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Title: The Genesis of Queensland.
Author: Henry Stuart Russell.
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eBook No.: 1305181h.html
Language: English
Date first posted:  August 2013
Date most recently:  August 2013

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Production Notes:

In this work, punctuation, including the accenting of foreign words, is somewhat haphazard; regular examples include "did'nt", "could'nt", etc.; some of it, largely quotes, has been modernised.

It is hoped that by making few corrections, the flavour of the book has been preserved. A few errors—typographically convincing—have been corrected.






GENESIS OF QUEENSLAND.











THE

GENESIS
OF
QUEENSLAND:



AN ACCOUNT OF THE FIRST EXPLORING JOURNEYS TO
AND OVER DARLING DOWNS:
THE EARLIEST DAYS OF THEIR OCCUPATION;
SOCIAL LIFE;
STATION SEEKING;
THE COURSE OF DISCOVERY, NORTHWARD
AND WESTWARD;
AND A
RESUMÉ OF THE CAUSES WHICH LED TO SEPARATION
FROM NEW SOUTH WALES.
WITH
PORTRAIT AND FAC-SIMILES OF MAPS, LOG, &c., &c.

BY


Henry Stuart Russell







Sydney:

TURNER & HENDERSON.

MDCCCLXXXVIII.











Dedicated

TO THE MEMORY OF

HENRY HUGHES,

OF

WORCESTER, ENGLAND,

AND

WESTBROOK, DARLING DOWNS, QUEENSLAND.


"By heaven! I cannot flatter,
   ————but a braver place
In my heart's love hath no man."






{Page vii}

PREFACE.


But for respect to prescribed custom, I should leave this book to be ushered into public presence under the countenance of Patrick Leslie's silent introduction.

A preface, however, does shape itself into an easy chair for the scruples of the most self-distrusting occupant from which he may address himself in tendering the payment of a debt always incurred by ordinary men to their neighbours in the attainment of an end.

For my own relief I use it, therefore, for thanking those who have, in all courteous sympathy, helped me to a short review of times synchronous with the detachments of story to which this first one hundred of Australia's years of self-assertion under the Union Jack has committed her. By tradition of the past, in a measure, Australia's habit may be characteristically caparisoned in the future.

To the late Michael Fitzpatrick (awhile Premier of New South Wales), and then to the unreserved and hearty acquiescence of Henry Halloran and Deputy-Surveyor-General R.D. Fitzgerald, in obtaining for me the perusal of many official documents, a preface gives room for my grateful acknowledgments. These may have forgotten; I have not.

Among the amenities of private intercourse, I am glad to thank Philip Gidley King for enabling me to produce Journals of Allan Cunningham, of which a record in full had been long fallow among his family preserves; also the widow of the noble Carron, to whose manhood I wish to pay tribute, and by her to his memory; and her also who has honoured me by the permission to place this neophyte beneath the tutelary presence of the same Patrick Leslie.

To the boon of a public library, its able and energetic Chief Librarian, R.C. Walker, and his considerate, cordial, and courteous coadjutor, D.R. Hawley—not forgetting the politeness of the active officials therein—I have now a chance of bearing warm testimony.

To the friend to whom I dedicate this redemption of a pledge given to himself when in life, and who procured for me the accompanying specimens of Cook's Log and handiwork, it is too late to address myself. Those who inherit his cherished name may accept my meaning and regret.

The chagrin shared with others now gone, that the days of "our" Darling Downs, on which we breathed a then new element, and revelled in the elastic aspirations of the squatter of the olden time, should fade out of the freshness of their dawn; the aim, that objects wrought out by single enterprise should be fixed to the right name; the fear, that as years fall farther and farther back, the impress of many a notable occurrence, whether affecting time, place, or person, the progress of squatting exploration or that of locality, might fall back with them into the haze of forgotten or irrecoverable things, or, what is more fretting, into the fogs of future distortion and assumption—have all spurred this "small chronicler of his own small times" to present himself to the "some few" yet living to whom the recital may yet bring reflection, whether of personal interest or not; and to those who follow, mindfulness of some worthies gone before, whose names may plead the claim of whilom companionship and attachment in bush or town, prosperity or adversity.

Out of the sunny years of her who called our Queensland into her lot, have the purer rays been shed upon it which have lit up the latter, the happier half of Australia's age.

May not the last, the youngest branch of Australia's growth, bud out in hope, yet more loyally grafted upon the name of her who gave it as the days consolidate its own Centenary?

HENRY STUART RUSSELL.   

North Willoughby,
         Sydney, N.S.W.






CONTENTS.


[PREFACE]

CHAPTER I.

Early Explorers—Fernandez de Quiros—Torres—Torres Straits—Cook—Galamp de la Perouse—Delangle—The Times—Byron's Birth—Norfolk Island—Lieutenant King—Bass—Richard Dove—Atkins—Sydney Gazette—Flinders—Memorable execution—South Head Lighthouse—Fort Macquarie—Territorial Seals—Commissioner Bigge—Allman—Lang—H.M.S. "Britomart".

CHAPTER II.

Newcastle—The "Mermaid"—Port Macquarie—Oxley's coast survey—Ports Bowen and Curtis—Moreton Bay—Strange tale of bewilderment at sea—The River Brisbane—Habits of coast natives—Sir Francis Forbes—John Stephen—John Carter—Gordon Bremer—Port Essington—Melville Island—Oxley in the "Amity"—The "Australian"—Trial by Jury—Cunningham—Amity Point—Official visit to Moreton Bay—John Macarthur—Francis Stephen—Red cliff Point—Edenglassie—Fort Dundas—Raffles Bay—The Cobourg Peninsula—Patrick Leslie—Darling Downs—Leichhardt—The "Lady Nelson"—First despatch from Melville Island—George Miller—Port Essington again—Bremer in H.M.S. "Alligator"—Letter to Sir George Gipps—Owen Stanley—H.M.S. "Rattlesnake"—A Cape York rescue—Collapse of North Coast Settlements—Keppel in H.M.S. "Mœander".

CHAPTER III.

Retrospection—Prospects—Thomas Hobbes Scott—Rex v. Robert Cooper—Van Dieman's Land—Governor Darling—Major Lockyer—Military Discipline—Captain Bishop—Maurice Charles O'Connell—Surmises respecting our Watersheds—The River Macleay—Captain Logan—Stradbroke Island—South Boat Passage—H.M.S. "Warspite"—Sir James Brisbane—The River Tweed—First "Daily"—Logan's Walk—"Isle of Stradbroke"—Dunwich—Rous Channel—The River Logan—Captain Philip King in the "Mermaid"—Thomas de la Condamine—Henry Grattan Douglas—Fort Wellington—Rev. C.P.N. Wilton—Allan Cunningham

CHAPTER IV.

Fate of La Perouse—Thomas Livingstone Mitchell—Gallows in 1828-9—The River Clarence—Colonial Botanist Frazer—Swan Port—Stapylton—William Grant Broughton—Allan Cunningham—Leslie—Leichhardt—Port Macquarie Free—Commandant Logan—"Surprise" and "Sophia Jane"—Runaways—Agricultural Company at Newcastle—"Specials"—Lord Howe's Island—Benjamin Sullivan's Scheme

CHAPTER V.

The "Squatter"—Our First Bishop—E. Deas-Thompson—John Blaxland—A. McLeay—The "James Watt"—Doubly Wrecked—Lang's "Minerva"—German Clerics—Presbytery of Moreton Bay—Sir Maurice O'Connell—Captain King—Crown Lands Police—Squatting Bill—Withdrawal from Moreton Bay—Major Cotton—Commissioners of Crown Lands—Confusion of names

CHAPTER VI.

Allan Cunningham's Journals—Blaxland, Lawson and Wentworth—Blue Mountains—Hovell and Hume—Segenhoe—Potter Macqueen—Macintyre—Dartbrook—River Page—Dividing Range—Liverpool Plains—Oxley's River Field—Melville Hills—Goulburn Vale—Barrow's Valley—Lushington Valley—Vansittart Hills—Mitchell's River—Cod Catching—Effects of Drought—Buddle's River—Wild Cattle—Stoddart's Valley—Oxley's Peel—Drummond Ranges—Carlyle's and Little's Hills—The "Cone Masterton"—The River Dumaresq—Macintyre's Brook—Indians—The River Condamine—Darling Downs—Peel's Plains—Canning Downs—Harris Range—Mount Dumaresq—Millar's Valley—Logan Vale—Mount Warning—The "Gap"—A Glimpse Eastward—Homeward Return—Anderson's Brook—The River Burrell—Shoal Bay.

CHAPTER VII.

Cunningham on the East—Logan—Brisbane—Limestone Station—The "Gap"—Fraser—Mount Warning—Cowper's Plains—Canoe Creek—The River Logan—Birnam Range—Letitia's Plain—"High", or "Flinder's" Peak—Mount Dunsinane—Mount Warning—Innes Plain—Erris Vale—Ascent of Mount Lindesay—Macpherson's Range—Coke and Borough Heads—Glen Lyon—The River Richmond—Mount Clanmorris—Hughes' Peak—Mount Hooker—View of the Sea—Mount Shadforth—Wilson's Peak—Minto Craigs—Mount French—Knapp's Peak—Dulhunty Plains—Rattray Plain—The River Bremer—Logan returns to Brisbane—Limestone Hills—Starts in search of the "Gap"—Mount Forbes—Bowerman Plain—Finds the "Gap's" Eastern Face—Threads the "Pass"—View of Darling Downs—Mount Mitchell—Mount Sturt—Tempest in the "Gap"—Return—Bainbrigge Plain—Mount Fraser—Mounts Edward and Greville—Arrive at Limestone—Remarks—Lockyer's Boat Excursion—Cook—Cunningham—Arthur Hodgson—Patrick Leslie—Leslie's Diary—Dobie—Peter Murphy—Falconer Plains—Walter Leslie—New England—The River Clarence—Admiral King—Garden and Bennett's Station—Toolburra—Glengallan Creek—Canal Creek—Bannockburn Plains—Fresh Start with Stock—Wyndham's—Condamine—Further Exploring of Darling Downs—Hodgson—Etonvale—King and Sibley—Fred Isaac—Leslie's Recollections

CHAPTER VIII.

Petty's Hotel—Letters of Introduction—Aldis' Cigars—Arthur and Pemberton Hodgson—Todd—Buying a Horse—Brown the Saddler—Major Barney—Disadvantage of a Name—Sydney as it seemed to me—Australian Club—En route to New England—Newcastle—Cox's Hotel—Paddy Grant—Lettsome and Archibald Boyd—Black Creek—Hughes and Isaac—Colburne "Old Soldiers"—Patrick's Plains—Cullen's Inn—Singleton's—Muswellbrook—Skellatar—Bengalla—Overton—Nagoa—St. Helier's—Cox—Allman—Aunty Bell—Nowland's Inn—Aberdeen—Potter Macqueen—Scone—Chivers' Inn—The River Page—Denny Day—Currabubbula—Charles Hall—Killalla—Salisbury—Hodgson's Highwayman—Denne's Station—Cashiobury—"Cocky" Rogers—Back to Sydney—Reverend Robert Allwood

CHAPTER IX.

John Allman—Arthur Maister—Dr. Bland—Owen Stanley—H.H. Browne—Gilbert Elliot—Rape of the Coat-tails—Boydell—Owen Macdonald—Ride to the South—Murrumbidgee—Sharp—The Station Sold—Cavan—Hallett, of Oriel—Yass—Road back to Sydney

CHAPTER X.

Patrick Leslie—The s. "Victoria"—Henry and Alfred Denison—Edward Hamilton—Hodgson and Elliot—Frank Forbes—Archibald Bell—Stephen Ferriter—Glennie—Dr. Bowman—Loder's—Allan Macpherson—Charles Hall again—River Peel—Stubbs and Irving—Dalzell—Milne—Rusden—Werris' Creek—St. Aubin's—Captain Dumaresq—Denny Day and Frank Allman—Magnus McLeod—Butler—St. Helier's—Henry Denison and Paddy Grant—Pemberton Hodgson—"Tinker" Campbell—Cameron—McAllman—George Gammie—Bergen-op-Zoom—George Macdonald—Captain O Connell—Cash's—The River Bundarrah—Clark and Ranken's—Wyndham's—Fraser's Creek—Gregory Blaxland—Leslie's Marked-tree Line—The Severn—The "Fiver"—A. Hodgson and Fred. Isaac from Darling Downs

CHAPTER XI.

The Condamine Grass Trees—Cocky Rogers again—Exploring Etonvale Creek—A Yahoo—Cunningham's "Gap"—Westbrook—Hodgson's "My Word!"—Limestone—Arrest—George Thorne—George Thorne's Wife—Pleasant Quarters

CHAPTER XII.

Owen Gorman—John Kent—Dr. Ballow—Andrew Petrie—Eagle Farm—Stephen Simpson—William Henry Wiseman—Mrs. Gorman—Logan's Reign—Cunningham's Gap—Joe Archer—Gorman's Gap—Baker or "Boralcho"—The Drummer's—Toolburra—Clifton—Novel Watch-pocket—Dalrymple—A Headlong Meeting—Blacks at Lockyer's Creek—Hell's Hole—Etonvale—Elliot—Shearing—Black Tommy

CHAPTER XIII.

George Leslie—The first Clip—Trip to Brisbane—Arthur Hodgson again—Mosquitos—Thorne and Cunningham's "Gap"—Plough Station—Ralph Gore—To Sydney with Hughes—Henry and Fred. Isaac—Westbrook and Jock Maclean—Gowrie—Denis—Scougall—Coxen—Myall Creek—Jimbour—Samuel Stewart—Wingate—Tummavil—Rolland and Taylor—Yandilla—Talgai—Ellangowan—George Mocatta—Tent Hill—Helidon—Somerville—Fred, and Francis Bigge—Evan and Colin Mackenzie—McConnell—Balfour—My Brother Sydenham—Run to a Rencontre—How Syd. trumped a Trick—Frank Allman—Pagan—Skellatar—Milburne Marsh and Miss Marsh—David Scott—Bengalla Races—Helenus Scott—Glennie—Bundock—John Cox—"Dick" Glover—Matthew and Charles Marsh—Darby and Goldfinch—Morse—Armidale—Ben Lomond—Horses Lost—Etonvale—Murray—Rose—Brooks—Frank Hodgson—Arthur's Round Table—Frank Forbes—Search for a "Run"—Cecil Plains—Back at Betty's Hotel, in Sydney—John Allman—Campbelltown—Captain Allman—John Hurley—Sir Thomas Mitchell—Dr. Wallace

CHAPTER XIV.

The "Shamrock" to Moreton Bay—Governor and Suite—Jolliffe—Milburne Marsh's Flying Shot—Cleveland Point—First Queen of May on Darling Downs—Dr. Goodwin—James Canning Pearce—Fife—Aikman—Simpson's Homœopathy—Quixotic—Chambers' "Edward"—Pinis Petriana—An Agreement

CHAPTER XV.

Boat Trip to Wide Bay—Edward Baker—Walter Wrottesley—Jolliffe—Mocatta—The River "Morouchidor"—"Petrie's Head"—Aboriginal Doctoring—Bracefell—Brown's Cape—The "Stirling Castle"—Wreck—A "Tourr"—Mrs. Fraser—Her Escape—Boppol—Southern Entrance into Hervey's Bay—Capsize—A Chorus—A Fog—Sheridan—Puzzled—Fire-flies—"Gammon Inch"

CHAPTER XVI.

Bunnia-Bunnia Range—Jolliffe's Beard—The River Monoboola (now "Mary")—Difficulties on nearing Mount Boppol—"Old Bill"—Arthur Hodgson in the "Canopus"—Derhamboi—Strange Scenes—A Watch Found—Back to Brisbane—Pamby-Pamby's Good-bye—"Makromme"—Derhamboi's Au Revoir!—Life with the Ginginbarah—Native Character—Shells for my Sisters in England—The Hunting Phocœna—My Leaf Written in Gaol—Hopes of the Forlorn—Cannibalism—Cooking—Stolen Pleasures

CHAPTER XVII.

Narratives of the "Stirling Castle's" Wreck—Death by Torture—Gathering Doom—Choice of Two Horrors—Garbled Account of Rescue—Base Ingratitude—Bunnia-Bunnia—Araucaria Bidwellii—Female Cannibal Priviliges—The Bundinavah—Courting on the Monoboola—Contract Sealed—Character of the Contract—Aboriginal Domestic Habits—Natural Learning

CHAPTER XVIII.

Patrick Leslie—Denny Day—Sir Thomas Mitchell—Stapylton—Execution of His Murderers—The "Piscator"—Leslie and Darling Downs—Lettsome and Boyd—The River "Albert"—Moreton Bay Progress—Glover, from Bathurst—Peter Quack—John Hill and Christopher Gorry—New Road Over the Range—Francis Bigge Shot—Overland to Wide Bay—Eales' Sheep—Superintendent Last—A Christmas Eve Night—Overland to Port Essington—Orton—Black Jemmy—The "Gulf Stream"—A Comet—Bell and Cameron—Thomas Sutcliffe Mort—Cooranga—Blacks Surprised—Henry Denis—A One-eyed Murderer

CHAPTER XIX.

Sir Charles Malcolm—Glover—Sydenham Russell—Letters—Cecil Plains—Burrandowan—A Day and a Month of Dying—Commissioners Macdonald and Rolleston—Cambooya—Pot Luck—Hodgson a Butcher-Boy—Pie-bald Strife—"Gourmand's" in Brisbane—Egg Trick—Table-d'hôte in Queen Street—The Horse "Mentor'"—Benedict Bracker

CHAPTER XX.

Ludwig Leichhardt—Our First Meeting—G.K. Fairholme—Pipe Ponderings Over—Port Essington—Sandy Blight—The Doctor opens our eyes, and his own are fixed Northward—My Stockman, William Orton—Deliberations—Leichhardt Prepares himself in Sydney—Return—Route—Ruin—Resurrection—Reaction—Second Start—Swan River—Sickness—Third Start—Fading away

CHAPTER XXI.

Robert Little—Kearsey Cannan—Contemporaries—Duncan—Thornton—Sheridan—Brisbane Celebrities—Ralph Gore—Invitation to Bustard Breakfast—An Unforgotten Rebuke—The Loss of the "Sovereign"—Waste Lands—Port Curtis Settlement—Wickham—Moreton Bay CourierDarling Downs Gazette—Brisbane v. Cleveland—A Visit by Night—Brisbane Racecourses—Butterflies—Caterpillars—Land—Wentworth—Labour—Tea-fight—Burnett—H.M.S. "Orpheus"—Dr. Lang's Emigrants—The Close of my Darling Downs Days

CHAPTER XXII.

Edmund Kennedy—From Sydney by Sea to Rockingham Bay—Thence by land starts for Cape York—William Carron's Journal—Bad beginning has a worse end—Carts useless and left behind—Horses dying are eaten—Terrible Obstacles—Rain—Food filched—Watching Stores—Party left at Weymouth Bay—Doom's Dallyings—A Skeleton Remnant—Carron and Kennedy—Kennedy's Death—Jacky's "Ariel"—A Canoe Chase—Dust and Ashes—Faithful to the end

CHAPTER XXIII.

New South Wales' Leap Year—Her growth—Charles Kemp—Spectre of Separation—Ghost of Ruin—Prevention—A Continuance Bill—Sir Robert Peel and Vernon Smith—Power of a Word—London Colonial Gazette

CHAPTER XXIV.

A Day with the "Separation" Pack—Lang and Lowe at the Meet—Philippic from Port Phillip—Lang and the "Lima"—Hobson's Choice—A Hook for Separation—Moulding for a new Cast—Lang impeaches Grey—Lang's aim at Separation—His Land Orders—Lang's portly President—Lang's League—Lang for Sydney—Henry Parkes for Lang—Lang elected—"In the name of the Prophet Figs!"

CHAPTER XXV.

Patrick Leslie and Separation—Separation Strifes—Grey's odd trick—Leslie and Lang—Sydney Wrath—Five to three against "Jackeroo"—Hodgson on Separation—Public Sentiment—Apology for "Exiles"—New Constitution Bill—Clauses fifty-one and fifty-two—Denunciation—Indignation—Exultation—Termination.

CHAPTER XXVI.

Aspiration


APPENDIX A.

Extracts from Cook's Journal (Hawkesworth).—Cape Byron—Mount Warning—Points Danger and Look-out—Moreton's Bay—Cape Moreton—Glass Houses—Double Island Point—From Bustard Bay to Cape Townshend—Thirsty Sound—Conway—Gloucester—Whitsunday—Grafton to Cape Tribulation—Coral stricken—The Endeavour River—Capes Bedford and Flattery—Breaking through the Barrier Reef—Providential Channel—Weymouth Bay—Bolt Head—Sir Charles Hardy's and Cockburn's Isles—Cape York—Newcastle Bay—Possession Island—Cape Cornwall—Booby Island—Return by Timor, Batavia, and Cape of Good Hope—Lands at Deal

APPENDIX B.

Extract from Flinders' Journal.—Epitome of his Introductory Review of Early Discoveries—What Flinders had to do in the sloop "Norfolk"—Sugar Loaf Point—Shoal Bay—Point Skirmish—Pumice Stone River—Hervey's Bay—H.M.S. "Investigator"—Do Wide and Hervey's Bays join?—Gatcombe Head—Port Curtis—Keppel Bay—The "Lady Nelson"—Parts company—Threads the "Needles"—The Gulph garnished—"Xenophon" will not Retreat—Sink or Swim with the "Investigator's" Rottenness—By North and West Coasts round Cape Leeuwin in his rotten Ship—To Port Jackson.

APPENDIX C.

Journal of an Excursion up the River Brisbane in the Year 1825, by Edmund Lockyer, Esq., J.P., late Major in His Majesty's 57th Regiment of Foot.

APPENDIX D.

General Order.—With respect to the Military posted at Penal Stations.

Government Order.—Coasting Service.

Proclamation.—Port Macquarie, Moreton Bay and Norfolk Island as Penal Settlements

La Perouse's Relics.—Brought to Port Jackson by Captain Dillon, commanding the Honourable East India Company's ship "Research".

Government Order.—Major Mitchell's appointment as Surveyor-General.

Government Order.—The Rev. W.G. Broughton, Archdeacon, Member of the Legislative and Executive Councils.

Proclamation.—General Thanksgiving.

Proclamation.—Port Macquarie open to Settlers.

APPENDIX E.

Account of Logan's Murder.—The Funeral—Captain Clunie's Letter.

APPENDIX F.

Proclamation.—Checks upon Excessive Punishment of Convicts.

APPENDIX G.

Major [John] Campbell's Journal.—Record of Settlements on North Coast—Melville Island—General Description.

APPENDIX H.

Proclamation.—Boundaries of the District of Moreton Bay—Stephen Simpson appointed Commissioner of Crown Lands.

APPENDIX J.

First Sale of Land at Brisbane.—Buyers and amounts.

APPENDIX K.

Extract Sydney Gazette.—Arrival of the horse St. George and Stock from Bathurst.



[ILLUSTRATIONS]


Map of the Balonne River.

A Sketch of Botany Bay [Cook].

A Plan of the entrance of Endeavour River [Cook].

Fac-Simile portion of Muster Roll of H.M.S. Resolute with Cook's Signature—1760 [above].

Fac-Simile portion of cook's Log of H.M.S. "Endeavour"—May, 1770. [below].






{Page 1}

CHAPTER I.


King Arthur made new knights to fill the gap
Left by the the Holy Quest.— Tennyson. (The Holy Grail.)


Assuredly the gallant Pedro Fernandez de Quiros must have been possessed by some of the "sacred madness" of King Arthur's bard when as he first gazed, as he thought, upon the coral-gripped coast of the new land which King Philip of Spain had sent him to seek, he shouted in reverent joy with doffed sombrero: "Australia del Espiritu Santo!" But was "Australia" the utterance, or was it "Tierra"? 'Twas not for de Quiros to discover his own error. Choosing one course for further discovery, he directed his Lieutenant to take another in the second ship, and so they parted in 1606. Superstitious dread prevailed over the discipline of his own, and he was compelled by his mutinous men to return to Peru, which he reached in disgrace, ever attendant upon failure. His Lieutenant, Luis Vaes de Torres, soon found that the Admiral had saluted but an island—probably one of the New Hebrides—continued his course westwards, bore away along the south coast of New Guinea; unwittingly fixed his eyes upon the true "Tierra Austral"; upon the "very large islands" which the Cape, since called York, presented to his bewildered sight, ere he stood away to the north, threading his way through the mazy channel which exposed his commander's mistake.

Torres had unconsciously fulfilled the Holy Quest. The memory of and monument to his name are baptised and bathed by the isle-fretted waters which bear it.

In John Bull justice did a native of our own British island stamp "Torres" with his hand of authority as hydrographer to the Admiralty upon that strange channel which had already begun to be the promise of a grand highway claimed by, but not destined for the sovereignty of that flag under which Torres had sailed.

The most authentic registration of Queensland's birth was thus declared from the far north; her future growth was nourished and confirmed from the far south. Among the first forms of a new shore brought to light, she has derived her existence from that which was delivered last by the labour of our Yorkshire countryman, James Cook, Into the arms of our glad motherland.

But through what throes has the first colony planted in this our Australia been nursed to its stature, that it may bear its own part, and send forth its own offspring to bear theirs on the great stage upon which in these years of grace, 1887-8, it and they are summoned to enact the several characters allotted to them, and as yet rehearsed by the help of the common prompting of religion, race, kindred, and country.

It is by the finger-posts of incident in colonial life that the tracks of a community's social rise and progressive ability may be faithfully followed and run out, irrespective of the governing element. Whether of good or evil, worthy or unworthy, noble or ignoble report, the course of events proves a people's character; whereas a religious and political history, even of a new country, compiled from a mass of wrestling opinions, can be taught and learnt but by the commonwealth's outcome up to a present—a present which can find no end while the world is.

The former—my task—is an easy one: the latter, one which only rare ability and genius dare challenge. Yet the one may allure the interest and amused attentiveness of the many, who do not care to dig up or into the thirsty ground of theory, nor sink into the quicksands of inquiry which cannot be solidified.

For instance, who that dwells in this land of bright token can take up an almanac, and fail to exult in his secret soul that on the 20th day of January, 1788, our fellow countryman, Arthur Phillip, had saved it for us "Britishers" but by a few days from becoming the rightful refuge for the Frenchman's "folies"; that two days after he had taken possession of the country in the name of the United Kingdom, established his head-quarters on the bay-sporting waters of Port Jackson, and in all chivalrous courtesy "fended off" "l'Astrolabe" and "la Bussole" with their gallant commanders, Jean Francois Galamp de la Perouse, and his friend Delangle, to the less hospitable shores on which they met their sad fates? Is the fact that the same month of the same year—1788—hailed the birth in our realm of a people's new and giant power—the power of the press, the fourth estate—in a dingy room at Printing-House Square, whence on the first of its days issued forth the first cry of the infant Times, now stalking forth in strength equal to a nation's leverage, worth no grateful glance? Can the nascent glow of Australia's poetic aspirations bear no reflective companionship with the spark which kindled the simultaneously new-born Byron's genius? Are all incurious to the fact that Norfolk Island was made a dependency of New South Wales on the 13th day of the month following, under Lieutenant, afterwards Captain, and then Governor King?

Is it not worth a glance that on the 26th of September, 1791, Lieutenant-Governor, afterwards Governor King, had arrived in the "Gorgon", having received our territorial seal, with authority to grant pardons absolutely or conditionally? Nothing to any housewife that in 1796 coals were being received in Sydney from Newcastle? nor to the admirers of sea-bred pluck that Dr. Bass had thrown open the straits which wear his name, and returned in his whaleboat thence to Port Jackson in February, 1798? Are there none now who would be surprised that until December, 1800, no copper coin was in circulation in the colony? None now living who may read with namesake interest the first noteworthy death in New South Wales, that of Judge-Advocate Richard Dove; none to lift up their eyebrows at the recorded name of his successor, Richard Atkins?

And then, a smart step onward on March 5, 1803, The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, published "by authority", coupled with the drawback—important enough in those days—of the report brought to Sydney by him to whom the coast of New Holland had become so much indebted for development, Matthew Flinders, of the loss of the "Porpoise" and "Cato", upon his arrival within the Heads on September 8th, in an open boat.

Is there no sensation attendant upon the announcement of horrors presumably lawful (in the type of the period), and tendered in a somewhat cynical regard for authority one day of this year: "Memorable execution(!).—Joseph Samuels, for burglary, was three times suspended; first, the rope separated; second, it unrove at the fastening; third, it snapped short! The Provost Marshal, Mr. Smith—a man universally respected—compassionating the criminal's protracted suffering, represented the case to the Governor, who was pleased to reprieve him"?

Was there no thought for defence in those troublous days of antipodean wars? Nor for light in those days of darkness? There was; for on the 18th of July, 1816, Governor Macquarie laid the first stones of the tower which makes his name redoubtable, and of the South Head Lighthouse, pulled down not long ago, and then put up again the brightest beacon of the seas! The old Seal, too, worn out, not probably by the frequency of pardoning, but by ceaseless attachments to hanging warrants, was replaced by a new Territorial Seal, sent with a warrant, by the clemency of the Prince Regent, in the November following.

Why should we decline to refresh our knowledge of the stirring times during the chaotic reign of Governor Bligh for one year, five months, and thirteen days; or mark the record of a new era which set in with the arrival of John Thomas Bigge, the Honourable Commissioner of Inquiry, consequent upon Bligh's eviction, in the ship "John Barry", with his secretary, Thomas Hobbes Scott, on the 25th September, 1819? Or, beginning already to creep away to the northward, to mark that a gallant officer of the 48th Regiment, Captain Allman, whose name is still held high in Campbelltown esteem, and in our midst, in memory of a fine old soldier and impartial magistrate, was sent forth to establish a penal settlement at Port Macquarie?

Coming apace to household names of our own years, the preaching of his introductory sermon by Dr. Lang in Sydney, on June 8, 1823, will surely make many prick up their ears.

And how strangely it sounds now that on the 8th of the preceding month Thomas McVitie was magistrate for the week! That the harbour of Port Jackson presented "a novel and gay appearance on the Sunday before, as six vessels were under sail at once! Five to go through Torres Straits, Captain Peach, of H.M.S. "Britomart", being commodore of the squadron; that this smart vessel saluted Point Piper en passant, which was promptly answered by our respected naval officer (and postmaster), Captain Piper"!






{Page 21}

CHAPTER II.


For not this man and that man, but all men make up mankind, and their united tasks the task of mankind. How often have we seen some adventurous and perhaps much-censured wanderer light on some outlying, neglected, yet vitally momentous province, the hidden treasures of which he first discovered, and kept proclaiming till the general eye and effort were directed thither, and the conquest was completed; thereby, in these his so seemingly aimless rambles, planting new standards, founding new habitable colonies in the immeasurable circumambient realm of nothingness and night.—Carlyle. (Sartor Resartus).


How fast within our first half century did the necessities of New South Wales, with respect to the classification of her criminals, and the infliction of secondary punishment, compel her in her apparently dismal destiny's fulfilment to work out under such degrading associations her sad course; blindfolded to all considerations but those by which she could render service to the old home by relieving it of the presence of outcasts and ne'er-do-wells. The establishment of these very depots of guilt became the direct guidance to the exploration of this land. Let us see. Newcastle was the first affiliated prison-house; but on the 11th of September of 1823 the Government cutter "Mermaid"—which plays so frequent a part on the north coast henceforth—sailed with stores to Newcastle, from which dependency about forty prisoners were to be transferred to that of Port Macquarie, as the former is to be no longer considered a "place of banishment" for our felons; and on the 16th of October, the Surveyor-General, John Oxley, had received instructions from Governor Brisbane, upon the advice of Commissioner Bigge, "to proceed northward as far as Port Bowen, Port Curtis, and Moreton Bay; to examine them, and report as to forming in each spot, if fit for the purpose, a new settlement, to which all the convicts not usefully employed on the old settlements, as well as the refractory and incorrigible, were to be removed, and employed in the clearing and cultivation of land, &c., with the view, further, of removing to them, or any one of them, the prisoners then stationed at Port Macquarie, which from the excellence of the soil, the fineness of the climate, and its convenient distance from Sydney, the Governor was desirous of throwing open to free settlers."

And so, accompanied by Uniacke, the Surveyor-General proceeded to Port Macquarie, which they found flourishing after its two years' occupation; a town laid out in "streets of straight lines, handsome esplanade, barracks for 150 soldiers, neat commodious officers' quarters, comfortable huts of split wood, lathed, plastered, and white-washed, for prisoners, garden attached to each; fruit trees, maize, and sugar-cane growing very luxuriantly," and natives of exceptionally fine mould mixing with the whites in a most friendly manner, who in consideration of being "victualled from the King's store", perform very efficient duty as a constabulary, especially in pursuing and bringing back runaways "dead or alive."

Their next visit was to Port Curtis; here they were not so well pleased: harbour difficult, vegetation scanty, timber none but what would do for firewood. They found no fresh water nearer the shore than twelve or fourteen miles, in a rapid river which they named the Boyne, up which they came to a succession of rapids, the banks "highly picturesque, the hills covered with wood, and the plains well grassed. The result, however, was that the place was unsuitable, and that convict labor there would be wholly thrown away."

So, on return, they entered Moreton Bay, discovered by Cook, and visited by Flinders. Dropping anchor, a number of natives rushed down to the shore, among them one who appeared much larger in frame and lighter in colour than the others, who, advancing to a point opposite to the "Mermaid", hailed her in English. A boat was sent off, and as it drew towards them, the natives showed many signs of joy, hugging this man, and dancing wildly around him. He was perfectly naked, daubed all over with white and red ochre. He was soon discovered to be an Englishman, and so bewildered that little could be made of him that night. However, on the morrow Uniacke took down his narrative in writing, and this is by far the most curious and interesting paper in Barron Field's collection. His name was Thomas Pamphlet; had set out with three others—Richard Parsons, John Finnigan, and John Thompson—from Sydney in a large open boat for Illawarra or the Five Islands (at that time the popular name for that place) to get cedar; met with a violent gale which lasted live; days, which drove them, as they imagined, to the southward as far as Van Dieman's Land. Under this delusion they kept to the northward, suffered terribly from want of water for twenty-one days; John Thompson died of thirst; then were wrecked on Moreton Island, which they still believed to be to the south of Port Jackson. Parsons and Finnigan insisted some six weeks before upon another attempt northwards for Sydney; he had gone with them about fifty miles, become too foot-sore to proceed, but got back to this tribe—Parsons and Finnigan having quarrelled, the latter also had returned, but was away at present on a hunting excursion with the chief. Parsons had not since been heard of.*

[* It will be seen, however, that in January of next year Parsons was discovered.]

Finnigan came in the following day; and, guided by their information, Oxley proceeded in the whaleboat to examine the mouth of the river which both had assured him ran into the south end of Moreton Bay. By sunset of that day they had ascended this river about twenty miles. The next day the satisfaction they had at first felt increased. Oxley felt "justified in believing that the sources of this river were not to be found in a mountainous country, but rather that it flows from some lake which will prove to be the receptacle of those interior streams crossed by me," he observes, "during an expedition of discovery in 1818."

In a review upon three works which were published in London in 1826, viz., by W.C. Wentworth (1824), Edward Curr (1820), and Barron Field (1825), appears the following: "The name given to this important river is the Brisbane. That it derives its waters from the lake or morass into which the Macquarie falls, and from those numerous streams which were crossed by Oxley in 1818, all running to the northward, seems a very reasonable supposition. He was able to trace its course forty miles from its mouth, and he could see in the same direction, viz., in the south-west, the abrupt termination of the coast range of mountains; and the distance from Moreton Bay to the lake or morass of the Macquarie is not more than 300 miles. The discovery of this river may cause those to hesitate who so positively assert that none of any magnitude fall into the sea from New Holland. Captain Cook discovered Moreton Bay; it was well known to Captain Flinders, who anchored his vessel both above and below the mouth of this river, and passed it twice in his boats, but it was concealed from him by two low islands."

Pamphlet said that nothing could exceed the kind attention paid by the natives to the shipwrecked seamen; they lodged them, hunted and fished for them, and the women and children gathered fern root for them, painted them twice a day, and would assuredly have tattooed their bodies and "bored" their noses but for their dislike to the process. Not only did these Moreton Bay natives deal with them so kindly, they met with similar treatment among all the tribes with whom they had met in their wanderings to the north. Of the habit of boiling water they all seemed to be ignorant. Pamphlet had saved a tin pot, in which, on one occasion, he had heated some water; it began to boil, and the anxiously-watching savages took to their heels, shouting and screaming. They would not draw near again till he had poured it away; nor were they, in his sojourn, ever reconciled to the operation. Each aboriginal had the cartilage of the nose pierced; many wore large pieces of bone or stick (supplanted in after days by the white man's pipe) thrust through it. The women, as at Sydney, had all lost the first two joints of the little finger of the left hand, but the adults had not, as at Port Jackson, one of the front teeth extracted. The women were daily busied in getting "dingowa", fern root, for subsistence, and making bags of network from rushes. The men made the fishing and kangaroo nets from the bark of the kurrajong (hibiscus heterophyllus). The fishing stations and grounds of each tribe were some few miles apart; and they would change from one to another as the fishing or game began to fail. Their huts were of wattle bent into an arch, interwoven with boughs, covered with the bark of the tea tree (melaleuca armillaris) and impervious to rain. Some would hold ten or twelve persons. Pamphlet declared that during a sojourn of seven months he never saw a woman struck or ill-treated! The men would quarrel—their fights were frequent, often ending fatally. The common usage was for a champion on either side to fight it out fairly in a ring made for the occasion. He saw one, he said, of these duels. At a spot chosen was a circle about twenty-five feet in diameter, three feet deep, and surrounded by a palisade of sticks. The two combatants entered it, parleyed awhile with violent gestures, plucked their spears from the ground; one was pierced through the shoulder; he fell, and was carried off by his friends, the lookers-on departing with loud shouts on all sides. Reconciliation succeeded, and that again was hailed with loud shouts, dancing, and wrestling, after which they all joined in a general hunt for a week.

Instrumental in the discovery of the river Brisbane, these white castaways have thus appeared upon the scene. Let us now return to Port Jackson. We shall, for the first time, hear of one whose name became a household word, not only in this colony, but through his sons, in years afterwards, on Darling Downs. In the person of Sir Francis Forbes, the bench attained the honour of a Chief Justice who, by the brilliancy of his talents, shed new light upon its records, as his estimable character and broad philanthropy did upon the darker pages of the history of New South Wales. It was the beginning of a new era in colonial being. Captain Johnson, in his good ship the "Guildford", did deliver upon these shores our first Chief Justice, his wife and family, on the 5th of March, 1824. The same day the formal promulgation of His Majesty's New Charter of Justice for the Colony of New South Wales took place at the Government House, the Court House, and the Market Place of Sydney, and the Chief Justice took his seat on the bench. The 11th of the August following proclaimed—as effacing what may be termed the martial control—a Legislative Council, established by Royal sign-manual, as being in existence under the hand and seal of the Governor-in Chief; and in the same month was hailed the advent of the first Solicitor-General and Commissioner of the Court of Requests, John Stephen, with his family, in the "Prince Regent", and the first Master-in-Chancery, John Carter, with his family, in the same ship.

Another spurt Northward, Ho! through Torres Straits this time, encircling Queensland and all that she contains, commemorates the month of August, 1824, for H.M.S. "Tamar", commanded by Captain Bremer, C.B., accompanied by the "Countess of Harrington", taking a civil and military establishment, sailed for the north coast of "Terra Australis" on the 24th, for the purpose of founding a new settlement in the vicinity of Melville Island, which, with Port Essington, becomes so much identified with a Queenslander's retrospect, that the energies expended upon that spot should not, with the settlements themselves, be abandoned through exhaustion. Who can forget that Port Essington, at least, was Leichhardt's refuge?

Pending the Melville Island expectations, let us see again what part Moreton Bay is preparing to take in our Australian programme.

In September we find our indefatigable Surveyor-General, John Oxley, again at work. He has sailed in the brig "Amity" with a civil establishment, prisoners, and stores, to plant a new settlement somewhere in Moreton Bay. As a guard, a detachment of the 40th regiment, the officer in command Lieutenant Butler. The Commandant-elect, Lieutenant Miller of the same regiment; his suite completed by a storekeeper, subordinate officers of various designations, and a number of volunteers. The King's Botanist, Cunningham, accompanies the Surveyor-General. Upon John Oxley falls the responsibility of fixing upon the site most eligible for this new dependency.

What says October of 1824 to the credit of our country? Liberty of the Press! thanks to Sir Thomas Brisbane. The publication of an independent weekly newspaper—the Australian, on the 14th.

Trial by jury on the same day obtained in the Quarter Sessions Court.

Did these boons follow in the Chief Justice's train?

Its 21st day brought back our brig "Amity", Captain Penson, with the Surveyor-General and King's Botanist. Our new settlement was established for the while on the very shores of Moreton Bay, at a spot called Red Cliff Point, on its northern margin. It was deemed peculiarly eligible, although it had drawbacks from want of safe anchorage. Oxley went thence up the river about forty miles beyond the place he had ascended it in December last. He then gave his opinion that the river communicated with the interior waters, and it was to be regretted (it was then said), that no proof of that being a fact had been yet obtained. However, his party found fish hitherto known only in the western shed, and that circumstance afforded a strong presumption of the surmised communication. The tree now known as the "Moreton Bay" Pine (Araucaria Cunninghamii), was much noticed. The King's Botanist, Cunningham, made extensive collections, and it is remarkable "that most of the plants were of genera hitherto supposed to be exclusively tropical."

It will be remembered that by the cutter "Mermaid" last year had been rescued two men wrecked on Moreton Island, and that they had spoken of one, Parsons, who had left them, and not re-appeared. About a month before the arrival of the "Amity" on this occasion, this man had returned to his old friends at the mouth of the Pumice Stone River. He had been wandering among the tribes of Hervey's Bay and the coast north of Moreton Bay ever since he had left his comrade in misfortune. For two years his dwelling among the blacks was an interesting story. In all respects he declared he had been well and kindly dealt with.

Upon her return the "Amity" passed through the southern passage into Moreton Bay, which took its name as the "Amity Point Entrance", she being the first craft to make use of it. The discovery of this approach shortened the distance by about fifty miles to the river Brisbane.*

[* Until the loss of the steamer "Sovereign", in 1847, it was the usual entrance, except in very heavy weather; after that catastrophe it was for many years "tabooed".]

The colony must have made a fresh start on the 1st of November, when the first Court of Quarter Sessions was held in Sydney; and Moreton Bay must have been on "tip-toe" in the expectation of a vice-regal visit, for on the 11th the same staunch brig "Amity" conveyed His Excellency the Governor-in-Chief (Sir Thomas Brisbane), the Chief Justice, and the Surveyor-General to sea en route to the new settlement, followed by her tender, the "Little Mars". Captain John Macarthur and Francis Stephen, Clerk to the Council, completed the pleasant party; pleasant, doubtless, in spite of the weather, which in a fit of ill-humour kept them fourteen days on the passage. The heavy gales and thunder-storms were spoken of as terrible day after day, and night after night. They entered the Bay by the north passage. The Governor and Chief Justice went up the river some twenty-eight miles, were much struck by the size of the trees on the banks, and pleased by what they saw. The natives were beginning to be troublesome at Red-Cliff Point, by continual thefts of tools, &c. Sir Thomas had decided upon removing the settlement to a spot about nine miles up the river, which would be more convenient for shipping. The Chief Justice had named the new site Edenglassie (Brisbane?). The "Amity" went to sea by the southern passage, and returned to Port Jackson in four days, on the 4th December.

In August of the year 1824, Captain—afterwards Sir James John Gordon Bremer—in command of H.M.S. "Tamar", and accompanied by the "Countess of Harcourt", Captain Bunn, left Port Jackson for the north coast of Australia, and established the first settlement thereon at Fort Dundas on Melville Island.

Melville Island and Raffles Bay were the outcome of this attempt for a few years, and afterwards Port Essington. The idea of such an extension may be best expressed by the concluding paragraph of Major Campbell's journal in the appendix. Clothed in such an opinion, common sense, which thus weighed the probabilities of the future, would find herself much out-at-elbows in these days of democratic hatred of Indian, Chinese, or Islander service. If she were suffered to look at herself in the glass, she would hardly recognise her own features, and would shrink from the ugly mask which some "larrikin-spirit" hand has bedaubed them with during her long nap.

We know how spasmodically—spasms of mercantile and monetary panics—the eyes of Sydney used to be fascinated by the enticement to hook on to the chain-trace which nature has stretched across the Indian Ocean from our neighbours in the hemisphere opposite.

To Queensland the existence of a settlement on the Cobourg Peninsula has been, I think, an unappreciated boon as yet. Not embraced by the area of her possessions, yet in reviewing the track by which she came to where she is, Port Essington becomes much identified with her career.

It was the suggestion of a direct overland connection with it which at times so highly stimulated the appetite for its realisation. The occupation of Darling Downs by Patrick Leslie gave fresh strength to the desire: the question of such a consummation became lively in town and bush. Port Essington was the northern magnet of which the attraction energised the gallantry of many an ambitious heart. Leichhardt would not, I think, have so promptly tempted the intervening wilderness but for the refuge ready for him at the end of his way.

So, out of Patrick Leslie's hands sprang the baby colony into the cradle of Leichhardt's chevaleresque design; that design was sketched perspectively through the focus which concentrated Port Essington's distinctness of welcome. The Cobourg Peninsula may yet have a grand part to play for the benefit of the land of the south.

It was admitted that the object of the Government of that day in despatching this expedition was "to open and preserve an intercourse with the Malay coast, so as to encourage and facilitate the spice trade." The latitude of the proposed dependency was about 12 deg. S., and 130 deg. E. To be conveyed thither by Captain Gordon Bremer were Captain Barlow of the 30th Regiment (Buffs)—upon whom the superintendence was eventually to devolve—Ensign Everard, twenty-four non-commissioned officers and privates of the same regiment; Dr. Turner, medical officer; George Miller, commissariat clerk in charge of the duties of that department: George Wilson, whose assistant was George Tollemache; and forty-four prisoners of the crown as workmen and mechanics. The Government colonial brig "Lady Nelson",** John, master, accompanied the "Tamar" and "Countess of Harcourt".

[** The "Lady Nelson" was a brig of 60 tons, brought from England by Lieutenant Grant, R.N., in 1800; built with sliding keels, came out of Deadman's Dock, London, on January 13th, 1800; laden at Gosport on February 9th, had freeboard but 2ft. 9in., and looked so small for such a voyage that she got the name of His Majesty's "Tinder Box".]

In the following March, 1825, the "Philip Dundas" from Mauritius, brought news to Sydney that the "Countess of Harcourt", after landing her stores at Fort Dundas, Melville Island, had called at the Isle of France, en route to England; had reported "all well" with Captain Gordon Bremer and the new settlement so far. Houses sent in frame from Sydney had been put together, a fort finished and seven guns mounted, soldiers and prisoners well "hutted", the commissariat officer Miller, getting a store completed. The official despatch from Captain Gordon Bremer gave the following particulars: "Having completed everything necessary for the expedition, sailed from Port Jackson on the 24th of August, 1824, the ship 'Countess of Harcourt', and the colonial brig 'Lady Nelson' in company. On the 28th, passed Moreton Island with a fair wind; from this period running down the east coast, anchoring occasionally, until the 17th of September, when we passed Torres Straits, and on the 20th at Port Essington, of which port and the coast between 129 deg. and 130 deg. east longitude, I took possession in the name of the King. On the 21st, at daylight, began examining the surrounding shores of Port Essington, and despatched four boats in search of fresh water. On the east side the country was much burnt up, the soil sandy and thickly interspersed with red sandstone rock, probably containing iron; trees of no great height, mostly like those of New South Wales; no water found this day. On the 22nd the search was again unsuccessful, but on the western side the soil was better, the country more open, and the trees of magnificent height. On Point Record a hole was found fenced round with bamboo, containing a small quantity of thick or rather brackish water, evidently the work of Malays, as the bamboo is not indigenous in New Holland.* Traces of natives were also found everywhere, but none made their appearance. Our parties had penetrated in various directions considerably into the country, but never found any water; however, there is no doubt that by digging deep wells it might be obtained, yet the present apparent scarcity much diminished the value of Port Essington.

[* In the seventh chapter of Explorations in North Australia, which appears in the Sydney Morning Herald of the 7th May, 1887, by the Rev. J.E. Tenison-Woods, mention is made of bamboo as indigenous, "which," however, "only grows on a few Northern rivers," he observes.]

"It is, nevertheless, one of the most noble and beautiful pieces of water that can be imagined, having a moderate depth, with a capability of containing a whole navy in perfect security, and is well worthy of His Majesty's Government, should they be pleased to extend their establishment to this coast. On the 23rd, as water had not been met with, and the season was advancing, weighed and made sail for Apsley's Strait. On the 24th, made Cape Van Dieman, and on the 26th entered the Strait and anchored off Luxmore Head, when formal possession was taken of Melville and Bathurst Islands. On the 27th, 28th, and 29th, boats were despatched in search of water, other parties sinking wells on both islands, without success. The wells produced a small quantity muddy and slightly brackish.

"On the 30th I had the good fortune to find a running stream in a cove about five miles to the southward of the ship, the south-east point of which presented an excellent position for the settlement, as it was moderately elevated and tolerably clear of timber. The ships were immediately moved down to this cove, which was named 'King's Cove', after the first discoverer of the straits and islands; the point determined on to form the settlement 'Point Barlow': and the whole anchorage 'Port Cockburn', in honour of Vice-Admiral Sir George Cockburn, one of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty.

"On the 1st of October parties were sent on shore to clear the ground and lay the foundation of a fort; and as it was probable the Malays would visit the place in great numbers, and as much hostility might be expected from the natives, who were, as we could judge from the number of their fires on both sides, very numerous, I was determined to render the fort as strong as the means of the expedition would admit. Thermometer 84 deg. to 88 deg.

"On the 8th, began a pier for the purpose of landing provisions, guns, &c. From this period up to the 20th the various works were carried on with such zeal, that the pier, one bastion, and the sea-face of the fort were completed, and I had the satisfaction, on the 21st of October, of hoisting His Majesty's colours under a royal salute from two nine-pounder guns and one twelve-pounder carronade mounted on 'Fort Dundas', which I named in honour of the noble lord at the head of the Admiralty. The pier is composed of immense heavy logs of timber and large masses of sandstone rock; it is sixty-four feet long, eighteen wide, and thirteen high at the end next low-water mark, and from the solidity of the materials will probably last many years.

"On the 25th of October I had been several miles up a small river in Bathurst Island, and on my return, near the entrance, was surprised by the sudden appearance of ten natives, who had waded—it being low water—across the river nearly to a dry sandbank situated in its centre. They were armed with spears, and at first seemed disposed to dispute the passage with us. On our approach they retired towards the shore, which was thickly covered with mangroves, and throwing down their spears, spread their arms out to show us they intended nothing hostile, accompanying the action with great volubility of tongue. I rowed towards them, but they hastily retreated. However, after some time they gained confidence, and advanced so near as to take a handkerchief and some other trifles from the blade of an oar, which was put towards them. I called the river, consequently, 'Intercourse River', and the point 'Point Interview'.

"The same afternoon two of our men, cutting timber and reeds, were in an instant surrounded by a party of the natives, who seized them, but offered no other violence than wresting their axes from them. They had probably been watching some of our parties in the wood, for they appeared to have a correct idea of the value and use of the axe. As soon as our men were at liberty they ran towards the fort—an alarm was given—the soldiers seized their arms, and the savages would have suffered had they not hastily retreated. I immediately went on shore with Captain Barlow, and after going some distance, came up with the natives, in number eighteen or twenty, with whom we soon established communication by making signs of peace. They threw down their spears and came forward with confidence; they, nevertheless, kept some of the youngest in the rear, whose duty seemed to be to collect the spears ready for action. We offered them handkerchiefs, buttons, and other trifles, which they accepted without hesitation, but after having satisfied their curiosity they threw them away. They made many signs for axes, imitating the action of cutting a tree, and accompanied it with loud vociferations, and almost inconceivable rapidity of gesture. They were given to understand they should have axes if they came to the settlement, and so drew them near the fort, but no inducement could get them into the clear ground or inside the line of cottages. They had, I found, stolen three axes, but as we were anxious to establish friendly relations, no notice was taken of the theft; and three others were given to them, at which they appeared highly pleased, especially the chief, to whom a broader one than the rest was given, and who immediately examined the edge, and with much delight showed his fellows that it was sharper than theirs. They retired, and made their fire about half a mile from us.

"On the 27th the same party re-appeared, accompanied by a youth evidently of Malay origin, but even lighter in colour than those people generally are. In his manners he was exactly like the rest, and most probably had been taken by them when very young. They seemed very anxious that we should notice him, thrusting him forward several times when near us. I found they had surprised two of our men, and taken from them an axe and a reaping hook. These articles were of some value to us; our stock was limited, and it became necessary to check the disposition for theft. Therefore, on their making the usual signs for axes, they were given to understand that we were displeased and that none would be given.

"The young Malay, having the reaping-hook in his hand, it was pointed to, and after some hesitation was given up; but the axe was gone. I retired towards the fort. Finding they could, not get the only object that they seemed to value, and our sentinels being on the alert with fixed bayonets, of which they were much afraid—they retired; but it was evident from their brandished weapons they were dissatisfied and probably meant mischief. We saw nothing of them until the 30th, when our boat at the watering-place was surrounded by some twenty who sprang from the bushes, but hesitated to attack on seeing the arms the crew had. At the same moment another party equally numerous suddenly appeared at a cottage in a garden which had been made by the officers at a small distance from the water. It appeared that only one of the young gentlemen and a corporal of marines were in the house. They attempted to retreat, but were opposed by the natives. The affair began to look serious, and they preparing to throw their spears the corporal fired over their heads—(I had given positive orders that except in cases of absolute necessity they should not be fired upon)—upon which they drew back and offered an opportunity for retreat. The corporal loaded as he ran, firing repeatedly until the young gentleman reached the boat, when a shower of spears were thrown from both parties of the natives, some of which went into the boat, and one grazed the midshipman's back. For the sake of sparing bloodshed which would have followed another discharge of spears, the corporal then selected the chief for punishment, and fired directly at him; he Immediately fell or threw himself on the ground—which several others Instantly did on seeing the flash—but it was most probable that he was struck, for he did not rise so quickly as the rest, and the whole party ran Into the wood. None have since been seen in the neighbourhood.

"These people were above the middle height, their limbs straight and well-formed, possessing wonderful elasticity; not strongly made, the stoutest had but little muscle, their activity was astonishing, their colour nearly black, their hair coarse but not woolly, tied occasionally in a knot behind, and some had daubed their heads and bodies with red or yellow pigment. They were almost all marked with a kind of tattoo, generally in three lines, the centre one going directly down the body from the neck to the navel, the others drawn from the outside of the breast and approaching the perpendicular line at the bottom. The skin appeared to have been cut in order to admit some substance Into it, and then bound down until It healed, leaving small raised marks on the surface. The men were entirely naked, but we saw at Bathurst Island two women at a little distance who had small mats of plaited grass or rushes round the body. Their arms were the spear and waddy. The former is a slight shaft well hardened by fire, about nine or ten feet long; those we saw generally had a smooth sharp point, but they have others which are barbed—deadly weapons. One of them was thrown at us, and I have preserved it; it is very ingeniously made, the barbs being cut out of the solid wood; they are seventeen in number, the edges and points exceedingly sharp; they are on one side of the spear only. As they had no iron implements or tools it is wonderful that they can contrive to produce such a weapon. We saw but few of these barbed spears, and it is probable that they cost so much labour in making that they are preserved for close combat or extraordinary occasions. They did not use the wommerah or throwing-stick, so general in New South Wales. The waddy or short pointed stick was smaller than those seen in the neighbourhood of Sydney, and was evidently used in close fight as well as for bringing down birds or animals for food. They throw this stick with such wonderful precision that they never fail to strike a bird on the top of the highest tree with as much certainty as we could with our best fowling pieces. In their habits these people much resemble the natives of New South Wales, but they are superior in person, and if the covering of the women is general it is a mark of decency and a step towards civilisation perfectly unknown to the inhabitants of the east coast. The hallowing and decoration of a sepulture is such an acknowledgment of a supreme power and a future state that it appears evident that the notions of this people on this subject are by no means so rude and barbarous as those we have been accustomed to find amongst the New Hollanders generally.

"On Bathurst Island we found the tomb of a native; the situation was one of such perfect retirement and repose that it displayed considerable feeling in the survivors who placed it there; and the simple order which pervaded the spot would not have disgraced a civilised people. It was an oblong square open at the foot, the remaining end and sides being railed round with trees seven or eight feet high, some of which were carved with a stone or shell, and further ornamented by rings of wood also carved. On the tops of these posts were placed the waddies of the deceased; the grave was raised above the level of the earth, but the raised part was not more than three feet long. At the head was placed a piece of a canoe and a spear, and round the grave were several little baskets made of the fan palm leaf, which from their small size we thought had been placed there by the children of the departed. Nothing could exceed the neatness of the whole; the sand and the earth were cleared away from its sides, and not a scrub or weed was suffered to grow within the area.

"The pier having been finished on the 21st, the party employed on that service and the whole strength of the expedition was directed to the fort, and completing the different works.

"On the 2nd of November commenced building a magazine. On the 7th the Commissariat store-house was finished; and by the 8th the whole of the provisions, stores, and necessaries were landed from the 'Harcourt', and properly secured therein. This store-house is built of wood, well thatched, and fully equal to the occasion until a more regular and substantial one can be built. It contains nearly eighteen months' provisions. The fort, which commands the whole anchorage—the shot from it reaching across to Bathurst Island—was completed (with the exception of the ditch) on the 9th of November. It is composed of timbers of great weight and solidity in layers live feet in thickness at the base; the height of the work inside is six feet, surrounded by a ditch ten feet deep and fifteen feet wide; on it are mounted two nine-pounder boat guns to shift on occasion, and to be put on board the 'Lady Nelson' when it is necessary to detach her to the neighbouring islands or for other purposes. Those guns are provided with fifty rounds of round and grape, and are part of the upper-deck guns of this ship. The fort is rectangular, its sides being seventy-five yards by fifty: in this square are the houses for the commandant and the officers of the garrison, and a barrack for the soldiers is to be put into immediate progress. The soldiers and convicts have built themselves good and comfortable cottages near the fort.

"The climate of these islands is one of the best that can be found between the tropics: the thermometer rarely reaching 88 deg., and in the morning at dawn sometimes falling to 76 deg. Nothing can be more delightful than this part of the twenty-four hours. I was obliged, by necessity, with the whole of the ship's company, to be constantly exposed to a vertical sun, but fortunately few have suffered, and none very severely.

"The soil of this island appears to be excellent. In digging a deep well for the use of the settlement we found a vegetable mould about two feet deep; then soft sandstone rock, occasionally mixed with strata of red clay, until the depth of thirty feet, when we came to a vein of yellow clay and gravel through which an abundance of water instantly sprang, and rose to the height of six feet.

"It is probable that this soil is capable of producing most—if not all—the tropical fruits and shrubs of the Eastern Islands. The plants brought from Sydney flourish luxuriantly, particularly the orange, lemon, lime, banana, and sugar-cane. Melons and pumpkins spring up immediately, and the maize was above ground on the fourth day after it was sown.

"We found the stream of water first discovered to run into several ponds near the beach—which affords to ships an easy mode of watering—and, no doubt, valuable rice plantations may be formed in their neighbourhood.

"Amongst the trees, some of which are of noble growth, I found a sort of lignum vitae, which, probably, will be valuable for block-sheaves; and several others, which appear to be calculated for naval purposes. The forests are almost inexhaustible. A sort of cotton tree was also found in considerable numbers, but not being certain of its produce being valuable, I have sent a sample to England for inspection. We likewise found the bastard nutmeg, and a species of pepper highly pungent and aromatic. The trepang has not been found here. The fish taken in the seine are mullet, a sort of bass, and what is most abundant is that which seamen call the 'Old-Wife'. Our supply of fish is very precarious, being sometimes a week without taking sufficient for everybody. At Port Essington, on the contrary, we always filled the seine at a haul.

"The animals we have seen on this island are the kangaroo, the opossum, the native dog, the bandicoot, the kangaroo rat, and the flying squirrel. The birds are pheasants, quail, pigeons, parrots, curlews, a sort of snipe, and a species of moor-fowl. The venomous reptiles are few: some snakes have been found, which, from the flattened head and fang, were evidently poisonous; centipedes, scorpions, and tarantulas are by no means numerous. The mosquito, as is usual in all new and tropical countries, is exceedingly active and troublesome; and a sandfly not larger than a grain of sand is so extraordinarily venomous that scarcely anyone in the ship or expedition has escaped without bites from these insects, which have in many instances produced tedious and painful ulcers.

"Port Cockburn Is one of the finest harbours I ever saw, and is capable of containing almost an unlimited number of shipping of any draught of water, and is completely secured from every wind that blows.

"On the 10th of November, the defences of Fort Dundas being quite equal to an attack from much more formidable enemies than the natives of Melville Island, I determined to proceed in the further execution of the orders I had received from the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty. I gave charge of the settlement to Captain Maurice Barlow, and placed Lieutenant Williamson and his detachment, of Royal Marines under the command of that officer.

"Weighed and dropped into the fair-way, and was saluted by fifteen guns from the garrison, which was returned from this ship.

"On the 11th and 12th employed getting ready for sea, and finally sailed from Port Cockburn on the 13th, the ship 'Countess of Harcourt' in company: the latter for Mauritius and England: H.M.S. 'Tamar' for India."

I may here gratify myself at least by bearing witness, through documents of authority, to the value of an old friend in the public service, whose merits—at so great a distance from the seat of authority—were so tardily and scantily acknowledged; and when acknowledged, were so shabbily waived. Smith, of London, had better friends there than George Miller, of New South Wales.

Extract from "General Orders."

"Head Quarters, Sydney, Tuesday, 17th August, 1824.

"The following appointment in the Commissariat Department will take place from this date:—

"Mr. George Miller, Commissariat Clerk (Treasury Appointment), is to take charge of the Government duties of the settlement about to be formed at the north-west coast of New Holland.

"R. Snodgrass, Major of Brigade."



"Commissariat Office, Sydney, New South Wales,
"30th November, 1825.

"Independently of the above considerations I beg to recall their Lordships' attention to my letter of the 28th March last, No. 301, in which, without being apprised of their intentions, I had taken the opportunity to recommend that that gentleman (George Miller) should be promoted to the rank which their lordships rightly deem befitting the office to which such a station is entrusted. The sentiments of approbation which I expressed upon the occasion have been strengthened by every account that has been received since; and, if opportunity offered, would, I feel assured, be confirmed by the testimony of Captain Barlow, the Commandant. I respectfully request permission, therefore, to renew my former solicitations in Mr. Miller's favour, and to add that my confidence in his integrity still remains unshaken.

"W. Wemyss, Deputy Commissary-General.

"George Harrison, Esq.,
"Treasury Chambers, London."



"Sydney, 13th October, 1828.

"The Lieutenant-General is pleased to direct that Mr. George Miller, Treasury Clerk, shall proceed by the first opportunity to relieve Mr. Smith * in the charge of the Commissariat at Port Macquarie.
"By command,

"C. Sturt, Acting Major of Brigade."

[* Afterwards Sir John Smith, Commissary-General-in-Chief, in London.]



"Treasury Chambers, London,
"13th April, 1829.

"Sir,—The Lords Commissioners of His Majesty's Treasury having had under consideration your letter, transmitting a memorial from Mr. Commissariat Clerk Miller, praying for promotion, I am commanded to acquaint you that their lordships will bear in mind the testimonials which they have received of Mr. Miller's services and good conduct, but that in the present state of this department they cannot comply with his request.
"(Signed) C.J. Stewart.
"Deputy Commissary-General Laidley,
"New South Wales."


In order to keep the doings on the north coast in sight, I must make a hop from 1824 to 1838. Captain Sir Gordon Bremer, in command of H.M.S. "Alligator", accompanied by Lieutenant Owen Stanley, in H.M.S. "Britomart", the latter having arrived in Port Jackson on the 15th July, 1838, had received instructions to make another effort to make a permanent military depôt at Port Essington. The gratifying intelligence was hopefully discussed again in Sydney; commercial prospects brightened.

The names attached to the address presented to the commander of the "Alligator", on the 22nd of August, may recall many a familiar face and pleasant acquaintance. Two only, perhaps, are yet amongst us. It was presented to Sir Gordon Bremer, on the quarterdeck of H.M.S. "Alligator".

"To Sir J.J. Gordon Bremer, Captain R.N., K.C.B., C.B., &c.

"We, the undersigned merchants and gentlemen, residing in this colony, take leave to congratulate you on your second visit to our shores, and to offer you our sincere good wishes for the success and prosperity of the new settlement at Port Essington, for the purpose of founding which you have been again selected by His Majesty's Government, and to express our admiration of the zeal and enterprise which have induced you, under many trying circumstances, to undertake this arduous adventure.

"We need hardly assure you of the deep interest we naturally feel in the formation and progress of another dependency in this vast continent; its welfare promoted by the auspices of our parent state, and supported by the industry and capital of Great Britain.

"But we desire to convey to you more especially our hope that the settlement which you are about to re-establish may speedily emulate in prosperity this old appendage of the British Crown, and the conviction that she will also become a very important entrepot for the products of trade with the islands of the Eastern Archipelago.

"That your health, and that of the officers and men under your command may be preserved through the trials always attendant upon the formation of a new settlement, and that you may be eventually rewarded by its complete and permanent success is the sincere wish of
"Your obedient and faithful servants and friends,

"Richard Jones, M.C. Robert Campbell, M.C.
Alexander McLeay A.B. Spark
H.H. Macarthur, M.C. John Jamison, M.C.
P. de Mestre Wm. Walker and Co.
J. Blaxland, M.C. W. Lithgow, M.C.
Thomas McQuoid S.A. Donaldson
Edward Aspinall Alexander Berry, M.C.
John Campbell Lamb and Parbury
Edwards and Hunter William C. Botts
Samuel Ashmore G.L.P. Living
R. Duke and Co. R.R. Mackenzie
William Gibbes J.S. Ferriter
J. Nicholson, Harbour Master John Lord and Co.
A. Mossman Geo. Cooper, Col. Customs.
Brown and Co. John Gilchrist
A.B. Smith and Co. Willis, Sandeman and Co.
R. Campbell, junr. and Co. Thomas Smith
W.S. Deloitte and Co. W. Dawes
Kenworthy and Lord Thomas U. Ryder
P.W. Flower Robert How
John Tooth Ramsay and Young
Betts Brothers George Weller
Alexander Fotheringham Cooper and Holt
J.T. Manning Geo. Miller
Edye Manning Hughes and Hosking.
"Sydney, August 22, 1838."

In honor, it may be presumed, of the occasion, our old friend "Isabella" becomes wedded to the new settlement, and sails thereunto, in duty bound, as the "Essington", ahead of the squad of vessels belonging to the expedition, in September.

The most interesting (being autographical) memorial of the second attempt at consolidating an establishment at Port Essington after the abandonment of its neighbours on the right hand and on the left that I have preserved is that contained in a letter from Sir Gordon Bremer to Governor Sir George Gipps. Port Essington itself was abandoned soon after it had done one good service to the country in sheltering and resuscitating Leichhardt and his band. As soon as New South Wales had obtained the gratification of her desire of years, its object was effaced. The interest which its name once so roused lies dormant: nursing, perhaps, but the occasion to fulfil the promise which Port Essington once held out, the future may yet have that occasion in store.

"Victoria, Port Essington, March 17, 1839,   

"My dear Sir George,

"You will doubtless wonder that you have been so long without accounts from me. Our communication by the 'Orontes" (the transport) on which I dwelt as a certainty, was cut off by the wreck of that ship on a reef some distance from the entrance of the harbour. As usual with these sort of craft, neither lead or lookout. The crew are still with me here. The master and his wife are departed for Coepang, en route to India. The 'Essington' schooner sails to-day for the Islands, thence to Coepang, and finally to Sydney, but as I have it in serious contemplation to visit you the moment the arrival of the 'Beagle' or any despatches will open my views a little, I forbear to send you any public letters. They must necessarily be voluminous, and I hope to be at Sydney in ten or twelve days after the schooner. I am anxious to confer with you on so many points connected with this valuable and important addition to our colonies, that I feel the necessity of personal communication. You may remember that I sailed on the 17th September; on the 20th October Cape York was taken possession of and the Queen's colours hoisted. I had always supposed this to be a barren land; I was therefore delighted to find a country actually beautiful. The summit of the Cape is about 500 feet high; on the S.E. side the ascent is rough and vegetation has as usual been stunted by the constant winds, but looking down on the western, a plain about six or seven miles wide and extending far south, presented a scene which reminded me of some of the finest portions of India; it seemed teeming with luxuriance. We landed in a beautiful bay alongside a natural pier, with three and four fathoms water—close to. The ship lay in nine fathoms about two miles off, but she might have approached ad libitum. The Albany Islands seem adapted for cattle, having even then at the very end of the dry season abundance of grass and few trees; this will ultimately be an admirable position for a settlement, in the direct route through the Straits close to New Guinea, and surrounded by a group of islands, which must possess valuable articles of export. On the 27th I reached this place, and commenced our anxious search for that indispensable requisite—water. It was also important to fix on a position suitable as to approach from ships, and for landing our guns and stores. It was not, therefore, until the 3rd November that I had finished my inspection of the harbour and decided on this spot. It is a very pretty piece of land of considerable elevation. The north head, which I call Minto Head, is seventy-six feet above the sea, with a steep rocky point. On it I have placed a battery of four eighteen-pounder guns, two mortars, and a block house of twenty feet square with a pivot eighteen-pounder. The south head is fifty-five feet high, also unapproachable from the sea; on it there are already four eighteen-pounders. These heads form the widest portion of a neck of land which gently falls towards the interior—the area which is enclosed in it is just eighty-five acres. The soil all around us is as fine as can be imagined, indeed in many parts exceedingly rich from the immense quantity of vegetable matter decomposed yearly. The trees in our immediate neighbourhood are not large, and scarcely one is perfectly sound; this I ascribe as much to the thick shade as to the effects of the white ants, which are in swarms, but we find that they diminish as we clear the ground.

"It is astonishing to witness the rapid change which is daily discoverable. Our Hospital, store-room, my own house, and officers' quarters are finished and inhabited; they form very pretty buildings. I have a pier extending to low water mark, 140 feet long; and it is really a surprising work. I have a dock-yard, with boat-houses, blacksmiths' shop, mast-house, and I am now getting on with a provision store. The marines have built as pretty cottages as an English village can shew; several of the officers have also their cottages, and in all I encourage the cultivation of garden ground—we have not yet derived much benefit from our public garden. I fear my botanist is too great a gentleman (in his own opinion) to grow cabbages and pumpkins, but the latter are becoming abundant in the gardens of the men. By means of the 'Essington' we have been tolerably well supplied with fresh meat. I hope she will come up to us again.

"Port Essington is certainly one of the finest pieces of water in the world. In the inner harbour the 'Alligator' lies in nineteen feet at the lowest spring tide within hail of the pier. About two miles off is the anchorage capable of containing fifty sail of the line in seven fathoms.

"As regards fresh water, we have an abundance, and of delicious quality. I have four wells already in work, which supplied us amply before the rains, and are now overflowing; there are several pretty streams within a mile or two, and the flats or meadows which almost surround us are now considerably flooded. They would produce rice in extreme abundance, while spices, cotton, and almost all tropical valuable articles, I am convinced, may be cultivated with success. The climate is certainly extraordinary; we have not had one case of actual sickness since we came here. The 'Britomart' has buried two men; one of them was consumptive when he left England, and would have died; the other went off in an apoplectic fit. The heat in the middle of the day is sometimes extreme, reaching 95 deg., but it is the least oppressive I have ever met with—it is a pure ethereal heat, while the nights and mornings are generally delicious. I write to you at half-past seven, the thermometer before me stands at 76 deg., while the last of the land wind brings its sweets from flowers, which at this season are beautiful. One large boat is constantly surveying. On her passage to Raffles Bay to ascertain the condition of the old settlement, she entered the opening between Point Smith and the N.W. point of Raffles Bay, which Captain King had not opportunity to examine. The lieutenant discovered that It is the entrance to one of the finest harbours in Australia, which has been admirably surveyed, and to which the officers have been kind enough to give my name, calling it Port Bremer. The bottom and west side of this harbour is not more than three miles from Table Head, in Port Essington, the country between them excellent. The west side of Raffles Bay is also not more than two miles from the east side of the port, so that we are as it were a continuous chain of harbours. I have no doubt that good anchorage, if not a good harbour, is to be found in Trepang Bay. In short, the capabilities of this noble place are daily developing.

"I have just returned from a most interesting cruise in the 'Britomart', having visited the islands Moa, Letti, and Kissa (I was twice at the latter). There was subject of infinite pleasure. I found the Dutch missionaries very excellent men, and apparently labouring with abundant zeal in the good cause; they are, however, grievously neglected by the Dutch Government, having been upwards of two years without the slightest communication, even with Coepang. It really was a distressing thing to witness the thankfulness with which these men—European gentlemen—received the slop shoes and stockings I supplied them with, together with wine, needles, thread, and, in short, every article of comfort I could discover they required. The population of Kissa is upwards of 7,000, 1,500 of whom are Christians. Letti contains 6,000, of whom 900 are Christians; while Moa, the largest and most beautiful of the islands, has only 500 persons of our faith. Their churches are neat little edifices, reminding me of some of the very old places of worship in the north of England.

"After leaving Kissa, I proceeded to Dilly, in Timor, where I was received by the Governor with every possible respect and attention. I was fortunate in this visit, as a vessel about to sail afforded me an opportunity of writing to Mr. Bonham at Singapore, requesting him to forward me during the N.W. monsoon all papers, letters, &c., by way of Dilly. I find the communication perfectly easy, and you will be surprised when I tell you that by means of the Singapore papers I had extracts from the London News of the 12th September, 1838, on my table here on the 1st February, 1839; this is easily accounted for by the rapid flight of letters and papers from England to Bombay, and thence to Singapore. I receive from the Dutch residents most complimentary letters and offers of service, but from private information I am led to think they view us with extreme jealousy.

"The desire for British calico goods, for brass wire, iron, and other hardware amongst the islands is astonishing. They have abundance of cattle, fruit, fowls, yams, &c., and some corn. I established a regular market. For our cotton handkerchiefs, value 6d., two fowls; for four inches of brass wire, a good pumpkin or melon; for four yards of coarse calico, a pig, and so on; but they have tortoise-shell, wax, and other valuable articles. I learned that a man saved from the schooner 'Stedcombe', wrecked on Timor coast several years ago, was seen and spoken with in February, 1838. He told the person (who was the master of a small schooner) that two Dutch men-of-war brigs had visited the island; that he had endeavoured to excite the compassion of the commanders, but they refused to listen to him although he repeatedly told them he was an Englishman. I have, in consequence, sent the 'Britomart' thither to reconnoitre the place, and have directed my first lieutenant who is in her to use his discretion in taking means to recover the man, and as the natives are very numerous and very fierce, not to hazard an attack. I will put them to rights in the 'Alligator', if necessary. The 'Britomart' then proceeds to the Arra Islands, which have probably never been visited by English vessels, certainly not by ships of war, and I anticipate a most interesting account.

"One subject of high satisfaction to me is that we have never had even an angry word with the natives; they are constantly about us in numbers, and are useful to us, bringing fish, grass, honey, and a sort of bean—their confidence in us is astonishing.

"One of them went with me in the brig, and another is now in her on her present voyage. In conclusion, my dear Sir George, I cannot but congratulate you, and myself, on the complete and perfect success of my undertaking—this place cannot fail to become most valuable; in truth, I anticipate that in a few years it will be the Singapore of Australia. I look forward with great pleasure to the prospect of meeting you. I have an infinity of important matter to discuss with you. I only await the arrival of the 'Beagle', or other vessel to determine me.

"I hope that the middle of June will afford me an opportunity of repeating that, I am,

""Dear Sir George, your Faithful Friend,

"J.J. Gordon Bremer.   

"I forgot to mention that I had named my city-in-embryo: Victoria. I believe it to be the first Colony founded in Her Majesty's reign."

Sir James John Gordon Bremer, K.C.B., created 1841; K.C. and Knight Bachelor, created 1836; married in 1811 Mrs. C. Glasse, of Rochester; was made lieutenant in the navy in 1805; commander in 1807; in 1812 captured the "Bon Génie", privateer; in 1813 took an American letter of marque of 280 tons; became post-captain in 1814; was appointed to the "Comus", 22 guns, in 1816, which was lost off Newfoundland in October of that year; to the "Tamar", 26 guns, was despatched to form a settlement on Melville Island; returned to England in 1827; was appointed to the "Alligator", 26 guns, on the East India station, in 1837.

So closely is Owen Stanley associated in my first recollections of Sydney with Port Essington, that I cannot keep his name apart from that of the settlement, of the prospects of which Sir Gordon Bremer makes so high an estimate in this letter.

Owen Stanley had been promoted to the rank of commander on the 26th of March, 1839, and had aided, in the "Britomart", in forming the new colony on which Sydney afterwards built such grand hopes. He was a son of the then Bishop of Norwich, born on the 13th June, 1811; entered the Royal Naval College 5th August, 1824; embarked as volunteer in the "Druid" frigate, 8th January, 1826, and in the following March was midshipman on board the "Ganges", 84, then fitting for the flag of Sir Robert Waller Otway, commander-in-chief in S. America, whence he was removed in December, 1829, to the "Tartar", 44. In January, 1830, he joined the "Adventure", sloop, Captain Philip Parker King, employed in surveying the Straits of Magellan. On his return to England the following November, he became mate to the "Belvidere", 42, and to the "Rainbow", 28—Captains, the Honourable Richard Sanders Dundas and Sir John Franklin—both in the Mediterranean in 1831; then to the "Kent", 78; the "Procris", 10; the "Malabar", 74; and the "Mastiff", 6, in succession, all in the Mediterranean. In 1836, 11th May, he was appointed to the "Terror", and on the 21st December, 1837, to the command of the "Britomart", in which he remained until the 27th April, 1843. In the interval, having aided at Port Essington, he made a track survey of the Arafura Sea, &c. He then became post-captain in 1844, on September 23rd, since when he commanded the surveying ship "Rattlesnake", in which he made many valuable additions to hydrography, especially in the examination of Simon's Bay, the inner route through Torres Straits from Dunk Island to Bligh's Farewell; his last work being the survey of the south-east coast of New Guinea and the Louisiade Archipelago. F.R.S., F.R.A.S. Captain Stanley died at Sydney on the 10th March, 1850. Before his coming into Port Jackson, he had heard at Cape York of a brother's death: on anchoring, of his father's. He was buried in the North Shore cemetery.

While lying at Cape York in the preceding October, a watering party from the "Rattlesnake" brought off a white woman and some of a tribe who had come over from Prince of Wales Island to the mainland. Upon coming on board, she could scarcely make it understood that she wished to be rescued from the natives, as she had almost forgotten the English language. Her maiden name had been Barbara Crawford, daughter of a tinman, a Scotchman residing in Sydney, who had arrived in the "John Barry" as an immigrant: had married a man named Thompson at Moreton Bay, which she left with him and some other men in a small cutter called the "American" for Port Essington, where they wished to settle. They were cast away on Prince of Wales Island, and all but herself drowned. The natives had treated her very humanely for the five years she had been with them, but refused until now to allow her to communicate with any passing vessels.

Having seen the "Rattlesnake" anchored at Cape York, she induced them to take her on board, saying she wished to shake hands with her countrymen. Captain Stanley rewarded the blacks liberally. From her much information was received as to the manners and customs of the islanders of Torres Straits.

Port Essington had been discovered by Captain P.P. King, in the cutter "Mermaid" (84 tons, 56 ft. in length, beam 18 ft. 6 in.), on the 23rd of April, 1818, and so-named in honour of the "late Vice-Admiral Sir William Essington, K.C.B."

"As a harbour," writes Captain King, in his narrative published in 1824, "Port Essington is equal, if not superior, to any I ever saw, and from its proximity to the Moluccas and New Guinea, and its being in the direct line of communication between Port Jackson and India, as well as from its commanding situation with respect to the passage through Torres Straits, it must, at no very distant period, become a place of great trade, and of considerable importance."

How little the pledges of success given by the reports made about the settlements on the Northern Coast of South Australian Territory have been redeemed, twenty-five years after the first stick had been cut and laid for Fort Dundas, on Melville Island, proved in a manner unpalatable to the promoters of the early schemes for extending trade. It remains for Port Darwin, which may claim to be one of the group, to bring about in due time the honour so long deferred to each flattering earnest. There is something to wonder at, and attract to the spot at which our Mercury takes his first sub-marine plunge upon our Australian errands. In sombre contrast with the gay colouring of Sir Gordon Bremer's descriptions do we find the shadows which had successively fallen upon each nest of dwelling-places, which spoke of the building, but from which the birds had flown, in the year 1847. On the 9th of November, Port Essington was declared by Captain Stanley—according to Macgillivray's Narrative—to be insalubrious; to give no hope nor promise of improvement: men sick; provisions bad and scanty; the site of Victoria injudicious and unhealthy. The first step had been taken by Captain G. Bremer on the 20th September, 1824, in H.M.S. "Tamar", at Port Essington. For want of water he at once had gone on to Melville Island, and founded Fort Dundas, on the Apsley Strait. Four years afterwards—31 March, 1829—this had been deserted. Government still persisting in the desire to plant firm foot in these quarters, Captain Stirling, in H.M.S. "Success", had the gratification of finding a nook in the neighbourhood which seemed to be, and proved to be free from disadvantages which had as yet impeded the progress of the past speculations. This had been at Port Raffles, and was denoted by the erection of Fort Wellington—on 18th June, and when the kernel of this Colony had begun to mature into a really flourishing state of sound health, sudden orders—unexpected and unaccountable—had been received for its entire abandonment, which had been effected by the 29th August, 1829.

Eight years afterwards Government had a fourth time resolved upon an establishment on the north coast with the twofold object of affording "shelter to crews wrecked in Torres Straits, and endeavouring to throw open to British enterprise the neighbouring islands of the Indian Archipelago." Thus had Captain Sir G. Bremer been again sent forth on the 27th October, 1837, to re-form a settlement at Port Essington, whence he wrote the letter given already. Subsequently, the "Alligator" having left. Captain John Macarthur, with a subaltern and forty men of the Royal Marines, was left in charge. The "Britomart" remained several years as a tender to the military post, and was succeeded by H.M.S. "Royalist". In October, 1845, the remains of the original party, which had been there for seven years (including also a small detachment sent down from China), were relieved by a draft from England of two subalterns, an assistant surgeon, and fifty-two men of the Royal Marines; Captain Macarthur still remaining in charge; "and now" says Macgillivray, "after the settlement has been established for eleven years, they were not even able to keep themselves in fresh vegetables." And so Port Essington was finally abandoned on November 30, 1849, when all was removed to Sydney by H.M.S. "Mœander", commanded by Captain the Honourable H. Keppel.






{Page 48}

CHAPTER III.



Therein, ye gods, you make the weak most strong;
Therein, ye gods, you tyrants do defeat;
Nor strong tower, nor walls of beaten brass,
Nor airless dungeons, nor strong links of iron,
Can be retentive to the strength of spirit.—
Shakespeare. (Julius Caesar.)


The year 1825 brought forth the triumphant cry, "Freedom of the Press." Hitherto there had been a mild censorship exercised by the Colonial Secretary; such surveillance was abolished and the papers of the day were jubilant. And good reason there was for gladness over the harvest of the past year: the new Charter of Justice: the formation of a Legislative Council: trial by jury: the liberty of the press: a quadruple alliance beginning to equip itself for an onward march. The sinews of war were beginning to stiffen in the young life: capital was turned towards us substantially: the Australian Agricultural Company was girding itself for the work of development: a new era was dawning. The Gazette affirmed that "Posterity will do every justice to the year that is gone."

On the 17th of March the vessel first mentioned as having been sent to Moreton Bay for the sole purpose of supplying it, returned in a leaky condition. Her name was the "Nancy". In the following May we have the Rev. Thomas Hobbes Scott on the scene, by the ship "Hercules", as our first Archdeacon, and holding his primary visitations in the Church of St. James on the 9th of June.

In the train of our civil enlargement follows the inevitable harlequin, Agitation.

The unwonted summons, the novel scene of empanelling a jury for the first time, on the 12th of last February, to dispose of a case (such cases having hitherto been disposed of in a very summary manner), such as that of "The King v. Robert Cooper", our great Australian distiller, in whose favour a verdict was recorded, may have been sensational enough to cause further fermentation. In August began the exciting claim for representative government: the question grew warmer as it proceeded through September into October. The Gazette shot out its leading articles with plenty of powder, and Governor Brisbane had publicly avowed that the time was come when such rights should be bestowed. Van Dieman's Land also now came to the front: was declared independent on the 8th December. Lieut.-General Ralph Darling was sworn in as its first Governor, who then resigned the reins into the hands of Lieut.-Governor Arthur.

But Moreton Bay had not been lost sight of in the turmoil of Sydney emotions. Major Lockyer, of the 57th Regiment (whose name, in the early days of Darling Downs, was a terror to the bullock drivers, in its adoption by the creek which stopped their way on the old road to Brisbane), had started off—for his shooting, maybe—on the 1st of September, by that constantly requisitioned craft, the cutter "Mermaid", in company with one of our pilots. Gray, to explore the river Brisbane to its source. Lockyer's journal, attached to these memoranda, can best speak for itself. His conclusions are interesting. One extract will amuse nowadays: "I think it very probable that the large swamp into which the river at Bathurst loses itself, occasionally overflows, and is the cause of the tremendous floods that at times take place in the Brisbane River." The first payment made for the new settlement at Moreton Bay by the Colonial Fund startles inquiry: "Paid, Oct. 6. 1825, P. Quigley for 48 razors, at 1s. 2½d. each, 11 Spanish dollars 60 cents"! The establishment does not appear to have been guilty of extravagance.

The monotonous routine of duty at the outlying penal settlements, at the beginning of the year 1826, had drawn attention to its evil influence upon the military detachments so stationed; for on the 2nd of January a general order was issued which betrayed some cause of fear as to the result of the distasteful duty of watching and guarding prisoners. There existed, indeed, an apprehension lest soldiers so isolated, and cut off from so much of social relaxation, should become inoculated with the virus of the atmosphere which they breathed, in functions exacted by such unmilitary demand for loyal service. (See Appendix.)

More stringent regulations were established also with respect to the Government vessels passing to and from the different settlements, as shown by the Government Order (appended) of February 13th, while another of the 21st instructed commandants "at the several stations and settlements, to keep a journal" of all proceedings of a public character. In March our old friend the "Amity" was busied in the conveyance of the relief company of the 40th regiment, under Captain Bishop, by one of the 57th, and another batch of fourteen prisoners, and in the same month the name of a young Australian, one since so much esteemed in the annals of Queensland, and not long since snatched from her public life, will lighten up our recollections of Maurice Charles O'Connell, the eldest son of Colonel O'Connell of the 73rd regiment, by his being gazetted as ensign in the same regiment, in his 15th year. His mother was the relict of Captain Patland, R.N., and daughter of our late Governor Bligh.

Five and twenty years after the establishment of New South Wales, a road had been found through the hitherto impenetrable barrier of the Blue Mountains—the dividing range. It was afterwards pierced by two other routes preferable to the first, and the western country began to be a sensational subject of conversation and inquiry this year. Bathurst and Liverpool Plains; the rivers Castlereagh and Peel opened large views of a probable future and profitable venture. Strange that the hankering after the eastern discharge for the whole water system thus being developed existed among our folks then, and continued to do so, until a precise knowledge of the sources of the river Brisbane so many years afterwards. There was the relic of the same adhesion to our sea-board, in the dragging away even of the Condamine to Wide Bay. There was evident hope in the moot question of this year—"Where do these streams go?" for again and again we were promised that if "these waters should unite in the Brisbane river recently discovered to fall into Moreton Bay, Liverpool Plains and the country through which all these streams hold their course will become of the utmost importance to the wealth and prosperity of the colony."

Notwithstanding Governor Brisbane's wish to withdraw the "banpenal", from Port Macquarie settlement three years ago, Governor Darling proclaimed it, with Moreton Bay and Norfolk Island, as a place to which offenders convicted in New South Wales "shall be sent", in August this year. (Appendix.)

The record that the "country was indebted" to a black native for what was "ranked amongst the most valuable of our late colonial discoveries," in the laying open to our view and use the fertile banks of the Macleay recently, was somewhat in contrast this year with the crimes imputed to those whose hunting-grounds we had usurped. In October, Captain Logan, commandant at Brisbane, had distinguished himself by adding another stream—to which he had given the name of "Darling"—to our coast waters in the southern nook of Moreton Bay; a name, however, which has been in this case superseded by that of "Logan". To our commandants, at least, if in any way within the scope of their inclinations or energies, the interesting work of exploration must have presented an agreeable distraction from the monotony of life, whatever may have been the effects of such seclusion upon their subordinates on these outposts. Captain Logan was pre-eminent in pursuits which came to an unhappy end only with his career in the public service. On this, the third of his efforts in that district, he set forth in a boat, and came to the mouth of the stream in question about fifty miles south of that of the Brisbane, and ascended it until stopped by trees lying across the channel. It was described as "infinitely superior in point of soil and water to that of the Brisbane"—in these days we may think such comparisons "odious". Its "situation is immediately under Mt. Warning," and the conclusion was justified in Sydney that we need not "yet despair of some inlet into the interior being found out that will solve the mysteries of these Australian water-sheds," when the matter was reported.

Hitherto, Stradbroke Island had been looked upon as part of the mainland, for we were suddenly told "that a passage for small vessels had been discovered between Mount (Point?) Danger and Amity Point which will in future prevent the necessity of rounding Amity Point, since the latter now proves only to be an island." *

[* Evidently in allusion to the "boat passage" between the southernmost end of Stradbroke Island and the mainland.]

