INTO THE INTERIOR OF
WITH DESCRIPTIONS OF THE RECENTLY EXPLORED REGION OF
AND OF THE PRESENT COLONY OF
NEW SOUTH WALES:
BY MAJOR T.L. MITCHELL, F.G.S. & M.R.G.S.
SECOND EDITION, CAREFULLY REVISED.
IN TWO VOLUMES.
LONDON: T. & W. BOONE, NEW BOND STREET.
PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION.
The following Journals were written at the close of many a laborious day, when the energies both of mind and body were almost exhausted by long-continued toil. The author trusts that this circumstance will account for, and palliate, some of the defects which may be discovered in his volumes. Conscious as he is of the deficiencies of his work, he nevertheless hopes that the reader will not pronounce it to be wholly devoid of interest. Though Australia calls up no historical recollections, no classical associations of ideas, it has other, and not less valid titles to our attention. It is a new and vast country, over the largest portion of which a veil of mystery still hangs; many of its productions vary in a singular manner, from those in other parts of the world; within the memory of man one British colony has risen there, in spite of adverse circumstances, to a high degree of prosperity; others have been founded, which promise to be equally successful; and it seems impossible to doubt that, at no distant period, the whole territory will be inhabited by a powerful people, speaking the English language, diffusing around them English civilisation and arts, and exercising a predominant influence over eastern Asia, and the numerous and extensive islands in that quarter of the globe.
In his expeditions into the interior of Australia, the author was led cheerfully on, by an eager curiosity to examine a country which is yet in the same state as when it was formed by its Maker. With respect to the narrative of those expeditions, the sole merit which he claims is that of having faithfully described what he attentively observed; neither his pencil nor his pen has been allowed to pass the bounds of truth. There is however one branch of his subject on which justice and gratitude render it necessary for him to say something more. In those departments of natural history, to which he owns himself a stranger, he has received assistance of the utmost value from several distinguished persons. To the few plants which, after his unfortunate fellow traveller had sacrificed his life to the pursuit, the writer was able to collect, a permanent place in the botanic system has been given by Dr. Lindley. Much importance has been added to the work, by the researches and discoveries which Professor Owen has made, with regard to the fossil remains; and the few particulars gleaned relative to existing animals have enabled Mr. Ogilby to introduce several interesting novelties to the attention of zoologists. To these gentlemen, and also to Professor Faraday, Mr. MacLeay, and other scientific friends, the warmest acknowledgments of the writer are due, for whatever naturalists may deem worthy of praise in these pages.
The aid thus liberally afforded, acting in unison with a feeling that, as the surveys were undertaken by order of Government, it is his duty to lay the result of them early before the public, has encouraged the author to persevere steadily in bringing out these volumes; though he must candidly own that, but for these considerations, he would rather have delayed the performance of this task till he had completed another,* of a national character, which, connected as it is with the days of his early service in the cause of his country, may naturally be supposed to have stronger and more attractive claims upon him.
August 18, 1838.
(*Footnote. Plans of the Fields of Battle in the Peninsula.)
TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE LORD GLENELG, HER MAJESTY'S PRINCIPAL SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES, ETC. ETC. ETC.
THIS WORK IS WITH PERMISSION DEDICATED BY HIS LORDSHIP'S VERY OBEDIENT AND MOST HUMBLE SERVANT,
CONTENTS OF VOLUME 1.
JOURNEY IN SEARCH OF THE KINDUR, IN 1831 AND 1832.
A Bushranger's story. My plan of exploration. Preparations. Departure from Sydney. A garden. Country between Sydney and the Hawkesbury. Beyond the Hawkesbury. Summit of Warrawolong. Natives of Brisbane Water. The Wollombi. Valley of the Hunter. Fossils of the Hunter. Men employed on the expedition. Equipment. Burning grass. Aborigines and Colonists. Cambo, a wild native. A Colonist of the right sort. Escape of the Bushranger, The Barber. Burning Hill of Wingen. Approach Liverpool Range. Cross it. A sick tribe. Interior waters. Liverpool Plains. Proposed route. Horses astray. A Squatter. Native guide and his gin. Modes of drinking au naturel. Woods on fire. Cross the Turi Range. Arrive on the River Peel. Fishes. Another native guide. Explore the Peel.
Enter an unexplored region. Situation of Mr. Oxley's camp on the Peel. Westward course of the river. Kangaroo shot. Calcareous rocks. Acacia pendula first seen. Other trees near the river. Junction of the Peel and Muluerindie. View from Perimbungay. Ford of Wallanburra. Plains of Mulluba. View from Mount Ydire. Hills seen agree with The Bushranger's account. The river Namoi. Stockyard of The Bushranger. Singular fish. View from Tangulda. Cutting through a thick scrub. Want of water. Impeded by a lofty range of mountains. Marks of natives' feet. Maule's river. A grilled snake. View on ascending the range of Nundewar. Native female. Proposed excursion with packhorses. Native guide absconds. The range impassable. Return to Tangulda. Prepare to launch the boats on the Namoi.
Fires in the Bush. Rocks of Bullabalakit. Boat launched. Bees load my rifle with honey. Embark on the Namoi in canvas boats. Impediments to the navigation. Boat staked, and sinks. The leak patched. She again runs foul of a log. Provisions damaged. Resolve to proceed by land. Pack up the boats, and continue the journey. Pass the western extremity of Nundewar Range. Unknown tree. Water scarce. Providential supply. Crayfish. Trap-hill on plains. Cut through a scrub. Meet a tribe of Natives. Again obliged to cut our way. Fortunate discovery of water. Dry valleys. Mount Frazer. The party in distress for want of water. Water found next day. Ducks. Wheel Ponds. Excessive heat and drought. Description of the woods. Meet with natives. Cross the dry bed of a river. A friendly native with his family. No water. Reach the Gwydir. Cross it with one man. Prevented by a native with spears, from shooting a kangaroo. Re-cross the river.
Change the route to trace the course of the Gwydir. A native village of bowers. Effect of sudden moisture on the wheels. Tortuous course of the Gwydir. Lines of irrigation across the plains. Heavy rain. Crested pigeon. The party impeded by the soft state of the surface. Lagoons near the river. Excursion northward. Reach a broad sheet of water. Position of the party. The common course of the river, and the situation of the range considered. Nondescript tree and fruit. Plains of rich soil, beautifully wooded. Small branches of the Gwydir. Much frequented by the natives. Laughable interview of Dawkins with a tribe. Again reach the Gwydir. A new cucumber. Cross the river and proceed northward. A night without water. Man lost. Continue northward. Water discovered by my horse. Native weirs for catching fish. Arrive at a large and rapid river. Send back for the party on the Gwydir. Abundance of three kinds of fish. Preparations for crossing the river. Natives approach in the night. View from one tree fastened to another. Mr. White arrives with the party and lost man. Detained by natives. Mr. White crosses the river. Marks of floods on trees. Man lost in the woods. Natives' method of fishing. Native dog. Mr. White's account of the river.
Excursion down the Karaula. Its unexpected course. Formidable insects. Junction of the Gwydir. Owls and Rats. Natives at the camp during my absence. Their attempts to steal. Native dogs. Tents struck to cross. Arrival of Mr. Finch. Murder of his men. Loss of his horses. And seizure of his stores by the natives. Destroy the boat and retire from the Karaula. Forced march to the Gwydir. Numerous tribes surround the party. Good effects of sky-rockets. Funeral dirge by a native female. Dog killed by a snake. Numerous tribes follow. The party regains the plains.
Proposed movements. Hot wind. Heavy rains set in. Country impassable for several days. Excursion to the plundered camp of Mr. Finch. Recover the cart and trunks. Bury the bodies. Columns of smoke. Signals of the natives. Courage and humanity of one of the men. Homeward journey continued. Difficult travelling. Civility of the tribe first met. Mosquitoes troublesome. Regain the Namoi. Ascend Mount Warroga. Re-cross the Peel. Conclusion.
Meteorological Journal kept during the Expedition to the North-west, and commenced on crossing Liverpool Range, December 1, 1831.
EXPEDITION SENT TO EXPLORE THE COURSE OF THE RIVER DARLING, IN 1835.
Supposed course of the Darling. Mr. Dixon's survey of the Bogan. Expedition postponed. Description of the boat carriage. Number and description of the party. Expedition leaves Parramatta. My departure from Sydney. Western part of Cumberland. County of Cook. The Blue Mountains. Weatherboard Inn. Mounts Hay and Tomah. River Grose. Early attempts to trace it upwards. Intended Tunnel. Pass of Mount Victoria. Advantages of convict labour. Country of Mulgoey. Emu plains. Township. General arrangement of towns and villages. The mountain road. Vale of Clywd. Village reserve. Granite formation. Farmer's Creek. River Cox and intended bridge. Mount Walker. Solitary Creek. Honeysuckle Hill. Stony Range. Plains of Bathurst. The town. Inconvenience of want of arrangement in early colonization. Smallfarmers. Intended Bridge. Departure from Bathurst. Charley Booth. Road to Buree. Canobolas. Arrival at the camp of the party.
Ascend the Canobolas. Choose the direction of my route. Ascend the hill north of Buree. Encamp on the Mundadgery. Cross a granitic range. King's Creek. Cross Hervey's range. First view of the interior. Parched state of the interior country. The dogs kill a kangaroo. Steep descent to the westward. Search for water by moonlight. Encamp without any. Follow a valley downwards and find water. Lifeless appearance of the valleys. Luxury of possessing water after long privation. Ascend Mount Juson with Mr. Cunningham. Enter the valley of the Goobang. Meet the natives. Social encampment. Mount Laidley. Springs on the surface of the plains under Croker's range. Cross Goobang Creek. The dogs kill three large kangaroos. Wild honey brought by the natives. Arrive at Tandogo. Allan's water of Oxley. Advantage of aboriginal names on maps. Excursion with Mr. Cunningham. Effects of a hurricane in the forest. Encamp without water. Natives leave the party. Cattle distressed for want of water. Mr. Cunningham missing. Desperate search for water. At length find water on reaching by night the river Bogan. Encamp on this river.
