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Title:      Early Explorers in Australia
Author:     Ida Lee
* A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook *
eBook No.:  0301141.txt
Language:   English
Date first posted: August 2003
Date most recently updated: February 2014

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From the Log-Books and Journals
F.R.G.S., Hon. F.R.A.H.S.




First Published in 1925.


This volume deals with only a portion of the exploration of the Southern
Continent and is not intended to be a complete history of Australian
discovery. I have endeavoured, however, to relate in addition to the
better-known discoveries, many important voyages and surveys which have
been less frequently described and in many cases I have left the
explorer to tell the story of his adventures in his own words.

Throughout the various chapters I have tried to trace the first arrival
of English ships on the west coast, the trend of maritime exploration on
the north and north-west coasts from the days of Dampier down to King,
the surveys of Cook and of his successors on the east coast, the
rediscovery of Moreton Bay, the finding of Port Phillip, and the
circumnavigation and settlement of Tasmania.

The book also deals with certain inland discoveries from the time of the
landing of Governor Phillip in New South Wales until Allan Cunningham
had begun his exploration of Queensland. These include the expeditions
of Caley, Evans, and all those who struck out westward across the Blue
Mountains, and I have dealt with them as constituting a prelude to
Cunninghain's journal, in order to show in whose footsteps Cunningham
followed and to indicate the extent of the colony at the time of his
arrival there.

Allan Cunningham was a Kew botanist who became also famous as an
explorer. It would be difficult to say in which field of enterprise he
won most renown. The collections of new plants and seeds that he sent
and brought home from the most distant shores of Australasia were hardly
surpassed by those made by Robert Brown, and with regard to Cunningham's
explorations we find that historians to-day place him in the very front
rank of discoverers of the Southern Continent.

It was not until after he had journeyed as botanist with Oxley's party
into the interior of New South Wales in 1817, and had traversed bush and
mountain and beheld the wide rivers winding inland that the desire to
study anything beyond the flora of the country entered his mind. In his
accounts of his journey with Oxley one can trace how he gradually came
to listen to "the call of the wild," and by looking at the map of
Australia of those early days it is possible to gauge to some extent the
fascination that tempted him. He must have seen the great spaces left
blank on that map, but whether mountains, plains, lakes, or rivers lay
there none could tell, for the spaces were unexplored territory that no
traveller had ever crossed. In the map they surround the small colony at
Port Jackson, then ruled by Governor Macquarie, and spread over nearly
the whole continent.

Even where fresh discoveries across the Blue Mountains had been made up
to 1814 a single line suffices to show how far Europeans had been able
to advance into the Unknown.

The days, then, which followed Cunningham's coming to the colony were
glorious days, appealing to men of spirit and courage to blaze a road
through country where no civilized man had yet been, and to learn
whether it possessed the features of grass and water absolutely
necessary if civilization was to be drawn from the small settlements
near the coast into the heart of the continent.

How nobly Cunningham responded to the call is well known--perhaps by
none better than by those who live in the townships along the route that
he toiled so earnestly to discover, many of which are even now only just
springing up. How, without neglecting the duties connected with his post
as King's Botanist, he wrested from the land the knowledge of its
mountain-passes, its fine rivers, its rich pastures, it has been my
humble endeavour to make known afresh in the present volume, in which
his journal, here first printed in full, is the special feature.

After a careful study of his letters, of his journal, and of his reports
(extant in England) I have come to the conclusion that Cunningham
himself would have preferred to be best remembered as a botanist. For
this reason I decided to give some account of his botanical researches.
Botany being an entirely new study to me, in dealing with the names of
the plants and flowers of Australia mentioned by Cunningham. I have had
the assistance of Mr. N. E. Brown, A.L.S., who has kindly given me most
able help and advice.

Cunningham's manuscripts are to be found in the Libraries of the
Botanical Departments of the Natural History Museum at South Kensington
and at Kew, and I beg to thank the authorities of both Libraries for
their courtesy in permitting me to transcribe them.

With regard to my own story of Cunningham's explorations I can only add
that I had proposed writing of them in a different manner from that
which I have adopted, but owing to illness continually hampering my
efforts I have been unable to carry out my original intentions. I
therefore trust that in due course an abler writer will deal with what I
have omitted and do Cunningharn's memory the justice it so richly

To all who have helped me in various ways to complete this work I offer
my sincere and grateful thanks; had it not been for their aid the book
could not have been produced in its entirety. To the Librarians of the
various English Libraries, of the Sydney Public Library, and of the
Mitchell Library, Sydney, I wish to express my gratitude for their
valuable assistance. To Mr. Henry Selkirk of the Royal Australian
Historical Society I am greatly indebted for his examination of Allan
Cunningham's journal and Field Books, preserved in Sydney, and for
comparing Cunningham's maps there with those of modern geographers. I
also wish to thank Mr. C. H. Bertie, F.R.A.H.S., for permitting me to
reproduce the illustrations of Cook's Landing-place and of the brass
tablet at Kurnell, previously published by him and I desire to
acknowledge Mr. Kashnor's kindness in allowing me to reprint some rare
charts in his collection of those made by Dalrymple which I had not met
with elsewhere.



          PANDORA'S PASS
INDEX (not included in this ebook)
BOTANICAL REFERENCES (not included in this ebook)





From the earliest dawn of Australia's history the beautiful flora and
singular fauna of the country have appealed to discoverers and
naturalists. Yet the old Dutch voyagers who first came to the Great
South Land collected few specimens of what they found there, and
apparently no record exists of any of the country's natural productions
having reached Europe until long after the names of Eendracht Land,
Dedel's Land, and the Land of the Leeuwin were engraved upon the maps of
the world.[*]

[* Heeres says: In 1605 Jansz surveyed the cast coast of the Gulf of
Carpentaria as far as about 13°45'S. In the year 1616 the Dutch ship
'Eendracht,' commanded by Dirk Hartog, on her voyage from the Cape of
Good Hope to Batavia...for the first time surveyed part of the west
coast of Australia. As early as 1619 this coast was known by the name of
Eendracht Land, and Dedel's Land (called after a sea captain named Jacob
Dedel) was made in July, 1619, and appeared in the charts of 1627." The
same writer observes: "Dedel's Land is bounded by the Land of the
Leeuwin, surveyed in 1622. (See "Part Borne by the Dutch in the
Discovery of Australia."--J. E. Heeres.)]

According to Labillardière, the first specimens of any kind to reach
Holland from New Holland were two shells which had been given to
Burgomaster Witsen of Amsterdam in 1698 by a sea captain in the service
of the Dutch East India Company. This was William Vlamingh, who had
visited Western Australia in the previous year; and, in a letter to Dr.
Lister of the Royal Society Witsen says "he found them on the seaside,
and I make bold to send you the draught of them, the shells themselves
being twice as long and as broad as the draught." He adds the courteous
message "I could not bestow them better than on one who hath the best
knowledge of these and all other sea products." A description of the
shells, with illustrations, was afterwards published in Lister's
"Synopsis Conchyliorum "--one being the first nautilus,[*] the other
then named the Concha persica clavicula radiata.

[* Nautilus pompilius.]

The Burgomaster's letter mentions other curiosities seen by Vlamingh in
the new land, among them black swans, three of which were caught and
taken to Batavia, but shortly afterwards died there; and on an island
near the coast were "rats as great as cats which had a kind of bag or
purse hanging from the throat downwards." On this account the Dutch gave
the name of Rottennest[*] to the island and called the river where the
swans were taken the Swan River.

[* Rats' Nest. The rats were a species of kangaroo rat.]

There were found also "many well-scented trees, and out of the wood is
to be drawn oil smelling as the rose." A small bottle of it was
distilled at Batavia and sent to the Directors of the Dutch East India
Company at Amsterdam, which appear to prove that the eucalyptus first
yielded its oil to the Dutch.

Soon after Witsen's letter had reached Dr. Lister, William Dampier
brought home his collection of dried plants, including many gathered in
Western Australia. Dampier had twice visited that country: he was there
before Vlamingh, on his voyage with the buccaneers in the ship "Cygnet"
of London under Captain Read, entering on January 5, 1688 what is now
called Cygnet Bay, and he was there in 1699 in the "Roebuck," of which
vessel he was in command;[*] and after Dampier's return from this voyage
in 1702 more than ever before was known in England concerning the South

[* After leaving Australia on his first voyage Dampier quarrelled with
Captain Read and quitted the "Cygnet" at Nicobar. He made his way to
Sumatra and reached England in 1691. Having been brought under the
notice of King William III by the Earl of Pembroke, he was placed in
command of Roebuck," an Admiralty ship, and sent on a second voyage of

In the journal of his first voyage Dampier mentions New Holland several
times before he is able to record that he has seen it. First of all, at
the Ladrones he had been told by experienced seamen that ships bound to
Java from the Cape of Good Hope often found themselves, and sometimes to
their cost, on the shoals off New Holland; ships had been known to run
aground there when their navigators thought that they were a great way
from it, as to which Dampier remarks: "Hence possibly the Dutch call
that part of the coast the Land of Indraught, as if it magnetically drew
ships to it." In this, however, Dampier assigns a meaning of his own to
the word Eendracht, which the Dutch had bestowed upon a part of Western
Australia; for we know that the land was named in honour of the ship
"Eendracht," the word itself meaning, in Dutch, "union" or "concord."

He mentions New Holland again after the ship had passed Timor, and,
being uncertain as to what was the form or shape of the country he was
about to land in, he describes it as "a part of Terra Australis
Incognita." When he reached a shoal off the coast, he complained that it
was laid down too far to the north-ward in the Dutch charts, and after
the "Cygnet" rounded what is now known as Cape Lévêque and anchored a
league to the eastward of its shores, on January 5, 1688, he gave this
account of the country:

"New Holland is a very large tract of land. It is not yet determined
whether it is an island or a continent, but I am certain that it joins
neither to Asia, Africa, nor America."

Dampier wrote boldly; for, although early in the seventeenth century the
Dutch had made discoveries on the north and west coasts, in 1606 Torres
had sailed through the strait now known by his name, in 1627 Peter Nuyts
had crossed the Australian Bight to Nuyts' Archipelago off the south
coast, and in 1642 Tasman had discovered the shores of both Tasmania and
New Zealand, yet nothing was known of the eastern or south-eastern
coasts, and a multitude of geographers still believed the old fables
that Australia was included within the boundaries of the vast Terra
Australis Incognita, the imaginary Antarctic continent supposed to cover
the whole of the southern portion of both the eastern and western
hemispheres--an idea founded on the ancient theory that a southern
continent was needed to maintain the equilibrium of the globe.

In the western hemisphere the southern continent was believed to join
Tierra del Fuego or Magellanica (South America), and in the eastern
hemisphere it was thought to stretch as far north as New Guinea, while
its southern boundary ran as far south as the Pole itself. So firmly was
this idea fixed in the minds of the most learned men that it had become
difficult to eradicate it, and we find this imaginary continent
portrayed in maps of the world up to the time of Dampier's coming to

[* P. du Val, in his World Map of 1674, in order to show the Dutch
discoveries in Australia, makes a sharp break in the outline of the
imaginary continent, but he still keeps New Zealand as one of its
promontories--part of a territory whose coast-line ran southward till it
almost reached the southern extremity of South America; and Tasmania was
thought to be another part of it.]

Points of this vast land had been identified and named by European
seamen and others, the most familiar names given tc the various parts
being Beach or Locach and Maletur--names handed down since the time of
Marco Polo--Terra di Vista, Brasiliae Regio, Psittacorum Regio, or the
Land of Parrots, in the eastern, and, contiguous to Tierra del Fuego
Regio Patalis and Regio Magellanica in the western hemisphere.

By far the oldest portion of the Terra Australis was the land of Beach
or Cape Beach. It was the title given to a tract of country in Northern
Australia in the neighbourhood of Arnhem Land, while the old name Regio
Patalis (the region of Patala at the mouth of the Indus) was bestowed at
different periods upon various parts of the vast continent; Terra di
Vista was another ancient name for land in 42° S. lat., of which nothing
was known except that "it was 450 leagues from the Cape of Good Hope."
Buache, the French geographer, is best remembered for the memoir he
published in 1763 (only five years before Cook sailed on his first
voyage), in which he enumerates the names appearing on the maps of Terra
Australis, or, as he calls it, Terra Antarctica. In writing of Terra di
Vista, Buache points out that "on Mercator's Great Chart published in
1569 (and on Wytfliet's Of 1597) there is also marked in these latitudes
the great Gulf of St. Sebastian[*] and an island called Cressalina," "of
which," he adds, "there is a MS. map in the collection of the Marshal
d'Estrèes"...Buache's memoir was regarded as an important work at
the time of its publication, so much so that afterwards it was reprinted
by Alexander Dalrymple, hydrographer at the Admiralty, who possessed a
wonderful knowledge of old and rare charts, and who collected valuable
information respecting the tracks of vessels which were the first to
sail among the islands and shoals of the Pacific and especially among
those around the Australian

[* Not to be confused with the channel of that name in Tierra del

To return to the Gulf of St. Sebastian. Although Buache did not himself
give its position as being near or off Australia, he believed that it
was not far from Terra di Vista. Now, how-ever, it is thought that in
all probability what he referred to as Terra di Vista was a portion of
Western Australia, since it was placed to the south of the Cape of Good
Hope and no land exists in the position assigned to it upon the maps

Cook was aware of the importance attached by geographers to the
rediscovery of the Gulf of St. Sebastian, and as the Dutch formerly had
given orders to their seamen to look for Cape Beach, so in like manner
Cook was instructed to search for this gulf. The "Resolution" and the
"Adventure" both looked for it, and we even find Dr. Solander, on his
return to England in 1774, mentioning it in a letter to a friend when
thus describing Furneaux's homeward voyage:[*] "He [Furneaux] sailed
directly south from New Zealand till he came into lat. 55° and between
that and 60° continued his course eastward...looking for St.
Sebastian's Land and for Cape Circumcision, but arrived the 18th March
last at the Cape of Good Hope without having seen an inch of new
land...He has proved that there is no southern continent and that the
French discoveries are small islands instead of continents; or perhaps,
as my friend Omai calls ice, 'things that the sun drives away or causes
to vanish.'"

[* Solander to Ellis, "Correspondence of Linnaeus," Vol. II, p. 17.]

On hearing that Cook did not find the Gulf of St. Sebastian, Dalrymple
remarked that he should have looked for it in the eastern and not in the
western hemisphere;[*] and possibly Dalrymple, although his theory
regarding the existence of a huge southern continent was disproved,
possessed evidence relating to the discovery of the gulf which has not
been handed down to us. The remark at least raises a question as to
where Dalrymple expected that Cook would find this gulf. We only know
that upon some ancient maps, as for example on Wytfliet's of the
continent of Terra Australis, 1597 (Map 1), there appears on its
southern shores a wide opening (not unlike the real Spencer Gulf of
early Australian maps) which bears the name of Golfo S. Sebastiano, and
to the eastward of this is another river-like opening in front of which
is an island called Cressalina. If we follow the coast-line of the
continent round to the westward we come to another part of it named
Psittacorum Regio, and this, in the opinion of competent authorities,
was in fact Western Australia. Opposite Psittacorum Regio, or the Land
of Parrots, and at a short distance from it, looms the Cape of Good
Hope, but, judging from the position of Java Major to the northward and
the Pacific Ocean to the eastward, the outlines of the Cape are even
more out of their proper place on the map than are those of Western

[* Many believed that the gulf would be found in the western hemisphere,
and Thomas Kitchin, the well-known geographer, in banishing the
imaginary Terra Australis from his maps after Cook's return from his
researches still retained a small portion of the land bearing the name
of the Gulf of St. Sebastian, which he places to the south-east of the
Falkland Islands--a little to the westward of where Ortelius had placed
it on his map in 1587.]

In spite of the fact, too, that in this map the Gulf of St. Sebastian
seems to have its origin a few miles from the South Pole, or that
portions of Terra Australis are laid down within the limits of the
Antarctic Circle, and that to the south-eastward the land shows no sign
of ending, it seems to convey the impression of being an authentic
discovery of Australia. Its eastern shores are bounded by the Pacific;
New Guinea is shown as an island, and Beach on the north part is face to
face with the island of Java Major. The text which was published with it
gives this description: "The Australis Terra is the most southern of all
lands. It is separated from New Guinea by a narrow strait. Its shores
are little known, since after one voyage and another that route has been
deserted and seldom is the country visited unless when sailors are
driven there by storms. The Australis Terra begins 2 or 3 degrees from
the Equator and is be of so great an extent that if
it were thoroughly explored it would be regarded as a fifth part of the

No great land south of the Equator excepting Australia answers to this
description of Terra Australis, and, as Dalrymple believed the Gulf of
St. Sebastian would be found in the eastern hemisphere, it would seem
that he must have regarded the land on whose southern shores its name is
inscribed, not as the huge imaginary continent supposed to spread over
the southern portions of both hemispheres and to encircle the South
Pole, but as a smaller continent confined within the limits of the
eastern hemisphere, which could have been no other land than Australia.

It is probable that Europeans visited this continent even before the
Dutch discovered portions of it. Witness the Portu-guese word "Abrolhos"
on early sea charts, the name Terra del Zur on many old maps, and the
rock carvings, found by Sir George Grey in Western Australia, one figure
among them being garbed as a priest. These carvings apparently were the
work of shipwrecked people who took up their abode in caves. The
countenance of one man engraved in the rock shows that they were
Europeans: they do not appear to be connected with any Dutch visit, and
it is thought that they were survivors either of a French or a
Portuguese ship, long since lost on these shores, of which no traces
have been found. There is the story too, that Spanish ringbolts have
been discovered in Sydney Harbour, which, if really true, would prove
that this side of the continent also was visited. While controversy
usually attends the finding of any signs of the presence of Europeans on
the mainland at an early date, the knowledge that more than one old map
showing Terra Australis bear dates prior to the arrival of the Dutch is
sufficient to justify the belief that Australia was discovered before
the beginning of the seventeenth century.[*]

[* The wooden globe of Paris, one of the most famous geographical
records extant, made about the year 1535, bears an outline of a
continent in the far south, having inscribed upon it the legend: "Terra
Australis recenter inventa, Anno 1499. Another inscription of a similar
nature appears upon the map of Oroncé Finé (1531), only omitting the
date of discovery. In a work by Francis Monarchus entitled "De Orbis
Situ," a small map bears a similar notice, and in the text of the book
the date of discovery is set down as 1526. Vopellio's map, 1556, adheres
to 1499 as the correct date. From this time forward cosmographers of
different periods seem to have had no doubts concerning the authentic
discovery of the South Land, although they could not agree in their
methods of delineating its outline.]

Other geographers award the honour of discovery to the Malays, who came
to fish for trepang on the north and north-west coasts. Both Flinders
and King when surveying those shores met with their proas, and it is
said that they had fished there for centuries. And probably if one race
of mankind outside its native inhabitants can claim to have had the
earliest knowledge of Northern Australia, that race would be the Malays.
They are said originally to have inhabited Palembang and the banks of
the River Malayu in Sumatra and to have migrated thence about the end of
the twelfth century to the south-east extremity of the opposite
peninsula, where they built the ancient town of Singapore and afterwards
that of Malacca (though the name Malaya was applied to the peninsula
many ages before). Some of the Malays, especially the traders of
Celebes, lost sight of their coasts and pushed out on the open seas,
directing their course by the position of the stars and sometimes by the
aid of a compass. (At what time they came into possession of this
seaman's guide is conjectural, although it was thought to have been
introduced from China.) A voyage as far southward as Melville Island or
Admiralty Gulf would have been quite an easy matter for their fleets.

But turning from the mists of tradition to the clear light of written
history, the fact that the Portuguese and Spanish first made charts of
Australia carly in the sixteenth century would show that at that time
they must have gained some definite knowledge of its coast-line. So
jealously, however, did these two nations guard the secrets of their
voyages and charts that no records of their discoveries have been handed
down to us. It may be significant in this connexion that Wytfliet's map
was dedicated to the King of Spain.

At the end of the sixteenth century a new maritime power sprang into
being. Holland, having successfully waged her war of independence
against Spain and wrested from Portugal her supremacy in the eastern
seas, China as well as India and the Spice Islands became the scene of
Dutch activity, and Dutch ships began to take the leading part in the
maritime exploration of Southern Asia. These ships when bound for Bantam
(the western portion of Java) must have sighted Australia, especially
when stormy weather drove them to its shores. Their first knowledge of
the southern continent is believed to have been acquired in 1595 in a
voyage fitted out by some rich Dutch merchants, at the instigation of
Cornelius Houtman, a merchant who had lived in Lisbon and had gathered
from the Portuguese particulars concerning their discoveries. Being
imprisoned for debt there, Houtman wrote home to the Dutch merchants,
giving them much information regarding the East, and they obtained his
release and sent him upon this voyage to the East Indies. On the way
from Antongil (on the east side of Madagascar) to Java the compasses of
the Dutch ships were subject to great variation, and by going too far
north they failed to make certain sandbanks (probably the Abrolhos or
those near Point Cloates) "marked on their Portuguese charts" which they
should have sighted, and Wytfliet says that on this voyage much was
learned of the Australis Terra. For fully sixty years the southern
continent now became the goal of the Dutch navigators, and Dutch
expeditions left Holland in quick succession with instruc-tions to
investigate and report upon the South Land, to which they gave the name
of New Holland. The stories of these voyages have their places in the
Dutch archives and are well known to us. Of late years the records have
been published and contain all that is known concerning the Dutch
discoveries in New Holland.

About the year 1600, after the founding of the East India Company, we
find English ships beginning to compete with the Dutch for a portion of
their trade with the East. With the eastern monsoon the English sailed
eastward principally by what the Dutch called their "new route," that is
to say, round the Cape of Good Hope past the islands of St. Paul and
Amsterdam, thence making the coast of New Holland.[*] Between New
Holland and the south-eastern shores of Asia the Indian Ocean flows
through many channels into the Pacific, and ships coming from the
southward across the Equator to China and japan had to pass through some
of these channels. "It soon became a recognized practice for British
seamen destined for the straits between Java and Timor to secure the
land-fall from New Holland."[**] Instead of coming there by accident or
through being blown out of their course, we learn that now the ships
made it "their principal care to fall in with New Holland."

[* Early Dutch navigators recommended seamen to make the South Land in
26° Or 27°. British ships usually made it in 22° or 23° S.]

[** "A New Directory for the East Indies," S. Dunn. 5th ed. London,
1780. P. 368.]

The earliest accounts in their captains' log-books and journals telling
of how they first saw what is now a British possession are full of
interest to-day and should have a place in every Australian history.
There are not many records relating to these English voyages. Here and
there a log-book of ancient date states the bare fact that the land was
sighted, or an old directory quotes the remarks made by some
captain--small scraps of intelligence, yet sufficient to prove that long
before Cook discovered the east coast in the "Endeavour" British seamen
had reached and taken their bearings from the west coast of New Holland.

One experienced commander[*] (the date of whose voyage is not stated),
after giving 22° 31' S. as the latitude that ships should endeavour to
make for, sounds a note of warning with regard to the perils around its
shores. "I must observe," he writes, "that till under the lat. of 26° S.
the coast of New Holland must be approached with caution as there is
great danger, though there are many never-failing guides to warn you of
your approach, such as great quantities of skuttle-bones, weeds and
drifts, and near the Bank grampuses playing like seals and innumerable
quantities of Tropick birds, but skuttle-fish and weeds are commonly the
first marks. The land in lat. 22° S. and 23° S. is low, the soundings
130 fathoms mud about 14 leagues from the coast."

[* Remarks published by William Nichelson of H.M.S. "Elizabeth,"

One can picture, while the east coast remained all unknown the little
stream of British ships making its way eastward to Western Australia,
creeping along the reefs in the darkness past the low sandhills and
grassy slopes in the neighbourhood of Point Cloates and North-West Cape,
where now, from lighthouses of grey concrete, every five or seven
seconds a flashing white light is thrown upon the seaman's path. The
little stream of ships with the advancement of time has grown into a big
river with many branches, which divide and penetrate every harbour of
the continent.

The first English ship to reach Australian waters of whose coming a
record survives was the ship "Trial"[*] She was wrecked in 1622 upon
rocks which soon were placed on charts under the name of the Tryal
Rocks, although for long they were thought to be of doubtful existence.
Ten of the ship's passengers safely reached Batavia on July 5th; a
second boat came there on the 8th with thirty-six survivors, and these
informed the Dutch Governor (Koen) that they had abandoned their ship
with ninety-seven people on board in lat. 20°10' S. They also stated
that the "Tryal" had struck upon the reef during the night in fair
weather. Both English and Dutch ships looked for the rocks, yet
gradually people doubted their existence, because seamen who claimed to
have sighted them placed them in entirely different latitudes. Dampier
hoped to find them. The "Jane" frigate in 1705 searched for them in
vain, although her com-mander guessed the truth concerning their
situation. In his journal he wrote on June 27th of that year: "Hove to,
ACCORDING TO CUSTOM, on account of the Tryal Rocks (if such exist), for
although they are reported to extend 20 leagues in length I was informed
by the Commodore of the Dutch ships ... that he never heard of these
rocks being seen. If they exist they must lie much farther east than in
the route toward Java Head."

[* The "Tryal" carried a letter from the Hague to Dutch authorities in
the East giving particulars of the Treaty concluded in 1619 between the
English and Dutch E.I. Companies.]

Many years after a Dutch sloop was again sent to explore them in
consequence of their having been seen by the ship "Vaderland Getrouw" in
1718 in 20½° S. The sloop sighted and charted them and reported that
they ranged from east to west forty miles, were in lat. 19°30' S. and
were eighty leagues from New Holland. Captain Foss of the Danish ship
"Fredensberg Castle" saw them in 1777, and geographers continued to
place them on their maps, yet many sailors still refused to believe that
they existed. At last the voyage of the ship "Greyhound," on her passage
from China to Port Jackson as late as 1819, reopened the question by her
commander declaring that he had met with a reef of rocks in lat. 19°59'
S., long. 103°30' E., which were the long-lost Tryal Rocks.

In 1820, after a minute survey of the different situations where these
rocks had been reported, Lieutenant Phillip Parker King in H.M.S.
"Mermaid" came to the conclusion that the Monte Bello Islands exactly
answered the description given by the Danish captain, and he states,
"There remains no doubt in my mind but that Barrow Island (in 20°40' S.,
115°27' E.) and Trimouille Island (of the French) and the numerous reefs
around them are the identical Tryal Rocks." Since King's day naval
surveyors have found the exact position of the rocks. "Admiralty Sailing
Directions" (1917) state that "Tryal Rocks, awash at high water, are
near the outer edge of the S.W. part of Monte Bello Islands reef and 5
miles N. of the north extreme of Barrow Island." King attributed the
difficulty of identification to errors in longitude on the part of early
navigators whose reckonings, as is well known, cannot be relied upon,
owing to the fact that they had to depend upon their chronometers, which
were liable to get out of order.

The second English ship to make the Australian coast of whose presence
off the Abrolhos a record has been preserved was the "London" under
Captain Daniel, who came there in June, 1681, according to Thornton,
Horsburgh and Thomson (Dalrymple places the date as 1687), and therefore
Daniel saw these shores before his countryman Dampier. Of his coming
Captain Daniel wrote in his journal: "With the wind S.W. by W. steering
by compass N.E. by E, at 10 a.m. the water was discoloured: a man at the
foretop saw a breach rise ahead of us. We put our helm hard a starboard
and stood away N.W. by W. and weathered the N.W. end of it about ½ a
mile: at that distance the depth was 35 fms. white corally ground with
some red mixed: next depth (about 2 hours after we tacked) was about 40
fms., the same ground, and at 9 p.m.having run off by log on a N.W. by
W. course had no ground at 65 fms...The breach which we first saw
happened to be the northernmost of all, there being several and by our
computation are 20 miles in length. Within the breaches several small
white sandy islands were seen with some bushes on them: a very heavy sea
broke against the south part of these. When close to them the mainland
was not seen."

Captain Daniel apparently saw Wallabi Group, the northern-most of the
three groups of islands and rocks comprising the Abrolhos. He named it
"Dangerous Rocks," He also may have given the name of Maiden's Isle to
Rottnest Island, as it is so called in many old atlases. He made a chart
of the Abrolhos which was published by Dalrymple, and, however
imperfectly it may represent these shoals, it seems to have been the
first attempt by an Englishman to chart the shores of Australia.

There is a curious silence among historians regarding Cloates Island, or
Cloates Doubtful Island, off Western Australia, yet to sailors in olden
days it was an island of mystery; and for English sea captains who made
it their duty to fall in with New Holland it possessed a peculiar
attraction. They looked for it and wrote about it in their log-books
more than any other part of the continent, because for years people were
wont to disbelieve in its existence too. Owing to the hidden trendings
in the coast and the elbow that is formed in its outline where they
first sighted land a difficult problem was presented to one sailor after
another which none could solve.

Lieutenant King also found that Cloates Island did exist and was not an
island or shoals like the Tryal Rocks and the Abrolhos, but actually
formed a part of the mainland. Early explorers had passed along this
portion of the coast, though none had named the point until in 1719 it
was suddenly christened Cloates Island, and Cloates Island it remained
until a hundred years later, when King proved it to be a peninsula. This
supposed island was discovered by Captain Nash (possibly an Englishman),
in com-mand of a Flemish ship, the "House of Austria," bound from Ostend
to China. On seeing it he wrote in his journal: "Being clear weather
brought to, sounded, and had no ground with 100 fms. though not above
four miles off shore. The day before and several days after observed an
incredible quantity of seaweed like that from the Gulf of Florida and
small birds like lapwings both in size and flight. This island cannot be
seen far even in clear weather and lies N.E. by E. and S.W. by S. about
32 leagues in length with terrible breakers from each end running about
three miles into the sea." He gave the lat. as 22° S. and from it made
7°26' westing to Java Head. As he could find no account of this land in
any of his books or charts Captain Nash named it Cloates or Cloot's
Island in honour of a Flemish Baron, one of the owners of the ship.[*]

[* "A New Directory for the East Indies," S. Dunn. 5th ed. 1780.]

Other ships followed Captain Nash's route and saw Cloates Island, and
reported having seen it. Captain Pelly of the ship "Prince of Wales" in
1739 at first sight thought the land like small islands, so very low
that they could not be seen from the deck. A great smoke was rising only
at five or six leagues distant. He "sounded and had no ground at 160
fms...raised the land and found it long and level about the height
of the Lizard."...He believed "the land like islands joined to the
rest." The last sentence seems to show that Pelly queried the report
that the land was a single island, or else had seen other islands in the

Another East India Company's ship, the "Haeslingfield," sighted Cloates
Island in 1743. On July 16th Captain Robert Haldane[*] records having
seen weeds and common berries in the water in lat. 24°33' S.; "also next
day but not so much as before." On the following day, Monday, July 18th,
he writes: "Saw Cloot's Island. Lay to...Made sail...Kept a
good look out all night, having been yesterday at noon only 75' to ye
southward of Cloot's Island discovered by ye 'House of Austria,' an
Ostend shipping, by our account not a great way from ye meridian in
which they made it. At daylight saw it bearing S.E. ½ S. to E. by S.
distant 6 leagues. Sounded, but had no ground with fms., nor have we
seen any scuttle bones at all nor weeds since the 16th and 17th as they
mention, and but 2 or 3 birds of a whitish colour and of size of a
pigeon. It extends from N.N.E. to S. by W. about 9 or 10 leagues in
length and rises gradually towards the middle; from the N.E. end of it
runs a ledge of rocks upon which we saw breakers a great way out. By a
very good observation I make it to lie in lat. 22°08' S. and 32°01' East
from St. Paul's, which agrees pretty well with a journall of ye above
mentioned ship by accident found on board.[**]...I am apt to believe
that this island is laid charts a good deal too much to
westward." The last remark was true. "Doubtful" Island has always been
placed too much to westward, and at some distance from the

[* India Office Log-Book.]

[**] The curious fact of Captain Nash's journal being found on board the
"Haeslingfield" is additional evidence that he was of English

[***] Upon the charts showing Cook's first discoveries, and upon the
atlas pub-lished with La Pérouse's voyage, it is shown between the
erroneously charted Tryal Rocks and the Australian coast. On the map
drawn by Lieutenant Roberts, R.N., to describe Cook's track in his last
voyage, Cloates Island appears twice, to the south-east and again to the
south-west of the Tryal Rocks and beneath the latter island is given the
further information "according to the French." In Purdy's "General Chart
of the World," 2nd ed., 1812, it is shown with the addition of
"doubtful," and also (without that qualification) in Espinosa's Spanish
Chart of the same date. Cloates Island must not be confused with
Kalatoa, or Old Clouts Island (upon which the "Ocean" was wrecked) in
the Flores Sea.]

Fifty-three years after the "Haeslingfield" had passed (in the year
1796) the master of the ship "Belvedere" reported having seen Cloates
Island "on the lee bow bearing E. by N. 5 or 6 miles at 9; breakers off
each end...10 a.m. a bluff point seen from the masthead." After
steering ten miles, the observed lat., being 21°10' S.[*] "the body of
Cloat's Island was seen half way up the mizen shrouds."

[*] Its true lat. 22°42' S., long. 113°'41' E.

But by this time geographers were inclined to be sceptical, and
Horsburgh writes: "This evidently was not Cloates Island but some of the
low islands in the bight to the east of North-West Cape." Joining the
unbelievers, he adds: "Cloates Island very probably has no real

Lieutenant King, however, who was sent by the Admiralty to explore the
north-west coast, was not the man to pass over any reliable evidence
concerning early discoveries in those regions and he determined to
examine this coast. He came there first in 1818, and on February 10th
saw the land and described its outer shore very much after the manner of
early seamen: "The coast is tolerably elevated, may be seen at a
distance of 6 or 7 leagues. The shore is fronted with rocks that extend
3 or 4 miles into the sea, on the extremity of which the surf breaks
with a continued foam." On the 14th he rounded North-West Cape and
entered the bight which he named Exmouth Gulf, and before dark his ship,
the "Mermaid," had sailed twenty-five miles down the opening without
seeing its termination. Exmouth Gulf is twenty-seven miles wide between
Tubridgi Point and North-West Cape, and has been traced fifty miles into
the land yet even to-day a great part of it is very imperfectly known.
"The western side trended southwards, losing itself in distance and bore
the appearance of being an island," King records after bringing the
"Mermaid" to an anchorage in an inlet called Bay of Rest, or Jogodor.
From here he continued his examination, but was forced to leave Exmouth
Gulf without being positively certain whether the bay within it in which
his ship had anchored was a part of an island or of the continent.[*]

[* Allan Cunningham, the botanist on board, had little doubt that it
formed part of the mainland. (See his journal, February 16, 1818.)]

In October, 1820, during his third voyage to the north-west coast, King
wrote: "The existence of Cloates Island, of which there are so many
undeniable descriptions, was for a long time questioned by navigators. I
think, however, that it does exist, and that it is no other than the
mainland to the southward of North-West Cape." When he came to the
curious arm or elbow in the coast-line which had caused sailors to
mistake this peninsula for an island, he observed: "In the neighbourhood
of the Bay of Rest (within the Gulf) the shore is more
the Gulf is twelve miles across...the Gulf then shoalens and at
fifteen miles farther terminates in an the south end of
the high land that forms the west side of the Gulf and WHICH IS
DOUBTLESS THE IDENTICAL CLOATES ISLAND that has puzzled navigators for
the last eighty years.[*] It perfectly answers the descriptions that
have been given, and the only thing against it is the longitude, but
this like that of the Tryal Rocks is not to be attended to."

[* King's "Intertropical Australia," Vol. 11, P. 365.]

It is evident that King was keenly interested in the history of Cloates
Island and was determined to remove all doubts as to its identity. And
after he had examined it he says: "The description of this island by
Captain Nash of the ship 'House of Austria,' as well as that of the
'Haeslingfield' in 1743 and by Captain Pelly, accord exactly with the
appearance of this promontory, nor is the longitude much in error when
we consider the strength of the currents which set to the north-west
during the easterly monsoon in the space between New Holland and

[* King's "Intertropical Australia," vol. 1, P. 443.]

Thus once and for all King cleared up the mystery which had for so long
surrounded Cloates Island.

From these glimpses into the log-books of British seamen who sighted the
west coast, we pass to the journal of William Dampier, the first
Englishman of whose landing we have actual record.



On the "Cygnet's" arrival off Cape Lévêque, Dampier recorded his first
impressions of the country. "This part," he writes, "is all a low, even
land with sandy banks against the sea...the points rocky and so are
some of the islands in the bay...The soil is dry and sandy,
destitute of water, except you make wells, yet producing divers sort of
trees." He at once noticed a species of eucalyptus which grew most
abundantly, calling them dragon trees, and describing them as "the
largest of any there. They are about the bigness of our large apple
trees...the rind is blackish...The leaves are of a dark colour.
The gum distils out of the knots or cracks that are in the bodies of the
trees. We compared it with some Gum-dragon or Dragon's Blood that was
aboard and it was of the same."

On January 5, 1688, after the "Cygnet" had anchored, some natives were
seen walking on the shore. A boat was sent off from the ship in the hope
of being able to get water and provisions, but on seeing it approaching
them the blacks quickly disappeared. For three days the buccaneers
searched for their houses, but found none; then, anxious to be on
friendly terms with the inhabitants, left toys in different places which
it was thought they would visit. A little later, while searching for
water among the islands, Dampier and his shipmates came upon a great
many natives.

He describes these people as being "tall and thin, with long limbs...
great heads, round foreheads, and great brows. Their eyelids always half
closed to keep the flies out of their eyes, they were being so
troublesome, no fanning will keep them from coming to one's face. They
have great bottle noses, full lips, and wide mouths, and the two fore
teeth of the upper jaw are wanting in all of them." He thought the
colour of their skin was coal black and that "they have no sort of
clothes. They have no houses but lie in the open air. Earth being their
bed and Heaven their canopy." On looking around to see what they lived
upon, he says: "Their only food is a small sort of fish which they get
by making wares of stone across little coves,"[*] and adds: "Their
chiefest dependence is what the sea leaves in their it
night or day, rain or shine, they must attend to them or else they must
fast, for the earth affords them no food at all." Some of them "had
wooden swords; others a sort of lance; the sword is a piece of wood
shaped somewhat like a cutlass." From which it appears that they carried
boomerangs, of which Dampier has left us this impression. He imagined
that the natives used stone hatchets as he saw no iron or other metal,
and believed that they obtained their fire "by rubbing or twirling a
hard piece of wood between the palms of their hands" against a softer
piece "until it smokes and at last takes fire."

[* These stone weirs were afterwards seen by King on the north-west
coast in 1818, by Roe at Oyster Harbour, West Australia, and by Oxley on
the Lachlan River, New South Wales; and King remarks that by their being
found on the south-east, south-west,and north-west coasts, he concluded
"this expedient was a native practice throughout the continent."]

On one island (to the eastward of Cape Lévêque) the buccaneers
discovered about forty inhabitants--men, women, and children--who, on
seeing white men landing there were at first "much disordered" and "made
a great noise," but when they saw no harm was intended they became more
subdued. For a dwelling-place they possessed "only a fire with a few
boughs before it--set up on the side the wind was." When they grew
friendly the sailors tried to make them help to water the ship. They put
clothes on some of them and led them to the wells (where water had been
found) and placed a barrel of water on each man's shoulders to be taken
to the boat, which was only waste of time, for the natives "stood like
statues and grinned like so many monkeys"; and Dampier relates, "We were
forced to carry the water ourselves but they very fairly put the clothes
off and laid them down," no doubt highly pleased to be rid of them.

While one of the boats was seeking food in these islands (to which the
name of Buccaneers' Archipelago has since been given) a number of
natives were seen swimming from one island to another, and consequently
it was believed that they had "no boats, canoes, or bark logs." The way
in which these tribes propelled themselves through the water is
described, however, by Allan Cunningham in a later chapter of this
volume. Four natives were brought on board the "Cygnet," when they
greedily devoured rice boiled with turtle and dugong which the English
set before them.

On one occasion some of the blacks who lived on the mainland came close
to the ship, and standing on a high bank began to threaten the sailors
by calling to them from their high position and wildly flourishing their
spears and boomerangs; nor would t leave off until Captain Read ordered
the drum to be beaten. Then they hastily took their departure, "crying
'Gurry, Gurry' deep in the throat." At spring tide the "Cygnet" was
hauled into a small sandy cove as far as she could float. When the tide
turned, the dry sand extended around the ship for nearly half a mile,
and in his diary Dampier says: "All the neap tides we lay wholly aground
for the sea did not come within 100 yards of where she lay"; which gave
the men time to clean the bottom of the ship. Meanwhile, most of the
sailors lived ashore in a tent and mended their sails, their constant
food being manatee (dugong)[*] and turtle. On March 12th the "Cygnet"
left the shores of New Holland, directing her course to the northward.

[* A full-sized dugong--popularly known as the sea-cow--ordinarily
furnishes about a ton of good meat. Part of the flesh resembles beef and
other portions would easily be mistaken for pork. Dugong feed on the
seaweed growing in shallow waters round the coast.]

When he visited Australia for the second time as captain of the
"Roebuck"--some eleven years afterwards--Dampier spent about three weeks
on the west and north-west coasts discovering harbours, meeting natives,
and sometimes landing upon its shores. It is said that he was "well
acquainted with botany," and he thus describes the natural features of
the coast at Shark Bay, which he entered on August 7, 1699, and anchored
within it, at three different places: "The land is of indifferent
height...There are many gentle risings neither steep nor high...
but in this bay or sound...the land is low by the seaside, the mould
is sand...producing a sort of sampier [samphire] which bears a white
flower. Farther in, the mould is reddish...producing some grass,
plants, and shrubs. The grass grows in great tufts as big as a bushel,
here and there tufts being inter-mixed with heath...much of the
kind...growing on our commons in England."

There were curious trees of different sorts, and the visitors thought
the foliage of some even more curious; many grew to a height of five or
six feet "before one comes to their branches, which are bushy"; the
colour of their leaves was white on one side and green on the other.
There was long grass growing there, but it was very thin. Some of the
trees were sweet--scented and turned "reddish within the bark like
Sassafras but redder...Most of these and the shrubs had either
blossoms or berries on them. The blossoms...were of several colours
as red, white, and yellow, but mostly blue, and these generally smelt
very sweet and fragrant, as did also some of the rest; there were
beside...plants, herbs and tall flowers and some very small flowers
growing on the ground that were sweet and beautiful, for the most part
unlike any I had seen elsewhere."

"Of large land fowl," Dampier saw "none but eagles, and five or six
sorts of small birds...not bigger than larks, some no bigger than
wrens, all singing with great variety of fine shrill notes," and the
sailors caught sight of some of their young ones in their nests. There
was an abundance of water-fowl in Shark Bay, among them duck--these also
had young ones--gulls, and pelicans, and others of a kind never seen
before. The land animals were "only a sort of raccoon...with very
short fore legs," and he says they "go jumping" and were good meat,
which would show that he met with a small species of kangaroo.

The lizards resembled other lizards excepting in three remarkable
particulars: they had "a larger and uglier head and had no tail...
instead...they had the stump of a tail which appeared like another
head."[*] They were very slow in motion, and when "a man comes nigh them
they will stand and hiss," and so hideous did they appear to him that he
observes: "I did never see such ugly creatures anywhere." There were
plenty of sea-fish and shell-fish: among the latter, oysters both of the
pearl and the edible variety, and the shore was "lined thick with many
sorts of very strange and beautiful shells, for variety of colour and
shape most finely spotted with red, black, and yellow," such as he had
not seen anywhere "but at this place," and he brought away what he

[* The stump-tailed lizard, Trachysaurus rugosus.]

There were a great many sharks in this bay, and these, he says, our men
"eat very favourily." Inside a huge one that the sailors cut open was
found part of a dugong. Being ignorant of the Malayan name of this
herb-eating mammal, Dampier called it a "hippopotamus," and because the
sharks were so numerous he named the indentation Shark Bay.

When his ship left there on August 14th he proceeded to follow the coast
round to the north-east and passed through many islands of a pretty
height, which, he thought, must stretch back "as far as to those of
Shark Bay." He had a strong suspicion that these constituted an
archipelago of islands.[*] and that possibly there was "a passage to the
south of New Holland and New Guinea into the Great South Sea eastward."

[* The French Commander, L. de Freycinet called it Archipel de Dampier
in 1803.]

He therefore determined to examine the islands, the largest of which
were "mostly rocky and barren," the rocks being of a rusty yellow
colour, and the "Roebuck" anchored on August 22nd on the inner side of
an island the outside of which he describes as "a bluff point."[*] Here
he landed with some of his men, who took shovels to dig for water, but
none was found. He found that two or three sorts of shrubs grew there,
"one just like rosemary and therefore I called this Rosemary Island."
The rosemary shrub grew plentifully but "had no smell...Some other
shrubs had blue and yellow flowers," and there were two sorts of grain
like beans: "the one grew on bushes, the other on a sort of creeping
vine that ran along the ground." Dampier says that this vine had thick,
broad leaves, and the blossom resembled "a bean blossom but much larger
and of a deep red colour looking very beautiful." It appears likely,
although the description of the leaf is hardly a true one, that this
last was Dampier's Glory Pea (Clianthus Dampieri, Cunn.), a specimen of
which is contained in Dampier's Herbarium. His collection.[**] is still
preserved at Oxford, and besides the Glory Pea there are in it the
following plants that he brought from New Holland: Casuarina
equisetifolia, Melalcuca gibbosa, Solanum orbiculatum, Tripolona
Dampieri, Dammara alba, and Trachymene pusilla.

[* Writing of Dampier, Captain P. P. King says: "I take Malus Island to
be that on which he landed and the no other than our
Courtenay Head." From the south-east "in the bearing Dampier saw it,
Rosemary Island would appear to be joined to Malus Island, and hence his
opinion that it was an island five or six leagues in length and one in

[** Also called Sturt's Desert Pea. Drawings of seven plants seen by
Dampier were engraved in Plukenet's "Almatheurn," 1769, while about
eleven appear in the "History of Dampier's Voyage."]

Among the land birds the most noticeable were "white parrots, which flew
a great many together," besides numberless sea-fowl. The "white parrots"
were the slender-billed species of white cockatoo (Licmetis pastinator,
Gould), now known as Dampier's Cockatoo. In August and September these
birds still fly "a great many together" from the mainland over to
Rosemary Island and the other islands of Dampier's Archipelago, where
they breed in the holes of the rocks.

The anchorage at Rosemary Island proving unsatisfactory, and as he could
find no water, Dampier stood away on August 23rd and steered to the
north-east. In fine weather, with a clear sky, "there being not one
cloud to be seen," the "Roebuck" coasted along the shores of the
mainland, looking for an opening during the day but "edging away from it
at night" for fear of shoals. At night when it was calm the sailors
fished with hook and line and they then took many kinds of fish,
including snapper, bream, and dog-fish, and also caught a monkfish, of
which Dampier brought home a drawing. This appears in the story of his

On the 28th the "Roebuck" lost sight of the land and a great many water
snakes now appeared in the water, and birds, chiefly boobies and
noddies, hovered about the ship's track. At night a noddy was caught:
the top of its head was coal black, the breast and under part of the
wings white, and the back and upper parts faint black or smoke colour.
It had feet just like a duck's feet and a deeply forked tail and very
long wings.

On the 30th land was seen again and the ship anchored in the afternoon
three and a half leagues off shore, coming into a bay which has since
been named Roebuck Bay.[*] In the earlier part of the evening an eclipse
of the moon was witnessed but not very clearly, for the horizon was
hazy. The moon had been "half an hour above the horizon and at 2 hours
22 minutes after sunset the eclipse was quite gone."

[* The space between Cape and Point Gantheaume was named Roebuck Bay by
Captain P. P. King, as "here Dampier had anchored in the 'Roebuck's

Next day Dampier landed with a well-armed watering party, who "carried
shovels and pickaxes to make wells. When they came near the shore they
saw three tall, naked black men in a sandy bay who as the men rowed in
disappeared." The boat, in charge of two seamen, was then sent off shore
to wait while the rest of the party went in search of the natives, who
at length were seen with eight or nine more standing on the top of a
small hill a quarter of a mile away. On catching sight of the strangers
coming their way they quickly dispersed. From this hill Dampier saw a
low, open plain half a mile off with "several things like haycocks"
dotted over it. He thought these objects were houses at first, but
"found them to be so many rocks." He returned to the landing-place,
where the men had begun to dig a well, when nine or ten natives made
their appearance at a little distance away and began to threaten them.
Dampier says, "At last one came towards us and...I went out to meet
him making...signs of peace and friendship, but he ran away. I took
two men in the afternoon along by the seaside purposely to catch
one...of whom I might learn where they got their fresh water. There
were 10 or 12 natives a little way off, who seeing us going away from the
rest of our men followed us at a distance...There being a sand bank
between us and them, we made a halt and hid ourselves in a bending of
the sand bank. They...thought to seize us. So they dispersed
themselves some going to the sea shore, and others beating about the
sand hills...So a nimble young man that was with me...ran
towards them...soon overtaking them, they faced about and fought
him. He had a cutlass and they had wooden lances...being so many...they
were too hard for him...I chased two more that were by the
sea shore, but fearing how it might be with my young man I turned back the top of a sand hill whenceIsaw him near me closely
engaged with them. Upon seeing me one threw a lance at me that narrowly
missed me.Idischarged my gun...but avoided shooting any of them till
finding the young man in great danger...and myself in some, and that
though the gun had a little frightened them at first they...soon
learnt to despise it...crying 'pooh pooh pooh' and coming on afresh,
I thought it high time to charge again and shoot one of them which I
did. The rest seeing him fall made a stand again and my young man took
the opportunity to disengage himself and come off to me. My other man
also was with me...and I returned back with my men being very sorry
for what had happened. They took up their wounded companion...and my
young man who...had been struck through the cheek by one of their
lances...was afraid it had been poisoned...but he soon

Among the New Hollanders there was one who by his appear-ance seemed the
chief of them all and a kind of prince or captain among them. He was a
young, brisk man, not very tall nor so "personable" as some of the
others, but much more active and courageous, painted--as none of the
rest were--with a circle of white paste or pigment about his eyes, a
white streak down his nose from the forehead to the tip, and his breast
and part of his arms white with the same paint, not for beauty or for
ornament but to make himself look more terrible, his painting adding
very much to his natural deformity. All these savages had "the same
black skins and frizzled hair," the same blinking eyes, and had the same
kind of flies teasing them as those seen by Dampier in his former
voyage, when he came to the north-west coast and touched at a part which
was "not above 40 or 50 leagues to the north-east of this."

Here too were many native fire-places with three or four boughs "stuck
up to windward of them." Round these fire-places there were nearly
always found heaps of shells, and consequently he surmised that these
people lived on shell-fish, as did those met with in his first voyage.
Their spears also were similar, but the natives seen in the "Cygnet's"
voyage were on an island in the company of women and children, and it
was imagined that for that reason they did not attempt to attack the
white men, as these on the continent had done, where only men were

Although the watering party had dug down eight or nine feet they found
no water, so on September 1st Dampier sent the boatswain of the
"Roebuck" ashore to dig deeper. Next morning the men returned with "a
rundlet of brackish water" which they had got at another place, but it
was not fit to drink. However, he decided that "it would serve to boil
oatmeal for burgoo, and the sailors subsequently brought aboard four
hogs-heads of it." It was perceived that the tides ran very swiftly
here, and at low water the shore was rocky; but at high water a boat
could pass over the rocks.

No more was seen of the natives, though the smoke of their fires was
observed two or three miles away. The land resembled the shores of
Cygnet Bay. Dampier describes it as being "barri-caded with a chain of
sandhills to the sea." The soil by the sea was dry and sandy, bearing
shrubs and bushes. Some of these had "yellow flowers or blossoms, some
blue and some white: most of them with a very fragrant smell. Some had
fruit like peapods, in each of which there were just ten small
more nor less." There were also here some of that sort of bean
that Dampier had found at Rosemary Island and another "of red, hard
pulse growing in cods also with little black eyes."[*]

[* Abrus precatorius.]

He says: "I know not their names but have seen them used in the East
Indies for weighing gold Guinea as I have heard the women
make bracelets with them to wear about their arms. These grow on bushes;
but here are also a fruit like beans growing on a creeping sort of
shrublike vine."

The land farther in...was very plain and even, "partly savannah and
partly woodland..." Here there were a great many rocks five or six
feet high and "round at the top like a haycock," beyond them again,
farther inland, small trees...twelve or fourteen feet high "with a
head of small...boughs"; while by the sides of the creeks, and more
especially near the sea, were a few small black mangroves. Dampier saw
few animals, although his men described "two or three beasts like hungry
wolves, lean like so many skeletons," which doubtless were dingoes, and
some lizards were noticed as well as a "raccoon or two" and one small
speckled snake. Among the birds there were crows or birds "closely
resembling the English crow"; also plenty of turtle-doves" that were
plump and fat and very good meat." A great many green turtle were seen,
but none were caught, there being no place there to set a turtle net and
no channel for them.

He here added to the collection of shells that he had gathered at Shark
Bay, obtaining some that were strange to him, "chiefly a sort not large,
and thick set all about with rays and rows." But of his
collection he afterwards "lost allexcept a few, and those not of the
best." It is probable that some of these shells reached England as well
as his herbarium although his ship sprung a leak on the homeward voyage
and foundered at the Isle of Ascension in 1701.[*]

[* Ten weeks later three English men-of-war called there, and on board
these ships Dampier and his men returned to England.]

After Dampier had finished writing the story of the "Roebuck's "voyage"
he added some further particulars respecting the South Land which show
us that he no longer believed in the existence of a great southern or
Antarctic continent. He was satisfied that in his travels he had found a
number of islands spread over the waters where the land of Terra
Australis Incognita had been supposed to extend, and he observes, "'tis
probably the same with New Holland."

On maps of the world the portions of New Holland discovered by the Dutch
were now being methodically laid down and the vast imaginary continent
left out. Gradually, in its true place in the eastern hemisphere, a
vague outline of Australia appeared, but of so curious a shape (as for
example in the world maps of Le Rouge and Robert Vaugondy) that it bore
only a deformed likeness to the real island-continent. The east coast
had never been seen, so an imaginary coast-line was given to it which,
starting at the New Hebrides in the north, ran south-westerly without a
break until it joined the southern extremity of Tasmania.


The day was now approaching when all doubt was to be dispelled and
Australia was to take her place as a known continent.

In 1770 a little English ship, not at all majestic--like other British
men-of-war--and bearing a name as humble and unpre-tentious as herself,
discovered the east coast and gave to it its real form on the map of the
world. A little bark[*] Of 370 tons, she flew the white ensign and bore
herself steadily through heavy seas and stormy weather; yet it still
seems wonderful that so small a ship should carry out a misson of which
it has been said it was "to the English nation the most momentous voyage
of discovery that has ever taken place."[**]

[* As the word was then written.]

[** Preface to Cook's Journal by Admiral Wharton. The Admiralty
instruc-tions ordered Cook, who had received a lieutenant's commission,
to proceed to Tahiti, and after the completion of the astronomical
observations at that island, to continue the discoveries in the Pacific
in which Byron and Wallis had been engaged. Tahiti had been recommended
by Wallis, who had returned just before Cook sailed, as the point from
which the transit of Venus should be observed.][

The seaman who commanded her was James Cook. Some-times we hear that
Captain Cook has not been fully appreciated in his native land, but if
this is so, at least let it be said that among his countrymen who travel
farthest, more especially among those whose paths lie on the sea, there
has been reserved for him within the great Empire of Britain a true
measure of his worth. In the lands visited by him in the South Pacific
his name and his doings live as those of no other navigator of any age
or race. We will endeavour to re-state briefly how he discovered the
east coast.[

Lieutenant james Cook, as he then ranked in the Royal Navy, "saw land"
with "the first daylight" of Thursday, April 19, 1770. On seeing it Cook
at once looked towards the south, where, according to his longitude
compared with that of Tasman, he should have been able to see Tasmania.
But all was clear in that quarter. He then perceived that the strange
land trended north-east and south-west, which convinced him that he had
reached the east coast of New Holland. And he began to doubt whether
Australia and Tasmania were one country, as was then generally

To those on board the "Endeavour" the face of the country appeared
"green and woody" and its shore "a white sand." It would seem as though
Nature herself had prepared a reception for the coming of the voyagers,
as at noon all were called on deck "to see three waterspouts which made
their appearance at the same time, in different places between us and
the land...Two soon disappeared, but the third...lasted fully a
quarter of an hour. It was a column which appeared of the thickness of a
mast or...tree and reached down from a smoke-coloured
the surface of the sea; smaller ones seemed to attempt to form in its
neighbourhood, one...close by it and became longer than the old one...They
Joined together in an instant and gradually contracting into
the cloud disappeared."[*]

[* "Journal of Sir J. Banks," edited by Sir J. Hooker.]

Immediately Cook saw the land he began to make a chart of its
coast-line--a chart which may be called the foundation of Australia's
charts, which the navigators who followed him have built upon and added
to. He placed on it the first land seen, under the name of Point Hicks
to honour the "Endeavour's "first lieutenant," who," he says,
"discovered this land." Although Cook gave the name as Point Hicks there
is no headland, but only an elevation in the coast-line at this place.
The land, however, slopes away south-westward from where he saw it. and
so no doubt was regarded by him to form a "point."[

Two headlands were next seen farther northward. The first rises to a
round hillock like "the Ram Head" (Rame Head) going into Plymouth Sound,
and was given that name; the second remarkable for the way in which the
coast trends there, being north on the one side and south-west on the
other, was called Cape Home. A small island lying off it is known as
Gabo Island.[*]

[* Gabo is said to be the native rendering of Cape Howe.]

From Cape Home, Cook followed the coast northwards, and as he went along
gave a quaint variety of names to its different features. On the 21st a
fairly high mountain near the shore was called Mount Dromedary on
account of its peculiar shape, and on the 22nd--a day on which the
"Endeavour" stood closer in with the land--a remarkable peaked hill
inland for a like reason received the name of the Pigeon House.[

The air was wonderfully clear. When they had passed Bateman Bay and
Point Upright, with its perpendicular cliffs, those on board could
plainly see five natives upon the beach, smoke from their fires having
already been noticed. From the ship these people looked "enormously
black," and the commander would have sent a boat ashore, but a large
hollow sea "from the S.E. beating high upon the beach," prevented him.
The land continued to form "alternately rocky points and sandy beaches,"
and "inland between Mount Dromedary and the Pigeon House are several
pretty high mountains," writes Cook in his journal.[*] Of these hills
all excepting two were covered with trees, and the trees had "all the
appearance of being stout and lofty," he remarks, possibly imagining
they would prove suitable for ship-spars. On April 23rd a cape was
discovered and named in honour of St. George; and two leagues beyond it,
on the 25th, Cook observed that a part of the shore seemed to form a
bay.[**] To the north point, because of its curious shape, he gave the
name of Long Nose; and eight leagues farther along the coast he called a
headland Red Point, as it appeared to him to be of that colour. A little
way inland north-west of this point was a round hill whose top "looked
like the crown of a hatt."

[* Cook's journal, edited by Sir W. Wharton.]

[** Jervis Bay, afterwards so named by Lieutenant Bowen in honour of
Earl St. Vincent.]

Before dark, smoke was constantly seen on shore and two or three native
fires. On this night the "Endeavour" lay becalmed, drifting in before
the sea until one o'clock a.m., when she got a land breeze. On the
morning of the 26th, in clear, pleasant weather, she steered past some
white cliffs which rose perpendicularly from the water.[

At noon the wind fell and Cook had to tack several times and stand on
and off shore. This he continued to do until daylight on the 27th, after
which he stood in for the land. Owing to the variable winds the ship
lost much ground, so that at noon Red Point bore from here only three
leagues to the southward.[

On the afternoon of this day[*] the pinnace and yawl were hoisted out to
attempt a landing, but the pinnace leaked and had to be hoisted in
again. Several natives were moving about the beach, and four were seen
carrying a boat which it was thought they meant to launch and come off
in to the vessel. As they did not come, Cook with Banks, Solander, and
Tupia the Tahitian put off in the yawl and pulled towards the shore to
where they could still see four or five natives. They, however, soon
took to the woods. Three or four of their canoes lay on the beach and
from the yawl looked like the small ones of the New Zealanders. Trees
were seen here, but no underwood, the trees being a species of palm.[**]
The surf was beating high upon the shore,[***] and as Cook saw that a
landing could not be effected the yawl returned on board.

[* By civil reckoning this would be on the afternoon of the 27th, as
Cook's journal was kept by ship time, i.e. the day begins at noon before
the civil reckoning, in which the day commences at midnight. Cook,
however, at this time had made no allowance for the loss of a day in
sailing westward on his voyage from England.]

[** Livision a australis.]

[*** This was near Bulli.]

"At daylight in the morning," writes the commander on April 28th, "we
discovered a bay,[*] which appeared to be tolerably well-sheltered from
all winds." The "Endeavour" stood directly towards it. Smoke was rising
on shore, and through the glasses ten natives could be distinguished at
a barren spot, where they had gathered round a fire. When they saw the
ship they left the fire and retired to a little eminence to watch her
coming. A little later two canoes were seen to draw into the land with
two men in each, who, after hauling up the boats, joined their fellows
on the hill. Meanwhile, Mr. Robert Molineux, the master, had been sent
in the pinnace to sound the entrance, and he now came alongshore beneath
where they stood. They then retired higher up the hill, excepting at
least one man, who hid among the rocks and was not seen to leave the

[* Botany Bay.]

The boat from the "Endeavour" continued to skirt the shore, and some of
the natives followed her as she turned into a cove a little within the
harbour. There the natives came down to the water's edge and by signs
and words, which were not understood, invited Molineux and his men to
land.[*] These natives were armed with spears and boomerangs. During
this time a few others who had not followed the pinnace, but had
remained on the shore opposite the ship, began to call in a threatening
way and to brandish their weapons menacingly. The blades of the wooden
ones, "in shape resembling a scimitar" (familiar to us as the
boomerang), gleamed in the clear light, so that some on board the ship
thought they "looked whitish" and "some thought shining," possibly
because the wood had been so highly polished.[**]

[* Banks's journal.]

[** Banks's journal.]

Two natives painted with white pigment are described by Banks as being
particularly noticeable: their faces only dusted over with it, their
bodies adorned with broad stroke drawn over their breasts and backs,
resembling soldiers' cross belts, while their legs and thighs also had
broad white stroke drawn round them. The two black men talked very
earnestly together, when they were not shouting defiance and brandishing
their crooked weapons.[*]

[* Banks's journal.]

The ship reached the entrance of the bay at noon, the beginning of a new
day--April 29th--by ship time. Under the south head[*] of the bay four
canoes were seen, each containing a man who held in his hand a fishgig
with which he struck at the fish The natives in these canoes ventured to
the very edge of the surf, and so intently were they occupied that they
scarcely lifted their eyes to glance at the "Endeavour" sailing past.
Standing in with a southerly wind and clear weather, shortly afterwards
Cook came to an anchorage under the south shore of the bay--about two
miles within the entrance--opposite a small native village consisting of
six or eight houses.

[* The outer heads of the bay are Cape Solander (south-west) and Cape
Bank (north-east)]

Presently an old woman came out of a wood, followed by three young
children; she carried an armful of firewood and each child also had
gathered a little bundle. As she went towards one of the houses the
woman often looked at the ship, but her face showed neither fear nor
surprise at what she saw. She began to kindle a fire, and then four
canoes came in from fishing. The men landed, and, hauling in their
canoes, prepared their meal to all appearance quite unmoved at the
presence of the strangers who were now little more than half a mile from

In the afternoon Cook manned the ship's boat, and at 3 p.m., with Mr.
Banks, Dr. Solander, and Tupia, proceeded to the south shore of the bay,
where, abreast the ship, men, women, and children were seen standing.
When the boats approached the shore, the natives all made off, excepting
two men, who seemed determined to oppose the landing. These men were
each armed with a bundle of spears and carried wommeras[*] (throwing
sticks), and they called out loudly to the British in harsh, strident
voices something which even Tupia failed to understand. The commander
ordered the boats' crews to lie on their oars so that he might speak to
the natives, and some beads and nails were thrown to them. But all to no
purpose. As they saw the boats pull inshore again they began to shout
and wave their spears, as though resolved to defend their coasts to the
uttermost. Seeing that the two men were determined to resist him, Cook
ordered a shot to be fired between them. At this the younger of the two
dropped his bundle of spears, which he immediately snatched up again,
and they retired to a spot where some more spears were lying.

[** The throwing stick was first observed at this time.]

Then the elder man picked up a stone and threw it at the boats, which
caused the commander to fire a second time. The native was struck on the
legs with the shot, yet the only effect it had was to make him go and
fetch a shield which he brought from a house a hundred yards off. At
this time the British stepped upon a rock. They had no sooner done so
than the natives, Cook says, "throwed two darts at us; this obliged me
to fire a third shot, soon after which they both made off."

Thus the British first landed on the East Coast!

The present name of the locality where Cook landed is Kurnell. It was
known to the natives as Kundel. Cook himself at first christened the bay
in which he anchored Stingray Bay. But before he left there he saw fit
to change its name. In his journal Cook writes:

"During our stay in this harbour I caused the English colours to be
displayed ashore every day, and an inscription to be cut upon one of the
trees near the watering place, setting forth the ship's name, date,

Yet another link was to connect the "Endeavour" with this new land, for
on the night of April 30th--by civil reckoning--Cook lost one of his
ship's company. A seaman named Forby Sutherland died, whom they buried
next morning on shore at a spot near the watering-place. Then for the
first time an Englishman was laid to rest in Australian soil. This, Cook
tells us, "occasioned my calling the south point of the bay Point
Sutherland." It was also the place where he first landed, which is now
marked by a memorial, the point being known as Inscription Point.

The Philosophical Society, a hundred years ago, placed a brass plate at
Kurnell to commemorate the discovery of Australia's eastern shores; and
Barron Field, the friend of Charles Lamb, wrote these lines in honour of
the occasion:

Here fix the tablet. This must be the place
Where our Columbus of the South did land;
He saw the Indian village on the sand,
And on this rock first met the simple race
Of Austral Indians, who presum'd to face
With lance and spear his musket. Close at hand
Is the clear stream, from whence his vent'rous band
Refresh'd their ship, and thence a little space
Lies Sutherland, their shipmate; for the sound
Of Christian burial better did proclaim
Possession than the flag of England's name.
These were the Commelinae[*] Banks first found;
But where's the tree with the ship's wood-carv'd frame?
Fix, then, the Ephesian brass; 'tis classic ground."

[* A genus of herbaceous plants called in honour of Commelin, a Dutch

When Cook and his party had disembarked at this point they found a few
small huts made of bark in which four or five little children were
hiding, to whom beads and other presents were given. A number of spears
lay about the huts and these the visitors took away. The spears varied
in length from six to fifteen feet. One sort had four prongs, which were
headed with very sharp fish bones besmeared with a green-coloured gum.
These were regarded as poisonous. The canoes, lying upon the beach, Cook
thought were "the worst" he had ever seen. They were from twelve to
fourteen feet long, made of one piece of bark drawn or tied up at each
end and kept open by means of pieces of stick-by way of thwarts."

After the first sharp encounter with the natives the visitors frequently
saw them while the ship remained in the bay. They appeared to possess
darker skins than any previously met with on the voyage. "Their beards
were thick and bushy," and the hair of their heads as well, yet "by no
means woolly." To Banks these men looked "of a common size, lean and
seemed active and nimble; their voices coarse and strong." On the first
night from the "Endeavour" many moving lights were noticed at different
parts of the bay, and Banks conjectured that the natives were spearing
fish in the darkness, after the manner of many other South Sea
Islanders. He had already seen seaweed stuck in the prongs of some of
the fishgigs found in the huts.

The country within the vicinity of the harbour was explored thoroughly
by the British seamen. On the 30th a watering party had been sent to the
south point to dig holes in the sand; from these, and with water
obtained from a small stream afterwards discovered, the ship was
sufficiently supplied, and the wooding parties found there an abundance
of wood.

Cook made an excursion into the inland country on May 1st, and says that
it was "diversified with woods, lawns, and marshes. The woods free from
underwood...and the trees at such a distance from one another that
the whole country, or at least great part of it, might be cultivated
without being obliged to cut down a single tree." He perceived "the soil
everywhere, except in the marshes, to be a light white sand," producing
"a quantity of good grass which grows in little tufts about as big as
one can hold in one's hand and pretty close together."

He came upon native huts and impressions in the grass where the blacks
had been sleeping, and a glimpse was caught of a single native-the
others having apparently fled. Just before starting on this expedition
Cook had visited some native habitations near the watering-place and had
placed several articles in them, such as cloth, looking glasses, combs,
beads, and nails, as presents for their owners, and some were now left
in these newly discovered.

Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander, who went with Cook's party, collected
specimens of flowering and other plants growing there. Every one of
these seemed new and most of them were in full bloom. The leaves of the
trees turned edgeways towards the branches and resembled those described
by Dampier. Some of the plants were of uncommon shades of colour and
resembled heaths; others of strange form grew wild; with many species of
long, graceful rushes and grasses, green moss and ferns--chiefly of the
kind known as maidenhair--flourishing in such profusion that a few days
later Cook changed the name of Stingray Bay, which he had given to this
portion of the Australian coast, and wrote in his journal: "The great
quantity of plants Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander found in this place
occasioned my giving it the name of Botany Bay."

Curious animals ran about the woods. Between the trees Dr. Solander had
a glimpse of a small one "something like a rabbit; Mr. Banks's greyhound
"just got sight of him," and lamed himself on a tree stump trying to
chase it, while traces were found of a larger one which was certainly
the kangaroo. There were also "footprints of an animal clawed like a dog
or wolf" and of another whose feet were like those of a polecat.[*] Here
and there trees had been cut down with a blunt instrument, others were
barked, and in many of the palms steps three or four feet apart (not
five as Tasman had seen farther southward) were cut to enable the
natives to climb them.

[* Banks's Journal.]

Of two sorts of gum found in this excursion "one sort," says Cook, "is
like Gum Dragon, and is the same, I suppose, Tasman took for Gum Lac; it
is extracted from the largest tree in the woods." In mentioning the
timber trees Banks refers to one species which he saw--possibly the
identical tree that Cook describes--yielding gum much like Sanguis
draconis; these descriptions being apparently the first references to
the Eucalyptus or gum tree of this part of Australia. Other trees
bearing a fruit of the Jambosa[*] kind, in colour and shape resembling
cherries, of which the men ate plentifully, are mentioned later by Banks
as growing on the shores of the harbour. At a later date Cook again
refers to the timber trees. He says: "Although wood is here in great
plenty yet there is very little variety: the biggest trees are as large
or larger than our oaks in England, grow a good deal like them and yield
a reddish gum," in which description we recognize yet another species of
our old friend the Eucalyptus. He continues: "The wood itself is heavy,
hard, and black, like Lignum Vitae. Another sort grows tall and straight
something like pines--the wood of this is hard and ponderous...
something of the nature of America live oak." He also remarks: "There
are a few sorts of shrubs and several palm trees and mangroves about the
head of the harbour." Of the country at this part he says it is "woody,
low, and flat," and he thought the soil "in general sandy."

[* The Malay apple.]

In the woods he saw a variety of very beautiful birds, such as
cockatoos, loriquets, parrots, etc., and crows which he thought "exactly
like those we have in England." Like every English explorer in every
age, Cook found a resemblance in something in the new land to one of its
kind "at home." "As in England" and "like those we have in England" are
phrases that seem to ring through the stories of British discoverers, as
if they had found pleasure in making the comparison.

On the afternoon of Wednesday, May 2nd, Cook went on shore to the
watering-place and caught sight of seventeen or eighteen natives. In the
forenoon Mr. Gore, the second lieutenant, had been dredging for oysters
and had met some of them, who followed him and his companion at a
distance of ten or twenty yards. Whenever Mr. Gore turned and faced
them, they stood still; but though they were all armed they never
offered to attack him. A short time afterwards the same natives were met
by Dr. Monkhouse and his companions, who made a "sham retreat." They had
no sooner done so than the natives threw their spears after them. Cook
wished to speak with the blacks, and he, Solander, and Tupia tried to
come up with them, but he could not by words or by signs prevail upon
them to wait for him to approach them.

On the 3rd, accompanied by Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander, Cook made a short
excursion along the sea coast to the southward. On entering the bush
they met three natives, who ran away, as did some others seen later,
much to Cook's disappointment. Next morning he went in the pinnace with
Solander and Monkhouse to the head of Botany Bay, and on the way they
caught sight of ten or twelve natives fishing, each in his own small
canoe, who, on seeing them, at once drew into shoal water. At the first
place at which they landed some others took to their canoes before the
Englishmen could get near them. After this Cook continued his journey by
boat and went almost to the head of the bay, where he landed and
travelled inland for some distance.

The country looked much like that near the coast but the soil was
better, a deep black mould replacing the sand in many places and it was
thought capable of producing grain.[*] Besides timber there was "as fine
meadow as ever was seen," and Cook also notes that the stone there was
of sandstone character, "and very proper for building "--a suggestion of
its future usefulness which time has verified.

[* Don Luis Née (botanist to the Spanish expedition under Malaspina),
who visited Sydney in 1793, wrote of this part of the country much as
Cook did, although many have wondered whether "meadows" ever existed
there. Née says of his excursion.. "I saw a few places suitable for
agriculture: among them some patches of black earth...and a plain of
half a league whichIthink would yield wheat or barley
bears Melaleuca and rushes, which show there is some humidity in the
soil. It was composed of vegetable mould."]

On this morning Banks, who did not accompany Cook, devoted his time to
drying and preparing his botanical specimens on shore, spreading them in
the sun, turning them, and sometimes turning the paper in which the
plants were placed inside out. By this means all the specimens were
brought on board in good condition at night. While he was thus engaged
eleven canoes with a black fellow in each came towards him, who,
however, paid no attention to him but proceeded to fish. Opposite to
their fishing ground some of the "Endeavour's" people were occupied in
shooting. One black fellow, prompted perhaps by curiosity, hauled up his
canoe and went towards them. He stayed about a quarter of an hour, then
went off in his boat. Banks believed that he had been stealthily
watching the strangers from behind the trees, although when questioned
no one appeared to have seen him. When the evening grew too damp for him
to continue his work any longer, Banks sent his plants and books on
board and went on a shooting excursion, intending to get some specimens
of birds for his collection. He put up a large number of quail much
resembling English ones, of which he could have shot a great many more
had he not wanted birds of different varieties.

On the 4th Mr. Gore determined to try his hand at spearing fish.[*] He
had observed quantities of large sting-ray following the flowing tide
into the shallows and met with instant success, striking several when
they were in not more than two or three feet of water. One, after it was
cleaned, weighed 239 lbs. On disturbing the natives at their fires the
British often found fresh mussels broiling upon the coals, and at one
place heaps of very large oyster shells lay scattered around. The seine
was hauled at different parts of the bay; and in a cove on the north
side on April 30th the catch weighed about 300 lbs. On May 5th on the
north shore the sailors took a number of leather-jackets, a fish with a
tough skin, in which the scales are embedded.

[* Banks's journal.]

Numbers of water-fowl sought their food in the sand and mud. Most of
these were unknown to the visitors. Especially noticeable was one sort,
black and white and as large as a goose but most like a pelican. This,
according to a note of Admiral Wharton, was probably the black and
white, or palmated, goose, now extinct there.

On the flats and mudbanks there were many kinds of shellfish, apparently
the chief support of the natives, since, so far as could be observed,
they did not eat the sting-ray. At the same time, says Cook, "they catch
other sorts of fish, which we found roasting on their fires, some of
which they strike with their gigs." Possibly he was referring to

At first the commander had intended to leave the harbour on Friday, May
4th, but as the wind would not permit him to sail, he gave orders for
parties to go out in different directions to try to find the natives and
speak with them. A midshipman succeeded in meeting with two very old
Australians, man and woman, both grey headed, with whom were two small
children, all being naked. They were sitting under a tree close to the
water side watching some other natives gathering shellfish into their
canoes. The midshipman went up to the old people and gave them a parrot
that he had just shot, but they would not touch it. Neither would they
say one word, and appeared to be too frightened to speak. Being alone
the midshipman was afraid to stay long with them lest the other natives
should discover him. The man had bushy hair and his beard was long and
rough. The woman's hair was cropped short. On this day Dr. Monklhouse
narrowly escaped a spear thrown by a native from a tree.

On Sunday, May 6th, Cook took his departure from the bay. Of his going
he writes: "Having seen everything this place afforded, we at daylight
weighed with a light breeze at N.W. and put to sea, and the wind soon
after coming to the southward we steered alongshore N.N.E., and at noon
we were by observation in the latitude Of 33°50' S., about two or three
miles from the land and abreast of a bay, wherein there appeared to be
safe anchorage, which I called Port Jackson."[*] This entry tells us
that as Cook's ship drew level with the heads of Port Jackson lie had a
glimpse of the harbour within. Had he looked farther into this "bay" he
would have seen how widely it extended and at the same time would have
robbed Captain Phillip of the credit of discovering it eighteen years

[* In honour of Mr. George Jackson, afterwards Sir George Duckett.]

But Cook did not enter there. And this Mother of Harbours, whose waters
gleam in a hundred coves, was destined to remain unseen. Her rocky,
moss-grown points, her miniature islands, and her sandy beaches all lay
undisturbed as the great seaman passed on his way. Yet the name of Port
Jackson still is linked with that of Cook, for in after years from
there, through the heads which he had seen, came Flinders and King in
the discovery ships "Norfolk" (1799), "Investigator" and "Lady Nelson"
(1802), "Mermaid" (1819-20), and "Bathurst" (1821) to finish his
work--the immense work which Cook had already begun--the charting of the
East Coast.

That others on board the "Endeavour" could see something more than a
plain coast-line at this time is apparent from thee remarks in Banks's
journal. He writes: "The land we sailed past during the whole forenoon
appeared broken and likely for harbours." The "Endeavour" continued on
her way northward, keeping near the coast, and at sunset passed more
broken land that formed a bay which Cook named Broken Bay.[*] All night
he steered at a distance of about three leagues off shore, and next day
saw high land projecting in three bluff points which he called Cape
Three Points. The wind now dropped, and on the 8th at noon "our
situation," he tells us, "was nearly the same as yesterday, having not
advanced one step farther to the northward."

[* It is said that this "broken land like a bay" was that in the
vicinity of Narrabeen Lagoon. "Historical Records of New South Wales."]

While standing off shore on the evening of the 9th a charming sea scene
was witnessed by those in the "Endeavour" of which Parkinson has left a
description. "We saw two of the most beautiful rainbows my eyes ever
beheld; the colours were strong, clear, and lively. Those of the inner
one were so bright as to reflect its shadow on the water." At midnight
Cook stood in for the land again until eight next morning and had so
little wind that the vessel could hardly fetch Cape Three Points. At
noon on the 10th "a small round rock or island lying close under the
land" was noticed bearing south-west three or four leagues. This was
Nobby Head at the entrance to the port which came to be known afterwards
as Newcastle on account of the abundance of coal in its vicinity.

On the 11th, at 4 p.m., the "Endeavour" passed a low rocky point only a
mile distant, "with an inlet on its north side that appeared to me from
the mast-head to be sheltered from all winds," remarks Cook, who named
the headland and the inlet Point and Port Stephens respectively. The
next morning at eight he saw "a high point...which made in two
hillocks" and called it Cape Hawke in honour of Admiral Hawke, then
First Lord of the Admiralty.

On the afternoon of the 12th the "Endeavour" ran along the shore and
those on board could see the smoke of native fires a little way inland.
Several had been seen the day before, but on this day Cook noticed one
upon the top of a hill, and writes:

"It was the first we have seen upon elevated ground since we have been
upon the coast." On this day "three remarkable hills," large and high
and " contiguous to each other," bore north-north-west, and because they
were so alike they were named The Three Brothers.[*] On Sunday, May
13th, while standing northward after having tacked several times, Cook
observed "a point or headland on which were fires that caused a great
quantity of smoke, which occasioned my giving it the name of Smoky

[* At the back of Kempsey.]

Of the aspect of the country he says: "The land hath increased in height
insomuch may be called a hilly country; it is diversified
with an agreeable variety of hills, ridges, and valleys and large plains
all clothed with wood. Near the shore the land is in general low and
sandy except the points which are rocky, while over many are pretty high
hills which at first rising out of the water appear like an island."

Fresh gales with rain and hail swept over the ship as she passed outside
some small rocky islands that were first seen on the 15th, and called
the Solitary Islands. On that morning as they steered close in to the
land again, natives could be seen on shore through the glasses.
According to one historian,[*] each of these natives was loaded with a
bundle which looked like palm leaves. A high point bearing
north-west-by-west was named Cape Byron after the " Dolphin's " captain
(in her first voyage to the Pacific), while to the north-west of it
again "a remarkable sharp-peaked mountain" was sighted.

[* Pinkerton: "Cook's First Voyage." See also Cunningham's journal.]

At sunset breakers were discovered on the larboard bow, only five miles
from the land. The commander therefore hauled the ship off it, and
brought her to. She lay with her head eastward till ten o'clock, when,
the soundings having increased, he wore ship and "lay her with her head
in shore" until 5 a.m. on the 16th, when he made sail. By daylight
breakers were again seen between the ship and the shore and were
stretching from a point--under which lay a small island--"eastward for a
distance of two leagues."[*] The point off which these shoals lay was
called by Cook Point Danger[**] and the curious mountain seen the day
before was then given the name of Mount Warning.

[* Danger Reefs, three rocky patches which extend three miles east from
Cook Island.]

[** Point Danger is the north head of the Tweed River.]


On Thursday, May 17th, another point of land was discovered and
christened Point Lookout. On the north side of it there was a wide, open
bay, which Cook named Morton's Bay, in honour of James Earl of Morton,
who was then President of the Royal Society. The name, however, is now
spelled Moreton Bay.[*]

[* King says: "At first Moreton Bay was called Glass House Bay, but as
Cook had bestowed the name of Moreton Bay upon the strait [Rous Channel]
to the south of Moreton Island, this name became generally accepted."
Oxley made the discovery that Point Lookout was situated on Stradbroke

The land at the head of the bay appeared so low that he writes: "I could
but just see it from the topmast-head." Nor could he see the river which
fell into the bay on its western side, on whose banks now stands the
town of Brisbane--the capital of Queensland.

Nevertheless, Cook gives us the information that some on board were of
the opinion that there was a river in the vicinity as the water looked
so pale. Banks clearly was one of these, for he Writes on that day: "The
sea here suddenly changed from its usual transparency to a dirty clay
colour as if charged with freshes, from whence I was led to conclude
that the bottom of the bay might open into a large river."

In marking the situation of Moreton Bay, Cook observes:[*] "This place
may always be found by Three Hills which lay to the northward of it.
These hills were not far apart and were a little island and their
singular form of elevation...which resembles a glass-house
occasioned my giving them that name. The northernmost of the three is
the highest and largest."

[* Matthew Flinders examined Moreton Bay in 1799, but Oxley discovered
that Moreton Bay extended as far south as 28°, where it communicated
with the sea.]

At noon a low bluff point which formed the southern point of an open
sandy bay from here bore north-west,[*] distant three leagues. Cook
steered alongshore and saw at daylight on the 18th a point which bore
south-west of him. He had seen it before but now named it Double Island
Point, on account of its figure, because "it looks like two small
islands lying under the land." The shores of the mainland within it were
moderately high, but appeared more barren than any yet seen and more
sandy. Banks saw the sand lying there in great patches of many acres
which had only lately moved, for "trees in the middle of them were quite
green."[**] Here the coast trended to the north-west and formed a large
open bay, which was named Wide Bay.

[* "The Bay is Laguna Bay, and the point is called Low

[** Probably a species of Acacia. Cunningham saw one variety growing in
"glittering red sand" in Exmouth Gulf.]

On Sunday, 20th, a number of natives assembled on a black bluff or point
of land, and it was evident that they had come to watch the ship go
past, which to them must have been indeed a strange sight. Cook
accordingly called the point Indian Head. Curiously enough, nearly
thirty-two years later twenty-five natives gathered on the same spot to
watch Flinders sail by in command of the two ships "Investigator" and
"Lady Nelson." The blacks who watched the "Endeavour" had possibly in
some way warned their neighbours of the ship's approach, as natives were
now observed in other places on shore, and Cook records that there were
"smokes in the day and fires in the night."

At daylight the northernmost land loomed high and ended in a point, from
which a reef was discovered running northward as far as eye could see.
Breakers were plainly seen soon afterwards "a long way upon our lee bow,
which seemed to stretch quite home to the land." The point of land, on
account of its having two very large patches of sand upon it, was named
Sandy Cape.[*] Cook now fell in with one of the dangerous shoals that
surround the reef here, and possibly this is the reason why Flinders,
who followed him in 1802, found the trend of the land different from
that laid down in Cook's chart. Or perhaps Cook's ship may have claimed
his whole attention. On the 21st the "Endeavour" crept along the east
side of the shoal until, judging that there was enough water to allow
her to get across it, the commander ordered a boat to be lowered, and
sent it ahead to sound; a passage over the shoal was thus found, and
eventually the ship passed over the tail. Cook named the shoal Weak Sea
Spit, because there was smooth water within it, whereas upon te whole
coast to the southward he had always had a high sea or swell from the

[* Sandy Cape is the northern point of Great Sandy Island...a channel
called Great Sandy Strait separates the latter from the mainland and
opens at its northern end into Hervey Bay; within its entrance is Wide
Bay Harbour--"Admiralty Sailing Directions."]

"For these few days past we have seen at times a sort of sea sea-fowl
which we have nowhere seen before," Cook writes; "they are of the sort
called boobies...Last night a small flock of these birds passed the
ship and went away to the N.W. and this morning from half an hour before
sunrise to half an hour after, flights of them were continually coming
from N.N.W. and flying to S.S.E., and not one was seen to fly in any
other direction. From this, we did suppose there was a river or inlet of
shallow water to the southward of us, and that, not very far to the
northward, lay some islands where they retired to at night." Captain
Flinders thought that probably the birds Cook saw retired for the night
to Bunker Group in 23°54' S. and 152°25' E. and that they went to Hervey
Bay during the day.

On the 22nd the shore inland appeared thickly clothed with wood, and
through the glasses trees were seen resembling palm-nut trees, Pandanus
tectorius according to Banks, who in giving their botanical name states
that the species had not been met with since the "Endeavour" left the
islands within the tropics. In the evening Cook anchored about thirty
miles south-east from the south head of Bustard Bay. On this night he
saw a watersnake; and two or three evenings previously one had lain
under the ship's stern for some time. Banks also saw two swim past the
ship, "beautifully spotted and in all respects like land-snakes except
that they had broad, flat tails, which probably serve them instead of
fins in swimming."[*]

[* Evidently the deadly species known as the yellow-bellied sea-snake,
which has a broad, flat, spotted tail, and is blackish-brown on the back
and yellow beneath. "It is unique in that its keeled tail does the dual
work of propeller and rudder." It is the commonest Australian sea-snake
and very venomous, "Outdoor Australia," "Sydney Mail."]

The "Endeavour" now came abreast of a large open bay where Cook anchored
on May 23rd at 8 p.m., and next morning went ashore accompanied by Banks
and several officers. The party landed on the south point of the bay,
where there was a channel which led to a lagoon. The commander sounded
and surveyed the channel, and, after the boat had gone about a mile, met
with a little shoal which he was able to pass over. A small stream of
fresh water was discovered, and then he made an excursion into the
woods; he also wished to row up the lagoon, but was stopped everywhere
by the shallows.

However, he was able to inspect a native camping ground on the west side
of this lagoon and found ten small fires close together with cockle
shells lying around them, and saw (as Dampier had seen in the
north-west) at the side of the fire a piece of bark about a foot and a
half high propped up to keep the wind off; some other pieces lay strewn
around which Cook concluded were coverings used by the natives at night
and that many of them slept in the open. There were trees here of the
same kind as had been seen in Botany Harbour; one grew like birch but he
found its bark entirely different from birch bark. Unfortunately he was
unable to see what the wood of this tree was like, having brought no axe
with him. Around the outskirts of the lagoon he noticed the true
mangrove, such as grew in the West Indies and which had already been met
with on this voyage; and there was a sort of palm, similar to those
noticed in low sandy places in the South Sea Islands. "All or most of
the land and water fowl seen at Botany Harbour," he says, "were found
here, besides bustards such as we have in England, which occasioned my
giving the place the name of Bustard Bay." Some black and white duck
were here also and plenty of small oysters, sticking to the rocks,
stones, and mangroves; and on the mudbanks under the mangrove trees
Banks observed a large proportion of small pearl oysters, and he
wondered whether the sea might abound with full-grown ones, for if so,
he thought, a pearl fishery must turn out to immense advantage."

In the branches of mangroves on the sides of the lagoon they found a
number of nests of ants, of which one species was quite green. The ants
when disturbed came out in large numbers and "revenged themselves upon
their disturbers, biting more sharply than any I have felt in Europe,"
according to Banks, who describes them in his journal. "The mangroves
had another trap...This was a small kind of caterpillar, green and
beset with many hairs...which sat together upon the leaves...
like soldiers drawn up, 20 or 30 perhaps on one leaf. If these wrathful
militia were touched...they did not fail to make the person
offending sensible of their anger, every hair...stinging as much as
nettles do, with a more acute though less lasting smart." Banks saw upon
the sides of the hills many trees yielding gum. They differed from those
seen on May 1st in having longer leaves, like those of the weeping
willow; these trees were of a different species of Eucalyptus from the
trees seen farther to the southward, and he also for the first time saw
"the plant (Xanthorrhcea) yielding the yellow gum," of which there were
vast numbers.

While engaged in fishing, two days later, he relates how some crabs took
our baits and sometimes suffered themselves to be hauled into the ship."
One sort (Cancer pelagicus?, Linn.) was ornamented "with the finest
ultramarine blue conceivable, with which all his claws and every joint
were deeply tinged. The under part was of a lovely white, shining as if
glazed and perfectly resembling the white of old china."

On Thursday, 24th, at 4 a.m., the "Endeavour " weighed with a gentle
breeze and made sail out of Bustard Bay. She soon met with breakers,
while land "making like islands" bore north-west-by-north. At nine on
the morning of the 25th the ship drew level with the northernmost point
of the mainland, which looked white and barren; and as it lay directly
under the Tropic of Capricorn was named Cape Capricorn.[*] On the west
side of the cape there appeared to be a lagoon, and " on the two spits
that form the entrance " were a great number of pelicans, at least so I
call them," adds Cook, fearless of all criticism.

[* The eastern point of Curtis Island.]

He believed that the northernmost land he then saw formed an island, and
was correct in this conjecture. It was afterwards named Hummocky Island
by Matthew Flinders, who learned its true dimensions. Next morning the
ship passed what looked like the mouth of a river, and shortly
afterwards a similar indentation was noticed. Far away inland the smoke
of native fires could be seen rising; and again, in the afternoon, Cook
was convinced that there was either a river, lagoon, or inlet close at

[* The Fitzroy River empties itself into the south-western part of
Keppel Bay. Keppel Bay is situated between Cape Capricorn and Keppel

The "Endeavour" now was steering directly between the coast and the
Great Barrier Reef. Her course was becoming more and more dangerous.
Cook did not even know that this great reef existed, but he saw the
increasing number of shoals and was warned that he must exercise great
care. Over and over again his fine seamanship extricated his ship from
the perils lining her path. Besides the shoals, spurs of rock and
numbers of islands lie off the coast, and on Sunday, 27th, while the
"Endeavour" was standing through the channel between Great Keppel Island
and the mainland, the master, who was sounding with two boats, found in
many places only two and a half fathoms of water. When he brought back
his report the ship had already anchored, and the wind veering, she
sailed back three or four miles, but again had to come to an anchorage,
where she remained until a passage for her could be found by the boats.
At length she passed out between Great Keppel and North Keppel Islands.

Having left the Keppel Islands behind Cook next saw Cape Manifold, and
he says he so named it because of the number of high hills over it. It
lies north-west distant seventeen leagues from Cape Capricorn, and
"between them the shore forms a large bay which I called Keppel's Bay."

On the 28th he came close in with Cape Townshend, which he named and
which he describes as being "more barren than woody." The "Endeavour"
then met with the many islands which lie scattered up and down the coast
to the northward, forming a part of the Northumberland Islands. A large
inlet--known to us as Shoalwater Bay--was seen to trend to the
south-east.[*] A little later the ship ran into shoal water. With a boat
taking soundings ahead, the "Endeavour" followed west-by-north, leaving
many islets, rocks, and shoals between her and the mainland. Just before
noon the boat made the signal for meeting with another shoal, upon which
Cook immediately let go an anchor and brought the ship up "with all
sails standing." A strong tide was running, and he thought that this
tide "carried us so quickly upon the shoal."

[* The entrance to Shoalwater Bay lies between Cape Townshend and Pier
Head. The bay itself extends thirty-five miles to the south-east in the
direction of Cape Manifold and divides into several branches.]

The ship was then on what is known as "the Donovan Shoal" in Broad Sound
Channel. Fortunately no harm came to her and at three o'clock she made
sail again, but at six o'clock on the same day (the 29th) anchored once
more two miles off the mainland and still in sight of a number of
islands. At five next morning the master was sent with two boats to
sound the entrance of an inlet, which bore west, about one league
distant. He soon made a signal for an anchorage and the vessel stood
within the inlet, which was believed to be the mouth of a river, but
which in reality was a strait leading into Broad Sound, which Cook was
to name later. A search for water was made, and because he found none
Cook named the place Thirsty Sound.[*] Here on May 30th he went on shore
with a party, and immediately proceeded to mount "a pretty high hill
before sunrise in order to get a view of the coast and the islands."
Cook called the hill, which is situated at the north-west entrance of
Thirsty Sound, the Pier Head. He then started to survey the inlet and
got about eight leagues up it when he discovered that it formed a large
lake which communicated with the sea. He saw two natives, but of these
he only had a glimpse at some distance. The party got no fresh water or
refreshment of any kind, and although they saw turtle, "caught none nor
no sort of fish or wild fowl only a few landbirds."

[* Thirsty ound is the narrow strait separating Quail and Long Islands
from the mainland--"Admiralty Sailing Directions."]

The earth here looked a hard red clay; the trees were of different kinds
and all the uplands clear of underwood; the lowlands were overrun with
mangroves. Oysters were to be had, but Cook thought they were so small
as not to be worth picking off the rocks.

For Banks, however, the place seems to have had attractions, in spite of
a troublesome grass which it was impossible to avoid, and which he thus
describes: "Its sharp seeds were bearded backwards, and whenever they
stuck into our clothes were by these beards pushed forward till they got
into the flesh...This grass, with the mosquitoes that were likewise
innumerable, made walking almost intolerable." He continues: "We were
not, however, to be repulsed, but proceeded into the country. The gum
trees were like those in the last bay, both in leaf and in producing a
very small proportion of gum; on the branches of them and of other trees
were large ants' nests made of clay as big as a bushel. The ants...
were small...In another species of tree (Xanthoxyloides mite) a ant had bored all the twigs and lived in quantities in
the hollow part where the pith should be: the tree nevertheless
flourishing and bearing leaves upon those branches as freely and well as
upon others that were sound. Insects in general were plentiful,
butterflies especially...On the leaves of the gum tree we found a
pupa or chrysalis which shone as brightly as if it had been silvered
over with the most burnished silver...It was brought on board and
the next day came out into a butterfly of a velvet black changeable to

On the 31st the "Endeavour's" course took her between the Duke Islands
(the largest group of the Northumberland Islands) and the reefs and
islands lying north-west of Thirsty Sound. Here once more she got into
shoal water, and, on June 1st, the anchor had to be let go. The boats
having sounded about the shoal again the vessel set sail and finally
came to an anchorage under the lee of three islands lying off the
northern approach to an inlet which Cook named Broad Sound.[*] A bluff,
rocky headland forming its north-west entrance he called Cape
Palmerston, and a pretty high promontory seen at noon on

[* These were the Bedwell Islands--Wharton.]

Saturday, June 2nd, Cape Hillsborough. The shores of the mainland were
clothed with wood, and as the ship steered between the mainland and
another group of islands, mountains and hills, plains and valleys came
into view. The islands belonged to the straggling group stretching for
sixty miles along the Queensland coast which Cook named the Cumberland
Islands in honour of Henry Frederick Duke of Cumberland.

On Sunday, June 3rd, Cook discovered a passage thirty miles long between
the mainland and some islands lying off the coast.[*] In passing through
it Cook writes: "This passage I have named Whit Sunday's Passage as it
was discovered on the day the Church commemorates that Festival." He
thought the whole of it was "one continued safe harbour" with small bays
and coves on each side "where ships might lay as it were in a basin,"
but he did not wait to examine it as he was unwilling to lose the
benefit of the moonlight. The land on both sides formed hills and
valleys, "diversified with woods and lawns that looked green and
pleasant." A small island in the passage is called Pentecost Island. On
a sandy beach upon one of the islands two natives were seen and "a canoe
with an outrigger larger and differently built to any we have seen upon
the coast."

[* The east side of this channel is formed by the northern portion of
the Cumberland Islands from Shaw Island to Hayman Island.]

As the "Endeavour"--under easy sail, and having gentle breezes and clear
weather--skirted this portion of Queensland's shores, numberless capes
and bays received their names. Each day saw new designations selected by
Cook as most suitable take their places on his chart, among which were
Cape Conway and Repulse Bay (so named because he was forced to haul the
ship away from it) on June 3rd; Cape Gloucester and Edgecumbe Bay on the
4th; Cape Upstart and Cleveland Bay on the 5th and 6th respectively;
while on the 7th a group of islands named the Palm Islands was charted.
On one of the islets of this group next day a quantity of smoke on shore
made it apparent that large native fires were burning; and men, women,
and children gathered together upon the small islet could be made out
through the glasses, gazing at the ship. Thinking that he could see
coco-nut trees, the fruit of which, he says, would have been very
acceptable, the commander sent Lieutenant Hicks to try and obtain some,
and Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander went with the party. They were
disappointed, and Cook wrote in his journal: "They met with nothing
worth observing." Natives were heard there, but not seen, and the trees
turned out to be not coco-nut but cabbage palms.

A point now received the name of Point Hillock on account of its
shape.[*] Between it and a cape to the southward which had been called
Cape Cleveland, the shore formed a large bay, that was christened
Halifax Bay. It was sheltered from all winds by the islands lying close
to it. Having passed Point Hillock in following the land, the vessel met
with another point which Cook named Cape Sandwich. From it the coast ran
first west and then north and formed a fine large bay to which was given
the name of Rockingham Bay. Cook thought this bay well sheltered and
affording good anchorage, but he says that having met with so little
encouragement by going ashore, he would not wait to land, and, instead,
he continued to range along the coast until he fell in with what he
calls "a parcel of small islands" known to us as the Family Islands.
Through these he found a channel a mile wide, between the three
outermost and those nearer the shore, and went through it.

[* It is near the southern extremity of Hinchinbrook Island which Cook
regarded as part of the main.]

On one of the islands nearest to the ship a group of natives had
collected who watched the vessel very attentively. They were very dark
in colour, quite naked, and had short hair. This day's sail brought the
"Endeavour" to that part of the coast where the Great Barrier Reef draws
in closer to the mainland and consequently the dangers in her track were

On the 9th she came abreast of some tolerably high land, the point of
which was named Cape Grafton, and on the 10th Cook anchored in a bay
lying three miles to the westward of it, a low, green, woody isle in the
offing being called by him Green Island. Here he went on shore to look
for water, accompanied by Banks and Solander. The bottom of the bay
being low mangrove land, they rowed out towards the head of the cape and
found two small streams, but on account of the surf and the rocks it was
thought that it would be an unsuitable place to water the ship. The
country round was steep and rocky and was left unexplored.

At midnight on June 10th, with showers of rain falling, but having
little wind, Cook weighed once more, and stood to the north-west. A
little later, in order to pass outside a low island lying about two
leagues from the mainland, he hauled off to the northward; it was one of
the Low Isles, being partly under water. Another island,[*] seven miles
distant, was seen at noon, and at this time Cape Grafton bore S. 29° E.
distant forty miles. Between it and the northernmost land in sight a
large but not very deep bay indented the shore; Cook called it Trinity
Bay, in honour of the day on which it was discovered, and to the north
point of it he gave the name of Cape Tribulation, "because," he says,
"here began all our troubles."

[* Called Snapper Island by Lieutenant Jeffreys in 1815.]

The following evening (June 11th) there being a fine breeze and clear
moonlight the ship, while standing off the land, suddenly shoaled her
water from twelve, ten, and eight fathoms with great rapidity. Cook gave
orders to anchor, and then, as the lead before ten o'clock gave twenty
fathoms, he imagined there could be no danger in standing on once more.
But again the water suddenly shoaled, and a few minutes before eleven
the Endeavour" struck a reef and stuck fast.

Sails were hurriedly taken in and the boats were hoisted out in order to
sound the depth of water round the ship and if possible to ascertain her
position. A little later it was found that she had been carried over a
ledge of the rock upon which she had struck and lay in a hollow within

The coral rock was situated in lat. 15°47' S., long. 145°35' E., being
only six or seven leagues from the shores of the mainland. It is now
known as Endeavour Reef.[*] Cook's coolness and promptitude at this
period kept his men together. There was no excitement; every order was
quickly carried out. The pumps were set to work to keep the leak in
check, and heavy articles, chiefly guns, and all kinds of ballast were
thrown overboard.

[* Endeavour Reef is 41 miles long, E. and W., and half a mile broad. A
fringe of sunken coral extends right round the reef.--"Admiralty Sailing

The water being deepest astern Cook had the stream anchor carried out
from the starboard quarter and hove a great strain upon it to try to get
the vessel off the rock at high water, but without success, and she beat
so violently against it that the men could scarcely keep their feet.
Their position grew more and more perilous. By the light of the moon
they could see the ship's sheathing boards floating thickly around her.
About midnight part of her false keel came away, and as she settled down
at ebb tide, a rock under her starboard was plainly heard grating
against her timbers, so that it was expected that at any moment she
might go to pieces. The best chance of saving her lay in continuing to
lighten the ship. Stores, guns, casks, iron and stone ballast and other
things were therefore thrown overboard after the rest. Fortunately the
sea was smooth and the weather fine, and on the 12th the sailors carried
out two bower anchors, one on the starboard quarter, the other right
astern, and "got blocks and tackles upon the cable and hove taut." It
was seen that as the tide rose the leak let in water fast, and three
pumps hard at work could only just keep the "Endeavour" clear.

At night the ship righted, but as she did so the water gained more and
more on the pumps, and as Cook expresses it, "threatened immediate
destruction." However, he resolved "to risk all and heave her off," and
about twenty minutes past ten o'clock, after having been twenty-three
hours on the reef, she floated and was hove into deep water, having at
this time three feet nine inches of water in the hold.

In this hazardous situation all hands turned resolutely to the pumps,
although for some time every one believed the task to be hopeless. Then
it was discovered that a mistake had been made by a seaman in taking the
depth of water which had greatly exaggerated the rapidity with which the
leak had gained on the pumps. When this became known it acted on the men
like a charm. They redoubled their vigour, so much so that next morning
the pumps had actually gained on the leak. The commander bestowed great
praise on the men for their conduct at this time, and he writes: "In
justice to the ship's company, I must say that no men ever behaved

Cook now stood in for the land, and he writes: "The leak decreaseth, but
for fear it should break out again we got the sail ready for
fothering."The plan of fothering the ship was executed by Mr. Monkhouse,
one of the midshipmen who had once seen a ship brought by this means
from Virginia to London. He took an old studding-sail and "mixed some
oakum and wool, chopping it small, and placing it in handfuls on the
sail, where it was stitched down firmly. After being thus prepared the
sail was hauled under the ship and kept extended till the suction
carried the oakum and wool into the leak." This plan succeeded so well
that soon afterwards one pump sufficed to keep the water under.

At six in the evening the "Endeavour" anchored about five leagues
distant from the Australian coast and one from the shoal. The leak was
still making about fifteen inches of water an hour. Early next morning
(the 14th) Cook weighed and edged in for the land. At this time he says
that he passed close outside two small low islands and named them Hope
Islands, for he remarks, "We were always in hopes of being able to reach
these islands." They are, however, merely sand cays, very low and
covered with bushes that lie midway between Cape Tribulation and
Endeavour River. The spirit shown by the officers and crew throughout
this trying period was worthy of the highest traditions of the Royal
Navy, but one realizes that all the care and responsibility rested upon
the shoulders of the commander, and his troubles do not seem to have
been nearly over. Shortly after noon he sent the master with two boats
to sound ahead of the ship and to look out for harbour within the
mainland, as it was now very necessary to find a place where the
"Endeavour" in her disabled condition might take refuge and have her
defects repaired. At three o'clock in the afternoon an opening was seen
that had the appearance of leading into a harbour. The ship stood off
and on while the boats examined it, but it was found that there was not
sufficient depth of water for her to anchor.

On Cook's chart the name of Weary Bay was given to this opening. By that
time the sun was setting, and as there were many shoals around her the
"Endeavour" again anchored, being then about two miles from the
Queensland coast, which now trended from north-east to south-by-east. At
eight o'clock at night, to Cook's relief, one of the mates returned in
the pinnace and reported that he had found a good harbour two leagues
away. This indentation is now known to us as Cooktown, being so called
in remembrance of Cook's sojourn there. The great seaman himself
bestowed upon the river at whose entrance it lies the name of Endeavour

At six o'clock next morning Cook weighed and stood in towards this
harbour, but to avoid shoals that were visible he sent two boats ahead
to lead the way, and after they had passed the shoals the boats were
ordered to examine the channel leading into the inlet. However, the wind
rose and it was thought safest to anchor, the ship then being one mile
from the shore. Signalling to the boats to come on board, Cook went
himself and buoyed the channel, which was found to be narrow. The
harbour itself though small appeared to be a most convenient one.

It continued to blow fresh this day and the "Endeavour" was forced to
remain at anchor on the 15th and 16th, but an attempt to run into the
inlet was made on the 17th which nearly proved unsuccessful, as twice
she ran ashore. On Monday, the 18th, she was floated and warped in,
being finally moored alongside a steep beach on the south side of the
river, where, on the same morning a stage was erected from the ship to
the shore.



Once the ship was moored safely tents were pitched for the sick men,
among whom were Mr. Green, the astronomer, and Tupia, both showing
symptoms of scurvy.