The closing of the year 1826 was marked by the arrival of the first seventy-four that ever entered an Australian port, on the 19th of October: that of H.M.S. "Warspite", commanded by Sir James Brisbane, C.B., accompanied by Lady Brisbane and the two Misses Brisbane on their way from Trincomalee to South America. The mention of this occurrence cannot be impertinent to any group of events, in which interest in the name of Brisbane is prominent, especially when intensified by the following coincident announcement.

"Colonial Secretary's Office,

"December 19th, 1826.

"His Excellency the Governor announces with feelings of unfeigned regret the death of Commodore Sir James Brisbane, which took place this morning at ten o'clock.

"This event, which has deprived his country of a most distinguished officer, and the Service and Society in which he lived of an example deserving of imitation, will be deeply and sincerely lamented.

"His health had suffered from his exertions in conducting the Naval operations at Rangoon. When he arrived here his constitution was evidently in a state of great exhaustion, and he continued to decline until the moment of his final dissolution.

The name of Sir James Brisbane will be associated with an event which forms an interesting epoch in the annals of this colony: the arrival of the first line of battle ship in the harbour of Port Jackson, and will be handed down with it as a record to posterity.

"His Excellency has been pleased to order that arrangements be immediately made for the funeral, which is to take place to-morrow afternoon, at five o'clock.

"By His Excellency's command,

"Alexander McLeay."

In the procession were two hundred men of the Royal Marines, the 3rd Regiment of Foot, accompanied by the band of the 3rd and 57th Regiments. The Governor and Lieutenant Brisbane were chief mourners.

The dilemma as to the water-shed—say to the eastward of the meridian 135°—necessarily perplexing at that time, must be still interesting. At the end of this year it was thought by some that the river lately discovered by Captain Logan, fifty miles to the "southward of Moreton Bay," and immediately "under Mount Warning" designated the "Darling", was the same as that of which the late Mr. Uniacke speaks in Field's compiled work on this colony. Uniacke accompanied Oxley in a tour to Moreton Bay, and "it appears," said one report, "they fell in with a bay or river to the south of Moreton Bay, to which the name of 'Tweed' was given, but we cannot bring ourselves to believe that the 'Tweed' and the 'Darling' are one and the same, since Mr. Oxley would never have omitted to mention so pre-eminently valuable a discovery: for Mr. Uniacke does not pretend to give anything like the account that Captain Logan has furnished, neither is it advanced that they penetrated one hundred miles to discover the source of the 'Tweed'. We think that the 'Tweed' must either be a branch of the Darling River, or that the latter is entirely distinct from the 'Tweed', and consequently a new discovery. We hope, however, that the present Government will not be long before they cause the solution of this mystery; though, with our present information we are satisfied that Mr. Oxley never encountered the new river."

The new year—1827—began with the sound intent to advance! On its first day the first weekly came out as the first daily newspaper in these colonies: still, however, as the Sydney Gazette.

Information had reached the Government lately that laxity of discipline had crept into the organization of the penal status of the country, which portended evil, perhaps alarming consequences. A "Government Order" [in Appendix], dated March 16th, is worth considering.

June introduced Captain Logan again, not as a boating man but as a pedestrian: it seems unjust and improper to omit any portion of his own handwriting; his sad fate consecrates his work. The following extract from his letter, addressed to the Colonial Secretary, Alexander McLeay, was dated July 25, 1827:

"I proceeded up the Brisbane on the 7th of June—as will appear by my journal—with the view of heading the river lately discovered;" [named by him 'Darling', now known as the 'Logan',] "reaching Mount Warning, and from thence taking the most direct route to the Tweed. However, I found it impossible, notwithstanding every exertion, to get through the thick scrubs which cover the mountain in that direction. I was, in consequence, obliged to return to the settlement without accomplishing the object of my journey. However, I have much satisfaction in reporting that the country through which I travelled exceeded my most sanguine expectations and is everywhere exceedingly well watered; and I have no doubt, whenever it may suit the views of Government to open it for settlers, it will be found the most desirable district for that purpose hitherto found in the colony. After the sailing of the 'Wellington', I will take an opportunity of proceeding to the spot from whence I saw what I supposed to be the Tweed, and from thence endeavour to make a direct route. The distance did not seem to me to exceed fifty miles."

Captain Logan's journal:

"June 7. Left the settlement at four o'clock in the morning: proceeded up the Brisbane, and arrived at the Limestone Hills on the left branch at ten o'clock at night: distance fifty-seven miles.

"June 8. Sent the boat back to the settlement and proceeded overland: directed my course S.S.W. in the direction of Mount Dumaresq: the country very fine: black vegetable mould on a limestone bottom: the timber consisted of eucalyptus, viz., ironbark, blue gum, box, apple-tree, and a variety I have not hitherto seen. Men being very much fatigued halted for the night: distance thirteen miles. Resumed at eight next morning: country superior, for eight miles, to yesterday's: shot two beautiful parrots—a new species—not hitherto found in the colony: came to a large swamp, several miles in extent: skirted it for some miles and then crossed it: came again on the Brisbane" (Bremer?) "running N.E., crossed it, and proceeded up the left bank: approached Mount Dumaresq towards evening: the country now exceeded in beauty and fertility anything I had before seen: in the bed of the river I found small specimens of coal and crystal: distance twenty miles.

"June 10. Commenced this day's journey at half-past eight o'clock: crossed a beautiful plain two miles in width, and about three in length, very lightly timbered, no preparation necessary for the ploughshare: at half-past nine entered a thick scrub at the foot of Mount Dumaresq, which continues to the summit; found several turkeys, and a remarkable large pigeon upwards of three pounds weight: gained the top of the mountain at three o'clock: had a grand and extensive prospect: the Limestone Hills bore N.N.E. I had traversed the valley of the Brisbane thirty-six miles, and it appeared about the same in breadth: I may safely rely that there is in this beautiful vale at least half a million of acres excellently watered, and fit for any purpose to which it may be applied. I could likewise distinctly see the windings of the 'Logan' through an extensive and beautiful country eastward from Mount Dumaresq, and only separated from the valley I had quitted by moderately elevated ground. In descending the mountain on the southern side, had to encounter a difficult scrub which I could not clear before sunset: luckily found water in a ravine, when I stopped for the night: distance this day, twelve miles.

"June 11. Resumed my descent through the scrub at eight o'clock: after much difficulty cleared it at ten o'clock: found a branch of the Logan at the base, running northward: the river here passed through a large swampy plain well adapted to graze cattle: saw a large flock of emus, the first seen in the vicinity of Moreton Bay; the course of the river making a detour to the west, left its bank, having changed my course to south, in the direction of Mount Shadforth, and after a few miles' walk recrossed the Logan, which flowed through a large plain; the grass thereon being on fire obliged me again to cross the river; proceeded up the left bank for some miles; the mountains towering on each other on every side reminded me of a Pyrenæan valley; at four o'clock killed a large kangaroo, which was very acceptable to the men; distance twenty-five miles.

"June 12. Continued my route to the south; the river branched into several streams; we were evidently near its source; walked for some hours over a hilly country admirably adapted for grazing sheep; came to a creek at the foot of Mount Shadforth, and shot an emu on the bank: ascended the mountain, which was the most fatiguing part of the journey: it unfortunately began to rain on my reaching the summit, accompanied by a thick fog which prevented me from having so extensive a prospect as I expected. I was surrounded by mountains on all sides, but I could not get a view of Mount Warning: to continue my route to the southward would have been very difficult and would have protracted the journey beyond the time intended. I therefore determined to steer eastward, and gain the low country: descended the mountain to the eastward, and halted for the night in a natives' encampment: distance fifteen miles.

"June 13. Continued my route eastward over a very difficult and mountainous country: at length perceived Mt. Warning, direct in my course: on approaching the base found the principal branch of the Logan: the stream was so rapid I had some difficulty in passing: encamped on the right bank, and immediately commenced to ascend in hope of reaching the summit, but could only gain a peak not more than half way to the top: all attempts appeared to be hopeless at the east and north sides, and it would have detained me two days longer to have made a detour to the westward, probably with as little chance of success. I therefore returned to the encampment with the intention of proceeding on my journey in the morning: distance fourteen miles.

"June 14. Made another attempt to ascend the mountain on the north side: had a very extensive view: found Limestone Hills bore due north: recommenced my journey to the east: proceeded for some miles without much difficulty: crossed another river which washed the S.E. side of the mountain, and united with another a few miles below: crossed some beautiful valleys well watered with mountain streams: got into an extensive scrub, which prevented me making way to the east: towards evening made a detour to north to clear the scrub: and got into an open forest country before sunset: distance twenty miles.

"June 15. Started at sunrise, proceeded east: passed through a fine hilly country covered with most luxuriant grass to the top of the hills: the soil principally a black vegetable mould: this part of the country is the best I have seen either for sheep or cattle, and is most abundantly watered, each valley possessing a most beautiful rivulet: passed several considerable streams which unite with the Logan: towards evening my route eastward was completely terminated by mountains covered with pine scrubs to the summits: perceiving a stream running north, I determined to follow the course for a few miles, for the purpose of finding a more even way to cross the mountains to the sea coast: distance twenty-five miles.

"June 16. Started N.E. over a hilly country somewhat inferior to yesterday, but well adapted to pasturage: distance fifteen miles.

"June 17. Ascended a ridge of mountains: could see nothing but mountains to the eastward covered with pine scrubs: provisions were nearly exhausted and the men's shoes worn out: determined to steer northward and join the settlement: proceeded down the banks of a river through a rich tract of country: saw several kangaroos, but the dogs were so weak they could not run them down: fortunately before sunset killed one: stopped for the night: distance twenty miles.

"June 18. Continued my route: passed through a rich valley: towards midday left the valley on my right: my route now lay over some rocky ridges: the worst country I have passed through: the men greatly fatigued: distance sixteen miles.

"June 19. Continued north the first part of the day: country was very good: much improved in appearance to that traversed yesterday: towards noon it became swampy: at two o'clock arrived at the Logan, not fordable: stopped for the night: distance twenty miles.

"June 20. Made several unsuccessful attempts to cross the river: moved up the bank about eight miles.

"June 21. Proceeded up the river about two miles: crossed at a ledge of rocks: steered north for the settlement: timbered with finest oak: considerable number of swamps: distance twenty-two miles.

"June 22. Recommenced my route for Brisbane Town for a few miles through a swampy country: towards midday arrived at Cooper's Plains, and crossed Canoe Creek: reached the Brisbane opposite the settlement at four o'clock."

Following in the wake of worthy work, Palmam qui meruit ferat does the following Government Order proclaim to the public on July 16th:—

"His Excellency the Governor has been pleased to direct that the Island forming the southern boundary of the eastern channel into Moreton Bay shall lie designated the "Isle of Stradbroke" in compliment to the Honourable J.H. Rous, commanding H.M. Ship 'Rainbow'—the first ship of war which entered Moreton Bay.

"The point of land in the Isle of Stradbroke (which is intended as the site of a Public Establishment) [Quarantine] opposite to Peel's Island is named 'Dunwich': and the anchorage where the 'Rainbow' lay, 'Rainbow Reach'. The channel between the Isle of Stradbroke and Moreton Island is named 'Rous Channel'.

"2nd. The Governor has been further pleased to name the river recently discovered at Moreton Bay—immediately to the southward of the Brisbane—the 'Logan', as a record of his Excellency's approbation of the zeal which Captain Logan, the commandant of Moreton Bay, has evinced in adding to the important discovery made by Mr. Oxley, the Surveyor-General, of the river Brisbane in the year 1823.

"By His Excellency's Command, Alexander McLeay."

No violence will be done to date-disciplined thoughts in taking up awhile a publication which appeared at this time, which tells of a coast survey by Captain Philip King, commenced so far back as 1818, in that well-worn and worked cutter, the "Mermaid". The following is an outline:—

"Captain Philip King—son of the late Governor King of N.S. Wales—sailed from Port Jackson in 1818, with Mr. Cunningham, the botanist, and 'Boongaree' * the native who had accompanied Flinders. He touched at Twofold Bay and passed through Bass' Straits to King George's Sound, where he stayed some time; and thence to North-west Cape, carefully surveying and laying down the coast the whole way. He then proceeded northwards to Rowley's Shoals, Goulburn Islands, and Raffles Bay, in which he met with a Malay fleet. At Port Essington he was attacked by the natives in Knocker's Bay, where, as well as on the most of the northern coast, they were found particularly hostile and troublesome. Having inspected Van Dieman's Gulf, Melville Island, Sir George Hope's Islands, and Alligator River, he crossed to Coepang in Timor, of which there is an interesting description. The inhabitants called the New Hollanders on the opposite coast 'Maregas' from their treacherous and savage disposition towards them when fishing, for trespassing on their shores. After seven months' absence Captain King returned to Sydney with a valuable collection of plants, seeds, insects and minerals; then made a trip of two months to Van Dieman's Land, and surveyed particularly the Derwent and Macquarie Harbour. The trees at Pine Cove are described as being well adapted to nautical purposes.

[* Last chief of the Port Jackson blacks, buried at Rose Bay.]

"In May, 1819, he again sailed, accompanied by Lieutenant Oxley, in the brig 'Lady Nelson', to survey the east coast. The 'Mermaid' then proceeded northward, discovering Rodd's Bay, visiting Percy Island, and entered Endeavour river. The natives at that place had shields in the shape of crescents made of the coral tree. The river soon becomes shallow, and is fresh nine miles from the mouth; the banks are low and covered with mangroves. The track of the 'Investigator' through Torres Straits was then followed. Liverpool river on the north coast was discovered and examined. It forms a good port, and is four miles wide at the mouth, but decreasing to half a mile ten miles up. It swarms with fish, egrets, and white cockatoos. Alligators about twelve feet long are also very common. At Cape Londonderry they were again attacked by the natives, who were uniformly hostile. Touching at the Isle of Suva, the 'Mermaid' then returned to Sydney.

"The vessel was there put under water to destroy the myriads of rats and cockroaches; but the eggs of the latter were speedily hatched on re-entering the tropics. The voyage in 1820 was nearly over the former ground.

"In May, 1821, the 'Mermaid' being found unseaworthy the 'Bathurst', of 170 tons, was fitted out for a fourth voyage. Captain King sailed along the eastern and northern coasts. Several affrays occurred with the natives. At one place was found a remarkable cavern cut into regular galleries and ornamented with drawings in red ochre of various animals, clubs and plants. Prince Regent's River, on the north coast was explored. It contains a magnificent cascade, 150 feet high. Alligators and other fish were numerous, and a curious amphibious animal about nine inches long, called a mud-fish. It buries itself in an instant in the mud, and on land uses the pectoral fins as legs. At Hanover Bay, Mr. Montgomery, the surgeon, was severely wounded by the natives. The 'Bathurst' then visited the Isle of France, and returned thence to King George's Sound. The natives there are peaceable, eat raw seal flesh, and wear cloaks of kangaroo skins. On the west coast optical delusions frequently occurred, representing land and trees where none existed. The vegetation of the islands on the coast was usually very different from that of the mainland. In May, 1822, Captain King returned to Sydney and sailed for England. The botanical collection is cultivated by Mr. Alton, at Kew Gardens, and a herbarium of five hundred specimens is in the hands of Mr. Lambert, the botanist.

"Captain King is now surveying the southern coasts of America, and is to make an attempt to reach the South Pole, which from Captain Weddell's late discoveries, it is thought, may be done."

The name of Thomas de la Condamine is too familiar to a Queenslander's ear to be passed by without saluting it, as one perpetuated by the waters of Darling Downs. His appointment this year as Clerk of the Executive and Legislative Council appeared with that of Henry Grattan Douglas, as Commissioner of the Court of Requests, in a Government Order dated the 8th September.

The battle of Waterloo and all its glory had not died out yet, for on its anniversary—18th June—the "Amity" expedition to Port Essington had taken possession of a bay * adjoining that place, and called it "Wellington" under a royal salute. The British flag had been hoisted and the spot dubbed a "fort". The "Mary Elizabeth" which, laden with agricultural implements had left Sydney with the practical means of making Port Essington a tropical garden, had been seen struggling on for Torres Straits: and on Friday, October 5, in a service ever relieving, but never relieved from weariness and ennui, Lieutenant Bainbridge went to Moreton Bay to release Lieutenant Innes, who then returned to Port Macquarie; at the same time that the Rev. Charles P.N. Wilton, M.A., supplied refreshment to the studious inquirer, by his publication—of which he was also the author—of the Australian Quarterly Journal of Theology, Literature, and Science.

[* Raffles Bay.]

October brought to light a token of the strength of the ruling passion, which makes Strafford's motto, "Thorough", that of all of the British birthright who will it: it was but a scrap of paper found in a cave about seventy miles from Bathurst in the western country. So much as the following was deciphered: "In this cave the undersigned poor individual retreated, in order to examine in hermitical retirement the botanical treasures discovered by him on the 23rd April, 1817: journeying to the western coast. Allan Cunningham, H.B.M.'s Botanist. 3 o'clock p.m. Therm. Fahr. 60 deg."






{Page 60}

CHAPTER IV.


"SPICILEGIUM."

Indirectly appealing to Queensland sympathy, the fate of the gallant La Perouse and his companions brought out of the dark for the first time by the persevering efforts of Captain Dillon, commanding the East India Co.'s ship "Research", fixed first attention to the incidents of this year. On January 2nd, 1828, Captain Dillon, accompanied by Count Cheneau, Consul to China from France, arrived in Sydney, having completed his mission under the auspices of the E.I. Company. [See Appendix.]

The perpetual strain had now told upon our indefatigable Surveyor-General, the discoverer of the Brisbane, the founder of the first of Queensland settlements. On the 26th of February he obtained leave of absence in the hope of re-establishing health. Major Thomas Livingstone Mitchell was appointed as his "locum tenens;" and on the 25th of May Oxley died, after a long illness, brought on by the pressure of public business. The appointment of his successor. Major Mitchell, was gazetted on the 26th. [Appendix.]

William Johnson was hung in Sydney, in March, for the murder of Morris Morgan, at Moreton Bay, under sentence passed by Justice Dowling. A case of the old story! The settlement's requirements seem to have kept the coasters in lively exercise, the names of "Lucy Ann", "Alligator", and "Isabella" frequently recurring. Port Raffles and Melville Island were at this time "as well as could be expected from the incessant heat of the weather;" at the two latter places the aborigines on the North Coast were as harassing in their attacks on the Malays as on the white strangers.

On the 25th of July gas first shed light in Sydney, i.e. in the shop alone of Mr. Woods.

Why a ship should go to the Isle of France viâ Moreton Bay, who can tell? But so it was with the "Borodino", on the 29th of August, from Sydney.

On the 5th September, Captain Rous and the "Rainbow" returned from a cruise to the northward, reporting the discovery of the Richmond in latitude 28 deg. 54 min., and the * Clarence in the latitude and longitude of Point Danger (a manifest error somewhere, as this is the position of the Tweed). He fell in with five runaway prisoners from Moreton Bay, in a state of nudity. Fraser, the colonial botanist, had also returned, speaking in raptures of country which he had visited south of the settlement of Moreton Bay.

[* Clarence entrance, 29° 26' south latitude, 153° 23' east longitude. Tweed entrance, 28° 9' south latitude, 153° 34' east longitude.]

The 18th April, 1829, was the last day of the lives of two wretched men, hung for the murder of their mate at Moreton Bay. Their names were Thomas Matthews and Thomas Allen. The first knocked down John Carroll, of the same gang, while the last cleft his head asunder with his mattock. The old story told on the gallows! It seemed that at this time the French Government had decided upon forming settlements on our west coast, and sent formal notice of their intent to the British Ministry. This intimation evidently quickened ministerial movements in an exceptional manner. Orders were instantly despatched to the Cape of Good Hope for the immediate departure of a man-of-war with a suitable complement of military, to "Swan" Port, and the Captain of H.M.S. "Success", who had already urged the advantages of that spot for settlement, was at length sent off to it with all possible speed. [Appendix.]

Again, this month figured under the hangman's hand. James Sullivan had killed his companion, Patrick McConderan, at Moreton Bay, that he might by this method "be himself freed from suffering worse than death." This was the old story.

May 12th brought to our shores, by the "Princess Royal", Captain Sherwood, G.C. Stapylton on the staff of our surveyors, from London the 6th of January. Poor fellow! afterwards murdered by the blacks near Brisbane.

The revered name of the Rev. William Grant Broughton * on the 17th of September, emitted a gentle ray—the earnest of advancing day upon the scene of Australia's higher life. As successor to the Rev. Thomas Hobbes Scott, in him the Archidiaconal grew into Episcopal dignity. His speeches, when he threw his weight into the scale of political discussion, breathed through his whole course the benignity of his nature, and the truth of the charity which he exercised in thought, word, deed, and preached abroad. He was sworn in as a member of the Executive Council and took his seat on the 23rd, and probably from him came the pleading under which the Governor did not think it extravagant to issue his proclamation of the third of the November following by which he acknowledged the propriety of affording an opportunity "to the inhabitants of publicly expressing their humble thankfulness to Almighty God" for the instance of His mercy referred to [Appendix] in relief from a long distress of drought.

[* Born four months after this colony.]

Of the early explorers of the "North Countrie", none, perhaps, may fire the sympathies of early Queensland so truly with the spirit of "Auld Lang Syne", as he yclept Allan Cunningham.** In the footprints of Cunningham's perseverance did that pastoral preux chevalier, Patrick Leslie, win his spurs; but for Leslie's lead, Leichhardt, in all probability, had been loth to lunge his longings and his life on the wide circuit of this unknown land; and but for Leichhardt, his hearth and heart's loved dream,*** this virgin "realm" had not so soon been led out of her captivity in "nothingness and night" by exploit of his knight-errantry and his squires to be enthroned Aphrodite of this foam-sprung Tierra Austral. We are ever looking back inquiringly upon the queenly form roused from her wilderness sleep by Cunningham's hand and voice, and asking "how much owest thou under the sun to the memory of this man's loyal service and of his fellow rescuers"? Patient and plodding, now again we find him, on the 24th September, 1829, in our midst, back from the new north with Io triumphe! on his every smile. "See these specimens! dead, dried, and living: plants which that region only as yet can gladden us with: vegetation as yet unknown. With what delight will the herbarium at home nurse these! I have paced again that paradise, pathless yet around that pen of punishment: that penal patch within which pity is but a poor phantom in rags, and pain soon palsies the prison pulses. More yet! I have set at rest the fretting question which has so long addled our humours: I have seen enough to know that the grand labyrinth of Oxley's western waters shuns all defiling intercourse with this braggart stream of Brisbane which has so tantalised our fancies with the promise of its pretentious mouth."

[** Allan Cunningham. Was he not of Dumfrieshire?]

[*** Leichhardt told me that he had come here to make a name for himself by success in his undertakings in Australia, that he might so be enabled to return to his native country and carry out his engagement to a lady to whom he was much attached.]

Murders north and murders south! In 1830, two more white savages on the 4th of February by the barque "Lucy Ann", from Moreton Bay, to be tried, and, of course, hung; and in May the black savages in Van Dieman's Land to be punished wholesale, through the impressed service of their far-north fellow countrymen! The happy expedient had been hit upon by some merciful soul of sending "down a body of blacks, who, it is thought, may be useful" as bloodhounds on the track of their distant kindred; for which purpose we find that "a party of Moreton Bay natives are now in Sydney comfortably clothed in blankets, and preparing for their novel expedition." Now, in the spirit of "advance", was the first suggestion of "overlanding", for it was gazetted that the "Government were about to drive a thousand head of cattle to Moreton Bay, for the purpose of supplying the settlement with fresh meat." But it was never done.

Port Macquarie lifted up her head with an open honest countenance on the 15th day of August. The word went forth that she should be no longer a prison house on the 30th of July. [Appendix]. Another edict had presented our young industries with the mother-land's indulgence of a reduction of the duty upon our kangaroo-skins' introduction into her exclusive nursery, from twenty to five per cent., as a new year's gift last year—1829.

Four years had Captain Logan's commandancy at Moreton Bay endured, and, on disait in October, that he would return to head quarters by the very next craft. He certainly did return, but not until the Government schooner "Isabella" had arrived on the 23rd of November, bringing his dead body.

In those four years his "bent" had been conspicuous in his exploring excursions by land and water. Before making way to a success of, he had wished his closing effort in the public service to be the completion of a map, in which should be embodied his own and all other results which had up to the time accrued in the examination of the surrounding district. And so, self-reliant and a stranger to all apprehension, he set forth on the 9th of last month—October—to make his last congé to the river-god of the Brisbane. On that Saturday, accompanied by his servant Collison, of the 57th Regiment, and five prisoners, he set about his work, that of laying down correctly the windings of its course between the Pine-ridge, Lockyer's Creek, and Mount Brisbane; examining the creek which struck out of the main channel at the foot of this mountain in a north-easterly direction; and thence returning by the "Pumice-stone" stream and the "Glass Houses" to the settlement. He took two pack-bullocks, together with their requirements. On Sunday they had travelled about fourteen miles; next day, when nearing the Pine Range, some two hundred blacks showed in hostile array upon a hill close to which they had to pass, rolled down large stones on them, without doing damage however, but used no spears. A shot fired by Collison over their heads kept them off awhile; but they renewed their attack shortly afterwards. The bearing of the natives towards the party throughout was unusually threatening. On his return, and when close under Mt. Irwin, Captain Logan, still lingering in his investigations of the ground which he had now learnt so well, left the others, with instructions that they should camp in a place he spoke of, where he would rejoin them that evening. He was never seen again alive. * [See Appendix.]

[* From one of the reports appended it seems that the skeleton found in 1840 by Arthur Hodgson on his station of Etonvale could not have been that of Captain Logan's horse, as supposed when told of at Moreton Bay.]

Too significant, it may be feared, of the excessive discipline practised hitherto in the control of prisoners at the penal settlements appointed for secondary punishment, was the issue of the Proclamation—to be found in the Appendix—which bears the date of October 26, 1830. The frequent executions for murder, the declarations, on more than one occasion, made by the wretched culprits before the fatal "drop", had stirred up men's minds to a general condemnation of the extreme system of punishment which was exposed by such reiterated "last words" on the gallows.

There was a prevalent rumour in the North that the terrible occurrences which had marked Logan's end had been worked out by the blacks under the instigation of revengeful convicts,—possibly runaways dwelling among the very natives, who were ever greedy in their appetite for the white man's blood. De mortuis nil nisi bonum. Bowing to the principle, let the question sleep. Yet this proclamation cannot fail to be suggestive. [Appendix.]

Following in the wake of past notable incidents, paddled out the "Surprise", the first steamboat launched in Australia, on the 31st of March, 1831, and made her first trip to Parramatta under the auspices of Wednesday, the 1st day of June following. The 12th of July added another gross record of an execution: that of McMann's, convicted on the previous Thursday of an attempt "to murder a fellow-prisoner with a hoe at Moreton Bay with the avowed object of getting sent to Sydney; then to forfeit his own life." April, just past, was noticeable through the issue of a Government order, dated the 16th, "prohibiting the abominable traffic with New Zealand for human heads!" On the 16th of May the steamer "Sophia Jane" arrived from England, under the command of Captain Biddulph, and accomplished her first trip to the Hunter on the 19th; and on the 16th of August another mess of misery stares us in the face, in the reception into Sydney Gaol of three runaways from Moreton Bay, "who had reached the vicinity of Port Macquarie, had been brought in and delivered over to Captain Smyth by the blacks of that settlement," escaped again thence, and reached Port Stephens, where they were seized and sent on here for disposal. Escaping from one gaol to be shut up in another, in spite of all the attendant risk in the way of spears and starvation, must have been but a sorry taste of freedom for a season.

This year turned out upon the waters of the Williams river another steamer, built by Grose, of Parramatta, which was launched on Monday, 21st November, and proceeded to Sydney to take in her engines; while our new and useful comer, the "Sophia Jane", received, pro formâ, the first two tons of coal from the just completed "Agricultural Company's wharf at Newcastle, the first fruits of the new workings."

The years 1832, 1833, and 1834 presented little body of sensational matter directly or indirectly from the northern district. Distinguishable from the bearing of the then present upon the future is the satisfaction of finding that in 1833 the "Isabella" took to Moreton Bay, for secondary punishment, no less than twenty of that class of convicts called "specials", a class which, having "moved once in their day in a more respectable sphere of society," deserved, it was very fairly said, "no distinction in treatment." Moral instruction—an advantage of which they had had the early teaching—had been scorned: habits of idleness, self-indulgence, and vice had left them no power to be useful even in the enforced labour of punishment; much less in the desire of better things: while the other class had furnished many instances of returning to a desire of showing practically that it was "never too late to mend." So murmured justice. Some of the more energetic—it may be supposed—had managed to escape in a Government boat early this year. The "Isabella" had searched in vain for them and the boat at Norfolk Island, and so came back again on July 18th; but soon this fair craft told a tale of more prolific industry, for on the 27th of August she, under command of sturdy master Hanson, with a hold full of cedar, treenails, and specimens of Moreton Bay wood; her deck lively with some rank and file of the 17th Regiment, in whose charge (proh! pudor) were three female prisoners of the Crown, were gladly hailed in Port Jackson. Some trades must have been flourishing, when on the 19th of August, 1834, were sold by auction at the Commissariat Stores, by Samuel Lyons, 8,000 bushels of maize, at from 3s. to 3s. 2d. a bushel, and 32,000 feet of cedar, in plank, at 1½d. a foot, brought from Brisbane by the "Harriet:" while it was hoped that the departure of the revenue cutter, "Prince George", from Sydney on the 16th December, for the purpose of examining "Lord Howe's" Island, and reporting upon its eligibility for a penal settlement upon the Norfolk Island system, might be an indication of the abandonment of Moreton Bay, because of the facilities of escape thence, and the prevalence—so stated—"of ague, and other afflictions and diseases, to a fearful extent," at that place. Spring Rice (afterwards Lord Monteagle) had moved at home for leave to bring in a bill to establish criminal courts at Norfolk Island.

The modesty of the following, which appeared in December of 1835, overpowered attention to any other memoranda which may entitle that year to our regard. The very perusal, even now, incenses. What an escape have we had from the closed fist of Major Benjamin Sullivan!

"To the Nobility and Gentry of the British Empire and its Colonies:

"The distress that is year after year prevalent in Great Britain and Scotland, partly arising from the inability of employing fully at all seasons of the year its redundant population, requires the serious attention of the British public. A beautiful well-watered tract of country 'on its (New South Wales') eastern coast, extending from the counties of Macquarie and Cambridge to the tropic of Capricorn, particularly claims the notice of Britons for emigrating to; possessing every earthly requisite to induce man to occupy it; its soil being excellent, with numerous fine rivers running through it and covered with timber extremely valuable for ship and house building and for cabinet work; its degrees of latitude correspond with those of the northern, allowing five degrees for the difference of cold in the temperature between the two hemispheres, within which, in the northern the best wine countries are to be met with; it may therefore be presumed thai it would be adapted for the vine, tobacco, the sugar-cane, coffee, European and New Zealand flax, European hemp and the mulberry—otherwise the silk-worm tree—besides the cultivation of various fruits and grains, and the grazing of sheep and cattle: it abounds with minerals, precious stones, and pearls, lime, coal, iron, and copper; it is admirably situated for pursuing to any extent the whale fishery; and it possesses a surface, taken from its sea coast to the 150th degree of east longitude, of upwards of 20,000,000 acres!

"Private emigrants, however (particularly the poorer classes), cannot attempt to turn such a vast extent of territory into profit, for in endeavouring to do it many would infallibly be ruined, while those who might be fortunate enough to succeed in overcoming that danger, would find that many years would be required to bring it into public estimation and importance.

"Nevertheless, a joint stock company might undertake to do what private individuals, however persevering, could not; that is, to bring into a state of cultivation and of colonization the aforementioned tract of country; if such were to be formed on a plan that would not only effectually ensure to the British Crown all due obedience, authority, and patronage, but also would give to its proprietors ample remuneration for the risk, the zeal, and the perseverance that would necessarily be required of them in effecting it.

"Upon that basis, the undersigned has drawn up the following prospectus for the formation of such a company, which he humbly submits to your notice and patronage.

"The undersigned, with all due deference, has the honour to subscribe himself.

"Your most obedient, humble servant,
"(Signed)

"Benjamin Sullivan.
"Port Macquarie, County Macquarie,
"New South Wales, December 1, 1832.

"Prospectus.

"I. It is proposed that a Joint Stock Company shall be formed, to be called the 'Eastern Australian Company', with a capital of one million pounds sterling, to be raised by twenty thousand shares of fifty pounds each, and paid in five instalments.

"2. That the said Company shall petition the Crown to grant to it all the territory from 24 deg. to 31 deg. 10 min. south latitude, and from the eastern sea coast of Australia, including its adjacent isles, to 150 deg. east longitude; or from that coast as far westward as the dividing mountain ranges will permit, free from all reserves and rights on the part of the Crown, save that of the right of erecting such military and naval buildings as may from time to time be found necessary for the protection of such territory, and for the honour and dignity of the Crown."

Here follow thirty-three sections of this prospectus. Then in all naiveté: "to the foregoing prospectus some explanations may be considered as necessary." For a description of the territory that it was proposed to petition the Crown to grant to such a Company, the projector refers the reader to Wentworth's "Australia", vol. II.; to Barron Field's "Australia"; to King's "Australia", vols. I and II; to Cunningham's "New South Wales", vols. I and II.; and to the annexed statement made before himself as Resident Magistrate at Port Macquarie by runaway prisoners of the Crown from the penal settlement at Moreton Bay, and by the chief constable at that place.

"The place where it would be advisable for such a Company to commence operations from should be Brisbane Town, on the Brisbane River, which empties itself into Moreton Bay, where the Crown possesses at present several buildings of brick and stone, as also cattle, all of which would be required by the Company; therefore it is recommended by the sixth clause that land should be purchased at a fair and reasonable valuation from the Crown, at three years' credit.

"According to the existing regulations His Majesty has directed that none of his Crown lands shall be given away, but that such should be sold; and that in New South Wales such sale shall not be under the minimum price of five shillings per acre, for the purpose of establishing a fund to assist individuals of Great Britain and Ireland in emigrating to it.

"Such a Company as the one proposed cannot expect to have land granted to it by the Crown, but by purchase: nevertheless it may be presumed that His Majesty would be favourably disposed towards such a Company—and that he would therefore be induced to command that the proposed lands should be allowed to be purchased by such a Company, at the aforesaid fixed valuation, in the course of fifty years, by annual instalments."

The gallant Major then unburdens himself "to the free inhabitants of New South Wales." It appears to have taken him twenty months to digest the chagrin of his rejected address.

"To the Free Inhabitants of New South Wales.

"Port Macquarie, 20th August, 1836.

"Gentlemen,

"In the latter end of 1832, I undertook the laborious task of drawing up a systematic plan for colonising the different parts of this immense island without imposing any additional burthen upon His Majesty's Home Government; and proposed therein that the experiment should be tried by an Incorporated Joint Stock Agricultural, Commercial, and Political Company, on the eastern coast, that is from 31 deg. 10 min. to 23 deg. 30 min. south latitude.

"That plan, from several unforeseen circumstances, I was prevented from transmitting to His Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for the Colonies till the month of September, 1833.

"In December, 1834, I was honoured with an answer from Mr. Spring Rice, through Mr. Lefevre, the Under-Secretary of State, dated the previous month of July, stating that 'His Majesty's Government having no intention of forming any settlement in that quarter, Mr. Spring Rice regrets that he is thus precluded from entertaining any project of the nature of that which you have submitted; and that he is the more concerned in being obliged to come to such a decision, from the care and attention which you have bestowed upon the subject.

"I have the honour to be, Gentlemen,

"Your most obedient humble Servant,

"(Signed) Benj. Sullivan."

What a squeak for Queensland!






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CHAPTER V.



Hear a little further
And then I'll bring thee to the present business
Which now's upon us: without the which, this story
Were most impertinent.—Shakespeare. (Tempest.)


There is a complexity in the term "squat" which, in justice to squatters in the present days, should be accounted for: these take their seats among the élite of Australia without a glance back at their inheritance of the designation, with more heed than the fashionable of Sydney or Brisbane would care to take upon the Egyptian cradle from which their exodus was rocked. How shocking to the modern squatter to read in a record of March, 1836, that a petition was going round the districts of the colony praying the legislature of the day to pass an act "for the prevention of 'squatting', through which so much crime was daily occurring, inasmuch as squatting was but another term for sly grog-selling, receiving stolen property, and harbouring bushrangers and assigned servants!"

The Venerable the Archdeacon had returned on the 2nd of June from London, by the good ship "Camden"—Captain Ryan—having set sail thence on the 22nd February last, as the Right Rev. Lord Bishop of Australia, accompanied by his family. The See of Madras, which had hitherto enfolded Australia, had no belt sufficient for the girth of so fast-growing a member of its flock. The "Camden's" passage was exceptionally fast for fifty years ago. On the Sunday following the ceremony of installation took place at St. James' Church, and a new era for our church set in. Followed by another change in public office, we are told in August that "Mr. E. Deas-Thomson had received the appointment of Colonial Secretary and Registrar of Records in the room of Mr. McLeay, who retired from public life. If his pension," the notice acrimoniously went on to say, "is to retire with him, let the Whig ministers pay it out of their own pockets by all means, and welcome! but to Mr. John Blaxland's we join our heartiest protest against such a conversion of the public money, if it be proposed to saddle the revenue of this future colony with such an encumbrance as a retiring pension to Mr. McLeay. Were Mr. McLeay's gains for the last ten years but one quarter as enormous as they have been, we think he might gladly retire without asking or seeking for anything more." Deas-Thomson's appointment appeared in the London Gazette, and bears date 24th March last.

Just one year after E. Deas-Thomson's appointment, i.e. in August, 1837, was a memorandum that the "'James Watt', steamship, Captain Parsons, had sailed for Moreton Bay on account of the Colonial Government," which became strangely hooked on in tow of the news of a double shipwreck, which was freighted with interest enough to catch the eye. A schooner called "Active" had been wrecked on the 2nd of July last year, on a reef among the "Feejee" or "Viti" group. Her crew and Captain Dixon had with difficulty reached one of the islands, on which two missionaries—Cross and Cargill—received them with all kindness. After a while some grew impatient; seized a boat with the purpose of reaching some vessels which the natives had spoken of as trading for bêche-de-mer; had been seen by the savages of an island which they had passed, who put off and killed them all. Then, three more of the crew joined some Tongaese in a large canoe in hopes of reaching Vavoa, one of the Friendly group. About the 9th of September, those who remained received a note from W. Stutchens, master of the brig "Elizabeth" of Sydney, to the effect that he was lying at Eboona, under a hundred miles away: had heard of their position, and of the murder: but that in the teeth of such winds as had set in he could not go to their help. Then came a message by a small craft called the "Pearl", tender to an American ship, the "Eliza", from her commander, Captain Wynn, which offered them all his vessel as a home as long as she remained among the islands, and a passage to Rotumah or Manila when he left. And the "Actives", captain, mate, and supercargo (J.P. Wilkie) were landed on the island of Rotumah on the 7th November, and on the 11th of this year, 1837, the whaling ship "Duke of York"—master, Robert Morgan—called there, took them on board in most cordial fashion, and went swimmingly until the 14th of August, when the "Duke of York" followed the bad example of the "Active" in getting wrecked, and the compliment of her indwellers, thirty-two all told, took to their whale boats, three in number, and on the 26th reached Moreton Bay in company, where they were agreeably surprised by finding the "James Watt" ready to start for Sydney. Before reaching Moreton Bay they had on one occasion, when procuring water, lost two men, murdered by the blacks. The "James Watt" returned to Sydney on the 29th inst., bringing J.P. Wilkie of the "Active", Captain Morgan, nineteen of the crew of the "Duke of York", and Captain Jackson, R.N., from Moreton Bay. On Saturday, the 23rd of September, the "Foster Fyans" brought up the remainder of the crew of the "Duke of York" and the "Active" left behind at the settlement.

In justice to the memory of Dr. Lang, I am glad to have an opportunity of reproducing from the beginning of 1838 the record of an event which makes its better mark on Moreton Bay history, as the first practical effort towards applying the use of that young settlement to a brighter purpose, and guiding its way out of dark and dismal traditions towards one of bounden national humanity, duty and justice.

The "Minerva", from Greenock, the 13th of August last, arrived on Thursday, 25th January, 1838, with 235 emigrants, but in consequence of typhus fever, were placed in quarantine. They had been "selected by the Rev. Dr. Lang during his recent visit to the mother country, and had come out under the care of the doctor's brother-in-law. Captain McAusland. Among the passengers were thirteen German clerics with their families, come out to establish a mission to the aborigines, northward of this colony, under the superintendence of the Synod of New South Wales. Two were ordained clergymen, and the remainder, who came in the capacity of catechists, had also been instructed in various mechanical arts, with a view to the communication of the arts of civilised life to the aborigines, in conjunction with Christian knowledge. Hitherto the cabin passengers had been free from disease, the fever having confined its ravages entirely to the 'tween decks. Orders had been issued by the Executive Government for the immediate landing of the emigrants, and for the occupation of the buildings recently erected at the Quarantine Station, Spring Cove—then called the "Lazaretto".

On the 20th March, the "Isabella" took to Moreton Bay the Rev. Christopher Eipper and fourteen of the Germans.

The Rev. Mr. Schmidt and the remaining missionaries were to follow by the next opportunity. Messrs. Schmidt and Eipper had been admitted as members of the Synod of New South Wales, and would as soon as practicable form themselves into a limb in connection therewith, to be called the "Presbytery of Moreton Bay."

Again in May, the same craft brought back most gratifying intelligence. They had met with the kindest reception from Major Cotton, the commandant of the settlement, who had shown a disposition to forward their views to the utmost of his power. It was proposed to select a site for their establishment, a short distance from the settlement, but sufficiently near for protection by the military. The aborigines of the northward seemed to differ in character and disposition from those of the south—"they expressed themselves highly gratified(!) on learning the purport of the missionaries' visit to the settlement."

The merits of Dr. Lang's beneficent work for Moreton Bay came to light prominently on the 2nd day of the opening year; 1839. A meeting was held in the School of Arts, in Sydney, in aid of this mission: Roemer in the chair. Dr. Lang had in 1836, made application to the local Government for assistance towards establishing German Presbyterians at Moreton Bay, but met with no favourable reply. Subsequently two more appeals were made, and at length the Government promised a sum equal to what might be raised by private subscriptions for the purpose. When Dr. Lang went home, he visited Germany, and arranged at Berlin for the selection of twenty persons, clergy and laity, who consented to join the undertaking. They had sailed from Greenock under the charge of the Rev. Mr. Schmidt, and, as already shown, had arrived just a year ago, proceeded to the settlement, and been principally engaged ever since in building their dwellings, &c. The full amount of £517 contributed and granted had been slightly exceeded by the disbursements.

Financial considerations in February much exercised the patience of the Governor—Sir George Gipps—and his Council. There was an extraordinary session for the purpose of "adopting measures for the tranquillity of the districts beyond the limits of location," when Major-General Sir Maurice O'Connell and Captain King were sworn in as members, and took their seats.

His Excellency read the following speech:—

"Gentlemen,—I have called you together at this unusual season of the year, in order to propose to you a measure for the establishment of a police force beyond the settled districts of the colony.

"The vast interests which have grown up in those distant parts of the territory, and the number of persons of all classes now engaged in depasturing sheep and cattle beyond what are called the boundaries of location, might be sufficient of themselves to call for the protection of a police force; but the necessity for it is rendered far more urgent by the frequent aggressions made of late by the aboriginal natives upon the flocks and herds of the colonists, as well as on the lives of their stockmen; by the outrages which have been committed upon the aborigines, as well as by them, and particularly by one atrocious deed of blood, for which seven men have suffered on the scaffold.

"The bill which I shall lay before you purposes to accomplish this object, by giving to the Crown Land Commissioners, who already perform certain functions in these districts, far more important powers than they now possess; and by providing that each Commissioner shall be accompanied by a moving police force, sufficient to repress the predatory attacks of the natives, and to keep order amongst all classes.

"As it appears to me perfectly just that the persons who are protected by this force should bear the expense of it, the bill provides for that object by means of an assessment on cattle and other stock.

"In proposing, however, a new tax upon any portion of the people of this colony, it is not sufficient, I think, to show that it falls upon persons who may properly bear it: it is necessary to prove that the tax itself cannot be dispensed with. Without, therefore, entering into an elaborate statement of finance, which at the present season of the year would be premature, I will request the attention of the Council to a few facts tending to show that it would be highly unwise in the present state of our finances to incur any new expenses without providing at the same time the means to defray them. The total revenue of the year 1838 (exclusive of Crown lands) was £202, 960 7s. 5d., being £26,739 12s. 7d. less than it was estimated at by Sir Richard Bourke. The total expenditure of the same year—1838—(exclusive of immigration) cannot yet be exactly ascertained, but it may be taken at about £295,000, being an excess over the revenue of £92,000. The excess of expenditure over income of the present year must be taken, I am sorry to say, at a still higher sum. In the financial minute which I laid before the Council on the 7th of August last, it was estimated at £100,798 6s. 4d. Since that time, however, new charges have arisen which have to be provided for, and the increased price of provisions of every description has caused all our contracts to be made at a higher rate than that which is set down in the estimates; the excess of expenditure over income for the year 1839, will, therefore, I now apprehend, be much greater than what I considered probable August last."

His Excellency having finished, made a few remarks on the nature of the bill which he then presented to Council. He said, "it would be remembered that in the last Session, only a few months since, a bill had been passed to restrain the occupation of Crown lands; but the opinion given by two of the judges had rendered some slight alterations necessary.

The bill was then read a first time.

On the 9th of the month following—March—the bill came on again before the Council, and clauses postponed at a previous sitting raised long discussion, in the course of which the Governor suggested the probability of both increasing the assessment and raising the price of licenses at a future time, as the bill afforded so many facilities to "squatters" over the old colonists.

The "Squatting Bill"—to which the title given was "an Act further to restrain the unauthorised occupation of Crown lands, and to find means to defray the expenses of a Border Police" was read a third time, and passed on the 26th March.

Blacks and whites seem to have sickened Government of their northernmost settlement by this time. No Patrick Leslie had yet made his anabasis to Darling Downs. No squatter had yet invaded the gaol-yard precincts of the Brisbane commandancy. Yet on disait in April that the establishment there would be shortly broken up. The Government, indeed, had taken up the steamer "Sophia Jane" to proceed to it and bring back the whole of the government machinery, with the exception of the commissariat officer, the assistant-surgeon, and the subaltern. So back came she on the 21st May with the Commandant, Major Cotton, and his family, Lieutenant Aitken of the 28th Regiment, Mr. Parker, superintendent of stock, Messrs. White, Spicer, Sheridan, Hallan, and Mr. and Mrs. Cox with four children, fifty-seven female and nineteen male prisoners, twenty-three soldiers, &c.

"Commissioners of Crown Lands" became gentlemen of mark when the new act, in force on the 1st of June, entitled the following cavaliers to have two stalwart policemen armed cap-á-pie en poursuivant at a respectful distance: of such—the quality of the bush—the Government Gazette on that day enumerated the respected names: for Port Macquarie, Henry Oakes:

New England, J.G. Macdonald: Liverpool Plains, Mayne: Bligh, Hunter: Wellington, L.V. Dulhunty: Lachlan, H. Cosby: Murrumbidgee, H. Bingham: Maneroo, J. Lambie: Port Phillip, H.F. Gisborne; but their gentlemen-at-arms had not been yet fully equipped.

And at length the ever misleading perplexity of one name's "double-dub"—so common in the colony—is for the future obviated by an act of common sense and convenience; for the last gracious word of Sir George Gipps in December was issued in the Government Gazette of the 7th, directing that "in order to avoid confusion, the river entering Shoal Bay in latitude 29 deg. 26 min. S., commonly called the 'Big River' (a popular description in the bush of many a water course), shall for the future be called the Clarence."






{Page 77}

CHAPTER VI.


Yes, truly, if Nature is one, and a living indivisible whole, much more is Mankind, the image that reflects and creates Nature, without which Nature were not.—Carlyle. (Sartor Resartus.)


Drawing near to the hour when life was to spring into the light which the following—till now unpublished journal—had already shed upon one of the fairest features of our present Queensland, its introduction at this spot becomes, I think, due to the able and excellent man who so long laboured among the early colonists as His Britannic Majesty's Botanist, whose loving service to Nature, Nature reflects upon his work, and illustrates while he teaches. With Allan Cunningham came our earliest knowledge of our "Faerie Queene", embowered in the land of the North.


"A report of observations made during the progress of a late tour, on the face of the country, lying between Liverpool Plains and the shores of Moreton Bay, in New South Wales; comprehending a portion of the interior within the parallels of 28 deg. and 32 deg. south, for the most part previously unexplored by Allan Cunningham, to whom the direction of a late expedition of discovery, under the immediate sanction and patronage of his Excellency the Governor, was intrusted.

"29/5386.—8th July, 1829.—Register.

"November, 1827.

"Introductory Remarks.

"We are living in a land, the physical constitution of which differs strangely from every other portion of our globe * with a superficial extent that has been estimated at more than three-fourths of that of Europe, yet furnishes (as far as a minute examination of its various shores has been effected) no river by which a knowledge of the capabilities of a distant interior might be acquired, or the produce of its soil wafted to its coasts.

[* Captain de Freycinet, in assigning proportions to the principal divisions of the globe, estimates the surface of Europe at 501,875 square French leagues, and that of Australia at 384,375, which is to Asia and America as 3 are to 7, or about one-fourth of the superficial extent of Africa. Voy. aux Terres Australis, p. 107.]

"Admitting the non-existence of rivers in so vast a country of distant internal origin, or of magnitude approaching those noble streams, which, rising in the more elevated regions of the Andes, are disembogued on the shores of the American continent, we are naturally led to the belief that no lofty ranges of mountains traverse the central regions of this 'great southland', either in the direction of the meridian, or transversely in that of the parallel, but the rather, that large portions of our intertropical interior will one day be discovered to be of low depressed surface, subject in part, in seasons of much rain, to extensive inundation. Indeed, it has been remarked by travellers that, so far as their observations have extended, the high lands of this continent are, on or at no great distance from its shores, and navigators inform us that the more elevated ranges occupy its eastern coast, which in several parallels they immediately invest, and throughout a span of five hundred miles within the tropical circle, are of primitive structure.**

[** King's Voyage 2, p. 570.]

"Fourteen years have elapsed since those enterprising travellers, Messrs. Blaxland, Lawson, and Wentworth, upon surmounting the many obstacles that lay in the way of internal discovery in their day, passed that formidable barrier, our Blue Mountain Ranges, and at once laid open an extensive western country, not only to the persevering industry of the husbandman and grazier, but to the no less laudable research of the zealous naturalist.

"Almost immediately subsequent to that epoch in the annals of our colony, expeditions were despatched to explore rivers, then of recent discovery, in which Mr. Oxley, our able Surveyor-General, to whom their direction was intrusted, was engaged in 1817 and succeeding years; but the results of these journies having tended in no small degree to check that spirit of internal geographical inquiry, which had at those periods manifested itself, no tour of any magnitude, with the view towards the acquirement of a further knowledge of our interior has, since those days to the present year, been undertaken, if we except the laborious excursion of Messrs. J. Hovell and Hume from the country of Argyle, across a portion of our southern interior, to the shores of Port Philip. Of the relation of that long journey, however, although it was performed three years since, we have yet to learn the details. These, when published, will doubtless prove highly interesting, not only to the colonist, but to every well wisher of the country, since it has been affirmed that those travellers, in the progress of their expedition, passed through an undefined extent of beautiful country, the richest that had been discovered at that period, "the finest in point of soil, and incomparably the most English-like in point of climate."

"Inheriting, as we have for many years, the shores of so vast a country, when Nature's operations in her animal and vegetable products, more especially from so many striking peculiarities, inducing, not merely to create our surprise, but sufficient to keep perpetually alive within us a laudable inquiring curiosity, it is singular that at this advanced age of the colony, we should be found in possession of so little well-founded information in respect to the construction of our distant interior, since, in our limited range of inquiry, although the surface of the country has been found in parts made up of brushy waste, or noisome swamp we have, nevertheless, been abundantly encouraged to advance on meeting with the verdant glade amid the desert—been gladdened at length to discover, beyond the confines of regions scarcely tenantable by men, extensive tracts of rich pasture land, possessing all the physical conditions requisite for the well-being of civilized society.


"Proposed Journey through the Country lying interjacent to Liverpool Plains and Moreton Bay.

"To add to the scanty knowledge we have already acquired of our interior, I had the honor to address myself to his Excellency Lieutenant-General Darling on the subject in February last.

"In my communications to the Governor at that period I respectfully submitted, that as little perhaps remained to be done in the way of geographical research in the country bearing S.W. from Lake George, it having been penetrated to the sea on our south coast by Messrs. Hovell and Hume, I felt rather desirous of explaining a portion of the unknown region lying north from the latitude of 31 deg., to which parallel the country had been seen by Mr. Oxley so far back as the year 1818.

"With these views, I had the honor to submit for his Excellency's consideration and approval, the following proposed plan of a journey I had long since had in contemplation: To proceed, in the first instance, by the most direct and eligible route from the colony to Peel's River, in the country on the north-eastern skirts of Liverpool Plains, and situate between the meridian of 150 deg. and 151 deg. in or about the parallel of 31 deg. S. Thence I proposed to penetrate north, in a line west of the meridian of 151 deg. towards the shores of Moreton Bay, in the parallel of 27 deg., with the view of ascertaining the general features of the interjacent country; the character of its vegetation, the nature of its soil, and the number, magnitude, and direction of the streams, by which it was reasonable to conclude a region comprehending more than three degrees of latitude is doubtless watered. I further respectfully submitted that should the condition of my horses, the state of my provisions, and other circumstances justify it, upon my reaching the northern point to which I might be enabled to penetrate, my intention was, ere my return home, to occupy a portion of the time in an excursion direct into the interior, with the expectation of being able to gather a few facts in respect to the presumed magnitude of those great marshes into which ('tis said) all our western waters flow, to the eastern margin of which (in 30½ deg. south latitude) Mr. Oxley had descended in 1818. Should, however, the circumstances of my expedition not permit of this digression to the westward from that advanced step of my journey, I finally submitted to his Excellency that, with the view more fully to embody the chart, I would pursue my journey southerly towards the colony, through that considerable range of country lying east of the meridian of 151 deg. intermediate between my projected line of outward route and the sea coast.

"As this plan of my proposed tour to the northern interior met with the entire approbation of His Excellency, an ample equipment, fully equal to the magnitude of the journey, and agreeably to my requisitions, was directed to be prepared for me, and as the various items were completed to my entire satisfaction about the close of the month of March, I lost not a moment, (notwithstanding the unfavourable lowering aspect of the weather), in putting an establishment of six men and eleven horses (of which eight were the property of the Crown) into motion. To effect the more important points contemplated in this journey, I provided myself with the following instruments. viz.: a sextant, by Jones, divided to ten seconds, an artificial horizon, a Schmalcalder's compass, a pocket chronometer, an odometer or improved perambulator, and a mountain barometer, by Jones, which latter I compared with others in possession of J. Mitchell, Esq., of the General Hospital, who very obligingly engaged to furnish me (upon my return home) with his daily observations on the range of the mercurial column made in Sydney, during the period of my proposed absence in the interior, in order to enable me to compute, from data given by their difference from my own, simultaneously noted, the mean elevation above the level of the sea of the several stations or encampments of my journey.

"Thus prepared for my winter's tour, I proposed to proceed in the first instance with the party composing my expedition to Segenhoe, the estate of J.P. Macqueen, Esq., M.P., on an upper branch of Hunter's river, not more from its being in that direct line of route which the plan of my journey had marked out than from its proximity to the Dividing Range, over which my course lay, and the assistance that would be afforded me by Mr. Macintyre, the highly respectable agent and director of that extensive and valuable farm, in passing that formidable chain of mountains which separates the Coal river country from the great levels of Liverpool Plains.

"Desirous of preserving the fresh condition of the horses in this first stage of my journey, to enable them the better to meet its after labours, they were despatched overland without their loads, whilst the baggage, stores, and provisions for the use of the expedition were conveyed round by sea to Hunter's river.

"Arriving at Segenhoe * on the 26th of the month, I was most hospitably received by Mr. Macintyre, whose residence, together with the village-like group of habitations of the farming servants, was found eligibly situated on a tributary stream to Hunter's, named the Page, about a mile and a half above the confluence, and within twenty miles of the northern mountains, the elevated points of which constitute so striking a feature of the landscape of this most beautiful part of the Coal river country.

[* A grant from the Crown, procured by influence in England, as a means of provision for J.P. Macqueen, who had brought himself to ruin by a corruptly contested election for Bedfordshire.]

"The adjustment of the several pack-horse loads, and general preparation for my departure being effected in the short period of my stay at this station, I commenced my journey to the north on the 30th March, with an establishment of six servants and eleven horses, and with full provisions for fourteen weeks, having determined, from the information I had obtained of its practicability, to attempt my passage over the Dividing Range at the head of a stream of Hunter's river, called Dartbrook, which rises in a part of those mountains bearing to the N.W. about thirty miles.

"The situation of Mr. Macintyre's house on Page's river was found by observations to be as follows:—latitude by meridional altitudes of the sun taken in an artificial horizon and observed with an excellent sextant, being the mean of eight observations taken chiefly on the return of the party to this station in August, 32 deg. 6 min. 37 sees. S.; longitude by a set of lunar distances, 150 deg. 57 min. 16 sees. E.; ** variation of the needle, deduced by the mean of several sets of azimuths, 7 deg. 24 min. E.; and mean elevation above the level of the sea, being the result of twenty-one distinct observations of the mercurial column taken morning and evening, five hundred and ninety-seven feet.

[** As this result accords nearly with the meridian deduced by the actual survey of the country from Newcastle, viz., 150 deg. 58 min. 45 sees. E., which (there is reason to apprehend) places Segenhoe somewhat to the eastward of its real position, it may be considered about its true longitude.]

"On the 2nd May, having traced the narrow valley through which Dartbrook flows, to its head immediately at the foot of the mountains, we were joined by Mr. Macintyre, who had obligingly tendered me his services to conduct the party over the more difficult parts of the range, at a part by which he had himself on a former occasion crossed those mountains to Liverpool Plains.

"From the grassy hills immediately at the head of the valley, we gained by great exertion the higher parts of the Dividing Range, by climbing a narrow lateral ridge of so abrupt an acclivity as repeatedly to render it necessary, rather than endanger the lives of the horses, to disburden them of, portions of their loads.

"Traversing the extreme summit of the range about two miles to the westward, at a mean elevation of three thousand and eighty feet above the level of the sea, a sloping grassy ridge enabled us to descend to the head of a valley at the northern foot of the mountains on the afternoon of the 4th, when the tents were pitched until the morning of the following day. This encamping ground, which was found by observation to be in latitude 31 deg. 50 min. S., and longitude (by account) 150 deg. 35 min. E., I ascertained by barometrical admeasurement to be twelve hundred and twenty-one feet lower than the summit of the range, or about six hundred and seventy feet above the head of the opposite valley of Dartbrook.

"Having safely passed this mountain barrier, the rock of which I remarked was trap, we set out on our journey to the north at an early hour on the morning of the 5th, intending to pass along the eastern skirts of the vast lands before us, under as near as the country would admit, the meridian of 150¾ deg. We soon descended through the vale, at the head of which we had rested, to the more even-surfaced open-wooded land, when on leaving a small creek that had meandered with us from the mountain base, to wind its course to the lower levels of the great plains,* which had just opened to the view, we pursued our way through an extent of ten miles of barren forest, wooded with stunted box and ironbark, frequently interspersed with brush, which, from the languishing state of its scanty vegetation generally, had evidently been without water for several months.

[* The mean elevation of Liverpool Plains above the sea shore (which Mr. Oxley their discoverer had no means of determining) has always been considered much greater than recent admeasurement has given. A series of interesting observations, carefully made with an improved portable barometer by Jones, gave me the following mean results, showing how much the surface of the southern sides of these plains, which have evidently been raised by the washings of soil from the adjacent boundary range, is elevated above that of either the centre or northern margin. The southern skirts are eleven hundred and twenty feet; the central surface is about nine hundred and fifty feet, whilst the northern limits are from eight hundred to eight hundred and forty feet of perpendicular height above the level of the ocean.]

"Crossing a branch of the plains, in 38 deg. 38 min., stretching to the S.E. under the hills, and through which a small rivulet wound northerly, the country before us was found to rise to forest hills of ordinary elevation, lightly wooded with box timber, and frequently very stony on their summits, the rock itself being a coarse sandstone.

"The valleys, which were very confined, and occasionally disposed to be brushy, as well as some intermediate patches of level ground, furnished timbers of large dimensions, chiefly of the apple tree and gum. Immediately to the westward of our line of route, a chain of low thinly wooded great hills stretched northerly, and interrupted the view of the main body of the plains, whilst to the east were ridges, bold and precipitous, assuming in some parts a lofty mountainous character, whence issued several streams, which, after watering the various valleys, intersected by our line of route, escape westerly to the margin of the plains, where at length they unite in their course to the north, and form Field's river of Mr. Oxley, by the channel of which the eastern sides of those considerable levels are drained.

"The hills (as already remarked) are composed of a coarse grained sandstone, and in the valleys and heads of creeks was remarked a breccia or pudding-stone, on which the former reposed.

"On the 11th we reached the north-eastern angle of Liverpool Plains, and passed the parallel of 31 deg. 2 min., in which latitude Mr. Oxley had crossed Peel's river in his journey to Port Macquarie, in 1818, and from which particular point of intersection of that stream it was my intention to have taken a new departure, the interior to the north of it being totally unexplored by Europeans. The country, however, to east and north-east of our line of route proving on examination to be by far too broken, mountainous and rocky to permit my heavily laden pack horses to penetrate to the channel of that stream, conformably with the plan of my journey, their feet having already sustained considerable injury in passing those stony hills, which our line of route from the Dividing Range had intersected, I determined to continue our course to the north under the meridian at which we had arrived (about 150½ deg.), being satisfied that as there could be no doubt of the waters of the Peel falling internally, my course would intersect its channel whenever the chain of lofty hills immediately to the eastward of us, which appeared to stretch far to the north, should either terminate, or become so detached or broken as to allow of its escape to an obviously lower north-western interior.

"Meeting with a rill of excellent water at the foot of a grassy ridge (evidently one of the Melville Hills of Mr. Oxley), I was induced to halt to allow my people to refasten the shoes of several of the horses, which were nearly torn off by the rocky irregular surface of the ground we had traversed in the progress of our stages of the last two days. As it was early in the afternoon, I climbed a hill distant about two miles to the N.W., to observe the features of the country before us. From the eminence I had a more extended view of the broken mountainous country at E. and N.E. than I had previously had from a lower level, the precipitous aspect of which perfectly justifying my abandonment of the design of attempting to penetrate east (in the parallel 31 deg.) to the bank of Peel's river, as I had originally contemplated.

"Beyond the nearest ridge of hills at those bearings, I could perceive more elevated ranges, lying parallel with them, at sufficient distance from each other to mark distinctly the existence and direction of the ample vale to which the name of Goulburn was given by Mr. Oxley in 1818. At north, the country although hilly appeared very open to penetration, to points of which, in the vicinity of Barrow's Valley of our able Surveyor-General, I took bearings, and at N.W. and W.N.W. the eye traversed a vast extent of wooded and seemingly level country, through which Field's river of the chart winds its course to a declining interior.

"At W. and S.W., I recognised points of Mr. Oxley's survey in 1818 which I had identified in my winter's excursion in 1825, along the western side of Liverpool plains, particularly that remarkable forest ridge which bounds Lushington Valley on the S., named on the chart Vansittart's Hills. Not the smallest trace of human beings was perceived in an extensive range of country lying between N.E. and W. by the way of N., but at S.W., large columns of smoke, which rose from the surface of a distant region at that bearing, showed it to be extensively fired by the natives.

"On the morning of the 11th we quitted our resting place on the creek, and pursuing a course to the S. of W. about three miles, at length passed round the western extreme of the Melville Hills, through a dry brushy tract of forest ground, and were then enabled to shape a more direct line of route to the N.W. On this line of course, which led us through a level wooded country, scarcely one thousand feet above the sea coast, and alike suffering with other parts under the severity of a long protracted period of drought, we at length crossed the track of Mr. Oxley in 1818, the observations at noon taken in the midst of a dense brush of the drooping acacia pendula, giving us for latitude 31 deg. 31 sees. N., which placed our position about a mile to the north of that gentleman's line of route, after he had forded Field's river. Upon penetrating beyond these brushes of the grey-hued acacia above referred to, we pursued our way to the N.W. about four miles, over a level declining country, alternately forest ground and open plain, clothed with a vegetation in part destroyed by the drought, the long continuance of which was abundantly indicated by the extensive rents that had been effected in the ground by the sun, the extremely parched appearance of the surface, as well as the total absence of water in channels, which evidently, from their shaded situation, afford in seasons of ordinary humidity an ample supply. Amidst the distressing circumstances of the country, we were not a little surprised to observe upon reaching the skirts of the forest-land, on the western side of a large patchy plain we had traversed, so striking a change in the conditions of its grasses and vegetation generally.

"We had evidently descended to a lower level than the spot on which our tent had stood in the morning, and on entering the wooded land bordering the plain, which was timbered with apple trees (angophor) of large dimensions, we perceived that the whole forest had been flooded to the depth of five feet! at which height drift wood had been washed against the trunks of the timber, and although the entire plain thereto adjacent, as also other portions of the country south of it, nearly on the same level had been at the same time subjected to like inundation, yet the exposure of their open surface to the daily action of the sun, for very many months, had so far parched its vegetable products as to leave no clear evidence of the condition to which it is at periods subjected. It was, therefore, only under protection from the solar ray beneath the umbrage of densely foliaged apple trees, that plants, growing even in a soil fattened by the deposits of these floods, could assume amidst the extremes of a dry season, the luxuriance of growth in which we had observed them.

"The inclination to the S.W. of the heads of certain plants growing in this forest marked distinctly the direction which the current, upon the retiring of the waters of the last great flood, had taken, showing also the point of declination of the country at this particular part. Having accomplished twelve miles, and satisfied from every appearance around us that we were in the immediate neighbourhood of a water of larger magnitude than any stream we had passed since we quitted Hunter's river, we directed our course through the forest N.N.W., towards the base of a range of hills, the S.E. head of which overlooked the plain we had traversed, and in a mile came upon the left bank of a river which bent itself round the southern extreme of these hills in its course to the westward.

"The width of the channel we ascertained to be about one hundred and fifty yards, but of this breadth about one third only was occupied by water, which formed a succession of deep pools and pebbly rapids.

"The bank on which I had encamped was about thirty feet of perpendicular height above the low level of this river, and an idea may be formed of the vast bodies of water that at periods flow through its channel to the westward when it is observed that there were marks of the floods in the forest ground four feet above the level of the spot on which the tents were pitched. Deriving its origin in the very hilly country to the N.E. of us, which evidently formed a secondary dividing range, separating this part of country from that through which Peel's river flows, this stream, upon bending its course round the southern termination of the ridge of hills immediately on its opposite bank, wends its way to the westward, and in a few miles joins Field's river in its progress north-westerly.

"To the stream which had not been previously seen by Europeans, I gave the name of Mitchell's river, as a compliment to the medical officer to whom I am so much indebted for the very valuable details of barometrical observations, taken in Sydney during my absence on the journey.

"Very recent marks of the native's hatchet on the trees and a well-beaten path along the bank of the river, with other traces of the aborigine, showed us that this solitary part of the interior was not without inhabitants, and about sunset some distant voices were distinctly heard, but neither the savage himself or the glare of his fire was seen. In a deep pond immediately beneath the tents our people were successful with their hooks, several fine fish of the cod of the western waters were taken, but so eager were the fish to seize the baited hooks that several with portions of line attached were carried away in attempting to lift them from their native element.

"The end of an eclipse of the moon, which took place in the evening at 7 hrs. 55 min. 19 sec. apparent time, as observed with a tolerably good telescope, gave further longitude of the particular part of Mitchell's river whereon we had encamped 150 deg. 27 min. 15 sec. E. This served to compare with its meridian' reduced from that of Segenhoe on Hunter's river, which gave a difference of two minutes to the westward—viz., 150 deg. 25 min. 15 sec. E. However, as there were reasons for considering the latter result the more correct, it has been preferred.

"The latitude ascertained by a solar meridional altitude observed on the 12th was 30 deg. 59 min. 12 sec. S., and the mean elevation of the bed of the river above the level of the sea proved from barometrical data to be only eight hundred and forty feet, which is nearly one hundred feet lower than the central path of Liverpool Plains.

"12th. Continuing our journey to the north. Immediately on observing the sun's altitude at noon, we were led over a continuation of level forest ground, subject to inundation, about two miles, when we again met the river, running from the N.E., and having forded it at a pebbly fall, pursued our way through a forest of fine large blue gum. In another mile we came upon an open plain stretching to the N.W., and bounded on the S.W. by a continuation of the forest range, along the eastern base of which Mitchell's river flows. Skirting this plain on its eastern margin, and trusting to the hope of finding water, I altered my line of route to the N.N.E., but upon advancing about four miles through a forest country, almost denuded of grass and herbage by long droughts and the destroying effects of natives' fires, and without the slightest trace of water, felt obliged to return to the river, the bank of which we reached about an hour after sunset.

"Here we were again glad to pitch our tents, and as there was abundance of grass for the horses, I determined to rest the whole of the 13th, in order to afford them the benefit of a patch of luxuriant pasture, such as we were apprehensive from the aspect of the country before us northerly we could not expect to meet with, until we again came upon a living stream.

"On the morning of the 14th we again advanced on our journey to the north, through a dry uninteresting forest land, broken by watercourses, very level of surface, and thinly wooded with the usual timber.

"Occasionally we penetrated smaller patches of brush, scarcely interesting even to the botanist, and again gained a more open surface of barren forest ground, perfectly bare of grass or herbage, and exhibiting an arid argillaceous soil, rent in chasms by an obviously long protracted drought.

"Upon completing thirteen miles, I remarked the fall of the low ridges over which we had been travelling throughout our last three miles, to be to the eastward, I therefore altered our course in search of water, which most fortunately finding, we rested for the day about five p.m.

"Resuming our journey at an early hour on the 15th, we pursued a course to the N.N.W. through a heavily timbered, but parched level country. Our sixth mile brought us to the base of a ridge of barren forest hills, the declivities of which were deeply grooved by the rains of former years, that had also laid bare portions of the rock formation, which proved to be an argillaceous schistus. Immediately on passing this ridge, the southern flanks of which my horses climbed with considerable difficulty, we intersected in about two miles a stream running briskly over a rocky bed to the eastward, which in consequence of the general steepness of its immediate banks, gave us some trouble to pass. "Upon gaining the rising forest ground on its north bank, I was induced to direct a halt, not knowing (in a country so generally parched by an excess of dry weather) at what distance water might again be found. Other inducements to rest here were, its grasses were much fresher than those the open forest furnished, and we had, moreover, effected about nine miles distant to the north. The latitude of our encamping ground reduced from the observation at noon, was 30 deg. 36 min. S., and our barometer showed us we were upwards of a thousand feet above our station on Mitchell's river, into which the rapid rivulet on which we had rested ultimately falls, after meandering easterly and southerly among the hills. To individuals accustomed to live only amidst the charms of society, the solitary aspect of the greater portion of this day's stage would have proved most distressing. Scarcely a bird, not a kangaroo, emu, or native dog, or the evidence (even of the most ancient standing) of the wandering Indian, were remarked, until we had arrived in the immediate neighbourhood of an encamping ground, when our dogs gave chase to a solitary kangaroo.

"To us it was no less distressing to observe, as we travelled onward northerly, to what a degree vegetation was languishing amidst the severity of a drought of so protracted a period, that we might with great truth say no rain had fallen to benefit either herbage or the soil during the last twelve or fifteen months.

"16-18. Our course to the north throughout the three succeeding days led us over a hilly and in several parts broken country, which rose progressively in elevation, until we had attained a height exceeding two thousand feet above the sea shore.

"Occasionally a narrow valley, bearing a matted grass of the growth of two or three years, and bounded on either side by forest hills of steep acclivity, wooded with small trees, and grassy to their summits, afforded some diversity of feature in the line of country penetrated, which in general was that of open forest, furnishing the usual timbers of stunted growth, totally inapplicable to any purpose of rural economy. The water courses presented rocky deep channels, from twelve to twenty feet in width, which, in seasons less adverse, assumed the characters of respectable creeks.

"On the 17th, at noon, when our observed latitude was

30 deg. 22 min. S., we reached the bank of a stream, which received the name of Buddle's river, and although there was but little water in its channel, which was thirty yards wide, it nevertheless bore evident marks of being in seasons of heavy rains swollen to the height of twenty feet.

"This small river dipped to the E.N.E., and as the country appeared at length to be much more open in that direction than had been remarked in any part since we crossed to the north of 31 deg., it is without doubt a tributary to Peel's river.

"It was on the banks of Buddle's river that natives to the number of five persons were seen for the first time during this journey. Being myself a little in advance of the horses, I had no sooner reached the right bank than my attention was arrested by the appearance of smoke rising from the forest ground on the opposite bank, and immediately I perceived four natives and a child, who having previously observed me, were standing for the moment in a state of extreme surprise and r alarm. I called out to a man who stood in front of the fire, and who was armed with short spears, signifying by signs indicative of a friendly intention on my part—my wish to court an interview. To all my overtures he simply made a brief reply, and then on seeing the pack-horses descend to ford the river, he took to his heels, and with the other adults (seemingly women), ran off up the river, and immediately disappeared.

"19th. We resumed our journey at an early hour from a rocky creek on which we had encamped, and having advanced about three miles through a lonely uninteresting forest of tolerably level surface, we reached the base of an abrupt ridge of barren hills, timbered with small iron-bark, and deeply grooved by sharp narrow gullies, which, declining in a northerly direction, fell into a grassy bottom. Upon passing in a variety of courses over the banks of these arid ridges, suddenly a break in the hills at the N.W. afforded us a confined view of a level wooded country of unbounded extent, and to which there appeared an approach by a narrow wall before us. Descending without much difficulty to an apple-tree flat, the valley gradually expanded, being, however, bounded by very steep rocky ridges on its eastern and western sides, and watered by a small limpid stream which, originating in the congregated hills at its head, murmured over the stony bed of a channel, which wound through its centre beneath a shade of swamp oak. On completing our eighth mile, I observed the meridional altitude of the sun, which gave for our latitude 30 deg. 2 min. 30 sec. S., and then continuing our journey north, along the valley other six miles, I was induced to encamp on the bank of the creek, on a patch of the most luxuriant pasture we had met with since we left Hunter's river.

"We were not a little surprised to observe at the head of this valley, so remote from any farming establishment, the traces of horned cattle, only two or three days old, as also the spots on which from eight to a dozen of these animals had reposed, at a period so recent that the grassy blade, which was of long luxuriant growth, had not recovered its upright position.

"From what point of the country these cattle had originally strayed appeared at first difficult to determine. On consideration, however, it was thought by no means impossible that they were stragglers from the large wild herds that are well known to be occupying plains around Arbuthnot's Range, S.W. one hundred and seventy-five miles from this vale. Upon the range on the eastern side of the valley I discovered several undescribed plants of the most interesting description, observing also that the rock, which was a species of flint of curious laminated figure, like some agates, reposed on large masses of serpentine, obvious in the lower parts, and in the base of the ridge.

"During our stay in the vale, which I named after a friend in the Royal Staff Corps, Stoddart's Valley, I was enabled to determine the position of my encampment with tolerable precision. The result of my observations on the 20th were as follows, viz.: latitude observed, 29 deg. 58 min. 52 sec. S.: longitude by account reduced from the meridian of Segenhoe, 150 deg. 33 min. E.; longitude by distances (sun west of moon), 150 deg. 37 min.; longitude mean, 150 deg. 35 min. E.; variation by azimuth, 8 deg. 1 min. 30 sec. E. The mean of the results of barometrical computation, which showed us a very considerable declension of country to the north, in our last stage gave us a mean elevation of only eleven hundred and sixty feet above the level of the sea.

"On Monday, the 21st of May, we prosecuted our journey to the north along the valley, the beauties of which were progressively developed as we advanced. The ridges, which limited the view on either side gradually as they stretched to the north, lowered in elevation, and assumed the character of open forest hills, thinly wooded with small trees, and altogether less stoney. Passing over some fine patches of grassy flat, clothed sparingly with apple trees of, however, robust habit, we followed the creek that waters this extensive cattle range, about seven miles, to its discharge into a river of large dimensions, evidently the Peel of Mr. Oxley, which having flowed from the southward, through a very gradual fall of country, to a level of little more than nine hundred feet above the sea shore, at length winds its course by a creek, through the eastern hills, and passing the northern extremity of Stoddart's Valley, escapes (as Field's river) to a still lower north-western interior.

"The channel of this river at the ford by which we passed it exhibited a bed of gravel, exceeding two hundred and fifty yards in breadth, which at periods of great rains is occupied to the depth of twelve and fifteen feet, as we gathered from the flood marks on its outer banks. The long continuance of dry weather, beneath the effects of which an unknown extent of the interior appeared to be suffering, had, however, diminished the waters of the Peel to a breadth not exceeding fifty yards, and to a depth so trifling that it was fordable in many parts. On crossing this river, we halted on an elevated patch of forest ground on its right bank, the day being far spent. As we descended Stoddart's Valley to the river, we observed several of the trees had been completely and recently barked by the natives, and on the bank of the river opposite our encampment large bodies of smoke rose from the fired grass and herbage, but we neither saw or heard any of the Indians, the very recent prints of whose feet (as well adult as child) we clearly perceived on the sands at the ford.

"22nd and 23rd. Quitting the right bank of Peel's river (which we found by our barometer to be only nine hundred and eleven feet above the level of the sea), we pursued our route to the N.N.W., immediately at the base of a continuation of the eastern range of hills, which again assumed a bold and rocky character.

"We passed through an uniformly barren tract of wooded country, frequently very broken and ridgy, and as the declivity of the several gullies were of considerable dip towards the channel of the Peel, which extended along the eastern base of a densely wooded range, bearing west of us, we found the whole of the day's stage exceedingly badly watered. At a distance of about fourteen miles north from the ford of Peel's river the country considerably improves, and by being less encumbered with useless timber and brushwood, and therefore more open to the sun and air, the soil, which had assumed a darker colour, was productive of a tolerable clothing of grass and esculent vegetation. The thickly wooded ranges, to which the name of Drummond was attached, lying a few miles to the west of our route, was at length, as we advanced, observed to terminate, and the country beyond its northern extreme appeared from the higher grounds, near which we were travelling, to be well timbered, but a level, declining clearly to the northward and westward.

"At last the rocky ridge of hills which had for some days entirely circumscribed our view at that bearing, also falling to the ordinary level, the country assumed a picturesque appearance. Detached hills of moderate height diversified the surface, which being very thinly wooded with small trees, furnished on their slopes in seasons less destructive to vegetation an abundance of sheep pasture. To two of these hills, remarkable for their likeness to each other, I attached the names of Carlyle and Little, after friends on Hunter's river. They are formed of a reddish sandstone with which the summits are crowned.

"To the north-east the country rises to a considerable elevation, and a very lofty rocky range crowned with the picturesque cypress, and from the extreme ridge of which rose a very sharp cone, received the name of "Masterton".

"At noon of the 23rd we came upon the wide but shallow reedy channel of a river, forming, however, at this season simply a deep chain of ponds, at which the observed latitude proved to be 29 deg. 34 min. 44 sees. S. This we traced about four miles to the N.E., and then encamped on its immediate bank, where there were some good strips of grassy flat, affording our cattle excellent food.

"The marks of the natives' hatchet (of stone) were observable on the trees, but the few Indians that wander through these lonely regions in quest of food appear very careful to avoid us; the train of laden horses, the numbers of my men and dogs doubtless alarming those who may have seen us from the hills so much as rather to urge their flight than induce them to seek a communication with us.

"24-26. On crossing the reedy channel of this river, we passed over a low stony cypress ridge, and among a mass of vegetation characterising the flora of the Bathurst country, I discovered a few plants not previously met with, of, however, established well-known genera. The rocks of this ridge are of the ferruginous sandstone of the Blue Mountain Ranges, and as quantities of the disintegrated parts of this formation had been washed by the rains upon the lower forest grounds in the neighbourhood, the surface (resting on an argillaceous subsoil) was covered with a barren grit to the depth of four inches. At our fifth mile we rose by an easy acclivity to the pitch of a forest ridge, when we remarked a change had taken place in the rock formation, which was abundantly shown by the dark colour and superior quality of the soil. It was a trap exceedingly porous, forming amygdaloid containing nodules of chalcedony. Upon reaching the extreme part of the ridge, we observed before us a very moderately undulated country, interspersed with patches of plain. A series of forest hills and intervening valleys furnishing abundance of grass, but perfectly destitute of water, succeeded in our course to the north throughout the succeeding seven miles. At length we arrived at a patch of forest ground, that had been recently fired, and as I was induced to believe, that as the natives had evidently passed through these woods within the last three days, water could not be far distant, I directed a diligent search to be made for it. In a mile further northerly to our great joy, a large clay hole was found containing an ample sufficiency of that precious element to meet all our demands, and although stagnant evidently for some months, was nevertheless of a good quality.

"The pasture in several parts of this day's stage was excellent considering the distress to which vegetation generally had been subjected by the drought of the year, and although the timbers were uniformly indifferent and chiefly of box, the general appearance seemed to augur that we are on the verge of an improving country north of us, and certainly of easy access.

"25th. As I had been led to conclude, so we found the country, for we had not advanced a mile before we reached a patch of plain, of a rich black soil, bounded by low thinly wooded forest hills, which gave the whole a very pretty picturesque appearance. Over this plain we travelled N. by E. to the opposite piece of wooded land, passing which we came upon a second plain, stretching as did the former east and west several miles, their breadth being about a mile and a quarter.

"It was distressing, however, to observe so much fine black soil, sound, dry, and crumbling beneath the foot, as these plains possess, rich moreover in grasses and herbage, languishing for rain, and without channels of sufficient depth or capacity on their ample surface to retain water permanently throughout the year. A succession of open forest hills and waterless downs characterised the face of the country to the close of a journey of twelve miles, which terminated in a stony gully, in which after some search we were fortunate to discover fine water, retained in narrow rocky cavities. Upon reaching the brow of the forest ridge, immediately over our encampment (which reduced from the observation at noon, was in 29 deg. 10 min. S.), the hills to the westward were observed to terminate, and a level open country, bounded on the N.N.W. and N. only by the very distant horizon, broke upon our view, which although it appeared for the most part very densely wooded (probably with small stunted trees) nevertheless exhibited patches of open plain, diversifying the otherwise monotonous aspect of a vast expanse of surface. I could perceive from the spot on which I made these observations the level country as far east as N.N.E., but the terminating points of all the eastern forest ridges, facing the west, projecting to an intersection of that line of bearing, my further observation easterly was prevented. The mean elevation above the sea of our tents was twelve hundred and twenty-eight feet, which placed us upwards of three hundred feet above the bed of Peel's river.

"26th. Pursuing our journey to the N.N.E., through an extent exceeding five miles of barren forest ground, in part closely timbered with small ironbark, and interspersed with thickets of plants frequent on the skirts of Liverpool Plains, we at length intersected the sandy channels of a river, which in other seasons than the present must be highly important to the grazing flats on its bank, forming in periods of great rains a rapid stream, ten feet deep and fifty feet wide.

"The distress of the season, so often spoken of in the narration of this journey, appeared, however, to have entirely deprived this ample channel of its waters, and as its sandy bed was in part overgrown by a brush of woody plants usually affecting arid desert situations, this circumstance alone afforded me the clearest proof of its having been dried up many months.

"Amidst this dearth it was with surprise we noticed how extraordinarily the native grasses had resisted the dry weather on the upper bank of this dried watercourse. They were fresh, verdant, and doubtless nutritive, affording abundance of provision to the many kangaroos that were bounding around us.

"On crossing this sandy channel we continued our original course (N.N.E.) over a plain or flat clear of trees, two miles wide, the soil of which we found excellent, but very dry, the surface exhibiting deep rents, occasioned by the action of the solar ray.

"Apprehensive that we should not readily meet with water by pursuing the course we had preserved steadily since we set forth in the morning, I was induced, on passing over the brow of a ridge and observing a hilly country to the eastward, to alter my line of route to the E.N.E., in the hope of meeting with a sufficiency of that element for our horses and selves, in an advance of two or three miles, towards more elevated grounds.

"Penetrating about two miles, through an arid desert forest, of a deep sandy soil, and timbered with cypress and red gum, we reached the rocky margin of a creek, by which the waters that fall from the hills to the eastward are conveyed to probably a greater channel, at a lower level in the neighbourhood. I was led to this inference, not simply from the bed of this creek forming a succession of falls, showing me its considerable dip to a lower country in the vicinity, but more especially from the numbers of the white cockatoo that appeared about us on the wing—these birds, it having been long remarked, flock about large rivers, as well in the colony as the interior beyond Bathurst.

"Water being immediately found in the rocky excavations of this creek, and grass of an ordinary quality on its margin, I directed the party to halt and encamp. During the 27th (being Sunday) I rested my people and horses. The morning was exceedingly lowering, but as the day advanced it cleared sufficiently to allow me to take the necessary observations for the determination of our position. Their results placed us as follows on the chart: latitude observed 29 deg. 0.0 min. 0.2 sec. S.; longitude, by account, 150 deg. 40 min. 15 sec. E. Variation of compass, 7 deg. 53 min. E. The mean of several observations of the height of the mercurial column, taken morning and evening, gave us only an elevation of eight hundred and forty-two feet above the sea shore, which is lower than the bed of Peel's river at our ford!

"We had at length gained the parallel of 29 deg., and having consumed more than half of the original stock of provisions with which I had quitted the colony, it became absolutely necessary that I should at once determine, not only the distance to which I might possibly penetrate further to the northward with the limited means I have at command, after laying aside six weeks' full rations for consumption during the journey homeward, but also the precise direction of our route onward, under all the circumstances of the reduced condition of my horses, the arid state of the country, and the aspect of the weather, that bear upon me, and that I must of necessity be governed by, in all my future movements. Upon inspecting my horses, I found that notwithstanding the extreme care of my people, the backs and sides of several had become much galled by their saddles, and all were much reduced and debilitated by the labour of the journey, the parched up state of the pasturage, and the general poverty of the country through which we had travelled. To these points of consideration I subjoined the circumstance of the low level to which we had descended, the barren country it presented and the probability that by pursuing our course further north (the declination of the country being evidently at that point of the compass), we should descend to an arid region of that scrubby country totally destitute of grass or esculent vegetable, where the lives of my horses would be placed in imminent danger.

"Viewing all these circumstances as connected with my situation at this encampment, and regarding the preservation of my horses as paramount to every other consideration, I felt bound, although reluctantly, to determine on a deviation from the line of northern course the plan of my tour had prescribed.

"I, therefore, resolved to pursue my journey more to the eastward, not only to secure to my half famished horses a more certain and nutritive provision than that on which they had for some time past subsisted, which it was reasonable to suppose the higher lands in that direction would furnish, but also with the view of connecting (upon penetrating to the meridian of 152 deg., and north to the parallel of 28 deg.) my sketch of those parts of the interior through which we have travelled with the country in the vicinity of Moreton Bay, by bearings to such of its fixed points as I might identify, and especially to the cone of Mount Warning. The rocks of the creek on which we had rested is a friable freestone, of a much whiter colour than is usually to be observed. The gully appeared to have been the resort of the few natives of these desert regions, who have from period to period availed themselves of the softness of the rocks, to form edges to their mogos or hatchets of stone of a harder description. The traces of these operations, as well of a distant period as of recent date, were observed on the surface of the stony ledges in various parts of the creek. Among the birds observed about our tents we remarked a parrot of large size not heretofore seen. The feathers of its head were snow white, whilst its body appeared of an uniform green; the wings, which were also of that color, presenting on their outer sides a brownish hue. Only two birds of this species were seen at the water holes, probably the male and female, and they proved so shy that no opportunity was afforded to shoot them.

"28th, Monday. The inference I had drawn from the structure of the creek, and the presence of the white cockatoo, of the existence of a river in the neighbourhood, proved this morning to be perfectly just, for we had not proceeded three miles to the N.N.E., through a continuation of desert, before we came to the left bank of a stream, presenting a handsome reach, half a mile in length, thirty yards wide, and evidently very deep. Its bed, which was of a gravel containing many large water-worn pebbles of quartz and jasper, was skirted by lofty swamp oaks, bearing on their branches flood marks at least twenty feet above its channel. When, therefore, its waters are swollen to that height, it forms a rapid river from eighty to one hundred yards in breadth, as I ascertained by the measured distance of the outer banks from each other, on which the gigantic swamp oaks grow.

"This stream, which received the name of Dumaresq's river, in honour of the family, to which His Excellency the Governor is so intimately connected, rises in a mountainous country to the N.E., at an elevation (determined in the progress of this journey) of nearly three thousand feet above the sea shore, and after pursuing a western course for about one hundred miles, along a considerable declivity of country, falls two thousand one hundred feet to the spot at which we had crossed its channel, the perpendicular height of which above the ocean,* I found by barometrical admeasurement to be only eight hundred and forty feet, which is about the mean level of the northern sides of Liverpool Plains. Tracing the left bank up, about half a mile, we found a ford, which enabled us to cross over safely, and resume our journey to the N.N.E.

[* By a reference to the chart it will be seen that this particular part of Dumaresq's river is about one hundred and seventy statute miles west from the coast line.]

"Passing over some stony ridges of trifling elevation immediately on the right bank of the river, we penetrated about eleven miles through an arid sandy forest ground wooded with small iron-bark and cypress.

"Upon accomplishing our fourteenth mile (by the odometer) the country continued nearly a perfect level, clothed with small blighted timber and much scrubby underwood, but without the smallest indication of water, which, however, could not be hoped for in a region the surface of which we found so generally coated with a loose reddish sand to the depth of several inches.