Search for Mr. Cunningham. No traces to be seen. Supposed to have met with an accident. Souter and Murray sent back along the track. My search South-South-West 40 miles. Interview with two natives. Range of porphyry. Mr. Cunningham's track found. Mr. Larmer and a party sent to trace it. Mr. Cunningham's track followed for 70 miles, his horse found dead. His own footsteps traced. Mr. Larmer meets a tribe. The footsteps traced into the channel of the Bogan. Death of the Kangaroo. Reflections. Five natives brought to me with a silk handkerchief in their possession. Their names. The party halt at Cudduldury. Interview with the King of the Bogan. Muirhead and Whiting sent to examine the dry channel of the river. Search extended to the plains of the Lachlan. Camp of Natives. Pass the night in a hollow without water. View towards Mount Granard. A second night without water. Awoke by the forest on fire. Interview with three natives. Roots of trees sucked by the natives. Horses reach the camp with great difficulty. Part of Mr. Cunningham's coat found.
Continue along the Bogan, guided by the natives. Their caution in approaching the haunts of others. Their accurate knowledge of localities. Introduced to the Bungan tribe. Superiority of the King how displayed. Dangerous mistake. A true savage. The king of the Bogan takes his leave. Kangaroos numerous. Beauty of the shrubs. Dangerous consequence of surprising a native. Wounded native led to our camp. His confidence gained by kind treatment. Oxley's Tableland. Mr. Larmer's excursion to it. Narrow escape from the loss of the cattle. The party followed by a clamorous tribe. A parley. Their various complexions. Decorous behaviour. Naked plains. A native visitor. Soft earth of the plains. Ride to the Darling. The water sweet. The party encamps on a favourable position on the river.
Rain at last. Stockade erected. Named Fort Bourke. Visited by the natives. Mortality among them from smallpox. Results of the journey. Friendly disposition of a native. Boats launched. Presents to natives. They become importunate. We leave the depot and embark in the boats. Slow progress down the river. Return to the depot. Natives in canoes. Excursion with a party on horseback. A perfumed vegetable. Interview with natives. Present them with tomahawks. Unsuccessful search for Mr. Hume's marked tree. Ascend D'Urban's group. Promising view to the southward. A burnt scrub full or spinous dead boughs. A night without water. Return to the camp. The party proceeds down the Darling. Surprise a party of natives. New acacia. Mr. Hume's tree found. Fall in the Darling. Surprised by a party of natives. Emu killed by the dogs. Dunlop's range. Meet the Puppy tribe. Ascend Dunlop's range. High land discovered to the westward. Grass pulled and piled in ricks by the natives. Hills beyond the Darling. Convenient refraction. Native huts. Interview with the Red tribe. The Puppy tribe. How to avoid the sandy hills and soft plains. Macculloch's range. Visit a hill beyond the Darling. View from its summit.
Natives of the Spitting tribe. Singular behaviour on the discharge of a pistol. Conjectures. Second interview with the Spitting tribe. Strange ceremonial. Amusing attempts to steal, or diamond cut diamond. Dry channel of a stream. Tombs on the sandhills. White balls on tombs. Australian shamrock. Old canoe. Dry state of the country. Danger and difficulty of watching the cattle on the riverbanks. Uniform character of the Darling. The Grenadier bird. The Doctor and the natives. A range discovered by refraction. Dance of natives. A lake. Tombs of a tribe. Plan of natives' hut. Method of making cordage. The tall native's first visit. Channel of a small stream. The carts beset on the journey by very covetous natives. Mischievous signals. Cattle worn out. The tall man again. Approach of the Fishing tribe. Covetous old man. Conduct on witnessing the effect of a shot. The party obliged to halt from the weak state of the cattle. The natives very troublesome. Singular ceremonies. Ichthyophagi. Their manner of fishing. The burning brand. A tribe from the south-east. The old man appears again with a tribe from the south-west. Small streams from the west. The Darling turns southward. Resolve to return. Description of the country on the banks of the river. The men at the river obliged to fire upon the natives. Steady conduct of the party. Origin of the dispute. Narrow escape of Muirhead. Treacherous conduct of the aborigines. Melancholy reflections.
Commencement of the homeward journey. The cattle begin to fail. Halt and endeavour to lighten the carts. Rain comes on. Native conversations at a distance. Party separated to watch the cattle. Illness of some of the men from scurvy. Mr. Larmer's excursion into the country to the eastward. The Spitting tribe again. Return of Mr. Larmer, who had found water and inhabitants. A day's halt. Ride to Greenough's group. View from the summit. Barter with natives beyond the Darling. The Red tribe again. New species of caper eaten by the natives. Importunity of the Red tribe. Cross the Darling. View from the summit of Mount Macpherson. Rain again threatens. Absence of kangaroos and emus on the Darling. The Occa tribe again. Hints to Australian sportsmen. Meet the Fort Bourke tribe. Mr. Hume's tree. Return to Fort Bourke. Description of that position. Saltness of the Darling. The plains. The rivers supported by springs. Traces of floods. Extent of the basin of this river. Its breadth. Surface of the plains. Geology of the Darling. Woods. Gum acacia abundant. Grasses. General character of the natives. Their means of existence. Nets used by them. Superstitions. Condition of the females. Singular habits of a rat. Security of a species of ants. Birds. Fishes. Apprehended scarcity of water on leaving the Darling. Six of the cattle dead from exhaustion. Rest of two days at Fort Bourke. Visited by the Fort Bourke tribe.
The party leaves the Darling. Natives approach the camp during the night. Scared by a rocket. Discovery of a Caper-tree. The kangaroos and emus driven away by the natives. Difference between the plains of the Darling and Bogan. Extreme illness of one of the party. New Year's range. A thunderstorm. Three natives remind us of the man wounded. Another man of the party taken ill. Acacia pendula. Beauty of the scenery. Mr. Larmer traces Duck Creek up to the Macquarie. A hot wind. Talambe of the Bogan Tribe. Tombs of Milmeridien. Another bullock fails. Natives troublesome. Successful chase of four kangaroos. Natives of the Bogan come up. Water scarce. Two red-painted natives. Uncertainty of Mr. Cunningham's fate. Mr. Larmer overtakes the party. Result of his survey. Send off a courier to Sydney. Marks of Mr. Dixon. Tandogo Creek and magnificent pine forest. Hervey's range in sight. Improved appearance of the country. Meet the natives who first accompanied us. Arrive at a cattle station. Learn that Mr. Cunningham had been killed by natives. Cookopie ponds. Goobang Creek. Character of the river Bogan. Native inhabitants on its banks. Their mode of fishing. Manners and customs. Prepare to quit the party. The boats. Plan of encampment. Mount Juson. Leave the party and mark a new line of ascent to Hervey's range. Get upon a road. Arrive at Buree.
BAROMETRICAL JOURNAL KEPT DURING THE JOURNEY INTO THE INTERIOR OF NEW SOUTH WALES IN WINTER 1835.
(RANGE OF THE THERMOMETER AND JOURNAL OF THE WEATHER.)
LETTER FROM CAPTAIN FORBES, 39TH FOOT, COMMANDANT OF THE MOUNTED POLICE.
REPORT FROM LIEUTENANT ZOUCH, MOUNTED POLICE, RESPECTING THE DEATH OF MR. CUNNINGHAM.
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS. VOLUME 1.
PLATE 1: PORTRAIT OF CAMBO, AN ABORIGINAL NATIVE. Major T.L. Mitchell del. G. Foggo lithographer. J. Graf Printer to Her Majesty.
TEMPORARY GUNYA OR HUT, SET UP FOR PASSING A NIGHT IN THE BUSH.
FOSSIL SHELLS OF THE HUNTER.
PLATE 2: FIGURES 1 AND 2: Megadesmus globosus. J.D. Sowerby del. et lithographer. J. Graf Printer to Her Majesty.
PLATE 3: FIGURE 1: Megadesmus antiquatus. FIGURE 2: Megadesmus laevis. FIGURE 3: Megadesmus cuneatus. J.D. Sowerby del. et lithographer. J. Graf Printer to Her Majesty.
PLATE 4: FIGURES 1 AND 2: Isocardia ? FIGURES 3 AND 4: Trochus oculus. FIGURE 5: Littorina (or Turbo ?) filosa, FROM PEEL'S RIVER.
PLATE 5: BURNING HILL OF WINGEN, AS IN FEBRUARY 1829. Plan and Distant View from Station. From Nature and on Zinc by Major T.L. Mitchell. Day & Haghe Lithographers to the Queen. London, Published by T. & W. Boone.
MOUNT MURULLA (A), AND PART OF LIVERPOOL RANGE, FROM WINGEN.
KANGAROO AS SEEN IN THE LONG GLASS.
PLATE 6: FIGURE 1: Grites peelii, OR COD-PERCH. FIGURE 2: Plotosus tandanus, OR EEL-FISH. T.L.M. del. A. Picken Lith. London, Published by T. & W. Boone.
A SNAKE, AS COOKED ON THE FIRE BY THE NATIVES.
PLATE 7: VIEW OF NUNDEWAR RANGE, WHERE THE PARTY COULD NOT CROSS IT. Major T.L. Mitchell del. A. Picken Lith. Day & Haghe Lithographers to the Queen. London, Published by T. & W. Boone.
PLATE 8: THE PIC OF TANGULDA, FROM THE WEST. Polygonum juncium. Major T.L. Mitchell del. G. Barnard Lith. J. Graf Printer to Her Majesty. Published by T. and W. Boone, London.