Dr. Solander and Mr. Banks had already commenced plant-gathering. On the
18th, whilst roaming in search of specimens in the inland country, the
latter saw boughs of trees stuck in the ground by the natives to form
the frames of their gunyas, but none of the inhabitants were actually

On the afternoon of the 19th, having given instructions for the sick men
to be brought on shore and the stores and ballast landed, Cook made his
way to the top of one of the highest hills overlooking the harbour to
take a view of his surroundings. Whenever it was possible he made a
practice of doing this. The country did not appear to possess many
attractions; the low land near the river was overgrown with mangroves
and at every tide was covered with salt water; the high land looked
stony and barren.

Next morning the guns left on board were mounted on the quarter deck for
protection and a forge set up on shore so that the armourers could
commence to repair the ship. The powder, as well as most of the coals
left in the hold, were landed on the 22nd. Cook then cast loose the
"Endeavour's" moorings and warped her to a spot higher up the harbour
which he had fixed upon as suitable for carrying out the work. Her bow
was hauled in to the beach, and her stern kept afloat, so that when the
tide went out the extent of her injuries could be ascertained.

The leak was found to be "at her floor heads a little before the
starboard fore chains." On the following day Mr. Banks saw it and thus
described it: "In the middle was a hole large enough to have sunk a ship
with twice our pumps, but here Providence had most visibly worked in our
favour, for it was in great measure plugged up by a stone as big as a
man's fist. Round the edges of this stone (which was a piece of coral
rock) had all the water come in...and here we found the wool and
oakum or fothering which had relieved us in so unexpected a manner." He
continues: "The effect of this coral difficult to
describe...It had cut through the plank and deep into one of her
timbers, smoothing the that the whole might easily be
imagined to have been cut with an axe."

Each day the carpenters worked while the tide would permit them, and
after he had seen their task begun Cook was able to survey more of the
country. He had noticed a number of pigeons flying round the camp, so on
the 23rd he sent men across the river to try to kill some, when one of
the shooting party caught sight of a strange animal, "something less
than a greyhound, it was of a mouse colour, very slender made and swift
of foot," this being the first description of the kangaroo given to
Cook, and, indeed, the first information he obtained of its existence,
although the animal seen by Pelsart, Dampier, and Vlamingh and one of
the smaller species from the Aru Islands which had been made known in
1711 are said to have been the first kangaroos heard of in Europe. Next
day Cook saw one for himself, only a little way from the ship, and he
says: "I should have taken it for a wild dog, but for its walking and
like a hare or deer...the length running in which it jumped of the
grass prevented my seeing its legs."

Banks, who spent his time in penetrating inland, heard many different
accounts of it, and at once designated it "the animal of the country,"
as indeed it was and is, though rather too rapidly decreasing. Later,
too, he tells us that it was called by the natives kangaroo, spelling
the word thus, and not, as it is spelled in Cook's journal, "kanguru."
Banks tells of another remarkable animal that had been seen by one of
the seamen (an Irishman surely!), who, having seen a flying fox, gave
this description of it: "About as large and much like a one-gallon
cagg;[*] as black as the devil and had two horns on its head; it went
but slowly but I dared not touch it."

[* Bank's journal.]

To his dismay, on the 26th Banks found that most of his plants on board
which had been stowed in the bread-room were under water. The mischief
being done he began at once to try to restore them. Many were saved by
his energy, but some he could not revive. In his excursions into the
bush he met with nests of ants which he likens to the white ant of the
East Indies, but harmless; and he describes their nests as pyramidal in
shape and varying from a few inches to six feet in height. He thought
that they resembled Druid monuments in England, while Solander compared
them to runic stones at Upsala in Sweden.

The botanists made baskets to hold their specimens, and the plants
remained fresh in these baskets for days. During the stay of the
"Endeavour" in the South Seas the men had learned how to weave them by
watching the islanders at work. At first specimens were dried by laying
them in the sand; later it was found that they would dry better in paper
books, although one person was kept entirely employed in attending to
them and exposing the quires to the sun's heat.

The coco palm did not grow at Endeavour River. Mr. Gore picked up, upon
the beach, the husk of a coco-nut, which had evidently been swept there
by the waves from some island to windward.[*] He also penetrated four or
five miles into the country, where he saw marks of men's feet and tracks
of animals, though he met with neither man nor beast. Some others from
the ship, in their rambles on the north side of Endeavour River, reached
a spot where there were fires burning which the natives had only just
left. In these expeditions some wild yams were found growing in a swampy
place, and their tops proved so good that on the 29th Cook sent a party
to gather a quantity for the ship's company. He tells how, on the night
of this day, "Mr. Green and I observed an emersion of Jupiter's first
satellite, which took place at 2 hours 58 minutes 53 seconds in the
a.m.; the same emersion happened at Greenwich...on the 30th at 5 hrs
17 minutes 43 seconds a.m."; and he adds: "The difference is 14 hours 18
minutes 50 seconds equal to 214°42'30" of Long.--which this place is W.
of Greenwich."[**]

[* King says Cook imagined that it came from "Terra del Esperitu."]

[** The true longitude is 214°45'.]

On Saturday, June 30th, while some midshipmen were making a plan of the
harbour, the commander ascended a hill now called Grassy Hill, which
stands close to the south point of the inlet, "to take a view of the
sea." Its shores were lined with shoals, and Cook was perplexed and
anxious as to what route he should take when he resumed his voyage. The
heads of many rocks only just showed above the water. "The only hopes I
have of getting clear of them," he says, " is to the northward, where
there seems to be a passage."

Fortunately the sailors were greatly refreshed during their stay in this
harbour; and on July 2nd a good catch of fish supplied 2½ lbs. for each
man. Next day at low water Cook had a number of empty casks, lashed
together, placed under the ship's bows and the stream anchor laid out in
hopes of being able to float her. He was now impatient to put to sea,
and when the master, who had been sent out on the previous day in the
pinnace to look for a safe route, reported at noon that he had found a
passage for the ship, Cook decided to leave at the first opportunity.

During his investigations the master had landed on a dry reef, and
finding some very large cockles (Chima gigas) brought back a boatload
chiefly of the cockles, "one alone being more than two men could eat."
Mr. Molineux also entered an indentation of the mainland three leagues
to the northward of Endeavour River, where he disturbed some natives, as
he thought, at supper. They quickly disappeared leaving behind them
"some fresh sea eggs" and a fire brightly burning, but there was no hut
near. Cook thought at this time that the natives had no boats large
enough to convey them out to the shoals, but he found out afterwards
that they were in the habit of visiting the islands between the Great
Barrier Reef and the mainland.

At high water on Wednesday, 4th, the ship was again floated, and on the
5th was beached on the sandbank on the south side of the river. At this
spot a monument was erected in memory of the event by the inhabitants of

[* A column of granite now adorns the principal street of Cooktown and
bears the inscription: "In Memoriam Captain Cook who landed here June
17, 1770.--Post cineres gloria venit."

The "Endeavour," however, still made water and three people went down to
examine her. It was found that the main plank was chafed and that she
had lost three streaks of sheathing, but the master "was positive that
she had received no material damage," and the carpenter was of the same
opinion, so that Cook resolved to spend no more time in trying to repair
her where she lay.

She was refloated at high water and moored alongside the beach where her
stores were deposited. In the morning these were got in readiness to be
taken on board, and eight tons of water were also obtained from springs
not far off.

In the meantime further delays kept Cook longer here. Banks went over to
the opposite shores of the harbour on several occasions. As he was
crossing on the 4th shoals of garfish leapt out of the water, and some
falling into his small boat were caught. He crossed the river again next
day and saw "innumerable fruits" on a sandy beach apparently washed
there by the waves. Most curious coco-nuts were among them, all
incrusted--many of them covered with barnacles--"a sure sign that they
have come far by sea, probably" (Banks adds) "from Terra del Espiritu
Santo" (the New Hebrides).

On the 6th what may be called the first inland expedition on the east
coast set out from the camp. Lieutenant Gore, Mr. Banks, and three men
went in a small boat to survey the country higher up the river intending
to be away for some days. After having passed through "groves of
mangroves" they came to country similar to that they had left behind,
and as they proceeded up the stream, which gradually contracted, only a
few mangroves were to be seen and the banks were steep, being covered
with trees of a beautiful verdure called in the West Indies MOHOE or
bark tree (Hibiscus tiliaceus). Farther in the land was low and thickly
covered with long grass. In the course of the day Tupia saw an animal
like a wolf, which, of course, was a dingo; and three kangaroos and a
bat as large as a partridge were also seen, but none was caught.

The party camped at a spot close to the river bank and made their fire.
Here mosquitoes spoilt their enjoyment, and, as Banks says, spared no
pains to molest them as much as was in their power. "They followed us,"
he writes, "into the very smoke, nay! almost into the fire, which, hot
as the climate was, we could better bear the heat of than their
intolerable stings." And adds further: "between the hardness of our bed,
the heat of the fire, and the stings of these indefatigable insects, the
night was not spent so agreeably but day was earnestly wished for by all
of us. At last it came, and with its first dawn we set out in search of

On this day four of the "animals of the country" were sighted; two were
chased by Banks's greyhound, though the kangaroos got away owing to the
length and thickness of the grass, which stopped the greyhound running,
while they bounded over the top of it. Banks then saw that instead of
going on all fours they went only on their hind legs as the smaller
jerboa does.

The men saw a tree burning, but on reaching the spot no natives could be
seen. An old tree of touchwood had evidently been recently fired by
them. Their huts were found, and near them were lying twigs of trees,
broken but not yet withered, with which, possibly, children had been
playing. Footsteps fresh on the sands below high water proved that
natives had gone that way. Their oven showed that food had lately been
cooked in it, while some shells of a kind of clam and the roots of a
wild yam, which had been baked, were lying close by.

At the close of the day the visitors stopped at a sandbank where under
the shade of a bush they hoped to be free from their tormentors of the
previous night. They made their beds of plantain leaves, spreading them
on the sand, and they proved as soft as a mattress, and with cloaks for
bed-clothes and grass for a pillow the men had a good night's rest,
possibly due to the fact that the mosquitoes did not trouble them. On
the 8th, at daylight, they returned to the ship. On their passage down
the river several flocks of whistling duck flew past, some of which were
shot, and once an alligator about seven feet long was seen crawling out
from under the mangroves and making its way down into the water.

On the 10th of July four black fellows appeared on the north side of the
river opposite the "Endeavour." They had a canoe (with an outrigger) in
which two of them embarked, and, coming to within the distance of long
musket shot, stopped and began talking loudly. The British called to
them and beckoned them to come closer. They soon did so, and drew in
until they were quite alongside the ship, though they often held up
their spears as if to show that they were on guard. Cloth, nails, and
other articles were given them, which they took without showing the
least sign of satisfaction. At last by accident a small fish was thrown
into the canoe, when they expressed the utmost joy and instantly made
signs that they would fetch their two comrades, which they soon did, and
all four landed at the camp, each man carrying two spears and a
throwing-stick with him. Tupia, who was on shore, went towards them
where they stood in a row as if about to throw their spears, and he made
signs that they should come forward without their arms. They then laid
them down, and, sitting on the ground beside him, received various
presents of beads and cloth given them. They soon became friendly and
only grew alarmed when anyone attempted to go between them and their
arms. "At dinner we made signs to them to come and eat with us," says
Banks, "but they refused. We left them, and going into their canoe they
paddled back to where they had come from."

Again on the 11th they visited the British camp and Banks tells us that
in addition to two of the visitors of the previous day there now came
two new natives, "whom our old acquaintances introduced by their names,
one of which was Yaparico." Although not noticed before, it was now seen
that the four natives had the septurm of the nose pierced, having a
large hole through it, into which one of them had stuck the bone of a
bird as thick as a man's finger and about four or six inches long. "An
ornament no doubt, though to us it appeared rather an uncouth one,"
remarks Banks. The black fellows presented their white friends with a
fish, but did not stay long, as on perceiving that some of the officers
were examining their boat "they went directly to it and pushing it off
went away without saying a word."

On the 12th they came again. On this occasion Tupia received them in his
tent, which pleased the early Queenslanders so much that three of them
stayed with him while the fourth went with the canoe to fetch two
others, and on their return the new-comers were introduced as before to
the English by name, "which they always made a point of doing," says
Banks. Although they remained there the best part of the morning not
once during that time would they venture farther than twenty yards from
their canoe.

When they had paid their first visit they had allowed the sailors to
decorate them with medals, which were tied by a ribbon round their
necks. These ribbons were now covered with smoke, and, remembering the
night of torment he had lately himself endured, Banks remarks, "I
suppose they lay much in the smoke to keep off the mosquitoes."

Cook tells a similar story of his meeting with these natives on the
10th, so that this really was the first visit of the Queensland blacks
to the ship's people. He noticed their small wooden canoe with
outriggers at a sandy point on the north side of the harbour, where they
were employed in striking fish. Some on board wished to go over to them.
"But," says Cook, "this I would not suffer, and let them alone without
seeming to take any notice of them." In describing them he says: "One of
these men was above middle age, the other three were young: none were
above 5½ feet high and all had small limbs. They were naked, their skins
the colour of wood soot: their hair black, lank and cropt short, and
neither woolly nor frizzled, nor did they want any of their fore teeth,"
as did those seen by Dampier. He continues: "Some part of their bodies
had been painted with red and, one of them had his upper lip and breast
painted with streaks of white called 'carbanda.' Their features were far
from being disagreeable, their voices were soft and tunable, and they
could easily repeat any word after us. But no one, not even Tupia, could
understand a word they said."

Mr. Gore, who seems to have been energetic both on land and sea, on the
14th killed a kangaroo. "To compare it to any European animal," says
Banks, "would be impossible, as it has not the least resemblance to any
I have seen."

The kangaroo was cooked and eaten and its flesh was, as one might
suppose, excellent. In his journal Cook writes: "It was a small one,
weighing 28 lbs.," after being cleaned; and he continues: "It was hare
lipt and the head and ears were most like a hare's of any animal I
know...The forelegs were 8 inches long and the hind 22 inches";
and he thought the forelegs "only designed for scratching in the ground.
The skin is covered with a short, hairy fur of a dark mouse or grey colour."
A much greater delicacy for the men were the turtle there, which were
frequently caught, and were in great numbers. Indeed, on the 9th Mr.
Molineux caught three on a reef without the harbour which was called
Turtle Bank;[*] they weighed 791 lbs., and on that day, says Cook, all
hands feasted on turtle for the first time. These were mostly green
turtle, and, when killed, were found to be full of turtle grass, which
Banks identified as a kind of conferva.

[* Turtle Reef.]

Although her departure was delayed, the ship was ready to leave on the
16th. Up to the time of sailing the botanists remained busily engaged in
examining specimens and in completing their collections so as to take
away as many different species as possible. Tupia encountered blacks on
the north side of Endeavour River on the 17th, who, Banks relates, "gave
him a kind of longish root about as thick as a man's finger and of very
good taste." Probably this was dingowa, or fern root, much eaten by the

Banks also records that at this time the natives soon had become quite
familiar and lost all fear of white men. On the 18th one gave an
exhibition of his powers in throwing the spear. The weapon shot through
the air so steadily and swiftly that Banks was amazed at its flight,
"never being above four feet from the ground and stuck deep in at a
distance of 50 paces. After this display the blacks went on board, and,
he says, "soon became our very good friends."

Leaving them, Cook and Banks crossed the river and walked northwards to
a high hill about six miles from the ship. On ascending it they viewed
the sea coast, and Cook writes: "It afforded us a melancholy prospect of
the difficulties we are to encounter." From here too in every direction
the sea looked covered with shoals.

On the morning of the 19th ten or eleven natives came to the "Endeavour"
from the opposite side of the river, six or seven of their companions
including some women remaining behind. All these blacks were naked.
Those who came on board made known by signs that they wanted some of the
turtle that were on the deck, several having been placed there for the
voyage. On their requests being refused one angry and disappointed man
was seen, energetically aided by his companions, trying to haul two
turtle to the gangway in order to put them over the side of the vessel.
When they were prevented doing this the black fellows revenged
themselves by throwing overboard everything within their reach. Bread
was offered to them but they rejected it scornfully, and soon afterwards
took their departure.

The commander, with Mr. Banks and five or six others, followed them on
shore. Immediately the blacks landed, one of the party ran to a patch of
dry grass, tore up a handful, and lighted it at a fire that the seamen
had made there. He then started to set fire to the grass in several
places, making a circle round the camp, with the result that in a few
minutes the whole of the surroundings were in a blaze.

Banks, who was setting out to gather plants, suddenly saw one of the
tents erected for his use in imminent danger of being burnt, so leaping
into a boat he promptly brought some sailors from the ship who hauled it
down in time to save it from the flames. The forge was destroyed,
however, and one of the litter of pigs was scorched to death. Not
content with starting fires at this point the blacks ran to another
place where the men had been washing linen, and where the linen with the
fishing net lay on the ground to dry. Determined to save the seine if he
could, Cook followed the natives, but in spite of his efforts to prevent
them they again set fire to the grass and it was soon blazing furiously.
Finding persuasion useless, Cook at last fired a musket at one of the
ringleaders who was starting new fires forty yards away; on the shot
striking him he ran to his companions and they all disappeared into the
woods. The second fire was extinguished, but the first one rapidly
increased and burned fiercely. At this time the natives were not far
away, for their voices could be heard in the distance, so Cook and Banks
with some others went to look for them and soon met several. Seeing that
they carried spears the white party picked up a few that they had left
behind and closely pursued the black men. But the Australian native is
fleet of foot and after Cook had chased them for about half a mile he
was compelled to halt at the foot of a tree, whence he called to the
natives to stop, and presently they did so, and he writes: "After some
little unintelligible conversation had passed, they laid down their
darts and came to us in a very friendly manner." The borrowed spears
were then returned to their rightful owners which, he says, reconciled

There were four strange black fellows now with the natives, who had
never been seen before, and each one was introduced by name to the
British with the usual ceremony. The man who had been hit had gone away,
but it was evident that he had not been badly hurt. When eventually
Cook's party made their way back to the ship the natives accompanied
them until they came abreast the "Endeavour." Here they remained in
conversation for a short time. They then went away and set the bush on
fire at about two miles distant.

On Friday, 20th, the ship was brought to a new berth and let swing with
the tide. The master, who had been sent in the pinnace to inspect the
coast higher up, returned during the night, and stated that he could
find no safe passage to the northward. However, being ready for sea,
Cook went next day and buoyed the bar, but the wind continuing
unfavourable he was forced to remain longer at his anchorage.

While thus delayed, his people saw more of the natives. On the 23rd some
sailors, sent into the country for a supply of green food, lost one of
their party in the bush. This man suddenly came upon four blackfellows
seated round a fire. They were engaged in broiling a bird, and he also
perceived part of a kangaroo hanging on a tree near. Being unarmed he
had the presence of mind not to run away from the blacks, but went and
sat down among them. At first being afraid of their numbers he offered
them his knife in order to conciliate them. The natives took it, handed
it round from one to the other to examine, then returned it again to
him. When they had felt his hands, his body, and the texture of his
clothes they allowed him to depart peaceably, and on seeing that he did
not know his way directed him back to the "Endeavour."

On Friday, August 3rd, Cook unmoored and began to warp out of the
harbour. Soon a breeze arising he was compelled to remain within the bar
for the night. At seven o'clock next morning he put to sea.


On leaving Endeavour River, Cook steered east-by-north and sent the
pinnace before him to lead the way. He had ordered the yawl to pick up a
net that had been left on the Turtle Bank, but the wind freshening the
"Endeavour" got out of the harbour before her. Wishing to view the
shoals at low water from the masthead before venturing among them, Cook
came to an anchorage shortly after noon. The northernmost point of the
mainland then in sight, to which he gave the name of Cape Bedford, bore
north-west distant three and a half leagues, while the Turtle Reef lay
but a mile to the eastward. He informs us on the 4th that he had not
then decided whether to beat back to the southward "round all the
shoals" or to seek a passage to the eastward or northward, "all of which
appeared to be equally difficult and dangerous." Nor did he know the
extent of the Barrier Reef, which rose to the eastward like a wall of
coral rock between him and the South Pacific. On the 5th the boats were
ordered to Turtle Reef for turtle and shell-fish, and in their absence
Cook surveyed the shoals. Beyond the nearest shoal he saw many more
stretching into distance, although to the north-east the sea looked
fairly clear and he finally resolved to go in that direction. The
fishing boats returned with a turtle, a sting-ray, and a quantity of
clams, which afforded each man one and a half pounds of fish, and during
the night the sailors caught some sharks.

Fresh gales blew next morning and prevented the vessel sailing until 2
p.m. on August 6th, when the weather had moderated. Leaving Turtle Reef,
Cook stood to the north-east, having shoals ahead and on both bows, and
at 4.30 the pinnace made the signal for shoal water. After tacking Cook
soon anchored as night was approaching and he hoped to proceed at
daylight. But a strong gale from the south-east blew next day and the
ship was compelled to strike her yards.

Around her on all sides there were shoals. With his officers, on the
7th, Cook looked in vain from the masthead for a passage between them.
Breakers were visible everywhere: "All the way from the south round by
east to N.W. extending out to sea as far as we could see," and he adds:
"It did not appear one continued shoal but several detached from each

The surf broke highest on the easternmost side, and after finally
reviewing the situation he observes: "I saw that we were surrounded on
every side with danger insomuch that I was quite at a loss which way to
steer...for to beat back to the S.E. the way we came as the Master
would have me do would be an endless piece of work." At last he
determined to seek a passage along the (Queensland) coast and to follow
it northward. Gales continued to blow, and not until the 10th at 7 a.m.
was the "Endeavour" able to weigh her anchor. She then stood in towards
the mainland and at nine drew abreast three small islands covered with
mangroves (now called the Three Isles), which lie eight miles from Cape
Bedford. Cook directed his course between the islands and the mainland
and next saw a point in the coast bearing north-north-west at a distance
of two leagues. To the north-east of it appeared three more islands,[*]
which were high, having small ones near. The ship continued her course
between the islands and the shore and at noon was four leagues from the
former and two from the latter. Cook thought that he was now clear of
danger and that the open sea was before him, but he was soon to find
that he had been deceived, so he named this headland Cape Flattery,
writing of it: "It is a high promontory making in two hills next the sea
and a third behind with low sandy land on each side."

[* The Direction Islands.]

On the 11th a petty officer at the masthead cried out that there was
"land ahead extending round to the islands without," and that there was
a reef between the ship and these islands. On hearing this Cook himself
went to the masthead and saw the reef plainly, but he thought that the
officer was mistaken in thinking the land was mainland, for to Cook it
appeared to be islands. However, as others on board were also of the
petty officer's opinion, he signalled for the boat to come on board, and
stood in for the Australian coast and anchored under a point of the
mainland about a mile from the shore. He then landed and went to the
highest point he could find where he obtained a view of the coast. This,
he could see, trended away north-west-by-west for eight or ten leagues.
He also saw nine or ten small low islands...and some large shoals
between the mainland and the three high islands, without which again
were islands which the petty officer had mistaken for the mainland.

Cook called the point of the mainland from which he obtained this good
view Point Lookout. He saw there the footsteps of natives in the sand
and the smoke of their fires up in the country. The sea coast north of
Cape Bedford was low and chequered with white sand and green bushes for
ten or twelve miles inland, and there was high land beyond. To the north
of Point Lookout the shores appeared shoal and flat, which, he adds, "is
no good sign of meeting with a channel as we have hitherto done." He
returned on board the "Endeavour" at evening and decided then to visit
one of the high islands next morning. He therefore set out in the
pinnace in company with Mr. Banks for the northernmost and largest of
the three,[*] and Mr. Molineux at the same time, by his orders, took the
yawl to leeward to sound between some low islands and the main.

[* Lizard Island.]

When he had arrived at the island and climbed to the top of the highest
hill[*] Cook discovered to his dismay that a reef extended for two or
three leagues outside the island and ran north-west and south-east out
of sight. This was in fact a portion of the main Barrier Reef. The waves
rose high upon it, yet breaks were seen and the water within it looked
deep. Cook stayed on the hill until sunset trying to get a better view
of the shoals, but the weather continued hazy, and he determined to
spend the night there, hoping that the morning would be clear. In this,
however, he was disappointed, for next day the atmosphere was even more
hazy. At three in the morning he sent one of the mates away in the
pinnace to sound the depth of water between the island they were on and
the reef, and also to examine one of the breaks in the reef.

[* The summit which is a bare, domed-shaped hill, is 1,179 feet in
height and from its height and conspicuous appearance forms a good mark
from seaward and from the channels inside--"Admiralty Sailing

Cook named this island, which was about eight miles in circuit, Lizard
Island, and he says that he gave it this name because the only land
animals that he saw were lizards. It was high, rocky, and barren,
excepting on the north side, where there were sandy bays and low lands
covered with thin long grass.

The remains of some old native huts and heaps of old fish shells showed
that the Australian natives came over from the mainland. The islands to
the southward were both smaller and there seemed a clear passage between
them and Cape Flattery. In the afternoon of the 13th Cook left Lizard
Island and went back to his ship, touching at a low sandy island on his
way, which he named Eagle Island.

Of his visit to Lizard Island Banks writes: "We ascended the hill and
from the top saw plainly the grand reef still extending itself parallel
with the shore...Through it were several channels exactly similar
to those we had seen in the islands. Through one of these we determined
to go. To ascertain, however, the practicability of it we resolved to
stay upon the island all night...We slept under the shade of a bush
that grew upon the beach very comfortably."

On the following day he continues: "Great part of yesterday and all this
morning till the boat returned I employed in searching the island. On it
I found some few plants which I had not before seen...There was one
small tract of woodland which abounded very much with large lizards,
some of which I took. Distant as this isle was from the main, the
Indians had been here in their poor embarkations...We saw seven or
eight frames of their huts...All the houses were built upon the
tops of eminences exposed entirely to the S.E., contrary to those of the
main, which are commonly placed under some bushes or hillside to break
the wind. The officer who went in the boat returned with an account that
the sea broke vastly high upon the reef and the swell was so great in
the opening that he could not go into it to sound. [But he found that
the depth of water within the reef varied from 15 to 28 fathoms.] On our
return we went ashore on a low island, where we shot many birds: on it
was the nest of an eagle, the young ones of which we killed, and
another, I knew not of what bird, built on the ground of an enormous
magnitude; it was in circumference 26 feet and in height 2 feet 8 inches
built of sticks...[*] The Indians had been here likewise." This was
the island which had been named Eagle Island by Cook.

[* Tallegalla lathami, Gould, i.e. North Queensland scrub hen. It really
was a small nest of the kind. A common height is 5 or 6 feet and 20
yards round the base.]

On his return on board the commander found that the master had made his
examination of the low islands.[*] He had spent the night on one and had
found there piles of turtle shells and some of the fins with meat on
them left on the trees were so fresh that he and the boat's crew ate of
them, and it was evident that the natives had lately feasted there. He
also saw two spots lately dug up about seven feet long and shaped like a
grave, which he thought were native tombs. On receiving an unfavourable
report from the master with regard to the soundings inside the low
islands, and comparing it with his own observations, Cook clearly
perceived that it would be courting danger to try to keep any longer
near the mainland, and after consulting with his officers he resolved to
quit its shores.

[* Turtle Group.]

Accordingly, at daylight on the 13th he weighed anchor and stood to the
north-east. By 2 p.m. he had arrived at one of the openings in the main
reef, the outermost reef seen from Lizard Island. The master went in the
pinnace to examine the channel and soon made the signal to the ship to
follow and she passed safely through it. This channel through the
Barrier Reef is known as Cook's Passage.

In giving further information concerning his track Cook says he called
the three high islands the Islands of Direction, as "by their means a
safe passage may be found even by strangers in within the main reef and
quite into the main." Lizard Island, he adds, "affords snug anchorage
under the N.W. side of it, fresh water, and wood for fuel.'' Not only on
this island, but also on Eagle Island and other places, were found
bamboos, coco-nuts, and seeds of various plants-which were not the
produce of the country.

After the "Endeavour" had passed through Cook's Passage she had no
ground with one hundred fathoms of line, and a large sea came rolling in
from the south-east. The sight pleased Cook greatly, "after having been
entangled among islands or shoals more or less ever since May 26th, in
which time we have sailed above 360 leagues by the lead without ever
having a leadsman out of the chains when the ship was under sail, a
circumstance that perhaps never happened to any ship before."

But the big swell of the South Pacific soon made it apparent to him that
his ship had received damage on Endeavour Reef of which he had not been
aware, or had not noticed, while sailing in the smooth waters within the
Barrier, for "she now made as much water as one pump kept constantly at
work would free." By noon on the 14th the vessel was out of sight of
land, and on the following day orders were given at six in the evening
to shorten sail and bring her to for the night. Next morning Cook made
sail and steered west in order to make the land, "being fearful of
overshooting the passage, supposing there to be one between this land
and New Guinea," which shows that if he had heard of the discoveries of
Torres he had forgotten them. As a matter of fact, neither Cook nor
Bligh nor any Australian discoverer seems to have reaped any benefit
from the experiences of that navigator.

On Thursday, 16th, a little after noon, land was seen from the masthead
bearing west-south-west. It was high land, and at 2 p.m. more was seen
to the north-west, "making in hills like islands," which was thought to
be part of the coast (of Australia). An hour afterwards a reef, yet
another part of the Great Barrier Reef, was discovered lying between the
ship and the mainland. It extended to the southward and was thought to
terminate to the northward abreast the ship; but the supposed
termination was soon proved to be merely an opening, for the reef itself
was shortly afterwards observed extending farther to the northward, out
of sight. "The ship's sails had scarcely been trimmed before the wind
came to E. by N., which," writes Cook, "made our weathering the reef
very doubtful, the northern point of which still bore N. by W. distant
about two leagues."

The "Endeavour," however, continued to steer northward in hopes of being
able to clear the reef, care being taken that she should not run too far
on one course. To prevent this at midnight she tacked and stood to the
south-south-east. It then fell calm, and on sounding no bottom could be
obtained with 140 fathoms of line. A little after four o'clock a roar of
surf was clearly heard, foretelling that danger was near, and at
daylight breakers, white with foam, could be distinguished not a mile
away, towards which, to the horror of those on board, the heavy sea was
fast hurrying the ship. There was not a breath of wind and no
possibility of being able to anchor, and Cook says: "In this distressed
situation we had nothing but Providence and the. small assistance the
boats could give us to trust to." The pinnace was then under repair; but
the yawl was put in the water and the long-boat hoisted out, both being
sent ahead to tow, and with the result that at last they got the ship's
head round to the northward.

By this time it was six o'clock and they were not more than eighty or
one hundred yards from the breakers. A big sea now lashed the ship's
side and curved when next it rose in such a lofty breaker that "only a
dismal valley, the breadth of one wave, lay between the 'Endeavour' and

Meanwhile the pinnace had been hastily repaired, and it too was hoisted
out and sent ahead to tow, although it seemed then as if nothing could
save the ship. Yet all on board remained quite calm and every man did
his utmost to avert disaster, and Cook writes: "All the dangers we had
escaped were little in comparison of being thrown on this reef where the
ship must be dashed to pieces in a moment. A reef," he adds, "such
scarcely known in Europe. It is a wall of coral rock rising
almost perpendicular out of the unfathomable ocean, always overflown at
high water and dry in places at low water."

And just when, to those on board, all seemed lost, "a small air of wind"
sprang up--so small that at any other time it would have scarcely been
noticed, and, with its aid and the help of the boats, the "Endeavour"
was seen to move slantingly away from the reef. In less than ten minutes
the hopes of the men were again dashed down, as a calm set in, while
they were still not above 200 yards from the breakers. Yet once more the
little breeze returned, and at this time a small opening was perceived
in the reef about a quarter of a mile away. One of the mates was sent to
examine it and he found that its breadth was not more than the length of
the ship, but that within there was smooth water. Through this opening
Cook decided to take the "Endeavour," though it was doubtful whether he
would be able to reach it at all. He, however, brought her opposite to
it, and to his surprise saw the ebb rushing out through the gap as
though it were a mill stream, and this carried the ship back a quarter
of a mile away from the breakers. By noon she was one and a half or two
miles from them; yet even then she could not have hoped to get clear if
a breeze had sprung up. As Cook says: "We were embayed by the reef, the
ship in spite of our exertions, driving before the sea into the bight";
and he adds: "The only hopes we had was another opening we saw about a
mile to the westward of us which I sent Lieutenant Hicks to examine."

While Mr. Hicks was inspecting this second opening the ship struggled
with the tide, sometimes in her efforts gaining a little and at others
losing way. At two o'clock on the afternoon of the 17th the first
lieutenant returned with a favourable report of the opening and it was
resolved to try to get through it, as this seemed to be the only means
by which the ship could be saved.

A light breeze sprang up from the east-north-east, and with the help of
all the boats and a flood tide the "Endeavour" entered the opening. The
tide, whose waters ran like a mill-race, hurried her through with a
force that kept her straight and prevented her driving to either side of
the narrow channel. Once through, she came to an anchorage safely within
the reef about eight or nine leagues from the mainland. Cook named the
channel Providential Channel, because it had so proved for the ship in
the hour of her danger; and in recalling the satisfaction that he had
felt but a few days before when he had found himself without the reef,
he says: "That joy was nothing compared to what I now felt at being safe
at anchor within it."

For the rest of the day the "Endeavour" remained at this anchorage in
full view of the mainland coast. Giving his impressions of the land,
Cook writes: "On the mainland within us was a pretty high promontory
which I called Cape Weymouth and on the N.W. side of this cape is a bay
which I called Weymouth Bay," this being in honour of Lord Weymouth. On
going to the masthead he saw that a great part of the reef was dry and
that there was another opening in it to the south-east (possibly that
now known as the Hibernia's Entrance).

Next morning the "Endeavour" got under way and stood to the north-west;
it was now deemed advisable to keep within the Barrier Reef, of whose
extent and vast length Cook at this time had gained important knowledge.
Whilst pursuing his course within the Barrier he perceived that the main
or outer reef still extended to the north-east, and he now met with a
shoal and with the islands which lie between the reef and the Australian
mainland. At half-past six next evening he anchored three miles from the
northernmost of some small islands bearing west ½ south, which he named
Forbes's Islands. The coast here formed a moderately high point called
by Cook Bolt Head. Beyond it were low and sandy beaches. At 6 a.m., when
the ship was got under sail and stood in for an island lying off the
coast, her course was interrupted by shoals, but at length she found a
channel to it. The mainland here within the islands formed a point which
was named Cape Grenville, between which and Bolt Head was a bay which
was called Temple Bay. Nine leagues east ½ north from Cape Grenville
were some high islands, and these were named Sir Charles Hardy's Isles,
while those off the cape were called the Cockburn Isles.

Cook now steered a course along the Queensland shores which was
afterwards, for a time at least, followed by Bligh, who served under him
as master of the "Resolution." It was nineteen years later that Bligh
entered through an opening now called Bligh Boat Entrance in the Great
Barrier Reef in the "Bounty's" boat and ran along the shores that Cook's
ship had coasted, steering a course among the same islands. Writing on
August 20th Cook says: "At 4, we discovered some low islands and rocks
bearing W.N.W. which we stood directly in for. At half past six we
anchored on the north-east side of the northernmost in 16 fms. distant
one mile from the island. This island lay N.W. 4 leagues from Cape
Grenville. On the isles we saw a good many birds which occasioned my
calling them Bird Isles."Bligh also came to the Bird Islands with his
half-starved men, and he tells us that he anchored on "the
north-westernmost of four small keys," naming it Lagoon Island. "Before
and at sunset," continues Cook, "we could see the mainland which
appeared very low and sandy...and some shoals, keys and low sandy
isles away to the N.E. At 6 a.m. we got again under sail and stood
N.N.W. for some low islands." The shoals and keys are now called the
Boydong Cays. "After weathering a shoal on our larboard bow, having at
the same time others to east of us...and having weathered the shoal
to leeward and seeing some shoals spit off from them and rocks on the
starboard bow," Cook says that, being afraid to go to windward of the
islands, he brought to. He then made signal to the pinnace to rejoin the
ship, and sent her to leeward "to keep along the edge of the shoal off
the south side of the southernmost island." As soon as the pinnace had
got a proper distance he wore and stood after her.

Writing of this island, which is only a small spot of land with some
trees upon it. Cook says: "We saw many huts and habitations of the
natives which we supposed come over from the main to these islands (from
which they are distant about 5 leagues) to catch turtle at the time when
these animals come ashore to lay eggs." Having taken the yawl in tow,
the "Endeavour" stood after the pinnace to "two other low islands having
two shoals, and one between us and the main."[*]

[* Possibly these were Halfway Islets and East Islet.]

"At noon," writes Cook, "we were about 4 leagues from the mainland
extending N. as far as N.W. by N. all low, flat, and sandy "--the
distance covered in the twenty-four hours being forty miles. At 1 p.m.
on the 21st, finding that he could not go to windward of the two islands
without getting too far from the main, Cook bore up and ran to leeward,
where he found a fair open passage. He was now steering parallel with
the mainland, "having a small island between us and it and some low
sandy isles, and shoals without us."[*] At four o'clock the "Endeavour"
had lost sight of the islands, nor were any more seen before sunset, the
farthest part of the mainland then in sight bearing north-north-west ½
west. At this time Cook was almost abreast of Sharp Peak at the southern
entrance of Escape River. **2] Soon afterwards he anchored for the night
in thirteen fathoms soft ground about five leagues off shore.

[* On this day Cook passed between Cairncross and Sandy Islets. See P.
G, King's comments on Cook's Log.]

[** So named by King in 1819.]

At daylight once more, with the yawl ahead sounding, the "Endeavour" got
under way. She steered north-north-west, and as no danger was visible
the yawl was taken in tow and the ship made all sail until eight
o'clock, when Cook discovered shoals ahead on the larboard bow. He then
came to the conclusion from what he saw that the northernmost land,
which he had considered was a part of the continent, was an island or
islands between which and the main there appeared to be a good passage.
The islands, one of which is remarkable for its flat top, are known to
us as Mount Adolphus Islands. Cook now had the satisfaction of finding a
good channel between the Mount Adolphus Islands and the coast; he kept
the long-boat rigged continually between the ship and the mainland, as
he says, "although there appeared nothing in the passage, there was a
strong flood." It may be noted as justifying Cook's precautions that the
Quetta Rock is in this channel. By noon he had got through and the
nearest land to the southward lay only three or four miles distant. Soon
afterwards he discovered that this was the northernmost point of the
continent whose eastern coast he had so thoroughly explored, and he
writes in his journal: "The point of the main...which is the
northern promontory of this country, I have named York Cape in honour of
his late Royal Highness the Duke of York. It lies in the long. of
218°24' W., the north point in the lat. Of 10°37' S., and the east point
in W 10°41'S."

At this time he caught sight of islands lying a good distance off
north-by-west to west-north-west, and behind them yet another chain of
islands. The land below the east point of York Cape looked low and flat
and seemed barren as far inland as the eye could reach. The land on the
northern part of York Cape was rather more hilly and the valleys
appeared well clothed with wood.[*] To the southward of the cape the
shore was seen to form a large open bay which Cook named Newcastle Bay.
(It was "the large and fair inlet" in 11° S. of Bligh.) From Adolphus
Channel Cook steered three or four miles to westward round York Cape and
discovered some islands which were "detached by several channels from
the mainland. He recalled the boats and gave instructions to them to
lead through the channel next the main, and soon afterwards the
"Endeavour" made sail and followed them. Rocks and shoals were found in
this channel, so Cook made the signal to the boats to lead through "the
next channel to the northward between the islands which they accordingly
did; we following with the ship and had not less than 5 fms. and this in
the narrowest part...which was about 1 mile and a half broad from
island to island."

[* Cape York, the extreme north point of Eastern Australia, is covered
with dense scrub along a series of hills called the Carnegic Range; the
hill next the cape being Mount Bremer, 372 feet. The Cape itself is a
long, low shelf of rock tapering to the edge of the water.]

At four o'clock the "Endeavour" anchored. The mainland (Cape York
Peninsula) then extended south-west (S. 48° W.), while the southernmost
point of the island on the north-west side of the passage bore S. 76° W.
"Between these two points,"writes Cook, "we could see no land, so we
were in great hopes we had at last found out a passage into the Indian
seas, but in order to be better informed I landed with a party of men,
accompanied by Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander, upon the island which lies at
the S.E. point of the passage. Before and after we anchored we saw a
number of people upon this island armed in the same manner as all others
we have seen except one man who had a bow and bundle of arrows, the
first we have seen on this coast." The man who was differently armed
from his companions probably came from one of the islands in Torres
Strait, where the inhabitants use bows and arrows.

Cook was to learn later that he was not the first to discover "a passage
into Indian seas," for in 1606 Torres had "found a great land in 11°30'
S. and sailing on met with a great reef with a channel, many islands and
a mainland," this, of course, being Torres Strait and the Barrier Reef.
In the preface to Cook's second voyage, however, we find that Cook gives
due credit to Torres for the discovery of the strait.

The natives seen by Cook's party at this island-which was afterwards
called Possession Island-were not ferocious, although the commander
writes: "from the appearance of the people we expected they would have
opposed our landing, but as we approached the shore they all made off
and left us in peaceable possession of as much of the island as served
our purpose."

After landing, according to his usual custom, Cook went up on the
highest hill. Of it he says: "It was of no great height, yet no less
than twice or thrice the height of the ship's masthead, but I could see
no land between S.W. and W.S.W. so that I did not doubt there was a
passage." This passage was, as we know, Endeavour Strait, through which
Cook passed safely into Torres Strait and thence made his way to Timor.

In his journal he continues: "Having satisfied myself of this great
probability of a passage through which I intend going with my ship, and
therefore may land no more upon this Eastern coast of New Holland; and
on the West [coast] I can make no new discovery, the honour of which
belongs to the Dutch navigators. But the Eastern from the latitude of
38° S. down to this place I am confident was never seen or visited by
any European before us. And notwithstanding I had in the name of His
Majesty taken possession of several places upon this coastInow once more
hoisted English colours and in the name of His Majesty King George the
III took possession of the whole eastern coast from the above latitude
down to this place by the name of New South Wales,[*] together with all
the bays, harbours, rivers, and islands situated upon the said coast,
after which we fired 3 volleys of small arms which were answered by the
like number from the ship."

[* According to the Admiralty copy of Cook's journal.]

Possession Island (Coolbee), on which Cook planted the flag of Britain,
thus taking possession of the whole of the east coast of Australia from
38° S., is two and three-quarter miles in length by one and a quarter
wide. From the top of the cairn of stones upon which Cook planted his
flagstaff there is a magnificent view of numberless islands in Torres

Taking leave of Cook and the "Endeavour"[*] at the entrance of Endeavour
Strait and turning again to the scene of his labours on the east coast
we realize the far-reaching effects of his voyage. In these days it is
easy to look back and survey the bountiful harvest that has sprung up
where he first sowed the seed and to mark how capably his countrymen
continued his work of discovery in that southern field of exploration.
It is a more difficult task to grasp how the settlement of Australia,
tardily undertaken by the British authorities, came successfully to be
carried out. Where Cook saw empty bays and harbours fringed with only
trees and scrub now rise cities and towns of recognized and growing
importance, overlooking waters teeming with busy ships. Arid coasts and
barren bushland developed into a fertile soil. A self-supporting colony
grew up on the shores of Port Jackson, whence the English colours were
carried to lands and islands yet more distant, until at last the whole
of Australia became a valuable British possession.

[* The "Endeavour" was sold by the Admiralty for £645 in 1775, and again
became a collier, having been originally built as one. Two different
accounts are given of her end. One says that she was sold to the French
and when England and France were at war, took refuge at Newport, U.S.A.,
where she eventually was broken up. The other account states that she
never left the Thames.]


The publication of the results of the botany of Cook's first voyage was
long retarded, and illustrations of the Australian plants collected by
Banks and Solander in H.M.S. "Endeavour" in 1770 were not published
until 1905. Then a large work was printed by order of the trustees of
the British Museum showing the original collection, "with determinations
in accordance with the nomenclature at present adopted."

In this work are engravings of the collections of those early voyagers,
who seem to have gathered an extraordinary number of specimens during
their stay on the east coast--the Australian plants alone representing a
total of 331. Among them are many beautiful acacias, banksias,
goodenias, correas, xanthorrhaeas, and orchids, with which we are now
familiar. The Eucalyptus alba and terminalis are included, being the
first of their species to be brought home.

Following the landing of the British, the native shrubs, ferns, and
palms which grew around Sydney soon became known and were more sought
after in England than even those of the Cape. Writing at that period,
Labillardière, the French botanist, states that the old adage SEMPER
ALIQUID NOVI EX AFRICA was forgotten in the more striking novelties
brought from Australia. These new plants greatly puzzled the botanists
who first saw them and imagined that they resembled known species from
which they proved to be entirely different. Among the earliest specimens
to arrive home were Casuarina torulosa and C. stricta, Eucalyptus
obliqua and Leptospermum lanigerum--the genus Eucalyptus being
established by L'Heritier, a Frenchman who had visited England in
1786-87 and studied the Kew collections. He founded the genus on
Eucalyptus obliqua, a species which had been already named Aromadendrum
by Dr. Anderson,[*] who was on board H.M.S. Adventure " in Tasmania, and
the tree was first brought home in that ship in 1774. The earliest
illustrations published of these plants were drawn either from garden or
dried specimens, but a little later Dr. White's book appeared containing
drawings of birds and animals from life and also of flowers in their
wild state.

[* The first writer to call attention to Anderson's plants (apart from
Dryander's reference to his MSS.) was Robert Brown. Four genera named by
Anderson were Aromadendrum, Collema, Euphocarpus, Ramsaia; respectively
Eucalyptus, Goodenia, Correa, and Bauera.--Banks.]

This work, as well as the new varieties sent home by Governor Phillip
and his successors, particularly those of Hunter, Paterson, and King,
brought the knowledge of Australian flora and also of the fauna into
very great prominence. Colonel Paterson was a well-known zoologist and
botanist and while he was ever seeking fresh plants to despatch to
England, his wife, Elizabeth Paterson, besides showing the keenest
interest in his work, made collections of beautiful shells gathered when
residing in Norfolk Island, Tasmania, and Sydney. In one of his letters
(preserved at Kew) her husband wrote "she has made this her hobby"; and
Mrs. Macarthur, wife of Captain John Macarthur, also studied both botany
and astronomy in those early days.

Specimens of plants and papers of seeds were brought to England by the
botanists of the different expeditions which touched at more distant
parts of the continent. Among these collectors were David Nelson,
botanist on board the ill-fated "Bounty" which visited Tasmania in 1789;
Labillardière, who accompanied the French expedition under
d'Entrecasteaux in 1791-93, twice visiting Tasmania; and Archibald
Menzies, surgeon of the "Discovery," Vancouver's ship, which anchored
along with the "Chatham" in King George's Sound in 1791. In 1795
Cavanilles published descriptions from dried specimens communicated by
Don Luis Née and Tadeo Haeneke, botanists accompanying the Spanish
expedition under Malaspina, who touched at Sydney in 1793. The first
book dealing exclusively with the plants of Australia (here we again
quote Labillardière) was Smith's "Specimens of the Botany of New Holland
" published in 1793, the second being that of Labillardière himself
giving a description of the plants of Tasmania (then known as Van
Diemen's Land) and of Western Australia. Labillardière points out that
his own work contains descriptions of plants which had been already
described by Nelson in 1789.

Among Australian flowers the most notable was the waratah whose vivid
carmine colour made it distinguishable upon the most inaccessible
mountains. Smith says: "By common consent it is called by that name by
both Europeans and natives," and he adds: "It is a favourite with the
latter on account of the rich honeyed juice which they sip from its
flowers."The illustration of the waratah that appears in his book was
made from a coloured drawing--transmitted from Sydney--compared with the
dried specimens of the flower which had been sent home by Dr. Mite.

Following in the footsteps of Banks, Anderson, Nelson, and Labillardière
there voyaged to the southern continent a botanist the results of whose
work surpassed those of all who had preceded him there, both in regard
to the number of plants despatched home as in novelty of species. This
was Robert Brown, who accompanied Captain Matthew Flinders as botanist
on board H.M.S. "Investigator." Brown not only was with Flinders in his
exploration of the more distant coasts, but also strove to make himself
acquainted with the flora of every known part of New South Wales and
Tasmania. The full set of Brown's collection is in the Natural History
Museum at South Kensington; it is perhaps the most important of all
Australian collections. Indefatigable as he was, Brown left the
continent before its great inland territory had been discovered and
while there yet remained a vast region still awaiting the explorer and
the botanist.



"Its acquisition will compensate England for the loss of North
America."--FRANCISCO NUNEZ DE SAN CLEMENTE. [Add. MSS. 19, 264, British
Museum, New Holland. Translation from Spanish.]

The story of the founding of the first colony hardly comes within the
limits of our subject, for the explorer's theme is discovery; but some
reference to the work of the first Governors cannot well be omitted from
this book, so we will deal with it as briefly as its importance and its
interest will permit.

In January, 1788, Captain Arthur Phillip, hastening before the rest of
his fleet to choose a place for his settlement, reached the shores of
New South Wales. Accompanying him on board H.M. armed tender "Supply"
were a few officers and the most capable engineers and workmen his fleet
could command. They had rounded the southern shores of Tasmania and now
followed in Cook's track along the east coast. Phillip had been set a
great task, for the British Government had ordered him to form a penal
settlement at this great distance from home; his voyage had been very
long and hazardous, and he had almost accomplished it. Yet even on the
very threshold of the country that he had been sent to colonize his
courage might well have failed him when he beheld the vast, bare,
uncultivated land which Cook had discovered.

Its unending coast-line trended strangely;[*] sometimes disclosing
features singularly stern and hard, as at Cape Dromedary, Point Upright,
and Longnose, at others softening into low white sandhills and spreading
in wide beaches of sand where an occasional cabbage-palm was visible;
while higher up in the background a line of blue haze veiled the distant
horizon. Between the line of blue haze and the shore were forests of
eucalyptus trees whose leaves of olive green, and the smoke rising from
native fires, did not escape the notice of those on board the "Supply."

[* Phillip saw more of the coast than Hunter did in this voyage, and he
wrote from Sydney in 1790: "From what I saw when I came on the coast
between this harbour [Port Jackson] and South Cape I make no doubt
several good harbours will be found."--"Historical Records of New South
Wales," Vol. I, Part ii, P. 358.]

As from the deck Phillip watched his ship draw nearer in to the shore he
must have realized that at the end of his journey his work was only just
beginning. Beyond wood and water and the native plants seen by the
"Endeavour's" people none could tell what the country might possess.
Before him stretched the Unknown. Behind him in the fleet were, in all,
1,163 persons, the majority of whom were prisoners. The most urgent
problem confronting him, therefore, was how to supply the immediate
needs of so many people in this strange land. This alone may well have
caused him anxiety.

Since the "Endeavour" had traced her lonely course along that distant
coast no ship had visited the south-eastern part of Australia, and the
natives had probably forgotten all about Cook's visit until, early on
the morning of January 18, 1788, the "Supply" arrived.

Phillip was greatly disappointed with what he saw of Botany Bay. The
green meadows described by Banks were found to be barren swamps and
sterile sands, doubtless owing to a drought that had befallen the
country; and the bay itself, although extensive, was exposed to the full
sweep of the easterly winds, which blew violently and rolled a heavy sea
against the shore.

On entering the bay the "Supply" was compelled to anchor a little
distance from land. Some forty natives fishing near the south shore,
being greatly alarmed at the vessel's appearance, hastily dragged their
canoes out of the water, placed them on their backs, and ran off with
them into the bush. Meanwhile the women saw to the safety of their
children and the fishing-tackle. A few of the more courageous men
remained behind and ventured to the water's edge, brandishing their
spears and boomerangs and shouting "Warra, Warra!--Go away, Go away!"
exactly as these people had done eighteen years before when they had
watched the arrival of Captain Cook.

On the north side of the bay only six or seven natives were observed, so
it was at this point that, during the day, Phillip, with Lieutenant H.
L. Ball, the "Supply's" commander, Lieutenant King of the "Sirius," and
Lieutenant William Dawes of the Royal Marines prepared to land. In
consequence of the hostility of a small band of blacks who kept up a
continuous attack with stones, Captain Phillip, to avoid a quarrel,
ordered the sailors to row along shore until the boat came to a spot
where he thought he might find water. The search was unsuccessful, and
about sunset the party re-embarked and rowed back to the part of the
beach opposite which the "Supply" had anchored.

Several natives armed with spears and waddies had collected there, and
were gazing intently at the vessel. Phillip beckoned to them and made
signs that he wanted water, but they apparently were lost in amazement.
Growing impatient at last Phillip, handing his musket to the man nearest
him, sprang out of the boat, and walked towards the black men, holding
out presents to show his friendly intentions. Seeing that the Governor
frequently waved his hand to his own party to retire, at last one of the
oldest blacks came forward, and, giving his spear to a younger man,
advanced alone. When the natives understood what he wanted they laid
down their arms and led the Governor and his party to a rivulet of fresh
water. These natives seemed quite peaceable; but, on Phillip's return to
the beach, others gathered there who resented the landing, and, in order
to reach the boat, it became necessary to fire off a gun to disperse

On the following day, January 19th, three transports arrived and
reported that the hay for the cattle on board was almost exhausted. A
party was consequently sent to cut grass, and Captain Phillip made a
tour of the south side of the bay. In this expedition he again saw the
inhabitants, and again advanced alone to meet them. A green branch was
used by both parties as a sign of friendship, and the blacks threw down
their spears to show that they were amicably disposed. Meanwhile the
sailors gave them presents of coloured flannel, red baize, and beads,
with which they adorned themselves. They were excellent mimics and could
imitate the marines to perfection. The sound of the fife delighted them,
but the beating of the drum sent them running into the bush, and they
would not return until it ceased. The headgear of the strangers also
pleased them, and several hats were stolen off their owners' heads, and
whenever an Englishman took off his hat they gave shouts of approval.

"Heavy in clouds came on the day" (January 20th) of Captain Hunter's
arrival in H.M.S. "Sirius" with the remainder of the transports. "To
us," wrote Captain Tench, "it was a great and important day and I hope
will mark the foundation...of an Empire."

The harbour being considered too exposed, the Governor decided to look
for a more convenient landing-place, and set out on January 21st,
accompanied by Hunter and two other officers, in three open boats to
examine the coast to the northward, intending to reach "what Captain
Cook had called Broken Bay.[*] Another opening, marked Port Jackson on
his chart, however, first attracted notice, and Phillip ordered his
seamen to explore the inlet within. At first sight it presented a rather
unpromising appearance, having "high, rugged, and perpendicular cliffs"
guarding the entrance on either side.

[* Hunter's Journal.]

In passing between the heads the boats were greeted with wild cries from
the natives on the rocks above. Others were observed in the coves, who,
on seeing the strangers, left the shore and joined those higher up in
evident alarm. The black men followed in the wake of the visitors for
some distance, keeping close to the edge of the cliffs, but the long,
heavy swell of the ocean gradually sank, and the shouts of the natives
grew fainter as early in the afternoon the boats ran into smooth water,
and the seamen saw stretching in front of them a wide and picturesque
harbour with bays and coves and rocky points, many being covered with
green foliage down to the water's edge. On the hills inland tall trees
grew, with olive-green leaves resembling those seen upon the coast to
the southward.

Captain Phillip was struck with the beauty of the scene, and when he
found a safe cove possessing both wood and water chose this as the site
of his settlement. The cove was given the name of Sydney in honour of
Thomas Townshend, Lord Sydney, then Home Secretary in Pitt's Government.
Two days were spent in surveying the various coves, and during that time
the inhabitants became well disposed toward the white people, and a
chief who went with Phillip to inspect his camp gave evidence of
intelligence and courage. At another point a party of natives waded into
the water to receive the gifts offered them and showed such manly
trustfulness in the British sailors that the Governor afterwards gave
the spot the name of Manly Cove.

On the 23rd Phillip rejoined his people and directions were given to the
fleet to prepare to proceed to Port Jackson. Leaving orders with Hunter
to follow him next day, the Governor on the 25th sailed in the "Supply"
back to this harbour. We find one of the most interesting descriptions
of subsequent events and of the landing at Sydney in the journal of
Daniel Southwell, midshipman in H.M.S. "Sirius." He writes:

About January 24th, to our great surprise, we saw two strange sail in
the offing...a current set them bodily to the southward and,
together with a contrary wind...kept them from coming in until the
26th...They proved the 'Boussole' and 'Astrolabe,' Monsieur de la

The French ships had last left Samoa, where at the island of Maouna they
had lost l'Angle the "Astrolabe's" commander, with several other
officers and seamen, and two long boats, in an attack made by the
natives while searching for water. La Pe~rouse had sailed to New South
Wales guided by Cook's chart, and had anchored off Norfolk Island, but
could not land on account of the surf.

On first seeing the British ships, on January 24th--when he tried in
vain to speak to them--La Pe~rouse wrote: "We saw this day a sight
entirely new to us--a British fleet lying at anchor, the colours and
pendants of the ships...plainly distinguishable. Europeans are all
fellow-countrymen at such a distance from home, and we felt the greatest
impatience to get to an anchorage, but the next day was so hazy and our
ships sailed too badly to overcome both the force of wind and currents,
so we did not get in until the 26th at nine in the morning."

As soon as the French ships had anchored, the first lieutenant and a
midshipman from H.M.S. "Sirius" went on board the "Boussole" bearing a
message from Captain Hunter, offering in the name of the Governor all
the services in his power, but regretting his inability to furnish
provisions, ammunition, or sails, since his convoy was on the point of
departure. Clonard, second in command, was at once despatched to tender
the thanks of the French commodore to Captain Hunter--who was already
apeak with his topsails hoisted--and to intimate that the wants of the
French did not extend beyond wood and water, of which they should find
plenty in the bay. The first lieutenant did not inform La Pe~rouse
whither the convoy was bound, but several launches and small boats were
under sail, and it was conjectured that the distance must indeed be
short to render it unnecessary to hoist them into the ships. An English
sailor, less cautious than the rest, informed the crew of the "Boussole"
that they were only bound to Port Jackson, a few miles away, where ships
could anchor "within pistol shot of the land in water as smooth as a

After thus exchanging greetings with the French, Hunter's fleet left for
Sydney. Mr. Southwell continues: "We weighed for Port Jackson and came
to there the same evening in as snug a place as London River. Nothing
could be more picturesque than the appearance of the country while
running up this extraordinary harbour. The land on all
covered with trees...Towards the water's edge craggy rocks and
wonderful declivities are everywhere to be seen. A number of small
islands are interspersed...some lying in the middle of the stream...and
although extremely rocky are covered with trees, most of which
are evergreen. The white sides of the eminences with very little help
from fancy have at a distance the appearance of grand seats and superb
palaces...The natives too formed a part in the landscape, for some
had posted themselves on the overhanging cliffs and brandished their
lances...We ran two leagues...and came to a place called Sydney

On this evening, January 26th, the people were assembled at a point
where the "Supply's" passengers who had arrived with the Governor had
first landed in the morning. Here a flagstaff was erected and a Union
Jack displayed while the marines fired volleys, between which the
healths of His Majesty and the Royal Family with success to the new
Colony were cordially drunk.

Not all the ships came into Sydney Cove that evening; some had to anchor
out in the stream.[*] On the following day (.January 27th), however, the
remainder of the fleet drew closer inshore and the landing began. The
first undertaking was to clear the ground and erect houses, the
framework of which had been brought from England. Meanwhile the settlers
encamped in tents and under the trees, "in a country resembling the
woody parts of a deer park," and, at first, there was a good deal of
confusion mingled with amusement at the novel experiences. In one place
were "a party cutting down wood, another setting up a forge, a third
dragging a load of provisions; here stood an officer pitching his tent
with his troops parading on one side of him and a cook's fire blazing
furiously on the other," every one animated with a desire to do his
utmost in helping to found the settlement.

[* See log-books of the transports.]

On Sunday, February 3rd, Divine Service was held under the shade of a
large tree (it was a very hot day), at which the Rev. Richard Johnson,
chaplain to the new colony, officiated.

The plan of the town," says Southwell, "is laying out, in which I
believe Mr. Dawes is particularly engaged. Whether a name is decided I
cannot tell, but have heard Albion mentioned." This name we know was not
finally adopted, and a note in the MS. says that Sydney was the title
decided upon by the Governor for the town as well as for the cove upon
which he had first bestowed it.

In the meantime La Pe~rouse was busily careening his ships at Botany
Bay. At first few visits were exchanged. But there were on board the
"Boussole" and "Astrolabe" some of the first scientists of France, and
soon a pleasant friendship sprang up between the representatives of the
two nations. During their stay the French officers pitched their tents
on shore, set up a small observatory, and put together the frames of two
large boats which they had brought from France. Round their camp a
stockade, guarded by two small guns, was thrown up as a protection
against the attacks of the natives.

At this time La Perouse and his officers penned the letters to their
friends in France which were fated to be the last received from those on
board the ships. Perhaps not without a shade of disappointment La
Pe~rouse wrote of his arrival: "We were preceded by the English only
five days. To the most distinguished politeness they have added every
other service in their power, and it was with regret we watched them
depart for Port Jackson...Our boats are already on the stocks; by
the end of the month I expect they will be launched. We are only 10
miles distant from the English by land and consequently have frequent
intercourse with them." One realizes too the note of sadness in another
letter when, possibly with l'Angle's fate in his mind, La Pe~rouse
wrote: "I have arrived here without a sick man on board either of the
ships; I have formed here a new kind of entrenchment with palisades so
as to build our boats in security; this precaution was necessary against
the Indians of New Holland who...threw spears at us after receiving
our presents and experiencing our kindness. My opinion of uncivilized
races has long been formed and this voyage will confirm it. I have been
too often in danger not to know them."

Among the first visitors to the " Boussole " and the " Astrolabe" were
Lieutenant King and Lieutenant Dawes, who came round in the cutter from
Sydney on February 1st, in the morning. They dined with the commodore
and after inspecting the scientific collections in the ships were
entertained at the camp on shore. On February 8th another party of naval
officers came overland from Sydney to visit the French. At the same time
Clonard went to Port Jackson, taking with him correspondence to be
forwarded to the French Ambassador in London. Quite a little ENTENTE
CORDIALE resulted from these visits, but soon afterwards a gloom fell
over the French encampment when on February 17th Pere Receveur, one of
the chaplains, died from the effects of wounds he had received at the
hands of the Samoans. He was buried close to the observatory at the foot
of a large tree, on which were nailed two pieces of board with an
inscription bearing his name and the date of his death. Two days later
Captain Phillip sent two horses over to the French camp to conduct La
Pe~rouse and his suite to Sydney. This is the only instance mentioned of
the French commodore visiting the Governor, but it is probable that he
came to the settlement more than once.

On March 11th the "Boussole" and the "Astrolabe" weighed anchor and
sailed to the northwards. For forty years no news of them reached
Europe; then wreckage was found at Vanikoro and information afterwards
obtained which left no doubt that both vessels had been lost there and
that many of the Frenchmen in endeavouring to escape from the waves were
killed by the natives.

To return to the settlement at Sydney. The Governor's canvas house had
been erected on the east side of the cove: the military had encamped at
the head and most of the prisoners were placed on the west side. As
winter approached barracks for the soldiers were begun. Capital bricks
were made at somewhat less than a league from the camp, and this spot,
though rather a scanty village, "became a pleasant walk." Gardening,
farming, and cultivation of the soil occupied the attention of every
one. A wharf for the convenience of landing stores was constructed; the
long-boats were employed in bringing cabbage-trees from the lower parts
of the harbour, where they grew in abundance, and they were found fit
for use in erecting temporary huts, the posts and planks being made of
the pine of the country, the sides and ends fitted with lengths of
cabbage trees plastered with clay, and the roofs generally being
thatched with grass.

Presently Sydney took shape. According to a description of it handed
down to us by one who lived there in November, 1788, the town at first
did not present an attractive picture. "We have now two streets," says
the writer, "if four rows of the most miserable huts you can possibly
conceive deserve that name. Windows they have none, as from the
Governor's house, now nearly finished, no glass could be spared, so that
lattices of twigs are made by our people to supply their places. At the
extremity of the lines, where since our arrival the dead are buried,
there is a place called the church yard."

The curious contrast between the "miserable huts" constructed by the
settlers and the "superb palaces" of Nature's making seen by Southwell
must have lent the Sydney of those early days a very strange appearance.
But only for a time were the huts seen there. As the population
increased the streets were lengthened and more substantially built
houses with pretty gardens supplanted the huts. The new homes, set amid
the exquisite surroundings of harbour scenery on the one side and the
wildernesses of bushland on the other, soon gave to Sydney that charm
which ever since has distinguished it.[*]

[* Half a century later Captain Lort Stokes thus wrote of the town: "A
noble city has sprung up as if by magic which will ever serve as a
monument of English enterprise."--"Stokes' Voyage," Vol. 1, P. 244.]

If at first the town was small, the dimensions of the colony placed
under Phillip's control were enormous. He was instructed to administer
territory defined as including "all the east coast of Australia from
Cape York to South Cape (at the southern extremity of Tasmania), its
western boundary being constituted by the 135th degree of east
longitude." The Governor's commission read publicly when he landed had
proclaimed him ruler of this immense region, embracing as it did nearly
half the continent under the name of New South Wales.

The only portions seen or surveyed up to the time of Phillip's coming
were the places Torres and the Dutch had sighted in the north; the
shores of the east coast traced by Cook, and, in addition to Tasman's
discoveries in Tasmania, Marion Bay, where du Fresne had anchored;
Adventure Bay and the islands, and parts of the Tasmanian coast-line,
which had been charted by Furneaux and Cook, so that there was a great
field ripe for discovery. As soon as he had seen the work of building a
town started and, when the land was cleared, the planting of wheat,
barley, and rice which had been brought from Rio and the Cape, Phillip
led his people forth on their path of exploration.

In 1788 he defined the boundaries round a portion of the settlement
which was named the county of Cumberland. We are told that this
comprised the portion lying between the northernmost point of Broken Bay
and the southernmost point of Botany Ray, extending westward to the
Lansdowne and Carmarthen Hills, which he had seen and named during his
inland excursions. He also minutely surveyed the harbours of Botany Bay
and Port Jackson, and went several times to Broken Bay in order to
examine its different branches. Charts of all these harbours were sent
home by him to the Admiralty.

It had been arranged that the settlement should never be left without
twelve months' provisions, but in consequence of H.M.S. "Guardian," a
44-gun ship under the command of Lieutenant Riou, after leaving the Cape
on December 23, 1789, being nearly wrecked on her way to Sydney, the
colony was brought to the verge of starvation. By skilful seamanship
Riou took the helpless vessel back to Table Bay, though he wrote home
"the ship is past recovery."[*] Meanwhile in New South Wales much of the
valuable live stock imported had been killed, and not until the arrival
of the "Lady Juliana" on June 3, 1790, were the meagre rations of the
hungry people increased.[**] H.M.S. "Gorgon" had been at once
commissioned for the relief of the colony after the "Guardian's" loss
was reported at home, and on September 21st she reached Port Jackson,
convoying a fleet of ten transports, when Captain Parker, her commander,
with Captain King, newly appointed Governor of Norfolk Island, landed
with dispatches for Governor Phillip.

[* "The Gorgon" took most of her stores from the Cape, leaving nothing
but her anchors.]

[** The arrival of the "Neptune," "Surprise," and "Scarborough" in 1790
relieved the distress.]

The "Gorgon's" voyage added to the knowledge of the East Coast. Some of
those in command of the ships in passing up the coast entered harbours
which until then were quite unknown. Lieutenant Bowen, of the
"Atlantic," discovered an inlet where Cook had imagined that the shore
would form a bay and had named its northern point Longnose.

Bowen took the "Atlantic" into the bay and found that its latitude was
35°15' S. Its entrance was from a mile to a mile and a half wide: "the
southernmost point an island [Bowen Island] almost connected with the
mainland; the north point pretty high and rising perpendicularly out of
the sea."[*] The north point at first was taken for a long, low island,
but afterwards it was ascertained to be a peninsula. After Bowen had
passed through the entrance he found himself in "a very capacious basin
three or four miles wide and five or six miles in length," with regular
soundings; of it he wrote: "The west side and head of the bay was a
white sandy beach, the eastern shore is bold and rocky, and there is a
small shoal in the middle of the entrance." Bowen came upon a native
canoe upon the beach and saw kangaroos, but could not find fresh water.
He named this harbour Jervis Bay in honour of Admiral Sir John Jervis.

[* Hunter's Journal, which quotes Bowen's description of it.]

Another captain, Matthew Weatherhead, anchored his ship "Matilda" "for
two days inside an island off Tasmania in 42°15' S.and 148½* E."
Weatherhead was one of those energetic seamen who took a delight in
making known the geography of the South Pacific. He appears to have
taken the "Matilda" into an inlet "within" Schouten Island, which, he
says, "afforded shelter for five or six ships."

Schouten Island lies off the eastern coast of Tasmania, and is about ten
miles from it. Weatherhead reached this island, which had been
discovered by Tasman in 1642, and seen by Furneaux in 1774, on July 27,
1791. Neither the Dutch nor the English navigator had stopped to
investigate its shores, both imagining it to be part of a group. Only a
narrow strait separates the island from Freycinet Peninsula to the
northward. The French on coming there in 1802 called the strait
Géographe Strait, after Baudin's ship, and named the wide space between
Schouten Island and the Tasmanian mainland Fleurieu Bay, now Oyster Bay,
imagining that they were the first to see it but Weatherhead had brought
the "Matilda" to an anchorage there, and on his arrival in Sydney
Captain Tench realizing that he had made a discovery, questioned him
concerning it. In answer to Tench's inquiries[*] Weatherhead likened the
bay to Spithead, and said that he had found plenty of fresh water on
shore, and that it was sandy and in many places full of craggy rocks.
The only animals that he saw were three kangaroos. Although he met with
none of the natives, he had seen several huts like those of Port
Jackson, in one of which lay a spear. In honour of his ship Weatherhead
named the place Matilda Bay.

[* Tench's questions and Weatherhead's replies appear in full in an
"Account of Port Jackson," by Captain Watkin Tench, 1793, P. 137.]

Captain Tench, as though afraid lest anyone should doubt the
authenticity of the above discoveries, wrote as follows on the last page
of his "Account of Port Jackson": "The two discoveries of Port Jervis
and Matilda Bay may yet be wanting in the maps of the coast. My account
of their geographic situation except possibly in the exact longitude of
the latter...may be safely depended upon."

Weatherhead met with another island off Cape Dromedary, where he thought
two or three ships might easily find shelter. He probably sighted the
small bight on the west coast of Montagu Island (seen by the
"Surprise"), where small ships can take refuge. In the month of the
following November he visited Jervis Bay and examined Bowen's
discoveries, of which he made an "Eye Draught " (which we reproduce), at
the same time remarking, " There is exceeding good anchorage here."[*]

[* "Adm. Sec. In Letters: 2309."]

Alexander Dalrymple made a copy of Weatherhead's sketch, to which he
appends the note, "In the Matilda many natives were seen and canoes on
the beach; the natives were armed with spears but they could have no
communication with them." Dalrymple also shows the mouth of a creek on
the west side of the bay and marks the words "Fresh Water" on the beach
south of it. He calls a point yet farther to the southward Cabbage Tree
Point, and on the east side of the bay he gives the names (from north to
south) of Long Point, Long Beach (the "Matilda's" anchorage), Cawood
Point, and Rocky Point, these being the first names given in Jervis Bay.

No less than five of the "Gorgon's" fleet, including the "Matilda," were
whaling ships. Having seen whales on their way up the Australian coast
the masters obtained Phillips's permission to try for a cargo of oil off
there, hoping to be able to establish a fishery in New South Wales.
Captain Melville of Messrs. Enderbys' ship "Britannia" (followed by the
"William and Ann") was the first to put to sea on October 25th, and
killed seven whales on that day, although he secured only two. Another
master killed nine whales and secured five.

The other captains, Colonel Collins thought, were more desirous of
obtaining a knowledge of the harbours on the coast than of keeping at
sea long enough to be able to determine whether a fishery might be
successfully established. Weatherhead was one of these. He landed during
November from a boat in a bay north of Sydney, "about six miles
southward of Port Stephens, where the seine was hauled and a quantity of
fish taken."[*] Captain Nichols brought the "Salamander" to an anchorage
in Port Stephens, "until then not visited by anyone." He made an eye
sketch of the harbour and some of its arms; Salamander Bay being then
placed on the chart.

[* Morna Point is 4½ miles south of Port Stephens, the land between
Morna Point and Newcastle Harbour forming a bay known as Newcastle

Weatherhead left Port Jackson for Peru on December 28th. One dark night
his ship grounded upon Mururoa or Vairaatea (the Osnaburg Island of
Carteret). In 1826 Captain Beechey in the "Blossom" saw remains of the
vessel, and was able to identify the shoal as the scene of the
"Matilda's" wreck. He named it Matilda Shoal. Weatherhead and his ship's
company reached Tahiti safely in their boats.

When the Port Jackson natives saw that the white people had taken up a
permanent residence in their land their behaviour changed. For some time
they withdrew from the settlement and appeared to spend their time in
fishing and hunting the kangaroo, called by them "patagorang." Nor would
they ever visit Sydney. Captain Phillips therefore determined to take
one of their number prisoner, thinking that if the man were treated
kindly he would induce his countrymen to place more confidence in
Europeans. The first man to be captured was Arabanoo (named at first
Manly after the spot where he was taken). He became a general favourite
but did not live long. Then two sick children were brought into the
hospital for treatment. Later in November, 1789, two other natives were
seized on the north side of the harbour; some of the seamen, meeting
them on the beach, pulled them into the boat and brought them back to
the settlement. One was a chief named Colebe, the other a younger man
called Bennilong. Both were kept at Government House, where they were
well treated and given suitable clothes. Colebe soon afterwards made his
escape, carrying off the whole of his wardrobe. Bennilong was given his
liberty in April, 1790, and at first did not seem inclined to leave the
Governor's residence; but one evening he too disappeared without saying
good-bye to his white friends. The fishing boats subsequently met these
two men in the harbour, and afterwards, although they came armed with
either spears or clubs, the natives visited Sydney, and from that time a
better feeling sprang up between the white and black races.

Up to this time the homes of the colonists had been erected within a
comparatively small space round the shores of the cove, but on the
arrival of fresh ships bringing more prisoners and settlers, Phillip
turned his attention to the formation of fresh settlements; one made in
1788 at Parramatta soon became a place of importance. On November 2nd,
with three officers and a party of marines, the Governor visited the
spot and named it Rosehill, after Mr. George Rose, then Secretary to the
Treasury. Gradually small hamlets began to spring up amid the
surrounding inland country.

Fortunately Phillip remained long enough in New South Wales to see his
colony firmly established and to penetrate many parts of the interior.
(An account of these explorations will be found in another Chapter.) But
the anxiety and cares of office at last weakened his health. It is not
unlikely that the beginning of his illness was due to the scanty fare
that he had lived upon in the time of famine, when the Governor, "from a
motive which did him immortal honour," gave up to the public store flour
set aside for his own use, since he did not wish for more at his table
than the daily ration issued to each person. His health continued to
decline, and at length he petitioned the Home Government to be allowed
to return to England. Reluctantly leave was granted and he left in the
"Atlantic" on December 11, 1792, amid the regrets of the whole

The Founder of the first colony, he will ever be remembered as one who,
in the words of the first Governor-General, laid its foundations "deep
and wide." To have reached the bare shores of Australia safely with his
fleet was a triumph of seamanship, but in a space of five years where
all was wilderness to have moulded and left behind him a British colony
fast becoming self-supporting was a feat that only few other men could
have accomplished.

Captain John Hunter was appointed to succeed him.

Between the departure of Captain Phillip and the arrival of Hunter there
was an interval of about two years and nine months, during which period
the settlement was administered successively by the senior officers of
the New South Wales Corps (an irregular force raised at home for special
service in the colony). The first of these, Major Francis Grose, who
practically suppressed civil government after Phillip left, thereby
creating a serious set-back to all the former progress, continued in
office until December, 1794, when he resigned and sailed for England.
His successor, as Lieutenant-Governor, was Captain William Paterson,
another officer of this regiment. He is best noted for the energy he
displayed in endeavouring to penetrate the mountains, in forwarding to
Europe specimens of the botany and natural history of the country, and
in protecting the settlers from the raids of the natives when they
became troublesome.

There is also evidence that Major Grose and his brother-officers,
although they have been greatly blamed for the disappointing condition
into which the colony relapsed at this time, were not unmindful of its
general needs, as the following extract from a letter written by Captain
Paterson (before he became Lieutenant-Governor) to a friend[*] at home
will show. It is dated Port Jackson, August 23, 1794: "The 'Britannia,'
Captain Raven, is taken up by the officers for the purpose of bringing
horses and cattle from the Cape of Good Hope, and by her I have sent a
box of specimens for you and directed Captain Raven to leave them in
charge of Masson if there be no ship ready to sail while he is there. In
return I hope you will not forget me in the garden seeds and farming
seeds such as clover, horse beans, lucerne, and such as you think will
stand the long voyage. At present I have only a garden of 6 acres...
My stock increases fast. I have a large stock of goats, a cow and a
calf, and expect great things by the ' Britannia,' at least I ought for
my share is £400."

[* Forsyth.]

Then Paterson goes on to tell us more about the colony: "Everything
looks well and the country not that desert which many of the first
settlers supposed. We are now independent of flour, and in a few years I
have little doubt but that meat will be in plenty. We find, as the
country gets cleared, the soil is found to be better for wine and corn.
I think it will exceed the Cape. The encouragement Major Grose has given
settlers of all descriptions has certainly done wonders. From this place
to the new settlement at the Hawkesbury, a man can walk in eight hours
and a good road made all the way, so that we have an intercourse with
that [place], Toongabby and Parramatta in the course of one day..."

In 1795, when the second Governor, Captain Hunter, arrived and took over
the Colony from Paterson, its internal affairs again began to flourish.
The fortunes of the land improved, forests were cleared and cultivated,
and the town showed signs of progress. New settlers, too, in increasing
numbers made their homes at Parramatta and in the Hawkesbury River
district at Portland Head.

The first book ever printed in Australia, "The General Standing Orders
of New South Wales, 1802," states that Sydney and Parramatta or Rosehill
were first divided into two parishes, Sydney being called the Parish of
St. Phillip in honour of Governor Phillip, and Parramatta the Parish of
St. John in honour of Captain John Hunter. Sydney Parish included
Petersham, Bulanaming, Concord, and Liberty Plains (named in 1793),
while Parramatta Parish included Banks Town, Prospect Hill, Toongabby,
Seven Hills, Castle Hill, Eastern Farm, Field of Mars (the name given by
Phillip to land granted by him to eight marines), Northern Boundary, The
Ponds, and Kissing Point. Each of these places was of course little more
than a hamlet and only consisted of a few settlers' houses.

The Hawkesbury or St. George's Parish was made the third parish of the
new colony during the rule of Major Grose in 1794. In this region six
cattle, some of the herd first brought to the colony, which had strayed
into the bush in June, 1788, had sought a retreat, and here they or
their descendants were discovered in 1795. The country over which they
ranged became known under the name of the Cowpastures, and it not only
formed a happy hunting ground for the Governors, but also supplied them
with the rare luxury of fresh meat. At Greenhills, its principal town,
which was renamed Windsor, Captain John Hunter spent much of his time.
There exists an old sketch of the Cowpastures known as John Hunter's
Chart, made in 1797, on which is shown a lagoon with the name Black Swan
Lake, and at some distance from Mount Taurus, where a bull had been
killed, various inscriptions such as "here a bull was seen" or
"beautiful country." The chart shows that Hunter, as did Phillip before
him, went exploring inland.

Captain Hunter also made expeditions along the coast; in Phillip's time
he had charted Port Jackson and surveyed several rivers; he now
initiated fresh discoveries, and tried to build a ship of 160 tons,
which, however, he could not finish, "but she stood in the frame upwards
of two years exposed to the weather without the smallest decay." He
brought to the notice of the Home Government the native flax, the indigo
which grew "spontaneously," and the astringent bark of trees well
adapted for tanning, as well as the abundant iron ore, and, what was
most encouraging, the equally abundant coal.

e left for Europe in September, 1800, and, on taking his departure,
placed the administration in the hands of Captain King, who, when Hunter
did not return, was appointed to succeed him.

Governor King's energy gave an impetus to discovery both on land and
sea, and his efforts to promote British influence extended far beyond
the limits of the colony that he ruled.

remembering the proximity of Tasmania and New Zealand, and, thinking it
unwise to leave the shores of the former island unpeopled and open to
the designs of other nations, he impressed his views upon the Home
Government, with the result that settlers were sent to Tasmania, and a
house--possibly the first ever built in New Zealand--was erected for
officials in the Bay of Islands. King retired in August, 1806.

The new Governor, Captain William Bligh, was a Cornishman like his
predecessor, and had seen service in various parts of the world. He had
fought with distinction at the Dogger Bank in 1781, at Gibraltar in
1782; and, in 1801, under Lord Nelson, he commanded the "Glatton" at the
battle of Copenhagen. In 1787 he had proceeded in the "Bounty" to Tahiti
to collect bread-fruit, and was the victim of the well-known mutiny. His
second voyage on the same errand was a complete success, and to the
British Government he seemed to be the very man to pilot the young
settlement into quiet waters. Bligh, however, brave man though he had
proved himself, and superb seaman, as all his voyages will testify, was
not a success as Governor. He soon ruffled the military officials and
roused a commotion which he could not control, with the result that,
after placing him under arrest, they kept him a prisoner within his own
house for twelve months. He returned to England in 1809 and in turn was
succeeded by Colonel Paterson, formerly of the New South Wales Corps,
who arrived from Tasmania.

Paterson left the colony in 1810. He was one of the best and the most
popular of the lieutenant-governors, but his kindliness of heart often
prevented him from doing useful work for fear of giving offence. On
leaving Port Jackson ten boats crowded with people followed his pinnace
to the ship, "cheering him all the way." He died during his homeward

Lachlan Macquarie, who succeeded him as the new Governor, came of an old
Scottish family settled at Ulva. He had seen service in America, in
India, and at Alexandria. In 1807 he was appointed to take command of
the 73rd, and in 1809 received orders to proceed to New South Wales with
that regiment, being promoted to the rank of major-general while he held
the reins of government.

Macquarie's rule, which extended over a period of twelve years, was of
the greatest importance to the colony. He had been invested by the home
authorities with larger powers than any previous Governor with the
exception of Phillip, and had been given a free hand and adequate means
to carry out any measures which he might deem expedient. Among his
reforms perhaps none were more beneficial than those which affected the
port itself.

One of his methods was to impose taxes upon native products brought into
the harbour and landed at Sydney by whalers and traders from different
islands in the Pacific. The harbour had become for many of these vessels
nothing more nor less than a dumping ground; and, owing to the fact that
its depth of water allowed ships to discharge their cargoes in the very
heart of the town, wharves and stages sprang up in all directions round
the cove. Macquarie insisted that these buildings should be constructed
with some uniformity, and enforced regulations for the greater
convenience of shipping and commerce. His judicious development of its
trade raised Port Jackson to the position of an important and thriving
seaport. Among other taxes he imposed the following:

On each ton of béche-de-mer, £5; on each ton of sandalwood, pearl shell,
or sperm oil, £2 10s.; on each spar from New Zealand, £1, as well as
various duties upon cedar, kangaroo skins, and seal skins. A flourishing
trade had long since been established in these commodities so that the
new taxation considerably increased the revenue.

His insight also told him that roads and bridges, being the natural
ducts of a new country, should precede rather than follow colonization,
and with prison labour at his command, by means of chain-gangs, he made
roads inland wherever it was possible to do so, making them so
thoroughly that many constructed during his rule are still used. He
encouraged the exploration of the interior and visited each settlement
in turn, going by sea to those at a distance, and endeavouring to effect
improvements wherever it was in his power. In consequence there was not
a pioneer in the country who did not in his heart thank the British
Government for placing such a man at the head of the infant colony.

Macquarie's activities were not confined to the outlying country and the
adjacent settlements. In Sydney his energies found scope in all
directions. He found the town composed of small houses or huts scattered
about or huddled together according to no organized plan. Under his hand
it began to be a fair city with well-ordered streets and imposing public
buildings. He tried also not only to rebuild the town but to beautify it
by planting gardens and by making walks and roads wherever they would
command views of the shores of Port Jackson. A lighthouse possessing a
revolving light was erected by him at South Head. Mrs. Macquarie had the
drive in the Domain laid out after her own plan, and on the extreme
point overlooking the harbour a sort of natural seat has ever since been
known as "Mrs. Macquarie's Chair." The Governor and his wife bade
farewell to New South Wales in December, 1821.

He died in London two and a half years later, and was buried at his old
home in Scotland.



Even before Macquarie's coming to Port Jackson, Sydney was looked upon
as an important British outpost in the southern hemisphere. Thence while
the city was still in its infancy had set out the exploring expeditions
of Hunter, Shortland, Waterhouse, Bass, Flinders, Grant, Murray,
Curtoys, and Symons, and later of King, often with only such equipment
as the colony could provide. True successors to the English sailors of
the Elizabethan age, their voyages have placed some of these seamen
among Britain's most noted discoverers. They served in the naval ships,
of which it has been justly said that they helped to build up the
country. Considering the amount of work done, there were not many
vessels employed, and only a close study of the instructions issued to
the men who held commissions in them can throw even a little light on
the patience and skill with which they first explored not only New South
Wales but also the adjacent seas and territories.

the most fascinating story of early Australia is to be found in their
log-books and journals. In these the daily events are recorded, set down
at the time they occurred in a matter-of-fact, sailor-like way--the
writer possibly not realizing that he was entering information which was
to complete a link in the chain of the discovery of a continent. Yet
these bare facts seem to unfold a clearer message for us than anything
the most ornate language could convey.

Following the "Endeavour," which, as we have seen, discovered the east
coast, and the "Sirius" and "Supply," which convoyed the first fleet to
southern waters, the ships whose names are perhaps most familiar in
connexion with the early exploration and settlement of Australia are the
"Reliance," "Investigator," "Buffalo," "Lady Nelson," and Mermaid."


The "Sirius" was a frigate of about 520 tons and mounted twenty guns.
Built as the "Berwick," she was intended for the East India Company;
meeting with an accident by fire she was purchased by the Admiralty and
renamed. Captain Hunter was appointed to command her with the rank of
post-captain, but, when the vessel was assigned to Captain Phillip for
his expedition, Hunter for a time was second in command. On the
colonists being landed he resumed his post as captain of the ship.
Unless the story is true that Spanish ringbolts have been found embedded
in the rocks at Sydney, the "Supply" and "Sirius" (with the vessels
forming the fleet) were the first European ships to anchor in Port
Jackson. In September, 1788, the "Sirius" was sent to the Cape of Good
Hope to obtain a supply of fresh provisions for the settlement. It was a
rather remarkable voyage, for on her way thither she steered a course
southward of New Zealand to Cape Horn, endeavouring to keep as much as
possible in a parallel between the tracks of the "Resolution" and the
"Adventure," and on November 24, 1788, before rounding the Cape, reached
the high latitude Of 57°31' S. The "Sirius" spent twenty-eight days amid
the ice and passed through what Hunter describes as a lane or street of
ice-islands varying in magnitude from the size of a country church to
two or three miles in circumference. Many were half black, apparently
with earth, to which they had adhered; others were tinged a beautiful
sea green.

On January 2nd Hunter arrived at Table Bay and came back to Sydney in
May, 1789. When the colonists were reduced to starvation during the
famine the "Sirius" received orders to bring a supply of provisions from
China and to call at Norfolk Island on her way. She left Port Jackson on
March 6, 1790, and was destined never to return, for on reaching Norfolk
Island on March 19th she struck a reef of coral rocks while trying to
enter Sydney Bay and became a complete wreck. Over one hundred years
later her anchor was recovered and is now a "Monument" in Macquarie
Street, Sydney.

Captain Phillip then hired a Dutch snow called the "Waaksamheyd"
("Vigilance") to bring the officers and men home, and on his arrival in
England Hunter was as usual placed on trial by court martial for the
loss of his ship, but was honourably acquitted. At this time (October,
1793) we find him on board H.M.S. "Queen Charlotte" under Sir Roger
Curtis at Torbay. He sailed to take up his appointment as Governor of
New South Wales on February 15, 1795, in command of H.M.S. "Reliance,"
Captain Henry Waterhouse, an officer who had served under Phillip,
holding the rank of second captain. After calling at Teneriffe and Rio,
Hunter arrived at his destination on September 5, 1795.


The "Supply" was a wonderful little ship, and it has been said that she
was "ever the harbinger of glad and welcome tidings."[*] Described as a
very firm, strong little brig, she mounted eight guns and was purchased
by the Admiralty to take the place of the "Grantham" when that ship was
proved unseaworthy. While the complement of the "Sirius" numbered 160
men, that of the "Supply" was but fifty-five. Under Lieutenant Ball, as
tender to the frigate, she helped to escort the transports and store
ships to New South Wales, and seems to have been especially favoured by
Captain Phillip. When eighty leagues eastward of the Cape of Good Hope,
he went on board the "Supply" in order to hurry on in advance and choose
a place for the reception of his fleet. To her, therefore, fell the
honour of being the first ship to follow the "Endeavour" along the east
coast. It has been told how she had entered the harbour of Port Jackson
a day before the other vessels in 1788. While stationed there she had a
very useful career and made many voyages to Norfolk Island. She sailed
from Sydney with the "Sirius" in March, 1790. In the following month
Captain Phillip dispatched the brig on an important mission to Batavia.
A little later she too was ordered home for refitting.

[* Tench.]

The " Supply " returned to England by way of Cape Horn, possibly in the
track which the "Sirius " had previously taken, for on December 27,
1791, she also reached the high latitude Of 57°32' S. On April 20, 1792,
she sighted the Lizard.


Through the services of her officers and men the "Reliance" played a
very distinguished part in promoting settlement and colonization. After
Captain Hunter had landed at Sydney under a salute of fifteen guns from
the ship on Saturday, September 12, 1795, his patent was read
constituting him Governor.

Waterhouse succeeded Hunter as her captain. He was Bass's brother-in-law
and proved a very energetic officer. The colonists owe him a debt of
gratitude, for in 1797, when the "Reliance" in company with another
"Supply" under Captain Kent called at the Cape, Waterhouse and Kent
purchased the valuable merino sheep of the late Colonel Gordon and
brought them at their own expense to Sydney. Waterhouse Island in
Tasmania (which possesses a good anchorage) was named by Flinders in his
honour, and when homeward bound in the "Reliance" in 1800 he himself
discovered, far to the southward of New Zealand, an island which he
named Penantipodes Island.

In the year 1797 Lieutenant Shortland (who as a midshipman had served
formerly under Phillip), while in pursuit of some runaways, came upon an
unknown river north of Port Jackson, to which he gave the name of
Hunter, and found a harbour where in the surrounding cliffs a stratum of
coal was found. At this spot the settlement, afterwards known as
Newcastle, was formed.

Yet among those serving in the "Reliance" at this time who worked for
and guided the destinies of the new land the figures of George Bass and
Matthew Flinders stand out in greatest prominence. Bass was the ship's
surgeon, with a passion for discovery; Flinders a midshipman who two
years previously had completed a difficult voyage in the "Providence"
under Captain Bligh, and who therefore was admirably fitted for the work
of exploration. These two men, sometimes apart, sometimes in company,
sailed from Port Jackson again and again to glean knowledge of the
coast-lines of both Australia and Tasmania. Within a month after their
arrival at Sydney they had fitted up a boat only eight feet in length,
called the "Tom Thumb," that had been brought out in the "Reliance," in
which they traced George's River for a distance of twenty miles beyond
Captain Hunter's Government Survey. In March, 1796, they again put to
sea in a Sydney-built boat (another "Tom Thumb") and gained a minute
knowledge of the coast south of Botany Bay. In returning home they
entered Port Hacking, and on the outward voyage while trying to obtain
water their boat was thrown ashore above Wollongong. From here, coasting
Five Islands, they ran southward as far as the lagoon near Port Kembla,
now called Tom Thumb's Lagoon, where they landed and met with many
adventures, falling in with natives unseen before. Their muskets being
rusty and their powder wet, Flinders kept the somewhat hostile natives
amused by clipping their beards while Bass dried the powder and laid in
a store of water. "This part," the former says, "was called Alowrie by
the natives." It is known to us as Illawarra.

On December, 1797, while Flinders was absent in Norfolk Island, Bass
took another voyage. In a whaleboat manned with six
volunteers--bluejackets from the "Reliance"--he visited Shoalhaven,
Jervis Bay, and Twofold Bay, penetrating as far as 40° S. Continuing his
southerly course after passing Cape Howe, he found the coast of the
mainland became more and more exposed and was convinced that a strait
existed between Australia and Tasmania. He touched at Wilson's
Promontory and Western Port, and in the belief that the former land had
been seen by Furneaux called it Furneaux Land, though Captain Hunter
afterwards changed the name to Wilson's Promontory "in honour of Mr.
Wilson of London."

Bass's voyage extended along 300 miles of coast, and he drew a rough
outline of the land seen by him, which unfortunately has been lost. The
original chart was entitled "An eye sketch in a whale-boat by Dr. Bass."
A part of this was embodied in a chart which Governor King drew to show
the track of the "Harbinger" through Bass Strait. King observes that the
land in Bass's chart appears to be erroneously laid down to the extent
of "twelve miles in latitude and forty miles in longitude." He has
preserved to us, nevertheless, an important relic of this intrepid
seaman, and Matthew Flinders, who supplied King with details of it, has
also made use of it in his atlas, slightly altering the position of the
land, to reconcile it with its true situation upon the map.

To complete his explorations Bass set out with Flinders in 1798 in a
small schooner of twenty-five tons called the "Norfolk." Touching first
at Twofold Bay they surveyed it and running south came to the Kent Group
and Furneaux Islands, the southeasternmost of a chain of islands between
Wilson's Promontory and Tasmania, some of which Flinders had surveyed in
the colonial schooner "Francis" which had been sent to the relief of the
shipwrecked crew of the "Sydney Cove," an East Indiaman lost in 1797 on
her way from Bengal to Sydney. On October 19th Flinders anchored with
Bass at Preservation Island, the scene of the wreck. From there they
went to Cape Barren Island, where they met with many strange animals,
including the wombat, brush wallaby, and the echidna.

On November 1st they anchored for a tide at the largest of the Swan
Isles, two small islands which Flinders had also seen before and had so
named because a European sailor had assured him that he had met with
vast numbers of black swans breeding there. They could not find a single
swan, but observed a sooty petrel and several wild geese. "The swans
therefore really turned out to be geese. This bird was either a Brent or
Barnacle Goose with a small short head, long slender neck and plumage
for the most part of a dove colour with black spots. It had a deep,
hoarse, clanging and though a short, yet an inflected voice. Its flesh
was excellent."[*]

[* Cereopsis Novae Hollandiae or Cape Barren Goose, which is only found
in Australian waters.]

From there Bass and Flinders coasted along the northern shores of
Tasmania, and on November 3rd discovered Port Dalrymple and the mouth of
the Tamar. Bass had an opportunity of observing the country situated
within an angle formed by two chains of mountains. They examined the
river up to a point where its waters had become half salt and half
fresh. The grey kangaroo abounded in the open forest and the brushes
were tenanted by the smaller black wallaby. The plumage of the parrots
was noticed to be more sombre than those of the mother colony and many
water-birds frequented the arms and coves. Numbers of black swans were
seen swimming in the river. Bass calculated that there were at one spot
300 within the space of a quarter of a mile square and he heard the
dying song of some scores; that song, so celebrated by the old poets,
"exactly resembled the creaking of a rusty alehouse sign on a windy

Driven back by gales to the Furneaux Group on November 21st, they left
again on December 3rd to continue their Tasmanian explorations, and on
the 6th discovered Circular Head--the eastern point of a peninsula
projecting northward from the coast. On the 9th, south of Three Hummock
Island (the north-eastern island of the Hunter Group), a long swell was
perceived to come from the south-west, and Flinders hailed it as "the
completion of our long-wished-for discovery of a passage into the
Southern Indian Ocean."

On the day on which they saw Cape Grim (the north-west cape of Tasmania)
the land was observed to be washed by ocean breakers, which proved, what
had been already surmised, that a navigable channel separated Australia
and Tasmania, this channel of course being Bass Strait. Following the
west coast of Tasmania downwards, they passed South-West Cape and then
South Cape, and turning into the opening of Storm Bay on December 14th
weathered Cape Frederick Henry (of Furneaux). They examined the openings
in the neighbourhood of Tasman's Peninsula named the Isle of Caves and
Norfolk Bay, and on December 21st reached the entrance of the Derwent.
Taking with them Captain Hayes's chart of the river, they explored it,
and anchored in Herdsman's Cove above the spot named Risdon by Hayes.
They beat down the river on January 2nd and turning into D'Entrecasteaux
Channel entered Port Pruen, where they saw signs of a ship's visit and a
tree felled near a run of water. Flinders thought that either
D'Entrecasteaux or Hayes had been there, and as a matter of fact Hayes
had watered his ships in this cove in May, 1793. After surveying
Furneaux's Frederick Henry Bay, Flinders and Bass on January 3, 1799,
sailed out of Storm Bay, and, resuming their exploration of the east
coast, completely circumnavigated Tasmania.

Later in the year Flinders was sent in the "Norfolk" to chart the east
coast of the continent to the northward of Port Jackson, when he
discovered Shoal Bay and after surveying Moreton Bay, anchored in Hervey
Bay. The immediate result of his voyages was his summons to England,
where he received from the Admiralty a commission to return and
undertake a complete survey of the coasts of Australia. He was now
promoted to the rank of commander and appointed to the sloop
"Investigator" (formerly the "Xenophon") with a complement of
eighty-eight men as well as a landscape painter, a natural history
painter, and a botanist, who was Robert Brown. Among the officers there
were eight midshipmen, one of whom was John Franklin.[*]

[* Afterwards Sir John Franklin, the Arctic explorer.]


On July 18, 1801, the "Investigator" sailed from Spithead, reaching Cape
Leeuwin, Western Australia, and on December 7th entering King George's
Sound, which ten years before (in 1791) Vancouver had visited and named.
Here Flinders careened his ship. Leaving on January 5, 1802, he voyaged
along the southern coast of the continent. From Fowler Bay he proceeded,
sometimes on land and sometimes by water, exploring and naming Spencer
Gulf and St. Vincent Gulf.[*] He also named Mt. Lofty and disproved the
existence of the supposed strait dividing Australia from north to south.
He thus annexed the whole of South Australia for his country. In
Encounter Bay he met the "Géographe" under Baudin, and after bidding the
Frenchman adieu turned his attention to a fine harbour near the western
entrance of Bass Strait. He was unaware that Port Phillip had already
been discovered by Murray in the "Lady Nelson," and placed the name of
his own ship on a pile of stones at the top of Station Peak. He reached
Port Jackson on May 9th.

["He fell in with two immense gulfs ... he went as high as he could go
in his ship and traced round the heads of these deep gulfs in his
boats."--King's letter to Nepean.]

On July 22, 1802, the "Investigator" left Sydney to survey the eastern
and northern coasts. In this voyage Flinders filled in many blank spaces
on Cook's chart of the east coast, and after entering Torres Strait
sailed along the whole of the Gulf of Carpentaria. On an island in the
gulf called Sweers Island he again left the name of his ship and the
date 1803. He stopped at Cape Wessel. to effect some repairs and
returned to Sydney by way of the west coast, calling at Timor and
reaching Port Jackson on June 9, 1803.

Here the "Investigator's" timbers were found to be unsound and she was
condemned. As Flinders wished to finish his survey and then lay his
charts before the Admiralty, he applied to Governor King for a ship to
go home in, and went as a passenger in H.M.S. "Porpoise," of which
Robert Fowler, late first lieutenant of the "Investigator," was placed
in command. The "Porpoise" sailed from Port Jackson on August 10, 1803,
in company with the "Cato" of London and the "Bridgewater," a vessel
belonging to the East India Company. The ships had been a week at sea
when, 200 miles from the land, the "Porpoise, followed by "Cato,''
struck on the Great Barrier Reef and was disabled--the "Bridgewater"
just clearing the danger.

THE GREAT BARRIER REEF.--The chain of coral reefs which are known
collectively as the Great Barrier Reef--the scene of many a brave
seaman's misfortune--extends for nearly one thousand miles from Swain
Reef at their south-eastern extremity to Bligh's Anchor Cay, their
northernmost termination. They hedge the east coast of Australia from
22°23' S. to as far as Cape Direction in 12°51' S., whence they trend
northwards to Anchor Cay, "forming a coralline structure unequalled in
the world for their vast extent and formidable obstructions to
navigation,"[*] where ship after ship has been dashed to pieces or left
her timbers to whiten and rot, if not to serve as a beacon to warn the
passing mariner.

[* "Admiralty Sailing Directions."]

The reefs vary in breadth from a few hundred yards to several miles, and
in distance from the shore, from twelve to seventy miles. The swell of
the Pacific dashes against the outer edge of the Barrier with terrific
force while the inner waters remain perfectly tranquil. Beneath them,
however, lurk innumerable dangers in the shape of banks, shoals, and
sunken rocks.

Although so dangerous, the reefs are surpassingly beautiful. The water
is very clear. The coral, of vivid tints of green, purple, brown, and
white, forms many a fairy bower beneath the waves, and takes every
conceivable shape and pattern. "We had wheatsheaves, mushrooms, and
staghorns," writes Flinders, and other forms in a variety of colours,
"equalling in beauty and excelling in grandeur the parterre of the
curious florist." Besides the live coral growing as it were out of solid
rock, there is dead coral in masses of dull white--composing the stone
of the reefs or rising above the water in the form of blackened lumps;
to these last Flinders gave the name of Negroheads. In the pools within
the edges of the reefs are sponges, sea eggs, and sea cucumber

Ships making their way up the east coast to Torres Strait have the
choice of two routes. One leads through Capricorn or Curtis Channel
along the Australian coast and is called the Inner Route, for the ships
pass within the reefs. The other route leads outside the barrier--to the
eastward of the reefs--and is therefore known as the Outer Route.

Since the days of Cook the names of different ships have been bestowed
upon these reefs and shoals, either because the ships discovered them or
else met with mishaps there. Among those thus distinguished in very
early times were the Endeavour Reef (1770), Bellona Reefs (1793), Cato
Bank (1803), Frederick Reef (1812), Kangaroo Shoals (1815), Alert Reef
(1817), Minerva Shoal (1818), and San Antonio Reef (1821).

There are deep openings through the barrier by which ships can either
pass out to the Pacific or from the sea to the coast. Cook discovered
the first passage, while others have been found in comparatively recent
times, as, for example, the Flora Pass, reported by the schooner "Flora"
as lately as 1883. These passages, like the reefs, often take the names
of the ships or the men who threaded them; thus the earliest discovered
were Cook's Passage (1770), Bligh Boat Entrance (1789), Flinders'
Passage (1802), Hibernia Entrance (1814), Indefatigable Entrance (1815),
Nimrod Entrance (1822), and many others. In 1798 Captain Swain in the
ship "Eliza" discovered the southernmost reef[*] in 22°23' S. 152°37'
E., although the brig "Deptford," Captain Campbell, in the previous year
had met with coral reefs--within the barrier--farther northward, in
latitude 21½° S. The "Eliza" ran for twenty leagues among the reefs
before she cleared them and had soundings from ten to sixty fathoms.
Swain at last found a passage out of them "in 22° S. by a long and
tortuous channel." The reef now bears his name; the pass has none
(possibly because it was no pass but a series of openings which were too
sinuous to be considered safe), but he appears to have been one of the
first to navigate a ship through the reefs off the Australian coast
after Cook and Bligh had threaded their way through Cook's Passage,
Providential Channel, and Bligh Boat Entrance.

[* Lady Elliot Islet is the most southern coral islet.]

During the "Investigator's" voyage Flinders gained his first knowledge
of the extent and dangers of the Barrier Reef. In company with the "Lady
Nelson" he had steered up the east coast in Cook's track, marking its
features and picking his way through the shoals that line the shore. To
the north-north-west of Breaksea Spit he found a vast mass of reefs
twenty leagues from the coast. When the ships reached Watering or Middle
Island (one of the Percy Group) on October 6th another long range of
reefs were seen which Flinders says were not the identical reefs seen by
Campbell in the "Deptford" although they formed part of the same
barrier. He discovered too that these reefs instead of being two degrees
from the nearest island as laid down by Campbell were only twenty miles
from it. Continuing their voyage to the Cumberland Isles the ships
throughout had broken water and reefs on both sides of them. On October
18th the "Lady Nelson," which had lost her main keel and damaged her
trunk, was sent back to Sydney, and Flinders proceeded on his voyage

Immediately after he parted from the "Lady Nelson" he again became
entangled in reefs extending from east to north-north-west. He bore
along "their inner side," tracing the edge of the reefs until on October
21st he found a passage out to sea. This is situated forty miles from
Cape Upstart, in 18°45' S. 148°10' E., E., and since has borne the name
of Flinders' Passage. Its inner or southern entrance, through which he
passed, was seven and a half miles broad; the passage ran nearly north
and south and was twenty-one miles long. He then continued his course to
Torres Strait, discovering the reefs known as Eastern Fields, and,
turning again towards the Main Barrier, entered Torres Strait by
Pandora's Entrance which had been discovered by Captain Edwards in 1791.
Flinders says that from the time he entered the reefs, he had to steer
500 miles before lie found a way out; and in giving directions to seamen
who might follow his track through the opening, he writes: "The
commander who proposes to make this experiment must not be one who
throws his ship's head round in a hurry"; and again he says: "If he does
not feel his nerves strong enough to thread the needle (as it is called)
among the reefs while he directs the steerage from the masthead I would
strongly recommend him not to approach this part of New South Wales" (as
the coast was then called).

In 1803 when Flinders left Port Jackson for the last time in H.M.S.
"Porpoise" in company with the "Cato" and "Bridgewater" he sailed by the
Outer Route to Torres Strait. Wreck Reef, or rather the chain of reefs,
on which the "Porpoise" and the "Cato" were wrecked on the morning of
August 17th (when the "Bridgewater" left them to their fate), being on
the eastern side of the barrier and about eighteen and a half miles in
length and from a quarter to a mile and a half in breadth. It consists
of patches of coral reef separated by navigable channels and is the home
of seabirds and turtle. The eastern end of it, named, Flinders says,
"not improperly," Bird Islet, in 22°10' S., 155°28' E. was found to be
covered with coarse grass and shrubs. After striking, the "Porpoise took
a fearful heel over on her larboard beam ends," fortunately falling
towards the reef so that her people were saved. The "Cato," under
Captain Park, struck about two cables length away and "fell on her
broadside," when her masts instantly disappeared. Several of the seamen
were bruised against the coral rocks and three young lads were drowned.
One of the poor boys who had been shipwrecked no less than three or four
times before--in every voyage that he had made--clung to a spar beside
his captain and through the night bewailed that he "was the persecuted
Jonas who carried misfortune wherever he went." He lost his hold among
the breakers, was swept away and seen no more.[*]

[* Flinders, "Terra Australis."]