"In this situation we found ourselves at an advanced hour of the afternoon, and as the sun was rapidly declining on the lower levels westerly, it became necessary to determine at once on the course we should pursue onward, since by continuing our route at N.N.E. it appeared evident we should penetrate more deeply into the midst of the desert. As there appeared a slight depression of country easterly, I directed my people to the north-east, and at the same time despatched a man at that point to search for water. Another mile brought us to a broad, but flat, shallow sandy channel, dipping to the N.N.E., in which was found a waterhole just dry. With renovated hopes we traced it downwards, and finding many proofs of the recent existence of water on the surface, continued about one and a half miles further, when a small pool was discovered, fringed around with the aquatic plant, known to botanists by the name philydrum lanuginosum. At this small pond, scarcely six feet in diameter, we most gladly halted, after accomplishing a long stage of nineteen miles, through a tract of country, in the extremes of sterility, quite destitute of water, and in an atmospheric temperature of 75 degs. The thermometer at sunset stood at 70 deg., and the mean results of barometrical computation showed me that we were even lower than the bed of Dumaresq's river: our encampment was only eight hundred and eleven feet above the level of the ocean. Early on the morning of the 29th we quitted our resting place, on which my half famished horses had scarcely found a blade of grass, and continuing our course to the N.N.E., almost immediately passed beyond the sandy surface to that of a stiff clay, inducing me to hope we were on the verge of a better country, although the level continued the same. In this we were not deceived, for we had scarcely effected two miles before we reached the bank of a small river, falling westerly, about fifteen yards wide, presenting at this season simply the disunited form of a chain of stagnant deep ponds or reaches a quarter of a mile in length. Traversing the level forest flat, through which this rivulet winds its course, we immediately entered a thick brush of cypress and acacia, and having penetrated, with great difficulty to the horses, about two miles to the N.E., rain, which had been threatening since daybreak, began to fall, with every appearance of continuing throughout the day. Totally ignorant of the extent of this thicket, which towered over our heads to the height of twenty-five feet, or to what distance we should be obliged to travel before we again found water, I deemed it prudent to return to the rivulet we had left, and encamp. This we effected just about noon, in time to square an observation of the meridional altitude of the sun, between the showers, which placed us, in consequence of our extraordinary stage of the preceding day, as far north as 28 deg. 45 min. ¾ sec.

"30th. The fineness of the morning, after a continued rain throughout the preceding night, invited us to advance forward at an early hour, our burdened horses having, moreover, been materially benefited by the grazing they had met with on the margin of the rivulet on which we had rested. The remarks I had already made on the seeming extent of the northern brushes, led me to hope that an E.N.E. course would carry us perfectly clear of those almost impervious thickets. On this course, however, we had not proceeded two miles before we discovered, with more than ordinary concern, that their greater body stretched across our line of route to due east.

"There was therefore no alternative left us but to enter them, with the hope that by pursuing steadily our course we should more readily reach a clearer open forest, on their north-eastern side. It was nine o'clock when we passed their southern margin, and although their breadth did not exceed two miles, such were the difficulties to the baggage horses, that we were nearly three hours in effecting a passage through to a patch of clear forest ground, through which we were enabled to pursue our way to the north-east upwards of a mile, when we were most agreeably surprised to meet with a rivulet bending from the eastward to the north-west, the forest ground on either side furnishing a richer and altogether more luxuriant growth of young grass than we had met with at any stage of our journey. It was a subject of great astonishment to us to meet with so beautiful a sward of grass, permanently watered by an active stream, after traversing that tract of desert forest, and penetrating brushes the extremes of sterility in its immediate vicinity. The presence of a fine piece of pasturage on the banks of a beautiful stream, in parts fifteen yards in width, to which I gave the name of Macintyre's Brook,** after my friend at Segenhoe, again induced me to cherish the hope that we were on the confines of a better country. We had, however, difficulties new and fresh to encounter ere the labours of the day were closed.

[** The situation of our point of intersection of Macintyre's Brook on the chart is as follows: latitude, 28 deg. 44 min. S.; longitude 150 deg. 48 min. E., the elevation of its head above the level of the sea being not more than eight hundred and ten feet.]

"Leaving Macintyre's Brook, which occupied us some little time in fording, owing to its depth and extraordinary rapidity of its current, we resumed our course to the N.E. Compact thickets of like description with those we had passed again stretched from east to west, over a surface of country so truly level as to afford us, as far as we could observe, not the slightest rise whence any observation might have been made of the extent of these jungles, or the direction, supposing them to be strips and not extensive bodies, in which they were disposed in these arid regions. Finding ourselves thus hemmed in, and altogether with a very discouraging prospect before us, I nevertheless determined to persevere on my course to the N.E., bearing, however, in mind that should we fail in our endeavours to effect a passage through them to more open grounds, after a few hours' exertion, we could at least return on our track to the brook, where our horses would rest on good pasture, and on the bank of which we might subsequently pursue our way to the eastward; although, perhaps, on a course in the first instance not better than E.S.E. As these thickets from their very margin presented a density almost impervious to pack horses, I directed an active man to follow me with an axe, to remove every obstacle that might prevent their passing forward in the course I endeavoured steadily to pursue. In many parts the quantities of fallen timber were considerable, and the stems of an acacia (fifteen feet high) were so closely grown together, and interwoven with other plants, as to present at first view a barrier altogether impenetrable. However, a laborious circuitous route enabled us to avoid those intricacies, and as we subsequently came upon small patches much thinner brushed, and more open to the sun and air, whereon the wearied horses were allowed to breathe, we were encouraged in no ordinary degree to advance forward. Thus we continued until an advanced hour of the afternoon, when having cut a passage about four miles for the horses, we were rejoiced to reach an open clear forest, through which we pushed our way to the N.E. without further inconvenience. Meeting with a chain of ponds in about three miles, I was exceedingly glad to rest, as both men and horses were sinking beneath the labours of the day. The course and distance made good, notwithstanding the difficulties of the stage, being E. 41 N., magnetic eleven miles.

"31st. The day's stage to the northward and eastward was extended through a rising wooded country, consisting of stony hills of moderate elevation and narrow shallow valleys, often brushed with the prevailing acacia of the country, and very indifferently watered.

"At our fourteenth mile we came unexpectedly on a patch of good grass on a flat heavily timbered with blue gum, where, upon finding a sufficiency of water, I halted. From the summit of an open elevated forest ridge, which I climbed in the earlier period of this day's stage, an extensive view was afforded me of the country at all points. At an estimated distance of, perhaps, eighty miles, I perceived an apparently low detached range, stretched east and west, from N. 2 deg. W. to N. 12 deg.; and, somewhat more easterly, another range, pointed in the centre, bearing N.N.E., was remarked, the country around them being exceedingly level. Hence, looking easterly, the country appeared to rise progressively, and ridges of more than ordinary elevation extended towards loftier ranges, which may probably be perceived from the coast line. From W.S.W., by the way of west, and thence to north, the eye became fatigued by traversing a vast expanse of level internal country, without the slightest rise of surface to relieve the sameness of the scene, and bounded only by the horizon.*

[* This afternoon we crossed, to the eastward, the meridian of Parramatta, in latitude reduced from the observations at noon, 28 deg. 33 min., which placed us three hundred and sixty-six statute miles due north from that town.]

"June 1—3. Onward we pursued our course to the E.N.E., and throughout a space exceeding twenty miles penetrated for the most part a barren and altogether an uninteresting country, frequently of broken stony irregular surface, forming low ridges clothed with a scrubby vegetation, which occasionally dropped into slight concavities, scarcely to be denominated valleys, equally sterile. But even in the midst of a line of country so generally destitute of vegetable product sufficient to sustain animal life, we were fortunate enough to meet with small isolated spots on which to rest, providing us some little grass or herbage, and water for our burdened horses. On the evening of the 2nd we halted on the margin of a stony gully, and, giving my people and horses rest during the following day, I determined our position on the chart as follows: lat. observed, 28 deg. 17 min. 49 sec. S.; long., by account, 151 deg. 22 min. E.; variation of the compass, 7 deg. 36 min. E.

"The mean elevation of our encampment above the level of the sea, one thousand four hundred and four feet.

"4th. During last week we penetrated in a north-eastern course a country rising progressively in altitude, yet exceedingly bare of esculent vegetation; nevertheless, situated as we were, we could not possibly pursue a better line of route. I, therefore, on the morning of the 4th continued our journey in that direction by ascending a succession of rather heavily timbered forest ridges, of easy acclivity, but rough and stony, to the feet of our enfeebled horses.

"At our third mile, whilst in the act of passing over the brow of one of these hills, the voices of natives were distinctly heard. Almost immediately we perceived several of these Indians in motion among the timber, not, however, before they had had, for some moments, the first gaze of surprise at us, as the trunks of the trees, being as black as their bodies, had prevented our perceiving them as quickly.

"I happened to be accompanied by only one of my people, others being with the pack horses at another part of the rising ground beyond the natives, where the acclivity was more moderate. On my calling to the pack horse leaders, the natives stood and viewed us at the distance of about one hundred yards, occasionally retiring behind the trees, and again walking about in great uneasiness. The spot was ground on which they were bivouacing with their women and children, whose respective voices we distinctly heard; they therefore could not leave their tires with that precipitation which their great alarm, induced by our presence, would evidently have urged. The instant, however, my people replied to my call from the gully whence they were ascending to me, the agitation of the natives became extreme, they therefore, having already hurried away the gins (women) and little ones, ran off with the utmost despatch through the brushy woods to the north of us. I could have wished to have brought about a communication with these Indians had the whole of my party been with me, or had we met each other on more open ground than a close brushy forest, for I felt perfectly satisfied that as soon as their fears had been removed by our pacific overtures to them, they would have proved themselves of friendly disposition, as they neither made me any reply, or appeared in the least disposed to place themselves in menacing attitude, or exhibited their weapons to deter us from approaching them. Under the circumstances, however, of our meeting, I deemed it prudent so soon as I perceived them to stand still until they had made their little arrangements to depart. I would have advanced quickly upon them, but the consequence might have been serious to us, as we had no arms at the time, and these people might have disputed the ground with us on the score of the women and children, whom Nature teaches even the savage it is a duty in man, as a husband and parent, to protect. Before my people had joined me they had passed the fires of these Indians, which were seven in number, and about them they recognised the bones of bandicoots and the bustard (of which bird the feathers were strewed around), upon the flesh of which these savages had been feasting.

"Upon joining again, we continued our journey, and immediately quitting the more open forest ground entered a dense brush of acacia, dairesiœ, &c., the wand-like stems of which, indurated by fire, proving a serious annoyance to us. By dint of great bodily exertion to man and horse, we penetrated about four miles through a body of thicket ten feet high, and upon making the open forest ground on its eastern skirts we traced a narrow valley, falling easterly, in search of water. We followed the vale about a mile and a half, when meeting with water in a stagnant state, I was obliged to halt, although on a spot furnishing but little grass, it being after sunset, and my horses were greatly distressed by the length and difficulty of the day's stage.

"5th. The smokes which we had for the last two days observed to rise from the country to the northward and eastward of us, considered with the frequent screeching in that direction of the white cockatoo (a bird loving to inhabit forest land in the neighbourhood of rivers), fully satisfied me that we were on the verge of a desirable country. At our usual hour of departure in the morning we hastened from the spot on which we had passed the previous night, pursuing our way in an E.N.E. direction.

"Beyond a patch of stony forest ground of rather open character, we crossed (at our second mile) a rocky creek dipping easterly, having some clear pools of water in its channel, and grass on its margin. From the pitch of a ridge immediately above this watercourse, we had a most agreeable though confined view of an extensive range of open country, lying in the direction of our course, which from its ample feature and prospect, I doubted not would in its examination abundantly reward all our labours in penetrating to it through a considerable tract of desert country, stretching back to the southward of the parallel of 29 deg. A hollow in the forest ridge immediately before us allowed me distinctly to perceive that at a distance of eight or nine miles, open plains or downs of great extent appeared to extend easterly to the base of a lofty range of mountains, lying north and south, distant by estimation about thirty miles. With the fullest expectation of being able to reach the western margin of these downs at an early period of the day, we proceeded forward with a quickened pace, through an open grazing forest, to our eighth mile, when our observed latitude proved to be 28 deg. 11 min. 10 sec. S. Already had the land become much thinner of timber, and we had not advanced half a mile further, before we came upon a patch of open plain, skirted by a low ridge of forest hills on its western side, and by a closely wooded forest ground on the opposite point.

"On climbing a low stony ridge in our way, it was really with the greatest satisfaction that we perceived we had approached within two miles of the Downs, and as small patches or strips of mist extended throughout their whole length, and a line of swamp oak stretched along their south-western extreme, it was clearly shown us that these extensive tracts of timberless land were not wanting in water. Upon accomplishing a journey of thirteen miles (the last one extending over a commencement of the great plains) we arrived at the left bank of a small river, about fifteen yards in breadth, having a brisk current to the N.W. There was in all parts of its channel, in the neighbourhood of the spot at which we had made it, very deep water, which affording every encouragement to my people to employ a period of the afternoon in fishing, I sent them away along the left bank, furnishing each with hooks and lines.

"In the meanwhile I obtained some sets of lunar distances with the sun, the mean results of which gave me for the meridian of my tent 151 deg. 39 min. 45 sec.; but as the accurately measured distance between it and the north-easternmost encampment of this journey (the situation of which was determined by several observations aided by correct bearings, to certain fixed points on the coast line) upon being reduced, placed the position of my encampment 1¾ min. to the eastward, its situation may be stated as follows: longitude 151 deg., 41 min. 30 sec. E.: latitude, by observation at noon of 5th, 28 deg. 9 min. 37 sec. S.: its mean elevation above the sea shore, by the barometer, being one thousand four hundred and two feet.

"The anglers caught several fine cod, and whilst thus successfully occupied on the bank of the river, three natives were remarked in the adjoining forest ground on the opposite bank firing the dried herbage of these woods; they did not, however, venture to approach towards my people, but without manifesting the least alarm, walked leisurely away to the more distant parts of the forest."

"6th. Immediately after noon of the 6th we quitted our resting place, and proceeding up the river about half a mile, crossed to the opposite bank, at a ford previously discovered by one of my party. From this stream, which I named Condamine's river in compliment to the officer, who is Aide-de-Camp to his Excellency the Governor, we entered upon the extensive downs before us, pursuing our way to the E.N.E., along their southern margin. During the afternoon of the 6th and following day, we travelled throughout their whole extent, to the base of the mountainous land that bounds them on their eastern extreme, and in the progress of our journey made the following general observations on their apparent extent, soil, and capability. These extensive tracts of open country, which I subsequently named (by permission) Darling Downs, in honour of His Excellency the Governor, are situate in or about the mean parallel of 28 deg. 8 min. S., along which they extend east eighteen miles, to the meridian of 152 deg. On their northern side they are bounded by a very gentle rise of lightly wooded ridge, and on their opposite margin, by a level forest of box and white gum of ordinary timber. A chain of deep ponds, supported by streams from the lofty ranges Immediately to the eastward, passes along the central lower flats of these downs, throughout their whole length, and uniting in seasons of heavy rains, falls westerly into Condamine's river. Their breadth varies in different parts of their lengthened surface, appearing at their western extremity not to exceed one and a half miles, whilst towards their eastern limits it was estimated at three miles. The lower parts, by a deeply grooved water course, form flats, which In consequence of their permanent moisture furnish a very considerable range of cattle pasture, at all seasons of the year—the grasses and herbage exhibiting generally in the depth of winter an extraordinary luxuriance of growth. Among the mass of excellent vegetation produced on these flats, no plant appeared more striking In its growth than a species of rib-grass (plantago Struthionis) which I had formerly described, the leaves of which measured from twelve to fifteen inches in length.

"From these central grounds rise downs of a rich black and dry soil, which extend several miles to the eastward, and, as they furnish an abundance of grass, and are conveniently watered, yet perfectly beyond the reach of those irrigations which take place on the flats in wet seasons, they constitute a most valuable sound sheep pasture, the permanently dry nature of which may be inferred from the fact of there being a difference of three hundred feet between their upper or eastern limit and Condamine's river, as shown by the mean results of barometrical admeasurement.

"Towards the close of the afternoon of the 7th, having gained the forest ground on the eastern verge of the downs, we continued our course to the northward and eastward about one and a-half miles, through a truly beautiful apple-tree forest, abounding in kangaroos, when, upon reaching the base of a remarkable flat-topped mount, forming the termination of a portion of the lateral range to which I had taken a bearing when twenty-five miles to the S.W., I encamped on the bank of a narrow creek, furnishing plenty of water, and upon a patch of the finest meadow pasturage I have seen in New South Wales.

"Here I gave my wearied horses two days' rest, some having been reduced to a state of extreme debility, and all having suffered considerably in condition by the severity of the journey from Liverpool Plains.

"Whilst, therefore, they were recovering a degree of strength, by rest and good sound pasture, I was busily engaged examining the dark brushes which clothed the adjacent mountain from its base to its very summit, the vegetation of which appeared altogether tropical.

"The morning of the 8th proving exceedingly fine, I set out from the encampment, accompanied by one of my party, to ascend the table mount above our tents, from the elevated summit of which I had promised myself an extensive prospect around. After pushing our way through a mass of dense thicket investing the foot and flank of this eminence, we gained an open spot on its flat summit in about two hours, and were gratified exceedingly by the extensive view afforded us of the country from north by the way of west, and thence to S. and S.S.E. to the more remarkable points of which bearings were taken.

"At N.N.W., and especially at N., the country presented a broken and irregular surface, forming a series of heavily timbered ridges, extending laterally from the more elevated chain of mountains immediately to the eastward, and which, stretching in the direction of the meridian, appeared to constitute the main or dividing range of this part of the interior.

"From the N.W. to west, and thence to south, the eye surveyed a vast expanse of open country, tame and uninteresting in the distance, but exhibiting within a range of twenty miles every feature of hill and dale, woodland and plain, to diversify the ample outstretched landscape.

"Large cleared patches of land lying to the north of Darling Downs were named Peel's Plains, whilst others, bearing to the S. and S.E. of my ample undulated surface, were entitled Canning Downs, in honour of the late Right Hon. George Canning. The extent of these downs easterly we were unable from the point on which we stood to observe, but on the south they were bounded by a lofty ridge of hills, lying nearly east and west, which was named Harris Range.

"Directing the view to the N.W. beyond Peel's Plains an immeasurable expanse of flat country met the eye, on which not the slightest eminence could be observed to interrupt the common level, which, in consequence of the very clear state of the atmosphere, could be discerned to a very distant blue line of horizon, verging on the parallel of 27 deg. and meridian of 151 deg.

"Extremely gratifying as it was to take a bird's eye survey of so extensive a range of pastoral country as appeared beneath us (the discovery of which had recompensed us for the privations we had met with in our journey, extending by admeasurement three hundred and forty statute miles from Hunter's river), still the question arose in my mind from what point so fine a country could be approached, seeing that at E. and N.E., in the direction of Moreton Bay, a very lofty range of mountains immediately bounding us constituted a barrier very difficult to be passed.

"As all observation easterly towards the coast-line was thus prevented, we descended to the tents, heavy weather having come on from the north.

"This flat-topped eminence, which I observed formed the north-western angle of a body of lateral hills, extending from the leading range of these mountains, was named Mount Dumaresq, and along its northern side a grassy valley, stretching from the Great Downs north-easterly to the immediate foot of the main range, received the appellation of Millar's Valley.

"Rain having set in, it continued almost without intermission for forty-eight hours, until the morning of the 10th inst., when fair weather was again restored to us, and we quitted our encamping ground with the intention of penetrating towards the higher points of these mountains, from the summits of which I expected to obtain bearings to fixed points on the coast, so extremely important to me at this stage of my journey. Pursuing a course to the south at the base of a thickly-wooded ridge, stretching from Mount Dumaresq, about four miles to a second hill of tabular figure, we passed round its foot, and altering our course to north-east entered a very beautiful grassy vale, bounded by lofty lateral ridges, and like Millar's Valley, leading directly to the base of the principal range.

"Advancing about five miles up this vale, which I named after Captain Logan, the present Indefatigable commandant of the penal settlement at Moreton Bay, I again halted on a small brook meandering through to the south—a remarkable double-headed mount of the main range, bearing N.E. by E. about ten miles. Dense brushy forests, clothing the bases of the lateral ridges immediately overlooking our encampment, were productive of a number of curious plants not before known; and it was in these shades I first clearly and satisfactorily recognized the pine (araucaria) which I had formerly observed in greater numbers in the dark brushes of the Brisbane River.

"As the ridges in the neighbourhood appeared likely from their considerable elevation to afford me a commanding view of the country at all points of the compass, I determined to occupy two or three days in this vale, taking such observations as were necessary to enable me to determine my present position on the chart, whilst my horses were acquiring a degree of strength to meet the further labours of my journey.

"11th. A sharp frost; the thermometer at seven o'clock sank to 30 degrees. Having directed the occupations of the people during the day, I proceeded (accompanied by one of my party) to climb the steep ridge immediately above us. In an hour we gained its summit, but found other ranges not to be seen from our tents, although of greater elevation, interrupted our view to the eastward; we continued upon a gradual ascent from one tier of ranges to another and generally in a north-eastern direction, until about 3 p.m., when we gained the loftiest point of the lateral range, immediately connected with the main ridge of this stupendous chain of mountains, which even towered above us at a distance of about two miles.

"Some hollow parts, however, of this extreme ridge enabled me to overlook portions of the country in the vicinity of Moreton Bay, as also most distinctly to perceive distant lands situate at the base of the Mount Warning Ranges, the cone of which we clearly saw crowning that group of mountains at an estimated distance of seventy-six miles. To this lofty pinnacle, as also to another fixed point near the coast-line, accurate bearings were taken, ere some fresh breezes brought up clouds and heavy rain from the southward, which soon veiled those extensive regions from further observation.

"The cone of Mount Warning bore east 9 degrees south seventy miles by estimation; High Peak, of Flinders' chart, north 50 degrees east, about twenty-five miles. The spot on which the tents stood in Logan Vale, bearing west 44 degrees south about five miles.

"Had the weather continued favourable it would have been important to have examined the main range, with the view of ascertaining how far a passage could be effected over it to the Brisbane river country, from which point only the very interesting pastoral country lying on the western side of these mountains appears at all accessible. A very singular deeply excavated part of the range, bearing from my station on the lateral ridge N.N.E. was, however, remarked, to the pitch of which the acclivity from the head of Millar's Valley seemed very moderate, and as this gap appeared likely to prove on examination a very practicable pass through these formidable mountains, I determined to employ a day in exploring it.

"These mountains, to the western base of which we approached from a sterile southern region, form the dividing range in this part of the country, and give rise to waters falling as well on the coast, as westerly to the distant interior; and as the barometrical observations made on the lateral range gave a result of three thousand seven hundred and thirty-five feet, and the extreme ridge appeared at least three hundred feet higher, its elevation above the level of the sea may be considered about four thousand one hundred feet.

"The forest ridges, which were heavily timbered with stringy bark of great bulk, were found clothed to their summits with grasses of the most luxuriant growth, and being well watered by numerous trickling rills, originating between the shoulders of the hills, constitute a very spacious range of the richest cattle pasture.

"Upon examining the hollow back of the mountain ridge, it was found to be very rugged and difficult, large masses of rock having fallen down from the lands on each side into the gap, which was overgrown with strong twining plants. Immediately to the south, however, the range presented a very moderate surface, over which a line of road might be constructed without much labour, as the rise from Millar's Valley proved by no means abrupt, and the fall easterly from the range to the forest ground at its base appeared of singularly easy declivity. Looking north-easterly the eye wandered with pleasure over a fine open grazing country, very moderately timbered, with patches of clear plain, and detached wooded ridges to diversify the surface; and in no part did there appear the slightest obstacle to prevent a communication either with the southern shores of Moreton Bay or the banks of the Brisbane river.

"In taking a general view of the very superior country at which the labours of my party terminated northerly, it was gratifying to observe the range of luxuriant pasturage,* this subject of our discovery, in its plains, rising downs, open woodlands, valleys, and even elevated forest ranges has thrown open to our most extensive flocks and herds, in a genial climate and at an elevation of one thousand eight hundred feet above the sea shore.

[* The vapours that rise from the surface of the sea upon being blown over by easterly winds to the higher points of these mountains, becoming condensed and falling in light refreshing showers, on the adjacent lower country, would seem to account for the bright verdure of the grasses and generally vigorous growth of vegetation in the depth of winter.]

"Its timbers, moreover, add to its importance. The summit and flanks of the ranges produce great abundance of well-grown stringy-bark, whilst the lower ridges furnish stately pine of the species already well-known on the Brisbane, varying from sixty to eighty feet in height, and as small saplings of the red cedar were observed on the margin of the brushes investing the base of the hills large trees of this valuable wood are doubtless to be met with in their more distant recesses. Although neither coal nor limestone were found in this tract of country, a quarry of freestone, seemingly well adapted to building, could be easily opened on the bank of a creek about two miles south of the Logan Vale. In fine, upon the consideration that we are occupying a country in which (in the absence of navigable rivers) an expensive land carriage must ever be resorted to in the conveyance of produce of the inland to the coast, the value of this extensive range of pastoral country is not a little enhanced by its proximity to the sea shore, and the seeming facility with which (we may reasonably conclude from the moderate appearance of the interjacent country to the eastward of these mountains) the fleeces of its growth, as well as the general produce of its soil, will at some future time be borne down to the shores of Moreton Bay. The base of these mountains is a compact whinstone; on the higher ridges was observed amygdaloid of the trap formation, with nodules of quartz; whilst the summit exhibited a porphyritic rock, very porous, containing numerous minute quartzose crystallizations.

"The situation of the tents in Logan Vale was determined as follows:—latitude, by meridional altitude of the sun, 28 deg. 10 min. 45 sec. S.; longitude, deduced by the mean of several sets of lunar distances with the sun and fixed star (Antares) compared with that given by account, and corrected by bearings taken to fixed points on or near the coast line, 152 deg. 7 min. 45 sec. E. The variation of the magnetic needle was found to be 8 deg. 18 min. east; the mean elevation of the spot above the level of the sea, as derived from barometrical measurement, was one thousand eight hundred and seventy-seven feet, and its distance from the penal settlement on the Brisbane river was estimated at seventy-five statute miles to the south-west.

"Although very recent traces of natives were remarked in different parts of the vale, in which we remained encamped about a week, only a solitary aborigine (a man of ordinary stature) was seen, who in wandering forth from his retreat in quest of food chanced to pass the tents.

"Immediately, however, upon an attempt of one of my people to approach him, he retired in great alarm to the adjacent brushes, at the foot of the boundary hills, and instantly disappeared. It therefore seemed probable that he had not previously seen white men, and possibly might never have had any communication with the natives inhabiting the country on the eastern side of the Dividing Range, from whom he could have acquired such information of the existence of a body of white strangers on the banks of the Brisbane, and their friendly disposition towards his countrymen as might have induced him to have met with confidence our overtures to effect an amicable communication. In the progress of our journey northerly, it was remarked that the plants of those portions of the interior lying between the parallels of 32 deg. and 28 deg. differ but little from the characteristic vegetation of the temperate parts of this country generally—the many unpublished species which were discovered in the course of the journey, belonging for the most part to genera, characterising the flora of the colony and country immediately adjacent. Upon reaching the parallel of 28 deg. S., however, under the meridian of 152 deg., a very decided change takes place in the vegetable productions; the brushes which densely invest the base and sides of the lateral ranges, being on examination found to be of plants hitherto only observed at Moreton Bay, and in the intertropical parts of this continent.

"As I had now occupied several days in a partial examination of the very interesting country around me, I became exceedingly desirous to resume my journey. As my horses, notwithstanding the benefit they had derived from rest and good pasture during our stay in Logan Vale, were all much debilitated, and my stock of provisions considerably reduced, I felt reluctantly compelled to relinquish the tour I had originally contemplated towards the western marshes, especially as the appearances of the weather at the change of the moon had led me to apprehend a period of heavy rain was about to succeed the protracted season of drought. I therefore determined to prosecute my journey homeward in the meridian (152 deg.) to which I had penetrated, with as much dispatch as the nature of the country and the low condition of my horses would permit. Moreover, on resolving on this line of course, I considered I should ascertain what the country is lying equi-distant between the coast line and my outward tract from Hunter's river, and upon my daily observations, geographical and otherwise, should on my return to the colony be more fully enabled to embody the chart of that part of our interior comprehended within the parallels of 28 deg. and 31 deg.

"Accordingly upon quitting Logan Vale, on the morning of the 16th, we commenced our journey to the southward through a fine open forest country, abounding in excellent pasture and tolerable timber, and watered by a reedy creek falling westerly, evidently into Condamine's river. In about nine miles we reached the north-eastern skirts of Canning Downs, which, in pursuing our course to the south, we crossed at a part where their breadth to the opposite margin did not exceed two miles. These downs, however, the extent of which could not be estimated, as only a limited portion of them could be seen whilst traversing their undulated surface, stretched several miles to the westward of our line of route, and throughout this length are watered by a deep channeled brook, originating in the dividing range to the eastward, which ultimately forms one of the branches of Condamine's river. Towards the close of the day, having continued my journey to the south, through a heavily timbered forest of box, gum and casuarina (oak), but slightly elevated above the mean level of the downs, which were found by barometrical measurement to be fifteen hundred feet above the sea shore, I was induced to rest my horses at a chain of small ponds, furnishing some tolerable grass on their edge, having made a stage of fifteen miles from Logan Vale. The observations made on the following day (Sunday) at the encampment, placed us on the chart in latitude 28 deg. 21 min. 17 sec. S., longitude 152 deg. 0.2 min. E., an azimuth giving us 6 deg. 8 min. easterly variation.

"Early on the morning of the 18th we again set out on our journey to the southward, and immediately on quitting the dry forest ground, came upon a marshy plain, which appeared to extend several miles to the S.E., having a deep swamp oak creek winding through its centre from the towering ranges immediately on our left. Passing this creek with some difficulty we pursued our course to the S.S.E., through an undulated rising forest of iron bark and red gum, in many parts of which we remarked the traces of natives, of, however, no recent date. Penetrating about six miles through a singularly uninteresting tract of wooded land, productive of diminutive timber, we at length perceived before us a broken and mountainous country, and around us a change of geological structure to a formation not previously met with in any stage of our journey. The rock was a very hard granite, with the quartz, which was remarked greatly to preponderate, unusually large.

"Finding abundance of water in a stony gully, the tents were set up in a sandy spot shown by the barometer to be elevated about three hundred and fifty feet above Canning Downs. During the 19th and 20th June we prosecuted our journey among a group of primitive mountains, which appeared to expand before us into lofty precipitous ranges, extending far to the southward. Immediately on quitting our encamping ground on the morning of the 19th, we descended between large isolated blocks of granite, to the channel of a small rivulet flowing over a pavement of the same formation with a rapidity that clearly demonstrated a very considerable dip of its bed towards a deep ravine, the bendings of which we could distinctly trace southerly among the mountains. Crossing this stream, our course led us again to its bend, among the undulations of the rocky surface of the valley through which it urged its rapid course, and having a second time forded it with great difficulty to the horses, I directed my course to the hills immediately bounding the vale to the eastward. Again we were interrupted in our progress by a narrow but deep creek of turbid water, flowing from that point to the brook. Finding it was impossible to cross its channel, we were obliged to seek a practicable ford in the rocky bed of the brook, which, a third time passing, we climbed the lofty forest hills on the western side, and having gained their extreme ridge, we found the travelling through a forest of large stringy bark remarkably easy. My horses had, however, laboured hard among the hills in the earlier periods of the day: I was, therefore, glad to rest them about four o'clock, at a rill of water we had discovered falling over some granite rocks into the glen beneath.

"On the following morning intending to pursue our course to the southward throughout the day as far as the acclivity of the hills among which we had penetrated would allow the horses to travel, we resumed our journey. After traversing a succession of forest ridges, of comparatively easy acclivity, about seven miles, a bold mountainous country appeared before us, extending from S.E. by the way of S. to W.S.W. At noon, when our latitude by observation was 28 deg. 35 min. 30 sec. S., we had gained a commanding point on a range exceeding two thousand five hundred feet above the sea shore, whence a clear and extensive view of a curiously irregularly featured country to the eastward was afforded me.

"In that direction bearings were taken to some very remarkable detached cupola shaped mountains, distant from fifteen to twenty miles, and beyond these singular eminences a moderately undulated tract of open country was perceived extending apparently to the western foot of the Mount Warning Ranges, the faint blue outline of which could be distinctly traced, although its very elevated cone (which was probably enveloped in clouds) was not discernible. Continuing on the back of the range in a south-westerly direction another mile, I was obliged to close the labours of the day at an early hour, as the horses, having been pushed beyond their strength, were sinking beneath their burdens, amidst the difficulties of a brushy underwood, with which parts of these elevated ridges were found most denselv clothed. At the close of the day, the mercurial column had sunk lower at this encampment than had been observed at any other station of the journey, since we passed the dividing range at Hunter's river. The data it furnished on being computed gave a mean elevation of two thousand five hundred and ninety-two feet above the sea shore, which at Cape Byron bore as deduced by the observed latitude at noon E. 5 deg. N. true, ninety-three statute miles. At this elevated encampment on the range we were confined to our tents by continued rains, during the three following days, and although our detention on the summit of a ridge of mountains, surrounded by difficulties, was exceedingly unpleasant to us, it was nevertheless a relief to me to observe our horses had acquired great freshness and activity by the rest our stay had afforded them, and the excellent grazing these elevated regions furnished. The wind having veered round from the eastward to the W.N.W., on the evening of the 23rd the weather broke, and a clear sky succeeded; at night, however, clouds again rose from eastward, and rain fell in heavy showers, continuing until about midnight, when the wind again shifting to the westward and blowing almost a gale, the water-charged clouds, which were suspended over the mountains, were drawn back to the coast, and established fine, and settled weather followed. We therefore, on the morning of the 24th, most gladly broke up our encampment, proceeding in the first instance about half a mile to the E.S.E., in order to cross a brook in the neighbourhood. This stream we found exceedingly swollen and rapid, by the waters that it had collected from the higher grounds during the late rains; we, however, forded it without difficulty, and leaving it to tumble its accumulated waters over large blocks of granite into the bosom of a neighbouring glen, we proceeded our journey southerly, over a succession of lofty ranges heavily timbered with gums, beneath the shade of which fern and underwood were interspersed, rendering the travelling exceedingly harrassing to my horses. Upon gaining a greater elevation, we passed from these shaded forests to open scrubs, and spongy swamps overflowed by late rains, which, in aspect, were very similar to those of our Blue Mountain ranges, and the plants, although the rock was granite, were for the most part of alike description. At noon of the 25th, I found the latitude of a bleak barren spot upon these mountains, two thousand nine hundred and nine feet above the level of the ocean, to be 26 deg. 44 min. 48 sec. S.; its longitude, reduced from the meridian of Logan Vale, being about 151 deg. 58 min. 45 sec. E. From this point we continued our journey about five miles, nearly on the same level, and over equally barren ground, when, upon descending slightly in a swampy valley, the tents were again set up; our barometer at sunset showing us that we were on a level but a few feet lower than our station at noon.

"26th. At an early hour we proceeded to leave this marshy valley, southerly, with some expectation of its leading to a more open and moderately-surfaced country in that direction. We had, however, scarcely advanced five miles ere a most wild chaotic-featured region effectually stopped our progress to the southward. Large detached masses of granite, of almost every shape and figure,* studded the foreground of the romantic scene that suddenly burst on the view at the head of this vale, and beyond, a deep ravine formed a crescent, from E. to S.E., which, it was perceived, was itself backed by a rugged range, the rocky point of which appeared at least two hundred and fifty feet in height above the level of the valley.

[* It appeared at first difficult to understand how those detached blocks of granite were originally formed, of which some presented immense spheroidal figures; others, those of water-worn boulders, whilst here and there stood one (nine-pin shaped) so nicely poised on its small base, that the traveller might be induced to suppose that it would have required but his individual effort to have upset its equilibrium. It may be conceived that these rounded masses, and the rock on which they rest, were at one period united in one body; that by the incessant operation of the elements upon this body during ages, it had become cracked through, and its scattered fragments had formed various figures. Of these, some may have become disunited in a solid angular form from the mountain masses, and in time might have their angles cut off by atmospheric attrition, and thus it probably is, that to the constant action of the elements, the various curious appearances of rocks in the valleys of mountainous countries are to be attributed.]

"Upon ascending a stony head, which commanded a considerable view around us, I remarked that this rocky broken country extended from E. to S. and thence by W. to N.N.W., but that at N. there appeared an apparent opening, by which it was probable we should be enabled, without much distress to our horses, to extricate ourselves from the labyrinth of difficult precipitous country around us. A stream of fine water, originating in a neighbouring rocky ridge, and running through a valley tending towards this apparent break of the ranges, led me to follow it, and in about eight miles, having passed round the northern extremity of a lofty ridge, we shaped a course to the westward, southerly, through a brushy, barren forest, producing small timber of stringy bark, honeysuckle, and cypress, and exhibiting in various parts numerous and very recent traces of natives. Towards the close of the afternoon of the 27th, having continued our course to the W.S.W., we descended to an open level valley, bounded on the west by forest hills, very thickly timbered, and apparently grassy to their summits. In this confined valley we met with a small rivulet, rising evidently in the elevated rugged country we had left, and winding its course to the N.W. This stream, we immediately perceived, could be none other than Macintyre's B rook, which was discovered in the progress of my journey northerly, in a sterile country, at so low a level as eight hundred feet.

"The very considerable declination of the country lying between this valley and that barren region (distant to the westward only sixty miles) was shown by our barometer, which, at the spot at which we again encamped, gave its mean height above the ocean two thousand two hundred and fifty-four feet.

"28th. On the southern and western sides of the valley ranges of forest hills rose to an elevation of three hundred feet, but as they were very thinly wooded, and appeared generally grassy, I apprehended no difficulty in passing them in our route to the south.

"Fording Macintyre's Brook, therefore, we succeeded without difficulty in accomplishing about seven miles along a continuation of the valley, when we reached the base of the forest ridge bounding it at S.W., which ascending, we found exceedingly rugged and stony.

"During other five miles of the day's journey we were occupied in climbing from one range of hills to another, when on descending to a narrow valley providing both grass and water, I halted at an early hour of the day, several of the heavier laden horses whose feet had suffered much from the rugged nature of the ground, requiring to be reshod.

"Our latitude at noon (28 deg. 55 min.) showed us we were progressively making our way to the southward, and our barometer gave us three hundred and thirty feet of elevation above our morning's encampment on Macintyre's Brook.

"About an hour before sunrise on the morning of the 29th the chill of the atmosphere was felt much more intense than we had previously experienced at any period of our journey. The thermometer had sunk to 25 degrees of Fahrenheit, and ice to the thickness of a quarter of an inch crusted the surface of stagnant pools in the neighbouring water course.

"Encouraged more by the hope of passing to the southward of the parallel 29 deg. at an early hour of the day, than by the appearance of the country before us, we quitted our encamping ground at sunrise, pursuing our journey to the south about five miles to some low wooded ridges of barren stony character. From the summit we beheld a very broken hummocky and in part mountainous country immediately investing us at S.E., and south, whilst at S.S.W. and West a succession of rather lofty forest ridges met the eye. Another mile over a very broken surface brought us to the edge of a deep glen at least one hundred yards wide, with perpendicular rocky wall-like sides—which extending from the eastward to the west as far as could be perceived, from the spot at which it was intersected, appeared to cut off communication with the country south of it.

"Skirting this formidable ravine to the N.W. about a mile, a moderate declivity was fortunately discovered, by which the pack horses were conducted safely to the bottom of the glen, when we found a river, about forty yards in breadth, pursuing its course to the westward, over a very rocky bed. Our latitude derived from observation taken at noon on the upper edge of the ravine, was 28 deg. 59 min. 56 sec. S., which is nearly the parallel of our encampment on the 27th May; and upon setting up the barometer, on the margin of the Glen river, the bottom of this ravine was found to be one thousand and ninety-four feet lower than the site of our last encampment in the valley.* The passages over the river having been effected with some difficulty and with some danger to the horses, in consequence of the extremely rocky and irregular character of its bed, we climbed by an easy acclivity the hills on the southern side of the glen on the morning of the 30th, and then resumed our course to the S.W., over a succession of elevated ridges and barren valleys, timbered chiefly with small iron-bark.

[* The mean height of this valley above the seashore by the barometer to be two thousand five hundred and eighty-seven feet; the mean elevation of the bed of the glen proved to be one thousand four hundred and three feet.]

"At our sixth mile we descended from the hills to a valley of considerable extent, which was found watered by a fine river, exceeding fifty yards in breadth, abounding in water fowl and running sluggishly to the westward. Crossing this stream at a pebbly fall, to its left bank, I again called a halt; and, as the grazing around us, and particularly on the margin of the river, was excellent, I determined to afford my horses, all of whom exhibited debility in a greater or less degree, an entire day's rest.

"This stream, which rises in the granite mountains, situate to the N.E., at an elevation bordering on three thousand feet, we immediately identified (from its magnitude and tendency) with Dumaresq's river, which we discovered in our outward journey upwards of fifty miles to the westward, where the mean elevation of the interior watered by it was ascertained in May last to be eight hundred and forty feet above the seashore.

"The observations made at this encampment on Dumaresq's river fixed its situation on the chart as follows: latitude, 29 deg. 1 min. 14 sec. S.; longitude, 151 deg. 31 min. 30 sec. The variation of the magnetic needle was 8 deg. 26 min. E., and the mean height above the level of the sea one thousand and forty feet.**

[** The results of barometrical measurement gave two hundred feet as the difference of level of the two points at which the channel of Dumaresq's river was intersected in this journey; the gradual fall of the interjacent country is therefore clearly shown.]

"As the hills bounding the valley on its southern side were by far too lofty and broken to permit me (in the state of debility to which my horses were reduced) to pursue a direct course homeward, I determined upon tracing the vale westerly a limited distance, being encouraged to hope from the aspect of the country in that direction (as observed from a hill immediately above our tents) that in a few miles the ridge would be found sufficiently moderate to allow me to pursue my journey to the southward without interruption.

"With these views we resumed our labours on the morning of the 2nd July along the left bank of the river, which, in its course to the N.W., through the vale, waters some fine flats, timbered with robust apple trees, and furnishing a considerable patch of fine cattle pasture. In about three miles a stream, flowing from the north through a break in the mountainous lands at that bearing, falls into the river, which at length, bending to the S.W., assumes in its increased breadth more regular depth and frequent length of its reaches, a character fully entitling it to be considered equal in magnitude to any of the rivers hitherto discovered interiorly. The valley continues in a south-westerly direction about seventeen miles, and thereabouts fine grassy flats extend along the banks of the river, on which were remarked blue gums of very large dimensions. The banks themselves are in some parts quite perpendicular, from ten to fifteen feet in height, and of a red-coloured clay; and where this character occurred the breadth of the river (we remarked) exceeded one hundred yards, was evidently of considerable depth, and teeming with fish of the western waters, particularly that species denominated 'cod', of which several were caught weighing from ten to fifteen pounds. Several emus were observed on the lower flats of the river, but our dogs, who had run many hundred miles in the course of this journey, in pursuit of a daily fresh meal for us, were too much reduced in strength to maintain a long, chase; they, nevertheless, killed one of those gigantic birds, an old male of great bulk, having the feathers of the back nearly black.

"At length, observing the valley to take a decided bend to the north-west I left it and the river altogether, with the intention of directing my course to the south-west; however, upon passing some low forest ridges in that direction, to a patch of plain (the latitude of which I ascertained to be 29 deg. 12 min. S.), a lofty, broken, and exceedingly rocky country again appeared, extending from S.E. to S.W. We were therefore obliged to direct our steps once more to the north-west, and after traversing a succession of barren wooded ranges about five miles, we descended upon a thinly timbered forest country, through which we continued our journey without difficulty to the southward.

"In no part of this lengthened journey were the proofs of the long drought, that had prevailed in the interior, more manifest than in these lonely woods, the soil of which was remarked to be, for the most part, a cold, hungry clay, seemingly incapable of producing good grass or esculent herbage at any season. In many parts of an extent of country, exceeding fourteen miles, the ground (on which were interspersed small patches of brushwood, scarcely in a state of existence) was rent by the sun into wide chasms, and the several pebbly channels that were intersected in the progress of the expedition, and which doubtless in ordinary seasons contain water, had evidently been dried up many months.

"Onward, however, to the southward and westward, we crossed, on the afternoon of the 5th, a stream about fifteen yards in breadth, having a current to the westward, to which in passing I gave the name of Anderson's Brook, in compliment to my very respectable friend, of the medical staff of the colony. Beyond this stream a singular sameness of character prevails throughout the forest ground for about three miles, when the timbers progressively became larger and of more regular growth.

"At noon of this day (5th) our latitude was 29 deg. 24 min. 0.9 sec. S., and at its close, having effected a long and tedious stage, we rested ourselves on a well-watered patch of tolerable grass. Our barometer showed us that we had travelled during the whole of the day on nearly a plain surface, the difference of level in about fourteen miles being found to be only seventy-five feet.

"Pursuing our way to the westward, southerly, on the morning of the 6th, through an open space about three miles, we reached the right bank of a deep river, in breadth about thirty yards, and tending to the N.W.

"This river, which originates in the mountainous country at N.N.E. and bore evident signs of being a channel by which vast bodies of water are carried off to the interior, exhibited at this season little other than a chain of large canal-like ponds, separated from each other by shallows of the gravel of which its upper banks were formed. Upon these it was remarked large bodies of drift-wood had been deposited by those considerable floods which, it was evident, rise in seasons of prolonged rains to the perpendicular height of thirty feet above the low level at which we noticed it. This water, which was named Burrell river, is doubtless augmented by Anderson's Brook a few miles further to the westward, and eventually it falls into Peel's river. South-easterly from Burrell's river, the travelling continued excellent for about twelve miles, the country being a gently rising open forest, productive of timbers of a large dimension, In passing the eastern extremity of a cypress ridge granite was again observed, in large blocks, and towards the termination of our day's stage masses of granulated quartz were strewed in various parts of the forest ground. From a spot somewhere to the southward of Burrell river (situate on the chart in lat. 29 deg. 27 min. 15 sec. S., and long. 151 deg. 0.2 min. E.) I had an extensive view of the line of country lying east towards Shoal Bay.*

[* The entrance of Shoal Bay, which lies equidistant from the settlements of Port Macquarie and Moreton Bay, is placed by navigation in latitude 29 deg. 26 min. 30 sec. S., and longitude 155 deg. 21 min. 15 sec. E. The distance, therefore, of Burrell river directly west from its shore is estimated about one hundred and thirty-five statute miles.]

"Of the capabilities of this indentation of our coast line, which was discovered and partly examined by Captain Flinders in 1799, but little is known, as it appears not to be visited by vessels, because probably its title may have induced those passing to entertain an unfavorable opinion of it. If, however, the country environing its shores should be discovered upon further examination to be well watered and sufficiently capable of improvement by cultivation to induce the Government at any future period to colonise it, it will be interesting to know that upon passing any hills that may be in the neighbourhood of the coast, there exist in all probability no obstacles to prevent a ready and direct communication with the western interior, since upon taking a survey of the country at east, from the rising ground in the vicinity of Burrell river, which its elevation of sixteen hundred feet above the sea shore enabled me to do to a distance little short of seventy miles, the land, although fully timbered, appeared open, of a gently undulated surface, and seemingly of a very gradual fall towards the coast."

Latitude, south 29 deg. 27 min. 15 sec!! Standing here Cunningham could cast a glad glance back upon his achievement. He was wont, his own quiet words show, to weigh the Future in scales with the Past and Present. His own planting had borne early fruit: what might not the coming hour? He did not know that by patient hand of duty to his country, king, and ruling passion, he had lifted a small corner of a veil which was draping the imperishable effigy of a name and fame to which the sovereign people of his own race would one day testify in unexampled loyalty bred of love.

But he was now retreating from the borders within which he had just stirred the slumbering Lady of the Manor of Darling Downs. No need to carry him back in triumph over homeward bound space again! The laurel of his hopes, which he had yet to win and wear, dangled before his eyes all the way to expectant Sydney. The crown of his efforts was not yet grasped however. Away again to the northern fastnesses! With his back to the sun setting over thousands of miles of western solitudes, he had had one glance through the prison-bars of that defiant range, in eagerness towards the only dwelling of his own countrymen—Moreton Bay; gazing from the rugged rampart to where,

"The long mountains ended in a coast
      Of ever shifting sand, and far away
      The phantom circle of a moaning sea,"

but not hopeless of shaping a key for opening the grim portals through which—strange to say!—freedom should in her appointed course go forth to beat down those within which chain-ganged guilt and wailing worthlessness were wearily writhing their way out of woe, the depths beneath had baffled the skill of his sight. He must now woo the eastern beams to light up the ladder of escape from that mountain citadel; he must scale the ramparts from which he dared not leap before winning the mural garland.

The gladness of Cunningham's life was the pursuit of mysteries yet hidden by the coy hand of nature. He could never feel solitude in the bush. The silent majesty of the language which claimed his homage round him, above him, beneath him must have been to his skilled and practised sense an unceasing harmony of appeal. Not even within the secret Bathurst cave, to which we have known him retreat to consult with his Egeria, were their voices not heard—and what has been his reply?

"I live not in myself, but I become
Portion of that around me; and to me
High mountains are a feeling, but the hum
Of human cities. Torture."






{Page 127}

CHAPTER VII.



Non fumum ex fulgore, sed ex fumo dare lucem
Cogitat, ut speciosa dehinc miracula promat.—Horace.


From the end of the month of July, 1828, Cunningham, Captain Logan, commandant at the penal settlement, and Fraser, the Colonial Botanist, were busy in their examination of the country south of Brisbane, the valley of the Logan, and as far as the Mount Warning ranges; ascended Mount Lindesay, and after a fruitless attempt to break through the ragged and brushy country westerly, towards the gap in the dividing range, which Cunningham had approached from the west last year, returned to Limestone "Station" on the 12th of August. His friends having retired to head-quarters, Cunningham resumed his labour, directed towards the purpose on which he was bent. To a Queenslander's eye his journal, therefore, resumes its special position of interest. He now links together the two ends of the chain which he had drawn towards each other from the south, by sea and land.

"Copy Transmitted with Lieutenant-general Darling's Despatch, No. 25, Dated 24th February, 1829.

"Parramatta, 16th December, 1828.

"At this period of the colony, when the tide of emigration appears more decided and directed to its shores than heretofore, the importance of the discovery (by the party forming the expedition which your Excellency was pleased last year to place under my direction) of an extensive tract of fine pasturage at the western base of the dividing range of mountains lying in the parallel of 28 deg. S. latitude, at, moreover, but a short distance from the shores of Moreton Bay, becomes enhanced in no ordinary degree.

"The considerable tracts, however, of very inferior land and absolute desert, so characteristic of no small portion of the interior lying between Hunter's river and the beautiful pastoral country above referred to, through which my exploring party penetrated amidst numerous difficulties, a distance bordering on three hundred miles, presenting a barrier to all communication by the farmer with it overland from the southward, at once suggested to me the necessity of endeavouring to discover from what other point near the sea coast it could be more readily approached, to be fully available to the grazier. Its separation from the coast-line and interesting country lying on the Brisbane river, by the lofty dividing range, the summit of which has been estimated to exceed four thousand feet of absolute height above the level of the sea, appeared at first to hold out no encouragement to the explorer to examine that formidable barrier with the slightest hope of discovering a passage over it to the shores of Moreton Bay, or country lying to the north and east.

"Notwithstanding, at the head of a valley, stretching directly into the midst of this chain of mountains in a north-east direction, a gap, or hollow in the main ridge, was discerned last year, by which it was then conceived a communication might be effected with the very moderately surfaced lands lying between the eastern foot of these mountains and the sea.

"Many circumstances, however, to which myself and my party were entirely subjected at that period did not allow of this mountain defile being otherwise than very partially looked at, and considering that it could be more fully and leisurely explored from the eastern side, its further end, more particular examination was reserved to the period of a visit which I then contemplated making at some future day by sea to Moreton Bay.

"That period at length arrived last winter, and it is the general result of my excursion in the country lying southerly from the Brisbane river, upon which I have now the honour to address your Excellency.

"The occupations of Mr. Fraser, the Colonial Botanist (whom, your Excellency was pleased to permit to accompany me to Moreton Bay) and myself, for some period after our arrival at that settlement upon the Brisbane, investigating those extremely interesting vegetable productions, which so highly invest the banks of that river, did not permit me to prepare for a journey suggested by the excellent commandant, Captain Logan, towards the Mount Warning Ranges, until nearing the end of the month of July.

"With four weeks' provisions for eight persons, and accompanied by that gentleman and Mr. Fraser, I commenced (on the 24th of that month) my journey from the river's bank, opposite the settlement, from which point a line of road had been marked about five miles in a southerly direction, towards some very thinly and lightly-wooded lands known by the title of 'Cowper's Plains', to which salt water flows from the Brisbane river, through the medium of Canoe creek of the late Mr. Oxley, the clearing of which at its upper part of fallen timber, to render it navigable (during the rise of the flood tide) for boats of burden to the plains, which are said to contain two thousand or three thousand acres of good available land, fit for agricultural purposes, will doubtless be at some future period worth effecting.

"The country upon which we entered from the bank of the Brisbane we found to consist for the most part of rather heavily timbered forest ground, of a slightly undulated surface, productive of good grass, but (at that season) very indifferently supplied with water. The timbers were chiefly of the prevailing eucalyptus—viz., iron bark, white and red gums, with an occasional interspersion of the casuarina, or forest oak, and a tree affecting humid situations, the density of whose laurel-like foliage cast a most agreeable shade around. It forms a species of Mr. Brown's tristania genus, yet unpublished. In something short of five miles, the marked track terminates at a fresh water creek, from which, having rested the bullocks a short period, and observed the altitude of the sun on the meridian, which gave us for latitude 27 deg. 33 min. 3 sec. S., we resumed our journey upon a course by compass, south, over the extensive wooded flat, bearing marks of irrigation by rains in wet seasons, Cowper's Plains lying about a mile to the westward of our line of route.

"The weight of provisions and baggage borne by the pack bullocks proving so considerable as to require constant care not to push them in their daily stages beyond their strength, and thereby defeat the designs so fully contemplated in the plan of our journey, it was proposed to halt for the day, upon reaching (at our seventh mile) Canoe creek, at a part of it sufficiently distant from its point of connexion with the Brisbane, to afford us an ample supply of fresh water. We therefore, on crossing it, pitched our tents on the bank—our barometer at sunset showing us that we were at so low a level that our elevation above the sea shore was scarcely recognisable by the mercurial column.

"The country at south for about ten miles preserves a like depressed surface, and may be characterised by an alternation of tea-tree flats, exceedingly swampy in wet weather, and low hungry forest ground in which honeysuckles (Banksia compar of botanists) are very generally interspersed. Continuing southerly, however, the land improves, an undulation of the surface takes place, and the soil becomes richer, furnishing some tolerable patches of grass. In these forest grounds several dry water-channels were crossed, and as these all dipped easterly, we were led to conclude that we were approaching some stream, the head of which we at length reached in latitude 27 deg. 48 min. ¼ S. It proved to be the Logan river, which after a course of about twenty miles to the eastward, disembogues itself on the southern shores of Moreton Bay. At the point at which we crossed it, it assumed the character of a murmuring brook, hastening with a brisk current towards the sea, about ten or fifteen yards in breadth, and although fordable in many parts, nevertheless bore upon its alluvial brushy banks the manifest proof of being flooded, in seasons of protracted rain, to the depth of twenty feet. Upon passing some ordinary forest ground, where were observed some huts of natives that appeared to have been recently occupied, we again intersected the tortuous channel of this small river, which on being traced up southerly about two miles was observed to take a bend from the westward, in which direction the country appeared again perfectly level, but so generally covered with 'viney brush' as to form a jungle far too dense to allow of our attempting a passage through it with our laden oxen, with the view of avoiding an elevated rocky range of forest hills which now lay in our way at south.

"By a stony lateral ridge we succeeded, beyond expectation and without difficulty or accident, in gaining the summit of this range, which declining to the westward southerly, induced us to trace this ridge in that direction to the close of the day, when we were obliged to halt on a part of the ridge destitute of water, which, however, was discovered after a diligent search at the foot of the range, distant about a mile.

"In tracing this range (to which was given the name of Birnam) we penetrated some patches of brush which afforded Mr. Fraser and myself several interesting unpublished plants: and of the rocks, we gathered some fragments of a stone which the natives had been using to scrape or polish their spears. It was perfectly white, exceedingly compact, and although appearing like granulated quartz, nevertheless contained much clay.

"This range would seem to be the pass used by the natives in their wanderings from the country we have already traversed, to the forest lands southerly, since on resuming our route on the morning of the 28th, we found a passage at the south base of the ridge, cut through a thick brush, in which there were abundant traces of these Indians having frequently passed and repassed. From the south-west foot of the Birnam Range we prosecuted our journey over a patch of improving forest ground to an exceedingly pretty patch of plain, about a mile in breadth by perhaps four in length from east to west. Its soil proved to be exceedingly rich, and well clothed with grass and other esculent vegetables. This very interesting spot, which Captain Logan named 'Letitia's Plain', is watered on its western side by the Logan, the channel of which was perceived to bend its course northerly round the western base of Birnam Range.

"In the forest ground on the south side of the plain we reached a lagoon of considerable depth, and about one fourth of a mile in length, which appeared to be entirely sustained by the surcharge of waters of the Logan in seasons of long rains. Whilst Mr. Fraser was engaged taking up the knobbed roots of a beautiful nymphœa-like aquatic,* which had unrolled its ample heart-shaped leaves to the solar heat on the surface of this water, I observed the latitude at its southern extremity, which proving to be 27 deg. 56 min. 0.5 sec. S., placed our position on the chart 27½ geographical miles south of Brisbane Town, its longitude by account being 3½ miles west of the meridian of that settlement—viz., 152 deg. 58 min. E. Pursuing our journey southerly through an open forest, having the river, overshadowed by a density of viney thicket immediately on our right, we traversed flats of good ground, liable, however, to occasional inundation.

[* This fine plant I examined on the spot, and was with Mr. Fraser much gratified to find it was an undescribed species of that division of the Linnæan genus menyanthes, which now constitutes the distinct one named Villarsia, by M. Ventenat.]

"As the country on the opposite bank of the river appeared altogether more open and better adapted for travelling than the one on which we were pursuing our way, it became desirable to cross it at any part where the investing brush on the banks would admit of the descent of the bullocks to the bed of the stream. This we discovered at our third mile from the lagoons; we, therefore, passed over to the level ground on the western bank, and then finding the day was far spent (so much time having been unavoidably occupied in conveying the various baggage over on the shoulders of the people) it was deemed advisable to rest.

"During the whole of the following day (29th July) we were confined to our tents by heavy rain, which had been blown over to us from the mountain ranges by the prevailing westerly wind. Some short periods of intermission of the falling showers, allowing the sun to burst forth, enabled me to observe an azimuth, as also the latitude at noon. The former gave a variation of 8 deg. 35 min. east, whilst the latter showed us that we were within 2 min. of the parallel of 28 deg. S. The results of the barometrical data gave our encamping ground a mean elevation of about three hundred and twenty feet above the shores of Moreton Bay; and the mean temperature of the atmosphere during the rain was 59 deg. Fahr.

"Fine weather being again restored to us on the morning of the 30th, we continued our journey to the S.S.W.—a course shaped to us by the direction from which the channel of the Logan had inclined. The flat over which we travelled we found of a fine rich soil, and among the grasses (the usual products of such lands) we remarked the native bird's foot trefoil (lotus Australis.)

"In a north-western direction, this forest-flat appeared to extend several miles towards that lofty mountain marked on the old charts 'High Peak' *—an elevated cone, forming no inconsiderable feature of the landscape of that part of the country on which it stands. Immediately before us in our course we observed an interesting hilly country, and on completing our third mile over the forest flat, reached the foot of a grassy hill, under the eastern base of which the river winds from about south.

[* Recently named "Flinder's Peak".]

"Climbing this eminence in company with Captain. Logan and Mr. Fraser, we found it commanded a very rich and extensive view, embodying perhaps as much variety of feature as is to be met with in any known part of New South Wales. Immediately beneath us an extent of grassy vale stretched to the southward, bounded on either side by elevated forest ridges, lightly timbered, and seemingly clothed with a grassy verdure to their very summits.

"Through this vale we could trace with the eye the windings of the Logan several miles from a lofty country at south, in which we subsequently discovered that stream to originate; and on extending our view to the S.S.W. and S.W., a bold and singularly precipitous range of mountain peaks met the eye, distant by estimation about twenty-five miles, the interjacent country being of considerably less elevation, but broken and irregular.

"It was to the base of these peaks that Captain Logan (who had considered one or other of them to be the cone of Mount Warning) had penetrated last year from Brisbane Town, and with his usual perseverance had attempted (although in vain) to gain the summit of the highest point.

"A simple reference, however, to the chart of the coasts and adjacent country on which I had marked our position (determined as respects latitude by astronomical observation; and with regard to longitude by a careful account kept from Brisbane Town), showed me that we were at least fifteen geographical miles to the westward of the meridian assigned that lofty peak by navigators, and that, therefore (unless we are disposed to agree with Captain Rous, who asserts that it is actually situated 'at least twenty miles further inland than has been allotted to it in the map',* which cannot possibly be the case), it is abundantly obvious that the lofty points before us, bearing S.W. and S.S.W., are perfectly distinct from the range seen daily from seaward by the passing mariner, of which Mount Warning, of that circumnavigator, the immortal Cook, is the most elevated pinnacle.

[* Vide Wilton's Quarterly Journal, vol. I (No. IV.) p. 353.]

"Descending this hill, which received the name of Mount Dunsinane, we pursued our journey to the south about five miles through the valley to a small, round, rocky mount, perfectly isolated, and standing above the plane of the vale about one hundred and fifty feet. At the foot of this remarkable hill, immediately on the bank of the river, we again rested. Before ascending this rocky mount, to take a few connecting bearings, we observed its eastern side and summit were composed of trap-rock in large irregular masses, whilst the western slopes were studded with basaltic columns of regular prismatic figure of five sides, of which some were from four to five feet in height by about one in diameter. The original position of these columns, which was doubtless erect, appeared to us evidently to have been disturbed by some violent concussion, as many were thrown down on their sides, whilst others, by being wedged up, stood so nearly upright as not to incline more than a few degrees out of a vertical line. Finding this hill too low to allow me to make any observations of the country before us, beyond what we had already noted, we descended to the tents. On arriving upon the ground at the close of the day's stage, on which we had encamped, we perceived a rising smoke at the foot of the hill, and immediately afterwards observed two or three natives upon the summit, to which commanding spot they had with the utmost precipitation retired. On our reaching the top of the mount they had descended the opposite side, and had in all probability crossed the river to a brush on the right bank, as an old man who had concealed himself behind a tree near the bottom of the hill ran off (upon our passing the spot) in that direction, in a state of dreadful apprehension; and such was the alarm produced by our presence that it totally prevented that friendly parley which we would have wished to have brought about.

"At the tire we found the bags and little paraphernalia of the women, showing clearly that the precipitous haste with which these savages had urged their flight had not even afforded them a moment to gather their few articles of economy together.

"Around were quantities of the large seed of that exceedingly ornamental tree of close woods, called at Moreton Bay 'chestnut',** for which, when roasted, it is by no means a bad substitute. Upon these nuts the few natives who wander through these lonely regions chiefly subsist during some months of the year, as (like the English chestnut, castanea vesca) they contain evidently some saccharine and much farinaceous matter, and by being well roasted are rendered easy of digestion.

[** This tree, than which there is no plant indigenous to the shores of Moreton Ray and adjacent country upon which the eye rests with greater pleasure, constitutes a genus perfectly distinct from any yet published; and, independent of its highly ornamental habit and refreshing shade afforded by its densely-leaved branches, its nuts are produced in pods in such abundance as to be ere long worthy the attention of the farmer, as its fruit would form nutritive food for pigs, &c. The tree affects a rich and moist soil.]

"At about two miles south from our encampment the Logan bends from the eastward, watering in its course a patch of plain, originally seen by Lieutenant Innes, of His Majesty's 57th Regiment, who, during his residence at Moreton Bay, frequently undertook bush excursions. Captain Logan attached that officer's name to it, and it now appears on the chart.

"The valley through which we continued our journey south (named also by our excellent commandant 'Erris Vale') continues from the basaltic hill about five miles, and is then bounded on the south by forest hills of an indifferent character. Prosecuting our course southerly, we penetrated a progressively rising country, and on passing a succession of forest ridges, at length again had a sight of the river, which had wound its channel from the westward among the lofty wooded ridges which at length invested us on all sides. On the 1st August, on pushing our way further to the south, we crossed the Logan, much diminished in size, and after a fruitless attempt to continue to the southward, we found ourselves so perfectly hemmed in by steep, lofty, wooded ridges, that we were obliged to return to the river, which we traced westerly until its division into divers streamlets indicated our near approach to its source.

"On the 2nd August we were climbing the hills, and pursuing as steady a course to the S.W. as the difficult nature of the ground would admit of; early in the afternoon of this day we descended to a flat or valley, when (finding abundance of good water) I directed the tents to be pitched at a short distance from the spot whereon Captain Logan had last year bivouaced.

"We had now approached within three miles of the actual base of the stupendous range of mountains (first seen from Mount Dunsinane) whose broad dome-like and conical summits, of rock for the most part, denuded of vegetation, and now fully open to our view, presented a specimen of bold and rugged scenery not to be found in any other explored part of the country. It was originally our design to penetrate no further to the southward than the base of the Colossean Range, in which Captain Logan still considered the peak of Mount Warning was situate, and, therefore, as our bullocks required some repose, it was proposed to employ what time we had to spare in exploring the most elevated of the mountain group, and afterwards endeavour, by stages that would not distress our oxen, to proceed westerly towards the gap or hollow on the back of the Dividing Range.

"Upon setting up the barometer at the close of the day, the mercurial column, I was surprised to find, had fallen to 28.52 in., which showed us that, notwithstanding the hills we had climbed since we left the Vale of Erris, our tents did not stand on higher ground above the level of the ocean than nine hundred and fifty-three feet.


"The Excursion to the Summit of Mount Lindesay.

"The morning of the 3rd (August) dawned on us with a singular clearness of atmosphere, and as its temperature was unusually low and bracing (33 deg.), we were induced to quit our tents at an early hour to commence the very interesting labours of the day. Having made every requisite preparation, we proceeded from our encamping ground at six o'clock on our journey to the summit of the highest mountain (the easternmost of the range) bearing from the tents south, 43 deg. west about three miles.

"Our direct course lay over an extent of thinly-timbered flat, recently burnt by the natives, and stretching nearly two miles to the base of the first range of forest hills, the back of which we gained by a sharp acclivity.

"Travelling along the ridge about another half-mile, we ascended rapidly to the immediate base of the mountain, whence the difficulties of the ascent commenced among large masses of a compound rock, forming large blocks and shelving slabs of vast dimensions, upon which, and in the intermediate interstices flourished most luxuriantly many tufty plants, from among which Mr. Fraser and myself culled several previously unknown species to enrich our respective collections. With considerable exertion, I climbed to a point in elevation equal to one-third of the extreme altitude of the mountain, when the face became so singularly precipitous, and in consequence the further advance attended altogether with so much danger, that I deemed it prudent to proceed no further, especially as I had attained a height from which I could make all the necessary observations that I could desire. I had, moreover, a barometer with me, which it was scarcely possible to avoid injuring had I attempted to have scaled some rocks (in position nearly vertical) immediately above me.

"Whilst I was occupied taking a set of interesting bearings to points around, not previously seen, our indefatigable commandant and Mr. Fraser, who had both preceded me in the ascent, continued their journey towards the summit, notwithstanding the alarming steepness of many parts of this mountain's face.

"The cone of Mt. Warning, respecting the true situation of which we were divided in opinion, I was gratified in no ordinary degree to see distinctly, amidst a group of mountains, nearer the coast line, and bearing east by south, distant from twenty-five to thirty miles. This most fully confirmed me, in what I have already advanced, respecting the position, its bearing, and estimated distance, carrying it as far easterly as the meridian under which those truly scientific navigators. Captains Cook and Flinders, have long ago placed this most striking of all landmarks on this coast to the passing seaman! It was now that Captain Logan clearly saw his mistake in supposing one of the peaks of the mountains about us, and which cannot be perceived from seaward, to be the Mt. Warning of Cook.

"A range, distant scarcely ten miles, and stretching from east by north to south-east, of elevated bold appearance, was named 'Macpherson's Range', in compliment to Major Macpherson, of His Majesty's 39th Regiment, whilst its southern extreme, a very bluff head, and a rounded mount or hummock about its centre, received each respectively the names of 'Coke' and 'Burrough'.

"Along the eastern rise of Macpherson's Range I could trace a deep ravine, bounded on its eastern side by a vertical wall of rocks of very rugged aspect. This ravine was, at the suggestion of Mr. Fraser, named 'Glen Lyon', and through it ran a stream (indicated by a line of mist throughout its length) which, doubtless, falls southerly into the channel of a river seen by Captain Logan from the summit of this mountain, and which, from the direction of its course towards the sea at south-east, is, doubtless, the 'Richmond' of Captain the Hon. H.E. Rous, of His Majesty's Ship 'Rainbow'.

"To the east of Glen Lyon the entire country, extending to the lofty ridges connected with the Mt. Warning group, appeared exceedingly broken and irregular.

"A lofty mountain, bearing N. by E. five miles, received from Captain Logan the title of 'Clanmorris', whilst to a lofty wooded peak lying about ten miles further to the north I attached the name of my friend Lieutenant Hughes, of the Royal Staff Corps.

"At S.S.E. five miles a very precipitous rocky head, in figure seemingly inaccessible from any point around us, was named 'Mount Hooker', in honour of the mutual friend of Mr. Fraser and myself, the very learned and scientific Regius Professor of Botany in the University of Glasgow. Far to the north points were distinctly discerned, particularly the towering peak of Captain Flinders, now bearing the name of that very accurate nautical surveyor. Having noted all the more prominent features of the country around, excepting at S. and S.S.W., in which direction my position on the mountain prevented my observation, I employed myself awhile investigating the scrubby blighted vegetable productions about me, and, among the many described well known plants, I gathered several, yet unpublished, to add to my daily augmenting collections. I also set up the barometer (which I had with much care carried from Brisbane Town), with the view of deducing the elevation of my station above our encampment, the height of which above the level of the sea I had already measured, I had, however, to regret that in the carriage from the tents to the point at which I had halted the instrument had become deranged by some sudden jerk it had received, which had divided the column of mercury, and thus had rendered it perfectly useless.

"A subsequent trigonometrical operation, however, gave the spot a height of about one thousand five hundred feet above our encampment.

"Mr. Fraser had followed the Commandant up the very steep face of the mountain more than double that elevation above me, but, arriving at the base of a rock nearly perpendicular, without a bush to assist him to pass above it, he very wisely stopped, and, having rested and contemplated with pleasure the grandeur of the surrounding scene from so considerable a height (verging on four thousand above the level of the sea), he began his descent.

"It was not, however, without great difficulty, and on more than one occasion at great risk of life itself, that he found his way back to my station, much bruised, and in a state of considerable exhaustion.

"Five hours, however, elapsed before the Commandant, who had with great labour carried the extreme summit of this formidable mountain, returned to us. This considerable eminence afforded him a very extensive bird's-eye view of the entire circumjacent country. The sea was seen at S.S.E. over the very low country lying between the southern extremes of the Mount Warning Range and the coast line, and a fine open grazing country breaking into plains was also distinctly perceived to the S.W., at which the traveller might arrive, upon passing about twenty miles of broken brushy country, from the base of the mountain, a few miles from which a river was observed, bending its course to the southward and eastward, which has since been considered by Captain Logan to be none other than either a branch or the main branch of the Richmond, recently discovered by Captain the Hon. Mr. Rous.

"About the close of the day we returned to our tents, amply rewarded for our respective exertions by the various interesting observations each had made.

"The mountain which we had visited, which is the easternmost of the range, was named 'Mount Lindesay', as a compliment to the officer commanding his Majesty's 39th Regiment in this colony.

"Our bullocks requiring further rest, we determined to remain encamped during the whole of the following day (4th Aug).

"Whilst Captain Logan was absent on an excursion to ascertain how far a communication could be opened round the eastern base of Mount Lindesay with the apparently fine grazing country seen in a south-western direction from the summit of that lofty mountain, I was occupied in taking the necessary observations for the determination of our situation. These gave the following results:

"Latitude by a solar meridional altitude 28 deg. 15 min. 21 sees. S., longitude 152 deg. 45 min. 45 sees. E., or sixteen geographical miles west of Brisbane Town. Variation of the needle (by azimuth) 11 deg. E. I also measured a base of six hundred and eight yards on an extensive flat near the tents, and observing the angles I obtained by the summit of Mount Lindesay ascertained its perpendicular height over our encampment to be four thousand seven hundred and fifty feet. To this, upon adding nine hundred and fifty-three feet, the elevation of the parts above the sea shore (as already determined by the barometer), the mean height of this mountain above the level of the sea shore is shown to be five thousand seven hundred and three feet, which is by far the most elevated point (measured) that has hitherto been ascended by any European in Australia.

"In the evening our laborious Commandant returned to the encampment, having fully satisfied himself of the practicability of marking a road to the country lying to the S.W., by directing its line to leave the Mount Lindesay Range to the west.

"On the morning of the 5th we broke up our encampment and, conformably with the plan of our journey, made an attempt to pursue a course to the westward with the design of penetrating to the hollow in the back of the Dividing Range, discovered in June, 1827.

"Invested as we were by steep hills and lofty mountainous lands, it was with some difficulty that we pushed our way northerly through a glen bounded on the west side by forest hills immediately connected with Mount Clanmorris, and to the east by a steep rocky sided ridge, overhanging a brook (formed by a junction of the creek, at which we last rested, with others), which ran briskly through it northerly over a bed of large stones, so much rounded by water attrition as to render the crossing and re-crossing its channel, which was necessary, too dangerous to allow me to risk the lives of the bullocks in the passage. They were, therefore, sent round among the hills easterly, and after a circuitous route of about four miles, again joined me on a level open patch of forest ground.

"We then prosecuted our course to the north-west, climbing moderately elevated wooded ridges with an occasional flat of good soil, and observing all the watercourses uniformly dipped easterly, and therefore threw the rains that are collected in these hills in a wet season into the Logan. From several points in these hills, I took bearings to a lofty wooded mount, named last year by Captain Logan in honour of Lieutenant-Colonel Shadforth, of her Majesty's 57th Regiment, as also to a remarkable conical-shaped hill of considerable elevation, situated to the W.S.W. about fifteen miles, which also Captain Logan had named after a friend, 'Wilson's Peak'.

"After penetrating about seven miles to the N.W., we gained the pitch of the hills, whence we observed at a distance of about two miles to W.N.W. a patch of plain, bounded on its western side by a ridge of craggy hills, of which the Commandant immediately recognised a point at whose base he had, in the progress of his last year's campaign, bivouaced. Our oxen having descended on its western side with considerable difficulty, owing to the steepness of the declivity from the several rocky heads and abrupt terminating bluffs it presented to that cardinal point, we soon reached the plain, which we found to be a reedy flat, without a tree, of a springy sponginess to the tread, and evidently extremely swampy in wet weather. The long protracted droughts of the year had, however, dried the surface sufficiently hard to allow our burdened beasts to cross it (a breadth of a mile) to the channel of a rivulet, washing the eastern foot of the craggy hills. On the western bank of this stream (which is a tributary to the Logan, and named 'Teviot Brook'), we were very glad to encamp, as the sun had some time dipped below the western horizon. This plain or marsh flat, which lies nearly north and south, is about three miles in length, and is (as already observed) bounded on the west by a low ridge of rocky hills of singularly picturesque appearance, named at the suggestion of Mr. Fraser, 'Minto Craigs'.

"South-westerly beyond these craggy hills, we had a peep at a part of the Dividing Range, which, with other elevated grounds at south, formed as beautiful a landscape as can well be conceived; and if anything tended to give a higher effect to the extremely pleasing scene, as it opened to us while crossing the marshy flat, it was the warm tints produced by the radiance of the setting sun, striking upon the naked rocks of the craig. Just before we halted, five emus, which were feeding on the plain, joined together and, as if prompted by curiosity to know what we were, stalked over the flat after us, preserving, however, a respectful distance from the dogs. We were all too much engaged to give chase to them; they, therefore, after following us some distance, filed off, and retiring with some little precipitancy to the wooded lands, as if fully apprehensive of danger, disappeared altogether.

"A hill of square tabulated figure, bearing about north seven or eight miles, was last year named by Captain Logan 'Mount French', and a singularly sharp-pointed one wooded to its extreme summit, and lying to the N.E. about nine miles received from me the title of 'Knapp's Peak', after an esteemed friend, at this time attached to the department of the Surveyor-General in this colony.

"At an early hour on the morning of the 7th August we broke up our encampment with the fullest expectation of making a loner stage to the westward.

"Passing the northern extreme of Minto Craigs, we pursued our course to the N.W. over a hilly country until, in about our fourth mile, we reached another and more extensive patch of plain, on which I observed the meridional altitude of the sun, which gave for latitude 28 deg. 4 min. 26 sees. S., and showed us that we had arrived at about the parallel of the mountain gap, which bore west from us.

"Perceiving, however, that the plain was flanked on its west and north-western sides by densely brushed rocky ridges connected with Mount French, through which it appeared extremely doubtful whether we could penetrate with the bullocks to the foot of the Dividing Range, it was proposed at once to halt and employ the remainder of the day in determining the practicability of effecting a passage through them to the westward. We therefore (about one o'clock) set up the tents on the edge of the plain, near to a pond of exceedingly fine water.

"Our unwearied Commandant, attended by two of the most intelligent of the people, undertook to examine the rocky western ridge, and I in the meantime ascertained our position, took bearings to points around, and obtained a set of azimuths, which gave a variation easterly of lo deg. 3 min.

"This beautiful plain, to which I had much pleasure in attaching the title of Dulhunty, as a compliment to the highly respectable family of that name residing in this colony, lies about S.S.W. and N.N.E., and in extent is about five miles in length by three-fourths of a mile in breadth.

"Notwithstanding the sad drought to which it was everywhere manifest the entire country through which we had passed had been long subjected, we nevertheless found this plain abundantly watered by a chain of ponds fed from the hills at S.W., which in seasons of much rain unite, and overflowing the flatter surfaces, eventually drain off to the N.E., and become a tributary to the Logan. The soil of Dulhunty's Plain is in all parts of exceedingly rich quality, capable of yielding heavy crops of grain, and although it appeared scarcely sound enough for sheep pasture, the whole presented a fine range of horse and cattle feed. At the close of the day Captain Logan returned to us, having climbed the rocky barrier to the westward, which he found clothed with so thick a jungle of twining plants, that it was with the utmost difficulty he gained a commanding point, whence he saw it was quite impracticable to penetrate westward to the Dividing Range. He observed also that the only course we could possibly pursue was to the northward easterly, in which direction the country not only appeared moderate, but also unencumbered by those thickets, which in many parts form a perfect jungle on a level surface many miles in extent, and which we have repeatedly satisfied ourselves are not to be passed by laden bullocks, until the axe has fully effected a passage for them.

"On the 8th we stood away to the N.E., across Dulhunty's Plains, and in two miles and a-half reached the thinly-timbered forest ground, well watered by the Logan, which at length had become a connected stream.

"In other two miles to the N.E. we entered a second plain of small dimensions, probably containing about seven hundred acres, to which was given the name of Rattray, after a relative of Mr. Fraser. As we continued our journey we could not but admire the landscape that the country at E. and S.E. presented, made up of gently rising forest hills, with here and there a point somewhat more elevated, having in their midst the sharp cone named Knapp's Peak, which overlapped the whole.

"The forest ridge continuing to stretch to the north, obliged us to pursue our course to the eastward of that cardinal point. At noon on crossing the channel of the Logan, we found ourselves by observation exactly in the parallel of 28 deg. S., and perceiving that it was not possible to make our way to the westward from our present position, in consequence of the brushy ridges which we now perceived to stretch across the country northerly to the foot of Flinder's Peak, I was induced, by the advice of Captain Logan, (who had become anxious to return to the settlement) to relinquish my design of making the mountain gap from this part of the country, but rather prosecute our journey to the N. and N.E., until we should pass the parallel of latitude of Flinders' Peak on its easternmost side, and on effecting which no obstacle would prevent our making the Limestone Station on Bremer's river (a tributary to the Brisbane), whence the Dividing Range could be approached with the utmost ease, as the interjacent country was known to Captain Logan to be of very moderate surface. Thus determined, we pursued our way to the E.N.E., about three and a-half miles over a succession of forest ridge and narrow valleys, when, again intersecting the Logan at our eleventh mile, we were induced to halt, as our bullocks were much exhausted.

"At daybreak on the 9th August, the Commandant despatched two of our party with letters to Brisbane Town, and by that opportunity I wrote to the officer in charge of the commissariat to forward to me at the Limestone Hills on the Bremer a further supply of rations to enable me to perform the journey I had in contemplation from that station, south-westerly to the pass through the mountains discovered in June, 1827.

"On resuming our journey this day, we left the Logan and repeatedly made attempts to pass to the westward at points appearing likely to afford us a passage through. All our essays were, however, in vain, for the dense repulsive thicket soon stopping our progress, showed us that the utmost we could possibly effect would be to pursue our course to the northward and eastward. We therefore continued over low forest ridges, taking care to clear the brush which occasionally stretched down them to the narrow intermediate valleys, in which we again met the Logan, and as we had completed our tenth mile we halted on its bank. From this encamping ground we observed the hills connected with Birnam Range, the central part of which bore nearly east from us, and appeared to be distant ten miles.

"At our second mile to the north, in our stage of the following day, the Logan, which we had traced from its source, left us altogether by trending away to the E.N.E. Throughout the day we were climbing hills, with Flinder's Peak continually in view, the base of which we were unable to approach, it being perfectly surrounded by steep and rocky ridges.

"It was not until after sunset that water was discovered for the use of our exhausted bullocks and selves, and although it was found in small quantity, and in a stagnant state, we were exceedingly glad to close our labours for the day at it. Early in the morning of the 11th Captain Logan and Mr. Fraser left me for Brisbane Town, distant about twenty-four miles. As my views were entirely directed to the station on the Bremer, I directed the course of my party to the northward and westward, and after effecting a stage of ten miles over a hilly uninteresting country, timbered thickly with ironbark, we rested in a valley affording both excellent grass and good water to our wearied oxen.

"We had at length passed sufficiently to the north of the range connected with Flinder's Peak to be enabled to shape a course to the westward without further interruption from a difficult country; we therefore, on commencing our last stage to the Limestone Station, penetrated directly west among some stony hills, and after some exertion in the first two miles gained a more moderate country, and at the seventh mile of our stage came out upon the skirts of a plain, on the surface of which scattered fragments of calcareous rocks, flint and agate, fully announced to us our near approach to the Limestone Hills, at which we immediately arrived upon crossing the plain to the north-west, where I found the provisions I had demanded from the commissariat had already arrived by a boat under charge of my servant. Here I reduced my establishment to two bullocks, a driver, and my two servants, sending back to Brisbane Town, agreeably to the request of Captain Logan, the other two oxen and two servants.

"As I shall have frequent occasion to refer to this station in what I have further the honour to communicate for your Excellency's necessary information, I take leave to make a few observations on its situation and general productions.

"In the course of the last year Captain Logan, in tracing the Bremer (of the late Mr. Oxley, who merely passed its mouth in 1824) from its junction with the Brisbane, discovered at ten miles through its many windings from that point, the calcareous hummocks on its right bank, now named the 'Limestone Hills'.

"Landing, he was much struck with the singular appearance of the lofty XanthorrhϾ or grass trees,* which abound on the open flats, low hills, and forest grounds at this particular part, and which the Commandant had not inaptly compared to bee-hives elevated on stools.

[* As this extraordinary plant (the genus of which gives a peculiarity to the vegetation of New South Wales) was not in a flowering state during my stay at Moreton Bay, I had no opportunity of determining its species, but from the length of the decayed last year's scapus or flowering stem, in respect to the amentum or spike, I am disposed to view this plant as distinct from both X. arborea of our colony, and X. Australis, hitherto found only in Van Dieman's Land, each having an arborescent caudex.]

"Some months after this discovery a kiln was built, and a party of convicts, consisting of an overseer (acquainted with the operations of sapping and mining), and live men were stationed at these hills to commence lime-burning. It was not long before the station was visited by the wandering aborigines, who, after threatening the lives of the white men, seized the first opportunity to run off with their tools.

"To protect the lime-burners from further molestation from these savages, a corporal and three privates were stationed on the spot, and from that period no natives have ventured to approach the huts of either soldiers or people, although they have been repeatedly seen prowling through the adjacent woods.

"From three hundred to four hundred baskets of excellent lime (I am informed) are burnt weekly at this station, which is regularly conveyed down by boat to Brisbane Town, and there used in the buildings in progress. The limestone of Bremer's river is very different in appearance from the calcareous rocks of Argyle, Bathurst, or Wellington Valley. From these it differs, not simply in colour, which is either yellowish brown or brownish white, but also in its quality, it containing much earthy matter, without impressions of shells or organic remains.

"As far as the hills have been opened, no stratification has been observed; on the contrary, it appeared in irregular masses mixed with reddish earth and large blocks of a blackish flint.

"In some specimens of the latter rock, which I caused to be broken, I found beautiful specimens of chalcedony, containing cavities filled with groups of minute crystallised quartz.

"Chalk is also found among the hills, in which are nodules of flint. A stratum or seam of coal has been observed on the Bremer, both immediately above and below the station, and as that mineral was noticed three or four miles to the north, in the steep banks of dry creeks dipping to the Brisbane, and again in another mile, in the bed of that river, it is highly probable that the seam extends nearly horizontally throughout. The soil of these hills and adjacent country is of a black colour, and, if one might judge from the luxuriant growth of vegetables cultivated in a small patch of garden-ground, belonging to the soldiers, is of a rich quality. The flats and undulated grounds are well clothed with grasses, and as they are not under any circumstances of season, other than of a dry character, they form a sound range of sheep pasture, at present supporting a small flock belonging to Government.

"During a stay of five days at this station, in which period the rest and good pasture afforded my bullocks most materially benefited them, I determined its geographical position as follows, viz.:—mean latitude by meridional altitudes of the sun, 27 deg. 37 min. S.: longitude by the mean of distances of the sun and moon—on both sides of the meridian: distances of the planet Jupiter and moon, and distances of the star Fomalhaut and moon, mean 152 deg. 47 min. 20 sees. E.: variation by azimuths, g deg. 45 min. E. Its distance from Brisbane Town by water has been estimated at about forty-five miles, whilst its bearing from that settlement is S.W. by W. (true) only eighteen statute miles.

"From a hill in the immediate vicinity of my tents I took the following bearings to points in the south-western country about to be examined:—Mount Forbes, of Mr. Oxley, a remarkable hill rising from a level country, and in shape ridged like the roof of a house, S. 48½ W., about sixteen miles; mountain gap, S. 38½ W., perhaps forty miles; Wilson's Peak, of Captain Logan, S. 12 W., forty-five or fifty miles; Flinder's Peak, S. 19 E., twelve miles.


"Journey to the Gap in the Dividing Range.

"On the morning of the 18th August we proceeded from the Limestone Hills south-westerly, towards the hollow in the ridge of the principal or Dividing Range.

"Immediately on leaving the limestone base, and entering the closer-timbered forest, the land gradually rises and the soil changes to a lumpy grit, productive only of small and stunted timber and brushy plants. At our second mile an open moderately undulated forest ground, appearing at S.W. by S., we pursued our course in that direction through a variety of nearly level country, the rock formation of which was chiefly a coarse sandstone—quartz and very fine specimens of jasper being here and there strewed in the forest ground.

"Occasionally the land became more thinly and lightly-wooded, the soil of which was of a dark rich quality, strewed with small fragments of calcareous stone, the general appearance altogether inducing a conclusion that we were approaching open downs.

"Almost immediately, however, the more lofty timbered forest succeeded, continuing for several miles level and of monotonous feature. Passing at length a tea-tree flat bearing obvious marks on the surface of partial inundation in seasons of protracted rain, we came upon the bank of a narrow but deep creek, falling north-easterly towards Bremer's river, which, although at this season a mere chain of stagnant pools, exhibited on its banks traces of floods twenty feet above its then low level.

"Crossing, we left this creek winding from the southward, and continuing our route to the southward and westward to our eleventh mile, I despatched a man to search for water in the direction of the remarkable level-topped hill seen from the Limestone Station, and named by Mr. Oxley in 1824 Mt. Forbes. Such had been the lengthened period of dry weather that we were obliged to extend our stage beyond the strength of the bullocks to the thirteenth mile, ere we found a sufficiency of water for our consumption.

"No natives were met with in this stage, although patches of the forest grasses had been lately fired, and the recent traces of these people were noticed on the trunks of the tea-trees, from which they had torn off the outer paper-like bark to roof their huts.

"After some heavy showers of rain in the night accompanied by thunder, the morning of the 19th (August) broke upon us exceedingly clear, pleasant, and cool, the mean temperature of the atmosphere at six o'clock being 61 deg.

"Our route to the northward and westward was resumed about seven o'clock, and having traversed a level patch of open forest on the eastern side of Mount Forbes, abounding in grass, we reached some hilly ground at our third mile of very rugged stony surface. On gaining the summit of a ridge, a most pleasing and extensive view was laid open to us from S.W.to S., and then to E and E.N.E.

"At E.N.E., and thence to E.S.E., a large patch of plain lying N. and S., appeared beneath us, at a distance of about three miles, in many parts very verdant, and watered evidently by a large creek, the course of which was marked by a line of swamp oak winding through its centre. To this plain I attached the name of Bowerman, as a compliment to my friend, the officer in charge of His Majesty's magazine at Parramatta.

"The elevated irregular ridge connected with Flinder's Peak still further to the eastward was very conspicuous, presenting four distinct pinnacles; and to all the more distant points in a southerly direction, extending as far as Mount Lindesay, which was distinctly recognised, bearings were taken.