NUNDEWAR RANGE FROM THE WEST, 3RD JANUARY. Left to right: Mount Riddell, Courada, Mount Lindesay, Kapular, Mount Forbes.
A CROW DURING EXTREME DROUGHT. A thirsty crow, as seen through a glass.
NUNDEWAR RANGE FROM THE NORTH-WEST, 12TH JANUARY. Left to right: Mount Albuera, Mount Riddell, Mount Frazer, Courada.
NONDESCRIPT FRUIT FROM SNODGRASS LAGOON. Natural size of the fruit.
PLATE 9: Cernua bidyana, OR BIDYAN RUFFE. T.L.M. del. A. Picken Lith. Day & Haghe Lithographers to the Queen. London, Published by T. & W. Boone.
SKETCH EXPLANATORY OF A USEFUL PRINCIPLE IN EXPLORATION. North of the Namoi River, a line from B through A to C on the junction of the Gwydir and Darling Rivers. The situation of this junction afforded a curious illustration of the principle which guided me in choosing my route from the great Namoi Lagoon on the 14th of January. Having been then between two rivers (at A) I chose the bearing of 20 degrees west of north, as given by the bearing of the high land (B) in the opposite direction, and this junction (C) was now found to be exactly in that line. That high land was a projecting point of a range; the course of rivers is conformable to the angles of such ranges, and therefore the rivers on each side of me (at A) were not so likely to come in my way in the direction of AC, as in any other direction I could have chosen. The chance of finding firm ground in that direction was also better, as the rivers were only likely to continue separate by the protrusion of some remote offset of ground between them, from the salient feature B.
COURADA FROM THE PLAINS. A REMARKABLE HILL, AS IT APPEARS FROM THE NORTH.
BOAT-CARRIAGE USED IN THE TWO LAST EXPEDITIONS.
PLATE 10: INACCESSIBLE VALLEY OF THE RIVER GROSE. Major T.L. Mitchell del. G. Barnard Lith. J. Graf Printer to Her Majesty. Published by T. and W. Boone, London.
PLATE 11: MAP OF MR. CUNNINGHAM'S TRACK WHEN LOST IN THE WOODS. Sketch showing the Route of Mr. Cunningham as traced by Assistant Surveyor Larmer. Published by T. and W. Boone, 29 New Bond Street.
PLATE 12: FIRST MEETING WITH THE CHIEF OF THE BOGAN TRIBE. (Mesembryanthemum.) Major T.L. Mitchell del. G. Barnard Lith. J. Graf Printer to Her Majesty. Published by T. and W. Boone, London.
PLATE 13: PORTRAIT OF A NATIVE OF THE BOGAN. Major T.L. Mitchell del. G. Foggo Lith. J. Graf Printer to Her Majesty.
OXLEY'S TABLE-LAND FROM THE NORTH-WEST.
D'URBAN'S GROUP FROM THE WEST. Left to right: b, a.
PLATE 14: DANCE OF NATIVES ON FIRST HEARING THE REPORT OF A PISTOL. Major T.L. Mitchell del. G. Foggo & G. Barnard Lith. J. Graf Printer to Her Majesty. Published by T. and W. Boone, London.
PLATE 15: NATIVES ROBBING THE BLACKSMITH, WHILE THE OLD MEN CHANTED A HYMN OR SONG. Major T.L. Mitchell del. G. Barnard Lith. J. Graf Printer to Her Majesty. Published by T. and W. Boone, London.
BALLS, AND CASTS OF A HEAD IN LIME, FOUND ON TOMBS.
A NATIVE'S HUT—PLAN OF ROOF.
PLATE 16: TOMBS OF A TRIBE, AFTER SOME GREAT MORTALITY, PROBABLY FROM A DISEASE RESEMBLING SMALLPOX. Major T.L. Mitchell del. G. Barnard Lith. J. Graf Printer to Her Majesty. Published by T. and W. Boone, London.
PLATE 17: SCENE NEAR THE DARLING. 11TH JULY 1835. DISPLAY OF DETERMINED HOSTILITY BY MESSENGERS FROM A TRIBE. T.L.M. del. A. Picken Lith. Day & Haghe Lithographers to the Queen. London, Published by T. & W. Boone.
PLATE 18: VIEW ON THE RIVER DARLING, NEAR CAMP, 9TH AUGUST 1835. Major T.L. Mitchell del. G. Barnard Lith. J. Graf Printer to Her Majesty. Published by T. and W. Boone, London.
PLATE 19: PORTRAIT OF TALAMBE, A YOUNG NATIVE OF THE BOGAN TRIBE, WITH THE Acacia pendula AND SCENERY OF THE PLAINS NEAR THE RIVER BOGAN. Major T.L. Mitchell del. London, Published by T. and W. Boone.
PLATE 20: BURYING-GROUND OF MILMERIDIEN, AND SCENERY OF THE CLOSE SCRUBS. (IN AN ACACIA SCRUB. YOUNG CASUARINAS.) Major T.L. Mitchell del. G. Barnard Lith. J. Graf Printer to Her Majesty. Published by T. and W. Boone, London.
PLATE 21: PORTRAITS OF TWO NATIVES OF THE BOGAN TRIBE—AN OLD AND A YOUNG MAN AT THE SAME FIRE, SHOWING THE SUBMISSIVE MANNER OF THE LATTER. Major T.L. Mitchell del. G. Barnard Lith. J. Graf Printer to Her Majesty. Published by T. and W. Boone, London.
PLAN OF ENCAMPMENT IN THE INTERIOR.
YOUNG WEEPING EUCALYPTUS, FROM NATURE.
GENERAL MAP OF THE EXPLORATORY ROUTES, WITH SECTIONS OF THE RIVERS, AND A PLAN OF THE MOUTH OF THE RIVER GLENELG; THE WHOLE BEING COMPILED BY THE AUTHOR FROM ACTUAL SURVEYS MADE UNDER HIS OWN DIRECTION, OR BY HIMSELF.
SYSTEMATICAL LIST OF ANIMALS COLLECTED DURING THE SEVERAL EXPEDITIONS, AND DEPOSITED IN THE AUSTRALIAN MUSEUM AT SYDNEY.
1. Rhinolophus megaphyllus. Gray.
2. Petaurus leucogaster. Mitch. (New Species.) From the banks of the Murray.
3. Phalangista xanthopus. Ogilby. From Rifle range, near the Glenelg.
4. Choeropus ecaudatus. Ogilby. (New Species.) Volume 2 page 131. From forest near the Murray.
5. Myrmecobius ? rufus. Mitch. (New Species.)*
(*Footnote. This was called the red shrew mouse by the men composing the party, but as no species of the Insectivora of Zoologista has hitherto been discovered in Australia, it more probably belongs to the genus Myrmecobius, recently described by Mr. Waterhouse. I venture to name this animal with considerable hesitation, having neglected to take a note of the generic characters, while the specimen was yet within my reach. If it be a true Sorex, its discovery will be as interesting to Zoologists as that of the Dipus, neither genus having been hitherto suspected to exist in Australia.)
6. Dipus mitchellii. Ogilby. (New Species.) Volume 2 page 144. From reedy plains, near the Murray.
7. Conilurus constructor. Ogilby. (New Species.) Volume 1 page 308. From the scrubs near the Darling. The rabbit-rat of the colonists.
8. Mus platurus. Mitch. (New Species.) From the river Darling.
9. Mus hovellii. Mitch. (New Species.) From near the Bayunga, and named in honour of the discoverer of that river.
1. Falcunculus leucogaster ? aut Frontalis? Black-crested shrike, from the banks of the Murray.
2. Falcunculus flavigulus ? Brown-crested shrike, from the Lower Bogan.
3. Cracticus tibicen. Vieill.
4. Fregillus leucopterus. Vig. and Horsf.
5. Merops melanurus. Vig. and Horsf.
6. Pomatorhinus temporalis. Horsf.
7. Malurus leucopterus. Vig. and Horsf.
8. Fringilla castanotis.
9. Musicapa goodenovii. Vig. and Horsf.
10. Anthus rufescens. Vig. and Horsf.
11. Plyctolophus leadbeateri. Vig. Plate 23. Volume 2 page 47.
12. Plyctolophus eos. Temm.
13. Platycercus flaviventur. Vig. and Horsf.
14. Platycercus multicolor. Vig. and Horsf.
15. Platycercus bernardi. Vig. and Horsf.
16. Platycercus haematogaster. Gould. (New Species.) Volume 1 page 238.
17. Nanodes discolor. Vig. and Horsf.
18. Nanodes venustus. Vig. and Horsf.
19. Nanodes bourkii. Mitch. (New Species.) From Bogan river.
21. Nanodes haematonotis. (New Species.)
22. Meliphaga chrysotis. Lewin.
23. Meliphaga leucotis.
24. Meliphaga penicillata. Gould.
25. Columba spilanota. Speckled Dove from Fort Bourke.
26. Columba lophotes ? Temm. (New Species.)
27. Columba marmorata. Mitch. (New Species ?) The Freckled Dove, Fort Bourke.
28. Casuarius novae hollandiae. Latb.
30. Vanellus. Large Plover tram near Buree.
31. Cygnus atratus. From the Glenelg.
32. Anas cyanea. Mitch. (New species.) From Lake Stapylton.
33. Aquilla fucosa. From the Murrumbidgee.
1. Acernia (Cernua) bidyana. Mitch. (New Species.) Volume 1 page 95.
2. Acernia (Gristes) Peelii. Mitch. (New Species.) Volume 1 page 95.
3. Plotosus Tandanus. Mitch. (New Species.) Volume 1 page 95.
4. Truncatella filosa. Sowerby. (New Sp. of univalve from Mitre lake.) Volume 2 page 191.
1. Cancriform epeira. Volume 1 page 88.
2. Stilbum. Volume 1 page 97.
3. Bembecidae. Volume 1 page 98.
4. Scutellera corallifera. Volume 1 page 98.
5. Abispa australiana. (New Species ?) Volume 1 page 104.
6. Gryllotalpa australis. Volume 1 page 126.
FOSSIL ANIMALS DISCOVERED IN THE CAVES OF WELLINGTON VALLEY AND BUREE.
