others we had met with in crossing the valley; and from the summit of this a curious sight met our view: beneath us lay the dry bed of a large river, its depth at this point being between forty and fifty feet, and its breadth upwards of three hundred yards; it was at times subject to terrific inundations; for along its banks lay the trunks of immense trees, giants of the forest which had been washed down from the interior in the season of the floods; yet nothing now met our craving eyes but a vast sandy channel which scorched our eyeballs as the rays of the sun were reflected back from its white glistening bed.
WATER FOUND IN IT BY DIGGING.
I picked out the most shady spot I could for the men to halt at, then descended into the bed of the river to search, with the native, for water; and immediately on scraping a hole a few inches deep in the bed of the river the water came streaming into it, for the sand composing the bottom of the watercourse was completely saturated, and I afterwards found that there were large pools of it immediately above and below where we were.
The wants of the men having been thus supplied I determined, as it was intensely hot, to halt for an hour or two; we each of us therefore ate a little doughboy, or piece of damper, and the men then lay down to rest. As I sat musing alone the first thought that struck me was how providentially it happened that we had not fallen in with this river in the season of the floods, as our crossing it then would have been utterly impossible.
APPROACH OF NATIVES TO THE RIVER.
But my reveries were soon disturbed by hearing the call of a native from the opposite bank, and I roused up poor Kaiber from his sleep that he might ascertain what was going on upon the other side. His quick eyes soon detected natives moving about amongst the bushes; but on farther examination he ascertained that there was only one man, who walked as if he had been wounded, the rest of the party being made up of women and children, who were digging for roots. They were quite unconscious of our presence, and we lay snugly behind a bush, watching all their movements. As soon as they had dug a sufficient quantity of roots for their purpose they descended to the bed of the river and walked up to a pool about one hundred yards above our position, where they all drank and then sat down to cook their roots. I ordered the men to keep themselves as quiet as possible so that we in no way disturbed these poor creatures; and when at length the party moved off we passed them in a diagonal direction so as to give them an opportunity of seeing us without frightening them. When first we emerged into view they began to run away; but when they saw that we still moved steadily on without noticing them they were no longer alarmed, but stood still, gazing at us with the greatest wonder and amazement; the youngest children standing behind their mothers, peeping cautiously out at us; and many a strange thought must have passed through the breasts of these natives as they saw us wind in regular order up the opposite hill. This tribe was the most northern one that I had seen wear the kangaroo-skin cloak.
Another mile and a half in a south by east direction brought us to a low range to the south of this river, which I named the Arrowsmith River after Mr. John Arrowsmith, the distinguished geographer. From this range we had a fine view of the rich valleys drained by this important stream.
These valleys ran nearly north and south between the interior range and the sandy limestone range parallel to the coast on which we now were; but the river must also, of course, from its magnitude, penetrate the interior range, which was only distant about sixteen miles from us. A very remarkable peak in the latter, which bore east-north-east from this point, I named Mount Horner, after my friend Leonard Horner, Esquire.
It appears from the report of the party who came along the coast that this river loses itself in a large lake, between which and the sea a great bar of dry sand intervenes in the dry season; there is however a very fair proportion of good country in the neighbourhood of the Arrowsmith.
In the course of the evening we travelled six and a half miles further in a south-south-east direction, over barren, sandy, scrubby plains, which extended on all sides as far as the eye could see, and even the interior range appeared to be perfectly bare. Towards nightfall we were all quite worn out from the difficulty we had experienced in walking through the prickly scrub, yet I could see no place that afforded sufficient wood to enable us to make a fire and, as most of us had no covering with us, and the nights were intensely cold, we had every prospect of passing a most wretched one; but at length I spied two clumps of Banksia trees, the nearest of which we just reached as it became quite dark. The other clump was about a quarter of a mile to the eastward of us, at which I soon distinguished native fires; as the men were however much exhausted I thought it better not to mention this circumstance to them, and Kaiber and myself, who always slept at a little fire alone, kept a good look out during the night.
This evening we found the Bohn or Boh-rne, a native esculent root, and it is the most northern point at which I have met with it.*
(*Footnote. A small red root somewhat resembling in flavour a mild onion.)
Before dawn this morning our native neighbours, who doubtless were not pleased at our sleeping so near them, began to cooee to each other, which is their usual signal for collecting their forces; and, as our safety depended upon none of the party being incapacitated by a wound or other cause from proceeding with the utmost rapidity, I at once roused the men and we resumed our way.
CONTINUE OUR ROUTE.