"On quitting the ridge, we descended to a grassy vale, and then continued our journey to the S.S.W., through a forest tract, plentifully clothed with grass, but as far as our observation extended, destitute of water. As every part of the timbered lands, through which our course led us, bore manifest proof of the long existing drought that has prevailed through this, and other parts of New South Wales, I began to be apprehensive that we should not readily meet with water for our evening's use. On completing our tenth mile at the pitch of a low ridge, the ground appeared on its S.W. side to dip easterly. I therefore sent one of the people to make a diligent search for water in that direction. This was almost immediately met with in deep holes, and as there was abundance of good grass around for our oxen I again halted. At night a wind from about S.S.W. sprang up, which freshening to a hard gale, obliged us to secure our tents by strong wires, to prevent their being blown down. The wind continued with unabated violence throughout the night, and until about sunrise of the following morning (20th), when it moderated considerably. Being by estimation about twelve miles to the N.E. of the Pass through the Dividing Range, it was my fullest intention to have penetrated as near to its immediate base in the course of the day as the nature of the interjacent ground would permit us. We therefore quitted our encamping ground, soon after sunrise, but soon had to regret the inability of the bullocks to travel over some stony hills, which lay in my course in the earlier part of our journey, owing to the extreme tenderness of their feet, increased probably by the stages of the preceding days, which the circumstances of the country had obliged me to lengthen in our search for water. In consequence, I was obliged to halt in a valley among the hills, having made only four miles towards the Pass. At noon I found our latitude to be 27 deg. 56 min. 48 sec. S., and in the afternoon observed an azimuth, which gave a variation of the compass of 10 deg. 3 min. E. The smoke of natives' fires was seen curling above the trees a little to the eastward of us, but these people kept themselves very quiet, not a voice was heard, or a person seen.

"Aug. 20th. About noon we made another attempt to the foot of the main range. Climbing a forest ridge at S.W. without difficulty, the bullocks descended (by the care of my people) amidst much fallen timber and loose stones, to a valley stretching north and south, which we crossed, continuing towards the range over an irregular surface of forest ground to our fifth mile, when we intersected the stony beds of a mountain torrent, twelve yards in width, at this season perfectly dry, but evidently at other periods filled to the depth of six feet. The position of the drift wood on its shallow bank showed us that its fall was to the south; it, therefore, most probably pours its rapid waters into the Richmond of Captain the Hon. E.H. Rous, the trunk of which it doubtless meets at a much lower level.

"Passing the stony channel of this watercourse, we traversed an apple-tree flat, pursuing our way over some hilly ground to a narrow valley, when meeting with fine water, we again halted within four miles of the actual mouth of the Gap. As it was early in the afternoon, I despatched an intelligent man to look at and examine (in a partial way) the hollow in the mountain ridge directly open to our encampment.

"After an absence of five hours he returned, having failed in his attempt to climb to the pitch of the Gap—a wall of perpendicular rocks rising from a ravine stopping his progress after he had advanced in direct distance about three miles.

"From the precipitous aspect of this hollow in the Main Range, its elevated appearance, its breadth between the boundary heads, added to the total impracticability of gaining its level from the spot on which our tents stood, I was induced to conceive that the Gap, into which I had simply looked from its western side in June, 1827, and which certainly did appear to offer a very practicable passage through to the eastward, was very distinct from the one now before us, and as the Dividing Range to the north of us trended out easterly, I felt disposed to believe it was to be discerned a few miles in that direction. With this impression on my mind, we left the spot on which we had rested on the morning of the 22nd, to proceed round the extremes of the lateral ridges, a day's journey to the north; intending to observe attentively as we travelled along the grassy valley we had crossed every indentation of the main range. We immediately entered the valley, and in five miles reached its head, which to the eastward is bounded by rather elevated open forest hills. On passing a very moderate grassy ridge, stretching E. and W., I observed the latitude. Continuing about two miles, we descended to an apple-tree flat, watered by a creek running to the northward, on which we encamped.

"The low grassy ridge, although of exceedingly moderate rise above the plane of the country on either side, is nevertheless sufficiently elevated to give opposite directions to waters discharged on our east coast, but at points widely separated from each other. We remarked that those streams falling on the northern side (its direction being east and west) eventually joined the Bremer, whilst those descending southerly meandered through a length of valley to an open country lying south-west from Mount Lindesay, and without doubt are received into the Richmond, the embouchure of which Captain Ross has recently discovered upwards of one hundred and sixty miles to the south of Moreton Bay.

"As I had determined to remain encamped during the 22nd, I despatched two of my people at daybreak to the summit of a very steep forest ridge immediately to the westward of us, with directions to penetrate to the highest point of the Dividing Range from which they would be able to make such remarks of the western country as would enable me to form a just idea of the situation of the Pass of the last year, and especially by anv bearings that might be taken to the extensive downs, then discovered on the western side of this formidable range. Meanwhile, I ascertained our situation, latitude by observation 27 deg. 55 min. 45 sec.; longitude, deduced from the meridian of the Limestone Hills, 152 deg. 27 min. 30 sec. E. Among the brushes that overshadowed the creek on which we were encamped, grew most luxuriantly, the native bignonia and a fine clematis, and being intertwined and abundantly in flower, formed the richest festoons.

"Whilst on the subject of the flora of this fine country, so generally interesting in all its features, it may be observed that leaving the viney banks of the Brisbane out of the account, the whole line of the country through which we have travelled since we left Brisbane Town, important as really certain portions of it are to the grazier, has nevertheless proved by no means so interesting to the botanist,

"The grasses are chiefly those of the colony, the richer flats and alluvial grounds being adorned with the blooming vetch called by botanists Swainsona, with lotus Australis or bird's-foot trefoil, as also a geranium and a senecio frequent in the Bathurst country. The collections of dried plants that were formed were therefore detected on the barren rocky ridges and stony mountains that lay in the way of our expedition.

"In this place I will merely notice the singular association of our common eucalypti with the tree of a genus whose splendid scarlet flowers renders it very conspicuous among even the more brilliant subjects of the flora of intertropical countries. The tree I allude to is a species of erythrina or coral tree, which I first observed in an excursion to the foot of Flinders' Peak. Under the Dividing Range I frequently met with it, in a forest of blighted uncomely ironbark forming a tree thirty-five feet high with a smooth trunk, but thorny branches, and during the winter months without leaves.

"Its last year's pods continued hanging at the extremities of the branches, and although pigeons (which abound in the woods) and other fabœvorous birds had eaten most of the seeds, still many of a brilliant red colour were found among the grass beneath each tree.

"It was late in the afternoon ere my two men found their way back to the encampment, when I learnt from them that from the grassy ridge which they had ascended in front of the tents, they had gained a lofty point of the Dividing Range, to the south-west, from which they observed among the very elevated mountains bounding their view at west, a valley extending through them in the direction of N.N.W., to a very low declining country at that bearing, but as no appearance of plain could be perceived, and as there did not appear any part of the main range to the north worth the examination for the Gap, so obvious in the writer's journey in 1827, it was rationally concluded that either the hollowback we had just left was the identical pass of the last year, or that it was in its immediate vicinity. With this view I concurred, and therefore on the morning of the 24th we returned southerly towards it, with the fullest determination to examine leisurely the main range about it from the extreme points of which I felt quite certain the last year's gap would be discovered.

"About one o'clock we passed a mile to the southward of our last position, and entering a valley, we pitched the tents within three miles of the entrance of the Gap, now suspected to be the Pass of last year's journey.

"It being early in the afternoon, I sent one of the people (who, having been of my party on that long tour, knew well the features of the country lying to the westward of the Dividing Range) to travel a series of forest ridges which appeared to lead directly up to the foot of the hollowback of the range. To my utmost gratification, he returned at dark, having traced the ridge about two-and-a-half miles to the foot of the Dividing Range, whence he ascended into the Pass, and, from a grassy head immediately above it, beheld the extensive country lying west of the main range.

"He recognised Darling and Canning Downs, patches of Peel's Plains, and several remarkable points of the forest hills on that side, fully identifying the hollowback with the Pass discovered last year at the head of Millar's Valley, notwithstanding its very different appearance when viewed from the eastern country.

"Resting my oxen on the 25th, I determined to occupy the whole of the day in the examination of this very important passage from the coast lands through a formidable main range of mountains to a vast, and for the most part, undefined extent of pastoral country on their western side. Accompanied by my servant, with an odometric or measuring wheel, we commenced our interesting labours of the day at 7 a.m.

"From the valley in which we were encamped we immediately ascended a low forest ridge at south, tending S.S.W. and S.W. throughout the first mile and a-half. The acclivity proved most gradual, and the surface of the ridge, although occasionally rather rugged, was rendered so by small fragments of rock easy to be removed. Continuing to trace the leading ridge, we found an ample passage between detached masses of sandstone, which were covered with parasites (of ferns and dendrobia, or rock lilies) of species heretofore only found within the tropical circle.

"In another half-mile the ridge takes a decided bend to the westward, and its surface becoming wider presented an open patch of forest ground, timbered chiefly with oak and apple tree, in quantity sufficient for a small farm. The ridge at length narrows again, but the acclivity continues most progressive. Patches of brush now clothe the sides of the ridge, as also the gullies falling from it, leaving its back clear of wood, open and grassy.

"At about two and three-quarter miles the ridge bends to the northward of west, and immediately the summit of the Pass appeared broad before us, bounded on each side by most stupendous heads, * towering at least two thousand feet above it.

[* I had at the time great pleasure in giving names to these very elevated points of the Dividing Range, which are very distinctly seen over fifty-four miles of wooded country from Brisbane Town. The south head, which forms a long-backed mount with a lofty point at each extremity I have named Mount Mitchell, in honour of the Surveyor-General of the territory, whilst the north head was entitled Mount Cordeaux, as a compliment to Wm. Cordeaux, Esq., of the Surveyor-General's department.]

"Here the difficulties of the passage commence; we had now penetrated to the actual foot of the pass without the smallest difficulty; it now remained to ascend by a steep slope to the level of its entrance. This slope is occupied by a very close wood, in which red cedar, sassafras, palms, and other ornamental intertropical trees are frequent.

"Through this shaded wood we penetrated, climbing up a steep bank of very rich loose earth, in which large fragments of a very compact rock (a whitestone) are bedded. At length we gained the foot of a wall of bare rock, which we found stretching from the southward into the Pass. This piece of naked rock we perceived (by tracing its base northerly) gradually to fall to the common level, so that without the smallest difficulty, and to my utmost surprise, we found ourselves in the highest part of the Pass, having fully ascertained the extent of the difficult parts from the entrance into the wood to this point not to exceed four hundred yards. We now pushed our way westerly through this extraordinary defile, and in less than half-a-mile of level surface, clothed with a thick brush of plants common to the Brisbane river, reached the opposite side of the main range, where I observed the waters fell westerly to Millar's Valley, beneath us.

"Climbing the northern summit of Mount Mitchell, which bounds the Pass on the south, it was with no small pleasure that I passed my eye over the beautiful tract of country, at which my labours of the last year had closed.

"Portions of Canning and Darling Downs, with patches of Peel's Plains were distinctly recognised at distances of twenty and thirty miles. The entrance to Logan Vale, indicated by the table-topped hill named last year 'Mount Sturt', was also observed, as was the forest ridge overhanging that rich valley beneath which my tents stood several days at that period. My elevated situation on Mount Mitchell enabled me to take bearings to points whose positions are fixed, as well on the western as the eastern sides of the Barrier Ranges, and thus most satisfactorily affording me the amplest materials to connect on the map of the country the northern points of my last year's journey with the penal settlement on the Brisbane River. The day was considerably advanced by the time we had effected these truly interesting observations; we therefore descended to the Pass, and making the best of our way along the eastern forest ridge, reached the encampment about eight o'clock, having been occupied in severe exercise about thirteen hours.

This passage through the Dividing Range is geographically situated in latitude 28 deg. 2 min. 40 sec. S., and longitude (reduced from the meridian of the Limestone Station) 152 deg. 24 min. 20 sec. E., and lies S.W. from Brisbane Town fifty-four miles, being also in direct distance from the sea coast near Point Danger (of Captain Cook) about sixty-four geographical miles.

"The weather had favoured our operations throughout the whole of the day, but we had scarcely been seated within our tents half-an-hour, before the sky became overcast, and heavy clouds pressing over us to the eastward in a rapid succession, presaged the storm that was gathering in and beyond the heights above us. I had timely taken the precaution to direct the securing of the tents by extra guys, and, therefore, felt fully prepared to meet the impending tempest. The thunder (which the otherwise stillness of these solitudes had allowed us to hear in the distance) at length approached in rolling peals, and, accompanied by the most vivid lightning and a deluging rain, commenced a storm as awful, at the same time as grand, as any that are to be witnessed in elevated intertropical countries. With unabated violence the tempest continued until after midnight, when, as if suddenly exhausted, the wind moderated, the clouds broke, gradually sinking down towards the horizon, and a bright moon, just past the full, now burst forth with many a brilliant star, to assure us, by affording us light to observe the extreme pinnacles of the mountains perfectly divested of clouds, that at length calm, serene, and settled weather was again restored to us. During the whole of this thunderstorm the temperature of the atmosphere continued without variation: the thermometer stood at 64 deg.

"On the 26th (August) we commenced our journey back to the Limestone Station, distant something under forty miles. The surface of the soil felt to the foot quite saturated with the rains of the last night, and vegetables, generally speaking, assumed a lively verdure, evidently refreshed by the showers that had fallen. We soon reached our last encampment on the creek that ran northerly to the Bremer, and thence pursued a course to the north, with the design of passing to the westward of Mount Forbes. This line of route led us over some exceedingly moderate forest ridges, clothed with a luxuriant carpet of grass, and timbered with loftier and statelier ironbark than we had for some time previous remarked.

"In two miles these undulated grounds, which furnish excellent sheep and cattle pasture, dip to the level of an apple-tree flat of very rich soil, which appeared to extend northerly several miles, and forming, by the gentle hills on its eastern side, and the forest ridges connected with or fronting the Dividing Range westerly, a most beautiful valley, well watered by the creek, on which we had rested on the 22nd.

"Continuing north about three miles, through this very level valley, a patch of plain opened on our view, round the skirts of which the creek, which we had just previously crossed, bent its course. This plain, to which I feel gratified in attaching the name of Lieutenant Bainbrigge, of His Majesty's 57th Regiment, and at present the very active engineer at Brisbane Town, measured a mile and a quarter in diameter, and is of an irregular square figure. It contains about eight hundred acres of beautiful land, of as truly a level as it is possible to conceive any patch of ground could be, untouched by the hand of man.

"Nothing can possibly exceed the richness and mellowness of its fine black soil, and, certainly, there is not in any explored part of New South Wales a more beautiful subject for the pencil of the artist than the landscape presented to the traveller from the centre of Bainbrigge's Plain, to which no description of mine can possibly do justice. On its north-western side Bainbrigge's Plain is bounded by a hummocky ridge of rising wooded forest hills, forming a chain of pretty grassy mounds, behind which the more colossean main range uprears its bold and towering heads, stretching its rugged outline far to the southward. Immediately on the S.E. low forest ridges, and some detached hills, meet the eye, and one rather elevated and of remarkable figure I named Mount Fraser, after my friend and fellow-traveller. Whenever this country is thrown open to the grazier, and a public road is constituted through the mountain defile just explored to the exterior western pastures, then will Bainbrigge's plain become a stage, being nearly equidistant from the Limestone station and the Pass, from each, when a well western road is formed, not exceeding a day's journey.

"In about six miles further to the N.N.E. we made the foot of Mount Forbes, when I determined to rest a whole day, as well to fix its geographical position as to obtain from its commanding summit a full set of bearings to all points around, and by them to connect and close the sketch of my journey.

"From this elevation, which is certainly five hundred feet above the plane of the circumjacent country, the eye surveyed an interesting and varied panorama, consisting of every description of country to be met with in New South Wales, brought fully within the reach of vision. I set up an excellent Schmalcalder's compass, and, beginning at a point, took bearings to every eminence of moment on the circumference of the circle. As the bearings were to points, already frequently mentioned, no observation need again be made of them. I would, however, simply remark that from their station I was at length enabled to fix the true situations of two lofty hills marked on the chart of the country to the southward, which I named Mount Edwards and Mount Greville, the latter in honour of a very distinguished Scotch botanist.

"Of certain parts of this curiously diversified country it may be important to know that, upon passing to the eastward ol the range of Flinders Peak, the land appears a perfect level to the coast, which an eastern line would intersect about the southern extreme of Stradbroke Island, so that if it should at any period be deemed expedient to order a road to be formed from this hill direct to that part of the coast, when, perhaps, shipping might ride in safety in what is termed the Southern passage, there appears no difficulty on passing the line of ridge stretching southerly from Flinders Peak to prevent its being fully effected.

"The seeming valley through which the Brisbane river flows easterly from the sources at N.W., is bounded on the north by an elevated range of forest hills, in which I perceived, at an estimated distance of forty miles, a break, through which I could discern a very distant low country to the north of it.

"Tracing this northern range in a westerly direction, it was observed to decline at W.N.W., and at length to soften down to the distant blue line of horizon.

"The principal or Dividing Range, so formidable a barrier as it really is, in and to the southward of this parallel of latitude, was observed from this hill to bend its lengthened ridge to the N.W. and west, and in about thirty-five or forty miles to terminate, leaving a space between to the western extreme of the northern forest range above mentioned, so truly level that the sight is lost on the vast levels that meet with no visible boundary to the westward.

"Here, then, is an opening between the ranges through which a fully equipped, well-directed exploring party might pass, with the view, not simply of carrying on the sketch of the interior from these points to the tropical circle, but also of acquiring more precise notions of the aspect and capabilities of the distant internal country bearing in a W.N.W. direction, than we at present possess.

"The summit of Mount Forbes presents a narrow level ridge at its southern extreme, from which it gradually contracts northerly until it becomes a sharp ledge of rocks, having on the eastern and western sides precipitous falls of two hundred feet. The rock is an ironstone, upon which the decomposing effects of the elements were everywhere obvious, and which, doubtless, has given the mountain its sharp figure, when viewed either from the north or south.

"26th. Having ascertained the situation of Mount Forbes as follows, we prosecuted our journey to the north, along a continuance of the valley traversed on the 27th:—latitude, 27 deo". 47 min. S.; longitude, 152 deg. 35 min. E. At noon our latitude (observed on the bank of the Bremer), placed us five miles south of the Limestone Hills, which bore from us E.N.E. about fifteen miles. This distance we effected through a level open forest country early in the afternoon of the 30th, after having been absent from that station twelve days.

"I have now laid before your Excellency a detail of all the leading circumstances of the journeys of geographical research which I had undertaken during my visit to Moreton Bay, and I now close this lengthened communication with a few remarks on the future importance of Bremer's river as a navigable stream, and the direction to be taken in the construction of a line of road from the Limestone Hills, southerly, to the Pass and Great Western Downs. During my stay at the Limestone Hills, and just previous to my return to Brisbane Town in September last, I traced the Bremer, through its various windings, to its junction with the Brisbane, measuring on its bank the length of each reach; and from the material I then collected I have now constructed the accompanying outline, to which I beg to refer your Excellency.

"Bremer's river, which at its mouth is about forty yards wide, preserves an uniformity of breadth of thirty and thirty-five yards throughout its tortuous course of ten miles to the Limestone Station, which point may be considered the head of navigation, for, almost immediately beyond, ledges of rocks occupy the bed of the river, which at length rises and separates the fresh water from the salt. To this station (up to which the tide flows) the Bremer is of sufficient depth to be navigable for boats or craft of thirty or forty tons, and as it expands and forms a natural basin a short distance below the station of upwards of one hundred yards in width, and with a depth of water sufficient to float a large ship, the importance of building a wharf on the right-hand bank of this basin, to which the produce of the interior might be conveyed to be embarked, will be at some future day seen. The circumstance, moreover, of this river being thus far navigable for craft of a certain class, and the consequent saving to the farmer of that expense which is necessarily attendant on the wear and tear of a long land-carriage of internal produce to the coast, cannot possibly fail, when this country becomes settled on, to be duly considered.

"It is therefore highly probable that upon the site of these Limestone Hills a town will one day be raised.

"With reference to the direction of a line of road from this station south-westerly to the Pass through the Dividing Range, I observe that, in order to avoid the stony hills, among which my outward bound course led me, on the eastern side of Mount Forbes, the road should be conducted on a line drawn from the Limestone Hills south-west, by compass, eighteen miles, which will not only pass through an open country of slight undulation, in which one bridge will be required to be thrown over a creek, but it will extend fully to the valley along which I travelled north in my return from the Pass, leaving Mount Forbes to the eastward: after which it might be continued through this vale south to Bainbrigge's Plain, at which may terminate the first stage.

"The road may then be carried on without the slightest difficulty south twelve miles to the spot (distinctly marked on chart), on which my tent stood on the 24th and 25th of August last, and which may be readily recognised by an intersection of the following bearings to points in the vicinity of the pass: south head of Mount Mitchell, S. 37 W. magnetic; north head and station on Mount Mitchell, S. 47½ W.; centre of Pass, W. 24 S., distant 2¾ miles; Mount Cordeaux, W. 35 S., distant three miles.

"The particular spot being ascertained from which the above bearings were taken, the forest ridge leading to the base of the Pass will be immediately seen. In continuing the line of road along the ridge little labour will be required, as the stones and masses of rocks that lie in the way are detached, and may be easily removed.

"In the formation of a practicable road through the last quarter of a mile to the pitch of the Pass, the skill of the practical engineer will be called into action. There are abundance of materials of stone and large timber on the spot at his command, and there is sufficient room to avoid the abrupt face by which we ascended, by taking a sweep round so as to intersect the wall of rocks further to the southward, and then by tracing it northerly to the point at which it terminates in the Pass.

"The passage through the Pass westerly to the head of Millar's Valley requires simply the brush to be cut away, the construction of a small bridge over a narrow water channel, and the ground (otherwise quite level) smoothed, by a removal of some rounded stones from the surface, which have evidently rolled down from the overhanging heights. Although time was not afforded me to trace Millar's Valley down to Darling Downs, still I feel fully satisfied from the observations I made from Mount Mitchell that no difficulty exists in the fall of the vale, which appeared in every part exceedingly moderate. The distance from Darling Downs to Brisbane Town by the nearest line of communication overland is about seventy-seven miles; in consequence, however, of there being a sufficiency of water in the Bremer to navigate small craft of forty tons ten miles to the Limestone Hills, the land carriage from the Western Downs is reduced by the above projected line of road to sixty statute miles.

"An excursion made in September last (upon my return from the Pass) from the Limestone Station, north to the channel of the Brisbane, which I intersected in five miles at a point visited by Mr. Oxley and myself in 1824 and which I clearly recognised, has enabled me to connect most satisfactorily (as regards geographical position) the westernmost point to which our late very able Surveyor-General had penetrated on his second visit to the Brisbane, with what I have now attempted to effect. The tortuous course of the river is therefore carried on upon the accompanying chart to that point.

"Beyond this spot the river was subsequently (in 1825) traced up in a north-western direction by Major Lockyer, of which boat excursion a notice appeared in a late number of Wilton's Quarterly Journal. It is to be regretted that possessed of so much zeal and perseverance, this gentleman had not provided himself with the requisite instruments for the determination of position of his several stations, and more particularly of the extreme points, to which the means he possessed had enabled him to reach. In latitude (which I am fully disposed to believe would have placed him—had it been observed—considerably to the southward of 27 deg. S.) would have been very important to the geographer.

"Being thus aware that this excellent gentleman had no means of ascertaining the geographical situation of this point, and as he has not furnished us with a single bearing of any one known fixed point, I have left the river just where my late friend Mr. Oxley did, rather than add to it the trace of its channel by Major Lockyer, which I observed marked on a badly engraved chart of the colony recently published by Cross.

"I beg now to close this communication, which I have the honour to lay before your Excellency, accompanied by a reduced geographical sketch, and two plans of portions of the country traversed: and I respectfully trust that your Excellency will feel fully satisfied, upon a perusal of this report, that I have endeavoured, to the utmost of my ability, to render perfect my journey of the last year, overland from the colony, by carrying on my sketch through the Dividing Range to the banks of the Brisbane river and shores of Moreton Bay, and thus filling up the map of the country by the very ample material collected in the progress of my several excursions to the parallel of 28 deg. S.

"I have the honour to be. Sir,
"With the utmost respect,
"Your Excellency's most obedient humble servant,
"Allan Cunningham,
"H.M. Bot. Collector.

"To His Excellency—
"Lieutenant-General Darling,
"Governor."


Thus, in the march of time, from the first glance which James Cook—the very Triton among our British sea-scourers—cast upon the outlines of Moreton Bay from the deck of the "Endeavour", to the first grasp with which Allan Cunningham reduced its interior wastes to enrolment among the fixed places of the earth, in his progress of patient and persevering exploration, steps forth into the first rank of Australian forces the magnificent young recruit to the squatter's phalanx—Darling Downs.

What suggestions for the future, what aspirations, what a glow of success must have spurred Allan Cunningham's keen imagination, while he crept upon the brilliant though distant view of the plains of the upper Condamine river. What might be the fruit of his discovery appears at once to have grafted itself upon his hope; and doubtless, when he was grappling with natural impediments to advancement, he collected to his eye many a reflection of what the settled parts of this vast land had once been, and had become in his own day. Never, however, could the suspicion that time was already pregnant with coming events, brought to the birth long ere this year 1887, grown, as their facts are, to such marvellous stature in those till then unknown regions, have dawned upon and dazed his, any, even the most sanguine castle-building fancy.

Little could he have dreamt that the expanse he was gazing on, decked with virgin beauty, would so soon be desecrated by the iron tramp of a messenger and minister serving man by fire, smoke, and shriek; one, indeed, he knew not of, which would buffer with scorn the speed and endurance of the well-tried horse which had borne him to this land of the golden fleece: which would crush the clumsy dray, and efface every feature of rude life (and of the world itself as he had looked upon it in his days) from the sight and comprehension of Allan Cunningham: the railroad!

But the season for reaping the fruits of Cunningham's discoveries had not yet revolved. It took thirteen years for the rare stalk on which he had grafted the first shoot of civilization to bear even a bud: but then how rapid the blossoming; how plenteous the harvest!

The circumstances of the times were combining in 1840 to compel the squatters of the northern district into some more genial climate. The cold winters were said to be a great drawback to thorough success in sheep-breeding and fine wool-growing. Some who had bought stations there were already seeking, and at times finding purchasers for what dissatisfied themselves: albeit held under the easy rent of an annual ten pound license—for ever! as it seemed—with a small assessment upon their stock.

Of course, New England was the district farthest north. By-the-by, the term "squatter", as applied to the class which it now designates, was not in vogue until two years after this.

Inquiry and discussion were at boiling point about the rivers Clarence and Richmond: the country upon their banks was dubbed unequalled; but alas! the difficulties of transit from the table land were declared to be so grave, that many turned themselves to other points of the compass.

There was Arthur Hodgson, who had sold his run of "Cashiobury" to Todd and Fenwick, to which the same purchasers soon added the adjoining station "Yarrowitch", hitherto occupied by the brothers John and Francis Allman.

His name cannot escape mention, as he first showed those symptoms of restlessness which, ere long, very generally fermented.

"Where shall we go", was Arthur Hodgson's daily and nightly vigil. With keen judgment he awaited the result of an exploring journey which was then being made by the pioneer of Darling Downs, whose name is still a household word among the regrets of those who survive those good old days, whether yet nursing existence among the same scenes or basking in England beneath the sunshine of full-grown prosperity, of which the pastures of Darling Downs had cradled the infancy.

Patrick Leslie, of Collaroi, in the district of Cassilis, New South Wales, a little before this period had been much "exercised" about looking for new country on which to depasture sheep and cattle.

Active, energetic, prince of "bushmen" and good fellows, full of "bush-fire", he was a man not likely to sit down satisfied with the first thing he happened to meet with: one, who, under the rowel of squatters' ambition, wanted the best of everything; so he set about providing himself with the best run for stock to which patience, perseverance, and pluck could help him. He was well seconded by two estimable brothers. The one Scotch family, of which he was a scion, had no small reason to be proud of its representatives in the southern hemisphere. Well! Patrick Leslie's notes must speak for themselves: no need to deprive them of their characteristic syllables.

It must here be remarked that a volume had just (1877) made its appearance at Melbourne, in which there was so much error in regard to the early times of Moreton Bay and its environs, that some newspaper hitting out soon warmed the question affecting the accuracy of several statements respecting that district.


Thus also did Patrick Leslie, thirteen years after Allan Cunningham had let in first light upon one of Australia's brightest scenes, usher in first life thereon, and by the activity and work of life begin the development of the treasure which Allan Cunningham had unearthed. So far man's Genesis of Queensland.

But all was not couleur de rose to the struggling squatter on Darling Downs and that limited pastoral area. Few beyond the small circle of survivors are capable of weighing in just scales the cost at which profit was, in some cases, ultimately attained. The scarcity of labour, and, as a rule, its despotic and insolent worthlessness; anxieties consequent upon the hostility of the aboriginal tribes—anxieties the more harassing when fears among the men became exaggerated to an absurd extent by their own unreason and cowardice; the consciousness that the sheep, and the very modus vivendi were thus exposed to any and every outrage; the surfeit of debt, may be, to some bank or Sydney merchant, at whose mercy the squatter lay—and where the exception in those days now of elation, now of depression?—with its burden sickening effort of head and hand; the fall, so sudden and capricious, in the marketable price of wool and stock; the dread of scab and catarrh; the encroachment of some lazy loafer fresh from the southward; in fact, forty and odd years ago the consciousness that at any moment, he might be hoist on the petard of his own venture, did not admit that rest to the brain, or that quiet closing of the eyelid which, in all conditions,, should nurse mind and body in health's service.


* Patrick Leslie's Diary.

[* Sent to me, with remarks added on Sutherlands's Book, in 1878, from Wartle, Auckland, New Zealand.]

"Friday, the 21st of February, 1840.—Dr. John Dobie, Walter Leslie and myself arrived at Falconer Plains, New England (then in the occupation of Donald McIntyre) for the purpose of trying to find a road down the Clarence river. We were accompanied by two men; a convict named Peter Murphy, alias Duff, per 'Countess of Harcourt', 1827, from Dublin, who was a lifer, and assigned to me on the 9th of December, 1838. I mention these particulars, as the man was about the best plucked fellow I ever came across in my life, and as good a servant as master ever had.

"To return to our subject. On the 22nd of February, Dobie, Walter Leslie and I started from Falconer Plains with Peter Murphy and one of McIntyre's men, named Crawford (Dobie's man being left in charge of our spare horses), and proceeded towards the Dividing Range between New England and the Clarence river; spent four days in trying in vain to find a road, and returned to go out to Darling Downs.

"Before leaving Sydney, I had heard from my old friend, Mr. Allan Cunningham, the discoverer of Darling Downs, full particulars of his journey out, and he most kindly offered me the use of his map to assist me in my exploration, and wrote to my old friend. Admiral King, who had such map, asking him to give it to me to copy; but, unfortunately, Admiral King could not find it, and I had therefore to manage as best I could. Admiral King gave me the exact position of Ben Lomond, in New England, and such was of great use to me as a starting point, and I worded in day by day a sort of rough dead reckoning of my track as I went along.

"In company with Peter Murphy only, I left Falconer Plains on the 2nd of March, and staying a day or two at Beardy Plains, we reached Garden and Bennett's station on the 8th of March. This station was on a branch of the Severn river, some twenty or thirty miles north of Beardy Plains, and at that time the farthest out station to the north, on the east side of New England.

"On the 10th of March I left Garden and Bennett's station, and passing through much broken country, came on the 13th to a large stream, on which, following it to its junction with a large river, we encamped. This river was afterwards called the Mole river, and the large river into which it emptied itself was the Severn.

"On the morning of the 14th of March, crossing the Severn river, we came on the junction of a large stream nearly opposite the junction of the Mole and Severn. This was afterwards called Pike's creek. We followed this creek up a considerable distance (encamping several nights). We crossed a range and made a large creek, afterwards called Sandy creek, and following the valley thereof, made the Darling Downs on the 20th of March, about four miles above Toolburra. On the 20th and 21st of March explored up the Condamine to Canning Downs, and crossing a ridge, came down the (afterwards) Glengallan creek, and leaving the Downs about five miles below Toolburra made south by Canal creek, Quart-pot creek. McIntyre brook, Severn river, &c., and on the 31st of March made Cameron's station on Bannockburn Plains, and on the 4th of April came to Dobie's camp on Falconer's Plains; tried hard to induce Dobie to follow us out to Darling Downs, but in vain; he remained wedded to the Clarence.

"On the 12th of April Walter Leslie arrived at Dobie's camp, with our sheep, drays, &c., and encamped three miles up the creek from Dobie's Camp.

"Our stock consisted of four thousand breeding ewes in lamb, one hundred ewe hoggets, one thousand wedder hoggets, one hundred rams, and five hundred wedders, three and four years old.

"We had two teams of bullocks, twenty-four in all, and two drays, a team of horses and dray, and ten saddle horses.

"We had twenty-two men, all ticket-of-leave, or convicts, as good and game a lot of men as ever existed, and who never occasioned us a moment's trouble: worth any forty men I have ever seen since.

"On Monday, the 14th of April, we started from Falconer's Plains camp, and went on by easy stages by Beardy Plains, Waterloo, Vivers, &c., to McIntyre's station, at Byron Plains, where we arrived on the 26th of April, and remained till the 1st of May, on which day we came on to George Wyndham's station, on what was supposed to be a branch of the McIntyre River, the then farthest north station in New England (west side.)

"On the 3rd of May we left Wyndham's, and I marked the first tree of 'Leslie's marked-tree line', close to Wyndham's stockyard; a blazed line was marked from this to 'Leslie's crossing place', on the Condamine river, between Talgai and Tummaville, and we arrived at the Condamine on Wednesday, the 4th of June, without the loss of a single animal, or breaking a bullock chain. On our outward route we kept as much as possible on my tracks, when returning from the Downs in March.

"On the 6th of June, leaving all stock, drays, &c., in charge of the men, Walter Leslie, Peter Murphy and I left the Condamine camp, and explored the country up the Condamine, by Canning Downs, Killarney, Glengallan and Dalrymple creeks, returning to camp on the 13th, and on the 14th moved up the river, arriving at the junction of Sandy creek with the Condamine on the 20th. Here we made a temporary camp, intended for our first sheep station, and for the protection of men and stock, made one station on the north bank of the river and two others opposite—one on either side of Sandy creek, thus giving mutual protection, and at the same time deep water between each camp.

"From this camp, on the 21st of June, Walter, Murphy and I struck across the Downs to the northward, and crossing by (what is now) Allora, Spring creek. King's creek, Hodgson's creek, and on to Gowrie and One Tree Hill, and finding nothing we liked as much as Canning Downs, we returned as far as Glengallan creek, and ran the Middle Gap creek up to Cunningham's 'Gap', crossed it, following a creek down to the Bremer river, intending to go on to Brisbane, but on second thoughts we feared going without credentials, and re-crossing the 'Gap', we returned to our camp on the 1st July, and next day we left the sheep at their stations, and moved down some four miles to Toolburra, where we formed our head station. We afterwards sold Toolburra to Gordon, and formed the Canning Downs head station. We took up the country from the bottom of Toolburra to the head of the Condamine, including all tributaries. Afterwards we gave up what was (afterwards) called Glengallan creek to the Campbells, and Fred (Bracker) the German's creek and Sandy creek to the Aberdeen Company.

"Well, to return to the 2nd July, we encamped the drays, &c., on the knoll on which Toolburra head station was afterwards built, and, on the 7th July, I left Walter at Toolburra, and making my way by our own marked tree line, I met Dalrymple on the 9th, with our cattle, at Quart-pot creek; camped the night with him, and next day I went on and made the Severn river on the 12th. Found Cox had formed a cattle station since we passed up. Stopped the night there, and having next morning made Blaxland's station on Frazer's creek—also formed since we passed up—on the 14th July came on to Wyndham's station, where we commenced blazing our line on our way up (vide 3rd of May).

"On the 19th of July I reached a station belonging to Cash, of New England, and having heard that Hodgson and Elliot were encamped some three miles off. I made their camp and stayed the night there. Hodgson was very unsettled as to whether he would go to the Clarence or follow out my line to Darling Downs, but I had no difficulty in persuading him to take the latter course; and I told him of a fine country and how to reach it from Leslie's crossing place at the Condamine.

"This country was Etonvale, to which he went straight.

"On Wednesday, the 22nd of July, I made the Peel, and spent the night in the hospitable house of Charles Hall, the Australian Agricultural Company's superintendent there, when I slept in a bed for the first time since I left Garden and Bennett's on the 10th of March.

"On Monday, the 27th, I reached Maitland, and on the 28th went down by steamer to Sydney.

"Hodgson must have reached the Darling Downs early in September, being the first who went off on my line. We were the only people on Darling Downs for fully three months, we arriving on the 4th of June; Hodgson in September.

"I think King and Sibley were the next settlers; or probably Isaac, who went out with Hodgson, may have selected Cowrie before King and Sibley arrived. I am not sure of this, but if Isaac selected before King and Sibley, the latter had their stock up before Isaac.

"It was Frederick Isaac who went up with Hodgson.

"It is a fact beyond any doubt that the farthest northern stations in New England, when I went out to the Downs, were garden and Bennett's on the east side of New England, and George Wyndham's station on the west side of the same district; and drawing a line from Garden and Bennett's to Wyndham's, no squatter had ever a hoof to the northward until we took ours.

"I believe no white man (but runaway convicts, and I believe none such ever were on the Downs) ever set foot on Darling Downs from the time Cunningham discovered them till I went there.

"As for any stations being formed before 1840, it is simple rubbish.

"When our blacks became so far tamed as to hold communication with us, they told us that the thing which terrified them most (when they first saw me and Murphy four miles below Toolburra on the 20th of March) was our dismounting, their full impression being that man and horse was one animal. Is it likely such would have been their impression had any white man ever been out on the Downs, as the Messrs. Sutherland say?

"As to Warwick, it was never thought of till the end of 1847, when Government instructed me to select a spot for the township on the Condamine, below Canning Downs, and it must have been in 1848 when the first settlement took place.

"In 1847 George Leslie had a sheep station on the very spot where Warwick now stands. I think it was in 1848 that the first land sale was held. The Survey Office can give the date; and I was the first man who bought a lot, being instigated to such speculation, extending to £4, by a sawyer named John Russell, a well-known character in those days, who, when the first lot was put up, addressed me as follows: 'Come, Mr. Patrick Leslie, buy the ——— little lot for luck; you were the first man here; be the first to buy.' And I bought it. This pretty well settles the foundation of Warwick.

"If I remember rightly, Rolleston as C.C.L. had to approve of the site for the town: he may remember if it was so. At first it was named 'Canningtown', and we all objected to the name, and Government changed it to 'Warwick' at our suggestion.

"Of the settlement of Drayton, and afterwards of Toowoomba, you will know better neither one nor the other existed till long after we were on the Downs. Why! in 1848 Drayton consisted of Bill Horton's (the Fiver) public-house and a shanty or two, with only one well for the town! and it was such a one, as to get a bucket full of water, one had to go down with a pannikin and bale it into the bucket I and a long time it took to fill a bucket. I remember that at the time of the races, Toowoomba then did not exist. If, as stated by the Messrs. Sutherland, there were early settlers and early townships, where did they get their supplies from? The penal settlement was a close one, and no one could go there except by permission of the Government, and the first supplies were mine and Hodgson's, which went there in 1840 under permits signed by the then Governor, Sir George Gipps. Even if supplies could have been got from Brisbane, such could not have been taken to the Downs, as we all know that no wheels ever made could have crossed the Main Range, when we first went up there. Cunningham's Gap on our side, and the old 'Hell-hole' road, Drayton side, were the first roads, if they could be so called, and they were cleared by us, Hodgson, and others.

"I see in your letters that the printer's devil has once or twice put 1841 for 1840. It was the latter year I went out. On September 9th I was 'spliced', and that is a day one don't forget. My dates as given throughout are perfectly correct. I would swear to any one of them, for my journal kept on my trips, and written every day, is now before me.

"One pretty convincing proof that I was the first man who settled on Darling Downs may be found in the following: when I returned to Sydney at the end of July, 1840, the then Governor, Sir George Gipps, sent for me, and obtained from me all the information I could give him as to the Darling Downs, as well as the unsettled districts between the outside New England stations and the Downs. Sir George expressed himself much pleased at such a large and fine area of a country being explored and settlement commenced; and he asked me if there was anything he could do for me. I told him I wanted nothing for myself, but that my companion was an assigned servant, a convict for life, who had behaved splendidly, and stood by me when attacked by the blacks, when most men in his position would have run; and I asked Sir George to grant him a ticket-of-leave, and the Governor said he would not only do so, but also would recommend him for a conditional pardon; and he did so, and Peter Murphy got his pardon accordingly.

"If Darling Downs had been previously settled * Sir George Gipps would never have acted as he did. If old Peter is alive now he is pretty sure to be about Brisbane; a better servant or a 'gamer' man never was seen.

[* Messrs. Sutherland, in their History of Australia, had published the following:—"After the discoveries made by Allan Cunningham in 1835"(!) "the squatters of New South Wales had hastened northwards, in order to depasture their flocks on the fine lands of the Darling Downs. They founded many little towns, such as Ipswich, Drayton, and Toowoomba; and when in 1829"(!) "a pass leading across the Dividing Range from the Darling Downs to Moreton Bay was discovered by Cunningham the squatters on the west of the mountains began to hold frequent communication with the settlement of Moreton Bay, from which they obtained convicts to act as shepherds on their runs."(!!) It is at this incomprehensible statement that Mr. P. Leslie aims this abstract of his diary.

In the Queenslander paper there appeared in this year, 1878, the following notice among the "Deaths":—"Murphy—On the 6th April, at Charters Towers, Queensland, Peter Murphy, aged 72 years, native of Dublin; came to the colony in 1819, and in 1839 he came overland with Patrick Leslie from Collaroy, New England, to the Darling Downs. They were the first two pioneers from New South Wales to Queensland."

In this short notice there are three errors! 1819 should be 1827; 1839 should be 1840; and Collaroy was a farm within the settled district of Cassilis, no small distance from New England.!]

"When I was at Falconer's Plains, and about starting to look for the Downs, Murphy was the only man I had with me, and not liking to compel him (a convict) to accompany me, I told him what my intentions were—viz., to go out to look for the Darling Downs, and to take only one man with me, and I asked him if he was willing to go, telling him I left it entirely to himself. He looked at me, and said: "Go with you sir? I would go to with you!" I said I did not intend to go there at present, but was well pleased to have him to go out with me on my little expedition. We had a pack-horse and a sheep-dog with us, and carried biscuit and bacon, tea and sugar, trusting to our guns for fresh meat, and lines and hooks for fish, and we lived exceedingly well. We had a spare shirt and pair of trousers each, and a single blanket.

"March, 1878."

"I cannot think what could have put it into Sutherland's brain that the Downs country was settled in 1830. His quotation from Pugh's book as to the flocks of the squatters following Cunningham in three years is, I think, due to a misprint (in Pugh's) of three for thirteen, for the latter would just make it come out right: difference between 1827, Cunningham's time, and 1840, my year.

"The Downs settled in 1830! Why for seven long years after that date there was not a hoof across the Liverpool Range.

"Well, you will be tired of my scribble, but so far as it has gone it is gospel truth, and not one bit of it from memory: but all from written dates.

"I will look with considerable pleasure to your knocking the M.A.'s of some second or third rate university into a cocked hat!






{Page 172}

CHAPTER VIII.



To be called into a huge sphere, and not to be seen to move in't, are the holes where eyes should be, which pitifully disaster the cheeks.
Shakespeare. (Antony and Cleopatra.)


My first trip out of Sydney was in 1840. Staying at Petty's Hotel—and an excellent hotel it was—I felt lonely enough. I had long delivered or posted letters from friends at home, but some mischance seemed to have overtaken them. Why are my introductions to His Excellency Sir George Gipps so manifestly ignored? Why do I not hear from Mr. Boydell? His relatives in England earnestly asked me to make myself known to him, confident that he would send me an invitation to the Paterson. I was received very kindly by his relatives at Woolloomooloo: hope I said nothing rude to the young lady there—how handsome she was too!—who took me all aback by asking me (the newest curiosity from fastidious England), "What! really thought of her?" And the Bishop was very kind: so was that dear old Major Barney at the point by the waterside, and his delightful family. What can it mean that so many others neglect to acknowledge my calling upon them? with credentials too?

Thus perplexed, I sat in Petty's verandah and smoked: not a pipe yet, however. "Well! that Aldis has good manillas! could not get them in London like these. Hulloa! Who comes here? Surely I know one of those faces." "Why, it can't be you!" "Yes, it is I, but who are you?" "I am Pemberton Hodgson; my brother, Arthur, is in Sydney too." How glad I was; I could recall the face I so well knew when he was a boy at Harrow. I had never met his brother. We soon got deep into question and answer, and were truly happy in this rencontre. "I'm going up the country to New England," said Arthur Hodgson to me a few days afterwards; "I've sold a station there to Todd. Oh, you don't know Todd: quite a new chum. Will you come with us?" He had been in the colony about eighteen months, I think.

I was quite grateful for this chance of seeing something of the country. "Got a horse, Russell?" "No; where can I get one?" "Well, the only place decent in Sydney is Douglas and Sutton's." "I will go at once; when do you start?" "Well, we have to go to Maitland by a steamer at night, take our horses on board, find ourselves probably at Newcastle in the morning for breakfast, then up the river Hunter some miles, and land at Morpeth, saddle up and take up our quarters at Cox's Hotel, East Maitland. Let's see, we will say in a week." "I shall be delighted."

In England I had thought myself a fair judge of a good hack, but here I was quite at a loss. Small the lot to select from; blindfolded chances were as much in my favour for a choice as they were with my eyes open. Whatever the brute seemed to be, the price never varied. Sixty-five pounds! Such a rough no-paced, hard-mouthed animal—horse but by name and nature—as that which I could not help myself but by buying—and of all colours black—took my appetite away for dinner on my return to Petty's. "Oh, you can't get a good horse in Sydney," said Hodgson, that evening; "all the best are in the bush." He was right, I afterwards found. Well, where to get a saddle? "Oh, go to Brown's, in George-street." And so to Brown's I went, and a very excellent saddle on a Peate tree, and appurtenances, did Mr. Brown, a capital fellow, supply me with. "But," said he, "you're going up the country: you will want saddle-bags, and—let me see—halters, spare girths, and so on." I had never seen such stable belongings, but consented to be caparisoned completely en regle.

"Well, I must call on the Major before leaving," thought I two days after; so to Dawes' Battery Point, as it was called, went I. I had ventured to pour my complaints into the ears of his truly kind and amiable wife, by reason of the disappointment I had felt at having been three times refused admittance at old Government House. "It is very strange," she remarked, "I know Lady Gipps had four letters, and told me some time ago that she was very sorry that she had not seen you. Ah! there's a ring." I rose to leave, but she requested me to remain until this visitor had gone. A lady entered. "Oh! Lady Gipps," madame exclaimed, "allow me to introduce Mr. Stuart Russell." "What!" ejaculated the visitor, "were you the bearer of those letters from ———— some time ago?" "Yes; and I have done myself the honour of calling three times since, but was invariably refused admittance." "Oh, dear! I am so sorry; it has been all a mistake; there was—well! one of your name whom I declined to receive—I can't explain—but, orders had been given—you must have been supposed————" "Not another word, I beg, Lady Gipps," and flattered and consoled by the denôuement, I made my grateful congé, wondering whether there were many Russells at the antipodes! I soon found there were, to my distress.

At the beginning of March, then, Arthur, Pemberton Hodgson and myself left Sydney, one evening, by a steamer—one of the old Hunter River Company's—which started from a wharf at the bottom of the hill at the back of Petty's.

Leaving Sydney, then, for the first time, I must, before saying au révoir to it in these memoirs, tell what I thought of the place I had arrived at some time before. There was no getting alongside with a ship of nearly a thousand tons measurement. Watermen's boats were plentiful, so I hailed one. Once more on terra firma, after a passage of one hundred and fifty-four days, I felt none of the elevation of spirits which I had anticipated. I found myself unconsciously going away from rather than to the town, which I could not see from the landing place. The hot, sandy dust made walking very disagreeable. It seemed to me when I did get into Sydney it was but a long, dirty street, called George-street, which in fact was the town. I could see no handsome buildings. There was a Post Office, with some stone pillars which supported its porch entrance. Buildings were rising but none seemed to be finished. Most of the larger seemed to have been built in one governor's time, L. Macquarie, for Government purposes. A new Government House was being got up, as well as a new gaol. The present gaol is in George-street,—not a nice place for hanging, I think, being the thoroughfare. But they did hang, in profusion, for the edification of passers-by. Hardly any places of public amusement: an unclean theatre in Pitt-street (burnt down long ago), small botanic, very incomplete, garden, the main feature in which was one Norfolk Island pine tree. I speak of it as it was in my eyes then: a mere lounge for a Sunday idler; and it did not extend beyond a road which peremptorily cut it off from the water-side, and so commanding no views of the beautiful harbour. The Australian Club was decidedly the resort par excellence, but a member then, as now, could not introduce a friend beyond the strangers' room. The building had shortly before been a hotel—The Pulteney. The great advantage of this—the only club—was that it was frequented by the men most worth meeting in the colony. There was a good billiard table and accommodation. Here it was possible to live without being ruined, which seemed to be out of the question at the hotels; or even, at certain times, at any good lodgings, which were scarce. Decent providings of existence—cooking, cleanliness, and chambers—were most expensive, and there were few things, except wine, to be had under double the price asked in England. All trades, however, seemed to be particularly flourishing. Sheep were being sold on all sides at thirty shillings and upwards, herds of cattle from live pounds ten shillings up to eight pounds, and nine pounds even; and, as to horses, nothing on four legs—and out of the four, as a rule, two good legs could not have been patched together,—under fifty pounds! Before inquiring prices I soon found that I could rely upon a reply of sixty-five!

Such was my coup d'œil in 1840.

Horses, saddles, saddle-bags, hobbles and selves bundled together on board a steam craft remarkable neither for size, symmetry, sweetness, nor civility, nothing noteworthy affected us in our night passage more intolerable than the smell and presence of enormous cockroaches.* At Newcastle, which seemed to me but a rock called Nobby; a breakwater created from the Nobby material; an enormous glistening yellow mound which made one's eyes sore by looking for the town; the semblance of a church built, alas! on sand, we stopped awhile, then proceeded up a muddy uninteresting river called the Hunter; disembarked in front of a public house, called, I think, Anlaby's, at a filthy kind of platform, where we saddled up and jogged on to East Maitland. There we took up our quarters at Cox's Hotel; glad indeed to escape from the cockroaches; counted twenty-three habitations on the way to it; now saw a courthouse and was told there were barracks not far off, called the "Stockade". "Who is that, Hodgson?" "As fine an old gentleman as ever breathed; that's the P.M." ("How d'ye do, Mr. Grant," en passant). They call him Paddy Grant.

[* A young lady passenger, within hearing, woke me in the night with "Yes, mama! cockroaches! but only kings, mama!"]

Well, at Cox's Hotel we were comfortable; saw many going to and fro, who, I was told, had just come from New England. A good deal of card and billiard playing that night in which I took no hand; a good deal of noise too.

In the morning, as I was standing at the white gate in front, one came riding in, who, I was told, was Major Lettsome. He stared in a peculiarly offensive manner at a gentleman, who, I found afterwards, bore the name of Boyd, close by with Arthur Hodgson. "Did you see that, Hodgson?" he passionately cried out; "that was an intentional insult! By ———— I'll have him out!" (And so he tried to do, and a great row ensued, which did not come to an end till it reached the Supreme Court, much to the Major's discredit.)

Dangerous country, thought I; better not see too well! From Cox's through West Maitland; and there a nice little inn called the "Rose" by Cohen; on by a road, which mile by mile lost the semblance of a road; in fact it bore the distinction, I found, only when supported on either side by fences, which by confinement of traffic only made it the worse; on by such road, I say, towards Patrick's Plains. "Here's Black Creek, Russell; further on is Kesterton's Inn; but I must take you a little off the road to see two nice old English gentlemen; very particular; well, you are rather dusty; but you can go in by the back way, you know, and you can ask the footman to brush you down before coming in. Their names are Henry Hughes and Henry Isaac. This is their farm; we must turn off here; that cottage out there is Dr. Blick's, their next neighbour and medical attendant." We reached the house, but in vain did I look for a back entrance; neither did I see a front approach; the building was not imposing; I looked diffidently for that scrupulous neatness about dwelling and garden, the distinctive dress of old bachelordom, and saw it not; hesitatingly I dropped behind; "Come on, old fellow!" shouted Hodgson; "come on old Hodgson", shouted two voices together from a low verandah, the utterers of which in so cheerful tone drew my attention to two individuals seated, each on a keg, smoking. Little, apparently, over twenty years of age; covered with dust; shirt sleeves tucked up to the elbows; doubled up by the heat of work; straw—I found they were called "cabbage-tree"—hats, ribandless, and once perhaps of a lighter tinge, heavy boots, which knew not blacking-brushes; each with a silver tankard in hand, a short clay pipe in mouth, there they stood laughing, as I, guileless of suspicion hitherto, laughed with them in recognition of Hodgson's "merrie" jokes with a new chum's initiation. And in one of these two, not long ago borne to the rest of a good man and honoured name, I found in after years the kindest and most valued friend I ever had.

A Mr. Colburne came in afterwards, likewise en route, and a cheerful, joyous party we were when we all left the farm in the afternoon and rode on to Patrick's Plains. I heard much discussion about landholders on either side as we rode on, especially of one "Bob Scott", of Glendon: of a family of the name of Dangar, and many whom I cannot recall. Colburne was riding a somewhat fretful animal, whose temper seemed to infect my own black brute "Nigger". Colburne, I found, was also a "new chum", wore strangely loose inexpressibles, inveighed perpetually against the insect pests of this hot country, declared the pace was slow and wearisome, would sit down awhile, and canter sharply after us for a change. "I'll catch you directly, you go on." And so we went on.

Presently I heard a shriek, looked back, and saw Colburne furiously stripping himself. His ejaculations were in keeping with his gesticulations. Bare legged in a moment, he danced like a maniac, his alarmed horse throwing up his head in retreat, dragged away at the reins, which Colburne was holding on by with one hand, while he slapped and belaboured his natural limbs with the other in the most demoniac manner. Horror-stricken at such strange antics, "What on earth's the matter with Colburne." Looking round, there, hardly able to sit on his saddle by reason of the agony of amusement—Hodgson! "It's the old soldiers!" he roared. "Old soldiers! why, where are they?" "Up his legs and back," screamed Hodgson. "He's been sitting on a bed of them!"

"Old soldiers" in a young country!

"I shall ride in breeches and boots", I logged down at once as a rule for the future.

There were two inns at Patrick's Plains: Cullen's, at the end of a dusty lane to the right; Singleton's, at the end of another to the left of the track on which we were. Hodgson and the rest to Cullen's; I to Singleton's, who had room but for one. I led my "Nigger" to the stable and left him there; sat myself down in the verandah to await their rejoining me. In a few minutes I was tapped on the shoulder; looked up at the man who did it, rather nettled. Didn't like his looks. "Is your name Russell?" "Yes." "Henry?" "Yes." "I want you; here's my warrant. I arrest you, Henry Russell, at the suit of ———" But for anger and amazement I could have laughed! "I wasn't in this country at the date of that warrant." "Oh, that won't do for me. You must come back to Sydney with me."

"Confound my name. I'll change it to—— Here comes Hodgson."

Well, he being known sufficiently hereabouts, was able to obtain my release from the hands of my disappointed captor.

On to Muswellbrook! That was the pleasant resting place for pilgrims northward-ho! No small roadside inn, nor dwelling; ugly, monotonous, up and down ridge ride all the way from Patrick's Plains to Muswellbrook.

Hospitable, cheerful, revered Skellatar! Never to be forgotten, joyous Bengalla, and all the delights inside and outside of that dwelling! Nagoa; and its kindly, hearty master, John Cox! Merton! Overton, and the gallant brothers who bore their soldier-father's gallant name, Allman! St. Heliers! and all the warmth of English hand-shaking, and heart-winning reception, at the bidding of a fair and noble hostess; and the elf-like considerateness of that bright-souled minister to the wants of the bush pilgrims who passed that way—Aunty Bell! Truly St. Heliers' house was a beehive of busy thoughts for the world's weal around. There was a magnetic power within the magic environs of Muswellbrook forty-seven years ago.

"We must get through to the Page to-day" as we left Nowland's pleasant hostelrie, at Muswellbrook, a few days afterwards. I was told that it was quite forty miles, and after the trial I had had till then, looked at my "Nigger" in doubt and dismay. "Spurs are used, that's a consolation, so see to it you 'Nigger'!"

Aberdeen! What, an Aberdeen! Here stood one house, and that a public. And they call it Aberdeen. Why? I saw no dwelling but a public-house. Ah, yes! there was a blacksmith's. All the country round seemed to have been not long since in the hands of one man, Potter McQueen, well known to have ruined himself years before by contesting an election for Bedfordshire. I knew him in England; last met him at dinner * at the old University Club, Suffolk-street, London; known to have been the recipient of a large grant of land—by grace private—in New South Wales; he had then recently returned, in 1838. A question had been raised, he told me, by the Downing-street authorities as to the most practicable communication between Port Phillip and Van Dieman's Land.** Committee of Inquiry summoned Potter McQueen to give evidence, as he had been to Australia. In words tantamount to the following, as he told it, the result was amusing:—

[* He knew that I was on the point of going out.]

[** July 23, 1840. (Sydney Gazette.) "Ignorance relative to Australia." (Extract.) "I have myself seen letters in the Sydney Post Office, from London, addressed—A.B., Van Dieman's Land, Sydney." "It is not many years since that an honourable M.P. gravely proposed to obviate the expenses of a double government by throwing a chain bridge from one colony to another, and the proposition excited no more surprise than an allusion to the Menai. In Sicily and Italy I have had great difficulty in showing that Van Dieman's Land was a separate island, and maps not thirty years old have been procured to prove my error."]

"When I entered the room, a plan seemed to have been proposed and agreed upon before my coming in: and my opinion was desired with a view to deciding the matter, and going to work at once. Something like the old 'Leith smack' mail service thought I: never dreamt of a steam service: there were but two little steamboats about Sydney when I left, that I ever heard of: so I waited, without any conception of my own to lay before them. I hadn't to wait long: 'Mr. Potter McQueen, you will be kind enough to join us here in our consultation: you know the desire to bring together more closely that magnificent country, Van Dieman's Land, with Port Phillip on the mainland of Australia. Now, here is the map, which is doubtless faithful: the distance across this water is the only separation, and is narrow enough to look at: it is proposed to throw a bridge across, don't you think it can he done?'"

And now I found myself on Potter McQueen's own grant! On to "Scone:" a wayside there, too, "Chivers':" did'nt stop long: on over Warland's Ranges—the first real rising ground I had seen yet: a cut-throat sty a short way to the left was pointed out to me, called "Northy's", just before we reached their foot: down again on the other side, and so gladly (to my feelings, and doubtless "Nigger's") we reached the one and the last public-house of accommodation for travellers, which was lying so snug on the confines of the settled land, beneath the frown of Liverpool Range, on the banks of the river Page.

Pretty spot this on the river Page. There was a store opposite, and post-office: all postal work on this road is done, it seems, by horse: further back by mail cart and pair, one in shafts and another traced to an outrigger.

Three miles next morning to the "Hanging Rock:" it and Doughboy Hollow, in the heart of the range, became famous afterwards for bushrangers more than once: especially through the gallantry of that fine old soldier, Denny Day, at this time police magistrate at Muswellbrook; afterwards at Maitland. Away again from the range, merrily over champaign country—Liverpool Plains—went smartly by Loder's station: pulled up awhile at Paddy Davis'—the next habitation, at Currabubula—(I recollect wondering how it was to be spelt): pushed on to the river Peel, and were housed at a station, the property by Crown grant of the Australian Agricultural Company, by their manager and superintendent, Charles Hall. He, the very prince of "open-door" hosts: ever kind, ever considerate to wayfarers, who, by their number, the frequency of their visits also, I afterwards found, their exactions upon his larder—ever well supplied—their invasion of his space, which ever seemed to yield like india-rubber to the strain which the unconscionable company of his visitors brought to bear upon his dwelling, must have been endowed with special good humour, a marvellous gift of patience, an immeasurable sympathy, an unbounded sensibility to the elements of genuine camaraderie, to have borne with genial unruffled mood at all times the burdens which he ever made so light of, and the assaults upon his resources which he ever met with the self-control and unselfish bearing of a very cavalier of the "olden times."

I owe a tribute to the man who, in an after day, took me as a helpless, apparently dying, sufferer beneath his roof, tended me, nursed me—probably saved me—with all the gentleness of a woman, big, bearded man as he was! and so sent me out again with face northward-ho! a hale, sound, renewed, and grateful man. I believe that he also has passed on and away from the earth: his name—with a blessing on it—never from my heart while I am here.

On our road then again, to the river Macdonald came we. Camped on the river bank; out of cigars—compelled to smoke a pipe, and that, too, with "Niggerhead"; for the first time I found the smoking thereof rather strong; took to it, however, too much in time.

"Here we are," next afternoon said Hodgson, "at Salisbury—Bob McKenzie's. He's not here, though; he won't go out of Sydney." (Became Sir Robert, dwelt on the Brisbane in after years, and took his part in ministering to infant Queensland.)

Bearing away from our course northwards next day, we made some twenty miles of easting. Hodgson proposed having a pot of tea—nothing but green in the country then—close to a small, conical hill, which he called "Nobby", on our way. "What do you think happened to me here nearly a year ago, Russell?" "Can't say, really; perhaps a pot of tea." "Nothing half so comfortable. I was alone, going, as we are, to Cashiobury, jogging along and thinking; woke up at the sound of a horrid voice, which said, 'Stand! or I fire.' My word, I did stand; even my hair. I became conscious of looking right down the barrel of a gun which a villainous looking fellow was coolly 'potting' me with; out off my saddle to the ground like a lamplighter: so quickly that the blackguard was gratified and laughed. That laugh made me feel better. 'What do you want?' said I. 'Your horse,' said he. 'Do take that gun down, I beg; now, like a good fellow, take that gun down.' 'Oh, you're all right, I see,' said the rascal, 'so you can jog on.' 'What will you do with him?' said I. 'Ride him till he's done up.' 'Now, my good sir,' said I, so coaxingly; 'when he's knocked up will you do me the great kindness of tying this card round his neck?' 'Well, I see no objections; maybe I will.' He seemed quite amiable as he said so. I had to stick the card in the saddle-flap. Walked on a hundred yards; saw the brute mount mine; took off my hat and saluted him, which he courteously reciprocated, dug his spurs into Beverley's flanks, and here, when I came to myself, I stood, disgusted. Well, it isn't far on to Denne's. I trudged on, and next morning got to Cashiobury. Do you ever think I saw 'Beverley' again? Yes, I did. The man—my first bushranger and 'sticking-up' was a gentleman—rode him to a standstill; tied my card round his neck. That card, 'Beverley' too, not many weeks after came back to me. I say that fellow was a gentleman. He was hung about three months after."

We called at the Messrs. Denne's station to-day, at which we found two brothers, gentlemen from the county of Kent. The buildings—all of slabs, split, covered with sheets of bark stripped from the larger stringy-bark trees, I understood—seemed to me to be more substantial and homely than any I had yet observed since leaving the precincts of the river Page. Sheep and wool were the only topics discussed, too, since we entered into the more unsettled districts. They did not vary here; in fact, the interest about both was intensified. I heard much, too, which I as little understood respecting catarrh, footrot, and sheep ailments, of which the climate, in the opinion of most, was made to bear the odium. However to me, the weather at this time was most delicious. The air of New England, which I was told I had entered after crossing the river Macdonald, was, to my senses at least, equal to that of the finest autumnal breath of Old England. I could hope for nothing more enjoyable, more healthful, more appetising, so I could not join in condemning it because of the effects of the winter season on sheep. But I had many a lesson to learn. Alighting at Cashiobury in the evening, I was at once made known to the superintendent, James Rogers (had heard a "Cocky Rogers" spoken of and joked about on the road), and this I found was he—smart, lithe little man; quite what I fancied must be a good "bushman", keen-witted, cheerful, and with his eyes everywhere. He had not been apprised of the sale, so Hodgson took him aside and told him all about it. All was bustle and excitement, and our friend Todd, Hodgson's "new chum", became full of inquiry and inquisitiveness.

I had led for a long way a lame horse, at Hodgson's request, which belonged to this "Cocky" Rogers, and much relieved I was to give the brute up to his master. I made a mental vow that I would never lead a lame or any horse again, unless someone rode behind him with a persuasion thong.

"On the other side of that creek, Russell," said Hodgson, the following day, as I was again training myself up in the indulgence of "Niggerhead", "lies 'Yarrowitch', a station, which belongs to those two good fellows whom you met at Muswellbrook, the brothers John and Frank Allman, of Overton, but there is only an overseer there at present."

The scenery was identical with almost all that I had yet passed through: the method of life was the same as that of every habitation I had yet entered: the green tea was always in the same kind of quart-pot: the mutton chops were always fried: the beef was always salt and boiled: the flour and water baked in a large oval shape in red hot wood ashes, called "damper", always equally hard and heavy: the sheet of bark, or canvas stretcher, for sleeping on, always ricketty, and creaking at every change of posture. Yet, to my wonderment, there were health, elation of spirits, ogre's appetite, dreamless, vigour-renewing sleep, sociability almost fraternal, sanguine hope, bright prospects, energy of body and mind: and in many instances brought home to the perceptions of a new chum—a standard of educational attainments, and high-ranked acquirements, bred whether of book-learning, or whether of busy, deep and earnest inquiry, which seemed quite at variance with the visible means in this bush supplied for the feeding of body and mind, which set me a-thinking. To me, who had hitherto thought some attention to the welfare of one's digestive powers requisite for cheerful spirits and peaceful periods, it was a new light to find that salt beef and damper, damper and salt beef, salt beef and damper—three meals a day, differing but by name—ever waited upon by the quart-pot satellite, green tea, in no wise disturbed the "arcana" within, so sedulously guarded by our old nurses at home. I could see no books, save "Youatt's Horse, Sheep, and Cattle", volumes; yet digressions from those invariable themes did at times betray knowledge and learning, which displayed the talents and powers of the principals engaged in discussion or controversy. The outward became to me at times a startling contrast to the inner life of some individual station-holders. Such instances may have been exceptional, but they would come in view in unexpected and rude recesses of the squatters' regions.

But, whether eating or arguing, all would end in the inexorable smoke. "Come, old fellow, let's have a pipe," seemed to be, par excellence, the end of all effort, whatever the character thereof. At first, too, that "Niggerhead" would light up my own, after sundry whiffs, until its lightness became alarming. But these were results which, like the mosquitoes, only assailed the "new chum", who, after his conventional seven years, was emancipated, which meant acclimatised, like the surrounding iron-bark trees. Quickly was Cashiobury made over to the hands of Mr. Todd. Then came unceasing debates which ended in no decision, as to "Shall we try the Clarence, or the Richmond?" or "get away to the westward out of these cold winters?" "Why Boyd lost, I hear, 1300 sheep by catarrh last winter! New England will never do for me," exclaimed Hodgson, chewing his lips, a habit of his I saw when in doubt. One morning he suddenly brought his fist down on the table: "I'll wait for Pat. Leslie; he must be back by this; I've heard why he has gone to the north, and he has good hints to guide him. He's going to try to follow Cunningham's line. By Jove, I'll find him out."

Having no part in this matter, and fearing too that, in such a crisis of migration to—somewhere in nubibus—I might be de trop, I resolved to go back to Sydney; and, from what I had gleaned in this ride and the experiences of two hundred and eighty miles, felt inclined to take steps towards becoming a squatter myself.

And so, having started alone from Cashiobury with my two black brutes, "Nigger" and "Undertaker", after wishing my kind-hearted, cheery friend (does not Montaigne say that "the most manifest sign of wisdom is cheerfulness?") and friends every success, with every hope that we should meet again, I found myself in Sydney on the 10th of May. It was Sunday. I can recollect having listened to an excellent sermon from the Rev. Robert Allwood at the only steepled church, St. James', on "the inconsistency of professed Christians and the bad effects of the example they set in the business of life." I had observed no churches—but the semblance of one at Newcastle—out of Sydney.






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CHAPTER IX.



Remembrance wakes with all her busy train,
Swells at my breast, and turns the past to pain.
Goldsmith.


There is a house at the corner of Macquarie-place, and what is now (1887) a northerly continuation of the old part of Pitt-street, which not long ago was used as an office by one division of the Department of Lands. A verandah, supported by wooden pillars in 1840, abutted from over the first floor windows. It has been removed many years since, I suppose, for I saw the other day that it is being re-erected, but in different fashion, with much plate-glass bedevilment.

In 1840 this was an excellent, almost the only good boarding-house in Sydney. It was kept by a Mrs. Butler. Here, in May, I took up my quarters; here I again met John Allman, who had been appointed Commissioner of Crown Lands at Bathurst; here, also, Owen Macdonald, brother of the esteemed Commissioner of Crown Lands in New England; and Arthur Maister, who had a sheep station in that district; was much gratified, in a few days, by being introduced to that able, ill-used Dr. Bland; also to Captain Stanley, in command then of H.M.S. "Britomart", son of the, now late. Bishop of Norwich; Captain H.H. Brown, who lived upon the North Shore, and seemed to be a kind of water police magistrate, and illicit still detective.

I heard from Hodgson, whom Gilbert Elliot, Aide-de-Camp to Sir G. Gipps, had joined in partnership. Found that he was at Maitland, waiting to start his drays thence northwards, but was detained by the state of the roads and the heavy rains. There was a very pleasant ball at (old) Government House, being the Queen's birthday. Invited, I went to it; late, or rather early, in the morning I left with the last dancers. Close by were my lodgings; to obtain re-admission seemed hopeless. Happy thought! I'll swarm up one of those pillars into the verandah above! Hardly seven feet from the ground a gruff voice challenged. "I've 'cotched' you at it, have I! Come down, mate; it wont do! Come down, I say!" "Policeman, by jove!" gasped I, shinning further up. He made a spring, grabbed the tails of my best dress coat; he tugged, I strained; crack went they from the very buttons; crash went he on the hard bit of pavement supine: an oath and a "rattle;" up sprang the sleepers within, and up jumped he; up threw I one of the windows above, and launched myself into the night-apparelled arms of——— A scream! a light! an imprecation! I fled, and left my tails in custody!

Sydney was a very pleasant place in 1840. Visits to be paid, and so paid, were pleasant passages in one's daily devoir.

The result of one to which I gladly fled—perhaps ashamed of my loss, like the fabled fox—the day after the constable had misappropriated my coat tails, recalled me to a sense of the burden which I bore about me in the lack of my individualization. I had fumed over the unproductive effort in my behalf that the letters—of course letters of introduction from England—had made, which I had posted in the early part of the year. After that one denouement at Major Barney's, deafness to pleadings of such kindly calls through the letter-box, caused me no further chagrin on the reflection that Smith, Jones and Robinson had suffered more for their names' sakes than I had ever done.

To the one of some half-dozen residences kept apart, one from the other, by a scrubby wilderness in the heights of Woolloomooloo, which was called Brougham Lodge, that of the Chief Justice, I hied me. Being admitted, I found but the two estimable young ladies at home, the dominant senora being indisposed. "How did you like the Patterson? You've made a long visit, Mr. Russell," made me stare. "The Patterson! where's the Patterson?" "Why, haven't you been there ever since you left Sydney?" "No, indeed; I have been to New England, and come back again; but where's the Patterson?" That there was a puzzle was plain; what it was, not plain at all. Almost nettled at a silence which seemed to emphasize little belief in what I had said, I asked again. And at the moment I had again to bow gratefully to a coincidence similar to that on the former occasion—Mr. Boydell, of the river Patterson, walked in; young ladies greeted him as "Uncle John", I think, but am not sure to this day whether such relationship existed—looking shyly at him and me; "Here is Mr. Russell; this is Mr. Boydell"—but we were utter strangers! I must divest my present pen of that past explanation, and give it in a few syllables. It gave me many an after laugh, the faint echo of that with which it was greeted before I left.

I had enclosed the home letter with a few lines from myself to Mr. Boydell: had left Petty's, when a reply—a most kind one too, asking me to come and stay as long as I liked—had been brought: returned on delivery, but endorsed "Try H.R. of some other place:" got into the hands of one of my name, steward of a Hunter's river steamer: he would not adapt himself to its friendly contents: and so the kind letter passed on, "tried" by many of the same brand, the last of whom had taken advantage of it, and accepted my invitation; was received as my identity for many long weeks, which had strangely escaped every test: made himself peculiarly objectionable to my indulgent host on my account: and so I had been turned out of the doors of the well-known mansion on the river Paterson: and now, forsooth, had come to air myself with prim and demure bearing in the good graces of the charitable folks of Sydney.

A few days afterwards, wishing to compare the country south of Sydney with that which I had seen to the north, I started with Macdonald on a ride to a river called the Codradigbee, or Little river. He had purchased a station, with sheep, in that quarter, and was going to take delivery, reversing the object of my ride with Hodgson to New England. I was told it was about thirty miles beyond the town of Yass, fourteen beyond the Murrumbidgee, a river of which I had heard much in England, from glowing descriptions given me by the late Sir Thomas (then Major) Mitchell. (He had been summoned to England that he might assist the unhappy Colonel Gurwood in compiling the memorable "Peninsular War Despatches", and in London I had met him and his family.)

Two "new chums" starting from Sydney for an unknown station on a queer named river! I was the "old chum" now. Macdonald's first ride in Australia! With the intention of staying that night at Parramatta, at which, we were assured, we should find the crême de la crême of good accommodation at the "Red Cow", kept by Mrs. Walker (I think that was her name)—of course we took the wrong road, and evening brought us to an inn kept by Solomon. A sofa and debauched-looking blanket gave me all the rest that fleas and bugs would, in small pity, grant. Hoping to leave such civilisation parasites behind, passed on to Dunston's Inn, Stonequarry, after crossing Razorback—wondrous scenery in peeps; but never wished to cross it again. Berrima next day—good quiet resting-place at Berrima, the "Surveyor-General", Mrs. Ann Richards. Met Bishop Broughton. Have seen nothing yet comparable, in my opinion, to New England. Got to an inn called "Joe Peters'", but its name and that of the locality I cannot remember. Jogged on to Goulburn thence, about eighteen miles. At Liverpool I had stayed with Solomon; here with "Moses", who let me in for a horse. (On my return I gave Moses £20 to take the animal back again, i.e., on return of the balance of my purchase money, £65! Even thought him then "a brick!") "There's an inn, Macdonald! The name is Bond. I'm glad it isn't Samuel or Abraham." So there we stayed in Gunning the following night, and very cold it was. Yass received us next day, and there we saw a gaol and a courthouse. Little else, besides the wayside verandah, we entered, which I read was the "Rose Inn", Middleton; and here we were attended to by a positively civil, good fellow of a waiter. Hoping to reach our destination in the evening, we started early for the Little river, en route through the one Yass road, and having called upon a Captain Macdonald, a friend of my compagnon de voyage suddenly pulled up. "Why surely we have been here before! "And so we had, We were going as fast as we could, back to Sydney, turned and were launched upon the right track across a plain; and of course continually got on a wrong one. Suddenly saw a broad river; on its banks a hut. This, then, was the Murrumbidgee; so said a gentleman who came out of the hut, who informed us that his name was Sharp, and that we were some five miles out of our course, and he—good fellow that he was—made us stop for the night; and verily made us comfortable with his hearty welcome. His farm—he called it one—was the snuggest I had seen; three large paddocks under excellent cultivation; all wheat, but complained of "smut". The river—more worthy the name than any stream I had yet approached, was full of wild fowl and black swans. How I did crave for a day's shooting. Fish no end: the blacks dived for and so caught them. Sharp work! Sixty feet in breadth and evidently very deep. In the evening a Mr. Ferguson—new chum—staying here, came in, and a most agreeable symposium—tea—had we.

More careful next day, we went as the crow flies; came to another range; higher than Liverpool Range—which bore the name of "Cookmundoon" as far as I could gather it. Up, over, down into a valley of no beauty; a small watercourse running through. "There's something, Macdonald!" It was a hut, and my foreboding spirit sank at the thought, "is this our station?" Up we rode; dirty man and sulky came out. "Is this————?" asked Macdonald. "Yes." "Where are the sheep?" "Whoay thereabouts" denoting the direction with a hoist of his right boot." "Is there an overseer?" "There be'ant any but Dick and I." "Where's Dick?" "Along a' the sheep." "Well, I have bought this place, and must stop hereto-night." "There be'ant noa sugar, and noa tea; there be a bit o' damper; but the cask be near out. Dick don't get nothin till to-morrow." Pleasant lookout, thought I. "What shall we do now?" "Hobble our horses, and go to see the sheep, if you don't mind the walk." We soon found the sheep; also the man Dick; a chirpy little man, very much unlike any shepherd I had seen yet. They all seemed to be dull, cumbersome and witless. "Be you the gentleman as has bought this 'ere lot?" "Yes." "Mr.———— came over a week agone, and said they were sold, and that the gen'leman as had bought 'em would pay wages from this 'ere coming week." "All right, my man," said we, "but tell me about your sheep,—these are ewes, I see." "Yes; there they be; five hundred and twenty-seven to the head, as given in my charge last month. Two miles down the creek is a flock of lambs, in all five hundred and nineteen; look well, doant they?" "Yes," said Macdonald, his face less gloomy and anxious, "but that is not the full number; where are the wethers?" "They be with the lambs; but——— "Well, what?" "Have you bought these 'ere hout-an-hout?" "Yes." "Well, its no fault o' mine, they're all—that be the ewes, all rotten." Poor Macdonald! neither of us knew what "rotten" sheep were, but it was the climax of his trouble. He had bought sheep and station at Sam Lyons' auction rooms.

Cold as it was, I preferred a bed outside that kennel; next day, finding that I could be of no service in any shape, I said good-bye, and away for Sydney. We never met again.

Lost myself; got ten miles off my road to Yass; found a place called Cavan, Major Lockyer's: strayed again upon a plain till it was dark, cold, and miserable. "Well, the back must be warmer than the saddle," it struck me; so I took my saddle off my horse's and put it on my own. "There's no means of seeing or feeling my way, no moon, no stars; perhaps the brute knows better than his burden; I'll try." So I took the bit out of his mouth, jumped on his warm hide, and dug spurs into him. The "Nigger" seemed surprised into life, slewed himself right round, and before long I found myself suddenly among trees, at some distance a fire, and—by jove! dogs barking, and cattle bellowing! At the fire I jumped off joyously, saw a man squatted on the other side, looking the picture of what is underlined "brigand". Pipe in mouth, he ejaculated, "Hallo! where do you hail from?" "I've lost myself on the way to Yass": "and I've lost myself with cattle on the way to Port Phillip, on Faithful's track." I began to explain myself, when he nearly floored me with an imprecation and a shout—"Why ————what are you doing here, Russell? Well! this is a land of marvels." "Who can you be?" "What! don't you remember Hallett, of Oriel? nearly four years ago we went to Ascot together; I returned to Oxford that night, and was rusticated at tempus infinitum. Why and how I find myself here I'll say by-and-bye. You've knocked the breath out of my body! What wondrous chance brought you to the antipodes?"

Very small the amount of sleep that night. By daylight we found ourselves ten miles out of the way, near an inn kept by a man of the name of Davis. I made way to Yass: found a case going on at the court-house, McDermot v. Lowe. Met a Mr. Burnard, and a Dr. Hely: got on to Gunning wet through: and so day by day through mud and water to Sydney by the 18th. Found Arthur Hodgson there: he had with thoughtful kindness bought some sheep for me: "Take them or not; all the same to me, old fellow:" and I did not take them. Went with him to Dawes' Point that evening, and passed it gaily by the fireside of that united family of the gallant major's.

I had taken the names of all the roadside inns as far as Stonequarry, on my return from Yass. Amusing to compare the state of then with now on that same track. I must give the list: Yass to Grosvenor's Inn: thence to one on Breadalbane Plains, the only dwelling in sight; Moses, and McKeller's, at Goulburn: thence to Joe Peters': thence to Paddy's River Inn: on to Gray's Inn: then passing an inn on the left to Berrima: ten miles on to Cutter's "Kangaroo Inn", "Bargo Tavern", Sharker's "Woolpack", Jones' "Cross Keys", Lupton's "Woolpack", Crispe's "Traveller's Inn;" and then Dunsdon's Inn at Stonequarry.






{Page 191}

CHAPTER X.



They have in England
A coin that bears the figure of an angel
Stamped in gold.
Shakespeare. (Merchant of Venice.)


The morning of the 22nd of this month—June, 1840—the morning of our gracious Queen's marriage! in the evening thereof, and in a very deluge of rain, I was on board the H.R.S.N. Company's steamer which bore her revered name "Victoria", passenger for Maitland.

Word had by some means been received of Patrick Leslie; stationless sheep owners were on the qui vive! He had already taken up magnificent country, it was said, on Darling Downs; years before seen at a distance by Allan Cunningham, and by him mapped and named! Moreton Bay not more than a hundred miles away for a shipping port! For what Patrick Leslie had done, and was doing at this time, I must refer the inquirer to his own diary. I will not poach on his plantation.

The night of that passage by the "Victoria" was dark, rainy and cold, but we did reach Newcastle by five the next morning, stuck fast in the mud flats about a mile higher up; detained there until mid-day, we did not reach Morpeth until three o'clock. At Cox's again, of course, with old Oxford friends, Henry and Alfred Denison; there also their particular friend, Edward Hamilton, the latter of Cambridge, who was busy preparing his drays for a start to his recent purchase, Collaroi. I helped Hamilton next day, went with Henry Denison to buy a horse from Cutts, and returned to Cox's, having decided to await Hodgson's arrival from Sydney, and then share with him the fun of seeking a new country to the northward—fit for sheep in all respects.

On the 26th, Hodgson and Elliot arrived from Sydney: with them Frank Forbes, Skellatar's eldest son. Forbes and Elliott slept under Archibald Bell's, Hodgson and I under Ferriter's ever hospitable roofs.

Poor Forbes was driving tandem! What a mess he made of it! We all met again at Patrick's Plains—scene of my arrest—the next day, and were again dispersed according to our several inclinations. Elliot stopped with a lame horse: Forbes off to the warm welcome ready for him, on the threshold of the door ever held open to friends or foreigners by the genial and generous owner of the land which commemorates his name on the banks of Glennie's creek: Hodgson and I to the stately but friendly walls of Ravensworth, lord of which was Dr. Bowman. Close on the heels of his son and tandem, on! next morning to Sir Francis Forbes' charming "Skellatar": and after a glorious breakfast, the round of happy visits within the social ring, which encompassed the well-known village of Muswellbrook as with a halo of beaming smiles.

But rest was not durable for such as we were. Away to the Page! must look in at those fine specimens of English country gentlemen, Darby and Goldfinch, on the way. Hie! on over Liverpool Range again, and thus walking, jogging, cantering akin to galloping suddenly came we on drays camped close to Loder's. "I'll be hanged! if these are not Allan Macpherson's," said someone. "How are you, Macpherson," cried Hodgson, "bound northwards, eh?" "Yes, old fellow! but not your way, I suspect." "You have heavy loads." "Yes, I'm not going to live like a savage: but come in to my tent: have some brandy and water." "Gladly", was the cry.

In we went. "Sleep here all of you, to-night, hobble your horses; lots of grass; won't go far; come now, say yes; I'm miserable. I can't leave my tent for an hour but these ruffians of mine spring my plant and drink my brandy; and now they're all so ill that I can get nothing done; have to do all the work myself!" "Why, how's that? what makes them ill? Ague?" "No, tartar emetic", and he threw off his look of distress and roared aloud; we joined in and passed the night merrily; but not a man could stir to work, and so we helped, and there was no damage done. "I'll tell you all about it; wherever I planted my brandy—except what I get out, they can't get at—they were sure to find it. I put in a precious dose this morning, thinking to detect the scamp; but, by Jove, the're all bad. I must have men. I can't discharge 'em all! No! I'm not going into the bush like a savage! I have a good cellar, a piano, cigars, eau de cologne, scented soap,"—and we dropped off, one by one, into a snooze till the sun rose.

Some weeks afterwards Macpherson and his drays were stopped by bushrangers, who tried to drink the eau de cologne and eat the scented soap. The cellar suffered, but they didn't try the piano. Next day passed through the gap of a range, called, to a new chum's discomfiture, Currabubula; and spurred on to the scene to which the lessening distance, mile by mile, added much of gladness, as we approached again the Good Samaritan who dwelt at Killala—Charles Hall.

On the 4th of July we found Pemberton Hodgson with the drays camped upon the head of the Peel, close by store and a tent. In the former I made the acquaintance of an old gentleman of the name of Stubbs, whose fair wife—like many mothers in same case—was bemoaning the delay of her son's arrival from England. In the latter, was introduced to a Mr. Irving, late lieutenant of the 28th Regiment, a detachment of which had been quartered at Port Stephens or Macquarie, I forget which. The store was a matter of partnership, "Stubbs and Irving." Why an officer of a crack regiment should prefer holding office in a "bush store "and give up the music of life in a gay and gallant service, for the hideous discord of laughing jackasses and screaming cockatoos, puzzled me. Slept under a dray: my first submission to lying beneath a bed rather than on it; jumped up in the night and treated my head badly, by a knock against the axle; the morning found me in excruciating pain, all over.

My kind friends took me back to Killala. It was on this occasion that I met with those guardian services—rendered in so gentle and chivalrous a spirit—at the hands of that true model of a Christian practitioner—Charles Hall,—to which I have already alluded.

From the morning of the 5th of July until the 20th I was for the most part unconscious; but I could feel at times the presence of some helping and ministering hand, and hear a low voice, to which I could make no sign with my lips. J did not know where I was. My head seemed ever growing to make room for further growth of bursting and again bursting spasms. One thing I do recollect. I heard a strange footstep one day; was aware of some pacing round about me; could hear, by-and-by, loud talking in the adjoining room. "Poor fellow! I shall be back in a few days from Muswellbrook, Hall; I will come and see where you have buried him."

From the 20th, when I became, comparatively speaking, myself again, until the 27th of the following October—a date I logged down—I can recall little that can exercise my pen, of which even an indulgent person would take heed; in the record of that little, however, lies a very insufficient discharge of many a debt of grateful acknowledgment—to some—many of whom (are there any?) can never know the impression upon my memory of their unswerving friendliness and fellowship.

Elliot had returned from Muswellbrook, en route northwards after Arthur Hodgson and the drays. Pemberton Hodgson had left the drays and passed by again, Sydney-wards. I made an attempt to jog on with my face to the north, but on reaching the Macdonald lost my own horses, and was too weak to look for them or to proceed. And so, having a mare of Hodgson's which Elliot had left behind, returned to dear old Hall, in company with two new made acquaintances, Dalzell and Milne both going down, i.e. to Sydney, reversing the usual term to the metropolis. A Mr. Rusden had started from Killala one morning for Maitland, and I pursued but did not catch him. Myself camped at Currabubula in a terrific storm; got on to Forbes' station, Werris' creek, drenched and disfigured. (Found there an excellent fellow as overseer—McCullum, I think.) The mare had slipped, fallen, and deliberately rolled over me in a mud pool. Back on the old track, was kindly received at St. Aubin's, near Scone, and breakfasted. The gallant owner of all this land. Captain Dumaresq, rode with me, on my way, as far as St. Heliers'. Slept at Muswellbrook, where I fell in with Denny Day and Frank Allman; and we were joined by Frank Forbes. (Dead long since. One whose qualities of head and heart were never worthily appreciated.)

Thinking to make another effort to follow up Hodgson and Elliot, I resolved to recruit health and strength in these pleasant purlieus of the spot I have learnt to like best; would await Pemberton Hodgson's return from Sydney and eo volente, ride on with him and reach the reported paradise in the far north. So what between Bengalla's sweet homestead; its talented master's ready wit; races on the course in front, flat and hurdle; pig-sticking; (he had been long an officer in a cavalry corps in India); paying excusable attention to any and every fair face in the bright neighbourhood; what with mooning about from one warm-hearted host and hostess to another within a circle of some ten miles all round, the days passed very, very happily, and my returning strength stepped out sturdily with them.

Often had I almost made up my mind to push on towards these Darling Downs alone; but, being a new chum, many remonstrances prevailed, and there I lingered doubting,—enveloped by the excuses of my inclinations.

One fine morning it came to my ears from New England way that Pemberton Hodgson had passed by, knowing nothing of my plans or wishes. Short was the time it took me to throw saddle on and leg over it; and away I went till I met a true type of the great name of Magnus McLeod, from New England, who said that he whom I was pursuing by land had gone up to Moreton Bay by sea, where he hoped to meet his brother Arthur.

Back again, inconsolable, until my gloom was utterly routed by paying a visit to St. Heliers' on the way home. An enchanting proprietress herself in the midst of her throng, her brother Butler, and two young ladies of the name of Reece, Miss Mathers, the ever bright and charming Aunty Bell, and some sweet children.

On the 17th of August a letter from Pemberton Hodgson, in Sydney. From the Australian Club: "I want to see you; pray come down." Went at once, but he met me at Maitland. We returned together to Sydney on business, and found ourselves back again within the week at Cox's.

It was not, however, until the evening of Wednesday, the 28th of September, that I had reason to feel confident that I should succeed in making a final start to the north. I had had occasion to pay Sydney yet another visit, and was now en route. Dined that evening at Cox's hotel with Henry Denison and "Paddy" Grant; a trio, two of whom have rarely been excelled, I should think, in conversational and generally entertaining powers. [Dear Henry Denison! he dined with me at Brighton, in England, in 1857, and died a few days afterwards.]