1. Dasyurus laniarius. Owen. (Extinct Species.)
2. Phalangista. (Undetermined Species.)
3. Hyrsiprymnus. (Undetermined Species.)
4. Macropus atlas. Owen. (Extinct Species.)
5. Macropus titan. Owen. (Extinct Species.)
6. Macropus. (Undetermined Species.)
7. Halmaturus. (Undetermined Species.)
8. Phascolomys mitchellii. Owen. (Extinct Species ?)
9. Diprotodon optatum. Owen. (Extinct Genus.)
FOSSIL SHELLS FROM THE BASIN OF THE HUNTER, ETC.
1. Turbo filosa. Sowerby. (New Species.) Volume 1 page 15.
2. Trochus oculus. Sowerby. (New Species.) Volume 1 page 15.
3. Isocardia —— ? Sowerby. (New Species.) Volume 1 page 15.
4. Megadesmus globosus. Sowerby. (New Species.) Volume 1 page 15.
5. Megadesmus antiquatus. Sowerby. (New Species.) Volume 1 page 15.
6. Magadesmus laevis. Sowerby. (New Species.) Volume 1 page 15.
7. Megadesmus cuneatus. Sowerby. (New Species.) Volume 1 page 15.
A SYSTEMATICAL LIST OF SEVENTY-SEVEN NEW PLANTS DESCRIBED IN THIS WORK.
DILLENIACEAE. Pleurandra incana, volume 2 page 156.
PITTOSPORACEAE. Campylanthera ericoides, volume 2 page 277.
TREMANDRACEAE. Tetratheca ciliata, volume 2 page 206.
MYRTACEAE. Baeckia crassifolia, volume 2 page 115. Baeckia alpina, volume 2 page 178. Baeckia calycina, volume 2 page 190. Eucalyptus alpina, volume 2 page 175. Genetyllis alpestris, volume 2 page 178.
LORANTHACEAE. Loranthus quandang, volume 2 page 69.
CAPPARIDACEAE. Capparis mitchellii, volume 1 page 315.
VIOLACEAE. Pigea floribunda, volume 2 page 165.
MALVACEAE. Hybiscus tridactylites, volume page 85. Sida corrugata, volume 2 page 13. Sida fibulifera, volume 2 page 45.
EUPHORBIACEAE. Gyrostemon pungens, volume 2 page 121.
RHAMNACEAE. Cryptandra tomentosa, volume 2 page 178.
RUTACEAE. Correa leucoclada, volume 2 page 39. Correa cordifolia, volume 2 page 233. Correa glabra, volume 2 page 48. Correa rotundifolia, volume 2 page 219. Eriostemon pungens, volume 2 page 156. Phebalium bilobum, volume 2 page 178. Didymeria aemula, volume 2 page 1 198.
ZYGOPHYLLACEAE. Ropera aurantiaca, volume 2 page 70.
GERANIACEAE. Pelargonium rodneyanum, volume 2 page 144.
LEGUMINOSAE PAPILIONACEAE. Trigonella suavissima, volume 1 page 255. Psoralea patens, volume 2 page 8. Psoralea tenax, volume 2 page 10. Psoralea cinerea, volume 2 page 65. Indigofera acanthocarpa, volume 2 page 17. Daviesia pectinata, volume 2 page 151. Daviesia brevifolia, volume 2 page 201. Pultenaea montana, volume 2 page 178. Pultenaea mollis, volume 2 page 260. Bossiaea rosmarinifolia, volume 2 page 178. Dillwynia hispida, volume 2 page 251.
LEGUMINOSAE CAESALPINIEAE. Cassia teretifolia, volume 1 page 289. Cassia heteroloba, volume 2 page 122.
LEGUMINOSAE MIMOSEAE. Acacia leucophylla, volume 2 page 13. Acacia salicina, volume 2 page 20. Acacia sclerophylla, volume 2 page 139. Acacia aspera, idem. Acacia farinosa, volume 2 page 146. Acacia strigosa, volume 2 page 185. Acacia exudans, volume 2 page 214. Acacia furcifera, volume 2 page 267. Acacia acinacea, volume 2 page 267.
AMARANTHACEAE. Trichinium alopecuroideum, volume 2 page 13. Trichinium parviflorum, idem. Trichinium sessilifolium, idem. Trichinium nobile, volume 2 page 22. Trichinium lanatum, volume 2 page 123.
CHENOPODIACEAE. Atriplex halimoides, volume 1 page 285. Sclerolaena bicornis, volume 2 page 47.
SANTALACEAE. ? Eucarya murrayana, volume 2 page 100. Fusanus acuminatus, volume 2 page 69.
PROTEACEAE. Grevillea aquifolium, volume 2 page 178. Grevillea variabilis, volume 2 page 179. Grevillea alpina, idem.
EPACRIDACEAE. Leucopogon cordifolius, volume 2 page 122. Leucopogon glacialis, volume 2 page 1. Leucopogon rufus, volume 2 page 179. Epacris tomentosa, volume 2 page 177.
CAPRIFOLIACEAE. Tripetelus australasicus, volume 2 page.
SOLANACEAE. Solanum esuriale, volume 2 page 43. Solanum ferocissimum, volume 2 page.
CICHORACEAE. Picris barbarorum, volume 2 page 149.
AMARYLLIDACEAE. Calostemma candidum, volume 1 page volume 2 page 30. Calostemma carneum, volume 2 page 3.
LILIACEAE. Bulbine suavis, volume 2 page 272.
JUNCACEAE. Xerotes typhina, volume 2 page 41. Xerotes effusa, volume 2 page 101.
GRAMINACEAE. Panicum laevinode, volume 1 page 23. Danthonia lappacea, volume 1 page 3. Danthonia pectinata, volume 2 page 26. Danthonia eriantha, volume 2 page 307. Eleusine marginata, volume 1 page 3.
JOURNEY IN SEARCH OF THE KINDUR, IN 1831 AND 1832.
A Bushranger's story. My plan of exploration. Preparations. Departure from Sydney. A garden. Country between Sydney and the Hawkesbury. Beyond the Hawkesbury. Summit of Warrawolong. Natives of Brisbane Water. The Wollombi. Valley of the Hunter. Fossils of the Hunter. Men employed on the expedition. Equipment. Burning grass. Aborigines and Colonists. Cambo, a wild native. A Colonist of the right sort. Escape of the Bushranger, The Barber. Burning Hill of Wingen. Approach Liverpool Range. Cross it. A sick tribe. Interior waters. Liverpool Plains. Proposed route. Horses astray. A Squatter. Native guide and his gin. Modes of drinking au naturel. Woods on fire. Cross the Turi Range. Arrive on the River Peel. Fishes. Another native guide. Explore the Peel.
The journey northward in 1831 originated in one of those fabulous tales which occasionally become current in the colony of New South Wales, respecting the interior country, still unexplored.
A runaway convict named George Clarke, alias The Barber, had, for a length of time escaped the vigilance of the police by disguising himself as an aboriginal native. He had even accustomed himself to the wretched life of that unfortunate race of men; he was deeply scarified like them and naked and painted black, he went about with a tribe, being usually attended by two aboriginal females, and having acquired some knowledge of their language and customs.
But this degenerate white man was not content with the solitary freedom of the savage life and his escape from a state of servitude. He had assumed the cloak and colour of the savage that he might approach the dwellings of the colonists, and steal with less danger of detection. In conjunction with the simple aborigines whom he misled, and with several other runaway convicts he had organised a system of cattle stealing, which was coming into extensive operation on Liverpool plains when, through the aid of some of the natives, who have in general assisted the detection of bushrangers, he was at length discovered and captured by the police.
After this man was taken into custody, he gave a circumstantial detail of his travels to the north-west along the bank of a large river, named, as he said, the Kindur; by following which in a south-west direction he had twice reached the seashore. He described the tribes inhabiting the banks of the Kindur and gave the names of their chiefs. He said that he had first crossed vast plains named Balyran, and, on approaching the sea, he had seen a burning mountain named Courada. He described, with great apparent accuracy, the courses of the known streams of the northern interior which united, as he stated, in the Namoi, a river first mentioned by him; and, according to his testimony, Peel's river entered the Namoi by flowing westward from where Mr. Oxley had crossed it.
Now this was contrary to the course assigned to the Peel in the maps by early travellers, but consistent nevertheless with more recent surveys. Vague accounts of a great river beyond Liverpool plains, flowing north-west, were current about the time General Darling embarked for England. The attention of the acting governor, Colonel Lindesay, was particularly drawn to the question by this report of Clarke, and also by the subsequent proposals of various persons, to conduct any expedition sent in search of the great river.
PLAN OF EXPLORATION.
There are few undertakings more attractive to the votaries of fame or lovers of adventure than the exploration of unknown regions; but Sir Patrick Lindesay, with due regard to the responsibility which my office seemed to impose upon me, as successor to Mr. Oxley, at once accepted my proffered services to conduct a party into the interior.
The principal object of my plan was the exploration of Australia, so that whether the report of the river proved true or false, the results of the expedition would be, at least, useful in affording so much additional information; equally important geographically, whether positive or negative.
After I had surveyed extensive tracts of territory I never could separate the question respecting the course of any river from that of the situation of the higher land necessary to furnish its sources and confine its basin. I could not entertain the idea of a river distinct from these conditions, so necessary to the existence of one; and it appeared to me that if a large river flowed to the north-west of any point north of Liverpool plains its sources could only be sought for in the Coast Range in the opposite direction; or to the eastward of these plains.