The shipwrecked men gained the dry sand in the centre of the reef and
prepared their encampment. While searching for firewood that night they
discovered a ship's spar and a piece of timber, rotten and worm-eaten,
which, in the opinion of the master of the "Porpoise," was part of the
sternpost of a ship of about 400 tons. Flinders imagined (as all sailors
were then wont to do when seeing wreckage) that it had belonged to one
of La Pe~rouse's ships, but in more recent years timber as well as coins
and other relics from a Spanish galleon have been recovered within the
reefs, where they had been sheltered and preserved, perhaps embedded in
some sandy shallow, so that it is not improbable that both sternpost and
spar came from a long-lost Spanish vessel.

Flinders immediately set to work to build a cutter out of the timbers of
the "Porpoise." This, when finished, he named the "Hope," and embarking
in her with Captain Park and twelve others he sailed on August 26th to
Port Jackson. For the relief of the shipwrecked crews Governor King
dispatched the ship "Rolla" and two schooners, the "Cumberland" and the
"Francis." Leaving Port Jackson at daylight on September 21st Flinders
reached Wreck Reef eight days later, when the crews were taken on board.

During his absence some of his old officers of the " Investigator--among
whom, besides Robert Fowler, were Samuel Flinders and John
Franklin--superintended the building of a small decked ship, which was
named the "Resource." On being manned she was placed in charge of Denis
Lacy, formerly master's mate of the "Investigator."

The officers and men of the "Porpoise" and "Cato" were distributed among
the four ships. Those who preferred to return to Port Jackson went back
there in the "Francis" and the "Resource";[*] others, including
Lieutenants Fowler and Samuel Flinders and John Franklin, sailed in the
" Rolla" to China, where they obtained passages to Europe. Matthew
Flinders, with ten officers and seamen, embarked in the "Cumberland"
(the little schooner of twenty-nine tons lent by Governor King),
intending to proceed to England, but on his homeward voyage he was
forced to call at Mauritius. There he was detained by the French and
kept a prisoner for seven years.

[* As the "Resource" sailed to Sydney George Curtoys, commander of the
"LadyNelson" spoke her off Broken Bay and records this fact in his log.
In 1804, with the "Lady Nelson" and the colonial sloop "James," she
conveyed settlers from Sydney to Newcastle when Governor King raised
that place to the dignity of a settlement. While voyaging home the
"James" was wrecked and went to pieces off Broken Bay. Her crew was
picked up and conveyed to Fort Jackson by the "Resource."]

Flinders has left a clear account of his explorations in his work "Terra
Australis," and his surveys were so accurate that his maps form the
basis of all modern Australian charts. In later days it is interesting
to look upon the first bare outline of New Holland in one of his
journals, from which the northern coasts are missing (it being simply a
rough draft made when he was a midshipman, in 1792, with Captain Bligh
in H.M.S. "Providence," before he had seen the southern continent), and
then to turn to the charts accompanying "Terra Australis," in which
every part of it appears delineated with so much care, skill, and detail
that each map is a revelation in draftsmanship. One cannot help
wondering whether Flinders when he drew that first roughly formed
picture of the country was even then attracted to it and had resolved to
fill in its outline; but, be this so or not, his name and the discovery
of its coasts are inseparably connected.[*]

[* He died in London in 1810, and was buried in the churchyard of St.
James's, Hampstead Road.]


The "Buffalo" is well known on account of her many pioneering voyages;
and writers of the early history of the colonies seem to regard her with
a feeling akin to affection. Her figurehead was the effigy of a
kangaroo, which may have endeared her to the white people as it did long
ago to the black natives, of whom it is said that they were never tired
of gazing at her as she lay at anchor in Sydney Harbour.

Turning over the pages of one of her log-books[*] we find her first in
her own country at her moorings at Deptford (alongside the "Discovery"),
under the command of Captain Ravenn,[**] and one of the earliest entries
runs: "On Saturday, December 17, 1797, received on board fifty-one
cauldrons of coal for the use of the colony of New South Wales"--an
order evidently given before the discovery of coal in Australia had
become known in England. It was a debt that was afterwards to be
liberally repaid, for by Governor Hunter's orders a few years later coal
was carried from Newcastle to Table Bay for the use of British ships
calling at the Cape. The log-book continues: "On March 3rd the 'Buffalo'
made sail to Long Reach," where, on March 24th, "the settlers to be
rated as supernumeraries for victuals" came on board. On May 1st at 7
a.m. two boats were sent to Tilbury Fort for gunpowder for the ship's
store, and by the 10th the ship had again weighed anchor and dropped
down to the Nore towards H.M.S. "Zealand," the flagship of Admiral
Lutwidge. On the 12th she received fifteen men from this ship to make up
her complement. From the Nore the "Buffalo" sailed to the Downs, and on
June 8th came to in St. Helen's Roads, where Captain Raven went on board
H.M.S. "Arethusa" and received his final instructions before sailing. On
June 9, 1798, in company of eight sail bound for India, the "Buffalo"
stood out to sea.

[* Captain's Log, 1797.]

[** William Raven, formerly of the "Britannia."]

On her outward voyage she called at Rio de Janeiro and again at Table
Bay, losing before she reached the former port one of the ship's
company, for another entry states on Friday, August 3rd: "Missed Edward
Parkinson, boy, who could not be found and imagined was washed out of
the head and drowned as nobody could give an account of him since six
o'clock." Boys were shipped to sea at an early age in those days and
sometimes were unfitted for the hazardous life. The age of poor Edward
Parkinson is not recorded, but Peter Lainz, the little cabin boy from
St. Malo who sailed with Bougainville, was only twelve years old. He
also disappeared one evening after the ship had passed Cape Verde in the
same mysterious manner and was never heard of again.

At Table Bay the "Buffalo" took on board (not inappropriately) a number
of South African cattle for the colony. On January 4, 1799, she again
made sail with the fleet for India, but parted from it at daylight on
the following morning and continued her voyage alone. Many of the cattle
died before she reached Sydney on May 3rd, although Captain Raven put
into Adventure Bay and Jervis Bay to obtain a supply of fresh grass and
water for them. At both places Tasmanian and Jervis Bay natives were
seen and were "very friendly," coming down to the beach "among the
people," so that in these harbours, as well as at Sydney, the ship's
figure-head may have made a good impression.

From this time onward the "Buffalo" was always busy. She played the part
of flagship or transport, discovery or store ship with equal success. In
1800 Governor Hunter came back to England in her. On once more returning
to the southern station she carried out important explorations, and in
1803 made surveys in New Caledonia. Captain Kent then visited the
country, and on this voyage Port St. Vincent was named in honour of
Admiral Sir John Jervis.[*] Among the ship's most notable missions under
Captain Kent was that of the founding of Launceston, Tasmania, in 1804.
(Hobart had been established already.) In accordance with his
instructions the LieutenantGovernor, Colonel William Paterson, sailed
from Sydney on Sunday, October 14th, embarking in the " Buffalo " under
a salute of eleven guns from the fort. Forty-six officers and men of the
New South Wales Corps accompanied the Governor, while the " Lady Nelson
" also carried troops and settlers to the proposed settlement. Two
smaller vessels, the " Francis " and the `Integrity," at the same time
received orders to sail with Captain Kent to Port Dalrymple.

[* Kent named three islands inside the coral reef at Port St. Vincent,
King, Paterson, and Robbins Islands--after the Governor of New South
Wales, Colonel Paterson, and Mr. Robbins respectively--and the little
island where the "Buffalo" anchored on her arrival was called Skull

fter leaving the harbour the ships, sailing southwards, met with a heavy
gale, "which almost blew them back to Port Jackson." A few hours before
the gale began the "Francis" had parted company with the "Buffalo," but
the "Lady Nelson" and the "Integrity" remained with the flagship until
the end of the storm, when the latter lost sight of both vessels. Owing
to the tempestuous weather, out of the four ships which had left Sydney
the "Buffalo" alone reached Port Dalrymple and moored on November 3rd
four miles within the port. Next day she dragged her anchors, and
touched, in spite of every exertion, but fortunately on a flat rock. By
a spirited effort on the part of the crew she was floated undamaged, her
anchor was slipped, and she was taken three miles higher up the harbour,
where during the day the "Integrity" joined her.

On November 11th possession was taken of the northern shores of Tasmania
on behalf of Great Britain with the usual formalities. The
Lieutenant-Governor was saluted with eleven guns by the "Buffalo" on
landing, and a royal salute was fired when the Union Jack was hoisted.
On the 13th the general disembarkation took place at Outer Cove, where
the Lieutenant-Governor had fixed his camp amid surroundings that seemed
to all delightful, the waters of the harbour extending inland for many
miles without interruption.

A party of Tasmanian natives (now an extinct race) were encountered next
day by some of the new colonists. At the sight of the white men they
gave a furious shout and followed the British back to their camp. Here
overtures were made by Colonel Paterson and they grew more conciliatory.
Now and then, however, an indignant clamour, beginning with a single
individual, ran rapidly through their lines, accompanied by excited
gesticulations, the natives "biting their arms as a token of vengeance."
In the end the blacks, we are told, "withdrew peaceably but were
positive in forbidding us to follow them."

On November 21st two small ships--the "Lady Nelson" and the
"Francis"--with torn sails and splintered masts, having sought refuge
first at Twofold Bay and afterwards among the Furneaux Group, joined the
"Buffalo" and "Integrity" at Port Dalrymple. On their coming into the
port those on board saw with satisfaction the British colours flying on
shore, and on the 23rd the bricks which had been sent from Sydney in the
"Lady Nelson" to build houses for the settlers were safely landed. The
"Buffalo" took her departure on November 29th, but before she left her
crew erected two beacons to facilitate the safe entry of ships into

One of the last voyages of the "Buffalo" was made in 1807, when she
sailed for England after her long stay in the colony. Among her
passengers on this voyage were Mr. Marsden, senior chaplain, and his
wife, and Mrs. King, wife of Governor King. After leaving Sydney a heavy
gale threatened and it was proposed that the passengers should quit the
"Buffalo," since she was an old ship and thought unseaworthy, and go on
board a stauncher vessel which bore her company. The Governor's wife,
however, was an invalid and could not be moved, and Mrs. Marsden would
not leave her, so that the chaplain refused the offer and remained
behind. Throughout the night the gale blew strongly, and the creaking
timbers of the "Buffalo" groaned beneath the violent storm in a manner
which gave those on board much concern. When morning dawned all eyes
sought for their companion ship. But in vain. She was nowhere to be
seen, nor was she ever heard of again.


In entering upon her eventful colonial career the "Lady Nelson" did that
which alone ought to immortalize her--she was the first ship that ever
sailed parallel to the entire southern coast-line of Australia.[*] A
brig of sixty tons, she was built at Deptford in 1799, and differed from
other exploring vessels in having a centre-board keel. She was chosen
for exploration because her three sliding centre-boards enabled her
draught to be lessened in shallow waters, for when these were up she
drew no more than six feet.

[* "Early History of Victoria."--F. P. Labillière.]

In 1799, when the news reached London that the French were fitting out
an expedition to survey unknown portions of Australia, the authorities
were quickly stirred to renewed activity and decided to send the "Lady
Nelson" to Sydney. She was hauled from Deadman's Dock into the river on
January 13, 1800, with her full complement of men and stores on board,
having been placed under the command of Lieutenant James Grant, and
stocked with provisions for fifteen men for a period of nine months and
enough water for three months. Before sailing her armament was increased
to six carriage guns.

In January 16th she sailed to Gravesend. So small did she look when she
left the Thames that the sailors in the ships in the river ridiculed her
appearance and ironically christened her "His Majesty's Tinderbox."
Grant called at Portsmouth, where he had orders to leave port with
H.M.S. "Anson," Captain Durham, who (the Powers being at war) was to
convoy a fleet of East Indiamen then on the point of sailing; and with
them was H.M.S. "Porpoise," bound for New South Wales. This ship was
formerly the "Infanta Amelia," prize to the "Argo," and was lying at
Portsmouth when H.M.S. "Porpoise," after twelve months delay, was proved
unsound. The Admiralty purchased the Spanish vessel, rechristened her
the "Porpoise," and she sailed in company with the convoy on March 18,
1800. In New South Wales she proved an extremely useful ship, and with
the "Buffalo" carried out the orders of Governor King, having been
placed under his authority. She met her end, as has been told, on Wreck

After leaving Portsmouth the "Lady Nelson" did not long remain with the
convoy. From the first she was scarcely able to keep pace with the big
ships which bore her company, and when the commodore gave orders for her
to be taken in tow by the "Brunswick" those on board had an unpleasant
experience. On March 23rd Grant therefore determined to let go the
hawser and to proceed on his voyage to Sydney alone. The brig eventually
reached her destination in spite of all predictions to the contrary, and
early on December 16th sighted the flagstaff at Port Jackson, which port
she entered at six in the evening. Grant's coming gave much satisfaction
to the colony, and when Governor King heard the description of his
passage through Bass Strait, and of how the "Lady Nelson" had passed
deep indentations on the north side of it and had seen beautifully
wooded shores and rocky islands lying off them, he was greatly pleased.
He did not, however, conceal his disappointment that Grant had been
unable to penetrate a deep bay called by him Governor King's Bay (a name
which afterwards was changed to Port Phillip).

Governor King had been instructed to have the whole of the south coast
properly charted, and he determined to send Grant back again in the
"Lady Nelson" to survey it. Grant on returning to Port Phillip for the
second time failed to explore the bay; and John Murray, formerly
master's mate in the "Porpoise," was appointed to succeed him as
commander of the "Lady Nelson," after he had voluntarily sent in his
resignation. Murray's appointment is dated September 3, 1801, and in
January, 1802, he entered Port Phillip. He saw it first on January 5th,
but, a high sea preventing him, he could not then effect an entrance and
steered away to King Island, the eastern shores of which he surveyed,
returning on January 30th to the south coast. He then sent Mr. Bowen and
five men in the "Lady Nelson's" launch to examine Port Phillip. A "most
noble sheet of water" was found. On the return of the launch Murray
himself sailed into this newly discovered port in the "Lady Nelson," and
after surveying and charting it for the Governor's satisfaction he
hoisted the Union Jack. The chart of Port Phillip then drawn by Murray
may be termed the most important he ever made, and it was one of those
sent home to the Admiralty by Governor King. It shows the track of the
"Lady Nelson's" boat when the brig entered Port Phillip for the first
time in 1802. As the chart Grant had made of its outer shores was very
imperfect, the Governor himself drew an eye-sketch of Grant's
explorations, which was sent home also.

Governor King made other drawings of Bass Strait. We have 111 already
referred to the one which combines Bass's eye-sketch with the
"Harbinger's" track through the Strait. The "Harbinger," under Captain
Black, came from the Cape and arrived at Sydney on January 11, 1801. She
had closely followed in Grant's track and was therefore the second ship
to sail through Bass Strait. On his way Black met with an island which
he named King Island in honour of the Governor.[*] Another eye-sketch
drawn by King shows the track of the ship "Margaret" from England
commanded by Captain Buyers, this being the third ship to sail through
Bass Strait. She came to an anchorage in Port Jackson on February 7,

[* Mr. Reid of the "Martha," however, had first seen it in 1799, and had
informed Governor Hunter of his discovery.]

There is yet another very early MS. chart of Bass Strait in existence
and one which is historic. It is described as "A chart of Bass's Straits
generally laid down from one published by Alexander Dalrymple, Esq.,
with additions made during the 'Arniston's' passage through them in
1804." Louis de Freycinet acknowledged that the drawing of Port Phillip
in his chart of "Terre Napoleon" was taken from it. Originally copied
from one of Dalrymple's charts during the "Arniston's" voyage, it was
found among the papers of the "Fame" when that vessel was captured by
the French ship "Piemontoise" in 1806. The "Arniston" was one of a fleet
of ships that left England in 1804 under convoy of H.M.S. "Athenien,"
whose commander had received orders from the Admiralty "to proceed with
the East India ships under his convoy through Bass Strait to China
passing east of New Holland and Port Phillip."[*] Interesting as it is
(the original being still preserved in the dossier of Baudin's journal
in Paris), the chart has no geographical importance, for the shores
which profess to be those of Port Phillip bear no resemblance to the
outlines of that harbour.

We now return to the story of the "Lady Nelson," a vessel which occupies
a niche in the history of Victoria somewhat similar to that filled by
the "Endeavour" in the annals of New South Wales; but whereas Cook's
ship discovered the east coast and then left it, the "Lady Nelson,"
after charting the bare coast-line of Victoria, returned again and again
to explore its inlets and to examine its shores. Indeed, while she was
stationed at Sydney there was scarcely a dependency of the mother colony
that was not more or less indebted to her whether for proclaiming it a
British possession, or for bringing it settlers and food, or for
providing it with a means of defence against the natives.

[* Sailing orders, Dalrymple to Marsden; May 25, 1804.]

The "Lady Nelson" went northward as well as southward, and in company
with the "Investigator," in 1802, examined the Queensland shore as far
as the Cumberland Islands. In making her way up the coast,
unfortunately, she sustained damage which rendered her unfit for
service. At the time the ships were within the Great Barrier Reef; and
Flinders states that he kept the brig with him until a passage clear of
reefs could be found to enable her to get out to sea. Flinders bade
Murray farewell among the Cumberland Islands when Flinders wrote: "The
zeal he had shown...increased my regret at parting from our little

After separating from the "Investigator," Murray, in order to spare the
"Lady Nelson's" sole remaining anchor, gave orders for two swivel guns
crossed to be lashed together, and, when winds were light and waters
smooth, he anchored with the swivels until the carpenter was able to
make an iron-bark anchor to take their place. He made his way carefully
down the coast and reached Sydney Cove on November 22nd.

In 1803 Lieutenant George Curtoys succeeded Murray in command of the
"Lady Nelson." He had been master's mate of the "Glatton," and before
coming to Australia had spent a long term of confinement in a French
prison during the war with that country; his health, therefore, was in a
rather delicate state when he took charge of the vessel. He was highly
recommended to Governor King by Captain James Colnett. On June 10, 1803,
in company with the "Albion," whaler, Captain Bunker, the "Lady Nelson"
sailed from Sydney with the first British colonists under Lieutenant
Bowen for Risdon Cove, on the Derwent River, and then was laid the
foundation of the present city of Hobart. This was the first attempt
made by the British to colonize Tasmania, Risdon being chosen as the
site by Bowen because there the best stream of water ran into the cove
and also because there were extensive valleys behind it.

When the colonists had disembarked at Risdon Cove and building
operations had been started, at which time we are told that the "Lady
Nelson" "lent the colony a bell and half a barrel of gunpowder," the
brig returned to Port Jackson. Here Lieutenant Curtoys was again taken
ill and was removed to the naval hospital. As his health did not
improve, he shortly afterwards resigned his command and retired from the
Royal Navy.[*]

[* Later we find him in charge of a brig which traded between Java and
Timor, and his death was reported at Timor in 1813.]

The "Lady Nelson's" new commander was James Symons, who also had served
as midshipman in the "Glatton" under Captain Colnett and afterwards on
board the "Buffalo." Symons was ordered by Governor King to proceed to
Port Phillip to assist in moving the settlement (which had been formed
at that place in 1803 under Colonel Collins) to Tasmania. The "Lady
Nelson" left Sydney on November 28, 1803; but, being delayed by bad
weather first at the Kent Group and again at Port Dalrymple, she did not
reach her destination until January 21, 1804. On the 25th, having
received the Port Phillip settlers on board, in company with the "Ocean"
she made sail out of Port Phillip Bay. After a passage of ten days she
reached Risdon. Colonel Collins thought this site ineligible and gave
orders for the Risdon settlement to be moved to Sullivan's Cove, where
he had encamped, the name Hobart, which had been given by Lieutenant
Bowen to Risdon, being retained for the new site. Later in the year 1804
the "Lady Nelson" under Symons visited New Zealand and Norfolk Island,
and helped to remove white settlers to Launceston when the Norfolk
Island settlement was broken up.

In 1806 Symons received instructions from the Governor of New South
Wales to convey a New Zealand chief named Tippahee or Tepahi, and his
sons from Sydney back to his own dominions. Tippahee's residence was at
the Bay of Islands, and there he was safely landed. Before lie entered
the harbour Mr. Symons carried out a little expedition of exploration
and examined a deep bay in his boat, ascending a river which he seems to
have surveyed. Among the many valuable charts made by the commanders of
the "Lady Nelson," however, there are not any of New Zealand, and
possibly Symons did not actually chart the places which he has

From this time. forward occasional voyages were made by the "Lady
Nelson," and we read of the different governors and officials taking
excursions in her to the various settlements. No detailed record of
these exists, so it is not always easy to trace the doings of the ship.
For some years she lay dismantled in Sydney Harbour, and during that
period is described as "nothing more nor less than a coal hulk." Before
this she had been handed over by the Admiralty to the colonial

In 1819, by an order of Governor Macquarie, she was thoroughly
overhauled and accompanied the "Mermaid" as far as Port Macquarie;
later, in 1824, when in charge of Captain Johns, she was chosen to
convey settlers to Melville Island, where the British Government had
determined to form a settlement. With H.M.S. "Tamar" (Captain James
Gordon Bremer) and the "Countess of Harcourt," a ship chartered to
assist him, the "Lady Nelson," heavily laden with passengers, soldiers,
and stores sailed on August 24, 1824.

She then left Port Jackson for the last time. On September 20th the
vessels reached Port Essington, and an entry in Captain Bremer's log
states that on that day possession was taken of the north coast of New
Holland on behalf of the British Government. On November 10th Captain
Bremer took leave of the settlement and handed it over into the charge
of Captain Maurice Barlow, who had been appointed commandant. The "Lady
Nelson" remained behind to act as guard-ship, and she was also required
to bring needed stores and supplies from the islands to the northward
for the use of the settlers.

resh provisions being scarce, in February, 1823, Captain Barlow
dispatched her to the islands for a cargo of buffaloes. When she left
Port Cockburn her commander was warned to avoid an island called Baba,
which was infested with pirates who bore the reputation of being very
daring and very cruel. It is supposed that the warning was unheeded. for
there the little vessel met her end. When Lieutenant Kolff, of the Dutch
Navy, visited Baba in July, 1825, the inhabitants were shy and deserted
the village called Tepa on his landing. He was convinced that a crime
had been committed, and learned that some months previously "an English
brig manned by about a dozen Europeans had anchored off Aluta on the
S.E. coast and had engaged in barter with natives, who were on board in
great numbers and who, taking the opportunity of five men being on
shore...attacked and killed the people in the brig as well as those in the
boat when they returned." The last news of the "Lady Nelson" was brought
to Sydney some time afterwards by a ship called the "Faith," whose
captain reported that her hull with her name painted on the stern was
still to be seen at Baba Island.

Besides the ships whose work has been described above, there passed in
and out of Sydney Heads small colonial vessels including the "Norfolk,"
"Francis," "Cumberland," "Edwin," "Integrity," and "Resource," whose
histories are interwoven not only with that of Port Jackson but with
those of Tasmania and New Zealand as well. There were also the East
India Company ships bringing more prisoners to the colony. And these too
played their part in discovery. On their way across the Pacific their
commanders frequently took unknown routes and drew many a useful chart
of islands and channels seen, which Dalrymple afterwards published. The
charts show the tracks of their ships, and the accounts of their voyages
may be read in the first Sydney newspapers where many a thrilling tale
of adventure is narrated, rivalling those old stories of the Spanish
main recorded in the more ancient chronicles of the sea.

All these voyages created keen interest at Sydney, especially when on
the arrival of the ships their commanders brought the news of the
finding of a new harbour, coast, or river, with information that the
land was fertile and its waters a good sealing ground. An impetus was
given to shipping and colonization and fresh ventures were quickly
planned, men sometimes setting out of the port in the frailest craft
with the poorest equipment, to investigate the desirable regions. These
ventures "helped largely to develop the spirit of daring, the strong
love of liberty which pushed forward the rough aggressive pioneer work
and cleared the way for British dominion in neighbouring lands."[*]

[* Old Sydney Traders by Maorilander.]

To Port Jackson, too, there came traders from all countries, including
the weather-beaten South Sea whalers laden with furs from the sealing
grounds on the New Zealand coasts. Sealers also came from the islands in
Bass Strait, where, save when an occasional King's ship put in an
appearance, they were monarchs of both sea and land. Others there were
from islands farther to the northward the stories of whose voyages are
memorable not only as tales of adventure but for the gorgeous setting in
which the scenes were laid amid islands, atolls, and coral reefs.

What a history of their first coming those old skippers might have
written! The majority were venturesome, hard-grained British seamen
(with an occasional American), who ably assisted the naval officers who
traversed long ranges of sea-line, for we find the old maps marked with
their tracks and the names of the ships[*] in which they sailed from
Sydney to Tahiti or Fiji, where they occasionally sought a cargo of
sandal-wood. From Port Jackson some sailed southward to Hobart, and from
Hobart they penetrated farther southward to Macquarie Island,[*]
dispersing when whales and seals in Australian waters became scarce, to
come together again in later years at New South Shetland.

[* Such names as the "Britannia," "Nautilus," "Eliza," "Hibernia,"
"Favourite," and "Active."]

[** Among these the "Emerald," "Perseverance," "Lynx," "King George,"
and "Betsy."]

Some of the names of the captains of these ships will live in the
history of exploration, as, for example, Matthew Weatherhead, whose
story has been told; Raven of the "Britannia" and Bampton of the
"Endeavour," both pioneers of Dusky Bay; Ebor Bunker, who, in the
"Albion," carried some of the first British settlers to Tasmania;
Alexander Rhodes of the "Alexander," beloved of the Maoris; Frederick
Hasselburg of the "Perseverance," who discovered Macquarie and Campbell
Islands and later lost his life by drowning among those islands; George
Powell of the "Dove,"[*] whose chart will ever be remembered in the
history of the Antarctic; and Richard Siddons of the "Lynx," perhaps the
greatest traveller of them all, who gave so much information concerning
early Fiji, and delighted to hold mission services on board his ship in
Sydney Harbour, and whom we find later in company with William Smith and
Robert Fildes in Blythe Bay, New South Shetland.

[* Formerly of the "Queen Charlotte," and afterwards of the "Rambler,"
who was killed by natives of Vavu.]

There were also those foreign discovery ships whose commanders followed
La Pe~rouse into southern waters and entered Port Jackson to seek refuge
for their weather-beaten vessels and to gain knowledge of the southern
continent, of which they have given us accounts in their journals. They
saw Sydney while the town was in its infancy, when canoes of the blacks
floated on the waters of the harbour, and trees and foliage still
covered the surrounding points and indentations, so that their writings
are valuable records. The most notable expeditions being those of
Alexandro Malaspina, who brought the Spanish ships "Descubierta" and
"Atrevida," in 1793; of Baudin, commander of the French ships the
"Géographe" and the "Naturaliste," in 1802; also of De Freycinet, who
came in the "Uranie " in 1819; Commodore Bellingshausen a year later
with the Russian ships "Vostok" and "Mirni," a navigator celebrated for
his long voyages in the Antarctic; Duperrey in the "Coquille" in 1821;
Bougainville the younger with the ships "Thetis" and "Esperance" in the
same year; and Durnont d'Urville in the "Astrolabe," who came in search
of La Pe~rouse's expedition (1826-28) and at last found the island where
the ships were lost.




The first Governor of New South Wales had soon discovered that although
he had been set over so vast a territory there was only a narrow strip
within his grasp. Within a few miles of Sydney there ran a range of
mountains rising in places almost perpendicularly to a height of from
4,000 to 5,000 feet. Curving above Broken Bay on the north and below
Port Jackson on the south they formed a barrier which completely hemmed
in the settlement and cut off all advance into the interior.

They were part of the Great Dividing Range which runs with scarcely a
break down the eastern coast of the continent from Cape York, the most
northerly point, to Wilson's Promontory at the southern extremity.
Because of their cobalt colouring Captain Phillip gave them the name of
the Blue Mountains. No more apt designation could have been found, for
the atmosphere at the distance from which they are viewed imparts to
them a wonderful blueness. For twenty-five years men tried in vain to
pass over this barrier. In the days of Phillip and under the rule of his
immediate successors expeditions, all of which ended in failure, left
Sydney and endeavoured to penetrate different parts of the mountains.
Perhaps because in those early years no one was able to cross them they
held a strange and powerful fascination for the colonists. Rocks,
precipices, and thick eucalyptus scrub might repel the would-be
discoverer, but when days bright with sunshine revealed sparkling
waterfalls and smooth green patches among the ranges the desire to
explore became irresistible. Many set out never to return; often a
settler in search of grass or a pioneer starting without proper
equipment vanished for ever in the wilderness of forest; but his
disappearance caused little surprise and the country to the westward
remained unseen and unknown.

The first actual attempt to reach the mountains was made by Phillip
himself shortly after his arrival. On April 15, he departed with
provisions for four days attended by officers and a party of marines. In
three days they passed the swamps and marshes on the north side of the
harbour and found themselves in rocky barren country covered with bush,
which made their advance difficult and often impossible. Fifteen miles
from the coast Phillip obtained a fine view of the mountains, and he
called the northernmost the Carmarthen Hills, the southernmost the
Lansdowne Hills, and one between Richmond Hill.

At that time he felt sure that there must be a river near at hand, and
on the 22nd started again, taking with him some small boats in which to
cross any stream that might be found. For four days, by keeping close to
a small creek, his party pushed their way through difficult country, and
on the fifth day reached a small eminence whence for the first time a
full view of the Carmarthen and Lansdowne Hills was obtained. Phillip
named this eminence, which was his farthest point, Belle Vue Hill. Lack
of provisions then compelled him to return to Sydney, having fully
proved the difficulties of penetrating into the interior, for the whole
distance covered by his party had not exceeded thirty miles.

nother expedition was planned by him to examine the country westward
from Belle Vue, but it had to be deferred. In June, 1789, however,
whilst surveying Broken Bay, which he had seen first in March, 1788,
Governor Phillip discovered a large river whose water at a short
distance from the entrance was found to be fresh and good. He named it
the Hawkesbury, and on June 26, 1789, Captain Watkin Tench and Mr.
Arndell, assistant surgeon, reached the banks of another river to which
the name of Nepean was afterwards given by the Governor.

Captain Tench describes the latter river as being nearly as broad as the
Thames at Putney. "From its banks," wrote Phillip in February, 1790, "I
hope to reach the mountains, which has been attempted by a party who
crossed the river, but after the first day's journey they met with a
constant succession of deep that they returned, not
having been able to proceed more than fifteen miles in five days; when
they turned back they supposed themselves to be twelve miles from the
foot of the mountains."[*]

[* Governor Phillip's letter, 1790, " Historical Records of New South

The party Phillip refers to as having "crossed the river" was one under
the command of Lieutenant William Dawes, who in December, 1789, got
across the Nepean and unsuccessfully tried to reach the ranges. Captain
Tench says that "at the time they turned back they were further inland
direct line from the coast--when on the summit of Mount Twiss--a hill so
named by them which bounded their peregrination."[*]

[* "A Complete Account of the Settlement, etc.," Watkin Tench, 1793.]

On August, 1790, Dawes and Tench together started on another expedition;
they took with them a strong escort and spent a week penetrating in a
south-south-west direction "bounding their course at a remarkable hill,"
to which, says Tench, from its conical shape we gave the name of Pyramid

Some short excursions were undertaken towards the close of 1790, and a
little later, on April 11, 1791, Governor Phillip himself again led an
exploring expedition inland. Dawes, Tench, and Collins accompanied him,
and included in the party, which numbered nineteen persons, were two
Sydney natives.

Every man except the Governor carried his own knapsack, which contained
provisions for ten days...and every man was garbed to drag through
morasses, tear through thickets, ford rivers, and scale rocks." The
advance was first directed to the north-west, and two days after leaving
Rosehill they reached the river. Tench says they then "turned to the
right hand" and traversed a creek, until on the 13th they came to a
little hill, from which they had a good view to the westward. The
Governor called this eminence "Tench's Prospect Hill." On the 14th, on
leaving it, they retraced their steps to the river, passing over country
which "excepting for the last half mile was a continued bed of stones in
some places so thick that they looked like a pavement."

Although Captain Phillip cannot be said to have actually made any
further discoveries, a good deal of general information concerning the
inland parts was obtained in this expedition. He ascertained that the
Nepean was an affluent of the Hawkesbury; he observed the windings of
the various branches of the river and the places that ought to be
avoided by future explorers, and he also had opportunities for noting
the customs of the inland natives; one old man gave an exhibition of his
powers in climbing trees which is described as being "the finest display
the Governor had ever seen."


On September, 1793, Captain Paterson, of the New South Wales Corps, led
an expedition into the mountains. He was accompanied by Captain
Johnston, Mr. Palmer, Mr. Laing, and a strong escort of soldiers, among
whom were some Highlanders, who, like Paterson, were accustomed to
Scottish hills. Boats were sent round to Broken Bay, whence they entered
the Hawkesbury and on the fourth day reached Richmond Hill. At this
place in 1789 Governor Phillip's progress up the river had been
obstructed by a waterfall which his boats could not pass over. Paterson
overcame the difficulty by leaving his large boats and proceeding with
two that were smaller and lighter. He found the river carried him
westward and that the navigation was very intricate; a new river,
however, which ran through a huge ravine, was discovered and named the
Grose (in honour of Major Grose), and up this Paterson took his boats.

The termination of his journey was at a large rocky precipice which
received the name of Canopy Cliff. This cliff faced the junction of the
Grose with a smaller stream, the Grose flowing east and the stream west
of the cliff. A high peak of land seen by Paterson at this point was
named Harrington Peak. From Canopy Cliff to its junction with the Nepean
he found the Grose River to descend in falls and rapids about 400 feet.
But the party could not continue their exploration, since one of the
boats had loosened a plank and the other had been driven upon a stump,
so Paterson gave up further progress, "leaving the western mountains to
be the object of future discovery." He reached Sydney on September 22nd,
and in writing an account of his expedition to a friend at home he says:
"From an accident that happened to our boats, we returned after a
journey of ten days and got about 10 miles nearer them (the mountains)
than former travellers."[*]

[* Unpublished letter to Forsyth. In this letter Paterson speaks of a
second expedition he was about to take into the mountains.]

"Captain Paterson," remarks Collins, who relates the story of his
journey,[*] "was amply rewarded for his labour and disappointment by
discovering several new plants." He saw but few natives, and believed
that their arms and legs were longer than those of the coast natives."
As they live by climbing trees ... it might perhaps have been occasioned
by the custom of hanging by their arms and resting their feet at the
utmost stretch of the body..."

[* Collins's " Account of Colony of New South Wales."]

Following Paterson's exploit, attempts were unsuccessfully made by
different people, among whom were Hacking, Dr. Bass, and Wilson, to find
a pass through the ranges. Wilson's terminal point "may be regarded as
being on the hillside overlooking the Wollondilly at Bullio."[*] Perhaps
the most difficult task was that undertaken by Bass, of whom it is said
that he used iron boat-hooks on his hands and feet in climbing down the
steep sides of the rocks, and, when stopped by ravines, caused himself
to be lowered by ropes, but, after fifteen days of danger and fatigue,
he returned to Sydney without achieving success. On an old map at the
British Museum communicated by Colonel Paterson is an inscription which
perhaps tells best what Bass actually did. It runs as follows: "In this
direction[*] Mr. Bass's party went 28 miles from Mount Hunter--beyond
that the mountains were impassable; soil good for the first 18 miles."

[* R. H. Cambage: " journal of the R.A.H.Soc."]

[** i.e. westerly from Mount Hunter.]


Ensign Barrallier, New South Wales Corps, was the next to make a notable
expedition into the ranges. In 1802, in order to obtain leave of absence
for him from his military duties so that he might lead the expedition,
Governor King claimed him as his aide-de-camp, and sent him "on a
fictitious embassy to the king of the mountains."

Barrallier first made a preliminary excursion and crossed the Nepean
with a party of four men to find out the best route by which to proceed
later. He journeyed "as far as about 45 miles," where he chose a site
for a depo~t at a place called Nattai by natives and discovered the
river still known as the Nattai River, then he returned to Sydney, and
having received his final orders from the Governor went first to
Parramatta and then to Prospect. Taking his departure from the latter
place with a party which consisted of nine persons besides himself and a
native from Cowpastures named Gogy, he crossed the Nepean on November 6,
1802, at a ford called Binheny by the natives. Here it was found
impossible for the bullock wagon laden with provisions to get over the
river and the bullocks had to be unyoked, and finally the provisions, as
well as the wagon itself, had to be carried by the men to the opposite
bank. Once all were safely across Barrallier directed his route to the
south-west[*] and spent the night near a swamp called by the natives
Baraggel. Here some rare shells were discovered. Next day, November 7th,
he passed Menangle. In the lagoon were fish and eels of enormous size,
more of which were found at Carabeely, another stretch of water and
swamp, and near the latter the men killed a kangaroo. Barrallier here
came upon a herd of wild cattle and counted 162 "peaceably pasturing.''
They were descendants of the six landed by Phillip in 1788 which through
their keeper's neglect had strayed into the bush more than fourteen
years before to live and multiply in freedom.

[* After passing Menangle his route took him near the spot where Picton
now stands.]

On catching sight of the party the beasts advanced as if to attack the
men and had to be driven off. A second herd and a third were seen, also
the body of a bull "of a reddish colour with white spots" lying in a
ditch, below a terrace conjectured by Barrallier to have been "the
battle-field of the bulls." Two natives were met on this day where the
party halted for dinner. One of these, a "mountaineer" whose name they
made out to be Bungin,[*] was very shy and wore a curious mantle of
skins of various animals sewn together. The other, whose name was
Wooglemai--i.e. in native language, one-eyed--was friendly and knew Gogy
the native from the Cowpastures and apparently had visited Parramatta
and Prospect. The explorers, continuing their journey at 5.30 p.m.,
encamped for the night near a running stream on territory belonging to
the mountaineer, who in return for kindness shown him built a hut for
Barrallier and next day attached himself to the party. Two miles from
this place "a chain of mountains was visible, the direction of which,"
says Barrallier, "is inclined towards the south."

[* Barrallier writes: "Bungin was an inhabitant of the south, and had
left the Canambaigle tribe because they wanted to kill him."--Diary of
Ensign F. Barrallier, "Historical Records of New South Wales,"Vol. V.]

Continuing their advance on November 8th the men crossed several creeks
and late in the afternoon, after traversing a plain, entered rocky
country and reached a valley where they spent the night. At this time
they were four miles from Nattai. On the morning of the 9th the silence
was broken by the sound of "cooees" in the distance, and shortly
afterwards two mountain natives were brought into the camp. One had
never seen white people before and was terrified when Barrallier offered
to shake hands with him.

On the same morning the exploring party, advancing again over rough
country, "all covered with stones and brush," arrived at Nattai,[*] and
Barrallier decided, before starting on his journey into the mountains,
to send for a fresh supply of provisions. Three men, accompanied by the
native Wooglemai, went back next morning with the wagon to the
settlement. They did not return until the 19th, and during the interval
Barrallier with some of his party carried out some short explorations.
He followed a creek[**] which ran between mountains to the Nattai River,
the terminus of his first journey. Tracing the river on its left bank,
he came on November 11th to the junction of the two rivers, the Nattai
and the Wollondilly.

[* About six miles north-west of the town of Thirlmere.]

[** Shea's Creek, Barrallier's route to R. Cambage--" Journal,
R.A.H.Soc., Vol. III.]

In the evening he arrived at a valley where he camped for the night.[*]
In describing his journey on the 12th he says he passed through another
chain of isolated mountains which might be nearly four miles in length
and sighted on the right "the great range, the height of which is more
and more considerable ", the soil of the country everywhere was very
rich; "the hills...covered with kangaroos, which resembled a flock
of goats grazing peaceably."[**] He sowed pumpkin seeds and an apricot
stone at the foot of a mountain, where he also noticed prints of
natives. Observing a mountain which "though high[***] appeared easy of
access he climbed it, but could not gain its summit, being stopped by a
barrier of rocks-projecting outwards-in the shape of vaults." Proceeding
onwards he met with some strange natives, from whom it was difficult to
elicit any information regarding the mountains and who afterwards showed
signs of hostility to some of the party. On the 13th he returned to the

[* Burragorang Valley.]

[** "Historical Records of New South Wales," Vol. V.]

[*** Identified by R. Cambage. ("Journal R.A.H.Soc.," Vol. III) as South
Peak, and "is an the extreme southern end of a small
chain...known as the Peaks...the sandstone rocks of which the
peaks are composed extend back north-westerly, forming the southern
watershed of the Tonalli and are called the Tonalli Range."]

After the return of the wagon Barrallier started on a longer and more
important journey into the ranges. On November 22nd he left the dep~ot,
taking with him five of his strongest men and some natives with
sufficient provisions for one month. He travelled through a precipitous
gorge (S. 75° W.) by a route which he had already pursued, crossed the
Nattai River near which he had "cut some huts," and on November 23rd
arrived at the junction of the two rivers, Nattai and Wollondilly. Here
he met several strange natives, including a chief named Goondel. who
conversed with some of the members of his party.

On November 24th, having passed at noon the mountain he had tried to
climb on the occasion of his first journey,[*] and having crossed
difficult bushy country, "going over hills which stood in all
directions," he arrived about four o'clock at the top of a hill where he
was able to observe that "the direction of the chain of mountains
extended itself north-westwardly to a distance which I estimated to be
30 miles and which turned abruptly at right angles.[**] It formed a
barrier nearly N. and S. which it was necessary to climb over."

[* South Peak, according to R. Cambage]

[** Tonalli Range.]

At seven o'clock he reached the summit of another hill,[*] whence he
descried three openings: "the first on the right towards N. 59°30' W.;
the one in front of me and which appeared very large was west from me;
and the third S. 35°0' W." The sight of these openings filled the party
with encouragement.[**] Their spirits had flagged in the course of the
day, for the range of mountains which they had passed over was covered
with big granite stones which had made the route very laborious.

[* Alum Hill, according to R. Cambage.]

[** The three openings by Barrallier have been identified as follows:
The northern opening just south of Mount Colong and at the head of a
creek which flows into Colony Creek. The centre one due west of
Woolshed, the third that through which the Bindook track passes. (See R.

The trees were blue gum and iron-bark of medium height; and a number of
rivulets were passed. The total. distance covered by Barrallier up to
this date is given as 100 1/2 miles. Naturally the distance measured "as
the crow flies"[*] was not nearly so great; but Barrallier had to take a
zigzag course over the mountains, and his men were sometimes compelled
to travel two or three times as far as they might have gone had a direct
route been possible.

[* Barrallier's route is shown upon Oxley's maps and also upon a map of
New South Wales by J. Cross, 1827, corrected to 1829 and dedicated to J.

On November 25th at noon Barrallier reached a large stream, where he
halted for dinner. Its current was very rapid and its bed was filled
with granite stones. He crossed some hills, their direction being north
and south, climbed a very steep height, and at six o clock discovered a
cave large enough to contain twenty men, and he says he was then only
half a mile from "the western passage." He sent two men "to discover it"
and "to ascend the mountain at the N. of this Passage," while he waited
in the cave for them, On their return they "related that after passing
the range that was in front of us we would enter an immense plain, that
from the height where they were standing on the mountain they had caught
sight of only a few hills standing here and there in this plain, and
that the country in front of them had the appearance of a meadow." Much
elated with the news, Barrallier continued his march at nightfall and
arrived at the mouth of a passage half a mile wide, formed by a
perpendicular cut in the mountains (the profiles of which were of
immense height), and he now writes with certainty about his discovery of
a pass through them:

"I sent men to try and find the trees...for the building of our
huts. This work was completed...and after every one was sheltered,
they congratulated themselves with having succeeded in accomplishing the
passage of the Blue Mountains without accident."

On November 26th, at daybreak, Barrallier set out, taking two men with
him, "to verify by myself the configuration of the ground and to
ascertain whether the passage of the Blue Mountains had really been
effected. I climbed the chain of mountains north from us, and when I had
reached the middle of this height the view of a plain as vast as eye
could reach confirmed the report of the previous day."

To his sorrow, on this day, while trying to get through to the level
country, Barrallier found an unforeseen impediment in some hills that
formed a barrier. He followed a creek, and then discovered a fast
flowing river[*] between two chains of very high mountains. Turning
northwards he reached the river at its junction with a large stream,[*]
and in crossing it he and his men met with many dangerous obstacles.

[* Identified as the Kowmung River.]

[* Christy's Creek, probably Waterfall Creek.]

On the 27th so many barriers were encountered that on the 28th
Barrallier was compelled to abandon the expedition. "After having cut a
cross of St. Andrew on a tree to indicate the terminus of my second
journey," he tells us he turned homeward and following the line of his
outward track back to Nattai, reached the depo~t at 8.30 p.m. of
December 2nd.

It will be seen that Barrallier had good reason to claim that he had
crossed the Blue Mountains,[*] although the colonists do not seem to
have benefited in any way from his arduous travels. Either he was unable
to define his route clearly upon his map, or else the details he could
furnish were too meagre to be of any use as a guide to explorers; but it
is certain that a passage through the mountains remained undiscovered.
Cambage writes: "The terminal point reached by this courageous explorer
was...towards the head of Christy's Creek about 15 or 16 miles in a
direct line southerly. from the Jenolan Caves," and he adds: "It is
remarkable that Barrallier should have followed so far down the Kowmung
before turning to the left, for had he turned up the river instead of
down he would probably have succeeded in crossing the Great Dividing
Range, after which he would have had no difficulty in proceeding

[* R. H. Cambage," R.A.H.Soc.'s Journal," Vol. III.]


Barrallier's successor as an explorer of the Blue Mountains was George
Caley, who in 1800 came to Sydney primarily to collect plants for Sir
Joseph Banks, but who interested himself also in matters concerning the
welfare of the colony. Soon after his arrival he was made superintendent
of the Government Garden, which had been marked out at Parramatta, and
from time to time dispatched boxes of Plants and seeds to England in
charge of the captains of different ships voyaging homewards. So
carefully did he classify his collections, and so skilfully arrange
them, that he was called "Botanicus peritus et accuratus" by Robert
Brown, who named the Banksia Caleyi in his honour.

Caley soon found opportunities to make excursions inland, going at first
only short distances. In October, 1801, with two companions, he left
Prospect, crossed a chain of hills called the Devil's Back, where the
Cabramatta Creek takes its rise, and arrived at the Nepean. This river
Caley prefers to call the Hawkesbury, saying that "it is the principal
branch and ought to have that name." Encamping near its banks, during
the night he and his companions heard the noise of the wild cattle, and
next day went in quest of them. They took a south-easterly
course--having crossed the river on a fallen tree--but failed to come up
with the herd, though they saw at the head of a marshy flat the body of
a dead bull, probably of the Cape breed. Soon afterwards they returned
to Prospect.

A few months later, with two others, Caley traced the course of Tench's
River, and, being only familiar with English rivers, was struck with its
deep bed and high, perpendicular banks, with trees growing on either
side, which he described as "melancholy Casuarinae."

In March, 1802, he was particularly energetic and on the 9th started on
a short tour which lasted five days, but of which he has left but few
particulars. On the 26th he set off again from Parramatta, in company
with one man, and with his mare laden with provisions, to visit Mount
Hunter. Striking out on a south-west-by-south course, they travelled for
eighteen miles and came to "a flat piece of ground called Arayling by
the natives," five miles from which they arrived at the Nepean. There
they had to take the baggage off the mare and carry it themselves over
the river, an operation which Caley says, "took us nearly up to the neck
in some places...The water was very cold and the current
strong...the bottom inclined to quicksand." They afterwards swam
their horse across and reached Mount Hunter on the 28th.

The ascent was steep and difficult, owing to shrubs impeding their path.
From it Caley obtained a fine view of the Blue Mountains, which he
resolved to explore, observing a little prematurely that "they did not
deserve the name of mountains." He defined them merely as "high hills,"
though he admitted that "to the northward they may be more rocky," from
which it is evident that he did not catch sight of the naked rocks
forming bastions round them or the deep gorges lying hidden between the
"high hills." A little later, when he attempted to fight his way across
them, he altered his opinion that they were hills, and bestowed upon
them the title of mountains.

We read in his diary that in October, 1802, he made another short
journey from Prospect with two companions--possibly the same two as
before--and, taking "a direct W.S.W. by S. course," came to the Nepean.
Having passed over the river, they travelled through forest land, and
arrived "at the foot of a hill (Blue Mountains)," to the summit of one
of which they climbed.

In December of the same year Caley twice crossed and recrossed the
Nepean in an expedition undertaken for the purpose of defining the true
course of the river, for at that time some of its windings were not yet
filled in upon the maps in use in the colony. He left Prospect on
December 4th, accompanied by a friend, and took his mare laden with
sufficient provisions for an extended tour. The party set out on a
west-south-west-by-south course, and first arrived at the Great
Creek,[*] where they fell in with a number of natives. That day they
forded the Nepean at a part of the river which Caley does not seem to
have seen before, as he says he found that it trended north and

[* South Creek.]

After leaving its banks, they travelled a short distance and "got on to
the hills (Blue Mountains)"and pushed their way along them for three
miles through a dense thicket which at last compelled them to turn back.
In their return journey they met with another river, which was probably
that now known as Mount Hunter rivulet, for they had only proceeded a
short distance from it when he remarks: "This place I thought I had seen
before in my journey to Mount Hunter."

On his return to the Nepean, Caley recrossed it, but did not go back to
Prospect, though he says that he looked for that place from the brink of
the hills, but could not clearly see it, the weather being hazy. He
writes: "We...crossed the Hawkesbury River at the end of the hills...that
seemed to be rent asunder for a passage for it, which I propose
to call Dovedale, from its grand and romantic appearance." From
Dovedale, so named after the well-known valley in Derbyshire, Caley made
his way to Bagalin, "the place I was bound for, this being at another
part of the river. Here he halted. He could see a large vale from
Bagalin, and, believing that the river flowed through it to the
south-cast, he resolved to explore it with the view of finding the head
of the river.

Setting out on this second journey, Caley and his companions crossed the
Nepean at a known part of the river where it had been already surveyed,
and possibly at a short distance from where Barrallier had forded it a
month before.[*] They then directed their course south-by-east three
miles, and pitched their tent at a swampy place, the name of which, as
they learned from natives, was Menangle. The natives also told Caley in
answer to his questions that the river did not run through the vale he
wanted to find, and that he would be unable to take his mare over the
rocks to it.

[* This ford was North of Bird's Eye Corner: another ford over the
Nepean was known as Emu Ford, and another Cowpasture Ford.]

During his short stay there a heavy thunderstorm took place, and he
allowed four natives to take shelter under his "painted sheet" or tent.
Leaving Menangle he travelled to the south-west, and then traced his
former course south-by-east and came almost at once upon the river
"deeply seated in a narrow, rocky valley with almost perpendicular
sides." He followed it for a quarter of a mile and found that its course
ran first south-south-east, a turn north-north-east, then
east-north-east. About four miles from Menangle he halted at a place
where there was good water and plenty of grass for the mare. It was a
very picturesque spot and he named it Ripponden--a name that has since
disappeared from the maps.

Still anxious to find the river's true course, he travelled
north-north-west over some hills and came to Poppy Brook, so called (by
him) because wild poppies were found growing there. Poppy Brook was a
small stream of clear water flowing over a bed of small black stones,
similar to those he had often seen in brooks in England. It is the Stone
Quarry Creek of Barrallier,[*] whose name for it survives, and takes its
rise in the high land west of Picton.

[* In early maps of New South Wales by Arrowsmith (communicated by
Lieut-Colonel Paterson and also upon Oxley's map) Poppy Brook and Stone
Quarry Creek are shown as different streams. Apparently Governor King
identified them as the same stream.]

The tracks of wagon wheels told Caley that Barrallier had been there
before him, and the natives at Menangle had related that "at Nayti, the
furthermost outpost reached by him, he had built a bark hut." Caley
remarks that he had already heard from Governor King that "Barrallier
had been 150 miles in the country," where "he had fixed stations," and
says also that the Governor had pointed out one of these to him, "which
I understood was 50 miles S.S.W. from Prospect and called by the natives
Natta, but which I now learn is Nayti," and he adds, "with that I
endeavoured to find it."

Crossing Poppy Brook, Caley first proceeded to the south-west and
west-south-west without any success: he then turned south-south-west and
discovered a sheet of water or lagoon which he called Scirpus Mere; some
beautiful plants were growing not far from this lagoon, and where the
thicket was densest he found a species of Persoonia with sweet-scented
flowers and pubescent leaves. Seeing no signs of Barrallier's depo~t,
and having lost all traces of his wagon wheels, he went to "another
range to the eastward," but still not finding Nayti returned to Poppy
Brook. On leaving this stream a second time Caley struck a course for
four miles to the north-north-east, and at the end of the fourth mile
arrived at a spot called by the natives Murdogra, "which being a low,
flat piece of ground without any trees growing upon it, its green
verdure had a pleasant appearance in a country where all was forest."
Here he stayed the night and saw, at about a mile distant from his camp,
the smoke of native fires. He continued to search for Nayti, but could
not find it, though he was convinced, from what the natives had said,
that it was at no great distance.

At this time the party fell in with wild cattle, but "not in a herd; in
general two bulls and at the most six, were seen together." Some of them
had humps between their shoulders, though "it is said that there was not
a humped one among them when they ran away," and Caley remarks: "Many
people are of the opinion that the natives kill them, but...the
natives told me that when the cattle see them they immediately run at
them and they are obliged to climb up the trees." Turning back next day,
after a tour of nine days, Caley returned to Prospect.

In addition to making sea voyages to different parts of the coast in
search of botanical subjects, we find Caley a year or so later again
touring inland. In 1804 he set out on an excursion to the territory
which he called Vaccary Forest (the Cowpastures), to ascertain the
extent of its boundaries. His diary of this journey is enlightening. We
learn that it was then conjectured in Sydney that the wild cattle which
had so long pastured in Vaccary Forest were now beginning to roam
farther into the country and it was feared that they would altogether
forsake the tracks they had frequented hitherto. A large party of horse
and foot indeed had been sent to drive them if possible into "a very
strong fenced yard newly made...for this purpose," but "this scheme
or rather chase ended...with running one or two cows down."

It had been usual since the days of Captain Hunter for the governors and
officers to take visitors to the colony on excursions to the Cowpastures
to hunt the wild cattle, although it was found no easy matter to single
one out of the herd. Caley believed these excursions would become even
more frequent, owing to the fact that "the trees had been marked all the
way there, a track being visible and a small house built" for the
hunting parties. Still at that time little was known with respect to the
boundaries of these pastures, and Caley therefore proposed to make a
complete survey of them. Loading up his mare with provisions he left
Parramatta accompanied by his manservant and went on February 11th to
Prospect, whence the party took their departure. They encamped for the
night at the side of some small ponds, around which there was young
grass growing, and set off early on the morning of the 12th to the
Nepean, arriving at the river about noon. Before they reached it they
"discovered Cowpasture House seated in a bushy place on this side of the
river."[*] The grass all round it and even close up to it had been
burnt, but it had escaped injury. "It was," says Caley, "no more than a
small hut built of boards, thatched with grass, and a wooden chimney. We
saw in the house a cask containing a quantity of salt which had been
carried there to salt beef."

[* The principal station was at Cawdor, where a dwelling-house was
erected...afterwards used as a cowhouse.--W.R.G., "Saturday

The men got over the river easily, the water being low; a little further
down they noticed a fallen tree had been thrown across it for the
purpose of a bridge. They found its banks crowded with trees, chiefly
casuarinae. On leaving their crossingplace, Caley bore away to Menangle,
where he pitched his tent. The lake was now reduced to a very small
compass, as the weather for so long had been hot and dry. On the
following day he went back to the log bridge and recrossed the river in
search of a pond where he expected to find some rare plants; but, to his
surprise, it had entirely dried up. In making his way back to the camp
he heard a voice--not that of a native, but of a white man calling; and,
as "some desperate runaways were known to infest that quarter," he was
careful to make preparations for an attack.

Four months before he had accompanied Mr. Robert Brown to Mount Hunter,
and when upon the mount they had heard two men "hallooing" who evidently
had lost each other, and Caley says: "By our halloaing in return one of
them was decoyed to within a few rods of us, but as soon as he got the
first sight, immediately fled." Although Caley did not actually see
anyone on this occasion, he resolved to be very much on his guard, but
says he did not think he would be "easily overcome even by an armed

Leaving Menangle, he went to Ripponden, which he had visited in 1802.
From there he proceeded in the direction of Poppy Brook. On the way he
saw a beaten cattle track, along which he travelled, and presently came
upon a large herd of cattle lying down, which quickly sprang up and each
one stared at the party "with fierce visage." A young dog that Caley had
with him soon put them to flight. There were fifty-three in the herd,
and they made off towards the river.

Caley then met with a small brook which he had seen before (possibly in
December, 1802), to which he now gave the name of Little Brook. He
continued in the direction of Poppy Brook, and noticed as he went how
much the road was travelled between there and Ripponden. "Being an
important one," he says, "I have called it London Road."

In the region of Poppy Brook, where he and his servant encamped, Caley
decided to begin his survey, "at the termination of the range where I
began my S.S.W. course in the discovery of Scirpus Mere." He set out
next day on his old track to carry out this intention, when he heard a
voice through the brushwood, and shortly after "a native came running to
me and called me by my name...He informed me there was a large
party Walbunga," which meant "catching kangaroos by setting the place on
fire, and by [the blacks] placing themselves in the direction the animal
is forced to pass and by throwing spears at it as it passes along."

In further conversation with his black friend Caley learned that there
were strange blacks from the mountains among the party of natives, and
that one visitor was no other than the famous Cannabygal, or Cannamikel,
a chief much dreaded by the other tribes. At last Caley prevailed upon
the native to "cooee" for the others so that he might see the strange
blacks, and "a large party came running towards us and by the place
being brushy they were upon us before they well saw who we were." Some
of the natives evidently had seen Caley from their hiding-places on a
former expedition, for he writes: "I perceived a deal more knew me than
I could recognize...My man noticing a few...behind a tree I
immediately went up to them and inquired for Cannabygal
man clapped his hands upon his breast and gave me to understand he was
the person."

Of this early meeting with the mountain natives Caley gives the
following account: "I singled out the chief of the party[*] I was known
to and opened a familiar conversation. During that time all the rest
were in a profound silence...The strangers were four in number,
three men and one woman; the men were without any clothing except a belt
to fix the mogo in; the woman had a kind of cloak upon her back made of
skins of animals but which did not conceal her nakedness...They
were of gigantic stature in comparison with the rest; their hair being
long and their features in general gave them a frightful countenance,
though I must own that Cannabygal had something pleasant in his face
while I was conversing with him. None of the four ever had seen a white
man before. They had a large domesticated native dog with them."

[* Evidently a Cowpasture native to interpret for him.]

Caley shot a bird to show the power of his fire-arms and gave it to
them, and they were much surprised that they could not discover any
wounds. At last, he says, finding that his absence was more wished for
than his company, he informed them he was about to depart. They at once
pointed out to him the exact direction which they desired him to take,
and his native friend acquainted him with the fact that several women
belonging to the mountaineers' party were stationed near by and that
therefore he must be careful not to alarm them. Caley gave a promise
that he would go in the direction pointed out, and kept his word. This
obliged him to go a little way out of his course, but he says that the
distance was "too trivial" to be noted on his map. The Cowpasture
natives had informed him that the strangers were cannibals, but this he
doubted. He asked the natives several questions respecting the source of
the Hawkesbury and they pointed to the south-east; when he inquired as
to the whereabouts of Nayti they pointed west-by-north.

It was probably at this meeting and from these mountain natives that
Caley obtained the information concerning the unknown interior which
afterwards in a letter to Mr. Robert Brown he claimed to have possessed.
He said in it that he had heard from the natives that there was a great
river inland and a plain above the trees, and that "the mountain natives
who came at times to the outskirts of the colony had their heads covered
with emu feathers."

After parting from the natives and their guests Caley and his man sought
their former track. They ascended a steep hill to get to a higher and
more backward range, and "fell in with a herd of cattle which had taken
the road we were going, but before we got on to it they returned...
the dog close at their heels; seeing them in a state of confusion I was
beginning to clear the way for them. However, I had the satisfaction of
seeing them keep on the range...Some decayed fallen trees they
leaped over like hunters, and there was a noise made by the rattling of
horns such as I had never heard."

A cow fell behind and lay down, evidently unable to move, so Caley went
up to her but could render no assistance, for at the sight of him she
became so much frightened that he says "it was only tormenting her
more." He regretted being unable to shoot her and put her out of pain on
account "of His Excellency's Proclamation forbidding the like," adding:
"I could not ease my mind at having to leave the poor animal thus, and
resolved if I should visit this part again I would know whether she had
quitted it."[*]

[* Caley heard afterwards that a lame red cow always followed the herd
in this manner and concluded that she might not have been badly hurt.]

He and his man continued "to rise upon the range," and saw a great
bush-fire at the spot where they had lately left the natives. At length
they got to the farthest end of the range, where, Caley says, "I now
began to trace the western boundaries of these pastures."

He thus describes a small valley with some ponds of water and good grass
which he thought suitable for a station: "The place we had chosen to
pass the night by its greenness had a pleasant appearance...It was
rocky in places...The cattle came here for water...This is the
place I have called Green Dingle." On first coming there Caley believed
himself fortunate to find such a pleasant camp, but shortly afterwards
he rather regretted having chosen it for a resting-place, as the voices
of natives were heard close at hand, from which it was evident that the
blacks had followed them and were only hidden from them by a turn in the
valley. Warning his man to keep very quiet he made preparations to
resist them, "as I could not tell in what manner they would act." At
night Caley took care to keep up a very small fire, concealing it and
their tent with bushes so that they should not be seen by the natives.
He writes: "We could hear them making a loud noise as if they were
dancing and making merry...When they became silent we went to
sleep...and fixed our gun in such a position as to have nothing to
do...than pulling the trigger on our being suddenly awakened."

Next morning Caley and his man rose early and breakfasted before
daybreak. After loading the mare with their baggage they went towards
the black fellows' camp, but already they had left it and were upon the
march. Caley followed them, wishing to see Cannabygal again, but writes:
"He kept out of my presence...My man being eager to get a view of
the women kept following them with the mare; by so doing he put them in
a fright and they screamed loudly...and on my taking hold of the
halter to pull the mare round some of the natives hit her with their
spears and being high mettled she began to caper...I was afraid I
should give offence and create hostilities, but...happily the whole
ended in a joke." Some of the Cowpasture natives escorted Caley for some
distance after parting with the mountain natives, and he says that when
Cannabygal and his companions were out of sight "the others burst into
fits of laughter and were highly delighted by their being so frightened
on seeing white people." Caley had noticed that they themselves were "as
mute as mice" when the mountain natives were present, and he adds, "The
strangers are greatly dreaded and reverenced, particularly Cannabygal,
who according to superstition is invincible and more than mortal."

Continuing his examination of the boundaries of the Cowpastures from
Green Dingle on a westerly course, he found some extensive cattle
tracts, "the largest running N.N.W., which the party followed and came
to a creek named by him Brush Creek. From this creek he traced the
northern confines of the Cowpastures. On returning to Sydney he gave an
account of his travels to the Governor, who in his remarks[*] upon
Caley's observations says that "By Caley's journey and chart he makes
the extent of the ground frequented by the wild cattle...about 11
miles in the north and south direction and about 8 in the widest
direction from east to west."

[* "Historical Records of New South Wales," Vol. V.]

These short expeditions were the forerunners of exploration of a much
bolder character undertaken with the object of trying to find a pass
over the mountains. It was in November, 1804, that Caley first tried to
cross them, having been provided by the Governor with four of the
strongest men in the colony to assist him. On Saturday, November 3rd,
taking a boat up the river, the party landed "at the upper part of
Richmond Terrace with the intention of travelling to the Carmarthen
Mountains; but between them and their goal stretched ranges of hills
which had to be traversed before it could be won." Being resolved to
keep clear of the Grose, Caley shaped his course to the west-north-west.
He had gone only a short distance, however, before he was confronted
with deep valleys and rocky precipices, some of which rose to a height
of over 1,000 feet; and wherever a level track was found it was equally
difficult to travel over, the ground being covered with impenetrable

In spite of these obstacles in his path he continued to advance slowly,
and on the 5th from a hillside obtained a fine view of the hills he was
trying to gain; but he describes himself as "thunderstruck with the
roughness of the country that presented itself between them and us." He
went higher up the hill in order to be able to determine the best route
to take, and, after scanning the country resolved to steer as straight
for the Carmarthen Mountains as the roughness of the country would
permit. He proceeded down the side of a valley, and descended it where
it was joined by another valley in which there was a swamp. The valley
was surrounded by high-topped trees, and the greenness of the swamp gave
the place a most beautiful appearance; Caley named it Swamp Valley. The
men traversed it by marching sometimes in the valley and sometimes on
the edge of the hills. They then crossed the swamp and halted at the
north end of the valley, where Caley mounted a hill in order to take
bearings and to find out how far they were from the Grose, and "ere long
was favoured with a view of Grose's Head," about seven miles distant. He
there caught sight of an increasing volume of smoke rising from the spot
where they had encamped, and, hurrying to it, found his men in great
consternation owing to one of them while kindling a fire having set the
bush alight. The flames burned furiously and spread among the dead trees
so rapidly that for a time the party were in considerable danger.

Leaving Swamp Valley, Caley travelled on the following courses:
west-north-west, south-west, west-south-west, and west-by-south, and at
length, at the end of the last course, he got another view of the
Carmarthen Hills. He next turned west-1/2-south obliquely into a valley
which came from the northeast, its waters running to the south-west.
Here he found plants similar to those around Sydney. Directing his
courses for the most part in a south-westerly direction, he crossed
three more valleys, all of which emptied their waters to the south-west.
The last one, which was very deep, with a steep and difficult descent
into it, Caley called Dark Valley. Fortunately the weather was fine and
on this day he caught sight of some lories,

On December 7th a very fine morning broke, and the party started on a
south-west course, and after ascending a hill advanced along a range
until they arrived at the brink of a valley which came from the
northward. Its sides appeared perpendicular; its depth was about 300
yards, its width nearly a mile, and Caley says: "I was at a loss to know
how to cross this deep valley, which seemed to bid defiance to man." At
length he found a place where by holding on to the bushes and small
shrub-like trees he was able to make a partial descent and creep along
the edge of the rocks. The luggage was lowered by making a rope of
twine, and handed on from one man to another over the rocks. Having so
far got safely down, Caley determined not to cross the valley but to
proceed down to the Grose, which "was joined by another valley that came
from the S.W." Eventually he came suddenly upon the Grose, but was
forced to return, "for the rocks formed perpendicular sides apparently
to the water's edge." After trying unsuccessfully to advance, first at
one place and then at another, he says at last he had "only the northern
valley to make choice of." He hastened to it again and his men were at
last able to make their descent a little above the union of the northern
valley with that which came from the south-west. Fine streams ran
through these two valleys, which, after uniting, took a course to the

In giving an account of his adventures here Caley writes:

"The dreary appearance, abruptness, and intricate and dangerous route
experienced at this place induced me to call it the Devil's Wilderness."
His party advanced two miles in a south-west-by-west direction, "crossed
the northern branch of the Grose River and went up a very steep and high
hill." The passage was rough and so dangerous that the men were in great
peril, often climbing over ledges of rock where a false step might have
cost them their lives. All fortunately gained the top in safety, but
much fatigued, and, although they had only just left a stream, parched
with thirst owing to the heat. As a substitute for water they ate the
native currant. They continued climbing hilly ground until they came to
some high bluff rocks, in order to surmount which they again took off
their loads and handed them from one to another. An olive-coloured snake
about four feet long passed close to Caley, but, as he had no weapon in
his hand, it escaped him.

Having ascended the rocks, which he called Skeleton Rocks, he obtained
from the top of them a fine view of the country to the eastward.
Continuing an uphill journey the party suddenly came upon a very narrow
ridge, which gradually widened until it formed yet another hill "of
gentle ascent and descent." Whilst passing over this, a breach on the
left suddenly opened to their view and they saw a valley below, into
which Caley descended to look for water and to seek a resting-place for
the night. He soon found a spot suitable for a camp, and describes how
he had then to humour his tired men, who "were not so overcome by
fatigue as overawed by the dangers through which they had passed." He
tried to raise their spirits by telling them that, although the route
was a rough one, he was of opinion that they had hit upon the range
likely to lead them to the Carmarthen Mountains.

After he had reasoned with them for some time his words had the desired
effect and stimulated them to proceed. Caley was much interested not
only in the plants but also in the birds, insects, and other things new
to him that he saw in this part of his expedition. In particular he
found a strange, luminous grub, a number of which had fastened
themselves to a projecting rock above where he was sleeping. When he
awoke during the night, at first he imagined that he was gazing at the
stars. Owing to this circumstance he called the place Luminous Valley,
but he says: "Although I saw so many I was able to catch but few."

On the morning of November 8th the party, in order to get to the range,
retraced their steps for a quarter of a mile, and having altered their
course arrived at a small, oblong hill the shape of which Caley says
reminded the men at once of a pincushion. He therefore gave it the name
of Pincushion Hill. From there they could see the smoke of their last
camp fire in Luminous Valley east-by-north.[*]

[* A little distance farther Caley gives the following beatings:
"Pincushion Hill E. ¼ N., Grose's Head E.S.E. ¼ S., Round Hill in
Grose's Vale E.S.E. ¼ E,, Round Hill of Mr. Dawes S.W. ¼ S. End of the
high range or Fern Tree Hill W.S.W. ¼ W. Courses later upon the range:
N.W. by N.W., S.W. by S., and S.W. by W., all half a mile."]

On the 9th Caley left the range, which he thought was carrying him too
far to the north, and entered a shallow valley to try and gain an
eminence (Fern Tree Hill). Travelling due west, he had no sooner got
across it than another deep valley appeared, and, thinking this was the
last valley, he crossed it in an oblique direction south-west-by-south
1/2 mile which brought his party to the point of another range which "we
went down a little south," where it ended in a steep precipice between
two valleys. They tried to descend into the one on the left hand, but
found that "the water fell several yards perpendicularly"; and Caley
describes the place as resembling a chasm called Grislefoot between
Whernside and Ingleborough, two of the highest mountains in England with
which he was familiar; and from his experience of climbing English
mountains he came to the conclusion that there must be a "midfitter"
which united the range he was standing on to the eminence called Fern
Tree Hill. After much searching he proved this surmise to be correct by
finding the midfitter. The valleys on each side of it soon became very
deep; through the one on the left the waters were carried to the Grose,
while through that on the right they ran "probably into a branch of
Hawkesbury below Portland Head."

Being now short of water Caley went down into a deep valley to look for
it, and found some in another valley which led to the foot of Fern Tree
Hill. Here they encamped. A high wind blew in heavy gusts in the
afternoon, threatening rain. The night was wild and showers fell,
causing the men much discomfort. On the morning of the 10th the sun
shone, though it soon became obscured by clouds. Some lories were seen
and Caley also heard the laughing jackass. He describes the place as a
barren spot, the trees sparse, small, and of crooked growth, some
resembling blue gum in colour and others having rather twisted bark.
Where there were patches of treeless ground the land resembled that
around Sydney, producing the same plants, such as Banksia cricaefolia.

From this camp the party went tip to the midfitter to get to Fern Tree
Hill. After some intricate climbing,[*] Caley saw from a height the
pivot range, "of the mountains we had crossed on our first leaving
Richmond." From here he led his men west-south-west to a valley and hill
covered with brush, and found that he had got on the wrong range, as to
which he observes "a man might soon be bewildered." He therefore turned
back, and upon again seeing the first range of mountains resolved "to
keep them as the surest guide. For to keep in direct line by compass was
not in my power here to do." The courses afterwards taken collectively
were from south to south-east, and at last the summit of Fern Tree Hill
was gained, as to which Caley writes: "Four miles may be said our whole
day's journey," and "of that, the course S. to S.E. may be called 3 1/2

[* Their courses then were S.W., S.W. by S., both 1 mile. W. and S.S.W.
across the head of the valley, which had given so much trouble to them
when searching for water the night before. Still going up hill on
courses first S.S.W, and then S.S.E., and lastly E. by N., both 1 mile.]

The summit of Fern Tree Hill was found to be very narrow and covered
with brush, chiefly consisting of, amongst others, "a glaucous leaved
Senecio and a white flowered species of Smilax, which retarded progress
very much, and nettles which grew very high and stung vehemently." The
part that "was void of bush was thickly covered with timber and a
species of fern which as it increases in age forms a tree." Many of
these tree ferns were very tall, as were some of the timber trees. The
soil was very moist and commonly of a brown vegetable mould. From here
Caley had a view of the mountains on both sides. On his left he saw the
first range--his "surest guide" and on the right a fainter view of the
ranges in that direction; his bearings were the Grose's Head,
east-1/2-south, western end of Mount Banks[*] south-west-by-west, some
whitish rocky breaches between south and south-south-west, whilst Round
Hill bore south. The whole country from west to east by way of north
appeared mountainous, yet but few peaks were to be seen. The valleys
came from the westward, and where "the rocky breaches" were there seemed
to be a large valley.

[* Governor King says that Caley always called Mount King George by the
name of Mount Banks.]

Leaving the summit of Fern Tree Hill they proceeded down the side of it
east-south-east to some rocks,[*] where "there were but few trees," to
pass the night. On the way down the hillside one of the party had a
rather bad fall but soon recovered from its effects. During the night
rain fell heavily and all complained of being cold and wet, although
Caley had hoped that they would have been secure from the rain through
"having a hollow rock to creep into," but the water came trickling down
the rock and it was worse than being in the open.

Next day was the 11th--a Sunday morning--clouds of heavy fog prevented
the men leaving the camp before ten o'clock, by which time it had
dispersed. The party went down hill on a south-south-west course to
cross a valley and ascend Saddle Hill or Mount Banks, but on arriving at
the bottom of the hill Caley was surprised to find that the valley
formed a "dreadful chasm" with perpendicular sides the depth of
which..."could less than 50 yards...The breadth did not
seem to exceed 15 yards..."He threw some large pieces of rock into
this ravine and records that they made a weird noise and seem to take an
endless time to reach the bottom. There being no way of crossing it, the
men returned to Station Rock. The afternoon was wet and the fog became
so dense that they now could see only a few rods before them, it was
therefore thought best to halt for the night.

[* Afterwards named Station Rock.]

Caley mentions the different birds seen. Two crows flew round them and
some thrushes and redbreasts with black and white heads made their
appearance. The weather of the 12th was as wet and foggy as the previous
day, and although the afternoon was clearer, Caley did not deem it
prudent to make a fresh start so late in the day and spent his time in
trying to get views of the country round his camp.

On going to the top of the rock he found it to be large and to answer
his needs in every respect so he called it Station Rock. He accordingly
made a level with water and found the place was nearly equal in height
with the base of the mount of Mount Banks, nearly also equal with the
top of Saddle Hill and with the top of Round Hill, but Saddle Hill was
lower; and he ascertained that Fern Tree Hill, Mount Banks, Saddle Hill,
and Round Hill did not form one range as he had supposed when travelling
there. He writes: "From Station Rock as far, as eye could trace from the
S. to the W. the ground appeared to slope towards us...It had the
aspect of being rough and mountainous. From Round Hill it sloped towards
the N.E. until it met with the opposite branches of the Grose."

While upon Station Rock, Caley observed that Fern Tree Hill was
separated from Mount Banks by a deep valley--the one in which lay the
"dreadful chasm" into which he had cast stones. Saddle Hill and Mount
Banks appeared to him to be on one range but at the west end of Saddle
Hill he saw a broken precipice which seemed to form a valley "most
probably...not deep." In the south 1/2 west to south-south-west
there was a high breach, of whitish appearance, and he believed that at
the bottom of it the principal branch of the Grose River passed, though
he says: "It is doubtful to conjecture which is the principal branch of
the Grose, let alone to affirm it."[*] However, he thought that this
branch was "the largest of any that comes from the west by this quarter
and is the same as I have mentioned at the Devil's Wilderness as coming
from the S.W., at which place there did not seem any difference in the
quantity of the water as in the one we crossed which came from the

[* Mr. Govett describing the Valley or ravine through which the Grose
River flows says: "The mountains which rise most conspicuously above the
surrounding ridges are Mount Hay, Mount King George and Mount Tomah...the
first is of conical shape...(frowning amidst rugged masses
of rock and the tremendous precipices and gigantic walls which overhanging
confine the channel of this inaccessible river); Mount King George
called by some the Camel's Back from its double figure (3 1/4 m. north
west of Mt. Hay) presents on its west side tremendous walls of rock more
than 400 feet perpendicular. Mount Tomah (of flat and tabular shape) is
about four miles north of Mt. Hay. The latter possesses rich tropical
vegetation. The river winds round the basement of the precipices and
divides by a frightful chasm Mount Hay from Mount King George and Mount
Tomah which last are both situated on the north side of the ravine. The
Grose continuing in nearly an easterly direction for about 15 miles
falls into the Nepean and then takes the name of the Hawkesbury which
after winding by a tortuous course discharges itself finally into the
sea at Broken Bay 30 miles n. of Port Jackson."]

On the 13th a fine morning burst over Station Rock, though clouds of
mist hung in the valleys below. Gradually rising, they enveloped the
camp when the men were preparing to leave it, but by noon had dispersed.
Mountain fogs now began to hinder the movements of the travellers
seriously, and Caley points out that it "would only have been labour in
vain to attempt to travel through them." He feared them, because, apart
from the risk they incurred, the delay necessarily reduced his stock of
provisions. He knew, too, that since he had come by a zigzag route, he
would have to return by it, and the fogs might easily render it
impossible for him to find his former bearings.

Leaving Station Rock when the atmosphere grew clearer the explorers
travelled west-north-west, following a circuitous route towards a valley
which appeared to come from the westward. Their way led them over ground
covered with brush, nettles, and large loose stones, "very heavy and of
a blue colour like the magnetic stone on Prospect Hill," Caley being
puzzled to find that he could see no rocks in the vicinity, "whence they
could have been thrown by any convulsion." He was anxious to reach the
valley which he believed came from the westward; for, he says, he
intended "to keep it...on our left until it presented some
favourable place of crossing in order that I might get to Mount Banks."

On reaching the brink of the valley and trying to descend it at this
point, "it was found impracticable and so we returned" to the range.
After this disappointment Caley caught sight of a hill bearing about
north-west, which seemed to join to Fern Tree Hill, and he resolved to
make his way towards it, as it seemed to form a passage to the west, and
there appeared to be a small range that ran from behind it in a western
direction. He therefore decided to head the troublesome valley, and,
having done so, took his men through thick brush and came to a hill
which lay on the right. From this hill Caley saw what he at first
thought was a "saddle," but it proved to be a deep valley, and opposite
to him stood the hill he wished to reach. He could now see that from it
ran a high range consisting of small hummocks and he felt sure that upon
this another eminence, called the Haycock, must be situated.

The valley, which he had previously imagined came from the westward, he
now was convinced came from the northward. "To cross this valley was now
the grand object," so he went along its northern edge, and, though he
despaired of finding any place to descend, to his surprise he came upon
a narrow cleft. He took off his load, and, having left his men behind,
while he went down it, had not gone far before he noticed a kangaroo
path and saw that the passage gradually widened. He accordingly returned
to his men and all descended, forcing their way through a bush-like
species of eucalyptus, which, in places, covered the hillside. They then
halted at a hollow rock near which there was a rill of water. Some tall,
straight trees with dark green foliage grew there, and at first Caley
could not tell to what species they belonged, but he afterwards
identified them as Sassafras. The party passed the night at a
disagreeably damp place in the depths of the valley, which, as he made
the descent, Caley says, "put me in mind of looking down a coal-pit, and
where frogs and toads made such a hideous noise that I was induced to
call it Dismal Dingle." Next day, the 14th, the morning was fine, yet
from their situation the men were unable to see the sky unless they
stood upright and looked through the openings in the trees.

Continuing their journey they went over Table Hill[*]
north-west-by-north 1/2 mile to a midfitter. Of it Caley writes: "This
midfitter which links Table Hill and a lower range is much like the one
that links Fern Tree Hill and the range which cornes from the Devil's
Wilderness. As we came along it the valley on our left conveyed its
waters direct to the valley...which separates Fern Tree Hill from
Table Hill...Between us and Mt. Banks there seem to be several
valleys which...became...very deep."

[* Mount Tomah.]

Proceeding from the midfitter, Caley lost the range and followed a
jutting spur. On retrieving his mistake he turned abruptly south-west,
crossed a valley and fell in with another range south-south-west (a
midfitter), then went south-west and arrived at a barren piece of
land[*] destitute of trees, and in appearance much like some places in
the vicinity of Sydney, such as South Head. Though this was a barren
spot there was a wide contrast between it and Dismal Dingle. "It
commanded an excellent prospect and the country round seemed to consist
of small ranges of hills and valleys that run in a circuitous direction
or as though nature had formed a labyrinth." Caley named this place
Bluff Head. They at last were close to the foot of Mount Banks, but
another deep valley still remained between them and it. They thought at
first that this would check their progress, until Caley again espied a
midfitter, and by this means their goal was won.

[* Bald Hills (?)]

The march from Bluff Head to Mount Banks was tedious, and the tired men
thought that they would never come to their journey's end: "Between
Bluff Head and Mount Banks they crossed two hills, the larger one being
named Range Hill." A thunderstorm took place and they had to seek
shelter in a rock house for the night. From it the Haycock bore
north-1/4-east. Table Hill north-north-east-1/4-east, Saddle Hill east
1/4 mile. Here a piece of bark was found which looked as though it had
been cut from the tree by natives. The only other signs of the
aborigines seen by Caley in these mountains had been the smoke of their
fires up the branch of the Grose which ran into the Devil's Wilderness.

Next day, Thursday, November 15th, Caley ascended Mount Banks[*] and had
excellent views from it in every direction. To obtain these he says "was
his main object" in journeying to this hill. The sky was clear when he
arrived, and the men who started to search for a place at which to
encamp, as near the summit as possible, soon found a rock house upon its
western side.

[* This was Mt. King George, or the Camel's Back, so called from its
double figure.]

The day was set aside as a "rest day for the men," but Caley himself did
not rest and made all haste while the light was clear to take bearings
and to make some observations. Beginning with the south end of Mount
Banks he found that its top formed "an oval about 20 to 30 yards long
which was covered with heavy loose stones...on the eastern side...ferns
grow among these...but on the western a small bushlike
eucalyptus"...The sides "break suddenly into rocks and at the bottom
there was a deep valley, which comes from the west-north-west. This
valley takes a circuitous course to the east and appears to run on the
western side of Round Hill." At the bottom was a fine stream, "evidently
that which falls into the Devil's Wilderness from the S.W."

The trees there were small in general of only two with a
bark like the colonial mahogany and the tree. There
was an excellent view from the N.N.W. to the S. but from S. to N.E. the
views are interrupted by the trees and only seen through the openings."
He could not be certain whether he actually saw Prospect[*] as the high
land "backwards" prevented him making out "its true figure."

[* Caley gives these bearings: " Round Hill S.ES. ½ S., Grose's Head the
high point E. a little S. over it is cleared land, which I suspect to be
Castle Hill. Prospect E.N.E. ¼ E."]

He found that the whole length of the top of Mount Banks was about half
a mile, and that the north end was "somewhat the shape of the other...the
top...thickly covered with loose stones...among which fern
grows and causes bad walking." It commanded "a prospect from the S.E. by
S. to E.S.E. in general very good." "From N.E. by E. to N.W. by W. Fern
Tree and Table Hill prevent a distant view."[*] Caley looked again and
again for "the conical hill which is called Mount Hunter," but he could
not distinguish it.

[* Bearings from here were: "The Haycock N. 1/4 W. High distant saddle
land N.N.W. A small hummock on Mount S.S.E.]

As he clambered round the mountain he came to a part which he named the
Saddle and its north end "the Middle Hummock," whence he obtained the
views he desired of the surrounding country; and writing of this spot he
says. "Though the lowest part on the top of the hill it has the best
prospect owing to its nakedness." After ascending the Middle Hummock he
looked eastward and saw in that direction "a wide and extensive
vale...and the land on the sea coast...a little hazy."

He then turned and looked westward! Before him lay that hidden region
whose secrets so many brave explorers had vainly striven to discover;
where fertile plains and wide rivers still awaiting the coming of white
men were to prove the goal of those who followed him on his path of
exploration--pioneers like himself whose names are written imperishably
in the history of the West.

Having gazed at the mountains, Caley, tired and almost worn out, in
spite of his indomitable spirit, wrote those familiar words which
historians have so often quoted (possibly as paraphrased by Governor
King): "On looking to the westward I saw no large valleys but the one
close at hand from which the ground apparently kept rising gently
and gradually as far as eye could trace. In a few places there
appeared...swamps, in others void of trees and only scrubby...The present
appearance would lead one to imagine it might be readily travelled over
provided one was across the inaccessible valley close at hand, yet there
is no doubt...we shall find other valleys of a similar nature as I
am too well convinced of there being such...One comes upon them all
at once like a ha-ha."

Finding his provisions dwindling, his men exhausted, and the mountains
impassable at last he decided to return to Sydney.

Caley noted that Mount Banks[*] possessed but few plants. The trees
growing there were the bush-like Eucalyptus and a species of mimosa; a
glaucous-leaved Senecio mixed with the fern and when climbing the Saddle
he remarks, "The Warrote grows here," referring most likely to the

[* Mount King George.]

The birds in this region were chiefly lories and crows. On seeing a crow
on the 16th, when the men were on the point of starting on their return
journey, he writes: "We had several times seen a this part
on whichIcould not help remarking one of the men saying they must be
lost or they would never stay in such a place...which put me in mind
of Dr. Johnson's sarcasm when he saw a crow in Scotland."

The place where Caley stood to look westward may well be called the
limit of his journey. Next day he left Mount Banks and travelled back
along his outward track, the party arriving safely at Parramatta on
November 23rd, when Governor King sympathetically stated that in his
opinion the idea of attempting to cross such a "confused and barren
assemblage of mountains with impassable chasms between was as chimerical
as useless."

In August, 1806, Caley again attempted to cross the mountains, but of
this expedition there is no account among his MSS. This is curious, for
the expedition was of sufficient importance for King to write to
Governor Bligh on August 23, 1806: "Caley is just returned and should
have waited on you to-morrow but...he is much fatigued and in want
of rest...He has confirmed the existence of a large tract of forest
land beyond Natai which...confirms Mr. Barrallier's observations...and
will be useful in extending the interior establishments by which
means alone the passing of the mountains can be established...If
the party had not taken a liberal supply of provisions they must have
starved. The settler who accompanied Caley is quite knocked up."

It is said that on one of his excursions Caley penetrated far into the
mountains and built the cairn of stones near Woodford to mark the limit
of his journey. In later years there has been much doubt as to this
being the work of Caley, but the fact that Governor Macquarie afterwards
called the landmark "Caley's Repulse" will show that he believed it to
be so, and it seems incredible that one so greatly interested in the
exploration of the mountains as Macquarie could have been misled upon
such a point. As Caley did not leave Sydney until after Macquarie's
arrival, he may well have given the Governor a verbal account of his

Caley returned to England in 1810 and later was appointed to superintend
the botanical gardens at St. Vincent. He never ceased to regret that he
was unable to find a way over the mountains, and was sceptical with
regard to BlaxIand's party having crossed them. "Will you believe me if
I say the Blue Mountains in New South Wales are not yet crossed..."
he writes from St. Vincent to Robert Brown; "for my
opinion. What I mean by crossing the mountains is having gone as far as
where the waters are disembogued on the opposite coast and if having got
to the summit of a range of hills which commands an excellent prospect
of the colony and then descending on its western side, be called
crossing the mountains they have long ago been crossed...Cox's River
which we are now told runs through Prince Regent's Glen and empties into
the Nepean I take to be a river which unites with the Hawkesbury at
Mulgoey...Wonder no longer where the conflux of this,
but turn to the Grose and you will be tolerably correct...Mr.
Barrallier crossed the mountains as much as the others have...The
forest he travelled over is much superior, with a main branch of the
Hawkesbury gliding through the middle of the vale, and if coals be an
object I have seen them in that quarter myself...though I walked 18
of his miles in an hour in as rough a valley as up the Grose, yetIwould
sooner trust to his accuracy than to Mr. Evan's."


The three men who finally succeeded where so many had failed were
BlaxIand, Lawson, and William Wentworth. The last-named, then only a
youth of twenty, in after years, owing to his determination and energy
in furthering every object for his country's good, came to be called by
his fellow-colonists the Australian Patriot."

Gregory BlaxIand, who led this expedition into the mountains, had
settled at South Creek some years before, and was already familiar with
the danger and difficulties to be met with among the ranges,
occasionally having made short excursions to the foot of them from his
homestead. He was now about to establish his reputation as a. bold and
skilful explorer of them.

Lieutenant William Lawson, the third of the party, was an officer of the
New South Wales Corps and may be termed "a born pioneer," as is shown by
the way in which he aided BlaxIand in this expedition, and by the part
he played later, when he opened up the district around Mudgee.

It has been stated that Lawson often conversed with Caley in England
upon the subject of crossing the mountains, and that the plan of
ascending the ridge or the spine of the main range and following it
westward was then discussed for the first time. On the other hand, it is
said that the idea originated with BlaxIand, who, in a previous tour,
had noticed that the backbone of the mountains ran westward and
determined to ascend the ridge and push his way along the top of it,
keeping in sight the heads of the gullies which were supposed to empty
their streams into the Western or Warragamba River on the left hand, and
into the Grose on the right. Whoever suggested it, it was the plan which
ultimately led to success.

At four o'clock of the afternoon of Tuesday, May 11, 1813, the explorers
left BlaxIand's homestead at South Creek with four servants, five dogs,
and four pack-horses, crossed the Nepean at Emu Island (some thirty-six
miles west of Sydney), and after travelling two miles to the south-west
halted at the foot of the first ridge, where they encamped for the
night. Next morning they ascended the ridge, and on reaching its summit
came to a spot where there was a freshwater lagoon.[*] As they advanced,
difficulties soon overtook them. Their horses were constantly stumbling
and the rocky hillsides, trying enough for the men, proved still more so
for the animals. After two exhausting days both for man and beast, it
was decided to leave the horses in charge of two men while the rest of
the party cut their way through the bush. The work was unflinchingly got
through, although there was not a man who was not wearied nor a hand
that was not blistered and sore.

[* This lagoon still exists. The explorers reached the summit of the
first ridge somewhere near the station at Glenbrook.]

On this memorable day, Friday, May 14th, a path extending for five miles
through the thicket was completed wide enough to allow the pack-horses
to pass and at five o'clock the explorers returned to camp. On the
following day, leaving the camp as before in charge of the two men, they
cleared two more miles, but, seeing no sign of grass for the horses,
they returned again at five o'clock. On Sunday they rested. Next day,
the 17th, the whole party pushed on and encamped on a narrow mountain
ridge between two very deep gullies where some of the men descended a
precipice to a depth of 600 feet to look for water, but none could be
found. On the 18th, two miles farther on, they found their path flanked
on both sides with precipices. Removing on their way some of the larger
pieces of rock, the men crept along the narrow edge of the ridge and
eventually got over in safety, but in the evening returned to camp,
tired and out of spirits.

On the 19th, they ascended the second ridge,[*] and, looking back from
it, caught a distant view of the settlement now a "minute speck "
beneath them. Not far from this spot, while busily cutting trees along
the narrow path, they came upon a cairn of stones, shaped like a
pyramid. One side of it had been opened and the stones scattered around,
evidently by natives. It was thought then that it had been built by Bass
to mark the end of his tour and that the exploring party were now
following in his tracks; but, as already mentioned, Governor Macquarie
believed that this pile of stones was Caley's work and named it Caley's

[* This second ridge was the rugged range lying beyond Linden and
separated from it by a deep valley.]

What lay beyond Caley's Repulse was a mystery! The explorers might well
have been overawed by the task they had set themselves. Possibly they
remembered the old stories of the blacks at Port Jackson, who said it
was the abode of evil spirits who hurled thunder and floods and burning
winds upon them or, as Caley had learnt from natives, that beyond the
mountains there was a great river inland and "a plane above the trees,"
which was nearer the truth.

From Caley's Repulse for some days the travellers advanced step by step
averaging four or five miles a day, and on May 22nd reached the summit
of the third and highest ridge in the neighbourhood of Wentworth Falls.
A precipice here crossed their path and defied their efforts to descend
it. At last they found a way round it and noticed that the ridge they
were on was widening before them. Next day they passed close to the site
of Katoomba and cut their names upon the trunk of a tree growing In
their route. New birds attracted them. Emus were heard calling, and on
the 24th the sound of a black fellow chopping wood excited their
curiosity, and told them, although they could not catch sight of the
native, that the mountains were inhabited.[*]

[* On this day they crossed Blackheath.]

On May 25th, the track of a wombat was seen, and a little later the
smoke of native fires rising through the trees to westward, where
apparently thirty natives were moving about but so far off that it was
impossible to ascertain anything regarding them. On Friday, May 28th, as
they followed the mountain spur that juts beyond Mount Victoria, to the
explorers' joy, they could see grass country in a valley below them. It
was clear of trees and covered with loose white pebbles and stones. At
first it looked barren and sandy, but they perceived that it really was
grass, long and of a light straw colour. In the evening they descended
the ridge to examine it more closely, but returned again to their camp
on the edge of a high mountain, which was afterwards named Mount York by
Governor Macquarie, though for some time it was familiarly known to
travellers as the "Big Hill." It rose sharply 798 feet from the valley
below, which was called the Vale of Clwyd.

On Saturday, 29th., at seven o'clock in the morning, the men began their
descent into the valley through a passage[*] between the rocks thirty
feet wide which they had discovered the day before. A low, slanting
trench had to be cut with a hoe down the steep side of the mountain for
the horses to walk in, since there was no sort of foothold for them.

[* The passage was afterwards named Cox's Pass, but Blaxland, in a
letter to the Governor, dated June 15, 1815, states that it was
discovered through a suggestion of Wentworth's, and that the river was
found by Lawson while the others were bringing the horses down the

From the foot of Mount York the explorers proceeded northwesterly about
two miles and encamped on the banks of a fine stream of water.[*] The
natives evidently were still moving before them, for smoke was again
seen to the westward on the 31st; remains of their old fires were found
and traces where they had been sharpening their spears; and the marks on
the trees showed that their method of climbing differed from that of the
Sydney blacks.

[* The River Lett.]

On this day Blaxland and his party passed through forest land and open
meadow and met with two streams.[*] At nightfall they pitched their
tents by the faster-flowing one at a short distance from a high hill,
which took the shape of a sugar loaf.[**]

[* The Cox and Lett Rivers.]

[* The Cox River, named by Governor Macquarie; and Mount BlaxIand, so
called by Evans.]

After once more surveying the newly found pastures, the explorers, now
sorely in need of provisions, prepared to return home. For a time they
satisfied their hunger by eating flowers of the honeysuckle tree, which
are shaped like a bottle brush and are full of honey. The natives still
were encamped at a little distance away, evidently possessing no huts,
and would not allow the white men to approach them. Terminating their
journey eight or nine miles from Mount York, on Tuesday, June 1st, the
travellers ascended the ridge and began their journey homewards; they
carefully marked the trees to show each mile of the road, and crossed
the Nepean on Sunday, June 6, 1813, with all their party well.

There still may be seen on the old Bathurst road near Katoomba the
remains of a tree trunk-now fenced in--on which BlaxIand, Lawson, and
Wentworth carved their initials L. B. W. Standing on a high point of the
mountains, it forms an inspiring memorial of a supreme effort of those
three men, carried to success solely by their courage and endurance.

Great was the excitement in Sydney when the news of BlaxIand's success
became known. With one accord the colonists rejoiced that they were no
longer to live hemmed in to the westward by a mountain barrier, covered
by giant rocks with ravines between, which, like some sleeping monster
of old, had withheld from them for so many years the land that rightly
should have been theirs to till and cultivate--a barrier among whose
ravines Caley's stubborn will had been of no avail and against whose
rocks the determined spirit of Bass had spent itself in vain. Had the
mountains themselves been removed the hopes of the townsfolk could not
have burned more brightly than when their footsore fellow-colonists,
thoroughly worn out, their clothes torn and frayed and hands covered
with wounds, returned home bringing the good news that their party had
passed over the Blue Mountains and had seen long grass growing on the
other side. Little wonder if, as it has been averred, Governor Macquarie
gave an order to ring the church bells, for the conquest of the
mountains was complete.

Perhaps on that day, as the great possibilities for the country's
development dawned upon them, some remembered the words of Captain Tench
written on reaching New South Wales with Hunter in H.M.S. "Sirius" on
January 20, 1788: "To us it was a great and important day and I hope
will mark the foundation...of an Empire," and perhaps, echoing them,
some said of June 6, 1813: "This too, is an important day for it will
mark a milestone on our road."


The mystery concerning the Blue Mountains having been solved, the
discovery of the new territory led to important results. On November
19th, acting on instructions from Governor Macquarie, George William
Evans, Deputy SurveyorGeneral, set out with a party from Emu Island to
make a survey of the road and to explore the country from the point
where the discoverers had turned back. On November 26th he reached the
valley through which the rapid stream ran--the limit of BlaxIand's
expedition--and encamped at the foot of the "handsome mountain like a
sugar loaf," which he named Mount Blaxland, calling two others "similar
in figure" Wentworth's and Lawson's Sugar Loaves.

In advancing from Mount BlaxIand, Evans, on November 27th, came upon a
range[*] whose hills were very steep and proved a difficult ascent for
the horses. He then discovered a valley where the grass was thick and
halted to rest them. During his stay in it he remarks that he was unable
to find any mimosa. This flower he evidently greatly admired, for he
mentions it more than once in his journal. Strangely enough, in the
country which he was on the verge of discovering the mimosa grows
plentifully, and in some parts in the greatest profusion. When
flowering, its exquisitely scented yellow clusters often form one of the
prettiest features of the landscape. At this point, however, Evans was
yet amid rugged bushland on the side of a hilly range, and could not
then have foreseen, unless BlaxIand had already mentioned the flower to
him, that he would be likely to find it in his path.

[* Clarence Hilly Range, named later by Governor Macquarie.]

Next day, November 28th, he left the horses in the valley, and sent
three of his men to look for a track by which the animals could proceed
on the morrow, while he crossed over to the north side of the rivulet to
survey it. He returned to the camp at one o'clock and soon afterwards
the men also came back, having been successful in their efforts to find
a passage.

On Monday, 29th, in spite of precautions, Evans says that he "stopped
quite out of spirits, having got completely entangled among the hills."
All this day he had great difficulty in fighting his way to the main
ridge of the range. The only path to it led him through wildernesses of
scrub and over masses of granite rock where the horses' feet suffered

After travelling for two miles and a half, he got upon a lofty hill
whence he could see for about fifteen miles to the north-west. He tells
us that the view he obtained was all forest trees, but in every other
direction it was obscured by high ranges, and the whole journey on this
day totalled only three and a half miles.

On November 30th, he succeeded in mounting the main ridge by a difficult
path, and from it, after walking for two miles, he could see northwards
for a good distance. A peculiar mist rising some twenty miles away
attracted his attention; it was so unlike smoke that he thought a river
or large lagoon must be there. A quarter of a mile farther along the
range he took another look around him from a high mount, and could see
for forty miles over what appeared to be open country.

He then descended the range and passing over huge boulders came upon a
river which took its rise in some large hills to the southward. Here his
party shot wild duck and caught fish, which were large and plentiful in
the stream. The distance travelled on this day was five and a half

Evans then followed the windings of the river, which appeared to lead
him "north of west" and next day, December 1st, discovered on the north
side of it a remarkable hill with a stone on the peak. The hill was
"nearly circular in form or like an Indian Fort,"[*] and this he named
Evans's Crown[**] after himself.

[*Quoted from Oxley's journal.]

[** It is close to Tarana.]

He walked to its summit and, on looking westward, could see for a
distance of fifty miles, then gaining his first view of the Bathurst
Plains. His joy was unbounded. One can well believe the story handed
down by the earliest settlers there who said that when Evans first
caught sight of the plains he imagined that he was gazing at a vast
inland sea. He might easily have been misled, for waves upon waves of
grass like ocean billows lay stretched before him as far as eye could
see. Nor can one wonder that Evans was delighted with his discovery. Few
places suited to the wants of civilized man had been so jealously
concealed from observation and approach, more bravely striven for or so
hardly won as this inland prairie. He soon discovered that it was
grassland, and of it he writes "It is a great extent of grazing land!...well
watered by running streams in almost every valley!" This day he
travelled five and a quarter miles. The following day turned out wet,
and every one of the party got drenched, the thin leaves of the
eucalyptus affording them little or no shelter; but he took great notice
of the country through which they passed, and wrote: "I think it equal
to Van Diemen's Land, the river winding through fine flats and round the
points of small ridges--that gradually descend to it--covered with the
finest grass and intermixed with the white daisy as in England." On this
date he travelled only four and a half miles.

Next day he found the flower that he had before so often sought in
vain--the mimosa--"in clusters on the banks of the river," and evidently
his progress on this day was a little faster, for his distance was five
and three-quarter miles. On Saturday, December 4th, he came to "an
exceeding good tract of country, and he describes it as "the handsomest
I have yet seen, with gentle rising hills and dales well watered. The
distant hills which are about five miles south, appear as grounds laid
out, divided into fields by hedges. There are few trees on them and the
grass is quite green."

He still kept near the river, which provided the men with an abundance
of fish, and the dogs in the meantime killed a kangaroo, of which there
were plenty seen, as well as emus. While tracing the river, which wound
over the plains, he bestowed upon it, a day or two later, the name of
Fish River, because the fish were so easily caught and continued to be
so abundant. His men rested near the banks on the 5th as it was Sunday.
It rained most of the day and they had no shelter, nor did the trees
provide them with any bark as a protection.

The first clear tract of land was named O'Connell Plains, in honour of
the Lieutenant-Governor. "At the space of about a mile," says Evans in
his diary on December 6th, "I came upon a fine plain of rich land, the
handsomest country I ever saw, it surpasseth Port Dalrymple" (Tasmania).
Again he returns to praise it: "This place is worth speaking of as good
and beautiful: the tract of clear land occupies about a mile on each
side of the river...We saw a number of wild geese but too shy to
let us near them."

Farther on he came to the outskirts of yet another plain which was
"still more pleasing and very extensive." He reached it at three o'clock
on December 6th, and observes: "The soil is exceedingly rich and
produces the finest grass intermixed with a variety of herbs. The hills
have a look of a park and grounds laid out. I am at a loss for language
to describe the country--I named this part the Macquarie Plains." He
notes the abundance of game, and fish as well, "which is caught
immediately--they seem to bite at any time." This day's progress
amounted to six miles.

Evans continued to advance along the Fish River, and on December 7th,
"at about four miles," his men were stopped by another river from the
southward, which they traced for two miles in order to find a spot where
they could ford it. They were held up by an approaching thunderstorm and
had to find a shelter, for it was a severe one. This day the distance
travelled was five and three-quarter miles.

After a wet night a fine morning broke on December 8th. While employed
in tracing the second river, Evans, two miles farther on, came upon more
open country, which he named Mitchell's Plains. His party managed to
cross this stream by throwing a rough log bridge across it, while some
of the men swam over with the horses. He found the surroundings very
beautiful: "No mountains to be seen. There are high hills at great
distances, can observe them green to their tops."

He named the second river Campbell River in honour of Mrs. Macquarie, it
being her maiden name, and came to its junction with the Fish River at
sunset. The two streams when united formed one river, to which Evans
gave the name of the Macquarie, in honour of the Governor of New South

The Macquarie River flowed through another extensive plain, and on
December 9th Evans in glowing terms praises the scenery: " The hills are
fine indeed...I never saw anything to equal it...the soil is
good," and he adds a word of admiration for some trees he saw there:
"The small trees on the lower banks of the river stand straight not
lying down the Hawkesbury." He also commends the grass:" The
grass might be mowed, it is so thick and long, particularly on the flat
lands." He was able to travel eight and a quarter miles on this day.

On December 10th he again followed the windings of the Macquarie across
country which seemed to excel all the rest in its richness, and which he
describes as "excellent good land with the best grass I have seen in any
part of New South Wales." Even the hills were covered with fine pasture,
the trees being far apart. "At the termination of the plains is a very
handsome mount," and Evans went to the top of the mount which stood at
the extremity of the plains, and says: "I named it Mount Pleasant from
the prospect it commands to the N.E."

As he stood and viewed its surroundings he wrote upon his map: "I can
see at least 30 miles S.W. I could distinguish several plains and the
course of a stream." He certainly makes it plain from his writings that
he was pleased with all he saw, and he observes: "The river now winds
itself round the points of forest hills."

There were numbers of emus and kangaroos now to be seen, but he writes,
with evident disgust, "The dogs will not give chase and I imagine they
are bad ones." The river compensated for this loss, however; for he
presently adds: "Nothing astonishes me more than the amazing large fish
that are caught: one is now brought in that weighs at least 15 Ibs. They
are all of the same species."[*] He thus ends his entry on this day: "I
call the plains last passed over 'Bathurst Plains.'" The distance
travelled was seven and a quarter miles.

[* Native Perch or "Australian Bass."]

From Mount Pleasant, on the 11th, Evans continued to follow the course
of the Macquarie. There soon came an alteration in the aspect of the
country, and he thus describes his route:"The river leads me among hills
the points of which end in rocky bluffs near the water. At about four
miles I was brought up by one of them which appears to be the
termination of a range of high hills from the south and is the only mass
of rock I have met with since leaving the Blue Mountains." He halted at
this spot for a few hours so that he could examine it and ascend a peak,
which he named on his map the Pine Hill. From its summit he saw that the
river "twined about N.W. round the points of stupendous green hills to
the S. and S.W." On the north side of the river a ridge of pasture hills
ranged westward. To the east he could see the fine plains that his party
had travelled over. He could observe no rocky ranges with pine trees
save the one he was on, and he writes: "The pines have a very romantic
appearance...the largest of them is about four feet in

He wished to go over the river and explore the north side, but says, "we
could not cross the water." On this day the party travelled where there
were many rocks but good pasture, the distance accomplished being six
and a quarter miles. On Sunday, December 12th, his men rested, while
Evans took a walk for a few miles to the south-west, and was pleased to
see "steep healthy hills thickly covered with grass and water in almost
every valley."