On the 30th Pemberton Hodgson had gone on from Muswellbrook with one of two men—Foster—who had been overseer of Allman's sheep station, Yarrowitch, and a pack horse. The following day with the other of the twain—John—(poor fellow! he was afterwards killed by the blacks at Etonvale) I caught up Pemberton Hodgson three miles before arrival at the Page, (the inn had been till then kept by "Tinker" Campbell, who became shortly afterwards a station-holder on Darling Downs), Did not stop at the inn: proceeded and camped at the Hanging Rock. The 'possums made sleeping out of the question: but then I found in the morning that I had been lying on an ant-hill: not, however, one of old soldiers. On to Loder's: met Denny Day: pushed on through Currabubula to the Peel: of course paid Killala a visit: Hall absent; but his French cook, Louis, tended us, fed us, did for us en prince.

Having bought two kangaroo dogs and a bull-dog, seen to arms and ammunition, reached the Macdonald on the 9th of October: picked up two travellers on our own course, a Cameron and a McAllman: at Ross' hut by the riverside, George Gammie with a dray—all for the north. Passing Salisbury, went out of the way to pay a visit to "Jock" Maclean, of Bergen-op-zoom. Back to Turner—manager for Robert Mackenzie at Salisbury—got on to Armidale, and there found the estimable and courteous gentleman whose functions were those of Commissioner of Crown Lands for New England. George Macdonald, whose brother I had accompanied beyond Yass.

Here we met a son of Sir Maurice O'Connell, Commander-in-Chief, in Sydney. (He became President of the Queensland Council Chamber in after times, and died at Brisbane.) He invited us to his station, which proved to be beautifully situated on a running stream. Became acquainted with his friend and superintendent, Captain Park, and enjoyed ourselves much, shooting and so on.

On the 18th October, reached Cash's station, near which we camped on the river Bundarrah: on thence to Cameron's cattle station, and by the evening to Clark and Ranken's on the same river, and camped on the 20th near an out station of Peter Mclntyre's.

On the 20th, from a low range which we were crossing over, we had the first peep of the country through which our course lay; extending in one uninteresting plateau on all sides till lost on the horizon: apparently thickly wooded: bright spots in one direction showing forth "Byron Plains". By the evening we reached Wyndham's, from which station began Patrick Leslie's labour in a marked line for the guidance of his drays, and those who followed. Quoting his diary, now we know that he on the 3rd of May last "left Wyndham's and marked the first tree of 'Leslie's marked-tree line' close to Wyndham's stockyard: a blazed line was marked from this to 'Leslie's crossing-place on the Condamine.' "On hence to Gregory Blaxland's cattle station on Fraser's Creek, on the 22nd evening. The "marked-tree line" had been taken to the back of this station: we picked it up next morning on the other side of the creek at George Gammie's station. (In after years this Gammie changed his name to Maitland. I saw him in Warwickshire—at Rugby—in 1875. Unconscious of giving offence, I named him Gammie; but he was not Gammie.)

On the 23rd made the Severn, alias "Sovereign" among stock-keepers, but which is the river Dumaresq; went off to the right to a cattle station belonging to my friend John Cox, of Nagoa, Muswellbrook. Here we were supplied with the best that the keen-eyed and kindly attentive stock-keeper, whose name was William Orton ("Bill" among his brotherhood—"The Fiver" on the river, and surrounding occupied country), could supply us with,—eggs, milk, butter, which were indeed, to us, luxuries.

The Severn is broad and deep in parts here, and at this time was infested by blacks. Just before our arrival they had attacked John McDougal's station, not far from this, driven off the cattle, killed one man, seriously wounding another with a spear, and committed other depredations.

I took a liking to Bill, "The Fiver", and found that he could wile away the time very pleasantly with bush yarns, and his own narrow escapes from the "darkies", and their treachery. He was a great authority among his mates in most matters; his features spoke of great determination. His natural endowments showed me that under happier circumstances in earlier life, he might have made his mark creditably at least, anywhere. Now who was "Bill the Fiver"? (called "The Fiver" by reason of his "luck" in a bush game at cards, in which the number "five" somehow meant winning.) Well, his story was painful. I verified it years afterwards on visiting England. Bill had been a convicted felon at the age of thirteen. Convicted of having ran away from a cruel stepmother; convicted at thirteen of having fallen among evil associates, who, much older than himself, had utilised him for stealing a coat for their own behoof; he, almost unconscious of guilty intention. And so, at thirteen he was sent off amongst forgers, burglars, and criminals of every type, for the good of a country which scaled as infants men under twenty-one years of age, and punished as men such infants as had fallen into manhood's misdeeds. Thus was this lad condemned to get his further education amid the dark horrors of a 'tween deck prison ship in 1830. He was born a well-known Worcestershire farmer's son; a truer Englishman never breathed. His nature sterling: his faults—the fruit of the terrible training through which his years, since the Bow-street judgment, had been dragged.

I did not know all this at the time that I was seated on a log by the hut-door, the next day; for we stopped here on the 24th. While so seated, a dray, to our astonishment, came up—just from Darling Downs! On it was Frederic Isaac, the younger brother of the old gentleman whose acquaintance I had made at Black creek, near Maitland. He had accompanied Arthur Hodgson after my detention, by reason of illness, at the Peel. News from Darling Downs, by the first dray that had left it looking to the south! Greedy as Pemberton Hodgson and I were for descriptions of all that he had left behind him, our appetite was for the time appeased by the pleasing intimation that "Arthur was close up!" His surprise when he did come was the greater, for he had thought that both of us had returned to England! The remainder of the day did not exhaust the theme—Darling Downs—where, what, and its wonders; but it exhausted the patience of our recovered friends, who were as eager to hear about the land they had left behind so many weeks before. Night mostly passed over me while writing for home by this opportunity, and the twenty-fifth sun of October rose upon the shaking of hands and the shouts of good-bye, as dos a dos each party resumed its route. The last word was from Arthur Hodgson: "Look out, old fellow, for me with cattle, next February, if all's well."






{Page 199}

CHAPTER XI.


Have many British readers actually arrived with us at the new promised country; is the philosophy of clothes now at last opening around them V Long and adventurous has the journey been, from those outmost vulgar, palpable woollen halls of man.—Carlyle. (Sartor Resartus.)


That day we passed a place where the blacks had had a "corroboree" after the affair at McDougal's, and of course examined it as new-chums, with no little interest: having camped a short distance beyond it, and the following day skirted a thick scrub which had been more or less near us on our right all the way from the river, we got into a little clear country: but soon fell on it again on the deep banks and shallow water of McIntyre Brook. Having again got on quickly on the 27th, in a heavy storm, we reached the camping place of some drays of Leslie's, which we had heard were ahead of us, and with them found his relative Dalrymple. Got away early next morning, and after smart riding reached a tree marked by Arthur Hodgson to tell travellers to beware of "poison" in the herbage: took care that our horses did not get a bite, and in about six miles descried the first plain of Darling Downs. We, innocent creatures, thought that this first peep little tallied with the glowing accounts which had warmed our fancies: we could not understand how the herbage on the river Condamine banks, which to us seemed to be all weeds; how a soft puffy black soil full of holes, up and down and every way but pleasant for riding over, could be such a magnificent possession: the river itself a dirty looking boggy little bed of a stream, stagnant on both sides, as we entered the "crossing place".

The day was, to us, terribly hot; we camped; came upon another plain spreading on every side: saw some blacks: new chums preparing for action was a picture: no action after all on our side, for the blacks set fire to the grass, which seemed to be very high where they were, and covered us (they being to windward) with thick black smoke and dust. Proceeded by a track about two miles to a marked tree: directions given to turn to the left across the plain, and so find Hodgson and Elliot's station. We both thought we could see more blacks on the plain, just in our way! "What shall we do?" "Oh, we must go on in any case." With all the keenness of a new sensation, said we would gallop towards them: they would surely run away! So we did; but they seemed to await us in quiet contempt. "I say, what an immense head of hair!" "Yes, but do you see that tremendous spear? seems to be sticking right out of his head! We're in for it! They won't run! Up guards, and at them! What are they going to do?"

Teeth clenched, carbine in hand, nerves paid with black pitch, we dug spurs into our wretched animals, and not until we were within a couple hundred yards of the enemy did we realise the fact that they were not blacks after all. Hideous grasstrees! We looked at each other shamefacedly, and, with diminished martial ardour, burst out into loud laughs to hide our emotions, and nearly rode headlong over the perpendicular bank of a dry creek which passed like a pitfall through the base of the plain. Having followed up its course for a couple of hours, we were not a little relieved and delighted by the sight of fresh sheep tracks, and at once came upon an out station of Hodgson and Elliot's. There instructed, we rushed frantically over some three miles, reached the head station for the time (it being a tarpaulin), dropped off our fagged horses almost into the arms of that expert in bush and wood craft. Cocky Rogers! Great was his astonishment, greater his delight: his loneliness—for he was alone—was at an end.

We then understood that Elliot had left him, taking the drays, to attempt crossing the range and reaching Brisbane, to which, by permit, he would be admitted, as well as goods for the station, which were to meet him there from Sydney by water.

After a few days' rest, during which my first impression of Darling Downs was quite and for ever effaced, as I became less green to their real worth, apart from the wealth which they bore upon their bosom in essential adaptation to the requirements of the sheep farmer; the varied richness of herbs and grasses; the depth of fat soil; the open plains, on which four thousand sheep could be watched by the shepherd with as much ease as five hundred in the closely timbered forest land to which they had been accustomed; and, above all things, the evidence ere long that the climate was of so happy a medium that catarrah lost its terrors; and the prognostications of knowing-ones far away south that the wool would, so near the tropics, quickly became "hair", were set at naught by manifest improvement—I was assured—in some respects, which I did not understand; no burr; no grass seed; no ——— well! I was in an Elysian field—and truly it was—as I learned to take in all its features, a scene of great beauty, and beauty stamped with value I had no sense of yet. And this tarpaulin triangled upon the ground by a few poles lashed together at the tops by "green hide" was a head station! only temporary, however. One little tree leant away from it—the trees were very sparse on the ridge at the back; a dog, cross of greyhound and I know not what else—in fact, "lurcher"-like—was chained to it; the ashes of a fire which was played out by sun-heat; a few quart pots, iron pots, a double-barrelled gun (Rogers'); and under the tarpaulin a cask, which was full of salt mutton: half the inevitable damper on the top of it; and hidden by another tarpaulin pegged to the ground, the necessaria quædam alia vivendi: tea, sugar, tobacco, &c.

The plain in front, sloping down to the creek, such as it was, for about half a mile, rising again from the other bank, gently ascending to the opposite lightly-wooded ridges about three miles away hence (that hill away to the left on the other side is named by Gilbert Elliot "Rubieslaw", a reminiscence of the Scottish home, his birthplace); the long reach of treeless (barring those absurd grass-trees and their top-knots) grass plain from the east and up the watershed, narrowing as it ascends in that direction, widening as it descends to us, and yet widening, until it elbows itself out into that expanse of prairie through which we had ridden from the crossing place; the long rank grass wavering and shimmering under a light breath of air now and then, soothing the glare of the sun; the ridges and forest dwarfed by distance, and always—in me at least—raising the wish to know what was beyond them again: the feeling, above all, that we were among the few who, having run Leslie to earth, had yet set eyes on these new spots, which themselves, as yet untrodden, beckoned us on and on—all combined to light up a panorama of present enchantment which receded into a dissolving view of recesses yet in gloom. Hope of discoveries yet unprobed!

"Well, Rogers, what do you think of this part of the world?" "Think!" shouted he, short black pipe and all, "the finest spot, the finest country for sheep in creation! Bah! New England, why it would ruin the Bank of England! How-as-ever (a favourite conditional phrase with Rogers), how-as-ever, let us be thankful we're well out of it and Cashiobury!" with the emphasis of scorn. "Look'ee here, now, they may say what they like about finding runs" (with pitying sarcasm), "but if you want to find a run, and no mistake, you must come to James Rogers,"

He seemed somewhat excited, did the neat, dapper little man—nettled too, about something—(he and Pemberton Hodgson, who had brought him a letter, had been some time talking together at a distance) and it was not long before I saw cause.

"Yes," smoking puffs, "to James Rogers! D'ye think Mr. Arthur Hodgson could have found this run for himself: my word, he would have been a long time getting here, but for J. Rogers! And now, by———, that I've put some thousands into his pocket; aye, made his———fortune, I'm to have the dirty kick out! How-as-ever, J. Rogers don't care: I know where to find a better thing than Messrs. Hodgson and Elliot's. Well, Mr. R———, you're but a new chum, and don't know much about it: but you don't know what J.R. can do. I'll go down country and bring sheep up before the end of this year, and find a run for them which will take the shine out of Messrs. H. and E. by long chalks. Now, Mr. R., look'ee here; I'll give you the whole ———yarn. After you left us—as some of us thought a 'croaker'—at the Peel last July, we pushed on, that is, you see, Mr. Hodgson and me, after camping with the drays at Cash's. There we didn't know what to do: I saw 'twas no use giving him my opinion, which was, in course, to follow Leslie's tracks. How-as-ever, who should drop amongst us one evening, when Hodgson had almost sworn he would go to the Clarence after all, but Pat Leslie himself. That was on the 19th July. Well," tossing up and then stroking down his beard—longish for so a little a man, "Well! the long and short of it was this, Pat Leslie and Hodgson had a long talkee-talkee together. Leslie said that Dobie was a—I won't say what, 'cause I'm sure he did'nt mean it (but, you know Pat Leslie is always 'shaking the shingles' when he talks), well you know Dobie would not go out to these 'Downs'; so he came on: heard we were camped here and laid us on his line. Bless you! did not Leslie call me aside: said he knew that I was a regular 'bush card', and that after all Hodgson was but a new chum; but he wanted him to find a good run. By Jove! J.R. could take a wink as well as a nod, and I done my best to get this. Ha! ha! But I must tell you:—'I'm your man! I'll bustle up a run which you won't sneeze at, Hodgson,' said I, when he asked me to go out with him after Pat Leslie had gone. Leslie slept with our drays all that night, so I had everything pat. How-as-ever, to this very creek we did come straight as a die; crossed many a nice one away out there," pointing to the south "but he'd promised Leslie not to meddle with his marked trees on any: he had taken up all for friends (how-as-ever, two blokes, old Sibley and King, have taken up a week or so ago, the creek he had marked next to us out there, on the way to Toolburra, as they call their camp on the river), and when we dropped over that ridge out there, in sight of this very plain Leslie had told us of, 'there' says I to Hodgson, 'there's your sort! beat that you can't and say J.R. tells you so! 'Now came the fun! We followed this creek up, and saw a good many darkies about: won't say much about them: J.R. don't like 'em: Hodgson liked them less, I can tell you. Well, you know, he is but a new chum." (I winced again.) "We camped. 'No,' said I to Hodgson, 'not close to the creek, nor to the timber; you trust J.R., he knows all about it.' So we made a small fire on the ridge of the plain half way between the two. 'Now then,' says I, 'I'll look after the camp, if you'll go for water. I'll keep the fire bright enough to come back by.' It was dark. Away stalks Hodgson with a quart pot in each hand: very cautiously looking around, aloft, everywhere: did'nt seem to hurry himself. How-as-ever, he went, more quickly I suppose, in a little, for he plunged promiscous into a water-hole after tumbling over a steep bank: picking himself up he said, he quickly filled the quart pots with water and turned for the fire again: hardly had made a step that way when something made a shrill and ghostly rush by his head, and seemed to swoop again and again at his face! something which he caught sight of once, seemed monstrous in size; said he: horrified, he clanged his pots together and quicker than he had ever run before, I guess, clashing them together over his head to defend it (by Jove! made scarecrows of them), he threw himself nearly into the fire, buried his face in the grass shouting out 'Yahoo! Yahoo!!'

"J.R., didn't he laugh and chaff all that night, my word." And here's the end of it. So much for an owl and new chum. Such was, more or less, the burden of my amusing friend's roundelay. He was going soon to leave his present occupation. Hodgson had no need of an expensive and, I should think, somewhat extravagant, though experienced and skilful, manager. Foster, before mentioned, would for the future be overseer; he had, with "John", accompanied Pemberton Hodgson and myself.

We had a couple of days' teaching on Sunday and Monday, 1st and 2nd November, 1841, what Darling Downs rain could be. We profited from it by improving our shelter. Got my hand in with a tomahawk, and took a good degree in stripping bark. The rain disturbed my horses, and I then had my eyes opened, indeed, by Tommy, a black boy from New England, who followed their tracks with and for me until we found them. Marvellous gift, that of tracking; but what could a black do without it? Why starve, of course.

"Should you like to see our neighbours?" said Chirpy Rogers in a few days: "I'll tell you who they are: not numerous eh? Sibley and King out there," shooting out his left leg over the way as he lay, with pipe shrouded in beard and moustache, on his back, "and Leslie's camp further on some twenty miles," making another dip at the flies. Gladly, of course, I said "yes." "What do you think old Sibley called Elliot a little while ago, to his disgust? Why; Elliot went over to see him about some rations lent him from our drays: were getting hard up I can tell you: they fell out about the matter: Sibley would'nt stump up: Elliot got into a precious scot, and Sibley followed him as he rode off, with 'y'oure a—bite: y'oure both of ye bites! ha! ha!' It came out on Elliot's return: 'Rogers,' says he, 'what's a bite? Sibley calls us all bites!' I gave him the last 'new chum's edition of Johnson's Dictionary, and he didn't ask again?"

Before leaving Elliot, Rogers and the head station, which I had thus dropped upon with Pemberton Hodgson, the first efforts to discover some practical descent and ascent for wheels over the range which (and it is the special characteristic of the eastern margin of the Australian coast) sheds a system of waters to the Pacific on the one side, and on the other to the west, south-west and south, through South Australia to the Southern Ocean should not be ignored.

The how to do this, all along the line, had always been a hard nut to crack. But reaching the nearest port from the table land had been in all cases a matter of great moment in considering the most economical means of access to and from a station, for supplies and the carriage of wool. By the track used to the Downs from Maitland the distance covered was quite five hundred miles. Yet Maitland was the nearest depot and port. A road from the high land of New England to the Richmond or Clarence passable for drays was still a puzzle: and the puzzle lay in the grip of the same giant wall which imprisoned the western wilds. Cunningham stopped on one of his journeys at a "gap" in it which still bears his name. [I once went down its three "pinches" on foot, because I could hardly stop myself: to go up again—without rattlins'—I declined.]

On the 4th of June, the bleating of sheep and the cracking of ox-compelling whips had woke up from lethargy the old river-god of the Condamine. On the 2nd of July they were established on the banks at Toolburra: in September Hodgson and Elliot had been running a dead-heat with Sibley and King, and to the end of 1840 these three stations only were occupied by their holders, and stocked. [Yet in a pamphlet on "The Early Settlement of Queensland," compiled by one who ought to have known—(John Campbell, commonly called "Tinker")—having himself been in possession of Westbrook, with stock from the Severn, are included the three referred to among those which were not taken up before the year of his own arrival. "All these stations," he writes, "were taken up in 1841." And yet he wrote this many years ago. Alas! the growth of inaccuracies.]

Revenons a nos moutons! Provisions, as Rogers had intimated, were failing: boots were now solely reminiscences: "niggerhead" was the skeleton in our closet; tea, sugar, and flour suggestive, severally by their diminishing of a prayer for the blessed cruse at Zarephath of old: in a word there were "breakers ahead."

Accommodating oneself to circumstances is doubtless a very wholesome herb in life's seasoning here. With gruesome smile I had to swallow, and saw swallowed many an unpalatable leek. Never before were masters—masters in a straight jacket—less than men. Shepherds, bullock drivers, hutkeepers were pets in our isolated dependence, and they knew it. Often have I striven, for conscience sake, in the interests of my kind friends whose guest I was, in fact I had so long been, to lend a hand when I could; would, deferentially consulting the tastes and appetites of old "mates", fry mutton, knead up and bake dampers (myself as well), spread out "leather jackets" or "johnny cakes", watch the quart pots of green tea until they bubbled ("Jemmy Watson's simmer"), and endeavour to soothe, day by day, the grumbler over his engagement, and win him to good behaviour by obsequious attention to his animal comforts. Many the involuntary impulse to touch my hat to the sauntering bullock-driver, and wish him the "top o' the morning." Poor Elliot! what an indignant blush lit up his usually unimpassioned face when he yielded, for very policy's sake, to the persistent desire of a grimy shepherd to shake "a lord's son's paw" (happy mistake for nephew). Small trials? No! trials of no small calibre when riches and poverty, success and failure, approval and ridicule were shifting the balance—questions to be determined outside the "pale" of J.P.'s and police—with patience, perseverance, and pluck. But I must hark back again.

"What do you say, Elliott?" had Hodgson suddenly called out one fine morning last September, throwing the pipe away from his lips, as he lay on his back in the grass; "What do you say, old fellow? A road over this confounded range from Brisbane we must have, and a road we will have. Will you come and try? My word!" (Hodgson was inoculated with this ejaculation.) "We shall be looking queer enough soon if we don't. There's Dairy mple coming up all the way from Maitland with drays; has been months and months on the road, and will have eaten up his loads before he gets to the Condamine!"

"Oh, yes," replied imperturbable Elliott, "All serene! but let me finish my own pipe in peace. Will you ride Beverly?" "Of course I shall; and I'll lend you Jacob or Balaper. Which will you have?" "Neither, thank'ee!" The one was a determinedly vicious mule; the other a spur-proof slug.

So within two days they had tumbled over Cunningham's Gap: followed much the same course awhile that Leslie had at the end of last June, and continued on east, hoping to find the settlement of Brisbane. They had a compass, but followed their noses. In such pursuit a cry from Hodgson betokened something. "What is it?" "Why, nothing more nor less than sheep dung, old boy! Glorious! We must be somewhere now," continued Hodgson. "Of course we are," retorted captious Elliott, "but where?" That's the question!" "Well, if there here be dung of sheep, sheep must be near which dung it, you muff!" was the truism re-shot. "But where are they?" "Oh, follow the dung", roared Hodgson, nibbling at a pellet to make sure what it was. And they soon did reach an out sheep-station close to Limestone (now called Ipswich), and they were politely taken in charge by a sergeant's guard! "Can't possibly go on to Brisbane without a pass!" put an effectual bar to further progress.

Limestone in 1840! How the recollection of that solitary Government cottage—hitherto the most northern and western dwelling in Australia—stands out as the handselled resting-place for the "jackeroos!" By this wild name the "jumped up" white men beyond the range had been reported by the blacks from tribe to tribe until the news reached the settlement, and all therein had cried "who can they be?" Some said, escaped prisoners; and the propriety of sending out constables to see and seize had been discussed. Then from Sydney had come the usual every six-months' schooner, and the authorities had been informed that perhaps white settlers would ere long find their way to the north and (as far as Brisbane's parallel) to the west. So the constables stood at ease. Then the approach of "jackeroos" (P. Leslie and Murphy) last June, some moons before, had been heralded by the frightened darkies; then (for Leslie had turned back without approaching Limestone) that they had gone away again! They were thus reported as six-legged monsters: big dogs, which had a leg out of either side, and a man's body on them, and great was the beseeching that the Commandant and "diamonds" (soldiers, a detachment of the 80th) should come and shoot "numkull", the jackeroos! When "up jump" "jackeroo" Hodgson and Elliot, and the wondering stops.

Limestone in 1840!—Who, after clearing through the past stretch of flats, ridges, gullies, and nasty creeks, could have flattered himself that he should so soon break in upon this peaceful abode? But what is the abode without its welcome greeting?"By golly!" ha-ha'd no end of a pair of strong lungs from within, followed by a sounding slap on the thigh. "By golly! see here, Jane!" and out strode into the verandah the sturdy frame of George Thorne. Ah! George Thorne I George Thorne! though you have left but your ashes in the soil under our feet, your name, your humour, your thoroughness, and above all your integrity of heart, head and hand, lie not there with them; they are not even shelved among past regrets: they are so often dwelt upon among the memories without words (lied ohne worte) of those who afterwards knew you well, and so knowing, esteemed and honoured you. See the keen, honest embrowned features of as good a specimen type of Somersetshire and soldier as ever stepped in shoe leather. See, again, by his side, standing the earnest, active, faithful wife, who has dared to brighten by her presence this dark corner of the land. What a contrast! The upright and intelligent man, and the so winsome helpmate, willingly allotting themselves to the charge of a prison post, a gang of hardened outlaws, whose compulsory labour was utilised under their eyes at the Plough Station close by.

Thorne had obtained his discharge from the army when colour-sergeant in the 34th Regiment. He had carried away with him the good wishes of all who had known him in it and out of it, not excepting Governor Sir Richard Bourke, whose very right hand he had long been. It must have seemed a strange request, when, after leaving the service, he applied for and obtained the appointment which he now held, at the very confines of the civilised world, and in charge of unhappy beings, whom the civilised world had put out of the way.

I think, from what I see, that this happy couple might in all conscience claim the "flitch of bacon" at the hands of the Lord of Whichenore. (How pleasant to turn over the old yellow leaves of a note-book. How painful the after-math: mown down both: garnered both.)

"By golly!" it's well you weren't shot for runaways. But come in, come in; Tommy will see to your horses," when he had somewhat "shook himself" together out of bewilderment; "Jane, Jane, I say," to his amazed spouse, "out with the beef, eggs, bacon; by golly! all you've got; well, this is a queer go—haw, haw, haw!" And so, with a bang of both hands together, their unexpected guests welcomed, housed, fed in such kindly custody, passed the few hours of their arrest; a tame emu and kangaroo, who had shared the surprise, standing sole sentries over them.

This cottage stood in a bight, formed by the junction of a deep gully, on the western aspect, with the Bremer, which flowed by us on the north, about a hundred yards away, and stood some sixty feet above the western level. [I mention this, because a flood which occurred shortly afterwards surrounded the verandah, and a few feet more of rise would have swept the whole building away. On the other side of the gully, and opposite, Thorne afterwards built the first hotel—Victoria or Queen's—which, years again afterwards he sold to "Bill the Fiver" my lately-mentioned acquaintance on the Severn.]






{Page 210}

CHAPTER XII.



In the reproof of chance
Lies the true proof of men.
Shakespeare. (Troilus and Cressida.)


Lieut. Owen Gorman, of Her Majesty's 88th Regiment, was at this time Commandant of the penal settlement of Moreton Bay, which had been established about sixteen years. A small detachment was quartered at the Brisbane Barracks. Of cheerful and hospitable Irish temperament, he took our wayfarers into his house, and welcomed them with characteristic cordiality. Two days after their arrest at Limestone permission was sent up for visiting Brisbane. There were two Government stations passed on the road—one at a place called Redbank, the other seven miles before reaching the town, Cooper's Plains,* the country all the way uninteresting and uninviting. The first house seen was the Commandant's, at the top of the bank on the other side of the river, to which and from which a boat plied. A horse was made to swim across, being towed by its owner sitting therein. One horse at a time made it slow work. Just above the Commandant's house, Deputy-Assistant-Commissary-General Kent's quarters; then the Barracks; above them Dr. Ballow's, the medical officer's, at the back of whose house, and in the main street (Queen-street), was the postmaster's house and office—such as was required;—the Prisoners' Barracks; the lumber yard; and about half a mile further on the abode of the Superintendent of Works, Andrew Petrie, and his family. The Prisoners' Barracks and Female Factory were empty; the prisoners had been sent to Sydney. Transportation was supposed to have ceased to New South Wales on the 1st of August, 1839. Last year the system of assigning servants had been discontinued.

[* First named "Cowper's" Plains.]

About three miles away and down the river on the same side was a place called Eagle Farm. Here had been erected a kind of open palisade-enclosed space, in which female prisoners had at times been confined. It was now untenanted; but in a cottage hard by there still dwelt two gentlemen who, having been in former days associates in the old, found themselves again together in this brush-encircled nook in the new world. The elder was Stephen Simpson, who was afterwards appointed to be first Commissioner of Crown Lands—as soon as it was declared an open settlement—for the Moreton Bay district; the other, William Henry Wiseman, years afterwards Police Magistrate at Rockhampton, where he died and was buried. The former had been attached to a crack cavalry corps in the old war: when peace was declared had retired from the army, become a disciple of Samuel Christian Friedrich Hahnemann, founder of homœopathy, come to England, and by practise of the new doctrine, drawn upon himself so much invective and ridicule on the part of the Faculty, that pamphleteering and prejudice had embittered the old world to him, and after twenty years patient engagement had, in the first of his wedded life, been left to bear the burden of his disappointment alone as a widower.

So he, and his companion oft times in Germany, made interest to be admitted to this recess in voluntary exile; and here, with all manner of friendliness, which in some cases became durable friendship, the wayfarers from westward ho! were on all occasions called in, entertained, and tended. I say "entertained" because both were men of no mean powers of thought, enriched by no superficial study, and tempered by experiences beyond the rôle of every day life. They were no modern sciolists.

The spring of this new era brought out these two recluses into the world again; they lived in it all long enough to make some few who remain feel that the old "arm-chairs" at Eagle Farm and Woogooroo can never be refilled by kinder hosts, or more chivalrous gentlemen.

The Commandant and his estimable wife left nothing undone, if it could be done, to make the sojourn of some days comfortable and very enjoyable. Truly visitors to Brisbane had—some there may be who still have—reason to remember Lieutenant and Mrs. Gorman with gratitude.

But the main object of this visit was to find a road, fit for drays, back again. If this were not attained, was it possible to get up Cunningham's Gap again? and No! seemed the inexorable answer. Yet Hodgson and Elliot were compelled to return without success. The "pinches" of this terrible gap ascent seemed to be insuperable for wheels and bullocks: the pinch superimpending of hunger and starvation and ruin was so. The supplies expected had arrived from Sydney: they must be got up to the station. So back they went stumbling over hope, but not losing heart though sorely "down" dragging themselves and their scrambling horses hand-over-hand to the Downs again.

In two days they had arrived at the station: kept their own counsel. Elliot said "he'd chance it." Once at the bottom of this Gap with the drays unsmashed, "would have burnt his ships" behind him, and then must go: "somehow" a safe return must be accomplished,—and so it was; but by an unlooked for service.

The first officer sent from Sydney in charge of prisoners—as commandant in fact—to the spot temporarily fixed upon by Oxley at Redcliff Point, was Lieutenant Miller, of the 40th Regiment, who sailed in September, 1824.

Captain Logan's reign at Moreton Bay was the most conspicuous throughout its penal existence. His, I have heard spoken of as "a reign of terror:" I have heard his name execrated. Again, if he had been severe as a disciplinarian in so repulsive a task as his was, those before and after him may by their laxity have afforded a contrast which Captain Logan's detractors may have made full use of. At any rate, if severe beyond the very limit of his duty and responsibility or not, the hatred he incurred among the prisoners in his charge became proverbial. I find in my old note book of 1841, written at Brisbane: "This place remembers the name of Logan with terror. There were many instances, I am told, of men driven to desperation by the cruelties practised on them, so that they would cast lots for cutting each others' throats, in order to get rid of their own lives by being hung in Sydney. This same Logan was murdered, I am assured, by the blacks at the instigation of the whites."

In after years I had evidence from a white man, whom I fell in with among the blacks, and who returned to Brisbane with me in 1842, confirmatory of the statement made by men on the gallows in Sydney, that desperation had driven them to murder as a means whereby they might find relief in the forfeiture of their own lives. I shall allude no further to reports which I heard in 1841 at the settlement, which tended to throw a very heavy burden on the name and memory of the unfortunate Captain Logan. Of the justice of them not any one living can judge.

I must now revert to Elliot and his drays, which had slidden down Cunningham's Gap in absolute dependence upon the Micawber-like "chance it!" They could not, they knew, get up again with their drays, but surely something must turn up to help them back again. In some such smoking serenity must Elliot and his trusty bullock-driver, Joe Archer, have viewed—as "Hobson's choice"—their position at the foot of that mis-named Gap: go on we must: get back we must and chance it.

The coming of white settlers to Darling Downs had been a fright not to the natives only. It happened that in one of the tribes dwelling between the settlement and the Dividing Range there had been for some years domesticated—(an exceptional instance sparing the white man's life)—a runaway prisoner whose name was Baker. I cannot recollect that which had been given him by the blacks: I think "Boralcho". He fearing that he would soon be encompassed by whites on both sides—soldiers and squatters—gave himself up.

The last Commandant, Lieutenant Owen Gorman, had a happy thought one day: "Why not go see Hodgson and Elliot, these squatters to the west? People say it's impossible to get up by the Gap. By the powers then, why do they call it a gap? Bedad! Baker must know every inch of the country. I'll take him and try to find a 'Gorman's Gap', and no mistake, fit for wheels to get over. Some one must do it; bedad, I'm the man." So, after pumping Baker—as far as the wily Baker could be pumped—but who promised freely, with an eye to reward in some shape or other, the Commandant got built, by convict hands, a queer specimen of the Irish jaunting car: wheels strong but low: axle of wrought iron, strong enough to carry himself and his wife and family into the bargain: shafts heavy enough for a rhinoceros: sides made to fold up and down on hinges, down over the wheels for a seat on either side, and footboard; up so as to form a box for storage, when meeting over all: distance between wheels very small: in fact, the very sort of thing for the attempt he was going to make.*

[* I well recollect its dimensions and fashioning, for in after time I bought it from him, and had it for years in use.]

Away went, then, one day, Commandant Gorman from the dirty little out-station beyond Limestone, bestriding a stout built, dark brown pony mare, with Baker trudging confidently by his side, rehabilitated from his tribal garb; and on came following a big bullock between the shafts of the small chariot, supported by an armed constable on either flank, a few days after Hodgson and Elliot's visit. And so on day after day, through a country with which Baker had been long intimate—comparatively happy in his outcast state of freedom—straight on and on, to the foot of the upheaved mass, which so persists along this eastern board in making "Tom Tiddler's ground" of the land and water which fringes away from its crown. "Eh! what, are we to get up that. Baker?" "Yes, your honour", was implied by his straining steps on and on, with barely a halt. And truly, only here and there, between the gloomy portals of a pass, pinched in by a dark scrubby gorge on the one side, and a defiant wall of grass and stone on the other, were any real difficulties to be met upon a spur of the range, which, by fits and starts—a short plateau, a short sharp pinch, and another plateau—levered the soil towards the coveted level on the summit. And thus, with effort of no Homeric type—(nevertheless the stalwart Commandant did now perform pedestrian prodigies in pity to the pony)—to the amazement of all but the exulting Baker, did they find themselves at the top of the range—Commandant, car, cattle, and constables.

They must have stared curiously upon the scene over the wide land before them, as far as what was soon called "Little Liverpool Range", on their trail from the east. Strange must they have thought this new sight over the tops of wooded hills and ridges which they had crossed and left behind: such fantastically shaped eruptions from the ground's skin, too! Queer topknot that to the left, thickly bewigged with a dense, dark, crisp crop of brush, save the small bald patch on the poll of his nob, where one would have thought the wool, or wood rather, ought to grow.

Yes, the first look upon the view from this and many other outstanding points on the top of the dividing or main range was a novel and great delight then; no longer, however, lit up by the sense of its absolute innocence of previous intrusion and invasion by the white race, must be a great delight to many an eye still.

Our travellers, however, had no time nor desire to sentimentalise—if in any way given to such emotion—over the grand expanse. They had met natives on the way at times, and without doubt Baker had heard from them of the "jackeroos" and their whereabouts. It was, then, with no hesitation that he followed the course of a watershed to the westward, which, after one night's camping at the first supply they could find in this new system, brought them into the glad view of Darling Downs. The flow had brought them also to a more pronounced though dry bed, which ere long proved to have long reaches within its banks of black soil and reeds, in which could be seen large lumps of coal, or what seemed to be coal, and, leaving the lightly timbered ridges, led them into a plain. And what a glorious passage that plain was to their destination! They did not know that the caprices of lovely landscape before them—plain here, plain there, adorning itself with a belt of timber and ridge to the very foot of that conspicuous bluff—which they did not know was "Rubieslaw"—was the domain on which they should find Hodgson and Elliot's resting place. And so they crawled on—admiring, conjecturing, hoping, and smoking—until the station spot was too manifest to be mistaken.

Sincere and warm were the congratulations—on the one side pride of success, on the other relief in the knowledge that over anything which that queer car had surmounted, Elliot, of course, and his bullocks could surely flog their way home again. Indeed, this issue to the Commandant's effort marked a red letter day for our Darling Downs tablets that year—memorial of an act for which to be grateful to the gallant officer who had in such pleasant fashion led the way for panting teams and heavy laden drays with a bullock and an Irish jaunting car.

After a pleasant rest of a couple of days, the cavalcade left this station (which afterwards became known as the "Drummer's"—an assigned servant who had once been a drummer having been left there as shepherd, when the head station of Etonvale was removed to its present site, some twelve miles or more higher up) with the intention of paying our two neighbours a visit, and so returning by the headlong "Gap".

On the 5th of November, 1840, Pemberton Hodgson, Rogers and I rode over to Toolburra, having stopped for a while on the way at the triangular bark dwelling-place in which King and Sibley eat, drank, kept what provisions they had, smoked and slept. [That spot was afterwards called Clifton *—to be more accurate, the Clifton station was a few hundred yards down on the same side of the creek—Clifton, after passing through the hands of Forbes, Marsh, and Pinnock, ultimately fell into the hands of Tertius Campbell, and from him passed on to W, B. Tooth.] At Toolburra, I first on this occasion met one of the two estimable younger brothers of Patrick Leslie—Walter—as well as Fairholme and Farqharson. Dalyrmple, whom I had seen on the road some little while back, was also there. The heavy rain set in again: the Condamine began to run like a millrace, and so we waited next day for fine weather for return. When the flood was at its highest the following evening, a loud shout was heard from the opposite bank. So unusual a hailing summoned us out in a body: on the other side, in a pitiable plight holding his horse, stood Sibley. "What am I to do?" cried the somewhat corpulent and unwieldly middle-aged gentleman: "Oh! what am I to do! I cant swim! my horse is dead beat, I can't go back!" "Never mind", a voice suggested, "We'll tow you across." "How get a rope over?" I was foolish enough to say "I would." With a bight of rope round my arm I plunged in, and was sucked under a dead log in the stream: got clear somehow but didn't like it: the under-tow was difficult: however, having safely arrived, Sibley proceeded to divest himself of his outer skin, which having lashed together tight, I proceeded to make the rope fast round what he had of a waist: he was in a terribly nervous state. "Are you ready, Mr. Sibley?" "No! stop. Can't you carry my watch for me across?" displaying, out of the grass, an immense old-fashioned silver affair, about the size of an average Swede turnip. "How do you expect me to carry such a watch swimming, without damaging it?" "Oh: I thought you could put it,—put it, like a good fellow—in—in your mouth."

[* So named by John Milbourne Marsh (now S.M., N.S.W.), after his birthplace.]

With feelings, of course, hurt at such a reflection on the watch-pocket he wanted me to utilise, I declined; he began to implore: "it was such an old friend, this watch; a keepsake, he'd bless me to the last day of his life if I would do him this kindness, yes, he'd bl——"(I had changed two half-hitches into a running noose), I made a sign, and into the surging stream head over heels was hauled poor Sibley; bubbles followed his body and his blessing: and he was pulled out on the other side nearly cut in two,—his obesity notwithstanding—amid the most merciless roars I had heard yet—in the bush. I did, however, provide otherwise for the watch; but never volunteered again to carry a rope "over the water to Charlie."

We returned to the "Drummer's". Nothing that I could write could mould any idea of what the grass on the intervening plains was then, for any one crossing them now. The young features have disappeared, and the country, to the sight of an old squatter on them, has put on a mask: it may put on another when this generation has made room for its successor. But I have to do with then—not with now.

The plains, in the dry season lately, had been burnt off. I had locked not so long ago over a black sea, but now the marvellous welling up of an ocean of green, summoned quickly from the depths by the first bright sun, was a wealth of loveliness unwrapped so suddenly from its sooty folding as to be almost beyond belief except under the eye's evidence.

The rains had ceased. The anxieties about Elliot and the drays was intolerable. They were no less at Toolburra, for on the 12th of this month (November) Dalrymple at once followed us, and he, Rogers and I made a start towards the head of the creek, for the purpose of finding, if not obliterated, the tracks of the "car" which the Commandant had brought up. Tommy, the black boy, was, of course, with us, and we picked them up about a mile above the spot on which the head-station of Etonvale now stands, and followed them up until evening. We thought we had come about seventeen miles from the Drummer's, and pulled up, to camp, on a stony bank of the creek, believing that we were not far from Gorman's Gap. We had just hobbled our horses, and Dalrymple was still doing so, when we heard a coo-ee. I looked up and saw a man, whom I supposed was but Dalrymple returning (not dreaming of any other white man's approach) but most wondrously changed in apparel and horse. Rogers and I stared in amazement: when Rogers, with "By Jove, it's Elliot!" tumbled over the quart-pots of tea into the fire. For myself, I was so surprised into delight that I let my horse go and bolted down the ridge and bank to meet him. [Elliott's announcement sometime afterwards of this our rencontre to a friend was as follows: "I saw a fellow—I couldn't make out who—all of a sudden rush at me down the bank on the other side, and, when I looked again, a pair of yellow leggings was all that marked his presence, sticking up high from a bed of rushes."] "Most hurry, least haste!" fully exemplified. I had tripped over a stone, fallen head-foremost into the mud of the bed, and stuck in it until extricated, with a pleasant mouth and nose full. With wry face, I shook hands with him in all heartiness. "But oh, dear me, Russell! how is it that you were not buried at Killala? I'm quite disappointed."

Soon the drays hove in sight; they had taken the Irish car track to Gorman's Gap, and there we were together at length! We were too much pleased, on both sides, with what that evening had brought about to think about turning in. Sleep was kept at bay by question and answer: one, for news from the west; the other, for news from the east. But the merits and demerits of the road was the yarn of the night. "All I can say is, that Gorman's Gap has helped us over; Cunningham's would have seen us somewhere first, but from the foot of the range at the latter place the road is much less 'cursed' than that from this one: there's a stretch of country full enough of gullies and 'break-necks' which it has taken us the last three days to get over; full enough, I say, to spoil a saint's temper, to say nothing of a bullock driver's: but you see, I always take things easy. When Joe Archer came to a bad place I would go over to the opposite side, sit down, smoke, and look at him. I tell you what, Russell; one gets a lesson in some 'dead' languages by this work! I gave up looking on, after crossing a deep running creek (Lockyer's). I had sat myself down as usual, when Joe called out from the other side 'look out!' and I did look out; for there I was, and some six hundred blacks behind and on either side of me. They seemed determined to stop our crossing; a shot or two from the other side made them fall back; and so did I, I can tell you! One man got hit with a waddie, but he's all right now. Well! all's well that ends ends well, old fellow! We got up the gap early this morning. It looked terrible last night! Dark as pitch. I dirged it in the name of 'Hell's Hole'." [Hell's Hole it remains to this day. It was used for some time, until, in fact, the 'Swamps' (Toowoomba) road was found. It soon justified the name; the more it was used the less became it a via sacra.] Thus Commandant Gorman's unlooked for service helped pig over the stile, and Gilbert Elliot "got home that night."

Not far from the place we camped at was the farthest spot to which Arthur Hodgson and Rogers had followed up the creek—that of Etonvale—when searching for this run some months ago. It is a curious thing that they came upon the skeleton of a horse at that point, which was always declared to have been Logan's, which had escaped when he was speared.* No tribe had ever then crossed the range to the westward: the few natives who had joined Baker when en route with Commandant Gorman absolutely refused to proceed over, or even to the foot of the range. None of them on the east seemed to be in any way acquainted with the plains of Darling Downs, nor to have even heard of them, until the advent of the white men "jackeroos". Not many miles hence, however, the name of Etonvale was branded upon this station by a curious occurrence, which can never find a positive explanation. Hodgson and Rogers had fallen in with natives camped by the side of some timber. They ran, leaving, like the nursery "black sheep" of old, "their tails behind them." Among these relics they found a knife bearing the name of a well-known maker at Hodgson's own school-town, Eton. And Etonvale it is to this day.

[* Shown afterwards to have been an error.]

Right glad was poor Elliot—as new a chum as myself—to get rid of what he called a few stone of dirt, accumulated on the road during the last three weeks. Dalrymple and Rogers went on to have a look into Hell's Hole; Elliot and I cantered on merrily to the Drummer's, found Pemberton Hodgson smoking, and so did we three meet again. Up came the drays in the evening; up came Dalrymple and Rogers, whose peep into the "hole" had not been gratifying, and down from the well laden drays came the necessaria quædam for making bush life exquisite, and the trials thereof good seasoning for the true enjoyment of pleasurable surprises, and happy reliefs from distresses.

"Well, Elliot," one day, "I wonder that you ever cared to leave the comfort of Government House, and the kindly regards of the Governor; what on earth—if it is fair to ask—made you give it up?" "Rounds of beef", said he, without a smile. Seeing me perplexed, he added, "Toujours rounds of beef; Sir George is a noble old fellow; the best Governor we've yet had—that's my belief—looks stern enough, and can be stern enough on fair occasion and provocation, but is in his own house a—well—a thorough brick; but he was always having fresh rounds of beef roasted for dinner. Whenever there was a round—his favourite dish—to be expected in the evening, he was fidgetting all day long. 'I say, Elliot,' he would say half-a-dozen times in the day, 'do you think that round is being properly looked after, do go down—surely you won't mind—just go; have a peep in the kitchen, and see if it looks well.' Of course I couldn't say 'No'; so, whenever Sir George had a round on the brain and board I was miserable; I was aide-de-camp, no idea had I of being chef-de-cuisine; so I jumped at old Hodgson, and here am I—jolly as a sand-boy at Sir Arthur's round table, up on the Downs." [Prophetic words which he did not live to see fulfilled.]

So, by joke and smoke we passed away the monotony, which, at times, became wearisome. Quail shooting—quails abounded on the plains—rifle practice, tracking stray bullocks or horses, with black Tommy, were diversions.

Taking the dogs out after an emu or kangaroo—a hot style of coursing, which diminished the number of our dogs by one every run we had: heat too much for them: water too scarce: the wretched animals would stagger, lie down, and die; and so, the kennel becoming empty, our hunt subsided. For a change, we tried to build some kind of hut for our stores, but soon left the splitting of slabs and the stripping of bark to the old hands; the heat was too much for new chums.

On the 19th of this month (Nov.) did the first foal on Darling Downs see the light—to us quite an event. Pemberton Hodgson's black mare, bought a year ago at Black creek from Henry Isaac, presented him with this memorial of her admirable qualities, which inherited the blood of Killala, far away on the Peel. The next day but one we were enlivened by a visit from Toolburra—Walter Leslie and his drays, en route to Brisbane by that descent into "Hell's Hole", in "Gorman's Gap", at the head of our creek. The heat almost every day summoned up a thunderstorm, usually from the S.W. December began with a heavy sprinkle and an attempted inroad by the blacks. Brought back Walter Leslie and his drays on the 14th from Brisbane; indulged me with a hard gallop after two emus, both of which I caught—rare addition to salt mutton and damper on the 18th; which little distractions culminated in my first lesson in shearing, which began in Hodgson and Elliot's makeshift shed on Saturday (19th), King and Sibley having kindly sent over two men to help. Two hundred and nine ewes reduced to a state of nudity seemed to provoke the elements; a perfect hurricane of wind and rain made the wretched animals wish for their coats again. Some few—for none got them—died out of spite. The shears lay idle awhile, and so slouching into Christmas Day, could find nothing for my hands to do but the comforting, neglected excuse of shaving. Making a plum pudding in such weather was a painful exercise of temper. Sunday, 27th, was fine, and so, in spite of all old-fashioned scruple, began shearing again, and, much to the satisfaction of a shepherd called Mears, rendered to his charge by the evening one thousand, two hundred and twenty-five ewes lighter by many a pound of wool, which seemed to have collected all imaginable filth on their long journeyings through the year now nearly gone. Then came (what an impression a new scene, and all details of places and names and numbers, shouted out so often on this new occasion of amusement and interest; and that use of the spade in a new fashion—that of digging wool into a wool-bale—make on a new chum's mental tablets); then came, I say, the anything but delicately voiced shout for "Asplin's" wethers; then "Scotchie's" ewes; and then, "by Jove" the next morning, "where are they gone?" Yes, all gone! Watchman fast asleep; sheep wide awake; taken their own line cross country: track 'em down we must.

"Here Spiers" cried out Pemberton Hodgson, "you must find them again; here take my horse: follow their tracks with Tommy, and stick to them." Trouble No. 1,—what a loss to a beginner! But the old year would not die out with such a blot upon the promise of which it had presented so many a handsome earnest, in the successes of these hopeful, ever hopeful aspirants to a prosperous future. The last hour of its last days' sunlight waited upon the trusty shepherd Spiers, as he came back with the sheep that were lost; some few only having been killed by the native does.






{Page 222}

CHAPTER XIII.


Human nature, under very old governments, is so trimmed and penned, and ornamented, and led into such a variety of factitious shapes that we are almost ignorant of the appearance it would assume if it were left more to itself. From such an experiment as that now before us, we shall be better able to appreciate what circumstances of our situation are owing to those permanent laws by which all men are influenced, and what to the accidental positions in which we have been placed.—Sydney Smith. (Review of Collins' N.S. Wales.)


The 1st of January, 1841, took a first look at us through mist, murkiness, and mugginess. It was Thursday: it ended in merriment. Dalrymple cantered over from Toolburra: George Leslie—the youngest brother whom I had not yet met—had come up from Sydney overland: brought letters: old as my own were (by date nearly one year) to me they told a message as of yesterday. Letters soon set us a-gadding about home: they overhauled for each of us much of the slack of the line which had dropped out of hand—through the strain of distance, the yielding through absence, and the lack of interchange of the "how? where? when? who?"—through the much-missed medium of Her Majesty's mail. (Letters to me, what I have of them still, speak only of the dead!)

Clip! clip! snip! snip! with savage kick, grunt, and oath, went the shears still day by day: thunder, lightning, hail, and rain notwithstanding.

Hail! aye, such hail as had never till then rattled itself into any of our realities: hail which pitted the weather side of the disbranched trees in one course, never varying in breadth nor in direction, like rifle butts. Thunder which seemed ever to reproach the lightning with instant roars for attempting to distance it. Rain which ever gorged the crumbling banks of gullies, creeks, and Condamine, and then truanted in streams of hide-and-seek among the melon-holes over the rank bases of the plains. Rats, reptiles, snakes, on each unflooded patch, sympathisers through common peril: in fright-born fellowship harmonious, if not a happy family.

Clip! snip! the wool must be sent down; interest of ten per cent, on overdraft or debt won't do; a monetary crisis, too, is coming on; everyone down in the mouth; and that wretched bank in George-street has closed its doors; what shall we poor squatters do. Let's see—the rams are shorn—after such rain the box bark will strip off gaily; we must have more shelter for the wool. McIntyre, bring up your flock; oh! they are lambs—quick work. At half-past three o'clock, on Saturday, the 23rd, were closed the shears for this first season on Etonvale creek, at the Drummer's. Elliot tried his hand at sorting all through; Pemberton Hodgson and others at the spade, a-packing and a-pressing with a long clumsy lever. With glad features did we all straighten our backs again, after the head-aching study of sheep, shears, and struggles.

On Sunday 31st, the weather became steadily clear and bright. Sundays seemed to be peculiarly provocative of the pipe. More silence, too, prevailed: each inner-life pre-occupied by his own a-thynkynge,

February. "Will you come with us to Brisbane, Russell? I must go down with the drays in a few days." "How shall you go down?" "By Hell's Hole; can pick you up on the way; you know."

In a few days, consequently, I was awaiting the arrival of Walter Leslie and the drays from Toolburra, to which I had lately ridden and returned. Out on the edge of the plain below, looking for my horses, in preparation, I nearly stepped upon a hideous black snake. I suppose it was no less frightened at my approach, than I was at his proximity, because it bolted. If it had not, I think I should have done so. It was a horrid beast; black as black, belly bright orange red: a nasty looking flat head and snubby snout. It was the first of the kind I had seen, and the desire to kill and possess overcame my dread of it: followed the brute—the grass was quite short—which made for a large hole in the soil, like a small burrow: had gone in about two thirds of his length when the prospect of losing my curio overcame my discretion: I seized his tail and then marvelled to find what a powerful hold he had of the ground: he tugged and I tugged: a sudden cold perspiration broke out all over me, when I caught sight of his terrible muzzle within a couple of inches of my hand: he had made a round turn in his burrow,—perhaps his refuge on other occasions—and his Satanic eyes just protruding beyond the mouth of another hole at my very feet petrified me. Intent as the beast was on seizing my hand I dared not let go: he would have struck me in a moment. I dared not even relax—he would have reached me. I suppose my very terror made me hold on: in a few moments—such long ones—I felt his curled coil yielding: little by little his malignant features sunk back; till on the extraction of about one half the reptile's length, I was able to break its back with my heel, and had him helpless. Overcoming my disgust—after a smoke—I could not deny that it was a most beautiful specimen of that repulsive family: the glossy smooth sparkling ebony: the blending of the various shades of orange on his belly: and the expressed hate in the dying eyes were all things to be admired, and, in their way were very beautiful,—under the latter circumstances. The skin made a sweet pair of slippers afterwards.

Walter Leslie and his followers came and went—I with him—to Hell's Hole, two days afterwards—the middle of this month. Aptly named, was the admission after the first look at it. Facilis the descensus with a vengeance:—and although I knew and could see that drays heavily laden had been lately dragged up—the manner of such an ascensus was to me—a new chum—a wondrous feat.

Down we went, and in time went up again: a feat on a day indelibly branded on my memory, because we all had to put our own shoulders to the wheel and hump, i.e., carry up on our backs to our own hurt of hand and knee, each a bag of flour presumed to weigh two hundredweight, from the bottom to the top of the uppermost pinch. Leslie's bullocks would not face it, hardly with an empty dray behind them—but I must not anticipate.

For three days we struggled, flogged, and shouted ourselves out of this gloomy range over—of course—"stony creeks", "swamp oak creeks", and "flagstone creeks", rowels worthy of the parent spur, and three clear days had lighted us along but seven miles and a half of the way, and into the heart of an aboriginal meeting or dwelling place—deserted of course—which Elliot had described as "Humpy Flat". There were some three hundred humpies—cabins formed by three sheets of bark propped up from the open front—scattered over this flat, which gave it a curious appearance.

Here, when on the point of camping, we were caught up, to my great surprise and delight, by Arthur Hodgson. He had arrived with cattle at the "Drummer's" soon after our leaving it. We had parted on the 23rd of last October at the Severn Station. All anxious to see how we had got over the range he had ridden after us; stayed the night; confirmed the reports of a very great depression in the business world of Sydney, and went back the next morning.

"How did you like Brisbane, Leslie?" as we jogged along next day. "You've been there already once." "Oh! nothing could have been more friendly than the welcome on all sides, specially from the mosquitoes, which are a greater plague there than in the bush." "I suppose that's a welcome all new arrivals may have to endure. One can get used to it, eh?" "Don't you believe it. Those who have been there for years complained of the intolerable pests as much as I did. I must just tell you about a stout old lady whom I met in Brisbane. She was abusing the brutes as 'dratted thingummies' one evening; so I asked her how it was she hadn't got used to them by this time. 'Used to 'em? No,' she cried; 'they worrit my very life out. I can't keep em off, cow dung won't, and, if that won't, what will? Why, Mr. Leslie,' she whispered confidentially, 'when I get up o'mornings I find knobs on my own body as big as my thimble.' I wish you could just have seen that thimble: perhaps you will."

In due time we reached Limestone and worthy Thorne. There was no difficulty in proceeding now as permission had been sent up for the approach of any of the western "jackeroos" by Sir George Gipps. Fifty miles round Brisbane as a centre, had hitherto been the district under "taboo". By proclamation: it was now removed. Thorne had by this time obtained a supply of cabbage-tree hats, slops and general supplies, which were likely to be required by such as we, and future arrivals: and the speculation was a capital one for him. What fun it was to buy from the cheery hearty storekeeper and his wife, in the first trial of his venture. "Should you like to see the Plough Station close by: I'm going there." "Of course." "By golly, I've not had many to ride alongside since I've been here: but I don't like riding alone: come on," with a loud whistle when we had got about a hundred yards off; and after us came coursing, hopping, striding, three noble dogs, a kangaroo and an emu.

What Government sheep we saw were leggy, coarse-woolled brutes, a cross, I believe, of Merino and Teeswater. But at the Plough Station there was a cheerful view of many acres of fine maize. The wheat, however, had totally failed here. D.A.C.G. Kent would persist—since he had the ordering of such matters—in forbidding the usual, and hitherto the successful process of ploughing in the grain when sown, and was contented with the harrow over it. Consequently the sun gave it no chance, being so thinly protected. The heat would turn the uppermost soil into light dust, and the grain would not settle. A short continuance of dry weather, in such case, parched it up.

"Aye, Thorne, those are nice beasties out there!" "By golly! they ought to be nice, considering the trouble they gave at first; but that was before my time. Now, I'll tell you how these cattle got here; and when I think of it, it fairly bothers my wits, it does. Well, you know, Government down in Sydney could nohow tell how to send us beef up here. At one time, I remember, they wanted to send a thousand head overland, but d'ye think they could find anyone they could trust to take them? No, by golly! that they couldn't; and so they thought they'd try to get 'em up by water. And so, in time, they did get together, at this very station, about a score: one bull, the rest cows. They were bought at a place far south of Sydney beyond the 'Five Islands'" [Illawarra] "and brought up by coasting craft at the same time. Nice cattle they were too, a bit old though. Well, for some months they were watched all day, and put in the yard at night: when they seemed at home here, orders came from Brisbane to let 'em run, and yard 'em no longer: so they seemed to settle down, and were just looked at now and again. We were looking out for calves and didn't care to disturb 'em. One morning, by golly! they were all gone. There were no horses for the work, and the man who followed their tracks got frightened about going any farther. Look out there now, and you will see a queer shaped looking mountain don't you?" We did so. "Well, the man came back, dead beat: said they were making a bee-line to that queer place: they call it Cunningham's Gap, haw! haw! haw! Why, do you see that tree? Well, not long ago, when I heard of you gentlemen 'jackeroos' from the blacks about here, I rode, with some mounted constables right up to it: it must be sixty or seventy miles away, I should say, thinking to find ye in that quarter; but when we got to this 'Gap', I tell ye, that tree" [it was not far from upright], "that tree, I say, was nothing to it. How four drays ever got down it knocks the very breath out of my body. You may be sure we didn't try to get up it, though you must have been there on the other side. But about these cattle; word was sent down to head quarters, and some constables were sent here with orders to follow the tracks and bring 'em back dead or alive. Nine days after, they got back here: had got to that very 'Gap' as they call it, and were too frightened to go on: they had some of our blacks too with them, but when they saw what was up, they left them one night.

"And so there was the very mischief about these cattle down below: set 'em all by the ears when they had lost all chance of fresh beef. Haw! haw! haw! soon forgot all about 'em. Now what do you think had become of them? They made sure up here that the blacks had long ago killed 'em all; but no, not they. These blacks here said they would be frightened of 'em, and so they were. By golly! they had—word was sent from Sydney nearly a year after by the regular six months' schooner—they had, every hoof of 'em, got back to the place they were brought from by sea. I tell ye, it beats my brains altogether how they got there. But that's a fact; you'll find the whole of it in the Commandant's report. Wasn't so very long before I was sent up: and they were again brought here the same way. That's some of 'em."

Some years afterwards my neighbour on the Condamine, Ralph Gore, came to Brisbane by a steamer, by which he had brought two carriage horses; he drove them to Yandilla; in a few weeks he lost sight of them; while in some perplexity because of this disappearance, he received a letter from Brisbane which informed him that the two horses which he had landed from Sydney had been found standing at the same wharf, one morning, quietly looking at the river. There was no steamer alongside, or assuredly they would have berthed themselves aboard.

We returned to Limestone to tea with this pleasant family. A baby had adorned the scene since Hodgson and Elliot had broken in upon them. The next day we rode on ahead of the drays, had a look at Redbank and Cooper's Plains stations, and met with the now well-tried kindness under the Commandant's roof-tree.


About this time—I know it was at the time of this my visit—the intimation, recent from England, that Lord John Russell, then Home Secretary, had proposed that the squatter's license should be raised from £10 to £60 per annum, reached me. Rather startling to one who had, free from any personal interest, been watching and partaking of the harass which attends the early squatter's career in the race to something substantial, as I had done, I could not help wishing—and of this I find a memorandum in a letter of my own, written in 1841—that "Lord John Russell could have seen a poor devil of a squatter—worse than poor, because invariably in debt to some merchant or bank in Sydney—risking everything at one cast; spending his last sixpence, and more, too, on so cloudy a chance—a chance dominated by catarrh or scab, which might flourish or wither, just as the quality of a run—in many cases not yet found—and the climate might decree; a chance dependent, as I had seen, as much almost on the good-will of men, overpaid for their grumbled-out service, as upon the energies of the working, ever hard-worked master—a chance, too, I can now-a-days say in addition—which the sanguine squatter would strain his life-fibre to grasp and use primarily, no doubt, for his own aim's sake, but under the consciousness that he was unearthing a far greater treasure for others behind, than, in all probability he should ever earn for himself, by the throwing into the light of day unknown lands, to which his need was propelling him; by the development of resources upon which his own foot had first been planted, spite of dangers, hardships, hunger and thirst.

Brisbane, at this time, put me in mind of what the ship was in which I had come out, for the greater part of a passage of more than five months, in its social aspect. The free dwellers therein, like the passengers, cooped up within the limits of so small a circle: thrown much upon their own—such as they might have been—resources; glued to routine which, affording little real occupation, palsied by its monotony: to duties on the spot—which like the poop or quarter deck—forbade neglect, absence, or escape, unless overboard, seemed to have fallen out one with another, because they had nothing else to do.

The Commandant's neighbour on the right hand, a little man with a large beard, was ever in a state of frenzy about the Commandant: the little bearded gentleman's bulletin of pugnacious paraphrases would rebound from the impenetrable Commandant to the little bearded gentleman's neighbour on his own right hand: from that neighbour to that neighbour's neighbour, and so on, until there were no more neighbours up the river: the imp of mischief would then fly off at a tangent, nor leave one idler un-inoculated with the virus of quarrel. Just so on board a ship—(a sailing ship, if you please: ocean steamers were not then believed in)—the smaller the party the more closely connected by time, place, and dependence on one another for a pleasant time of it, so much the more inflated the stupid quarrels, the childish tempers, until a crisis, perhaps an ebullition in earnest: then friends again, for a time.

However, all were invariably kind, cordial, and hospitable to the "jackeroos". To a great extent the "jackeroo" intrusion had been a blessing: "by hook and by crook" brought some together again; stirred up their languishing, nearly stagnant springs.

The latter days of March were enlivened at the Drummer's by the cheery revival of Arthur Hodgson's presence. On his way up he had met Rogers at Patrick's Plains, on his way down. Tommy, the black, had thought he also would like a change. So Tommy, to Hodgson's annoyance—Tommy was so useful on the station—had accompanied Rogers. But Tommy had to return, and very convenient had the meeting been, as there were cattle to be picked up on the way, and driven to the Downs.

"Ne pleurons pas mais rions! Nasty weather, old fellow. I'll admit, but let's make the best of it!" shouted I to my companion, Henry Hughes, of Worcester, England; of Black Creek, Australia. Poured down the rain, persistent, pitiless pursuer, as we slushed through the rotten ridges, and sticky flats which prevail over the whole distance between the Condamine "Old Crossing Place" and the Severn. On the way to Sydney! Who'd have thought it? Perhaps to India! Who'd have expected it?

Squatting: sheep: stations: Wills-o-the-wisp! had been my conclusion after the initiation into their profitless mysteries and parasite miseries on run and road—may be to ruin—for the last twelve months and more. South I've tried: north too: I shall not certainly go west: and east alone, will suit me now, I think. So heigh! for India.

As yet, at least, I can see no reasonable hope in squatting. I have seen no well-managed, old-established and prosperous station, whether of cattle or sheep: I know no more of business—as a business man—than sheep do: and I should be easily "fleeced" in such a matter if I placed myself in the hands of a—well! a shearer. The only matter of business with which my name has ever yet been mixed up was in that horrid affair at Patrick's Plains: arrested for a promissory note!—a thing I should not even know if I saw. No! this squatting is but living from hand to mouth, I think: there's no substance in it: what there may be gets, I see, into Sydney pockets: and into them only. Such had been my burthen, in any intervals of silence, all the way.

Henry Hughes, Henry and Frederick Isaac—brothers—had been well-known to one another in Worcestershire: had had interests in the same "Old Bank" in the old city: made up their mind to come to Sydney together, and in 1839 found themselves owners together, by purchase, of the farm at Black Creek, at which I had in the past year been introduced to them.

They soon found that farming was a poor game: became dazzled by the prospects—as then viewed—of the squatter's life and vocation; placed the farm for sale: and determined to follow Leslie, and more particularly Hodgson, with whom the younger brother had already set forth to spy out the promise of the land, the new name of which was in every one's mouth and mind. So in the early part of this year, and during my absence at Brisbane, they had arrived on the Downs on the very heels of John Campbell—once of the "Page" Inn; then cattle-holder on the McIntyre, from which, the blacks having driven him—he had squatted on the station of Westbrook. [Westbrook was afterwards bought from Campbell by Hughes, who lived on it, after the dissolution of his partnership with Isaac: was sold in 1853 by Hughes to Jock McLean, whose sudden death left it to be dealt with by Arthur Hodgson (who became sole executor—after the decease of Henry Beit, of Westbrook,—which occurred soon after) who was at the time in England—1856—who came out thereupon; who had station and stock put up to auction: and who thus conveyed it, I believe, to the present Sir Patrick Jennings.]

"Hughes and Isaac" had taken up and occupied with cattle—as Campbell had done—the next creek immediately north of that of "Westbrook", and called it "Gowrie". Henry Denis was creeping under the west fringe of the "Range", searching for the heads of any watercourse further north, and, ultimately, marked that of "Jimbour", on behalf of Richard Scougall. On the part of a friend he marked "Myall creek" for Charles Coxen, and "Jondaryan" for himself. [It was long before "Myall creek" was dwelt upon. The first building was put up by me in 1846, for the use of Samuel Stewart and his family. He had been about five years my hutkeeper at Cecil Plains, and, as I found him bent upon setting up a public-house at the crossing place of that creek, I so far tried to be of service to one who had well attended to his work while in my employment. I believe he died there. I understand that the large town of Dalby has since risen around the spot. Charles Coxen occupied "Jondaryan" at once upon his arrival; Denis remained in charge at "Jimbour". I shall have to tell of his fate, poor fellow, before long.]

At this time Wingate had found the broadwater, which, subsequently, gave the name of "Tummavil" to the cattle station formed upon it by Domville (is "Tummavil" merely a liberty taken with my old friend's name?)—by Domville Taylor—for the firm of Rolland and Taylor; to whom Wingate—enticed by the "Severn", where he had left his cattle en route, and sick of the travelling—surrendered his claim by discovery and "tree-marking". St. George Gore, who, with his wife and his brother Ralph, had been many months crawling northwards with a dray and some sheep, established themselves at "Yandilla"—next station below "Tummavil" (as the river runs)—upon a creek a short distance above its junction with the Condamine. George Gammie—whom I passed months before on the "Macdonald" river—had taken up "Talgai", and John Thane "Ellangowan" [purchased afterwards by my present comrade, Hughes, after Thane's death by drowning, in his attempt to swim the Condamine when flooded], miles above "Tummavil". Owners of stock from all quarters were pressing out now towards the newly discovered land in the north; among others my good friend "Cocky" Rogers, who had charge of George Mocatta's sheep from Bathurst, and who, with some others, who wished to "hug" the nearest access to water carriage to Sydney, ultimately was the first to cross to the eastern side of the main range, and sat himself down on the run of "Grantham;" then Somerville, to "Tent-Hill", of dismal report, with sheep, of Richard Jones'—("merchant" Jones, in Sydney—"Dicky Jones" everywhere out of it), to which he annexed the adjacent "Helidon". Then following on in time appeared those two estimable brothers, Frederick and Francis Bigge, Evan and Colin Mackenzie Brothers; the McConnell Brothers; Balfour Brothers;—but I must not anticipate. The tide was setting in now. The intending emigrants from the more settled parts of New South Wales were beginning to bustle into securing nooks and corners which might escape the flood; the inert were beginning already to play the "cuckoo" with the nests of the energetic; the lazy to lay themselves supine on beds which they had not laboured to make; the greedy and unscrupulous to poach on manors of which they were not the licensed lords.

But I was on the way to Sydney; had I been going to St. Ives, I should not have met with a more varied assortment of bipeds and quadrupeds than I did on this ride. Creeping away on the same errand, jostling each other, as if the broad bush were not road wide enough; whip-cracking; oath-snapping; joke-clacking; smoke-sucking—on! The dusty tribes pursued each other to Darling Downs. To me it all seemed to be squatting-fever at a crisis; but I had India on the brain at that time; little did I think how soon I should be seized with the fever myself.

We had shuffled over more than three hundred miles, when on one mid-day I was surprised at seeing a man riding at full gallop towards us; unusual pace for a long journey. Up came he; pulled up suddenly, looking me hard in the face. I was at once prepared for another arrest. The suspicion seemed to be but too well founded. "Is your name Russell?" in a loud tone. "Yes, what of that?" retorted I, somewhat ill-temperedly. Dismounting, without deigning to reply,—"Oh, he's looking for his warrant, I suppose"—he set to work unstrapping and overhauling a valise; opened it, drew out a paper. "Take that." "Why?" "Because your brother has sent them to you from Maitland." I thought the man was trying to take what I had learnt to call "a rise" out of me. So, I offered not to take the paper—which proved to be a dirty letter—until, in somewhat forcible language he swore he was telling me "the—— truth!" Utterly bewildered; my brother I believed to be in his comfortable rooms at Cambridge—St. John's. I sat me on a log—looked at the address—by George! it is his handwriting, and—it is dated from Sydney! Dear old Hughes! How hard he tried to catch me, as I went for six miles as hard as my wretched nag could lay belly to the ground! But for its being dead beat, I should have gone on another stretch. A standstill among the Warland Ranges was unpleasant, when within seventy miles of one's destination; however, I paddled on a-head of my friend, all day and the best part of the night, until I reached Muswellbrook, very sore in the soles of my feet, and the dwelling of the kindly Frank Allman, who had lately been appointed Police Magistrate there. Being in a hurry, I had left my horse in the range, but recovered him, saddle and all, a week after. My brother had—as I had done—found his way to Skellatar, not a mile away. Allman sent him a line by a mounted policeman, and in half-an-hour he walked in; gave a blank look at my face, and asked: "Where is he?" Admitting that some five hundred miles in fourteen days, partly on a rough-jogging sore-back, partly on the soles of my own feet—for my boots' uppers had lost their bottoms—might have, to some extent, affected my garb—(a cabbage-tree hat, through which I had been fain to let the filthy water filter, which at times I had been compelled to drink, because thirsty; a stained red shirt outside, tail and all, with a doubt whether it would hide that of my shamefaced inexpressibles; a black belt in which were stuck a pair of pistols, round the tout ensemble; one dusty bloody spur, and two old boots, which covered but my instep and hoseless heels; a long unshaven face, burnt to the color of sienna)—yet, not viewing myself with my brother's eyes, my spirits somehow sank at his non-recognition.

"There he is!" said the amazed police magistrate; "Well, here then;" bringing his fist soundly down on my shoulder. "Well, but what has become of your eyes?" was Sydenham's blank ejaculation.

Poor old Syd! I had become so thin, and my eyes so sunken, and my dandy-dressing now so dank, dirty, and disguised.

'Twas some days, I thought, before you seemed to realise that I was I, old Syd.

Dear old brother of mine. Would that I had never put Sydney, New South Wales, the bush, the squatter's life—of the realities of which I had not had the least taste in life when I had written in such high-flying hope and sanguine certainty—before his thoughts.

A sweeter-tempered, more patient bushman: a more cheerful, unselfish, laughing comrade, never met the troubles, losses, disappointments, and trials of the squatter's life of that day with so unswerving daily an exercise of the mettle of such endowments as he did, through the few harassing years of his sojourn in the land.

Dear old Vicar of Uckfield! Not so absent-minded, I hope, in the pulpit as you were on one occasion at a rubber of whist with that sound-hearted friend of yours, Ralph Gore, as partner; when to the quartette horror you pitched your trump over the left shoulder, and shot your hot black pipe and what you followed it up with, into the middle of the table upon the cards played out, and in that act of final expect**ation, won!

"Generous as brave,
Affection, kindness, the sweet offices
Of love and duty were to him as needful
As his daily bread."

We had too much to say to each other to stop long at Allman's. We adjourned to old Nowland's Inn, and discussing everything—slept not that night. A veil was lifted from my despondent view. The "Bush" idea was renewed in all its first brightness and intensity; and that of India evaporated. Stayed a few days at Skellatar, where all was kindness, which, I fear, we mischievously repaid by trying a new kind of air tube upon Lady Forbes' poultry. It certainly proved to be an arm of precision: she could not divine the cause of mortality so sudden: pot shots out of our bedroom windows of mornings were so tempting: cook watched and discovered the cause: gave him a sovereign to say nothing about it, so he cooked the next victim: and the detection at dinner one day of a wee bullet in the roasted body of a fine young cockerel betrayed our ungrateful return for our luxurious meals. We were very sorry, of course, but the case—though it was treated as a joke, became a rod for our own consciences, and no more poultry died henceforth.

Off we went to Sydney: my brother bought a "capital hack" * from an acquaintance of the strange name of Pagan; I think he was—i.e., Pagan—killed afterwards by the blacks somewhere. We also bought a flock of ewes at fourteen and sixteen shillings a head from Arthur Hodgson. There was a severe panic in the country, and every one seemed to be hard-up. Branches making no return to their principals' houses in London were obliged, in many cases, to shut up; squatters in debt to these branches were wound-up—but could'nt go on: wool! wool! was expected to carry all over difficulties; but wool sank and did'nt: the people could not support the going market prices of anything, for where these so-called merchants had not shut up, they could give no more credit, because houses in England would no longer support unprofitable connections. Any capitalist arriving at this period had an excellent opportunity of buying any stock at a low—a very low price in comparison to what had been the rule hitherto.

[* "Trump", a grey. There were two brothers Pagan, poor fellows. This one, Cunninghame, was killed by blacks; the other, John, by whites, on the Bundarrah.]

On the 17th June we left Sydney together. We had left our horses at Hughes and Isaac's, at Black Creek: they had not yet got a purchaser for the farm. On the 22nd, arrived at Skellatar: Lady Forbes was absent, but we found her nephew, Milbourne Marsh (at this present time Stipendiary Magistrate, having been Police Magistrate at Dubbo, Bathurst, and at the Water Police Court, Sydney), and his sister—now Mrs. G.F. Wise—locum tenentes. They kindly asked us to stay for some races at Bengalla, promoted by its estimable owner, Captain D.C. Scott—late Police Magistrate of Sydney—and we passed our time pleasantly enough until the week following, when they came off. Helenus Scott, the Glennies, the Bundocks, and many in the surrounding district—(I must not forget John Cox, of Nagoa)—swelled the fashionable monde on the occasion. I rode a horse of Scott's called "Hair-trigger" in a flat, and one belonging to Cox—who was sorely hurt in the same—in a hurdle race.

I have already said that to me alone can it be a pleasure to recount the details of the then passing time—now so long past. A pleasure, because a memory of so much which marked in our small circle, and the cycle of occurrences therein, a happy period to certainly most of us. I—in this attempt—am but endeavouring to pay a debt due to old friendships and attachments: and if I presume too far upon the patience of any who knew not those persons or days, which I must not, for the love of "Auld Lang Syne" put aside, I ask their indulgence and forgiveness for the sake of the purpose for which I have set myself this task, viz.: to preserve the reliquiæ sacræ of our primitive state from obliteration, however valueless intrinsically. Heirlooms are not the less revered and prized and guarded by heirs, because they are not of gold or precious stones. The little torn map which is appended to this pamphlet, is but a "pennorth" of paper scratched over by pen and ink; but the original speaks to me of Leichhardt, his last gift at Cecil Plains, by and from his own hand—for to Cecil Plains he never again came: I have nought to live on now but the past: and so I ask pardon.

A month passed as a month always did pass in and around Muswellbrook. Arthur Hodgson, from Sydney, joined us: accompanied by a contemporary of his own at Cambridge, to which he had migrated from Oxford—because he was too fond of the unlawful délassement, said the Vice-Chancellor, of driving Tollit's coach in from the London road. "Dick" Glover (his true name was William Henry) had been well-known in my time as the best "whip" in the University: was an undergraduate at University College: until his migration. There was, in those days, a regular four-horse coach which ran direct from Oxford and Cambridge which, being for the most part in request by such undergraduates who had to migrate from one to the other, under the ungentle pressure of rustication, or failure "to put on their smalls" (in other words to pass their "little go") bore the name, in well-known characters, of the "Pluck Coach". Glover was son of the then Archdeacon of Norfolk, many years before, of "John Bull" fame. A good whip, a capital shot—the loss of one eye from the flying of a cap, notwithstanding—full of fun, and anecdote, he became a very pleasant companion on the road. He, Hodgson, and we two, on the 21st of August made a final start to the north: Allman, P.M., Matthew Henry and his brother Charles, Marsh (who had bought Salisbury Plains from Stuart Donaldson, of Sydney) joined us: stayed at the inn at Scone, whence we went to pay a visit upon that noble old Gloucestershire clergyman, Morse, and his family; and a very delightful family, too! Also, on Darby and dear old Goldfinch—who years afterwards removed to a station some distance northwards; not as far as Darling Downs: next day to the Page Inn: thence to the bark-roofed and only private dwelling at Armidale, the hospitable and entertaining Commissioner of Crown Lands—George Macdonald. Unable to ride, through an accident, I remained behind. At the end of a week Arthur Hodgson came back doleful, with the news that they had lost all their horses at Tom Perry's station, on Ben Lomond, about forty miles distant. Hodgson was in no little degree pressed to get to the Downs; so after a vain search for two days—oh! how cold it was!—I remained at Ben Lomond to continue the search, and lent Hodgson one of my horses; so he went on leaving my brother Sydenham with me; I rode over the greater part of New England without success, till, being lost in the bush, I chanced upon a station, belonging to Day, P.M. of Maitland. By the only effectual means—reward—I got the stockman to accompany me, and with his help found them about twenty miles away from Perry's station. The addition of three hundred miles, which this wretched work had taken me over, was not edifying. So we brothers, now alone, got away; lost ourselves on the Severn country for two days, during which we, for the first time, felt what it was to be really hungry; had a horse bitten by a snake, but he didn't die, so we didn't eat him. The third day, forty miles carried us to a station: no grub ready: when it was, couldn't eat, because of starving sickness; slept it off, however, and then we astonished the stockman's locker. Chewing tobacco had kept us up; saw nothing to shoot but a crow, and he was too knowing. After this, four nights in the bush brought us to Hodgson's (the Drummer's no longer) head station, upon the spot, where it is, I believe, to this day.

And a precious large assemblage of new faces found we there. There was Murray, a brother of Lord Elibanke, Billy Barker (afterwards on the Logan), Rose—of the Navy—son of Sir G. Rose, and an old messmate of Hodgson's in the Mediterranean, the aforesaid Glover, and Brooks, son of a clergyman, friend to Hodgson's father, the Vicar of Rickmansworth, Pemberton, and a younger Hodgson, Frank, a brother, and our two dirty selves. To this—"Arthur's round table" it was dubbed—came other red-shirted knighthood off and on: Irving, of the 28th Regiment once, who was at the Peel stores, dear old Frank Forbes (long since dead in California), Fred Isaac, and so on. Round this "round table" in all jollity, and flea-bitten frolic (the fleas were horrible), would sit "fisting" damper, mutton, with quart-pot tea concomitant, from twenty to thirty of Arthur's guests in the open air. Followed up by the social "calumet", the fumes of which impregnated the unceasing discussions about sheep, cattle, wool, stations., stores, working bullocks, blacks, and "Hell-hole" exploits, the knights of the red shirt awakened the echoes in this gay fashion of contentment, night after night, where silence had reigned from the beginning. The last muttered word would usually be (as the mummy-like rolls of blankets radiating from the central fire became motionless), Hodgson's to Forbes: "My word, Forbes, in two years' time we'll have Brisbane butchers begging for our wethers at fifteen shillings a head." A pause, a struggle out of the long sleeping shroud, and up would rise the gaunt figure of the dozing listener: "I'll tell you what, Hodgson, I'm pre-pre-pared to argue that point; before we get fifteen shillings a head for our wethers out of such a hole as Brisbane, I'll—I'll bet you fifty pounds that my balloon * will be knocking these dirty steamers into fits. The next time I go to Sydney and come back here will be—I'm-m pre-pared to bet you fifty pounds will be—by letting myself down at Clifton, instead of coming up from your 'Hell-hole' as you call it." "Bag your head, old fellow, I want to take my corker." So Forbes would subside again—and soon one simultaneous snore all round.

[* Forbes was inventing a "flying machine", of which he had drawings and designs. Some of the aeronautic efforts of the present day are supposed to have been based upon his original conception.]

Glover, of "Corpus", Cambridge, was fuming and ever scratching his head about what he called "that rascally Sydney!" Of the soi-disant merchants in it, a man of the name of W———e had been one of the lately "shut-up." Glover had brought out bills from W———e's brother's house in London on this brother here. Of course the bills were as little helpful to Glover as W———e was able to be when they were presented for payment. All that could be got for the bills was a flock of sheep near Bathurst. How could he get there for them? In a word, Hodgson, of the "Round Table", had come to the rescue: at least here was a temporary home for a "Corpus" man,—and an Adullamite!

To cut matters short, Glover offered to go into partnership with us, on conditions named; to put our sheep together and "squat!" But where?"We must go see!" Granted on all sides; and so W.N.W. from Etonvale we turned our horses' heads in November. "Stop a bit, who comes here?" as we said good-bye. Ha! letters from England. All right, too! the quiddam necessarium forthcoming! Aye! come too! And so with light and thankful hearts again away got we. Hodgson had consented to keep the sheep we had bought from him at four shillings a-head per annum, which was a further incentive to us to be quick in getting a run for ourselves.

November still. Passing Gowrie, Fred. Isaac joined us, i.e. Glover, my brother, myself, and black "Tommy;" reached the furthest station, "Jimbour" (Scougal's), and beyond that was terra incognita: plain "all about;" hot under the sun, hotter because burning on all sides; poor Syd's face and neck "blistered" and "peeled" badly; eyes suffered, too. Hard up for water, man and horse changed the course to S.W., and fell in an hour or two almost into a glorious lagoon at the edge of the nearest timber. There had been a prevailing opinion at this time that the river we called "Condamine" would prove to be an eastern water; that the Dividing Range fell wholly away some distance north of Jimbour; and that our Downs' water-shed would find its way round its extreme point to the east. A week's travelling—for we quickly rejoined the Condamine—showed us what moonshine the opinion was. The point was, to me at least, settled: it was a western water, and would somewhere join the whole western system. [In course of time this was proved.] Had it shown the least inclination easterly we should have continued to follow down. The country was flat, wretched, covered by enormous bricklow scrub, and so we came back again unsuccessful this time.

Glover and I then attempted a start from Jimbour over the main range with the view of examining any eastern stream running, say into Wide Bay. The heat had knocked up so many horses, that the others could not come. Again unsuccessful, could'nt get through the broken country and dense brushes: brought our animals to a standstill, and crawled back again in time, as well as we could.

Taken ill at Etonvale (manifestly not climatised, yet a new chum), Sydenham, Fred Isaac, and Irving left me there to try another point of the compass: went to Tummavil lagoon into which the wiseacres of that "lunatic era" declared that the Condamine emptied itself, spreading over the plains and so becoming exhausted in flooded seasons. How laughable it all seemed afterwards. This was the cause of fixing Yandilla where it was, and is.

They found out the absurdity on this occasion: as every one knows all about it now, I shall enter into no details as to their "surprises". [The result was the marking of "Cecil Plains", on which I lived so many years afterwards.] They returned to Etonvale triumphant,—"but," said they," it won't do for sheep."

So I went into partnership with my new acquaintance—Gerald Brooks—in a cattle station: bought some three hundred or four hundred head from John Campbell, of Westbrook; engaged William Orton ("Bill" of the Severn—the Fiver), who had become free, as stockman, and occupied dear old "Cecil Plains" very soon: and began the "squatter's" career.

But the sheep? Glover must go to Bathurst for these sheep; he must drive them over, and across country; that will take many months; six, perhaps; this will give me plenty of time to find a run for them on arrival; then I must go for my horse, left on the road, knocked up at Gibson's, Byron Plains, so long ago; then there's Syd., he wants to go on business to Sydney; he's in too much of a hurry for a ride down—must go by sea; must get my license too for Cecil Plains. And so in fulfilment of these calls upon my temper and time, I worked out the year (an eventful one to me), until I woke at the very end thereof in Petty's comfortable hostelrie at the top of Church Hill, Sydney. 'Twas my turn now for a new thing; so my brother on the 25th of January, 1842, entered upon his second lesson on the road overland. We had bought no end of provisions—through Messrs. Gore Bros.—and iron-work through Levicks and Younger (opposite the Bank of Australasia—the old yellow bank then—the gorgeous one now), and all that swag must go by sea, of course, and I was to go with it.

I had a pleasant break at this time of the unwonted work. A note was brought to me: "Dear R.,—Will you ride up to Campbelltown with me? In a few days we are going to have a dinner and dance; do come and let me introduce you to my old folks at home. Truly yours,—John Allman." There's the old yellow note of January 27, 1842.

How glad I was to go. How enjoyable the whole ride of some two days. Captain Allman's house was full: but all that could make all at that merrie meeting the merrier and the merrier until morn was done, that thought could suggest, word express, and deed accomplish by that gay and gentle family—a fond gathering round the old Peninsular soldier, who yet bore on his brave front honour won and winning evidence of the slashing blade of some beau sabreur, and who had endured with cheerful fortitude a prisoner-of-war's inactivity within the walls of a French fortress.

Towards the break-o'-day I retired reluctantly to my quarters, at the only inn in the place. The sign I forget; the name was "John Hurley." From beneath the windows of the sleeping apartments, three in number, in one of which was my bed, the shingled roof of an outhouse sloped to within a few feet of the ground. Unwilling to disturb the inmates at such an hour, I crawled up this roof to the window which I felt confident was mine. Gently pushing up the window, a terrible voice assailed me: "Stand! or I fire!" I fell back at the sound, for the only object visible was a white night-cap standing up to its top-knot; rushed to the next, and thence fled, repulsed by a fearful female shriek; to the third, in which I found a safe refuge at length.

There had been no travellers at the inn when I had left it. I was suddenly awoke, from an over sleep, by a message.—"Sir Thomas Mitchell did not know that it was you last night: would be very glad if you would come down and breakfast with him!"

Sir Thomas Mitchell! I had seen him last in our own house in London! I forgot to make my apologies to the lady: never, indeed, knew who the lady was, until I met her years afterwards in the north, and in course of conversation, the whole accident came out. I then apologised.






{Page 242}

CHAPTER XIV.



I shall miss thee
But yet thou shalt have freedom.
Shakespeare. (Tempest, Act V.)


Moreton Bay was about to be thrown open! The ban was soon to be removed! Moreton Bay was in everybody's mouth—and mind, I thought. A steamer was laid on by the Hunter River Steam Navigation Company! To start on February 18th. Got all supplies on board (I can't recollect her name): felt so ill after the work that I went to see my kind medical friend, Dr. Wallace: wouldn't let me on any account leave Sydney: so I had to commit our supplies to the good steam-ship, and go back to Petty's "down-in-the-mouth".

The day of March 19th was one not to be sent after those gone—and forgotten! On the evening of that day I went on board the then largest of three new iron steamers just arrived from England, for the Hunter River Steam Navigation Company—the "Shamrock"—commanded by such a good fellow. Captain Gilmore. As passengers were His Excellency the Governor, Sir George Gipps; Major, now Colonel, Barney; His Excellency's Private Secretary, Watson Parker; Aide-de-camp, Edward Merewether, whom I remembered as an undergraduate at University College, Oxon, when I was myself at Christ Church. Simpson, my hospitable friend at Eagle Farm, Moreton Bay, who had accepted the appointment of Commissioner of Crown Lands for the district of Moreton; Jolliffe, of the navy, with whom I shall have again to recall the accident of this meeting, and may be, some others who have escaped from my mind.

The Governor had in all kindness a little while before offered me the position which Elliot had resigned; but I, with visions of roasting fresh rounds of beef on a hot summer's day, gratefully and respectfully pleaded my bush engagements, and declined. The next was the only day which the weather ahead of us allowed to be par excellence pleasant. Of course we did not know how to pass the time: a heavy gale or broken-down engine might have been almost an agreable sensation; but we were able to get it out of days gone by. There was Merewether with his "University" town and gown work, and "dear old" Plumtree; there was the "Quintain" and our club at the "Bullingdon;" "Cowley marsh" and its break-neck night drivings; there was Harrow and Eton; "Lord's", and the school matches on that difficult but well-loved ground owned now by the "Mary-le-bone" men; days from Aislabie to Kynaston; Ponsonby and Grimston, "Billy" Broughton and "Billy Warner;" "old" Lillywhite, Pilch, Cobbett, Redgate, and Wenman; aye! in fact, the then present passed "passablement" on the poop of the "Shamrock" (but I don't think she had a poop). Faute-de-mieux we went further aft, and then to our delight found following in our wake an immense "school" of porpoises—not the large dull heavy-tempered spouter of Cleveland Point, but the agile black and white sea-pig which poaches on all parts of our eastern board. Up they waved; in twenty minutes, after saluting the stern of the "Shamrock" with a veritable snort and Irish flourish, took to gambling about the bows. Then a sudden thought seemed to have struck the whole happy family: they would be sociable; they would be "in-riders" and "out-riders"—poursuivants—to the new marine vehicle of royal representativeness; they would pass on with porpoise-speed to the new realms, the ins and outs of which their northern brethren knew so much better than we. Flashing in piebald race-colours astern, ahead, on port and starboard beam, they appeared to me like boys just let out of school: no effort in the sport, all natural; greasily glancing and glistening beneath a few inches of the shimmering rollers; sinking with them in the very luxury of laziness; they would neck and neck at the next heave of the surge, spring like a horse over a five-barred gate, or a double ditch, simultaneously (just as one may have seen others—not altogether porpoises—in the old "Pytchley" hunting fields of Northamptonshire), with a snort of "chaff" and a "blow", poking fun at a neighbour in the proceeding; and so disporting themselves that our interest in the hunt—rather the "meet"—and the fun gave us an appetite for some participation in it.