In the course of the day we made a march of twenty-five miles in a south-south-east direction, the whole of this distance being across elevated undulating sandy plains, covered with a thick prickly scrub, about two and a half feet high; these plains were however occasionally studded with a few Banksia trees, but anything more dark, cheerless, and barren than their general appearance can scarcely be conceived.
About half an hour before sunset we came to the bed of a dry watercourse, the direction of which was from south-east to north, so that it was probably a tributary of the Arrowsmith. We were fortunate enough to find a small pool of water in it, yet the large flights of birds of every description that came here for the purpose of drinking showed the rarity of water in these parts. We made several attempts to get a shot at them but they were so wild, and we were so worn out and weak, that all our exertions were unsuccessful. In the course of the evening one of the men made up my last pound of flour into a damper for me, and I supped on a spoonful of arrowroot.
SERIOUS ROBBBRY BY A RAT.
On waking up this morning I found that in the night a rat had gnawed a hole in the canvas bag in which my little damper was placed, and had eaten more than half of it; this was a very serious misfortune as all my provisions were now reduced to three table-spoonfuls of arrowroot and the morsel of damper left me by the rat. As I had shared my provisions with the native my situation was far worse than that of any of the others, and he, poor fellow, had become so dispirited and weak that he was incapable of searching for his food. Indeed the productions of the country through which he had hitherto passed were so different from those of the one in which he had lived that the various kinds of roots and vegetables were, with one or two exceptions, quite unknown to him.
We made a very good march of it this morning, having travelled nineteen miles in a nearly south direction before 12 o'clock. Soon after starting we sighted Mount Perron, distant about two and twenty miles and, seen over the waste and barren plains which surrounded us, it was a very remarkable object.
We halted at noon for about two hours, during which time I made my breakfast with Kaiber, sharing my remaining portion of damper between us. It was almost a satisfaction to me when it was gone, for, tormented by the pangs of hunger, as I had now been for many days, I found that nearly the whole of my time was passed in struggling with myself as to whether I should eat at once all the provisions I had left or refrain till a future hour. Having completed this last morsel I occupied myself for a little with my journal, then read a few chapters in the New Testament and, having fulfilled these duties, I felt myself as contented and cheerful as I had ever been in the most fortunate moments of my life.
Soon after two P.M. we resumed our journey, travelling for about eight miles in a due south direction over plains similar to those we had passed yesterday and this morning, and then began to ascend a red sandstone range of the same description as the Perth ironstone and thinly studded with black bay trees. I named this range Gairdner's Range after my friend Gordon Gairdner, Esquire, of the Colonial Office and, after continuing a gradual ascent for about four miles, I found that we were in the neighbourhood of a forest, at the outskirts of which I chose a spot for our halting-place, which afforded plenty of firewood but was deficient in water. As we had now however marched thirty-one miles without seeing water, and were all perfectly worn out, I judged it more prudent to halt where we were.
FIND SOME EDIBLE ZAMIA NUTS.
Kaiber here brought in some of the nuts of the Zamia tree; they were dry and therefore in a fit state to eat. I accordingly shared them amongst the party. Several of the men then straggled off to look for more, and were imprudent enough, before I found out what they were doing, to eat several of the nuts which were not sufficiently dried, the consequences of which were that they were seized with violent fits of vomiting accompanied by vertigo and other distressing symptoms; these however gradually abated during the night, and in the morning, although rendered more weak than they were before, the poor fellows were still able to resume their march.
GENEROUS CONDUCT OF ONE OF THE MEN.
Soon after the fires had been lighted I was sitting alone by mine, as the shadows of night were just falling over the wild hilly scenery with which we were surrounded; I had no water to cook a portion of the three spoonfuls of arrowroot yet left me, and I saw each of the others preparing his scanty portion of food. The native had at this time gone away to look for Zamia nuts, and it may be imagined that many almost undefined feelings at such a time thronged rapidly through my mind. Whilst thus thinking I heard Hackney propose to Woods to offer me a share of their little store of food: "No," said Woods; "everyone for himself under these circumstances; let Mr. Grey do as well as he can and I will do the same." "Well then I shall give him some of mine at all events," said Hackney; and a few minutes afterwards he came up to my fire and pressed me to accept a morsel of damper about the size of a walnut. I hesitated at first whether to do so or not, but, being aware that when we came into a country where game was to be found I could, by means of my gun, provide enough amply to repay this lad, I took it, after several refusals and having it as often warmly pressed upon me.