On the 13th "the hills were still steep and not so fine as those already
passed"; "they are rather rough with rocks...The gums are much
larger and intermixed with boxtree...the soil...of a stiffer
nature having pieces of alabaster rock among it. The high lands...
have a great deal about them that on the surfaces is quite white in some
places and of a yellow cast in others." The Macquarie's course now grew
"irregular." On December 14th the country through which it ran became
more and more barren-looking, and Evans says, "it is the worst I have
been over since leaving the Blue Mountains." Nevertheless, he managed to
travel seven miles on that day. On the 15th the road grew very rugged
indeed, and the only open country to be seen was that from north-west to

The travelling for some days had been so rough that the men were now
almost barefoot: the stones and grass had cut their shoes to pieces. Nor
could they hope to renew them, since the dogs would not chase the
kangaroo and, says Evans, "there is no certainty of obtaining skins for
our feet." The horses' backs were also in a bad condition, and seeing no
hopes of getting to the end of the high range of hills on which he then
was Evans determined on December 16th to turn back on the following day.
He writes" "I am now 98½ miles from the limitation of Mr. BlaxIand's
excursion." This he had ascertained through having measured the whole
distance by chain.

On the 17th the party turned eastward and made their way back again over
the open plains. The track on Evans's map shows that he did not follow
his outward track along the Macquarie, and only returned to the river at
intervals, presumably when in need of water. On one of these occasions
he was fortunate enough to meet with some of the natives. He had
previously looked for them, and had found "late traces" of their
presence, so that he writes, "I think they are watching us and keep at
some distance."

On the 21st, however, while the men were fishing on the banks of the
river, some were seen making their way towards it. The white men watched
the black party advance over the plain, and quietly waited for their
approach in order to surprise them. There were only two women and four
children. "The poor creatures trembled and fell down with fright" at the
sight of the strangers, and Evans says. "I think they were coming for
water, I gave them what fish we had--also some fish hooks, twine and a
tornahawk--which they appeared glad to get from us. Two boys ran away:
the other small children cried much at first. A little while after I had
played with them they began to be good humoured and laugh. Both the
women were blind of their right eyes."

Thus East met West on the Bathurst Plains.


After Evans had returned to Sydney and had given an account of his
travels, no time was lost in making a road over the mountains to the
newly-found territory. Two hundred and fifty-seven miles of thick bush
were cleared (fifty-eight of which spanned the breadth of the
mountains); viaducts were built round giant rocks; chasms were bridged
in a way that even to-day would be considered remarkable: with the
result that when, on April 25, 1815, the Governor, accompanied by Mrs.
Macquarie and suite, left for the settlement, the general and his wife
were able to drive the whole way in their post-chaise. This notable feat
in roadmaking was the work of Mr. William Cox, J.P., of Windsor.

Upon reaching Evans's Crown and the highlands above the Bathurst Plains,
the Governor obtained an extensive view of the country and of the Fish
and Campbell Rivers. The first glimpse of the former gave him an idea
that it was a stream of considerable magnitude. Owing, however, to the
dry weather at the time, very little water was running and it might have
been more properly described as a chain of pools.

At a distance of seven miles from the bridge which had been made over
the Campbell River, a little to the south of its junction with the Fish
River, the view was again admired. We need not wonder that the general
openly expressed his pleasure at the sight of the open country. Years
afterwards it was written of him that "he constructed roads like a
Colossus and covered the Blue Mountains with corn"! but at this time he
knew nothing of the interior, therefore the fertile grassland heralded
prosperity and dispelled any doubts suggested by the barren regions of
alternate rock and thicket.

A little later he saw the Macquarie, when the course of the river could
be easily traced by the tall swamp oaks that grew upon its banks. It is
the Macquarie of the white man; but in past ages the black men had
called it Wambool or Wandering River, on account of its winding course,
and out of the wood of the swamp oaks they had carved their boomerangs,
shields, and womerahs. In its reaches were afterwards found large
numbers of that curious animal the duck-billed platypus, and on the
banks grew in profusion shrubs new to the colonists, strange grasses,
and flax with its sweet-scented purple and white flowers.

A few trees were dotted here and there over the open country, chiefly
the tall white eucalyptus, others being wattle or mimosa and some
casuarina, tall and picturesque as the pine. On each side of the river
little dark hillocks or knolls, and peculiar "fairy rings," had been
formed, and long furrows at regular intervals marked the plains. The
furrows were remarkable and would have been taken for plough ridges in a
civilized land, but no ploughshare had yet broken the soil, and it was
conjectured that the water of a flood which had long receded must have
caused them. It was curious that the furrows on each side of the
Dividing Range ran in the same direction from north-east to south-west.

On May 4th the party encamped in an open space on the left bank of the
Macquarie, whence the Governor made excursions along both banks and saw
some natives. He had a portrait of a native chief drawn for him, and in
a letter to the Home Government vouched for its being an excellent
likeness. Some of these natives possessed cloaks of kangaroo skins,
stitched together with the sinews of the emu, which they wore loosely
over their shoulders. These had the fur side turned inwards and were
often adorned with curious devices on the outer side. Governor Macquarie
described one to Lord Bathurst which he said bore "as regularly formed a
St. George's cross as could be made."

On Sunday, May 7th, the Governor fixed on a suitable site for the
erection of a town to which he gave the name of Bathurst in honour of
Henry third Earl Bathurst, then Secretary of State for the Colonies. The
site designed for the town was found to be by observation taken at the
selected flagstaff twenty-seven and a half miles north and ninety-four
and a half miles west of Government House, Sydney. Within a distance of
ten miles there were "not less than 50,000 acres, quite half of which
was fit for cultivation..." On May 11th the Governor and his party
set out on their return to Sydney, where they arrived on the 19th.

As the Macquarie River flowed with such strong current and volume past
the new settlement, the Governor dispatched Evans to trace the river
still farther, and explore the country to the west and south-west. This
is known as Evans's second expedition westward. Accompanied by his man
Appledove, he left Bathurst on May 13, 1815, passed through a valley
named Queen Charlotte's Vale, and discovered a small tributary and then
a larger one, which he called Limestone Creek. On the 25th he fell in
with a creek bearing south, which joined the bed of a stream that came
from a north-westerly direction. It was dry, but the banks were
seventy-nine feet apart and the large swamp oaks growing on either side
made it evident that it marked the course of a large river. Evans named
it the Lachlan in honour of the Governor, and established a military
depôt at a spot which he called Byrne's Creek. He discovered many hills
and named the highest three Mount Lachlan, Mount Molle, and Mount Lewin.
Emus and kangaroos were seen, and there were remains of burnt-out native
fires, around some of which he counted no less than twenty-three heaps
of emu feathers. A few days before he started on his return he met three
natives, a man, woman, and child; the man ran to a tree and climbed up
it, the woman and child remaining terrified at the apparition of a white
man. Evans succeeded in getting on good terms with the child, but the
man in the tree cried so loudly that he might have been heard half a
mile away. On June 1st Evans, after carving his name and the date upon a
tree, left the Lachlan River on his return to Bathurst, where he arrived
on June 12th.

In 1817 Governor Macquarie ordered Lieutenant Oxley, the
Surveyor-General, to trace the courses of the two rivers, the Lachlan
and the Macquarie, and to "ascertain their final termination." In
company with Oxley, there went on this expedition Evans; Fraser, to
collect plants for Lord Bathurst; Parr, who acted as mineralogist to the
party; and Allan Cunningham.



Allan Cunningham, who brought back from his travels on land and sea such
a plentiful store of the floral wealth of the continent, was a
"Botanical Collector" for the Royal Gardens at Kew, and was admirably
fitted not only by his scientific training but by his own untiring
energy and devotion to his task for the work which has rendered him
famous. The hardships which he endured during his Australian researches
seem to have shortened his life, and indeed a glance at his portrait,
reproduced on another page, suggests that nature had scarcely equipped
him for the tremendous physical strain which his long explorations
imposed upon him.

His journal, bound in one large volume, is in the Natural History Museum
at South Kensington, and the full extracts which will be found in the
following pages are now published, as far as the author knows, for the
first time. It is a diary of his work day by day for a period of less
than two years out of the many that he spent in New South Wales, where
he was to end his life. He sent home many letters and notes[*]
describing discoveries of importance; yet of all the records he has left
this book is the most human.

[* The diary and the reports of Cunningham are too voluminous to be
printed IN EXTENSO in such a volume as this, but all essential portions
are either quoted verbatim or in a slightly abbreviated form.]

It begins shortly after his arrival in the colony, when he had made his
home at Parramatta, and tells of his first advance with Lieutenant
Oxley's expedition into the interior of a country which he was
afterwards to penetrate again and again, exploring its vast distances,
making new discoveries, and closely examining its flora. In turning over
the pages of this old book, the very scent of the flowers, the splendour
of their colours, and the delicate tracery of the ferns, seem to pervade
it and carry us back to the time when, as a young man of six-and-twenty,
Allan Cunningham landed in Sydney and first began to make his
collections of plants and seeds.

He was of Scottish extraction, his father, Allan Cunningham, being a
native of Renfrewshire. His mother, whose maiden name was Dickin, came
of a Shropshire family. The elder Allan Cunningham was her second
husband; she was married to him on August 20, 1790, and she bore him two
sons, both of whom were to end their lives in New South Wales: Allan was
born at Wimbledon on July 13, 1791, and Richard on February 12, 1793.
Both went to school at Putney, and after Allan's schooldays were over he
spent some time in a conveyancer's office in Lincoln's Inn, but the
study of law did not sufficiently appeal to him and he gladly accepted a
situation at Kew as clerk to Mr. W. T. Aiton, then at work on the second
edition of the "Hortus Kewensis."

Here Allan Cunningham often met Robert Brown (late botanist of H.M.S.
"Investigator"), librarian to Sir Joseph Banks, who had charge of the
"Hortus Kewensis" through the press; and, doubtless from Brown,
Cunningham gained at first hand much information concerning the flora of
Australia. In 1814 he received his appointment as Botanical Collector to
the Royal Gardens and left Plymouth with James Bowie on October 29th, in
H.M.S. "Duncan" (74), Captain Chambers, for Brazil.

Rio de Janeiro was sighted on Christmas Day, and a few days later the
two botanists landed and spent three months collecting specimens in the
surrounding country. In April, 1815, they started for San Paulo, where
they arrived after a month of hard travelling through rough country.
They returned to Rio in August and spent twelve months in collecting
plants in the neighbourhood, sending home both dried and living
specimens. Cunningham then received orders from Sir Joseph Banks to sail
to New South Wales, while Bowie was to proceed to the Cape of Good Hope.
The former took his passage in the ship "Surrey" and reached Sydney Cove
on December 20, 1816, after a voyage of ninety-five days. He landed on
the following day and proceeded at once to report his arrival to
Governor Macquarie, then living at Parramatta, who gave him a very kind
reception. Shortly afterwards he hired a cottage and took up his
residence at Parramatta, where he seems to have lived during the earlier
part of his stay in the colony.

He tells us that, on paying his first visit to the Governor, General
Macquarie had hinted that an expedition (under the command of Mr. Oxley)
to explore further to the westward of the Blue Mountains was in
contemplation; that it would be composed of ten individuals, and
strongly recommended him to join it, being convinced that "an infinite
number of new and interesting specimens of plants might be detected in
the several districts through which it might pass." Cunningham
determined not to miss so favourable an opportunity of seeing the
interior, and, matters being amicably arranged with Mr. Oxley, he began
his preparations for the journey which was to prove the forerunner of
many tours of exploration.

At first Cunningham was content to accompany expeditions as the botanist
attached to the party, but before long he found that he himself
possessed the inclination and skill to become a leader in exploration.
On his long journeys into new and strange country he was gradually
attracted, not only by the fascination of its botany, but by its unknown
mountain ranges, its distant plains, and its curious rivers winding
within their deep, torn banks over beds of sand. He soon seems to have
determined to investigate them, and about the year 1822, starting under
his own leadership and using his own methods to penetrate the bush, he
began his work as an explorer, with the same zeal that he bestowed upon
his botanical researches. How well his efforts were rewarded and how
great the measure of success which crowned his labours the discoveries
of Pandora's Pass, the Darling Downs, Cunningham's Gap, the Gwydir, the
Dumaresq, and the Condamine Rivers will sufficiently bear witness.

His long voyages with Captain King to the north and northwest coasts
afforded him increased opportunities for studying the botany of the
mainland, and his visits to Tasmania and New Zealand added greatly to
his knowledge of lands beyond the limits of the continent itself.

Like a true botanist, Cunningham took pains that not distant England
alone should reap the benefit of his toil. During his many journeys into
the bush over miles of trackless country he sowed various kinds of seeds
in Australian soil in scattered areas, choosing localities where he
believed the plants would best germinate and thrive. These seeds he had
brought with him from England, from Brazil, and from the Cape, his last
port of call before landing at Sydney. So that, in after years, many
people on perceiving a single specimen of some strange plant flourishing
alone in the native earth in an isolated spot have wondered why and how
it came there. Probably the ornamental Agave americana growing at the
foot of the hill whereon stands the old Church of the Holy Trinity at
Kelso sprang from seed thus sown; and, if so, it is in itself a fitting
memorial to Cunningham.

One day when conversing with Dr. Lang on this subject he said: "I always
carry into the interior a small bagful of peach-stones" (in his journals
he enumerates various fruit stones and seeds), "and whenever I find a
piece of good soil in the wilderness I cause it to be dug up and drop in
a few in the hope of providing a meal for some famished European...
or some hungry blackfellow." In Sydney and around Parramatta he was
equally eager to distribute seeds of English flowers--usually specimens
of the commoner kinds--to those earlier generations of Australians who
thus learned to love the primrose, the wallflower, and the violet, as
had their forefathers, and to cultivate the English rose, all of which
gave colour and lent influence in forming the minds of the children,
many of whom were destined to make their homes in that very wilderness,
and to plant their gardens there.

How much the flowers meant too to those British people who had left
their native land perhaps Hopley's picture which we reproduce, best will

Though Oxley's "Journal of Exploration into the Interior" in 1817 has
long been printed, we read an entirely new account of his travels in
Cunningham's diary. Fresh as he was from Brazil, he is able to give us
with a more experienced mind his impressions of the plants and flowers
that he saw growing upon the Blue Mountains, at Bathurst, in the country
watered by the Macquarie and Lachlan, and also on the north-west coast,
and to compare them with those already seen by Robert Brown on the
eastern side of the mountains and in Northern Australia.

Cunningham's diary, which begins while he was residing at Parramatta,
runs as follows.



1817. March 1st. Saturday. Dull cloudy weather. Prevented from stirring
out of doors. Small mistling rain most part of the day.

Evening fair, light clouds.

2nd, Sunday. Showery in the early part of the morning. Fine and clear at
9 o'clock. Continued so the whole of the day.

3rd. Monday. Morning very fine; went on board the Brig Kangaroo and saw
Captain Jeffreys who informed me that he could not sail before the 16th
or 17th inst. Returned on shore in consequence of an invitation to dine
with His Excellency in the afternoon.

4th. Tuesday. This day was occupied on the Botany Bay Road. Gathered on
the roadside duplicate seeds of Tetratheca sp. On the damp sandy camps
gathered specimens of Banksia oblongifolia and seeds of Petrophila
Pulchella. In dry forest lands near the Bay I gathered specimens of
Dodonaea cuneata, a new species, a small shrub; observed in the deep
waters near the road an aquatic plant in flower, perhaps A ctinocarpus
of Brown's Prodrs. Cor. 3, petals white, anthers and styles yellow.

5th. Wednesday. Papering my seeds and specimens.

8th. Saturday. Ticketing and packing the remaining of my specimens.
Having visited the North Rocks near Parramatta but twice since I had
been in New South Wales and desirous of augmenting my seed list I made
an excursion to them at 12 o'clock. Gathered seeds of Ceratopetalum
gummiferum (Christmas Bush);[*] seeds of an annual plant of the
Asperifolia.; Aster sp., a very slender herbaceous plant; duplicate
seeds of Panax sp., often before observed with some ferns, among which
is a singular Acrostichum [leather fern]. On my return, gathered species
of Epacris sp. [an Australian heath], flowers very large, white.

[* Although called a bush, it is really a tree, attaining a height of
thirty to forty feet. It belongs to the natural order Saxifrageae. The
generic name is taken from two Greek words meaning a horned petal. It is
confined to the State of New South Wales.]

10th. Monday. I made an excursion early this morning to the Pennant
Hills about 8 miles from Parramatta. In rocky valleys at the base of
these hills I gathered seeds of a handsome shrub of the genus Exocarpus,
and perhaps the species discovered by Labillardière in Van Diemen's
Island in 1793 and called by him E. expansa; much the habit of Taxus,
receptacle of the fruit larger than E. cupressiformis [native cherry]
and of a deep purple colour. Exocarpus cupressiformis, specimens in
flower, and Baeckia densifolia, abundant on damp rocks.

11th. Tuesday. Prevented from stirring out of doors. Heavy rain at

13th. Thursday. Morning fair but cloudy. Repapering[*] my specimens,
seeds etc. Having heard of the arrival of the Ships Fame and Sir Wm.
Bensley from London and desirous of ascertaining whether they had
brought any letters for me, I went down to Sydney but found none had

[* Changing the papers in which the specimens were dried from damp to
dry sheets.]

17th. Monday. The whole of the day was employed on an immense tract of
land beyond the Camp at Parramatta but met with but little success. The
late heavy rains had destroyed nearly the whole of the seeds that were
ripe as well as the flowering specimens. Gathered seeds of an
Elaeocarpus, a small tree, on the banks of the north creek etc., in low
damp situations.

19th. Wednesday. Took a walk a short distance on the Camp, gathered
seeds of Patersonia sericea; Goodenia sp., a small herbaceous plant; and
a species of Hypoxis, a small liliaceous plant, found among grass.

20th. Thursday. An opportunity offering of a pack horse going up to
Bathurst, I sent forward a specimen press and some paper to remain at
the depo~t till my arrival.

21st. Friday. Morning particularly calm, fine and clear. I occupied
myself this day examining the botanical productions of a rocky creek in
the environs of Baulkham Hills, about 5 miles north-west of Parramatta;
collected seeds of the following plants:

1. Jasminoides (= Lycium), a twining shrub not unlike Jasminum
gracile(H.K.), but the berry is many seeded.

2. Veronica sp., a small creeping rock plant, flowers blue.

3. Cissus sp., leaves quinated, leaflets ovate-oblong, glaucous beneath;
a twining shrub.

4. Baeckia sp., allied to B. densifolia, a low depressed shrub, in damp

It being far advanced in the afternoon before I could return to Baulkham
Hills, having gone along the margins of the creek several miles, I
passed the evening and night at the little farming establishment of a

22nd. Saturday. I returned to Parramatta this morning.

24th. Monday. This day I finally packed my seeds and specimens. Writing
letters to the Right Hon. Sir J. Banks and W. T. Aiton, Esqr., informing
them among other matters of the shipping of a box of specimens and seeds
on board H.M. Armed Brig "Kangaroo," bound for England direct. Enclosing
copy of journal from September last to the end of last month, together
with an account of my disbursements.

25th. Tuesday. Having placed my box on board the daily passage boat, in
order to be forwarded to Sydney Cove, I went down myself by land. In the
afternoon I ship'd my collection on board the Kangaroo brig, which is
expected to sail in a few days.

26th. Wednesday. Bright clear day. Heat moderate.

27th. Thursday. Waited (on the 26th) on the Governor but could not see
him, His Excellency being much engaged at this period forming his
despatches for England.

31st. Monday. This dayIreceived a letter from the Deputy-Surveyor
stating that next Thursday has been fixed upon as the day on which the
remaining persons composing the expedition should proceed forward from
Parramatta and begging me to hold myself in readiness on that day.

1817. April 1st. Tuesday. Remained within doors all the day--writing
forward journal.

2nd. Wednesday. This day I conveyed my chest and boxes to the Government
store-house and placed them under the care of the storekeeper until my
return from the intended journey.


Parramatta to Bathurst, 3-19 April, 1817

April 3rd. Thursday. Although I have not received from the Right Hon.
Sir J. Banks or Mr. Aiton any instructions to direct me in my duties in
this country, still I should feel by no means justified in allowing so
very favourable an opportunity now offering itself to pass by, and more
especially as the natural history of the western interior of the
continent is becoming daily more important and interesting to the Mother

Considering the small portion of this vast continent yet known, and that
imperfectly to a few individuals, and the large tract of country we may
necessarily plod over in our endeavour towards accomplishing the primary
and grand object on account of which the expedition (to which I have
attached myself) has been formed, I anticipate much in my department and
pursuits, and have endeavoured to guard against those inconveniences
(which I have experienced on former journeys) by furnishing myself with
moderate-sized portable saddle bags, and specimen cases, well canvassed
over and painted, for the reception and protection of those treasures
that the interior of this country may afford me. Mr. Evans,
Assistant-Surveyor, arrived the last evening here at Parramatta in order
to make arrangements relative to an extra cart for the conveyance of the
remaining part of our luggage to Bathurst, intending to proceed forward
on our route for that settlement to-morrow morning.

4th. Friday. About 9 o'clock this morning we sent the two carts with the
people forward, in order if possible to arrive on the right bank of the
Nepean River (a distance of about 21 miles) this evening. We (Mr. Evans
and myself) finally left Parramatta about 10 o'clock, passed the cluster
of farms at Prospect Hill about midday, and were obliged to swim our
horses over the South Creek, which although considerably abated,
presents at this time a rapid stream of water of considerable depth, its
wooden bridge having been carried away by the late floods. About 4
o'clock in the afternoon we arrived at the Ferry on the Nepean River,
where we stopped for the night.

The road over which we passed this day, which is bounded by open forest
land, is tolerably good considering the recent heavy rains that have
fallen upon it and the waters that cross it in the slight hollows formed
by the gentle risings of the country. The botany, with very few
exceptions, is the same as that observed in similar situations in the
environs of Parramatta. I have, however, gathered specimens of a
Prostanthera, a dwarfish shrub with small purple flowers; a species of
Persoonia, forming a small shrub with linear leaves is likewise in
flower, and a species of Erodium is abundant in the pathway. Dodonaea
filiformis, seen but sparingly in open woods near Botany Bay, is very
abundant on each side of the river, in young fruit. From the difficulty
experienced in passing the South Creek, our loaded carts, which we had
passed on the road, could not overtake us this day.

5th. Saturday. In consequence of our carts being unable to pass the
South Creek the last evening, we were detained the whole of this day at
the Ferry House. It afforded me an opportunity of examining the
botanical productions on the immediate banks of the river, which,
however, were by no means interesting. These are clothed with spreading
trees of the Melia Azedarach commonly termed by the settlers "white
cedar." It was in fruit. Casuarina torulosa and some common Eucalypti
are the whole of the arborescent plants I observed. The late floods had
made such dreadful ravages in the banks, which had been overflowed to a
very considerable depth, as to leave me no herbaceous plants of any

6th. Sunday. Our carts and people having arrived this morning, we
ferried our luggage over the river (which at this period is not less
than 90 feet wide) and pitched our tent on the opposite or left bank.
Our horses, which had escaped from the paddock in which they were
encircled, were not secured till too late to swim them over to our

7th. Monday. This morning we swam our horses and bullocks over the
river, and only waited the arrival of the Surveyor-General, John Oxley,
Esq. (the chief of the expedition) to join us, according to agreement,
in order to proceed on our journey. The banks on the Nepean abound with
a species of Arum known in England by the name of A. Orixense [it is now
known as Typhonium Brownii, Schott] differing from A. trilobatum in
having a pedunculated spathe, which is longer than the spadix. Like its
congeners, its flower has a fetid smell, and its root is of the most
acrid taste and irritating quality so common to the genus, but boiled or
roasted it is a nutritive vegetable equal to Caladium esculentum or
buckra yam of our West Indian colonies. It is however but small. In an
excursion I made down the river on its left bank, the following are the
most remarkable plants that came within my notice and observation.

Phytolacca pentandra, an herbaceous plant of the habit of P. dioica;
Native Elder, habit of Sambucus, specimens of which I sent to England
per "Kangaroo," Clerodendron sp., a small tree 12-18 feet high, in
fruit; Senecio sp., a tall herbaceous plant, in low swampy spots. The
forests near the river are at this period altogether unproductive of any
botanical subject for the collector. They abound with an abundance of
the white cockatoo and a few flying squirrels.

8th. Tuesday Morning. We sent our men and carts forward westerly to the
depo~t at Springwood, a distance of about 12 miles in the mountains, and
were ourselves in the fullest hopes of overtaking them at that resting
place in the evening. Mr. Evans and self were detained the whole of the
day waiting the arrival of Mr. Oxley.

9th. Wednesday. Frosty: atmosphere fresh and sharp. Mr. Oxley had not
arrived to join us and aware that we were one day behind our carts, we
left directions with the man at the ford to inform Mr. Oxley we would
wait one day for him at the second day's halting post--at the 28th mile
mark--and commenced our route from Emu Plains about ten o'clock. The
road to the foot of the mountains is through the open wooded flat called
Emu Plains, so named probably from numbers of those birds having been
found here at the formation of the colony, and when the country had been
cleared and opened this far inland. The timber is small and consists of
the Eucalypti observed about Parramatta. The ascent from the plains is
very gentle, leading through fine avenues of trees of tolerable size
formed by the new road which is of easy and slightly curved form and of
convenient width.

About one o'clock we passed the depo~t at Springwood, which is
remarkable for the good grassy pasturage and lofty handsome timber with
which this resting place is surrounded. Eucalyptus robusta (white or
swamp mahogany) and E. resinifera; (red mahogany), and Casuarina
torulosa (River Oak), are predominant, with another species of
Eucalyptus called by the colonists "Stringy Bark." Our carts had left
this depo~t early this morning for the next stage, where we were all to
meet at night. About 3 miles onward there is an obvious change in soil
and in the appearance of the timber, the former being barren and rocky
and the latter becoming stunted and diminutive. In these sterile tracts
many of the plants common about Sydney and Parramatta appear to very
fine effect. Among them I observed a species of Podolobium [Oxylobium]
in pod, it appears distinct from P. trilobatum in the formation of the
lateral lobes of the foliage, which are entire as well as bifurcated and

Near the 18th mile mark, is an open and extremely bleak and barren part
near the road side. Upon a small eminence of rugged ascent stands a pile
of stones supposed to have been erected by the indefatigable and
persevering botanist Mr. George Caley, and suspected to be his
farthermost advancement westward in a grand botanical excursion which he
had undertaken with a view of crossing the mountains. His Excellency in
passing this place on his route to Bathurst in the year 1815 called it
Caley's Repulse. The country is now very rugged and mountainous, and the
road difficult, which in one place is formed by means of a wooden bridge
over a gully, reflecting great credit upon the persons to whom its
formation was entrusted by His Excellency for their judgment and
perseverance in this difficult undertaking. Near the 20th. mile is an
extensive flat or plain, which His Excellency in the journey above
referred to, has called the King's Table Land. This exposed situation is
covered with the shrub Eucalyptus microphylla [= Eucalyptus stellulata],
forming thick brushes of underwood. This plain is considered as the
summit of the western mountains, and from them a very extensive
panoramic view presents itself of the country around us. On the S.W.
side of the plain the mountain terminates in abrupt precipices of very
considerable depth, at the bottom of which is seen a glen or ravine
which the Governor has termed the Prince Regent's Glen. The length of
this picturesque and remarkable tract of country is estimated at 24

Onward two miles we arrived at dusk at a wooden house, erected
originally as a store for the preservation of provisions for the use of
the men working on the road, and now converted into an half-way house,
being 28 miles from Emu Ford. Our people had already arrived there and
had kindled a large fire. The soil is now for the most part of a sandy
grit, compounded of fragments of iron and sand-stone, in which, with a
little peat, the finest specimens of Australian botany flourish.

I observed specimens of Persoonia with filiform leaves, agreeing in
specific character with P. microcarpa. Stylidium setaceum, a very
delicate plant, abundant on the wayside. On bare rocks Chloranthus
stoechadis is very luxuriantly in flower. Some shrubs of the habit of
Boronia, with pinnate and ternate leaves, grew very abundant on the
roadside near the 26th mile mark: they were, however, not in flower.
This evening we were joined by Mr. Oxley at our resting place at the
28th mile mark. Some boggy slopes at the back of our Wooden House have
been called Lewis's or Jamieson's Plains.

10th. Thursday. Mr. Oxley ascertained by the assistance of the
barometer, which he had brought with him, the height of the spot where
we halted the last evening to be 2,984 feet and from the circumstance of
King's Table Land being several feet higher we calculated it to be
upwards of 3,000 ft. above the level of the sea. We availed ourselves of
the clearness of the morning and freshness of the atmosphere, and while
our people were loading the carts walked onward to the 33rd. mile,
where, at the top of a hill, an opening presents to us a grand romantic
expanse of country; mountains running beyond mountains to the very verge
of the horizon, striking the beholder with admiration and astonishment.
We have here a S.W. view of the Prince Regent's Glen. On account of the
circular form in which the nearest or fore ground below us is disposed
the Governor in his tour was induced to call it Pitt's Amphitheatre.

We halted here until our people with our carts came up to us. In taking
a general view of the botany of the country around, which is thickly
wooded with brush and small diminutive timber of Eucalypti, there
appeared the following among the many plants very frequent in the
environs of Sydney. Platylobium nova sp., with the habit of P.
parviflorum, the leaves however are ovate, netted and silky beneath. The
Boronia seen yesterday is very abundant in the sterile sands. Stylidium
setaceum, with Arethusa sp., similar to the Arethusa figured in the last
collection, were very fine in flower among the rocky grassy spots on the
roadside. We did not notice Lambertia formosa, which is very frequent on
the Blue Mountains, farther westward than about the 32nd mile mark.
Continuing our route on the new road which runs on the main edge of the
mountains and forms one side of the Prince Regent's Glen, we arrived at
an open but low bushy tract of country, which His Excellency had named
Hounslow Heath, although it is frequently termed Blackheath. Our carts
and people were far behind us, occasioned by the rugged uneven state of
the country. We therefore were obliged to halt for the day on this heath
near the 41st mile mark. The water here is far from being good, it is
the drainage of the low black peats which constitute the soil of the
slopes from the heath. I furnished myself with specimens of a species of
Grevillea, remarkable for the beauty of its flowers and the laciniated
spinous habit of its foliage, which I have termed G. acanthifolia: a
species of Pimelea, differing from P. glauca in having long filaments
supporting the anthers, as in P. filamentosa, is likewise abundant.

11th. Friday. Cloudy morning. Proceeding forward on our journey the road
continued for the space of 9 miles on the main range, where it abruptly
terminates in almost a perpendicular precipice, down which a tolerably
easy and practicable road has been formed, which has been called by the
Governor Cox's Pass, and through all its windings cannot be less than ¾
of a mile. By admeasurement this abrupt termination of the mountains
westerly proved to be 676 feet above the valley below it, which His
Excellency has termed the Vale of Clwydd, from its resemblance and local
situation being surrounded by mountains like that in North Wales. The
retrospect view from the vale of the overhanging mountain is exceedingly
grand and magnificent. At this point of view is observed the termination
of a ridge that has the appearance of a very lofty distant hill, which
the Governor has called Mount York, and which Mr. Oxley found by his
barometer to be elevated above the level of the sea 3218 feet.

The Vale of Clwydd although boggy in some places has a rich soil,
producing good grass, and in other respects is excellent pastureland.
Here we observed the very remarkable change of country, differing from
that on the mountains both in the vegetable productions and the nature
of the soil. Banksia serrata ceases to exist farther west than the
summit of Mount York, and B. compar succeeds it throughout the vale, of
stubby arborescent growth in flower and fruit. This species of Banksia
is perhaps only a variety of B. integrifolia. Eucalyptus Perfoliata
(H.K.) is very frequent, and another species with some leaves cordate
and sessile and others lanceolate and inserted on a petiole. Podolepis
acuminata: Hibbertia cuneata, with large yellow flowers: Campanula sp.,
with large blue flowers and undulate bristly leaves: a species of
Buchnera with yellow flowers: Helichrysum sp., allied to H. bracteatum,
are all now very common plants, from Cox's Pass westerly. The rocks and
shaded humid situations in the Pass afforded me specimens and seeds of
Stylidium longifolium. A dwarf syngenesious shrub, Baccharis arguta is
in seed: gathered seeds of Epacris spicata from plants growing in tufts
in shaded situations. Acrostichum sp., having a sterile frond, a plant
observed in glens near Botany Bay, is found here in great abundance on
these shaded rocks with a species of Polypodium [Polypody Fern], with
glossy laciniated coriaceous fronds. In Cox's Pass there is a kind of
indurated pipeclay in lamina that might be turned to some ornamental or
useful purpose by the sculptor. Some specimens which we collected of it
worked as easily as chalk. Our people converted them into oil stones. We
are now about 80 English miles from Sydney.

The mile-mark numbers begin afresh from the Pass to Bathurst. Passing
through the Vale for about 5 miles we arrived at Cox's River, which is
formed by a rivulet of fine water running to the eastward over a very
stony bottom, and uniting itself with another stream at the western
extremity of the vale, and from thence the junction takes its course
through the Prince Regent's Glen and empties itself into the Nepean
River. At this river we first observed granite, of which its bed is
composed. Grevillea acanthifolia and G. asplenifolia, frequent on the
margins of creeks on the eastern coast, grow on the banks of this river
in the greatest luxuriance. Here is a depôt and store house under the
charge of a corporal and 2 privates. We pitched our tent on the right
bank of the river and halted for the night. Our barometer informed us
that we had descended about 430 feet from the base of Mount York. In the
Vale of Clwydd I gathered seeds and specimens of a shrubby Aster the
flowers of which are of a bluish white colour.

12th. Saturday. Ascending from the river we continued our route westerly
over a range of hills of difficult and fatiguing descent, which the
Governor has named Clarence's Hilly Range, generally open forest land
and tolerably good for grazing. The plants on this hilly district appear
to differ very little from those before observed. Daviesia latifolia, a
shrub first discovered in Van Diemen's Land is the most prevalent plant:
a remarkable shrub, evidently from its distinct stipulae one of the
Rubiaceae, is by no means rare; it is, however, not in flower at this
time. Some large specimens of timber of the Eucalypti, which from the
character of the capsule appear to be of the genus Eudesmia, are
frequent. About 2 o'clock we arrived at the Fish River, on the western
side of Clarence's Hilly Range, a stage of 16 miles--very severe and
oppressive to our horses, the whole being sharp lofty hills and narrow
boggy valleys, alternately. In one of the deep vales I gathered
specimens of a species of Arenaria, with long white flowers and rigid
sharp leaves: a species of Epilobium, agreeing in all its characters
with E. angustifolium, is very frequent.

About 3 miles to the westward of Cox's River three remarkable hills
connected together present themselves. The Governor desirous of
commemorating the names of the three first individuals who penetrated
thus far to the westward has called them Mount BlaxIand, Wentworth's
Sugar Loaf, and Lawson's Sugar Loaf. Acacia melanoxylon [Blackwood of
N.S.W.], a native of Van Diemen's Land, is to be seen occasionally here.
It is arborescent, and is remarkable for the singular character of its
seed being attached to the interior of the legumen by a coloured
plicated umbilical cord. We had no time to examine the nature of the
wood, the heart of which is said to be black. We pitched our tent for
the night on the right bank of the Fish River. On the banks of this
river, which, like Cox's River, has a stony bed, I gathered seeds of a
Cnicus with laciniated leaves and a long tap or fusiform root, and seeds
of a Limnanthemum smaller than Helichrysum bracteatum. Grevillea cinerea
is very frequent on the rocky banks of the river in situations that have
been recently inundated. Our people with their hooks caught some fish of
about 2½ or 3 lbs. weight, which we found had a very fine flavour. It
has a strong dorsal fin and appears to belong to the Perca (Perch)
family.[*] Mr. Oxley ascertained by the barometer that the Fish River is
409 feet above Cox's River, and about 2570 feet above the sea level.

[* The native perch of the inland rivers is named the " Australian Bass
" to distinguish it from the estuary perch (Percalates colonorum) from
which species it seems to have evolved, and because it closely resembles
the "Large Mouth Bass" of North America.]

13th. Sunday. The frost of the last night severe. Proceeding forward,
having previously forded the Fish River, the country continues uneven
and hilly, covered with small timber, and generally speaking is good
pasturage in an open forest land. About 8 miles west of the Fish River
is a fine spacious valley running N.W. and S.E., bounded by hills of
easy ascent and thinly covered with timber. This vale, which the
Governor has called Sidmouth Valley, is an exceeding fine and rich
grassy spot. Lotus major [Bird's foot Trefoil], and Bellis sp. (or
Cotula), with some grasses, is here in the greatest strength and
luxuriance, all indicative of the excellence of the soil. In some wet
boggy situations I observed a species of Lythrum, in habit and character
agreeing with L. salicaria [Purple Loosestrife] of Britain, but
differing in the flower not being dodecandrous. Onward, diminutive
forest lands prevail, beyond which are open rising grounds and fine
grassy plains. Banksia compar, Acacia melanoxylon, with Eucalyptus
perjoliata, E. globulus etc., are very frequent. Near the 32nd mile mark
from Cox's River is a small but exceedingly sterile patch of land where
I gathered specimens of Aster speciosus, a fine shrubby plant with azure
flowers: seeds and specimens of Helichrysum albicans; Dianella speciosa
[Broadleaved Flax Lily], a plant with elongated foliaceous stems,
supporting several blue flowers. At a small distance from the Fish River
a very remarkable mountain attracts the notice of the traveller on
account of the large stone or rock with which it is crowned. This
singular mountain has been called by the Governor, Mount Evans. Our
cart-horses and oxen being much fatigued with the labours of this day,
we stopped and pitched our tent on the banks of a creek near the 34th
mile mark from Cox's Pass.

14th. Monday. Anxious to reach the settlement on Bathurst Plains early
in the day we rode forward with all possible despatch, leaving our carts
and people to advance more leisurely. The country exhibits a
continuation of fine open grazing lands of the same character in point
of timber as was observed yesterday. At five miles distant from our last
night's encampment we arrived at Campbell River, which is at this period
a moderate stream, although in dry seasons it has been observed to be
only a chain of small waterpools. We forded this river (the bridge
having been carried away by the late floods) and continued for several
miles over a gentle rising hilly sheep country with grassy valleys until
the extensive plains of Bathurst opened to the view. A short distance
south from the line of road which crosses the Campbell River is a fine
rich tract of land called Mitchell's Plains. Near the Fish River, which
forms a junction with the Campbell River some miles north of the road,
are two very fertile plains, the one called O'Connell's Plains, and the
other Macquarie's Plain, both said to be of very considerable extent.
The botany has the same appearance as observed yesterday. A species of
Indigofera, with short obovate pinnated leaves, being the prevailing

The plains around the settlement at Bathurst are a clear and open tract
of campaign country bounded by gentle hills of easy ascent, thinly
wooded, and well watered by the Macquarie River, which winds through
them. The course can be easily traced by the particular verdure of the
Casuarinae (swamp oaks) on its banks, which in fact are the only trees
throughout the extent of the plain, a circumstance which will be the
more severely felt as the settlement increases in population, firewood
being brought in bullock carts from the considerable distance of 5 or 6

At about 2 o'clock p.m. we arrived at the Flagstaff on the settlement,
erected by order of the Governor when His Excellency visited these
plains in May, 1815. A superintendent's house, public kitchen, and
temporary store have been erected for the accommodation of the residents
there. The site intended for the town of Bathurst, by observation, taken
on the spot, is situated in lat. 33°24'30" S., and long. 149°1745" E. of
Greenwich, being also about 27½ north of Sydney and 94 west of it,
bearing W. 20°30' N. 83 geographical miles--or 90½ statute miles--the
measured road from Sydney to Bathurst being 140 miles or thereabouts.
Somewhat more than a mile north of the road 5 miles west of Campbell
River, near the Macquarie River, is a singular stone of large
dimensions. It is a fine piece of quartz and is usually termed the "
White Rock."[*]

[* The name is now given to the locality.]

15th. Tuesday. Aware that our stay at Bathurst would be short, and
anxious to take a general view of the botany of these extensive plains,
I started in a south-westerly direction over the hills, but found it
very inconsiderable being confined to a few specimens. Pimelea sp.,
allied to P. glauca, but differing in having long filaments supporting
the anthers, is exceedingly common, accompanying the two syngenesious
plants on the plains. Gnaphalium sp., suffruticose, leaves ovate,
lanceolate, glandulose, hairy. G. ericaefolium, a small suffruticose
plant. On the hills and forest lands a species of Acacia with
oblong-spathulate leaves, are very frequent, as are now seeds of the
Indigofera seen yesterday. Winding round the plain I intersected the
River Macquarie about 5 miles below the settlement and determined to
trace it up, with a view of detecting any plants that grow on its
immediate banks, which are as follows:--Goodenia sp., with large yellow
flowers and laciniate leaves: Senecio sp., allied to S. quadridentatus
of Labillardière (Erechthites quadridentata), but the flosculae appear
to be 5-toothed: Senecio sp., leaves linear-lanceolate, serrated:
Helichrysum alatum [=Ammobium alatum] leaves radical, spathulate, stem
alated. A species of Gnaphalium, frequent on the eastern coast in rich
soils, is likewise abundant here. On a lofty rocky hill called Mount
Pleasant I gathered a species of Aster. I likewise observed a species of
Dodonae, with narrow lanceolate crenulate leaves, in fruit. Near the
river that species of Eucalyptus usually denominated Blue Gum is now in
flower. I gathered specimens of it. The banks are covered with Rubus
sp., same as near Parramatta and Urtica dioica. I gathered seeds of a

In this day's excursion I had an opportunity of observing the general
character of the soil. The hills are covered with a sandy quartzose grit
and fragments of stone that have evidently undergone fusion, while that
on the lower lands and more especially on the banks of the river is very
rich and black and of a considerable depth, formed of decayed vegetable
matter, the depositions of floods that have accumulated from one period
to another. The whole plain may be termed a good cattle ground, although
the sandy light aspect of its surface, and particularly that of the most
elevated grounds, conveys no very flattering ideas of its becoming a
grain country of any consideration. Returned at sunset to the settlement
having passed over about 18 miles in a circuitous route.

16th. Wednesday. A drenching rain set in from N.W. early in the
afternoon with thunder and lightning, which continued all the evening.

17th. Thursday. Much rain fell during the last night which continued
this morning. Confined indoors.

18th. Friday. Being recommended to make an excursion to some brushy
spots north of the Macquarie River I crossed over to the north side in
order to visit the remarkable sterile scrubby tract called Winbourne
Dale, bearing N.E. by E. for several miles, under a lofty range of
mountains running nearly east and west. Having passed over about 5 miles
of open rising grassy country I came to a watercourse termed Winbourne
Dale creek, which after many windings empties itself into the Macquarie
River about 20 miles below the settlement. Although not above 12 feet
wide it was deep and the current very strong, occasioned by the late
very heavy rains. Finding it impossible to pass this creek and that the
object in view and the plans laid down in the morning were defeated, I
followed the creek down about 3 miles, in which space it had received 2
or 3 minor streamlets from the northern hills. Arundo phragmites is
common on its banks. A species of Veronica with terminal spikes, leaves
opposite, lanceolate and serrated, is likewise abundant; it is in
capsule and furnished me with seeds.

Podolepis rugata is frequent on the more elevated grassy grounds. The
Buchnera with yellow flowers is now in seed. These fine pasture lands
are for the most part unprofitable to the botanical collector.

19th. Saturday. The unsettled state of the weather had detained us
longer than we expected at Bathurst but conceiving the waters to have
abated sufficiently to allow our pack-horses to proceed forward to the
Lachlan River we sent five of them from Bathurst this morning laden with
provisions, and luggage, intending to follow them ourselves to-morrow. A
species of Xerotes with leaves round and filiform. and an erect
spreading panicle I observed among the grass on the plains. Near the
settlement a dwarf species of Eryngium, much allied to E. vesiculosum
(Labillardière), is common in patches. It is not in flower. It appears
from Mr. Oxley's observations made by means of the barometer that
Bathurst is 558 feet lower than the Fish River, and about 2,000 feet
above the sea level. The nature of the soil of the plains is seen on the
bank of a ditch dug round the Government Domain. The surface is loam,
below sandy, resting on a bed of arenaceous marl.

Bathurst to Farewell Hill, 20 April-17 May, 1817.

20th. Sunday. We left the settlement this morning and proceeded on our
journey westerly to the depôt at the Lachlan River. From the Plains we
entered a valley, termed Queen Charlotte's Vale, of considerable length,
and at this period very boggy, occasioned by the late heavy rains. The
risings or ascents of the hills by which it is bounded were very soft
and rotten, rendering the travelling very difficult and distressing to
our burdened horses. In several places our saddle horses sunk up to
their girths and hence it became necessary to dismount and lead them. A
considerable portion of sand forms a component part of the soil of the
hills which resting on a bed of clay is sufficient to retain the
humidity near the surface. The herbage of these hills is a grass
(Bromus) interspersed with Gnaphalium cricaefolium (Everlasting), and
with Lotus major [Greater Bird's foot Trefoil] sparingly, all which
plants are likewise abundant in the richer valleys.

Daviesia latifolia [Bitter leaf Bush] continues very abundant on the
rising ground. In the wet bays in the valley I observed an Erodium
allied to E. hymenoides [Heron's Bill], with leaves ternate, flowers

We halted for the night at the usual resting place, 18 miles from
Bathurst, near the extremity of the valley. Our people with the pack
horses had arrived some hours before, and had pitched the tent.
Eucalyptus cornuta, rising about 20 feet, with obovate leaves, at this
period is just expanding its flowers on the sides of the hills.

21st. Monday. Fine weather. Resuming our journey about 8 o'clock, the
road continues over a hilly country, in many places boggy, and heavy
travelling for the horses. Among the brush or under shrub with which the
hills are covered I discovered a singular species of Veronica, with
glaucous leaves. A papilionaceous shrub allied to Oxylobium, with
cordate villous leaves was in great abundance. Of the timber that
species of Eucalyptus usually termed "Stringy Bark" with others common
on the Eastern Coast, are common on the hills, and although fine lofty
trees were apparently generally hollow and decayed at their base. The
higher lands, which are stony, are nevertheless tolerable good grazing
tracts. We stopped for the evening at the foot of a hill near a water
hole, having travelled about 15 miles from our last night's encampment
and about 321 miles from Bathurst. On the hill, which is covered with
rugged fragments of granite, I saw the shrub of the order Rubiaceae
which I noticed on Clarence's Hilly Range, and on its summit Banksia
compar [= B. integrifolia] is very strong and abundant. It however
ceases to exist beyond this hill westerly. On our left hand two
remarkable points are to be observed. The one called Mount Antill, in
honour of Major Antill (Major of Brigade of the 46th Regt.), and Mehan's
Sugarloaf as a compliment to Mr. James Mehan, Deputy-Surveyor-General in
New South Wales.

22nd. Tuesday. The frosts of the last night considerable. Water standing
in our vessels throughout the night was covered with ice. A strong rime
on all vegetation. Leaving our last night's halting place we continued
our route over lands slightly elevated and grassy, thickly wooded with
timber, Eucalyptus (Blue Gum) chiefly. In thickly brushy spots Daviesia
latifolia prevails. The soil is a red sandy loam which was here and
there thrown up by the roots of fallen trees. Throughout the whole of
this day's journey there appeared an uniformity in the route observed,
being exactly the same as seen yesterday. About noon we passed a wet
grassy valley, from which Mount Lachlan bore northerly about 3 miles.
Its summit appears very sterile having on it a few stunted trees.
Ascending a hill, we had a noble view of a vast expanse of country to
the westward, alternately hill and valley. Descending the eminence to
the valley below, we climbed to the top of Mount Molle (so named in
honour of a late Lieut-Governor), from thence the country already
observed appeared to better advantage. Among the remarkable points
noticed, Mount Lewin and Jamieson's Table Land were not the least
conspicuous. In rocky fissures on Mount Molle I observed a small
succulent plant of the genus Sedum. Descending the western side of the
Mount (Molle) into a very rich and fertile valley, well watered by a
running stream in a creek, we halted for the night. Among the plants
seen here, the following are the most remarkable for the luxuriance of
their growth. Lotus sp., suffruticose, allied to L. australis, flowers
large and almost white. Lotus major with Sonchus oleraceus are very
abundant also Linum usitatissimum. At a remarkable cascade near Mount
Lachlan on the humid rocks is a slender shrub of the class Syngenesia,
and is perhaps a Cacalia, leaves linear, which, with its branches, are
smooth. Our dogs in chasing some kangaroo killed a large forest buck.
Our journey this day was 16 miles. Afternoon fine, a slight incrustation
of ice was on the water left in the pots at night.

23rd. Wednesday. Crossing the creek we resumed our journey up a fine
open forest, very little encumbered with timber, of a reddish loamy rich
soil, and thickly clothed with grass. This has been termed Warwick
Plains. Observed westerly, on some elevated grounds a brushwood presents
itself, the timber is closer, and the view much circumscribed. I had
often regretted that Southern Australia affords so very few parasitical
plants, which in South America are so extremely beautiful. I this day
observed a cluster of foliage hanging from a moderate sized Eucalyptus,
having the appearance of young leaves that had been nipped by severe
frost. It, however, proves to be a species of Loranthus, in good health
but not in flower or fruit. In a chain of ponds, on the margin of which
we travelled a considerable distance, I observed Ornithorhynchus
paradoxus or water mole occasionally rising to the surface of the water
for respiration and in an instant disappearing. Crossing these ponds at
a rocky creek the country becomes again brushy and barren. I gathered
specimens of the following among others of less moment in these scrubby

Grevillea sp., allied to G. Phyllicoides of the eastern coast, a fine
flowering shrub of low stature. Bursaria sp. larger in all its points
than B. spinosa (Cav.), young branches without thorns. Pullenaea
ericaefolia (Dwarf Pultenaea), a handsome shrub. Hibbertia sp.,
discovered before, near Cox's Pass. Acacia obliqua (Persoon), a shrub
about 3 feet high. Descending to the creek called Limestone Creek we
halted and encamped on the opposite bank about 2 o'clock. I availed
myself of the fineness of the day and the early hour and traced the
creek through its various windings about a mile. Metrosideros saligna
was fine in flower in the channel of the watercourse, accompanied by a
new species of Crolon with cordate 3 lobed leaves which I have termed C.
acerifolius, and Cystopteris, [Bladder Fern]. Ascending from the creek
upon the rugged Limestone rocks I discovered a tree of very stunted
growth forming a stem of about 30 inches in diameter or about 7½ feet
circumference, which we suspected to be Sterculia. The same plant was
shown us in June 1815, growing in the Palace Gardens at St. Paul, where
it had grown to the height Of 30 feet but had not flowered. From the
best information we could obtain, and that from a Colonel in the
Portuguese Service (an Englishman lately deceased), I learned that the
plant had been brought from New Holland with others by Captain Woodriffe
(not Witherope), of the "Calcutta," and they were left at Rio de Janeiro
on her passage to England in 1804. From Rio they were transmitted to St.
Paul, and they were planted by the Colonel himself in the Conde de
Palmas Garden in that city.

The trees on these rocks have no appearance of flowers or fruit. The
habit and shapes of foliage in a seedling plant are very different from
those of an old tree. Upon seeing some young plants with palmated leaves
(which they lose by age) I now recollected having seen this Sterculia in
some gardens about London and there considered a Crolon. In shaded damp
situations I gathered specimens of some ferns viz: A crostichum sp.,
with the habit of an A dianium, another species with laciniated
glandulose fronds, and a Pteris with simple fronds of slender habit. The
Bursaria above referred to is the most common shrublet of these rocks,
and a Clematis, before seen, is observed twining itself among the large
stones and over the hanging brows of precipices (not in flower). It is a
subject of regret that these limestone rocks are so far distant from the
habitation of man as to be of no use to him. We are now 63 miles
westerly of Bathurst. By way of experiment we produced some excellent
lime by calcination:

24th. Thursday. We continued our journey in good time this morning over
a fine, rich, grassy tract of country, which, however, has at this
period rather a bare and naked aspect, having been fired by natives.
Passing the burnt grass and entering thick wooded and high grassy lands
we pursued our road, evidently upon the descent, until we came to a
chain of ponds confined in a long winding deep gully and almost dry.
Following these waterholes about 3 miles we came to a rocky hollow
containing water, where we halted and pitched the tent. The soil
throughout this day's journey is good and rich, but with not the least
variation in the botany. The country abounds with emu and kangaroo, of
the latter our dogs killed a fine doe. The emu, however, were too swift
to be taken by dogs. Our journey to-day has been 13 miles.

25th. Friday. The land westerly from the rocky creek for the space of 6
miles is a continuance of rich forest country abounding in grass. From
the summits of a rocky [hill] you had an extensive landscape of the
Western country. A clear plain, free from timber, called Oxley's Plains,
bear a few miles to the southward and westward of us. We had no
difficulty in tracing the course of the Lachlan westerly, by the
darkness of the verdure of the timber on its banks. This hill is covered
with large fragments of fine granite. The Sterculia seen at Limestone
Creek is on this eminence very common, but without signs of flower or
fruit. From a large tree of this genus--at the base of the hill--that
had been cut by a hatchet by way of a mark, I gathered some resinous gum
which had oozed out from beneath the bark. It was whitish and of the
taste of gum arabic. Continuing on the descent for about 6 miles due
west, over a fine grassy forest land, the soil of which is a red loam,
rather sandy, we made the right bank of the Lachlan River about 2
o'clock p.m. Tracing the river down its banks about 5 miles we arrived
at the depo^t where the people and horses who form the expedition had
been waiting our arrival some weeks. Its banks are very high and clothed
with lofty timber of a species of Eucalyptus, commonly denominated by
the colonists Black-butted Gum,[*] inclining inward so as to form in
some places a kind of arch with the heads of the trees of the same
species on the opposite bank. The flats on the lower grounds near the
banks are exceedingly rich and excellent for every purpose of
agriculture, with this exception that they are liable to inundation. The
river had swollen to a very considerable height, and had previous to our
arrival fallen 17 feet, still retaining a considerable fresh or flood
above its usual level and a strong current.

[*Eucalyptus pilularis.]

Our people reported to us that a troop of natives were on the opposite
bank. We immediately went down to the water's edge and beckoned to them
to come over to us, and as an inducement offered them some meat. Thus
tempted, they swam over, and we all went up to the higher grounds on
which the depo^t was built. They were 13 in number, all males of
different ages, from beardless youth to well advanced manhood, and their
general outward appearance seemed to differ but little from those of
Sydney. Their hair the same, but their beards are suffered to grow very
long. Their bodies are regularly tattooed, particularly the breast and
shoulders, which are strongly tubercled in a kind of systernatical
diagonal style. Like those of the Eastern coast they perforate the
cartilage of the nose, but I did not see any stick or reed worn through
it. Their dress is simply a grass network, forming a cover to the head,
and a belt of the same network fastened or tied round their loins, in
which they have their "mogo," or stone hatchet, waddies, etc.

One or two had a mantle of the skin of the kangaroo-rat, sewed together
with sinews of the leg, which reached from the shoulders to the middle
of the back. Independent of this they were perfectly naked. They do not
use the wamera in throwing their spears, which are made of a very hard
wood and not of the Xanthorrhoea arborea as on the eastern coast. Their
spears have lateral barbs, the one above the other, the whole is
indurated by fire and is a most dangerous weapon. Although they swam
across the river, in which they had to contend with a strong current,
they had brought fire in their hands, and much time did not elapse
before we could perceive the smoke from it issuing from the centre of
the group in which they had formed themselves for mutual warmth. Our
thermometer stood at 56° about this period.

By way of ornament they wore kangaroo teeth in their ears and cockatoo
feathers in their hair. Those of them who were young men had their
beards divided into three divisions and formed into plaited tails. Their
language being very different from that of our Eastern Coast natives, we
obtained from them the names for several things, particularly the parts
of the body. I presented one of them with an English halfpenny having a
hole drilled through it. It was, however, returned to me with clear
signs that a piece of kangaroo flesh
would be more acceptable. In fact they appear to appreciate the value of
nothing so much as provisions, particularly flesh, and our iron
hatchets, which would enable them to procure it much better and with
more facility than those made of black jade. They were acquainted with
fire-arms, and had (in an unguarded moment on the part of the soldiers
stationed at the depo^t) run off with two muskets. The subsequent
circumstances connected with this theft they still appear to rue! In an
affair between the soldiers and these natives with a view of recovering
the stolen muskets, a poor harmless lad forfeited his existence. Having
abundance of kangaroo, we presented them with the half of a large buck,
which was gratefully received, and with which they returned to their
friends on the opposite side of the river. I gathered specimens of a
Myoporum, smaller than M. ellipticum.

26th. Saturday. Having previously repapered my specimens and hung them
out to dry, accompanied by a soldier (armed) I made an excursion down
the river a few miles below the depôt. Croton acerifolius, Rubus sp.,
and Urtica dioica are very abundant on its immediate bank. The stony
rising grounds abound with a plant of the Asperifoliae, allied to
Lithospermum dichotomum. A dwarf shrub of the Epacridaceae, perhaps a
Leucopogon, with a tomentose white calyx, and drupe, is now very fine in
flower. A delicate species of Pullenaea microphylla, with small cuneated
truncated leaves and axillary solitary flowers is found growing with a
shrub advancing to the flowering state, which I suspect is Daviesia
mimosoides of Hortus Kewensis. I likewise got here a specimen of an
Aster with oblong crowded leaves, which are curved at the apex, flowers
white. The summits of the hills are covered with the tree which is
termed Pine by our people. It is in fruit, and proves to be a species of
Callitris and may be the species termed C. australis by Persoon, and is
said to be found on the north side of Port Jackson Harbour. It is from
30 to 70 feet high, particularly on the flats. I gathered specimens of a
very singular species of Acacia, A. erythrocephala, = A. aspera with
linear-lanceolate leaves. I discovered another shrub of the same genus,
A. armata, with the flowers in axillary spikes. On the low flats near
the river I discovered a species of Dalea with weak trailing stems; a
species of Aster with oblong cuneated leaves. The smoke rising above the
trees from the left bank of the river indicated the presence of natives.

7th. Sunday. It having been arranged by Mr. Oxley that our two boats
(that had been built here and intended as an assistance to us in
carrying the more heavy provisions of flour and pork on the river)
should proceed down the stream this morning as far as the creek where
Mr. Evans, who first discovered the Lachlan, had terminated his journey,
having been ferried over by the boats, I visited the rocky hills on the
left bank in company with C. Fraser of the 46th Regt., who had been sent
as one of our party, in order to form a separate collection of seeds and
specimens for Earl Bathurst. We were both well armed in case of attack
from the natives. Fraser had been before on these hills, in his pursuits
of the Flora (to which he is very much attached) during the period of
time he had been at this depôt, viz: about one month. Having crossed the
grassy flats near the River we ascended the rugged stony hills, where I
found the following interesting plants.

Pimelea linifolia, scarcely in flower, a slender gigantic shrub 5 or 6
feet high. Epacridea,: Leucopogon sp., differing from the species I
discovered yesterday in having a smoother calyx. Campanula sp., or a
var. of C. gracilis.

Bossiaea sp., with the habit and appearance of B. microphylla.

Hibbertia sp., allied to H. ovata, leaves sharper and lanceolate, with a
minute asperity, as in H. ovata. The flowers are decandrous. Aster sp.,
herbaceous, flowers blue, leaves filiform. Aster echinatus, a shrub with
linear leaves glandularly echinated on the upper
white. Acacia obliqua is very common on these sterile hills. Persoonia
sericea, with leaves oblong, cuneated, which, with fruit and branches,
are covered with silky hairs. Epacrideae: a shrub of same genus as
above, flowers red. I likewise discovered a new Acacia, allied to A.
albiflora, the icaves are triangular, and the head of flowers is
rounded; and another species with elongated oblong leaves, attenuated at
base, flowers in axillary spikes.

Gompholobium latifolium is frequent with the above. In the rich flats,
upon my return to the boat, I gathered some grasses, among which is a
Phleum and in low inundated situations a singular dwarf plant, which I
could not detect in flower, it appears to be Adiantum and is remarkable
for its 4-lobed fronds.

Our boats being loaded with the Government Rations of flour and pork we
sent them down the river with the intention of overtaking them to-morrow
afternoon. By observation taken by Mr. Oxley the site of the dep6t is in
lat. 33°39'48" S., and Long. 148°39' E. By barometrical observation it
was ascertained that we were not above 650 feet above the level of the
sea, and that we had descended from Bathurst Plains upwards of 1300
feet. This small elevation, contrasted with the great distance we were
from the nearest point of the south-west coast, immediately suggested to
us the great improbability of the Lachlan River running to the sea, and
its soft muddy banks and general appearance and character of a
periodical stream affording an outlet to the great body of rain falling
on the Blue Mountains, seemed to coincide in the idea. When Mr. Evans
first discovered it in June 1815, which was a dry season, he crossed it
nearly dryshod on the trunk of a fallen Eucalyptus.

28th. Monday. Previous to my leaving the eastern coast I had provided
myself with a quantity of peach stones of two qualities, some quince
pips or seeds, and a few acorns, with an intention of committing a few
of each to the earth at any remarkable situation where the soil was
tolerably good and suitable for the growth of them. I sowed some of each
at the depôt in the very rich soil on the bank.

This morning about 9 o'clock the following persons, who composed this
grand Western Expedition, left the last human habitation westward in
order to survey the river downwards and trace it to its supposed
junction with the Macquarie, and the disemboguence of their union on the
south-west coast:--Oxley Esqre. Surveyor-General; Mr. G. W. Evans
Assist. do.; Charles Fraser of 46th Regt., as collector for Lord
Bathurst; S. Parr, a boat builder; and seven persons as loaders of pack
horses, and myself. Thirteen in all, with 14 horses and 2 boats.

We passed over the fertile flats, which have been inundated as we
ascertained from the marks of flood on the timber, and stubble having
been washed against the large Eucalypti, with which the banks are
clothed. Travelling about 7 miles we arrived at a creek running in a
serpentine form from the river in a north-easterly direction. As our
baggage horses would not overtake us for some hours, we proposed to halt
and pitch our tent on the opposite side of the creek for the night. The
soil of the higher lands at a short distance from the river is of a
stiff loam, and in some situations rocky and sterile, but the lower
grounds are rich and covered with strong grass.

Between the depôt and the creek, which Mr. Oxley had named Lewis's
Creek, Lotus australis, Swainsona coronillaefolia, and a creeping
Hedysarum are occasionally to be met with. The marsh mallow is very
abundant, Callitris australis is now very common on the hills, although
of no size or bulk. Casuarina stricta (usually called Swamp Oak) is
likewise very fine and large on the muddy banks. By the assistance of
our boats we conveyed our baggage over the creek, which although not
above 12-10 feet wide is very deep, and swam over our horses. I took a
walk on the rocky barren hills in the neighbourhood and discovered the
following plants:--Grevillea sp., a beautiful shrub, with a calyx
covered exteriorly with a ferruginous tomentum, and smooth and green in
colour inside; Ajuga sp., with large blue flowers and much of the habit
of A. pyramidalis; Phyllanthus sp., a low shrubby plant; another species
with narrow, obtuse, cuneated leaves, revolute at the margins; Bidens
sp.; Dodonaea cuneata, with cuneated leaves; and Astroloma humifusum, a
trailing plant, is abundant in flower and fruit. We gathered on the
hills some fine specimens of crystallized quartz, some fine crystals,
and some dark specimens of granite. Mr. Oxley wrote to the Governor upon
the subject of the river. Richard Lewis, a superintendent at Bathurst,
who accompanied us to the creek which takes his name, returned to that
settlement. Our people caught some fine large fish of the same kind as
those before noticed.

29th. Tuesday. Continued our journey westward on the right bank of the
river and, travelling from point to point rather than follow the stream
through all its abrupt windings, I found the plants to be nearly the
same with little variation as those observed some days previously. The
following are the specimens collected in this day's route:--A drooping
melancholy shrub of the genus Stenochilus, which I have termed S.
longifolius, now presents itself in brushy sterile tracks near the
river. Gnaphalium sp., much allied to G. carnatum, is common among the
grass; and Podolepis rugata, the peduncles of which near the insertion
in the calyx are scaly. On the immediate bank of the river I gathered
seeds and specimens of a species of Viola, with leaves on elongated
pitioles; also a shrub of the order Rubiaceae, 4 feet high, branching,
diffuse, leaves oblong, seeds covered with an arilla. Persoonia
spathulata, discovered first on the S.W. coast, is now in fruit on the
rocky hills. On ascending a rugged height covered with loose fragments
of stones and hence rendered difficult of ascent, we had an extensive
view of the western country commanded by such an eminence. The country
appeared exceedingly low and flat with a few hills or ascents scattered
on its surface. On this elevation I discovered a new species of Acacia,
forming a small tree 25 feet high, the leaves are linear-lanceolate, and
the flowers are in axillary spikes, which are cylindrical. It is much
allied to A. longifolia, except in the shape of the foliage and their
gray colour. From the circumstance of this tree being the wood of which
the natives in the Western Country make their spears (which I have
proved), and of which I shall state more particulars hereafter, I have
called it A. doratoxylon. It is scarcely in a flowering state. Cupressus
australis is common on these heights. Hovea sp., this is a slender
shrub, frequent on the mount.

Mr. Oxley having taken the necessary bearings, we all descended to the
river and traced it down about three miles, halting for the night a few
miles short of our intended resting place at the creek where Mr. Evans
terminated his journey westerly in June 1815. The river now began to
show its true character. Our boat's people found it shoaly and narrow in
some places, and in consequence of its numerous and very abrupt windings
they did not overtake or arrive at the spot on the immediate bank of the
river where we were encamped till a late hour. I gathered specimens on
the flats of a fine species of Bromus, and these plains were covered
with clumps of Acacia decurrens [Queen Wattle].

The rocky hills are covered with a twining shrub, a Bignonia but it was
not in flower fit for examination. With it I observed a plant with the
habit of an Aster, resembling A. argophyllus [= Olearia argophylla], but
without that musty scent with which their leaves are furnished. Our
people shot a long-necked water bird like a cormorant. Eucalyptus
robusta or Brown Gum disappears, and chiefly Stringy Bark (Eucalyptus
sp.) and Blue Gum prevail. A beautiful species of Acacia, a small tree
with bipinnate leaves, and flowers in elongated spikes; the whole plant
has a glaucous hue. In consequence of its beautiful appearance I have
called it A. spectabilis [Mudgee Wattle].

April 30th. Wednesday. Having sent our baggage horses forward and
despatched our boats down the river directing them to stop at the creek
that runs from the river on its right bank, we struck across the country
a few miles, in order to examine some Callitris, said to be abundant on
the lands distant from the river, which Mr. Evans had noticed on his
tour before referred to. These Cypress trees we found of various sizes
and dimensions from seedlings, generally growing in clumps, to lofty
trees of about 60 feet, and about 3 feet in diameter at the base. It has
been suggested that stems might be procured that would form good spars
or booms, it is, however, much to be feared that in consequence of the
many knots on its trunk or stem it would be found extremely brittle and

A species of Xerotes, with round filiform leaves, common on Bathurst
Plains, is frequent among the grass. The standing waters abound with an
Actinocarpus [Water star] remarkable for its capsule. Returning in a
westerly direction we made the creek which has taken the name of Byrne's
Creek, and we traced it up to its mouth at the river. Here I discovered
a new plant of the liliaceous family of the genus Pancratium. The
flowers are small, of a whitish flesh colour, varying to a bluish and
light orange colour. They are when fresh, May or White-thorn scented. It
is now in flower, and is viviparous, producing a small bulb instead of a
capsule, which in time falls to the ground and taking root ensures the
future offspring. It being a new species I have named it P. Macquaria [=
Calostemma purpureum][*] in honour of His Excellency Lachlan Macquarie,
Esqre., our worthy and much respected Governor, during whose arduous
administration the colony of New South Wales has been enlarged and
beautified in an eminent degree, and by whose meritorious and
praiseworthy exertions the western part of the Continent has been laid
open, as well to the labours of the industrious agriculturalist as to
the no less laudable research of the unwearied naturalist. This species
of Pancratium delights in a low damp situation, its bulbous roots were
with some difficulty dug up, being so very deep in the rich black soil
on the banks of the river. The woody lands are alternately grassy and
bushy, with slight inundations.

[* The name Pancratium macquaria is only mentioned in the "Botanical
Magazine," under Calostemma purpureum, at t. 2100, as a synonym of that

Near the river we fell in with a large and spacious lagoon of
considerable length and breadth but not deep. On its surface were
swimming great numbers of waterfowl, such as swan, duck, teal, which we
fired at in vain. Such was the steepness and muddiness of Byrne's Creek
that it became indispensably necessary to form a kind of sloping road
for our horses to descend to the water. Our boats having carried over
our horse-cargoes, we swam the animals over and pitched our tent on the
bank.[*] About a mile down the creek, in shallow water, we saw a bark
canoe, and the remains of small fires in the woods adjoining are
indications that the natives had recently visited this part of the

[* Near Eugowra.]

1817. May 1st. Thursday. Mr. Evans having finished his surveys in 1815
at this creek on its right bank, Mr. Oxley commenced his labours in that
department from the left bank down the river. As previously arranged,
Mr. Evans accompanied by a person with the perambulator proceeded
forward, taking the bearings of all remarkable points, windings and
curvatures of the river, as he advanced, endeavouring to cut off any
deep bight by stretching from angle to angle and steering as direct a
course as the nature of the country would admit. About 2 o'clock in the
afternoon we had penetrated about 10 miles, when it was deemed advisable
to halt for the day. The latter part of this day's journey being
difficult, on account of the lofty brome-grass with which the low lands
near the river abound. In swamps, tracks, and low inundated spots, great
abundance of a species of Lobelia was observed, of the habit of L.
purpurascens, but larger, and not purple beneath the leaf. It is in
flower and capsule. In such situations I gathered specimens of an
Achyranthes, with flowers around a quadrangular stalk. Lythrum sp.,
before observed, much allied to L. salicaria, grows very strong, with
all the preceding.

The higher grassy lands furnished me with seeds of Aster sp., with blue
flowers and oblong spathulate leaves. In sterile brushy situations I
detected the following plants. Pimelea sericea allied to P. curviflora;
Cotula sp., much allied to Bellis, is in flower.

Bellis sp., a shrubby plant with cuneated 3-5 toothed leaves, whose
flowers are ornamental and blue. The seeds of this plant are furnished
with 2 small aristae which are minutely barbed. I gathered specimens in
fruit of another species of Callitris, different from the species
discovered in the country near Lachlan Depôt in having a larger round
fruit, branchlets and leaves finer and of a glaucous hue, a tree of the
same height as its congener.

Dodonaea cuneata and Acacia obliqua are frequent. Some small lagoons,
supplied from the inundation of the river, prevented us from travelling
always on its immediate banks. The direction of the stream at the
commencement of our journey is southerly. This however is
counterbalanced by its winding round to the north towards the close,
making a true west course. The freshly cut bark from some of the large
gum trees (Eucalyptus) informed us that the natives had recently passed

2nd. Friday. We advanced westerly from our fires about 9 o'clock through
grassy flats, passing to the left of a large winding lagoon, which from
general appearances we had taken for the river, nor were some of us
convinced otherwise until we found it terminated in a swamp covered with
Arundo phragmites and other lofty grasses. Tracing the river down
upwards of 10 miles, which had run somewhat northerly, we stopped for
the day and pitched our tent.

On some barren rising ground I gathered specimens of a Xerotes,
remarkable for its slender juncous leaves, from the angles of which
membranceous threads are produced. A species of Saturcia is common in
low lands; like other species of Ibis genus it has a mild aromatic
penetrating taste, and is in common use as tea among our people. With
the preceding, I gathered specimens of a weak herbaceous species of
Justica. Some tolerable specimens of Callitris glauca that we passed in
this day's route assumed much the habit of Pinus sylvestris. The timber
is the Eucalyptus usually called Blue Gum. Near the river I collected
the following grasses:--Panicum sp., a slender plant; a Cenchrus, a
Phleum, and a species of Imperata, allied to Saccharum.

3rd. Saturday. Leaving our last night's resting place and following the
river southerly, the country we travelled over is occasionally grassy,
wooded, and has the same flat character as that already passed. The soil
at a small distance from the river is poor and barren and covered with
brushwood. Callitris glauca is a much finer, handsomer tree than we have
hitherto had, and, accompanied by Casuarina (swamp oak), approaches very
near the river. We now find from experience that 10 miles is a fair
day's journey, therefore having made good that distance we halted on the
bank of the river, which ran nearly west.

A very considerable portion of this day's stage is through a barren
tract of brushwood, presenting to us many plants frequently seen in
similar situations, among which I distinguished the following new
plants. Jasminum sp., leaves opposite and alternate, forming a scandent
or reclining shrub. Scaevola sp., bearing fleshy drupes, one seeded.
Acacia homalophylla, leaves lanceolate, flat and smooth, flowers
axillary, a tree 25 feet high. Pittosporum sp., a new and slender shrub
in fruit. Myoporum strictum, leaves lanceolate and stiff, flowers
solitary and pendulous. Some parts of the river were extremely shoaly
and narrow, and having numerous bends and obstructions of fallen timber
its navigation was rendered extremely difficult.

4th. Sunday. We had determined to rest ourselves and horses the whole of
this day, and were the more particularly obliged so to do on account of
the detention of our boats, occasioned by the difficulties of working
them in the shallow windings choked up with decayed fallen trees, which
it was found literally necessary to clear away in order to form a
passage for the boats. The larger boat had unfortunately been stove by a
sunken stump. Fearing to advance further after dark, and not knowing
where we were, our boatmen had stopped the preceding evening about 4
miles at least short of our encampment. It was well advanced in the
afternoon before they were able to drop down to that part of the river
on the bank of which our tent was pitched. Hubbert, our boat-builder,
soon repaired the damage sustained by the boat. About half a mile
northward of our tent is a large lagoon forming a fine and spacious
sheet of water, thickly clothed with gum trees on its margin, and
abounding with swans, ducks, etc. I gathered seeds and specimens of
Actinocarpus sp., growing in company with Potamogeton natans. In a
little excursion I made westerly from the tent I discovered the
following:--Tetrandria, a spreading twiggy small tree 10-20 feet high.
Pentandria, a shrub with oblong narrow leaves. Myoporum sp., Pittosporum
lanceolatum, duplicate seed. Gathered seeds of Acacia pendula, nova sp.,
a tree 25 feet high, with much the habit and growth of Salix babylonica,
leaves simple, lanceolate, the whole tree has a gray hue; common on the
low flats near the above mentioned lagoon. From the summit of a gentle
rising hill we could just distinguish a very lofty range to the
northward and eastward. A remarkable point on this range we have called
Mount Sorrell, after the Lt. Governor of Van Diemen's Island. This hill
is covered with a reddish slaty stone, and the soil is a light loam.
Some large specimens of Cupressus australis were observed on it, with
Casuarina macrocarpa, a new species, a tree about 30 feet high. Our
hunters brought in a fine young buck kangaroo.

5th. Monday. We departed from our last encampment about 9 o'clock, and
having crossed a small creek which intersected our course, we ascended
the gentle rising hill which I had visited yesterday. The view even on
this eminence being much confined, Mr. Oxley took bearings of the most
remarkable ranges of hills around it at a distance from the top of a
lofty Callitris. Descending to the flats we were again deceived by a
long chain of ponds or lagoons which we fell in with, but perceiving our
mistake we crossed it in a dry situation and came to the banks of the
Lachlan. Such was the confusion created by this mistake that we were all
scattered and divided and taking different courses. Our people in the
boats fired guns to inform us of their situation.

Calling to one another we were answered by strange voices, which left us
in no doubt of natives being near us. It was a great point we should all
join again, which at length we did, after some of us had passed over
several miles on a cross-course, the labour of which might have been
saved. Our people came up with seven or eight of the natives, who were
clothed with mantles of skin reddened with a pigment from the river.
There appeared not the most distant symptoms of hostility among them!
They evidently had seen a horse before, and could pronounce some words
of English, such as bread, and they had every appearance of having been
with those at the Lachlan Depôt, from which we are now 54 miles west.
From the columns of smoke ascending from the trees to which these
harmless beings were advancing there is no doubt of their encampment
being there situated, and it might be inferred that their gins or wives
were there, from their evident objection to our people attempting to
accompany them to their fires. The delay and loss of time occasioned by
the above adventure had allowed our boatmen to work themselves through
all the numerous windings of this intricate river and overtake us.

We all started again in a body, travelling immediately on the river bank
about 4 miles, when we were stopped by a deep muddy creek connecting the
river with the chain of ponds above alluded to. We passed this gully
with considerable difficulty, being obliged to unload our horses.
Accompanied by Mr. Oxley I went to an extensive open plain about half a
mile N.W. of our course, which we found of very considerable extent. It
is a flat that receives the inundations of the Lachlan; it is of a light
loamy soil and at this time very damp and slimy, in consequence of the
recent rain.

This plain, which is clear of timber and is skirted by Acacia pendula we
have called Solway Flats, from its slight similarity to a place of that
name in North Britain.

The following are the plants discovered on it:--Salsola sp., leaves
linear, with the habit of a Mesembryanthemum. Mimulus sp., leaves
oblong-ovate, peduncle filiform, one-flowered. Richea sp., agreeing with
this genus in the plumose pappi with which the seeds are crowned.
Loranthus nutans, leaves ovate-oblong, obtuse, peduncle axillary, 2-3
flowered, parasitical on Acacia Pendula. I gathered a few good seeds of
this singular Acacia. The purple Bromus, a diminutive Panicum, and a
small purple-flowering Arthropodium, frequent on the Eastern Coast, are
common on these flats. Pancratium macquaria [= Calostemma purpureum],
delighting in such situations, is scattered over the whole of the boggy

The dimensions of the visible part of these plains are four miles by
seven. I here observed a thick dense bushy shrub, of the Atripliceae,
probably a Rhagodia. It is, however, not in flower or fruit. Continuing
our journey southward of west, over a broken bad country of low scrubby
aspect, having hollows filled with putrid water, we entered a thick
sterile brush about four miles from the plains, and halted for the day
in a situation where our horses could provide themselves with but little
grass! No variation in the timber. Our boats were aground several times,
such is the shallowness of the river, which together with difficulty of
clearing sunken timber renders the navigation dangerous. We made ten
miles clear on a northerly course. The course of the river is southerly.

6th. Tuesday. The country through which we penetrated this day has the
same character and appearance as that already passed. The timber is the
same, with not the smallest diversity of scenery, a gloomy sameness
pervading the whole of the solitary woods near the river. At 3½ miles on
our journey our progress was again stopped by a small, trifling, but
deep gully filled with water, the drainings of the land.

Passing this creek, having been obliged to unload the pack horses on
this occasion, our course led us through high grassy and in some spots
swampy land of difficult penetration, until we came out upon a bend of
the flats discovered yesterday, which is bounded by a rugged but most
romantic picturesque rocky range of hills. A change of scenery was very
agreeable at this period. Crossing the flats, we arrived at the base of
this elevated range, and ascending to the summit of this hill a most
extensive panoramic view of the country around us presents itself, of
which the following ranges have been named:--A range of lofty hills to
the northward and eastward of us, of which Mount Sorrell is a part, we
have called St. Andrew's Range. A second range to the southward and
eastward we term St. Patrick's Range. The range we are now upon (which
is singularly divided allowing the river to run through it) Mr. Oxley
distinguishes by the name of St. George's Range. The bluff headland
points on each side the river; the one on the right bank is called Mount
Stewart, and that on the left side of the river has been nominated Mount
Amiott, after two gentlemen in the Secretary of State's Office. The
whole three ranges, bending round, form a crescent like a half moon, of
which the two last mentioned mountains are its horns. It has been
entitled Queen Charlotte's Crescent. Some extensive plains on the left
side of the river, not seen before, Mr. Oxley has called Hamilton's
Plains, in honour of Wm. Hamilton Esqre. the Under Secretary of State,
and are contrasted with Solway Flats on its right bank.

The country for upwards Of 50 miles is flat and low, and to the westward
a distant range of hills with singular bluff abrupt terminations have
been distinguished by the name of St. David's Range, of which Mount
Melville and Mount Cunningham are the most remarkable. To the southward
of us is the point of a range termed Mount Gill, in honour of Captain
Gill of the 46th Regt. and civil engineer at Sydney. The river (as Mr.
Oxley had suspected from its appearance and observations taken by him on
the morning of yesterday) runs between the rugged Mounts Amiott and
Stewart, and takes a course generally southerly of west. We are now only
425 feet above the level of the sea, which was ascertained by our
barometer. Mount Stewart is composed of large blocks of granite, and the
following are plants discovered on its elevated summit:--Persoonia
scabra, a species first discovered on the S.W. Coast, in fruit.
Persoonia spathulata, observed before in such situations. Persoonia
curvifolia, a remarkable curling-leaved shrub, Styphelia sp., allied to
S. tubiflora, the flowers of which are very deciduous, and a Leucopogon,
Cryptandra sp., differing from C. ericaefolium, by its floral bracts
being deciduous. Tecoma Oxleyi (nova sp.), leaves pinnated; leaflets
lanceolate, entire; flowers white with purple striae, and bearded
inside. The capsule is oblong and cylindrical, as in Tecoma, which, with
several remarkable species at present termed Bignonia, discovered in
Brazil, constitute as many genera of the Bignoniaceae. This new and
beautiful species I have presumed to dedicate to the memory of our
worthy and persevering chief in the present expedition.

The eye is much relieved, from the sterility of the overhanging rocks
grey with lichens, by the great profusion of flowers which this
ornamental shrub produces. Phyllanthus revolutus is common here. A
delicate-leaved Eriostemon, scarcely in flower, grew very profusely,
accompanying a shrub of the same natural order of Rutaceae, the flowers
of which were scarcely expanded. It is a glandulous shrub, with
scattered obcordate leaves, silvered beneath, flowers terminal and
yellow. Cupressus australis, with some common Mimosa, particularly
Acacia doratoxylon, are abundant on this mount, but stunted in growth.

Our lat. is 33°23'0" S. and long. 148° W. or thereabouts. Following the
windings of the river on its high grassy banks about 2 miles, we halted
about 4 o'clock, having travelled 12 miles in the course of the day. A
curious species of Fungi, Agaricus, of a yellowish colour, which upon
being broken and exposed to the air immediately assumed a blue tint. Our
fishermen were uncommonly successful; they caught from 190-200 lbs.
weight, consisting of 13 fish, of which the largest weighed 70 lbs. with
the entrails and 65 lbs. gutted. Its length was 3 feet 5 inches, curve
of shoulder 2 ft. 6 in. Fin to fin over the back 1 ft. 5 in.; breadth of
tail when expanded 1 ft. 1½ in., and depth of mouth a foot. It may be
considered as the largest that has been caught.

7th. Wednesday. We rested our horses and selves the whole of this day,
which gave me an opportunity of repapering my specimens and drying my
seeds. Desirous of examining Mount Amiott, I, accompanied by two of our
party, crossed the river by one of our boats and directing our course to
the base of the range we arrived at its foot about 1 o'clock. The botany
of this point is nearly the same as that observed on Mount Stewart. I,
however, gathered specimens of a species of Prostanthera, with linear
leaves, in capsule, affording me seeds. A species of Azorella with ovate
leaves, found on the Eastward coast is likewise common here. Goodenia
sp., a shrubby plant (specimens). The flats near the river abound with
Pancratium Macquaria [= Calostemma purpureum]. At dusk we returned to
our encampment on the opposite side of the river.

8th. Thursday. We left this resting place about 8 o'clock, following the
river over some good tracts of land of a rich dark loamy soil, but in
consequence of its general flatness and the marks of flood on the stems
of the trees it cannot be of any service to the farmer. The river has
several large fine reaches, and its general tendency is northerly. There
is no variation in the timber that species of Eucalyptus called Blue Gum
being most predominant. At a remarkable bend or elbow of the river, in a
bushy barren spot, I gathered duplicate seeds of Pittosporum
lanceolatum, the rest of the plants being uniformly the same as
previously observed. About 2 miles to the northward and westward
extensive long plains opened to the view, bounded southerly by the
Lachlan, and northerly by small eucalyptus woods. They wind round with
the river, are soft and boggy, and in fact have the same character as
Solway Flats.

On account of the many emus seen feeding on these plains we have been
induced to term them Cassowary Plains. The river is much narrower than
we have hitherto seen it, the banks are low and very naked. The
Casuarina or swamp oak with which they are clothed nearer the depôt now
disappears, and Acacia Pendula succeeds at regular wide distances on the
banks. The shrubs of the Atriplicina [Silver Saltbush], now in flower,
abound on Solway Flats. It appears to be a Rhagodia, leaves angularly
toothed, subrotund, bilobially cuneated. Our day's journey was about 14
miles when we halted on the plains at an early hour.

We had scarcely pitched our tent and made a fire when we were surprised
by a large male emu, who, unconscious of danger, came stalking across
the plain near our tent. It, however, cost him his life, for our dogs
after a chase of 15 minutes brought him down. At my suggestion our
people gathered a quantity of the young leaves of the Rhagodia, which
they boiled and found them to be an excellent substitute for a better
vegetable, which, with the emu made us an excellent dinner. I found on
these plains a species of Cyperus, of which I gathered seeds, also a
species of Euphorbia, an annual plant, leaves obovate, oblique, with a
filiform stem. Such were the numerous obstructions in the river that our
boats were obliged to stop at nightfall 6 miles short of our encampment.
At sunset we fired some musketry in order to inform our boatmen of the
situation of our encampment.

9th. Friday. Our boats came down to us about 10 o'clock. The principal
cause of their detention it appears was their having been obliged to saw
through four large trees that had fallen across the stream and had
completely blocked up the passage. One of these trees was a large
specimen of the Casuarina or swamp oak, whose hard close-grained wood
gave much resistance to our cross-cut saws. Proceeding forward westerly
on our journey, having the river in sight for upwards of two hours,
during which period it ran to all points of the compass and its windings
in some instances formed parallel lines with each other. The country is
alternately plain and brushy, barren tracts producing plants of which
mention has been made. At 2 o'clock we arrived at an extensive plain,
being part of the chain of plains of which Cassowary Plains and Solway
Flats form some parts or divisions. This spacious flat Mr. Oxley has
called Fields Plains, in honour of Barron Field Esqre., our judge of the
Supreme Court, and from these the singular and pointed hill called Mount
Melville bore N. Westerly a few miles, being the termination of St.
David's Range.

From the plains we advanced north of west, which is the river's general
inclination, a few miles but, doubting whether our boats would be able
to keep pace with us, we stopped at dusk on the river bank near another
continuation of these plains. The river is free from fallen timber but
in some places shoaly, the current is scarcely perceptible, and the
banks generally lower, being not above 10 feet in some places, and bare
of timber, what there is being Eucalyptus or Blue Gum and the Casuarina.
Callitris glauca is now more frequent, and Eucalyptus micrantha very
common, forming a tree 40-50 feet high remarkable for its leaves which
are deformed, very flat and glossy; the flowers are in umbels, and very
small. The tetrandrous shrub, producing a nut, before observed, is very
frequent, with Pittosporum lanceolatum.

10th. Saturday. The pasture being very indifferent, our horses had
strayed away during the night in search of a better grazing place, and
were not overtaken and brought back to our encampment until too late to
proceed on our journey. We therefore remained at this resting place the
whole of this day. Our lat. is 33°16'23" S., Mr. Oxley and Mr. Evans
took some observations while I employed myself among my plants that
required attention. In the afternoon I took a walk on the plains and
collected the following interesting plants:--A new genus, Arthrotriche.
A. speciosa, a small herbaceous plant, common in low boggy spots, of the
same natural order as Dr. Smith's genus Brunonia.[*] Rubia sp. Goodenia
sp., leaves radical. Mimulus sp., of a larger growth than the species
discovered on the 5th. Arabis sp., a cress, frequent in wet situations.
Chrysanthemum sp., stoloniferous, flowers large, white. I gathered
specimens in fruit and seeds of a species of Hakea allied to H. rugosa,
forming a shrub 6 ft. high, with filiform leaves, as in H. pugioniformis
of Hortus Kewensis. I likewise gathered seeds of Salsola sp., and a
species of Rhagodia with rhomboid leaves. Pancratium Macquaria [=
Calostemma purpureum] is very abundant on the plains,...and the
small Euphorbla is very common in humid situations. Gathered some
grasses, among them were a Stipa and a Melica. It was observed to-day
that the river was rising, having increased 2 inches (?) in a few hours.
Served provisions of flour and pork to ourselves and people.

[* The plant of this name described by Mueller belongs to a different

11th. Sunday. Being detained the whole of yesterday in consequence of
our horses having strayed, Mr. Oxley determined to proceed forward with
all possible despatch, advancing westerly about the usual time; on a
continuance of the chain of plains (called Field's Plains) we
experienced much inconvenience from the bogs and grassy marshes with
which they abound. In about 6½ miles we arrived at the base of Mount
Cunningham. The river bore to the southward of this Mount, and from it
runs a creek winding itself under it. From the summit of Mount
Cunningham the land to the westward is low and flat, with several open
plains appearing through the trees. A range of hills to the southward
and westward of us Mr. Oxley has named Hurd's Peak, Mount Allan, Mount
Edwards and Mount Merrick. Mount Cunningham, which is not less than ¾ of
a mile in length, is a detached hill, having its highest point at the
northern extremity. It is remarkable for its extreme rocky, sterile,
aspect. The plants discovered upon it are the following:--Psychotria
punctata, leaves ovate (a specimen in fruit); a grass, Lolium(?)
Gathered some duplicate specimens of Tecoma Oxleyi; I likewise noticed a
Grevillea, allied to G. sphacelata; Prostanthera nivea, and some common
Epacrideae. Acacia doratoxylon and Cupressus glauca are very common, but
small. The whole of the vegetation on this rocky hill has been lately
burnt by the natives in search of game. The remains of their fires and
huts we observed at its base on the S.E. side of the mount.

I must here acknowledge my obligations to Mr. Oxley for the honour he
has conferred upon me in naming a remarkable mount after me. Tracing the
creek to its connection with the river we ferried our horse loads over,
swam the animals, and halted for the day. Our boatmen reported to us the
division of the river into two grand arms, near the commencement of our
journey, which accounts for its obviously narrow channel and low banks,
being in some places not above three feet. Mr. Oxley, Mr. Evans and self
rode back on the river bank to the division, and found that the other
arm ran away S.W. by W., Mount Melville bearing N.E. by E. 3 miles.

May 11th. Sunday. It is as large as the northwest river which we intend
to continue upon, and which we are induced from appearances to conclude
will not be of long existence as a river. We fathomed the deepest part
and found it did not exceed 19 ft. It is evident that these plains are
inundated by the river in great floods from the eastward, for in fact
the highest land (the few rocky hills excepted) is on the immediate bank
of the river, so that the floods rising over the banks descend down upon
the plains on each side this channel. On the plains we observed two
native companions (Grus australasiana), and our people shot two swans.
From the circumstance of having seen two bark canoes moored among the
reeds on the river's left bank, and from the body of smoke ascending
above the small trees at the base of Mount Melville on the opposite side
of the plain, it is evident that there are some natives existing in
these parts. We, however, saw none.

It was a matter of surprise that we fell in with so very few natives,
whose marks are daily before our eyes, but it appears sufficiently
obvious that experience has taught them to retire from a river where a
supply of food is extremely precarious, and where a sudden inundation
would in a moment sweep them away. Choosing rather to retire to the
hilly country where they are enabled to obtain a daily subsistence with
greater facility, and are not liable to be surprised and overtaken by

N.B. It appears they only visit the river in great drought, when there
is but little water in its channel, and are then able to procure the
large horse mussel from its muddy bottom, which they cannot possibly
obtain in floods and strong currents. They have no idea of angling or
have any method to catch [fish?] that we know of. The viviparous
Pancratium [= Calostemma purpureum] grows extremely luxuriant on these
slimy plains. An unfortunate accident happened us this day. The horse
that usually carried the barometer fell beneath his load and broke that
valuable instrument.

12th. Monday. Having our resting place on the margin of the creek we
commenced our route down the north-west arm, but had not proceeded
westerly a mile before we were stopped by an outlet, a small branch
running from the river northerly. It is evident we are not far distant
from its termination, from the perceptible descent of the country and
the lowness of the banks. We were obliged to unload the horses, and with
the assistance of our boats carried all our luggage over in the usual
manner. Travelling on the immediate bank, which we found much firmer and
harder than the more distant lower land, about half a mile from the last
creek, Mr. Evans, who had gone on before us in his surveying of the
river, discovered first that it was impossible to proceed farther, that
the river had risen level with the banks, and the flats as far as we
could see were an immense swamp. Thus are dispersed in different
directions, and particularly westerly and north westerly of us, these
great bodies of water that descend from the eastern country through the
channel of the Lachlan River, which substantiates our suspicions
respecting it prior to our departure from the depôt.

We crossed the rivulet (now no river), which is about 25 or 30 ft. wide
and has a strong current, and walked to the summit of a hill a short
distance to the westward of us. From there we observed the land to the
southward and westward appears more elevated than that in a more
northerly direction over which these waters are dispersed, the river
being totally lost in permanent marshes. It is a subject of very
considerable regret that a river upon which much has been calculated and
respecting which many flattering hopes have been entertained should have
such a termination. Mr. Oxley has determined therefore (since further
surveys on this arm are useless and impracticable) to return to the
mouth of the Southern Branch and explore it down. Previous to leaving
this rising ground, which we have called Farewell Hill, we took the
bearings of the following hills:--A hill bearing S. by E. we have called
Mount Campbell, in honour of the Colonial Secretary, John Thos. Campbell
Esqre. A hill near it bearing nearly south, has been called Mount
Edwards; another hill bearing S.S.E. Mr. Oxley called Mount Falla, after
a nurseryman at Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Two other hills, bearing westerly a
few miles, have received the names Mounts Merrick and Abbott. Farewell
Hill bears S. by W. 2 miles of Mount Cunningham.

Returning on the left bank we met with several difficulties, as well as
from the low swampy flats as from the narrow deep creeks which we
intersected in our route. Our horses were so much exhausted by swimming
over the creeks and rivers, and by the subsequent severe exercise over
these marshes, that we were obliged to halt on some dry ground a mile
short of the spot on which we intended to encamp, being about half a
mile from our last night's resting place on the opposite side of the
river. Farewell Hill, like other elevated spots of the same nature, is
covered with Callitris glauca, Acacia doratoxylon, some dwarf trees of
Eucalyptus (Blue Gum), Indigofera sp., and the Grevillea allied to G.
sphacelata. In the swampy lands I gathered specimens of a species of
Arenaria; a syngenesious plant allied to Aster, the flower is blue with
many linear rays; a trailing plant of the Rutaceae, having the habit of
a Zygophyllum, with conjugate and obovate leaves, the flowers are
yellow, octandrous and decandrous, capsule 4-lobed; a beautiful dwarf
species of Mimulus, which decorated the dull places with its delicate
purple flowers. I sowed some peach stones and quince seeds on the
opposite side of the river previous to leaving our last night's

13th. Tuesday. This morning we returned to the head of the southerly arm
of the river where we encamped, intending to take a survey down this
branch a few miles in order to ascertain how far it would be practicable
to travel on its banks before we should attempt to continue our journey
with the baggage horses, all of which required rest.

14th. Wednesday. Mr. Oxley rode down on the right bank of the river
about 3 miles when he found it gradually decreasing in breadth, its
banks very low and its inclination northerly in the same direction as
the other branch. He could not advance further on account of its
ramifications into minor streamlets, all tending to the lower lands
westerly and northwesterly. From these circumstances as well as from the
appearance of the main channel being choked up with Arundo phragmites no
doubt existed in his mind that it terminated and dispersed itself in the
same low swampy flats as the other or northerly branch so that we are
encamped on an island. Mr. Oxley conceives he cannot act up to the
spirit of his instructions more fully than by commencing a journey to
the S.W. coast in hopes of learning something respecting the Macquarie
River which we have not seen since we left Bathurst. We therefore
propose to rest the horses in order to enable them to recruit their
strength for such an undertaking.

15th. Thursday. I formed one of a party destined to visit Mount Melville
bearing N.E. by E., 8 miles distant. We left the tent about half past 9
o'clock, and in our route across Field's Plains, which we found
extremely swampy, I gathered specimens of a Polygonum, a rushy shrub
with lanceolate leaves and diaecious flowers; also an aphyllous shrub
with the habit of a Thesium, having dichotomous branches, the fruit is a
superior nut, half enclosed in a persistent calyx.

About 1 o'clock we came to a creek running east and west, about 16 feet
broad and of considerable depth. Our huntsman was the only person who
was able to cross it, from whose report, having climbed to the summit of
one of its peaks, it is a barren rocky (red granite) hill. The timber
upon it is small and stunted: its surface had been recently fired by
natives, and it has that self-same aspect of sterility its Mount
Cunningham. We observed marks of flood on the steins of the Eucalypti on
the verge of the creek upwards of 3 ft. The same aquatic plant of
Alismaceae allied to Damasonium frequent on the Eastern coast, abounds
in this creek. Here is a species of Myriophyllum, scarcely distinct from
the British M. verticillatum, it has its lower leaves which are
immersed, pinnated and capillary. I gathered specimens of a species of
Casuarina tree, 30 feet high, with flaccid smooth branchlets and a
strobile smaller than that of C. macrocarpa, with much stronger
branches. Parasitical on the Eucalyptus globulus, usually termed Blue
Gum, I discovered a species of Loranthus, which I have named (L.
aurantiacus), whose leaves are lanceolate, and the whole plant is of
weak pendent habit. I have gathered fine flowering specimens of another
species, L. nutans, of more stiff growth. having peduncles 2-3 flowered,
and nodding or bent downwards.

The soil of these flats is of a tenacious cold stiff clayey quality. We
passed the spots where the natives had had their fires, the smoke of
which we had observed on the 11th inst. The freshness of the ashes
suggested to us that they had not left them 24 hours. It is likewise
evident that mussels which they procure from the creek constitute a part
of their viands, from the great numbers of their shells being scattered
around their gunyas or bark huts. At dark we returned with the small
collection of specimens I had gathered in the course of the day's
excursion. The country for a very considerable distance northward and
westward of Mount Melville is low and exceeding swampy. The natives had
removed to the opposite side of the creek in a hollow between Mount
Melville and Mount Cunningham, for we could occasionally perceive the
smoke of their fires among the trees.

16th. Friday. Arranging and packing up plants throughout the whole of
this day. By observations taken this day by Mr. Oxley we find the site
of our encampment is in lat. 33°15'35" S., and long. 147°45'00" E., the
variation of the compass being 7°08'00" E. Mr. Oxley sent two persons to
a range of hills, of which Mount Maud forms a part, in order to look out
for a good track round a lagoon on the opposite side of the river for
our horses to pass, as also to observe the nature of the country in our
intended course in that direction. By this report we learned that the
country to the southward and westward is more elevated and the soil
firmer for travelling than that of the plains. They ascended to the
lofty eminence of Mount Maud, which appears to be not so barren as
others in its vicinity. The Grevillea allied to G. sphacelata is found
here extremely luxuriant, forming a shrub 8 ft. high; with a
linear-leaved Solanum entirely covered with long-orange thorns. Clitoria
sp., with pinnated leaves, which are retuse and silky, produces an
elongated spike of blue flowers, was found at the base of the mountain.
They gathered specimens of a shrub of the order Rutaceae, of the genus
of Eriostemon, differing from E. squameus [= E. Billardieri] not only in
the shape of the foliage, but in the absence of scales on their
underside. The whole shrub is covered with glandular tubercules, and has
the scent of Black Currants. I have this day ascertained that the
heterophyllous tree seen at Lime Stone Creek is a species of Sterculia,
as that genus now stands. Our people brought me some old capsules of it,
which are pea-like, distinct from one another, bursting on the side, and
are many seeded.

17th. Saturday. Our carpenter having planed a flat surface on a large
stem of a eucalyptus we left our marks upon it as follows. J. Oxley; G.
W. Evans; A.C. May 17th, 1817.[*] This morning we removed from our
encampment to the opposite side, about 2½ miles down the river, carrying
over our luggage, provisions etc., and swimming the horses. Pitched our
tent for the day and served out rations of provisions to people.

[* Mitchell's artist turned A.C. into A.D. in sketching the tree in




Journey Southward:--Farewell Hill to Mount Flinders, 18 May--21 June,

May 18th. Sunday. Our boats being of no further use to us we hauled them
up on the bank leaving them with keel upwards; barked them over in order
to preserve them as long as possible from the action and effects of the
weather, in case we should be obliged to return to them in consequence
of any unforeseen accident. We likewise divided the provisions that had
been conveyed by the boats equally among the whole of the horses (both
saddle and pack), leaving under the boats. all weighty iron tools that
we might reasonably conclude we should not require on our new course. I
here sowed--near the spot where we left the boats--some peach stones and
quince seeds.

This arranged, we commenced our journey on a true S.W. course by compass
towards Cape Northumberland,[*] Mr. Evans taking the lead, accompanied
by two persons, the one having the perambulator, and the other marking
the trees with an adze as a guide to our pack-horse leaders. The horses
groaned beneath the weight of their loads, which was not less than 300
lbs. weight each. Having passed the heads of some lagoons the country
becomes exceeding brushy, and assumes a greyish gloominess in
consequence of the great numbers of Acacia pendula and Rhagodia
dilatata, which are the two predominant shrubs. The soil is a loose red
earth, with a large proportion of sand. About 3 o'clock we had made good
about 10 miles on the given course when we stopped at a gully containing
stagnant, white, muddy water.

[* From Oxley's journal we learn that where the river formed two
branches he left it and began his journey to the south-west.]

The plants are the same as those already noticed and made mention of.
Eucalyptus micrantha (Bastard Box) was more frequent. The Cypress grows
occasionally in large clumps about 40 ft. high. I gathered duplicate
seeds of Acacia Pendula.

19th. Monday. Continuing our route from our last night's resting place,
the general character of the country we passed over is brushy and
sterile. We passed the rocky range of hills at Mount Maud through a
stony rugged gully. At this spot I discovered the following:--Pimelea
colorans, a beautiful plant, whose involucre and flowers change from
white to bluish colour according to its age and exposure. Zieria sp. [a
kind of Sandfly Bush] a shrub 2½ ft., with white and purple flowers.
Solanaceae, a suffruticose plant, flowers blue. Eutaxia sp., Sida sp.,
and Aster decurrens (= Olearia decurrens), a slender shrub.

We passed some fine specimens of Sterculia heterophylla having the last
year's capsules on them, forming stems about 30 inches in diameter. A
creeping shrub probably of the Asclepiadaceae is very abundant twining
among the small cypress. In an open space having marks of inundation the
holes were very dry, and gave us but little encouragement to hope for
water at any resting place where we might halt at night. Acacia Pendula
[Myall], is common with another species. A. homalophylla [Curly yarran],
remarkable for its lanceolate, smooth, flat leaves, which have a
solitary gland on the interior margin. A tree 25 ft. high.

Our journey was unavoidably lengthened in hopes of finding water; we had
travelled 12 miles and found none or the appearance of any! We managed 2
miles farther and encamped among some burnt grass which had been fired
by natives. Having pitched the tents and unladen our poor horses, who
felt the privation infinitely more than ourselves, we sent our people in
several directions in quest of water, when, after a diligent search,
some was discovered about half a mile westerly of our tents, where the
natives had encamped some time since, their bark huts being still in
existence. It is a great relief to the eye to observe a deviation,
however slight, from the dull gloomy sameness--the want of diversity in
the timber of Western Australia.[*] At the base of the range of hills at
Mount Maud some tolerably fair specimens of the western iron bark
(Eucalyptus sideroxylon) were noticed, being easily distinguished from
its congeners by its extremely rugged, furrowed, bark, containing like
others of the Eucalypti a strong astringent styptic gum.

[* Cunningham's name for the country west of the Blue Mountains.]

20th. Tuesday. Our people had [taken] the precaution to fill all the
vessels we had with us suitable to carry water, in case we should not be
so fortunate to find any at our next resting place. Continuing our
course due S.W. over a most sterile dry, flat country notorious for the
uniformity of its productions, being the same as passed yesterday. The
only timber of any consequence is a few scattered specimens of Callitris
glauca Of 50 or 60 feet high and about 2 feet in diameter, the smaller
trees being the Casuarina before mentioned, and Acacia pendula, on which
I detected a new species of Loranthus [probably L. linophyllus], with
round linear foliage. I likewise discovered a monaecious shrub allied to
Croton, a slender tall shrub with linear lanceolate leaves and
triangular branches. At 8 miles on this day's journey we came to a tract
of country full of water holes or hollow places not quite dry, but the
whole of the land had evident signs of having been flooded, although at
no recent period. Penetrating three miles further we traced the same
miserable wild country that we had had all day, when, having cleared 11
miles, we came to an anchor for the night. The whole of us went out in
search of water as usual; after some time expended in a fruitless search
one of our people procured some miserable filthy water by digging a hole
on some low damp ground. We had taken the precaution to supply ourselves
by filling a keg previous to leaving our last night's encampment, which
we served out at 1½ pints per man.

21st. Wednesday. We had hitherto been tolerably supplied with water, nor
was it till this morning that we learnt to appreciate the value of good
water, which like other great blessings are only estimated by the loss
of them. All the water we could procure, which we brought from distant
corrupted holes, was very foul and muddy and filled with animalcules, to
destroy which we boiled and strained the water. We had scarcely left our
resting place when we found water in a small hidden hole, tolerably good
at which we supplied our horses. The country south westerly on this
day's journey has an equally barren red soil, and the timber produced is
very diminutive and stunted. The eye rests with pleasure upon the Native
Cherry, our common eastern coast plant, Exocarpus cupressiformis. The
plants were but few, as follows:--Pentandria; Monogynia; Rutaceae, a
beautiful tree about 30 feet high, of very spreading habit, with
branches very slender and pendulous. Dodonaea cuneata is very frequent.
This day's journey afforded me duplicate specimens of the monaecious
shrub collected yesterday allied to Croton.