"Could you pink one of those on the wing?" said someone to me; Jolliffe, I think. Down I ran for my rifle: I would try. Fair seemed the chance: not much nimbler than a chaffinch or sparrow from a trap, or a rabbit across a run, thought I: but that "not much" made all the difference to a ball. There were no breech-loaders and "cones" then. Disgusted and out of all conceit, I gave it up. Then tried Jolliffe; oh, no! "'twasn't like any boat practice he had ever seen." "Give it up, Jolliffe?" "Give it up, aye, aye, sirree; they're all a deal too jolly to be killed, the grunters!" Ha, ha! here we were, men proud over snipe, woodcock, partridge, pheasant, and grouse, and couldn't hit a big brute of a pig under our very noses with a ball.

"Why, what muffs you are," quietly said John Milbourne Marsh (now Stipendary Magistrate in Sydney), who had been looking on, smilingly (according to his fashion), "what muffs you are; give me the gun, Russell, I'll show you how to do it!" "Two to one you don't, if you try all day." "I don't bet." naively retorted Marsh. We all gathered round him aft: pig after pig pursued: it was long before they came to timber. At length a following sea had three complacently—each à son aise—sweeping along until it was about to topple: then the triad pulled themselves together to clear the space, which two only reached. Bang! under my ear had cut off the third. And so Marsh taught us how to shoot a porpoise on the wing. "Try again. Marsh," was the cry of chagrin, and the envy of disappointment and vanity: "try again." "Oh, no," said Marsh, amusedly, but with features as blank with surprise as our own; "oh no, I've shown you the way: that's quite enough for me."

Pinking the porpoise, he had played out his purpose; in some perplexity about the precision of his practice.

His Excellency the Governor happened to come on deck at the moment of this finale. His Excellency did not often laugh, but Sir George Gipps did.

The weather all the way was very hot: the Governor was very sick. I was summoned by his voice one morning. "I heard you calling to the steward for soda-water more than once, Russell; are you suffering as I am?" "No! sir." "Good thing soda-water for this horrid sickness? eh?" "Capital, sir!" In a few moments, "Barney! do tell that steward to bring me some soda-water!" I felt very guilty when I heard His Excellency drinking it. In a moment the dreaded result supervened, and I felt I was in disgrace for the remainder of the passage.

And so Moreton Bay was to be proclaimed—as Port Macquarie had been—a free settlement!

A great and somewhat acrid controversy had—in this prospect arisen. Was Brisbane to remain the shipping port—in spite of the river bar—or was there any other more suitable spot on the shores of the Bay itself? Cleveland Point was the only alternative: and the removal of head-quarters thereto found many advocates. "Well," said Sir George, "I should like to see Cleveland before proceeding to Brisbane, Captain Gilmore." So to Cleveland we headed and anchored at low tide about a mile out from it on the afternoon of the 24th, having entered the Bay by the Amity Point passage.

Moreton Bay mud and I had once made acquaintance: I sought no renewal. His Excellency and suite were boated to the ooze as far as the depth admitted; there was no help for it. Too heavy to be carried, they all had to take to the water, which was more in conformity with their tastes, it appeared through the Captain's glass, than the mud proved to be. Floundering and flopping through such a hundred yards of deep nastiness was quite enough to settle the question between Brisbane and its rival. In about two hours the tide had risen sufficiently to spare them much of such footing on return. There may have been "deeper" policy in timing such a visit—at lowest ebb—with a view to prepossessing His Excellency than my simplicity had been able to wade into.

The Governor had seemed much pleased at the appearance of Cleveland Point, when we approached it. I observed that he did not look back—as Lot's wife once did—at the haven in dispute.

On the 25th his restless Excellency was off to Limestone. I lent Watson Parker a horse, whereon to bear him company, but only one of my spurs; he didn't seem to be at home in the saddle, and I wanted one myself. "A pleasant ride, sir," said I as they left; back came Merewether the next day: "Russell, that animal of yours has thrown Parker at Redbank, and broken his collar-bone!" Fancy my wretched "Nigger" breaking a Private Secretary's bones! I began to think more of the Nigger—hadn't suspected so much deviltry in the brute. Poor Colonel Barney, too, he says, is worse for wear. That brute he rode was a rough one: no report as to the Governor's state of feelings: but I suspected it, for on the following day, 26th, they all came back in a boat: poor Parker in it, stretched on a hurdle, looking very seedy: oh. Nigger! Nigger! (dined with them at Gorman's.)

On the 27th—being Sunday—we all went to church, which invisible church was a room over the Gaol! The officiating minister was a German, whose name was Handt: a missionary on probation: in expectancy of a grant of land, if, in twenty years, he could show that he had converted one aboriginal black. (Time's up! They didn't get it.) N.B.—I couldn't understand Handt.

On the 28th Brisbane was baptised into the family of freedmen: commemorated at Commandant Gorman's table by an excellent farewell feast, for the 30th carried away "Shamrock", Governor, and his gathering back to sea-sickness and Sydney, That day too, if I mistake not, carried away from the pleasantest of the one or two houses then in the wilderness of Woolloomooloo a bright bride and a radiant bridegroom, both of whom ere April had rolled up the scroll of its calendar, would, I fully believed, bring new-born and unwonted brightness to the domestic hearth of Etonvale: 'twould be a brave deed to dare the distance to the Darling Downs: 'twas done, too: first wedded "watch" upon the western wastes!—first "Queensland" Queen of May in Cameliard—thus graced the coming of Arthur Hodgson.

On Saturday, the 2nd of April, my brother Sydenham arrived here overland from Sydney: brought with him working bullocks which he had bought on the road at £14 a head, to take up our drays and supplies, which had preceded me by sea. Poor old boy! he takes to the life like a trump: beats me hollow—laid up as I am, still in a doctor's hands. The only lodging I could get—and that under sufferance—was in the empty gaol. On the 15th bought more workers for our drays: three days afterwards an enormous brown paper parcel of English letters. Goulburn, Chancellor of the Exchequer! 19th passed in expectation of the Sydney steamer's arrival: Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Hodgson doubtless on board: but there was no arrival but of sailing craft: pleasant dinner with Gorman and his family, madame, and their son: rubber in the evening: new faces with string of drays came in: that queer old fellow. Dr. Goodwin: eccentric, clever, and excitable James Canning Pearce, Fife, Aikman—many I cannot recall. They had all come to meet the great novelty—a steamer from Sydney. Heard that my brother was a good way on his return to the Downs, but in tribulation, because of toothache: wished I could follow and help: made an affidavit before Gorman, which I sent to Commissioner Macdonald, Armidale: fretting much over my compulsory inaction. What shall I do?

"How are you, Dr. Simpson? Wish you joy of so pleasant an appointment!" "Well, thankee; but how are you? you look all wrong!" Blessed meeting: Allopathy had done me no good: "Will you, in all kindness take me in hand, Dr. Simpson?" "Yes! that I will, where are you staying?" "In gaol!" So off we went laughing—to gaol. I have, I think, said that Simpson had been formerly in the 14th Light Dragoons, left the service to study physic, a "fad" of his, travelled most of Europe, testing Hahnemann's doctrine, in some points improved upon it: published a treatise, clever and amusing, in England, in 1836, called "A Practical view of Homœopathy", being an address to British practitioners on the general applicability and superior efficacy of the homœopathic method in the treatment of disease, with cases, by Stephen Simpson, M.D., late resident practitioner at Rome. I had read it formerly, having got it at Ballière's, 219, Regent-street, London.

Dr. Simpson, when at Rome, had met with a son of the Duchess of Sutherland in a state which physicians had at home and on the continent in vain endeavoured to ameliorate. In acquiescence with the desire of son and mother, Simpson took him in hand: treated him under the new system, and having perfectly cured so helpless an invalid, accompanied him on his return to England; fell at once, through acknowledgment and services of his grateful patient's family, into a good practise in London, and into the "hottest water", which the fiery jealousy of the faculty could prepare for heaving him into. So having given up medicine in disgust, he went to the out of the way Antipodes accompanied by a wife—wedded then, after twenty years' constancy to engagement—who died on arrival in Sydney; and he by permission had since dwelt at Eagle Farm near the heads of the Brisbane, with his old friend and fellow hermit, W.H. Wiseman. He now, through the urgency of the same friends in England, had obtained a recommendation from Lord John Russell, then Home Secretary, for the appointment, upon the introduction into which by the compliant Governor I had congratulated him.

"In a fortnight you shall be yourself again, Russell: goodbye;" and so he left me in gaol. Long before the fortnight's end, I had become a happy convert to his "millionth part of a grain": read his treatise again with other eyes than I had once done, and became, indeed, myself again. In such buoyancy of spirits under the persuasion that I had become emancipated, that out of gaol I ran to the old windmill at the top of the ridge opposite: crept up an uncanvassed "fly" to have a look towards the Bay. Horror! I found myself going round: lower, lower, head down, heels up! just as my cry of astonishment and alarm had reached the ears of the unseen miller—a happy relief. The unseen miller had not seen me, and so had set me going with—how thankful I felt—with but two sails bent.

The 24th of April was Sunday, and no steamer yet. Everyone said she wouldn't be laid on again for this port: and of course the river bar on which she had stuck on the first and, apparently, last trip, was roundly abused, and Cleveland looked up. In the course of the day the schooner "Edward", commanded, I think, by Captain Chambers, we heard was coming up the river. So I went upstairs to church and heard the rev. missionary Handt preach a sermon upon—what d'ye think?—duelling!

The next day brought up the brigantine "Nancy". Letters for my brother from his friend Shakespear, and—but none for me. Glover, though, was at the Peel with thirteen thousand sheep, having arrived there from Bathurst without losses. The "Edward" was at the mouth of the river. "Shamrock" has ceased running, because the company complains that the settlers patronise the coasters. Heard also from Downs-ward that Somerville, on behalf of Dicky Jones, was poaching upon our station of Cecil Plains. Our tracks had been followed, and this the result. I must appeal to the Commissioner; and here are the sheep crawling up, and I've not found a station yet.

There was a small craft—yawl I might have called it—lying in the river: I had been told it was to be sold cheap. Beset as I was by the claim made upon me by brother and Glover for a run for the sheep: not believing that there was decent country to be found in the Condamine region, and even if there were, that the distance from a shipping port would ever be a bar to success, I determined to buy this oyster-boat, and had got to the point of "How much do you want for her? let me know quickly." Lying in gaol upon a stretcher, and laying down my plans, my fellow-passenger, Jolliffe, burst in on me: "I say, Russell, Petrie has heard that you are going up the coast to look for the mouth of a river, and to take up a station on it if you can, in that rotten looking thing on the river; is it true?" "Yes, quite." "Well, now, you know that I am on the look out for Eales' sheep which I have left in charge of Last: I want a run, too: will you let me join you:" Jolliffe was a sailor: therefore an acquisition. Of course I assented on certain conditions. "I've had a long yarn with Petrie about your going, and I will tell you what he says: you've heard of that Bunnia-Bunnia which the blacks here talk so much about; Petrie is the only white man who has looked for and found it; he has a bit of its wood, you know; it's called Petrie's Pine, and mighty proud of his discovery he is. Well, the Governor gave him orders before he left to go to the river on which they say it grows most, and examine it thoroughly and report. A proclamation has been issued that no settlers are to encroach on its quarters, and no white man is to cut down any of it. Petrie says he must go at once; the place is on the banks of a river, a little north of the river called the 'Morouchidor'. Petrie says that queer-looking oyster-boat isn't fit for any sea; he wants you to join him; and his work, your own, mine, too, perhaps, may be knocked of? by one trip." "What boat can we have, though?" "Why, there is a five-oared kind of mongrel whale-boat, which was built by a prisoner here, in a fashion, which he will take. You know that there will be no more Commandants at Brisbane (some Government Resident by the bye is to be sent here), he will take five ticket men to pull, a mast to stick up, and a bit of a sail when the wind serves; the boat is new and sound, whatever she looks like, the other thing's rotten."

After a little deliberation the matter was settled. My object was to get to Wide Bay (often called White), in the conviction that some good stream would be found running into it from the interior; and so, after the Governor's commands had been attended to, we were to proceed farther north, and examine the coast as far, at least, as the Bay named; and if practicable, get on to Port Curtis, the next place of any mark on the charts of the day.






{Page 250}

CHAPTER XV.



Time hath a wallet at his back
Wherein he puts alms for Oblivion,
A great sized monster of ingratitudes;
Those scraps are good deeds past, which are devoured
As fast as they are made, forgot as soon
As done.
Shakespeare. (Troilus and Cressida.)   


About five years before this time I was in London. Walking from Hyde Park down Oxford-street, I observed a man who was carrying over his shoulder one of those show advertisements: a large wooden square frame nailed to the end of a long pole. On the calico with which it was covered was a bright coloured daub which represented savages with bows and arrows, some dead bodies of white men and women, which other savages were cutting up on the ground, and another squad was holding on "spits" to a large fire. It was amusing enough to stop me in my walk: horrible enough to impress the writing beneath this picture on my mind, "'Stirling Castle', wrecked on the coast of New Holland, Botany Bay, all killed and eaten by savages: only survivor, a woman, to be seen, 6d. admission." Here then, it suddenly recurred to me I am on the point of visiting the very spot of that beastly scene, "Great Sandy Cape", which I had afterwards heard was the real stage on which this horror had been perpetrated, and that very spot was the eastern formation of Wide Bay. I gathered by inquiry that a man of the name of Fraser, who had his wife with him, had commanded the "Stirling Castle", and another named Brown had been mate. Before long, in a very unexpected manner, I heard the details of the whole terrible incident from an eye-witness.

Excepting by surveys of the actual line of coast from seawards nothing was yet known of the country north of Moreton Bay. While making preparation for a start upon this excursion, that querulous, clever, mischievous acquaintance of mine in New England—Edward Baker—came to the settlement, and to Petrie's house—the only open house to travellers. With him was a late arrival from England—Walter Wrottesley, third son of Lord Wrottesley. He had been a Christ Church man at Oxford.

On the 27th I had a look at our nondescript boat. Petrie called it a "gig": Jolliffe would not venture to give it a name: but being a "middie" in Her Majesty's Navy, was bound to laugh at it. Certainly, when in the water, with her full burden, her midships rowlock was but a measured five inches above the water: for I tried the distance afterwards. But I found that we could step two lug-sails and carry a bumpkin stuck out for a bit of after canvas—that was a comfort.

At four o'clock of the morning of the 4th of May, Wrottesley, Jolliffe, Petrie and myself stowed ourselves away in the stern sheets, somewhat cramped for room. I had so hoped that that capital fellow, George Mocatta (whose sheep "Cocky" Rogers had settled down at Grantham), would have come with us. He couldn't: at least wouldn't. "Seven men, Petrie! Well, I hope we shall have grub enough." Five set themselves to the oars, and we paddled with the ebb down the river, receiving hearty cheers from some early risers who came to see us off.

"Who is that man pulling for'ard, Petrie?" "Aye! he's just the bonniest o' the lot! his name's Russell." I asked no more questions about our companions. "Didn't you say, Petrie, that you were instructed to take certain bearings and make a rough map of what you see at all remarkable?" "Oh! yes, I just took care to stow away a braw sex—— Boys! where's the sextant. I would ra——— "No use looking: the sextant had been left behind: so certain observations were knocked on the head. Dead silence for some miles: a fair wind: up stick and straight for the north passage. After slipping along Bribie's Island as far as its extreme point under Caloundra Head, jutting out from the mainland further on, we had hoped to bear up into the passage between the two, but our five-inch free-board didn't suit on a wind in a jerky ripple; and wind and tide were too much for oars. There was surf over the mud flat at the entrance: in fact too uninviting for our appetites. To the eastward it didn't look nice: but there was nothing for it but let go the little anchor outside the first line of surf and lie there all the night, which was very dark. A bumping swell didn't make a 'possum sleep enjoyable: weather bettered towards the small hours: at daylight up kedge to a nice S.W. breeze, for the mouth of the "Morouchidor", i.e., "River of Swans",—black of course—the farthest point northward yet reached from the settlement. A pot of tea ashore was something now to think of approvingly, when alas! we found a forbidding bar of sand stretching across from head to head, on which a line of breakers gave no room for even the suspicion of a passage: away again disconsolate. "So much for your Bunnia Bunnia report, Petrie!" The complacent breeze stuck to us, however, and the next projection we approached, was logged down "Petrie's Head". Under it was basking: on the smooth surface a noble turtle: but he was wide awake enough to dive, and so escape au point nommé. In the grab I made, I lost my hat, and thus losing two good things, lost my temper too.

We now came in sight of and took the bearings of some remarkable mountains westward, by means of a Kater's azimuth compass, which I had fortunately brought. Following up the line of coast at a distance out of some three or four miles, at a better pace than I could have hoped for, towards the evening of the day after, came to a headland, which formed a small bay running inland. [In a lately published chart I think it must have been that formed on the south side by Noosa Head.] We were beginning to jump to the conclusion that we had reached the Hervey's Bay of navigators, but on second thoughts the delusion vanished. My head, from having no decent covering for it from the sun's heat, had been splitting for some hours, and pains intolerable were creeping through my limbs, and I longed to lie uncramped on the sands. As we entered the bay a large mob of blacks appeared from the low brush bordering the beach; they were unarmed, and ran to meet us. There being too much surf for running our boat through and ashore, we dropped the kedge in as shoal water as we could, while the natives came through the breakers to us. Petrie got on the back of one, who carried him high and dry, and an ugly-looking scoundrel seeing me helpless, manned and bore me to the beach. The others followed somehow, but I suffered too much to care to take note; there were enough to see to what was needful, and to see to our safety without me. Some biscuits were given to them, and they were signed to be off; when night approached they appeared to demur, upon which more intelligible methods of keeping them at a distance until morning were yielded to, on securing two as hostages for good behaviour in the meantime.

I suppose I was in some sort tortured by sun-stroke; that night was a horrible seal upon my recollections thereof. One of the men was trying to make me a head-covering out of some canvas; but why should my limbs torment me? Well, no explanation of the cause could have cured me; and thus I miserably stared the stars out of countenance with the help of the dawning day. My friends were alarmed, but could do nothing. Our two blacks were in such a "funk", that they kept me wakeful company throughout, though the whites watched in turn by pairs.

With the sun's return came that of the natives. After much gesticulation to the party, an old man squatted on his hams on the hot sand, and with a queer crone began to scoop out a hole with his hands alongside of me. I took little heed, until it had assumed, under his vigorous and odoriferous exertions, almost the appearance of a shallow grave. As a man under his first "flooring" by sea-sickness, so was I absolutely careless of what was going on around. Petrie and others gravely looking on, rifle in hand, re-assured me on one head, yet I could realise nothing. I believe I must have been fast becoming unconscious. What happened I can tell, however, now. When all was ready, I learnt that two younger natives had lifted me into the grave, divested of every rag on my back. Our own blacks had assured Petrie that the old man could put me on my legs again; he was too anxious about me to repel their proffered service, as long as there was no unreasonable means resorted to. Some large leaves of a water plant had been brought and placed over my head to protect it, and that again was raised upon the roll of my own clothes. Well I remember the queer sensation of hot sand being shovelled by their wooden Implements—"eelamans"—over me, up to the very chin. After that I knew nothing till I came to the sense of where I was. In fact I seemed to wake up from a painful dream. I could move but my head. The leaves were lifted from my face, and the assemblage at first puzzled me. Arms had been packed in with the rest, and I was in a straight jacket of hot sand, pressed in a solid heap upon my carcase. But I felt no pain. The perspiration was still (for I was told it had been doing so for the last quarter of an hour), running in tiny rivulets from my head over my face into my eyes and ears. I was in a vapour furnace! Quickly I was unearthed, covered with blankets or any thing that caught their eye, and fell fast asleep. When I woke—in about six hours—I was well! Weak, but terribly thirsty. I could have hugged the whole tribe in my gratitude—but they were all gone! I could see that the minds of my compagnons de voyage were much relieved, specially that kind-hearted Scot, Andrew Petrie. Some efficient head-gear had been manufactured for me in the meanwhile, to commemorate which the hummock at the Point was named "Russell's Cap".

But what had become of the blacks? They had managed to inform my friends that about two days' journey hence a white man had long been living with the neighbouring tribe; they themselves belonged to "Eumundy's", a name known by report in Brisbane. This "Eumundy" had the name of being a "great fighting man", but was well-inclined towards the whites. Petrie had written a note—not under the impression that the runaway could read it, but as a token that his fellow-men were at hand, promising these natives no end of 'bacca and blankets if they brought him to our camp. We had now been waiting two days, and the issue might be soon expected. The old stories were being discussed and raked up of cruelty and punishment, which, if true, were a disgrace to our colour and our kind;—and out of these stories grew intelligible causes for so many having within the records of the penal settlement escaped and disappeared, "chancing" their lives at the hands of the first tribe they met, and usually losing them.

Why were any spared? I will answer the question, by and by, in a manner which to me, at least, was satisfactory and convincing, under the circumstances which accompanied the explanation which I obtained.

In the afternoon of the third day two or three blacks were seen coming round the bay by the beach: by the glass we were able to make out that one who carried a spear was not an aboriginal, though savage looking enough. Petrie and Wrottesley went to meet him, Jolliffe and I took charge of the camp, in case of some demonstration, for, no doubt, there were plenty of the tribe hidden around us. The scene was curious. The poor fellow knew his own name—Bracefell—but could not recollect his own language for sometime; had been quite unable to make out what Petrie's note meant, but heard enough to convince him that whites were at hand. At first (of course I now repeat his own story, which was told at odd times during our trip) he had felt overjoyed at the chance open for his return to his fellow-men, but, he declared, thoughts of the settlement filled him with terror. For awhile he could not be persuaded that it was no longer the hell-on-earth which he had left years before, but tried to give every assurance that he would work "his very best" if they would not flog him. He gradually became better—nerved by a general promise that he should not be in any way punished. In the past penal times the terrible "cat" was mercilessly wielded over recovered runaways, in ready attendance upon heavy leg-irons day and night. He soon made himself useful in explaining to the blacks that we came with no hostile intent; had no wish in any way to molest them and, probably, saved us much trouble by so doing in all earnestness. By the natives he was called "Wandi", a "great talker;" could speak the dialects of four different tribes (and it seemed that each tribe differed more or less in the manner of language and expression); would take his part in the fights, which seemed to be frequent with their neighbours, but had never been persuaded to turn "cannibal". He was in looks an old man: his hard life had added its brand to the years of his seamed features. When washed and clothed, in a few days, he became perfectly naturalised; had recovered much confidence, and appeared to be really glad at having been rescued.

Of the coast of the mainland between Cape Moreton and Sandy Cape little had hitherto been known. No survey of it had under any close examination from seawards been made: none whatever from landwards. Petrie being in the service of the Government, and acting under Sir George Gipps' instructions, considered himself authorised to name mountains, headlands, or any remarkable spot not yet distinguished on a chart as he thought fit, with the view of sending in his report, under which such designations would be printed upon the Government maps. The low bluff which formed the southern and most eastern point of the sandy bay in which we were he called "Bracefell's Head" (now Noosa Head), being most suggestive of the occurrence which had so much pre-occupied us of late. From a higher ground further back we could see several noteworthy eminences which we had remarked from the boat when following the coast line. Of these Bracefell told the native names, which were written down on the spot. The furthest south and west in sight was "Mandan:" between that and ourselves, beginning at the most distant were Caroora, Coollum, Coora, Yuro-Yuro, Eirange, and Boppol, the last named being a long way to the north-west. The next headland to the far north was named "Brown's Cape", it being the spot on which, we were assured by Bracefell and the blacks, Brown, the mate of the "Stirling Castle", had been killed and eaten. It proved to be the most prominent headland south of the southern entrance (as soon was found) into the channel between Hervey's and Wide Bays, and is now marked down "Double Island Point". The signal fires were rising rapidly in every direction from native camps, doubtless telling the news of our arrival, and the surrender of Bracefell.

This man had managed to escape * from the chain to which he was manacled with others, not long after the arrival of Captain Logan, as "Commandant" of the penal settlement. He was living with "Eumundy's" tribe, in which we had now found him, at the time of the wreck of the "Stirling Castle" on "Great Sandy Cape". The casting away of this ill-fated vessel was a signal for a general gathering of all tribes within reach. Bracefell declared that they came in from hundreds and hundreds of miles all round, and had a grand "tourr". "Eumundy", who was, I conclude, king of the tribe, was with his people, at this rendezvous. The number assembled must have been unusually great—as the occasion was in their estimation. Captain Fraser, and some of the crew had been killed, for some cause, which was not explained; Brown, the mate, was reserved for future deviltry. The Captain's wretched wife was spared, and had become "domesticated". It was the possession of this white woman, and the prospect of plunder, that had made these "outsiders" so eager to reach the scene of horror, and thus dare an invasion of a district on which, in fact, they knew they were trespassers. To open the ball, there was a general "tourr", alias "corroboree", in the good fellowship of common rejoicing.

[* Shown afterwards by the Penal "Records."]

This "tourr", to which I afterwards walked with Bracefell at the back of "Brown's Cape", had been a ring scooped out of the soil in the fashion of a "circus" of an immense size. The earth so collected formed a low mound, which enclosed it all round the circumference, except at a point from which a path ran about a hundred yards into the thick underbrush, at the end of which—for it was a cul de sac—had stood the round low-roofed habitation of Mrs. Fraser.

Putting aside the torments of her bondage, Bracefell assured us that she was compelled to drag in wood for fires, and fetch water with as much cruelty as the "gins" themselves. He was (Bracefell said) never allowed to speak to nor approach her. Her sufferings were terrible: he was always thinking of how she could manage to get away.

Gathering from his yarn at odd times, that the first good fellowship quickly wore away; feuds sprung up: by waking up to jealousy of intrusion frequent fights came on, and off, in which some were killed and eaten. So tribe after tribe began to disappear or return to their own "penates." Eumundy was among the number who still lingered: he was so redoubtable a warrior that I think his presence was tolerated with discreet respect. Food had become scarce, and was becoming scarcer every day, too, where so many had assembled themselves. Under the pinch of empty stomachs the "baggages" too would sneak away to forage for themselves: and so—it is quite intelligible—"Wandi", the great talker, found at length opportunities for interviewing poor Mrs. Fraser. Her misery and want would soon have killed her: but the new-born hope of escape by this man's help brought back some courage. The occasion came. Food had come to famine prices, I concluded, when one by one they were forced to roam about after honey, or scratching into ant-hills for the sweet little eggs: or tearing up grass-roots: or diving to the bottom of water-holes for the bulbs of the water-lilies, for a meal. Game—marsupial, but as keen-scented as our own Highland deer—had deserted the land: the bunnia was not bearing.

Well, "where there's a will, there's always a way," the will of the one helpless creature being nerved by her tremendous desolation: of the other by prospect of large reward, and that which under the despairing cry of the woman, had become "father to his hope"—viz., the recovery of liberty by pardon, in return for this risky service to an Englishwoman.

The way was found. She managed to escape the eye of the famishing creatures around on every side: met Bracefell at an appointed spot: with bent bodies waded they along a running brook—here deep, here shallow: eyes and ears fright-quickened, hope-sustained: grasping every dear chance, by stone or stream, of passing over the treacherous ground without track of footfall, or fraying of grass or shrub, they reached a rugged range and hid themselves among the rocks.

Bracefell turned to good purpose the native gifts bestowed by savagedom: fed his fellow fugitive on such bush diet as his wood-craft could compass, eluded the pursuit, and in a few days both set foot on a pathway well known to the hopeless, desperate runaway a few years ago.

It is hard to accept the belief that under the reaction of supreme joy upon deliverance from such an agony of life as this woman's must have been, it could have been possible that any human soul should be possessed by any other power but that of unspeakable priceless gratitude to the worker out of such a restoration to kin and country.

Yet I must accept it; nor I nor any of my friends did, or did since question the truth of Bracefell's story. Whether, as step by step she drew towards her asylum—with fears weakening, hope strengthening, dependence vanishing, faculties freshening—whether any doubt of her ability to honour her promises, fulfil her engagements, deliver her own soul by successful prayer for her outlawed benefactor's pardon and reward.

Again, whether on approach to the paralysing scene of his unendurable helplessness, the entering within the brandish of the shrieking scourge—within the clutch on arm and ankle of the scalding iron—the riveting to the comrade chain—began to "clam" the glimmer of his hope. The assurance sprung out of his voluntary service; partly, too, in compassion to a free, respectable British female citizen—whether the magnitude of such reward proportionally lessened his hope of getting it, or his protegées ability—perhaps unwillingness—to make so grand an effort for such an end, and such an outcast—who can tell?

"What?" said he: "as soon as we got on that path: as soon as she could see horse tracks, and trees cut down lying about, she knew she was at 'Meginchen' (the natives' name for Brisbane). I told her of all she said she would do when we got in, and told her I should like to hear all of it over again (with true cunning). She wouldn't speak; when she did as we went on, she said she would complain of me."

"I turned round and ran back for my life!" Well do I even now recollect the look of vindictive savagedom which accompanied this part of Bracefell's story. Speaking to him as I did day by day, watching for contradictions—not on this matter only—I became impressed with the persuasion that he had not made up a story in this, nor any other instance where I was seeking the truth. I believed him. In the episode just told, his excitement, manner, words, were too natural to be assumed for any concealment's sake—had there been anything to conceal.

Under whatever impulse it was—he went back: seven years afterwards, or thereabouts, we found him with this tribe again.

"By a feigned condition"—incredible as it may be to commonsense—I know that she imposed upon the credulity of London, not far from a year afterwards.

"Were you not afraid to return after taking her away?" "I was at first," answered Bracefell, when he had told me the sum of the above: "not so much though, as I was of the settlement. After I got away there was a fight, too: but the woman didn't belong to us, so they didn't care about her bolting, and I've been with them ever since."

The fair weather followed us. A black crony of Bracefell's accompanied us in the boat, when we left this to us (to me especially) eventful shore. When we rose up in the morning, to our surprise there was not a native to be seen—except Bracefell's friend. They may be up to some mischief. "Planted in the bush round us!" "Where are my breeches?" cried out one of our five. They were gone. So were the blacks in possession. What could the thief want with breeches in such warm weather? The bright buttons had caught their eye.

We ran up the coast that day; many miles it was steep sand. Signal fires more numerous than ever. We reached the headland, which we had already written down "Brown's Cape". Saw no natives; and at a glance it appeared to me to be but solitude and desolation.

From this took the bearings of Boppol and several other points to the N.W. Bracefell pointed out the entrance into Wide Bay from the south, between the mainland and the southern point of Great Sandy "Island" (now named "Fraser's") which bore N. by E., about fifteen miles distant.

Nothing whatever was at this time known of a southern entrance into Hervey's Bay, nor of any channel on the west side of what was called—but had never been proved to be—"Great Sandy Island". An Admiralty chart of 1835 had the northern entrance into "Hervey's Bay", but manifestly it had not been known that what was laid down as its southern shore was what we found it to be,—a mere islet's overlappings which hid the connexion between the bays—Wide and Hervey.

The following morning carried a fair wind towards a southern inlet which Bracefell had spoken of. No blacks had made their appearance until after we had got away; they suddenly showed themselves, and then followed us by the beach, a long way round-about. "What could they have been looking out for?" I thought more than once. My silent inquiry was soon answered.

Bracefell had more than once warned us of what he could only express by a "big bubble". We could see no surf or "breaking water" appearance ahead: kept well outside the line of "curlers" which in beautiful rank and order cut us off from any present landing, spinning their rainbow manes aloft like warhorses. Breeze fresh from S.W. sent us along sweetly, while we hugged the shore thus until we neared a sandy point on the mainland. Here we came up to the wind to round it, and at once found ourselves in Bracefell's "hot water".

A sandy spit was running out a mile or more, and we were in the midst of heavy breakers in a moment. It looked unpleasant: to keep on was our only chance of getting through the "bubble", and yet the consciousness that the blacks were only waiting to make a meal of us, if capsized, did not add zest to the appetites which but a few minutes before we affirmed to be ravenous, looking forward to our own dinner. We safely—we had got our sweeps out—followed over two heavy seas, which gave us a little breathing time, and pushed her with a few vigourous strokes into a strong southerly current. In, over, and out of this nasty place before we knew where we were, into smooth water, and a long reach between the mainland and opposite shore.

We found ourselves in a deep channel, which was easily traced by the eye. It entered this bay by the outermost edge of the sand-spit, and seemed to be water enough for any ship. We could get no sounding with an eight-fathom line.

Upon a bright beach of white sand—above what is now called Inskip Point—which shelved quickly into deep water, we landed. We had shipped some salt, but wanted fresh water and—something to eat. Jolliffe and Petrie walked by the sands to have a look at the "Spit;" Wrottesley, Bracefell, and the men—white and black—for a search, carrying the kegs; I was left to look after the boat and blacks Behind me was an old camp; before me the opposite shore—about a mile. A long wash up the deep shelf kept me on the alert, to keep the boat off. I suddenly saw a canoe shoot away from the point over the way full of men. While intent upon their movements, a heave brought the boat broadside on almost to my very feet, leaving her to turn herself over upon her keel. I had the satisfaction of seeing all effects not made fast—guns, my own carbine, and some bedding—quickly subside. What could did float about in a most irritating manner. The powder was in water-tight cases. The next wash helped her off again, and, having kedged her out by the stern, I had the pleasant work of picking up the bits. By this time the canoe, paddled by two men standing, was half way across. Feeling bound to salute, I seized the only unloaded weapon I could find, an old Government flint musket, a veritable "Brown Bess". Wishing to make a noise I dosed the old thing with an unreasonable charge. (The other lire-arms were loaded, but had been some while under water, and that was inconvenient.) Rammed home an old fashioned ball, and, having filled a "pan" big enough to hold a "peck" of priming, let fly in the direction of the attacking force, while I, to my consternation, flew in the other, and had to pick myself out of a comfortable sand fauteuil into which Bess had blown me. The ball played ducks and drakes over the water, and my friends sheered off to the left until I lost sight of them behind a sandy point beyond which they were intending to land. Unable to see any of my party returning, it was, it seemed, time to take care of myself. Having given "Bess" a second, but less unreasonable, charge, all that remained was to sit quiet, watch, and wait. In about a quarter of an hour the first of about a dozen blacks, walking in single file, appeared round the point. They appeared to be unarmed, but on looking through my glass I detected their spears, which they were dragging on the sand by the end jammed in between two toes. When I rose and took "Bess" in my hand they suddenly—and simultaneously—picked up the spears, and, having stuck them upright into the sand, advanced, holding up the right hand. Of course I had to follow suit, and went to meet them in the same confidence. I didn't like it though. When within a dozen yards I "squatted" again, and, having some cigars, fortunately, lit one and smoked, made signs to the leader to do the same, which he and the rest at once did; and having stuck a weed into his mouth, told him by signs to suck, which he did with such energy that, with one choking gasp, cigar, smoke, and—never mind—was propelled nearly into my own face.

However, he seemed to like it, for he tried a second time, and took to it like a baby. "No one coming back yet? What on earth shall I do to keep them distrait?" Happy thought! When I was leaving England the streets of London resounded with the popular song, fathered upon "Jack Sheppard", of highway repute, by a newly-published novel which bore his name. Dinned into one's ears at every corner and at every turning, it was not surprising that the jerky air to which the words had been set should have taken hold of one's retentive faculty. So, at the top of my voice, which I hoped might reach the ears of some of my returning companions,! gave them, in all solemnity—unfeigned assuredly—the first part of "In a box of the stone jug I was born—fake away!" and, on arriving at that impressive chorus, "Nix, my dolly, pals!" it struck me that it might be suitable to imitate their corroboree-action, and set to work to slap my own thighs with undesirable vigour. At once they did the same. The "flat" sound almost made me deaf to further theatricals on the part of some fifty more vagabonds who had been at hand all the while in the scrub behind me. But for my "funk" I could have roared at the sight of some sixty naked humanities so gravely and earnestly occupied on their own—counters. We kept it up, both sides, I have little doubt, thinking "What shall be done next?" when to my gladdened sight hove the rest of my associates, whom—it had suddenly struck me—these rascals may have knocked on the head, and I only remained to be disposed of!

Bracefell and my visitors evidently had been old cronies. They seemed overjoyed at seeing him again, and all suspicion on both sides disappeared. However, after the breeches and buttons incident we did not allow them to assist in re-collecting and stowhig the moist variety of our boat's contents: their anxiety to do so betrayed their wish to exercise their fingers in picking and stealing. Their cupidity was intensely roused, but our vigilance was equal to the occasion. Their numbers soon increased, and good fellowship was the order of the day. As a token of brotherhood the greatest compliment we could pay them, we were aware, was an exchange of names: such ceremonial accordingly, we politely requested them to participate in; which they showed themselves so ready to do, that it became difficult for us few to gratify so many claimants' desires, with the inevitable result of scarifying our own noses in token of the prominency of our esteem.

By our now cheery and loquacious go-between, Bracefell, an understanding was arrived at, and after many loud addresses and gesticulations, more intelligible to me than their words, each of us was in course of time confronted by a vis-â-vis, who looked as anxious as many a young debûtant in his first ballroom quadrille. The irrespressible amusement on the faces of Wrottesley and Jolliffe, no doubt appeared upon mine also: Petrie's features were immovable: I suppose he was used to it and lost the fun of the thing. See what it was to be "three new chums", able to enjoy novelty! My vis-â-vis, who engaged my attention more wholly than many a young lady partner had on other occasions, was a slight, pleasant looking, well shaped young man, who as soon as I confronted him closely, with due decorum, put the forefinger of his right hand to his nose, and in appreciation of the solemnity of the scene, rubbed it. I had been "coached" by Bracefell, and as religiously rubbed mine, in deference to his example. He then transferred from his own to my respected organ—the sense of which did not quite acquiesce in the contract—a like digital honour, which I vigorously reciprocated: suddenly he ceased burnishing and cried, "Boralee:" gladly I held hard with "Russell".

I was delighted to see that he could make nothing of my name. His nearest approach was a very corrupt reading. One repetition of such frictional discipline, self-inflicted, one more jubilant shout of the sign of adoption, and we severally had (nominally) transmigrated. I then found that I was of the exalted caste of "Terwine", next in grade being the "Barang" and "Poonta"; the ladies of such castes being "Terwine-gan", "Baranga", "Poonta-ran". When all was over, the whole mob—as if by a signal—simultaneously burst out into fits of loud laughter!

As an earnest of their friendship, I presume, they then offered us a present of blackfellows' bones, from which they had but recently scraped the last delectable morsel. They thought, poor wretches, that it was the most delicate attention they could pay to our new relations; and their feelings were astonished and hurt by our declining to accept the memorial, and more so when we asked for the bones of the white men killed and eaten some years agone. Those they did not think worth preserving as relics of their "Auld Lang Syne", but they declared they were to be found on the beach on the other side of the land opposite. We had no time for such a search.

My dear double—whose name I had usurped—plainly expected some memorial of this auspicious meeting. I had to make a heavy deduction from my daily allowance of smoking, in order to supply his quickly acquired taste for the pipe: to run the risk of being cold o' nights, by requesting him to accept one of my two blankets: but his eye was too wistfully fixed upon my inseparable companion, the knife which I had brought all the way from England. I had to do violence to my affection by sticking to it, though he stuck to me to the last moment of my getting into the boat to make a fresh start up the bay.

Bracefell had asked one of them to come, under the impression that he would know all about the nooks and corners of these new shores, and eyots, which would probably be numerous as they were in Moreton Bay. More wished to accompany us, and would take no denial less than that expressed by a sharp rap with the back of a tomahawk on the knuckles, which clung to the gunwale even in deep water.

With a fair wind we slipped up the passage some miles, and then landed on the eastern shore with western aspect. By this time, finding myself near the scene upon which I hoped to commence operations in the way of river and run-hunting, Petrie was good enough to give me all the help in his power; accompanied me to the high land, the backbone of the island, and on reaching it, to the top of the tallest tree that we were able to climb, to get, if possible, a coup d'œil of land and water. On all sides we had been told that there was "ban tabil" (salt water) and big river, pointed out towards the north. From the tree was to be seen what we thought was the mouth of a river; intervening were no end of mangrove islets, among which strangers might be a good deal bothered. So far buoyed up returned to the boat by sunset; rejoined our camp, turned in with the sleep of the weary, but under some feeling of distrust, kept watch in pairs throughout the night, on what was now "Our Island".

As I go on gathering up the crumbs, with which a few chance notes written at the time feed my recollections, I now and then stop dead short to ask myself "is not this a silly task you are setting yourself?" Every inch of that island, bay, channel, and river, which were forty-five years ago new and strange, have been by this time examined, traversed, and ransacked, and are but common-place, uninteresting matters now-a-days. And yet there are many who take an interest, not easily explained perhaps, in comparing the former with the present condition of places and people, and things. I take up, for instance, the Sydney Morning Herald, and in it I continually meet letters, lectures, publications, and pamphlets which set forth the early time of Sydney in a variety of shapes; and I suppose many besides myself read them with pleasure, made up of curiosity and pride of country. And so, self-taught, I pluck up confidence to go on, having dared to begin.

Must I tell how, ere Aurora had left her saffron couch, we pulled out some few fathoms from the shore, which distance we had barely reached before the dark veil of a mist, so dense that, except the water immediately about the sides of the boat, nothing out of it could be distinguished. Yes, I must do so, for such a marvellous screen may be a novelty, even in Wide Bay. No description by writing nor wordiness could have conveyed to my senses what that imprisoning shroud itself did. There was an unnatural loneliness only disturbed by the blob up of a turtle head, and the quick splash of fright at its nearness to us, or the flurry splash of the silvery king-fish in pursuit of small fry: until the very isolation and helplessness of the position became exaggerated by the sleepy fancy that we were cut off from the rest of the world, and knew not where we were. A sudden chorus of—(I suppose I must use the conventional term)—"coo-ee's" was a positive relief: and the sound came on our ears as if close by in the impenetrable cloud. First, shouts of surprise, then of anger, then of general excitement.

I think it well here to say that every man and woman in each tribe to the northward have their distinguishing call, or "cooee". By this means the whereabouts of one another in the bush, individually can be heralded from a distance hardly credible to white men. I never heard a call of which the sound approached or resembled the popular "cooee". Some, indeed, were intonations of many syllables.

Of course we came to anchor. Invisible as we were to the mischievous eyes around, there was little need of watchfulness; the lonesomeness induced silence; the two combined, sleep; and so we, pilgrims of the Pacific, in piebald pairs—black and white—one by one parceled ourselves on our 'possum pallets. In three hours I was the first to awake and find ourselves still sealed up in the same envelope. Some enormous turtle amused me by the sudden protrusion of their heads, now and then, positively within reach, but to "bag" one was my repeated but vain attempt. Turtle steaks simmering in the calipee were agreeable visions, but barmecidal feasts in this instance. I had not then learnt, as I did afterwards, how the turtle was to be taken captive in the water—and when I had learnt found one must get up very early in the morning "to catch a turtle napping."

Mid-day gave "Beegie"—the sun—power to force his way in ghostly guise a wee bit into our aqueous armour. The surface of the unwrinkled water now seemed to have become one with the embracing cloud—absorbing and absorbed—inseparable. The union had the semblance of substance and solidity. The upper sucking of the intense breezeless heat, for a moment had exposed a wonderful sight: a field, as it were, of frozen snow, perfectly level, far away, and all round us, pressed down compact, immovable upon its kindred wastes:—yet but for a few moments. Before one's eye could realise one thousandth part of the glory of such an illusion, it had vanished, resolved into the elements.

Hardly had we looked upon the world of nature, to which we felt like beings restored, ere a sharp whisper from the north-west gave a hint that our canvas would no longer help us. The smooth water, under the same influence, rippled away the steam with which it had sweated so many hours, and the breath which had proclaimed the coming passed on to make way for the presence of the wind in strength. "Out sweeps, my lads!" 'twas hard work for the rest of the day: wind and tide strong in our teeth: but which way are we to go? We now found that the black who had accompanied Bracefell from Brown's Cape knew less about the mouth of the river than we did, after our perch in the tree yesterday.

From our elevation we had then seen how numerous and pell-mell were the low mangrove islands through which we had to thread our way ere we could emerge upon the open water into which our supposed stream flowed. On this level how much greater the perplexity, may be taken for granted. Whatever our black companions may have known of the country back from the coast, they evidently knew nothing about the water which skirted it. Taking out our Admiralty chart, already referred to, it became no matter of surprise, while viewing the chain of islets close a head overlapping each other in such puzzling persistency that from a ship some miles away in the offing, they should have had the appearance of an unbroken line of coast.

In and out, as rabbits in a warren—north, south, east, west—not for twenty minutes together could we keep one course but that of the "burrows'-bent." Pulling, straining, panting, shouting, the reliefs—for all hands took a turn at the oars except the lazy natives—would take the places of the relieved, who, of course, brought discomfort to an end by smoking. Now and then a passage would trend more complacently in the way of our wish; wheedle us almost imperceptibly out of it; encourage us with a more compliant promise, and deliver us into the arms of so many similar channels, that picking and choosing had no more guidance than the story-jackass had between the two trusses of hay. If ever my old shooting companion and friend (what a good shot he was, too, specially snipe!)—if ever, I say, my old cheery friend Sheridan, for so many later years resident in or near Maryborough—take up this, I can fancy his "wondering that we should have been so bothered." Well, I suppose, if I were ever to see the same place again I should wonder too. But then we didn't know the way, and now we do! A labyrinth of inlets, which just created islets; a maze of mud and mangroves; horrid, through the ebb, with that misery of miniature marling-spikes—"cobbler's" pegs—which scalded our shoeless soles as the hot chestnuts did pussy's paws; myrialy fecund, feculent hotbeds of the vicious, bloodthirsty, jeering mosquitoes, which in their countless hosts "pinged out" their pœans over our prostrate, poorly apparelled persons: tack all this diablerie on to our doubt, disappointment, and day's doubling and ever-redoubled delusions, do I make out no fair case in apology for my petulant recalling of the rebuffs, which almost paralyse patience and perseverance? Sand and mud, mud and sand, was the sole diversion, beyond a solitary attempt to "bag"the most perfectly beautiful specimen of the gigantic crane that I should think had ever stalked on stilts. I was successful in "bagging" neither the splendid bird nor my own ill-humour.

Camp we must somewhere! and camp we did, on one of these mud magazines of abominations. I must not, out of deference to eyes polite, emblematise the expressions which too generally anathematised the "cobbler's pegs" which pitilessly punctured our defenceless feet as we paddled to and fro, bearing each our burden: I must not question the comfort of a roomy seat and more elbow room by rehearsing the accompaniment to each "squat" upon the slimy ooze, nor shall the harmony of our party's "singing out" be now and again recited in appendix to the insect chorus which assailed our ears all night long, forbidding sleep by a perpetual encore.

Yet even in this forbidding grove there was a thing of beauty, which albeit insect, took no part in the common discord, nor the defiance of our distress. On every twig and leaf breathed out in regular pulsations the tiny flames of myriads of fire-flies. At times becoming languid, or lazy, I would shake a branch, and the glory of each living gem would at once quicken into activity and rivalry with its innumerable associates, to my delight, and the dissipation of nocturnal ennui. Truly it was a spectacle of loveliness, of which such a charnel seemed to me a strangely unsuitable abode. The bright blue sparks which respired at intervals of five or six seconds, whether flying or settled, could throw a soft light around to the distance of a foot certainly: perhaps their enjoyment as well as their function that of brightening dark and dismal dens. Confident in the inattractiveness of our encampment, we kept no watch that night. Attempting to walk a few yards in the dark to look for more fire-flies, I tripped over what I thought was a stone. What! a stone in such a bed of mud and slime! how strange! When the dawn revealed the full beastliness on which we had made our bunks, I looked for my stumbling block, and found a large piece of pumice, the fellows of which were lying about in all directions. Whence had it come? These islets had evidently been shaped by deposits, rounded up by many small maelstroms, the conflict of opposing currents. The mud must have come from inland, but not so the pumice: ergo! there must be some largish river disgorging its soupy floods into this wide basin, in which the adverse tides have churned the pats of the river's soil. But where, oh! where is this river?

Again, having awaited the full rise of tide, we tried to fit a key to the lock we had failed to pick yesterday. And this key, it was suggested, might be found by the guidance of the strongest current of the ebb. A queer slap in the face for this happy thought, soon came by the consciousness that we had got into ebb currents, which ran round and round with such speed as to lunge us into greater perplexity than ever. As a colt for the first time subjected to such breaking-in discipline—in like manner were we bewildered. Thinking to let the boat take its own way with the rapid stream, and patiently wait upon its will and word, we went along merrily between mud pies, which rose to greet us with their unsavoury sight, as if the bright tide had sickened at them; we heeded nothing in our listless bitterness, until with one general outburst of indignation and disgust we recognised the wayside station at which we had got out and rested the night before.

"By Penelope! it's a fact!" ejaculated Wrottesley. "Why Penelope?" asked I testily. "Well, you know, Russell," replied he, with his smile of unruffled composure, "didn't she spin a web and undo it again?" My school-room grin at the reference took the wrinkle out of my ill humour, and as it was catching, we got into a laugh, dropped the kedge, ate, drank, and had a smoke.

"But, I say, Wrottesley, she was waiting to find out something; so are we; where's our Ulysses, eh?" keeping up the badinage of school-days. "Ulysses! why, haven't you heard," in triumph, at "capping" my question.

I had not heard. Bracefell had been some days in loud and somewhat excited "talkee" with his Brown's Cape friend: and from him had assured Petrie that there must be another white man with a tribe whose run was mostly on a large water—pointing to the north-west. Anxious as I was to break through this labyrinth, I had taken no part nor interest in aught else. So I was little prepared to be pulled up by the probability that there was a typical Ulysses whose rescue we might manage to compass—dwelling upon the banks of the very river, perhaps, the mouth of which we so much wished to find. What a help he would be to me, I thought in silence, in exploring this river, discovering such parts of it as may be fit for our sheep. Jolliffe, who had at once caught hold of the tail of the same advantage, joined with me, and our eagerness to get on was redoubled. "I shall call this horrible, delusive island 'Humbug Isle'," was Wrottesley's last word and look as we pulled away for another attempt. "I, 'Gammon Inch'," said I, a suggestion which my good Scotch friend jotted down with the ghost of a smile.






{Page 270}

CHAPTER XVI.



I must eat my dinner.
This island's mine by Sycorax my mother,
Which thou tak'st from me. When thou cam'st first
Thou strok'dst me and mad'st much of me.
Shakespeare. (Tempest.)


I have already referred to the idea which prevailed on Darling Downs that the Dividing Range fell wholly away to the northward, and that a system of waters would probably be found which delivered itself into the Pacific, after rounding the point of effacement: a fancy, perhaps, that to a water-shed to the far north-east, corresponding to that into Lake Alexandria to the south-west, would be found allotted the drainage of that portion of Australia which lies east, say, of the hundred and fortieth meridian. I have not, however, said how much of what I could sight from our perch on Fraser's Island had shaken the conclusion I had come to after my trip down the Condamine in November last year. From our nest we had been able to trace a line of high rugged country, which I foolishly set down as the course of the true Dividing Range. This line continued—to my mistaken eyes—unbroken from the far distance in the south to a point inland nearly abreast of—or more correctly, to the north of our position, in the far-away west. From this I could make out no rising ground farther north. Thence all looked like a low flat stretch of land. Was it possible yet that the Downs may contribute its waters, after all, to the eastern system? My conviction, since my trip last year, was that they were all forming a western and south-western drainage. And yet, here was the Dividing Range exhausted—run to earth!

I need not detail the obstacles to our progress any farther. How after another island visit, another look-out, and an alarming introduction to a quick sand, we launched into water clear of mud stretching away to the northward, while the margin of Fraser's Island kept retreating to the eastward; that of the mainland more westerly, beyond an islet—the largest we had yet seen, where the spreading waters formed, we supposed, Hervey's Bay, to which we had completed the approach by a channel never before used—and as far as such charts as we had told us—never before known.*

[* Some years afterwards—in 1847—mention was made of this passage from Wide into Hervey's Bay by Captain Stanley, then in command of H.M.S. "Rattlesnake". In Macgillivray's narrative of her cruise, between 1846 and 1850, appears as follows, (vol. I., ch. 2.):—"A few days after our arrival at Port Curtis—8th of November, 1847—the Asp, as our decked boat had been named, joined us, having made an important addition to the surveys of this portion of the coast. On his passage up from Brisbane, Lieutenant Dayman, under the unexpected circumstance of finding that the "Rattlesnake" had sailed, instead of coasting along the eastern side of Great Sandy Island—thus involving the necessity of rounding Breaksea Spit—determined upon trying the passage between the island and the mainland into Hervey's Bay; this he fortunately succeeded in accomplishing, although under difficulties which his sketch (since published by the Admiralty) will lessen to those who may require to use the same previously little known channel.]

I have since learnt the cause of my error; very much from the teaching I acquired upon two overland jogs to this place, and its neighbourhood by different routes from Darling Downs, shortly after my return from this cruise, before our illustrious schoolmaster, Leichhardt, had come upon the stage to train our eyes to the true reading of this passage of our Queen's scroll.

Suffer me to explain it. From the point of its connexion with the Bunnia-Bunnia ranges—(of which the function is to separate the drainage to the southward into Moreton Bay, from that to the northward into Wide and Hervey's Bay)—the dividing barrier, which had hitherto from its extreme southern growth followed a line parallel on the whole to that of the sea coast, makes a pronounced deflection to the westward, to which it adheres while still creeping towards the north for a great distance. Then, recovering itself, it draws gradually round towards the sea, with which it joins hands somewhere about Cairns or Cape Grafton. From its eastern extremity—on which stands that noteworthy finger-post, Mount Caroora (name got from Bracefell)—to Craig's Range, so much remarked from Jimbour Station, on Darling Downs, where it may be said the junction is accomplished a little to the south of due west from Mount Caroora, this Bunnia-Bunnia offshoot forces the parent stem out of position, and, consequently, it had betaken itself far out of the range of any view inland that we had been able to command from Fraser's Island. Indeed, the basin of country which the rim of the Bunnia-Bunnia heights, and their subsequent career in company with the dividing range encloses, contains a system of drainage per se.

As the first fruit of our tree of examination—I wish I had the bearings then taken, now, that I might fix the exact whereabouts of that serviceable observatory—we had little difficulty in heading direct for the supposed mouth of a river—the hoped for river! By sunset we had crossed the debouchure of a stream, which at first sight promised well. The northern point which formed it was most convenient for our night, and there we camped. It was a punishing locality; the sharp stones sorelv trying, particularly as a bed of rest. We could detect no signs of blacks in the neighbourhood; but found a species of pine unknown to Petrie, who, in his vocations as foreman of works for the Government had become intimate with its varieties. Cut out a sample of the timber and our several names in the trunk, and got eagerly to the boat, after breakfast, to visit yet unvisited land and water.

Jolliffe's long black beard had been an object of mirth, and I must add admiration, all the jaunt through, especially to the blacks.

This new river-head which we were leaving, and perhaps should never see again, tufted with that thick glossy patch of dark pine brushy by some process associated itself with it; and down on the rough outline, the base of a future report, went under our official friend's hand; "Jolliffe's Beard", for its baptismal name. I wonder whether it is called so still? May be it bears some later comer's.

Taking advantage of the flood-tide we pulled with a will. I find that I yet have notes of what the river seemed to me to be in bank, breadth, depth, and so on; but, well known as the "Mary River"—subsequently so named after Lady Mary Fitzroy—is by this time, it would be ridiculous and impertinent to reproduce them. Where a memorandum, now and then ferreted out, gives me the cue to any coincident circumstances or surroundings, I have just to shut my eyes and go back to the place and time: quite surprised am I to find, under the experiment, how phantasms of scenes and their accompaniments by word, voice, or action can be resuscitated and re-installed in their period and place. Assuredly the characters of a fresh career are more indelibly cut into the excited and inquisitive senses of the "new chum" than the like ever afterwards—though more significant—can be branded into the toughened hide of indifference, in which, as an "old hand", he has learnt to enwrap himself.

So I pass over my river, on and up it; now and then appalling the numberless ducks—of many varieties—black swans, gorgeous parrots, and cockatoos—by a shot too tempting to deny myself: looking out in vain as yet for any promise by forest land or grassy plain of the Goshen pasturage of which I was in quest. No blacks either, and our "Ulysses" had been almost forgotten. At some fresh bend we got a glimpse now and then of Boppol, the mountain we had first seen from near Bracefell's Head. If I recollect aright, it had a form thickly brushed, bald near the summit, which was flat topped, but of this I am not sure. By Bracefell's friend it was signified that the river ran round its northern foot. I believe that it does so. The possibility that this might be the Condamine, and that the Darling Downs doctrine might prove to be correct, kept us all wound up to the last turn: the strain of expectation didn't agree with other appetites. I think our consumption was almost wholly that effected by smoke: in smoke, alas! my lofty castles curled away in the air not many months afterwards!

We lay all that night in our boat moored in the middle of the stream. Young Wallüpy, one of our Brisbane blacks, was restless and ill at ease through fear all night. Our plan in furtherance of the object in view, viz., finding out what this watercourse really was, and getting from some high point a satisfactory view of what the surrounding country held out to the squatter, was discussed, and as far as possible resolved on. The programme consisted of pulling on as far as the boat could float, leaving a party with it, and walking westward a day or two, until we had satisfied ourselves; but first landing at, and getting to the top of Boppol. We went to sleep upon this decision: it awoke and rose with us in the morning. We went ashore: withdrew out of ear-shot of our crew of five prisoners—well known to Petrie in the past—at the latter's request. He had been thinking about our proposal of last night, of leaving these men with the boat, while we explored on foot, and said there was one great obstacle to our doing so; the men were not to be trusted. Something that had dropped from Bracefell had put him on his guard: Wallüpy had consented to guide them back to Brisbane by land, if they found a chance of getting away unobserved: by him they had been assured that we should be all killed if we went further, and his fright had communicated itself to his white mates, with the exception of "old Bill", who refused to join them. It became apparent at once that if we were to leave them with the boat, they would "up stick and away" as soon as we were out of sight. In fact, all four were in fear of their own lives, and but for "old Bill" would have decamped with Wallüpy before we had entered the river.

I had taken a penchant to this "old Bill", and had had many a yarn with him on the way. He had but one eye, but the loss of the other had not dimmed the brightness and light-heartedness, which, as a rule, gild the features of an old sailor—emphatically the "tar" of our navy. Strange! I often thought, that one of this stamp should ever have been sent a convict to Moreton Bay. I never found out what brought him there. The most curious thing, to me, was that I found that "old Bill" had been in H.M.S. "Canopus", 74, at the same time as Arthur Hodgson, then a middle.

Had these men found the means of carrying out their project, what account could they have given of us, so as to clear themselves? In dulled mood we broke our fast. What had come to our ears had made us very watchful, and to some extent uncomfortable. After consorting so many days, and in such close quarters, for my own part, I felt loth to suspect such apparently willing and ready men, cheerful as they were in doing their duty, and accommodating themselves without a word or wry face to every call upon their strength and vigilance, of such villainous treachery. Yet, how could it be doubted? I looked upon "old Bill" with admiration, as we continued' up the stream until late in the afternoon, having passed through a shallow rapid over a rocky bed. We went ashore on a flat on our left—i.e., the right bank of the river, and having taken everything out of the boat, took the plug out so as to cleanse by sinking her in the fresh water. We were wishing also to find natives, who could give some information about the course of the river; hitherto we had seen none; Boppol was about three miles distant. Up Boppol, at any rate, we should go next day, if all were well.

On either side of our camping place was thick scrub: a little way back a high sandy bank. When the boat had been thoroughly washed out, and got afloat again, Bracefell and his Brown's Cape friend went away to look for traces of the blacks. He returned once without success, and with his companion set out a second time, but soon came back in haste in a state of no little excitement and alarm. He said he had discovered their camp but had not expected to find so many tribes collected together: the largest number he had seen at one time since the "wreck": he had had a good look at them, without being himself seen: but assured Petrie that if two white men would go with him to within a short distance of the camp, he would enter it and have a "palaver". Jolliffe and I offered ourselves, but he preferred having two of the crew. This looked strange: "couldn't he depend on us, as much as two of the men, who he knew were contemplating desertion?" It turned out afterwards that he had a fear of their being at once speared, and that he valued our lives more than theirs.

Having stripped and "manned" his spear as he had been wont to do, he declared himself ready. He had met, he said some of these tribes years ago in the Bunnia, but could not answer for their recollecting him.

They were about a mile away. Two of the men and Wallüpy—who didn't like it at all—started off with Bracefell.

Not having been an eye witness of what followed, I can only now relate what I collected afterwards from Bracefell, his three comrades, and another who now came in strange fashion upon the scene.

When within a few hundred yards of the camp, astonished to find that the people in it were wholly unconscious of the arrival of a party of whites so near at hand, Bracefell told the two men—who were armed—to stop. He crossed a creek in front, between themselves and the assemblage, with Wallüpy; strode into the midst of them before they had become aware of his presence, and hailed them with a loud shout of his own name, "Wandi!" The whole mob rushed, as if stricken, to their spears, which were stuck into the ground, and 'piled much in the soldierly fashion on a rest during march. So absolutely surprised that the betrayal of the fact became evident under the suddenness and simultaneousness of the commotion. Hundreds rushed out of the scrub, yelling like fiends. We could hear the yells, and were made anxious for the safety of our avant-couriers. At the further end of the camp were two men skinning a kangaroo, just killed. One of them, as soon as Wandi's voice had reached his ears, rose—looked at him in a frantic manner, and at once catching sight of the white men in the rear, rushed past and at full speed towards them. For a while—a few minutes—he could utter no sound, but by gesticulation and sign, inquired from the poor fellows, who were terribly alarmed, how they had come there, by land or by water? They pointed to the river. Wandi, notwithstanding what had been imparted to him by the Cape Brown friend—which, he admitted, he had not believed—became as astonished and excited as any one of the yelling mountebanks, for in this man he recognised one whom he had once known, and had thought dead for many a year past. They then confronted each other; Wandi in his rapid utterances made known to him that their white brothers were close by; how they had found him, how he had found them; repeated all the assurances which we had made of good treatment and kindly welcome at "Meginchen", which had put off her old garment dyed in blood and girdled by the chain; how the great Sydney Commandant had opened the doors of the prison-house, and the mouth of the river to the only food for men—liberty; had burnt the "cats", and buried the "darbies"—arms, legs, body, eyes, and every muscle and fibre meaningly giving emphasis to his earnestness and truthfulness; and then as a wind-up, in low whisper: "Come with me; come back to us; I have come that I may go back; let us go together; now's your chance. Derhamboi, take it!"

Having afterwards seen "speechifying" in a tribe, and observed the influence with which the tone, manner, and expressive acting rather than words of wonderful volubility, compelled the wasted souls of such children of the woods into the tide of the speaker's own intent—I can understand such a scene, though no spectator. The idiom and metaphor, of which I got a smattering afterwards, was, in my estimation at least, far above the grade which one would have suspected that the fancy or intelligence of such hideous scandals to humanity could aspire to. Doubtless, some were more gifted, mentally endowed, than many around; and individuals of such calibre became in the tribe "kings of men". Acted addresses to their fellows were rarely, I had reason to believe, undertaken by more than one or two of the village, just as in English rural hamlets, there is always a keen-witted, smart-lipped, pot-house politician, or tub orator, to lead his beery "quid-nuncs" by the nose. It was reasonable to entertain the probability that this Wandi (who had won his laurels as "the great talker"), and Derhamboi, also, adding the superior instincts of the white to the cunning and tactics learnt from the black, were accustomed "to ride the high horse" in the midst of their confrères, as soon as their sealed acceptance into the family had cancelled the usual sentence: "Let them be knocked on the head!"

"Derhamboi" (which being construed means a "kangaroo rat"—emblem of activity and speed) had, we know from the records, run away from the penal settlement fourteen years before—in Logan's day. Its name, even now, had roused dread in his suspicious mind: he made his reply: charged Wandi with having guided the white constables to his place of refuge, in which he had so long lived a life he loved: worked himself into a frenzy of passion at his having done this traitor's trick: that he himself (Wandi) might have his reward: that his back might be spared the scourge for hunting him (Derhamboi) down; and giving him over to the tormentor and death; for having broken faith with his fellow-runaway and outlaw, and sneaked into the good graces of his kind by pledging himself to hand him over to the manacles, leg-irons and chain: and now with lying lips snaring him with the "tow-row" (net for kangaroo) of his tongue and steal him away from his father and his home.

Tantamount to this must have been—as described—this encounter between the pair of white savages. In part it was verified by my own eyes. Derhamboi—who had thought we were in great force, sent out for the sole object of seizing and carrying him off, dead or alive, had not dared refuse to follow the slow retreat of Wandi and his companions towards our camp. Consequently at the very acme of this unmerited invective and reproach, of this screaming demonstration, and stinging slander, they had both come well in sight. What superlatively irritating figure of speech had been used, I cannot tell, but in a moment Wandi made a step back from his accuser, and quickly poised his spear. Derhamboi, with the lightness of a leopard, did the same, and then there rose to the skies a war challenge the resonant syllables of which left us no need of interpretation in view of the attitude of these antagonists, attitude and bearing which, at least to my own stimulated curiosity and "new chummy" interest, suggested a term of nobler epithet than that of picturesque.

The sense of a shameful wrong—a foul blow—irremediable death-dealing injury from the traitor hands of his fellow-in-bonds of old seemed to have fuelled a thousandfold the glare of ferocity on the one hand; and there stood a demon in the heat of his hate; vet magnificent in gestures to which the heat of that hate restlessly bent the proportions of uncurbed nature. I could even sympathise with such passion because I could trace its natural origin and motive.

Indignation, fiery repudiation, sense of injustice and disappointment at such thrusting away of good service: an unextinguished and unquenchable spark of human sympathy with one of kin-creation and suffering,—which a little of that warmth of kindness which he had never slept near, and considerateness which, but among his present well-wishers he had never dreamed about, may have rekindled; just as the fanning motion of the hand had quickened the fire-fly's latent glow, and there stood a man also moulded and modelled by the plastic force of the natural heart, which wrote itself in the erect crest, the quiet, manly, yet watchful and ready "pose" of good opposed to evil.

Derhamboi's chest was tattoed "moolgarrah" fashion, i.e., horizontal scars parallel to each other: both showed scars of old wounds in their backs and legs. The former had had a spear through his thigh and the smash of a boomerang on the right knee. In the tension of their muscular frames these brands caught the eye, as we gathered nearer to put a stop to any active hostility. Derhamboi was the tallest—though not a tall man—and the best set-up. Wandi slim and as hard as his own spear but much older than his opponent, who was about thirty years of age.

All this occurred on the top of the sand bank, at the back of our camp, which I have mentioned. Seeing that we should interfere with their arrangements, Derhamboi turned, lowered his weapon, came to the edge of the bank and took a scowling long look at us one by one. He almost seemed to have it in mind to dispute our advance. Petrie, in a tone fitted to the occasion, told him to come down: one searching stare at the speaker, one moment's hesitation, and down he rushed with an impetuosity which marked all his proceedings, "my name Jem Davis, of Glasgow", were the only words he could utter intelligible to us: went off at score into a rapid "black" speech, from which, by means of Wandi, we could only make out that he had run away from the settlement, because the men on his chain were cutting each others' throats, or knocking a mate's head in with the pick used on the roads, so that they might be sent to Sydney to be "what they called hung." Fearing for his own life at the hands of his comrades, he had managed to escape and take his chance of mercy among the blacks. Derhamboi was wearing the necklaces and armlets usual among the natives, and as he frantically went on in the scream of his excitement, seeing that we were unable to understand a word he said, and could express himself in no other language: too impatient to submit to the dilatory relief of interpretation: flew off again into a satanic passion, wrenched off his bijouterie and set to tearing and clawing up the ground with his fingers, sinking his voice from the shrillest howl to a very Bedlamite whisper, accompanied by a wicked leer well suited to the change. A long time afterwards he told me that he had never been able to recollect what had passed! I think he was mad.

Bracefell, who was standing by, said something which at once produced silence and a quieter condition for a few minutes. He told us that Davis—I shall so call him now—had wished to make us know that we should be in great danger if we attempted (for Bracefell had told him our intention) to go up the mountain before us, Boppol, from which I have said we were only three miles, and thus separate from the rest of our party.

And now we heard a story quite new to us, and terrible; but which accounted for the great gathering of tribes and fighting men, although the Bunnia season was not yet at hand.

Quite recently, it appeared, some new sheep stations had been formed and occupied on some of the higher affluents of the river Brisbane, and not far from the southern dip of the Bunnia high lands. The news of these arrivals had been passed on thence from village to village, and had rapidly flown to the north. It had roused curiosity as well as cupidity far beyond Wide Bay, and mob after mob had joined together contemplating outrage and spoil. Some shepherds at one of these localities, terrified at the appearance of so large a gathering, had recourse to a horrible method of ridding themselves of such dreaded visitors, who made demands for flour, tobacco, and sugar (of which their southern countrymen had spoken with such gusto), which they had not dared refuse. So when called upon one day for such supplies they had mixed poison with the flour. It must have been arsenic, which was kept on many stations for dressing sheep for scab. Davis at this point took up the talking and went through all the scene of the deaths of some fifty or sixty blacks: a strangely truthful delineation of the first pangs experienced: the ferocious wrath upon the discovery of the trap into which they had fallen: the increasing agonies: the crawling to water: the insatiable burning thirst: then—death. It was al! acted over again with a reality which thrilled us.

Then came the cry for vengeance!

Between the acting of a dreadful thing
And the first motion, all the interim is
Like a phantasma, or a hideous dream.
The Genius and the mortal instruments
Are then in Council.—Shakespeare.

That a general "tourr", or "corroboree" is the preliminary need to all important ventures decided upon by the Australian natives—in the north at least—is, I presume, well known. Also, that on such occasions there is a grand pantomimic rehearsal by the fighting men of such tribes as may be assembled for the set purpose of the programme of what the contemplated deeds of darkness and horror were about to accomplish triumphantly. The love of theatrical display is evinced by the frequent repetition of the scenes of a kangaroo or any other hunt—before they throw off—for the amusement and unbounded admiration of their women and the old stop-in-the-camp men. How supreme the furore out of the lust of anticipation by which their ruthless natures drink of the cup of bloodthirstiness, revenge, and greed, until driven well nigh insensate by the recital of wrath, in the mimicked deeds of violence, cruelty, outrage, and death, can without much effort be imagined. I could not if I would, and I would not if I could, make an attempt to depict the maniacal frenzy with which savagedom prides itself in prefacing and prefiguring scenes of each act of a tragedy delineated with such premature minuteness.

Mrs. Campbell Praed, authoress of "Australian Life: Black and White", describes very truthfully and impressively a performance such as this, and the effect upon her nervous system was that of faintness and sickness, so that she "turned and fled towards the river" from the terror-laden orgies.

She there also tells of the occasion as one that heralded to the "myalls" around one of the most horrible episodes of the earlier northern bush life. I was in the district in which that family met with their fearful fate at the time of visitation. As the authoress speaks of the victims as bearing the nom-de-plume of "Grant", I dare not desecrate her motive by recalling the real name. The whole outline of the narrative coincides with what I remember: the treachery, the surprise; but the recording angel only can draw up the indictment against that night which harboured in safety such incarnate fiends, shrouding that dance of death. I had known that family well at Gowrie—then Hughes and Isaac's station at Darling Downs—and, from my knowledge of them, could in all earnestness, sorrow and sympathise with the one member that escaped the slaughter.

To Mrs. Campbell Praed's book I recommend any who wish to read a sad story of fact, told with skill to which I do not pretend.

I have wandered away from the spot on which I left Wandi and Derhamboi. Before we had left Brisbane a report had reached it that two white men—shepherds—had been murdered by blacks on a station formed not far from the Bunnia Ranges. These two men, it now was explained, had been the sacrifice to the cry of vengeance. Strange, I thought, that we should be first apprised of the white men's crime by a white man from the midst of their murderers! Davis then acted over the whole scene: the "shaky" creeping through the grass; the cat-like watching; the drawing nearer and nearer to the unconscious wretch; the spring; the rush; the fierce blow: the death, and the triumph. Then, he told us, that as we had seen him do, in like manner would these with whom he dwelt do unto us, if we did not keep our eyes "in fear of their coming" all the night long. He said, too, that his "father" Pamby-Pamby had a white man's watch wrapped in grass, part of the spolia opima after the murder mentioned: it had been passed on from tribe to tribe that "their hearts might make a wonder at it," and had come back to his father, who was the rightful owner. His respected father could make nothing of it: "he took it for a stone;" at first he thought it was alive, but it had died very soon (inclining his head sideways upon the palm of his hand). Davis himself knew it could be opened, but had forgotten how to do it. We promised to give his father a tomahawk if he would bring it to us: Davis promised he should. Then asked to be allowed to return to the blacks' camp for the night: explained—by a figure of speech which will not excuse repetition—that he was afraid for our safety; that he would keep them in fear of our strength and our arms; and watch in our behalf against any attempt to attack. He went back. We were guilty, I thought, of a very foolish thing that night.

The stream here was not forty yards wide, overhung by steep, scrubby banks, from which a thousand blacks could have speared us without our ever being able to fire a shot from a boat. Yet into the wretched boat—rather. I thought, to allay our crew's fears than any other prudential reason—it was thought advisable that we should sleep in mid-channel, and there we lay drowsily smoking, barely whispering, nodding, and watching in a fashion, till gladdened by the peep o' day.

I have said that Davis appeared to be about thirty years of age. This was substantially correct; but how could it be shown? If he had been out, as he proved to be, with this tribe sixteen years, he could have been but in his fourteenth year when he was on the chain from which he had escaped! True enough, for it turned out that he was then thirteen years of age! Well: Moreton Bay was a penal settlement to which secondary—i.e., colonial sentences—only had delivered felons already transported for crimes. True again! James Davis, of Glasgow, had been handed over by a sentence passed upon him in Surrey, England, to the reforming refuge of a convict ship, in the sweet and edifying company of some hundreds of malefactors of all shades, in the midst of whom, I hope, he was the youngest, having reached the precocious manhood of eleven years from his birth! Thus he had appeared in Sydney.

At sunrise two musket shots—a signal already explained to Davis—were fired. The poisoning of the blacks, the avowed enmity and the natural wish for revenge on whites whoever they were, the probable evasion of our crew in their alarm, the large concourse of savages, had in the meantime made us change our minds about our purpose. We dared not separate our party in any case; we could not leave the boat unprotected: ergo, we must give up for the present any further exploring. The only alternative left was to go back again. Poor Jolliffe! hitherto so sanguine of success in finding a run for John Eales' sheep, looked disconcerted. I was so.

In a short while Derhamboi made his appearance. We could feel that a large mob of his people were following him, and too near us. We could see but one—a scowling, square-set ruffian, whose very stare and lowering eyebrows told the tale of what he would be and what he would do if he had the chance. And this filthy brute was Derhamboi's revered parent, Pamby-Pamby! He lifted no hand in token of peace and good-fellowship—not he! His deep-set, restless eyes watched every motion, took in every object before him in the boat. He seemed for a moment to hesitate, upon which his affectionate son made a loud, angry remark—not respectful, certainly—which had the effect of bringing him further forward. We held up a tomahawk, the sight of which settled the question. He at once followed Davis into the water, drew out of the grass-woven bag over his left shoulder something carefully packed, handed it in silence to Davis, while Davis received the tomahawk and gave it to Pamby-Pamby, who, without a word, backed away to the bank, retreated in the same fashion up it—'too suspicious to turn—and then suddenly disappeared. With eager hands the parcel was torn open, and there, sure enough, was an old-fashioned silver "turnip". On a paper fitted inside to the back was the name of the murdered owner—Murray—Thomas Murray, I think. I am not sure as to the Christian name. On our return it became the key to the wretched affair.

Davies must have adorned himself afresh after leaving us last night. He had on bracelets and armlets as before, but as soon as Pamby-Pamby had retired, and he was admitted into our midst, he tore them all off again and threw them into the water. I caught and kept them as curiosities. He appeared to be still in a state of doubt and perplexity, but the step he had taken—from whatever real cause after his abuse of Bracefell—could not now be retraced. The truth was, I think, from what passed in the course of our return, that notwithstanding real regret at leaving his wild life, notwithstanding his dread of what might await him at the settlement, he had been so cowed by authority that even after his long spell of freedom and unrestraint, the habit of obedience to authority's tone and the fear of our arms had overcome every other consideration. His subsequent admission that he had taken us all for constables, was the key, I suspect, to his surrender. And yet, if he spoke the truth at all, such an explanation did not quite tally with what he soon conveyed to us. He declared that he had been all the previous night engaged in speechifying: seeing that they were bent on mischief, he had described our numbers, strength and fire-arms in a manner so exaggerated as to cool the ardour of the "fighting men": but went on to assure us that had we stayed another day, it would not have been possible for him to dissuade them from attacking us. All this may have been got up in order to curry favour with his new messmates, and I still believe that fear alone brought him in.

The last farewell—the last parting with his friends of the tribe of "Ginginbarah" had been an exhibition of untutored translation of wild emotions—sentiment, affection (call it by what name you may) to gesture, gesticulation, intonation, cadences in the lingering cries that he should come to them again, too sudden and expressive to need assurance that there was nothing assumed or spurious in the overwhelming burst of regret at losing Derhamboi. No sooner had our oars dropped into the water on Pamby-Pamby's withdrawal, than every tree by the water's side, in the bush beyond, below, this side and that side: every hiding place unnoticed but for what it now revealed, became alive with natives; some peering round the stout trunks, afraid to expose their bodies to a possible "tolloolpil" (shot); others springing unexpectedly into view from some protecting limb aloft, while the dark scrub shot out hundreds of heads, young and old, piccaninnies and gins, whose habitual caution and jealousy of being seen by strange people had been put aside on an occasion of such grief and wonder,—thrust before our astonished eyes an extemporised tableau vivant, of which white man, methought, shall never see the like of again. The swarming bees on such a business so startled myself—new chum as I was—that the impulse of my hands was towards my rifle, the next to taking notice of the position. The god of day, still in his birth, which had warmed long years gone by, these wood-bound children of the sun into welcome rather than war-whoop when the wretched waif, the white wanderer wailing through the wilderness and woe-worn, wending his reckless way towards some chance refuge from his doom, delivered himself to their mercies, now so lit up their bodies "cooché greased" and lithe, so glanced aslant upon their glistening limbs, never resting, ever flitting, that I doubted as to any certain service, had I been called upon to canvas my eyesight for proof of the precision of my weapon. Up rose a plaintive cry which repeating itself again and again, fainted off into the distance in which the more fearful were abiding. Then up rose upon the bank to the right the burly brutish Pamby-Pamby; up rose, too, from among us his adopted son and heir, with lineaments hard-set, purposely unobservant, but listening. The deep voice of the savage howled out his lament, in tones which spoke, to me, more than words; in the spreading embrace of his arms, which added more significance to its yearnings and its claspings, than ever the like emblem of recalling love between parent and progeny on the stage of our civilised world had ever, in my eyes, done before: the shrill reproach so fitted to the fable of enforced flight: off again in other modulations to their hunts, their haunts, the memory too, of many a brave fight in company together: the wide range of Ginginbarah on the fish grounds of their "Monoboola"—(Mary River)—and then last, but not least, the love for his son once removed from Beegie's * bosom, now to be double dead to him among the "makromme" (dead men). Ouah! Ouah! Derhamboi. Come back!

[* The sun.]

Ere this appeal came to an end, the scattered choir took up the refrain, and then, shaking in every limb, Davis began with a low slow whine. What he said, I know not: what he conveyed, all could read. "I came to you when young and driven like a dog from the doors of the 'makromme:' I told you of all my misery and my torture: I said, 'do to me as you think best, I am yours,' and I dropped as one dead again, for I was hungry, thirsty, weak and worn with looking behind for the hated ones pursuing: you came together, but all was to me as a fog: your voices were crying kill! kill! but there was little life to stamp out: you, Pamby-Pamby, knew me again: could I tell who I had been? You knew me, father: you took me, you fed me, you gave me tabil (water) to drink, you gave me flesh to eat. Was I not your son? Beegie had washed me back to you, and I was glad. But the great Commandant (pointing to the south) has sent for me, I must go: I will come back; when the moon has come back to you three times I shall be here."

Of this character was Davis' apologetic hymn. Of course, we looked on in silence, and new interest in so singularly acted out a play of life in the bush wilds, of which the plot had been written, and the parts borne by the dramatis personæ themselves. The performance died away, bit by bit—through exhaustion, in part, I thought—but as we paddled down stream a large concourse at first for some miles, but "tailing off" by dozens, followed and wailed us on towards the water on our way home.

When in camp that evening, about seventeen miles down the river, Davis got the men to shave him. With what odd garments we had he was then dressed, and, as the effect always is upon blacks, so his appearance in stature was reduced to somewhat below the average white man's. Take any aboriginal of large proportions, more muscular build, and taller than his fellows, in the midst of whom he looks a giant, dress him, and lie at once dwindles into a very ordinary being.

His back had been cut up terribly, either by the stone knives used in fighting, or as honourable tattoo scars. What we had already heard from Bracefell as to the habits, manners, and customs which prevail among these tribes was fully confirmed by Davis' statements, as he recovered the power of speaking English. His expressions were ingenious and noteworthy as he progressed in the use of his proper language; for when in difficulty he would literally render the blacks' metaphorical phrases—repulsive and indecent often enough—into the required words which we could understand. Perhaps I may say he thought in the manner of the savage, and uttered his thoughts in our familiar tongue through the channel of savage idiom. Looking forward to more "run-hunting", I plucked up heart at finding that he was well "up" about the country farther north, that he knew of three large rivers which I must set down as running into or not far from Hervey's Bay; but what to me was the greatest satisfaction was his mention of a very large river which ran into the sea far beyond these waters, which the people on the banks declared came from the back of the Bunnia Mountains! Well, the land at the back of them is Darling Downs! Here was the pet idea gathering substance. Alas! a few more months I knocked it on the head myself, when I struck that of the Boyne.

The habit of listening to our boat's now no longer listless lingo quickly revived the torpid faculty of Davis's "Glasgow-grained gab". His forcible periods were quite on a par with the impetuosity of his actions, his rapid talk with the agility of his limbs. It was certainly surprising that he should so absolutely have lost, on our first acquaintance, the power of expressing himself by one word of English, but not so much so as that he, the first night of our camping together, would amuse himself by singing Scotch songs without hesitation. When questioned he did not appear to know their meaning; it had been one cherished habit o' nights of his "Auld lang syne!" Like a playful cat, he would seize a brush vine which he carried with a twist which formed a knot at one end and bent into a half-hitch at the other round his right wrist, rush to the nearest tree, however big, throw it round the trunk, catch the other with his left hand, and run up the smooth bark, resting when he wished on the knot shipped between his great and the next toe, sit upon its lowest limb, have a good look round, and then—come down again, almost by the run! In ascending, his body at times stuck out from the stem almost horizontally; with a quick "yield" he would pitch the vine a foot or so higher at a time, and so travel up with admirable speed. In the Bunnia-Bunnia season he must have been an expert. By this means the blacks go up to the greatest heights of that magnificent Araucaria to reach the triennial—to them delicious—cone: so delicious that the fiercest fights arise between the assembled tribes in the preliminary apportionment to each before the season begins. Once that matter is agreed upon no poaching ever occurs. This is a point ol aboriginal honour.

Then would he, by the glimmering light of fire, enact, as was much his wont, some episode within his ken, illustrating the extreme cunning which, as a grade of merit, was the root of the native warrior's pre-eminence among his compeers; or the laudable skill in treachery, proved by some out-Heroding act by which a powerful rival in "camp" affections, or a suspected private enemy within the family who had made his mark too decidedly to be openly defied, had been "put away" when unconscious of ill-will by some death-dealing trick in the dark, or when had at vantage: stories which, without doubt, had been told over and over again, and held up as badges for which their growing boys should compete; but which the cunning prodigal by my side would ever wind up with the ready and expedient judgment, "them's all b——y rogues!" One of these mimicked descriptions has not been effaced. One of the tribe was very jealous of another (in his relations with one of the belles—who, in one way or other always were at the root of the mischief-making) for whose prowess with spear or nulla-nulla he had a wholesome respect. Night by night, day by day, he watched for the coward's chance, and after long waiting got it. His unwary victim was standing up to his waist in Monoboola observing the fish; he had thrust his spear into the bank by the waterside, and in eagerness to sight the silver-sided game, waded out of reach of it. The patient prowler, prone in the brush ambush some fifty yards higher up, purred panther-like over the promise of prey; no eye to see, no arm to help, no ear to hear. Bellying as the snake into the quick current, he hugged its gritty bed till borne to the very foot-hold of the heedless heels: seized the ankles and dragged them from under his astonished kinsman until he fell headlong into the rushing stream: lifted them high enough to keep his head low enough: and as the twitchings weakened, and the Monoboola had done one-half the work, dragged the helpless body to the edge and completed the other by transfixing it with the owner's dreaded weapon.

He would then launch out, perhaps with ill-disguised feeling of a better sort, into telling how, before he had come back to this boat that morning, so many had hung about his neck; clung to his limbs, his legs, his arms, to stay him, maybe, yet from going farther away from them. How they kissed and moaned in low tones, for fear we should hear: and he would tell it, too, in a fashion which made him, in my eyes at least, a sharer in the grief which had dogged his footsteps all the way back. Thinking this, I did not think the less of him. And then the beating and the cutting of their own heads—self-sacrificing testimony to the pain of their own souls, when all allurements, all enticements, all assurances, had proved unavailing to bend him from his own to their purpose: every pledge for the future, repeated as earnest of their love for him: every method of snapping his stubborn will exhausted—seemed, beyond controversy, to test no spurious metal when it rang out beneath the blow with which his rejection had stricken them. This propitiatory penance, too, while we were onlookers, wondering how souls of such softness had found a hiding place in human images hitherto daubed by the slander of the white man's word, that these lived but by the base appetite and gratification of every bestial sense! I say seemed, for I yet lived to learn that the irrepressible humours of these children of the groves would swelter and seethe over the furnace of impulse, caprice, and passion, and then steam away traceless as the dew beneath their feet, with all else that is vapour and vanity under the sun.

When Davis pledged himself to be in their midst again in three moons, in so pathetic a pose, he knew that he should not redeem the pledge. The tryst appointed he should never see. Yet, at the moment, I believe still that he had meant it. I think, indeed, they believed it themselves—until sundown; when that day and its doings would sleep into torpor, and so lie till some fresh quake would set the pot boiling again.

Our run down the river was unmarked by any occurrence at all noticeable. We visited our former camps, curious to see whether they had been visited by the natives: carried a fine breeze to "Russell's Cap", to which spot it complacently drove, and delivered us to the ungracious dealing of a strong blow from the south-east. Two days satiated our admiration of the marvellous keen-sightedness and skill of some of Eumundy's tribe in spearing and plucking the glittering king-fish out of the water, which broke in heavy surf upon some rocks south of our camping place. Bracefell had exhausted every method of gratifying the curiosity and cupidity of his old friends, and the hours began to drag heavily. So, to see what our boat could do, the wind having somewhat gone down, we got away—only to get back again. The crank craft was not able to put her nose beyond the point; indeed she narrowly escaped swamping by the first sea that met her on a wind. Shooting, fishing, and picking up shells for my sisters in England, helped me through the exercise of patience, better than I had expected, until I became aware that there was no help for it but patience. Cockles, at low tide, groped out of the sand as each wave receded, were capital eating when boiled: and cockle hunting made merriment. The mutilated nautilus shell was lying about on the sea-shore, but I sought in vain for a perfect one. Bracefell had assured me that I never should find such a treasure the natives keep too keen a watch for it for any to escape; the white lips of the valve being so precious for the wearing string round the neck, whether in the manner of ornament, or as a charm, I could not discover. Disjointed vertebra; of whales' back-bone was common. One served me for a good pillow one night. So we got to the end of May reduced to a biscuit, cockles, and such fish as the blacks would bring. Reminded thus of fishing days on this coast, the scene on an occasion some time afterwards, before my eyes at Amity Point, I never again saw enacted but at that one place. It was so curious, that the evidence of my own senses alone permits me to mention it. Cause and effect, however, were, in the matter, quite intelligible.

We know that porpoises drive the smaller fry into shallows in which they are able more easily to prey upon them. The affrighted shoals leap when so pursued out of the water with loud splashings; these their hidden pursuers follow, as stock-keepers round up and keep their cattle together.

At Amity Point, if the watchful natives can detect one of the shoals so common in the offing there, a few of the men would at once walk into the water and beat it with their spears. The wary porpoises would be seen presently coming in from sea-wards, fully alive and accustomed to the summons, driving in the shoal towards the shelving beach. Scores of the tribe would be ready with their scoop-nets to rush in and capture all they could, but not before the men who had summoned their ministering servants had speared some good sized fish, which was held out and taken off the end of the weapon by the porpoise nearest at hand. There was one old fellow, said to be very old; as tame—with those blacks—as a pussy cat! had a large patch of barnacles or some fungus on his head, and a name which they believed he knew and answered to.