Various rivers were known to arise on that side of the Coast Range; the streams from Liverpool plains flowing northward; the Peel, the Gwydir, and the Dumaresq, arising in the Coast Range, and falling, as had been represented, to the north-westward. I proposed therefore to proceed northward, or to pursue such a direction as well as the nature of the country permitted, so that I might arrive, on the most northern of these streams, and then, keeping in view whatever high land might be visible near its northern banks, to trace the river's course downwards, and thus to arrive at the large river, or common channel of all these waters.
The second condition necessary to the existence of a river, namely, the higher land enclosing its basin, might, in this case, have been either Arbuthnot's Range, or that between the Darling and the Lachlan; and this seemed to me to involve a question of at least equal importance to that of the river itself, for, had the fall of all the waters above-mentioned, been to the north-west, it was obvious that such a range must have been the dividing ridge or spine connecting the eastern and western parts of Australia, and which, when once investigated was likely to be the key to the discovery of all the rivers on each side, and to the other subordinate features of this great island.
Thus, the most direct and practical plan for seeking the river, was perfectly consistent with my views of general exploration.
PREPARATION FOR THE SURVEY.
In the selection of men to compose an exploring party, and in collecting the articles of equipment, provisions, and means of transport, my department afforded various facilities. This aid was the more necessary in my case, because the other duties of my office, prevented me from devoting much attention personally, to the preparations for such a journey.
From the known level character of the interior, I considered that the light drays or carts used by the surveyors might easily pass, and I therefore preferred them to packhorses, being also a more convenient means of conveyance; I availed myself likewise of such men, carts, bullocks, and horses, as were disposable in the survey department at the time. The new Governor was expected in the course of a few months, and I was therefore desirous to set out as soon as possible, that I might return before his arrival.
After several weeks of anxious preparation, I had the satisfaction to find that every contingency was, as far as possible, provided for in my department. Each officer, whether employed in the survey of the different parts of the colony, or the measurement of farms, was also fully instructed respecting his duties during my contemplated absence. In the correspondence with the office at Sydney, which amounted annually to about 2000 letters, none remained unanswered; and my last cares were to leave, in the hands of an engraver, a map of the colony, that the past labours of the department might be permanently secured to the public, whatever might be our fate in the interior.
DEPARTURE FROM SYDNEY.
Little time remained for me to look at the sextants, theodolite, and other instruments necessary for the exploratory journey; I collected in haste a few articles of personal equipment, and having as well as I could, under the circumstances, set my house in order, I bade adieu to my family, and left Sydney at noon, on Thursday, the 24th day of November, 1831, being accompanied for some miles by my friend Colonel Snodgrass.
It was not until then, that my mind was sufficiently relieved from considering the details of my department, to enable me to direct my thoughts to the undiscovered country. I had yet to traverse 300 miles, for to that distance from Sydney the flocks of the colonists extended, before I could reach the vast untrodden soil, the exploration of which was the object of my mission. I felt the ardour of my early youth, when I first sought distinction in the crowded camp and battlefield, revive, as I gave loose to my reflections and considered the nature of the enterprise. But, in comparing the feelings I then experienced with those which excited my youthful ambition, it seemed that even war and victory, with all their glory, were far less alluring than the pursuit of researches such as these; the objects of which were to spread the light of civilisation over a portion of the globe yet unknown, though rich, perhaps, in the luxuriance of uncultivated nature, and where science might accomplish new and unthought-of discoveries; while intelligent man would find a region teeming with useful vegetation, abounding with rivers, hills, and valleys, and waiting only for his enterprising spirit and improving hand to turn to account the native bounty of the soil.
My first day's journey, terminated near Parramatta, at the residence of Mr. John Macarthur. I was received by that gentleman with his usual hospitality, and although not in the enjoyment of the best health, he insisted on accompanying me over his extensive and beautiful garden, where he pointed out to my attention, the first olive-tree ever planted in Australia. Here I also saw the cork-tree in full luxuriance—the caper plant growing amidst rocks—the English oak—the horse-chestnut—broom—magnificent mulberry trees of thirty-five years' growth, umbrageous and green. Beds of roses, in great variety, were spread around, and filled the air with fragrance, while the climbing species of that beautiful flower was equally pleasing to the eye. I observed convict Greeks (Pirates.)—acti fatis—at work in that garden of the antipodes, training the vines to trellises, made after the fashion of those in the Peloponnesus. The state of the orange-trees, flourishing in the form of cones sixteen feet high, and loaded with fruit, was very remarkable, but they had risen from the roots of former trees, which, having been reduced to bare poles by a drought of three years' duration, had been cut off, and were now succeeded by these vigorous products of more genial seasons. Mr. Macarthur assured me, that by adopting this plan, many fruit-trees, after suffering from the effects of long-continued drought, might be renovated successfully. The want of moisture in the climate of Australia, may occasionally compel the gardener to resort to such extreme measures for the preservation of his trees: but the orange has hitherto yielded a very profitable and constant return to those, who have attended to its cultivation in this colony. The luxuriant growth of the apple and pear, in a climate so dry and warm, is a remarkable fact; and when we consider the exuberance of the vine in the few spots, where it has as yet been planted; we are justified in anticipating from the variety of aspect and unbroken soil in these southern regions, that many a curious or luxurious wine, still unknown, may in time be produced there.
But the garden, to him who seeks a home in distant colonies, must ever be an object of peculiar interest; for there, while cultivating the trees, fruits and flowers of his native land, the recollection of early days, and of the country of his birth is awakened by the vivid colours of the simple flower which his industry has reared, and which he knows to be a native of the soil to which he himself owes his existence.
COUNTRY BETWEEN SYDNEY AND THE HAWKESBURY.
At an early hour on the following morning, I took leave of my kind host, and also of my friend Mr. Dunlop, to whose scientific assistance in preparing for this journey I feel much indebted. Mr. James Macarthur accompanied me a few miles on the road, when we parted with regret; and I set forth on my journey in the direction of the Hawkesbury, along the road leading to the ferry, across that river at Wiseman's. I should here observe, that I had previously arranged that the exploring party which, being slower in its movements, had been despatched two weeks before, should await my arrival on Foy Brook, beyond the river Hunter, where I expected to meet Mr. White also, the assistant surveyor, whom I had selected to accompany me on this expedition.
My ride, on that day, was along a ridge, which extended upwards of fifty miles, through a succession of deep ravines, where no objects met the eye except barren sandstone rocks, and stunted trees. With the banksia and xanthorrhoea always in sight, the idea of hopeless sterility is ever present to the mind, for these productions, in sandy soils at least, grow only where nothing else can vegetate. The horizon is flat, affording no relief to the eye from the dreary and inhospitable scene, which these solitudes present; and which extends over a great portion of the country, uninhabitable even by the aborigines. Yet here the patient labours of the surveyor have opened a road, although the stream of population must be confined to it, since it cannot spread over a region so utterly unprofitable and worthless.
It is not until the traveller has completed a journey of fifty miles, that he enjoys the sight, doubly cheering after crossing such a desert, of green, cultivated fields, and the dwellings of man. The broad waters of the Hawkesbury then come unexpectedly in view, flowing in the deepest, and apparently most inaccessible of these rock-bound valleys. He here soon discovers a practical proof of the advantages of convict labour to the inhabitants of such a country, in the facility with which he descends by a road cut in the rock, to the comfortable inn near the ferry.
COUNTRY BEYOND THE HAWKESBURY.
Early next morning my ride was resumed, after crossing the river in the ferry-boat, where the width is 280 yards. The Hawkesbury is here the boundary between the counties of Cumberland and Northumberland. The scenery is fine on those broad and placid waters, sheltered by overhanging cliffs, 600 feet in height. The river appears smooth as a mirror, and affords access by boats and small vessels, to the little sheltered cots and farms, which now enliven the margin. These patches are of no great extent, and occur alternately on each bank of this noble stream, comprising farms of from thirty to a hundred acres.
The necessity for a permanent land communication, between the seat of government and the northern part of the colony was obvious, and, indeed, a road in that direction had been the subject of petitions from the settlers to Sir Thomas Brisbane, under whose auspices the track across the mountain beyond the Hawkesbury, was first discovered and surveyed by Mr. Finch. This track, with some slight alterations, was found, on a more general survey, to be the most favourable line for a cart-road in that direction, which the country afforded; and it had been opened but a short time, when I thus proceeded along it, accompanied by Mr. Simpson, the assistant-surveyor, who, under my direction, had accomplished the work. Just then however the first steam vessel arrived in Australia, and afforded a regular coast-communication between Sydney and the northern portion of the colony. The land communication became, in consequence, an object of less importance than before, to the small handful of settlers at least, although it was not the less essential to a respectable government, or where an armed force had been organised, as in New South Wales, solely for the suppression of bushrangers, a sub-genus in the order banditti, which, happily, can no longer exist, except in places inaccessible to the mounted police. The ascent northward from this ferry on the Hawkesbury, is a substantial and permanent work, affording a favourable specimen of the value of convict labour, in anticipating the wants of an increasing population.
The country traversed by this new road is equally barren, and more mountainous than the district between Parramatta and the Hawkesbury. Amid those rocky heights and depths, across which I had recently toiled on foot, marking out with no ordinary labour, the intended line, I had now the satisfaction to trot over a new and level road, winding like a thread through the dreary labyrinth before me, and in which various parts had already acquired a local appellation not wholly unsuited to their character, such as Hungry Flat, Devil's Backbone, No-grass Valley,* and Dennis's Dog-kennel. In fact, the whole face of the country is composed of sandstone rock, and but partially covered with vegetation. The horizon is only broken by one or two summits, which are different both in outline and quality from the surrounding country. These isolated heights generally consist of trap-rock, and are covered with rich soil and very heavy timber. The most remarkable is Warrawolong—whose top I first observed from the hill of Jellore in the south, at the distance of 108 miles. This being a most important station for the general survey, which I made previously to opening the northern road, it was desirable to clear the summit, at least partly, of trees, a work which was accomplished after considerable labour—the trees having been very large. On removing the lofty forest, I found the view from that summit extended over a wild waste of rocky precipitous ravines, which debarred all access or passage in any direction, until I could patiently trace out the ridges between them, and for this purpose I ascended that hill on ten successive days, the whole of which time I devoted to the examination of the various outlines and their connections, by means of the theodolite.