At nine miles a burnt grass tract induced us to halt and look for water,
of the existence of which we had some hopes, from the circumstance of
having seen recent foot impressions of natives, and a swan having flown
over us led us to conclude that water is not far distant. Mr. Evans, who
had gone forward two miles beyond this place, returned to us, having
found some stagnant water holes. After a diligent search we discovered
some fine clear water in a lagoon or swamp about 5 miles to the westward
of our tent. One of our people came near to a native who was of a very
strong athletic habit, he however escaped. One of their spears was
likewise found.

22nd. Thursday. In order to rest our horses, who had by reason of hard
labour through an intricate country with little provision and still less
water become much debilitated, we remained at this place where is good
grass. A small pentandrous plant (of the Gentianaceae) is now very
frequent in damp situations. The flowers are light brown, it is frequent
on the arid sandy flats.

23rd. Friday. It was well advanced in the day before we were able and
ready to proceed forward on our journey, occasioned by the distances we
are obliged to fetch water. At about two miles on our route, arriving at
a small opening, we could distinguish some high mountains to the
northward and westward of us. Passing through a country covered with the
melancholy Acacia pendula we came to a gentle rising, but rugged sterile
tract covered with a tall thick brush, chiefly of plants before

The Western Iron Bark and Cupressus glauca are the timbers of the stony
ascent. I here gathered specimens of a species of Daviesia with linear
rounded leaves, which are spinescent, the flowers are axillary and
bracteated. I likewise procured the following specimens:--Leptospermum
sp., forming a slender spreading shrub 6-8 feet high, the flowers are in
pairs and axillary. Eucalyptus acmenioides, shrub about 12 feet high,
allied to E. saligna. Eucalyptus dumosa, leaves alternate,
ovate-lanceolate, fruit rough. This plant forms the principal shrub in a
tract of confined brushy scrub. Melaleuca sp., allied to M. uncinata.
And a shrub of the class Syngenesia, a species of Cacalia, a slender,
twiggy shrub.

We saw some fine specimens of a tree which our people termed Snakewood;
it is not in flower, but has a small fimbriated capsule and its bark is
rough and scaly. Descending through a thick brushwood we came to a water
channel (now dry), but which from the recent appearance of water here we
concluded some might be discovered in the bottom to which the water
course leads. Having travelled nearly 10 miles we halted in this descent
for the night. Our people found some holes of excellent standing water
about half a mile westerly of us to the no small joy of the whole of us.
Recent marks of natives on the trees. Kangaroo were likewise observed at
a distance. Much water has an outlet to the lower parts of the country
by this channel which is evident from the marks of flood and the deep
excavations formed (now dry) and no rain of any consequence has fallen
for a considerable period. Day continued fine, sultry, and the night
clear. On the brush or small timber the parasitical Loranthi are common.

24th. Saturday. It was deemed advisable to remain at this place the
whole of the day in order to rest our horses, all of which required that
indulgence. The barren brushy country around us appeared to afford me
some scope for botanical investigation, my time therefore was now
occupied throughout the day. The following are specimens
collected:--Goodenia sp., closely allied to G. ovata, differing in
having a leaf not too finely serrated. Prostanthera nivea, a beautiful
slender shrub with large white flowers. Prostanthera sp., a depressed
shrubby plant, Myoporum gracile, allied to M. armillaris a shrub 8-10
ft. high. Melaleaca sp., differing from M. squamea in the nerveless
leaves, and the spike of flowers apparently cylindrical, from the
dispositions of the remains of capsules.

This tract of country is covered with several Eucalypti, and Callitris
glauca. The Brushes (Eucalyptus dumosa) are overrun with the Cassytha,
whose filiform stems had so matted together as to render a passage very
difficult. I gathered seeds of the large blue-flowered shrubby Aster,
and also of the two species of Melaleuca above mentioned. To my surprise
I found a few plants of Goodia lotifolia hitherto only known to be
indigenous in Van Diemen's Island. The country is now one continued

On our way back to the tent, which we did not reach till after dusk, we
passed some small holes of water, near which we disturbed a large emu
and two young kangaroo, which were feeding upon the trifling herbage
which the sterility of the country can only produce in small patches.

25th. Sunday. Travelling over a continuance of brushy country for a
space of about 4 miles, the plants of which are duplicates of what I
have already collected, we came out upon a more clear open tract of land
thinly covered with Icacia Pendula, from whence we took bearings of a
lofty hill opening upon us, bearing S.S.W., distance about 7 miles. It
may be worthy of observation that among other signs of humidity this
Acacia is one; hence whenever we observed this grey tree we might on all
occasions rest assured that water was or had been in existence near it.
The waterholes here were but just dry! This kind of country continues
about 3½ miles, on which I discovered a delicate blue-flowering Erodium
with ternate leaves, allied to E. hymenoides.

Entering again a thick and intricate brush, matted strongly with
Cassytha, I detected the following plants:--Aster aculeatus of the East
coast, and some other syngenesious plants abound. I gathered seeds of a
Rhagodia, a low depressed shrub, with rough seeds; and Westringia
triphylla, a stiff shrubby plant with angular stem and ternate leaves.

Advancing near the base of the Mount before us the Grevillea allied to
G. sphacelata observed on all rocky hills since 28th April last, again
presents itself. Approaching its ragged rocky foot we found some water
in small portions, in the excavations formed by the rapidity of the
waters descending from the Mount during the rainy seasons, and there
being some good grass for our horses we determined to encamp under the
hill. Round its base and on the lower lands the print of the feet of
natives (of children as well as of adults) were very visible. They had
passed over it when the soil had been softened by rain, and some of the
impressions were of ankle depth.

We had travelled 11 miles, and our horses were much fatigued, more
particularly while passing the last Cassythian brush, where some of the
lighter laden horses had their burdens pulled from their saddles by the
strength of the plants. Mr. Oxley, Mr. Evans and myself ascended this
hill on the western side (which is highest and steepest), from whose
summit we had a very extensive view of the whole country around us. Mr.
Oxley took several bearings to the southward and westward of this Mount.
A lofty range of hills bearing about N.N.W., about 60-70 miles distant,
he has called Mount Granard. A range commencing at N.W. northerly, and
terminating at about W.N.W. has been termed Goulburn's Range, in honour
of J. Goulburn Esq., of the Colonial Office. A long range of hills
commencing at W.N.W. and ending at S.W. by S., distant about 25 miles,
Mr. Oxley has named Peel's Range, in order to commemorate the name of
the Secretary of State for Ireland. Some hills lying behind one, and
from the point of view bearing southerly about 5 miles, are called
Jones's Hills, after a merchant at Sydney. At my suggestion Mr. Oxley
has named the commanding eminence Mount Aiton, in honour of W. T. Aiton,
Esqre. at Kew, author of the Hortus Kewensis, whose extensive knowledge
in botany and horticulture is well-known in the botanical world and
needs no comments here.

The lower flats of Mount Aiton have been fired by the natives, but the
upper range is covered with a great profusion of valuable and
interesting plants, many of which I have seen before, such as the Aster,
whose beautiful radiated blue flowers have decorated our dreary path
more or less since we left the boats. Grevillea spacelata, at its
summit; Tecoma Oxleyii is rare on the western face of this mount. I,
however, detected the following new plants Correa sp., a shrub 4 ft.
high; leaves ovate, obtuse, lanigerous beneath; flowers terminal and
solitary; corolla campanulate and green.

Prostanthera atriplicinifolia, a shrub strongly scented with turpentine.
Callitris sp., a small tree 25 feet high.

The perpendicular height of Mt. Aiton is presumed to be 250 feet,
composed of an indurated sandstone. To the northward we observed the
smoke from several native fires, and the country to the south and
westward appears more open and less bushy. The numerous tracks of emu
and kangaroo suggested to us that this eminence is frequented by these
animals in search of water.

26th. Monday. Our horses having strayed into the thick brush we were
detained the whole of this day under the mount.

It afforded me an opportunity of examining its rocky declivities with
more leisure and more minutely than I was enabled to do on the evening
of yesterday. I discovered a species of Xerotes, with linear
canaliculated leaves; panicle compound, loose and horizontal. Hibbertia
sp., with willowy branches; flowers large and yellow. A species of
Goodenia is very frequent on the N.W. side. Tetratheca sp., a shrubby
juncous plant, forming close bushes, smaller in habit than the species
termed T. juncia, in capsule and flower. Lobelia erinoides, producing a
beautiful long tubular blue flower.

Exocarpus cupressiformis is a fine shrub on the rocks here. A species of
snake, chequered on the back like the common diamond snake of New South
Wales, but shorter and of a lighter brown colour, is by no means
infrequent in Western Australia on rocky hills. I killed a fine large
specimen lying in a dormant state on this mount. Two of our people who
had been out 12 hours returned with two of the horses and reported to us
that the other three men, who had been sent by Mr. Oxley in another
direction, had fallen in with their tracks and were tracing them back to
our last encampment. Our dogs were on the alert throughout the night.
Some natives who had heard us from their encampment westerly of us,
induced by curiosity, had come in a circuitous route to the lower range
of rocks under the Mount in order to observe our motions. Some of the
people could hear them distinctly in conversation.

27th. Tuesday. Fine clear weather. This morning we sent out two men to
their comrades with provisions and also to assist them in the search and
securing of our horses. At 2 o'clock p.m. two others returned unable to
give an account of the animals. At 5 p.m. the other men absent, who had
with a determined unwearied perseverance continued the pursuit of the
beasts, returned with seven horses, but could not find the other five.
The delay occasioned by this unfortunate affair enabled me to examine,
ticket and pack my specimens. One of our people, who had been sent with
the dogs in search of kangaroo and emu for us, saw a fine tall young man
(native) not far distant from our tent. The dogs had seized him before
the person was able to call them off, but the moment he was released
from their grasp, he made a quick precipitate retreat in a westerly
direction. He was unarmed and perfectly naked, having a few cockatoo
feathers stuck in his hair. This sufficiently convinced us that our last
night's conjectures were not unfounded.

May 28th. Wednesday. This morning we despatched four men mounted on
horseback in search of the five beasts missing. A large flock of emu
descended from the rocky heights of the Mount, but unfortunately we were
unable to secure any of them, our dogs being in another direction. We
shot an owl which was hovering around our tent. It was large and the
feathers of the wing were beautifully speckled with brown and darker

29th. Thursday. During the last night I was seized with a violent ague
(originating in a cold), which increased this day and obliged me to
remain at rest. The men sent in search of the horses returned without
them. Our dogs killed three emu which we found to be an excellent change
from the salt provision upon which we have of late entirely subsisted.
Much wind at night.

30th. Friday. Found myself much relieved by the physic I had taken last
evening. We are still detained by the loss of the horses. Mr. Oxley,
accompanied by two others, left the tent in search of them, while Mr.
Evans, Fraser and Parr went on foot in a north westerly direction. They
found the following plants. Brunonia sp., allied to B. sericea of Dr.
Smith, but smaller in all its parts; on grassy flats. A stroloma sp.,
allied to A. humifusum, having erect branches; in fruit. Dodonaea sp.,
leaves oblong, entire, margin revolute. Mr. Oxley returned with the five
horses about noon, which was a great subject of joy to us all. They had
strayed in search of water but a short distance from our old line of
road N.E., and were stopped at about 7 miles distant from the tent. The
party discovered a nest of emu's eggs, amounting to ten
in number; they are almost as large as an ostrich's egg, and of a dark
green colour. Mount Aiton is situated in lat. 34°30' S., long.
147°00'00" East, and distance from Sydney 420 miles West Southerly.

31st. Saturday. The whole of the horses having been found that had
strayed, and been secured the preceding evening, and having been
detained five days, Mr. Oxley was determined to proceed on our journey
this morning with all possible speed. Although not sufficiently strong
and scarcely recovered of my late attack, still I was unwilling to
become the instrument of further delay, and as the whole of us walk, all
our horses being very heavily laden, I had no other resource or
alternative but to walk likewise.

Leaving the richer patches of good grassy land immediately around Mount
Aiton, the country again assumes a sterile and dreary aspect, covered
with small timbers of Eucalyptus micrantha and small cypress. Onward
about two miles we passed a small rising mount, near which is a water
hole, now perfectly dry. From the remains of a fire and grass burnt near
the base of a cypress tree, and from the fresh impression of human feet,
it is clear that natives had not left it two days. The country S.W.
again becomes brushy, producing plants of which frequent mention is
made. Hakea sp., allied to A. rugosa, is observed here--a small tree 20
feet high. Jasminum sp.; Stenochilis longifolius; Bursaria spinosa are
all common plants of these wastes. Crossing some lone rocky elevated
spots, covered with fragments of a red granite. Mount Aiton bore N.E. 6
miles. Descending on some woody grassy lands of considerable extent,
Jones's Hills appeared in sight, of which Mr. Evans took bearings. Some
old venerable Sterculiae of considerable magnitude appear near this open

At 9½ miles we entered a very thick brush, which from the glaucous hue
of Eucalyptus dumosa, the usual and principal shrub of this miserable
tract, has the appearance of extensive plains from a distant view. We
had already performed the usual daily number of miles, which upon the
average we generally found prudent not to exceed, but we were led on
under the impression that the brush was not of any extent and that
possibly we might fall in with water and grass for our horses in the
range of a mile or two further on our course. Continuing through this
thicket which we named Euryalean Scrub (after one of the Gorgons), we
found it grow thicker and exceedingly difficult for our horses, so much
so that a man led the way and cut an opening for them. The whole is
strongly matted together with Cassytha and other climbing plants. At
sunset we had travelled 19½ miles but were not clear of this scrub when
we arrived at a small open space, where we were obliged to halt for the
night, although no water could be found for our horses or ourselves.

Dismal as the brush was to all of us it nevertheless afforded me some
new plants, which recompensed me at least for the severity of the march
through it. They are as follows:--

Pimelea diosmaefolia, a delicate shrub. Grevillea acicularis, nova sp.,
a dwarf dense pungent shrub: Leucopogon sp., (Epacridae). Viola sp.
Dodonaea sp., a very small flowering shrub. Daviesia microphylla, a
small shrubby rigid plant. Bossiaea sp., distinct from B. scolopendria
in the size of its flower and fimbriation of its calyx and bracteae.
Callitris verrucosa, a slender tree 10-20 feet high. Acacia conferta,
leaves broad, ovate and carinate, capitulum of flowers axillary and
crowded; forming a large dense bush. A spinescens with the habit of
Daviesia in having spiny branches.

Among the combination of plants annoying us in this brush were a prickly
Daviesia, observed near Mount Maud, and a strong prickly grass (not in
flower) growing in large tufts about three feet high, and with the habit
of Astragalus tragacantha. We had taken the precaution to carry some
dirty water with us from Mount Aiton, which we served out at one pint
per man.

1817. June 1st. Sunday. The want of water obliged us to leave our
present station at an early hour in hopes of arriving at a more
hospitable tract of country affording us grass and water. At a distance
of about 1½ miles we cleared this intolerable brush and came out upon an
open forest country equally sterile and covered with a coarse grass
(Dianella divaricata) and some other plants by no means interesting.
Continuing our journey about 8 miles, a miserable prospect before us
(not a symptom or a sign of the least running or stagnant water to be
seen) we came to some rising ground on which several naked bald rocks
make a romantic appearance. From this elevation we had a view of Peel's
Range, three miles distant, which we determined to make and halt for the
day. At midday we encamped within half a mile of it. We sent out people
in search of water, which they found in some holes at the immediate base
of the Range. Served portions of dry provisions to the people.

2nd. Monday. Our horses were so much enfeebled and debilitated by the
late severe exercise and want of water that it was considered advisable
to remain the whole of this day under the range. Having attended to my
plants, I accompanied one of our party, Fraser, on a botanical excursion
over these rocky hills, which upon examination afforded me very few
novelties, being chiefly a repetition of the plants I have already
collected of which Dodonaea pinnata, Grevillea sphacelata and a
Phyllanthus are most predominant, We bore away S.W. to a very remarkable
bluff point, distant about 3½ miles. From the rugged declivities of
Peel's Range I gathered fine flowering specimens of Eriostemon sp. The
country is broken with small rocky hills, and covered with brushwood,
which furnished me with the following specimens. Dianella sp., a new and
beautiful plant.

Pimelea microcephala, a new species, with large involucre to the
flowers. Sida sp., Acacia sulcata, discovered on the S.W. coast. The
capitulurn of flowers is solitary, as well as geminate. Acacia sp.,
specimens in flower; this species differs from the preceding in its
deciduous bracts, and from A. acicularis in its geminate capitula.
Ascending to the summit of this elevated point, I gathered specimens of
Pomaderris sp., Ceanothus globulosus, a strong shrub. Glyceria sp., a
grass of the Festuceae. Tecoma Oxleyi is very common on the naked rocks,
in fine flower. The country to the southward and westward of us, as seen
from this hill, is exceedingly flat and barren.

This mount has been named in honour of Mr. George Caley a most accurate,
intelligent and diligent botanist, who laboured on the Eastern coast of
this continent a number of years with considerable success, and who well
merits such a mark of distinction. A corresponding mount southerly has
been called Mount Brogden, in honour of Charles Brogden, Esq., of

Gathered Stenochilus sp., Croton sp., Euphrasia sp., leaves opposite,
flowers blue.

The majestic bluff front of Mount Caley is very grand. The large granite
stones of which it is composed being covered with a red lichen, giving
it a tint and appearance of old brickwork. An inference may be drawn
from the deep gullies and rugged country we passed over at the base of
the range of the great bodies of water that fall on Peel's Range and
descend, forming these excavations, whose general inclinations are
westerly. We searched in vain for water; all the creeks are dry now. We
returned to our tent at dusk. One of our horses from debility, and in an
attempt to rise up under his load, having fallen down was so strained as
to be rendered useless which obliged us to shoot him. Our lat. is
34°08'08" S., and long. 146°42'25" E. Variation of compass 7°18'00" E.
Our people made shoes of the skin of the horse.

3rd. Tuesday. About 10 o'clock we departed from our encampment on a S.W.
course along the valley dividing a part of Peel's Range and arrived at
the base of Mount Caley about 1 o'clock. Being almost surrounded by the
range and finding the country somewhat on the ascent, Mr. Oxley went up
to the summit of Mount Caley in order to observe and discover any
opening that would allow us to pass to the flat country S.W. of Mount
Caley and Mount Brogden. We, however, found a ridge too elevated to be
passed, especially in the present enfeebled state of the whole of our
horses. Descending into the lower lands, and passing several large muddy
holes now dry, skirted with Acacia pendula, we came upon a patch of
burnt grass about 4 miles S.E. of Mount Caley, where we stopped for the
day, having travelled about 9½ miles. [This was Oxley's farthest South.]

Eucalyptus sideroxylon (western iron bark), specimens in flower and some
duplicates of others. We found water (after diligent search) in small
quantity, in a well that had been dug by the natives, about 5 feet deep.
It was of an indifferent quality.

4th. Wednesday. Continued our stay at our present halting place. Mr.
Oxley sent two of our party to observe the general appearance of the
country to the southward of S.W. Occupied myself at my plants, ticketing
my specimens, etc. The small quantity of water discovered yesterday
being expended, we sent men with seven horses to a considerable
waterhole discovered by myself yesterday, about seven miles on the road
back to our last encampment. Upon the return of the two persons, they
gave a very unfavourable report of the country they had seen, in point
of sterility and drought, as well as the intricacy and difficulty of
penetration, in consequence of the thick brushwood with which it is
covered. The native or wild dogs that were howling around us kept our
own continually upon the alert,

5th. Thursday. Our latitude now is 34°13'33" S., and long. 146°39'50"
E.; the variation of the compass 8°08'06". Unwilling to proceed in a
particular direction until we have ascertained the nature of the country
to the northward and westward, I made an excursion in that direction.
Crossing the first range S. of Mount Brogden I descended into the
valleys or flats, which are in patches covered with brome grass, and of
a tolerable good soil, where I sowed some peach stones and quince seeds.
Ascending a lofty range (being a part of Peel's Range) running north and
south, the view of the north-west country is in a great measure hidden
by other ridges still to the westward. I descended the elevation on the
western side, which furnished me with no new plants, and passed through
a small narrow valley, and reached a third range (running S.W. and N.E.)
of very steep and rugged ascent. The country to the westward as seen
from its summit is much broken with hills and rocky declivities. I took
bearings at upwards of 40 miles distant of hills and mounts.

The bleak exposed rocks on this range are covered with an Acacia in
flower that has much the habit of A. armata found on the south coast.
The leaves, however, have scattered villi on their surface, and the
spinescent stipules longer.

The Zieria is in great abundance, and the rest of the plants are the
same as those seen previously. On my way back I gathered seeds of the
following plants:--Camera eremophila, a simple pinnate-leaved plant
(shrub) 6-7 feet high. Pimelea micrantha, involucre of flowers scaly, an
irregular growing shrub. On the flats I gathered specimens of a
Lavatera, differing but little from L. Africana; frequent with a species
of Senecio, with the stalk purple, and the flowers yellow, large and

No marks or signs of natives except on one tree which was very ancient,
The summits of all these ranges are covered with Cupressus glauca.
Returned about 7 o'clock in the evening. The country at the verge of the
horizon southerly is in flames, being fired by natives.

6th. Friday. Our horses having acquired considerable strength in
consequence of two days' rest and good provender, we commenced our route
on a westerly course, working our way round the lower base of Peel's
range through a thick brushwood of seedling plants, of Cypress chiefly.
The country becomes more grassy and thinly covered with small timber of
Eucalyptus micrantha and Cupressus glauca. In these flats I gathered
specimens of Pimelae linifolia a slender gigantic shrub and Dodonaea
heterophylla, of which I gathered seeds. Having penetrated about 8½
miles on a W.N.W. course we halted at a spot where there was some
tolerably good grass for our horses. We found some fine clear water in a
sandy hole under Peel's Range, to the northward and eastward of our
tent. Hitherto we have seen no animals except a few kangaroo-rats in
these wastes, however, some black cockatoos saluted us as they passed
over our tents. The creeping shrub, which I had suspected to belong to
the order Asclepiadaceae, I observed this day (from a decayed flower) to
be one of the Rubiaceae it has likewise the stipules so characteristic
of this extensive tropical order.

7th. Saturday. We did not leave our halting place under Peel's Range
till a late hour, occasioned by the wandering of our horses. Continuing
on a course N.E. we arrived, after travelling about 8 miles, at some
rising ground of gentle ascent, covered with quartz and small pebbles of
iron-ore stone. Passing this elevation we approached the base of a small
range of hills running almost north and south, and finding grass we
proposed to stop, being about 10 miles distant from our last night's
encampment. The difficulty of passing through the thick brushwood is
very distressing to those of our horses whose backs by the great
friction and heavy burdens were not in the best condition.

We had for some time seen the necessity of carrying water with us rather
than trust to the contingency of failing in with any holes at those
places where necessity herself might oblige us to halt. We had therefore
filled, previous to our departure, an empty keg with the excellent
element found yesterday, which we divided equally among the whole of us.
After a long wearisome and fruitless search none could be found here,
although experience had taught us to examine those places where probably
it might, if it existed, be detected.

I gathered flowering specimens of a Cassia, which is now the greatest
ornament of these deserts and might be termed eremophila from its being
found in such places; also a species of Sida, with lanceolate, ovate,
crenulate leaves; peduncles very long, 2-3 flowered. The timber is a
small cypress (Callitris), and Bastard Box, (Eucalyptus micrantha). The
grass, clear of the hills, is very dry and wiry, chiefly of a species of
Bromus. Our dogs had procured for us two kangaroo-rats which offered us
a fresh meal. Native dogs are frequent about the hills.

8th. Sunday. Remained at the spot the whole of this day and sent our
people in different directions in search of water. I took a walk on the
rising ground near us, but made very few new discoveries, the country
being covered with Acacia homalophylla. At the base of the grassy hills
near our tent, which Mr. Oxley has termed Disappointment Hills, I found
a species of Myoporum, differing from M. ellipticum in the throat of the
corolla being more villous, and the anthers extended, the leaves are
nerved as in Hakea dactyloides. It is an observation I have frequently
made that the heads of the trees incline to the northward and eastward,
indicative of the prevalence of the south-westerly winds. Mounts and
terminations of ranges are bluff-like to the westward, generally
evidently from the action of the air and wind upon these points.

Our people are returned from different points after a fruitless search
for water. One small hole was discovered, with a quart or so in it. Our
poor horses are languishing for the want of this precious element. The
arid appearance of the country to the westward, has unavoidably obliged
Mr. Oxley to change his course again, rather than unjustifiably continue
our journey over a country that would destroy our horses and endanger
our own lives by extreme drought. It is therefore proposed to return to
our last encampment where the grass is good and where there is water for
the horses and having renewed their strength to proceed northerly and
make the Lachlan River on the swampy lands occasioned by its
distribution, and we might hope to intersect the Macquarie River,
respecting whose course little or nothing is known.

9th. Monday. Our journey this morning, independently of the painful idea
of tracing out steps back a stage, was rendered more disagreeable by the
continuance of small rain, which did not cease until we had arrived at
the foot of the range near our old encampment at the waterholes. The
travelling is excessively heavy and fatiguing to the horses, being very
boggy, by reason of the present wet weather, from which we might infer
that a rain of two days would render the whole tract of country wholly
impassable. Mr. Evans and three others who had gone on before us had
made a large fire of cypress by the time we arrived, and we were enabled
immediately to shift and dry our clothes. While our horses were enjoying
their new pasturage, we were feasting ourselves upon kangaroo-rats
(secured by our dogs) and excellent good water.

10th. Tuesday. We rested ourselves and the horses under the range the
whole of this day. In the afternoon I took a walk and examined the range
above us, and detected the following interesting plants:--Indigofera
sp., a shrub 6-7 feet high. Anthocercis albicans, a slender twiggy
shrub. Tecoma Oxleyi, a few good seeds. The seeds of this plant are
extremely difficult to be procured, the moment they are ripe they are
scattered and eagerly devoured by the kangaroo-rats. Acacia armatoides
[= A. armata], some good seeds. Teucrium sp., a species of Goodenia, is
very abundant on the ridge. The soil on the sides of the gully is rich,
dark and loamy. Returned at nightfall.

11th. Wednesday. We continued at this resting place until we had
received some information respecting the country northerly of us. For
this purpose Mr. Oxley despatched two of our people in that direction
and also requested them to look out for a resting place where we might
enjoy water of any quality. Mr. Oxley has adopted this mode of
proceeding rather than advance on any particular course, with the doubt
of finding grass or water to the very serious injury of our horses. I
availed myself of this opportunity, and was occupied on the rocky summit
of the range by which we are partly surrounded. I gathered some seeds of
a Hibbertia, so common in similar situations. The Zieria is now richly
in flower, from which I furnished myself with handsome specimens. Among
the seeds I collected this day the following are most interesting:

Prostanthera atriplicinifolia. Bellis ciliaris [= Brachycome ciliaris],
specimens in flower. Lobelia senecioides [= Isotoma axillaris], seeds
and specimens. Senecio anethifolius, fine specimens, in shaded damp
situations. The Pomaderris observed on Mount Caley is common here, with
another of the same natural family, a rigid shrub with a white, hoary
corolla. The hanging rocks are adorned with Tecoma Oxleyi whose great
profusion of flowers will always render the plant valuable in Europe.
The brush on the rocky declivities is very thick and difficult to pass
being held together by the wiry arms of the Cassytha. On the highest
part of the range I found two long pieces of the heart of an Acacia,
which I have called A. doratoxylon. These pieces of wood were about 9
feet long, and had been split out of the centre of some trees of this
species that had been broken down by natives, and doubtless intended for
spears, as the wood agreed exactly in point of grain and texture with
that of all finished spears we have had opportunity of examining. Our
presence at the foot of the range had doubtless disturbed them at their
work, which appeared very new and fresh. The manufactory of these
weapons must be a very laborious task. When we consider that their tools
are a mogo or stone hatchet and a cockle shell.

A shower obliged me to return to our tent about 3 o'clock. Fraser and
the other man who had been out to reconnoitre returned at dusk, having
found a good halting place about 10 miles northerly. He brought me
specimens of Nicotiana undulata, whose long tubular corolla differs so
materially in shape from the other species of this genus, to which it
was first referred by Monsieur Ventenat and adopted by other botanists.
He likewise brought me specimens of a Loranthus with oblong-ovate,
obtuse, wrinkled leaves and axillary peduncles, parasitical on the
snakebark, and a Lotus, with obcordate cuneated foliage and red flowers.
Our dogs killed several kangaroo-rats, among which I observed a species
of pigmy kangaroo with the head of a hare, it has five toes to the
forefeet as in Macropus elegans, it, however, stands only about 14-16
inches high when resting upon its hind legs and tail. The skin is dark
gray, and the fur of a very fine texture.

12th. Thursday. In the anxious hope of soon arriving at a tract of
country where the doubts of finding water and grass would scarcely
exist, we left our last two day's encampment, winding round the base of
Peel's Range in a northerly direction. The country now is of a grassy,
woody character and broken by gullies from the range in which we
discovered running water. Passing some dry water courses that
intersected our course, the land is open and less encumbered with
timber, which is of the Bastard Box and Cypress. Tracing the ridge to
its base through tracts of the above description and bushy alternately,
we arrived at a small grassy creek furnished with a stream of running
water, where we stopped, having advanced about 10 miles by 2 o'clock in
the afternoon. Jasminum sp., Cryptandra sp., Grevillea sphacelatoides,
Hibbertia, 2 species, etc. are all common plants observed in this day's
route. A pentandrous tree of the order Rutaceae, remarkable for its
spreading habit, is covered with flowers; beneath its shade some of the
Atriplicinae and Pimelea linariifolia grow very luxuriantly.

The Salsola so common on the plains of the Lachlan River was observed
this day, on this grassy land, which has evident signs of having been
under water in the rainy season. We noticed the recent impressions of
the feet of natives on the soft soil, which is less perforated by the
kangaroo-rats than some tracts of country to the southward and westward.
Brunonia sp., before seen, is very common among the grass with some
trifling Gnaphalia. I gathered several pretty specimens of crystallized
quartz from some hills, over which our course led us. One of our people
shot a bronze pigeon.

13th. Friday. Continuing our course about 9 o'clock this morning under
the range we crossed several small gullies, of which some had running
streams. The country has the same aspect as observed yesterday, being a
continuous brush and open forest land alternately. We had travelled
about 14 miles when we came to a creek furnished with grass, and stopped
for the night. Water was found about 1½ miles nearer the range. In a
barren brush, of which a Meleleuca (allied to M. squamea) and a species
of Leptospermum are most abundant. I gathered specimens of Eriostemon
brevifolius with linear, short, rough leaves. Scaevola spinescens.
Anadenia anethifolia a dense bushy plant. A Loranthus with
linear-lanceolate leaves in fruit, parasitical on snakebark.

Some very fine trees of Sterculia heterophylla were observed to-day, one
of which I measured, and found it 3 ft. 10 in. in diameter, although
only 20 ft. high, with very strong horizontal spreading branches,
forming a very agreeable shade. Acacia conferta is now very common,
first observed on the 31st ultimo. Some patches of soil that had been
inundated and in which I observed Pancratium Macquaria [ = Calostemma
purpureum], is rich and good, being the deposition of the waters. The
shelving, rocky appearance of the creek on which we encamped suggested
to us that considerable bodies of water descend by this gully to the
lower lands. We could clearly distinguish from some rising ground over
which we passed the low flat brush to the westward, forming an
impenetrable barrier against us. The latter part of our course was N.E.

14th. Saturday. Resuming our journey on a north west course for about 4
miles through an uninteresting scrub, we descended from the barren
slopes of the hills to a rugged creek containing small rocky excavations
and standing water. Unwilling to halt at so short a distance from our
last night's encampment, we continued our journey over a more open
grassy and apparently better tract of country, with timber of cypress of
tolerable size, interspersed with Eucalyptus micrantha (Bastard Box) of
larger bulk than we have seen them since we abandoned our boats.
Arriving at a dry sandy watercourse, on the margin of which grew some
fine patches of grass (Avena), and, luxuriantly, Sonchus oleraceus, our
people who had traced the creek up found plenty of water about half a
mile out of our line of course, where we halted and pitched our tent.
Dianella divaricarta, Prostanthera nivea, a Hakea allied to H. rugosa,
Tetratheca dumosa, Boronia pinnata, etc., are all common plants. I
gathered some specimens of Sterculia heterophylla in pods, and
Eucalyptus sideroxylon is observed sparingly near the creek, in which I
detected a large flowering Goodenia, with radical spathulate leaves.

15th. Sunday. We remained the whole of this day at the creek and I
employed a few hours in repapering my specimens and booking the seeds
that had been collected some days previous. I took a walk to the
continuance of Peel's Range, about one mile distant, but discovered
nothing new. Among the plants frequently observed I recognised Calythrix
tetragona of the Eastern Coast, but a miserable stunted shrub, like the
whole of the plants on this sterile front of the range. I gathered some
duplicate seeds of a Phyllanthus and of Persoonia scabra, and a
Tetratheca. The summit of the range is covered with Acacia doratoxylon,
Cupressus glauca and Casuarina macrocarpa, all starved pigmy trees. The
margins of the creek are clothed with the western iron bark. Returned to
the tent about 2 o'clock.

One of our people who had been out in search of game came very near to a
solitary native, who was in the act of making his fire. He ran off with
all possible despatch, with a long spear with which he was armed. The
afternoon, which was very cloudy, produced a shower at dusk. To the
northward and westward some very singular ranges having some remarkable
peaks can be seen from the summits of Peel's Range. Mount Aiton bore
S.E. by E., distant about 30 miles. By observation taken this day our
lat. and long. are as follows 33°49'00" S., 146°33'00" E., variation of
the compass the same as the last observation. We are two miles north of
Sydney. Showery at night.

16th. Monday. In consequence of the wet weather and the very doubtful
appearance of the atmosphere we were prevented from stirring from our
present position. Our people reported to us the death of one of the most
able pack-horses of the whole troop. The animal had been strained in the
loins, and died of internal mortification.

17th. Tuesday. About 9 o'clock we commenced our day's journey N.W.
northerly from the creek over a very barren rugged country, broken with
water-courses from the hills, now perfectly dry. Some grassy lands
present themselves, thinly covered with tolerable sized timber. On our
left hand a range of hills ran parallel with our course, and Peel's
Range on the right hand, above the usual level of which is observed a
rising woody point bearing about N.E., a few miles from us. Mr. Oxley
has termed it Mount Barrow, in honour of Barrow Esqre., author of
"Travels in Southern Africa," and now of the Admiralty Office.[*]
Passing round the S.W. termination of Peel's Range we continued our
route about 1½ miles and halted on a grassy open flat. Our journey was
about 10¼ miles, and as naturally might be expected the ground was
excessively soft and boggy. After a diligent search for water, about a
quart was found at dusk in a rocky hole of a small range, N. of Peel's

[* John Barrow.]

18th. Wednesday. At daybreak we sent two others to the range of hills
near us in search of water, with directions to continue in the course of
Mount Barrow should they not be so fortunate as to find any nearer on
the range or in the gullies proceeding from it. They returned with a
small quantity, enabling us to distribute to each a pint for our
breakfast. Our people who had been sent to bring up the horses reported
that there was some good grass a mile and a half distant in a valley
between the hills. Anxious to remove to a more hospitable spot where
water would in all probability be found, sufficient for ourselves and
horses, we proceeded forward with the most necessary and the lightest of
our provisions and luggage, leaving five casks of pork, which we could
send back for in the course of the day. About 2½ miles N. easterly over
some rocky hills we descended to a fine rich valley of good grass and
some holes of rain water in the gullies, enough for ourselves and
horses. We accordingly pitched our tents in the valley and turned our
horses out to feed. Mr. Oxley sent the strongest of our animals for the
casks of pork left at our last resting place.

As a proof of the badly watered condition of the country we discovered a
hole that had been made with great labour by the natives very recently,
and containing a little dirty water. It is obvious that the gullies were
dry three days since, and that the late rains have supplied these
cavities with the water we now enjoy!! Our dogs killed a native dog,
which was devoured among us! The natives had not left the valley many
days, because their huts of green branches and remains of fires were so

Upon taking a survey of our dry stock of provisions in hand there
appeared a deficiency of a considerable quantity of flour, which at
first view could by no means be accounted for. It appears, however, from
a little investigation that took place this afternoon, that when on the
river our boatmen hauled up one of the boats too short--by her
painter--to a tree on the bank, and in the course of the night the water
had fallen a foot, leaving the boat resting on her stern whereby many
casks were rolled out into the river and 300 lbs. weight of flour
totally lost. It was an accident they were fearful to communicate to any
of us till now by dint of cross-examination. This is a severe loss to us
and will oblige us to be content with a half ration.

June 19th. Thursday. The country has been softened and bogged by the
late rains to such a degree as to prevent us quitting our encampment in
the valley this day, which is of essential service to our horses that
are in very bad condition. The hills bounding the valleys have been
lately fired by the natives. In the declivities I gathered the following
specimens. Gentianaceae: Pentandria: a second sp., of the same genus
gathered on the 22nd ultimo; this is of a smaller habit. I likewise
gathered some specimens of Eucalyptus micrantha or Bastard Box, the
common timber of the country.

Mr. Oxley took bearings of some remarkable points. Two very singular
hills, appearing to form a part of Goulburn's Range, bearing at N.W.
about 12 miles he has named Mount Brown and Good's Peak, in honour of
Robert Brown Esqr. who accompanied Capt. Flinders round the continent,
and whose extensive knowledge in the most refined and scientific parts
of botany justly entitles him to that degree of prominence in which he
ranks among botanists in London. The peak is thus entitled to
commemorate the name of the late Mr. P. Good, the valuable assistant of
the above mentioned gentleman, whose death was a subject of such regret
to all who knew him. A species of Solanum, beginning to shoot from its
burnt stump, is very common in the hills.

I observed a small Drosera similar to D. rotundifolia in all the gullies
from the hills, in which grew some species of Sterculia. The valley in
which we are encamped receiving the washing of the hills on both sides
of it, north and south, if of a very rich soil. I sowed some quince
seeds and a dozen good stones of peach, which induced our people to call
it "Peach Valley." It appears less troubled with kangaroo-rats burrowing
in it, and consequently the seeds committed to its soil have a fairer
chance of succeeding than perhaps in a few other situations where I have
sowed these seeds.

20th. Friday. In order to lighten our baggage we overhauled the ironwork
that we had carried with us from the river, under the idea it would have
been found useful in our journey to the coast. On a tree we left ten
pairs of horse shoes, and some of the less useful parts of the boat
builder's tools. Following Peach Valley in a winding course for a
distance of about two miles to the rising point of a small stony hill
thickly covered with some seedling Casuarinae and western iron bark.

We observed the country to the northward and westward is a low flat
tract of land thickly covered with a dense scrub, and exceedingly
sterile, which induced Mr. Evans, who usually led the way, to change the
course by turning up a low foresty valley between the hills, in a
northerly direction. At its extremity we entered a very barren brush of
small trees and shrubs, in a deep red soil, which afforded me a few nice
specimens viz:--Stenochilus serrulatus, a shrub 4 feet high. S.
ochroleucus, gathered duplicate specimens. Cacalia sp., leaves linear, a
shrub observed on hills and rocky mounts. Aster cunealus [= Olearia
stellulata]. The Loranthus [probably L. linophyllus] is now in fruit on
the tree of the Rutaceae, whose capsules are 2-valved, observed before.
Dodonaea heterophylla, a shrub with lanceolate leaves, was in flower, of
which I gathered specimens. Also a monaecious shrub allied to Croton,
but having a different capsule. Passing this confined brush and entering
the flat deserty country, covered with a low dense scrub, I observed a
new Bossiaea and Anadenia anethifolia, discovered on the 13th inst., to
be the most common plants of these gloomy wilds. I likewise noticed some
of the Atriplicinae, particularly a species of Rhagodia, with small
fleecy leaves and spinescent branches, forming a depressed horizontal
spreading brush. The whole is overrun with the beautiful Clematis
occidentalis, with pinnated ternate leaves, which are lanceolate and
entire. I gathered seeds of a Pimelia, with some others and a few
duplicates, particularly of Isler decurrens [= Olearia decurrens] and a
herbaceous species with reddish purple flowers. The thorny aculeated
grass abounding in the Euryalean scrub is frequent here.

Arriving at an extensive tract of burnt grass we traced it to the foot
of Peel's Range, near which we gave chase to a flock of about 20 emus.
The dogs killed one in the thick brush, but it could not be found.
Following the range about 1½ miles we halted and pitched our tent
beneath the shade of the Pentandrous tree of the Rutaceae. I accompanied
Mr. Oxley to the summit of' the range. He is very anxious to lead us to
more elevated country clear of this sterile brushwood. Mount Brown and
Good's Peak bore N.E. distant 1½ miles. Upon another part of Peel's
Range, divided from that on which we stood, lay a narrow deep valley.
Fraser crossed this valley and ascended the western side of Good's Peak,
which with Mount Brown and the whole of the range is exceedingly rocky
and barren. The plants found on Good's Peak are a species of Cacalia,
and an Eriostemon. Our day's journey is 10¼ miles.

We could only find water in the holes of the gullies sufficient to serve
all and each of us one quart, but unfortunately none for our horses. The
eastern side of the Peak has been lately burnt by natives, whose fires
we could distinctly see at the base of a hill a few miles to the
eastward of us. We sent back a horse and man in search of the emu which
the dogs had killed this morning. In about an hour he returned to us
with a fine large bird standing 8 feet high, which was distributed
equally among ourselves and dogs. No variation in the timber which is
very much stunted.

21st. Saturday. As our horses could not be supplied with water at this
station we were the more anxious to leave it at an early hour, proposing
to stop at the first spot where we might naturally conclude from
appearance it might be found by diligent search. Passing the burnt flats
under Peel's Range, we came to an elevated open but burnt country full
of gullies and water-courses, now dry, on which I observed the following
plants. Helichrysum, two new species, one a beautiful white flowered
herbaceous plant. Erodium sp., scarcely different from E. cicutarium.
Solanum sp., a very narrow lanceolate-leaved species, crowded with
prickles, in fruit. Solanum, sp., allied to S. lanceolatum, but without
prickles. Nicotiana undulata [= N. suaveolens] is very frequent on these
flats, the lower leaves of which our people gathered, and when dried
found them not a bad substitute for its congener N. tabacum, although
not so strong a narcotic. A Senecio is likewise very common, together
with a species of Goodenia, whose leaves are oblong-lanceolate, and
serrated; flowers yellow.

The country again becomes bushy, presenting us with the same plants as
have been observed yesterday. Passing a mount that has been fired on our
left hand, and another equally rugged and sterile on our right, we
continued over a flat of burnt grass and scrubby spots alternately,
until we arrived at a lofty mount about 5½ miles from our last night's
halting place. We here stopped, and sent out the whole of our people
round the mount in search of water, which was found near its summit on
the eastern side. It is very rocky and barren, and has been named by Mr.
Oxley Barron's Hill, in honour of Barron Field, Esq., judge of the
Supreme Court in this Colony. [Oxley calls this hill Barrow's Hill.]
From it he took several bearings. Mount Bowen, so named in honour of
Bowen Esqre., of the Navy Board, which forms a part of Goulburn's Range,
bore northerly about 7 miles. We could perceive considerable bodies of
smoke ascending from the small timber, indicating natives being there.

A most romantic rugged bare range runs south and north. Mr. Oxley has
called it Macquarie Range, in honour of His Excellency the Governor. A
lofty hill, distant about 1½ miles west, has been named Mount Flinders
by Mr. Oxley, to perpetuate the memory of the Australian
circumnavigator, whose name it bears. Barron's Hill is composed of
quartz, pudding stone, and indurated sandstone. We were obliged to drive
our horses up the sides of this hill in order to water them, which we
did by serving it out to them in vessels.[*]

[* Oxley wrote in his journal on this day that the land he now passed
through was uninhabitable for civilized man, but he afterwards came upon
the rich country watered by the Lower Lachlan, his farthest point being,
33°57'7" S., long 144°31'15" E. E.]


22nd. Sunday. We rested ourselves and horses at this Mount the whole of
this day, which gave me an opportunity of attending to my specimens
which I had found in consequence of the late humidity of the atmosphere
dried very little. The day appearing to brighten up about midday, I
determined to visit Mount Flinders which bore from our tent
west-northerly about two miles. On my way to the east point I had to
pass through a confined arid brush-wood, where I discovered the
following plants.

Cassia sp., leaves simple, linear-lanceolate; the flowers axillary in
pairs, Cassia sp., specimens and seeds. Rhagodia sp. The Psychotria,
first observed on Mount Cunningham forms in the bush some fine strong
young trees, in fruit, but all abortive. It is a singular circumstance
that Pimelea linearifolia [= P. micracephala] is uniformly found under
the shade of a Pentandrous tree of the order Rutaceae in company with
some of the Atriplicinae; I observed it in the bush in such situations.
Acacia pulverulenta is frequent in fine flower. The space between the
outskirts of the brush to the foot of the mount is open and covered with
several syngenesious plants (Compositae) and Nicotiana undulata.

Ascending the mount on the eastern side, which is very rugged, I found
the whole of this part to its summit and the southern side had been
recently fired by the natives, consequently it afforded me nothing, the
whole being burnt to the ground. Descending the northern and western
declivities which are covered with quartz and beautifully overrun with
the showy Tecoma Oxleyi, I distinguished a few new plants; among others
less rare and previously observed: Croton sp. a shrub 3-5 ft. high,
which appears to be the same as Labillardière's C. viscosus, which was
discovered on the south coast of this continent. Like that species my
plant was viscid, and had triquitrous branches and incrassated
peduncles. It is diaecious. I invariably found the male and female on
separate trees. Cassia sp., leaves pinnated, with 3-4 pairs of linear
leaflets; flowers axillary; a greyish shrub common with preceding.
Acacia doratoxylon, Stenochilis longifolius, Aster cuneatus [= Olearia
stellulata) and the Tetrandrous Australian nut are very common with the
preceding on the brow of these hills, with the shrubby slender Leucaena
and Dodonaea. I procured a few more seeds of the Tecoma.

The gullies leading from Mount Flinders were very dry. The great bodies
of water evidently are absorbed in the red sandy flats at its base. The
lat. and long. of this mount are lat. 33°26'30" S., long. 146°20' E.,
and the variation of compass 7°45' E.

The country to the westward is an extensive flat, with a few small
hummocky hills scattered on its surface, having ranges at the extremity
of horizon. Finding the afternoon well advanced, I went round the south
side of the Mount and bore easterly for our tent. I gathered specimens
on the grassy flats of a small-flowered glutinous Gnaphalium. About 6
o'clock I reached our encampment. Fraser, who had been to Mount Bowen,
returned at about the same period and brought me a new Eriostemon, with
linear tuberculated leaves and white flowers. The Pancratium macquaria
[= Calostemma purpureum] so prevalent on inundated flats is found on the
summits of this range in a very rich decayed vegetable soil. Also
Sterculia heterophylla and Acacia doratoxylon.

23rd. Monday. We again watered our horses from the rocky excavation on
the Mount [Barrow], reserving some for our keg and bottles, previous to
breaking up our encampment and departing from the hill. About 10 o'clock
we pursued our route northerly, with the faintest hopes of falling in
with any water for our horses in the low tract of flat country before
us. Passing a sterile brush for the first 4½ miles, we entered upon an
extensive clear plain free from timber trees or shrubs, and as we
advance there is an obvious change of soil, being much darker than the
dry hard deserts behind us, and of a clayey and binding nature,
retaining the rain water on its surface. At length the same description
of vegetables so common on Field's Plains, on the Lachlan River, began
to appear, inducing us to form many conjectures as to the probable
country to which this sudden and remarkable change might lead us. Our
dogs got on the scent of game, and it was not long before they ran down
two kangaroos and an emu. The plains are skirted by a species of
Eucalyptus, which takes the place of Acacia Pendula, so abundant on
Field's Plains. The northern extremity of Peel's Range, of which Mount
Brown forms a part, presents from a retrospect view a noble bluff point,
which Mr. Oxley has called Dryander's Head, in honour of the late Jonas
Dryander Esqre., of Soho Square, London. The northern termination of
Macquarie Range runs out into a singular headland, entitled by Mr. Oxley
Cape Porteous, after his friend Captain Porteous, of the Royal Navy, and
late of the Porpoise Storeship. Having crossed the plains we observed
some swans flying over our heads, a circumstance, when considered with
the extraordinary change of country, which induced us to conclude we
could not be far from bodies of water. We immediately came to a lagoon
of water, which we traced up a short distance to its connection with a
river or stream about 20 feet wide and of moderate depth, running
generally westerly and at the rate of 2½ knots per hour. This singular
and surprising circumstance gave rise to many conjectures what this
stream is, whether the Lachlan or Macquarie or distinct from either.[*]
When we left the N.W. branch of the Lachlan River on the 18th ultimo,
there was a considerable and increasing fresh or flood, the water rising
to the level of the banks and beginning to disperse its waters on the
flat country, now N.E. of us. Had it found an outlet this increased body
of water must have gone with it through all its windings to this spot
where we have intersected it. It appears, however, very evident that
there has not been any flood for a considerable time, from the
circumstance of holes containing white clayey water appearing in the
creek that runs from the river to the lagoon, and through which it is
supplied by the river. Mr. Oxley observed that it might be the
Macquarie, which was likewise the opinion of Mr. Evans. If it is the
Lachlan, the two arms join again in the swamp and form an outlet running
through all its windings not less than 100 miles to this remarkable
spot, which is about 8¼ miles N. of Barron's Hill of our late

[* Oxley had now reached the Lachlan again.]

The banks of this river are high and clothed with the Eucalyptus or Blue
Gum of very large size, and the whole of the plants are duplicates of
those I have seen on the Lachlan River. The flats had signs of
inundation. We encamped on the bank and turned our horses out to feed on
its rich herbage, among which I discovered a species of Senecio
remarkable for its short calyx being half the length of the florets. I
gathered seeds of Aster decurrens [= Olearia decurrens], and duplicates
of a species of Cassia, and specimens of Dodonaea heterophylla. The
Eucalyptus skirting the plains is about 20 ft. high; branches slender
and drooping, and has much the habit of Acacia Pendula. The plains have
been called by Mr. Oxley, Strangford's Plains, in honour of Lord
Viscount Strangford, our late minister to the Court of Brazil. They
produce a species of Anthericum with a fasciculated root and a fistular
leaf, and a pigmy species of Sowerbaea.

Our people by way of experiment threw some baited hooks into the river,
and they caught five fine fish of the same kind of perch as that of the
Lachlan River, enough for the whole of us. Among the high grass we found
a bark canoe, and Mr. Oxley, who was the first of our party that arrived
at the bank, observed a native man running off down the river. The day
continued fine, and the travelling, when we arrived on the plains, was
tolerably good. Mr. Oxley intends to trace this small river for three
miles, as far as our provisions will allow us to advance westerly.
Trusting, from general appearances, we shall be able to arrive at its
termination or learn something more respecting it that will enable us to
clear up the doubt at present existing.


June 24th, 1817. Tuesday. Relieved from the dreadful uncertainty of
finding water, which has of late harassed us, we commenced a new course
this morning on the bank of the rivulet. We found, however, it much
better to leave this stream and take the margin of the plain in order to
make a true westerly course. The plains are uninteresting in this day's
journey, the soil is a stiff clay, sufficiently retentive to hold rain
water upon its surface, rendering the travelling fatiguing. The gullies,
of which we passed several in this day's route, all have their
inclination from the river, and were dry, showing evidently that the
lagoons with which they are connected derive their supplies from the
river's inundation through those channels, all tending to establish the
hypothesis that this river is not the Lachlan. Our courses were
variable, at first S. and S. by E., in order to clear the low swampy
lands, and lagoons, and afterwards S.W. and westerly, when having
cleared 11½ miles we struck in for the river and halted on its banks. It
appears at this spot wider, being about 25 feet, having a current
running half a knot per hour. I observed its channel frequently choked
up with fallen timber, so that if we had had the boats it would have
been almost impossible to have formed a passage for them. I observed
marks (scarcely a day old) made by natives on the Eucalypti, of which E.
Pendula, allied to E. paniculata of Dr. Smith is frequent. The plants of
the plains are an Erodium, before observed; Pancratium Macquaria [=
Calostemma purpureum]; Sowerbaea juncea, and two species of
Mesembryanthemum, fine in flower; one M. aequilaterale, so frequent in
arid sands about Port Jackson, and well known by the colonists under the
strange title of "Pig's face"; the other species is of much smaller
habit. and appears to differ from glaucescens and nigrescens, to which
it is very closely allied. In some bushy barren spots, I gathered seeds
of Cassia lineata, and some duplicates of Pittosporum lanceolatum and
Stenochilus longifolius. In order to take bearings and observe the
appearance of the country westerly, Mr. Oxley, Fraser and myself
proposed to walk to the northern extremity of Macquarie Range, which has
been as before stated, called Cape Porteous, distant from our tent about
8 miles westerly. In passing through a wood skirting the plains we came
to a native encampment of many bark huts of recent erection. Of the many
hypotheses formed upon matters connected with this expedition, the use
to which the natives appropriate the oblong square pieces of bark (cut
from the stem of the Blue Gum and so frequently observed on the river)
is one. There were two of these "Barks" at this Australian Camp,
perforated with holes in lines after the following manner.

Fraser who had seen similar pieces of bark round the native fires under
Mount Bowen on the 22nd inst., found them with little wooden pegs in the
holes. Those found at this place had none. Mr. Oxley is of the opinion
that they might be conversation cards, by which one division of a tribe
is enabled to give information to another party coming after them, the
course they are pursuing or any other matters that they may deem
necessary. Their different ideas may be expressed by a transposition of
the pegs understood by each party? These cards when perused by the
succeeding troop of natives are destroyed and the pegs taken out which
we observed in one of the pieces that had been broken.

Passing round a lagoon of considerable magnitude at its head near the
river, where it was dry and muddy, we came to the edge of the plain, and
took a bearing of the highest point of the cape. In not less than an
hour we arrived at its base, which is composed of shelving rocks
overlapping each other, over which we had to climb in order to gain the
summit of the lower range. This was the only part of the mount I was
able to examine. It was interesting, although productive of nothing new
or not before observed. Correa speciosa, enjoying the shade of the
overhanging rocks, now very luxuriant, so much so that I was induced to
furnish myself with better specimens than I was in possession
of--gathered at Mount Aiton. Anthocercis albicans, rich in flower.
Croton viscosus in flower and fruit. Acacia doratoxylon advancing to
flower. Grevillea sphacelata, Scaevola spinescens and Dodonaea
heterophylla are all abundant. We had underrated the distance of this
mount from our tent, and the afternoon being far advanced before we
could reach it, prevented us from descending to its extreme elevation.
Mr. Oxley having made his observations, proposed to return by the same
route to the tent. On our way I gathered the following new plants:--I
discovered a new Amaryllis, it was in its winter habit, a few decayed
leaves above ground enabled me to trace its roots below the surface
which are very large. It appears to be a white flowering species and the
corolla is about the size and figure of that of Conostylis aemula which
I ascertained from the remains of a flowering stern. Fearful of being
benighted in these wastes, I was only able to procure 6 large roots. I
gathered specimens of a new and remarkable Acacia, whose long narrow
leaves have induced me to propose the trivial name of stenophylla. Also
of another species of Acacia, a small tree 20 ft. high, with long
lanceolate leaves, slender pendulous branches, and axillary heads of
flowers. Acacia acicularis, A. calamifolia, and A. pulverulenta are
common in the brush. Our dogs killed a little animal of the kangaroo
family, with a long tail, singular for its flat hairy formation at the
point. A native dog was killed, which had approached too near our tent.
I discovered on the slimy plains a new species of the triandrous genus
Arthrotriche with a dense pyramidal head of flowers. We did not return
to our encampment on the river before 7 o'clock p.m.

25th. Wednesday. We had passed the night in a swamp. Upon resuming our
journey down this river we steered a course south of west, in order to
head the lagoon seen yesterday and to avoid bogging our horses by
attempting to pass it on the river's bank. Passing the Cape Point we
travelled northerly over a considerable tract of descending flats, on
which I discovered a new species of Cryptandra, having the largest
corolla, which like its congeners is white, and the greatest profusion
of flowers of the whole of the species I have seen. We discovered a few
more of the new Amaryllis near the northern extremity of Macquarie
Range. The scrubby parts consist of the new Bossiaea, Scoevola
spinescens Anadema sp., with some others, common in such situations.
Passing a brush of seedling Cypress (Callitris), a considerable flat
opened to the view, which Mr. Oxley named Smith's Plains in honour of
Sir James Edward Smith Kt., botanist and physician and author of several
most valuable works, as well on the botany of Australia as of countries
less remote. On these plains is a plant allied to Bellis, perhaps a
Cotula, with an elongated cuneate leaf and stipitate seeds. I gathered
specimens of a Bellis with a solitary flower on a long naked stem.
Penetrating through another brushy tract at the extreme of the plain we
made the river, but our people and horses, who had continued northerly,
had halted one mile above us on the bank. Mr. Oxley, Fraser and myself
returned to them.

In the circuitous route we had travelled to-day we had made upwards of
11 miles, which on a true west course is about 9½. The twining shrub
frequently observed proves to be an Asclepias. I detected it with a pod
or follicle upon it. The river has much the same appearance in point of
width, and is tolerably clear of dead timber, but subject to many abrupt
windings, and the banks in places are high. Acacia sp., and A.
stenophylla are very strong on the immediate banks of the rivulet, the
herbage of which is the same as on the Lachlan River. The timber is the
Bastard Box or Eucalyptus micrantha, Eucalyptus allied to E. paniculata,
with pendulous branches, and Callitris glauca. The rivulet has a course
considerably to the northward of west since our last encampment. A
little Euphorbia covers the ground where it has been inundated.

26th. Thursday. Being desirous to continue our journey this day as much
on a westerly course as the nature of the country would admit, we left
our resting place and entered a dense brushy scrub, abounding with the
same description of plants as I have frequently observed. I gathered 5
specimens of Eriostemon rotundifolius, forming a round dense bush. I
likewise gathered seeds of Stenochilus ochroleucus and its congener S.
longifolius. Several species of Rhagodia appear among others in this
scrub. The Bastard Box is frequently much encumbered with the twining
adhering Loranthus aurantiacus which

"Scorning the soil, aloft she springs
Shakes her red plumes and claps her golden wings."

Having passed the brush, we travelled over large clear plains, which are
boggy and fatiguing for our pack horses. They are skirted by Acacia
Pendula and dwarf eucalypti and the herbage is chiefly the Erodium and
some new syngenesious plants already observed. Continuing our route
about 9 miles, having passed several short brushy spots and small open
grassy plains alternately, we approached close upon the banks of the
river and halted for the day. The last mile of our journey is through a
thick grassy open swamp, where I gathered a species of Artemisia. The
river now presents to us another appearance. The banks are not so high,
the timber is more diminutive, and the land or flats on each side bears
clear marks of inundation, although not recent. This, considered with
the current being scarcely perceptible, induces us to conclude that we
are fast approaching to its termination. A species of Satureia grows
strong in the swamps, which our people gathered and made use of as tea.
A species. of Senecio is very common.

27th. Friday. In order to rest our horses we remained the whole of the
day at our present encampment. By observation taken by Mr. Oxley, the
site of our tent is in lat. 33°32' S., and long. 145°56' E., and the
variation of the compass 7°20'00' E. Our huntsman, who had been in
pursuit of game about 3 miles down the river, returned and reported the
extreme swampiness of the land on each side, rendering it impossible to
continue on its banks in our advancement south westerly. The fishermen
were unable to secure any fish, the weather being too cold. Great
abundance of black swans, native companions, (Grus australasiana) wild
ducks etc., are on the lagoons. One of our party shot a pair of ducks;
the bronze of their wings is exceedingly beautiful.

28th. Saturday. In consequence of the unfavourable report of our people
respecting the inundated country before us, Mr. Oxley rode on horseback
on the immediate bank of the river about 7 miles, until he was unable to
advance, by a creek running from the river to lagoons in the background.
Mr. Evans, who led the way for our horses, kept well out southerly from
the river in order to head the swamps and lagoons, among which it is
impossible to travel. On the boggy lands I gathered specimens of seeds
of a Teucrium. Salsola sp., leaves round and fleshy; capsule hoary. Sida
sp., with very narrow lanceolate leaves and axillary small flowers,
forming a small branching shrub. Polygonum junceum [= Muehlenbeckia
Cunninghami] overruns all other plants in these gloomy swamps. The
passing eye rests with pleasure on a a beautiful tree of the
Bignoniaceae, frequent in the solitary shades of a brushwood surrounding
these bogs, From these sterile spots we continued our route northerly,
in order to make the river, but we only entangled ourselves in swamps;
and Mr. Evans found after penetrating 7½ miles that it was impossible to
proceed near the river's bank. The whole country south and south-west
being under water for at least 3 feet, we were obliged to return to the
brush, where we halted and pitched the tent near a very extensive
inundated tract of Blue Gums in several feet of water, above the level
of which we observed on the timber marks of floods 2½ and 3 feet higher.
The natives had cut out several conversation cards or barks from these
trees, which doubtless they find are more easily extracted from the Blue
Gums in water than any other species of Eucalyptus on dry spots. This
immense sheet of water, which shines through the trees westerly as far
as the eye can see, has great numbers of swan and all other kinds of
waterfowl upon it. Those most invaluable, faithful animals and bush
companions, our dogs, caught a fine large emu, which was equally divided
among them and us. The plants on the margin of the lake are the same as
we observed near Farewell Hills, viz: Mimulus sp., Lythrum sp., allied
to L. hyssopifolia, and a little Adiantum. The plains we travelled over
to-day have been called Harrington Plains in honour of Lord Harrington.
We did not make above 4 miles on a true west course.

29th. Saturday. We continued our journey on a true westerly course,
determining, if possible, to make the river, but we are rather inclined
to suspect that we are not far from the spot where the river ceases
altogether, or where from the depression of the country, its banks being
too low to contain it, a general inundation commences. Having crossed a
grassy woody swamp, with occasional scrubby spots, we arrived at a large
expanse of open country, a continuance of Harrington Plains.

Crossing this flat we came to the banks of the river, which are much
higher than could have been reasonably expected. The channel is in some
places very shoaly and narrow and blocked up with drifted decayed
timber. Its inclination being considerably southerly of west we changed
our course and crossed the plains in that direction. The loose hollow
nature of these plains was very heavy for our horses, and in some
measure fatiguing for ourselves. The animals frequently sunk under their
loads up to their knees in its poor sour soil which produces a plant of
the genus Galium, and a new plant[*] of the same order as Brunonia with
remarkable undulated leaves. I likewise gathered specimens of a species
of Xerotes (aspen). The scrub afforded me a new Acacia, with linear,
round and sulcated leaves, in pod. We had advanced about 11 miles, when
Mr. Oxley proposed to halt in a dry situation about 2 o'clock.

[* Cunningham named it Arthrotriche. He first saw it on Field's Plains,
but it has no connexion with the plant of that name described by
Mueller, and seen during Gregory's expedition of 1861.]

We now see the fallacy of forming any ideas respecting this stream; all
our conjections of yesterday are overthrown by observations of this day.
We have (by a little perseverance) passed the swamps that obliged us to
turn back yesterday, and have now before us to all appearance a
considerable journey if we are determined to see the termination of this
stream. The bank on which we encamped is very high, and of a red sandy
marl, and the soil of the flats very rich, being the depositions of
floods, and producing an abundance of a species of Anthericum before
noticed. The opposite bank, which is lower, has been lately flooded, and
the whole country inundated at no very distant period. I gathered seeds
of an Aster, an herbaceous plant with blue radiated flowers, and an
Achyranthes from the swamps. Some plains on the right (north) side of
the river we termed Holdsworthy's Plains. Those unwearied purveyors, our
dogs, provided for us two of the largest emu we have ever seen on the
expedition, standing at least 8 feet high. We are not likely to starve,
although our flour and pork ration is exceedingly scanty. Our fisherman
caught only one small fish Of 3½-4 lbs. weight.

30th. Monday. Advancing over the plain westerly, on the edge of which we
had encamped last night, we continued that course about 7 miles; bushy
country affording me nothing interesting; the plants being the same as
those of which so very frequent mention has been made. We made the angle
of a large lagoon of considerable depth, thickly clothed with trees that
had marks of inundation about 4 feet above the present level of its
waters, and a few inches above the general flatness of the plain. I here
gathered specimens of a species of Eucalyptus having a submucronated
hemispherical operculum, and flowers of two colours, red and white, in
terminal panicles, a tree about 30 feet high. I observed a little
cryptogamous plant, called Azolla pinnata, floating on the surface of
these waters in considerable abundance. Near our 8th mile Harrington
Plains are in some measure terminated by a few scattered trees of
Eucalypti stretching themselves across to the opposite brush in an
irregular manner. Its continuance, open and extensive, evidently
descending at its south western extremity, from the circumstance of our
being able to distinguish the heads of trees and not their stems. Mr.
Oxley has called them Molle's Plains, in honour of the late
Lieut.-Governor, Colonel Molle. Passing through a small tract of the
burnt scrub called Polygonum junceum [= Muehlenbeckia Cunninghami] we
continued our journey about a mile and a half, when we considered that
our horses, which were far behind, would scarcely be able to come up
with us, in consequence of the bogginess and decayed nature of these
plains. We passed through a thick brush of the rushy Polygonum and came
upon the bank of the river, intending to halt for the night. On these
plains I gathered seeds and specimens of a shrub with fleecy, sulcate
crowded leaves. These leaves are like the succulent Salsola. Also
another shrub entirely clothed with wool, having an echinated nut, many
seeded. I observed a singular grass, dead, with long beards [stigmas] as
in Zea; and the little recumbent Zygophyllum, which is sometimes very
common, and in some instances appears to differ in habit, which may be
caused by the shade or being smaller in all its parts, or which may be
effected by increased sterility. The appearance of these plains is that
of a gloomy desert with stunted trees and dry wiry tufts of grass. But
if anything tends to enliven the scene or relieve the eye it is the
bright golden flowers of a Senecio, with pinnately laciniated leaves. I
gathered seeds of a shrub of Anredera sp., producing a bladdered
capsule, 2-winged, containing a single seed in the centre. The river is
as broad as ever! With little alteration, current slow, but the banks
appear not so high as where we left it in the morning, and are muddy. We
started two native dogs on the plains before us. We observed the marks
of the natives on the trees, and the old impressions of their feet on
the soft clayey soil. We likewise passed an old native bark hut. The
general inclination of the river is south-westerly. Its banks are
furnished with tolerable Blue Gums and Acacia stenophylla. One of our
party caught a species of lizard on the plains, having on the back very
rough scales, which are not imbricated but distinct from each other. It
has no tail. Its body being terminated in a wedge-shaped stump.

1817. July 1st. Tuesday. In consequence of the heavy bad country we
passed over yesterday we considered it advisable to rest the horses the
whole of this day. By observation it appears our lat: is 33°32'22" S.,
and long. 145°38'30" E., and the variation of the compass is 6°49'00" E.
The river at our encampment is 20 ft. wide, and upon sounding, we found
6 ft. to be the greatest depth. Our people caught a few fish 2 or 3 lbs.
in weight.

2nd. Wednesday. The native dogs, which were howling around us during the
night, kept ours upon the lookout. A small hailstorm, seconded by a
shower of rain, detained us a few moments. At 10 o'clock our
baggage-horses and ourselves left the banks of the river and proceeded
in a south-westerly direction over the plains, which are not much
softened by the morning showers. I gathered duplicate seeds of Lobelia
sp. (closely allied to L. purpurascens), from the swamps; in which humid
situations Haloragis tetragyna accompanies a species of Achyranthus,
with whorls of flowers. At 10 miles on a south-westerly course we struck
in for the river, at which we arrived in 4 miles and halted, the horses
considerably behind us. The river here is very shallow and muddy, not
exceeding 3 feet; the banks are low, and the current runs about half a
knot per hour, the water of which is turbid and of a fetid scent. The
Blue Gums we daily observe do not appear upon the plains and are only to
be seen on the immediate banks of the river, which they clothe pretty
thickly, forming large heads and bulky timber, but, like many of its
congeners, hollow. It may not be altogether amiss to mention here that
the tubular stems of several species of Eucalyptus on the eastern coast,
when well selected, have proved tolerable good conductors of water and
have been turned to good account in draining land. The plains now appear
very extensive and of considerable width, and of such continuance to the
southward and westward as to be lost in the horizon, forming one
continued dead flat.

3rd. Thursday. We were enveloped in a very thick fog, by which we were
unavoidably detained until the mist had in some measure evaporated.
Leaving the river about noon we advanced on a course southerly of S.W.
over the plains, which are an immense expanse of flat open country. They
are exceedingly barren and naked for the first 8 miles. About 3 o'clock
p.m. we altered our course, steering westerly in order to make the
river, but we were much deceived in its distance from us. On this course
we saw Stenochilus longifolius, Acacia Pendula, Rhagodiae and some
Salsolae miserably stunted.

Arriving at the angle of a wood near an old native encampment we halted
at sunset, having travelled 11¼ miles, about 11 miles southward of the
river, where we found plenty of water in a lagoon abounding with wild
fowl. We noticed very recent impressions of the feet of some natives,
one of them was very small, and might have been that of a woman. We were
induced to hope that, from the very recent marks of the feet of emu upon
the clayey soil, our dogs would have been able to secure one or two of
these birds, which would have very materially benefited the whole of us,
the ration that could only be allowed us being by no means sufficient to
satisfy the keen appetites augmented by hard corporeal exercise. We shot
a brace of pigeons of a new species, wings brown, with pinion feathers
white, slightly bronzed, and green breast, slate colour; and they are
rendered more handsome by reason of the small tuft or topknot of
feathers on their heads. Some other strange birds were observed
(supposed to be Parrots), about the size and flight of a pigeon, with
beautiful red breasts; they were noticed to fly generally in pairs to
and from the northward.

4th. Friday. The birds observed last night, and which I suspected to be
of the parrot kind, flying to the northward, returned this morning,
flying in flocks to the southward. They are of a light ash colour on the
back and wings, and have rich pink breasts and heads.[*] Resuming our
route westerly about 2 miles we came to extensive low swamps and
inundated woods of Blue Gum, on the margin of which were several native
huts, built rather stronger than usual, evidently in the wet season, and
having a loose thatch of red grass. Upon entering these abandoned
Aboriginean houses, I found several conversation cards or barks
perforated as before described, some fish, a snake bone and some mussel
shells. Obliged to change our course, we passed about 6 miles southerly
of west, until we were stopped in our progress by a small creek running
from the swamps or wooded lagoons. Finding it impossible for our horses
to pass it at this spot we struck south, over a flat covered with high
grass and herbage and full of clear water-holes, in order to pass round
this boggy creek, which we accomplished in a circuitous route of 3
miles. Continuing to the angle of a wood or line of gum trees, we
stopped for the day, having travelled 14 miles. The plains are very
heavy and boggy, and not so bare as we have observed them in other
parts, but afford few new plants, the majority being duplicates of what
we have already seen. The following plants, however, appear
new:--Gnaphalium sp., allied to G. apiculatum. Dalea sp., with terminal
blue flowers. Helichrysum polygalifolium, nova sp. Aster sp., 4 flowers,
rays many, white. I observed the remains of a plant of an Orobanche in
capsule (the whole of the root was dead), sparingly on the flats, in the
waterholes of which Polamogeton natans and Polygonum junceum [=
Muehlenbeckia Cunninghami] abound. Mr. Oxley, who had rode on before us,
descried a pair of emus, male and female, with several young ones. Our
dogs gave chase and, after a good run, secured the male, and our people
ran down 6 of their young, which made us an excellent dinner. At the
southern extremity of the plains a body of water was standing, of
considerable length and about a quarter of a mile wide. We were all of
us more or less seized with dysenteric affections, the natural
consequence of living among swamps.

[* Rose-breasted cockatoos (Galahs): ---The Galah comes in from sunrise
for about two hours, same in the evening for about two hours of
sunset...they fly right into water, settle round...and drink and then
break up into flocks and fly away to feeding or roosting grounds.
"--Campbell's "Nests and Eggs of Australian Birds."]

5th. Saturday. Our two men who were employed as huntsmen were sent
forward in search of game for us. Resolving to make the river this
afternoon if possible, we departed from our encampment in a westerly
direction for about 7½ miles, stretching from point to point of the
woods formed by the northerly bights or bends of the river. Making for a
point which we found to be the river, having a current scarcely
perceptible, its banks very low, not exceeding 8 feet and appearing very
shallow. Tracing its left bank down to a dry spot, we halted and pitched
our tent. Our journey is about 10 miles. About 200 yards below us two
islands are formed in the channel of the river, which are covered with
the Eucalyptus called the Blue Gum and Acacia stenophylla. We could
clearly distinguish through the spaces between the trees plains of great
extent on the opposite side of the river. The plains are again naked in
many places and the soil dry and hard. A Lavatera, much allied to L.
arborea, afforded me duplicate seeds. Clitoria sp., and another,
leaflets elongated, blunt and silky, with a spike of flowers. Sida sp.,
a low depressed shrub, and Galium sp. At 2 miles on our day's journey we
crossed the parallel of latitude of Port Jackson southerly. In order to
make the most of the dry provisions we now have in casks we were obliged
to reduce the ration, particularly the flour, to 2 quarts or 3 lbs. per
week per man, in order to enable us to return home to Bathurst which we
calculated upon reaching the last day of August. We had, as before
stated, suffered a very severe loss in our flour, and our people all saw
the necessity of this reduction. Mr. Oxley likewise stated to them that
in all human probability (there was a moral certainty of it) we should
be relieved from this privation in two or three weeks--from the time we
turn our faces eastward--by arriving at a more hilly country, which
would afford us game of all kinds, and that should we continue on the
river banks we should find a resource in the fish, which are large and
abundant in the deeper waters.

6th. Sunday. Considering the small quantity of provisions we are now in
possession of, the great distance we are from any resource, being about
350 or 370 miles south-westerly of Bathurst, and the rivulet still
continuing to run westerly although very slow, Mr. Oxley has resolved to
halt at this spot the whole of this week, during which period our horses
would recruit their strength, and their backs, which are much galled,
should be attended to in order to heal them. And considering he would
act up more fully to the spirit and tenor of the instructions he has
received to continue the journey westward on horseback. Naturally
concluding that the river would terminate and totally cease to run,
being spent in low lands in the course of a distance of 70 miles
westerly (which he calculating upon advancing in 3 days), or that it
ended in an open lake, he was the more desirous of continuing his route
westerly for 3 days if possible, because that distance would enable him
to cross the parallel of latitude and the meridian of longitude of a
part of the country the coast of which has been but very imperfectly
surveyed, and hence has given rise to the possibility of the embouchure
of a river or rivers there. Mr. Oxley therefore prepared himself to
leave us for a week, taking with him two of the party, with bedding and
provisions for that period, intending to leave us to-morrow morning. A
serviceable packhorse which had been badly strained in the loins was
reported to us to have died in the course of the last night, reducing
our number to 11, this being the third horse that has died in the course
of the expedition, and from singular causes.

7th. Monday. This morning Mr. Oxley left our encampment on his journey
westerly, accompanied by Fraser, Burns and Simpson, with provisions for
six days, and trusting they will be able to clear 25 miles per day for
three days, at the end of which, should the stream still continue to run
westerly, they hope to reach some hills or rising grounds from which
they could make observations as to the nature of the country S.W. and
N.W. of them. In their absence our people will be employed in mending
the pack-harness, attending to our sick horses and preparing for our
return home early next week. Economy and necessity had taught us to turn
every accident to some account. The flesh of our deceased horse afforded
our faithful but famishing dogs some tolerable meals, and the skin
furnished our people with materials for mocassins or shoes, which they
divided equally with mathematical niceness. I employed myself in
repapering and drying my specimens. I likewise overhauled that
description of baggage which belonged to me, rendering more compact and
repairing my saddlebags, which had suffered much by friction through a
difficult country.

About 2 o'clock in the afternoon, Mr. Oxley and those that accompanied
him returned to our encampment, having advanced about 9 miles on the
immediate bank of the rivulet until they were obliged to desist from
proceeding further, the horses being bogged up to their girths,
endangering the lives of their riders and themselves.[*] About 4 miles
from our tent they observed two arms or branches running from the
rivulet in a northerly direction. Onward the current is scarcely
perceptible, and the water is muddy and discoloured. At the termination
of their journey the banks do not exceed 3½ feet in height, its channel
very narrow and choked up by miserable Blue Gums growing in it with
Arundo phragmites, when its current ceases and the water is stagnant. On
the small shrubs of Eucalyptus, which are remarkably strong and mossy,
indicative of the perpetual humidity, the highest water marks do not
exceed 4½ feet. The only plants observed at this "Ne plus ultra" of our
expedition are the Blue Gums, Acacia stenophylla, Polygonum junceum [=
Muehlenbeckia Cunninghami], and a long reed grass all on the muddy banks
or in its channel. Its extreme termination was probably not above 10
miles farther on[**]--19 miles from our tent--which Mr. Oxley doubts not
he would have verified had it been possible for him to have continued on
the banks, which being the highest part was the best travelling. We
proposed to continue at our present encampment until Thursday morning,
and then commence our route easterly home. Our people shot several of
the new pigeons.

[* The above will show that Oxley's farthest West was nine miles beyond
his encampment. Mitchell, whilst exploring the Lachlan, came there on
May 5, 1832, and surmised that this part was under water at the time of
Oxley's visit. He saw a tree there marked on each side which the natives
informed him had been "marked by Oxley at the farthest place he

[** The Lachlan after passing through the marsh joins the Murrumbidgee
in 34½° S. and 143½° E., the latter river, then turning on a
south-westerly course unites with the Murray and falls into the sea in
35½° S. and 139° E.]

8th. Tuesday. By way of experiment and as a proof of the immense expanse
of clear flat country, Mr. Oxley took his amplitude of the sun at its
rising, an observation that has never been taken before in the interior
of Western Australia, and it may be the first observed in any country,
for want of an horizon, which is this morning very clear and cloudless.
By further observations taken this day the site of our present
encampment is as follows. Mean altitude 33°53'19" S., computed longitude
145°07'15" E., or the same free from errors of chart 144°39'30" E., mean
var. of compass 7°25' E. The place where the stream ceased to have
motion is in lat. 33°57'30" S., computed long. 144°59'0" E., and freed
from errors of chart 144°31'15" E., the hill, an eminence in a S.W.
direction, terminating in lat. 34°22'12" S. and long. 144° E., that
being the calculated extent of our visible clear horizon. I gathered
some seeds of a plant with globular heads of flowers and agreeing with
Richea in the number of its plumose pappi. I dug up some fine roots of a
species of Anthericum before observed, which is very abundant with the
Pancratium Macquaria [= Calostemma purpureum]. I sowed several peach
stones and quince seeds near this last south-westerly encampment.

We wrote a paper stating the latitude and longitude of the spot, the
object of the expedition, with names of those who comprised it, and
observed that it was our intention to return to Bathurst in a northern
circuitous route, in hopes of intersecting the Macquarie River. This
paper was carefully enveloped in a sheet of brown paper, put into a dry
wine bottle, corked, sealed over, and its neck covered strongly with
leather, intending in the morning to bury it beneath a species of
Eucalyptus bicolor near our tent.

9th. Wednesday. We buried the bottle, which we had closed the last
evening, beneath the shade of a moderate sized Eucalyptus, engraving on
the solid timber "DIG UNDER," information that could not well be
expressed by less letters.[*] The whole of us left this spot this
morning in good spirits and intend to retrace our footsteps to the place
where we discovered the river on the 23rd ultimo. At 2 o'clock we
arrived at our last stage, where we stopped for the night. I gathered a
few specimens:-another species of Sowerbaea, or a variety of the species
discovered on Strangford's Plains. The petals are generally
sulphur-coloured with purple stripes. Lotus sp., a slender herbaceous
plant. Helichrysum, a new sp., with terminal white solitary flowers.
Also specimen of a shrub with linear leaves; the whole plant is woolly,
different from others of the same habit, discovered on these plains.
Also a Callitris and some grasses. I observed a species of Plantago,
scarcely differing from the species found on the flats.

[* The natives led Major Mitchell to the spot where Oxley's tent had
stood. He saw there the stump of a tree that had been recently burned
down, which the natives said had had marks upon it. Mitchell dug under
it for the bottle without success, and he learned from a native tribe
that after the tree had been fired a child had found the bottle and
broken it. It had contained a letter they said, and "this news" be
observes "saved us further search."]

10th. Thursday. It was late before we could leave our encampment, a
delay occasioned by our horses having strayed away some miles back S.W.
in the course of the night. About 3 o'clock we arrived at our resting
place of the third inst. Having pursued a more direct course we made it
in 12 miles, which was 14 on the 4th. I gathered the following
specimens: Gnaphalium sp., musk scented when fresh. Anacyclus sp.,
leaves bipinnate and linear; scape elongated, one flowered. Gnaphalium
sp., a delicate diminutive plant, accompanying Siloxerus humifusus, a
dwarf plant discovered by Labillardière on the south coast, which is
abundant with a species of Gymnostyles, a plant of the same class and
pigmy growth. A raised mound of earth which we passed on the plains, we
suspect to be an Aboriginean grave, near which grew a dwarf shrubby
species of Solanum, with narrow lanceolate leaves. Large flocks of new
birds, some of which we have shot and find to be a species of cockatoo,
and the pigeons passed over us in their diurnal northern and southern

11th. Friday. Continuing our journey easterly we travelled over the
plain passed on the 3rd inst., and although we did not return upon our
old tracks,--launching out upon the open plain,--the soil is equally
heavy travelling. We continued our march 3¼ miles up the river, rather
than halt upon the low swampy spot where we stopped on the 2nd inst. The
river presented to us an appearance that we little expected to see. It
had received a sudden fresh from the eastward; the current ran about 1½
knots, and the waters are far beyond their usual channel, being within
4¾ feet of the highest part of the flats. It however decreased ½ an inch
in the course Of 4 hours. The old marks of inundations were 7½ to 8 feet
above their present level, which had rendered these extensive plains a
sheet of water upwards of 2 feet deep. The Satureia, of which our people
made tea, grows luxuriantly here. I gathered seeds of it. It assumes a
woody habit and rises to the height of 6 ft. We shot some of the new
cockatoos to-day, but found their flesh hard and rancid. A small mound
of earth having been found near our tents of the same character as
others that we have supposed to be natives' graves, I accompanied Mr.
Oxley and Mr. Evans to it. It was 3 ft. high, of conical shape, and of
ancient appearance. We dug into it with an adze and found the remains of
bones, and several rough pieces of bark placed across each other and
apparently with some order and regularity but very much decayed.

N.B. I must here mention a singular mark of affection in a brute which
will tend to prove the paucity of animals inhabiting these inhospitable
plains. Our kangaroo dogs had been suffered wantonly to destroy one of a
native species on these flats in our journey westerly. His carcase we
fixed up in the fork of a small low tree. The female, his mate, had
doubtless taken a range in search of him, when, having found his dead
body, she drew it down from the branch and coiling herself round his
lifeless remains seemed determined there to die! On our return this, day
we passed the spot and found her in an emaciated state, pining from
grief and hunger, and in that debilitated low condition as not to be
able to make the slightest resistance or attempt to escape.




Returns Eastward, leaves the Lachlan and discovers Wellington, July
12--August 21, 1817

July 12th. Saturday. We left the bank of the river about 9 o'clock,
travelling over the plains about 7 miles without a single botanical
novelty to relieve the scenery around us. Passing a low tract, covered
with bushes of Polygonum junceum [= Muehlenbeckia Cunninghami], and
continuing our journey about 3 miles over a stiff part of the plains we
came upon the river and pitched our tent in a narrow peninsula formed by
it and a lagoon connected with it. Our day's journey is about 12¼ miles,
or about 1 mile to the eastward of our resting place on the 30th ultimo.
Our horses were much fatigued by the heaviness of the soil during this
day's route. A very strong effluvia assailed us from the river,
occasioned by the flood having disturbed and carried down the vegetable
matter resting on its muddy banks. So accustomed are we to a continuance
of the same objects before us and so little to any diversity of country
that the sight of Macquarie Range, although distant many miles, being
very blue and hazy, caused a considerable degree of animation in us
while toiling over the loose sandy plains to-day.

13th. Sunday. Rested ourselves at the peninsula all this day. I aired
the whole of my specimens and packed them up in an empty flour cask. The
water of the river has fallen almost a foot since last night.

14th. Monday. The river fell upwards of 9 inches in the course of last
night. Our horses had strayed in the night and were not taken when I
left the encampment. Mr. Evans had already started (with his assistant
wheeling the perambulator), and I commenced tracing their steps at an
easy pace over the plains. Crossing the eastern boundary of Molle's
Plains, I continued for the space of 8 miles over Harrington's until I
arrived at the resting place of the 29th ultimo. Here I stopped, in
expectation of being overtaken by our baggage horses in the course of
the day. Mr. Evans and Parr, who had advanced 2 miles to the eastward of
this spot, returned to me about 2 o'clock. The plains abound with emu. I
observed five large fine birds, and Mr. Evans saw seven feeding on the
flats near the river. Finding that the horses did not make their
appearance and not caring to return to the encampment, 9 miles westerly
of us, we determined to bivouac, and collected wood, making up a large
fire for the night, which relieved us from the action of the frosty air,
for we had no bedding or provision.

15th. Tuesday. In full expectation that the horses with our party would
proceed forward to us we remained at our last night's fires till 11
o'clock, when, suspecting some accident had happened, we determined to
return to the encampment. We, however, met our people and horses 2 miles
distant. It appears the horses had strayed away about 10 miles over the
plains in a southerly direction and were not secured until late last
night. We passed our fires about 3 miles to the eastward and halted on
the immediate bank of the river, the late flood of which had fallen
about 3 feet. Our dogs caught one of the emus seen yesterday.

16th. Wednesday. From the banks of the river we travelled over the sandy
plains, tracing our old footsteps through a very sterile scrub and low
grassy land to our halting place of the 28th ultimo, being 8¼ miles from
the bank we left this morning. It being early in the day we continued
our route about 3 miles further round the lagoon and stopped for the
night in a tolerable dry and (dead) wooded spot near the angle of the
lagoon, which abounds with vast bodies of wild duck and other waterfowl.
I gathered specimens of Loranthus angustifolius, parasitical on the
snake-bark, and a little trifling Arabis. Of a flock of emu, about 20 in
number, our dogs secured for us two fine birds, which were distributed
among the people and ourselves.

17th. Thursday. At a late hour we left our resting place at the swamp
and advanced on our journey, over small open plains and scrubby tracts
alternately, for upwards Of 4½ miles, when we turned out of the old
beaten path, which we had traced, in order to make as direct and
straight a path as possible to the margin of Smith's Plains. An Acacia
allied to A. suaveolens decorates these dreary wastes with its great
profusion of golden flowers, and the new genus of the Bignoniaceae
having a persistent calyx. A shrub with succulent short leaves, and much
the habit of Bursaria spinosa, is frequent here as in other situations,
not in flower or fruit. Continuing our route about 5 miles over a
country grey with Acacia pendula, and not caring to pursue our journey
through a thick brush on the confines of which we had arrived and in
which we might fare worse in point of herbage and grass for our horses,
we turned in towards the river and halted at a recent native encampment
on the margin of a small lagoon. The soil in this day's route is red and
sandy, and very heavy with the rain of last night.

18th. Friday. In hopes of making a good day's journey to our resting
place of the 24th ultimo, we left the lagoon at an early hour. Tracing
our path through a very considerable brush, at the extremity of which
Cape Porteous bore northeasterly about 8½ miles, we passed an open flat
of some extent and entered a brush of small Callitris and dwarf
Eucalyptus, with some low scrub, in which a new Bossiaea abounds. At 12½
miles we arrived under the north-west side of Macquarie Range, where I
collected the following interesting duplicate specimens, which are much
finer and more luxuriant than I have observed previously. Indigofera
sp., Dodonaea cuneata. D. heterophylla, Cassia glauca. Under Cape
Porteous I gathered Anthocercis albicans in young fruit, and duplicate
specimens of Senecio anethifolius. Upon examining some shrubs of Correa
speciosa I discovered a capsule with ripe seeds. Callitris verrucosa of
the Euryalean Scrub, a trailing twiggy Solanum, and a small slender Sida
are plants by no means rare under this range. In the flats near the
mount I discovered a new Amaryllis whose bulbs were very near the
surface of the earth. I likewise found a few more of the larger rooted
Amaryllis discovered by me on the 24th ultimo. Pursuing our journey
about 3 miles, we arrived at an old encampment about 4 o'clock and
halted our horses; having travelled the 15½ miles with more than
ordinary ease. We could distinctly hear some natives on the opposite
side of the river, but they did not make their appearance. These woods
near the river are full of the little Sowerbaea in damp situations.

19th. Saturday. Our stage to the spot where we made the river on the
23rd ultimo being about 11 miles, we started about 9 o'clock in hopes of
reaching that bend of the river early in the afternoon. Clearing the
wood we travelled over Strangford's Plains on a course running nearly
parallel with Macquarie's Range--about 6 miles. The Pancratium Macquaria
[= Calostemma purpureum] and Sowerbaea are scattered on the flats, with
a small yellow Hypoxis.[*] I gathered seeds of the pendulous Eucalyptus
(allied to E. paniculata), as well as a few seeds of E. bicolor. Taking
a route more northerly for the last 5 miles we arrived at our old
resting place in good time. The flood from the eastward, which we had
observed down this river, had filled the creek by which the large lagoon
is supplied from the stream. From very recent marks of natives on the
trees, and the removal of a quantity of dry grass from the spot on which
we left it, it is evident this place has been visited by natives since
we left it on our journey over the plain. Our dogs killed a very lofty

20th. Sunday. We remained quiet the whole of this day in order to rest
our horses. Some of our people who had gone out from us early this
morning in pursuit of game returned to the tent about 2 o'clock this
afternoon with a couple of emu and a red haired kangaroo (macropus),
distinct in colour and size from elegans.

21st. Monday. The river rose considerably since last evening, indicative
of much rain having fallen to the eastward. Mr. Oxley intends to
commence his journey up the river for a few days and endeavour to cross
its stream at a favourable and easy place, continuing on the north side
in order to ascertain what this river in reality is, and should it prove
to be the Lachlan, we are at liberty when on the opposite bank to leave
it to prevent being entangled in its swamps, and shall then be able to
bear away northerly in search of the Macquarie, and return on it to
Bathurst. This is our present plan of advancement, which like all others
must be governed by local circumstances, contingencies which no human
eye can foresee. About 9 o'clock we commenced our new route up the river
on the plains, making a small clear mount bearing north easterly 2 miles
from the angle of the wood in which we had encamped. From this elevation
Mr. Evans took bearings of some remarkable elevated spots to the
northward of us. The general appearance of the country before us is
plain and brushy spots alternately with some mounts and ranges as far as
the eye can see. Goulburn's Range bore from the mount north-easterly 1½
miles, which is contrasted with ranges of hills on the opposite side of
the river, We observed some smoke issuing through the trees on the lower
lands, which informed us of the presence of natives, and, it being in
our course, we made up to it. Natives had been there this morning but
were gone; their fires were still burning, round which many fresh bones
of the wallabee[*] or brush kangaroo were scattered, and the gunya or
bark hut had been thrown down. These plains or flats produce the same
plants as Smith Plains.

[* Wallaby.]

Stretching over these small plains at 8 miles we came upon the river,
which is considerably beyond its usual and proper limits, as may be seen
by the trees that the increased flood has placed in the middle of the
stream--still evidently rising. Having passed a short scrub, we stopped
and pitched our tent at a remarkable elbow of the river, being about 11
miles from our last encampment. The travelling over these plains is
heavy, being wet and slimy, and the woody lands soft and hollow. Our
course generally was N.N.E. The river has occasionally several short
windings in a small distance, so as to form parallel lines with each

Our huntsmen came up with a native, his two gins or wives and three
small children. They were extremely shy and by no means friendly,
showing symptoms of suspicion and mistrust towards our people, who tried
to persuade them to follow them to our encampment but to no purpose. The
man was represented as of a strong robust athletic habit, perfectly
naked, and armed with a stone hatchet and a long spear of acacia wood,
with which he continually kept our people at a distance when they
attempted to approach the females. The women were of delicate low
stature, wore short mantles of skin round their shoulders, but were
otherwise naked and were from 25 to 30 years of age. They carried some
wooden spoon-shaped instruments in their hands, with which they dig for
grubs, or roots. Our people made free and took one of these spoons which
they brought to our tent. It was this little family that had left the
fire in the brush this morning (which we had made up to), and the man
was so exasperated with our people continuing to follow him that he went
back to the bark hut, threw it down and went off with his family
precipitately to the river calling to his companions.

22nd. Tuesday. Fine clear cool morning. We could distinctly hear the
conversation of natives, who appeared to be on the same side of the
river on which we were encamped, but they were not seen. Continuing our
route easterly we desired to reach the base of a mount called Mount
Torrens, of which we took bearings from the clear hill yesterday with a
view of making further observations. We, however, found that the river
ran to the southward of it placing it on the opposite bank and
consequently preventing us from approaching it. At about 4 miles we came
to the foot of an elevated hill, which Mr. Oxley has named Mount
Farquhar, in honour of Mr. Walter Farquhar physician to H.R.H. the
Prince Regent, from which several bearings were taken. Mount Torrens
bore about 1½ miles northerly of us. The centre of the three principal
eminences connected together bearing north easterly several miles, has
been termed Mount Davidson, in honour of Walter Davidson Esqre., nephew
of the above gentleman. Mount Farquhar is very bare and sterile, its
upper surface being covered with a species of granite mixed with loose
coarse fragments of quartz. Its summit has some burnt specimens of
Casuarina with long fine brittle leaves and some dwarf Eucalypti. A
beautiful white flowered Aster, frequently observed previously,
decorates the slopes of this mount, and the delicate Tecoma Oxleyi its
rocky north side. I observed a species of Thlaspi differing but little
from Thlaspi montanum a diminutive Eriophorum, a Bossiaea, and an
Asclepiad of volubilous habit on the southern base. I gathered specimens
of a Sida filiformis with a slender procumbent stem. I likewise observed
some few plants of Nictoiana undulata. The country to the northward
appears broken and hilly. Descending this mount we travelled N.E.,
passing brushy spots and open slimy tracts of country covered with large
bushes of a species of Rhagodia. I here gathered the following:--seeds
of Cotula sp., leaves elongated, flowers white; and another species with
cuneated dentated leaves and yellow flowers; a species of Richea, and
some grasses. Entering a clear confined scrub in which I collected
specimens of a Thesium, we halted at 10 miles near the immediate bank of
the river in a damp spot and at a place where there was but little food
for the horses.

The soil of the brush is uniformly red, sandy and sterile, and that of
the open plains damp and slimy. The south bank of the river is in many
places very high, and of a red earth, the stream is 30 feet wide and its
windings numerous. The smaller rooted Amaryllis discovered under Cape
Porteous we noticed in clusters near the surface of the soil. The
tetrandrous nut-tree is frequent with Clematis occidentalis, producing
abundance of male flowers. Our hunters, who had lost their way, were
wandering in a dense prickly scrub to the southward of us and did not
fall in with our horse-track till late at night, which alone enabled
them to find our encampment. They had killed an emu but were unable to
carry him to the tent, so they left him in a tree till to-morrow. The
flood will prevent us from crossing the river for some days.

23rd. Wednesday. We departed from our encampment at an early hour this
morning, cleared the brush and stretched across the plain to some gentle
rising land that ran down to the margin of the river. We here took away
the emu that had been killed last evening from the tree on which the
huntsmen had hung him. The country north-easterly, in which our route
lay, is the same as yesterday, at 7 miles we were obliged to make the
river in consequence of a large lake 3 miles long and about half that
space wide, the lower lands in its vicinity being exceedingly wet and
swampy. Changing our course we continued about 3 miles up the river, but
found that a further advancement only entangled us in bogs and swamps.
Crossing some rocky hills, we stayed and pitched our tent near to an arm
running southerly from the river to the above lake, which is supplied by

On the late swampy lands for the space of 3 miles were Polygonum junceum
[= Muehlerbeckia Cunninghami] and other plants usually found in such
situations. The open flats abound with the large Rhagodia, the young
leaves of which we found an excellent substitute for cabbage. On the
rocky hills near our tent I observed a species of Psychotria in fruit,
but, being subject to insects or disease, furnished no good seeds; a
simple leaved Acacia, with terminal panicles of flowers, frequent on
Bathurst Plains, is likewise common on the elevated spots. A mount
called Mount Byng bore easterly 20 miles. The stream has been running
generally from the southward to-day, and the flood increases. The
present singular surface of the plains is within 5 feet of the highest
flood mark on the Blue Gums on its banks, some of which are standing in
the present mid channel. Our journey was 11½ miles. The snake-bark is
now large and frequent, taking the place of Sterculia heterophylla,
which has not appeared for some time. Our dogs killed 3 emu on the flats
near the river.

24th. Thursday. We ascertained by a mark that the river had fallen about
one inch in the course of the last night. In consequence of the
difficulty of continuing our journey on the left bank, Mr. Oxley has
resolved to remain at our present station and endeavour to form a bridge
of trees, enabling us to convey our provisions, luggage and selves
across to the right bank, there being little or no doubt of its being
the Lachlan River or its outlet from the swamps, which prevented us from
proceeding further on the course we were pursuing on the 12th May last.
The men were therefore employed in felling such large gum trees as would
reach over to the opposite bank, which, however, we found labour in
vain. The water is too deep and the current so rapid and strong as to
carry away the trees which we had fallen over it without the least
difficulty. Upon tracing its banks down with a view of examining the
same in order to find an eligible place to construct a bridge we
discovered another arm 40 ft. wide running N. of West from the river,
which we did not observe yesterday. Not finding any fair spot either
favoured with lofty trees and narrow channel or otherwise, Mr. Oxley
sent the men to the southern arm but it appears their attempts failed in
the formation of a bridge, there being no trees sufficiently large to
fall for that purpose, or where there were any of the ordinary size, the
channel was so deep as to form no lodgment as a rest or stay for the
branches, the current not allowing them to remain stationary.

25th. Friday. Having no resource left (being entirely blocked by the
river and its dependencies) but to try another part of the southern arm,
our people with much labour and perseverance threw a bridge over it in a
shallow part sufficiently strong to bear the weight of ourselves and
luggage. The river has fallen 3½ inches since last night, and in 4 hours
it dropped 1½ inches. Burns, who had visited with his dogs the elevated
grounds, brought us a fine large emu which they had selected from a
large flock. He reported that about 2 miles south from us he came to the
shores of an extensive lake, forming a very large sheet of water
encircled by a sandy beach. Mr. Oxley visited this water in the
afternoon. The plants on the flats near the southern arm vary not in the
smallest degree from those common on the Lachlan River. By observation
taken this day our lat. is 33°13'28" S., and long. 146°40'20" E.

26th. Saturday. Morning fair. Taking an early breakfast and accompanied
by Mr. Evans, Fraser and Parr, I visited the lake which had been
discovered yesterday, and being only 2 miles southerly we were soon
presented with a view of this truly magnificent body of water. Its
breadth is about 3 miles, and its length probably exceeds 7 miles; it is
bounded by fine large sandy shores; the north side is bold and rocky. It
is skirted by Blue Gum and Cypress; its surface is covered with large
bodies of pelicans, wild duck, teal, divers etc., and to add to the
general beauty of the scene Goulburn's lofty range and Peel's range
appear at a distance in the background. We proceeded round the beach
easterly in order to obtain a good and favourable view of this lake, of
which sketches were taken. On the bare open rising grounds above the
lake, I observed some small specimens of Sterculia heterophylla, a
blue-flowered Clitoria, and some common Gnaphalia. This lake has been
called the Prince Regent's Lake.[*] A beautiful reclining strong growing
herbaceous plant, of the Diadelphous Leguminasae, I discovered on these
sterile flats, and which proves to be a new Kennedya. The flowers have
much the shape and colour of Kennedya rubicunda, but are twice the size.
The plant is perennial. I likewise discovered on the sands of the lake a
species of Polygonum with dioecious flowers, forming a shrub one foot
high. I also furnished myself with female flowers of the new Clematis:
the large yellow-flowered Goodenia is likewise common. Mount Aiton could
be seen from a particular point of view, and we now estimate Mount
Granard to be 72 miles north-westerly of that elevation. It was 2
o'clock in the afternoon before we returned to our encampment, which was
broken up and all the luggage conveyed over the southern arm by the
bridge; our horses swam forward, tracing the river up its banks, and
there was nothing left for us but to follow their tracks with all
possible despatch. The country appears to rise, although it has signs of
having been inundated. It is alternately woody with high coarse grass
and plains, on which the white flowered stoloniferous Chrysanthemum is
most predominant. About 4½ miles on our line of route we passed another
extensive sheet of water about the same width as the Prince Regent's
Lake, but clear of timber, and so full of water as to be up to the
highest mossy water mark. It appeared to wind to the southward and
eastward and in all probability is of considerable depth. Continuing on
our horse-tracks about 3 miles we rounded a lagoon of remarkable fine
clear water and arrived at our tent in a bend of the river at dusk. Our
people discovered a large native bark canoe, which Mr. Oxley intends to
make use of in the conveyance of our provisions over the river, there
being a great doubt whether we shall be able to construct a bridge so
long as the flood continues. Our journey was about 8 miles from our
bridge over the southern arm, generally north-easterly.

[* Lake Cargellico.]

27th. Sunday. The land on the opposite side of the river appearing high
and rising, and hence would afford us better travelling, induced Mr.
Oxley to make the attempt to ferry over our luggage in the bark canoe.
It was, however, too hazardous an experiment to be carried into effect,
for the canoe would not carry two of our men. We had lost two days of
the last week in consequence of detention at the southern arm and
therefore considered ourselves by no means justified to halt this day,
especially as the whole of our provisions in hand would not at the
present ration last longer than 7 weeks. It was late before we continued
our journey, which was about 5 miles, and descending to some grassy
swamps we changed our course to the east and continued half a mile on
the margin of a thick scrub bounded by bog. Resuming our course of N.E.
we passed some land that had been fired by natives, and stretching over
a plain came to an angle of a large serpentine lagoon of remarkably
clear water, down which we continued 1 mile and a half to the river
where we pitched our tent having travelled 9¾ miles. I discovered a new
species of Stenochilus, with ovate-lanceolate leaves and axillary
peduncles, scarcely longer than the leaves. It has the largest drupes of
all I have seen. The flowers are scarlet and spotted inside. A small
Phleum, and the pygmy plants called Siloxerus humifusus, and a Plantago
with lanceolate, entire-nerved leaves, are frequent on the wet flats.
Fraser, who had gone down to the river, had noticed several natives
cutting bark from the gum trees for their huts. They were forming an
encampment on the opposite side of the river, and desisted for the
moment when they perceived him, but upon his continuing his journey
resumed their labours on the trees. There were 6 men, 2 women, and 2

28th. Monday. Sharp frost last night. About 9 o'clock we continued our
route easterly, in order to clear a small creek running from the river.
We came out upon a low swampy grassy flat bounded by serpentine lagoons
communicating with the river to the northward of it. Unable to ascertain
our distance from the river we penetrated the brush in order to make the
banks, but its stream had bent in westerly so that in the attempt our
men and horses became involved in deep narrow bights of lagoons, some of
which formed serpentine windings round the N.E. margin of the small
plains; at this critical moment we got dispersed into different parties.

Having travelled about 11 miles on various courses, generally
north-easterly, myself, two men and four horses came to an angle of the
river where we halted, in the hopes that the other part of our company
would follow our footsteps and meet us at this point. The country
assumes the same gloomy appearance as it has for some time past. The
plains are, however, firm and hard, and the river does not appear to
fall; its stream in many places is very wide, at this angle 50 feet, and
running about two knots per hour. From the plains some hills bore
northerly. It was sunset and not one of the party appearing, we unloaded
the horses and encamped for the night round a large fire. We fired a
musket to inform our people-who I concluded were not far from us-of our
situation, and we were answered by Mr. Oxley's party.

29th. Tuesday. In consequence of the deep bights of the river yesterday,
and not being able to track Mr. Evans, we were separated during the
night. Mr. Oxley with all the horses (except four which were with me)
was encamped 2 miles behind me, when Mr. Evans, who had made good 13
miles on a N.E. course, had passed the night with five of the party in a
brush about 2 miles to the eastward of my resting place, but without any
provisions. I despatched one of the people back to Mr. Oxley to inform
him of my situation as well as that of Mr. Evans, which I learnt from
Fraser, one of his party, who came back to me for some provisions. It
was about 11 o'clock before we all collected in a body at Mr. Evans's
encampment. We proceeded forward in a direction governed by the
inclination of the river, which was about S.E. by E., for the space Of 7
miles before we stopped for the day. On the damp plains I furnished
myself with specimens of Siloxerus humifusus; Plantago sp., a small
delicate plant; and another species, stemless, with leaves oblong, and
petioled, a diminutive plant of a species of Goodenia; and an Anacyclus,
a small plant with blue flowers.

On the south side of the flats there is a range of hills running east
and west, from which Mr. Oxley took several bearings of points named and
seen from Mount Cunningham. We came to the conclusion that the river
having run so far from the westward and north-westerly would turn out to
be the Macquarie but our ideas are found to be chimerical; the
observations of Mr. Oxley tending to clear up any doubts existing
respecting its being other than the Lachlan's outlets from the swamps.
Mr. Oxley's bearings agreed exactly with the mounts and hills laid down
in the charts in May last previous to the abandonment of the boats.

Near our encampment a native grave of modern construction, from the
regular manner and systematical mode in which everything connected with
it is disposed, led us to conclude that this mausoleum[*] contained the
remains of some person of eminence, either a chief or one who had
acquired from his skill in hunting, the respect and awe of his
countrymen. It is a mound of earth about 3 feet above the level of the
ground and is bounded on one side by three rows of seats forming the
segment of a circle and of the following dimensions. The inside tier 40
ft. long, the centre 45 feet and the outer one 50 feet. Each tier is 4½
feet apart and about one foot high. On the opposite side of the grave is
a single tree less than any of the others, and on the north and south
side of the grave are openings to it.

[* The site of this grave of an aboriginal king is now marked by a stone
cairn by the New South Wales Government.]

About 6 feet to the west of this mausoleum stood a cypress on which was
cut out with very considerable labour remarkable characters, the stem
having been previously barked and about 30 feet north west was another
having some singular figures deeply cut on its stem--perhaps a
description of the man, his age, and cause of death. The banks of the
river vary in height, from 5 to 16 feet, clothed as usual with Acacia
stenophylla and a few Casuarinae. The Cypress and Blue Gum are more
abundant than they were.