In the narrative of the voyage of H.M.S. "Rattlesnake", Captain Owen Stanley, during the year 1846-50, compiled by John Macgillivray, naturalist to the expedition, may be found allusion to his hunting porpoise in 1847. He says, "among the marine animals of Moreton Bay, are two cetacea of great interest. The first of these is the Australian Dugong (Halicore Australis) which is the object of a regular fishery (on a small scale, however) on account of its valuable oil. It frequents the Brisbane river, and the mud flats of the harbour, and is harpooned by the natives, who know it under the name of Yungun. The other is an undescribed porpoise, a specimen of which, however, I did not procure, as the natives believed the most direful consequences would ensue from the destruction of one; and I considered the advantages resulting to science from the addition of a new species of Phocœna would not have justified me in outraging their strongly expressed superstitious feelings on the subject. We observed that whenever a drove of these porpoises came close in shore, a party of natives followed them along the beach, and when a shoal of fish, endeavouring to avoid their natural enemies, approached within reach, the blacks rushed out into the water with loud cries, and keeping their bag-nets close together, so as to form a semi-circle, scooped out as many fish as came within reach." *

[* Volume I., chapter 2.]

There was much jealousy between our two unexpected guests on the way down to Brisbane. At night, they kept far apart, and spoke in the day but in a quarrelsome fashion. Once, indeed, they were on the point of having a set-to with their spears; our intervention hardly stayed their hands; and, if anything, made matters worse for the rest of the cruise. One would sit in the bows, the other in the stern-sheets: both looked moody, and were plainly considering matters in doubt and disquietude as the distance day by day between Brisbane and ourselves diminished.

Ere June had well got into running, we found ourselves back at our starting point.

A faded memorandum on a leaf, now yellow, gives me the cue to recollecting the sum of my conclusions for the evening of my return to the settlement, where we landed in front of Petrie's hospitable quarters: "Our intended tour in the Bunnia country has not been carried out, but I have gained the satisfaction of having been one of a party who have rescued two poor white devils from obliteration among their fellows: have seen what looks like a first-rate harbour, and a river in which I yet hope, if I can but find fit country on or near it, good-bye to drays, bullocks, Cunningham's Gaps, and Hell's Holes—hurrah! for immediate water-carriage for wool and—'wittals!' Jolliffe is off at once for his sixteen thousand sheep, and makes a start for Boppol, as soon as I have got that poacher, Dicky Jones, off our Condamine Station—(Oh! where is that Commissioner Macdonald?)—Away; I'll go after him!" [Written in the old Brisbane Gaol, June 2nd, 1842.]

"Were there many men on the settlement records whose names had been marked off as absconders?" I believe there were: preferring to take their chances at the hands of the blacks, many disappeared, and were thus effaced. There was no such thought, as that under which a gang took to the bush from Sydney in the early times, "that they might get overland to China!" Oh, no! living or dying by the hands of the natives was the onh alternative.

Nominal enumeration of such cases would answer no end. Suffice it to say that they did go. The reign of terror was that of Logan, by common consent; but let us see to the times after his death. In Sydney, we find that on July 12th, 1831, is noted the "execution of McManus, who was convicted the previous Thursday(!) for attempting to murder a fellow-prisoner with a hoe, at Moreton Bay, with the avowed object of being sent to Sydney, there to forfeit his own life." The following is the one exceptional instance of reaching their fellow-countrymen:—"Arrived, 16th August, 1831, three desperate runaways from Moreton Bay, who were received in gaol last week. They had reached the vicinity of Port Macquarie, subsisting upon anything they could meet with, principally roots. Those terrors to bushrangers, the native blacks, brought them into the settlement, and delivered them over to Capt. Smith, who lodged them in gaol. They again got away, and reached Port Stephens, and were accordingly sent to head-quarters for disposal. Although many of those who are escaping from the 'gaol to the gaol-yard' (for to fly from Moreton Bay to Sydney is nothing better), are continually falling victims to the spears of the savages around them; yet, no example will deter them from unavailing and desperate efforts to obtain their liberty—a liberty which is only temporary, and entails upon them accumulated misery."

Then comes the story of a solitary and strange success:—"Thursday, 16th February, 1832.—We regret to announce the total loss of the whaling schooner, 'Madeira Packet', belonging to Mr. Thomas Street, of Sydney, which took place on a shoal of rocks, to the Northward of Moreton Bay. It appears that the vessel having struck on the shoal and gone to pieces, the crew took to their boats, with the mutual understanding to proceed to Moreton Bay. Two out of three arrived safe, but the other boat has not since been heard of. On the arrival of the two at Moreton Bay, a party of prisoners seized one, and put off to the 'Caledonia' (which was lying near at the time), boarded her, and sent the crew ashore, compelling the Captain to put to sea with them. She was commanded by Mr. Browning, a clever young seaman in the Newcastle trade; well found; and little doubt is entertained of their successful escape."

Again, at about the same date, we lind the return of the "Governor Phillip", which had, on the 3rd of the preceding January, "taken a cargo of fashionables, invalids, and madmen to Port Macquarie to reflect on the past, and think of the future, as well as forty prisoners, to that place of secondary punishment, Moreton Bay, among whom is that most public of all characters, James Hardy Vaux—and by which we (in Sydney) have received sixty-one prisoners from Moreton Bay. It appears that the severe example made of McManus had not deterred men from committing acts of violence against their fellows. Two prisoners are in gaol for trial, one for attempting the life of chief-constable McIntosh, and the other named McGuire, for the murder of his comrade. McGuire, it appears, had absconded, and being soon apprehended was placed in the gaol-gang, a life which became irksome(!) to him, and in a fit of despair, he resolved to increase those miseries by cleaving the head of another prisoner with a pick-axe."

Really the following is a relief:

"22nd December, 1833.—A man is under examination by the police who stands charged with outwitting the Commandant at Moreton Bay, under the following circumstances.    . His name is Patrick Flanagan, and he was sentenced to be transported to Moreton Bay for fourteen years; his brother, Owen Flanagan, being sent there about the same time, for three years. On arriving at the settlement, they exchanged Christian names, each representing himself as the other. Accordingly, at the termination of the three years, Patrick procured himself to be sent up to Sydney in the name of his brother Owen. The stratagem was so far successful, and as soon as Patrick was clear of the coast, Owen came forward and demanded his own freedom, alleging that if the Commandant had suffered himself to be imposed upon by his brother, that was nothing to him, and therefore, as his sentence was really only for three years, which had now expired, he was resolved to work no longer. Captain Clunie, however, as, according to his own account, he had already practised one deception, was not bound to believe his statement, and accordingly detained him, sending a report to Sydney, that the proper enquiries might be made."

We must try back on the 26th of April, 1834, from humbug to horror:

"The 'Friendship' has been taken up by the Government to convey prisoners to the settlement at Moreton Bay. We have always slated that dreadful convulsions must necessarily be expected at Norfolk Island from the very constitution of the settlement. It differs from Moreton Bay, in being the place to which the most abandoned of the human race with us are forwarded. Hence the extraordinary desperation so frequently exhibited by individuals, and lately communicated to the prisoners almost as a body. Hope is in a manner shut out from hundreds in this modern pandemonium. They see before them a life of misery and degradation: for we hear that certain humane and consistent instructions prepared and transmitted to Colonel Morrisett during the temporary administration of Lieutenant-Governor Lindesay, with the advice of the executive Council in the beginning of 1832, have actually been thrown on one side, and the emulation which even a distant promise of freedom might have produced, is lost amidst the gloomy despondency and horrors of the penal system in operation there. We happen to know something of the regulations alluded to, and regret (if true) that, for the sake of humanity, they have not been posted on the public edifices both at Moreton Bay and Norfolk Island (as directed), in order to show the convict the fruits of good behaviour. Should these orders be discovered on the shelves of the officers in charge, and if, as a reasonable inference, the desperate conduct of the prisoners be attributable to their negligence, such negligence having a tendency to increase the remorseless ferocity of men who disregard all human control, and will even commit murder in order to be hanged, as a relief for their intolerable sufferings; then, in the eyes of God and man, must those officers be considered accountable for the lives lost, or the blood shed upon any occasion of tumult or rebellion. Eminent for the consistent humanity as the Government of General Bourke is, we are certain that this matter will not be allowed to drop without a rigid enquiry."

I venture to reproduce the following as a justification to some extent of remarks which I have already had occasion to make during the progress of this journal, by making which it is just possible I may be held to trespass ungenerously upon the withered sward of the past. I take it from the Sydney Gazette of 1835:—

"17th November.—By the Government schooner 'Isabella', which arrived from Moreton Bay on Friday last. Captain Clunie, of H.M. 17th Regiment, has returned to head-quarters, after having discharged the onerous duty of Commandant at that settlement for five years. Captain Clunie unites in his own person those two rare qualities to be met with conjointly, viz., that of a rigid disciplinarian and a mild-mannered gentleman. The consequence has been that, since the time he took command at Moreton Bay, we have heard of none of those tumultuous risings and murderous doings among the prisoners there which distinguished his predecessors reign of terror, and which have since occasionally marked the character of the sister settlement of Norfolk Island. Colonel Morrisett obtained the permanent commandancy of Norfolk Island from the British Government in consequence of the stern manner in which he governed the penal settlement of Newcastle; but if the successful career in which a secondary penal settlement is regulated, with a view to work reformation as well as to enforce proper punishment for the offenders entrusted to his charge, be any criterion for continuing an officer in his command, Captain Clunie is beyond any comparison the most qualified person of all others who has perhaps yet filled that important situation. Captain Clunie has been relieved in his command because the gallant regiment to which he belongs is about to proceed to the East Indies."

Having cited sufficient authority, I think, to sustain the charge of excess of discipline which drove wretched prisoners to the dens of the savage, let me try to show how it happened that, notwithstanding the general rule that such refugees were punched on the head at once, some few had been spared, as in the case of our two recovered fellow-men.

I must premise the explanation by repeating that all information on the subject was given me by Bracefell and Davis. I must ask attention to the assurance that I have already given, that in no material point did the narrative as to the cause of being spared differ; that Bracefell's statements had been made days before Davis' appearance on the scene; and that the latter's excited holding-forth was made at a time when exceeding ill-will and silence prevailed between the two, and of any communication then there could not have been a suspicion. And if there had, cui bono, any design to mis-inform?

For my own part, I unreservedly believed, and to this day believe, that what they said on that, and all other matters concerning life and habits among the natives whom they knew, and whose tribes had dwelt not far away from each other, was fact and truth to the letter.

"Why were they spared?"

Cannibalism prevailed among these northern tribes. Petrie told me that an old black, at whom I was looking near his house one day at Brisbane, had not long before appeared there with a child's foot in his hand, and treated it as a delicacy; and even offered it to himself as a present! Whether par preference, or lack of other food I could not understand in this case, but the former conclusion seemed to be not unreasonable.

Now, in the Bunnia season, when tribes from long distances come in for their feast, par excellence, and are so brought together in large numbers, one can well understand the immediate exodus of all game, large and small, with the exception of feathered fowl, from the thickly brushed region in which the Bunnia-Bunnia grows. This araucaria is found only—as yet at least—on the ranges which separate the Moreton from the Wide Bay waters. It bears triennially; but, of course, a proportion gives forth its produce every year. The araucaria, which is found in a small quantity on the coast of Brazil, is very similar, but the difference is marked. The cone needs no description, nor the tree, now that it is so well known. On the occasion of our falling in with Davis, there were sixteen tribes collected together, and more were expected from the north, en route to the great annual event. I think I am not far out in supposing that each tribe could contribute from seventy to eighty fighting men. Well! The marsupial family is keen-scented, and objects to the neighbourhood of their natural and "potent" enemies. I have myself watched in the moonlight by the edge of a pine-brush, "dense enough to exclude light almost in some places, which I knew held a large number of natives, and a stranger scene than the issue thence of so grotesquely progressing a procession, consisting of thousands of the same family, from the "rat" to the "old man", I have never witnessed. Thousands following thousands in their jerky retreat to leeward—all in the same direction—bearing away, doubtless, to some other well-known asylum of equally terrible waste and brushy ranges, footed a weird-like dance on the moonlit pastures of grass between each patch of black cover; in no hurried scamper, however, but "taking it easy", judging from the pranks they played.

The aboriginals have an aversion to compulsory vegetarianism. The Bunnia-Bunnia becomes to them like sweets to a pastry cook's boy. They tire of, and almost nauseate at, their daily bread. They must have "flesh": snakes, grubs, and iguanas form no fighting fare! And so they utilise their pugnacious propensities; but in the Bunnia season, as a rule (though I am inclined to think they are not scrupulously religious in the observance) they reserve their friends who may fall in the diurnal fight for their own nocturnal delicate attentions, by serving up the illustrious corpses in a manner of cookery peculiar to their persuasions. For they protest against such an inheritance as the scorned qualities of a departed foe. Ah, no! they love their friends too well to part from them even after death; and, by absorbing the viand of their own brother's and warrior's arm or leg, cooked en régle for an evening meal, so they assimilate to their aspiring souls the virtues which that beloved one v. as wont to display before his final roast! Think you, then, that these women of ours are worthy of such ambrosial fare? Moro toro! (stupid stomach!—slow belly!); pitch the "innards" to them as they sit behind waiting the scramble for the bits!

But, what about the cooking? Well, where's the family recipe? Ah, here it is! Take the dead man's nearest male relatives, and turn him over to them: let them lay him in deep silence on his face; let the women make a wide-spread bed of tire: and now ye butcher boys! cut our departed brother's back open from the "nape" to the "small": follow suit down the thighs and legs to the heel; same across the shoulders and down the hinder muscles of back and arm. Be handy, lads! if he get cold he won't strip so easily. Now then! seize the edges and heave away the hide. And so, limb by limb, divested of the panoply of epidermis, rete mucosum, and cutis, stands out in bold relief the flayed frame of the veritable "makromme", the "dead man" bound to Beegie's bright abodes! Before that pleasanter arrangement supervenes, however, another! See to it, ye cooks! Off with his head, butcher boys! Now his arms I Well done! Bone them; thighs and legs too! Turn him over! Off with the hide, from chin to toe. So! Fire ready? So! Bring hither two emu spears; lay them on each side; bind him well to them; plant two strong saplings in the ground at each end of his baking bed; cross the ends at the top; bind them together! Now then! One—two—three—up! Ship the spear ends on to each fork. Give him a turn now and then—and there's a banquet á la môde!

But what has all this to do with Bracefell and Davis? The flayed limbs exposed to the heat as they lie over the fire beneath, having lost every drop of blood, become white. By some inexplicable method the dead friend, useful to the last in feeding his friends' lives, becomes absorbed by "Beegie's" attracting and resistless power, and takes to basking beneath his beams in happy indolence for a season.* That season—(happy thought of their cunning old men) was coming to an end when white men were sent drifting over the "tabil bann" (salt water) out of the mansions of "Beegie" (who came out from the east every day to search for his own on this dry land) to their old native shores and early haunts, wandering in search of their own kindred tribe. Now and then a "makromme" would chance that way, but they knew him not: so declined further acquaintance, because none recognised in him the features of some long lost comrade, brother or son. Having no business to claim admission by such credentials to their household, they cut him in the approved fashion of the day out of their beau monde, by the help of spear or nulla-nulla.

[* Savage instinct of a future.]

But, lo! one day, the mighty "Eumundy", struck by the never-forgotten lineaments traced on a "mackromme's" face, though denuded of their birth-right glory, acknowledged the glad presence of a long-ago lost and devoured son-and-heir! So, too, had the exultant Pamby-Pamby found, and cherished his prodigal in the person of the unconscious Derhamboi.

In a word, fancied resemblance of feature in both instances had been the passport by which Bracefell and Davis had reached each a safe refuge, freedom and—a father.

The gins were forbidden present participation in such aldermanic luxury of diet; but they were allowed to pick the less honourable portions of the reliqiæ sacræ of the dear departed.

Derhamboi decidedly became amusing when he set forth, by the usual mimic language without words, an act of sacrilege, by means of which, when left alone one day in camp by the hunting men, who were off to a distant "meet", these gentle gourmandes assisted an aged, weakly sister in making a "move out" of the limited space and span of life left to her at a quicker pace than the creature approved. A gentle tap from behind; a half-and-half preparation for the oven; a hasty snack; an ingenious concealment of the remainder of the joint in the hollow limb of a large tree, some height up it; the hurried scramble through the afternoon, each one by turns, to the hidden treasure for another pick; the fear of detection, and their lords' return; and the ultimate discovery of the forbidden fruit, betrayed by the flies, which swarmed about it as the bees around their "sugarbag".

I confess that, in spite of the disgustful truthfulness of the portraiture, I laughed aloud.

Bracefell and Davis were always loud and earnest in their protestations of having kept their own hands clean of such defilement: I put no strain upon my credulity by implicitly believing their assurances.

The "hide" of the dead man was stretched on spears, and dried in the smoke. After which process, it was usually cut into strips, laid up in rolls, and given as a souvenir to the nearest surviving relative, who always carried it in the grass-bag over the shoulder. The bones were also preserved, but most frequently "planted" in some hollow branch of a tree, with the skull. Some time afterwards, I found one of these "planted" skulls in the country, at the back of Wide Bay, and took it with me, as well as a portion of "smoked hide", (yielded up to the persuasive "plug"—tobacco) to England, in 1849, and so got myself into disgrace, as the owner of such loathsome relics. Nevertheless, they were accepted as curio s, when offered, and prized when accepted. One young lady walked one morning into my room, in London, took up the "roll" from my writing table "Oh! is this the tobacco I have heard of so often from my brother out there?" On my explaining, she nearly took to fainting: she never handled knick-knacks of mine afterwards.






{Page 300}

CHAPTER XVII.



Famine is in thy cheeks,
Need and oppression stareth in thine eyes,
The world is not thy friend, nor the world's law.
Shakespeare. (Romeo and Juliet).


I cannot wave my hand to Wide Bay without further allusion to the wreck of the "Stirling Castle".

Not long after our return, Bracefell and Davis—both having received "manumission" upon Petrie's report to the Government—were taken by Simpson—Lands Commissioner—to his new residence of Woogooroo on the Brisbane. Bracefell was killed by the falling of a tree. They had been identified with the two lost men whom they represented themselves to be, and their recovery was soon a forgotten coincidence.

But I searched a long while afterwards for some public notice of the wreck of the "Stirling Castle", and found that it had been dealt with in the Sydney Gazette. The accounts given in it made no mention of the name of Bracefell. They had been issued six years before his return with us. As every member of our party believed, and as I this day implicitly believe the truth of Bracefell's yarn, the discrepancies of these accounts—in view of it, as it lies now, in old notes before me—were startling. The error as to the spot on which the "brig" had been wrecked is of little importance. Reports at Brisbane of the disaster through the blacks, were not likely to fix it correctly. But how about the escape of Mrs. Fraser? I have gathered, the "Stirling Castle" left Sydney on the 15th May, 1836. The news of her loss reached Sydney on the 10th September. The statement of one Robert Hodge was published three days after: and the first detailed account appeared on the 18th of October.

Sydney Gazette. 13th September, 1836. "In our last number we reported the less of the brig 'Stirling Castle', James Fraser, commander, on the north-east coast of New Holland, since which, her agents, Messrs. S.A. Bryant and Co., have favoured us with still further particulars, which lead us to hope that the master, his wife, and a great portion of the crew may yet be saved. One of the seamen—Robert Hodge—who made his way from the wreck to the Macleay river, has arrived in Sydney, and been placed in the General Hospital. This man states that after the 'Stirling Castle' left Sydney, they had very fine weather and fair winds; that on the Saturday night after leaving Sydney, or the Sunday, about half-past nine o'clock, the brig struck upon a reef, and stove in her bottom, and broke her back in two places. The next morning, the water was up to her lower deck beams, and the mate slated they were about nine hundred miles from Sydney, and one hundred from the mainland. They remained with the brig two days, and then took to the long-boat and pinnace, and made the land, but he does not know whereabouts.

"They took very little provision with them, as the mate said they could get plenty from the missionaries. [There could be none nearer than Moreton Bay.] The boats kept company for some time. The pinnace, being the fastest sailor, was frequently sent away to seek water, and in this manner, after beating to windward all day, they missed the long-boat at night, and ran many miles to leeward to where they had left her. They then gave the long-boat up as lost, and prosecuted their course to the southward, running before the wind night and day. The crew of the pinnace at this time consisted of the carpenter, boatswain, cook, a boy named Fraser (the captain's nephew), two seamen, and the narrator. The boy was drowned soon after the boats parted company; he slipped from a rock while he was gathering shell-fish.

"Soon after this the boat was stove, and the men obliged to pursue their way by land through the bush, subsisting upon grass and wild herbs. One of the crew—a sailor—was burnt to death while sleeping in a hut; another was drowned in attempting to cross a river; the boatswain and carpenter were left on an island in the middle of the 'Big river' (Clarence) to the northward of the Macleay, in consequence of the blacks refusing to put them over, through a dispute about a waistcoat. The cook sunk exhausted about fifteen miles from the Macleay river; and Hodge, when he arrived in Sydney, was in a most deplorable condition.

"The revenue cutter 'Prince George'—Captain Roach—returned on Saturday last from a coasting trip to the northward in search of the unfortunate crew of the 'Stirling Castle' bringing up Mrs. Fraser (wife of the captain), John Baxter (second mate), Joseph Corallis (steward), Robert Drag, Harry Goulden. Robert Dragman, and Robert Carey (seamen).

"Captain Roach informs us that he was unsuccessful in discovering the two men who were reported (by Hodge) to be upon the coast to the northward of the river Macleay: that he traced their footsteps and observed other traces of their residence for a long distance, from which he supposes the men must be travelling in a southerly direction, and should they survive, will reach Port Macquarie on the Macleay.

"Captain Roach inquired at the former place for the unfortunates, but no tidings had been heard. Captain Roach found the huts of these men; but they appeared to have been deserted some time since, from the remains of some dried fish, &c. The party, which has come up in the revenue cutter, was at Moreton Bay, and had been rescued from their miserable state by the perseverance of Lieutenant Otter and his surveying party, who went out and fell in with Mrs. Fraser(?) and the six men, who had been treated in the most brutal manner by the natives for some months. Captain Fraser was speared to death because he was incapable of carrying wood for the savages when in a very sickly condition; and the chief mate (Brown) was burnt to death. Mrs. Fraser and her companions, although allowed to exist, were subject to equal tortures. The natives fed them on the entrails of snakes, fish-bones and such-like, and when discovered by Lieutenant Otter were in the midst of an immense number of blacks, who were celebrating a grand corroboree, or dance, round the prisoners. Captain Roach found the body of the man mentioned in our previous report, who was burnt to death in a hut, and buried it on the island. The carpenter and boatswain are the only two persons now missing from the 'Stirling Castle' and it is somewhat doubtful whether they will ever reach any of the settlements."

So, from the crew of the pinnace, Hodge was the only survivor. The Gazette goes on:—

"Since writing the above, we have received the following memorandum from the second mate (Baxter), who has provided us with the full particulars of the wreck and the miseries he endured with the rest while in the hands of the savages.

"The brig 'Stirling Castle' was wrecked on Saturday evening, the 21st May, on Eliza Reef, in latitude 24 deg. and longitude E. 155 deg. 22 min., and steering at the time of the accident N.W. by N.½N., the ship running 7½ knots. Left the brig on Sunday, 22nd. Made the first land on the 30th, on an island—unknown—about 11 a.m.

"The boats were here turned over and patched up as well as possible, after which, on the third day, the remaining stores and baggage were again put into the boats, and put to sea with the intention of making Repulse Bay 'for assistance' (from whom?) The pinnace afterwards parted company with the launch (long boat), leaving with us a piece of beef weighing four pounds, 13 gallons of beer and water mixed, one gallon of brandy, and seven pounds of wet bread. In the pinnace were Edward Stone, boatswain, James Major, Robert Hodge, John Copeland, seamen, Jacob Allen, cook, a boy named John Fraser, and the carpenter.

"The boat's crew was taken by the natives on the 26th of June, and on the 15th of August, released by a person named Graham, accompanied by Lieutenant Otter and his party. Arrived at Brisbane Town, Moreton Bay, on Monday, the 22nd of August."

Was Mrs. Frazer among the "crew" released on the 15th August? The Gazette adds:

"Was Mrs. Fraser among the 'crew' released on the 15th August?

"Mrs. Frazer called at our office on Saturday afternoon, and gave us the following particulars: The long-boat's company consisted of Captain Fraser, Brown, the chief officer, Baxter, the second mate, and herself. She does not here speak of the 'rest of the crew' as she did in London. After they had been ashore some time a great number of natives were observed, and her husband suggested giving themselves up quietly as they were entirely defenceless. They had scarcely time to make the suggestions, when several tribes came down upon them, one of whom immediately captured her husband; another tribe took Brown, and a third Baxter. They would not allow Mrs. Fraser to go with either of them, and left her alone upon a sandy bank the whole of that day: and the day following, a number of old women came down to the beach with some children. They gave Mrs. Fraser to understand that she must go with them, and carry one of the children upon her shoulders, which she of necessity complied with. Mrs. Fraser states that she travelled many miles into the bush with these women and the child, and was frequently exhausted.

"She remained about three weeks with these people when she fell in with her husband, who was dragging a load of wood for the natives, in which he had been principally engaged since the time he parted from his wife.

"Captain Fraser was so dreadfully fatigued that he could not move a load that had been consigned to him, and implored his wife to assist him. Mrs. Frazer states, that she had neither strength nor liberty to do so, she herself being employed in the same manner, and the natives keeping a sharp look out after her. She was under the necessity of leaving him, and when she returned afterwards, found that he was speared in the back of the shoulders, which had been inflicted upon him for not making any progress with the wood. Mrs. Fraser remained with her husband until sun-down, when he expired of his wounds. His last words were 'Eliza, I'm gone.'

"The savages immediately dragged her away from the body, dug a hole and buried it. In eight days from this brutal affair, the same cannibals also killed Brown, by holding fire-brands to his legs and so burning him upwards. The cause of their destroying Brown was in consequence of his showing signs of dissatisfaction at the death of his chief.

"The party now consisted of only two persons—Mrs. Fraser and Baxter—but they were parted from each other at many miles distance, a large river running between them. These two unfortunate creatures remained with the natives about two months before they were rescued, enduring the greatest miseries from hunger, Mrs. Fraser being employed cutting down and carrying wood, fetching water, and fishing for the natives; and Baxter was engaged in the same manner on the other side of the river.

"The steward of the brig—Joseph—had walked overland to Moreton Bay, and gave information of the situation of Mrs. Fraser and her unfortunate companions, when a man named Graham, who was well acquainted with the bush, volunteered to head a party to the shipwrecked people, and pledged himself to rescue them from the blacks. Lieutenant Otter, and a party were immediately despatched, and with Graham went in search of the unfortunate people.

"Mrs. Fraser slates that Graham went into the midst of the natives, and, at the risk of his life, snatched her up, and ran away to his party with her, and afterwards recovered the second officer in the same courageous manner.*

[* "Snatched up and ran away with" (é more Sabino!) from the midst of such a wild, excited, and "immense" assemblage (Consualia Australiana!) and on both occasions passively robbed of their prisoners.]

"Mrs. Fraser requests us to make public her expressions of gratitude to those who have assisted her out of misery and relieved her distresses, and begs us to thank them for their humane conduct towards her: the Commandant of Moreton Bay, Lieutenant Otter, Mr. Commissariat Owen. Captain Roach, and several other gentlemen of Moreton Bay."

More than a year later the Sydney Gazette, Thursday, 1st February, 1838, having fresh light thrown upon this horrid tale of the sea, says:—

"The statements made by Mrs. Fraser and others, regarding the loss of the 'Stirling Castle' on her voyage from Sydney to Singapore, differ so materially in detail from the statements made by the same parties here, that we have been induced, by the request of several of our readers, to publish them."

The following account is taken from Alexander's East India and Colonial Magazine for September, 1837, London.

"The attention of the chief magistrate in the city has been, during the last month, occupied in examining the deplorable case of Mrs. Fraser and others, who have miraculously survived an awful shipwreck, and the cruelties practised upon them by the savages of New South Wales, amongst whom they were thrown, and by whom the majority of the ship's crew have been enslaved in lowest bondage, and, in short, tortured to death by means at which the old Inquisition of Spain might blush. 'Truth is stranger than fiction', observes one of our poets, and there are circumstances related in the following narrative which no human imagination could depict; and yet Providence has willed that such extraordinary and romantic events should actually take place, as it were, to teach mortality that there are such things in heaven and earth beyond the reach of human philosophy or anticipation. We observe that through the instrumentality of the Lord Mayor and the press, a general sympathy has been excited by the surviving sufferers, viz., Mrs. Fraser (the widow of the late captain of the 'Stirling Castle') and the second mate, Baxter. We willingly lend our assistance to the praiseworthy object in detailing the facts of the statements that have appeared, describing in plain but faithful colours the shipwreck of the 'Stirling Castle', and the adventures which in consequence resulted to the crew."

It appears, from the second mate Baxter's account, that the vessel struck some few days after leaving port on a reef of coral, and the consequence was that her masts were cut away: soon becoming a total wreck, the crew took to the boats; parting, it is supposed that the missing boat's crew were lost at sea, or possibly met with such a death as that of most of their companions, whose story is related in Mrs. Fraser's narrative, as follows:—

"On the 15th of May (Sunday), 1836, the 'Stirling Castle' left Sydney for the purpose of going to Singapore. On the 23rd, (Monday), when they were approaching Torres Straits, it blew very hard, and there being a current near the 'Eliza' coral reef, which the vessel was unable to resist, she struck on the reef at about nine o'clock at night, when the captain was incapable, on account of hazy weather, of making observations. There were about eighteen men on board, two boys, and Mrs. Fraser, the captain's wife, who was far advanced in pregnancy. Two of the men who were labouring at the wheel were killed when the ship struck, and the cabins were dashed into the hold, together with all the bread, beef, pork and other provisions. The crew, when the tempest ceased, contrived to cut away the masts in the expectation that the vessel would right herself, by turning up her beam ends, and she did in some degree change position, but not to any serviceable extent. They, therefore, determined to get away as well as they could in the long-boat and the pinnace, which they had contrived to keep secure, the two other boats which were attached to the ship having been swept away by the fury of the elements. They knew that they were to the northward of Moreton Bay, a portion of the settlements of the English crown, and they determined to make for that place with as much expedition as possible.

"Accordingly, having worked with most desperate industry until lour o'clock on Sunday, they disembarked from the vessel, and took to the boats. The ship's carpenter, the cook, the cook's mate, John Fraser (the captains nephew), the boatswain, Edward Stone and Bill Lorton, a seaman, took to the pinnace, while the captain, his wife, the chief mate (Brown), and second mate (Baxter), the two boys and the rest of the crew, took to the long-boat. Four days after they had committed themselves to the care of Providence, Mrs. Fraser was delivered of a child, while up to her waist in water in the long-boat. The infant was born alive, but after a few gasps was drowned, and the first mate wrapped up the body in a part of his shirt, which he tore from his back for the purpose, and let it go with the tide. The poor mother could not' account for the extraordinary vigour with which she was able to bear up against this calamity, added to the other calamities to which she was doomed to be exposed. Fortunately she was for some time in a state of insensibility, and it was not until a considerable time after the child was consigned to the deep, aware that it was brought into the world, from which it was so rapidly hurried away. For a great many days they endeavoured in vain to reach Moreton Bay, being all the time without any food, except a small quantity of the lees of hops, which they found in a cask. They suffered dreadfully from thirst, as well as hunger, while in this awful situation. At last they reached a large rock, to which they fastened their boats, and they went in quest of oysters and water; but their disappointments multiplied upon them, and they stretched themselves along in expectation of a speedy release from their sufferings by the interposition of another tempest. In the morning those who belonged to the long-boat were astonished to find that the pinnace and the men who had accompanied her, had altogether disappeared.* These unfortunate fellows were never heard of more, and their comrades in calamity could not conjecture what their motive could be for making an experiment by themselves without the aid of the experience of the captain and his mates, whom they left behind.

[* Compare Robert Hodge's statement.]

"The captain's view was, all along, after they had been obliged to quit the ship, to reach Moreton Bay, but, finding that the 'wind and current were dead against his object, and his companions being reduced to the extremity of lying on their backs in the boat with their tongues out to catch the damp of the dews that fell, he resolved to make for the nearest land. It was a choice of most awful evils, for he knew that the shore, which it was probable they would reach, was visited by tribes of savages.'

"They bore away before the wind prepared lo meet death in whatever shape it might present itself, and so exhausted with suffering as to be careless whether they were to die by the hands of the natives or to be overwhelmed by the waves. At last they came within sight of land, and soon afterwards their boat ran into and landed in a place called Wide Bay. They were now within a hundred miles to the north of Moreton Bay, which is the principal of the penal settlements to which the incorrigible convicts are sent to pass the remainder of their days, in unintermitted labour; and just as they reached the land they caught sight of a vast crowd of naked savages, who soon approached the beach, evidently delighted with the prize that presented itself. The savages surrounded the boat, and running it up carried it from the beach lo the bush with its crew just as they were. The moment they laid the boat on the ground they began to strip the men of their clothes, commencing with the captain and the chief officers. John Baxter, the second mate, endeavoured to hide a shirt ornament in which his aunt's hair was contained, having willingly yielded up everything else; but the savages became infuriated at the attempt at concealment, and beat him dreadfully. It is unnecessary to say that they tore the trinket from him. They broke in pieces the watches and chronometers, and each took a portion of the machinery to stick in their noses and ears, and after having divided amongst themselves the various portions of apparel of which they had stripped their captives they threw them to appease their hunger the the heads and guts of the fish upon which they had lately been making their meal. The savages, after having detained them two days, took them further up into the bush, and drove them onward, that they might, as they soon ascertained, fall into the hands of other tribes, by whom an ingenious variety was to be given to their sufferings. The captain endeavoured to prevail upon them to accept the services of the crew for a longer time being apprehensive that any change amongst the natives would be for the worse; but they beat all the now naked whites on before them, until fresh tribes came up and took each of them a prisoner, and set him to work carrying pieces of trees, and toiling in other exhausting ways.

"Mrs. Fraser, being the only woman, was not selected by any of the tribes, but was left by herself, while they went onward; but her husband got an opportunity to mention to her not to stir from the place at which she was at the moment, and that he would contrive to see her in a few hours. During that night she lay in a cleft of the rock, and in the morning, after looking about without seeing a creature, she determined to follow some footmarks, and after having proceeded some distance, she saw a crowd of black women approach.

"These women belonged to the tribe of savages by whom her husband had been taken up the bush on the preceding day, and they set her to work in trailing wood and lighting tires. Being quite naked, and presenting a contrast in her skin which the natives did not like, she was compelled by them to rub herself all over with gum and herbs, which had the effect of making her nearly as dark as themselves. They likewise tattooed her all over, and, having pulled her hair out, covered her head with a sort of gum and stuck the feathers of parrots and other birds all over it. One of the women, having two children, obliged her to nurse one of them, notwithstanding the severe labour she had to perform, and if the child was out of temper the nurse was kicked and scratched and thumped for its peevishness.

"At the expiration of four days Mrs. Fraser saw her husband for the first time since their separation. He was dragging along a tree, and was greatly fatigued. She had just begun to inquire how it happened that he did not manage to let her know where he was, to which he was replying that he dared not look for her, when his tribe suddenly appeared. One of them having seen them together, made a push at the captain with a spear, and pierced him right through the body, and he was a corpse in an instant. Mrs. Fraser ran to her husband, cried out 'Jesus of Nazareth, I can endure this no longer,' and pulled the spear out of the body, but the breath was gone for ever! She then fell senseless and remained so a considerable time; and when she recovered her senses she found herself along with the tribe which she was obliged to serve; but what became of the body of Captain Fraser she never could learn, and, of course, the barbarous region in which she was enslaved was no place for sympathy. Shortly after this catastrophe the first officer (Brown), of the ship, having been informed that the captain had been murdered by one of the tribes, formed, in a fit of desperation, a plan of revenge, fettered and exhausted with labour as he was. His intention was, however, discovered, and horrible was his punishment. Mrs. Fraser had just lighted a fire by order of her tribe, and the unfortunate man's legs were thrust into it and consumed, while he, by the violence of his contortions actually worked for the rest of his body a grave in the sand, in which it was embedded. Two days after this horrible event, a fine looking young man, named James Major, was disposed of. Captain Fraser, who knew a good deal of the character and habits of the savages on this coast, had mentioned to Major that the savages would take off his head for a figure bust for one of their canoes. It seemed, too, that it was usual for the savage who contemplated that sort of execution to smile in the face of his victim immediately before he struck him to the earth. While Major was at work the chief of the tribe approached him smiling, and tapped him on the shoulder. At that instant the poor fellow received a blow on the back of the neck from a waddie or crooked stick, which stunned him. He fell to the ground, and a couple of savages set to work, and by means of sharpened shells severed the head from the body with frightful lacerations. They then ate parts of the body, and preserved the head with certain gums of extraordinary efficacy, and affixed it as a figure bust to one of their canoes.

"The rest of the crew expected nothing less, of course, than death. Their apprehension appeared to relate rather to the mode of inflicting the extreme penalty, than to the fact that they must prematurely die. Two of the seamen, Doyle and Big Ben, contrived to steal a canoe, and endeavoured to cross an inland lake, but were drowned in the attempt to escape from, perhaps, a more painful death.

"There was a black man named Joseph, who had been steward on board the 'Stirling Castle'. When the savages seized the long-boat in which the crew had entered Wide Bay, they stripped Joseph as well as the rest, but as he was of their own colour they inflicted no punishment upon him, and he had the privilege of going about, which was denied to any other of the wretched strangers. This man, who was constantly watching for an opportunity to escape, had assured Mrs. Fraser that if he could get away the first life he should think of saving would be that of his mistress. He succeeded in stealing a canoe, in which he rowed off, and in six weeks he reached Moreton Bay, when he informed the commandant of the penal settlement of the horrible circumstances which had taken place at Wide Bay, and of the servitude in which the survivors of the crew were detained.

"The Moreton Bay commandant, immediately upon hearing it, inquired in the barracks whether any of the military would volunteer to save a lady and several of the crew of a wrecked vessel from the savages in the bush, and a number offered themselves at a moments notice." [But no mention of 'Graham!']

"(N.B.) By a system of manœuvring, entered into by a convict who had been for some years in the bush among the savages, the object was effected. All the survivors were, to the best of Mrs. Fraser's belief, rescued from the savages. At the camp(!) the commandant, and the commissary, and, in fact, all the individuals who were in the service of the Government, treated Mrs. Fraser and her companions in misfortune with a degree of kindness which, it was evident, the former has a very warm recollection of. She was placed under medical care immediately, and everything that was considered likely to abate the sense of what she had undergone, in witnessing the murder of her husband and the other persons by whom she had been surrounded, was done.

"The captain of the 'Mediterranean Packet', in which Mrs. Fraser arrived from Liverpool, stated that he was in Sydney at the time of the arrival of that lady, and that the circumstances detailed caused the greatest excitement there. The convict, to whose extraordinary exertions Mrs. Fraser owed her escape, obtained a free pardon from the Government there, and a reward of thirty guineas."

Where is it shown that Mrs. Fraser was with or even near any of the shipwrecked people when she was rescued? According to these public narrations they had been separated and kept captive by different tribes. Captain Roach repeated what he had heard from others, and in good faith, perhaps, believed that finding Mrs. Fraser and the six men at Moreton Bay together, whom he brought down in the revenue cutter, made it reasonable for him to infer that they had been rescued at the same time.

The Sydney Gazette, next after Hodge's account, given on 13th September, 1836, says:—"On Saturday last the pilot from Moreton Bay arrived in the revenue cutter, who states that a surveying party, under the command of Lieutenant Otter, at Moreton Bay, fell in with some of the crew who had left in the long-boat, about fifty miles to the northward of the settlement. The seamen stated they had parted with the captain, his wife, and the remainder of the crew of the long-boat"—[We see that they had been driven into the bush after capture, that the captain was murdered and Baxter separated from his widow, and that Brown was roasted and eaten]—"about one hundred and forty miles further north; * that the blacks had stripped them, but in other respects had been friendly. They also stated that they had travelled overland to where they were met by the surveying party, and that two had been drowned in endeavouring to cross a large river. Upon hearing this intelligence the commandant at Moreton Bay despatched two whaleboats with clothes and provisions and an experienced pilot along shore, for the purpose of looking for the unfortunate people left to the northward" (now reduced in number to Mrs. Fraser and Baxter, who were kept jealously separated). "His Excellency the Governor has been solicited by the agents, and, we believe, has signified his intention of sending a vessel in search of the carpenter and boatswain."

[* The earliest and probably least garbled account of the recovery of the seamen.]

Accordingly, it appears Captain Roach and the "Prince George" were despatched, to go to Moreton Bay, and bring thence, Mrs. Fraser and the six survivors of the "long boat crew", and the story had increased, "gathered", and in the Gazette of the 18th of October, was given. At the latter end of the London sensational account, whose was the manœuvring spoken of as that "entered into by a convict, who had been fur some years in the bush among the savages?" Mrs. Fraser's far apart descriptions of the circumstances attending her husband's death are strangely at variance too.

Her escape by the help of a runaway convict, to Brisbane, was spoken of in my day. I heard no more as to his disposal. Who was this Graham? Such a name never reached our ears.

Who can find the record of a "free pardon and reward of thirty guineas," granted to the "convict, to whose extraordinary exertions" she "owed her escape?" Cannot this be linked on to Bracefell's own declarations to us at Wide Ray from the first?

One record alone perhaps could settle the question, viz., Lieutenant Otter's own report of the event, if there be any in existence. If such is to be discovered, it must be in London. And where's Lieutenant Otter? Poor Bracefell told the truth. Had he been caught when he brought in Mrs. Fraser, we should not have found him, in 1842, where we did. It, doubtless, suited Mrs. Fraser that she should be reported as one of the party rescued by Lieutenant Otter, under the guidance of "Graham".

The presumption is justifiable that Baxter had—as his shipmates dispersed among the tribes had done—escaped from his captors, who had, under the aspect of Bracefell's story, grown less watchful; and that of the "crew" spoken of by Baxter as having been "released by a person named Graham" (who well might have been a reality—a prisoner of the better class usually selected to attend upon and do work for the surveying parties), according to the Sydney Gazette of the 18th of October, 1836. Baxter himself was one. What more probable, too, that the vigilance of the natives having subsided, Mrs. Fraser and Bracefell made their escape about the same time in the manner he spoke of to us at Wide Bay? Is it likely that if Baxter had had any knowledge of the method, or been in any way connected with Mrs. Fraser's method of evasion, and had they been in company in effecting it, he would have omitted to make mention of her in his own statements?

The conclusion—to me at least—seems most reasonable, that the "crew" met and brought in by the surveying party had fallen in with each other in their one course of escape to the southward (Brisbane), consisted of the survivors, including Baxter; and that about the same time Mrs. Fraser had been, as said, guided, to "Meginchen" by Bracefell—the sole witness to her degradation, and the sole being to whom she had placed herself under a heavy obligation which she dared not ignore while he was by her side, and might never be able to fulfil. Bracefell (when, in expressive slang, she "rounded upon him") left her in terror, and she was safe. Did she ever dream of his reappearing upon the stage in a new character? No! So she became identified with those rescued by Lieutenant Otter and brought to Sydney by Captain Roach in the revenue-cutter "Prince George". Her imposition upon the Londoners, which I shrink from explaining, but recollect well, tallied well with my to-day conjectures as to her character. The "issue" of the general sympathy is "pillowed" on my recollection of laughable frauds successfully practised at that time in London.

The Bunnia-Bunnia (araucaria Bidwellii), which expresses so much in aboriginal traditions, claims a few remarks before passing on from Wide Bay.

Andrew Petrie, who held the post of "foreman of works", January, 1836, under the Government, at Brisbane, was the first white, intelligent discoverer of this tree, sometime, I think, in 1838. Under the guidance of some blacks, he had visited a spot on which it grew, took a drawing of it, and brought in a sample of the timber, the finding of which, and his opinion as to its value he at once reported. It got the name of "pinus Petriana;" deservedly, I should have thought, but not, it seemed, in accordance with the manorial rights of red-tape.

Shortly after my return to Cecil Plains, on the Condamine, from this boating trip to Wide Bay, I started off for the purpose of following up the track which Eales' sheep, led by Jolliffe, had already, with the help of Davis through the range, left behind him en route to the Monoboola, in search still of a run. At Kilcoy, a station high up one of the Brisbane affluents, formed by Evan and Colin Mackenzie, I found an attaché to the Botanical Society in London, of which Dr. Lindley was the presiding spirit. His name was Bidwell. In search of fresh specimens of vegetation, he had got so far, intent upon finding Bunnia specimens, and, if possible, obtaining some young plants, which he could send home in a Wardian case. Little used to the bush, he was glad of my offer to help him, the Bunnia district being on my course Northwards.

In a very few miles, we found, under a magnificient scion of this family, no less than ten healthy seedlings. Bidwell spudded up but three, and sent them to London by the first ship. One of these I saw at Kew Gardens in 1856. Half-hardy, it was in a glass-house, about twelve feet high, strong and promising. Another at Chatsworth, equally flourishing. What became of the third, I cannot tell.

Being reported in this fashion, it became known, de rigueur, as the "araucaria Bidwellii" for all time; the true worker's—Petrie's—solid claim was outbid by the less title to fame. I can recollect cones of the Bunnia being sold at "Stevens'" * for ten guineas each. There were but three; one, of course, went to Chatsworth.

[* Covent Garden, London.]

The Bunnia bears but once in three years. Of the habits of the blacks, when assembled at their annual feast, I need say no more than I have. As to their cannibal doings, I can add nothing, but that as the white man, "makromme", is looked upon as a resuscitated meal of the past, they make no ado about eating him as he is, believing, that they are unable a second time to deprive him of what he has already parted with—his skin! They extract always the bones of arms, legs and thighs before cooking. Such is men's food! Pluck and heart, women's. One horrible and unnatural exemption in favor of this female indulgence in such gastronomy, is, that the mother is permitted always to eat her child, if a female, should it die; but the father always pays the same delicate attention to his male infant!

There is one grand occasion, a descriptive account of which to any detailed extent, I never succeeded in obtaining from Bracefell nor Davis. There was a shyness in answering any question as to an important ceremonial called the Bundinavah, which was unmistakeable. No women, under pain of death, were suffered to witness, or be in the vicinity of its performance. It was some kind of right in which the old men were high priests. Whether from some repulsive obscenities enacted on the occasion, or, at any rate, some dread of disclosing to civilised men these Eleusinian mysteries, I know not, but the reluctance to approach the question was evident. The tourr circus was always used on the occasions of the Bundinavah:

After this formidable ceremonial—whatever it was—occurred the occasions of marrying and giving in marriage. The young aspirant to the hand—not the heart, which is beneath his notice—of some bewitcher, he having already made it all right with the old men, and his mates in the tribe, skips, on a moonlight night, to the topmost branch of a tree, in the mode already shown me by Davis. Bewitcher does the same up another at a little distance. The youth begins to plead in plaintive phrases; bewitcher replies with a laugh, and chaff, and "I wish you may get it!" Youth gets angry and retorts; chaff on both sides becomes more voluble; the squatting audience at the camp fire laugh when their fancies are tickled; grunt approval at any unusually smart rejoinder, or slapping their thighs, signifying our clapping the hands. And when an old man rises, and makes a speech to the couple perched above, no end of slapping denotes their applause. Much more feelingly than "hear! hear!" Down comes the wooing swain, and down comes she; and led by an old man to a cleared pathway, which traversed the bush some hundred yards, the happy pair find their "Gretna Green" at the end of it; on which is set up the humpy prepared for a honeymoon establishment. Blessed in their ignorance of the lawful privileges of a white sisterhood's British privileges, the sable belle would dare upon no domestic bargaining for her lord's birthright breeches! Woe, unto thee, bewitcher! if thou offendest the loving bridegroom but the next day, by some pert assumption of yesterday's past freedom! Woe, unto thee! if thou steppest over his feet while lying lazy on the ground of his new dwelling place! Woe, unto thee! if when called to the circle of your lords round the council fire, you dare pass through the royal ring! Woe, unto thee! if thou darest approach but as a half-starved dog—from behind! The spear or the waddie would surely end thy woes!

I have found that any account of native habits in the tribe cannot, as a rule, be accepted as accurate with respect to the practices even in a neighbouring district. Yet invariably, as their trees in Antipodean whim, would shed their bark, so would the sable belles their hair; not, however, in puerile pride, after the fashion of our ladies' "Dianæ" days nor (being guileless of Darwinian dishonour) in desire of evidencing cercopithecan descent, by wearing the burden of the nape's natural glory, in Simian frontispieced emulation of the ape's muzzle. As to tribal characteristics no dependence can be placed upon the knowledge of those found in one of these bush families as applicable to the race aboriginal in the surrounding country. About Wide Bay, the mother's affection for her infant appears to have; had no place among their instincts: and at Darling Downs again I have known a young mother—at Rosalie Plains—deliberately sling her infant's head against a stump, because it cried and annoyed her; but tenderly suckled a young pup which had no nurse! Again, in the tribes about Moreton Bay,—that at Amity Point—the "Malurbine", and "Moppys", maternal and paternal affection were indubitable and prevailed, I think; but was not so easily observable among the natives of the Duke of York's, the Ningy-Ningy and the Pine river districts. Stealing gins was the usual cause of quarrel in all their domestic life. They were very often fatal: and in the heat of such embroilments, the wretched gin rarely escaped death. If she lose her husband, she dare not choose another: either the tribe or her relations choose for her: any reluctance on her part,—especially if she be suspected of a penchant elsewhere—is sure to be settled by the waddie. Blows are their lot from birth to the burning! for in those days they were undoubtedly eaten. In one point their nature never differs. They are marvellously observant of every object in nature, more particularly those connected with their own peculiar hunting-grounds; upon which they rarely find others encroaching except on some sensational occasion. I never found them hesitate in attaching a distinguishing name to every tree, shrub, grass, flower, bird, beast, or even insect: but yet each tribe, as far as I know, has its own dialect,—if not language—which stamps their locality much, I suppose, in the way that the provincialisms of our own counties in England do.

Again, they know every acre of ground belonging to their "house" by its own special name: every mile of a river or water-course bears its own appellation, from the highest source to the mouth, the mouth or junction itself always having a separate name of its own. I found this universal—as far as I had been amongst them—beginning at Cecil Plains, when I found that the spot on which I had built my first hut was called "Boyeer": and pacing but a few hundred yards away up and down the Condamine was treading ground under another designation; and so, mile by mile, I found that there was no word given for the space we would walk over, approaching in similarity by sound or length to what had been before pronounced. I know of no method they had of signifying distances but by the sun—journey by time.

Such are the alignments of the streets and highways made by the Australian aboriginal of the north. They can direct each other almost to within a hundred yards of an intended rendezvous. They have favourite haunts, whether through the fashion of the day—cést à dire, our Rotten Row in London, or marine esplanades, when the "season" was over—or whether through the craving for some particular food, par example, our best-liked restaurants, chop houses, or fish dinners, I cannot tell; but I do know their dislike to camping near or frequenting places where a man has died a natural death and been buried, sometimes under ground, sometimes in a hollow tree.






{Page 317}

CHAPTER XVIII.


God made the country, and man made the town.—Cowper.


A few days' rest in Brisbane—for I had none in Sydney, had looked at no newspaper, written no letters when last there, and had felt at one time too ill to care for news—gave me a chance of recouping the time of my inattention since my brother's arrival. The Sydney Gazette was still the accredited purveyor of information as to outside goings on, and this was attainable even in 1842. (Many an excised relic is now before me, 1887.) Almost the first thing that met my eye was of the date of June 19th, 1841, two days after I had left Sydney with my brother, last year! The name at the foot of the following announcement struck me, since it had become so familiar to these parts. I copy it for the name's sake, and here it is:

"Penrith Races.—At a meeting held at the Rose Inn, Penrith, on Tuesday, 15th instant, for the purpose of establishing annual races at Penrith, it was unanimously resolved:

"That an association be formed, to be called 'The Penrith Racing Club.

"That a general meeting of members and those favourable to the Club be held at the Rose Inn, Penrith, on Tuesday, the 29th June, at one o'clock.

"That Messrs. Hadley, Perry Dawes, Templar, and Leslie be appointed to receive subscriptions.—Patrick Leslie, Acting Secretary."

Well, after finding Darling Downs two years ago, I could not have settled down so restfully.

Then, I see, that the two blacks who had murdered poor Stapylton, at Moreton Bay, were hung on the 2nd of July, 1841, at Brisbane, near my old quarters, the gaol.

Let me try back. I was on the road at the end of the previous year. What became of those bushrangers, the Jew-boy and his gang? Day took them all, but what became of them? That was a plucky thing to do; Denny Day was indeed a good old soldier; now Police Magistrate at Maitland I hear! (Writing in this year of 1887 I do wonder what became of that gallant old fellow. I remember that time, and was not far from Scone when Graham was murdered at Dangar's store; also, that there was a J.P. near at hand, who refused to grant a warrant for the apprehension of the murderers. That J.P.'s name was Robertson; what Robertson could it have been? Well, the country has paid little attention to the claim of so trusty, brave, and resolute a servant as Denny Day. I suppose he had no friend at Court; he was too true a man to be a "tuft-hunter" in his advancing years. I passed through Doughboy Hollow but three days after his engagement with the captain of the outlawed gang, and was spared the quickened pulse and anxious vigilance which had inflicted many a dig of the spur in past months upon the wayfarer's jaded hack, as he passed the dreaded den of thieves. For such personal relief I yet am glad, forty-six years afterwards to offer my own tribute to his honest name, brave nature and memory.)

Ah! me Herclé! here comes something to recall that pleasing evening at Campbelltown last February. I must reproduce this newspaper cutting: the gist thereof has a certain bearing upon my present conclusions:—

"Arrival of Sir Thomas Mitchell."

"(The concluding paragraph of a leader in to-day's Sydney Gazette of Saturday, February 6, 1841.)

"If any man deserve well of his country, it is he who explores and discovers unknown tracts of country. To men such as these, statues might be indeed erected during their life-time."

February 20th.
"Dinner to Sir Thomas Mitchell."

"On Saturday evening last a number of highly respectable gentlemen met in Petty's Hotel at a dinner given to Sir Thomas, as a slight mark of the high esteem he was held in by them.

"In a late number we suggested the propriety of giving Sir Thomas Mitchell a public mark of that grateful feeling which all true Australians must feel towards the man who first opened the way to an extensive and important field of enterprise. We are still of that opinion, and we now call upon our brethren of the press, who feel as we do, to use their influence to accomplish this object; it is a matter apart from politics, for the benefits that have resulted from Sir Thomas's exertions in exploring the hidden recesses of this vast territory have fallen alike to all: the rich and the poor have all been partakers, and surely there is not one amongst us that would not unite in offering their tribute of respect to one so worthy and deserving. Some base minds may say, 'what Sir Thomas did he was bound to do, and he was paid for so doing;' with these we have nothing in common. Up then, men of Australia, up and be stirring! Among those present were the Honourable E. Deas Thomson, Mr. Attorney-General Plunket, Captain Perry, Deputy Surveyor-General, W. Lithgow, Esq., Auditor General, Alexander McLeay, Esq., late Colonial Secretary, Major Innes, Port Macquarie. Mr. Manning, senr., and Mr. Williams, American Consul. The chair was filled by James Bowen, Esq., and amongst the several speakers on this occasion were Dr. Nicholson, Dr. Wallace, Mr. Williams, Mr. Charles Campbell, Captain Perry and Mr. McLeay. During a short speech Sir Thomas made, in allusion to the toast of Dr. Nicholson in proposing 'the officers of the Survey Department,' he alluded feelingly to the melancholy death of his former friend and associate, the late lamented Mr. Stapylton, who was lately cruelly butchered by the northern blacks.'

I wish I could have seen Patrick Leslie's name amongst those present at that dinner.

The murder of poor Stapylton, whose remains were buried near at hand on the banks of this river Brisbane, still occupied the thoughts of many in Sydney and this place. The report of the trial of two of his murderers, whose execution I have just mentioned, which I met with and also copied may be yet interesting. I give the summary.

Two aboriginals, Merridio and Neugavil, of Moreton Bav, were indicted before Mr. Justice Burton and a common jury on the 14th of May, 1841, for the wilful murder of William Tuck, at Mount Lindesay, on the 31st of the preceding May. Merridio's name was properly Mullan. The prisoners were charged with having murdered one Tuck, but in detailing the circumstances connected therewith it was impossible to keep out of sight the fact that another murder had been committed by the blacks at the same time. Stapylton, assistant-surveyor, had also been killed. On the morning of the day laid in the indictment Stapylton sent a party to make a bridge over a creek about a mile from the encampment, himself. Tuck, and Dunlop remaining at the camp. On the return of the working party they found Stapylton dead as well as Tuck, and supposed Dunlop was dying from wounds inflicted by the blacks, who had all fled, carrying off every article they could lay their hands on. The party hastened to Brisbane and reported to the commandant, who at once proceeded to the scene, and rescued Dunlop, who, having crawled away, was discovered by a constable. Me recovered. Stapylton's body was too much mutilated for recognition. His head had been cut off, and the flesh eaten. Identification being so difficult, these prisoners were charged with the murder of Tuck. The evidence was complete, and the verdict "guilty." His Honor then passed sentence of death on the prisoners in the usual form, which, when Baker (" Gorman's Baker, in search of Etonvale!") an interpreter, communicated to them, they broke out by telling him in a most indifferent way, "What of that—let them hang us!"

The "Piscator" schooner brought them back to Brisbane, and they were extinguished, as I have said.

And here I find a memorandum: "Leslie's discovery of Darling Downs was noticed in the Sydney Herald of 1st May, 1840, under heading, 'Important Discovery!' "After it, he did not reach Sydney until the 28th of July, however. Another memorandum that transportation had ceased to New South Wales on the 1st of August, 1840! And here is Letsome and Boyd's case, at length brought to a conclusion in the Supreme Court on the 16th of February, 1841. Nominal sentence on Archibald Boyd. I was present at the outbreak, at the beginning of 1840, at Maitland: cannot wonder that Boyd lost his temper. The Major grossly insulting.

Ah! here is another river, discovered last December—the "Albert", into the Gulf of Carpentaria. Stanley, I suppose, in the "Britomart".

How amusing to read a letter like the following, written when Moreton Bay was still a close settlement, and before there was any assurance of approach thereunto from the west. It appeared on April 9, 1840:—"We have been kindly favoured with the perusal of a letter from Moreton Bay by the last mail from that settlement. It states that the grass is so abundant on the fine plains(!) that it would be no difficult thing for the settlers(!!) there to supply the whole of Sydney with good hay at reasonable terms, that is to say, if persons could be found to cut it down.    .    .    .     The hay is equal to the meadow hay in England.    .    .    .     They have no hot winds this summer. During the season they have had, instead of hot winds, cool, refreshing breezes, much more exhilarating than those experienced to the southward. New settlements springing up in all directions (!!!).    .    .    .     The surveyors congratulate themselves on having opened out a portion of the finest country yet known in New Holland, and it is acknowledged by one of them to be superior in every respect to Port Phillip and Australia Felix. The opening in the Dividing Range called Cunningham's gap has been surveyed and found of easy ascent with the pack bullocks, and a gang of twelve men could in a fortnight make it passable for drays. This is the opening to the extensive unknown country to the north-west, and likewise to the settled country round New England, and an easy communication from thence to Maitland." Couleur de rose indeed!

Here comes an official report of the progress the "north countrie" from Governor Gipps himself. What says he to Home Secretary. I think he advised Lord John Russell to increase the "squatters'" license from £10 to £60 per annum. "Among the papers which have been laid down upon the table of the House of Commons was a despatch from Sir George Gipps." "The Governor in his despatch," so said the Gazette, "mentions a long-established regulation that no land could be sold beyond the limits of certain tracts of country indicated by their division into counties. The boundaries of county lands have come, therefore, to be called the boundaries of location. Within these limits land is either sold or let on lease; beyond them proprietors of stock are to be found in the occupation of stations depasturing their stock, the license to occupy which, though the stations vary in extent from 5,000 to 30,000 acres, costs but £10 annually, the stock being assessed under a local ordinance at a small amount per head. One of the best paying districts at present open in the colony is to be found on the tableland called New England, on the summit of a ridge of mountains extending parallel to the sea coast between the latitudes of 26 deg. and 32 deg. Here are to be found sixty-six stations. Towards the north, stations already extend to the country behind Moreton Bay, three hundred miles beyond the limits of location. From the pastoral districts to the north of Sydney, and behind Port Macquarie, the Clarence river, and Moreton Bay, or between the 32nd and 25th degrees of south latitude, routes are being opened to the sea."

Moreton Bay did not lack "puffing", in expectancy of land sales to be ere long. Here was one which the Gazette gave out at this time (December, 1841) in the interests of the Government:—"A settlement on the east coast of Australia, situated in latitude south 27 deg. 30 min., and longitude 153 deg. 10 min., has been a penal settlement for about twenty years. All the penal prisoners have lately been sent away, and Mr. Dixon and party have been upwards of two years carrying on a survey, preparatory to its being thrown open for location. The climate is fine and healthy, the soil of the richest description, clothed with abundance of grass, and well watered, having the fine rivers Brisbane and Logan, navigable for steamers a considerable distance from the coast, on the banks of which coal, lime, and iron can be obtained. The facilities offered by this beautiful part of the colony have induced an immense number of large stockholders to take up squatting licences both on the east and west sides of the great Dividing Range, and it is supposed that upwards of 1,000 bales of wool will be shipped at Brisbane Town after the present shearing is over. Brisbane Town, the present settlement, is situated about sixteen miles up the river Brisbane, pleasantly on rising ground, and consisting of several good and substantial buildings. The present population, consisting of the civil officers, troops, and convicts, amounts to about two hundred and eighty souls; the Government stock consisting of about 1,000 head of cattle and 12,000 sheep. Little doubt remains but that this will soon, when open, become a fine flourishing settlement. A map of this part of the colony, by Mr. Dixon, is now in the publisher's hands."

Coming to the end of my batch of Gazette memoranda, I find that last February, on the 12th, were issued three notices, two of which much affect us here at Brisbane. They are authorised by despatches recently received from England: one is a proclamation notifying that the penal days of Moreton Bay are at an end; it is now thrown open as Port Macquarie was not so long since: the other is to inform the people that Moreton Bay is to be opened for settlement, and that the first sale will be that of allotments of land in Brisbane, at the Colonial Treasury, by auction in Sydney, next July. And the third declares that "sale by auction" is to be reverted to in all parts of the colony, at a minimum price which can never be less than twelve shillings an acre. And so we are going ahead indeed in 1842. This month an agitation seems to be getting up for representative government. Hitherto we've done fairly well, I think. And over that wretched road from New England to Port Macquarie, at length, they have got their first wool. On the 16th March, my own birthday—good omen I hope!—here's a "leader" about Sir George Gipps' proposed trip to Moreton Bay; here, our departure in March; arrival; His Excellency's doings; Watson Parker's collar-bone; and their return to Sydney at the beginning of April.

We have plenty of "trumpeters" it seems! Who could have been our mutual friend that writes thus from Moreton Bay? "I do not know how to describe the beauty of this place. The settlement is situated about twenty-five miles from the extremity of the Bay, and fifty from the sea, occupying a delightful position on the north side of a beautiful river, much larger than the Hunter at its junction with the Williams. It is my opinion, as well as the opinion of many others, that here will be the most flourishing town in New South Wales. Small shipping can come a distance of a hundred miles; you would be surprised to see the traffic here already" (Dec. 1841), "bound up as the place is from its being a penal settlement. In coming over from the Downs we met and passed seventeen drays, about twenty-two thousand sheep, one hundred men, and one hundred and thirty bullocks. In fact, all the flock-masters seem flocking here as fast as they can, people are just behind us with sixteen thousand sheep and other stock, and when there are so many coming, there must be some traffic at the Bay. The country is the finest I have ever seen, either for grass or cultivation. Some shepherds have been murdered in the employment of Mr. Mackenzie, of Kilcoy, by the blacks," who have become very troublesome, being led on and instigated by runaway convicts," is an extract dated March 19th, 1842. This, then, was the cause of our disquietude when we fell in with Derhamboi.

The tone of the "press" is marvellously changed since 1842 concerning the labour question! I must re-copy one of my memoranda, so long lost, until now. From a leading article I read "to make Moreton Bay one of the most valuable adjuncts of this colony, nothing is wanting but a large and regular supply of Indian and Chinese labourers! Men who thoroughly understand the culture of tropical plants and fruit trees, and to whose constitution the climate is well suited. Should this supply be afforded us, we should not find men of capital and experience diffident in availing themselves of the advantages offered by this district."

I have exhausted my batch of records, which deal with matters outside my immediate camp, and betake myself to my own track again, in search of a run.

I had by this time heard that Glover and the sheep had arrived on the Downs on the 31st of last month—May, 1842. I must be off to him. Among my adieux to my late associates was a pair of boots to Bracefell and Davis, who, I thought, would be proud to complete the new dress to which they had been so long unaccustomed. After much ado they got them on at the little store near the water-side at the ferry steps—Moutry's, I think. "Good-bye to you now." said I. They both made a step forward at the words, and both fell flat on their noses! I was told afterwards that they, for a long while, carried their boots about in their hands. They couldn't walk in them!

The interval between my departure from Brisbane in this June, after my return from Wide Bay, and my start again into the bush after a sheep-run, was not altogether one of my happy recollections. Glover and the sheep had made an admirable journey across country from Bathurst, some six hundred miles, had suffered no losses, and were, for the time at least, on Cecil Plains awaiting my future hoped-for success. Somerville, superintendent for Richard Jones, of Sydney, had followed my brother's tracks on the 7th November, 1841, and had marked off for himself the lower part of our run of "Cecil Plains" ("jumped" is the phrase used now by gold-gourmands), which extended down the Condamine, from Gore's marked tree to the junction of the Jondaryan, "Oaky creek", and had sent up stock to take possession. Consequently, until the matter was settled by Commissioner Macdonald's intervention, we were, with sheep and cattle, sorely cramped for room. In a short while, having to take delivery of the sheep some time since bought from Hodgson in Sydney, he with great kindness allowed Glover and his brother room on the lower part of Etonvale creek for the sheep until our run was found. They moved, in consequence, to the lower part of Hodgson and Elliot's station, about three miles below the Drummer's. We all had been hitherto in ignorance that a neighbour some miles to the southward, a sheep-owner, had scab amongst his flocks. Some of this same neighbour's careless shepherds lost some hundreds one night, and they strayed to and mixed with ours, which had come so long a distance scathless! I need not dwell on the miserable discovery and its results. A line old fellow—a German of the name of Fred Bracker, in charge of stock belonging to the Australian Company on a run near Toolburra, called "Rosenthal", sent us a man who called himself "Jemmy Carter", whom we, new chums as we were, received with gladness as an eminent member of the scab-curing faculty. Between the mercurial abominations with which the place soon stank, the sickness of men who rubbed the "fell" ointment in, the putrid carcases of the wretched animals, which died by scores from the effect of this "smearing" (common process, however, in the eastern counties of England), and from extreme thirst, for they were allowed no water for some days: the extortionate wages, and terrifying expense, our "squatting" hopes began to sink so low that the Downs lost most of its former beauty in our eyes. Hodgson himself was naturally alarmed, and hoped we should soon remove our hospital. And so, as soon as what was absolutely required at Cecil Plains had been completed, I started off to find a permanent resting place and home for what remained to us of the unhappy sheep. However, that remainder was cured at length.

Thus, in the interval of waiting for a fixed abiding place for our sheep—search and success—it happened that Hodgson and Elliot had in sympathetic kindness helped us. The spot at which Glover and my brother pitched their tent was at a stony point.

At the tent door one hot day we sat sorrowful—but smoking. From this tent we used to practise with rifle and pistol at a mark. The lovely plain up the creek, down the creek, and rising gently towards a belt of timber some two miles distant in front of us, set us conjecturing as to the possibility of finding such another paradise for ourselves, ere long; as to the probability of getting shepherds and bullock-drivers willing to go with us, so dire was the dearth of working hands. Some of ours had quite lately left. They had been with us more than two years, and wished to see Limestone and Brisbane—the ready recipients of accumulated wages. "Who comes here, Dick?" (Glover's name was William Henry: I can't explain "Dick": he was always familiarly so called). "Who comes here, down the creek; on foot too! From Hodgson no doubt!" Walking through tall grass under a burning sun, over fourteen miles ol "melon-hole" plain, was no pleasurable exercise. "Who can it be?" repeated Dick Glover.

On nearer approach we recognised "Peter Quack", a man who had been with us from the beginning. He had been a sailor, had never told us his real name, had changed it to Quack, was truly Peter.

"Why, Peter!" cried Dick, "what brings you back?" He had left us but two days before, intent upon indulging his bent in revisiting a township once more, and most regretfully—he was such a handy, grumpy, but at bottom ready and willing an old fellow—he had been "settled with."

Peter looked puzzled: took off his old cabbage tree; swabbed his bald head, and gave a kind of snort, at the question: he was very taciturn at all times. "Well! Peter, have a pot of tea, there's salt mutton and damper: haven't a glass of grog for you, wish we had after such a hot tramp; but what has brought you back? Any bad news?"

"Well, sir,"—after a long pull at a water can, and as long a silence until he had filled his pipe and taken his first pull at that—"well, sir I no bad news for you, may be for me: that's as may be, too, with them as takes it in a different light from what I do!" and Quack again scratched his smooth pate. "Out with it, Peter", cried Glover—and we were equally puzzled. "Out with it, man! what's wrong? We'll try to set it right": we liked Peter Quack.

"Thank'ee, gen'lmen," croaked he; "the long and short of it is this. As I was a lying on my back near the head station—Mr. Huggerson had just gone: come to see what I was about, camping thereabouts—lying on my back smoking my pipe, I thought I would take a squint at my account which you gave me when you settled my wages."

Under a natural misapprehension we looked at each other dolefully, and meaningly. Quack's keen eye detected our glance.

"No, gen'lemen, I knowed it wur all right, but the fire by my side was blazing up you see, and put it into my head: so I got it out and looked it up and down, and didn't think ther'd a-been so much a-coming to me as you made out: I began to think over all I had from the store since we got here to Darling Downs. I used to say it all over by nights, you see, 'cause I can't write, and only read a bit: and so I used to make it ship-shape that way here," touching his forehead; "and so I just put the bit paper down and ran it over and up as I used when a-shepherding of the sheep. Well I what d'ye think? I found you had never entered my last pair of boots in your log-book—fourteen shillings—which I had three months agone. I'm right, gen'lemen; more by token, these 'ere dratted stones soon made 'boots' of them! There's fourteen shillings more to come out o'this 'ere money which you guv me. Thinking on't made me yaw about so much after the start I'd made, between my want to go over the range and wanting to make it all square with you, that I said this morning when the sun got up: 'Peter Quack,' says I, ''twon't make much of a difference: only two days to make all right and above board with them gen'lemen. 'So, Peter Quack,' says I, 'trip it back again in your own wake, and when you get ashore you'll not be heavy in the heels from this being on your mind.' So, you see, here I am! here's your money! I'm not a hungry loafer, nor a 'long-shore sneak!"

How true, O! Shakespeare, is thy word to the world: "An honest man is able to speak for himself when a knave is not."

And this man had not "come out" of his own accord to New South Wales. Our grave and wondering silence was the only tribute we were able at first to pay to the essential principle, the one (who can say but one?) illumining, unquenched and unquenchable spark in the man's nature, of that light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

On the day following he would not go away again: re-engaged himself: and when Burrandowan passed out of the hands of my brother and Glover, Peter came to Cecil Plains, and stayed with me until I left the bush.

The first white man killed on Darling Downs was the very "John" who rode up with Pemberton Hodgson and myself at the end of 1840. Shortly after the head-station had been removed to the present site of Etonvale, poor John, who had ridden out to see to the cattle, came back at a mad gallop with a spear sticking out of his back. He never rallied: was buried close by the creek's bank.

I cannot deny myself the pleasure of here inserting an extract from a letter which bears me back to the days when I frequently met and can well recall its writer—Christopher Gorry—at this time of 1887 residing in Ipswich:

"I suppose you remember the three"—(an error for two)—"fine young men who were killed by the blacks on their way to your station in the middle of Coxen's Big Plain. I suppose you have some recollection of the grand shot that 'Cocky Rogers' made from a point of the main range to the top of the one-tree hill on the old road, (from which the distance was more than a mile and a-half). The blacks were dancing and bellowing their war-song at the time, and this big blackfellow was more prominent than the rest. 'Cocky' took true aim at his head with his rifle, and struck the black somewhere in the body, which made him rebound six feet high, and all the tribe then commenced to roll the stones of the hill down the incline, fancying they could kill all the whites on the flat. I cannot tell the date, but it was a month or so after the killing of those men going to your station, poor John Hill and myself were attacked near Mount Rascal. John started early one morning for the camp, in order to lake home some bullocks. He told me to come after him in about half-an-hour, and to my surprise I met poor John Hill with a spear right between his shoulders, with his horse galloping home, and John sticking to the saddle with the spear dangling against the horse's rump, till he arrived at the slip-panel near the house (Etonvale: Hodgson and Elliot's), with myself close after him. Mr. Elliot came to his relief with myself and others, and lifted poor John off the horse, and had to cut vest and shirt on each side of the spear wound, ere we could take it from the wound in his body fully four and a-half inches. He lived in great pain. I was sent for Dr. Rolland at his Broadwater station, who attended on him for a week, but held out no hope of his recovery. He lingered on for eighteen days and died.

"Myself and another station hand attended to his requirements up to his death. In those days there was no coffin to hand, so we made a shroud of his blanket, and buried his body in a sheet of bark in a little flat near the garden on the bank of the creek. Mr. Elliot read the usual burial service, and thus finished the life of John Hill, of Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, England."

The blacks had been more aggressive of late than ever. They were harrying and killing cattle wherever cattle were. The shepherds were in a terrible state of "funk", and no wonder. My brother had caught them, when crossing the plain between Yandilla and Tummavil in company with Ralph Gore and Taylor, coolly rounding a mob up in the open, and preparing to kill. A "set-to" was the consequence. The blacks numbered about three hundred, and kept admirable order and showed unusual courage. Upon the firing of a shot, the "ducking" of heads and rush on their assailants were instantaneous, well arranged, and executed. Syd.'s horse was fidgetty; so he jumped off and let him loose. The "brummagem" double-barrelled gun which he had—mine, however—burst in his hands without doing damage; and it must have been quite half-an-hour before the mob, which showed a steady line throughout, had retreated, step by step, to the timber which skirted the western edge of the plain, and only then turned tail. A large flock of our sheep had been allowed, by our sociable neighbour, Charles Coxen, to remain on his run within a couple of miles of his head station, Jondaryan, for awhile. One night his nephew, Henry Coxen, rode to Cecil Plains, and entered our hut with grave face. "Your sheep are all gone; both men are killed by the blacks!" was the cheerful message he brought. Coxen believed in conciliating the blacks by admitting them at all times to his head quarters, and supplying them with all in his power to give. We did not agree on this point. "Keep them at a distance," said we, "and they will not harm you." "No! I let them in, and give them blankets, &c. Depend on it, they understand kind treatment." "As soon as they feel at home they will take an opportunity, when off your guard, to kill, steal, &c."

And here was the test of this experiment. Two harmless men (the name of one was Cooper), late arrivals from England, were murdered in an atrocious manner. The bodies, which we found next day, were horribly mutilated; and yet for weeks they had all been on most friendly terms: the men had evidently gone to the creek unarmed: the blacks, seeing their chance, had intercepted their return, and murdered them with the reaping hooks found in the hut.

In two days we had tracked down and recovered the flock, minus those killed and eaten. In fact the natives had determined to rise against us on all sides. The roads were dangerous. A new one had been made and cleared through dense scrub by a combination of drays—Hodgson and Elliot's and Gore's, I can remember—over the range, which left Hell's Hole in obscurity. It ran by the heads of Westbrook water-course, by the Springs (Drayton), through the "Swamps" (Toowoomba) to the front, and from that by a less irritating "spur" than usual to the bottom of the range, where the scrub-cutting commenced and the blacks beset the wayfarers in safety. In this scrub were to be seen, at night, myriads of fire-flies, and the nerves of the men, camped the first night with these drays, were much shaken. "The blacks are on us!" was a sudden shout in the van. "Look at their fire-sticks!" Poor insects! Many must have been annihilated by the fusillade so provoked by their beauteous coruscations.

The times on and around Moreton Bay and Darling Downs were troublous, and claimed attention at our present home—Cecil Plains—nevertheless, I must get abroad, I decided, and at least try for a sheep-run.

Before making the trial a saddening rumour had floated to the Downs. Francis Bigge had been murdered! A very precise account of the manner appeared in the newspapers of the preceding August. It was now November, 1842: "We learn that between two places, named Muswellbrook and Aberdeen, a highly esteemed and much to be regretted gentleman, Mr. Bigge, on his return to the new country, Moreton Bay, was attacked while superintending the removal of his horses and cattle to that district by four desperadoes, known as bushrangers here, who, sans cérémonie, commanded him to dismount the horse he rode. Indisposed to comply, he instantly used his firearms and winged one of the miscreants, when he was instantly fired at by two of the lot, and fell almost momentarily dead!" Again: "We cannot but condole the fate of poor Mr. Bigge, and hope it is the last calamity of the kind we may hear of occurring in seeking out this newly-opened country and land of promise, Moreton Bay. Added to this, the unfortunate Mr. Bigge had one of his men shot also the week before. The magistrates, with ten mounted policemen, proceeded instantly, in hope of capturing the vagabonds; the result is, however, not yet known."

With one man, whose name I shall not tell in this year, 1887, my much esteemed friend Francis Bigge was driving up horses to Mount Brisbane. A few miles before reaching the Peel he was waylaid by the "Jew-boy" and his gang. Ordered to dismount, he did so; ordered to strip, he would not do so. He made a dash with a small pocket pistol at the nearest man who was covering him from behind a tree, raised it, and was at once shot through the shoulder. He still advanced upon them (his companion had put spurs into his horse and galloped off to the Peel, where he reported Bigge dead!) and the whole gang ran from him, at times turning to fire. Faint, he returned to his horse and rode on, with the others before him, to the Peel, where he was supposed to be past help; got his wound dressed; with the police followed the scoundrels, and took them. Having to give evidence in Sydney, he saw them hung afterwards. The leader of the gang, after sentence, swearing that "Mr. Bigge was the pluckiest man in the universe, and he didn't care to swing for such a one as he!"

If I am wrong, Francis Bigge can set me right. I saw him well, hearty, and strong in 1877. He is still living, I believe and hope, in Warwickshire, England.

On the 24th of the November of 1842, having with me the William Orton whom I had met on the Severn in 1840, and who was now my stockman—the very prince of stockmen, too—and the black boy Jemmy, whom he had brought from the Severn, I started from Cecil Plains. Our great care in preparation, under existing circumstances, was the quality of our arms: and I think with these by our sides we were quite comfortable. Jemmy had a carbine of mine, which he could use well. My purpose was to follow the track which Jolliffe and Last had left by their drays and sheep to the Wide Bay country. Davis had piloted them through the Bunnia, since we parted at Brisbane, and they had established themselves, I believed, on the Monoboola.

We crossed the range by the Springs road, on by Grantham, turned to the left from the Brisbane road at Bigge's Camp, and in course of time reached Kilcoy, Evan and Colin Mackenzie's station. Here I met Bidwell, and Dorsey, of Limestone, a medical practitioner. Having smashed my own, Dorsey gave me a compass, which proved to us a very opportune gift soon after, during the rainy weather we met with. Bidwell, I have said, accompanied us to the first Bunnia tree, stopped under it an hour, and then returned. We continued through broken densely brushed, dismal and uninviting country, all the way to where we found Eales' sheep. Jolliffe had been back to Brisbane, returned thence to their whereabouts in a boat, and had gone back again by the same way. [He was driven out to sea, out of sight of land; had to eat a dog which was with him for food, and reached Brisbane in a pitiable state.]

Eales' sheep were in a terrible mess; the country was most unsuitable; the out-stations far away; the blacks inveterate; two shepherds had already lost their lives, and but for their isolation, I don't think a man would have remained with the stock, or stood by the station. A rough wool-shed had been erected. In it during the shearing—just over—a strange visitor in the shape of a wild bullock created great disturbance and dismay. Whilst busily engaged, the brute rushed into the midst, horning the sheep. The men climbed to the tie-beams, and the infuriated animal was determined to take possession. One of the men managed to reach a musket, and he was shot from the roof. Sleek, glossy, coal-black and unbranded, yet a bullock, he may have been wrecked as a calf on the coast and roamed alone over his realm of Wide Bay. Davis and Bracefell had both spoken in the boat about two beasts—bullocks, or bulls, doubtless—in this district, which had been a terror to the natives, who would shake with fright at the sound of their bellow, and climb to the highest trees to get a sight of the "big dogs with trees in their heads." This was, I suppose, one of them. Last described the animal as being sleek as a greyhound. When cut up, found to be immensely fat through his whole carcase, and yet had not the appearance of the well-fed "pride of the market." By his horn he must have been over six years old. On our wanderings, on this trip, we fell in with the fresh tracks of a large beast on a stream to the westward (the Boyne) and followed it some days, but never overtook the beef we longed for.

Leaving Last, who was sorry to be alone again, one of his overseers and another man accompanied us, by his own wish, to have a look at the country, as to its suitability along the route we were going to take, for a station for himself. Our course was to the north of west—say W.N.W. The prospect we had from the first became more and more formidable; so much so, that our two companions returned the next day. The gloom of the country we passed, or rather in part climbed over, exceeded all expectation. Pine brush from above, below, and all around in that dark horror which it always seemed to assume in wholly unknown spots, frowned at us and stood in the way of our advance. The night of that day was the most unpleasant I ever remember having passed in the bush. A fearful storm threatened towards sunset; the heat had been distressing; the shrill challenge of the myriad locusts which had shrieked all day through our bewildered brains had suddenly become hushed. A moan as of distant wand or thunder portended something at hand, the approach of which, basinned as we were among high broken ridges, patchy-scrubbed heights, and penned in by a maze of steep-sided gullies or gorges—we had no chance of observing, until it came down in hurricane strength. 'Twas of no use to seek a place in any way clear, that we might escape the danger from the torn and strained trees around. There was no level spot on which a horse might rest and feed; and, but the thunderous rain over and on us, there was no water for our thirst's relieving. Thunder, lightning, wind and rain such as never yet conspired to appal and unnerve us in our work. And this was Christmas Eve!

The howling and the roaring were too continuous for speech or hearing, and so we sat and, I suppose, made up by thinking; a season well worth thinking about; but in the maelstrom of such a night where was peace? No fire, no bed: not even a pipe: so terrible that downpour and blast. To keep our powder dry we wrapped it in our one blanket each: to keep our horses we had to hold them all night: not a word, barely a move, as we sat side by side on a fallen tree until the dawn, which brought in sudden quiet, and the sun of Christmas Day, 1842, set fire to the tops of the pine-brushed heights around and above us, of which the very sight made us the more chill.

It had been a terribly dismal epitome of existence! for me at least—

"Remembrance waked with all her busy train
Swelled at my breast, and turned the past to pain."

(I could not tell my neighbour's thoughts) that of dwelling through the darkness on the home-lit days of past Christmas pleasantness, while we three were so compressed in silent helplessness by the forces in strife, from which destruction seemed inevitable. Strange, that phantasmagoria of good dinners; wine-cheered fire-sides and Yule logs; gay ball-rooms; and even the earlier joys of Harrow cricket-ground pavilion feasts which would insist upon keeping company with the realities of our surrounding désagrémens! And then the "new chum's" imaginings of what might have been, if he had not turned his back on the old country. If—bah! it seemed so childish: and yet the burning fancies of those dreary hours did not evaporate with the heated vapours of the morning. I bear the brand yet very distinctly. I doubt if imagination be a blessing, at times. The heavy and monotonous discipline of many a recurring year has evoked out of the soil of the bushman's heart's-acre not once or twice only, I know, the Dead-sea apple of vain and profitless reflections. Imagination, after all, is but the fruit born of the blossoms of memory, and dropped away from its premature ripening into rottenness, from the branch stricken by self-will or disappointment: the fancy of possibilities within reach no longer: the promised but unredeemed issue of irrecoverable facts. Yet, ah! me, it is a blessing: it does shape itself into a Nemesis, whose heavy stock-whip brings a beast to its "bearings", and teaches the truth, whether from the pages of pain, or the poetry of life: but leaves the future to its own shadowy trespass, and stumbling anticipations.

Yet, Memory, thou must be Imagination's mother!—

"Thou, like the world, th' opprest oppressing,
       Thy smiles increase the wretch's woe!
And he who wants each other blessing,
       In thee must ever find a foe."

Slowly but surely did the light and the heat descend upon and find us out in our uncomfortable crib. Our soaked wardrobe required but a scant clothes-line; but the free and easy enjoyment of the savage costume was not a little counterbalanced by the savage attacks by fly and mosquito. This morning drill was at an end when we resumed our dried clothes: a pot of tea, some sodden damper, and a large iguana, shot by our taciturn Jemmy, broke our Christmas morn's fast; and then that inestimable black pipe set us on our way no worse for thunder, lightning, hail nor rain—nor the night's blue-devils.

Day by day we steadily stuck to our W.N.W. course. The closeness and gloom of the scenes we passed through were not relieved. Under recollection I retain the impression, but can give no adequate idea of it. An old bushman will best understand what it was, when I say that our silence one to the other was almost unbroken through the day's ride, barrin' a few remarks when we stopped for a "pipe". If I were taken over the same ground such a feeling, doubtless, would be impossible, unchanged though it may be in all its ruggedness and difficulty. It was the sense of being in an unknown region, that every step towards the north coast of Australia was under a veil, which we were trying to lift, hoping for—perhaps dreading at times—what we should find behind it, and yet, drawn by the intensity of awakened inquisitiveness to go on, and on, and on, without one wish to return; nor the fear of aught, but the lack of "Niggerhead" and ammunition! How Orton and I used to talk over a plan o' nights for reaching Port Essington, of which I had heard so much from Captain Stanley, in Sydney. I had no chart, but I knew its whereabouts; and he, as well as I, often declared our determination to try it together, for we had learnt to know each other by now, and lean on each other's help and readiness. Jemmy, too—I rarely heard his voice, poor boy! [long since killed by his own horse]—had lost the first fears of the blacks in a country which he knew not, and his bush-craft, bee-hunting, "sugar-bag" purveyance were invaluable: to say nothing of his ever-watchful eye for the vicinity of the "Murrie" wild blacks and the tracks of kangaroo, on which we mostly fed, or a snake, iguana, or wallaby, invisible to our tame eyesight. Marvellous to me, was it, that Jemmy would so often give his wary whistle, and point out such desirable objects, especially discoveries of the "plants" which the bees had made, and were yet making, in some hollow limb high up a tree some fifty yards away from our track. As to Orton, I can say nothing more, or more meaning, than that he was a man whose match I do not think I could have found in the breadth of the land for manly, considerate, and intelligent bearing, thoughtful unselfishness, steadiness of purpose in trying to gratify my wish to explore—especially having in view the necessity of a suitable sheep-run, coolness and courage under very discouraging aspects and trying conditions, and an unerring eye and nerve, of which the rifle, which my brother had lent him, on more than one occasion sustained the unquestionable gift and reputation.

After many days and nights—for at times we were keeping more to the northward than we had intended—we began to break out into a clear country from a most worthless extent of mountain, brush, stone, and sand. Not many miles after this pleasant view found ourselves on the brink of a precipice, or a bank which might have been at first sight, called one: we could not descend: it was quite clear to the bottom, through which was flowing a beautiful stream of water. The bank opposite was higher, and equally precipitous. "There's a great gulf between us and that, Orton." "Yes; shall we go up or down, d'ye think, sir?" "I don't care which, but we'll log it down the 'Gulf Stream.'"

I forget its course; it was about north, I think. So we followed it down to where the bank declined, crossed, and rode up the opposite side. Here was promise: from the lay of the country there was evidently a larger stream which it probably joined further to the west. And so, travelling in more cheerful hope, which opened our dumb lips, even our horses jogged on more willingly, pricking their ears at so unwonted a clearing. With some perverseness we still kept "northing" much more than we needed; and did not emerge absolutely from the region which had so bewildered us for some days; but then our pace was slow, and our animals leg-weary. "What do you say, sir?" at length said Orton, "as soon as we reach that lay of water we saw from the 'Gulf Stream', if we take a day's spell; 'twill do us all good, if we can. I'm sure the horses want it." So it was settled, and we went away due west: soon came to our "heart's desire", dropped down on the banks of what we thought must be the Boyne: the channel very broad-: the water-reaches undeniable: the black swans innumerable: the scrub-wallaby tracks equally so: the grass enticing: the gloaming smokeless, ergo, blackless. "Hist! Orton." Jemmy's low whistle had reached my ears. We looked round; he was lying on his animal's neck, and pointing earnestly. Following the direction, we both "spotted" a head, the "old man" belonging to which had not "spotted" us; he was barely a hundred yards off. Short of food rather of late, we had taken one or two holes up in our belts, and I had the great satisfaction of providing the means, now, of shaking out the reefs again. I shot him: to our astonishment, he fell, recovered himself, seized a sapling with his fore-paws, tore it almost up by the roots, and dropped dead. The largest "old man", a real "old soldier", I had yet seen. I measured him, but don't recollect the height, which was a good deal more than my own.

We feasted that night. It was marked by a startling occurrence.

Our teeth had hardly become unglued from the mastication of the old man's nutritive tail, of which the gelatinous fibre would—I thought when I first tasted it—make admirable soup for an alderman if treated by the skill of a chef de cuisine;—our lips had scarcely closed upon the stem of each cherished pipe, when darkness settled in for the night. Very comfortable were we under the prospect of a whole day's rest to-morrow, and so we both rolled ourselves up with our rifles after smothering the brightness of the fire, lest the darkies might "chance" that way. Jemmy, who had remained squatting by the fire, seemed satisfied with our security, and laid himself down likewise. In a moment he started up again with his customary whistle: and crawled to Orton's side, who had dozed off: quickly springing up, seizing my rifle, and whispering to the black boy, "what name?" he with a terrified gesture of the hand, turning his face to the ground, pointed upwards, whining in a low tone, "debil-debil!" Orton had got up and we then saw a faint luminous ray which reached from the zenith, until lost in the tops of the trees which were our horizon. I was sorely puzzled. So was my comrade. "Strange part of the world, we've got to, sir!" "Strange indeed, Orton; but have you ever seen a comet?" "Never, but I've seen pictures of them: some with straight tails, some curly; but nothing that I thought more than a yard or so long! See there! sir; it begins right overhead, and we can't see where it ends over those ridges!"