(*Footnote. Originally Snodgrass Valley—but Vox populi vox Dei. The present name is shorter, and has the additional merit of being descriptive—for the valley contains but little grass.)
Looking northward, an intermediate and lower range concealed from view the valley of the Hunter, but the summits of the Liverpool range appeared beyond it. On turning to the eastward, my view extended to the unpeopled shores and lonely waters of the vast Pacific.
NATIVES OF BRISBANE WATER.
Not a trace of man, or of his existence, was visible on any side, except a distant solitary column of smoke, that arose from a thicket between the hill on which I stood and the coast, and marked the asylum of a remnant of the aborigines. These unfortunate creatures could no longer enjoy their solitary freedom; for the dominion of the white man surrounded them. His sheep and cattle filled the green pastures where the kangaroo (the principal food of the natives) was accustomed to range, until the stranger came from distant lands and claimed the soil. Thus these first inhabitants, hemmed in by the power of the white population, and deprived of the liberty which they formerly enjoyed of wandering at will through their native wilds, were compelled to seek a precarious shelter amidst the close thickets and rocky fastnesses which afforded them a temporary home, but scarcely a subsistence, for their chief support, the kangaroo, was either destroyed or banished. I knew this unhappy tribe, and had frequently met them in their haunts. In the prosecution of my surveys I was enabled to explore the wildest recesses of these deep mountainous ravines, guided occasionally by one or two of their number. I felt no hesitation in venturing amongst them for, to me, they appeared a harmless unoffending race.* On many a dark night, and even during rainy weather, I have proceeded on horseback amongst these steep and rocky ranges, my path being guided by two young boys belonging to the tribe, who ran cheerfully before my horse, alternately tearing off the stringy bark which served for torches, and setting fire to the grass-trees (xanthorrhoea) to light my way.
(*Footnote. On my return from the interior in 1835 I learnt with much regret that a war had commenced between my old friends and the mounted police.)
This can scarcely be considered a digression from my narrative of this day's journey, for Warrawolong was the only object visible, beyond the woody horizon. We had passed No-Grass Valley, the Devil's Backbone, and were approaching Hungry Flat, when Mr. Simpson produced a grilled fowl, and a feed for our horses and we alighted most willingly for half an hour to partake of this timely refreshment near a spring.
On remounting I bade Mr. Simpson farewell, after expressing my satisfaction with his clever arrangements for opening this mountain road, a work which he had accomplished with small means in nine months.
It was quite dark on the evening of the 26th, before I reached the inn near the head of the little valley of the Wollombi, a tributary to the river Hunter. Here, at length, we again find some soil fit for cultivation, and the whole of it has been taken up in farms. But the pasturage afforded by the numerous valleys on this side of the mountains, here called cattle runs, is more profitable to the owners of the farms, than the farms they actually possess, of which the produce by cultivation is only available to them at present, as the means of supporting grazing establishments. I should here observe, that in a climate so dry as that of Australia, the selection of farmland depends solely on the direction of streams, for it is only in the beds of watercourses, that any ponds can be found during dry seasons. The formation of reservoirs has not yet been resorted to, although the accidental largeness of ponds left in such channels has frequently determined settlers in their choice of a homestead, when by a little labour, a pond equally good might have been made in other parts, which few would select from the want of water. In the rocky gullies, that I had passed in these mountains, there was, probably, a sufficiency, but there was no land fit for the purposes of farming. In other situations, on the contrary, there might be found abundance of good soil, considered unavailable for any purpose except grazing, because it had no frontage (as it is termed) on a river or chain of ponds. Selections have been frequently made of farms, which have thus excluded extensive tracts behind them from the water, and these remaining consequently unoccupied, have continued accessible only to the sheep or cattle of the possessor of the water frontage.
In these valleys of the Upper Wollombi, we find little breadth of alluvial soil, but a never-failing supply of water has already attracted settlers to its banks—and those smallfarmers who live on a field or two of maize and potatoes—and who are the only beginning of an agricultural population, yet apparent, in New South Wales—show a disposition to nestle in any available corner there. But on the lower portion of the Wollombi, where the valley widens, and water becomes less abundant, the soil being sandy, I found it impossible to locate some veterans on small farms, which I had marked out for them, because it was known that in dry seasons, although each farm had frontage on the Wollombi Brook, very few ponds remained in that part of its channel.
JOIN THE PARTY.
Early this morning, I had a visit from Mr. Finch, who was very anxious that I should attach him to the exploring party. As I foresaw, that some delay might occur in procuring provisions, without his assistance, in this district, I accepted his services, and gave him his instructions, conditionally. I met Mr. White at the junction of the Ellalong, and we proceeded together, down the valley of the Wollombi.
The sandstone terminates in cliffs on the right bank of this stream near the projected village of Broke (named by me in honour of that meritorious officer, Sir Charles Broke Vere, Bart.) but the left bank is overlooked by other rocky extremities falling from the ranges on the west, until it reaches the main stream. The most conspicuous of these headlands, as they appear from that of Mattawee behind the village of Broke, is called Wambo. This consists of a dark mottled trap with crystals of felspar. But the most remarkable feature in this extensive valley, is the termination thereupon of the sandstone formation which renders barren so large a proportion of the surface of New South Wales. This, in many parts, resembles what was formerly called the iron-sand of England, where it occurs both as a fresh and saltwater formation. The mountains northward of this valley of the Hunter consist chiefly of trap-rock, the lower country being open, and lightly wooded. The river, although occasionally stagnant, contains a permanent supply of water, and consequently the whole of the land on its banks, is favourable for the location of settlers, and accordingly has been all taken up. The country, and especially the hills beyond the left bank, affords excellent pasturage for sheep, as many large and thriving establishments testify. At one of this description, belonging to Mr. Blaxland, and which is situated on the bank of the Lower Wollombi, Mr. White and I arrived towards evening, and passed the night.
We left the hospitable station of Mr. Blaxland at an early hour, and proceeded on our way to join the party. We found the country across which we rode, very much parched from the want of rain. The grass was everywhere yellow, or burnt up, and in many parts on fire, so that the smoke which arose from it obscured the sun, and added sensibly to the heat of the atmosphere.
We lost ourselves, and, consequently, a good portion of the day, from having rode too carelessly through the forest country, while engaged in conversation respecting the intended journey. We nevertheless reached the place of rendezvous on Foy Brook long before night, and I encamped on a spot where the whole party was to join me in the morning. Mr. White left me here for the purpose of making some arrangements at home, and respecting the supplies which I had calculated on obtaining in this part of the country.
VALLEY OF THE HUNTER.
During the day's route, we traversed the valley of the river Hunter, an extensive tract of country, different from that mountainous region from which I had descended, inasmuch as it consists of low undulating land, thinly wooded, and bearing, in most parts, a good crop of grass.
Portions of the surface near Mr. Blaxland's establishment, bore that peculiar, undulating character which appears in the southern districts, where it closely resembles furrows, and is termed ploughed ground. This appearance usually indicates a good soil, which is either of a red or very dark colour, and in which small portions of trap-rock, but more frequently concretions of indurated marl, are found. Coal appears in the bed and banks of the Wollombi, near Mr. Blaxland's station, and at no great distance from his farm is a salt spring, also in the bed of this brook. The waters in the lesser tributaries, on the north bank of the river Hunter, become brackish when the current ceases. In that part of the bed of this river, which is nearest to the Wollombi (or to Wambo rather) I found an augitic rock, consisting of a mixture of felspar and augite.
FOSSILS OF THE HUNTER.
Silicified fossil wood of a coniferous tree, is found abundantly in the plains, and in rounded pebbles in the banks and bed of the river, also chalcedony and compact brown haematite. A hill of some height on the right bank, situate twenty-six miles from the seashore, is composed chiefly of a volcanic grit of greenish grey colour, consisting principally of felspar, and being in some parts slightly, in other parts highly calcareous when the rock assumes a compact aspect. This deposit contains numerous fossil shells, consisting chiefly of four distinct species of a new genus, nearest to hippopodium; also a new species of trochus; Atrypa glabra, and Spirifer, a shell occurring also in older limestones of England.*
(*Footnote. These shells having been submitted to Mr. James De Carl Sowerby, I am indebted to that gentleman for the following description:
Class Conchifera. Order, Dimyaria. Genus Megadesmus.
Valves equal, inequilateral, thick, their edges even; umbones nearly central; hinge sunk, with an antiquated area and one ? or two ? large teeth in each valve; ligament external, large; impressions of the abducter muscles strong, nearly equal, united by the impression of the mantle, at the posterior extremity of which is a small shallow sinus; no lunette.
A genus of heavy shells in some respects resembling Astarte, in others especially in having a striated area within the beaks, Hippopodium, from which it is distinguished by the position of the umbones and the presence of a thick tooth in the hinge. There appear to be four species, which may be named Megadesmus globosus (Plate 2) M. laevis (figure 1) M. antiquatus (figure 2) and M. cuneatus (figure 3 Plate 3) the cuneatus differs from antiquatus, only in having the shell a little contracted towards the anterior side.
The large shell (Plate 4 figures 1 and 2) is near to Isocardia, but Mr. Sowerby would not venture to say it belongs to that genus.
The Trochus (Plate 4 figures 3 and 4) may be called T. oculus.)