30th. Wednesday. Mr. Oxley having satisfied himself that this river is
the Lachlan and that it would answer no purpose to advance further on
its banks (having already arrived near the confines of the large swamps)
has resolved to try the experiment of falling trees over the stream to
form a bridge, or construct a raft that would convey our luggage and
provisions over the river in a safe and dry condition. The boat-builder
with some of the people were accordingly employed to fall the timber and
form a raft with all possible despatch. Repapered my green specimens
that had been collected some days. Rain without intermission in showers
all the forenoon.

As Mr. Oxley is instructed to collect all the information possible
respecting the government, customs and habits of the aborigines of the
country over which we might pass--points on account of the sparse thin
population of Western Australia, with which we had no opportunity to
furnish ourselves--he intends to open the grave in order to ascertain
its internal appearance. Removing the whole of the mound, we found it
vaulted with pieces of wood and layers of bark and came to the body
about 3½ feet below the surface of the ground, compressed in a grave 2
feet by 4, formed in long ovate figure sufficient to contain that part
of a person from head to hip--the legs and feet having been forced over
the shoulders. The body was placed on its right side, and the face
looking towards the East or rising sun. His head was ornamented with the
usual netting, and his opossum hatchet-girdle was placed behind him.
From the size of his bones he appears to have been a man of 6 feet, and
might have been 40 years of age, and apparently had not been dead six
months. Our people took up his skull, which had the hair very fresh upon
it. It's upper jaw wanted one of the front teeth, which loss may be
occasioned by the same custom prevailing here as is adopted on the
Eastern coast. The skull Mr. Oxley intends to take with us, as a subject
for study by craniologists.

31st. Thursday. Fine and clear. Our people are employed sawing pine or
cypress for the raft, which being a heavy job will scarcely be finished
this day. Took a walk on the neighbouring hills. The following are the
whole of the plants that came within my observation. Helichrysum
bicolor, scales of calyx tinged with a red colour and the leaves
terminated in a naked mucrone. Gnaphalium fragrans, scented like the
Touquin Bean. Brunonia australis is very common on the hills, at the
base of which I gathered seeds of Dodonaea pinnata. One of the
Gentianaceae, frequently observed, has a variety here with white
flowers; and some few shrubs producing orange capsules, likewise
abundant. From the summit of the most elevated bill of the range
(bearing three quarters of a mile south of our tent), which has been
called Piper's Hill, in honour of our naval officer of Port Jackson
Harbour, Captain Piper, we had an extensive panoramic view of the
country around us for about 40 miles. Among the numerous observations
and bearings taken by Mr. Oxley, I'll only note the following. A mount
bearing N.W. about 45 or 50 miles distant has been named Mount Bauer, in
honour of Francis and Ferdinand Bauer, Esqres., particularly of the
latter gentleman whose indefatigable labours in the illustration of
Australian Botany merit a much higher honour than a distant mount that
may never be seen by European eyes again, and doubtless will never be
visited by any. The country between us and the Mounts bearing southward
and eastward appear flat and wooded in some places, and it is probable
that the Macquarie may not run far north of us, and we are in hopes of
intersecting it in about 12 days on a N.E. course, steering for Hurd's
Peak [Mt. Tolga]. I observed some western iron bark, Eucalyptus
sideroxylon, on the south side of the hills, miserably small and
stunted. During our stay in this encampment we made some excellent meals
of the large Rhagodia, which is an excellent substitute for spinach. The
river falls rapidly.

1817. August 1st. Friday. The river has decreased about 14 inches in the
course of the night. Our boat builder finished the raft and we launched
her. We intended to convey the whole of our baggage over to the north
bank of the river this afternoon, but we failed in the attempt. We had
fixed a line across the stream, which is not less than 50 feet wide,
making it fast to the Blue Gums on each bank to act as a warp by which
the raft might be drawn backwards and forwards. We however, found it
altogether impracticable, The man on the raft, in the act of pulling
himself over, found the midchannel current so strong as to oblige him to
quit his hold of the line, and the raft becoming unmanageable, was
carried with the man nearly three quarters of a mile down the stream
before we could send some of our people to assist to stop her. They
found it difficult to tow her up against the stream, and she was left
fast to a stump. Some trees of sufficient height on its south bank we
fixed upon to form a bridge, and we set our people to work to saw them
down, but they could not be fallen to-day, being thick and sound at
their butts. The lat. and long. at this remarkable spot under Piper's
Hill is 33°04'02" S., and supposed long. 146°47'30" E., but by chart
147°05' E.[*]

[* Oxley now decided to leave the Lachlan River, and crossing it on a
raft took a north-easterly course, when be discovered Wellington

2nd. Saturday. A steady rain set in early this morning, continuing
without intermission till about 11 o'clock. With considerable labour our
people felled two large trees, but being turned round they were carried
lengthwise down the river by its strong sweeping current, so that it
will be in vain to attempt any of these works so long as the flood
continues, which may not be long, as the river has fallen 13 inclies
since the last evening. Our situation, becoming in some measure
alarming, every day lessens our provisions, and we have not the means of
turning what we have to good account by proceeding forward on our
journey homeward.

Mr. Oxley sent two of our people up the river on horseback to search for
a fair spot to make another trial to form a bridge. They, however,
returned after a ride of about 8 miles upon the banks but found no
eligible place to make the experiment. They observed a stream larger
than the river running from the N.E. and forming a junction with it
about 3 miles from our tent, which we suspect to be the north-west arm
of the Lachlan River.

3rd. Sunday. We have now but one resource left and that is our raft
which our people had towed up the river to an eddy that might be of much
use to us, by drifting diagonally to the opposite bank. Mr. Oxley rode
up the south bank of the river to ascertain the nature of the country to
the southward and eastward, as also to observe the arm that our people
had reported to run into it. In his absence we formed a double towing
rope of all the halters lashings and slings we could muster. Combining
them together, we ferried over the whole of our provisions in casks, and
our luggage on the raft to the opposite bank on the north side of the
river, and swam the horses, all which operation was carried into effect
with all possible despatch and without any accident happening, which we
considered a miracle; our raft being waterlogged, and when laden was
several inches under water, independently of the rapid whirls of the
stream against which we had to contend. We encamped on the rising
grounds of the north bank. I sowed some peach stones and quince seeds.

Mr. Oxley returned from his ride and came over the river to us. He
intends to lose no more time but strike away N.E. easterly from the
difficult river and pass near Hurd's Peak in our route homewards. He
found the higher lands a few miles up the southern bank very boggy and
bad travelling from the late rains. Our people were all occupied
slinging casks and arranging each horse's load. Mr. Oxley has determined
to proceed on the above course to-morrow morning.

August 4th. Monday. We commenced our route N.E. by E. over a tract of
damp slimy country covered with Rhagodia, and plains abounding with
Acacia Pendula and several shrubs heretofore noticed. The land rises
gently and gradually, but assumes no better appearance in soil and
timber. At 6 miles the Acacia homalophylla becomes very common, with A.
pendula and snake-bark and small Cypress forming an extensive lofty
brush for several miles. Passing over some rocky elevated ground, where
I gathered some fine specimens of Acacia doratoxylon, we entered a very
confined close Euryalean scrub composed of Eucalyptus dumosa, and
several fine plants. In this intricate scrub I gathered some new and
beautiful plants:-viz: Pimelea flava, a slender small shrub.
Prostanthera, with stem, flowers axillary solitary and greenish, a low
depressed shrub. A species of Acacia dasyphylla with linear lanceolate
pubescent leaves, is frequent, forming dense bushes. Aster decurrens [=
Olearia decurrens] and A. cuneatus [= Olearia stellulata] and Clematis
occidentalis are likewise very common. Some patches of land that had
been formerly fired by the natives producing some good tufts of grass
induced us to turn out of our course in the scrub and halt upon it. This
scrub continues for some miles with all the sterility imaginable, hence
we are extremely fortunate in having an opportunity of turning out of it
to a spot where our horses would find good grass, and where we found
some water in two native wells, added to a little from the river which
we had carried in a keg it was abundantly sufficient for the whole of
us. On the flats I gathered anew Gnaphalium leaves linear and hooked,
flowers crowded and terminal. We had advanced on a variable route 13¼
miles per perambulator but only 12½ on our true course. The nut trees
(tetrandrous shrub) are loaded with fruit, and the new Jasminum and
several species of Dodonaea present themselves in these lone places.
From some rising ground we observed Hurd's Peak bearing N.E. about 6
miles from us.

5th. Tuesday. Sharp frost early. This morning we left our halting place,
continuing our course through the Euryalean scrub about 3 miles, with
little or no variation in the botany. I gathered seeds of the Western
Iron Bark and specimens of a new species of Acacia cardiophylla. The
spinous grass and aculeated Daviesia rendered our advancement through
this scrub very painful. Onward the country for 6 miles is rising and
covered with a confined brush of Acacia homalophylla. The timber is of
Eucalyptus micrantha or Bastard Box, and Cypress. The recent marks of
natives digging for grubs, and remains of fires, led us to conclude that
water could not be far distant. Mr. Evans, who as usual had gone on
before the horses, came very providentially to some small holes of
stagnant water surrounded by Polygonum junceum [= Muehlenbeckia
Cunninghami] and, although it partook of the white colour of the clay on
which it rested, it was of very essential service to us. We watered our
horses and took the precaution to fill a keg for ourselves.

The country for the next mile is elevated and stony, and from the sudden
change that is obvious in timber, being Casuarina of lofty height and
tolerable bulk, we were anticipating a fine forest land, but were
disappointed. Passing a range of large granite stones we entered a thick
scrub, which continued for some miles, but were obliged to halt in it,
having travelled 13½ miles and no appearance of water. We sent some of
our people 3 miles in search of water, which they found in small
quantities in the holes and gullies, and of a red tinge, from the
ferruginous colour of the stones over which it had run.

In the bush in which we were encamped I observed the little plant of the
habit of Westringia, first observed on the 1st of June of which I
gathered duplicate seeds. The general and sterility and want of water in
the country, as we advance, obliges us to proceed forward by rapid and
longer marches than we otherwise would, in hopes of intersecting the
Macquarie River, should it run so far from Bathurst. Served out half a
pint of water each to the people.

6th. Wednesday. At daybreak sent to the range for water. Continuing our
route on the same course, I accompanied Mr. Oxley and Fraser to the
hills nearest to the Point. Made it in 4½ miles. Mr. Oxley took a few
bearings while I was examining the few plants that grew on its rugged
summit. Indigofera speciosa, Tecoma Oxleyi, Boronia pulchella,
Eriostemon sp., Senecio sp., with aspen-like leaves, papillously rough,
with corymbose flowers. Eucalyptus sp. (Blue Gum), Callitris glauca, and
Acacia doratoxylon, very small, compose the whole of its botany.

The country to the northward is mountainous and broken, but easterly it
appears more flat and level. Crossing the country from the base of the
range, we intersected our horse track in about 3 miles in which we
passed creeks, two of which contained some water where we quenched the
great thirst of our horses. In our route we observed several fine
specimens of Sterculia heterophylla, but not in flower or fruit.
Descending from a slight rise we entered a stony brush (denominated an
iron bark scrub), exceedingly close and confined, in which I discovered
a few new plants viz:--Dodonaea calycina, a slender twiggy shrub
remarkable for its large calycinal leaves. Pultenaea sp., leaves
linear-oblong, which are, with the calyx and branches, silky. Dillwynia
sp., allied to D. floribunda. All the plants observed in Peel's Range
are likewise here, of which Acacia sp., allied to A. decipiens, is very
common. The timber of this scrub is Eucalyptus sideroxylon, an iron
bark, cypress and a species of Eucalyptus with long lanceolate leaves,
not in flower.

Having penetrated 3 miles through the brush, we were obliged to halt at
nightfall at a clear spot where there was some coarse grass for our
horses, although no water for them and little for us. Our journey this
day is 13½ miles, which we found a very severe stage. Near our
encampment our boat-builder was sent to drain a few small holes of water
into one, in order to secure some for our breakfast in the morning. Our
dogs had killed a small kangaroo, which we distributed with the water in
our kegs among the whole of us. Outside our tent I discovered a new
Acacia, with linear-lanceolate leaves, which are bent by the indenture
of a gland on the interior margin, solitary axillary capitula of
flowers, and elongated filaments.

7th. Thursday. Served out a ration of drained water much discoloured by
the soil. Leaving our encampment our course led us through a continuance
of the same difficult scrub for the space Of 4¼ miles. These gloomy
shades are much beautified by several beautiful acacias, which are now
in the greatest beauty and luxuriance. At the termination of the scrub,
the country suddenly changes to forest grassy land, with a slight brush
of Acacia sp., allied to A. decurrens, among which I observed Pimelea
colorans, a shrub whose flowers change from white to a deep blue colour.
The land continues of the forest description with slight risings for
upwards of 6 miles to a considerable tract of burnt grass, where was
good pasturage for our horses. The change of stone from a quartz to a
red variegated granite, common on the Macquarie River, and the
appearance of several of our Bathurst plants, suggested to us that a
change of country was near at hand.

Clearing the more bushy forest an immense expanse of clear open hilly
country opened to our view, with valleys having much the appearance of
the rising grounds between Campbell's River and Bathurst. The hills are
bare and grassy, but the soil is not much better than that already
passed. Travelling through the valley on an easterly course we arrived
at a creek, which we traced down and in it discovered water in abundance
for ourselves and horses. Accordingly we halted for the day and pitched
our tent on its high bank, having made good 13¼ miles. The hills between
which this creek runs are rocky and productive of some fine plants.
Acacia spectabilis (a new sp.), with bipinnate leaves, and axillary
elongated spikes of flowers, making a very magnificent appearance.
Acacia sp., with terminal panicles of flowers, common on the Bathurst
Plains. Tecoma Oxleyi; Prostanthera nivea; Grevillea sp., allied to G.
sphacelata, and an Hibbertia with linear leaves and fine yellow flowers.
We saw kangaroo and emu, of which our dogs secured some for us. Among
some burnt grassy spots I observed an entire-leaved Solamim, and another
with broad ovate glossy foliage, aculeated, and glaucus beneath; they
were not in flower. The timber is Bastard Box and Callitris sp., seen
first at Mount Aiton, with scales of the fruit sub-calceolated, and some
fine lofty specimens of Sterculia heterophylla.

8th. Friday. Our horses required rest from the labours of the 4 last
days. We therefore continued at our encampment in the vale, which has
been called Hamelin's Valley. In the afternoon I visited some hills in
the neighbourhood, on the rocky summit of which I gathered specimens of
a new plant of the Epacrideae, (Leucopogon).

I gathered likewise some duplicate seeds of Tecoma Oxleyi. We find by
observation our tent is situate in lat. 32°47'58" S., and long. 147°50'
E., and the mean variation of the compass is 5°20' E.

9th. Saturday. Resuming our journey from Hamelin's Valley on a course
N.E. by E. the country assumes an appearance that we hoped to have
passed altogether. At the extremity of the vale we entered a thick
brushwood of diminutive Eucalyptus, Cypress and Acacia, which continues
until terminated by some rising rocky ground, covered for the most part
with iron bark, which is not in flower. These little hills form
boundaries to small valleys, on their eastern sides having abundance of
high brown grass. I observed several unusually large specimens of
Sterculia heterophylla from one of which I procured specimens in pod and
a few seeds. The timber, although 20 in. to 2 ft. 6 in. diameter, cannot
be appropriated to any useful or ornamental purposes in cabinet or other
works, on account of its soft and spongy texture. A short period after
it has been bruised or cut a resinous gum oozes from the wound, and is
of the nature and colour of the resin produced by the several genera of
the Coniferae. It was at 7 miles on this day's route we arrived at a
thick brush, through which ran a creek north and south, containing some
stagnant discoloured water. At this providential place we watered the

Among the interesting plants observed in this brush, a species of
Daviesia with linear round spinescent leaves and axillary racemes of
flowers, which is now very luxuriant, with Acacia obliqua and A.
pendula. The land for the next 6 miles is brushy forest and rocky
Eucalyptian hills, succeeded by a confined brush of Cypress, in which I
gathered the seeds and specimens of a second species of shrub of the
habit of Westringia, with quadrangular sulcated horizontal branches.
Clearing the brush we came upon an open grassy district, and halted at a
spot where there was abundance of wood, and grass for the horses, but no
water. Mr. Oxley sent a man in search of some, but he returned
unsuccessful. The water we had had the precaution to carry in a keg was
served out to each of us at one and a half pint per man.

10th. Sunday. We sent at daybreak two of our people to a small water
hole 2½ miles back on the journey of yesterday for some water for our
breakfast. We were obliged to advance forward this morning in
consequence of the want of water for our horses and selves. About 3
miles at the commencement of our journey the country is fine and open,
grassy and thickly clothed with timber common about Bathurst, the
Lachlan depôt and the Eastern coast. Onward about 4 miles the land
exhibits a miserable barren appearance with irregular risings and scrubs
of the description passed yesterday. To our surprise, at 6¾ miles we
came suddenly to a rocky creek containing some fine water, at present
stagnant, but having the marks of flood and hence suggesting the idea of
its deriving its supplies from the hills southward, and running when
full northerly and ultimately emptying itself into the Macquarie. Mr.
Oxley rode down it 6 miles, when its general tendency was northerly in
the character of a chain of ponds. About a mile down the creek (in which
Arundo phragmites is frequent), which is about 8 feet wide, we halted
and pitched our tent on the side of an old native encampment. Here we
saw quantities of the horse-mussel shells with which the creek had
furnished them, and some stones on which they had been sharpening some
weapons or instruments, perhaps their mogos or stone hatchets. The very
recent marks of kangaroo and emu among the fine brown grass and forest
land in the vicinity of the creek are proofs of the abundance of those
animals in these fine grassy grounds. I gathered fresh specimens of
Callitris glauca, those that I had formerly collected having suffered
from friction. The Styphelia, first seen on George's Range, I noticed in
the brush of this day.

11th. Monday. We remained the whole of the day at our encampment on this
creek, which Mr. Oxley has termed Gaygarne's Ponds, after a friend of
his. Our lat. is 32°44'29" S., and long. 148°14'15" East, and mean
variation of the compass is 7°18'00" S. Our hunters returned from the
chase with three kangaroos.

12th. Tuesday. We pursued our journey northerly of the course we have
been travelling for some days past in hopes of intersecting the
Macquarie River, which from appearances could not be far distant. Course
N.E. Having passed the grassy forest land near the creek, we arrived at
the margin of an open plain, from which we had a view of a distant range
northward of us, which appeared very lofty. Stretching over the plain
about a mile we passed through a very sterile scrubby district, somewhat
elevated, thickly wooded with Bastard Box, Cypress, and the Casuarina
(or Swamp Oak), and having the same character in the botany as before
observed. The Acaciae, which are predominant, are not so far advanced
towards a flowering state as we had seen them some days previously. This
brush continues to the termination of our journey this day (which was 12
miles), and we pitched our tent near some holes of water, where was
burnt grass for the horses. I gathered duplicate seeds of Scaevola
prostrata and of a species of Myoporum, a common shrub in the brush. The
travelling was for the most part soft and boggy this day. The small
Adiantum; Lobelia sp., allied to L. purpurascens; and a species of
Satureia, all plants of swamps, were observed on the plains. In clear
water-holes at our present resting place I discovered a second species
of an Alisma, it appears of stronger growth than the species common in
running waters in New South Wales.

13th. Wednesday. Still in hopes of seeing the Macquarie River we
continued our route on the same N.E. course on which we had travelled
yesterday. In about 2 miles from our halting place we came to a creek or
small rivulet from 12 to 14 feet wide, and between 5 and 6 feet deep,
which received the waters falling from the lofty range to the southward
and eastward, whose elevated summit we occasionally had a glimpse of
through the trees. By the motionless appearance of dead leaves floating
on its surface the stream was just discernible running to the northward.
Crossing this water (which abounds with several common aquatic plants,
such as Potamogeton natans, Actinocarpus, etc.), by means of a fallen
tree, but passing our horses over higher up at a rocky ford, we
continued our journey about 7 miles over a barren scrubby country broken
with dry water-holes encircled by swamp oak (Casuarina), cypress and
Acacia Pendula. I had occasion in this day's route to make the same
observation relative to the backwardness of the plants in a flowering
state which we have seen expanded some days past in the south-westward.
The land assumes an improving state, being slightly brushed foresty
country, covered with flint, strong brome grass and timber of Callitris
sp. (common at Bathurst), and Bastard Box of considerable bulk. At the
termination Of 12½ miles, arriving at some holes of water, we stopped
for the night. This water is tinged with the colour of the white sandy
marsh through which it filters, and runs gently over a rushy cypress

14th. Thursday. At an early hour we advanced on our journey over a
continuance of the same grassy forest land on which we had halted last
night. Thickly wooded for about 5 miles, and becoming hilly as we
approached the lofty range before us. On the first rising ground, which
is clothed with western iron bark, I discovered a new species of Acacia
impressa and a species of Leucopogon; the Acacia forming a small tree
10-12 feet high, and in young fruit and flower. The timber on the
succession of hills and grassy valleys was unvaried until we had passed
8 miles, to another rocky eminence, where Eucalyptus micrantha or
Bastard Box becomes less frequent, but is succeeded by the stringy bark
of the eastern coast. I likewise observed plants that are indigenous
near Sydney, such as Zamia spiralis, Xanthorrhaea, Hakea, Kennedya
monophylla and Calythrix tetragona. A glaucous, oblique-leaved
Eucalyptus, first observed in the Vale of Clwyd, is frequent in the

Passing several gullies or water courses that ran through the valley, we
ascended a rocky mount near to but detached from the range, whence Mr.
Oxley took several bearings. The country appeared perfectly flat,
presenting a clear horizon from N. to W. and round to the south. Finding
it necessary to change the course to due east, we continued until we had
cleared 12½ miles, when we halted at a creek, whose waters ran through a
thick cypress channel.

We had scarcely unladen our horses and pitched the tent, when some of
our people distinctly heard a continual hammering, as of a native with
his hatchet. Mr. Oxley with some of our people went towards the spot
whence the sound proceeded--about a quarter of a mile from our
encampment--and discovered a native upon a tree, cutting out an opossum
from its hollow trunk, in which the little animal had taken refuge from
its pursuers.	He became alarmed as we approached the tree, crying out
to his companions, which soon brought another native from the
hills--loaded with kangaroo, rats and snakes--to his assistance. It was
with much persuasion, and more particularly when he observed that we
were kind to his comrade, that this native was induced to descend the
tree to us. We led them to our tent and sat them down by our fire, at
which they roasted the fruits of their labours entire, gutting the
opossum, and when sufficiently baked, devouring the entrails first, as a
great delicacy, which they appeared to enjoy the more when powdered and
peppered with fine wood-ashes! Although exceedingly intimidated by our
numbers, and lost in wonder at our colour and all things belonging to us
around them their shyness and fears gradually disappeared when they
experienced our kind treatment. They ate of our bread and drank of our
water from a tin pot, which they had never seen before, and became very
loquacious. Mr. Oxley exchanged for a green jade hatchet of theirs an
old iron one of ours. We showed them with what despatch and great ease
we could cut horizontally through a gum tree, which with their mogos or
stone axes woould be a work of great labour, and would be only bruised
through diagonally. We showed them their image a glass, and took them to
our horses, the sight of which with everything about them was a source
of much surprise, which they manifested in wild extravagant gestures and
grimaces. Mr. Oxley presented them with a knife and a handkerchief. They
were young men of 5 feet 4-6 inches, of well-proportioned features, and
with large bushy heads of hair, which gave them a wild ferocious
appearance. The cartilage of the nose of one of them was perforated and
a stick or reed passed through it. They did not want for their front
teeth. The pain occasioned by the deep tattooing process on their backs
and breasts must be almost intolerable. Large cartilaginous pieces of
flesh projected from their backs--almost an inch--forming various
figures. They were perfectly naked, and had no spears or weapons of
defence. Desirous of departing to their companions, whose numbers
(perhaps their women?) they gave us to understand by their fingers were
five--and whose faces we saw from the rocky hill to-day, they walked off
without the least signs of fear or distrust.

15th. Friday. Resuming our journey easterly about 9 o'clock we were
obliged to steer our course more northerly, in order to avoid some lofty
parts of the range by passing over the lower risings or bends of the
same. The whole of this day's journey was a succession of hills and
valleys, well watered by creeks running in various bends through them,
generally inclining northerly; and throughout the whole there is no want
or scarcity of water, although there has been no rain of any consequence
for a considerable time. The timber is Bastard Box, Western Iron Bark,
and some few specimens of the Eucalyptus and Stringy Bark on the hills,
on which there were some fine fragments of red granite and some pieces
of limestone.

The plants observed to-day were not different from any before seen,
Acacia impressa is frequent on the rocky hills, with several others of
its congeners. Our courses from the nature of the country were various,
generally easterly; the continual ascents and descents were very
fatiguing to our horses and ourselves, and induced us to halt at 10½
miles on a spot where we could furnish ourselves with abundance of dead
wood and water from a reed-grassy creek that was in a running state.

It is a singular fact that we came upon the footmarks of oxen very deep
on the banks of a water course in the valley. We traced them along the
creek a considerable distance in order to ascertain beyond doubt this
remarkable incident. They may be the Government cattle that were missing
from Cox's River, and which were supposed and reported accordingly to
have died in the mountains. Our baggage horses were followed by nine
natives (men) during the last 6 miles of this journey to our tent. They
manifested no symptoms of fear when they came up to us, were very
talkative, and expressed their surprise at different objects around
them. They appeared to be acquainted with iron nails, and from this
circumstance it is very possible they had seen some white men in or
about Bathurst, or had been in company with some stock-keepers and
cattle drivers on the Macquarie River, which they appeared to be well
acquainted with, and made signs as to the direction that stream bore
from us which gave us hopes of seeing it in a few days. Our dogs had
killed for us some kangaroos; we therefore gave them the forequarters of
one of these animals, which they roasted at our fires. Having served out
to ourselves and people the ration of pork and flour, we broke up the
casks and converted the iron hoops into swords with which we furnished
each of them one, presenting to the most intelligent man (apparently),
an old file, the use of which we learned him by sharpening the edge of
his cimetar. They appeared highly delighted with these pieces of iron,
which they would soon turn to a variety of uses. We likewise gave them
each a piece of pork, which they did not appear to relish--on account of
its saltness. After our people had enjoyed a dance or corroboree with
them, these harmless inoffensive natives left us, returning the road
they came. They were two elderly, six strong younger men and a lad; and
their appearances and habits were the same as of those seen yesterday.
They were quite naked and unarmed and the lad appeared to be related to
a person of eminence from the circumstance of his seating himself at a
small distance from the rest, and from the respect they appeared to pay
him, and the tattooing on his back was more diversified and different.

16th. Saturday. Slight frost. We left our last night's resting place,
pursuing an easterly course through grassy valleys bounded by gentle
hills, covered loosely with lamina of red slate substance, fragments of
red granite and some tolerably fair specimens of agate, some of which
were, however, fractured. At 4 miles on our journey we ascended a lofty
tree; from thence we had a view of the country to the N.E. and S.E.,
which consists of hills and vales thinly clothed with timber. The
general inclination of these hills is from the southward to the north. A
misty line of exhalation arising between the hills induced us to change
our course to N.E., on which route we advanced about 4 miles and a half
when to our surprise we arrived at the right bank of a stream[*] which
we supposed might possibly be the Macquarie, the river we have so long
calculated upon and wished to see. The water is clear and there is
enough current in it to state it is not stagnant. It is now about 4 feet
deep and is in places overrun with Arundo phragmites, and had marks of
flood 12 feet above its present level. Its banks are rocky, occasionally
very high and perpendicular, of red earth. In some places it formed
handsome straight reaches, which gave to this rivulet a pleasant
picturesque appearance. The cattle tracks were very distinct and deep on
its banks, which are now dry and dusty, proving to us that no rain had
fallen for some time.

[* Named by Oxley, Molle's Rivulet.]

We traced the rivulet for 3 miles and crossed it, availing ourselves of
a shoaly rocky part to ford over to the opposite high bank where we
encamped. The hills on this side were fired by the natives, the flames
making rapid progress in the dry high grass. The plants now became
exceedingly uninteresting. The timber is small iron and stringy bark on
the hills: several Bathurst plants are common on the lower lands.
Eucalyptus perfoliata of the Vale of Clwyd, with Persoonia spathulata
are common on the grassy flats. Our journey was 12½ miles. A lofty mount
seen northerly from the hill on which we ascended this morning has been
called Mount Johnson. The channel of the river abounds with Azolla
pinnata, floating on its surface.

17th. Sunday. Mild morning. We rested the whole of this day. Hibbertia
cuneata, Swainsona coronillaefolia, Croton acerifolius, Indigofera
australls, and Croton, are all plants on the banks of the rivulet. From
a fine grassy hill bearing three quarters of a mile N. by E. I gathered
specimens of a bulbous rooted Cyperus with woolly leaves; Eucalyptus
glauca, forming a tree 30 feet or 40 feet high, with an angular umbel of
flowers, is frequent, and, being now in flower, induced me to gather
specimens. Fraser, who had been sent away a few miles in order to
ascertain, if possible, something more satisfactory respecting the
rivulet, returned having made no new discovery. On the highlands and
rising grassy spots I gathered specimens of an Acacia appearing distinct
from A. decurrens, not only in the habit of its inflorescence but in the
position of its glands and form of its foliage. It is an arbuscula and
apt to form thick bushes.

I accompanied Mr. Oxley and Mr. Evans to the summit of a hill of steep
ascent, which has been called Elizabeth Hill, where some bearings were
taken of remarkable points on the course we intended to pursue. Between
a range of hills running north and south and bearing E.N.E. 10 miles,
there is an appearance of a river, from the steep perpendicular banks
descending to a valley or hollow, and we could trace a line of haze for
a considerable length south and north, above the summits of the hills
over the valley. From these appearances we are inclined to believe that
the Macquarie is there situated, running northerly, and that this
watercourse on which we are encamped is only a conductor of the rain in
a body to the river north-westerly of us. We caught a fish in this

18th. Monday. Previous to leaving our present encampment I planted some
peach stones on the rich bank of this supposed rivulet. Our course this
day is east-southerly over a country for the first 10 miles appearing
somewhat different from the aspect it presented some days previous,
being scarcely so open and more encumbered with small timber, less
hilly, and occasionally covered with Acacia. The soil is good and the
whole fine grazing land, flats or valleys, producing an abundance of
Dalea, with procumbent stems, frequent at the depôt on Lachlan River.
Crossing a deep dry creek, we passed a flat burnt tract and ascended a
range of rocky hills in our course, which there is no avoiding. From
their summit the country to the southward and eastward appears very
hilly and broken as far as the eye could see. We could clearly
distinguish in a north easterly direction, between the opening of the
hills, a strip appearing like a sandbank or a body of reeds on the bank
of a river.

It is evident from the uneven and broken nature of the country before us
that there must exist a considerable channel to receive and carry off
the great bodies of water that fall at different seasons on these hills
and collect in the deep gullies below. Our present course being stopped
by deep ravines and water courses, we descended with some difficulty
with all our horses, and followed the windings of the gullies upwards of
3 miles But finding we were not near their termination we halted at dusk
on the margin of a swamp formed by the stagnant waters. This connexion
of ravines, winding in different directions (generally north-easterly)
and bounded by rocky elevated hills on each side, has a very picturesque
appearance, and has been called Glen Finlas. Fragments of limestone were
picked up by our people in a half-burnt st ate.

Some beautiful plants are found in this glen, of which the following are
the most material. Pullenaea sp., rich in flowers--a beautiful
shrub--and Oxylobium sp. The rocky declivities were covered with a
beautiful Acacia, having small, oblong, oblique, villous leaves, and
axillary racemes of flowers, forming a tree 16-20 feet high--A.
conspicua. Bignonia australis is very common, supporting itself on
shrubs. Cryptandra ericifolia is likewise in great profusion.

I here observed with surprise Correa speciosa, reminding us of a part of
Western Australia that none of our party cares to see or visit again.
Croton viscosus of Mount Flinders and Macquarie Range formed here very
strong plants. Pimelea colorans is very fine, and shows its character in
the shaded excavations. A new Helichrysum with slender fine leaves and
terminal white flowers. H. linifolium, is very common. A small
Westringia triphylla, first observed in the low country N.E. of Mount
Aiton, is common beneath the shelving rocks of the glen. A species of
Cassia with 6 or 7 pairs of leaflets, which are lanceolate and revolute,
the glands pedicelled, and the stipules subulate. I gathered specimens
of this shrub in pod. Hibbertia sp., a weak, trailing, shrubby plant, on
rocks. Our journey this day was 14½ miles.

19th. Tuesday. Our journey this morning continued through the Glen,
tracing the several windings of the water-course for the space of 2
miles, where it terminated, opening to us a most beautiful spacious
valley, thinly clothed with timber of moderate size and covered with
brome grass, growing very luxuriantly in a very rich black soil, and
plentifully watered by a rapid, limpid rivulet[*] winding through its
centre, which being connected with the encircling lofty hills, thickly
covered with cypress to their summits, beautifies the vale exceedingly.
The rivulet is about 3½ feet deep and 10-12 feet wide, having the reed
grass on its margin, and the Azolla in great abundance on its surface.
Casuarinae are also scattered on the banks--of large size.

Tracing the rivulet down through the vale, we crossed and continued on
its north bank. Mr. Oxley traced it to its junction with a large fine
stream about 2 miles down the vale, which we doubt not is the long
wished for Macquarie River. Its banks are high, shelving and rocky, and
thinly clothed with several of the Eucalypti, among which are abundance
of that irregular tree called the Apple Tree in New South Wales. In the
course of our advancement from the north bank of the Lachlan River to
this vale, which is a distance of 150 miles, we crossed 7 creeks all
tending northerly to this river, which accumulates as it runs the
accession of water it receives on both sides from the country around.
The soil continues uniformly rich and good through the vale to its
immediate banks. The bottom or bed of the river is sandy and gravelly,
and very large horse-mussels are found in it. Our huntsmen, who left us
early in the glen and who were the first persons to come upon the vale,
saw a large flock of emu feeding, of which our dogs could only get one
bird. There can be no doubt, by diligent search, that limestone in
quantities might be found on the hills, as we noticed some few fragments
yesterday, and there are timbers of various kinds by which, added to the
luxuriance of the soil, all the desires of the industrious settler are
granted. In clear rocky waterholes in the glen there is a species of
Potamogeton with ovate, alternate, broad leaves, and lanceolate
undulated ones beneath the water sheathing the stem. It was not in
flower or seed. Tracing the river up 2 miles we encamped on its banks.
The valley is called by Mr. Oxley, Wellington Vale.[**]

[* Named by Oxley, Bell River, in honour of Major Bell.]

[** Where now stands the town of Wellington.]

20th. Wednesday. We continued in the vale all the day in order to make
some general observations relative to the natural productions that would
be so beneficial to the settlers in this fertile tract of country. Among
the plants indigenous to its banks, I noticed Solanum laciniatum, common
on the eastern coast, now in fruit, which is ovate and of an orange
colour; and a species of Rubus. Urtica dioica, and Croton acerifolius.
Some of our people, who had been in pursuit of game, brought from the
hills some fragments of stone, which appeared to them to be similar to
the limestone of the creek of that name in long 149°00'00" or
thereabouts, which we crossed on the 22nd April on our way to the
Lachlan Depôt. This stone very strongly effervesced on the application
of acids. By reference to our situation on the charts it appears that
the doubts we have had respecting our longitude are unfounded; our
computations are correct. We are exactly on the meridian of the
Limestone Creek. It is hence that a singular hypothesis has arisen that
the stratum of lime runs N. and S. on that very particular meridian,
which is likewise applicable to the vegetable productions. Metrosideros
saligna, Croton acerifolius, Callitris sp., and some other plants of the
above-mentioned creek are in great abundance in the vale here and in
Glen Finlas.

The stream on which we were encamped on Sunday last we have now called
Molle’s Rivulet. By observations taken by Mr. Oxley with a sextant we
find our lat. is 32° 32’ 45" S., and long. 149° 20’ 00" E. as computed.
Mean var. of compass is 8° 38’ E. Mr. Oxley intends to remain at our
present station the whole of to-morrow, which will enable him to ride
down the river a few miles. Our dogs furnished us with plenty of fresh
provisions having killed 4 large emus on the flats near the river, where
they abound. We likewise caught some fish.

21st. Thursday. This morning I accompanied Mr. Oxley and Mr. Evans on
horseback down the river to ascertain its general direction and the
character of the country in its vicinity. Riding down the vale we crossed
the rivulet, but were unable to keep the banks of the river, in
consequence of the steep sloping rocky hills which run down to the water.
We were obliged to trace the gullies through the ravines formed by lofty

At intervals some beautiful views of the bend of the river bounded by
rich verdant flats on each side were presented to us from the openings in
and on the summits of the hills. At one place the river forms a depressed
serpentine figure, and led us at first sight to suspect another stream as
large as itself ran from the northwestward and had formed a junction with
it. Having cleared the hills we followed the river on its immediate bank
about 12 miles, in which space it forms many handsome, bold reaches with
occasional easy windings to various points of the compass but whose
general tendency is northerly. Arriving at a rocky perpendicular bank,
perhaps 80 ft. above the river, which runs under it, we had a commanding
view of the rich flats on its banks and the fine grassy land in the far
ground, thickly wooded. About a mile to the northward of this rock may be
seen a very high red bank on the opposite side of the river, to reach
which we rode over some luxuriant tracts covered with a variety of
herbage. We are upwards of 12 miles from our encampment and the whole of
the country is a continuation of that excellence of soil and fit for
every purpose of agriculture. The marks of the flood were about 16 ft.
above the level of the river. The country has been burnt at no distant
period, and the grass that has grown from the old clumps is exceedingly
strong and luxuriant.

Returning to the remarkably large rock, which is of a black slaty colour
and nature and has a dip or inclination of about 45 degrees east. I
discovered a specimen of Hovea elliptica, which appeared to be the
Poiretia elliptica of Dr. Smith, gathered at King George’s Sound by Mr.
Menzies. It is a shrub of about 5 feet in height, of slender habit, and
is in flower. The flowers are produced from the axils of the leaves.
Being the predominant plant of this singular point we have proposed to
call it Hove’s Rock, as a compliment to Antony Hove Esqr., a traveller in
Cape Colony. From this point of view are seen some gentle windings and
noble reaches of this wandering stream, which is of a regular uniform
breadth of about 40 yards. Dodonaea heterophylla, Swainsona
coronillaefolia, Haloragis tetragyna, a filiform Campanula, a viscid
Acrostichum, Kennedya monophylla, and Clematis occidentalis, compose the
whole of the Flora of Hove’s Rock. We passed on our route back to the
tent several abandoned native encampments on the river side, from which
we picked up some few large shells of the horse-mussel, which the natives
had procured from the reed grass in the river, for the sake of their
fish, which had been roasted. On a Sterculia we observed some ancient
marks of the natives, of the same description and character as at the
Aboriginean Mausoleum under Piper’s Hill, but time had mouldered the
grave down to the level of the soil, and we saw no vestige of any

The river, we observed, is apt to divide its stream for a short distance,
and form long strips of islands between the streamlets, which again
unite. Near one of these places we disturbed an emu and four young ones.
In our return through the ravines I gathered fine specimens of
Helichrysum linifolium A shrub of the Myrtaceae, 10-12 feet high, in
fruit is rare on the hills; with a species of Cryptandra, larger than C.
ericifolia. Strong marks of wild or strayed cattle we raced on the banks.
Some of the cypresses on the hills are of large dimensions and excellent
for house timbers, and the Casuarina or Swamp Oak is very strong, of
considerable bulk and very useful for shingling roofs. Bright moonlight
night. We discovered abundance of limestone in rocks and some fragments
on the hills; some, that had been half burnt by the natives having fired
the grassy hills, had been changed lime by the subsequent action of the
rain upon it.


Aug. 22nd. Friday. Opposite our tent we strongly marked a Blue Gum tree
of considerable magnitude on sides facing the four principal cardinal
points as a mark of our first encampment on the Macquarie River; and I
planted on the bank the two last of my peach stones and the remaining
seeds of quinces. The rain threatened much about the period of our
leaving the vale; we were, however, the more desirous of proceeding
forward to Bathurst as our provisions were daily diminishing. The
country as we advanced is a succession of fine valleys, with gentle
rising hills covered with grass and not encumbered with timber. On a
hill running down to the river about 3 miles from our late encampment we
observed considerable quantities of limestone, and some few specimens of
agate, as well as lamina between granite, as we detached loose pieces of
irregular form and slaty substances of divers colours. The rain that had
set in very heavy about noon obliged us, by its incessant continuance,
to stop for the day at about 5½ miles journey. Fair at dusk. The hills
around us abound with a delicate species of Pimelea differing from P.
curviflora in the leaves being more lanceolate, and the lobes of the
calyx (or corolla) being of an orange-red colour and somewhat more
acute. Our people caught several fish of 2 or 3 lbs. weight, and our
dogs secured kangaroo and 2 emu.

23rd. Saturday. Continuing our journey on the banks of the river, which,
with the grassy hills, produce a strong luxuriant grass and are thickly
wooded with Eucalyptus sp., Blue Gum and Apple Trees, with very few
Callitris. The travelling near the river becomes difficult, by reason of
some deep gullies that conduct the water from the neighbouring hills to
the river. We noticed some lofty hills on the opposite side, but more
distant from its immediate bank than those on this side, which
frequently run down to the water's edge. The Acacia sp., (allied to A.
decurrens), form some magnificent small trees from 25 to 30 feet high,
decorating as well as the hills the margin of the stream with its
tresses of golden flowers. Our dogs chased a large buck kangaroo from
the hills into the river, over which he swam, but was followed by them
and after being turned swam back again and was ultimately killed.
Perhaps there are few instances, as we have seen none in our journey,
wherein a greater tenacity of life had shown itself than in this

We traced the river up about 11 miles, crossing several deep
water-courses, which were very fatiguing and harassing to our
pack-horses. The river, which ran generally from the southward, had
formed a gentle wind from the south-west when we stopped for the day. It
was running rapidly over a stony bottom, forming a kind of slight fall,
called a ripple. A species of Acacia oleaefolia [= A. lunata], and
another species, more common on the margin of the gullies, viz. Acacia
sp., with lanceolate, oblique leaves having 3 glands at equal distances
on their interior margin; flowers axillary and panicled. Some of the
Papilionaceae of the class Decandria, before mentioned, are now very
frequent. The height of former flood is about 25 feet above its present

24th. Sunday. Although we had travelled yesterday over about 11 miles in
a winding circuitous route, tracing the river, yet on our direct course
to Bathurst we had not made good more than 4 miles. This delay, added to
the great difficulty of travelling immediately on the river in
consequence of the many deep, sharp gullies, obliged us to quit the
river's bank altogether and steer a course more southerly in order to
travel straight to the settlement. We served out the last of our flour
and pork this evening, which ration is to serve us a week, until our
arrival M the plains.

Upon leaving the river the country becomes very hilly, and we were
unable to keep any direct line of course, but chose those elevations
easiest of accession. Had we continued on the river bank, although we
might have met with deep gullies from the hills, we should have
generally experienced much better travelling, and firmer for the horses
feet, and a more clear interesting tract of country than we have had on
this day's journey, which only entangled us among hills covered with
loose fragments of granite. Passing the first mile or thereabouts, the
land is thickly burdened with small timber and becomes bushy and
scrubby. Daviesia mimosoides (H.K.), D. acicularis, Oxylobium sp.,
allied to 0. cordifolum, very common. Acacia sp., allied to A. armata,
but furnished with longer spinescent stipulae, the pubescent variety of
A. obliqua of Persoon: Veronica perfoliala, Dianella sp., and some
common species of Pimelea. The timber is very small, of Eucalyptus
glauca and E. sp., leaves obovate, with flowers in umbellated racemes,
terminal and crowded. On the rocky hills I gathered specimens of some of
Orchidaceae allied to Arethusa; Diuris sp. Our horses were so much
fatigued as to oblige us to halt in a stony situation on the margin of a
gully containing some running water, which we found very hard, and hence
we suspect it originated in a spring. We travelled 8½ miles. Soil
excepting in the brushy spots generally good.

25th. Monday. Mr. Oxley rode forward with our tomahawkman, to mark a
road for the baggage and horses to pass over the hills and the easier
descents to the valleys, which expand to a greater extent as we advanced
a few miles, being covered with high brome grass and small timber of
Bastard Box. About 7 miles from our last night's resting place we
arrived at a small stream of water, very fine and clear, running
westerly over a rocky bottom, and doubtless having its source in the
hills. Passing from this rippling stream of water over some gentle hills
that had been very recently burnt by the natives, the country becomes
less difficult, and the valleys are fine and grassy, abundantly watered
with creeks of running water meandering through the lower lands. The
general inclination of the gullies and water-courses, is to the
westward, and hence it may be inferred that they collect themselves into
the rivulet which runs through Wellington Vale, and ultimately empty
themselves into the Macquarie.

The valleys abound with game. Our dogs killed a buck and doe kangaroo.
To the nipple of the abdominal pouch of the latter was attached a small
young kangaroo, which appeared to have grown out of it. It was perfectly
naked and blind. By what means the young of these animals are brought
forth and placed in the pouch is not ascertained and it still remains a
mystery. I gathered specimens of a species of Hakea, a weak twiggy
plant, frequent in high grass. In low brushy spots I observed Cryptandra
amara, Dodonaea heterophylla, Veronica perfoliata, Zamia spiralis and
Acacia armatoides. Exocarpus cupressiformis, a native cherry, is very
common on the hills. Arriving at some running water in a valley our
perambulator showed that we had travelled 11 miles. We therefore halted
at 2 o'clock and pitched our tent. Mount Lachlan bore from us due south
very distant.

We could distinguish its lofty summit over an elevated range north of it
and from its blueness of appearance it could not be less than 40 miles
from us. We have made about 10 miles south which was our general course
this day.

26th. Tuesday. We left our last night's encampment at an early hour on
the course we travelled yesterday. About 4 miles from our camp a fine
creek of water runs through the valley easterly to the river, which is a
few miles distant from us. Some brushy patches afforded me handsome
specimens of Acacia verniciflua, a new species seen on the Lachlan
River, but not until now in flower; it is highly glossed with a viscid
gum. I likewise discovered Acacia vomeriformis, a new species, with
triangular leaves, differing from A. biflora in the elongation of the
exterior angle of the leaf, and the floral capitulum being solitary,
axillary and many-flowered. The flowers are sulphur coloured.	The
little Hovea heterophylla is as frequent on the hills as it is abundant
among the grass in the valleys. Several Eastern coast plants now begin
to appear such as Stylidium gummifolium, Tetratheca ericifolia, and
Gompholobium latifolium. I gathered flowering specimens of a species of
Hakea microcarpa, with the lower leaves flat and entire, while those of
the branches are filiform. Loranthus aurantiacus, parasitical on the
Blue Gum, which timber succeeds the Eucalyptus called Stringy Bark at
about 8 miles on this day's journey. We had advanced about 10 miles when
we	into a valley, crossed a creek of running water and, passing
through a thick brush of Pultenaea, descended a hill to the hollow and
halted, having made on our southerly course 12½ miles, which with some
to easterly amounted to 13½ miles. Some of the hills produce a slaty
stone, and it is the opinion of some of us that coal might be found
beneath its surface. Abundance of kangaroo in the valleys. They were,
however, too fleet, and only one small buck was taken.

27th. Wednesday. From the valley we pursued our route with an unwearied
perseverance in hopes of reaching the settlement at Bathurst on Saturday
evening next. We commenced our journey over a very rugged broken
country, particularly to the southward; the high lands to the eastward
were enveloped in a thick mist, which however, evaporated as the day
advanced. I observed on a lofty hill some 6 miles on our journey some
good specimens of blue slate, in thick lamina, which I traced down its
declivity to a deep running rocky gully of water. Mr. Oxley was of the
opinion that coal might be found beneath it, but the difficulty of
turning such productions found here to any colonial use or benefit, on
account of the extreme rugged nature of the country, renders its
examination scarcely worth the expense it would naturally incur. We
found likewise some specimens of ironstone. On the summit of some small
hills, which are covered with Eucalyptus dumosa, Acacia verniciflua and
A. vomeriformis, very luxuriantly in flower, I gathered seeds of Hakea
microcarpa. Among the grass a secondary variety of the little Hovea with
white flowers appears. At 10 miles ran a fine large deep rivulet of
water on a very rocky bottom. We were obliged to keep along the range
for a short space, until an easy practicable descent enabled us to drive
our horses without danger down the ravine. We crossed this rivulet,
which is about 3 ft. deep and has a rapid current, and encamped on the
rocky bank opposite. We noticed marks of flood 18 feet perpendicular
height over the slender waving heads of the Casuarinae skirting its
channel, in which I gathered seeds of a dead plant of the Umbelliferae,
they are like those of Trachymene. The steep rugged falls abound with
Correa virens of the Eastern coast, a plant I have not seen throughout
the whole of the expedition. A rigid stiff leafless shrub, with apposite
spines, not in flower, suspected to be a Daviesia, is likewise frequent
with the Correa. Some fine groups of crystals were found in the channel
of the creek or rivulet. The day continued fine throughout. Gathered
seeds of Hakea microcarpa, with specimens in fruit.

28th. Thursday. We calculate that we are not more than 36 miles
south-easterly from the settlement and hope to arrive at the plains on
Saturday evening. We had not travelled a mile and a half before we were
obliged to change our course, in consequence of the S.E. rivulet which
we had observed yesterday forming a junction with the other which we had
crossed last night, taking a long winding turn and running southerly.
The country in our route is a continuation of the very broken hilly
tract we have travelled over for some days past. The lower lands grassy,
while the more elevated spots are barren and scrubby. I discovered on
these hills a new species of Acacia cuspidata (a variety of A. diffusa);
a shrub of the Proteaceae, which appears to belong to the genus Anadenia
[= Grevillea ilicifolia], and a Helichrysum with wrinkled calyx, now in
flower. Several eastern coast plants occasionally appear, such as
Patersonia sericea, Pultenaea stipularis, and Billardiera mutabilis [=
B. menders], now in fruit.

About 8 miles on a south easterly course we descended into a valley
bounded by a lofty range running N.W. westerly and S.E. easterly. The
valley is very swampy and covered with very long grass. The timber on
the elevated grounds as well as the surface of the soil, which is very
rotten and boggy, has much the appearance of that at Bathurst. On this
range there is a remarkable subconical point, which Mr. Oxley has called
Mount Laver, and another to the northward of it is entitled Mount
Fraser, after His Excellency's collector. Mr. Oxley ascended the summit
of the range and distinguished clearly the plains of Bathurst above 21
miles distant. The rivulet above mentioned we crossed in the swampy
valley at 10½ miles, at a place where there is a picturesque narrow fall
Of 4-5 feet. It runs to the N.W. parallel with the range. Flood marks
are seen to the height of 6 feet above the level of the river, which of
course inundated the whole of the lands to the base of Mount Laver.
Continuing our journey up the valley, and passing over some short rugged
sharp stony hills and small valleys for about 2 miles, we arrived at a
sandy water-course, in which we found some little water and accordingly
halted, having made good 12¾ miles. The Blue Gum is more abundant now,
and, from the dampnes's of he rising grounds, it is evident rain has
lately fallen. The travelling was tolerably good, considering the rugged
hilly parts over which our route led us. The descents, however, were
more gentle and easy.

29th. Friday. We suspect we are distant from the settlement 19 miles
S.E. easterly, and we left our last night's resting place in hopes of
approaching near Bathurst this evening. Crossing several small
water-courses that intersected our course we ascended to the summit of a
very rocky eminence about 1½ miles from our last night's encampment, and
from thence the long wished for plains were presented to our view. On
this rugged height I observed Acacia conspicua, from which I gathered a
few more seeds. I discovered two new plants on this extremely sterile
elevation, viz.--Hovea heterophylla, leaves linear, short and
reticulated, furrugineous on the under side, a new, exceedingly
beautiful species, forming a small shrub, now in flower. I gathered from
a plant of it one seed; and Zieria sp., a bushy dense shrub, with
ternate ovate tomentose leaves, and axillary peduncles of flowers.

We had had a very long campaign in Western Australia, and were literally
upon our last legs in point of dress throughout the whole of us. We all
felt a degree of joy when we cherished the hope that a few hours would
restore us to permanent habitations and to the society of friends and
countrymen. Although a hilly long journey, but having a fine day before
us, we determined if possible to reach the settlement this evening, and
accordingly we each set out a fresh man and horse, with good spirits,
and at a brisk pace on an easterly course.

Banksia compar [= B. integrifolia], which we have not seen, or any of
its genus, since April last, is now become very common. Pteris aquilina
or common brake is likewise abundant on the grassy hills. Crossing
several little running waters and particularly the stream running
through Princess Charlotte's Vale we made the Macquarie River 2 miles
below the Pine Hill, and then ascertained that our great anxiety to
advance forward had got the better of our reason and had driven us far
too much to the eastward. We are 11 miles from the settlement. The day
is well advanced, and a broken track is before us. I endeavoured on all
occasions, and more particularly during the last 5 months, to turn such
contingencies to some account. In passing through the romantic rocky
scenery at Pine Hill I furnished myself with seeds of an Acacia distinct
from A. suaveolens, of which I have never before been able to procure
seeds, although repeatedly sought for. Grevillea sericea, observed at
the Fish River, is here in flower, of which I gathered specimens.
Dodonaea heterophylla, so common on the south-westernmost range of the
hills in Australia (Macquarie Range), is here very rich in flower. The
Cypress of the Eastern coast crowns the summit of the hill, and hence
its name. The soil is very poor and sterile, being a course sandy
quartzose grit, in which Daviesia latifolia and Indigofera anstralis
(plants that abound here), grow very strong. We again crossed the water
of Princess Charlotte's Vale, which after many windings runs into the
river about 8 miles N.W. of the settlement, and continuing our route to
a clear, thinly wooded hill, called Mount Pleasant, at the base of which
we arrived at 4 o'clock. We had travelled 15½ miles, and halted here
upwards of an hour for our packhorses, which were far behind. A
slender-twigged Sida, not in flower, is frequent on the immediate banks
of the river and in low swampy situations near it. Casuarina, as usual,
is very strong on the river bank, whose stream forms--below and about
the Pine Hill--some very fine picturesque winds over a stony bottom. Had
we bore away more southerly we should not have subjected ourselves and
horses to the inconvenience of our route being intersected by several
deep gullies running into the river. At nightfall we arrived at the
settlement having travelled about 19 miles.

We have been absent from Bathurst 19 weeks and have in our route formed
a circle of upwards of 1,200 miles within the parallels Of 34°30' and
32° S. lat: and between the meridians Of 149°43'00" and 143°40'00" East,
and have ascertained that the country south of the parallel Of 34° and
west of the meridian of 147°30' East is altogether uninhabitable and
useless.[*] We have all, Mr. Oxley excepted, walked since we left the
boats in May last a circuitous route Of 750 miles.

[* Fortunately sheep and cattle stations have made it rich and
comparatively populous.]


30th. Saturday. We found the sharpness of the external atmosphere much
more severe than we have experienced previously during the whole of our
tour which is accounted for by the great elevation and nakedness of the
plains. The forced march over gullies yesterday so fatigued our horses
that some of them fell beneath their loads. The horse that carried my
cask of plants fell in a swampy situation and, before the kegs could be
taken up, the water had penetrated between the staves and had slightly
injured some of my specimens. I was diligently employed in unpacking and
airing my collection of plants and seeds. Mr. Oxley wrote a letter on
service to His Excellency upon the return of the expedition.

31st. Sunday. Weather as yesterday. Day fine and clear. Appearances of a
change about 10 o'clock. Wind shifted to the northward. Dark and cloudy.
A storm of hail about 5 o'clock p.m. Showery evening continues till late
at night.

1817. Sept. 1st. Monday. This morning we sent off a large cart loaded
with luggage and collections on its way to Sydney. My collection of
plants forming large packages of bulk in casks, it was found impossible
to carry them on the only cart which we could procure at the plains.
Rather than subject my luggage to accident in passing rivulets, I
determined to accompany the whole myself, giving up my saddle horse to
bear that part of my collection that could not be carried by the cart.
About 2 o'clock we passed Campbell's River, which contained about 4 feet
water at the ford--and which is about 9 miles distant from the
settlement. Continuing our journey to the usual halting place 5 miles
east of the river we stopped for the night. Acacia vomeriformis with
Styphelia (triflora) and Daviesia corrymbosa frequent on the riverside.
Wind bleak and cold.

2nd. Tuesday. Our bullocks had strayed away from us to the Macquarie
Valley and were not found and brought back till late. We were in
consequence detained 3 hours later than we intended. At 10 o'clock we
left the resting place, travelling over a gentle hilly country covered
with a species of Eucalyptus with sharp lanceolate leaves, and usually
called Box, from the yellow colour of its wood. Banksia compar is
likewise frequent, and is continually in flower and fruit. At 9 miles we
arrived at Sidmouth Valley, where I gathered seeds of a species of
Veronica with apposite lanceolate leaves. Lotus major and other plants
common to this rich vale are now growing very fine and strong, affording
excellent pasturage for the oxen and sheep that are occasionally turned
upon it. It is now very boggy and wet, and required more than the
ordinary exertions of our bullocks to draw the loaded carts across the
swamp running through it. The hills we passed for the space of 7 miles
are sterile and sandy, on which I observed Stylidium grammifolium, the
little heterophyllous Hovea, and a yellow Elichrysum. Acacia decurrens
is common and is in flower, and also A. melanoxylon. At 4 o'clock we
descended the hill to the Fish River, which we forded and pitched our
tent on the opposite bank in the old situation. Mr. Oxley and Mr. Evans,
who had remained at Bathurst a day longer than us, left that settlement
this morning and overtook us--being on horseback--at this river. Cold
and chilling. Dull heavy weather.

3rd. Wednesday. From some few observations made in the month of April
last, when encamped on this river, I am now anxious to spend a few
moments on its rocky banks while the bullocks are yoking. Grevillea
cinerea is now in flower, which enabled me to procure more specimens, of
which I gathered some among the rocks of Pine Hill below Bathurst. I
then discovered a new Pimelea, remarkable for its thick woody growth, on
which, detached from its larger foliage, it produces its flowers on long
peduncles, which I am enabled to ascertain by the remaining parts--it
not being in flower at this period.

The journey over Clarence's Hilly Range, which is notorious for its
difficulties when passing with loaded carts is at this period being made
more easy for man and beast. Government men are forming a new line of
road in places where the ascents and descents were short and steep or
the bottoms formed by the waters of the range had become stagnant and
boggy. The new road is generally formed round a rising point when it is
safe and practicable--in place of the old one running over its
summit--so that the great horse pulls are in great measure eased, and
the swampy parts have drains cut to let off the waters that formerly
were obliged to remain for want of a declivity to carry them off.

The botany of this range is by no means interesting. The timber is Blue
Gum and the lanceolate-leaved Box (an Eucalyptus), which is of
considerable bulk and is easily distinguished by its dark green shady
foliage. I gathered specimens of the Psychotria observed in April last.
Several Eastern Coast plants now begin to appear; among them Daviesia
latifolia, which overruns the whole; a fine Dedynamous plant, allied to
Buchnera, with apposite, oblong, sessile, serrulated leaves and blue
flowers, is common among the grass, with a Bellis having an elongated
scape; and Persoonia pinifolia, Acacia discolor, Hakea daclyloides, and
a Bryonia, are all common plants about Mount Blaxland.

The difficulty of the road prevented our bullock cart from arriving at
Cox's River, a distance of 16 miles, before the afternoon was far
advanced. We were therefore obliged to halt near the depôt on its banks
for the night, although we had hoped to have proceeded 5 miles up the
Vale of Clwyd to Mount York this day. The horse that carried part of my
collection, fell in crossing the uneven rocky bottom of Cox's River and
gave me abundance of employment in rescuing my plants from destruction.
Some black crystals were found at the bottom of the range.

4th. Thursday. From our halting place on the banks of the river we
continued our route up the Vale of Clwyd 5 miles to the base of Mount
York, which we reached about midday. The timber of the Vale is chiefly
stringy bark--of the Eastern coast--of tolerable bulk. The line of road
led through several boggy wet low spots, which had ineffectually been
attempted to be improved by the aid of drains. We were obliged partly to
unload the cart to ease the bullocks in drawing it through the numerous
windings of Cox's Pass up to Mount York, an operation that consumed much
time and obliged us to encamp on the summit of the range. I observed
several interesting genera in the pass in April last, which I did not
then collect but left them till my return. The Plants are as
follows:--Epacris reclinata, a beautiful depressed procumbent shrub,
with tubular scarlet flowers, on the bare shelving rocks. A species of
Styphelia, allied to Leucopogon lanceolatus (H.K.), but different in
having its anthera extended beyond the tube of the corolla. Azorella
sp., leaves linear-lanceolate, and corymb compound. Leptospermum sp.,
allied to L. lanigerum, on exposed rocks, and another woolly species of
this genus. The Epacris of which I gathered seeds in April last is now
in flower. The Pass abounds with Podolobium heterophyllum in flower and

5th. Friday. Conformable to the instructions received by Mr. Oxley from
the Governor and agreeable to the usual form at the termination of all
expeditions, I gave (sealed up) to Mr. Oxley and Mr. Evans my memorandum
for my journals, which, with other papers they carried with them when
they left me this morning and proceeded forward with all possible
despatch to Parramatta to wait upon His Excellency. In the meantime,
while our people were striking the tent and loading the cart, I
descended into the Pass and gathered specimens of Polypodium sp., a
beautiful fern, on shaded rocks. I likewise gathered seeds and specimens
of a shrub of the genus Tetrathera, with angular, rusty branches,
distinct from T. juncea. The plants, as we travelled on this range,
presented to us much variety, but are for the most part well known
Eastern coast species. Banksia compar, which follows us from Bathurst to
the foot of the Pass is succeeded by B. serrata, B. spinulosa, B.
ericaefolia, etc. On the summit of Mount York these continue over the
Blue Mountains whose great sterility contributes not a little to the
large growth and luxuriance of this genus as well as others of the
Proteaceae, viz:--Isopogon, Petrophila, Lomatia and Telopea, which are
now very common--of the latter I gathered a quantity of its seeds. The
Conospermum of the environs of Sydney and Parramatta, and several
species of Persoonia in fruit, are very abundant. Of the Epacrideae, E.
obtusifolia and E. purpurascens, are extremely ornamental on these arid
heights. I gathered specimens of a species of a Staphylea with obtuse
oblong leaves. Of the Papilionaceae, Pultenaea villosa, P. stipularis,
P. retusa, etc., are the most common species. Platylobium formosum and a
new species with ovate, reticulated, silky leaves, of weak growth are
occasionally observed on the dry sands. The Stylidium, so frequent when
I passed in April last, is scarcely to be traced, having ripened its
seeds and died. About 10 o'clock we arrived at Blackheath, 9 miles from
Mount York, where I gathered seeds of a specimen of Eucalyptus
microphylla, a small tree not exceeding 14 feet in height, forming a
close brush and covering the whole of the mountains to the eastward. The
soil of the heath is sterile and sandy, and has much of Casuarina
stricta in a stunted state. Towards the close of the afternoon we
arrived at the (28th mile) wooden house, having travelled 21 miles, from
Mount York. A low repent reclining shrub, not in flower or fruit, with
filiform leaves, and which from its habit I suspect to be a Persoonia,
is very abundant in this day's stage. Lambertia formosa did not appear
until we had advanced several miles on our journey. Of the Rutaceae I
gathered some specimens of a beautiful species of Boronia, flowers
small, leaves pinnated and cuneated, indigenous in the neighbourhood of
Port Jackson. Near the end of this day's journey I gathered specimens of
a small shrub of the Proteaceae, with terminal spikes of pale yellow
flowers. The stunted timber is of Eucalyptus, Blue Gum and Stringy Bark.
Hakea dactyloides and H. saligna form tolerable small trees, in fruit.
Xanthorrhea seen in the brush.

6th. Saturday. From this elevation we could clearly distinguish the
cleared cultivated lands on the banks of the Hawkesbury River. Leaving
the 28th milehouse we continued our route easterly over a barren rugged
range of mountains, the road is bounded by the same description of
plants noticed in yesterday's stage, with others extremely common at
Sydney and Parramatta, such as Bossiaea scolopendria, B. heterophylla,
B. microphylla, Dillwynia ericifolia, and Xylomelum pyriforme, seen not
further west than near the 27th mile mark. Acacia, several species;
Ceratopetalum gummiferum, Callicoma serratifolia, Eriocalia [=
Actinotus] major and minor, and among these gathered the following
plants, viz.: Petrophila diversifolia, Grevillea repens, much allied to
G. Goodii, but differing in having an appressed silky pubescence on the
underside of the leaf--a prostrate plant common on the lands. Persoonia
oleifolia, a species that may range near P. flexifolia, it produces
orange flowers, and is now in fruit. P. microcarpa, a tall shrub,
frequent near Caley's Repulse. P. sp., much allied to P. mollis, Zieria
revoluta. Persoonia abietina [= curvifolia] a species appearing to be
new; leaves linear, channelled and incurved; in fruit. Styphelia sp.
(closely allied to S. reflexa of Rudge), having a much longer style and
mucron to the apex of leaf. Styphelia sp., perhaps S. reflexa, above
referred to. Imbricaria sp., a dwarf shrubby plant. Boronia triphylla,
and B. heterophylla, which differs from B. pinnata in its ovate leaves,
and from B. alata of Dr. Smith, discovered on the western coast, in
being a smooth shrub. Weinmannia sp., a shrub, common in shaded
situations in ravines not far distant from Mount Banks. Eriostemon sp.,
leaves narrow, elongated, cuneated, tuberculated; flowers axillary and
solitary. Podolobium heterophyllum. Pultenaea scabra (H.K.). Daviesia
squarrosa of Dr. Smith. Hibbertia glandulosa. Platylobium reticulatum.
Thelymitra ixioides, and Diuris maculata, in grassy and sandy
situations. Zieria sp., allied to Z. pilosa. Acacia pugioniformis, a
rigid shrub, the seeds of which were sent home by the "Kangaroo" brig in
April last. This is justly considered the most rugged and oppressive
stage of the whole journey to Bathurst, on account of the sandstone
rocks on which the road is formed. The Government carters, who
frequently travel to the settlement at the plains, generally pursue a
small circuitous route in the brush to avoid the joltings of the
increased descents, particularly at a spot called the "Twenty Mile
Hollow." About 4 o'clock we arrived at the depôt at Springwood and
halted for the day. The Telopea is very beautifully bursting into
flower, whose brilliant red appearance may be easily traced down the
declivities of the deep ravines shining through the foliage of other
plants. The day continues fine.

7th. Sunday. We left Springwood about 8 o'clock in order to cross the
Nepean River about 10 o'clock. In our road I gathered the following
specimens:--Acacia leptophylla, allied to A. suaveolens. Dodonea
filiformis. Pultenaea sp., allied to P. stenophylla, and a delicate
plant of the Orchidaceae, Serapias reflexa? leaves scented like the
Tonquin Bean. Leptomeria. Thesium drupaceum or native currant, in
flower. About noon we crossed the river at the Ferry and halted for the
day at the Depôt, one mile from the river.

8th. Monday. The tediousness of this day's stage to Parramatta (being 20
miles) was relieved by a few plants presenting themselves in flower,
which furnished me with some fine specimens viz.:--Grevillea juniperina,
a weak reclining villose shrub, with red flowers. Cryptandra sp., a
thorny shrub of much the same habit as the preceding, with crowded
obovate-spathulate leaves, and the lobes of the corolla acute.
Commersonia echinata, common in N.S. Wales. Prostanthera sp., leaves
lanceolate, with revolute margins; flowers axillary and solitary (habit
of Westringia). Aster aculeatus of Labillardière, fine in flower. I
arrived at Parramatta at dusk with the whole of our collection, having
been absent on this expedition from this place about 23 weeks.


9th. Tuesday. This morning I waited upon His Excellency the Governor in
order to report my arrival here, who congratulated me, in common with
the rest of our party, upon my safe return and presented me with letters
from the Right Hon. Sir Joseph Banks, of dates 10th and 13th February.
The Governor suggested that he had received instructions to fit out a
naval expedition to survey the north and northwest coasts, under the
command of Lieutenant P. King (son of the late Governor), who had
recently arrived, and the letters he had presented to me contained
instructions from home directing me to join Mr. King. Dined with the
Governor in the evening. Upon perusing Sir J. Banks' letters, I find
they contained his commands to that effect. As there are no vessels here
at present suitable for such an enterprise the Governor, who is
instructed to purchase one, is of the opinion that it could not be
fitted out before the beginning of the year, so that sufficient time
will be given me to prepare my collection and write forward my journal
relative to the late expedition into the Western interior.

* * * * *

17th. Wednesday. I waited this morning upon His Excellency, to request
that the packet of memoranda for the journal (which I had delivered into
the hands of John Oxley Esqre. the chief of the late expedition) might
be returned to me as early as convenient to enable me to arrange my
collection of plants in good time to be shipped on board the "Harriet"
brig, bound hence to the Cape, and from thence direct to England, which
vessel is expected to sail in about 8 weeks. Received the journals and
dined at Government House in the evening.

18th. Thursday. The Superintendent of Government stock having demanded
of me the horse, which had been furnished me to assist in the conveyance
of my collection found during the last expedition over the mountains, I
wrote a letter to His Excellency upon the subject begging as a
Government indulgence he would grant me an order warranting me to retain
the horse, which I have now for the first time in my possession, in
order to afford me that assistance which the nature of my distant
botanical pursuits required. This afternoon I received His Excellency's
answer stating that he very much regretted that he could not,
consistently with the nature of his instructions from home, comply with
my request. That it was a sort of indulgence even refused to surveyors
and medical officers of the Government, where various public duties
frequently required the use of a horse, and he concluded with observing
that were this indulgence extended to me "they would have reason to
complain of so mortifying distinction." Although I should not
immediately stand in need of a horse, still I am well aware of the
difficulty existing in obtaining any assistance of this nature from the
Government (or from the Governor) when I might require it, and hence I
was determined to avail myself of this apparent favourable opportunity
by applying in a regular manner to the Governor. I returned the horse
forthwith without delay of time, and occupied myself at my specimens.

19th. Friday. It having been intimated to me that the "Matilda" and
"Lloyd" transports, having troops on board, were expected to sail from
this port on Sunday, I wrote to the Right Hon. Sir J. Banks and W. T.
Aiton, Esqr., by way of India, informing them of my return from the late
Western Expedition...

23rd. Tuesday. Occupied at my specimens. Visited by Philip King, Esq.,
with whom I had a slight interview upon the subject of the voyage of
discovery now in contemplation. The colonial vessel "Lady Nelson," being
the only ship now in harbour suitable for such an expedition, has been
taken up for this service and is about to undergo a thorough repair.

* * * * *

3rd October. Friday. Having heard of the arrival of the "Lord Eldon"
(Captn. Lamb) I went to Sydney in hopes of receiving letters by her, I
found, however, that this ship had sailed from England prior to the
"Lloyd" and "Dick" which had brought me letters from Sir Joseph Banks.
Many interesting plants were in flowering state by the wayside, of which
the following are the most remarkable, and have afforded me no
opportunity of examining them previously. Comesperma volubile, rich in
flower, meandering its slender branches on erect shrubs. Prostanthera
sp., and Xanthosia pilosa (Rudge). Sphaerolobium vimineum, remarkable
for the singular formation of its style. Pomaderris ferruginea, a small
Phyllanthus, and Patersonia sericea, the seeds of which I sent to
England per the "Kangaroo." Stylidium graminifolium; some Orchidaceae,
such as Thelymitra and Diuris were fast advancing to flower. Tetratheca
glandulosa is now no mean ornament on the wayside, being thickly clothed
with its rich purple flowers. Returned in the evening to Parramatta.

* * * * *

22nd. Wednesday. At the invitation of a friend I went out to his farm
near Liverpool, which gave me an opportunity of examining the botanical
productions of some sterile land on the verge of his estate. I
discovered a beautiful species of Stylidium, leaves linear, revolute;
spike elongated, branching, bracts ovate lanceolate, suffruticose.
Daviesia corymbosa, very frequent in the forest land, in flower. In
clear waterholes I observed Actinocarpus sp., in fruit, appearing larger
than the plant discovered on the Lachlan River in May last: also another
aquatic, flowers spiked, one of the Alismaceae. In the forest land I
gathered seeds of a Helichrysum, leaves linear, flowers white. Like
other farms in the neighbourhood it is overrun with the Bursaria
spinosa, now in fruit. Returned to Parramatta in the evening.

* * * * *

Nov. 14th. Friday. Finished seed and specimen list. Copying journal.
Received the information that the "Mermaid" cutter would be ready for
sea about the 1st of next month. She is now fitting out for Mr. King's
Expedition to the N. and N.W. coasts...Made arrangements relative
for mess on intending voyage.

Dec. 1st. Monday. Waited upon Lieutenant King to ascertain if any day
had been definitely fixed for the sailing of the cutter on the voyage of
discovery. He spoke in an equivocal manner of sailing in 10 days.

2nd. Tuesday. This morning I waited upon His Excellency, according to
appointment, in order to superintend the execution of a few drawings of
plants discovered in the interior, which the Governor intends to
transmit to Earl Bathurst.

* * * * *

15th. Monday to 20th. Saturday. The whole of this week was occupied with
several arrangements necessary to be made for my voyage on board H.M.
Cutter "Mermaid" which was reported ready for sea last Saturday, and
Wednesday was fixed for the departure of the vessel. In consequence I
shipped on board the whole of my luggage on the 16th. I likewise waited
upon His Excellency to pay my humble respects and take my leave of him
previous to my departure from the colony on a voyage of discovery under
the direction of Mr. King. On this occasion the Governor availed himself
of the opportunity and asked me whether I was satisfied with the
assistance he had offered me during my residence in the colony. I
thanked him for that species of indulgence. His Excellency has afforded
me assistance by placing myself and a Government servant on the stores,
by which means a ration of beef and wheat was advanced me weekly. I
observed that I had hoped to have been provided with a small house or
hut, a Government horse, and other little assistance that would have
prevented a part of that expenditure on my part which has actually and
unavoidably existed. His Excellency hinted to me that his instructions
referring to me were in the most common and general terms, and that the
indulgences I did enjoy were afforded me more from a favourable
impression he had received of me upon my first arrival in the colony,
than from any particular commands from home. His Excellency finally
concluded by charging me with having written to Sir Joseph Banks against
himself upon this subject, and that he had obtained his information from
very good authority. I attempted (with becoming respect on my part) to
explain the subject of my letters, that it was by no means intended as
an accusation or charge against himself, but simply a communication to
Sir Joseph Banks, whereby it will be seen how far those store
indulgences and other aids are calculated to render my expenses in this
colony lighter than they were in South America, where I purchased every
necessary. His Excellency left me abruptly, and I returned to a
temporary lodging I had taken until I sailed, determined to write
another letter to Sir J. Banks, stating this interview and its result,
doubting not that His Excellency would likewise write to my Patron on
this subject. The sailing of the "Mermaid" is postponed until the 21st




Departure from Port Jackson on board H.M. Cutter "Mermaid" on a voyage
of discovery on the N. and N.W. Coasts of Australia, under the direction
of P. P. King, Esq., Lieut. and Commander.

* * * * *

Dec. 1817. 21st. Sunday. Cloudy but fair. This morning I sailed from
Sydney Cove agreeable to instructions from Sir Joseph Banks. Cleared the
heads of Port Jackson harbour in order to stand out to sea, but was
obliged to return in consequence of foul winds. Came to an anchor in
Camp Cove, within the heads, in about 5 fms. water. The individuals on
board H.M. Cutter "Mermaid" engaged in this service under the command of
Lieut. P. P. King are his two officers, Mr. Bedwell and Mr. Roe,[*]
myself, twelve able seamen, two boys and Bongaree, a chief of natives of
a tribe of Broken Bay, who accompanied Captain Flinders in the
"Investigator", and who was taken on this voyage at his own particular

[* Frederick Bedwell and John Septimus Roe. The "Mermaid" was of
eighty-four tons burthen.]

22nd. Monday. We got under way about 6 a.m. and stood out to sea. The
"Harriet," which had sailed from Sydney Cove on her voyage to England,
passed us under our lee with a heavy press of sail.

26th. Friday. We bore up N.N.E. yesterday and headed in for land. We
made Green Cape, entered Twofold Bay and anchored about 11 o'clock in
Snug Cove, being completely landlocked. I landed with Mr. King, and on
the slopes of the hills I gathered specimens of a Stylidium with broad
lanceolate radical leaves. A plant with the largest foliage of this
genus I have seen, scape and spike glandulously haired. Lomatia sp. or a
variety of L. polymorpha of Mr. Brown; Trachymene sp. (= Azorella,
Labill); a syngenesious plant; Cacalia (Senecio), with obovate
wedge-shaped leaves, white beneath, and flowers in corymbs; Goodenia
sp., a shrub of irregular growth, leaves elliptical-obovate-oblong,
smooth, flowers axillary.

On the immediate shores in confined wooded situations I observed a
Melaleuca appearing distinct from M. armillaris. I gathered specimens of
Myoporum sp. agreeing with M. ellipticum, but leaves rather more acute.
Many Port Jackson plants present themselves, but none so remarkable as a
Pittosporum, at this period in fruit. It forms a tree 21-25 feet high
and about 14-15 inches diameter.

The fresh water is procured from a low swamp formed by rains from the
hills finding there a lodgement, and although of no great depth (and
hence the operation of filling casks tedious) it is of good quality. Its
surface is covered with Azolla, and Menyanthes exaltata was growing in
it in great luxuriance. On the boggy land near this water place I
detected a very long-leaved Dianella, and flowering specimens of a
species of Veronica with a compound spike of white flowers, which I
discovered first in the Western Interior on the Fish River and margins
of creeks running into the Macquarie River. The wooded slopes and higher
lands, covered with Eucalypti and Casuarina stricta, are of a good rich
soil, which is abundantly indicated by the luxuriance of the herbage and
strength and height of its grasses. The beach has Pelargonium australe
and some Atriplicinae, as also a small Casuarina in fruit, of which I
gathered specimens, with the seeds of an Acaena. Zieria revoluta, a
species discovered at View Rocks at the extremity of plains beyond
Bathurst, I have observed accompanying Aster dentatus [= Olearia
dentata] on the sides of the hills. Distant smokes ascending over the
trees indicated natives, and towards evening, whilst our people were
hauling the seine, some natives came down from the wooded lands to the
watering place, but made a precipitate retreat upon finding they were
noticed. The lat. of the anchorage is about 37°04'30" S_ and long.
150°04'00" E.

27th. Saturday. On the return of the jolly boat, which had been sent on
shore for a few more barecas (breakers) of water, we got under way with
a favourable wind. As we were rounding Haycock Point (of Flinders) we
noticed several natives on the high grassy banks, who hailed us, making
many ludicrous challenging grimaces as we passed. The shores southerly
are spacious, and the sterile hills of deep white drift sand from Cape
Howe towards the Ram's Head are clothed with small low dense bushes. The
distant background is well wooded mountains and irregular presenting
points, bearings of which were taken.

28th. Dec. 1817 to 15th Jan. 1818. Between the spaces of 19 days we had
frequently much bad squally weather, which opposed us very considerably
as we passed through Bass Strait on the 3rd of January. We found on the
15th we were drawing near the land on the south coast[*] called the
Archipelago of the Recherche, but nothing could be distinguished from
the masthead and no soundings were obtained in 80 fms.

Friday, January 16th. 1818. At 5 a.m. we saw the S.E. islands of the
Archipelago, and the wind being at S.W. Mr. King determined to anchor
for a few hours under the lee of Middle Island until the wind became
fair, which we accordingly did, abreast a sandy beach within a half a
mile of the shore. It was late in the afternoon before we anchored, and
about an hour before dusk, affording me some time to observe the botany
of the sandy shores of the island. I gladly accompanied Mr. King and his
2nd officer Mr. Roe to the beach. The vegetable kingdom here has a very
distinct character from that of the East coast, and it was with very
much pleasure I noticed plants that I had previously only seen in a
cultivated state. Stylidium fruticosum is frequent in quartzose rocky
situations, at this time not in flower or capsule; Scottea (= Bossiaea)
dentata, with the preceding, forming a handsome dense shrub. On the
shores and sterile sandy hills I gathered the following specimens.
Pimelea sp., leaves ovate-lanceolate, alternate, capitulum small
conical, calyx woolly on its exterior. Polygonum sp., leaves cordate,
undulately curved, 3-nerved, stem fruticose, twining, flowers axillary.
Ceanothus sp., leaves ovate, entire, hoary beneath; flowers in terminal
racemes; a shrub 6-8 ft. high. Baeckia sp., leaves linear, flowers
clustered, axillary, solitary. Malaleuca sp., a shrub in fruit.
Atriplicinae, a procumbent reclining shrub with a terminal spreading
panicle, in fruit. Westringia sp., appears to be the W. Dampieri of Mr.
Brown, afforded me a few seeds. I gathered seeds of an Acacia, forming a
close bushy plant, with narrow lanceolate leaves.

[* Of Western Australia,]

No marks or signs of natives appeared, but we observed numerous
impressions of the smaller kangaroo on the higher grassy parts of the
island, as well as several deserted nests of sea fowl. At 8 o'clock p.m.
we all returned on board in the jolly boat. No fresh water was found on
this island.

17th. Saturday. At 4 a.m. we got under way, with a fair wind and stood a
course direct for King George's Sound under a heavy press of sail.


20th. Tuesday. This morning our course for the land was E. to E. by S.
and we got soundings in 38 fms. At noon the haze cleared off and we
entered King George's Sound. Doubling Bald Head we anchored for the
night off a white shore bounded by a very remarkable ridge of sand,[*]
and Mr. King proposing a visit to Seal Island (bearing E. by N. about 1½
miles from us) I joined him in the boat with Mr. Bedwell, our first
officer. In consequence of the heavy surf rolling in from the open sea
against this rocky island, it was not without some difficulty we landed
on its lee side. Several seals of a large size were asleep on those
parts of the rocks near the water's edge and, with others which were
ambling among the brushwood on the higher parts of the island, they made
a precipitate retreat headlong into the sea on being disturbed, with the
exception of one which was killed with clubs, and proving to be of the
hair kind was nothing worth.

[* "Between Seal Island and the first sandy beach."--King.]

The plants on this naked granite rock are very inconsiderable. An
ornamental plant called Candollea cuneformis, of Labillardière, is the
most conspicuous; it was in flower, and I gathered with it the following
species. Lavatera sp., flowers axillary, white. Lobelia sp., leaves
ovate, glossy; flowers, solitary and small. This plant is abundant
beneath large stones and under the immediate shade of rocks. The shrub
of the Atriplicinae noticed at Middle Island, from its density, affords
a comfortable refuge and habitation to a small blue-backed penguin, of
which our people secured several, with some gulls. The bottle left by
Captain Flinders was not found, but the square bottom of a case bottle
was picked up;[*] from which circumstance it may be inferred that
subsequent vessels might have touched here, and landing upon the island
had destroyed it. We quitted the island and returned to the cutter, and
thence landed on the sandy western shore near our anchorage. We ascended
to the summit of the deep loose sandy ridge, and from there we had a
good view of the sea to the southward and westward and of Vancouver's
Breakers. A Scaevola, with oblong serrulated leaves and elongated
terminal spike of blue flowers, grew extremely strongly and luxuriant on
these and slopes, with Pimelea decussata (= ferruginea), having the
habit of P. nivea, and the following interesting plants covered the
sides of the ridge. Adenanthos sericea in flower, a large close shrub.
Malaleuca sp., leaves linear, rigid, roundish, sulcated. Several shrubs
of the Epacrideeae, but not in flower. Acacia biflora (H.K.), some
Gnaphalia, and a Trachymene with remains of flowers, probably the
Azorella compressa of Labill.

[* Left on the island by Lieutenant Forster of H.M.S. "Emu" in 1815.]

We found some shells on the highest part of this sandy ridge, and in our
descent, knee deep in the sand, we picked up specimens of the petrified
branches of trees, observed before by Captain Flinders, which were light
and sonorous when struck against each other. It was dark when we left
this beach for the cutter, on board of which we arrived at 8 p.m.

1st. Wednesday. We weighed, and stood over to the entrance of Oyster
Harbour, and, having previously sent a whaleboat into the narrow rocky
channel to sound, we entered through the mouth of the harbour and
anchored near the shore in 5 fms. It was early in the afternoon when I
landed with Mr. King, who was anxious to take in as much water and wood
as our small vessel could well stow. An old well was found nearly filled
upon the beach, which our people opened and enlarged, and the water that
oozed through the ground soon afforded us an ample supply of a deep
colour but good quality. Aware that our stay here would be but short I
was the more anxious to employ my time as profitably as possible.

On the barren, dry, stony hills and grounds rising from the beach
Banksia grandis arrests the attention of the collector more particularly
than any of its kindred indigenous around it. It forms a small tree of
irregular growth, is very abundant, and at this season is in flower and
young fruit. B. marcescens and B. attenuata; Dryandra armata, fruit and
flowering state; and D. nivea, I noticed in these exposed sterile spots.
Of the Proteaceae I gathered 5 specimens; they were of several of its
established genera--Petrophila rigida, and a shrub of like stiff habit,
which I suspect is Mr. Brown's Isopogon attenuatus, Adenanthos cuneata,
a large silky shrub, near the shore. Hakea oleifolia and H. linearis, in
partly humid situations on the hills, Dasypogon bromeliaefolius, a
suffruticose plant with a globular head of flowers and rough foliage,
furnished me with seeds and flowering specimens. An Oxylobium is at this
time in flower and fruit and decorates the brush on the sands of the
immediate beach. Jacksonia spinosa was also in flower, of which, I
gathered a few seeds.

Other specimens I collected this morning were the following.
Leptospermum linearifolium, tree 12-14 feet high, with pendulous
branches, on the immediate shores. Hibbertia perfoliata, a feeble
shrubby plant, in humid peaty places near
the watering place. Baeckia speciosa, a beautiful, delicate plant.
Epacris sp., with large white flowers and attenuated leaves, in similar
situations; and a species of Tremandra, a genus allied to Tetratheca,
whose purple flowers were particularly conspicuous among the grass and
herbage near the well of water. Anigozanthos flavida is of most
luxuriant growth in the deeper peaty spots, where the overhanging
branches of Banksia attenuata protect and shade it from the more
immediate rays of the sun. I gathered its seeds.

The stunted timber trees of these hills are of the Eucalypti, of which I
have not seen any flowering specimens. Having returned to the vessel and
taken care of the specimens collected, I accompanied Mr. King to an
island in the harbour (the Gardener's Green Island of Captain
Vancouver). We could not discover any trace of vegetables that might
have been produced from the seeds sown by that navigator. The island in
many parts abounds with rats, which might have (long since) destroyed
any vegetables raised thus; and their deep burrows in the hollow soil
render walking upon it somewhat difficult. The Rhagodia, a plant of the
Atriplicinae, of Seal and Middle Islands, abounds here in fruit. I
circumambulated the island while Mr. King was occupied in his
observations, but made no discoveries in botany. A Salicornia and a
Mesembryanthemum, perhaps the M. glaucescens of Haworth, with purple
flowers, prevail on its shores, as they do on some parts of the
mainland. Of the genus Xanthorrhea I have this day noticed 3 if not 4
species, but none in flower. I gathered seeds of a species with an
arbusculous caudex, the plant observed by Mr. Brown in 1801, having the
caudex and foliage of the arborescent Xanthorrhea, but with a different
inflorescence. It would appear that the end of March and the beginning
of April is the season of flowering of this very remarkable plant.

22nd. Thursday. Early this morning several of our people were sent to
the flats, where they procured quantities of fine large oysters and fair
mussels at low water. I landed with an intention to spend the whole of
the day on and about the shores on the west side of the sound. Mr. King
and one of his officers were fully occupied, with all the hands that
could be spared from the duty of the vessel, on the opposite shores at
the wooding place, in measuring a base line for a survey of Oyster
Harbour. Tracing the sandy beach to the foot of the hills I found many
of the plants I had noticed yesterday, with other well-known species,
viz:--Dryandra plumosa, Hakea prostrata (= glabella), H. florida, also
Acacia alata and A. pulchella, of the latter I gathered seeds, with
another species having simple, linear, angular, mucronated leaves and
twisted pods.

The rocky shores abound with a blue-flowered Billardiera, probably B.
fusiformis, and with it Myoporum appositifolium afforded me specimens
for examination. On the hills I gathered specimens in fruit of two
species of Eucalyptus, the one with very large capsules, and the other
with fruit smaller and hemispherical, forming trees 12-16 feet high;
they were the same species as those observed yesterday on the opposite
shores, Melaleuca sp., in fruit, allied to M. gibbosa. Pimelea sp.,
leaves ovate-lanceolate; calyx pubescent and villose outside.
Dodecandria, a stunted shrubby plant. I gathered seeds of a specimen of
Patersonia, the leaves of which are woody inside, and a twining plant of
the Asphodeleae, of the habit of Eustrephus.

About 4 o'clock I returned to the vessel, having made a circuitous round
of several miles with little success. I had observed on the Eastern
shores, as we passed in the vessel, a remarkable tree on the hills,
whose profusion of orange flowers rendered it very conspicuous, and this
afternoon I landed to discover what it was and to collect specimens of
it. To my surprise I found the shrub I was in search of was a Loranthus,
and the more remarkable as it is arborescent and terrestrial, so
contrary to the usual habits of this parasitical genus. Its flowers are
generally hexandrous. This species appears to be the L. floribundus of
Labillardière. I have traced a considerable analogy between some
American species of this genus and those of genera of Proteaceae
indigenous on this coast, particularly of some species of Hakea, in the
pale colour and diversified shape of foliage, with the corolla not very
unlike the long calyx of Adenanthus and the remarkable insertion of the
stamina on or near the apices of the petals. In Loranthus may be one
proof of its near relation to this extensive Australian family, which
had been already suggested by a very eminent botanist. In returning
along the rocky shore I gathered specimens of a glutinous shrub of the
class Didynamia, a species of Anthocercis with large white flowers; the
whole plant is extremely viscid and very graveolent. The Mesembryantheum
noticed yesterday being in fruit on the sandy shore I gathered ripe
seeds of it. Having occasion to ascend over some fragments of rocks and
loose stones, I discovered this afternoon a large nest of very small
concavity, built on the summit of an elevated rock 30 or 35 feet high,
perpendicular on all sides and hence inaccessible to the emu by which I
had suspected it to have been formed. It was deserted and old and might
have belonged to the eagle family.

23rd. Friday. Occupied some time in the shifting of my plants. About 10
o'clock I landed and employed myself on the east and north east shores
of Oyster Harbour, where I gathered the following specimens:--Patersonia
sp., leaves long and narrow; seeds large and glossy. Lobelia sp., larger
than L. alata, flowers blue. Haemodorum, spike elongated, and another
species with spreading panicle. These grew in a black peaty soil,
generally beneath the shade of trees, particularly Banksia attenuata,
whose stems, although short, were 24-30 inches in diameter, and at this
time in flower and young fruit. On the immediate shores and sides of the
hills I gathered Comesperma virgatum (Labill). Olax sp., a slender
shrub, with small, solitary, white flowers. This plant agrees in habit
with Spermaxyrum phyllanthi of Labill., and may be the plant he has
figured. Scaevola sp., allied to S. crassifolia, corolla very woody
outside. Epacris sp., a shrub of low stature, on the sandy shores.
Styphelia sp., leaves cordate; flowers small; in dry rocky situations.
Xerotes sp., with Gompholobium tomentosum, in shady peaty spots. On the
sides of the hills in exposed situations I gathered specimens of a
Stylidium clearly allied to Candollea glauca. Lasiopetalum purpureum and
Acacia ciliata were but just past a flowering state, on the rocky, sandy
shores. Toward the close of the afternoon I returned on board, having
made no further discoveries in botany. The small flies were becoming
exceedingly troublesome on board as well as on shore.

24th. Saturday. Every person fully employed in wooding, or in the
necessary duties of the vessel, or engaged with Mr. King's party on
shore. And such was our shortness of hands that it would have occasioned
Mr. King much inconvenience had he allowed me one or two seamen, at my
request, to accompany me in this day's distant research, for protection
and assistance. Taking my gun with me I left the cutter with an
intention to visit as much of the west and north west sides of Oyster
Harbour as the day would admit, passing over considerable downs of land,
whose point or cape forms a species of promontory between the Sound and
the harbour in which we are at anchor, I observed some aged specimens of
Dryandra cuneata advancing to a flowering state. It rises to a tree of
rugged, irregular growth 14-16 feet in height, with Banksia quercifolia,
a shrub in young fruit. In some boggy hollows near these extensive
sands, occasionally inundated by the sea, I gathered specimens of
Scaevola sp., leaves linear, short; a shrubby plant. An Aster with small
oblong linear leaves; flowers terminal, hoary, solitary. A genus
intermediate between Westringia and Satureia, leaves ternate,
lanceolate, obtuse, upper lamina of corolla villous; a shrubby plant.
Stylidium glaucum, this appears to be Candollea glauca, Labill., and is
easily distinguished from the plant gathered yesterday by its more
attentuated growth and slender smooth spike of flowers.

Avoiding a tract of brushwood on the skirts of the harbour, which had
lately been fired by the natives and hence could afford me nothing, I
stretched over the shelly flats, being low water, to Bayonet Point of
Captain Flinders, a remarkable elevated angle of the harbour, on and in
the vicinity of which I procured the following interesting
specimens:--Petrophila fastigiata, Br.; Anadenia pulchella, a rigid
shrubby plant, remarkable for its glutinous follicles; Adenanthos
obovata, a twiggy shrub with red flowers; Hakea ellipitica, specimens in
fruit; Hakea ceratophylla; Persoonia longifolia, leaves elongated,
linear and falcated; Persoonia articulata, with the preceding;
Conospermum coruleum, of tufted growth. The summit of this point abounds
in the beautiful plant named Beaufortia sparsa, in flower with others of
the Melaleucae, particularly Melaleuca stiata and M. thymoides,
described by Labillardière. The latter has small capitula of flowers
yellow. Casuarina nana, a dwarf, stubby shrub.

On the immediate shores a very remarkable species of Daviesia, forming a
shrub about 5-6 feet high, is by no means common. Another specimen D.
flexuosa, branches zigzag, spinescent, the strophiola of the seed
bilobed. I gathered a few seeds of a Gompholobium, whose legumen is very
large, a dwarf shrub. Kennedya sp., leaves ternate, ovate, hoary. A
Myoporum allied to M. viscosum, but distinct in having ovate-lanceolate
acute leaves, and glandless peduncles, I found growing on the rocky
beach in flower and fruit. The soil of Bayonet Point is of a red, dry,
sandy nature, with a very small proportion of loam. The wind at S.W. was
very strong about 3 o'clock and, the country in that direction being in
flames, the Sound was completely enveloped in smoke from that quarter. I
returned on board at the close of the afternoon, and having placed my
plants out of danger I accompanied Mr. King to the rock where I had
discovered the large nest. The country is now in flames around us in
various patches, but none of us have seen any of the natives, although
no doubt they are watching our movements.

Sunday. As the French Commander Baudin[*] and Captain Flinders lay down
in their charts a river having its embouchure at the bottom of Oyster
Harbour, Mr. King proposed a boat excursion up it in order to ascertain
its course, depth, width and soundings, with the general character of
the land on its banks. Having attended to all my plants that required it
I joined the party consisting of Mr. King, Mr. Bedwell, our friend
Bongaree, the native, and four able hands. Our course to the supposed
river's mouth, as laid down on the charts, was much impeded by the flats
in Oyster Harbour, over which in some places we had scarcely water to
float us over. Working into the deep water, we ran down to the extremes
of the harbour into a narrow bend, which we supposed to be the river we
were in quest of, but soon found our mistake by shoaling our water to 3
feet. Clearing this bight for the deep water and trending easterly Mr.
King took several bearings of our situation and then stood in for the
shore, when, upon closing with the land, we found the mouth of the river
which we entered. It might be 250 yards wide, although very shallow, 6-9
feet deep, but advancing we got 2 fathoms, and a width from 100-60
yards. The windings are not abrupt or numerous, but easy, the banks are
elevated, sloping and grassy. The river abounds in waterfowl of various
descriptions, but none were shot. About 3 a.m., having advanced about 4¼
miles up the river, we stopped and landed on its left bank in order to
take some refreshment.

[* Rivière de Franc_ais of Baudin.]

While our people were lighting a fire I took a range in these sandy
woods and detected the following plants:--Billardiera sp., flowers
terminal clustered, leaves ovately lanceolate, undulate, stem
subvolubilous (rather twining). Trackymene compressa (Azorella
compressa, Labill:) a small weak alated plant. Dasypogon bromeliaefolius
was very abundant and strong on the banks.

Previous to embarking in the boat I left a few peach stones in the best
spot these banks would afford me as an indication to future navigators
that this river had been visited. Its inclination was from the N.E.
Pushing off, we descended this river, and after grinding over beds of
oyster shells in the flats of the harbour we arrived at the cutter at
dusk. This river doubtless receives much fresh water in the rainy
seasons as well from the interior as from the hills bounding it. The
tributary streamlets being conveyed into it by the small creeks we
noticed as we sailed up it. On the flats in the harbour our native chief
caught us a large fish weighing 22½ Ibs.

26th. Monday. Shifting my plants till 8 a.m. and afterwards on shore
with Mr. King, who was desirous of taking some necessary bearings from
the highest range of hills to the eastward of our anchorage. Following
the range northerly, inclining to the westward, I examined many plants
of the arborescent Xanthorrhea habit, before made mention of, for
specimens of perfect inflorescence, but with no success. In rather damp
shaded spots on the slopes of the hills covered with timber I discovered
a. species of Dryandra in considerable patches, its involucrum of
flowers in decayed condition. It has the foliage of D. blechnifolia and
D. pteridifolia, and perhaps may prove these singular fern leaved
species to be but one genuine kind and not specifically distinct. On the
rocky sandy shores I gathered specimens of a Viminaria, scarcely
distinct from our Port Jackson V. denudata, but of more slender growth.
Several new smokes issuing from the woods above the trees indicated the
presence of natives, but none made their appearance.

27th. Tuesday. I have been looking around me these few days past for a
fit situation for planting the seeds of European fruits, the only spot
to be chosen for that purpose is near the water-hole, where the soil is
a sandy heath-mould. I accordingly marked off a small patch a few feet
square, cleared it of the brush and small plants and prepared the ground
for the seeds I intend to sow. In the afternoon I accompanied Mr. King
to Green Island, where he wished to take a few more bearings and
observations. The many sea birds that pass the night on this island were
beginning to flock around it in order to take possession of their
several spots of rest. Leaving the island we sailed over to the mainland
and landed at Bayonet Point. Whilst occupied in taking some angles I
rambled on the elevated point among the many interesting shrubs with
which it was covered, but having already visited this spot I found at
this time nothing but what I had previously detected. The little
delicate Stylidium allied to S. glaucum, with lanceolate-spathulate
leaves, afforded me good duplicate specimens. Ispogon attenuatus is very
fine in the rocky background. I gathered duplicate seeds of Patersonia
sp., as also seeds of a Kennedya. The natives, who (from the fires)
appear to be all round us, continue to be very shy, and so far from
allowing us to communicate with them they keep altogether out of sight,
although we noticed this afternoon their fresh fires lighted among the
trees near the beach, about half a mile to the southward of us, between
us and the cutter.

28th. Wednesday. This morning I went on shore and sowed the following
seeds, stones etc., peach, apricot, lemons and loquats, with scarlet
runners, long-podded beans, marrow-fat peas, celery, parsnip, cabbage,
lettuce and carrot. Round this small garden I formed a slight hedge of
green boughs and large branches. I occupied myself on the western shores
of the harbour, chiefly in low woods subject to the encroachments of the
sea in spring tides. I gathered specimens of Leptospermum linearifloium
(= Agonis linearifolia), with some other of this genus not in a
flowering state. Our people struck the tent that had been fixed up on
shore, and with all tools were brought on board, Mr. King intending to
get under weigh so soon as the wind became favourable. At night our
people drew the seine at the bottom of the harbour in the mouth of the
river and were tolerably successful.

29th. Thursday. It was the intention of Mr. King, should the wind have
continued steady at S.E., to have cleared out of Oyster Harbour if not
to stand out to sea, but the wind would not allow us to get under weigh.
I went on shore to procure a few more seeds on the rocky hills on the
Eastern side. Banksia grandis, so very fine and rich in flower at this
period, could not be found in ripe fruit. I gathered fine flowering
specimens of Tremandra sp., with apposite elliptical leaves and purple

This afternoon I accompanied Mr. Bedwell and Mr. Roe to Seal Island
(distant at 5 miles), who were sent in the whale boat to leave a sealed
bottle containing a memorandum, written on parchment, stating our
arrival, in a safe and secure situation on the island. Having wooded and
watered here, our intention was to proceed by the first fair wind on our
voyage to the N.W. coast, and finally that we should leave a similar
document on the first accessible island on that coast stating more
particularly our future route. I furnished myself with some seeds of
Candollea cuneiformis, Labill., the ornament of this solitary rock; and
seeds of a reclining shrub of the Atriplicinae. Two seals, a female and
a cub, were shot by our people, and others only wounded rolled down into
the surf and disappeared in an instant. The bottle was well corded up
and fixed securely to the shelving part of a large stone at once visible
and at the same time perfectly secure from the action of strong winds or
other natural destructive causes. Our boat people plundered the nests of
the penguins, of whom sixteen were taken. Leaving the island we hoisted
our sail to the light breeze, which wafted us to the cutter about 8 p.m.

30th. Friday. Expecting that Mr. King would get under weigh every hour,
should the wind become fair, I was prevented going away from the shore
immediately abreast the vessel. Acacia biflora and A. marginata are now
in flower on the beach: Dryandra formosa, common near the watering place
is past a flowering state. I gathered some fair specimens in flower of
Olax Phyllanthi (= Spermaxyrum phyllanthi); also a dense stunted shrub
of the Diosmeae, flowers decandrous;
style elongated, apex glanduliferous; leaves linear, angular,
glandulous. The rocks of the immediate shores are covered with a shrubby
plant of the Epacrideae, which appears to be Andersonia sprengelioides.

31st. Saturday. The present unfavourable points from which the wind
prevails (S. westerly) rendering exceedingly doubtful whether the cutter
could leave the harbour to-day, I landed and directed my course to
Princess Royal Harbour, a part I had not yet visited. Tracing my former
route along the beach, I ascended the deep, barren, stony hills that
bound the Sound to the westward. In making the rocky north point of the
entrance into Princess Royal Harbour, I gathered the following specimens
and seeds on the rugged hilly country in its vicinity:--A species of
Hakea, larger than H. elliptica, leaves more broadly elliptical, rounded
at point, triplinerved, Leptospermum marginatum, Labill., a tree 10-12
ft. high. Hovea rhombifolia, a shrub 4 ft. high. Gastrolobium sp., a
spreading tree. Oxylobium sp., leaves lanceolate-ovate.

This rocky point of entrance is covered deeply, chiefly with Eucalypti
and common Banksia, but the whole side of the harbour being entirely
recently fired by natives I added nothing more to my few plants already
gathered. Ascending to the highest point I had a fine view of the two
harbours, sound, and the lagoon laid down in the charts. I observed the
smokes of natives some distance beyond the lower ranges of the hills to
the northward and westward. I descended to the lagoon, on the margins of
which I hoped to make some further botanical discoveries. I gathered
specimens of a Comesperma, with leaves linear, elongated, obtuse;
flowers yellow. Comesperma sp., leaves linear, scattered; flowers in a
capitated spike, allied to C. calymega Labill. Lobelia sp., flowers
terminal, and blue stem. Epacris sp., leaves sheathing, lanceolate,
acute; flowers solitary, scarlet; Santalaceae, a shrubby plant, flowers
very small. Leptospermum sp., leaves lanceolate, attenuated at base;
branches and calyx smooth; flowers axillary, solitary. Leptospermum sp.,
leaves lanceolate, rigid, and crowded; flowers in racemi, calyx teeth
shorter than the calyx-tube. I made a diligent search for the curious
Pitcher Plant, Cephalotus follicularis, Labill. around the lagoon and in
the boggy parts near it, but without success.

Returning over some downs of sand I observed a succulent plant, with
linear-lanceolate acuminate leaves, in fruit; the capsules angled, and
sulcated habit of Crassula. I gathered a few more seeds of Candollea
cuneiformis, frequent near the beach, forming an irregular stunted
shrub. Dryandra nivea and D. armata with Lasiopetalum solanaceum, the
latter at this period in flower, and fruit in a very young state, is
frequent on the hills I passed over in the day's route, on which, in
thick brushwood, I started a kangaroo of the size and kind called
Wallabaa[*] in New South Wales. At 4 p.m. I returned to the cutter.
Fresh native fires seen in Oyster Harbour near the entrance of the
river, at dusk.

[* Wallaby.]

BeforeItake my leave of the rich botanical repository of sterling
worth--King George's Sound--a few remarks may not be altogether unuseful
and unnecessary. The extensive family of Proteaceae, whose genera and
species occupy a considerable portion of the shores of the Sound, have a
varied diffusion. Banksia grandis is only to be found on the above
mentioned dry exposed sides of the hills, where it flowers and fruits in
a limited but healthy state of luxuriance. B. attenuata has been
observed on the shores, in a deeper peaty soil, forming a tree of some
bulk. B. marciscens, B. cocinea, and B. quercifolia grow near the
immediate shores in and dry places, but rarely on the hills, and never
in loose sand. Excepting Dryandra pteridifolia and D. blechnifolia the
whole of this genus inhabits dry sterile hills with Banksia grandis.
Other genera such as Isopogon, Petrophila, Hakea, Anadenia, Adenanthos,
are likewise found in and rocky and sandy situations, while Franklandia
and some Persooniae enjoy the moist peaty levels or damp heathy spots on
these hills...Thus the culture of these interesting plants will be
better understood in England at all events their native habits and soil
whereof little or no loam forms a component part.

It is a well-known fact that our pride of New South Wales, Telopea
speciosissima, so tenacious of life in its natural, sterile, rocky
places of growth, seldom retains it when removed by the settlers into
the richer loamy soil of their gardens.


1818. February 1st. Sunday. The wind shifting to S.E. by S. induced Mr.
King to get under weigh. By the assistance of a kedge-anchor we hauled
out of Oyster Harbour about 10 o'clock a.m., and after many tacks we
beat out of the Sound. At 4 p.m. we had rounded Bald Head and stood
westerly along the coast.

The hills overlooking the immediate coast were one grand blaze of fire,
having been kindled by the natives, and its running course before the
wind illuminating all around, these sterile elevations had a brilliant

2nd. Monday. No land in sight.

3rd. Tuesday to 9th. Monday. The slight dysenteric (and other)
complaints which had afflicted the whole of the crew are less violent.
Early this morning we passed the Tropic of Capricorn in about 113° East
Long. Expecting from our situation that we were drawing near the land,
we wore ship at 8 p.m. and stood off for a few hours. No soundings in 80

10th. Tuesday. At 5 a.m. we stood in for the land, and at 8 we got
soundings in 35 fms. The land, which is called Terre d'Endracht by the
French, is extremely sterile, is somewhat elevated and hilly, gradually
tapering at its extremes and, with the immediate shores, is very sandy
and covered with low stunted shrubs. At 1 p.m. we approached the
northern low extremity (N.W. Cape) which extends out westerly in a
depressed point of sand, with apparently a deep bight or bay behind it.
Passing some very dangerous breakers half a mile from us we stood on for
the cape and got a bottom in 7½ fms. The latitude of the North West Cape
is 21°52'43" S. and long. 114°30'30" E.[*] We saw a sea snake, several
large turtle and some dolphin near the vessel. Several large fine
butterflies and small flies came off to us from the land. The latter
became very troublesome. No fires or appearance of natives were observed
on this dreary coast. The deep bay which trends in here to the eastward
from the cape and which we are about to examine is entitled Exmouth
Gulf, in honour of Lord Viscount Exmouth. Falling calm we sounded and
got a bottom in 13 fms. when we dropped an anchor with coir (made of the
fibre of the cocoa nut) cable for the night, about 7 miles distant from
the land and 2 miles from a sand island.[**] Violent gusts of wind with
heavy cross swell made the vessel labour considerably.

[* 21°47' S. 114°10' E.]

[** "Three or four miles eastward of the Cape."--King.]

11th. Wednesday. In heaving up our anchor we most unfortunately parted
from it, and having but an indifferent buoy lost it altogether, with
some fms. of cable.

12th. Thursday. Tacked at 6 a.m., being close on board an island from
which ran a reef of rocks.[*] Our leadsman had 9 and 8½ fms. In the
course of the morning's examinations several islands were seen from the
mast head, of which some were distinguished from the deck, low and
barren. These islands are no doubt much visited by turtle, of which we
have now abundance floating around us. Stood in for the main. Anchored
in a bottom of sand and small shells.

[* Baudin's Muiron Island.]

13th. Friday. In consequence of the foulness of the bottom we had the
misfortune to break one of the flukes of a second anchor upon weighing
this morning. It appears it is a rock crusted over with mud, sand, and
shells, a few inches thick. Mr. King was in consequence under the
necessity of running back to the last anchorage in hopes of being able
through the medium of the buoy attached to the lost anchor, to find the
particular spot and endeavour to weigh it. The buoy not "watching" (or
floating over the water) the anchor was not discovered. Occupied at my
specimens. Several large turtle, and seasnakes of an orange colour are
seen around us.

14th. Saturday. At 7 a.m. we made sail and stood on for the mainland,
our soundings varying from 12-8-7-½ fms. within 1½ miles of the shore;
some islands observed from the mast head are low banks of sand, bare of
vegetation, but the shores of the main are bounded by sandy hills or
ridges and covered with small shrubs. The heat was very oppressive
during this day. The thermometer in the face of the sun rose to 119½° on

15th. Sunday. At 6 o'clock a.m. we were within half a mile of the shore,
tacked and stood along the coast northerly, sounding continually. We had
a slight breeze from southward and westward. This day we carried on our
survey among an archipelago of sterile sand islands, in various depths
of water. At 5 we anchored in 3 fms. in a little bay[*] about 1½ miles
to the westward of a long low island. I accompanied Mr. Bedwell, 1st
officer, on the shores of the bay; he was sent to procure turtle and
make some observations as to the resources for wood, water etc. The
beach is rather steep, rocky and clothed with the mangrove, Avicennia
tomentosa, forming large round bushes, which at sea, in other
situations, had been mistaken for clusters of rocks. It was dark when we
landed and few observations could be made. The vegetable kingdom
appeared from the sands to be very inconsiderable, some species of
Salsola, Mesembryanthemum, with Salicornia and some of the Atriplicinae
scattered on the shores. Some Acacias of very humble growth were
flourishing in these sterile flats, but none were discovered in flower;
and a very noxious Spinifex seemed to overwhelm all other vegetation.
Our people dug in the sands a few feet deep, but could find no trace of
water; on the contrary, a dry heat prevails. At half past 8 we left the
shore, being obliged to launch the boat about half a mile over shallow
rocky coral flats before we could find water enough to float her.

[* Bay of Rest or Jogodor, on west side of Exmouth Gulf and thirty miles
south of North-West Cape.]

16th. Monday. Mr. King intending to remain at the present anchorage so
long as the southerly winds prevail, I went on shore with Mr. Roe,
second officer, wishing to employ myself in examining the botany of the
extensive sands in the vicinity of the bay, and make such collections as
the apparently scanty materials would afford me. Beyond the beach,
commenced a low depressed and tract of sand dunes, covered with
attenuated brush and bounded by distant elevated land. In a northerly
route over this flat I gathered the following specimens:--Acacia sp., a
small tree, on which I discovered a Loranthus parasitical. Hakea
longifolia. Hakea oleifolia of King George's Sound, a small tree 12-16
feet high, afforded me seeds. Hakea stenophylla, a small tree of the
size of the preceding. Acacia sp., a spreading small tree 10-12 ft.
high. A round, dense, junceous, aphyllous shrub allied to Thesium or
Leptomeria. I noticed a species of Acacia, with small, oblong,
wedge-shaped, obtuse, smooth leaves, having a gland inserted upon the
tendrils in the upper surface, but I could not discover it in flower. On
the sandy ridges I gathered specimens of Melaleuca in fruit; leaves
alternate, small, cordate, sessile, many-nerved; capsule and branches
smooth; and Olax sp., a slender shrub. On the depressed flats a junceous
shrubby plant of the Asclepiadaceae is very frequent; it forms round
close bushes, but has no appearance of flowers, fruit	or leaves, and
is very lactescent when bruised. I gathered seeds of a Gnaphalium. The
loose sand hollows in the soil, in consequence of being bored by
kangaroo rats, and the abundance of the prickly spinifex, were no little
inconveniences when passing over this sterile waste, which were
increased by the great reflecting heat from it. My pocket thermometer
rose to 115°, although not exposed to the solar ray. I measured some
ant-hills of brown and blackish colours, according to the tinges of the
soil on which they are situated; their average dimensions were about 8
feet high and 81 feet in diameter. They have at a distance the
appearance of native huts--were abandoned by their original tenants and
were fast mouldering away--forming nurseries for lizards and several
species of insects, particularly the wasp, hornet and others of the
Hymenopterous order. Making the coast, we traced it to our boat over
extensive beds of dead shells bleached by the weather--the remains of
once beautiful specimens. I observed fragments of coral, madrepores and
shells scattered over the whole of the distant flat land in our route,
this morning, all proofs of the sea having receded from it at no very
distant period.

[*] A doubt having arisen whether this expanse of desert formed a part
of the main or was an island detached from it, I wished to clear up the
matter by proceeding across the same towards the distant highland. Mr.
Roe had gone off to the cutter and had taken the specimens I had
collected this morning. After walking 3 miles in a S.E. direction over
these burning sands, the heat became so extremely oppressive as to
oblige me to relinquish my object, in some measure although the
appearance before me being a slight ascent towards the high land left
little or no doubts as to its belonging to and forming part of the main,
and as a presumptive proof of this, numerous tracks of emu were noticed
on those parts where the sands had been crusted together, as if by the
effect of water upon the surface. Seeking shelter and shade from the
steady fervid heat of the sun, among some close mangrove trees, my
thermometer was stationary at 105° in the shade, being influenced by the
cool fanning sea breeze then setting on the land. During the route the
same plants presented themselves to me as I observed this morning, but
less frequent. Dense masses of spinifex covered this tract almost to the
exclusion of other vegetation. I, however, observed a recumbent plant
with broad, elliptical leaves. It has the character of an Acacia, with a
glaucous hue (A. oteaefolia = I. lunata). I could not discover flowering
specimens. At 4 P.m. the jolly boat took me off to the cutter. Bongaree,
our native, had with great skill speared some fish, which afforded us a
fresh meal. Large smokes were observed near the higher lands, proving to
us that natives exist in these extremes of sterility.

[* Cunningham, having heard that this peninsula was called Cloates
Island, attempted to clear up the mystery.]

17th. Tuesday. In the afternoon Mr. Bedwell, First officer, was sent on
shore, and I availed myself of the opportunity and landed, trusting I
might procure a few more seeds, and perhaps specimens. I discovered some
small trees of the Hakea with long filiform leaves, seen yesterday,
loaded with last year's capsules, of which I gathered some specimens. In
similar situations I furnished myself with specimens in fruit of a shrub
with filiform, rounded, channelled, succulent leaves; the capsules are
many, collected in a small pyriform figure, each unilocular and
1-seeded. I gathered seeds of an Iberis, a shrub with obovate,
emarginate, glaucous leaves; and a dead syngenesious shrubby plant
afforded me a large paper of seeds, which are large, compressed, and
membranaceous. The greater part of the flat over which I passed this
afternoon is of a pale loose soil, compounded partly of decomposed
shells, sand and decomposition of vegetables, but approaching the
boundary ridges this description of soil disappears and a beautiful
glittering red dry sand succeeds, in which the Acacia grows with
considerable luxuriance, throwing out long sappy branchlets, which
appeared the more surprising as we found the sand so extremely hot as
scarcely to allow us to stand upon it any length of time without
inconvenience. I gathered seeds of an Acacia growing thus in the sand,
with ovate-lanceolate, obtuse, mucronated leaves,having a gland inserted
on the interior margin; legumen small, compressed, seeds round. We
chased a lizard about 5 feet long, on the flat, but running under the
excavated base of an ant-hill he found a secure retreat and could not be
dislodged. Having procured a few shells of no consideration we returned
on board at dusk. This bight is called the Bay of Rest, by Mr. King, who
has ascertained it to be in lat. 22°17'05" S., and long. 114° E.

18th. Wednesday. At 5 a.m. we got under weigh and stood out of the bay.
I shifted my specimens and exposed them to the air. Having surveyed the
gulf, Mr. King intends now to run north east along the coast and examine
those parts more particularly not observed by the French.

19th. Thursday. We passed several sand islands thinly covered with
alkaline, succulent plants. Water snakes of brilliant colours afloat
near the vessel. At 4 p.m. we changed our course and stood on for the
mainland, in consequence of a break in the beach appearing like the
mouth of a river.[*] From the masthead this opening appeared more clear
and evident, presenting a large bay or inlet of water bounded by wooded
shores, whose verdure forms a striking contrast to the sparse stunted
vegetation of the coast in general. At 5 p.m. we dropped anchor in 2¼
fms. muddy bottom; having previously worked in shore a quarter of a mile
from the beach, which is rocky and bluff, with a heavy surf, rendering
the landing very difficult and dangerous. The sandy ridge bounding the
beach is covered with brushes and small shrubs, beyond which are large
swampy flats or salt marshes distinguished from the masthead of the
cutter. Mr. King, accompanied by the second officer, took some bearings
round the vessel and along shore, the results of which showed that the
same depth continues close to the rocks of the beach, from which we
might anchor the length of the vessel. He also went to the mouth of the
Inlet, across which is a bar of sand . At dusk he returned to the vessel
with an intention of examining the opening in the morning.

[* Ashburton or Curlew River. "We succeeded in finding an anchorage
three miles to the eastward of the inlet."--King.]

20th. Friday. About 5 a.m. I went on shore (on the mainland) with Mr.
King, who was desirous of ascertaining the nature of the low swampy
country at the back of the beach and of giving me a few moments to make
some observations as to the botany of the immediate shores. The water
had fallen 6 ft. and we landed without any difficulty. The Convolvulus
was decorating the sandy hilly ranges with its large purple flowers,
spreading its elongated branches in every direction on the beach. I
gathered the following specimens:--Gyphia sp., a suffruticose plant with
blue flowers. Tribulus sp., a procumbent villous plant with pinnate
leaves and echinated capsules; flowers yellow. Euphorbia sp. Crolon
acerifolius, this species appears to be the same as the plant discovered
by me on the banks of the Lachlan River in May, 1817, and of which
specimens were sent home by the "Harriet." Asphodeleae, a small
liliaceous plant. An arbusculous Acacia, before stated, indigenous in
the Bay of Rest, is the only woodIsaw, mangroves excepted, and it is
singular that neither here nor in the Bay of Rest were any specimens of
Eucalyptus seen. Beyond the boundary line of sand the flats are very
low, almost level with the sea, which has, at spring tides,
communication with them by the breaks and small inlets on the beach. We
returned on board at 7 to prepare for the examination of the river
supposed to lead into the interior or terminate in the lagoon seen this

Mr. King, Mr. Roe, self, Bongaree and four of the crew left the cutter
in the second whale boat about 9 o'clock. We kept within the sandy
islands (forming projecting low points to the sea), being almost
surrounded by mangroves. Crossing the bar at the entrance to the mouth
of the river or inlet, which is about 150 yards wide, we pulled up in a
fathom to 11 fms., although frequently on the left shore we had 2 and 2½
fms. At 2½ miles from the entrance, the shores, which had been thickly
clothed with Rhizophora and Avicennia, are very low, gradually becoming
somewhat higher, and are nearly bare, with here and there small sapling
Eucalypti. We all landed to look around. Mr. King and myself went over
the scorching flats to a sandy elevation in hopes of taking some
bearings and to make a few observations relative to this channel of
water. No information could be gathered from this ridge, and it being
the highest part we could see we returned to the boat.

Mr. King was satisfied that it would only be a waste of time to examine
further up this inlet, inferring from its red muddy bottom, its effects
among the mangroves and its general shoaliness, that it was a body of
water of no consideration; that the whole of the flats crusted with mud
and white with salt (crystallizing, the sun having evaporated the
stagnant salt water) had lately been inundated; that its decrease of
width, its many little channels running from it, indicate its
termination to be at no great distance; and that the whole flat country
on this coast is one general salt marsh, continually subject to the
inundations and encroachments of the sea.

On these sandy flats I gathered fine flowering specimens of an Acacia
with obovate oblique leaves, first observed in the Bay of Rest. Scaevola
spinosa, discovered in the western interior in June 1817, is common on
the banks of this inlet in flower, with a shrubby plant of spreading
depressed habit, allied to the genus Saponaria. The sandy hills produce
a shrub of the Asclepiadaceae having decayed folicles and elongated
lanceolate leaves, but not in flower. I gathered a few specimens of
grasses on the immediate banks. Our boat people had been busy in our
absence and had caught some fish, but chiefly of the kind called
catfish. In our return we traced the impressions of the feet of natives
on the soft mud in and about a small inlet or branch of the river, the
mouth of which had been stopped with twigs, in order to retain the fish
in a basin within them at low water. It was hence presumed that fresh
water could not be far distant From the great numbers of curlews
observed on this large salt water inlet Mr. King has given it the name
of that bird. Our first officer had landed on the main and had visited
the salt marsh at the back of the beach, and reports the quantities of
crystallized salt he saw on these flats. He brought me specimens of a
Dolichos with axillary stalks, which he had gathered on the sand (D.

21st. Saturday. This morning at 6 o'clock our water was reduced to 9
feet. We weighed anchor and stood off E.N.E. Nothing can convey to us
the idea of smokes of natives better than the spiral manner in which
large bodies of sand are carried into the air by whirlwinds. We have
seen several this day, and had we not been witnesses of the ascent of a
column of sand near us yesterday on shore, we should most naturally have
allowed ourselves to be deceived to-day, concluding them to be the smoke
of native fires.

Very large turtle 3½ and 4 ft. diameter over their backs, and abundance
of albicore are observed around us. Passed several small islands, and
frequently tacked in consequence of shoaly water. At half past 5 we came
to an anchor in 5 fms., on a bottom of small stones.[*] The connection
of sand islands chained together by banks of sand prevented us from
standing within sight of the mainland, but from the circumstances of the
tide setting in the N.E., a bight or bay is expected in that direction.
We had a good run of 45 miles to-day.

[* Under "an island of larger size about four miles off the

22nd. Sunday. At half past 8 we weighed, with a light air, and stood in
for the main (which appeared at noon to trend in deeply to the
eastward); it is very low, and from the masthead has a broken rugged
shore. The land around us is either covered with salt water in a chain
of lagoons or is dry and white with salt as seen at Curlew River. The
breaks in the line of coast are clothed with large bodies of mangroves,
and appear to be drains to the inland marshes, which to the eastward are
bounded by high hills, distinguished from the deck. Several new islands
were observed to windward, of which bearings were taken. At half past 7
we anchored in about a quarter of a mile from a slightly elevated sandy
island, bearing N.W. by W., lat. 21°13'01" S., long. 115°58'35" E.

23rd. Monday. The closeness last night was very oppressive. Between 5
and 6 a.m. we got under weigh, but the calms obliged us to re-anchor. At
half past 9 we weighed again, with a slight breeze from the S.W. We
stood along the coast at a considerable distance from the shore, which
is low and broken. Bearing up for a projecting rocky cape, we doubled
it[*] and stood in for the land, which runs in deeply and forms a bay.
Reefs warned us of imminent danger, and obliged us to tack instantly.
The more elevated or rising parts of the coast assume a new feature,
being thickly covered with brushwood from the water's edge to the ridge
of these small hills. We could clearly distinguish some high land in the
interior from the cutter's deck, and should hope and trust a change for
the better is about to take place. About half past 9 p.m. a sudden
squall came on from the south-eastward and the wind blowing with
incredible force from the elevated sandy hills was exceedingly hot and
accompanied by much sand. Our leadsman reported 10 and 11 fms., which
gave us great scope to the swell that was getting up to drive us off
shore. The thermometer during the squall was stationary at 91°.

[* "We steered close round Cape Preston."--King.]

24th. Tuesday. Favoured with light airs we weighed and steered for an
island 2 or 3 miles to the northward, which we have suspected may be the
Rosemary Island of Dampier, situated according to the French charts in
Dampier's Archipelago, and while standing on for the island were
suddenly shoaled and immediately hauled off. Steering awhile on a new
course, Mr. King still desirous if possible of anchoring under this
island, we again stood in for it. The soundings were very irregular,
till close in upon the island, when we anchored at 6 o'clock within
three quarters of a mile of the shore.

This island[*] is very different from the low sandy flats which we have
been accustomed to, it is hilly, hummocky, and very irregular, appears
covered with grass and small plants, and with large fragments of rock or
stone of a red ferruginous colour. The gullies appearing deep, suggested
the probability of fresh water being procurable. Several small whale
were observed spouting close in shore. Our lat. is 20°44'30" S. The wind
was blowing fresh from the S.E., whence thunder and very vivid lightning
appeared. We struck our topmast, dropped another anchor, and prepared to
meet the blast. It being a matter of very considerable doubt whether we
shall be fortunate enough to discover water, it became necessary to
reduce our daily allowance to a gallon per day each person.

[* Enderby Island.]

25th. Wednesday. At anchor off a sandy bay.[*] At daybreak 4 a.m. I
accompanied Mr. King and the second officer in the jolly boat to the
sandy beach, and whilst they were engaged in taking angles from the
highest parts of the islands, I employed myself on the lower sandy flats
and on the rocky stony hills. The following specimens I gathered in such
situations:--Ficus orbicularis, a shrub 4 ft. high. Ficus sp., a small
tree in ravines and rocky gullies. Acacia sp., a low spreading shrub.
Acacia sp., a shrub frequently seen at the Bay of Rest. Solanum sp.,
Echites sp., a slender shrub. I discovered on the gritty, coarse sand
near the beach, at the base of the hills, a shrubby plant, perhaps of
the genus Triumfelta. About 9 a.m. we all went off on board, and having
then secured my specimens I returned to the shore. A party of our people
were sent from the vessel to search for water, either by digging under
the hills or otherwise, presumed to be found in the gullies which they
were to trace. I took a walk round to the N.E. side of the island, but
added only one or two specimens to my collection. In sterile heated
valleys of sand a twining plant of the Asclepiadaceae (Cynanchum sp.),
with cordate leaves and small white flowers, is most predominant. A
syngenesious plant, the Sphaeranthus indicus, Linn., is frequent but not
in a flowering state. I gathered some specimens of the shrub Dampier had
many years ago published in his voyage Vol. 3, p.m. L4, f3., under the
title of rosemary, and which, from its abundance on an island in this
archipelago on which he landed, suggested the name of Rosemary Island.
It is a large shrub of lax habit, and may be a Conyza, leaves linear,
entire, margin revolute, villous beneath. A species of Cassia, with
large ovate and elliptical leaflets, oblique at their base, rounded at
their points and mucronated, the glands pedicelled and inserted at the
base of the petioles, and terminal spike, is a rare shrub on rocky
exposed situations.

[* "Anchored off a sandy beach to the eastward of Rocky Head."--King.]

The people had been digging in vain, they could not penetrate to any
depth, in consequence of the stony shallow soil, but they discovered in
the deep excavations of a rocky gully a quantity of about 12 gallons of
water that had been stagnant for some time, but had acquired a
sub-putrid taste, and was exceedingly soft, and although shaded from the
intense heat by the branches of the Ficus above mentioned was very warm.
It was very acceptable, and a bareca was filled with it and carried on
board. Upon returning along the shore to the boat I found our two
officers had just come on shore, and the one proposed an excursion
across the island to the opposite shore, whilst the other, with our
worthy friend Bongaree, intended to search the beach for shells. I
accompanied Mr. Roe inland. We followed the windings of a gully to an
elevated flat between the shoulders of the higher hills, where it is
evident, from the number of small dry channels concentrating at the
mouth of this gully, that immense bodies of water descend into the lower
flats and thence over the beach into the sea. Passing over the highest
hills, which are extremely rugged and stony, covered with spinifex, we
gradually descended through a ravine and came out upon a sandy beach to
the westward of the shores we had intended to have made.

The evening was too far advanced to proceed further from the vessel, it
was therefore determined to range about and then return to the boat.
There are remarkable concentrations of gullies and deep furrowed
water-courses at this small sandy shore, and a slight humidity being
observed on the soil on the more shaded parts, induced us to search the
gullies and leading channels. It was, however, fruitless, the water
apparently had but just sunk below the depth of the earth a few days
previously. A species of Dolichos, in fruit and flower, was spread over
the sands. It seems distinct from D. gladiatus, to which it is allied. I
gathered one specimen of a papilionaceous plant, a Swainsona, with
purple flowers. The Croton of the Interior of Australia and Curlew River
is here likewise in the gullies, the shrubs I examined, had all of them
male flowers. A very strong scented glutinous plant, of the class
Didynamia, with a bilabiated purple corolla, is frequent on the hills
among the rocks, in round bushy forms.

Pursuing a rugged route over the hills we arrived at the boat at dusk.
The tide had fallen several feet, and the people were therefore obliged
to carry the boat over the rocky shore to float her. Among the loose
fragments of ironstone, with which this island abounds, numerous pigmy
kangaroo find a secure retreat, and the higher cliffy parts are
inhabited by numbers of the white cockatoo, whose figure and cry
pronounce them the same as those of New South Wales. The bay abounds
with fish of various kinds. Sharks are in schools. Sea snakes and turtle
are frequent, but the season of the latter visiting the shore being
past, we could take none at sea. This island not being the Rosemary
Island, as laid down in the charts (French), Mr. King has named it
Enderby Island.[*]

[* "An island to the northward on which are three hummocks was soon
recognized as Captain Baudin's Ile Romarin."]


26th. Thursday. At half past ten got under weigh. In standing between
the islands of the group we discovered three natives in the water,
appearing from the distance we were from them, to be wading over shoaly
flats from one island to another.[*]

[* "Wading towards Lewis Island."--King.]

Making more sail, we steered direct for them, whereupon approaching them
we observed they were each seated on a canoe-afloat, and were making as
much way for the nearest shore as possible, paddling along with their
hands. About 2 p.m., coming up with them, we wore ship and lay to, and
lowering the jolly boat we sent it after them with four able hands. Our
people soon overtook the third man who had not been so active in working
to windward as his comrades, and, with difficulty and with as much care
as possible, he was seized and lifted into the boat[*] but not before he
had dived 2 or 3 times under her bottom in attempting to escape. Upon
being brought on board we were presented with a fine figure of a man, of
rather thin, spare shape. About 6 ft. 2 inches high, of a good visage,
as an Australian, strong bushy beard, tolerably well-proportioned limbs,
and apparently 27 or 28 years of age. He was not wanting in the incisive
or front teeth, nor were the signs of circumcision, spoken of by
authors, visible. He was perfectly naked, tattooed on the breech, wore
no ornaments, having only a pointed stick about 7 inches long stuck in
his hair, that might be useful to extract fish from their shells or
other purposes,

Although sullen and much alarmed at first, he soon assumed a degree of
confidence when he experienced the kindness and attention paid him. He
occasionally made signs towards the land and talked, but his language
was not understood by Bongaree, our Port Jackson native, or ourselves.
We decorated him with glass beads, which we hung round his neck, but,
like the natives of other Australian tribes, he was not disposed to
admire these ornaments, preferring rather useful and beneficial things.
He ate but sparingly of our biscuit, but drank freely a quart of fresh
water. He took much notice of Bongaree, who had reluctantly at our
persuasion stripped and exhibited a scarified body--a counterpart of his
own. By this time we had approached so near an island as to be within 1½
miles of its shores, on which were many natives patiently watching
us,[*] and apparently in anxiety to know the result of the capture. We
therefore shortened sail and anchored in 5 fms.

[* On seeing them, the captive immediately exclaimed, in a loud voice,
"cõmã nëgrä."-King.]

We gave the native an axe showing him its use; a bag containing beef and
biscuit, a red cap and some small cordage, and, expressing a desire to
depart, he was taken off in the jolly boat for the beach, on which his
countrymen were sitting, the officer on the boat having directions not
to land him, but to approach the shore, place him with the gifts round
his neck on his float and launch him off. He soon landed on the beach,
but his comrades approached him very cautiously, with their spears
poised over their shoulders, while others were timid and ran back behind
the bushes. This strange symptom of fear and distrust entirely
originated in the figure the captive native made with the bag at his
back and the red cap on his head; but soon disengaging himself of these
encumbrances and throwing the whole carelessly on the sand he joined his
comrades, whose numbers, including women and children, were between 36
and 40.

We were at a loss to know the kind of wood of which his simple kind of
float or bark was made. It is about a foot in diameter and might be 7 or
8 feet long, solid and cylindrical, or tapering slightly towards the
extremes, which were detached pieces, joined by the means of sticks
forced into the ends of the mainpiece. They sit upon it, about the
middle, astride, allowing their legs to hang down in the water, or can
at pleasure place their feet horizontally along the float, resting the
heel on its forepoint. Practice and habit have enabled them to sit so in
equilibrio as to prevent their bark turning with them, and when they
wish to advance rapidly they incline the body forward, put their feet in
motion and paddle with their hands. Only the head of the float is seen,
the greater part being under water, diagonally to its horizontal

At 5 o'clock p.m. our second officer with Bongaree and four of the crew,
all well armed, were sent towards them, with a view of landing and
effecting an amicable interview and communication, I accompanied Mr. Roe
in the boat. On our near approach they came to meet us making signs to
us to land, but the heavy surf rolling over the rugged rocks lining the
shore altogether prevented us. We stood off and on, rowing along the
rocky beach, answered the calls of the natives, who waded up to their
breasts towards us, and gave some ornaments to those who ventured within
the length of their spears from the boat, but their whole desires and
wishes were that we should land among them. Finding it altogether
unsafe, in consequence of the rugged shore and great swell, we left them
for the vessel, when they expressed their disappointment by shouting
loudly as we rowed off.

A friendly interview would be very desirable, as it might be the means
of discovering the spot where fresh water is to be procured, the
existence of which the very presence of these poor creatures, with their
wives and children, plainly indicates. Among the natives we
distinguished some aged grey bearded men, some athletic adults, and some
full grown boys; and the captured native was observed among the group
and appeared rather shy, and he had left his axe on the beach when he
came into the water towards us.

Their spears are very thick and stout, round, sharp pointed, but
barbless, and appeared 9-10 ft. long. At sunset a fire was observed near
the water's edge on an island to windward.


[* The group between Lewis Island and the main was called Intercourse
Islands. Seven in number, they are situated in the south-east portion of
Mermaid Strait.]

27th. Friday. The natives still continue at their temporary encampment
on the rising parts of the island, some of whom were observed bathing in
the course of the forenoon. Immediately after dinner, Mr. King, Mr.
Bedwell, and myself, left the cutter in the large whale boat for the
island, in order to get an interview with the natives, and by signs
endeavour to obtain the information where fresh water might be procured.
We landed on a sandy beach at nearly the lee side of the island, but
found the natives had left it in the course of the forenoon, nor was it
until some time had elapsed that they were discovered on the shores
opposite to us to the eastward. Their huts were of green boughs, very
temporary, and could form no shelter in rainy weather, and their fires
were small and many in number. It was with no small surprise we found
near the huts the axe and other things we had given the native on board,
the bag with provisions appeared not to have been even opened. This
island is sand, chiefly of a red colour, over which large pieces of
ironstone are scattered. I gathered the following
specimens:--Stylosanthes sp., a pinnated-leaved prostrate plant. Velleia
sp., a suffruticose plant. Leschenaultia sp., large yellow flowers.
Cleome sp. Vicia sp., a weak plant, frequent with the Dolichos of
Enderby Island. The more rocky exposed parts are covered with a plant of
the Asclepiadaceae. The Spinifex is frequent on the island, and
Convolvulus pes-caprae is stretched over the sands near the beach. A
small plant of the Cucurbitaceae and some shrubs of the Atriplicinae,
before noticed, and of which the native huts were made, were abundant on
the shore. Leaving the place and stretching over to the opposite shores,
on which we could distinguish several natives, as well as two in the
water on their barks, we made for a sandy beach; the natives came to
meet us, shouting and making many signs, inviting us to land. Mr. King,
and Bongaree (naked) landed first, and walked up to them, and a friendly
conference took place, one of the natives advancing and receiving Mr.
King with open hands.

We all landed, and found our commander with the natives, who, including
the two who had been in the water, now amounted to about a dozen. We
decorated their persons with beads, and the reflection of their frizzled
visages in a glass created much laughter among them. To the one who had
advanced towards us first, we gave the cap and axe and, having found a
piece of wood on the beach, Bongaree was directed to show him how to use
it. Some old rusty nails, files, sharpened chisels, were also presented
to this person, who although he appeared the most intelligent among
them, received all with a careless indifference and unconcern. It is
evident they never saw iron before, and knew nothing of its valuable
uses. The captured native was not among them, nor did we observe any so
well proportioned as he was.

The eyes of most of them are bad, and affected much with watery humours,
occasioned by their habits of sitting over the smokes of their little
fires. Some of their faces were covered with fish oil, over which they
had sprinkled the dust of powdered charcoal, rendering them still more
disgusting than they naturally are. The whole of them were scarified on
the back and shoulders, and one poor lad, on whom the operation had been
recently made, still smarted under its pains, which were aggravated by
the myriads of small flies continually annoying him. We attempted in
vain to form a vocabulary of their language, but they understood our
desire to find fresh water, and pointed to some elevated rocky islands.
We did not attempt to leave the beach to look around the low land lying
beyond it, whence a few stragglers came unarmed seemingly from their
encampment, where probably their women were, for we saw none.

Pulling off, we set sail for the sandy beach of another island, where we
intended to land and search for water. Upon approaching the shore we
noticed several natives descending from a steep rocky point to the
little bay, where we wished to have landed. Their numbers were upwards
of 20, all armed with spears and appeared bold and courageous. Four men
left their companions on the right entrance and ran over the sands to
the left side. and wading in the water informed us by their gestures
that we should not land. And their wild defying grimaces and vociferous
yells were clear and palpable proofs that their intentions were
decidedly hostile. It was considered much more prudent to leave them
than occasion bloodshed. In consequence of its being the first
communication that we have had with natives since we left Port Jackson,
the first island on which we saw natives, the second on which we had an
interview with them, and the third where they opposed our landing, have
collectively been called Intercourse Islands, whereof the first is in
about lat. 20°35' S.[*]

[* East Intercourse, West Intercourse, and Intercourse Islands are the
largest of of the group.]

28th. Saturday. At 9 we got under weigh and stood among the islands, and
at half past eleven, having got well to the eastward of this group, we
anchored in about 5 fms. I accompanied Mr. Roe, who was sent at 3 p.m.
to examine the bottom of the bay before us,[*] and if possible to
discover water. We sailed to its extreme end, which is bounded by
mangroves, and passed up a salt water inlet in hopes of coming out upon
the back land, but impenetrable thicket of lofty mangroves of Avicennia
and Rhizophora mangle obliged us to return. Rhizophora mangle was in
flower, the fruit is long, subulate and clavated.

[* Probably King Bay.]

We landed at a rugged rocky small opening, and walked over the salt
plains, now dry, to somewhat more elevated parts of this sterile coast.
Scaevola spinescens is very strong, and resists the and barrenness
around most surprisingly.

Arriving under some hills, consisting chiefly of rugged heaps of
ironstone, we dug in the valleys between each range for water, but our
people were prevented from penetrating deep, it being very shallow and
rocky. The idea was therefore abandoned of procuring the invaluable
desideratum by such means. On the margin of the stony water channels,
now dry, and in the rocky valleys, I discovered many specimens of a
small tree, which from habit and a decayed capsule being found on one
plant, proved to belong to the Proteacae, of the genus Grevillea. I was
not fortunate in my search for flowering specimens. I gathered specimens
of a species of Scaevola, with oblong spatulate acute leaves, bilobed,
at the base; raceme axillary, three-flowered. Phyllanthus sp., leaves
simple, oblong, blunt, decurrent, attenuated at base; flower axillary,
the lower ones pedunculated and female; an annual plant. Gomphrena sp.,
an annual plant. Verbena sp., leaves linear; flowers in a spike.
Boehmeria sp., stem hoary, procumbent, diffuse; leaves elliptical,
oblong, obtuse, undulate; panicle loose. I likewise furnished myself
with specimens of a long slender-stemmed shrub allied to Dalea. Among
the large fragments of ironstone a species of Trichosanthes was very
conspicuous, fruit small, flowers white and ciliated; the whole plant is
fetid as in some Bryoniae.

Our people traced the water-courses between the rocky hills, but all was
dry and miserable. The more elevated points of these heaps of stones are
crowned with the larger fig of Enderby Island, and the whole is covered
densely with spinifex and other grasses, of which I gathered specimens.
Returning to the boat, we fell in with the track of natives on the sand,
evidently on the same errand as ourselves. One of the boats crew traced
their steps to another gully between the rocks, but barely the
appearance of humidity existed among the stones. From this situation we
rowed over to a sandy beach, where dry channels were followed among high
wiry grass between the small rising grounds to no purpose whatever. We
therefore returned on board about 7 p.m.

1818. March 1st. Sunday. Mustered the people, and the church service was
read on board as usual. At half past 10 we weighed and stood out, with
an intention of running northerly. At 2 p.m., being abreast of an
elevated rocky island, whose highest points commanded a good view of the
numerous islands around us, and a small sandy bay opening to us, we
tacked and stood in for it, anchoring at about half a mile from the
shore in 5 fms.[*] About 4 p.m. Mr. King and Mr. Roe went on shore, to
take some angles and bearings of the island, and I accompanied them, to
examine its scanty vegetable produce. We landed on a fine sandy beach,
and the tide was just about the turn (ebb). This island presents to me
nothing different in point of character. It is for the most part of the
red ferruginous-coloured ironstone, with the same irregular rugged
disposition and the same sterile gritty sands so prevalent on the
islands visited. Acacia oleaefolia, first seen at the Bay of Rest, of
glaucous hue, is very strong on the exposed parts of this island, but
not in a flowering state. The aphyllous plant of the Asclepiadaceae,
habit of Ceropegia, is very abundant. I gathered the following
specirnens:--Opercularia sp., a trailing herbaceous plant, among the
rocks. I was not a little surprised to find the Kennedya I discovered in
July 1817, in sterile bleak open flats near the Regent Lake on the
Lachlan iver, in lat.33°13' S. and long. 146°40' E. It is not common I
could only see three plants, of which one was in flower. I gathered some
ripe seeds of a Cucumis, fruit red, hispid, small and globular, size of
a red currant. The vine of this plant has been seen on all the islands
of this Archipelago visited, but never in fruit before to-day. On the
rocky margins of the dry water-courses, a harsh shrub, perhaps of the
Urlicaceae, with clusters of small male flowers, was observed and
induced me to gather a few specimens in the imperfect state it was then
found. I also gathered seeds of a curious lateral flowering grass .[**]
The same signs of rain water having been running in considerable bodies
and standing in the hollows, appear here as throughout the archipelago,
but not a drop of fresh water now exists! The necessary bearings were
very fortunately taken by Mr. King in time before we became enveloped in
gloom, occasioned by the action of a strong wind upon the sands, which
being raised were blown over to the northward and westward in clouds
like smoke. These false appearances of native smoke have no doubt
deceived preceding navigators, and perhaps the French, tempting them to
conclude parts from whence the clouds arose were inhabited, however arid
and inhospitable. We have seen and proved this fallacy, having been on a
sandy flat within a quarter of a mile of one of the columns of loose
sand when it was ascending. Several large whales were seen spouting
among the islands. No tree or shrub above three feet high was observed
on this island, the highest (a south) point of which is called Courtney
Head.[***] This island is Isle Malus of the French.

[* At Malus Island the cutter anchored in a bay under the west side of
Courtenay Head.]

[** Here too was discovered the Clianthus Dampieri A. Cun.]

[* Dampier's bluff point.]

2nd. Monday. Some turtle having been seen in the evening making for the
island, a party was sent on shore at dusk to secure them, and this
morning they returned without any success. Mr. King sent the second
officer on shore, with some hands, to dig for water. They returned in
two hours, having penetrated 10 feet with no signs of humidity. We got
under weigh immediately, and bore up S.S.E. for a point of land where we
dropt our anchor till the morning.[*]

[* Under north-west end of Baudin's Legendre I.]

3rd. Tuesday. The atmosphere is much more sensibly temperate than we
have felt it for some days past, although the mercury of the thermometer
was not so materially affected. A thermometer on deck not exposed to the
sun, but from its situation somewhat affected by its rays, rose at 4
p.m. to 116° Farenheit. A report was made from the mast head that we
were approaching shoaly water, but it appeared that the surface of the
sea was covered in patches with a reddish scum, usually termed
sea-sawdust, from its resemblance to that of cedar or other light
coloured woods. It may in reality be the spawn of minute fish. Not
intending to anchor at night, we stood out, the vessel's head being N.
by W. Upon comparing the islands of this archipelago, now laid down by
Mr. King, with the published charts of the French, we find that several
of them have been named by these navigators, although very badly and
inaccurately surveyed, while others of them that we have been round were
considered by them as part of the main.

4th. Wednesday. We steered outside several islands forming the
Archipelago, some of which are long strips of low sand, while others
more distant are rocky, rugged and lofty. We attempted to round these
islands and steer in among them, but a dangerous rock running off from
the weathermost warned us to luff up to windward, and an opening
appearing in the land from the masthead we bore up for it with a light
breeze. At sunset we were in a bay, having the supposed opening or
channel to the back of the islands passed to-day. This bay is called
Nickol's Bay.[*]

[* In Nickol Bay the pearl fishing of Western Australia was started.]


5th. Thursday. The supposed opening is clearly seen from the mast-head
this morning to be only a slight trending of the land, which is
exceedingly low, with some patches of mangroves. About half past 6 a.m.
we left Nickol's Bay, with a breeze from S.W. A projecting point of the
mainland, whose shores to the northward trend in easterly, has been
named Cape Lambert, in honour of A. B. Lambert, Esqre., of Grosvenor
Street, London.[*] We ran along a very low and dangerous coast, whose
adjacent islands could be traced from the mast-head to be chained
together by reefs and sandy shoals. Some rocks had their points just
above the surface of the water, allowing the waves to beat over them and
warn the cautious mariner of the dangers around him.

[* Cape Lambert is on the north-west side of approach to Port Walcott.]

Tracing the coast north-easterly, we bore away for an island seen by the
French (Baudin), who in passing kept well out to sea, hence could not
distinguish the low mainland as it really exists. At 5 p.m. we were
about 2 miles to the westward of the island, which is laid down in the
French charts under the title of Isle Depuch, it appears one body of
bare naked ironstone, with scarcely a trace of vegetation, and its
general aspect cannot under any view convey to the mind any flattering
ideas of its fertility, or its springs of water, which have been
represented by the authors of the voyage under Commodore Baudin.

6th. Friday. In this morning's run we passed to windward of several low,
flat, sandy and rocky islands named by the French, although only seen by
them at such a distance as not to enable them clearly to distinguish
between islands and mainland.

7th. Saturday. Suspecting from the steadiness of the wind from that
quarter that the north-easterly monsoon would set in altogether by the
latter end of this month or beginning of April, and fearful should we
continue longer on this coast we would not be able to beat up to the
eastward, and in that case would be wholly cut off from the means of
obtaining fresh supplies of wood and water at Timor or elsewhere, Mr.
King has determined to leave the coast and run as far as possible to the
eastward on the north coast, and at the change of the monsoon survey

8th. Sunday. Divine Service as usual on board. Being in the latitude of
a reef laid down in the charts, but to the westward of it, a good look
out was kept at the mast-head, and we sounded hourly. At 8 p.m. we found
no bottom in 80 fms.

9th. Monday. Tropic birds accompanied us this morning, nine were
hovering over the mast-head. Dead calm, and a sultry afternoon. Our lat.
is 17°34'28" S., and long. 117°58'06" E.

10th. Tuesday. At half past 5 a long narrow water spout was observed to
leeward of us, issuing from the clouds in a slender curved form. At
intervals it was not seen, and again reappearing we traced it distinctly
to the surface of the sea, the clouds at these moments were very dark
and heavy, pregnant with water, which is disembogued by means of the

11th. Wednesday. A fine sperm whale made his appearance near the vessel,
round which he swam twice and disappeared.

12th. Thursday. The clouds bounding the visible horizon, particularly to
the westward, are very romantic in their disposition, in them many wild
irregular shapes and warm delicate tints may be traced. Their singular
tendency to form into cones, spires and pyramids, may be peculiar to
this Australian coast, as also may be said of these dark threatening
clouds whose lowering heavy aspect induced us on several occasions to
shorten sail and await the approach of the squall, but which in the
sequel had no evil tendency, the hovering storm resolved and cleared off
in a few moments, to our great surprise, until accustomed to these

13th. Friday. We made sail, but it was of little use, making but little
way through the water. Aware we were upon the site of the shoals and
rocks laid down on the charts of this coast, a good look out was kept at
the mast head, but we could discover nothing, or could we find bottom in
23 fms. Our situation at noon, as deduced from many sets of solar and
lunar observations, is 17°35' S. and 118°41' E.

14th. Saturday. At half past 5 p.m. the surf of a reef of sand bank was
seen from the top-gallant-mast head, bearing due east, distance 5 miles.
From the nature of the waves breaking it appears to be mostly sand. Wore
ship and passed to windward; we got no bottom in 200 fms.

15th. Sunday. In consequence of our discovery of the shoal last evening,
we lay to at night, and at 5 a.m. tacked to southward. At 7 we saw the
breakers from the masthead bearing S.E. by S. Prayers as usual on board
to the vessel's company. At 3 p.m. we lost sight of the shoal, and at 6
hove to. Wind, W. by S. These shoals are extensive flats of sand,
perhaps 5 miles long from N. to N.W., with some rocks of small elevation
on their margins.[*] Their surfaces as presented to us from the
mast-head are shallows covered with water, perhaps 2-20 feet, of great
breadth, but no spots were perfectly dry.

[* Named Rowley Shoals, after Captain Rowley, H.M.S. "Imperieuse," who
discovered the westernmost in 1800.]

16th. Monday. From the mast-head another shoal was discovered, of
considerable extent, and of like appearance of those seen yesterday.

17th, Tuesday to 23rd, Monday. Between these periods we have had winds
from S.W. to W.S.W. Fine with succeeding squalls, and a damp moist

24th. Tuesday. At 7 we hove to for bearings of some islands in sight. It
was doubtful which of the islands now seen was New Year's Island of
Captain Flinders.[*] They appear from the deck clothed with trees, and
more green and grassy than those of Dampier's Archipelago. Great flocks
of seabirds were hovering about these islands, of which one has been
called Fowler's Island by Captain Flinders, and another Oxley's Island
by Mr. King, the former in honour of the Lieutenant of the indefatigable
navigator, and the latter as a compliment to John Oxley, Esqre.,
Surveyor General of New South Wales; and the whole collectively are
called Flinders Group.

[* "The north-easternmost proved to be New Year's Island of Lieutenant
McCluer." King. This isle is still called New Year Isle, and an isle
nine miles to the southward McCluer Isle.]

25th. Wednesday. During the forenoon the breeze slackened and again
sprang up due cast. We therefore tacked ship and stood southerly for the
coast. Some curious Zoophytes were floating around the vessel,
particularly Porpita gigantea of the French.

26th. Thursday. At 8 a.m., land that had been seen from the mast-head
some hours before was plainly distinguished from. the deck. We tacked
and stood into a bight in the land thickly enveloped in mangroves, but
shoaled to 2½ fms. although 3 miles from the shore. The coast here
appears in patches very barren, low and sandy, several of its points
were named by Mr. King, who now commenced his survey running westerly.
At 6, the soundings, from a rocky hard bottom changed to soft mud, and
the appearance of the horizon to windward being favourable, Mr. King
resolved to anchor, which he did at half past 6 in 15 fms., off Point

[* Which forms the western entrance point of King River.]



("Mermaid's" Voyage Completed)


27th. Friday. At 7 a.m. we weighed and bore up west, taking bearings of
points as we passed along. The general depression of this part of the
coast, the mangrove beaches, and the bodies of water noticed inland
behind the immediate banks of the shore, are evident proofs of the coast
being subject to the encroachments of the sea. At noon we approached an
island of very distinct features from those of the N.W. coast. It is
slightly elevated, covered with small timber, appears very grassy, and
of easy rise. Its S.W. sides in particular are cliffy, parts of which
appear argillaceous, of a ferrugineous tinge. Rounding the points of the
island we anchored off a sandy bay in 5 fms.[*]

[* South-West Bay, of South Goulburn Island.]

About noon I accompanied Mr. King and our second officer on shore. We
landed on a part of the beach which, from its low grassy appearance,
tempted us to conclude fresh water might be discovered near. Our boat
people were directed to make a diligent search by tracing this apparent
water channel inland. I took a range around among very lofty grasses,
and the following are the most remarkable plants I detected this
afternoon. Clerodendron sp., a shrub of the habit of Leea sambucina,
having an angular stem and bipinnated foliage. In humid, grassy
situations with the preceding plants Tacca pinnatifida is very abundant,
in fruit at this time, whose roots I observed had been dug up in several
spots, either by natives or some animal; and several convolvuli,
particularly a species with long white tubular corolla, an Ipomaea with
large cordate leaves. The rising grounds are covered with very large
fragments of stone-ironstone, (heavy, and of an iron grey colour), which
being hid from the sight by the thick high grass, renders the
penetration into the island somewhat difficult.

In these drier, barren, stony spots I gathered specimens of a Crotalaria
allied to C. linifolia. C. sp. (allied to C. anthylloides Lamarck.),
specimens and seeds. Justicia sp., flowers axillary and terminal, bracts
elliptical, acute, mucronated, villous. Justicia sp., spike axillary and
terminal, bracts ovate-lanceolate; an ornamental slender shrub. A tree
about 30 feet high of spreading irregular growth, fruit drupaceous,
one-seeded each seed having a groove on its side. Strychnos sp., in
fruit, a small tree 10-12 feet high. The most general timber, which is
small, is a Eucalyptus from 30-35 feet high, it was not in flower, but
from its habit appears different from any I have seen before. In exposed
iron stony soils, near the edge of a perpendicular cliff, I discovered
an Acacia with simple very oblique half-rounded leaves, which are
5-nerved, petiole one-glanded, spike cylindrical. Cyperaceae, habit of
Eriocaulon or Xyris but petalless, a small gramineous plant, the seeds
having a membranaceous fimbriation round them. A very frequent plant is
a species of Vitis, fruit small and black. A species of Kennedya,
twining among the high grass, afforded me some seeds, and also a twining
Clitoria, with narrow, ovate, ternate leaves. Pandanus spiralis has a
fine effect, as well on the higher parts of the island as on the sands
of the beach. It has a caudex, frequently 10-12 feet high, which is
crowned with its spirally disposed foliage. I saw some specimens in
green fruit.

We traced very recent impressions of naked feet on the sands, but saw no
natives, even doubting of there being any on the island at this time.
Bongaree, the native, was with me all the afternoon, and upon our return
to the beach we found the jolly boat had gone back to the cutter, but
returning at sunset it took us both off. Our people found some water,
but it was brackish and in small portions. Continuing their search they
found some better, and in order to collect it they dug a well about 6
feet deep, trusting it would be filled in the course of the night.
Native fires were observed at dusk, on the main to the eastward of us.

28th. Saturday. At an early hour Mr. King and Mr. Roe landed, to measure
a base line on the beach, and I was occupied till 8 o'clock shifting out
my specimens. I went on shore with a wooding party, intending to
penetrate some distance from the beach to ascertain the character of the
botany inland. Passing through a thickly wooded land, among lofty grass,
on an iron-stony soil and in a north westerly direction, I discovered
but little variety, several I had seen yesterday appearing more
generally around me. I gathered, however, the following
specimens:--Grevillea Dryandri of Mr. Brown, a beautiful spreading shrub
of low stature. Polygala sp., a small pigmy annual plant. Combrelaceae,
a shrub of the habit of Sterculia, with a drupaccous acute 1-seeded
fruit. Sterculia sp., a dwarf strong shrub, with large coriaceous
5-angled leaves; this plant has only some last year's fruit on it.
Bidens sp., an annual plant with linear leaves. Phyllanthus sp.
Celastrus sp., a shrub 6-8 feet high. Verbesina dichotoma. Grewia sp.,
allied to G. verrucosa, a very common plant among the high grass, in
flower and fruit. The Crotalaria discovered yesterday, a species with
simple elongated lanceolate leaves; raceme terminal; calyx very hairy,
longer than the legumen. A. Convolvulus, differing but little from C.
medium. Vitis sp. I discovered this vine to-day laden with fruit.
Euphorbia sp., a shrub with glossy leaves; berry red, 2 seeded. And the
Strychnos observed yesterday, a small tree.

A continuation of the same grassy, thickly wooded barren land appearing
before me after I had advanced about 2½ miles inland, and not meeting
with any more plants but what were duplicates of those I had already
gathered, I made a circuit westerly to that part of the beach where our
wooding party were employed. In this route I gathered a few more plants
viz:--specimens from a tree 20 feet high, with elliptical, glossy
leaves, allied to Hippomane. Amyris sp. Achyranthes sp. Periploca sp., a
volubilous shrubby plant. Sapindus, a small tree, with oblique pinnate
leaves and a terminal cyme of fruit, on the beach beneath a cliff of
marl or pipe-cIay. Hibiscus ficulneus is fine in flower and fruit, of
which I gathered seeds.

Our native, Bongaree, in his rambles on the shores of the island, made a
very valuable and seasonable discovery. He found fresh water running
into a natural basin under the cliffs, above noticed, in such abundance
as to afford us two puncheons per hour. The well dug the last evening
was full this morning, but, upon testing, it was found too bad and
brackish to be drunk. Our woodmen complained of the hard timber turning
the edges of their axes, though they found it to be hollow at heart,
like some of its kindred on the Eastern coast. I went on board to secure
my specimens, which were already beginning to wither, by the intensity
of the heat. In my absence, Mr. King had gone away to a small island
about 2 miles to the southward and westward of our anchorage (and which
at my suggestion has been named Sims Island), to take a meridian
altitude and make other observations relative to the survey. He returned
at 3 p.m., bringing with him a few specimens he had noticed there, and
among them a Tournefortia with a compound recurved spike of white
flowers, ovate-oblong large silky leaves, and thick short succulent
stem. Triumfetta sp., imperfect. A new Grevillea, and a suffruticose
plant of the Aselepiadaceae, having all the habits of Hoya, a
stoloniferous reclining plant; leaves as in H. carnosa; the flowers
however are white; corolla smooth and sweet-scented.

The north point of Sims Island forms a remarkable rocky elevation, named
Sanson's Head. At 4 p.m. I returned to the island on which I had
employed myself this morning, which Mr. King has entitled Goulburn
Island, and made some further discoveries in botany, in the vicinity of
the depressed moist land where we had dug the well viz:--Hedysarum sp.
Asparagus racemosus. Tabernaemontana sp. Tracing a beaten path made by
the natives, I observed the roots of Tacca pinnatifida, a plant abundant
in low shaded situations had been taken up in quantities, which tempted
me to conclude they are eaten by these Australians, as are also those of
a plant of the Aroidae [Arum orixense] by the natives about the banks of
the Hawkesbury and Nepean Rivers on the Eastern coast.

Observing an arborescent Melaleuca in flower in the hollow somewhat
below me, I was advancing towards it, when I was suddenly and agreeably
surprised by the discovery of a lagoon of fine clear water, which is so
much concealed by the high grass as not to be seen until you are at its
margin. Many fine large specimens of this Melaleuca were growing in this
water, which is 2½-3 feet deep. It appears to approach near M.
leucadendron. I discovered a Nymphaea covering the waters of this
lagoon, of the size of N. pygmaea. The flowers are white, of which I was
only able to procure two or three specimens, and no capsules were
discovered. I took up some of the roots, which are likewise small, and
very deep in the stiff clayey bottom. These I enveloped in soil, and
having no other means, could only risk them, being desirous of
transporting the plant to Port Jackson, although, from our expected
detention on the coast and the subsequent voyage thence, they have but
little chance. I gathered specimens of a species of Polygala, of a small
Euphorbia; and a species of Hedysarum, with seeds of Tecca. The sandy
shores abound with a succulent plant now in flower. It appears to be an
Aizoon, with narrow oblong-lanceolate smooth leaves; flowers axillary,
solitary. Flagellaria indica is a very common plant in confined
brushwood, climbing over the whole through the medium of its
cirrhiferous (tendril bearing) foliage, and in similar situations
Dioscorea bulbifera has been observed, bearing axillary bulbs and small
male flowers. Finally I thought in like places I could trace something
of the Bignonia in a twining shrub with glossy ovate conjugate leaves,
and its bark, which is spotted, as in some species indigenous in Brazil.
I, however, saw no signs of flowers. I planted some peach stones in a
deep rich soil near the lagoon. At dusk the boat came for me, and I went
off, with a specimen of the fresh water and reported the discovery to
Mr. King.

29th. Sunday. Soon after noon some of the people on deck observed five
natives among the high grass on the island approaching the spot where
our party had been cutting up wood, and our tools, axes and cross-cut
saws having been rather neglectfully left there by our people, they
carried all off, and our station flags stuck up at regular distances on
the beach likewise attracting their attention were also seized. At the
firing of some muskets they fell down among the grass, but rising again
they walked off with their booty and wholly disappeared. It was
suggested they might be a part of a body of natives seen on the main
yesterday, and might have crossed over in a canoe.

Mr. Bedwell. and five able hands were despatched in the large whale boat
round the south part of Goulburn Island to examine the little bights and
capture any canoe he might find. About 3 p.m. he returned with a very
fine one, about 17 feet long and 2 feet wide, formed of an entire piece
of timber, and sufficiently large to convey six natives from one island
to another. It was hauled up on the beach, and near it were seen 7 or 8
natives, armed. They had an encampment of gunyas or huts on the rising
ground, and several small fires were smoking around them. It being
evident this canoe had been made by persons in possession of sharp iron
tools, the circumstance created a doubt of its being of Australian
manufacture, and this doubt was not a little strengthened by a piece of
Malay rope being found attached to it. How the people became possessed
of it we know not. Captain Flinders found the natives on this coast to
the eastward great thieves, and these to the westward have this day thus
far proved their consanguinity in character with them in carrying off
our wooding tools.

At 4 p.m. I accompanied Mr. King to the west point, to examine the
soundings of the newly discovered watering place in order to return the
vessel nearer to it for convenience and protection to our people while
occupied in taking in a fresh supply of water. We landed to examine
Bongaree's discovery, which is under a range of perpendicular cliffs or
elevated forest land. The fresh water runs from rocky perforations near
the ground into a kind of well or basin, deepened by our people, and
rendered more convenient for the purpose of filling our casks. Oozing
through the white clay it has a pale tinge, is soft but good water.
Whilst Mr. King was taking angles and bearings I examined the plants of
the overhanging range of cliffs. I gathered better specimens of a
volubilous plant of the Asclepiadaceae, observed yesterday in fruit.
Periploca sp. Santalaceae; Exocarpus, or allied to that genus; leaves
elliptical and broad; spikes axillary, crowded, shorter than the leaf; a
tree not exceeding 20 feet in height. Achyranthes pungens, in sterile,
sandy spots. A fine leaved Casuarina, with small fruit, forming a tree
30-40 feet high, on the immediate beach, afforded me some specimens and
seeds. I discovered a single specimen of a low spreading tree with a
compound fruit, perhaps of the Urticaceae.

At the extremity of our walk, a point of the island opened to us, truly
picturesque; it was covered with the Pandanus, with stems 20 feet high,
bearing their compound drupaceous fruit. At dusk we returned on board,
and suspecting the natives might swim off in the night and endeavour to
carry oft their canoe, we hauled it up to the davits out of their reach,
had muskets ready, and directed a good and vigilant watch to be kept.
Numerous white and black cockatoos, several pigeons, and some rich
plumed parrots were observed on the shores of the island. Among the
volubilous plants seen on shore an Ipomoea is very common under the
cliffs. It has a long tubular corolla of a white colour, capitated
stigma, and smooth woody stem, agreeing with a species figured by
Andrews in his Botanical Repository as Ipomoea grandiflora, but
differing from the Convolvulus grandiflorus of Linnaeus (supplement),
which is described as having an arborescent pubescent stem. At 11 p.m.
our whale boat, which had been (at dusk) well secured astern, was
discovered drifting towards the shore, and suspecting the natives were
carrying her off, muskets were fired, and the jolly boat manned, well
armed, was sent off to bring her back. It appears one or more of these
mischievous natives had silently swam off to recover their canoe, but
being disappointed in not finding her within their reach, had cut
through the thick painter or rope of the whale boat, and were either
towing her away or allowing her to drift on shore.

30th. Monday. Clear morning. About half past 6 a.m. we weighed anchor
and stood to the northward and westward, to a more convenient place for
watering the vessel. Our people were sent on shore to the cliff abreast
of us in the whale boat, well armed, to fill casks with water; a
carronade was ready loaded on board, and every precaution was taken on
deck to protect the people, from the assaults of the natives, of whom
seven were seen early this morning, skulking about under cover of the
high grass. In a short time they were seen running to the spot on the
edge of the cliff above our watering party's heads. A musket was fired
from the cutter to warn our people of their danger. In an instant they
were assailed with a shower of large fragments of ironstone and broken
wood, which was returned by our people's muskets without effect. In this
affair two seamen were slightly bruised, and the whole embarked and came

Another party, consisting of Mr. King, myself and three others, left the
cutter to protect the watering people by standing off so as to command
the line of the cliff's edge, and the fillng of the casks was carried on
with despatch, in peace, no natives daring to make their appearance. At
noon we brought off 180 gallons. It was fortunate that I have either
collected or ascertained the greater part of the botany of the island
previously, for now, in fact, I could not venture to carry on my pursuit
of flora, excepting under the protection of a strong guard, which could
not on any account be spared. The small fly is extremely troublesome.
The skins of none of us are proof against its penetrating proboscis.

31st. Tuesday. No appearance of natives. At 10 a.m. I landed with our
watering party and went to the summit of the cliffs in sight of our
boat. All was quiet, and I examined and collected the few plants around
me, as well as those of the craggy descent at its eastern extremity. On
the cliff, specimens of an annual plant of the Gentianaceae, Exacum sp.
Verbena sp., a beautiful delicate blue-flowering annual plant, with
linear leaves. A small creeping Portulaca, with apposite orbicularly
cordate carnose leaves and terminal yellow solitary flowers, is
generally dispersed over this stony soil, with a Spermacoce, gathered on
the 27th. In the descent, among a confined brushwood and small trees, I
gathered the following specimens:--Loranthus sp., a parasitical plant.
Dioscorea sp., which appears none other than the Linnean D. bulbifera,
originally figured by Hermann. Rubiaceae, Psychotria sp. Verbenaceae, an
annual plant with pale bluish flowers. Cetharexylum? a tree 12-20 feet
high. After a range of about three hours, with but little success I
returned to the boat, which was awaiting my arrival, and we all went on
board. The flies still continue very troublesome, so much so that some
of us while writing are obliged to wear veils. These insects scruple not
to enter our eyes and nostrils, to our very great annoyance, nor have we
found the means of wholly destroying them. They do not appear to lessen
in numbers though very many pay daily for their presumption.

1818. April 1st. Wednesday. This day we completed our supply of water
for 8 weeks, but the variable winds had almost determined Mr. King not
to wait here for a supply of wood, which can easily be provided at other
islands. The cry of a native dog was heard in the course of the last
night, and this morning one was seen on the beach, prowling about for
food. At 2 p.m. some natives, who had been seen in the morning at an
encampment among the high grass, were observed in motion, and were about
thirteen in number, walking briskly to the part of the cliffs over our
people's heads, evidently with mischievous intentions, most of them
being armed with long spears. A signal was hoisted at the masthead of
the cutter to warn the people beneath, and a 6 lb. shot was fired from
the cutter over the summit of the cliff, which dispersed the natives,
who finding we were ready for them, walked off altogether, and we were
no more molested by them.

I accompanied Mr. King and Mr. Bedwell to some Rocks called The
Brothers, to the northward and westward of our anchorage. They are bare,
naked, shelving and very irregular: a thin wiry grass in tufts on them
afford a nest to seabirds, and the only plant else was a species of
Cassia, whose dead twiggy stems were laden with pods, of which I
gathered seeds. A bottle was left on these rocks,[*] containing a paper
stating the arrival of the vessel and the disposition of the natives who
visited the islands around.

[* The smallest of the Goulburn Group.]

2nd. Thursday. Fine at 8, when we got under weigh and stood northerly
round the island. The wind was light, from the eastward, but afterwards
veering to northward, which obliged us to put about and return anchoring
nearly on our old ground. A proposal being made to visit Sims Island[*]
this afternoon, I most readily and gladly joined the party, to examine
the botany of a spot which, from Mr. King's account, might afford me
much novelty, and some interesting subjects. On the beach on which I
landed I gathered specimens of a large spreading bushy plant of the
Salicariae, a Lythrum. The nearly decayed foliage of an Amaryllis
(probably) on the warm sands directed me to the treasure below; the
bulbs were deep in the soil and wedged in between large immovable pieces
of rock, which rendered it difficult to take them up without bruising
them. I procured 8 good roots. Ascending over rocks and large stones to
the more elevated parts of the island, I detected the following
plants:--Grevillea ilicifolia, a shrub 3 ft. high. Hibbertia sp.
Bossiaea sp., I observed this plant in a less perfect state on S.
Goulburn Island. Indigofera sp., a shrub with purple flowers. Pimelea
involucrata, a small slender plant with scarlet flowers. Haloragis sp.,
allied to H. racemosa, Labill. Psychotria sp., observed likewise on
Goulburn Island. Flagellaria indica, specimens in flower and fruit.
Diosma, a shrub with linear leaves and small flowers: Sterculia sp.,
Glycine sp. I gathered some fine specimens in fruit of the
Tabernaemontana discovered on Goulburn Island.

The Cucurbitacious plant Cucumis,[*] with a scarlet round hisped fruit
about the size of a red currant, is common, hanging over and covering
large stones. The suffruticose carnrose plant of the Asclepiadaceae, of
reclining habit, is frequent among rocks in barren sandy places. It has
the habit and inflorescence of Hoya carnosa, but its flowers are white
and smooth, and very fragrant. I gathered a specimen that had expanding
flowers, doubting of being able to preserve it. A Scaevola, allied to S.
lobelia, but differing in the division of the calyx, was observed on the
beach within the influence of the surf, forming a large spreading shrub,
with obovate glossy entire foliage. The Convolvuli of the shores of
Goulburn Island are likewise noticed on those of this island, which is
about three quarters of a mile in length, rugged, covered with rocks of
sandstone, shelving and perforated by the action of the weather. The
elevated parts have much pudding-stone, and the shallow sandy soil is
sprinkled with small fragments of quartz.

[* Seaberry of Australia.]

The centre of the island, is a grassy hollow, which in heavy rains forms
a swamp. Here, in this periodical humid situation, some fine specimens
of Pandani present to the eye a pleasing appearance, being now laden
with green fruit. Its western side is sandy, less stony, and productive
of high grass. I saw the Tournefortia before mentioned, it forms a small
tree 10 feet high, of irregular but robust growth, which, with some
Eucalypti of small growth, not in flower, and those above mentioned,
appear to be the whole of the arbusculae of the island. Bamboo joints
and broken earthen vessels, found by our people, are indications of the
Malays having visited the island. The situation of this small but
interesting island is 11°38' S. lat. and 133°25' E. long.

3rd. Friday. Mr. King intending to land upon Sims Island to take equal
latitudes this morning gave me an opportunity of examining those parts I
could not visit yesterday. At 11 a.m. I landed on the S.E. side, where
the rocks are covered with the Vitis and some Convolvuli, of which one
small woolly specimen, being in capsule, furnished me with seeds.

The arurldinaceous stemmed Flagellaria is frequent in fruit, climbing
over all other plants. Among some rugged loose stones, sunk in the sand,
I discovered a few more bulbs of the same kind kind as those discovered
yesterday, and as I had promised to meet the boat on the opposite. side
of the island in half an hour, I could only allow myself time to take up
a dozen fine roots. Guilandina bonducella (the nuts are called the
Bonduc nut) and a species of Boehmeria with ternate leaves, unequally
round, obtuse, nerved, were shrubs on the beach; and of the latter I
gathered specimens in fruit.

In crossing this island from S, to N., I detected the following new
specimens: Daviesia sp., a twiggy shrub. Grevillea ilicifolia. Also
seeds of a Solanum, a shrub with oblique tomentose leaves, large blue
Cowers' and pale yellow berries, containing shining black seeds. Beneath
the shade of small trees of Metrosideros in fruit the Amaryllis was
observed in small patches and with the Grevillea seems to be scattered
profusely over the island. Soon after noon I had passed hastily over to
the beach, where the boat was awaiting my arrival. Embarked and returned
on board. N.B. I could have wished to have spent the whole of this
afternoon on the island, but it was necessary the boat should return to
the cutter with Mr. King at 1, and much inconvenience would have
resulted had the crew of the whaleboat been sent in the evening from the
distant anchorage to the island to take me off, when the vessel required
the whole of our little company either on board or elsewhere.

4th. Saturday.[*] At half past 8 we got under weigh, with a light air
from the southward. Attending to my specimens and drying seeds on deck.
At 6, shortened sail and dropped an anchor in 10 fms.

[* On this day the "Mermaid" left South-West Bay.]

5th. Sunday. Early this morning we weighed anchor and stood off for the
island seen some days ago to the northward of the one from whence we had
taken in a stock of water, and being with it, called Goulburn Islands,
this, by way of distinction, is called North Goulburn Island. At 8 a.m.
we tacked, and in half an hour came to with the best bower in 6 fms.,
muddy bottom. In the afternoon I went on shore with Mr. King and our
second officer; we landed at the south point of the island which is
rather rocky, being connected with a long chain of reefs running
parallel at some distance with the beach. The, Scaevola allied to S.
lobelia is very abundant on the shore, in flower and young fruit. I
passed over a narrow strip of low land, chiefly sand, and gathered in
patches of undershrub and brushwood the following plants:--Smilax sp.
Verbenaceae, Dicrastyles, allied to Premna, a shrub of procumbent
trailing habit, flowers spiked, blue. Diadelphia, allied to Psoralea, a
strong scented shrub. Diospyros sp., a tree 30 feet high. Solanum sp., a
shrubby smooth plant, with occasional tetandrous flowers, and small
orange fruit, allied to S. nigrum. The Tournefortia of Sims Island with
other plants of the South Goulburn Island were observed this afternoon,
particularly Tabernaemontana sp., before noticed, of which I gathered

At the back of the beach is a low grassy hollow, a marsh in the rainy
season but at this time dry. Pandanus spiralis is here abundant, and the
grass, which is of gigantic growth, appears to be a Bromus, of which I
gathered some specimens. The shores, although rocky in some places, have
likewise some fine clear spots for dragging the seine, and they are
lined with fish, particularly the mullet, whence the name of the bay in
which we are at anchor. Some fine large specimens of Casuarina, of
arborescent growth, on the beach, will afford us some good firewood.

6th. Monday. Having attended to my plants, I landed with a party who
were sent to cut down Casuarina. Crossing a hollow sandy flat parallel
with the shore, I rose to some land entirely covered by the high grass,
and of a much better soil, over which some Eucalypti of small growth
were thinly dispersed. In this situation, among the grass, I gathered a
few specimens, viz:--Drosera sp. Stackhousia sp., a delicate plant.
Verbena sp., an annual plant. Crotalaria sericea, a small suffruticose
plant with scarlet flowers. Glycine sp., this specimen agrees much with
G. caribaea of Jacquin, a twining plant. The soil in which these plants
were discovered is of a loamy character, with a small proportion of
sand, and being rendered fit by the rains of this morning, for the
recaption of some European seeds I had with me. I sowed many peach
stones and several apricots.

About noon the day was well cleared up, and the sun became very powerful
and oppressive to the wooding people, one of whom was so much overcome
by the intense heat of the beach, as to be obliged to return on
board-sick. Some water was discovered in a ditch on the north end of the
bay in which we are anchored--in a small quantity. And five gunyas or
huts were discovered near the beach, of depressed form, made of large
sticks, so cut and placed as to rest on one another at the points and
form the top of the hut. The interstices were filled up with dry bark
and dead grass, and the whole was covered with a thick coat of sand,
forming at once a depôt for provisions and a safe and dry retreat from
bad weather.

It has been doubted whether they were built by Malays or natives; some
bamboos and nets found near them suggest the probability of the former
visiting the island and encamping on its shores to dry and prepare their
cargoes of trepang for transportation. We, had left the shore for the
cutter but a short period, when seven natives and a dog were observed
passing very leisurely over the spot on which we had been clearing wood,
and continuing their route to the south point on which we had landed
yesterday. Although very hot on shore, the thermometer on board showed
nothing unusual, and the small pocket one I usually carry with me I
found broke by some accident upon taking it out to ascertain the
temperature of the beach.

7th. Tuesday. I went on shore with the wooding party, taking with me an
assortment of vegetable seeds, which I had procured at Port Jackson for
the purposes of sowing in favourable situations on the coasts. Of fruits
I sowed the following. Peach stones--a considerable quantity-and
apricots and lemon seeds, and of vegetables, marrowfat peas, long-podded
beans, scarlet runners, large homed carrots, parsley, celery, parsnips,
cabbage, lettuces, endive and spinach. Of ornamental plants,
broad-leaved Virginian tobacco, sweet and everlasting peas, Spanish
broom and Astragalus falcatus, (plants lately introduced into the
colony). A cocoa nut, found on the sands near the watering place at the
other island, I planted near the beach. The weather cleared up about
noon and a scorching sun succeeded. In the afternoon I took a walk
towards the north point of the island. In a considerable confined mass
of small trees, densely overrun and matted together with scandent and
volubilous plants, of which a species of Vitis is most predominant, I
discovered Psychotria sp., a small slender tree with orange berries.
Eugenia sp., parasitical on a rough leaved Ficus. I also discovered a
remarkable species of Loranthus. Abrus precatorius is now in flower and
fruit, covering the brushwood with its hanging ornamental seeds. No
appearance of emu or kangaroo or other quadruped (native dog excepted)
has been noticed.


8th. Wednesday. Repapered my green specimens and anxiously await settled
fine weather to expose them to the air on deck.

9th. Thursday. During the last night we had so drifted from North
Goulburn Island that it was scarcely distinguishable at daybreak. I
availed myself of the general fine appearance of the day and placed all
my damp and green plants on deck to dry, the late damp and unsettled
weather had benefited them nothing. About three strange sails were
observed on our lee bow between Sims Island and the main, and were soon
discovered to be Malay proas, which were beating up towards that Island,
and as we advanced towards them others were distinguished having Dutch
colours. We hoisted our ensign and pendant at the mast-head, and
examined the state of a carronade, ready loaded on the starboard
quarter. They anchored in the bay near Sanson's Head (the N. point of
Sims Island), and were a small fleet of 16 sail. Most valuable
information might be obtained from these Asiatics as to their seasons of
fishing and detention on this coast, the success of their fisheries, the
value of their cargoes, their opinion of the natives, could we have
conversed with them through the medium of an interpreter. Our small
numbers suggested the necessity of keeping at a respectable and safe
distance from individuals whose numbers with ours appear to bear a
proportion of about 8 to one. Mr. King steered away to the westward. At
dusk several native fires were seen on the main.

10th. Friday. About 6 a.m. several proas were observed to windward. We
trimmed sails and bore up W.N.W. At past 7 o'clock the whole of the
Malay fleet were seen bearing down upon us, we however continued running
along the coast, not appearing to notice them, and about 9 a.m., as they
were passing under the land, we hoisted an Ensign and Pendant, and they
shewed Dutch colours. It was the intention of Mr. King, afterallowing
these Malays to pass him to the westward, to steer into a bay or bight
observed in the land, to examine it, as it appeared of some moment. The
proas however ran in themselves anchored and thus debarred us from
entering. At 11 a.m. the vessel was put about; we passed the Malays
steering westerly and at half past 12 we anchored in 6½ fms. between the
main and some islands.[*] The land of the main is low, but in parts
rising gradually to grassy thickly wooded ranges, apparently of
Eucalyptus. We have had fine breezes favourable for drying my plants.

[* Between Cape Cockburn and the south extreme of Croker Island.]

11th. Saturday. The proas that anchored in the bay yesterday were
observed standing down towards us, no doubt actuated by curiosity to
know what we were and the object of our voyage. We immediately weighed
anchor, made sail, and stood to the N.N.E., the wind being scant from
S.E. by S. Some of the proas passed within 50 yards of us, and on the
deck of each from 20 to 30 persons were observed. Seeing we were
prepared for them they contented themselves with calling to us (in Malay
language), frequently repeating Macassar, Trepang, etc.

Their departure from the bay gave us an opportunity of examining it. We
accordingly steered for it, but found the whole (although spacious) so
shoaly as not to be worth any consideration. We anchored at half past I
near our last night's ground--a little to the westward of it.

12th. Sunday. The bay formed by the trending of the mainland, in which
we are now at anchor, has been entitled by Mr. King, Mountnorris Bay.
Prayers having been read to the cutter's company, Mr. King left the
vessel at 11 a.m., accompanied by Mr. Roe and myself, for an island to
the westward of our anchorage, which has received the title. of
Copeland.[*] We landed on its south side, and from its similarity to
those recently visited I was but little impressed with ideas of
discovering new plants on it. Copeland Island is remarkable for its
compact rotundity and although of small size is high above the level of
the water. The basis is coral, above is sandstone, and the soil of an
ironstony character.

[* Copeland Islet, 125 feet high, toward the head of Mountnorris Bay,
was used by the Malays for boiling and drying trepang.]

I discovered the following very interesting plants:--Bignonia
filiformis, a small tree of the habit of Hakea, exposed situations.
Hibiscus radiatus, an annual plant, on sloping grassy banks.
Arthropodium sp., barren exposed spots. Velleia sp., peduncles filiform,
a delicate and tender procumbent plant. Velleia sp., flowers yellow;
leaves entire, lanceolate. Terminalia or Chuncoa sp., a shrub a foot
high; leaves obovate, smooth; spike erect; capsule ellipsoid. Crotalaria
sp., habit of Hedysarum. Eucalyptus sp., a shrub 8 ft. high.
Metrosideros or Angophora sp. Hakea sp., a shrub, in exposed cliffy
situations with the preceding. Polygala sp., a pygmy plant, among grass.
The most remarkable and singular Acacia dolabriformis, observed on
Goulburn Islands, here enabled me to gather fine flowering specimens. I
procured seeds of two species of Convolvulus. The lat. of the small
island is 11°27' S., and about 132°54' E. long. Copeland Island, like
others on this coast, has much fresh water after rains, which is
indicated by its deep furrowed rocky gullies, conducting the water into
the sea on the south side.

13th. Monday. Getting under weigh we made sail; at 8 a.m. we shoaled
water very fast, and immediately hauled to N.E., and scraped along the
ground in 1¾ fms., hard sandy bottom. Tacking again, we shoaled to 10
feet in stays and took bearings of our perilous situation. Clearing
ourselves by getting into deeper water, we shortened sail, to meet a
squall which gave us some small showers at intervals. At half past 4 we
came to an anchor in 11¾ fms., between the main and an island (named by
Mr. King Darch Island),[*] having with difficulty found some safe ground
to depend upon during the night. Native fires were seen abreast of us on
the mainland, in the night.

[* "After my esteemed friend, Thos. Darch, Esq., of the

14th. Tuesday. We left our situation off Darch Island at an early hour
and steered N.E. by N. We sailed along a coast, generally westerly, over
a bottom very uneven, varying from 5 to 11 fms. At noon we passed a low
sandy island covered with small brushwood, and hauled south, and at 3
P.m. we anchored in 5 fms. Mr. King proposed to visit a rock on the
shore, in order to take some cross bearings, and I accompanied him, with
our second officer. The rock on which we landed was covered chiefly with
a species of Lythrum, of which I gathered seeds. The Vitis, some
Convolvuli, and the Smilax of North Goulburn Island, are all blended
together and form a secure cover to pigeons and other birds that were
disturbed on our landing. On the main shores Hibiscus (= Fugosia)
punctatus is frequent and rich in flower, and among plants common on
Goulburn Islands I discovered the following in sandy ridges above the
beach. Glycine sp., a fetid, shrubby plant; Achyranthes sp., allied to
A. corymbosa. A small spreading tree, which perhaps may be of the
Microsperma, the Eugenia of Goulburn Island I have observed of
arborescent growth 25-30 ft. high. The Eucalypti are the prevailing
timber, of ordinary size and chiefly of the species already mentioned.
In these forest lands, elevated above the beach 30 feet at least, I
discovered a Fan Palm, Corypha (= Livistona) australis, about 10 feet
high, with remains of the flowering branch. And I gathered the fruit of
another palm (probably rising to the height Of 40 feet), the fronds are
pinnate and the fruit much smaller than that of Areca catechu, and red.
From the ground I gathered some fruit beneath a tree 40 or 50 feet high.
Perhaps in these solitary shades nothing exceeds the beauty of a
splendid Grevillea, forming a slender tree, varying in height from 8-14
feet. It belongs to Mr. Brown's section, Cycloptera, of that genus.

The soil of this forest land is rich, of some depth, reddish in colour,
having a small proportion of sand, with much decayed vegetable matter,
in which I planted about a score of peach stones. The rocky shores
abound with the large Scaevola, laden with white drupes. A snug
picturesque bay is formed by the trending in of the line of coast at
this particular spot, but unfortunately being of no depth could be of no
use to shipping as an anchoring ground; from the numbers of the Areca
above referred to, scattered on the slopes of the land near the beach,
it has received the name of Palm Bay. Our people (on board) saw three
natives making towards us. We, however, only noticed the impressions of
their feet on the sands. Some doubts have arisen whether the land is an
island or part of the main. From its appearance as laid down on the
charts it is supposed to be an island of large dimensions. At dusk we
returned on board.

15th. Wednesday. In the afternoon I joined Mr. King in an excursion to a
point of the shore bearing S.W. from our anchorage, from whence Mr. King
expected he would be enabled to draw some conclusion what this island or
main might prove to be. As we sailed to the point several fine small
bights opened to us where vessels might ride in safety almost
land-locked, and a deep bay or mouth of a strait[*] presented itself,
through which a strong tide ran, tending to convince us that this land
is an extensive island. Mr. King set some high hills distant in
Mountnorris Bay, but the closing of the day would not allow further
remarks to be made. On the rising ground above the beach on which I
landed the plants were nearly the same as observed yesterday. I gathered
some fine specimens of the new Grevillea, whose brilliant orange flowers
are very conspicuous in the darker shades of these elevated Eucalyptian
woods. Also the following:--Verbesina sp., leaves lanceolate; flowers
yellow, axillary, solitary. A small brushy plant of the habit of
Xerotes, with a terminal capitulated inflorescence; and a blue flowered
Spermacoce, before noticed. No palms were observed this afternoon, but
Pandanus is in great abundance. A deep bay formed from the point at
which we landed and running in deep to the northward and eastward is
called Raffles Bay, in honour of Sir S. Raffles, late Governor at Java.

[* An opening which trends round the south head of Palm Bay proved to be
a strait communicating with Mountnorris Bay and was named Bowen Strait.
Bowen Strait separates Croker Island from the mainland and leads
northwestward from Mountnorris Bay to sea.]

RAFFLES BAY, 16-18 APRIL, 1818

16th. Thursday. This morning, early, some Malay proas were seen to the
southward, standing under easy sail to the N.W. We therefore continued
at anchor till late, watching their motions. They were standing off the
strait seen yesterday, and from the occasional tacking disposition of
some canoes it was inferred that they were waiting for others. At 8 we
weighed anchor and made sail, with the wind from the east. The doubt as
to what were the real intentions of these Malays induced Mr. King to lay
to about 11 and hoist our Pendant and Ensign, in order if they were
disposed to communicate in friendly manner with us they might come off
in a canoe. They, however, took no notice of us.

It was deemed prudent rather than stand on towards the Malays, to put
back to our last anchorage and allow them time to pass before us
westerly. We therefore returned and anchored near the spot we occupied
last night. It is rather an unfortunate circumstance having fallen in
with this squadron, as our necessary caution and diffidence, arising
from the smallness of our numbers, prevent our continuing the survey
where they are, and nothing can be gained from running before them
westerly, because in that case they would be continually in our rear, to
our annoyance. About 7 p.m., suspecting the Malays might be tempted to
visit us in the night, we left anchorage and stood off to the northward
and westward 2 or 3 miles, and again anchored. This cautious step of Mr.
King may be deemed the more necessary as it is a known fact that no
dependence can be placed in the friendly assurances ssurances of this
treacherous people, where numbers would soon overpower our most
strenuous and active efforts.

17th. Friday. The proas were observed in motion, standing westerly out
of the strait. Mr. King determined if possible to obtain an interview
with them this day and present the Malay letter he had received from Sir
T. Raffles to the captain
of any proa with whom we might communicate. About half past 9, sixteen
proas, under a press of sail, were distinctly seen, exclusive of small
canoes, running close under the opposite shore of the strait.
Approaching them within a mile, having a white flag at the masthead, we
lay to, in hopes they would see our desire of an amicable interview.
Fifteen proas passed us at 10, and the last being considerably behind
the rest of the squadron we bore up towards him, and in half an hour
came close under his counter, and hailing the
people on board, made signs that we wished to communicate with them,
showing them the letter. They referred us to the Commodore of the
squadron before them, and would not
heave to, to allow us to go on board their proa. Being thus
disappointed, we tacked the vessel, and the proa continued her course N.
westerly, after the rest of the squadron. At noon we anchored off
Raffles Bay[*] and took a meridian altitude for our latitude. In the
afternoon I went with Mr. King and the second officer to examine the
bay, whose depth is about 4 miles, and width from point to point about
6. The extremity is bounded for the most part by mangroves through which
some whitish low cliffs are seen bounding the slightly elevated
forest-land in the background.

[* Raffles Bay, west of Croker Island, penetrates five miles into the
mainland here known as Coburg Peninsula.]

At one of these cliffs where we landed I examined the plants in its
environs with some little success. The small Fan-palm is very frequent;
its caudex here is from 5 to 8 feet; the fronds are not large, generally
extending about 18 inches and inserted on an aculeated rachis. I
gathered specimens of it in flower and fruit, which are small black
ovate drupes. Hibiscus punctatus, closely allied to H. Patersonius and
Monoecia Hexandria, a shrub with apposite elliptical leaves.
Leguminosae, a tree with spreading branches and compressed legumen.
Diospyros sp., of Goulburn Island is here very strong. On the edge of
the cliff I discovered a small tree with lactescent woody branches,
leaves lanceolate, verticillate, glossy, and white beneath. I suspect it
may be an Euphorbia or one of the Asclepiadaceae; it was not in flower
or fruit. At sunset we returned on board, having ascertained the shape
of the bay, its inlets, etc., and made other observations relative to
its survey. Our people discovered some running water of a good quality,
of which they filled a bareca.

18th. Salurday. At 11 a.m. a boat with casks was sent to the watering
place discovered yesterday, and I embraced the opportunity and landed
through this medium. I took a walk to a water-course discovered by our
people yesterday, which I found to be about 12 feet wide, very shallow,
of fine clear fresh water, the drainings of the higher lands. It cannot,
however, be turned to any account in point of watering a vessel, the
approach to it by boats being entirely obstructed by large bodies of
dense arborescent mangroves, so very prevalent on the north coast. I
gathered seeds and some specimens of a plant of the habit of Leea
sambucina, strong on these damp lands. In the forest-land I detected
another Grevillea, a small tree 12-16 feet high. It appears to be G.
heliosperma of Mr. Brown. A shrub of very small foliage, habit of Thuya,
but whose imperfect flowers proved it to be a second species of our Port
Jackson Calythrix, is frequent on the exposed edges of the cliff. I
detected a species of Celastrus in fruit, a slender tree 30 feet high.
In the dry barren ironstony soil of the cliff a delicate little
Stylidium was very plentifully in flower. I found some good soil in the
forest land distant from the beach, but it appears subject to inundation
from the rains descending upon it during the wet season, signs of which
were, on the herbage and leaves of the trees. Fires of the natives were
seen on the main at night.


19th. Sunday. About 9 we got under weigh and pursued a course N. by W.
The line of the coast continues very irregular, point after point
opening to the view. Passing several small bays[*] guarded by rocks and
dangerous chains of breakers, we were, towards evening, off a fine
handsome bay, trending in very considerably, whose shores are
frequently, or in parts, cliffy and picturesque, and whose natural
beauty is not a little shown off by the thick green woods of Eucalyptus
stretching to the verge of these eminences; sandy beaches alternate with
those of mud and dense stretches of mangroves. Wore ship and run into
the port and about 6 p.m., we anchored in 4 fms., about a quarter of a
mile from a perpendicular red cliff. Evening cloudy, with appearance of
rain. A few drops fell about 8 p.m. Native dogs were howling on the
shores near us in the night.

[* The "Mermaid" passed round Smith Point, the east side of the entrance
to Port Essington.]

20th. Monday. Fine and clear. At 7 o'clock I landed under the cliff with
Mr. King,[*] having previously got the boat aground and with some
difficulty hauled her to the beach. Within the reach of the tide I
observed a tree of the mangrove character. It was showing flower buds,
and appears to be the Linnaean Rhizophora caseolaris, or Sonneratia
acida of Willd: On the cliff little or no variation takes place, either
in the soil or productions of Croker's Island or Raffles Bay.

[* "At the mouth of a small salt-water inlet."--King.]

I, however, gathered specimens of a species of Pleurandra [= Hibbertia],
a low spreading shrub. Numerous recent impressions of the natives (and
native dogs) were traced on the sands, and their fresh fires, at which
they had been very lately roasting quantities of cockles, tended to
suggest to us our presence in this bay had precipitately driven them
from their repasts. Shifting our berth southerly, we anchored at 11 a.m.
off the entrance of some harbours in this port.[*] In the afternoon I
accompanied Mr. King and Mr. Roe to a cliff abreast of the vessel, and
while they were occupied in taking bearings I ranged round in the wooded
land, but found chiefly duplicates of the plants I had seen before.
However, I added the following specimens to my collection. Indigofera
sp. On the immediate shores I discovered a spreading tree with vermilion
coloured flowers. This tree perhaps is Cordia sebestena [= C. speciosa]
originally figured by Dillenius. A fine-leaved Bidens furnished me with
seeds. In some close thickets on the beach I distinguished Guilandina
bonduc [= G. bonducella], and a species of Rhamnus, with elongated
branches, twining among other plants, rendering these brushes the more
intricate; also a species of Sterculia, observed on Goulburn Island,
with large 5-lobed leaves and old capsules, which assumes on the grassy
point land here the same robust habit. The mark of natives were observed
on the trees.

[* Having got under weigh, King steered for a narrow opening at the
bottom of the port; after anchoring at its entrance, he entered the
inner harbour of Port Essington, where he spent some days off Middle

21st. Tuesday. It being the intention of Mr. King to remain at anchor
the whole of this day, an excursion was planned to examine the west
harbour of this port, with a view of ascertaining its general
indentations, although from the prevalence of mangroves on its shores it
cannot be of any consideration. Mr. Roe, second officer, was sent on
this survey, and I accompanied him, to collect any new plants the shores
on which we should land might afford me. We left the cutter at half past
6 and rowed down the east side to a spit of sand which runs nearly over
to the western shore, leaving only a small channel to pass to the bottom
of the harbour. Landing on this spit I amused myself on the beach while
our officer was otherwise engaged. I entered a close confined thicket,
where I gathered several fine specimens:--Growler sp., a slender tree
with horizontal branches, allied to G. mallococca. Didimeria (Correa
rufa), a volubilous plant with cordate leaves. Diospyros sp., a slender

The sandy shores afforded me seeds of a Boehmeria, before discovered on
Sims Island, and some fine flowering specimens of Cordia sebestena, very
abundant on the beach at the bottom of this harbour. Abrus precatorius
[the black-tipped red seeds of which are known as crab's eyes] is
frequent in the brushy thickets at the back of the beach; and the
Strychnos of South Goulburn Island, and the Psychotria bearing orange
fruit, more sparingly. An Erythrina-looking plant with ternate, rhomboid
leaves and aculeated petioles, a small tree, is rare in open grassy
sub-humid situations, with Pandanus spiralis. Beneath the shade of a
large specimen of the Cordia, I found the bones of a human being, most
probably a native.[*] The skull and jawbones were partly perfect, they
wanted some teeth--those that remained in the jaw were entire and in
good condition. Leg bones and one of the ribs were discovered, all of
which were carefully taken on board and delivered to Mr. King.

[* "At the bottom of the western basin."--King.]

Departing from this shore, and having examined some salt water inlets
bounded by mangroves 40 feet high, we returned towards the vessel up the
western shore, landing at the base of a steep white cliff, the elevated
forest-land of which furnished me with several new plants. Hovea
lanceolata, a twiggy plant, seldom exceeding 18 inches in height. Zieria
sp., a slender shrub. Tremandra sp., a shrubby plant, habit of Bossiaea.
Crotalaria stenophylla. Calythrix miciophylla, first observed in Raffles
Bay, a delicate conspicuous shrub; and Haemodorum sp., with long narrow
leaves.[*] Acacia dolabriformis, and another species with plain leaves
are extremely fine in flower, and tempted me to gather some duplicate
specimens. Besides the palms before mentioned, found in this prolific
spot of Australian botany, I discovered Cycas circinalis, a sago palm,
of which I saw both male and female, about 10 feet high, and the latter
laden with fruit. The soil has nothing to recommend it, and the
Eucalyptian timber is small, but not in flower. Traces of natives were
observed on the trees and some baskets were found rather neatly made,
supposed to be of the foliage sheaths embracing the stems of the
Pandanus spiralis. Sonneratia acida was seen growing in deep salt water.

[* A Yam eaten by the natives.]

22nd. Wednesday. To complete the survey of another harbour in this port
Mr. King and Mr. Roe left the cutter at 8 a.m., and I accompanied them.
We landed at a small white cliff, composed chiefly of a crumbling gritty
soft sandstone, with a dry indurated red pigment. In a range I took in
the forest-land above the cliff, I did not detect an individual new
plant. A delicate leaved Bauhinia was found in luxuriant growth, but not
in flower, on the sides of the cliff beneath were some large specimens
of Cordia sebestena. Leaving these slimy shores, we landed at the
eastern point of the harbour, where I added one specimen to my
collection viz. a species of Achyranthes, very frequent on the low
sterile sands of the point. It was very remarkable and it furnished much
matter for conjecture that, upon landing, a tree of a species of
Casuarina was discovered, with the branches and head cut away with a
sharp iron instrument, as if intended for a mark, as the branches so
lopped off were not taken away for any use, but remained under the tree;
and at a short distance from the beach several trees were cut down.
Whether the Malays or the French have visited this sandy point is a
matter of doubt among us. A good meridian altitude being very essential
to the survey of this port, we crossed its entrance to a rocky point to
take it, being about noon. At the back of the sandy ridge bounding the
beach, the land is ordinary and thick wooded. A Eugenia is now frequent,
a tree 20 ft. high, in fruit. It afforded me some ripe seeds. I gathered
specimens from a tree 16-20 ft. high, with leaves like Melastoma, and a
one-seeded drupaceous fruit. Celastrus sp., a tree 30 ft. high, of
slender growth. Convolvulus sp., a prostrate plant with small blue
flowers. Didimeria [= Correa] sp. Phlomis sp. Ceanothus sp., a tree of
strong growth, 25-30 ft. high, frequently observed on the islands of
this coast, but never seen in flower or before in the present state of
capsule. As a proof that these shores are visited by natives we found a
spear about 7½ ft. long, ingeniously pointed with a long triangular
fragment of red granite, very hard and of a close fine texture. A canoe
of singular formation was discovered by one of our people on the
beach--almost buried in the sand--made of bark and sewn together at the
ends, and about 13½ feet long. Our lat. is 11°17'31" S.

23rd. Thursday. This morning we got under weigh and beat to the entrance
of the port, and anchored in 4 fms., in a bay at 10 a.m., on its western
side. I landed with Mr. King about 11 o'clock at a cliffy point. The
sterile stony soil of this eminence is covered with Stylidium
absinthmoides, some of which were forming capsules. A tree of ordinary
size, common on all the islands and mainland of this coast, and which I
could never detect in flower, furnished me with a specimen in fruit,
which is oval, crowned with a persistent 8-cleft tubular calyx, as in

In the afternoon I accompanied Mr. King and Mr. Roe to examine the bay
off which we are at anchor and which has received the name of
Knockers.[*] We had 4 or 5 fms., and a good bottom to the extremity of
the bay, where a saltwater inlet, having the appearance of a rivulet
opening to us, we entered to examine it. ft was near high water, and
we had 2 and 2½ fms. at its mouth, which is about 50 yards wide. We soon
found that it divided and formed channels insulating large patches of
arborescnt mangroves. Following
the leading branch through its windings, we advanced until it became
impossible to work the oars, and finally were obliged to stop, the
channel being completely closed by the encroachments of mangroves 40
feet high . With some difficulty we put the boat about, to return, and
we passed an opening or two in this in this Rhizophorean forest, which
allowed us to be satisfied that a great extent of flat is inundated
after this manner, affording a fine soil and nursery for the growth and
luxuriant densityof these maritime woods.

[* In an inlet between Curlew and Oyster Points.]

In a moment we were most suddenly surprised by the yells and shouts of
natives, who were in the mangroves, and immediately we made every
preparation to meet them in this contained channel, discharging some
muskets merely to intimidate them. They seemed determined to annoy and
intercept us, and and while we were winding round to its mouth or outlet
into the bay, they took a straight course through the mangroves and
awaited our passing out of this disagreeable opening, when we were
assailed with stones and spears with granite heads. None, fortunately,
touched us, although one struck the boat and others flew over us and one
passed between the midship oarsmen. This unjustifiable outrageous attack
was quickly returned with a volley of shot from our muskets, and perhaps
with some effect. We immediately got clear out into the bay, some of the
natives still following us on the main shore.

On our way to the cutter, observing a canoe among some mangroves on the
beach, we, by way of retaliation, pulled in there and towed her off. In
it we found some waddies and hand clubs of weight, with a quantity of
live cockles, very lately procured and probably for the evening's meal.
The canoe was of one piece of bark, its extreme length was 18 feet, and
22 to 24 inches in width. Its ends were sewed up with pieces of cane,
and a pole on each side of its gunwales was lashed to the bark to
support and strengthen its sides. Some cross pieces of inner bark, laid
across inside, rendered it more firm and substantial.[*]

[* A similar canoe was found by King at Blue Mud Bay, Gulf of
Carpentaria. At Blomfield Rivulet, at Endeavour River, Cape Tribulation,
the canoes seen were all hollowed out of trees.]

Among these mangroves I gathered specimens of a species of Bruguiera,
appearing to differ from B. gymnorhiza in having a red calyx. It has the
habit of some Magnoliae. This large and spacious port in which we have
been since the evening of the 19th, is called Port Essington, whose
harbours afford shelter and protection to shipping, but the land being
so deeply overrun with mangroves, and the want of fresh water, render it
useless for agricultural purposes. The situation of this point is about
11°16' S. lat., 132°22' E. long.

24th. Friday. At half past 9 we got under weigh and stood towards the
port entrance, re-anchoring off a low rocky point in 5¾ fms.[*] Mr. King
went on shore for a few moments, to take some observations, and a
singular rock there, in the shape of a table of large dimensions,
suggested a name for the point. Scaevola sp., allied to S. lobelia,
covers Table Point,[**] but no other plant was observed here of any
moment. In the afternoon a canoe was seen near Table Point, but no
natives were observed. In the squall of the evening she drifted towards
the cutter, and a boat was sent to bring her alongside, when she was
hoisted on board. She is the length and model of the canoe captured
yesterday, but of more recent construction.

[* "A little within Point Smith."--King.]

[* Table Head is 7½ miles S.S.E. of Point Smith.]

25th. Saturday. To prove to the natives who (for ought we know to the
contrary might be watching us) that we were peaceably disposed, the
canoe was lowered and towed on shore again. In her we put some old iron,
such as spike nails, chisels of kinds, a tomahawk, etc., for the use of
her owners and she was hauled up on the bank out of the reach of the
tide. At 8 a.m. we weighed, made sail, and stood out of Port Essington.
Clearing the point of entrance, we sailed westerly along the coast,
which is irregular and full of small trendings and projecting points, of
which bearings were taken. Some Malay proas were observed at anchor in
shore, and some tents or bamboo huts were observed on the beach.

About 2 o'clock p.m. a mangrovy bay of moderate depth opened to us, and
in a sandy bight we saw four other proas, whose people were encamped on
shore. We accordingly ran in and anchored in 7½ fms. at half past 3,
being about 25 miles to the westward of Port Essington. At 5 p.m. a
canoe was seen, with five paddles, pulling from the proas towards us; we
therefore got firearms ready, in case of any appearance of hostile
intentions. Coming alongside, they were six in number (of whom four were
boys), prompted by curiosity to see us and obtain what they could from
us. Little or no invitation was requisite on our part to induce them to
leave their canoe and enter the vessel. The two men came on board and
soon became very loquacious, but none of us understanding the Malay
language, very little information could be procured from them.

We gave them wine and some ships' biscuits, which they enjoyed
exceedingly, and we showed them the letter written in the Malaya
character by Sir T. Raffles but they were too illiterate to read their
own language. They made many observations upon the ropes, sails, etc.,
of the vessel, and, observing our carronades, they intimated that the
large proas carried smaller ones (probably swivels). Their canoe, which
they had sent away, returned at dusk (8 p.m.) and brought some fish,
which they presented to us for our hospitality. Their request for
gunpowder was granted them, and the remainder of the wine in the bottle
and some tobacco were given them for the commandants of the proas. Their
teeth were very black and discoloured, and the whole chewed the betel
nut in the usual way. Mr. King wrote a few lines stating the object of
his voyage, and the extent of his survey, information that must be
interesting to any persons reading English to whom these Malays might
show the letter. It was 9 o'clock before they left us, to return to
their proas. This trending of the coast has received the name o. Popham

26th. Sunday. As the report of the favourable and hospitable reception
the Malays met with from us might induce them to pay us another visit
upon the same terms, and not wishing to receive their further
salutations en masse, we got under weigh and left Popham Bay, steering
S.S.W. Several canoes were observed fishing to windward. We had a strong
eddy tide against us, which made the cutter labour considerably. Our
leadsman gave us a bottom at 22 fms., and at one p.m. we had deepened to
50 fms. The day's sail brought us to the entrance of a deep bay of great
width. We bore up and entered, but the wind becoming foul we made but
little progress, and the deep bad rocky bottom obliged us to continue
under weigh. We suspect this opening may prove to be the Van Diemen's
Bay of the Dutch charts. It appears to be very extensive, and may in the
result of examination turn out to be of some consideration. We kept
sight of the land's loom during the night under easy sail. Hitherto we
have not been fortunate in the discovery of any freshwater river, and
should any be found emptying themselves into this deep bay or gulf, it
may enable us to see something of the interior, and gain some
interesting knowledge unattainable on the coast.


27th. Monday. Although very cloudy in the earlier stages of the morning
we had a very fine day. The wind was E.S.E. At 11 a.m., having made
several tacks, we came to an anchor in a small bay on the east shore of
the gulf we have entered, which appears will require some time to survey
the whole of its deep trending shores. This bay, although small, has
good anchorage, but, like the coast, in general, its shores are densely
clothed with mangroves, the sameness of which is much relieved by the
picturesque aspect of two high hills near its south point of entrance,
and from our present position one appears to be a depressed cone, and
the other assumes the character of elevated table-land, thickly wooded
and very rocky. They have been entitled by Mr. King, Mounts Bedwell and
Roe, after the two young gentlemen, his officers, and he has named our
anchorage Aiton Bay, in honour of W. T. Aiton, Esqre. of Kew. The lat.
is 11°16' S., and 131°56' E. long.

28th. Tuesday. About 7 a.m. we left the bay and steered southerly along
the shore. The morning is rather sultry, and the wind light, from the
eastward. Having made about 4½ miles, we anchored in 7 fms., muddy
bottom, about noon.[*]

[* "Near the land about six miles east of Mt. Roe.--King.]

29th. Wednesday. At 11 a.m. we passed to leeward of one of several
islands[*] seen this morning, and suddenly shoaling to 3 fms., we hauled
up and gradually deepened to 5 fms. At one we anchored on a bank in 3¾
fms., muddy bottom. Our lat. at noon was 11°32' S., and long. 132°30'
East.[**] The appearance of the shores, the shallow water, parts of
mangrove bushes floating on its surface, and the depressed character of
the islands remind us of the N.W. Coast. Mr. Roe was sent to sound
around for a channel. He reported on his return the extent of the shoal
varying from 2½ to 4½ fms. water.

[* Named by King, Sir George Hope Islands.]

[** King writes: "The land eastward of this anchorage is an isthmus 4 or
5 miles in breadth, separating the body of water from the bottom of
Mountnorris Bay." This land was given the name of Coburg Peninsula.]

30th. Thursday. About 9 we had a slight air from the E.S.E., and got
under weigh, steering S.W. southerly. The rise and fall of the tide is
6½ and 7 ft., and at the ebb, extensive mud flats appear along the
shore, rendering a landing impracticable. At 4 p.m. we anchored in 5¼

[* Under one of Sir George Hope Islands named next day, May-day Island.]

1818. May 1st. Friday. Soon after 7 Mr. King landed upon the low shore
of an island near us to take sights for the chronometer, and I
accompanied him. Here we have a specimen of a growing island (called May
Day Island), whose basis appears to be a reddish sand with shells,
ironstone, pebbles, etc. cemented together, which by the action of the
air are so indurated as to become rugged stone, and of such large masses
that small cliffs, observed through the mangroves, are formed. The
encroachments over the annual accumulation of drifted land gradually
increases the size of the island, whose sandy soil is covered with
plants. Eugenia acuminata is most surprisingly strong, being 40 feet
high, with a stem 30 inches diameter. The Grewia with tomentose fruit
afforded me some fine specimens and duplicate seeds. The tree I have
hitherto called Cordia sebestena is frequent, and its flowers have an
indefinite number of stamina. I saw some perfectly octandrous.

The tree of the Santalaceae (Exocarpus?) with the foliage like that of
some Brazilian Piper, is very large; with a shrub of the Meliaceae,
discovered first in Port Essington, perhaps Turraea; the leaves are
elliptical and glossy, and the calyx pubescent. A species of Ficus,
30-35 feet high, was observed, but not in fruit; its leaves are ovate,
smooth throughout, veined, their margins are minutely glandulously
denticulated. I gathered seeds of a small white-flowered Convolvulus,
and Achyranthes sp., an annual plant. This island abounds with an
Acacia, a tree from 12-20 feet high, distinct from any species I have
before seen, leaves falcated, superior margin glandiferous; flowers
globular, in axillary racemes. Very recent traces of natives were
noticed on the sands, but none were seen on the island. On our return to
the cutter we got under weigh, steering S.S.W., but shoaling our water
we re-anchored and sent the jolly boat to sound ahead of us. It,
however, proved that we were upon a large flat,[*] with barely enough
water to carry us over. Mr. King weighed, being determined if possible
to push over it into the deeper water to the southward and westward. We
stuck fast in 9 ft. of water, and were obliged to get an anchor out to
haul ourselves over the bar of sand, and this we continued, touching and
swinging off in 10 and 11 ft., with a strong tide against us. Steering
north at one p.m. we ran back to our anchorage of the 27th ultimo,[**]
where we brought to in 7½ fms., at 4 o'clock in the afternoon.

[* Between May-day and Greenhill Islands.]

[** Eastward of Mount Roe.]

2nd. Saturday. We left our anchorage about 8, with a very light breeze.
At I we tacked to eastward. The western horizon was much gloomed by
extensive bodies of thick smoke of natives, who appear to be burning off
the bush and grass of the country in that direction. At 5 anchored at
10½ fathoms. We are about 30 miles to the southward of Popham Bay.

3rd. Sunday. It was past noon before we got under weigh. Vast bodies of
smoke ascend to the westward. We hope and trust another day will furnish
us with materials for observations, to determine the extremes of this
gulf. Its muddy shores are low, and water shoaly.