Amongst these remains was also found embedded a very perfect specimen of fossil wood. I may add, that in the bed of the Glindon Brook, which flows from the left bank of the Hunter, rocks of argillaceous limestone are found in large round boulders, some of which are more than 15 feet in diameter.*
(*Footnote. The fossil vegetation seems to consist chiefly of the Glossopteris brownii (of Brongniart) a fern which occurs in a stratum of ironstone at Newcastle, and in one of the same mineral on the southern coast, also in sandstone in the valley of the Hunter, and abundantly in the shale near the coal wrought at Newcastle.)
The whole equipment came up at half-past nine, whereupon I distributed such articles as were necessary to complete the organisation of the party, and the day was passed in making various arrangements for the better regulation of our proceedings, both on encamping and in travelling. I obtained from Assistant-Surveyor Dixon, then employed in this neighbourhood, some account of Liverpool Plains—this officer having surveyed the ranges which separate these interior regions from the appropriated lands of the colony. The heat of this day was exceedingly oppressive, the thermometer having been as high as 100 degrees in the shade, but after a thundershower it fell to 88 degrees.
MEN EMPLOYED ON THE EXPEDITION.
At length I had the satisfaction to see my party move forward in exploring order; it consisted of the following persons, namely:
Alexander Burnett and Robert Whiting, Carpenters. William Woods, John Palmer, Thomas Jones and William Worthington, Sailors. James Souter, Medical Assistant. Robert Muirhead, Daniel Delaney and James Foreham, Bullock-Drivers. Joseph Jones, Groom. Stephen Bombelli, Blacksmith. Timothy Cussack, Surveyor's Man. Anthony Brown, Servant to me. Henry Dawkins, Servant to Mr. White.
These were the best men I could find. All were ready to face fire or water, in hopes of regaining by desperate exploits, a portion, at least, of that liberty which had been forfeited to the laws of their country. This was always a favourite service with the best disposed of the convict prisoners, for in the event of their meriting, by their good conduct, a favourable report on my return, the government was likely to grant them some indulgence. I chose these men either from the characters they bore, or according to their trade or particular qualifications: thus:
Burnett was the son of a respectable house-carpenter on the banks of the Tweed, where he had been too fond of shooting game, his only cause of trouble.
Whiting, a Londoner, had been a soldier in the Guards.
Woods had been found useful in the department as a surveyor's man; in which capacity he first came under my notice, after he had been long employed as a boatman in the survey of the coast, and having become, in consequence, ill from scurvy, he made application to me to be employed on shore. The justness of his request, and the services he had performed, prepossessed me in his favour, and I never afterwards had occasion to change my good opinion of him.
John Palmer was a sailmaker as well as a sailor, and both he and Jones had been on board a man-of-war, and were very handy fellows.
Worthington was a strong youth, recently arrived from Nottingham. He was nicknamed by his comrades Five-o'clock, from his having, on the outset of the journey, disturbed them by insisting that the hour was five o'clock soon after midnight, from his eagerness to be ready in time in the morning.
I never saw Souter's diploma, but his experience and skill in surgery were sufficient to satisfy us, and to acquire for him from the men the appellation of The Doctor.
Robert Muirhead had been a soldier in India, and banished, for some mutiny, to New South Wales; where his steady conduct had obtained for him an excellent character.
Delaney and Foreham were experienced men in driving cattle.
Joseph Jones, originally a London groom, I had always found intelligent and trustworthy.
Bombelli could shoe horses, and was afterwards transferred to my service by Mr. Sempill in lieu of a very turbulent character, whom I left behind, and who declared it to be his firm determination to be hanged.
Cussack had been a bog surveyor in Ireland; he was an honest creature, but had got somehow implicated in a charge of administering unlawful oaths.
Brown had been a soldier, and subsequently was assistant coachman to the Marquis of ——.
Dawkins was an old tar, in whom Mr. White, himself formerly an officer in the Indian navy, placed much confidence.
Thus it had been my study, in organising this party, to combine proved men of both services with some neat-handed mechanics, as engineers, and it now formed a respectable body of men, for the purpose for which it was required.
Our materiel consisted of eight muskets, six pistols; and our small stock of ammunition, including a box containing skyrockets, was carried on one of the covered carts.
Of these tilted carts we had two, so constructed that they could be drawn either by one or two horses. They were also so light, that they could be moved across difficult passes by the men alone. Three stronger carts or drays were loaded with our stock of provisions, consisting of flour, pork (which had been boned in order to diminish the bulk as much as possible) tea, tobacco, sugar and soap. We had, besides, a sufficient number of packsaddles for the draught animals, that, in case of necessity, we might be able to carry forward the loads by such means. Several packhorses were also attached to the party. I had been induced to prefer wheel carriages for an exploratory journey: first, From the level nature of the interior country; second, From the greater facility and certainty they afforded of starting early, and as the necessity for laying all our stores in separate loads on animals' backs could thus be avoided. The latter method being further exposed to interruptions on the way—by the derangement of loads—or galling the animals' backs—one inexperienced man being thus likely to impede the progress of the whole party.
For the navigation or passage of rivers, two portable boats of canvas, had been prepared by Mr. Eager, of the King's dockyard at Sydney. We carried the canvas only, with models of the ribs—and tools, having carpenters who could complete them, as occasions required.
Our hour for encamping, when circumstances permitted, was to be two P.M., as affording time for the cattle to feed and rest, but this depended on our finding water and grass. Daybreak was to be the signal for preparing for the journey, and no time was allowed for breakfast, until after the party had encamped for the day.
As we proceeded along the road leading to the pass in the Liverpool range, Mr. White overtook us, having obtained an additional supply of flour, tobacco, tea and sugar, with which Mr. Finch was to follow the party as soon as he could procure the carts and bullocks necessary for the carriage of these stores.
After travelling six hours, we encamped beside a small watercourse near Mussel Brook, the thermometer at four P.M. being as high as 95 degrees. In the evening, the burning grass became rather alarming, especially as we had a small stock of ammunition in one of the carts. I had established our camp to the windward of the burning grass, but I soon discovered that the progress of the fire was against the wind, especially where the grass was highest. This may appear strange, but it is easily accounted for. The extremities of the stalks bending from the wind, are the first to catch the flame, but as they become successively ignited, the fire runs directly to the windward, which is toward the lower end of the spikes of grass, and catching the extremities of other stalks still further in the direction of the wind, it travels in a similar manner along them. We managed to extinguish the burning grass before it reached our encampment, but to prevent the invasion of such a dangerous enemy we took the precaution, on other occasions, of burning a sufficient space around our tents in situations where we were exposed to like inconvenience and danger.
ABORIGINES AND COLONISTS.
December 1, 6 A.M.
The thermometer at 82 degrees. As the party proceeded, the sky became overcast, and the absence of the sun made the day much more agreeable. Towards noon we had rain and thunder, and this weather continued until we reached the banks of the Hunter. We forded the river where the stream was considerable at the time, and then encamped on the left bank. The draught animals appeared less fatigued by this journey, than they had been by that of the former day, owing probably to the refreshing moisture and cooler air. After the tents had been pitched, a fine invigorating breeze arose, and the weather cleared up. Segenhoe, the extensive estate of Potter Macqueen, Esquire was not far distant, and Mr. Sempill the agent, called at my tent, and afforded me some aid in completing my arrangements.
I was very anxious to obtain the assistance of an aboriginal guide, but the natives had almost all disappeared from the valley of the Hunter; and those who still linger near their ancient haunts, are sometimes met with, about such large establishments as Segenhoe, where, it may be presumed, they meet with kind treatment. Their reckless gaiety of manner; intelligence respecting the country, expressed in a laughable inversion of slang words; their dexterity, and skill in the use of their weapons; and above all, their few wants, generally ensure them that look of welcome,* without which these rovers of the wild will seldom visit a farm or cattle station. Among those, who have become sufficiently acquainted with us, to be sensible of that happy state of security, enjoyed by all men under the protection of our laws, the conduct is strikingly different from that of the natives who remain in a savage state. The latter are named myalls, by their half-civilised brethren—who, indeed, hold them so much in dread, that it is seldom possible to prevail on anyone to accompany a traveller far into the unexplored parts of the country. At Segenhoe, on a former occasion, I met with a native but recently arrived from the wilds. His terror and suspicion, when required to stand steadily before me, while I drew his portrait, were such, that, notwithstanding the power of disguising fear, so remarkable in the savage race, the stout heart of Cambo was overcome, and beat visibly—the perspiration streamed from his breast, and he was about to sink to the ground, when he at length suddenly darted from my presence; but he speedily returned, bearing in one hand his club, and in the other his boomerang, with which he seemed to acquire just fortitude enough, to be able to stand on his legs, until I finished the sketch (See Plate 1.1.)
(*Footnote. They understand our looks better than our speech.)
The party moved off at seven, and passing, soon after, near the farm of an old man, whom I had assisted some years before, in the selection of his land, I rode to see him, accompanied by Mr. White. He was busy with his harvest, but left the top of his wheat-stack on seeing me, and running up, cordially welcomed us to his dwelling. A real scotch bonnet covered the brow of a face which reminded me, by its characteristic carving, of the land of the mountain and the flood. The analogy between the respective features, was at least so strong in my mind, and the sight of the one was so associated with the idea of the other, that had I seen this face on a stranger, in a still more distant corner of the earth—it must have called to mind the hills of my native land. The old man was very deaf, but in spite of age and this infirmity his sharp blue eye expressed the enduring vigour of his mind. He had buried his wife in Scotland, and had left there a numerous family, that he might become its pioneer at the antipodes. He had thus far worked his way successfully, and was beginning to reap the fruits of his adventurous industry. Sleek cattle filled his stockyard, his fields waved with ripe grain, and I had the satisfaction of learning from him, that he had written for his family, and that he soon expected their arrival in the colony. He immediately gave grain to our horses, and placed before us new milk; and, what we found a still greater luxury, pure water from the running burnie close by; also a bottle of the mountain dew, which, he said, was from a still which was no far aff. When I was about to mount my horse, he enquired if I could spare five minutes more, when he put into my hands the copy of a long memorial addressed to the government, which he had taken from among the leaves of a very old folio volume of Pitscottie's History of Scotland. This memorial prayed, that whereas Scoone was in the valley of Strathearne, and that the pillow of Jacob which had been kept as the coronation stone of the Kings of Scotland, was fated still to be, where their dominion extended; and as this valley of the Kingdon Ponds, had not received a general name, that it might be called Strathearne, etc. etc. We were finally compelled, although it still wanted two hours of noon, to drink a stirrup-cup at the door—when he most heartily drank success to our expedition, and I went on my way rejoicing that, on leaving the last man of the white race we were likely to see for some time, the ceremony of shaking hands was a vibration of sincere kindness.
We soon overtook the party—and had proceeded with it, some distance, when a soldier of the mounted police came up, and delivered to me a letter, from the military secretary at Sydney, informing me by command of the Acting Governor, that George Clarke—alias The Barber (The Bushranger) had sawed off his irons, and escaped from the prison at Bathurst. This intelligence was meant to put me on my guard respecting the natives, for from the well-known character of the man, it was supposed, that he would assemble them beyond the settled districts, with a view to drive off the cattle of the colonists—and especial caution would be necessary to prevent a surprise from natives so directed, if, as most people supposed, his story of the great river, had only been an invention of his own, by which he had hoped to improve his chance of escape. (See Appendix 1.1.)
BURNING HILL OF WINGEN.
At three P.M. we reached a spot favourable for encamping, the Kingdon brook forming a broad pool, deep enough to bathe in, and the grass in the neighbourhood being very good. The burning hill of Wingen was distant about four miles. This phenomenon appears to be of the same character as that at Holworth, in the neighbourhood of Weymouth, described by Professor Buckland and Mr. De la Beche in the following terms: "It is probable that in each case rainwater acting on iron pyrites has set fire to the bituminous shale; thus ignited it has gone on burning at Holworth unto the present hour, and may still continue smouldering for a long series of years, the bitumen being here so abundant in some strata of the shale, that it is burnt as fuel in the adjoining cottages; the same bituminous shale is used as fuel in the village of Kimmeridge, and is there called Kimmeridge coal."* Wingen, the aboriginal name, is derived from fire. The combustion extends over a space of no great extent (see Plate 5) near the summit of a group of hills, forming part of a low chain which divides the valley of Kingdon Ponds from that of Page's River. Thin blue smoke ascends from rents and cracks, the breadth of the widest measuring about a yard. Red heat appears at the depth of about four fathoms. No marks of any extensive change appear on the surface, near these burning fissures, although the growth of large trees in old cracks on the opposite slope, where ignition has ceased, shows that this fire has continued for a very considerable time, or that the same thing had occurred at a much earlier period. In the form of the adjacent hills I observed nothing peculiar, unless it be a contraction not very common of the lower parts of ravines. The geological structure is, as might be expected, more remarkable. Other summits of the range are porphyritic,** but the hills of Wingen present a variety of rocks, within a small space. In the adjacent gullies to the south of the hill, we find clay of a grey mottled appearance, and shale containing apparently a small quantity of decomposed vegetable matter; and near the fissure then on fire, occurred a coarse sandstone with an argillaceous basis. To the north-west, in a hollow containing water which drains from beneath the part ignited, is a coarse sandstone, in some places highly charged with decomposed felspar, and containing impressions of spirifers. The hill nearest to the part on fire, on the south-west (b) consists of basalt with grains apparently of olivine; and on a still higher hill, on the east (a) I found ironstone. A small hill (c) connecting these two, and nearest to the part actually burning, appears to consist of trap-rock, and is thickly strewed with agates. The hills on the opposite or south side of the valley are composed of compact felspar, with acicular crystals of glassy or common felspar and grains of hornblende, crevices of the stone being coated with films of serpentine or green earth.
(*Footnote. Volume 4 part 1 Second Series Geological Transactions, Professor Buckland and Mr. De la Beche on the Geology of the neighbourhood of Weymouth.)
(**Footnote. The porphyry of a hill three miles south of Wingen, consists of a base of reddish-brown compact felspar, with embedded crystals of common felspar and disseminated carbonate of lime.)
APPROACH LIVERPOOL RANGE.
The party in proceeding crossed several deep gullies in the neighbourhood of the burning hill; and the road continued to be well marked. At length we began to ascend the chain of hills, which connects Wingen with Mount Murulla and the Liverpool range. On gaining the summit of this range we overlooked Wingen, whose situation was faintly discernible by the light blue smoke. Three years had elapsed since my first visit to these slumbering fires. The ridge we were crossing was strewed with fallen trees; and broken branches with the leaves still upon them marked the effects of some violent and recent storm. We descended to a beautiful valley of considerable extent, watered by Page's river, which rises in the main range. We reached the banks of this stream at four P.M. and encamped on a fine flat. The extremities from the mountains on the north descend in long and gradual slopes, and are well covered with grass. This was already eaten short by sheep. Two babbling brooks water the flat at the part where we pitched our tents, and which is opposite to Whalan's station; one of these being the river Page, or Macqueen's River; the other known only as The Creek. The space between them is flat, and apparently consists of a soil of excellent quality. The heat of the day was excessive, the thermometer 80 degrees at sunset.
Mount Murulla is a remarkable cone of the Liverpool range, and being visible from Warrawolong, is consequently an important point in the general survey of the colony.
From Murulla, the range we had crossed extends eastward, enclosing the valley in which we were encamped, and which gives birth to the river Page. Our way now lay westward, towards the head of this valley, in order to cross by the usual route, the higher and principal range, which still lay to the north. We traversed, this day, six miles of the valley, and encamped beside a remarkable rock, near to which the track turned northward. I rode a little beyond our bivouac, and chanced to fall in with a tribe of natives from Pewen Bewen on Dart Brook, one of whom afterwards visited our camp, but he could tell us little about the interior country. The whole of the valley appears to consist of good land, and the adjacent mountains afford excellent sheep pasture. In the evening, a native of Liverpool plains came to our tents; I gave him a tobacco-pipe, and he promised to show me the best road across them. Thermometer at sunset 84 degrees.
CROSS LIVERPOOL RANGE.
This morning we ascended Liverpool range, which divides the colony from the unexplored country. Having heard much of this difficult pass, we proceeded cautiously, by attaching thirteen bullocks to each cart, and ascending with one at a time. The pass is a low neck, named by the natives Hecknaduey, but we left the beaten track (which was so very steep that it was usual to unload carts in order to pass) and took a new route, which afforded an easier ascent. All had got up safely, and were proceeding along a level portion, on the opposite side of the range, when the axle of one of the carts broke, and it became necessary to leave it, and place the load on the spare packhorses, and such of the bullocks, taken out of the shafts, as had been broken in to carry packsaddles.
A SICK TRIBE.
We reached at length, a watercourse called Currungai, and encamped upon its bank, beside the natives from Dart Brook, who had crossed the range before us, apparently to join some of their tribe, who lay at this place extremely ill, being affected with a virulent kind of smallpox. We found the helpless creatures, stretched on their backs, beside the water, under the shade of the wattle or mimosa trees, to avoid the intense heat of the sun. We gave them from our stock some medicine; and the wretched sufferers seemed to place the utmost confidence in its efficacy. I had often indeed occasion to observe, that however obtuse in some things, the aborigines seemed to entertain a sort of superstitious belief, in the virtues of all kinds of physic. I found that this distressed tribe were also strangers in the land, to which they had resorted. Their meekness, as aliens, and their utter ignorance of the country they were in, were very unusual in natives, and excited our sympathy, especially when their demeanour was contrasted with the prouder bearing and intelligence of the native of the plains, who had undertaken to be my guide.
Here I at length drank the water of a stream, which flowed into the unexplored interior; and from a hill near our route I beheld, this day, for the first time, a distant blue horizon, exactly resembling that of the ocean.
At an early hour we continued the journey towards the plains, guided by the natives, and along a cart track, which led towards some cattle stations. We crossed a low ridge of rich earth, in which were embedded nodules of limestone, and fragments of trap-rock. After passing several extremities of ridges, of a similar description, all being branches from high ranges on our left, we came upon a portion of the plains. This expanse of open level country, extended in a northerly direction, as far as human vision could reach; and being clear of trees, presented a remarkable contrast to the settled districts of the colony. The soil of these plains looked rich, the grass was good, and herds of cattle browsing at a distance, added pastoral beauty, to that which had been recently a desert.
We now turned from the track, we had thus far followed in a west-south-west direction, and parting from our friends, the natives, who insisted on our keeping the track, we again entered the woods, by turning a little to the north. My object, in proceeding in this direction, was to reach the bank of Peel's river at Wallawoul; that stream having been laid down as holding a northerly course, and consequently I had reason to believe that it would lead to any greater river flowing to the north-west, as reported by The Barber. But independently of this consideration, it was expedient to travel along its right bank, which commanded access to the high ranges on the east, and would therefore secure the party from any danger of obstruction from floods. I soon came on another path, and a line of marked trees, which a native, whom I met, said was the road from Palmer's to Loder's station. We next arrived at a deep dry bed, which in wet seasons must be filled by a very considerable stream, but in that time of drought, it was not until after riding up and down a considerable distance in search of water, that I at length found some ponds. The native name of this channel is Nuzabella. We crossed its bed, in order to encamp at a shady spot, where the long grass had been burnt a short while before. In other parts the grass reached to the heads of the horses, and at this time was so liable to catch fire, and was so frequently set on fire by the natives, that with our stock of ammunition, the situation of the camp required particular attention. The bullocks were much fatigued with this day's journey, the thermometer having stood at 96 degrees in the shade, and at sunset, and even during part of the night, it was as high as 90 degrees.