4th. Monday. We weighed very early this morning and steered E.N.E., but
the tide obliged us to anchor in 15¾ fms. at 8 a.m. Calm with intense
heat. The thermometer exposed to the sun rose at noon to 131½ degrees,
being a dead calm. At 2 p.m. we weighed anchor, which was wholly buried
in the mud, and made as much sail as would draw, the light airs fanning
us from the S.W. The land trends easterly in the most extraordinary
manner. The meridians of the ports and bays we have already surveyed
lead us to suspect they were formerly islands which have been, by the
encroachments of the mangroves, joined to the mainland.

5th. Tuesday. We stood towards the land at the bottom of the gulf, which
is very low, no beach appearing--but mangroves to the water's edge. To
windward, openings or deep bights appear, and to the southward a lofty
range of hills are distinguished, very distant inland. At 8 p.m. we
anchored in 5 fms. An eclipse of the sun, stated in the Nautical
Ephemeris to take place to-day, was not seen at the given time. It may
have no occullation in this part of the Globe.

6th. Wednesday. Soon after 5 a.m. a party consisting of Mr. King, Mr.
Bedwell, myself and the crew of the large whaleboat left the vessel to
examine an opening to the S.E. Mangroves bound it on both sides with
their usual density and arborescent growth. Passing the bar of this
river-like opening, its width becomes contracted and its depth increased
to 5 and 6 fms., and the mangroves being much thinner as we advanced
allowed us a glimpse of the flat land behind them. The windings which
are by no means abrupt, present us with fine bold reaches 400 yards wide
with a depth frequently 8 fms. Mr. King had determined to penetrate up
this channel as far as the tide would carry us. He therefore pulled in
about its turn and landed on an open grassy bank perfectly free from
mangroves, but low and muddy. From some hills distant about 2 miles we
might have made some observations, but the difficulty of reaching their
bases through a low swampy flat covered with a matted thick grass and
more especially our care not to lose the benefit of the returning tide,
which was now ebbing rapidly, prevented us from visiting these

On this muddy bank I gathered the following few specimens and
seeds:--Clerodendrum inerme (H.K.), which likewise furnished me with
seeds. Hibiscus. Stenocarpus sp., an annual or biennial plant.
Convolvulus flavus, very abundant among the grasses. Sida sp., small
narrow leaves; and Cassia sp., plant dead. The width of the stream at
this halting spot is about 250 yards, its depth is 31 fms., and its
inclination from the S.W. The banks are bounded by extensive flats of
low country, subject to inundations, and this depression was unfortunate
for us, as no bearings of any consequence could be taken. White
cockatoos abound in large flocks on its banks, with a large bird of the
Anas family, with a very long neck, some perfectly white; others very
dark, and even of a black colour, were likewise numerous. Their nests
were built very thick together on the Avicennia mangroves of the banks,
and in some we saw the young unfledged birds, over which some beautiful
hawks were hovering, watching an opportunity in the absence of the
parent birds to seize their offspring. The turbid discoloured waters of
this winding river[*] abound with alligators 6 and 7 feet long, whose
terrific ghastly heads appeared occasionally on the surface of the
water. We returned on board at 3 p.m. The fires of the natives continue;
large columns of smoke were rising from the grassy flats behind the
mangroves, the soil of which is sour stiff tenacious clay.

[* "This river has received the temporary title of Alligator
River."--King. It is known as East Alligator River.]

7th. Thursday. Fresh breeze E. by S. At half past 6 we weighed anchor
and stood along the shore, and at half past 10 bore up for an opening in
the low land that appeared of magnitude, and whose trending we suspect
may approach towards a distant range of hills visible to the S.E. from
the deck. Soon after 11 we came to an anchor near the entrance of a
supposed river. The country from the mast-head view presents us with an
immense flat of depressed low country thinly wooded, and only bounded by
the very distant clear horizon. I accompanied Mr. King on shore, who was
anxious to get a good meridian altitude, landing on the muddy bank
opposite the vessel, which is a perfectly dead level for many miles,
over which the sea at springtide flows. It is very thinly wooded,
covered with a wiry grass, with patches of Sonneratia acida and
Avicennia tomentosa. Clerodendron inerme and indeed all the plants
discovered yesterday appear on this flat.

At 4 p.m. we weighed and stood to the bottom of a bay, where we came to
in 5¾ fms. about 6 p.m., off the mouth of a second river.[*] About a
mile inland from the shore the dry wiry grass of the extensive flat was
on fire, but no natives could be distinguished.

[* Now called South Alligator River.]

8th. Friday. Having made preparation for an excursion up this second
channel, we left the cutter at half past 5 a.m., having a flood tide in
our favour, although the breeze was against us. Passing the bar of 3
fms. we gradually deepened to 7½ and 8 fms., with banks (as the other
river) covered with mangroves of Rhizophora, Avicennia and Sonneratia,
whose dull uniformity was much relieved and enlivened by the yellow
flowers of Hibiscus populneus. The width of this stream varies from a
quarter of a mile to 200 yards, expanding frequently in the bends of the
reaches, which (when their inclinations were from the southward and
westward) presented us with views of the summits of distant high land.

About 25 miles up this river some slightly rising ground approached the
mangrovy banks, the principal wood of which appeared to be the stunted
Eucalypti, whose dreary aspect is not a little enlivened by the
picturesque appearance of the Areca of Croker's Island, whose waving
heads, towering over the tops of these small woods, give an effect
scarcely to be conceived in such low uninhabitable tracts. Advancing
with a strong flood tide, we had 9½ fms. in some parts in mid channel,
and banks frequently clear of mangroves exhibiting an extensive flat,
covered with lofty grasses. At such places a similarity of appearance
might be traced with the Thames below Woolwich, and the slender leaves
of the Avicennia bearing some analogy to the willow of that river, adds
considerably to the simile.

Soon after 11 the tide was at its highest, and we landed at a clear low
spot on the banks, and, in the interval of time between that period and
our departure, while Mr. King was taking a meridian altitude, I rambled
among the gigantic grass with scarcely a hope of making any discovery in
botany. I gathered a few plants:--Sphaeranthus sp. Jussiaea sp., the
first species of this swampy genus (so frequent in South America) I have
observed in Australia; and Senecio sp., a small annual plant. I
discovered a few bulbs and from their long thick foliage suspect it is a
new species of Amaryllis. Their depth in the stiff clayey soil occupied
some time in digging them up safely, and I was only able to procure four
bulbs. There can be little doubt that this liliaceous plant is thinly
scattered over the whole extent of this flat grassy country, as those I
saw were at a distance from one another.

It was unsafe to venture far from the boat, where alligators abound,
whose numerous inroads and intersecting paths among the grass were
observable to the whole of us. I had exceeded my limited time and was
hailed to return to the boat. Our meridian altitude gave us for lat.
12°38'47" S., which is about 20 miles to the southward of our vessel's
anchorage, and with the windings of the river we estimate our distance
to return as little short of 40 miles. The water at the turn of the tide
was brackish, and at its lowest ebb we doubt not of its being perfectly
fresh; indeed, the flights of freshwater birds seen this day indicated
its connection with bodies of fresh water at a distance inland. Its
width at this place is about 160 yards its depth upwards Of 3 fms. and
its general tendency was from the southward.

About a quarter past 12 we embarked, the ebb tide having begun some time
and the water had fallen some inches. At 7 in the evening the tide had
changed and was flowing very strong against us, we therefore were
obliged to pull inshore, to come to at a grapnel for a few hours, until
the flood tide had in some measure slackened. At half past 10 we weighed
grapnel and pulled for the lights hoisted at the masthead of the cutter,
as a guide to us and we got safe on board at about midnight. We saw
several alligators in the water and on the muddy banks of the river
basking in the sun, none exceeding 8 feet in length. The fires of the
natives continue to be numerous in various directions; these
conflagrations extend over immense tracts of flat country, at intervals
bursting into large flames as the wind rises, and continuing until a
heavy shower extinguishes them.

9th. Saturday. Mr. King went on shore to take a meridian altitude, which
gave us 12°19' S. At 1 o'clock we left our anchorage and stood N.E. out
of the bay. The rise and fall of the tide is about 12 feet.

10th. Sunday. Prayers having been read to the people we got under weigh
and stood over a flat towards two islands; the one having been called
Field's, and the other Barron's, in honour of Barron Field, Esqre.,
judge of the Supreme Court in New South Wales. Our soundings gave us 3½
and 4 fms., and at half past 10 we suddenly got 13 fms. between the
islands, but we were no sooner in deep water than crossing the winding
narrow channel we shoaled to 3 and 2½ fathoms, which obliged us to bring
to. About 4 p.m. Mr. King accompanied by Mr. Roe left the cutter, to
sound towards Field's Island and endeavour to find a channel or line of
deep water for the vessel to pass. At dusk they returned, having
ascertained a sufficient depth of water situated to the N.E. of our
present anchorage, between Field's Island and the main.[*] Our lat. is
12°05' S., long. 132°25' E.

[* Cunningham Channel separates Field Isle (the larger island) from the
main. South Alligator River has an approach through this channel.]

11th. Monday. We weighed anchor about 9, steering along the shores of
the gulf, still trending southerly; a 3rd and 4th opening appeared in
the beach, which possibly may be connected inland with the two rivers
already examined, but our short stay on the coast now, and Mr. King's
desire to survey the whole of this gulf, would not allow us to enter and
trace them.[*] The coast sailed along this afternoon is a long line of
sand, for several miles without a single point or rising of which we
might take bearings; and, in consequence, meeting with nothing to detain
us, and a fair wind, we made good 40 miles to the westward. At 6 came to

[* The Alligator Rivers are three in number: East, South, and West. King
says: "As this opening to the westward bore a similar appearance to the
river last examined, the name of Alligator Rivers was extended to it."]

12th. Tuesday. Weighing anchor about half past 7 we steered westerly.
The coast now trends northward and N.N.W. proving to us that we are
approaching the entrance of the gulf up its west shore.

13th. Wednesday. About midnight we found we were being carried in upon
the shore by the tide, we therefore hauled off and by daybreak[*] we had
drifted considerably out of the Gulf. The line of coast is for some
distance low, and clothed with mangroves, excepting where a small sandy
beach intervenes. At 10 a.m. a deep trending was observed to the
northward and westward from one of the points of which a dangerous reef
extends. At noon we passed a long sandy beach with a few scattered
Casuarinae upon its margin, but thickly wooded in the background. Very
distant smokes were distinguished inland, proving the existence of
natives remote from the shores, on which, however, two could barely be
seen with the aid of our glasses. At 2 p.m., an opening or bight of the
land appearing, we hauled to the wind to fetch it and anchor. At dusk we
were still under weigh, labouring against a strong tide that was setting
us to leeward. We therefore shortened sail and continued under weigh all
the night.

[* Having passed close to the easternmost point of Melville Island.]


14th. Thursday. During the last night we had drifted much to the
westward, and this morning we bore up for the bight of the land which we
could not make the last evening. The wind was from the southward and
eastward, and we were close hauled upon it. At 8 a.m. we entered a fine
handsome bay (named Brenton Bay, in honour of Sir Jahleel Brenton),
bounded by cliffy shores, which appear freer from mangroves than those
we have of late examined. Its shoaly foul bottom, however, prevented us
from anchoring, the vessel was therefore put about and we steered N.W.
Steering into a fine spacious bay a few miles to the westward of the
other we got good soundings in 3 fms., and came to anchor on a muddy
bottom. This bay, which has received the title of Lethbridge, has some
red cliffy shores thickly wooded with Eucalyptus. The lat. is 11°10'10"
S., and long. 131°04'23" E. Four natives were seen on the western sandy
beach of this bay; some canoes were observed in motion at its extremity,
and their fires were blazing in the background at dusk.

15th. Friday. About half past 6 we got under weigh and steered N.W. The
coast westerly forms a beautiful range of cliffs of a reddish tinge,
with intervening banks from which the rising grounds are thickly wooded,
apparently with Eucalyptus. By observations and Captain Flinders' chart
Mr. King calculates we are within 4 miles (to the S.E.) of Cape Van
Diemen, and a projecting point of land seen (4 p.m.) before us, led us
to suspect that it will prove to be the cape. Approaching within a mile
and a half we were obliged to haul to the wind, steering north in
consequence of a very large dangerous shoal extending off this

[* Mermaid Shoal.]

N.B. An island passed to-day of small extent and covered with brushwood
is named Karslake's.

16th. Saturday. At 6 a.m. we bore up to ascertain the extent of the
breakers off the cape, and also to work round them. At 8 we had
soundings 10 fms. on the edge of a bank, and immediately got none in 12
fms. These breakers extend from the cape N.W. 14 miles at least, and in
our run outside the large shoal we approached within 50 yards of the
outer bank, having from 6 to 2½ fms. Wishing to anchor in the evening,
Mr. King steered for a deep bight in the coast with appearance of a
river, but our water shoaling again to 4 and 3½ fms. we were obliged to
tack and stand-off into 8½ fms., and afterwards 22 fms., proving to us
we were passing over a bank of sand, which our lead showed us was of a
red colour. Tacking again into the opening at dusk, we entered and
anchored in 7¼ fms. off a fine elevated projecting point, which has been
named Luxmore Head;[*] and the bay in which we are at anchor has been
entitled St. Asaph's Bay. The northern point of entrance into this bay
is very picturesque, being a high and striated cliff, perpendicular to
the sea and wooded on its summit. It is named Piper's Head, as a
compliment to Jno. Piper, Esqre., Naval Officer at Sydney.

[* In honour of Dr. Luxmore, Bishop of St. Asaph.]

7th. Sunday. The very flattering appearances held out to us in this bay
induced Mr. King to remain the whole of this day at anchor, to take some
observations on shore, for which necessary purposes Luxmore Head, on
account of its elevation, will be particularly serviceable. About 10
o'clock Mr. King, Mr. Roe and myself landed upon the rocks beneath this
point and climbed up its steep loose ironstony slope, reaching its
summit without any suspicion or alarm. Mr. King had scarcely taken a
bearing, and myself prepared for a walk around, when one of our people
armed, and who was keeping sentry near, reported the approach of several
armed natives. A slight confusion instantly took place by this sudden
and unexpected alarm, when it was deemed most advisable to make good our
retreat to the boat (having but one musket up with us), which we
accordingly did rather precipitately down the rugged side of the hill we
had ascended. Our retreat gave these Australians boldness, and we had
scarcely time to secure our instruments in the boat and push off from
the shore when 7 natives appeared, hailing us from the height, and in
the end descended to the rocks on the shore. They made signs to us to
land but the appearance of spears among them (which they endeavoured to
hide from sight) prevented us from committing ourselves by venturing
among human beings as perfectly wild and savage as ever Nature herself
had formed them. At these moments we found we had left behind us on the
summit of the Head the theodolite stand, which we afterwards saw on the
shoulders of one of the natives.

We spent much time and patience in endeavouring by friendly signs to
recover this useful stand, but in vain. We pulled round the projecting
rocks in St. Asaph's Bay, wishing to land, but these Australians
followed us, shouting and vociferating in such a manner that brought
others to the number of 18 from the woodlands behind the beach. Their
total numbers were 25, of whom 5 were women, with 2 or 3 boys.

They made signs to us that they wanted hatchets or instruments to hew or
cut wood, and seeing that we might by bartering iron (of which they
undoubtedly knew the value) get possession of the instrument stand, we
pulled off to the vessel, intending to return to them in the afternoon.
The small Fan Palm (Livistona?), and Acacia dolabriformis, are common
plants of Luxmore Head beneath the prevailing timber of Eucalyptus. A
species of Dianella, with small panicles of blue flowers, is frequent on
the sides of the hills and, being in fruit, I gathered some ripe seeds
on the lower grounds near the beach. Exclusive of Eucalyptus and
Casuarina (of Goulburn Island) I noticed the arborescent simple-leaved
Acacia (Sims Island), the Gardenia of this coast, and Cycas circinalis,
or Sago Palm, laden with fruit. A small lizard, the ground cover of
whose skin was dark brown and yellow spotted, was caught at Luxmore Head
and brought on board.

In the afternoon at 2 p.m., two boats armed and provided with tomahawks,
and old iron, left the cutter for the shore, having previously arranged
that while the jolly boat should stand in among the natives to barter
iron for the stand, the other would act as a guard boat. The natives,
who had returned to the shade beneath the trees upon our departure in
the morning, now came out and waded in the water towards us. Mr. King
held up a tomahawk to them, the sight of which gave great satisfaction
to the natives, which they manifested by their noisy exulting
acclamations. But it was a considerable time before they understood by
our signs we wished to make an exchange for the stand, which we could
see stuck up on the sands of the beach. Two canoes of bark, with three
natives in them, joined the main body, who were all fearful of
approaching near us, but received (through the medium of one of these
barks which was pushed towards us) a tomahawk and some old iron, to
encourage and open a correspondence with them, which compliment was
returned with two baskets, the one containing the fruit of the Cycas
beaten to a pulp, and the other with bad rain water. The whole of this
afternoon was consumed in vain solicitations to redeem the stand. We saw
it taken and carried away.

Some of the men had their faces and bodies painted with an ochre or
pigment of a yellowish colour, and it is an inference, drawn from its
not washing off by their frequent immersions, that it was rubbed on
their skins with strong fish oil, with which perhaps it had been
previously incorporated. The whole of these people had spears, either
exposed, stuck on the bank, hidden behind trees, or in the water near
them; they could not be said to be directly hostile; fear, as well on
our part as on theirs, prevented a close communication. In truth we have
had reason to act cautiously towards all natives previously visited by
the Malays. This is advancing as much as possible for the Australians,
but very little in favour of those Asiatics--their enemies. We returned
at 5 o'clock to the cutter. Three native dogs of a red colour[*] were
observed on shore with these people; they appeared very quiet, and by no
means alarmed by the appearance of strangers.

[* The natives also had black ones.]

18th. Monday. We got under weigh about 9 and worked up the opening at
the S.E., which we have suspected may be a strait.[*] The character of
the shore we passed is moderately high and cliffy, thickly wooded with
Eucalyptus, beneath which the two palms seen yesterday and Pandanus
spiralis are abundant. We passed a small island[**] in the mouth or
entrance of this opening, well wooded with small trees, but difficult of
access, in consequence of the thick mangroves by which it is surrounded.
Our water was frequently very deep, and, in passing a narrow gut where
the shores contract, we found a bottom only in 22 fms.

[* It was Apsley Strait, a cove in it was afterwards named King's Cove
by Captain Gordon Bremer in honour of Captain King.]

[** Harris Island, which divides the south part of Apsley Strait into
two channels.]

19th. Tuesday. About 9 o'clock we made sail and proceeded on our voyage
up the opening. The banks continue uniform with those passed yesterday
and offering no inducement to land, which in many places would be
impracticable. The windings are easy, and its width varies from half a
mile to 2½ miles, In the background, thick wooded rising hills are not
infrequent, and were by their bearings of great assistance in carrying
on the survey. The bottom is very irregular, and its surface of various
qualities. From 15 fms. we would shoal to 6 fms., 3½ and even 2 fms.,
but hauling off we would deepen our water considerably, a proof that
there are banks and shoals that would be dangerous for vessels passing
and drawing more water than the cutter.

Previously to making our tacks we were naturally obliged to approach
very near the one shore to take a good diagonal stretch over to the
opposite banks; this enabled me to observe the plants of the cliffs,
which happened not to vary from those so frequently mentioned. The Sago
Palm becomes more frequent. I have no idea that any opportunity will
offer itself affording me a few moments on shore in this channel, and it
appears very probable the few plants that may be discovered by diligent
search would not compensate the valuable time such an excursion would
expend. Several broad inlets of salt water were observed running from
this channel inland. After a succession of projecting angles or points
of land had opened and passed, about 2 o'clock, to our surprise, the sea
presented itself, proving to us we had been passing a strait, bounded by
mainland on the east side, and an island (named in honour of Earl
Bathurst) to the westward, and its length through it from north to south
may be 40 miles. At 3 p.m. we were beating well up to the south
entrance, when the tide turned, and running at the rate of 2½ knots per
hour obliged us to put the vessel about, and run back into the strait,
where we anchored for the night in 8 fms. We saw an island off the mouth
of the south entrance, very low and sterile.[*]

[* One of the Buchanan Isles.]

20th. Wednesday. The tide rises and falls in this strait about 15 feet;
and a bank near our anchorage, extending along the shore at high water,
having 2 fms. of water over it, is this morning dry 3 or 4 feet. Upon
the return of the boat, which had been sent away to sound round some
rocks and shoaly patches appearing at low water, we got under weigh
about 11 a.m. and steered back north easterly, Mr. King not deeming it
prudent, from the nature and result of the soundings this morning, to
attempt a passage through the southern entrance. Anchored in 10 fathoms.

21st. Thursday. Leaving our last night's anchorage at 6 a.m. we passed
the Central Island, and at half past 9 anchored off Luxmore Head. Our
situation is about 11°28' S. lat. and long. 130°20' E. dead reckoning,
the weather being dull and obscure at noon not allowing us an
observation. The strait is called by Mr. King, Apsley Strait.


22nd. Friday. At 9 we weighed and stood out of St. Asaph's Bay, steering
a course southerly down the west coast of Bathurst Island. Upon an
examination of our provisions and water in the hold, made yesterday, it
appears we have beef and pork for three months, but our little rice is
become musty; and that an unfortunate leak has taken place from the
pork-casks, and had rendered many gallons of water unfit for use. It
appears necessary therefore that we should soon quit this coast and
endeavour to obtain some little supplies at Timor or elsewhere. This
side of Bathurst Island is low, with red cliffs and mangrovy patches
alternating each other. Anchored in 8 fms.

23rd. Saturday. Weighed anchor soon after 7 a.m., tracing the shores of
the island southerly. About 1 o'clock a shallow trending of the line of
coast with an opening in its centre induced us to tack and stand in
towards it, and at half past 5 we anchored off its entrance in 3½ fms.,
mud and sand. The fires of natives numerous. Some were blazing along the
shores to the water's edge towards the close of the evening. Our lat. by
meridian observation is 11°32'04" S.

24th. Sunday. Mr. Bedwell was sent to sound off the north of this
opening to find the channel, and upon his report we got under weigh at
half flood tide in the afternoon and beat up for it, and off the north
point of entrance, within 60 yards of the beach, we had 12 fms. What
this opening may be, another day will prove, but from the light of the
evening it appears to be bounded by mangroves, having on its eastern
side elevated ranges of hills well wooded.[*]

[* King called it Gordon Bay.]

25th. Monday. We continued at anchor the whole of the forenoon. Mr. King
went on shore at a sandy point to take a meridian altitude, and I landed
with him to examine the low woody parts near the beach. Some very fine
Casuarinae skirt the shore, behind which is a considerable, low, sandy
jungle-like waste, on which some coarse reedy grass, Avicennia tomentosa
and Hibiscus populneus are most prevalent. In this sterile situation,
almost level with the sea, I gathered specimens of a Clerodendron with
long cylindrical tabular corolla of a light red colour, in flower and
young fruit. Others were the same as seen in similar low situations.
Returning on board at half past 12 we weighed, stood further into this
snug harbour, coming to in 6½ fms. Very recent impressions of naked feet
of all sizes (men, women and children) seen on the sands, convinced us
that natives had passed very lately.

Soon after 3 p.m. I went with Mr. King and our second officer to examine
the southern continuance of this port, of which several conjectures have
been formed. We followed the windings and turnings 7 or 8 miles, when it
divides into small channels, the one running northerly and the other to
the southward of east, which last we traced, but it dwindled to a
confined passage, 40 feet wide, and scarcely 7 feet water, and
throughout the whole these shores are thickly covered with mangroves.
From this day's observations we are led to infer that Bathurst Island is
greatly inundated by salt water in high and spring tides, and in that
case the higher Eucalyptian wooded lands are mere islands; and that the
salt water inlet on the other side and those on the west possibly may
meet and intersect one another, and hence form so many little islands,
clustered together by mangroves. The harbour is small, but safe for
shipping, but the entrance is shoaly and ought to be approached with
caution. It has been named Port Hurd, in honor of T. Hurd, Esq., of the
Hydrographic Office, Admiralty.[*]

[* Port Hurd is the inner harbour.]

26th. Tuesday. Intending to lead out to the Port Entrance and take in
some wood for the use of the cutter, Mr. King left the vessel to sound
in that direction, and about half past 8, we shifted our berth to the
north side of the entrance in 10½ fms. close in shore. Having well
secured the vessel, a boat's crew was sent on shore to cut down some of
the Casuarina lining the immediate beach, and I landed with them. The
botanical subjects of the shore are Cordia sebestena, of which I
gathered some ripe fruit. Scaevola sp., Hibiscus populneus, and the
small tree with white tubular octandrous flowers and drupaceous
tomentose fruit, fibrous within, frequent on all the shores of the main
and islands of this coast. Exocarpus[*] sp., a tree with leaves like
those of some Piper, furnished me with ripe seeds; the receptacle is red
and fleshy. The little Bauhinia of Port Essington was noticed, but not
in flower or fruit; and a species of Psychotria, with black berries,
first observed on Sim's Island, is on these shores advancing to a
flowering state, together with a climbing shrubby plant having all the
external habits of Passiflora. I was not successful in my search for
flowers or fruit. This scandent shrub is very abundant, ascending to the
tops of the small trees of the beach.

[* It may be allied to Podocarpus of Labillardière. (Author's note.)]

I passed a very thick barrier of mangroves (Rhizophora mangle) that
bounds the ridge of sand next the beach, and was surprised to enter a
sandy desert thinly clothed with timber of Eucalyptus and the
following:-- Acacia sp. (of Sims Island), 30 feet high, with cylindrical
spikes of flowers, Melaleuca sp., allied to Leucadendron (South Goulburn
Island), 40 feet high, not in flower. Guttiferae, a small tree 20 feet
high; leaves ovate-oblong, obtuse, smooth throughout, shining above,
parallel-veined, branches angular, subsulcated; habit of Garcinia; it
was not in flower or fruit.

Some venerable specimens of Cycas circinalis in fruit appear in this
desert, some of which measured 13 inches diameter and at least 40 feet
high. This valuable Palm is here very abundant in all its stages from
stemless infancy to caulescent maturity of various ages and heights, and
as far as the eye could see it is, with Pandanus spiralis, very
prevalent. Calythrix microphylla (a new species of Port Essington) is no
mean ornament of these sterile wastes. It was so rich in flower and in
such expanded perfection that I gathered a few duplicate specimens. With
the fine Grevillae of Palm Bay, Croker's Island was no less remarkably
conspicuous. A species of Banksia, never seen before by me; it appears
to be Banksia dentata of Linn. (supplement), discovered at Endeavour
River, on the East Coast, and being in flower and young fruit I gathered
specimens. The herbage is a Spermacoce and Achyranthes of Croker's
Island, with which I collected specimens of a Xyris with angular scape
and yellow flowers.

I observed several marks made by natives on the stems of the trees,
particularly on a large Melaleucae, the bark of which had been stripped
off at no distant period to form gunyas or huts. During the whole of
this day's excursion I was accompanied by our worthy native chief,
Bongaree, of whose little attentions to me and others when on these
excursions I have been perhaps too remiss in making mention, to the
enhancement of the character of this enterprising Australian.

At 5 p.m. our people having stripped a sufficiency of wood for use on
board, we all went off, leaving some old iron chisels on the stumps of
the trees we had cut down, for the natives who were seen on the opposite
shores this day, and who were watching our operations. Our lat. by
observation on shore is 11°38' S. and 130°23' E. long.

27th. Wednesday. At half past 8 weighed and stood out of the port. We
had scarcely made sail and cleared Port Hurd when 9 natives ran out from
their covert among the trees at our working place, hailing us to return,
and making signs that they wanted hatchets. At the northern extremity of
the sandy beach of the bay and in other parts, small groups of natives
were observed walking leisurely along, having seen us out of the Port.
Mr. King wishing to make observations anchored at 10 o'clock in the bay
in 5 fms.

28th. Thursday. About 6 o'clock we departed from the bay along the coast
of Bathurst Island. The shores are frequently low, and bounded by ridges
of sand thickly covered with a brushwood, and occasionally rising in
irregular points, when the white sand is most conspicuous. In the
afternoon we observed the land trend in easterly, but from the masthead
it was traced very low to the S.W. We are approaching the termination of
the French surveys northerly, and suspect we have seen their capes
Fourcroy and Helvetius, although Mr. King does not agree with their

29th. Friday. Nearly calm during the whole of last night. By the
bearings of the land we are nearly in the same situation as we were
yesterday afternoon.

30th. Saturday. From the masthead, the land is seen much depressed and
abounding with mangroves; and several low islands are distinguishable
and have been called Warriors.[*] We had hauled off considerably during
the night and were this morning not within sight of land till about 8
a.m. At 2 p.m. we approached an island, which Mr. King wished to pass to
windward, however, shoaly water obliged us to haul off W.S.W., and in
half an hour we bore up again southward and deepened our water. The
south end of Apsley Strait was seen from the masthead, but extended
reefs from the Islands prevent us from approaching it this evening. At 7
p.m., being obliged to continue under weigh, we hove to and allowed
ourselves to be drifted to the northward with the tide, and by its
return we should be carried back nearly to the same situation, and be
ready at daybreak to beat up to the land about the southern entrance of
the strait, to make all necessary observations previous to our final
early departure from the coast for Timor. Our lat. is 12°04'47" S., and
long. 130°57' E.

[* They are situated in mid-channel of the strait separating Melville
Island from the main which was named Clarence Strait.]

31st Sunday. Having stood north-easterly we (at half past 7) clearly
ascertained the south entrance into the strait by the remarkable island,
now seen from the deck, which was noticed when in the strait on the 19th
inst. At noon Mr. King obtained a good meridian altitude, which made our
lat. 11°57'18" S. He then took his departure from the Australian coast,
steering for Timor.


June 1st. 1818. Monday. We had a very fair run during the last night on
a W.N.W. course, and this morning crowded all sail. Our situation at
noon was 11°14'28" S. and 128°20' E.

4th. Thursday. Having gone rather too far to the westward, we hauled up
N.N.W. at 6 a.m. The land of Rottee being 8 or 9 miles distant at 10, we
entered the strait under light sail. The mountainous character of the
islands around is a very pleasing change to us, ranges towering over
ranges, crowned on the ridges with clumps of cocoa-nut trees, and having
gentle easy wooded slopes to the water, now form the romantic relieving
scenes about us. A Malay proa was ahead of us in the strait, but the
fear of us obliged its commander to run to leeward under the western
land of Samao or Samow.

At ½ past 11 the bold cloud-capt land of the western shore of Coepang
Bay, Timor, opened to us, and about half past 2 we anchored off the
Dutch Fort Concordia. Mr. King, accompanied by his second officer, went
on shore to wait upon the Resident, Mr. Hazaart, who received them in
the most friendly manner, and having stated our object for visiting the
island, namely to obtain fresh water, and any other necessaries, the
Resident observed that Coepang was a very poor place, that at this
season fruit and vegetables were bad, but if he could be furnished with
a list of our wants he would make arrangements for the supply, as much
depended upon the mountaineers who were to be sent to, and from whom
sheep could only be procured. The Resident spoke English tolerably well,
which rendered the communication the more pleasant, and at the request
of Mr. King he gave me permission to range about the environs of the
town in my pursuit of flora, and very obligingly observed he would
appoint a Malay to attend me in my several excursions. Several Malay
proas were at anchor in the bay, having lately returned from the
Australian coast with cargoes of trepang.

5th. Friday. Clouded heavy damp atmosphere occasioned by the influence
of hills, whose lofty tops gather and retain the clouds pregnant with
humidity. About 9 it cleared off. I accompanied Mr. King on shore, and
through his medium was introduced to the Resident, who received me in a
most polite and friendly manner. He received our list of wants, which
undergoing some alterations, such as sheep for buffaloes, that were too
large for our small daily consumption. He promised to give immediate
directions for our supplies, and would employ Malays to water the
vessel. The day having been considerably broken into by this morning's
visit, I proposed to accept his kind offers of assisting me with a Malay
to-morrow morning, to make an excursion a few miles inland to collect
any interesting plants such a route would afford me.

Leaving the Resident's house we took a walk round the town. The
inhabitants are Chinese and Malays, of whom the latter claim the
majority. Since the town was destroyed (in 1815) by the Phoenix, little
has existed but misery, and on the site, perhaps, of goodly habitations,
low dreary bamboo huts are erected. The streets, if they may be so
termed, are very narrow and short, intersecting at right angles others
of like dimensions, wherein, if a tolerable clean decent house presents
itself, it is certain the tenant is a Chinese, of whose persons the same
character for neatness and pure cleanliness is equally applicable. They
are polite to excess, and are exceedingly profuse in their bows to us

There are remains of some goodly buildings and of a small Company's
garden, now altogether neglected and overrun with unprofitable wild
plants. Tamarindus indica and a large arborescent Ficus (F.
benghalensis) with a radicant stem and branches, form agreeable shades
to some of the streets. To the summits of these trees Piper betle was
ascending. Carica Papaya is a common tree, at this period in young
fruit, and within an enclosure I saw Plumeria acuminata. Heliotropium
indicum, an annual plant, and Calotropis gigantea are ornaments on the
rock on which the Fort of Concordia is built. A species of Capparis, of
low humble growth, is frequent on old walls and on the wayside in
byepaths in rocky exposed situations. It was suggested to Mr. King, on
shore, that our anchorage was bad holding ground. He therefore unmoored
and hauled nearer the Fort.

6th. Saturday. This morning I went on shore at 8 a.m. and joined the
Malay, who was to accompany me, at the Resident's house. Ascending the
rocky hills above Coepang by a beaten path the following old genera
presented themselves.

Barleria prionitis (?), a thorny ornamental shrub. Helicteres isora, in
fruit. Jasminum hirsutum, a round bushy plant in a flowering state.
Zizyphus jujuba, a small tree with spreading elongated branches, used by
the Malays for hedges, as Crataegus oxyacantha or white thorn is in
England. This plant is the food of a species of Curculio covered with a
yellow powder, which abounds on it, adhering to the underpart of the

Caesalpinia sp., closely allied to C. sappan, Roxburgh, but different in
having a densely villous calyx and a few scattered hairs on its foliage.
Cathartocarpus (Cassia with cylindrical legumens), a slender tree, pods
12-16 inches long, frequent on the hills.

In close thickets several leguminous twining plants were conspicuous,
more particularly Clitoria ternatea, whose large azure flowers could be
traced over the tops of the brushwood to some distance. I gathered pods
of Stizolobium pruriens (Dolichos H.K.) from the dead plant, and of a
Clitoria with ternate ovate leaves. A tree of moderate size, discovered
at Port Hurd on the north coast of Australia, I detected to-day in
flower, which is polyadelphous and appeared allied to Garcinia or
Xanthochmus of Roxburgh; the foliage is very glossy and large,
parallel-veined as in Calophyllum. I gathered likewise specimens of a
species of Sida with whitish flowers. These sterile rocky hills abound
in a shrub of the habit of Phyllanthus, with leaves elliptical and
alternate, at the axils of which the flowers are produced in racemes.

Descending to a valley between the first range of hills next the sea and
this island, my guide took me to the house of a friendly Rajah, which
was surrounded by a high stone wall (not cemented). I found the petty
king seated beneath the shade of a large specimen of Areca catechu,
surrounded by slaves and other attendants. My guide having been
previously instructed by the Resident, satisfied the curiosity of the
Rajah as to the object of my pursuits, who was desirous of putting
questions to me relative to my native country, could I have conversed
with him in the Malay Language. He appeared to live perfectly at ease in
this retired valley, surrounded by Gorypha umbraculifera, a large Fan
Palm (of the fronds of which the Malays make baskets to carry water) and
Artocarpus incisa, or bread fruit, which was then growing on the margins
of a stream of water meandering through his grounds, furnished from the
springs in the hills.

Leaving the Rajah's house, we ascended a second range, following
occasionally the public road into the interior, on which I passed
several troops of mountaineers, who were carrying Gulah or Sago syrup
and fruits, the produce of the interior, to Coepang. In these wooded
elevations some large species of Anona and a species of Carolinea, or
Bombax, are frequent. The latter of which was in flower at the extremity
of the branches, rendering it very difficult to be procured, and my
Malay was struck with horror at the idea of ascending and risking his
neck for such trifles. I gathered specimens of Kleinhovia hospita, a
branching tree of like bulk, it afforded me some seeds; and of a
specimen of Cynanchum I gathered young fruit. Triumfetta Bartramia and
Plumbago zeylanica are frequent in flower and fruit. At 4 p.m. I took a
circuitous route back to the town, and on my way I passed several
moderate sized trees, with ternate leaves and large round hard green
fruit, which appears to be a species of Crataeva. At dusk I returned to
the beach and was taken off by one of our boats to the cutter.

7th. Sunday. Shifting my specimens and exposing them on deck to air. Mr.
King, Mr. Bedwell and myself, by invitation, dined with the Resident in
the afternoon, at whose table we were introduced to several English
captains or masters in the trading service among the islands, whose
vessels are now at anchor up the river and in the bay.

8th. Monday. At 7 a.m. I left the cutter, with an intention to spend the
whole of the day on the banks of the River and the lands near it. The
Malay was unwell and could not leave his bamboo hut; in truth he was a
thin, meagre man, and the corporeal exercise of last Saturday seems to
have agreed but indifferently with him. I continued along the river bank
beneath the cool shade of the trees on its immediate verge, until I had
passed the town, when my progress was stayed by Poinciana pulcherrima
covering the slopes of the hills to the water's edge. I ascended the
hills, when a species of Strychnos of stubbly stunted growth indicated
the shallow rocky soil.

In patches of close brushwood I gathered the following. Nepeta sp., a
shrub of slender growth, with blue flowers. Acacia sp., bipinnate;
branches aculeated; the aculea are in pairs; capitulum axillary; pod
round as in seeds. Some Inga, a divaricate, irregular shrub. Smilax sp.,
a scandent aculeated shrub. Cytisus Cajan (plant dead). Upon a Ficus I
discovered a species of Loranthus, with flowers like those of Louicera.
Arriving at the chateau of a Malay I was much struck with the large
bread fruit trees within the enclosure. I gathered some fruit of a
slender tree of the genus Bignonia. This may be Bignonia indica or
Spathodea indica.

Wishing to pass through the valleys which are formed into paddy grounds
and inundated at pleasure by the channels of water from the hills, I
followed a path leading through the enclosed ground and descended to a
much cooler moist atmosphere, where I expected to discover ferns in the
bottom. I, however, only saw an Aspidium, frequent likewise on the banks
of the river. Flemingia strobilifera delights in such dark shades in the
close woods on the slopes of the hills, of which I gathered specimens in
flower. The timber is the large Ficus and the Carolinea seen on Saturday
last in flower.

Crossing several artificial water-courses I descended to the paddy
grounds, which I passed over upon the little muddy raised paths. The
rice looked extremely well, it was young, but the blade strong and
luxuriant, and flooded about 10 inches. Near a run of water I gathered
specimens of an Echites, with spindle-shaped horizontal folicles, allied
to E. costata, a strong irregular shrub in low humid situations; and a
small tree of the same natural order furnished me with specimens in
fruit (Nerium or Wrightia), follicles long, united at their base, seeds
compressed, comose at their extremity. A twining pendent plant with
ovate alternate leaves, entire and undulated, flowers axillary, crowded,
decandrous, I discovered on the wayside in coppices, in which I also
gathered specimens of a Banisteria, which appears distinct from any
species I have before observed. A Gardenia, scarcely distinct from G.
florida, being in fruit, I collected seeds.

At 2 p.m. I halted beneath the shade of a large Fig, having found the
heat very considerable during the forenoon. The specimens I had
collected I packed chiefly in the paper I had taken with me, to protect
them from the influence of the sun, and then commenced a new route back
to Coepang, from which I may be about 5 miles northerly. A strong
twining plant of the Bignoniaceae was ascending the highest trees, and
laden with a great profusion of flowers. On the hills near Coepang I
collected specimens of a tree of the Sapindaceae, leaves pinnate;
leaflets obovate, obtuse emarginati, venose; fruit racemose. About half
past 6 I returned to Coepang and went on board.

9th. Tuesday. It having been reported on board during my absence that a
fair opportunity would offer itself of forwarding letters to Europe by
way of India, occasioned by the early departure of some Chinese vessels
sailing from this port to Batavia, I determined to avail myself of it
and write to the Right Hon. Sir Joseph Banks and W. T. Aiton, Esqre.
reporting the progress of this voyage of discovery and my success in
obtaining specimens of the Flora of the north and north-west coasts of
Australia. Two of the vessels sailed this day before any of us could
prepare our letters, but a third brig still continues in the bay.

I visited the Resident to thank him in the name of Mr. King (who was
unwell) for his kind present of a buffalo and pumpkins, which had been
sent on board for the vessel's company. The Resident had detained the
Chinese vessel for us, which afforded us time to finish our letters for
England. Mr. Hazaart showed me a specimen of the coffee of the island,
which he procured when on an expedition to Daily, a small Portuguese
settlement on this coast. It is found on the sea coast in great
quantities, considerably to the northward of Coepang.

June 6th. Wednesday. Having shifted the whole of my specimens, I
finished my letters, waited on Mr. Hazaart with them and others in the
afternoon, who very obligingly promised to forward them by the Chinese
brig under an envelope to the
Consul at Batavia. In a walk I took with our first officer towards the
close of the day, I gathered seeds of an Erythrina, now deciduous;
Celosia argentea, and fruit of the Carolinea before mentioned. The fruit
of the tree, when fresh, is red and contains 8 seeds at least, each
covered with an arillus, kernel esculent, oily.

11th. Thursday. Repapering my green specimens. This morning I went on
shore, intending to employ myself on the hills north-west from Coepang,
and the following are the results of the day's observations in specimens
and seeds. Sida sp., flowers panicled, yellow. Specimens, collected
before, of Zizyphus jujuba, a quantity of the fruit. Cassia sp.
Buettneriaceae, a shrub 8-10 ft. high, allied to Commersonia Varronia
sp., an ornamental small tree with fragrant white flowers. Myrtaceae, a
tree of large dimensions; flowers axillary; leaves alternate. And a
species of Pteris, with pinnate lanceolate fronds, on rocks in the
fresh-water river. On the sides of the hills I discovered several
specimens of the large fruited Bignonia indica, of which I gathered
several siliquae as specimens, with seeds. Also Convolvulus sp., leaves
small, lanceolate, cordate at the base and C. bracteatus (plant dead).
Cucurbita sp. Solanum sp., leaves aculeated; berries orange. Cucumis
sp., fruit large, ovate. Cissus sp.

I traced a water-course, now dry, whose rocky uneven bed indicated the
rapidity with which water had passed from the hills through it to the
sea in the rainy season, and near it I discovered three bulbs of perhaps
an Amaryllis, but could find no others. Making the beach I passed
through the plantations of the Resident's secretary, Mr. Tinmann, a
Javanese. They contain cocoa-nuts and bananas chiefly, and a number of
thatched huts are occupied by his slaves.

12th. Friday. This day we received most part of our sea stock on board,
and made preparations for taking our departure from Coepang to-morrow
morning. Delay follows delay, our sheep for the vessel's use, which had
been penned up on shore until the day previous to sailing, escaped
during last night, on the hills, and three are not to be found. We now
find it much better to make the little purchases for our cabin mess
ourselves, rather than trust to others on shore. Received the visits of
some English commanders of vessels at anchor in this bay, in the

13th. Saturday. It was the determination of Mr. King to have taken his
departure from the island this morning, but many things remained
unsettled and unprovided for on shore, for a voyage of 8 or 9 weeks to
Port Jackson. We were all occupied on shore, either procuring limes or
yams, for our mess. I accompanied Mr. King and Mr. Roe to take our leave
of Mr. Hazaart. Mr. King thanked him for his liberality and attention
paid us during our short stay here, and stated his intention to get
under weigh in the morning. Settled all affairs and returned on board.

14th. Sunday. About 7 o'clock this morning, weighed and took our
departure from Coepang Bay. Steered S.W. to the westward of Pulo Samao.

20th June to 30th July, 1818. On the 20th June we made the Montebello
Islands (of the French, under Baudin), where some observations were
made, tending to correct the surveys of their original discoveries. On
the 13th July we doubled Cape Leewin in very squally bad weather; on the
24th we entered the Bass Strait, and anchored in Sydney Cove on the


July 30th. Thursday. His Excellency the Governor and suite had departed
from Sydney three days since, upon a short visit to Newcastle, Hunter's
River, to be present at the consecration of a church recently finished
there. I hired a horse and rode to Parramatta, and made many inquiries
respecting a small house, as a temporary residence for 2 or 3 months,
where I could retire and prepare my collection and journal from material
collected during the last 8 months. Remained at Parramatta all the
morning, not having succeeded in hiring a small habitation.

July 31st. Friday. Sharp hoar frost during the night. Morning fine.
After many further inquiries I have fortunately been accommodated with
the old house I occupied previous to my departure on the voyage of
discovery, at the same rent. Returned to Sydney and hired a passage boat
for the whole of to-morrow, to carry my collection and luggage from the
cutter to Parramatta. The country is very dry, and it appears there has
not been any rain of consequence these 3 months past.

1818, August 1st. Saturday. This day I got the whole of my collection
and luggage up the river to Parramatta, and lodged them in the house I
had taken.

* * * * *

3rd. Monday. This day I took possession of my house, received rations of
beef and flour, which are supplied from His Majesty's Store.

4th. Tuesday. I received my Government Chest etc., from His Majesty's
Storehouse, where I had placed them under the charge of the store keeper
during my absence. Employed within doors.

5th. Wednesday. I opened and unpacked my collection and aired my seeds
and otherwise employed.

* * * * *

13th. Thursday. His Excellency having returned from his visit to
Newcastle, I rode down to Sydney and waited upon him at Government
House, Sydney, to pay my humble respects upon my return to this colony
from the coasts lately under survey. I drew cash from the merchants, and
intend to give my bills on the Right Hon. Sir J. Banks. I made inquiries
respecting shipping in the harbour, and what opportunities are likely to
offer of transmitting my collection direct to England, but found none.

14th. Friday. This morning I returned to Parramatta, and employed all
the afternoon among my specimens.

15th. Saturday. Fair but cloudy. Showery during the forenoon, heavy rain
towards the close of the day. Ticketing and examining my specimens.

17th. Monday. Having received the information this morning that the
"Indian," whaler, Captain Swaine, would depart from this port in 2 or 3
days, and perhaps might revisit the coast for a very short period
previous to her steering a direct course to England, and being advised
as to the eligibility of the opportunity, I intend to transmit originals
of my collection to England by her. I wrote on service this morning to
His Excellency, requesting he would be pleased to grant me orders upon
the Deputy-Commissary-General for stationery, and upon the
Superintendent of His Majesty's lumber yard, for the making of packing
cases of dimensions therein stated, for the purposes of transmitting my
plants to England.

* * * * *

31st. Monday. This day I finally packed and closed a case containing
original specimens and seeds, together with some bulbs, and sent it to
Sydney by the passage boat to be shipped on board the "Indian" whaler;
writing to Captain Swaine thereon.

1818, September 1st. Tuesday. The weather appears more settled, fine,
with some light flying clouds.

3rd. Thursday. I closed my letters and went down to Sydney, with a view
of seeing the Captain of the "Indian," and suggest to him the nature of
the contents of the box, and the necessity of its being placed in an
airy dry situation in the ship. Captain Swaine expressed his regret that
his ship was so much encumbered with oil casks that he had no room for
the box in any safe situation, that having only 2/3rds of a cargo, he
was now determined, before he steered to England, to return to the coast
of New Caledonia to effect a completion of his cargo. I have therefore
been under the necessity of receiving back the case, considering myself
much more justified in retaining it until a more direct opportunity
offers, than risk its contents to detention on a tropical fishing coast.
My letters, being written, will require some alteration, and I shall
transmit them via India by the "Magnet " (late a schooner), Captain
Vine, who sails in a few days. Returned to Parramatta at night.

* * * * *

15th. Tuesday. Bright morning. The "Glory" and the "Isabella" have
arrived from England, but have brought me no letters. Afternoon cloudy.

* * * * *

25th. Friday. Having heard that the "Magnet," Captain Vine, was reported
to sail for China on Sunday next I availed myself of the offer of a
gentleman returning to England by that route, and now forwarded letters
to Sir J. Banks and Mr. Aiton, recapitulating the subject matter of my
letters to them from Timor and reporting my return to the Colony. Went
to Sydney and waited upon Mr. Jones with my packet.

* * * * *

1818, October 1st. Thursday. I brought up my journal and copy to the
present day.

2nd. Friday. This day I had an interview with Lieut. King, in order to
ascertain whether he had settled the period of departure on another
voyage. He could say nothing with any degree of certainty, as his charts
and journal would still occupy much of his time. December was mentioned.
I have 6 or 7 weeks to employ myself, in which period I hope to make up
another case of specimens. I have purposed therefore to occupy a few
weeks in an excursion to the Five Islands (The Red Point of the charts),
to the southward, on this coast, and have written this day (on service)
to the Governor, requesting His Excellency would he pleased to allow me
an order for a light Government cart, a horse, a spare pack saddle,
etc., during this service.

5th. Monday. This morning at an early hour I left Parramatta for the
farm to which I had sent out paper, where I arrived at 8 p.m. At ½ past
8 we departed for Curdunnee, where I expect to find several plants
indigenous in that remarkable valley, in a different state from that
observed in February 1817. In the forest lands we passed, as well as in
the sands of and bushy spots, several of the common Orchidaceae are now
very conspicuously in flower, viz:--Thelymitra ixioides, with another
blue flowering species. Diuris maculata and D. aurea, with several
others; particularly one plant with a reddish-purple cucullated flower,
whose labellum is fimbriated. On the margins of a creek I gathered
specimens of an Acacia of very slender growth, allied to A. longifolia,
the leaves are much longer and more filiform. Also Zieria macrophylla,
and Hibbertia sp., allied to H. volubilis (H. dentala Br.).

About 10 o'clock we arrived at the rocky wooded verge of the valley
called Curdunnee, to which we descended through large bodies of Fern,
chiefly of the Pterides. Smilax australis, observed here when I visited
this spot before, is in the same condition, without any signs of flower
or fruit. Trochocarpa laurina (Cyathodes) is in fruit, nearly ripe. I
gathered some specimens of Passiflora sp., allied to P. aurantia of
Norfolk Island and New Caledonia; flowers solitary, orange, red and

I likewise collected the following: Solanum sp. (S. pungetium Bn.), a
rather suffruticose small plant, aculeated; leaves angular; flowers
solitary and blue. Clematis sp., leaves ternate, cordate, 5-nerved;
flowers corymbose; frequent in various parts of the colony. Santalaceae,
a slender shrub, with the habit of Olax, leaves alternate, elliptical;
specimens in fruit. Pittosporum sp., this plant is now in flower, and
when seen formerly I had named it P. revolutum (H.K.), it however
appears to be P. fulvum of Rudge, and has more acute leaves than the Kew
plant, to which, however, it is closely allied. Meleaceae, flowers
scarcely perfected, in elongated spikes; leaves petioled, oblong,
shining above, but, with the young branches, are very hoary beneath. A
specimen of Smilax assisted much to render the thickets of this vale the
more intricate, and, being in flower, I gathered specimens. No other
plants peculiar to these shaded situations were observed in flower, of
which the large Fan Palm (Corypha australis), the large Fern Tree
(Alsophila australis), and a shrub with depressed dentated leaves,
slender stem, branches spiny, covered with a substellated tomentum,
perhaps of the Buettneriaceae, but without flower or fruit, are the most

At dusk we returned to the farm, my headquarters.

6th. Tuesday. I visited some ravines about three miles to the southward
and eastward of the farm, through whose rocky beds a permanent stream of
water runs, which, after numerous windings, crosses the Windsor Road and
ultimately empties itself into the Parramatta River. Among the many
plants inhabiting these shaded humid situations I noticed Lomatia
longifolia, sent home per "Kangaroo" as a Grevillea.

A species of Stylidium, (S. tenuifolium), with linear leaves, rather
crowded on the stalk, is very abundant, but not in flower at this
period. Podocarpus sp. (native Plum), a low, humifuse, spreading plant,
of the habit of Taxus, with a large purple fleshy receptacle, not yet
arrived at a flowering state.

Diosma (same genus as last year's list) a slender tree 10-12 feet high.
Grevillea stricta (Br), a slender shrub. Zieria pilosa (Rudge),
remarkable for its solitary, axillary flowers. Ceanothus sp. (allied to
C. globulosus), flowers terminal and crowded; and another species, with
smaller panicled flowers, Dianella sp., flowers simply panicled (not
expanded). Smilax glyciphylla. The rocks are ornamented with Dendrobium
speciosum in flower; and are covered with the small plant Poranthera
ericifolia of Rudge. In the brushy country surrounding the ravine I
gathered specimens of a Baeckia, (Imbricaria of Dr. Smith). Thesium
drupaceum (native currant), is now laden with fruit, of which I gathered
some seeds. Lomatia silaifolia. Crowea saligna; with several species of
Pultenaea, Dillwynia and other papilionaceous plants. A small shrubby
plant, perhaps of the Diosmeae, with pentandrous flowers, furnished me
with flowering specimens. In the forest-lands we passed in our return I
gathered specimens of a Helichrisum, allied to H. papillosum Lobelia sp.
(L. dentata), with small laciniated leaves; and a species of Stylidium,
which appears to differ from S. graminifolium H.K. in having longer and
narrower (denticulated) leaves.

7th. Wednesday. Returned to Parramatta at noon.

8th. Thursday. Last evening His Excellency arrived at Parramatta from
Windsor, but leaving Government House at this place at an early hour
this morning I was unable to see him as I intended, and, as His
Excellency has not answered my letter of the 2nd inst., I am still kept
in suspense.

9th. Friday. Examining and ticketing the specimens recently gathered.

10th. Saturday. This morning His Excellency arrived at Parramatta from
Sydney, and having received no answer to my letter of the 2nd. inst.,
begging the Governor would be pleased to allow me the use of a
Government horse and cart, and a spare pack-saddle, I waited at
Government House but was not able to see His Excellency, who was stated
to be from home. I left my name. There appearing no favourable direct
opportunities likely to offer for transporting my collections, formed
lately on the coast, to England, I was under the necessity, for the
safety of the bulbs there collected, to unpack the case and plant them
in the garden of a friend, trusting a future eligible conveyance would
present itself, enabling me to transmit them home when they would bear

* * * * *

12th. Monday. This day being advertised in the "Gazette" for the muster
of persons on and off the store belonging to the district of Parramatta
before the Governor at the Court House, I attended and reported myself
and servant. From the circumstances of having received no answer to my
letter, I had suspected it had miscarried. His Excellency, however, had
not thought proper to write me and enclose an order, but stated to me
to-day that he had given directions to Major Druitt, Acting Engineer at
Sydney, to furnish me with a Government horse and cart.

13th. Tuesday. This morning I went down to Sydney and saw the engineer,
Major Druitt, at the lumber yard, where I found my demand far from being
in a forward state of readiness. The pack-saddle was not beginning to be
made or even thought of; and the Governor having only given directions
to the Major to provide me with a Government horse (cart-harness I
presume I did not specify in my demand), a cart and spare pack-saddle. I
find I am under the necessity of writing His Excellency again for an
order for a tarpaulin, a pair of spancels and a rope of moderate size! !
The Major assured me all should be ready for delivery on Saturday next.
Although the "Isabella " arrived here four weeks since, it was by mere
chance that I heard of a case directed to me, which came by her from
England. The box had been lodged in H.M. store, from whence I forwarded
it to Parramatta per Passage Boat. The "Isabella" (Capt. Berry) being
about to depart for Bengal, and thence to England, I have determined to
avail myself of the Captain's kind offer to take charge of a case for
His Majesty's Gardens. Returned to Parramatta.

17th. Saturday. This morning I sent my servant to Sydney with a letter
to Major Druitt, Acting Engineer, for the horse and cart and other
necessaries that were to be ready this day at noon. At a late hour at
night my servant returned with the horse and cart, spare pack-saddle and
all the other articles, for which I had made my demand, which has now
determined me to start early on Monday morning, without further loss of

18th. Sunday. The long wished for "Tottenham" ship has at last arrived,
and bringing me a most satisfactory letter from W. T. Aiton, Esq., of
date 17th. February last, the original of which I have not received.




19 October--19 November, 1818

19th. October, 1818. Monday. At an early hour (6 a.m.) I left Parramatta
with a laden cart of luggage and provisions, intending to make good an
18-mile stage before I halted for the day, travelling leisurely in order
the better to make an observation on the botany as I passed along. In my
route towards Liverpool, on a line of road, about 9 miles, bounded by
open forest-land and confined dense brush, many interesting (already
described) plants were in flower, among which I gathered the following
Pomaderris betulina, flowers panicled axillary and terminal. Diosmeae,
habit of Correa, a shrub with white flowers, also a genus of this order
allied to Eriostemon, stamina smooth, leaves oblong, narrow, obtuse.
Dampiera undulata, a suffruticose blue flowering plant. Colletia sp., a
small tufted leaved, spinous shrub, suspected to be allied to
Cryptandra, and sent to England per "Harriet," is now frequent, in
flower and fruit, in the vicinity of the town of Liverpool. In moist
situations I gathered a small plant of the order Gentianaceae, Erythraea
australis. To the southward of Liverpool the country is an open
forest-land of common Eucalypti, in which Exocarpus cupressiformis, and
the papilionaceous tree Jacksonia scoparia, at this period laden with
yellow flowers, are very conspicuous. Pimelea spicata and P. glauca of
Mr. Brown; a small Daviesia with cordate leaves (D. squarrosa, Smith);
with a Helichrysum, allied to H. papillosum and prevalent in this
description of country. And on the banks of George's River, which
empties itself into Botany Bay I gathered flowering specimens of
Casuarina sp., a tree of moderate size, with smooth bark. In situations
on the roadside, more or less subject to inundation, a delicate, tufted
small Lobelia (L. inundata) is in flower, and Ruellia australis is
common in grassy dry spots, decorating our path throughout this day's
route. I halted at the farm of a settler, an old resident, who liberally
allowed me to put up at his house.

20th. Tuesday. We commenced our journey from the farm we had stopped at
during the night, travelling over the high beaten road, bounded by
forest-land of fine grassy rich appearance, but by no means profitable
to the botanical collector.

Finding myself obliged to make arrangements for the charge and care of
my Government cart, which I intend shall convey the whole of my luggage
to the verge of the Mountain Range bounding the fertile country, in the
vicinity of the Five Islands, I stopped at the last farm, previous to
entering upon the rocky, sterile or damp, morassy country, extending
southerly 15 miles to the mountain. Rather than leave the cart 4 weeks
on its summit (beyond which I can only avail myself of pack-horse
carriage), and subject it to be burnt or destroyed otherwise for the
sake of the iron work, I have determined to send it back to this farm,
whose proprietor has kindly promised to take charge of it till I might
send for it on my return from the excursion.

In a rocky creek which waters this little farming establishment I
employed myself for a few hours in the afternoon, in which I gathered
the following: Xerotes aemula (Br.) which is frequent, with another
species of the same genus X. flexifolia. Senecio sp., with laciniated
leaves, large yellow flowers, and of gigantic herbaceous growth.
Notelaea longifolia (var.), in fruit, of which I gathered ripe seeds.
Haloragis sp., extremely abundant beneath rocks. Pleurandra acicularis
of Labillardière. The rocky bed of the running water gully is in many
places choked up with large tufts of Xerotes. A dense low branching
shrub of the Epacridae, now in fruit, appears either to be the
Leucopogon setiger or Lissanthe strigosa of Mr. Brown. I likewise
gathered specimens of Leptomeria acida in fruit. Dampiera sp., allied to
D. stricta. Logania Pusilla (Brn.); and the following two ferns,
Schizaea bifida (Brn.) and Blechnum striatum. Among the many plants
prevalent on the margins of the creeks throughout the colony, the
Stylidium discovered on the Liverpool Road, and of which I forwarded
ripe seeds to Kew per "Harriet " last year, is now most rich in flower;
and the rocks are covered with the delicate white-flowering Dendrobium
linguae forme. Podolobium heterophyllum of the Blue Mountains, and
Stypandra glauca, prevail in the dry rocky brushes on the verge of this
line of creek.

21st. Wednesday. Leaving the little farm we resumed our journey at an
early hour, continuing our route southerly about 2 miles, when the road
abruptly terminates, or rather continues by paths or partially beaten
ways, striking east and west. Taking the former, we arrived at once upon
an entire change of country, of a rugged sandstony character, alternated
by extensive tracts of spongy bogs. Crossing a run of water, the
drainings of a morass called King's Fall, which empties itself into
Botany Bay, we pursued our course generally S.S.E. over this diversified
bad country, affording me much variety of common Port Jackson plants.
Bauera rubioides and Sprengelia incarnata are particularly attractive on
the margins of the Fall.

The swamps afforded me some specimens of Euphrasia speciosa. The dwarf
Banksia latifolia abounds in these bogs, of which it is difficult to
discover fruit with ripe seeds; and the whole was bespangled with
Utricularia uniflora, and the common Xyris. Large clumps of the stately
Doryanthes excelsa presented themselves on the roadside, generally in a
sub-humid situation, bearing at this period the remains of last year's
flowering stems, varying from 10-15 feet high. The Government horse,
afforded me by His Excellency's order, not caring to face the rugged
boggy country in this day's stage, could not be induced to proceed from
the King's Fall onward. It obliged me to avail myself of the fortunate
circumstances of an empty cart passing to the mountain for red cedar,
which I hired to carry my luggage 14 miles, sending my servant back with
the Government cart to the little farm I left this morning, with
directions to follow me with the horse as speedily as possible.

About 2 o'clock we arrived at what is termed the Mountain Top, along the
ridge of which the road runs before it strikes down to the sea coast and
country in the vicinity of Five Islands,[*] of which we have a bird's
eye view from the immediate edge of the mountain summit. A sudden change
again takes place, for, in an instant, upon leaving the morass with
stunted small Eucalypti, we entered as it were, within the dark shades
of a tropical forest, composed of very lofty timber of the red cedar
Tristania albens [= Syncarpia laurifolia] or Turpentine Tree; large
Eucalypti, of the species called Blue Gum, and many other trees--only
existing in such situations. Epacrideae (Trochocarpa); with large
specimens of Corypha australis and Alsophila, a tree-fern of New South
Wales; the whole being strongly bound together with immense scandent and
volubilous plants, that cannot fail to arrest the attention and
admiration of the most indifferent observer.

[* The Five Islands being the Red Point and Tom Thumb's Islets (five in
all), which are to be seen off the coast.]

After settling myself beneath a hut of cabbage tree thatch (Corypha),
where we intend passing the night, and having secured my plants in
paper, I took a walk down the side of the mountain, by the little beaten
steps of the Government sawyers, and was much struck with the abundance
of the Filices, whose great exuberance is wonderfully promoted by the
perpetual humidity that exists in these deep woods, which the solar ray
never has any direct chance to exhaust. I gathered some very fine
specimens of a species of Pimelea with a conical capitulum of flowers,
whose involcrum consists of 8 leaves; a shrub 6-8 feet high. Aster
viscosus, Labill. [= Olearia viscosa], having smooth elliptical leaves
and terminal corymbs of flowers, with a shrubby stem, I discovered
growing on the overhanging rocks, in flower. An aculeated shrub, perhaps
of Pittosporeae of Mr. Brown, of slender habit, with subrotund or
cuneated leaves, toothed at their points, with pentandrous solitary
axillary flowers, is in these shades a frequent plant. Rubiaceae, a
spreading branched tree, with dark green serrulated leaves, racemes of
green tubular flowers, and purple angular drupes, appears to be a
nondescript. I discovered another strong plant of the habit of Cunonia,
probably a Weinmannia. Myrtus trinervia [= Rhodamnia trinervia]; Eugenia
elliptica of Smith; and Pittosporum fulvum of Rudge (scarcely distant
from P. revolutum H. K.), are very common shrubs, in flower or young
fruit. A plant of the Iridaceae, with white flowers, and a flat-stemmed
plant of Aroideae, which I have not seen since I left England.
Gymnostachys anceps abounds in these leafy damp woods, and some little
parasitical plants of Orchidaceae, Sarcochilus falcatus and Dendrobium
rigidum are rare, adhering to the bark of the trees, of which I gathered
some specimens.

About the time I returned to my hut my servant arrived with the
Government horse, when we made up a good fire for the night.

22nd. Thursday. Early this morning I sent the packhorse down the
mountain to a small farming establishment at its base, with as much of
the luggage as the beast could conveniently carry, and I kept with the
remainder till the return of my servant and horse. I was not a little
agreeably surprised to discover Aster argophyllus of Labillardière,
accompanying an Acacia with much the habit of A. sauveolens. This Aster
is of arbusculous growth, from 10-16 feet in height, with a stem, in
some aged specimens, 7 and 8 inches in diameter. It is now in flower,
which are disposed in a terminal corymb, and more remarkable for the
musky scent of its foliage than others of its shrubby kindred, or
Australian Gnaphalia of that savour. I gathered a quantity of the ripe
fruit of Podocarpus sp. and some of Eustrephus latifolius, whose
diversified foliage led me to suspect I had detected the tropical
species of this, but its aggregated monadelphous flowers determined the
plant. I discovered a slender tree with alternate veinless coriaceous
leaves, in fruit, allied to Diospyros, which proves to be Mr. Brown's
Cargillia australis.

At noon the man and horse returned to me, having left part of the
luggage in the charge of a new settler, who had erected a temporary hut
on the sea-shore, about 2 miles east of the mountain's foot. Finally,
leaving our encampment with the remaining part of the luggage, we
followed the beaten horse road about a mile through the same continuance
of thick matted forest of various descriptions of timber till we arrived
at the pitch of the descent down the mountain, which is at present, in
many parts, very abrupt, steep and rugged. Corypha australis, now laden
with large bunches of ripe black fruit, and Alsophila australis, with
other of the Filices, are very luxuriant on the roadside down the
mountain. On my way I gathered specimens of a small tree of Celastrus,
flowers pentandrous, in terminal panicles. Prostanthera incisa (Br.
Prod). The Passiflora of New South Wales, which frequently abounds in
deep shaded situations a few miles north of Parramatta, decorates the
wooded descent with a profusion of its orange and green flowers, having
its slender scandent branches laden with young fruit. About 5 p.m. we
had descended to the base of the mountain, which is abundantly indicated
by the marshy grounds and runs of limpid water we crossed a little
elevated above the level of the sea, but not before the horse was
completely worn out with the severe exercise of the day. Arriving at the
palm-thatched hut of the settler, who very liberally offered me a part
of the same, we halted for the night, intending to reach our ultimate
headquarters early on the morrow. In the sandy open arid spots near the
sea, Dillwynia glaberrima and others were in flower, and in open forest
land I detected a small plant Schelhammera undulata (of Mr. Brown), of
which I gathered specimens. Rain at close of evening (8 p.m.), which the
slight roofing of our hut, without the aid of my tarpaulin, would barely
keep out.

23rd. Friday. My specimens, prior to our departure, having been slightly
injured by the rains of the preceding night, I placed the whole into dry
papers, packed up all my luggage, and proceeded forward to my ultimate
destination at Mr. Allan's farm, Illawarra, 10 miles to the southward.
The horse road continues along the lengthened beach, which is broad, and
bounded by brushes or small woods, in which Banksia integrifolia and
Fabricia Lawvigata at this period in flower and young fruit, are
particularly remarkable. Scaevola suaveolens (Brown), Hibbertia
volubilis, and a tufted plant of the genus Stackhousia, with thick
succulent leaves and spikes of pale straw-coloured flowers, decorate the
dry scorching sands. With the latter, I gathered other specimens of the
following. Hibbertia sp., an erect shrub. Phyllanthus sp. with
elliptical leaves; and a large dense shrub of Epacrideae in flower and
fruit. On the several projecting rocky points in the coast line (exposed
to the sea), I observed abundance of Westringia Dampieri, Samolus
littoralis, and a dwarf shrub of Casuarina, in fruit. Having passed
several lagoons, formed of waters from the mountains, and two salt-water
inlets, one of which is connected with Tom Thumb's lagoon, visited
originally by the late indefatigable Bass, in his voyage to the
westward, we arrived at the farm about 3 p.m. In the environs of this I
intend to employ myself for about three weeks, in the examination of the
botany around. This farm, for which the native name Illowree or Allowree
is retained, is the property of David Allan, Esqre.,
Deputy-Commissary-General, and comprises 2,000 acres of fine grazing
land, whose western boundary or extremity is the Red Point of Cook and
the charts. The good land extends inland from the sea westerly 10 miles,
till it terminates at or near Point Bass, southerly towards which, in
either direction from Illawarra, the land gradually decreases in

24th. Saturday. I destined the whole of the day to the examination of
the country around me, and especially to the westward, inland. From
thence alone it appeared I would be most likely to meet with botanical
novelty, and accordingly we left the farm-house in a north-westerly
direction, taking with us an assistant and guide, the nephew of the
chief of the Lake Allowree,[*] whose services I purchased for the day,
for a small piece of tobacco.

[* Flinders's name for Illawarra.]

We passed through a large portion of very fine rich forest, but very
unprofitable botanical land, about 2½ miles before we reached a thick
wooded bottom, about half a mile in diameter, having a running stream
passing through it, where I noticed several trees of various dimensions,
very different from any seen before, and although few were in flower or
fruit, I gathered some specimens.

On the margins of these woods I observed a slender tree of the habit of
Taxus, a Podocarpus, with long lanceolate leaves; it was, however, not
in flower or fruit; and in a like state I detected a slender tree (a
Bombax), 20-30 feet high, having the leaves and habit of a Gossypium. In
these very damp hollows I discovered a Caladium with large cordate
leaves acute at the point, with rounded lobes at the base, and many
strong nerves. I could not find any appearance of flower or fruit on the
many plants I examined, some of whose clear stems were 3 feet high.
Ferns abound in these situations, but are by no means numerous in
species; of those I found in fructification I collected specimens. A
robust habited tree (in stature) having a very soft woody stem, large
cordate leaves, and densely covered with stinging spines or soft
herbaceous aculeae, evidently allied to Urtica, forms thick and
dangerous woods to attempt a passage through, of which I regret I was
unable to discover either flowers or fruit, and that it produces
abundance, appears to be sufficiently demonstrated by the many small
plants of all sizes and ages in the boggy bottoms, where among the
superabundance of scandent and volubilous plants (unknown to me) I
gathered duplicate seeds of Eustrephus latifolius, while my native guide
was furnishing himself with long pieces of the tough stringy bark of
Currajong (Hibiscus heterophyllus), for fishing lines.

About 3 p.m. we took a circuitous route southerly, towards the sea
coast, with little or no further success, for, having once left these
shaded hollows, the forest land commences, which carried us to the sandy
beach. On the bounding ridge I gathered seeds of Persoonia sp., hardly
distinct from P. lanceolata, the leaves however are scarcely smooth. In
these exposed dry situations Pimelea glauca and Dianella revoluta
abound, with Eriocalia major [= Actinotus helianthi], Correa alba,
Stylidium graminifolium and Rhagodia hastata. During my return to
Headquarters, on the immediate shores, I gathered specimens of Spinifex
(= S. hirsutus), with dioecious flowers, growing luxuriantly in the
sand, with a species of Convolvulus, closely allied to C. soldanella
(Calystegia reniformis of Mr. Brown).

25th. Sunday. Visited the last farm southerly, in this range of country,
about 10 miles from Illawarra, situate on the small river called
Merrimorra by the natives.

[* The Minumurra of modern maps.]

26th. Monday. We were prevented from returning to Mr. Allan's farm last
evening in consequence of the high tide, its great depth and strong
current of water at the mouth of the Lake through which our route ran. I
therefore availed myself of this detention and took a range over the
forest grazing lands westerly, to the shaded hollows under the mountain
belt, the plants of which I found, however, were for the most part of
the same description as those already observed in similar situations.
Rhipogonum album, with its variously inserted foliage; and the slender
shrub of Pittosporeae, being the most predominant. I collected specimens
of the following:--Ficus sp., forming a slender tree; leaves scabrous,
oblique; fruit being calyptrated. Asclepiadaceae, Tylophora barbata Br.,
a twining slender plant. Anonaceae allied to Eupomatia, a small tree
with glossy serrulated leaves; flowers in axillary racemies, scarcely
open. Commelineae, Aneilema crispatum (Br.), this plant is very
abundant, but rare at this time in a flowering condition. Gymnostachys
anceps is exceedingly common. I gathered from one plant a ripe seed.
Renealmia paniculata [= Libertia paniculata], noticed on the mountain
top, and Crinum pedunculatum of Mr. Brown, with the caulescent Caladium
and arborescent Urtica are prevalent plants in these shades. I was not
successful in procuring specimens in flower or fruit of a climbing
plant, which I suspect, from its knotted stem and large, reniform,
glossy, strong-nerved foliage, of a warm pungent taste, may belong to
the Piperes or Cissi.

Amongst a group of fourteen natives from Shoalhaven who were encamped
near the Merrimorra River Farm, I observed they had their fresh water in
baskets made of the leaf-sheaths of some palm, which they called Bangla,
and which they informed us grew under the mountain range. With a view of
ascertaining the point whether or not any palm exists in New
Holland--without the Tropics--beside Corypha australis, I persuaded one
of these people to become our guide (under the promise of tobacco on his
return), and conduct us to the woods where this doubtful tree existed.
We travelled about 4 miles over forest land, in which I gathered
specimens of Croton sp., a tall shrub, with subrotund cordate serrulate
leaves, and axillary racemes of flowers; and a parasitical Loranthus
with obovate leaves, growing upon Casuarina totulosa. We passed through
some low swampy grounds covered with Arundo phragmites as we approached
the mountain base, and entering some dark moist woods, some few plants
of the palm presented themselves. Its fronds are pinnated and large; it
has all the habit of some smooth Areca or cabbage tree, and appears to
be the identical species of palm of which I obtained seeds on the North
Coast, during the late voyage of discovery, which I suspect is
Seaforthia elegans of Mr. Brown. Their stems are very slender, and some
I observed were 50 ft. high, without any signs of fructification. The
Banglas or lower part of the petioles, which embraces the stem at the
head of the palm, are very large, and some of them that had fallen to
the ground were 5 feet long and 3 ft. broad, of sufficient dimensions to
make small catamarans. Alsophila, a tree fern, and the common fan palm
(Corypha australis), are companions of this tropical species. In our
course direct for our Headquarters, after discharging our guide, I fell
in with brushes of the tree before noticed, of the same order as
Melaleuca; and perhaps a Turraea, in fruit, in which state I gathered
specimens, but met with nothing else particularly interesting.

27th. Tuesday. The greater portion of the afternoon was employed on the
margins of Tom Thumb's Lagoon, and in shaded woods in the vicinity, with
very small success; Crinum pedunculatum of Mr. Brown is common in all
situations and exposures, while Salicornia indica and Mesembrythemum
aequilaterale skirt the margins of the water. In the woods I gathered a
few seeds of Tylophora barbata of Mr. Brown, specimens of a small tree
in fruit (Myrsine), and some ferns. A repent plant adhering to the bark
of trees, with cordate oblong leaves, I suspect to be of the
Asclepiadaceae, on account of its habit and lactescent character. I
could not discover it in any stage of fructification. At dusk we
returned to the farm hut, having met with no other plants of any moment.

28th. Wednesday. I have examined the shaded hollows or bottoms westerly,
towards the mountain belt. On land occupied by various settlers, for the
most part as runs for cattle, I find I am generally a month too early
for flowering specimens. I have, however, procured a few in rather an
unexpanded state, and others have afforded me ripe fruit. I now purpose
to spend two or three days on or immediately under the range; and this
morning I removed my headquarters to the stock-keeper's hut near the
mountain, taking with me a sufficiency of salt provisions and abundance
of paper for the limited time I intend being absent. About 8 a.m. we
left the hut, with an intention, if possible, to reach the summit of Hat
Hill, bearing about 8 or 9 miles (apparently) W.N.W., and as a guide
through the more intricate woods, I had induced an intelligent native to
accompany me. About 11 a.m. we had penetrated through much confined
thicket and small patches of clear open forest-land alternately, when my
native guide, seeing the more rugged and difficult part of our route
before us (and in truth not caring to be absent long from his wives and
children), complained of sickness and finally abandoned us, returning
back to the hut with all possible speed.

The botany of these thickets varies in nothing from what I have of late
so frequently observed. Rhipogonum album is by no means a trifling
ornament in these woods, being laden with a great profusion of its white
flowers on a smilacine plant. I gathered duplicate seeds of Eustrephus
latifolius, and of the aculeated slender plant of Pittosporae. With some
difficulty we descended to the rocky bed of a water gully, which is
supplied by springs in the belt, particularly from one that has its rise
near Hat Hill, which, failing over rocks, passes through this channel
into lagoons at the foot of the range.

In an opening through the trees we could clearly distinguish the bold
rocky summit and perpendicular face of the hill, which we intend to
ascend, although the densely wooded and brushy rising grounds, broken
with ravines, between us, are no small barriers against the attempt.
After crossing two deep water-channels, and passing over several minor
elevations, we arrived at the back of the lower part of the range
considerably to the left or southward of Hat Hill, and tracing it
continually upon the ascent we at length reached the rugged summit of
this flat-topped mariner's landmark at 3 p.m.[*] I cannot state
otherwise but that I was much disappointed upon finding this eminence
entirely covered with very common Port Jackson plants, affording me
nothing interesting. The plants were Banksia serrata; Epacris
obtusifolia, E. grandiflora; Lomatia silaifolia; the common Tetratheca;
Tristania albens, and some common Eucalypti of stunted growth.
Comesperma sp., and a Polygala with large purple flowers, common at

[* Mount Kembla.]

From this elevation we had a very extensive view to the seaward, of the
whole of the farmed land occupied by various settlers, and bounded by
the ocean, comprising from north to south an expanse of near 40 miles.
The view westerly on the contrary, is very confined, the country being a
succession of lofty ranges behind each other, from among which, large
smokes of native fires were observed ascending. The rocks are of
sandstone, much excavated by the weather, and the general rugged aspect
much the same as that presented to the traveller on each side of the
road over the Western or Blue Mountains. After a range of full one hour
on this summit, I thought it advisable to descend, and make the most of
the daylight and sun, which was much obscured by the dark clouds blowing
from the eastward and enveloping the summit of this lofty hill. About 5
p.m. we descended to some rocky holes of water, and being surrounded by
Corypha australis, I determined to halt for the night till daybreak, and
while my servant was constructing a hut or gunya of its fan leaves, I
kindled a fire to prepare us a meal, which at this time of the evening
we found very acceptable. We experienced some disagreeable annoyances by
being obliged occasionally to pass through large bodies of Urtica
dioica, and large clusters of sharp edged Restiaceae. In this route
through damp woods, filled with some few ferns, I detected a slender
tree about 16 feet high, bearing flowers in panicles, axillary and
terminal, scarcely distinct from Cryptocarya obovata of Mr. Brown; also
a parasitical plant, Dendrobium aemulum, with a quadrangular stem.

29th. Thursday. At an early hour we left our fire and followed the
descents from the mountain, in a direction to the northward of east,
that enables us to avoid all the deep creeks intersecting our route
yesterday. In this course I gathered specimens of the
following:--Crotalaria sp., a slender tree having the habit of
Coronella. Glycine clandestina. Ornitrophe sp., a large spreading tree;
the red arilloe of the seeds of the tree are eaten by the natives.
Croton sp., (or Aleurites ?), specimens in flower, observed in fruit in
the vicinity of Port Jackson. Melaleuca sp., closely allied to M.
viridiflora (H.K.), a slender tree 20 feet high; with some ferns,
particularly a Polypodium allied to P. tenellum, scandent on trees; and
Davallia caudata (Brown). The Taxus, a Podocarpus habited tree. Crinum
pedunculatum, and the caulescent Caladium, are common in these woods,
which are matted together with Rhipogonum album, Smilax australis, and
other volubilous and scandent plants. I gathered specimens of a species
of Rubus, growing with the British Urtica in large bodies. We saw
numbers of the lyre-tailed pheasant, but they were very shy, not
allowing us any chance of shooting them. My servant, however, ran down a
young hen bird unable to fly. I set out with my servant and a native as
a guide and assistant from the hut at 7 a.m., for another remarkable
eminence on the ridge of the mountain belt, called Cap or Molle Hill,
which has a round top from a near land view of it, but at a distance out
at sea appears at particular bearings perfectly flat, and has been
frequently taken for the Hat Hill of Captains Cook and Flinders. Our
guide directed our route over a large portion of rising rich
pastureland, thinly wooded with common Eucalypti, till we entered the
brushes conducting us to the base of the hill, comprised for the most
part of plants already observed.

In the steep ascent many interesting specimens made their appearance,
particularly Aster argophyllus of Labillardière [= Olearia argophylla],
of large growth, in an abundant flowering state; and a tall gigantic
shrub with long terminal branches, panicles of pentandrous flowers, and
woolly petioled oblong leaves, observed elsewhere in New South Wales.

A spreading tree, 20-25 feet high, of Laurinex of rare appearance, in
young fruit, with large broad elliptical triple-nerved leaves, glacuous
beneath, proves to be Tetranthera dealbata of Mr. Brown [= Litsea
dealbata], (the Laurus myrrha of Father Loureiro), figured by Plukenet
from specimens sent him probably by Mr. James Cunningham, a surgeon in
the East India Company's Service, resident at Canton, of whose extensive
knowledge in botany that author makes frequent mention in his "Amaltheum
Botanicurn." Throughout the whole ascent Bignonia australis [= Tecoma
australis] overruns the tops of the other shrubs, to whose dark foliage
its clusters of flowers give an air of lightness.

About one p.m. we arrived at the summit of Molle Hill, which, by no
means so elevated as Hat Hill, nevertheless commands an extensive view
to the seaward. Being much more to the southward, the true formation of
Lake Illowree can be well traced from the sea to the westward, and
presents from this elevation a beautiful sheet of water. As on Hat Hill,
this mount has little novelty, being chiefly clothed with the vegetation
of Port Jackson. The declivities and overhanging rocks furnished me with
specimens of Blandfordia grandiflora (Brown). Xanthorrhoea sp., with a
few seeds. Epacris crassifolia (Bn.), a beautiful flowering plant; and
another rigid plant of the same kindred family, Dracophyllum secundum,
of which I sent seeds to England per "Harriet." Xerotes tennifolia. A
purple-flowered Solanum, a suffruticose plant. With a few ferns,
particularly Gleichenia speluncae of Mr. Brown. I again noticed the
Podocarpus-looking plant. Some trees we passed this day were 35 and 40
feet high. The rocks on the summit of Molle or Cap Hill are bold and
bluff to the northward and eastward, and are of the prevailing sandstone
of Sydney. About 4 p.m. we had descended and had returned to our
temporary quarters, the thunder from the mountains hastening our

31st. Saturday. I took a walk in the confined brushes in the environs of
the farm, but found, in consequence of the quantity of rain that had
fallen this morning, it was vain to collect flowering specimens, and in
reality the route I took furnished me with nothing but what I had seen
before, excepting a twining shrub, perhaps of Urticaceae. About 2 p.m. I
packed up all my specimens and returned to my original headquarters at
Illawarra, or Five Islands farm.

1818. November 3rd. Tuesday. This day I visited Lake Allowree, on the
margins of which I expected to make some further discoveries in botany.
The woods and close-shaded bottoms we passed afforded me little variety
or deviation from the individual specimens of which frequent mention has
been made. The following few interesting plants, however, are the
results of this day's investigations. Achras australis of Mr. Brown, a
slender timber, beneath which I gathered a quantity of the seeds. A
twining plant of Asclepiadaceae, Marsdenia rostrata of Mr. Brown. The
Podocarpus so often examined, I found to-day bearing last year's male
flowers upon it, of which I gathered specimens. Hibiscus heterophyllus
skirts these woods, also the Gossypium-habited tree, and another with
ternate, oblong leaves, having much the appearance and character of Mr.
Brown's Flindersia; I saw but a single tree, but that without any
appearance of fruit or flower to determine its genus. Descending through
a brush of dwarf sapling Casuarina, the ground being covered with the
native Viola sp., we came out upon the margin of the Lake, which is
extensive, but very shoaly on its expanded surface, Pelicans, ducks,
teal and some other aquatic birds were swimming, and in detached parties
I observed natives of the Lake--their hereditary property in
possession--in canoes, spearing fish, which is said to be abundant. The
most moderate calculation of the dimensions of this lake is, from east
to west 12 miles, and from north to south about 16 miles. Its supply
from the sea is over a flat low part of the beach not exceeding 100
yards wide, whose channel has about 9 feet of water at the flood tide,
sufficient to allow some small shark and an abundance of porpoises to
pass to the lake. Its margins are covered with a dead seaweed and
Salicornia indica, with a delicate plant in tufts, the Mimulus repens of
Mr. Brown.

On the more elevated grassy lands I gathered specimens of some small
plants of Melanthaceae and Asphodeleae, viz. Burchardia umbellata, and
Tricoryne elatior of Mr. Brown, with a small flowering Craspedia Richea
(Labillardière). Approaching rain with thunder warned us to return,
which we did by shaping our course along the sea shore, where I gathered
specimens of an Acacia in fruit, a shrub of depressed growth, frequently
procumbent on the sands. A genus of Solanaceae (Duboisia of Mr. Brown),
I found in flower, of which I gathered specimens. Myoporum ellipticum
and M. acuminatum, the latter a small tree, furnished me with ripe
seeds. Barely outside the high water mark, Calystegia reniformis of Mr.
Brown, Atriplex halimus and Spinifex sericeus, clothe the beach, the
former bearing abundance of its purple flowers. In some low boggy
grounds on the western side of the boundary ridges, Menyanthes exaltata
or Villarsia parnassifolia was noticed, and I detected a new species of
Stackhousia, with slender filiform leaves and small yellow flowers.

4th. Wednesday. In a walk I took southerly in the afternoon, on the
beach, I added some few specimens and seeds to my gradually augmenting
collection:--Dolichos reliculatus (H.K.) Apium prostratum of Ventenat
and Labillardière. Spinifex sericeus, female flowering specimens. Croton
sp., leaves linear, male flowers, large white seeds. Leontodon sp.,
specimens in flower, and ripe seeds; on rocks. On the rocky points
besides Correa alba, Westringia Dampieri, Scaevola suaveolens,
Plectranthus australis, I gathered seeds of a dwarf stunted shrub of

5th. Thursday. Repeated observations prove the necessity of leaving the
immediate shores to seek for botanical novelty, which appears only to
exist in the deep recesses of dark woods under the mountain range, where
the most luxuriant vigour of vegetation is contrasted with its final
dissolution, and where the mind is presented with a striking picture of
the operations of nature, who, when thus left to herself, never destroys
but that she may again create. I have now determined to spend 5 or 6
days in these shades as profitably as possible, and intend therefore to
make my headquarters at the bark hut of a friend, whose frequent kind
solicitations to be allowed to assist and forward me in my pursuits, I
am happy now to afford the pleasurable occasion. Having therefore made
arrangements relative to the airing of my green specimens on hand, which
I leave at the Five Island farm till my return, I set out with my
servant and packhorse, laden with paper and other necessaries for the
period I propose being away.

My intended headquarters is on the south west side of the Lake, distant
about 12 miles from Illawarra, towards which we commenced our journey at
9 a.m. Nothing can exceed the rich luxuriance of the grasses of the fine
grazing land we passed over in the first 4 miles, the great nourishment
of which is abundantly demonstrated by the many head of large
well-bodied cattle grazing thereon. Arriving at a small rivulet that
intersected our course, running easterly from the range, we forded it
and passed through an intricate but interesting brush, where I observed
some shrubs not in flower or fruit different from any previously
detected. From these thickets southerly, the forest grazing grounds
continue, occasionally interrupted by small brooks or creeks of running
water. The many well-beaten cross-paths of cattle intersecting one
another, having led us imperceptibly off our own true course, it was
late before we even reached the borders of the western extremes of the
Lake, and being overtaken by a heavy drenching rain, with thunder and
lightning, I thought it advisable to halt for the day, 5 miles short of
my ultimate destination, at a temporary hut on the lake.

6th. Friday. Wishing to examine some close confined thickets in the
neighbourhood of the hut, I did not change my headquarters this day,
which was for the most part occupied in the investigation of the botany
around. Among the many valuable trees already made mention of, I
discovered the following:--Asclepiadaceae, Lyonsia straminea (Brown), a
large twining shrub, in fruit. Xylocarpus sp., a tree of moderate size.
Acalypha sp., a shrub. Logania sp., allied to L. Longifolia, the plant
agrees with L. revoluta in habit, but has no perceptible pubescence
about it; a slender shrub. Rhamnus sp. Cissus sp., very nearly related
to C. antarctica, of which I gathered seeds. Myrtus trinervia [=
Rhodamnia trinervia] in young fruit. Eugenia elliptica forms a large
tree in these woods, and Sterculia heterophylla, very frequent in the
Western Interior, I found full of fruit, from which I gathered ripe
seeds. A large twiggy shrub with ovate attenuate toothed scabrous
leaves, but in no stage of flower or fruit; its acute terminal bud and
bleeding character when broken, would indicate its genus to be Ficus. A
twining shrub of Cunoniaceae, intermediate between Weinmannia and
Ceratopetalum, afforded me very handsome flowering specimens. Its
branches, with Clerodendron tomentosum, of very luxuriant growth, and
Bignonia australis = Tecoma australis] top all other plants, frequently
climbing over the robust lofty arms of the Red Cedar trees, and
reclining on the heads of the smaller arbusculae. Nicotiana undulata,
Myosotis australis, and a plant with a small single seeded fruit in
small clusters,[*] are common plants on the verge of these thickets.

[* This climbing plant agrees with Sicyos angulata (Linn.), originally
figured by Hermann.]

7th. Saturday. About the hour of 8 we departed from the hut on the lake,
directing our course over fine forest land to our intended headquarters
with more than ordinary caution, to prevent being led a second time out
of our road by the many paths leading to all points of the compass. At
11 a.m. we arrived at our destination, after a long route through much
rising uneven ground, and taking possession of a comfortable spare
apartment recently attached to the bark hut, I prepared myself to visit
the woods near the farm. About half a mile to the westward of this
Australian farm house, some extensive confined thickets, to which I
directed my attention, employed us during the remaining part of the day.
I gathered the following:--Tetranthera dealbata (Brown), a tree 25-30
feet high, in young fruit. Duboisia myoporoides, some finer specimens
than I have before possessed; this tree which varies from 12-20 feet in
height, has a remarkably thick corky bark. Buettneriaceae, a
subvolubilous plant with a terminal raceme of yellow flowers; leaves
alternate, minutely denticulated, and smooth. On the banks of a muddy
stream I gathered a small plant which appears to be Mr. Brown's
Heliotropium asperrimum. A large volubilous plant of considerable
length, which I suspect is related to the Menispermaceae, is common in
the dark forests to which we penetrated, wherein the tropical palm
Seaforthia elegans, Corypha australis, and the arborescent Urtica in all
stages, are very abundant. Of the latter I could discover no traces of
fructification, but I gathered a quantity of the Fan Palm (Corypha
australis). Of the ferns, of which these humid shades are productive, I
collected the following:--Pteris nuduiscula, P. falcata (Br.), P.
umbrosa (Br.), Adiantum hispidulum (Br.), Lindsaea microphylla (Br.),
Asplenium flabellifolium, Dicksonia davalloides Br., and Doodia caudata

8th. Sunday. Particularly fine and favourable weather for drying my

9th. Monday. I prepared this day to visit (if possible) the summit of
the main range overhanging the extreme boundary of the farm, although
from the elevated, bluff, perpendicular appearance of its rocky face, I
had little hopes of reaching this lofty part of the ridge. To ensure the
most practicable ascent I secured, for a little tobacco, the most useful
assistance of a native, with whom we started at 8 a.m. on a
south-westerly course for the eminence in view. At 11 a.m., having
passed over much hilly fine grazing forest land, we arrived at the base
of the range, where on rocks in the bed of a running creek, taking its
rise in the mountains, I commenced collecting the few interesting plants
detected in this day's route. Urticaceae. Boehmeria sp., a succulent
plant with procumbent radicant herbaceous stems, appears allied to
Forster's Elatostemma. A species of Piper, the first I have observed in
Australia, very abundant on the mossy decayed stems of trees, with a
species of Pteris. The pepper appears to be the same as Piper reflexum
of Linn. and Swartz, already found on islands in the Pacific Ocean, as
well as in the West Indies, and at the Cape of Good Hope.

Ascending the steep sides of the mountain through thick brushes of
Croton and the same description of plants as observed on the sides of
Molle or Cap Hill (particularly Aster argophyllus and Bursaria spinosa)
we reached the summit early in the afternoon, and found scarcely any
other than the common plants of New South Wales, presumptive proofs that
the whole ridge is of the same character, and that the most rare,
desirable and valuable plants are inhabitants of the shaded ravines at
its base, I gathered some papers of seeds of the following:--Deeringia
celosioides, a genus of Amarantaceae. Ficus rubiginosa, a large tree
60-80 feet high, with very extraordinary alated base. Trochocarpa
laurina. Pimelea sp., allied to P. ligustrina, capitulum of flowers
conical. And Helichrysum sp., a tall suffruticose plant.

The native, our guide, espied, on a tree, an opossum (Didelphis), having
many of the habits of the ring tailed species (caudivolva). It was a
female and her cub. They were asleep, hanging by the claws, among the
topmost shoots of a slender Eucalyptus piperita. It has no tail; it has
the thick bluff head of the wombat, with strong incisor teeth, but does
not burrow in the earth as that harmless, easily domesticated animal.[*]
The length of the mother was 28 inches, and its weight upwards Of 30
lbs.; the cub was about half grown, its length not exceeding a foot; it
was covered with a fine thick grey fur. The Australian killed the parent
in order the better to carry her down the range, but the young one, at
my suggestion, and request, was suffered to live, and was carefully
brought to the Farm hut. The heat of the day had brought out snakes from
their retreats in the hollow trunks of fallen timber, and it required
the utmost caution to avoid treading upon them as they lay basking in
the beaten paths among the high grass. At dusk we returned to the Farm
hut, having had a fine day for the ill-paid excursion we had made.

[* This seems to have been a native bear.]

10th. Tuesday. I employed myself in some gullies under the range, with a
view of collecting any few remaining flowering specimens that might be
worth attention. I gathered the following:--Cryptocarya glaucescens, a
tree 40 feet high. Cynoglossum latifolium (Br.), a small plant, on the
banks of fresh-water streams: Gratiola latifolia (Br.), in similar
situations. Prostanthera caerulea (Br.), a large strong scented shrubby
plant. Tetranthera dealbata, I observed to-day in young fruit; and I
gathered another paper of the seeds of Eustrephus latifolius, with finer
specimens of the aphyllous twining shrub of Urtiaceae, having monoecious
succulent racemes of flowers, first discovered on the 31st ultimo.

11th. Wednesday. At an early hour we left the farm, with all my luggage,
for my original headquarters at Illawarra, which I hoped to reach at
midday, in order to pack up all the plants and prepare for taking my
departure for Parramatta early to-morrow morning. In the rich grassy
lands I gathered specimens of Xerotes mucronata and Daviesia sp., allied
to D. acicularis, in young fruit. In some dark woods I detected a small
tree of Cryptocarya sp., differing from C. glaucescens in having a
tomentum on the under surface of the foliage. About one p.m. I halted
for an hour at the bark hut of another settler, having heard I might
possibly procure good seeds of a species of palm (Seaforthia elegans),
the Bangla, very frequent in the moist woods in the neighbourhood, and
of which I had made much inquiry during my stay at the Five Islands.
With the assistance of some people on the farm with axes, I caused
several specimens 40-50 feet high to be fallen, laden with fruit, which
I, however, found far from being ripe. They afforded me specimens that
may prove the identity of the plant as being the same observed by me on
the north coast on the 14th April last. It would seem, from the present
state of the fruit, that it ripens about March next, and that as they
arrive at maturity they fall off and furnish a substantial aliment to
the numerous large birds (particularly pigeons) inhabiting these woods.

12th. Thursday. I sent off a pack-horse, laden, to the foot of the
mountain, about 10 miles north of the Five Islands, with directions that
the man and horse should return to me early in the afternoon, in order
to be ready to take off the remaining load of my luggage and collections
early in the morning. I gathered Myostis australis in flower and fruit.

13th. Friday. At 5 a.m. I finally left the Five Islands Farm, with the
remaining part of my collection, for the foot of the mountain, and
arrived at the settler's hut there early in the forenoon. Having made
some necessary arrangements relative to the conveyance of my luggage up
the mountain on the morrow, I took a walk into the shaded woods at its
base, of which the plants, although very interesting, are uniformly the
same as those in similar situations, of which frequant mention has been
already made. I gathered duplicate flowering specimens of Rubus sp.,
Oxalis sp., a small creeping pubescent plant; and duplicate specimens in
fruit of a large twining shrub, Lyonsia straminea. In grassy exposed
situations of the beach I detected an annual Hibiscus in flower and

14th. Saturday. The whole of this day was occupied in carrying up my
luggage to the hut on the mountain top.

17th. Tuesday. At 6 a.m. we left the temporary hut on the mountain top
for the farmhouse of Mr. Middleton where my Govt. cart was left in
charge...I made no discoveries of any moment.

19th. Thursday. The rugged stage of 15 miles from the mountain top to
this farm had so worn off the shoes of my poor horse as to render
re-shoeing indispensable...I therefore determined to lose no time
but to proceed with my cart together with the whole of my collection
towards Parramatta where we arrived at the close of the afternoon.[*]

[* End of journal.]



The "Mermaid" had completed a voyage to Tasmania at the beginning of the
year 1819, when Cunningham, who accompanied King thither, brought back
with him a variety of Tasmanian plants. On May 8, 1819, King sailed
again from Sydney to continue his exploration of the north and
north-west coasts from where he had left them on May 31, 1818.
Cunningham again went with him. In this voyage King left the harbour in
company with the "Lady Nelson" under Oxley, who voyaged with King as far
as Port Macquarie, and after surveying that harbour and the Hastings
River the "Lady Nelson" returned to Port Jackson.

On landing at Port Macquarie, Cunningham thought three-fourths of the
plants that he saw there resembled those of the Illawarra. On an arm of
the river near Rawdon Island he found, however, a fig-tree of gigantic
growth, as well as a new palm, which seldom attained more than twelve
feet in height. The forests on the Hastings also abounded in rosewood
and red cedar and several kinds of Laurineae and Meliaceae, of small
diameter, that he believed would be useful timbers for building and
ornamental for furniture, thickly and beautifully covered the river
banks. On May 31st the "Mermaid" left the port.

From Port Macquarie, King threaded his way up the east coast, following
in the tracks of Cook and Flinders, and examined its shores thoroughly.
Lieutenant Jeffreys, in H.M.S. "Kangaroo" in 1815, had already surveyed
this portion of the mainland.

In describing the "Mermaid's" route to Sir Joseph Banks, who, since the
days of Cook's voyage, had taken a deep interest in the botany of
Australia, Cunningham wrote:[* Letter dated November 9, 1819.]

"Coasting along northerly up the east coast, our first anchorage was on
the 30th May in a bay (Rodd's Bay) just without the Tropic, a little to
the southward of Flinders' Port Curtis, where, during our short stay, I
made some additions to the foundation of the collection formed
originally at Port Macquarie. On the shores of this bay I observed,
among others, plants detected in the last voyage on the north coast,
originally discovered in the Gulf of Carpentaria and elsewhere by Mr.
Brown. On the 3rd of June we anchored again under one of the Percy Isles
(No. 1),[*] and remaining there the whole of the next day, a favourable
opportunity was afforded me to examine the botany of this elevated
island. On the 8th of June an opportunity enabled me to land upon one of
the islands in Captain Cook's Repulse Bay,[**] which afforded me, among
other plants, a beautiful nondescript Bossiaea, not observed elsewhere.
The next day a landing was effected under that great navigator's Cape
Conway (in a small bight on the north side), and other parts of Whit
Sunday Passage, each of which furnished me with some increase to the
specimens and seeds. At Cleveland Bay (off whose Cape we arrived on the
14th)[***] our stay to complete our water from some gullies at its head
enabled me to make several excursions on the bold rocky hills on its
shores; each ridge of the hills and even the more depressed flat...on
the spurs presented novelties or interesting specimens."

[* "I anchored in the westernmost sandy bay of No. 1 Percy Island of
Captain Flinders to the westward of the small Pine Islet."--King.]

[** One of the Repulse Isles.]

[*** Now Townsville.]

No natives were seen at Cape Cleveland, although King counted nine
derelict huts in different places close to the beach and saw footprints
on the sand. A fresh green coco-nut, recently tapped for milk, and some
bamboos were picked up. The air was swarming with butterflies, probably
of the same variety as those Cook had met with at Thirsty Sound: "The
stem of every grasstree was crowded with them, and when they were on the
wing the air appeared in perfect motion."

"On Palm Island, in Halifax Bay, and more particularly on the islands in
Rockingham Bay (where we remained the whole of the 20th)," continues
Cunningham to Banks, "I found plants common to both Indies, viz.:
Sophora tomentosa, Guilandina bonduc, and a beautiful purple-flowering
Melastoma (M. Banksii), a splendid South American genus, of whose
existence in Terra Australis I had not the most distant idea. On the
shore of a lofty wooded island (Goold Island), in the latter bay
(Rockingham Bay), we had our first communication with the natives, who
came off to us in their small bark canoes and received us in a
peaceable, quiet manner, having previously sent their women across the
island.[*] In our run along the coast from this bay I landed upon one of
the Family Islands (the north easternmost) for a few moments, and
occupied the whole of the 23rd of June[**] in the elevated woods of
Fitzroy Island, off Cape Grafton, where, among other plants, I detected
a species of Myristica in fruit, which may be an original discovery of
your own in that celebrated voyage of Captain Cook, whose track we
followed to Endeavour River, where we arrived on the 27th of that
month,[***] anchoring under the south shore, about the particular spot
where the 'Endeavour' had been hove down 50 years since."

[* "The natives came alongside the "Mermaid" in five canoes and ventured
on board. Upon leaving the ship they pointed to their huts and invited
the English by signs to return their visit."--King.]

[** At this time King traced with great care the coast between Double
Point and Frankland Island, which Cook "passed in the night and did not
see." When the "Mermaid" passed Point Cooper, "the summit of the back
hills were named by Mr. Cunningham's desire after John Bellenden-Ker,

[*** After anchoring successively on the 22nd at Fitzroy Island, on the
24th at Snapper Island (of Jelfreys), and on the 25th at Weary Bay,
examining Blomfield's Rivulet.]


"Our protracted detention till the 12th July at this memorable part of
the eastern coast was occasioned by a temporary loss we had previously
suffered off the cloud-capped mountainous land of Cape Tribulation, by
the swamping of one of our most serviceable whaleboats, which we
replaced by building another from the frames of a spare boat we had with
us; and thus the convenient south shore of Endeavour River--which, most
probably has never been visited since the departure of Captain Cook in
1770--has been a second time converted into a temporary dockyard .[*]
Here was a period of 14 days that might have been wholly at my disposal,
had it not been for the annoyances experienced from the prowling
natives, who made a rather determined but unsuccessful attack upon the
boat-builders while I was at some distance from the cutter on an
excursion to the...ranges of hills bounding the grassy flat land
southerly (these natives had to be dispersed by firing a gun).

[* The "Mermaid" anchored "in all probability in the same spot where
Cook had landed his stores."--King. King now named Mount Cook, in honour
of the great seaman.]

"In my various daily walks...during the first week of our stay, much
pleasure was derived in tracing your steps with those of...Dr.
Solander, and detecting many plants then discovered, that in all
probability have never been seen in a living state since that period;
among which you...may call to remembrance the Grevillea gibbosa, in
flower and fruit, so prevalent on the rocky hills; the beautiful bluish
flowering Nymphaea (like the late Dr. Roxburgh's N. versicolor),
expanding itself on the surface of the chains of stagnant pools in the
lower lands; and the ornamental Melastoma Banksii above-mentioned,
clothing the muddy shaded banks of these small ponds. The rocky gullies,
trickling with small runs of water, afforded me scope for much minute
research; particularly the delicate filiform minute Stylidia; some small
Eriocaula and Xyrides appeared to abound, with some others of the
gentian family, delighting in a humid shallow soil.

"Among the plants observed on a strip of sandy desert under the range of
hills to the southward of our anchorage, I was successful in collecting
a number of bulbs, which could be but barely traced by the existence of
slight vestiges of decayed foliage lying on the surface of the sand. The
summits of the ridges, and more especially the northern sandy shore,
added some interesting plants. On the arid wastes...I gathered a
most beautiful plant of the Dilleniaceae: Hemistemma Banksii of Mr.

"It was a subject of much regret that, in consequence of the rupture
with the natives, my walks were...much circumscribed or else wholly
prevented. I had determined (in an absence of two days, at least, from
the vessel) upon an excursion to the more distant and loftier hills,
where woods densely matted to their summits would doubtless have
afforded considerable scope for research. This however was wholly
frustrated by the decidedly hostile dispositions of these Australians,
and the smallness of our company not allowing me two or three armed men
as a distant walks. I trust, however, that the specimens
gathered at Endeavour River will prove an acceptable renovation of the
plants preserved at Soho Square and originally discovered by yourself
and Dr. Solander in July and August, 1770."

In his remarks upon the inhabitants, Cunningham says: "It appears rather
singular that of a dozen natives, with whom we communicated a day or two
previous to the commencement of open hostilities, and who were very
communicative, they had no idea of the word kangaroo, although they knew
the animal we spoke of, as well by our signs as by its frequency on the
rocky hills around us. The animal bearing the generally established name
of kangaroo throughout Europe they called Mauya (or Menuah)."[*]

[* Banks and Cook both called it kangaroo, and said that it was so
described by the natives seen there. King says he saw the same people
and thought that the word had become obsolete. It is possible that these
seen by King were of another tribe, since the language sometimes differs
within the limits of a small area. Near King's tent some pieces of coal
were picked up, which he says no doubt were relies of Cook's visit,
which had lain undisturbed for nearly half a century.]

He continues: "Having examined the river itself, laid down its
soundings, several miles from the sea[*] and launched our new boat for
future service on the N. and N.W. coasts, we departed on the morning of
the 12th July, with an intention to double Cape York...And in the
meantime, in coasting towards that promontory, to lay down the true
trendings of the coast north fro