True enough! I had seen a comet: but such an appearance as this was far beyond any preconceived notion of mine as to what a comet could be. We lay looking, and smoking, for at least an hour; lying on our backs we stared until—under the consciousness that it was not a "fire-stick"—our eyes closed, and did not unclose again, till the sun was above the silver-leaved ironbark trees and scorched us into activity.

So enamoured had we become of this camp ere the evening of that new day, that we determined to rest yet another. There was a large fig-tree close by the banks, from which we got a large tasteless fruit. Our practice upon the black swans gratified our pretensions to the proper use of the rifle—(muzzle—no breech-loaders in those days!) and the wallaby and paddy-melon in the brush at hand made us well content—being no longer hungry—with the world around us. There were no readable signs of the neighbourhood of any ruthless men and brethren; but that they could not be far away was, though reasonable, not a disquieting conjecture. That night the faintly-rayed streak in the heavens presented a more startling but sublime attraction to the gaze. It glowed with a roseate glory, the hue of which resembled that of an Aurora Australis. Was this the angels' pathway? This the patriarch's vision of ascent and descent to his pillow-stone at Luz? I felt that it was a comet: but for such a portentous revelation out of the depths of space what could reassure the persuasion of my eyes? Broader and brighter, night by night, on our journey—now homewards—laid itself out this celestial sign athwart one-half the dome which vaulted the vision; and narrower and fainter, night by night,—long after my return to Cecil Plains—did the gentle withdrawal of the "roseate trajectory" reconcile us to the loss of that which had been summoned, perhaps, to lend its glories to the senses-worship of other unseen worlds.

The "Boyne" settled the vexed question of the Condamine. There was no presumption after such investigation—however incomplete—in confidently asserting that the system of waters on which we had fallen, after crossing the heads of the more eastern shed into Wide Bay, must be that which disgorges itself into the Pacific north of Hervey's Bay. We had gone far enough to see that there was a yet larger stream, with which it must have become joined, coming far away from the westward now called, I think, the Burnett.

We left our Comet Camp with reluctance: followed it down until we had assured ourselves of the general "lay" of the land, and turned up the stream in search of the best country—sure to lie about the sources—and the nearest to our southern neighbours on Darling Downs, which I might mark "Russell and Glover's sheep-station."

Along the banks of this stream we had seen and followed the fresh tracks of the fellow bush-waif, I suspect, of the beast killed in Eales' woolshed, but did not succeed in getting a glimpse of the animal.

On the flats of Burrandowan, ere long I shouted "Eureka", and, so far, my labour was over.

So far! I say so advisedly; for, having fixed upon the spot, I turned my attention to the Condamine, which we knew to be away to the westward still, and so went away towards the setting sun: crossed a wretched, sterile, scrubby, stony ridge of no height, which separated the heads of the Burrandowan from those of the Condamine contributors, and at once found ourselves perplexed by the baramba or briklow (bastard rosewood) scrubs, which spread themselves out over the wide, flat country, stagnating in the soakage, which cannot correctly be said to "run" to the banks of the latter river, as far as we knew in those days, at any rate.

Only one watercourse in any way promising did we see, and to this I afterwards directed my friend Ewen Cameron (of Cameron and Bell), afterwards in the office of Thomas Sutcliffe Mort, of Sydney, in memory of whose good deeds a statue stands now (1887) in front of the Department of Lands. Bell and Cameron's sheep were at the time resting on a part of the north branch of Cecil Plains, but they soon occupied the country which I had seen, under the name of "Cooranga".

For fifteen days did we elbow our way through this inhospitable tract. Leading our horses, and plunging through one interminable scrub into open "melon-hole" spaces encircled thereby, into its opposite edge, almost every sunset after a hot and breathless day would bring upon us an accompanying thunderstorm, which in their succession seemed to vie with our Wide Bay visitation. Our only clothes had been rent and had rotted, and reduced to our threadbare blankets, which we converted into ponchos. We then struck the Condamine, not more than two days' ride below the Jimbour woolshed.

Early one morning, after leaving the eastern watershed, we had suddenly come upon a tribe of blacks encamped in a small open space in the heart of the scrub. We had not been seen, and, out of curiosity, we approached, still unobserved, near enough to watch their domestic arrangements. Here and there were groups lying about warming themselves after the night's deluge; here gins were drawing in wood, there others blowing up fires: spears were piled together like muskets on a march; laughing, jabbering, they seemed contented enough; but what specially attracted our surprised attention was a group of piccanninies using miniature bows and arrows. Jemmy was as much astonished as we; we had never had reason to suppose that natives had in anywise become acquainted with the use of such an implement, even as a child's toy; and often had we spoken thankfully of their ignorance of it as a weapon, in the use of which they would assuredly have become exceptionally expert. On this occasion only did I ever see, for I had never heard of, an instance of its adoption in any shape. Before leaving this camp I secured a specimen, which I took to Cecil Plains. It was but a little harmless affair, made of a myall branch, and equally childish arrows. I took a note a few days afterwards of this occurrence.

The men who were not basking were arranging their kangaroo nets; others were practising with the spear and boomerang at the trees. "Dreaming of no intrusion," I have written down "their wonder was great at seeing us. When I shouted many rushed at once to their spear-stands, others stood their ground, while some were hiding their weapons for use. I suppose, if they found occasion. These neither approached nor retreated; but one man, evidently not belonging to the tribe, came forward, and to our astonishment, called out: 'Who are you, white-fellow?' He proved to be a runaway black from a Macintyre mob, who, having committed many depredations far away to the southward, had fled for safety to the north; the others had not seen whites before, though they had heard of them. The Macintyre native came close to us, quite fearlessly, and desired the others to keep back—a skilful manœuvre, which gave them a chance of stealing round us in the scrub, which was defeated by Jemmy's watchfulness. They then tried to be friendly, but we declined further intercourse."

Upon our arrival at Jimbour we found Henry Denis, as fine a fellow as ever breathed—at home. We were now well into 1843.

That night, there being no sheet of bark untenanted by a sleeper, I laid myself down on the earth floor of the hut; another man, whom I had observed smoking outside, came in and stretched himself in a blanket by my side; I had been told he was a stranger. By the fat-lamp light I was struck by his appearance, which worried me by the fixed stare of his eye at me. The repulsiveness of his features was intensified by the loss of the other; and his unquiet vigilance disturbed the sleep I wanted; so I took up my bed and walked outside for the night. Next morning he had disappeared, and I thought no more about him. On returning to Cecil Plains the following day, I first heard of a dastardly murder which had been committed on the Downs last year, 1842. The victim was a hawker, named Kelly, travelling with his father's dray.

The perpetrators—for it seemed that two had been engaged in it—had, up to the time, escaped; but one was supposed to have been lost or killed on the Big river after separating from his mate in the business. In this "mate's" description, which had been proclaimed in all these parts, was one unmistakeable guide to recognition—the loss of an eye! On immediate enquiry further, I now was convinced that my bed-fellow at Jimbour was the scoundrel "wanted", for the police were out after him, two of Commissioner Macdonald's having been stationed at Etonvale at this time. I sent word to Jimbour to call attention to the occurrence, and it at once struck Denis that there was much probability that I was right; for he found that my one-eyed friend had been at his wool-shed, some fifteen miles distant, and, finding that he was looked upon as a suspicious character, had decamped thence; come to the head-station the day of my own arrival, and had again as strangely disappeared. Denis at once followed his track, in company with my old acquaintance at the Peel, Irving, of the 28th, picked up the scent at Westbrook, followed in 'pursuit over the Main Range, and wholly lost it at Gatton, or Grantham, close by, which the villain had left but a few hours before, and all traces were, for a time, lost. Barker, who had been a sojourner with me at Etonvale, had returned thither from Sydney about this time, and had resolved to settle on the Logan. On his way to the station which he had acquired—I think by purchase from "Tinker" Campbell, of Westbrook—he stopped at a shepherd's out-of-the-way hut, and to this shepherd happened to mention that a large reward had been offered for the apprehension of Kelly's murderer, of whom Barker gave the full description issued. Within a few days the one-eyed desperado walked into this very shepherd's hut. His appearance betrayed him. Assistance was quietly obtained; the man seized, tried, convicted, and hung at Newcastle at the very time that Barker was in waiting there, some months afterwards, with the steamer which was taking in coals—as usual in those days—for the purpose of proceeding to Brisbane, he being one of the passengers.






{Page 342}

CHAPTER XIX.



——day and night, labour and rest, hurry and retirement endear each other: such are the changes that keep the mind in action: we desire, we pursue, we obtain, we are satiated; we desire something else, and begin a new pursuit.
Johnson.


In 1844 a narrative was arranged by the late Rear-Admiral Sir Charles Malcolm from some rough notes—never intended for publication—which I had sent home about my flittings in Australia, the country to which on my starting in 1839, he had, in all good meaning, wished me "God's-speed."

Sir Charles was at that time President of the Royal Geographical Society to which he communicated the paper.

In the desire to furnish evidence of the current ideas of the topography of our new district in the north I shall not hazard any from recollections of my own; for I was unable to keep any log upon my trips, beyond a special date now and then,—when I am enabled to stand upon the surer ground of contemporary observation and suggestion set forth in a letter written in England in reply to Sir Charles' application to Mr. Glover, of Norfolk, which I find in these late years among others recently recovered. It is bracketed with a note:—"On Stuart Russell's return from this expedition" (spoken of in the preceding chapter) "he immediately made arrangements to set out again with his brother Sydenham, Glover, Orton and the black boy to revisit the river" (on which I had taken up the run of Burrandowan) "but of this journey there is no account from him." The following is given by his friend and companion. Glover, to Sir C. Malcolm:—

"I shall have great pleasure in complying with your request by giving you such information as I possess with regard to the Condamine and Boyne, and shall feel most happy if I can aid in throwing light upon my friend Russell's notes, kept, I believe, merely to give an outline of his rapid journeys in search of a good station, certainly with no view to publication.

"You are aware that I accompanied him on his first, down the Condamine: and on his last, down the Boyne—two rivers, as we have proved, in no way connected; to them, therefore, I will principally confine myself.

"At the close of the year 1841, Russell and his brother Sydenham, Frederic Isaac, and myself started from Hodgson's station on Darling Downs in search of pasturage for our flocks. Before descending from the Downs, we proceeded to Jimbour, which lies as near as I can calculate sixty miles due north from our starting point, and is the last station in that direction on the Downs. At this time little or nothing was known of the Condamine below a large lagoon which lies twenty-five miles west of Hodgson's. Some supposed it was lost in a swamp, others that it was one of the tributaries to the Darling; for various reasons we were of opinion that it took a turn northerly somewhere below the lagoon. We went on this supposition from Jimbour, which we left at daylight, took a north-west course and travelled all day. Seeing no signs of water, we were considering what to do, when curious as it may appear, we were guided by our horses, who seemed from instinct to know where water was, for when we gave them their heads they pushed rapidly forward; just before dark we came on to a beautiful reach of a large river, which we concluded from after observation, must be the Condamine." (G. is in error: we dropped upon, and into, a large lagoon formed by the river's back-water in times of flood. A bell-bird, I recollect, first intimated our approach to the water, which, in truth, our horses found—not we.)

"There are convincing reasons, I think, that the Condamine is an inland river; whether it is eventually lost in the scrub, or takes a turn to the southward, remains to be proved: it cannot turn east as the Main Range lies between it and the sea.

"I have already stated that we came on the river in rather more than a day's journey from Jimbour, say thirty miles; this station being about ten miles below the plateau of the Main Range gives a distance of forty miles from the summit. We found, on our journey along the river, streams or creeks flowing into it on both sides, the eastern ones from the range: one from the southward joined the Condamine a few miles above where we turned back; it is nearly as large as the main river, and I am inclined to think, is a stream I came upon far inland from Hodgson's, whilst on an expedition with Pemberton Hodgson.

"Finding no country that would answer our purposes, we returned in three days in a straight direction to Jimbour. When we left the Condamine it was running W.N.W. The Condamine before this was almost unknown below the lagoon, though Scougal had some sheep on the Myall creek extending down to the river below. The distance we went down the river might be eighty miles as the crow flies; we returned convinced that the Condamine was a western river."

Upon our return to Etonvale from our trip beyond Jimbour, in search of a sheep-run—23rd October, 1841—I was too ill to renew it in some other direction. My brother Sydenham and Fred Isaac went off in good heart without me, as the need of a station had become pressing. I was indeed grateful.

We had rejoined, presumably, a continuation of the Condamine, beyond and below the junction herewith of the Jimbour creek—then the northernmost station on Darling Downs,—so they now proposed examining the land lying between the point at which the river had not been traced out of the Broadwater, upon which Rolland and Taylor had formed and occupied their cattle station of Tummavil—next below Leslie's crossing place—to the spot at which we had lately intercepted the stream followed down by us on our last ride. I have before me a letter of my brother's to his mother at the beginning of the year 1842, which gives the result:

"Having accompanied my brother Henry in his late unsuccessful expedition in which we struck upon what we conclude to be a portion of the lower course of the Condamine, I set out, soon after our return, to explore the country in another direction, Henry being unable, from illness, to join me. I left Hodgson's station on the 7th of November, 1841, accompanied by Isaac, a capital man for the bush. My object was in the first place to discover, if possible, the re-appearance of the Condamine after losing itself in the lagoon, being persuaded that as the latter had no visible outlet for the waters it received, they must escape by some subterraneous channel, and might somewhere be found to re-appear on the surface. On the second day we reached Taylor's station on the lagoon, which is seven miles in length," (here they learnt that the Gore Brothers—St. George and Ralph—had taken up country from Taylor's boundary: had struck upon a deep bed some miles below a small creek on which they had decided to build their head station—Yandilla—and marked a tree some twenty miles or more below it for their sheep-run), "and having followed it to its furthest extremity, we shaped our course from thence in a direction, as nearly as we could judge, the same as the river had held before it fell into the lagoon.

"At the end of one day's journey we came upon a small gully, across which we could jump. This gradually widened till it broke into a deep, rocky river-bed, on both banks of which was a fine open grazing country; and here we took up thirty miles on either side, marking two trees with our initials as having taken possession by right of discovery, which would [but did not] prevent anyone else from settling upon it within three months from the date of the license given for it by the Commissioner of the district. It requires one to be well acquainted with the peculiar nature of the rivers in Australia to trace out their true course, for some of them, particularly in a dry season, present only long reaches or mere pools, and are here and there entirely lost; though there are others which have a full stream throughout the year—such as those on the eastern side of the Great Range, which run into the sea. This river is a very fine one, for this country; its direction is first N.W. and then more northerly—of course, not running except in Hoods; but having beautiful long reaches, with deep water, and fine lagoons branching out of it. The country on the west side, though not hilly, is undulating; on the east flat and rich, the best for pasturage. There is plenty of the best kind of timber—iron-bark, blood-wood, pine, swamp-oak, and the best, I think, of all building woods, stringy-bark. In fact we have found a most beautiful spot for our head-quarters, with this great advantage: that we shall not be troubled by the natives" [vain hope!] "as they never harbour where the country is open, and we have no scrub on our station. By-the-bye, when we were following down the river we came suddenly on a native encampment. Strange to say, we were within twenty yards of them before either party saw the other. I galloped up to them, when one and all bolted into the river, leaving their opossum cloaks, spears, boomerangs, tomahawks, and all kinds of things, at our mercy. After a short time they came over to us, but we could not make them understand, although we had a native boy with us," [Isaac's Charcoal] "but he was of another tribe; the languages of the tribes are so different. Their spears are about fifteen feet long, some slender, some very heavy. They can throw them forty yards and can hit anything. The nulla-nulla is the worst weapon; it is a short club about two feet long, which they throw with awful force. On our return the report we made of the country was hailed with joy.

"We have called our new station after you, 'Cecil Plains.'"

Recurring now to Glover's letter—

"The Boyne was discovered by Henry Stuart Russell, having with him his servant Orton, and a native, in the following way:—Russell had heard from Davis, a runaway convict, whom he found with the natives up the Monoboola, on his boat-trip to Wide Bay, that there was a very fine country immediately in the neighbourhood of Eales' station, which report he found wrong, so far as to its being near that station."

"He determined on a journey to Wide Bay, and from thence to prosecute his research. Having reached Eales', he only remained long enough to recruit, and started in company with an overseer and a man of Eales' in a W.N.W. direction, and had one of the most formidable journeys that can possibly be imagined. The overseer and his man very soon returned, disliking the dreary waste and rugged country they encountered. It was, indeed, a very hazardous undertaking, as they had to travel through the Bunnia Bunnia country, which at this time was swarming with natives, who assemble for the purpose of feeding upon the fruit. After travelling over a broken and rugged country, they came upon a large flowing stream, which he supposed to be the Boyne. He found a lovely country upon the river, and left with the determination of revisiting it. Delighted with the report he brought in, we (the party before mentioned) * started off with a month's provisions in a due N. direction from Jimbour, with the full intention of tracing the river down to its very mouth, which the nature of the country and want of ammunition afterwards prevented us from entirely accomplishing.

[* Wrong. It consisted of Glover, Henry Denis (of Jimbour), my brother, myself, with Orton and "Jemmy."]

"On leaving Jimbour the whole character of the country alters. Instead of the wide-spreading plains upon the Darling Downs, the traveller comes upon a fine undulating country, thickly timbered, and covered with the most luxuriant grass; the ridges are chiefly granite. There is little, indeed, no standing water for the first twelve miles; four miles further on is 'Hungry Flat', so called from our sufferings from hunger whilst there."

On our return the same way we halted at this spot: man and horse hungry and weak. Horse had the best of it. We had been almost without any food for days past. It had become unpleasantly less before that. Denis looked worst. His white features and jet black beard and eyes were too trying a contrast. Our horses grazed awhile and with the exception of my brother, Orton and myself, the others rode off as quickly as they could manage knowing how near we were to Jimbour station. It was a painful effort we made to catch our unsaddled horses, and we jogged on as painfully and in silence. On reaching the hut, Denis was lying near the creek very sick: Glover squeamish. They had "bolted" all the eatables. Having to wait, we escaped much of such an unpleasant result from sudden repletion. Poor Denis! He afterwards told me that the feeling of starvation had so clung to him that he never could lie down to sleep o' nights without a "whack" of damper under his pillow!—until, I suppose, he left for Sydney and went down in the "Sovereign" at Amity Point.

"Here we found a chain of ponds, running west, which supplied us with water. At the end of this valley we with difficulty fought our way through a scrubby pass, on clearing which we burst upon a fine open forest glade with a rich dark soil. A stream from the Great Range runs through it into the interior. Being now some twenty-four miles north of Jimbour we determined to change our course and cross to the eastern slope of the range; this we did, and having descended about four miles from the summit, say two hundred feet, came upon a creek which we followed: it zig-zagged a good deal but its lay was decidedly northerly becoming larger every mile. We thought we had got on one of the main branches of our wished-for river, the Boyne, and so it proved to he. The bed of this river, near its source, lies in a valley elevated above the sea, I dare say fifteen hundred feet; receiving small tributaries from the higher country both east and west.

"Its bed is sandy, with much tea-tree growing in and about it; a great quantity of high reeds grow also along the edge of the reaches. On our first day's journey down the river we passed over some lovely country; nothing can be more luxuriant and lovely than the valleys. On our second day's journey down we found the reaches increasing greatly in length, a sure mark of a large river; many streams, both from E. and W. emptying themselves into the mainstream, the land becoming more mountainous, the valleys richer and more fertile. The third, we passed Burrandowan, a beautiful spot, which we afterwards made our station. It is fifty miles in a direct line from Jimbour. On the fourth day we came upon a river flowing in from the eastward in a full stream; it is about twenty-five miles below Burrandowan. This we called the 'Stuart', after the discoverer Stuart Russell. Not far below this we came on his tracks, when he had discovered the Boyne, by which he returned, crossing the Main Range, going down upon the Condamine, and returning up the river, and so to Jimbour, his old place of departure.

"We continued our journey down, keeping along or near the banks of the river for about three hundred miles, though I do not think the distance from Jimbour was above one hundred and eighty miles direct, lying N. by W. and S. by E. (this would place us about latitude 24 deg. 15 min. S.), when we turned back, having then been sixteen days from that station. Our return to the station on the Downs, taking a straight course, occupied ten days. When we turned back the river was flowing considerably to the eastward of north, and to judge from appearances, we were not far from the sea. From its size, I am of opinion that at this part the river is navigable. I have now given you a hurried sketch of our two expeditions, and shall feel pleased and gratified if any information I have been able to contribute may be found of service to my sincere friend, Henry Stuart Russell. Nothing would have delighted me more than to have accompanied him on an expedition to the Gulf of Carpentaria, which would, I doubt not, have laid open a valuable country, into which Asiatic emigration might be introduced to any extent required.

"I shall conclude this letter with a short account of the natives who inhabit the countries which the Boyne and Stuart, with their tributaries, water. I found them in considerable numbers, and have seen even four hundred men at a time, with not an old man amongst them: they are generally a fine-formed race, both men and women, many of the former six feet; and many of both sexes far from ugly: they are treacherous, cruel, and great thieves.

"When I first went to Burrandowan I tried kindness. I showed them how they might have flocks of their own to feed upon, and gave them presents, but all in vain. They are a restless race, never remaining above a day or two in one place, except when planning some expedition against a hostile tribe or to rob the white man. When they are bent on an act of murder and robbery, they assume towards the intended victim a manner of great kindness. Two of my poor herdsmen were murdered by the very men who had been associating with them and helping them only the very day before in fishing, in all apparent simplicity and kindness. In fact, I have now ascertained that when the natives are seemingly most friendly they are meditating an act of treachery.

"To conclude: As far as experience yet goes, I should say that the native Australian is, like the brute, incapable of forethought; and in no instance that I have heard have they attempted to add to the comfort of existence by building huts, or by rearing herds of cattle or sheep, &c. They kill all within their reach, and thence move to another ground. Whether they will ever be brought into a state of civilisation I have doubt. In my opinion the only hope there is must arise from some bold missionary, who dares venture to live amongst them as Bracefell and Davis did. Such a sacrifice on the part of an educated man is almost beyond hope."

Our sheep at length, then to be permanently folded on Burrandowan, were, indeed scattered. Some at Etonvale, some at Jondaryan, and one flock at Cecil Plains.

This last-named flock was on the west, immediately opposite to the spot on which I had "sat down" under three sheets of bark on the east bank of the Condamine: kept close under my eye, in fact, for safety's sake. Every man carried a double-barrelled gun in those days. On my return from the Burrandowan trip with Glover I had decided to move to a spot lower down, and there form the head station. The dray had just gone on with all our "swag". Orton and I remained, waiting to assist the shepherd, who was alone, in driving the sheep the same way, before their starting in a few days to a rendezvous appointed for all the separate flocks, en route for the new station on the supposed Boyne waters.

On the point of crossing the river with this intention, I suddenly heard the loud report of a gun, followed by a shriek of agony. We ran to the bank, and found the unfortunate shepherd holding in his left hand the wrist of his right arm, which was blown clean away from the shoulder, out of which spouted forth a strong jot of blood.

Having a stock-whip with a long green-hide fall, I made a rude tourniquet with that and the handle round what remained at the shoulder. The compression was effected by no skilled hands, but was sufficient for the purpose. We carried him to our bark hut with little hope, poor fellow; the look of despair in his face—he was a young man—haunts me to this day. Rolland. a medical man by profession, had just become the partner of Domville Taylor, at the Tummavil lagoon, thirty-three miles higher up, and had arrived at that station. Away went Orton within ten minutes for his help, and I was left alone with the terrible companionship. He had but lately come out as an emigrant; a native—as some others of our shepherds were—of Shelford, near Cambridge. "Water! Water! Water!" was his moan. "I'll go back again when I'm well where I needn't carry a gun," was his burden at other times, "How cold my fingers are!" feeling with his left for his shattered right hand: "I'm getting better," towards evening. "I don't feel pain now, sir." Mortification had set in round the wretched thong. "Thank you, sir; I shall never forget your trouble!" The sweeping over his poor face and limbs with a sapling branch, in almost hopeless endeavours to keep off and guard him from the attacks of flies, which in countless myriads, seemed ever recruited again and again from other myriads, for fresh assault upon his dying blood-stained limbs, had brought me on that day of cruel heat, almost to a helpless state, through exhaustion.

Five, six, seven hours; and yet no sign of help! (Rolland had not been at home when Orton, with his horse dead-beat, reached the place, and he did not return for two hours afterwards.) I dared not leave the quiet, patient sufferer for cooler water from the river, and this in the bucket was tepid! And yet "water, water" was the cry! What if he drink it all! The sun was getting low, and its westering beams were already searching out the open end of our rough hut. In heart-breaking bewilderment—I knew not what to do. "Neither the sun nor death can be looked at steadily," said one once, who had perhaps never tried it in this fashion, with sun and death on either side. And in this dilemma, snatching a fresh, more leafy branch for my steadier service, his thin voice reached me and told me that he had taken his gun up from the trunk of a tree on which he had laid it that he might smoke a pipe, that drawing it towards him the dogs' heads had caught against it, and (Well, I could understand all this.) "Listen! I know now that I'm not to live more. Listen while I can———" He had little time to speak, and the sun was going to rest. Silent the hostile swarms! My own heated pulses more cool! As music evoked from a single string by a great master's hand in scorn of collateral aid, so does the master hand of Death summon out of the silver cord "or ever it be loosed" the low strains of conscious truth from the whispering lips, which quicken—how profoundly!—the listener's soul-stirring symphony of human sympathy.

"The tongues of dying men
Enforce attention like deep harmony;
Where words are scarce they are seldom spent in vain,
For they breathe truth."

(How Shakespeare fills every cranny of this mortal coil!) 'Tis not for me to speak again of that short life's sad reflection of its past upon the passing soul, and not for me to speculate. What he said, he said to me, and in all solemnity of hope, 'twas buried with him in the shallow grave, which I dug with dry sticks on the banks of the river Condamine.

I then found that I was alone! I was not so much longer. The sound of voices and the rustle through the saplings in another hour or so woke up the stupor which I had seemed to share with the dead brother by my side, and I came back from past to present. "Well, sir!" almost whispered the eager tone of Orton's voice—for he was ahead of Rolland: "Where is he?" followed at once the kind voice of his follower. "Well done! Well done! but it's too late!" Dead silence. "Let me see him, Russell!" I struck a light: I had preferred the darkness beneath the stars till then: Rolland went stooping under the sheets of bark: the fatty flame fed but a flicker.

In a few minutes Rolland came out again: "If I had been on the spot when this happened, Russell, I could not have saved life! "My last seemly office over the rude mound under which we laid him, I would have rendered for the sake of his old folks at Shelford, which I knew so well; had I been able. But I had to leave him to the gum-trees sighing their dirge over the dead. Their Æolian service might be breathed to the day of his resurrection.

And so our sheep in course of time reached a place of rest: but from the outset to the end of the venture, ne patience, ne perseverance, ne pluck, ne purse were able to balance again the scales in which the "scab" had deposited the maximum measure of mercury and maladroitness. Glover and my brother, within the space of two years, had become disheartened, and disgusted: Went to Sydney, on their return to England, and during their absence I took their place.

It was a dismal task!

I think that every man would have bolted from the station in dread of an assaut d'armes, which the natives had already once provoked by their murderous attempt and savage bearing: but the road through that scrubby pass to Jimbour cowed them into righteous observance of their agreements. I must relate one instance of the effect of fear, the relief of which added much to the burden of my custodial cares.

The principal sufferer in this case, as in the former, was again one from Shelford, near Cambridge. His name was Matthews: he had a son with him also shepherding at Burrandowan.

Before my taking charge, a large mob of blacks had "baled up" seven men, all well armed, at a station not two miles below the head-station. Glover had, with much resolution and daring, relieved them, when aware one early dawn of the outbreak, the noise of which had reached his ears. He had found the shepherd's hut barricaded, which many hundreds of lighting men had encompassed. Their yells had thoroughly daunted the terror-stricken inmates, who for the most part had not been a year in the colony: they dared not even open when Glover called upon them to do so. Having made his way through the mob which he had routed bravely, it was not until he had driven them out of sight, that he obtained admittance. Matthews père—who, in his own village at home, was considered the "cock of the walk"—declared that he was too ill to go out with his sheep. On my arrival, I found him so still: I had him removed to the head-station, and there attended him as well as I could, in the absence of medical help which was out of reach. He suffered no pain: he could not stand: was helpless. What he said was, that on that day (of the attack) he felt very cold: could not recover warmth afterwards: that it clung like ice to his feet: and had been creeping higher up his limbs day by day: all appetite had disappeared: his features a pallid mask. He knew that he should not recover: yet he had been notably a hale man, who used to brag that he had "never had a doctor." About forty years old, he had always looked what he said he was—strong, hale and hearty. Still, day by day, he told me the cold got up higher and higher: then spoke of his old home and wished he had never left it: and so death bore him away from under my eves so quietly that I did not at once see that he had fallen into a sleep which was no counterfeit. Dr. Cannan told me afterwards, at Brisbane, that it was an evident case of death from fright.

The year 1843 had been marked by little beyond the routine of station, save the one—to us, out of the way as we were—most welcome tidings of the coming of Macdonald, Commissioner of Crown Lands hitherto for New England, including this district, in company with the Commissioner elect for Darling Downs, Christopher Rolleston. One of the first cases requiring adjudication was our dispute—for I was now in partnership with Gerald Brooks—with Somerville, who, on the part of his principal, "Dicky" Jones, had occupied part of our run, on which he had ever since been poaching.

About May, the two Commissioners came to my cottage at Cecil Plains, and, after hearing the requisite statements, rode over the ground, and the result was a kind of compromise, which I cannot explain, for I never clearly understood on what grounds we were deprived of the part usurped, which has ever since been held under the name of St. Ruth. The decision lay with the senior officer; his junior, whom we rejoiced to see—and much more so, when we had come to know him better—being now only installed into the appointment on the settlement of these cases.

Cambooya—Commissioner Rolleston's pleasant, open-door'd and ever hospitable dwelling soon became the centre of a social gathering, which it would have been difficult to match for good-fellowship and warm attachments in any other spot of Australia at that time. The beauty of scenery and the delicious atmosphere of Darling Downs imparted, I think, that health to our cheerfulness, and brightness in our relations one to the other, which no disappointment, loss, failure, nor bad markets and impecuniosity could long extinguish. Then there were so many pleasant environs of that central spot. Etonvale, Felton, Gowrie, Jondaryan, Jimbour, Yandilla, Tummavil, Clifton, Glengallan, Canning Downs, Toolburrah, Ellangowan. Would that that little world could have stood still! There were henceforward six years of a period—the happiest, at least to me (en garçon) that I have known. Perhaps some may have thought so since, but not said so, since we have been moved on by the policeman—Time.

The round of visits: the hearty welcome: the unreserved faith in a neighbour's willing service, if practicable: the scorn of thinking it a trouble: the laughing spirit of hope acclimatised to the habit of sanguine prospects nursed in spite of panics and poverty! The past year had been one of trial and distress: bullock drivers lighting their pipes with "the cove's soujee" orders; for many Sydney houses, firms, and banks had passed on their way in no wise rejoicing. Wool—sheep—cattle—they could no longer keep the pot boiling. So into the pots the poor valueless brutes were to be themselves pitched. "Tallar" and "tallar casks", "Tinker" Campbell, and Kangaroo Point came to be the sole set-off against low wool, no advances, and ready ruin.

So it continued a long, dreary, penniless period, but there was no abatement of Darling Downs hilarity—the jollity of inter-station visits, practical jokes and pleasurable passages of days, which culminated not unfrequently in the contentment and comfort at our Commissioner's Cambooya. A day at Rolleston's was always red lettered!—

"Where cheerful looks made every dish a feast,
   And 'twas that crowned a welcome."

[Cheeriness was then the squatter's viaticum vitæ]

Barrin' himself—hard up all round.

"Did you see Hodgson hawking legs of mutton in a butcher's tray on his shoulder at Brisbane?" "Yes, that I did. ha! ha! There was a fellow down there who had a terrible 'down' on Hodgson. He met a man at Kangaroo Point—no. South Brisbane—'Buy a leg of mutton? only one shilling' Come, take a lot of them while you're about it!' So he did."

"Do you see that fellow out there?" said he to me again. "He hates the very sight of me, I'll bet you a pound though, I'll go and sell him a leg; done, cried I, not knowing his gift of the gab: By George! I lost it: he sold the enemy two! and got my pound into the bargain. Oh! that villian Huggerson, ha I ha I in these bad times to lose a pound on a leg of mutton! ha! ha! I'll be quits with him some day."

Ups and downs! bullock-punching or butchering, baking or on the bench, boiling down, bargaining, betting, branding, begrimed, we played with the hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, yearly game of living much as children with the see-saw. Either end had its laugh: more than that, the panacea pipe.

Pinched, yet pining not; dunned, yet despairing not; in debt deep, yet not in the dismals; we, some at least, were buoyed up through trials and troubles into that enviable state of "all serene" by the positive element which the sympathy of our common lot created.

A distraction at times now eased us of personal annoyance, present broodings, and conjectures for the future. An apparently organised rising of the blacks had created a sensation all around. "Tinker" Campbell, and Hicks had been waylaid in the scrub at the foot of the range, and had a very shave of escape: Pearce's shepherds at Helidon killed, and their sheep cooked, though saved from the eating by prompt pursuit. The Clifton (Forbes') drays stopped by barricades, and the loads destroyed, after ransacking and carrying away all things portable. McConnell's men killed, and sheep taken. Outrage enough to electrify the promptitude of both commissioners—Simpson and Rolleston—who having at once sallied forth with mounted police and squatter's posse, were supplemented by Lieutenant Johnson and ten rank and file of Her Majesty's 99th regiment, and having scoured the scrubs with as much hope as one that "looketh for a needle in a pottle of hay," nevertheless, took special note—in the end—of those scoundrels concerned in the murder of Moore's child at Limestone, a little while before: "Jacky-Jacky" and "Peter" of black descent.

Our authorities also stationed—after all was over—half-a-dozen "diamonds" of the 99th at the Rocky water-hole, who had orders to escort all drays through that shadowy pass for the future, to the first spur of the Main Range.

This combative era gave an opportunity to the waggish propensities of one who was afterwards the clever editor of our earliest Brisbane newspaper—the Courier (he must have had a spice of his namesake progenitor's nature), for an amusing "poem after the style of Virgil and Homer," upon the derrin-do of the "Quatre-Bras" of commissioners, police, commissioned officer, and privates concerned in this re-establishment of order and confidence ir; the district. It bears—to my recollections, at least—the names of the dear "old fellows" of the time, a distinct "harking-back" to the squatting circle in which I was wont to sit. The "Raid of the Aborigines", by Wilks, was, for a time, the wealth of wit in our wilderness.

Wide Bay, too! the place on which I had set my early hopes. I find in one memorandum of October of this 1843rd year of our Christian era that "no other lives have been taken by the blacks on Eales' run since those of the four shepherds in May last." Yet I know that the men are afraid to take their sheep out from the huts. Eales has the only station yet on the waters of Wide Bay, and his venture must be a fearful loss,—beyond the human.

Backwards and forwards from the Downs to Brisbane.

It was very hot and still on that evening, when, with some half dozen others of Darling Downs, I rode on from Limestone to Brisbane.

The only hotel in Brisbane! always full of squatters, a class whom citizens therein would live upon and by, but employ little else in exchange for such profitable acquaintances than secret abuse and utter heedlessness of the "convenances" which could make, during the brief sojourn therein, the difference between disgust and content. Enjoyment was but a façon de parler!

The inevitable beef, damper and tea was scornfully dropped behind by the squatter faring his way eastward. "We'll go to——. What do you say?" So Smith. "Can't help it; it seems there's no other place!" So Jones. "Yes, we can camp at South Brisbane," sneered Robinson. "Oh, that be———," would objurgate, perhaps—Crusoe. And so to the,—was it not Bow's?—would they go in full-blown hopes of a change. The change from salt beef to well-broiled mutton chops: from damper to delicate toast and hot rolls: from tea to coffee of appetising odour—hot and delicious as of old in the Places de Paris, when lounging over cafe noir, or au lait: full-blown hopes which would all burst in their bubbles on reaching the threshold of mine host of the—what was it?—Queen-street.

The tired hacks left in a paddock on the other side of the ferry would acknowledge graciously the attention paid them when turned into a grassless paddock, by taking a good roil in the dust or the mud, as times might decree, but their masters' meekness would be sorely muddled by the reception in the licensed house which spread a roof over no conceivable accommodation acceptable to a squatter better than a brandy bottle.

"Waiter! can we get beds here to-night?" I well recollect on this occasion, in company with some weary ones, after a hot ride from the west. "Can't tell." was the boozy snarl from the throat of a slipper-shod biped, who from the colour of his skin perhaps had never known—decidedly never could have honoured—father nor mother; "can't tell, there's some coves in them there bunks: they can make room for you, rouse 'em out." "Well, let us have some dinner, something to eat." "You'll have to take what ye can get then, so I tell-ee," growled the baboon, "but what will ye have to drink?" "Tea, of course," in simplicity anticipating black, modestly engreened bohea, lump sugar, and cream." "Tea! ye —— ," roared the sneering scoundrel, at whose head an empty decanter snatched from the common table was impulsively levelled—and he bolted.

Oh, that dinner! Before we turned in we found comers earlier than ourselves wailing in very bitterness of good appetite, and the knowledge of good feeding, over their brief experience of the "good accommodation for man and horse," which made the ——— in Queen-street disagreeably notable.

The Coffee—or common—room ran east and west, parallel with the street; on the south side was a row of doors, similar somewhat to those which backed up the fore-and-aft saloons of ships in those sailing days. In front of the doors, a long table, on which chops of mutton, or steaks of beef, just killed, shot out of a frying-pan in company with potent onions and floods of boiling grease, followed each other, morning, noon, and night, on which wayfarers were expected to tertiate each day the tough teeth-task, accomplished only through the soft insipidity of squashed pumpkins and sweet potatoes. All the stuff issued out of a filthy kitchen at the back. In front was a verandah, through the french windows of which, now and then, an untainted swirl of air would vainly attempt to qualify the meaty, fatty steam within. Repulsive enough; yet hunger must grab and grub; what wonder that such solids sorely tried the complacencies of degustation, deglutition, and digestion, and too often drove the Queen-street diners from disgusting diet to disgust-drowning decoctions.

On one such morn of craving dissatisfaction, I rose from my flea-branded blanket on a stretcher opposite another, upon which a very inert specimen of bush humanity was stretched; one who had not been capable of stomaching the table-d'hôte, and had found his solace in blanket and bottle. Soon after the first faculty of sleep in the morning had begun to soothe—kept at bay, as it had been, all night by mosquitoes—I was startled by the sound of a bell, the bell for breakfast. The click of spoons and cups, and of such things as people do not eat, opened ears and eyes. Cautiously opening the cabin door, I saw the long table and a long table-cloth of sundry dyeings: covers, as usual, over preparations presumably ante-prandial, prandial, and post-prandial; all en régle! Yet there was something more: the baboon had done his devoir: he had gone. Poring over a large dish—into which a bundle of boiled eggs (mirabile dictu!) had been launched, I was suddenly aware of a presence of which an old-fashioned, grand-fatherly, cotton-tasselled night-cap was the capital feature. By every yahoo of Etonvale, 'twas Arthur Hodgson! He, unconscious of my own mosquito-vexed intrusion, was busy—with his mischievous eye and smile—in using a pencil upon each egg as he fingered it out of the dish. I coughed: he turned, putting his finger on his lips, "hush!" Pari passu we strode towards each other. "What are you about?" "Look here, old fellow, we can't get a decent blow-out: these eggs, at least, can't be dirty in their 'innards', whatever they have been boiled in. We'll keep them to ourselves, old boy, sit near me: don't you hate fried mutton-chops and what they call steaks, and all their onion abominations?" "Of course: but what are you at?" "Don't you see? I've marked them all with a date two, three and four months ago: Who'll eat them?" I stuffed the cuff of my red flannel shirt-sleeve into my mouth, and we crept back to our bunks.

In a few minutes came our mongrel waiter: "Breakfast! d'ye hear?" Some grunted in reply: some jumped up; some cursed the "baboon" for not calling them sooner: and out of one door, into which the wretch had thrust his head, issued, very venomously, the head with an iron-heeled boot in company.

The issue of Hodgson's "dodge" was worthy of his old cockpit mess. We two, at least, monopolised (is this a bull?) the gratification of rejected eggs—to which no one, on inspection, addressed himself. Individually, I felt grateful that day to Hodgson's "ex tempore adaptation of the incubator to our fresh appetites."

I "chanced" also, after this ride, upon a bridal party, a very novel sight at Brisbane. 'Twas the first notable wedding performed there, I think: even that of my worthy friend of "Rosenthal", on Darling Downs, Fred. Bracher, who had, with Miss Grace Ross, of that ilk, entered upon the irretrievable condition together for "better and worse!"

That rattling good fellow, Fyfe, of the Logan, had, I now also heard, brought the fine-looking horse, Mentor, into the district. The Pine river, too, had found some attractions in the squatting way, for my old acquaintance. Griffin, of the steamer "James Watt". had come to an anchor there in the new character of landsman; and I grieved to hear that the station not far from Limestone, of my yet older acquaintance, John Macdougal, had been positively ransacked by the blacks.

Through such a stream of sensations, sorrow, and strife did we pull the seasons of 1843. The promise of its end, and hopes of new-born habitude beckoned us on to beacons beyond, not brightened yet. We could feed their glimmering but by our "taller and hides".

There was no flickering in the glimmer; it was steady. The drama of 1844 was yet untyped; one of its personæ had in itself a lustre, which Queensland cannot escape from reflecting, smudged by her thankless hand though the retrospect be.






{Page 359}

CHAPTER XX.



How sour sweet music is
When time is broke, and no proportion kept!
So is it in the music of men's lives.
Shakespeare. ("Rich. II.")


Is it not Seneca who says: "Some men, like pictures, are litter for a corner than a full light"?

Pictures nor men dare often challenge a full glare. Imminent men occupy but their special niche in the gallery of fame. I run the risk of provoking the Apellean censure: ne sutor supra crepidam, when I tread upon the toes of popular and unqualified approbation by venturing to question Ludwig Leichhardt's fitness for the leadership of men (in the bush sense, with no doubting as to his scientific qualification) in the undertaking to which he bound himself in 1844, and persisted in until he passed out of sight.

It is not an easy, and to others it may seem an uncalled for expression of private opinion to discuss the means applied to working out the end of a grand desire; while falling short of the admission that the method of obtaining that end was as worthy of admiration as the conception itself. The first act in the drama, in which Leichhardt was the chief actor, long since met with general and loud applause, and challenged unmodified public praise. "It is success that colours all in life." Fain am I from private reverence to join hands with public acceptance: yet, when I approach in thought the day when I first fell in with the learned traveller, I find my esteem for himself as a doer (I speak as a squatter) at variance with that unreserved public approval which has been accorded him in the past. The idea of making an overland trip to Port Essington had been considered very soon after the occupation of Darling Downs by the first squatters. From private discussion it had reached public comment. In the Sydney Herald of September 12, 1843, a long article on the advantages of opening a communication overland to Port Essington appeared. Towards the conclusion it says: "it is certainly not a time now to look for any aid from the Colonial Government, even for such purposes, but there arc, nevertheless, some men of high emprise in the colony who being heartsick of the impious plaints of others for money, desire nothing so much as some field worthy of "human efforts uncontrolled." We know that there are such men in this country. Cattle and provisions are cheap, and tropical Australia has never been explored. We want a high road through it to India, to China. A stream of population is required from Asia. If for such a purpose a few hundred pounds cannot be raised in the colony, even in these times, beef and flour, at least, may be spared, and a party of, say, twenty-five selected convicts, encouraged by a promise of liberty on good behaviour, would be enough, under a leader fit for the undertaking. He should be well acquainted with the habits and general character of the aborigines, and well used to the bush. The party should set out from the head of the river Condamine, to the westward of Moreton Bay.    .    .    . It should be borne in mind that the establishment at Port Essington would preclude any necessity for returning by land."

Again urging the same, appeared a letter in the same paper, dated Friday, September 15, 1843, signed "Mercator", which shows how much the proposal had taken hold of the popular fancy. The outcome of this general conversation found in the report published in the Herald of the 23rd of November follows that of the Select Committee of the Legislative Council appointed to ascertain the practicability of an overland route from the settled districts of this colony to Port Essington.

On my return to Cecil Plains alone, one afternoon in the middle of 1844, when within half a mile of the cottage on the west branch of the river Condamine, I saw a surprising object—surprising, at any rate, in that part of the world—an old-fashioned tall black hat, a veritable chimney-pot. It was shuffling along in company with a "cabbage-tree." Of the wearers I could see nothing, because of the low acacia scrub thick on the ridge about my stockyard. Cantering on I recognised my Toolburrah friend, G.K. Fairholme, and the sight of his pleasant, chaffing face gladdened my eyes. But whose was the black hat? 'Twas Dr. Ludwig Leichhardt's I Introduced, we simultaneously lifted our head gear. I took off my own, wholly in astonishment at seeing the fine face opposite suddenly bespattered with half a bushel of flowers, leaves, and many vegetable specimens; the hat, too, was girt around by sundry creepers and climbers, and here and there a beetle speared to the rim. It was no guesswork to "twig" the botanist perhaps an earnest and, to all appearances, amiable inquirer into the general arcana of Nature—a man of science. The first glance could read the German type; his first utterance signified it. He disentangled his head, hair, and beard very quietly, and after our first greetings—so rare the opportunity!—I found that my short-sighted friend and the Doctor's eyes had not descried my dwelling, at the back of which they had passed by within a hundred yards, and were now leaving behind.

I had not at that time heard Leichhardt's name Fairholme before long had given me an outline of his companion's pursuits and ruling passion; spoke of his having lived with the natives far away south and among those in the neighbourhood around Brisbane out of sheer curiosity, as well as for the purpose of adding to his collections. The Doctor himself could not believe in the evil report which he met everywhere about the aboriginals with whom and among whom he had dwelt unscathed, and concluded that they were all alike, "and would do injury only to the man who distrusted them and showed his distrust."

The very first evening of this pleasant meeting I learnt from Leichhardt that he had wished much to see me because he had heard that I was contemplating an attempt to reach Port Essington. "True, Doctor Leichhardt: but it requires a good deal of consideration, beyond the fun of the thing: I don't know what to do with the station: I might be away six months! I'm sure that a couple of good bushmen, with good horses, and plenty of 'bacca, powder and shot might do it easily enough. I'd take Jemmy, and Orton, my stockman, says he will come with me: but I can't say when!" "Take a couple of my dogs, Russell," chimed in Fairholme, "and if you get short of grub you can always eat them, unless the blacks eat you first." "I'll take your dogs old fellow; but why not come yourself: you've nothing to do in particular." "Thank'ee, I'd rather stop at home: why I'm blind as an owl in the daylight: I couldn't see your caboose en passant to-day." "But how did yon manage to miss it, Doctor?" "Well! I was looking all over the ground, and up the trees, and through the air for what I could see, my friend: but I did not see your cottage." "That wouldn't do for Port Essington, Doctor: you'd have to keep your eyes open for something else than butterflies, beetles, berries and Botany bundles: day and night, too: you see those pretty bagatelles are not fit for eating: if you don't eat, you'd starve: you'd have to keep your powder dry: and not be above a pot-shot at times." "But I do not use the gun: I do not care to carry the gun: I do not shoot." "Well, but Doctor, what if the blacks were saucy: you wouldn't stand quiet while they drove a spear through you, would you?" "Ah! then: I have seen and been with them in the bush day and night: lived weeks in their midst: they would bring me what to eat: they did not hurt me: I do not think any blacks would hurt me." "But you were among the tame blacks to the south and up the Brisbane, you don't yet know what the 'Murrie' are." "Ah! then: I do think they are all the same: if you have faith, you will be kept." Ah! then: thought I, should not like to try it in your company. "Very fortunate. Fairholme, that I dropped across you to-day! I've three men here and one with a wife and two children; and not one of the poor things could have seen you pass. I can't leave this; and it is misery to be here—specially at night—and listen to their groaning with pain from 'sandy blight.' If it had attacked me too, we shouldn't have had a pair of eyes amongst us. So I have to do everything for all!" "What is that?" broke in Leichhardt, "the sandy blight? eh? It is Egyptian opthalmia: I will cure it: a little water, please: I will look to them." He opened a little case: took from it some nitrate of silver: made a solution: a few drops under the lids upon each blood-blotch of an eye, and a most marvellous immediate relief and—within twenty-four hours—a complete cure was the effect. Thankfulness for our rencontre, with this present consequence, kept pace with my admiring surprise; for my tribulation and helplessness had been for many days.

In a week or so we became more intimate and confidential. At his wish I gave him a short account of my own trips into the bush, but more particularly dwelt on what I thought I had learnt during my last. In my view of the "Cross Range",—as I had got into the habit of calling the Bunnia heights—I took a start for conjecture from it as a base for the guess-work, by means of which only could I pursue my fancies northwards.

I had, with my brother, pencilled out our assumptions as to the probable trend of waters beyond our farthest search, and, judging from a copy of this sketch, which was embodied with Sir Charles Malcolm's narrative, which I have now before me. and, recollecting our conclusions at that time, we evidently pictured our persuasion that northward of the Bunnia the flow would be dos-à-dos, in a manner, to that thrown to the southward of the same hog's-back. The last trip with Orton. for some distance at any rate, had given us a fair idea of the system then positively unknown, as well as of the more westerly course which the Dividing Range followed. Indeed Channels must be formed for streams to the Gulf of Carpentaria and to the north coast; so we thought that this wonderful barrier would probably take a round turn with the coast all the way, at a rough guess. One point we had agreed on, viz., that the Bunnia range must be the apex of the eastern coast-board—the highest land to be met with for a long way north,—pitching, as it did, streams from both hands in opposite directions: southerly courses, as it were, to Sydney; northerly to Cape York.

In the old verandah thus we discussed and smoked it (not Leichhardt; he wanted no such cloudy philosophy), sending at times for Orton to join our conclave, and help us in airing our bush castle-building. Jemmy's instincts also were chartered for such occasions. To the reply to "Which way, 'perroo' (brother), that fellow big water you and me been make a light?" there was never hesitation with "Me tink that fellow-way," with a finger-post poke of the chin.

So engrossed did Leichhardt become by the subject that that dear old fellow Fairholme (still living, I believe and hope, near Munich) surrendered himself to the general bent, as well as his amusing anecdotes and naive jokes, to the grave interest with which his learned friend was now continually overhauling the slack of his secret desires and aspirations, until in the course of a few days more he was brought up all standing by the strain of his own resolve.

The time was at hand for his leaving me. He had walked about the plains, pulled up much grass and many weeds which—ignoramus that I was—I trampled down unconscious every morning; and, so far, Leichhardt was satisfied. At length his thoughts, taken captive by this newly conceived project of lighting up a path through the dark fastnesses to the Gulf of Carpentaria, broke away from the reserve, with the burden of which his mind had for some days been travailing. "Russell, I am going to Sydney: I will go to the Gulf: I will go to Port Essington: I will find help there and come back soon, very soon. But, my dear friend, will you and your brother come with me? Will Orton, too, come with me?"

The sudden assault upon compliance took me all aback. Having seen the strength of his inclinations, and foreseen the probable result, I had more than once spoken about it to my bush mentor, William Orton. We had too much misgiving of the Doctor's "craft" in accomplishing the undertaking; too much reluctance to pledge ourselves to a position which might entail bounden acquiesence in all his instructions, a position to which we were strangers; an instinctive distrust, likewise, of his savoir faire and his savoir vivre in a common bushman's way of getting on; a shrinking, too, from such loyal co-operation with one whom we could admire for his "pluck" and feature-read resolution, but with whose confidence in his estimate of the wild native character we could in no way sympathise to the extent to which he had tried to persuade us, through occasions within his own experience while in the indulgence of his ruling passion's pursuit, and the display of his high and admirable qualities and attainments.

"I tell you what, sir"—Orton's homely words will best explain the dilemma,—the pleasure of compliance with the flattering request of a man who had taught me to honor him, and the severity of discretion and common sense,—"I tell you what, sir, you wouldn't get on with Dr. Leichhardt a week. As for me where you go, I go, if you wish: but you'll soon fall out, and then we should have to come back with our tails between our legs. He crawls along with his compass and thingummies: why, we two, sir, and Jemmy to get honey and use his eyes, could do it in half the time he'll take about it: 'tis my belief, if Dr. Leichhardt do it at all, 'twill be more by good luck than good management. Why, sir, he hasn't got the knack of some of us; why, it comes to some like mother's milk! can't tell how or why, but it does. Some of my mates on the Big river were no better at the year's end in the bush than they were in the beginning. Regular crawlers. Mark my words, sir, Dr. Leichhardt hasn't got it in him, and never will get it. I don't mean to be disrespectful: and I don't mean to say he can't and won't get there: he's a brave gentleman, I don't want to be told that: but how he'll get there in his way, I can't guess, and don't like thinking about: he's no bushman, and I say again sir, if you go you'll be sorry for it. Then again, what does he know about the darkies? I know them better than he: and I can't say that I should care to be in a mess with them, when he won't carry even a gun; and if he did, can't use one."

All this was but the echo of my own whisper; and so I told Leichhardt that I had too much to attend to in station interests to be able to throw any shadow of consent upon the proposal: that although it had been a pet idea of ours lately, I must not put more serious matters aside for the sake of gratifying my wish; and that he had better, if determined to carry the matter out, go to Sydney and prepare himself there. And so we parted.

In August, Leichhardt returned to Darling Downs by Moreton Bay, with his companions Roper, Calvert, and a clever sketcher, but very young, named Murphy. He had others who, with a black, made, I think, seven or eight in the party.

He had written to me from Sydney to tell me that his preparations were nearly completed: that he had called upon the Governor, Sir George Gipps, and had enlisted His Excellency's good graces in the matter: and had told him that my brother and I—having made his decision at Cecil Plains—had promised to accompany him from Darling Downs, "and that he depended on our doing so." This was the purport of his letter. By my immediate reply, I repeated my reasons for having, at the time he asked me, declined to leave the stations, and, of course, regretted his misapprehension.

On this he did not, as on two subsequent occasions, make Cecil Plains his starting point, and I was sorry to hear that our refusal had retarded and disarranged his plans awhile. Pemberton Hodgson * and Gilbert were afterwards added to the party. The former soon came back having fallen out with the Doctor: the latter was killed by the blacks in a night attack—(where was their watch? the blacks had at this time shown much hostility)—upon a stream which ran to the easternmost—for them the wrong—shore of the Gulf of Carpentaria; in which attack Calvert and Roper were severely wounded, and "waddied": and after the lapse of so long a time that all hope of their reappearance had been lost in Sydney, they sprang up from sea-wards,—like the 'makromme', at Wide Bay; brought from Port Essington by the schooner "Heroine" one night into Port Jackson at the very end of the following year—1845.

[* (Who with a black left the party after making their start at Kents' Lagoon seventy miles beyond Jimbour, and returned to Darling Downs.)]

On my next meeting with Leichhardt—when he stayed at Cecil Plains, in preparation for his second venture—he gave me a description of that nights' reception of himself in Sydney, and bearing myself back to his side—for we often sat side by side in the old verandah—I can re-enjoy the amusement of his story. [If I fail in correctness, there may be some yet who can set me right.]

"We did come to Sydney, it was quite dark, we did go ashore, and then I thought to see my dear friend." I am not sure of the name, I think Lynd. "So I went up George-street to the Barracks." [Which Wynyard Square now covers, between D. Jones and Go's, old premises, and within fifty yards, of the corner of Jamieson-street.] "And then I went to his quarters, to his window, he was dressing himself. I did put in my head: he did jump out of the other window, and I stood there wondering. Soon many people did come round, and did look oh! so timid! I did not know all. Then came my dear friend." [I think, Nathan the composer.] "And then there was such a greeting: I was dead, and was alive again! I was lost and was found! Gome now, said he, and hear, and he took me away, all the way to Pitt-street, and to the theatre, and there was sounding in sad song my own death elegy! I cannot describe after that, my friend: I was lost, and was found!"

That elegy—if yet extant—may be sung to Nathan's music now.

Upon this second occasion—1846—came with Leichhardt his companions. The first, whose name mesmerises this pen, was John Mann, one of a family whom I had reason to remember in Sydney with a pulse of pleasure; Hovenden Hely, one of the kin fire-side; Bunce, botanist of Melbourne, where (it was Port Phillip then) "old Ironbark" had been no man in a corner; and—well I with the exception of two natives I can remember no more. Mules were their spes gregis (he had horses besides); the cattle they had to drive rather disheartened hope; yet with three "stringy-bark" bushmen of the "bonny brand," I had great expectations of them, of bright days, bright deeds, and the brightness of a swoop upon the denizens of the Swan River, to which they had bound themselves, in the wake of which we pilgrim pioneers of pasture paradises might plant our portions.

Among the mules which he had provided himself with, or had been provided with by the Agricultural Company at Port Stephens, I think, was an alarming buck-jumper. Leichhardt said "I will ride him;"—it was the most promising of the lot to look at. "You can't," had said some one (the Doctor was not a good rough-rider). "I did ride him once and he did send me off: I did ride him again, and he did send me off: we will see."

The Doctor got the mule up: on with the saddle, and into it, hoist: in a second, I saw his head and heels describing a playful parabola in descent: up again, unharmed and heated, and away again in shuttle-cock fashion the Doctor's dignity declined.

"I will ride you!" he chewed between clenched teeth: he did. Man and mule! Vive le Roi!

Poor Leichhardt! The doing of determined desire unto death. His method and manner of doing, now no need to heed. What says Young?

"Death is the Crown of Life,
Were Death denied, poor men would live in vain;
Were Death denied, to live would not be life:
Were Death denied, e'en fools would wish to die."

Many weeks after. Jemmy's black face appeared at my window: "Me been see track belongin' to that fellow saucy yarraman that been come along a doctor." "Which way, Jemmy?" "All along—a north branch." What was the meaning of this? The "saucy yarraman!" The kicking brutes had escaped from Leichhardt's hands and returned on their own pathway. "Baal me see 'em; that gone good way more furder." Sure enough! they went until stopped at Rosenthal. Had they, then, been killed? Do these herald their hearse?

A few days more—July, 1847—and back in funereal procession, wasted, woe-worn, wretched, wandered in, one behind the other, the hale, hearty, hopeful hands-in-hand who had gone forth so many weeks ago! 'Twas a comfort to see so much of them, after listening to Leichhardt's solitary plaint.

Fever, ague, rheumatism—in all their prostrating power! "Bundle in! Lie down!" Thankful was I that not one had lost the number of his mess. "A pot of tea. Aye! There is no grog." And then a careless rest—a heedless sleep, were the first night's need; and, in spite of the doctor's rheumatic moan the sight of those sleepers was gladdening:

"Sleep, that knits up the ravelled sleeve of care;
Sore Labour's bath;
Balm of hurt minds; great Nature's second course;
Chief nourisher in Life's feast."

A few days yet more set them up exceedingly well. But ours was no sociable gathering of comrades round the rough pine-table. There was a tale to be told: that was over-plain. Looks askance and silent lips courted no questioning: I could but feel thankful that I had escaped the trial which better-skilled bush-craft, truer camaraderie, and, I am afraid, more careful and steady observance of considerateness and self-denial, (that blessed bond of bush brotherhood) and warmer working sympathies might have spared these.

Here, I thought within me, was Leichhardt's failing. So wrapped in his own designs and pursuits and the attainment of his own objects:—an illustrious name to carry back to his fatherland: fame, by dint of which he might win back the patrimony forfeited by reason of his lâches in evading the conscription laws of his country: the good report of the world wherewith to commend himself in gallant fashion to domestic happiness; in these considerings so enfolded: by these so absorbed that he seemed to forget the sharers of his toil and risk: the fellow-workers of the wilderness without whom he could not have faced it. Detailed explanations—worse than useless to recapitulate—and which, in my admiration in other respects, I gladly forget, served but to justify the estimate I had already formed of Leichhardt as a leader in such an adventure—not sans reprôche; however sound his title to sans peur truly was.

The inactivity of tongue did not, I was soon delighted to find, extend to the teeth of my friends, as they threw off their ailments. Want of variety by no means cloyed their appetites: Beef, damper, tea—smoke! damper, beef, tea—smoke! tea, damper, beef—smoke!—just like the triple-bob ding-ding-dong-dong of village chimes—came our daily diet. Poor fellows! they had indeed to make up for lost time on Peak Downs. The mules had escaped from them there, I think; if so, no wonder that they could'nt look after them. *

[* These same mules were taken by Leichhardt on his following and last setting forth. What can have become of them? Surely they were not all killed. But not one ever reappeared.]




Sketch Map of the Balonne River
and Country He had ridden over
done at Cecil Plains, August 1847
by Ludwig Leichhardt

and given to me.

[Click on the map to enlarge it.]




One night the smell of roasting woke me: were they so hungry that they could'nt wait for breakfast? Where, and what can they be cooking? Unscrewing myself out of my blanket, I followed my nose, which led me to Leichhardt's small separate room. To my wonder and horror there he was, lying on his back with his shoulder on the edge of the bed, frizzling over the flame of a fat lamp, placed under it, i.e., the shoulder. His rheumatic torture must have been, indeed, intolerable to find relief by such a cautery. Yet Leichhardt declared it was the first alleviation of his distress that he had been able to devise. The prescription was an opiate for him, the sight of it robbed me of further sleep. In the end the party broke up, and again did Leichhardt return to Darling Downs—overland for another invasion of the northern region. I was engaged, in March, 1848, in an arbitration case (at the request of my dear old friend. Jack Crowder, whose wild cattle hunting guest I was sometimes at St. Clair, Glennie's creek, and at whose death bed I stood at Biarritz, in the south of France, nine years afterwards) on behalf of the Aberdeen Company; and so met him with his associates at Rosenthal, superintended by Frederick Bracker, and stayed with them a while.

He told me that he did not expect to be out of sight less than two, perhaps three years. We parted in the hope of meeting again some day after his return from Swan River, to which the journey-plan he had laid down was to be by the heads of waters running to the northward until he reached those of streams running to the western coast.

He and his party proceeded to Cecil Plains, and made a filial exodus thence—but have never reached the terminus.

A man's hand may cover Australia on the map of man's charnel dome. What a glorious God's-acre! "Here lie Ludwig Leichhardt and his lieutenants."

No need to detail the public expressions of joy at Leichhardt's despaired of re-appearance from his first journey which connected us by land-travel with the north coast, in Sydney, and through the whole country. Reference to the newspapers and other records of the day, testifying in language fertile with expressions of hope for the paralysed commercial and other kin interests of the colony, enchanted the prismatic fancies of citizens, and fascinated those of squatters, which were well nourished by the oracles of the press. Meetings were called for the purpose of raising means for a fitting testimonial to the hero of the day, to whom soon after were accorded the thanks of the country at the bar of the Legislative Boudoir. The publication of the great traveller's report added fresh fuel in March of 1846, to the flame of inquiry, and Leichhardtian fame. The leaders of the daily journals were laden with delight and gratitude, and broke down well nigh under the burden of future promise and speculation. One paragraph from the Herald of the 31st, proclaims the reaction at the eleventh hour of the people's hopelessness of the adventurer's safety in these words:—"The joyous exultant sensation which this brilliant deed has inspired in the breasts of the colonists, is the greater from its having so soon followed the gloomy disappointment caused by Captain Sturt's last expedition. Sturt's announcement struck daggers into our Australian hearts. Leichhardt has applied a balm that has neutralised the poison, and healed the wound."

The incense of popular sentiment and sympathy enveloped even in its perfumed praise the gallant captain of the "Heroine", who had rescued and brought back the wanderers! May that silver snuff-box be handed about for numberless generations as a proud heir-loom to the McKenzies!

Government, too, on Cowper's motion, was mollified to the extent of a grant of £1000 from the public purse, and even the surviving helpers in the work were not quite overlooked and forgotten.

So Leichhardt revelled in the victory won over the wilderness and the affections of the numerous family which he had made happy around him.

Brisbane, too, in her admiration of success so unexpected, spread out her arms towards the schoolmaster who had taught her what her province was and would be. My old friend, Henry Isaac, supported by another whom I may yet again hail in hearty health—Dr. Cannan—expatiated, at a meeting at "Bow's", on the whole duty which had devolved upon us of due acknowledgment of the "Doctor's" prowess. Fred. Isaac, at Gowrie, when he heard of it, found every seat too hot, and sat not down for twenty-four hours in impulsive preparation for prompt pursuit to Peak Downs of the proud pilgrim's sandle-prints. Such was Leichhardt's hour of success!

Sir Thomas Mitchell came back from a somewhat similar pursuit: but he had been out-pilgrimmed. I don't recollect his welcome back. Success had not been his. Sturt turned up in pitiable plight and suffering: public pulses beat not the more quickly.

It is not for me to withhold or wish to withdraw respect and admiration of Ludwig Leichhardt as a brave man; one of great perseverance and high attainments; but, on the lower platform of fitness in all its varied forms for commanding that unreserved acquiescence and cheerful obedience of his fellow-labourers as their leader:—that unfeigned confidence, far above the low suspicion which a questionable, and the absence of a purely unselfish conduct in the petty but inevitable details of a day-by-day wearisome, plodding, toilsome, hunger-breeding march alone can generate:—that hearty co-operation in precautionary arrangements against native—particularly night—assaults—and last but not least, that cordial attachment to their captain in an exploit in which to each the setting of a sun doubled the danger; and to each the rising renewed the fresh day's lease of life—I refuse to lay my private tribute in addition to the public record and reward of his public service. I must try back to the homely expression of my unlettered, but perfect bush-companion, William Orton, that it might be done "in half the time that he'll take about it: tis my belief if Dr. Leichhardt do it at all, 'twill be more by good luck than good management. I don't mean to be disrespectful: and don't mean that he can't and won't do it: he's a brave gentleman, I don't want to be told that: but how hell get there in his way I can't guess, and don't like thinking about: he's no bushman, and I say again, sir, if you go, you'll be sorry for it."

Have forty and more years passed and proved the stockman's instinct at fault? From his return—so unexpected that it was no uncommon expression to hear it called resurrection—from Port Essington until he had again left with his second party, in the hope of skirting the whole country by the north and west coasts until he reached Swan river, Leichhardt passed his days in pleasantness among the well-earned plaudits of all people in Sydney. He lectured and was listened to with interest and delight by crowds assembled at the Mechanics' School of Arts. Public and private testimonials, evincing the colony's thanks to our great explorer, were eagerly and substantially conferred, and he as gratefully acknowledged the generous approval of his work. Just after leaving Sydney, on October 1, 1846 (one of his party, John Mann, going up by water with provisions wherewith to load the mules which Leichhardt with the rest were proceeding to take from Stroud overland to Brisbane), the news reached Sydney of Captain Stokes' discoveries, especially of the river Albert on the north coast and, by means of his observations the correctness of Leichhardt's inland was tested and to a great extent verified. On the way to Darling Downs, towards the end of the month, he had the gratification of seeing a report of this connection between Captain Stokes' work and his own in a Herald which was sent after him. One of his former companions to Port Essington (Roper) accompanied the Doctor as far as Rusden's—"Deepwater", I think, the station was called—and then said "good-bye;" and it was not long before Leichhardt's map, which he had compiled and sent to Arrowsmith, was made the subject of universal interest.

Well, we know what followed this second attempt, and I have already spoken of the return of the whole party to Cecil Plains, thoroughly "broken down" and "knocked up", in July of 1847. On that occasion he wrote, on the 1st August, a letter, afterwards published in Sydney, from which the following is an extract:—

"Russell's Station, Darling Downs.
"1 August, 1847.
"I had reached the camp of Messrs. Blythe and Chauvel the 21st July: and Mr. H.S. Russell on the 28th, where I propose to leave my things till a new party is organised which, I hope, will be about the beginning of May.    .    .    .     Notwithstanding the many hardships we endured, my party behaved extremely well."

When sufficiently relieved from his terrible rheumatism he left me with F.N. Isaacs—of Gowrie,—Bunce, and a black with the view of examining the country lying between Sir Thomas Mitchell's track—of which he had now heard—and his own, and gave a long account of the result published in Sydney in the following October. In it he repeated his thanks to Bunce, one of his last party, who had not left him with the rest who returned to Sydney. Then came out also a flattering review of Leichhardt's Journal on his way to Port Essington in 1844-5, and the last trustworthy information by letter ever Written by him, was from Macpherson's station on Fitzroy Downs, at Mount Abundance, in his final effort: being the last, I must further preserve it as far as I can by extracts.

"Sheep-station at Mount Abundance,
"April 4, 1848.
"I left Mr. Birrell's station (the last on the Condamine) on the 23rd of March. On the 24th I continued for about three miles from Dogwood Creek in latitude 26 deg. 53 min. Passed some line country on a good-sized creek which, I think, is the outlet of the Kmu Creek which Mr. F. Isaacs is going to occupy. The 25th we travelled again to the westward: crossed a chain of lagoons: entered again a bricklow scrub, out of which we came into the waters of Sandy Creek, or the "Gregor" as Mr. Archer and Chauvel called the western branch of it. Camped on the Gregor in latitude 26 deg. 52 min. Up the Gregor ten miles on the 26th. I am inclined to think that the Gregor will turn out to be my Robinson's Creek, to which I came in latitude 25 deg. 30 min. on my former expedition. The 27th of March we continued our journey about nine miles west-north-west, and camped on Horse-track River in latitude about 26 deg. 43 min. The 28th we travelled sixteen or eighteen miles due west, and encamped on the Yahoo River of my former trip. The 29th we travelled scarcely two and a-half miles, through myall scrub, when we came on another large creek which, no doubt, is one of the branches of the Yahoo river. The 30th we travelled about ten and a half miles west by south, mostly through thick bricklow scrub, and encamped on a large creek which I considered to be Bunce's Creek: our latitude was 26 deg. 43 min. The 31st we travelled eight and a-half miles west by north, when we encamped on another good-sized creek. On our march we found the Downs next our camp did not continue far to the westward, but that they changed into bricklow scrub with open patches: at about four and a-half miles we crossed a creek which was larger than that on which we had camped: the country on its banks was very open: in some cypress pine thickets we observed numerous old cattle tracks, which we met again going to the west creek, on which we camped in latitude 26 deg. 41 min. This latter creek I distinguished by the name of the M creek, as Mr. Hentig found that letter on one of the trees not far off our camp. We ascertained afterwards that Mr. Macpherson has taken possession of the upper part of this creek to form a cattle station, and that he has already put some of his cattle upon it. The 2nd April we travelled ten miles west-north-west over most beautiful downs, with belts and patches of scrub, particularly to the south-west and west: to the northwards (N.W. by N.), we saw two distant hills: to the eastward, the blue Grafton Range: to the west-north-west, a scrubby, short range, composed of two swelling hills and a hillock, which proved to be Mount Abundance.

"The whole country between Mount Abundance, the Northern Hills, and Grafton Range, is an open, almost treeless stretch, which is beautiful indeed, and deserves Sir Thomas Mitchell's calling it 'a splendid region." The 3rd of April we travelled over the scrubby pass of Mount Abundance to the W.N.W. and came after three or four miles to the principal branch of the Cogoon, and to one of Macpherson's sheep-stations: the head-station being about four miles to the southward, I travelled from Birrell's to Mount Abundance in eleven days: over about one hundred and eighteen miles. We were most kindly received. I cannot speak in too high terms of my present party. We have killed our first bullock at this station to obtain the necessary provisions to carry us to the Victoria. We have been extremely favoured by the weather. Our mules and bullocks are very quiet, and we have travelled from Canning Downs (Leslie's on Darling Downs) to Fitzroy Downs (Macpherson's) without any accident, and without interruption—with the exception of four days' stopping at Russell's (Cecil Plains), from the 3rd of March to the 3rd of April."

There was vet one, but a doubtful trace of Leichhardt's movements in the following July. It appeared in the Maitland Mercury, and says: "We have been favoured with the sight of a letter from a gentleman in New England, dated June 11th, which states that a Mr. M———, whose station is on the Bundarrah river, had informed him that 'Dr. Leichhardt had returned three hundred miles to the farthest station to say that he had found a magnificent country, with beautiful grass and water; that Leichhardt thought that he might possibly never return; or else not for so long a time that it would be a pity such a country should remain unknown; that his party were all well, and that he had returned to them.'"

Since this apparition no sign has been made by one of that pilgrimage. Suggestions, squabbles, surmises, and sensational stories have been suffered in abundance. No one has unriddled the fate of the brave little band.

In Leichhardt's first setting forth on his chivalrous exploit, there was not much, I think, in its conducting which was likely to strengthen faith in followers, however willing to subject themselves to his guidance and control; at least some who had been with him awhile and knew him pretty well, rather wondered at his first success, than felt their confidence in him as a leader established. Little surprise would have been felt had he never re-appeared from his venture in 1844. Few, I am very sure, expected really to see him again in Sydney: the country had quite made up its mind, that he and all with him had perished. The circumstances attending his arrival from Port Essington, by the "Heroine:" proved how wholly he had been given up Gilbert, doubtless, met his death through neglect of the commonest precaution; it seems strange that any escaped in that night assualt. Had he never been restored to us, how ready—and this I often heard before Leichhardt's resurrection were people to cry out "I told you so! who ever thought that a man of his ideas about the bush and the blacks could go through such a journey unscathed and successful?"

Out of the despaired of result boiled up a reaction which, to some, at least, seems excusable and natural enough but not a little extravagant. Let us read but the speeches at meetings the applauding cries of the papers, the flattering terms which lent no additional glory to his true merit, and which, I at times thought, were met by him with some misgivings, and had become embarrassing. He felt thus impelled to a grander effort. He tried and came back—as we know. I know the terms which Leichhardt used in reference to his companions on that occasion, and I also know they came back in enmity—in parties of two—divided against each other. And yet, how can I, in the face of what I know, read the concluding paragraph of the letter which he wrote from my station, in which they many days formed so "happy" a family, without amazement, now many years old, but not dwindled away: "Notwithstanding the many hardships we endured, my party behaved extremely well!" What can the conclusion fail to be?

Has this sad story shown that first impressions as to his capacity for such a work were groundless and unjust? "Success! Ah!" cried the man of the world, the great French philanthropist. "Nothing succeeds like success!" The meed of honour which Leichhardt enjoyed here was, indeed, short-lived.

The chain of his success yielded by a natural law, at its weakest part; that one unsound link ruined the service of its powerful coadjutors by its inefficiency in bearing a strain, to bear which it had been tested by no satisfactory proof. Endowed by nature with a deposit of rich gifts, courage, tenacity of worthy purpose and ambition, for which he rendered the usufruct by enthusiastic efforts in the cause of research, and a course of discovery to which the spur of public hopes and applause had been applied, he lacked, I think, in the practical adaptation of his talents to a struggle with a venture then formidable through unknown difficulties by land, and certain risks by man, which he almost ignored: common sense, and a sufficiency of self-denial in crises of suffering.






{Page 377}

CHAPTER XXI.



Now, when I look back, it was a strange isolation I then lived in. The men and women even speaking with me were but figures.
Carlyle. ("Sartor Resartus.")


From this year, 1845, come thickly recollections of names and persons which supplement those of the earlier western days with many,—surely in accord with the brighter life into which the baptism of Freedom had enfranchised the new bairn—Brisbane.

With "Who comes here?" might the last of the ferry-stop sentries have challenged the fresh foot-steps, and quickly recovered arms with heedful respect at the sound of the reassuring passwords of Robert Little or Kearsey Cannan, patriarchs of progress and practice, pioneering powers of pleading and physic in the pristine period.

Followed on; so quickly too! the record which bears upon its page—Henry Buckley, Walter Gray, Robert Pickering, Cribb and Dowse. Follow the march! Why stop to call the roll while on our way? No fear of filling up, for the present, and in the present, the places of such as have fallen out of the ranks—to rest: but for my past, and in my past, none can occupy the old arm chairs of those by whose sides I loved to linger, nor fill the void which such recollections verify. 'Tis hard to tax one's regrets still: yet later years crop up with such a harvest! So rich that I dread passing by one sheaf unregarded. Robert Douglas, John Harris and his brother. Raff and his brother, two Roberts, not brothers; and within the binding conspicuous—Duncan, Thornton, Sheridan. Round about too, on the field, stand the jolly presences of Carter, of Kangaroo Point, old Williams, and Grenier, of South Brisbane, Hodges, the boat-builder, Cassim and Prentice. I'm not yet Lethe-dipped, whichever bank of Styx we wander on! Year by year fresh facts, fresh interests, fresh stimulants to existence,—until 1847, which I stumble over with sorrowful amazement in remembrance of one of those terrible soul-quakes which to so many come as a thief in the night.

"Good-bye! good-bye! good-bye! old fellow, I am glad you liked that bustard yesterday," said I to Ralph Gore, my esteemed friend and neighbour, of Yandilla. "My brother shot it—a capital shot too; measured one hundred and twenty-three yards, with a small belted ball. Just twenty-two pounds; the largest I have seen killed yet. The plains swarm with them." "Well, but—Russell—I want you to come next Friday to breakfast upon one with me. It shall be soaked in salt and water, as you advise, the whole night before. We've a capital hut-keeper now; and I want you to hear a new air on my old fiddle, too!" "All right, I'll be there by nine o'clock."

A pleasant, hungry ride I had over the thirty miles on Friday morning, looking forward to a bustard breakfast—the best bird of any size, I think, in the country. "Well, Gore; here I am, with an ogre's appetite!" "Oh, I am so sorry. Can you believe it? the plains are covered with the turkeys, but I've not been able to shoot one!" My confiding simplicity that it had been in the larder when he asked me the day but one before to come over created general glee; so we had the fiddle out, and then attacked other unusually nice things which quite consoled me. "Where did you get all these good eatables, Ralph?" "Oh, I forgot to tell you. My brother Robert has come up with all his family, excepting the eldest, a daughter—left at Pemberton Grange, on the Parramatta. They are hardly shaken down yet. and won't be here long, I fear; they talk already of an early return. Will you come and see them after breakfast?" After the pipe of repletion and preparation, down to the cottage we strolled, and so pleasant was the entrée that, being loth to leave, I remained a couple of days, by their kind invitation. It was early in the February of 1847. "I shall try to go to Sydney at the same time next month as you and your family," said I, in parting; "my neighbour on the other side, old Denis, wants to go too, I know. He has not been there for years, is now getting up the ladder, I hope, and has business to see to. We'll have a jolly party on the passage. Good-bye!" Good-bye, indeed!

In the following month—March—having unexpectedly a good deal of work to attend to, contingent upon the driving some cattle to my run—(I was alone by this time, having a year before bought Brook's interest in Cecil Plains, as he wished to leave the country)—of Rosalie Plains, adjoining Jondaryan, I found myself so hampered that it was not until the end of the 10th that I was free to catch the steamer, the "Sovereign", to Sydney. News from the outside was so capriciously conveyed. that I had heard that the southerly weather was so had that she would remain at Brisbane for a week or more probably beyond her day for sailing, and that there was every chance in favour of my reaching the settlement in time. Starting that night, leading one horse to relieve the other when fagged, and which when turned adrift I knew would in another day be back at the station. I rode through to the settlement, arriving in the following afternoon. Then I found that I was too late, much to my chagrin and dissatisfaction. The "Sovereign" had left Brisbane a week before, and been ever since detained by the severe weather at anchor at Amity Point. "Couldn't I catch her still?" Of course I could, if I could get a boat. Angry, and rebelling against the idea of losing my anticipated holiday: tired and out of sorts by work and want of rest, I became the more indignant when the chance escaped me. I could get no boat. Turning back to my quarters in Queen-street, I saw some blacks talking and gesticulating to some white men, apparently in an equally excited condition. "What's the matter?" "These blacks have come from Cleveland, and say that the 'Sovereign' is lost and all the people with her!" Terrible but perhaps inaccurate report! A few hours confirmed its truth, however. Of the cabin passengers none but Captain Cape, in command, and Richard Stubbs; of the crew and steerage two young boys and six men were saved. A full account of this fearful wreck appeared in a Moreton Bay Courier of this month. The lesson learnt by such an escape—as I now felt in conscious shame thankful for—may not be repeated aloud. On the very day (the 16th, my own dies natalis—I do not forget that year's anniversary) which I had proposed spending joyously in Sydney, I rode back to Darling Downs in silence and sadness, taught that "there's a Divinity that shapes our ends, rough-hew them how we will."

This one sad recollection which has overtaken me, must not, however, swamp some others which much affected us in the previous year. For at the beginning of 1846 the discontent of the squatters who, in very truth, were subjected to a very harrassing and unsound position, culminated in an address to Lord Stanley, then Secretary of State for the Colonies. The proposed "Waste Lands in Australia Bill" gave the opportunity, and the grievances which threatened ruin to the pastoral interests beyond the limits of location at that time were ably set forth and urged upon the attention of the Home Government. "Fixity of tenure" and "right of pre-emption" were the questions at the root of this agitation; and these two grand principles were at length recognised as the basis on which the "waste lands question" should be discussed. So far, the squatters had won a victory; yet this squatting system had sprung up only fourteen years before. Through this year the policy and whole bearing of Sir George Gipps in his administration were by a very general voice bitterly denounced: the name of Wentworth was, of course, conspicuous at all public meetings held with the view of making the Governor's burden too heavy for him to bear. Daily journals all the year through vied with each other for the most part in the merciless assault. His Excellency was recalled—to die—ridden to death:—jockey, "Bob" Lowe. An ineffectual attempt was made by Lord Stanley—afterwards Lord Derby—to establish a northern colony extending from the 26th parallel of south latitude to the northern limits of the land, which his lordship devised to meet the need of the times. Colonel Barney—who had been in command at Woolwich, came back this year to set it a-going: in January, 1847, left Port Jackson in the ship "Lord Auckland": entered Port Curtis: struck upon a reef: landed, and endeavoured to form an establishment on Facing Island: and after three or four months abandoned it, re-appearing in Sydney in the May following. So much the better for coming Queensland!

In this year of 1846 the last vestiges of the old settlement régime were obliterated. Captain Wickham (R.N.) was welcomed and soon worthily "worshipped" as Police Magistrate of Brisbane; and our old kindly host, the last of the commandants disappeared with the steam of the "Tamar;" the last of the Government stock at Limestone in the steam of the pots, which reduced to "fat" their full value: not so ruinous a result, however, to the Government as poor James Canning Pearce's "Experiment" was to him by plying between Ipswich and Brisbane, which kept him always in hot water, and ended in the smoke of the patriotic sacrifice he offered to public progress, convenience and growing requirements. The project was well conceived, and deserved success. Pearce was a man a-head of the times.

This was an epoch, too, remarkable for energy in exploring. Poor Sturt (whose letter addressed to me from Port Phillip with an invitation to join his calamitous expedition the year before, arrived at Cecil Plains long after he started, and was out of reach) returned in February crestfallen and nearly broken down in spite of his iron constitution, with many of his associates, blind. Mitchell had been looking after Leichhardt, and already was Leichhardt girding up his loins for the crowning effort. The first brew of so much stirring up in the middle of 1846 frothed into discussion and strife when grafted upon political stock, under the heating apparatus initiated on the one side by William Wilks: on the other by Sydney Lyon; and instituted by their several organs, the Moreton Bay Courier, and the Darling Downs Gazette. The local contest pre-eminent being that of Brisbane versus Cleveland as a shipping port: and thrust and parry between Towns and Downs. The Courier made the notable hit of the year, I thought, by first inviting and ably sustaining a proposal for the establishment of a bank in our present metropolis.

Other strife—but in a different sphere—caused no little sensation—and some amusement among my neighbours on the Condamine in the course of the year 1846. Jack Wilson and his gang of outlaws had by some means announced their intention of paying the Downs a visit. The report spread quickly. Great was the consternation among some of the ladies. The question of its probability kept the gentlemen, and their preparations for a warm reception, on the continual qui vive. It may have been—I cannot tell, though not far away—the subject of converse in a typical social circle of my friends at Toolburrah, over pipes and brandies-and-water; Toolburrah, garrisoned by some of our best shots and best riders in the country around. Walter Leslie, the three brothers Leith Hay, and some whose presence I cannot now affirm from recollection, all in full readiness with rifles and like "weapons of precision", close by their hands—only in the next room.

The ringing laugh, the joking "chaff" suddenly came to a check at the gruff intimation from open windows and doors, "If you move, you're dead men!" A muzzle which simultaneously covered each convivial inmate, and an "ugly mug" behind each muzzle, effectually stopped the way to "the next room". In most gallant fashion Jack himself approached and introduced himself to the astounded revellers: "Gentlemen, good evening. I hope I don't intrude. Pray sit still, gentlemen; if you don't. I can't answer for the whims, and I shall be unable to restrain the feelings of the gentlemen outside who are now paying you their respects from the verandah. Pray don't incommode yourselves. I'll sit down and take a glass of grog, Ah! capital tack! Some of my friends will join us by turns, and won't we just make a night of it I You see, I've brought in your cook and servants to wait on us. I cannot dispense with their presence under my eye; but pray don't stir from your seats; the results, in view of the present state of things, might be serious. Gentlemen, your good health! I've sent a couple of men for your horses. Thank you, gentlemen, for keeping them in the paddock; there are some good ones among them. I've had my eye on them some time. Again, gentlemen, your good health! I'll just take a look round at your guns in the next room. Pray take care; don't stir I I know where they are. I'm afraid I must borrow some of them." And so this very Jack Sheppard's ape made himself and his friends at home. I believe that, notwithstanding the vigilant turn-and-turn-about in keeping up that nasty surveillance, besieged and besiegers did make a night of it in all courteous fellowship. My friends at Toolburrah had, for squatters, an exceptionally well supplied wardrobe. Jack and his mates wanted a "rig out", and so there was much fun in trying on drawers, fitting on boots, donning clean shirts, and other clean garments—"only in exchange", said Jack, for those he left behind dirty. At peep o' day, when all being well, and freshly mounted on their hosts' horses, shouldering their hosts' rifles, taking with them all their hosts' ammunition and their hosts' brandy bottles, apparelled in their hosts' garments, they took a courteous leave after a stirrup-cup, and rode on triumphant and jubilant to—the gallows. Their race was soon run out after this agreeable episode in their bushranging career.

Talking of races brings me back to the crowning pastime of this period. The first positive occurrence of this character that I can call to mind came off on Cooper's Plains flat, the first ground used for the purpose. The occasion was a match between "Harkaway", a grey horse of Seymour's—the officer in charge of the last detachment stationed at Brisbane—and "Jock", Campbell's "Toby", a bay, in which the favourite—the former—lost his laurels. Immediately after this, I think, it was arranged that a race meeting should be held in the middle of 1846, on the "New Farm" ground for three days' events. This became then, in my day, the Brisbane Course, and as far as I know, maybe so still.

The introduction of St. George, in 1842 (see appendix), and a true-blooded Arab of high descent, by Patrick Leslie, had begotten an entirely new element of excitement among the beau monde of us northern provincials. The spirit of the sport took possession of the people, and for this, and for years after, it was the glad reunion of the community far and wide.

And it was an exhilarating scene that which then met the eyes of many a lone bush-buried hermit, drawn from his cell by the fame of the doings (misdoings) and seeings on that rough-ringed course on "New Farm". The stamp of its old features were not quite obliterated: the vigils kept in the past, night and day, with musket in hand from the bifurcal boxes still "spotted" high up the trees on the river banks often set me musing on the days when "pot shots" were taken by the exalted sentry at any black—may be white pilferers of the golden cobs of the rich maize-crops which once had decked that swampy bight in the penal period. Old things and new! "Correct cards and colours" were now dinned upon one's acceptance for a consideration, by voices old and young, as persistently as on grander grounds. Gipsies—fortune tellers—thimble-rig. Aunt Sally and the sticks had not yet found us out: their presence would have added nothing to the pleasure.

What wanted we better for our heels—if not for our heads and hearts, than the smiles coaxed from beneath the shades of bonnets, sweetly shaped in those days. The gleam of a glance from beneath no monkey-fringed eye-brows; the gentle-voiced hope which quickened each riders' pulse; the low whisper which soothed the beating within for victory in that race, and for winning his spurs in that towards a more coveted conquest! How full was then the squatter's cup of youth—be the purse ever so empty! How thirsting the lips, not to sip only that present day's draught of délassement, but to drain the opiate draught that the present would not be to-morrow a past dream! May I not re-visit some spot on which, in years far away, I used to wander, linger, loiter: may I not re-summon the phantom of myself sitting upon that rock; lying beneath that tree, talking sanguine words to some old crony now passed away; may not my fancy reflect as in a convex mirror self-scenes as if enacted by some other man than I? The very similitudes of those around myself seem to be there still; may I not sadden because time has borne me onward, so far that I seem to be another and yet the same. Fondly clinging to dead affections, shadows shaped by the withering, well-nigh withered branch above, on the bare ground beneath, because there is sunlight above: above only!

Where are the cavaliers of the Logan? Where George Mocatta, Burgoyne, Fyfe, Ned Hawkins, Raine, Kent? Where Billy Barker? Where Compigné? Look away up stream! Where's the inimitable Co? Colin McKenzie, ever stroking his moustache with twinkling eye at some équivoque, which he resents as weak wit? Where his elder brother, the Baronet, and Balfour—burly if not a Burleigh? Where the brave Frank, and his brother Fred Bigge? With these and many more memories must be the early spring of Queensland indelibly verdant. Come what may, from Patrick Leslie downwards, the names cannot die, though deep-lettered only in the tombstone tale.

"I vas to ask you, sare, if you would ride 'Voltigeur' for Mr. Frank in de hurdles, sare? His veight is too mush; he will take de 'velters' hisself on de old horse." "Oh, yes! Douyère," said I, in answer to dear old Bigge's French groom. "Tank you, sare! Now I vill tell you, sare! Voltigeur can jump vell: like de gangaroo! You do ride, I tink, some ten stone. He will carry you like yon monkey! But, sare, I must tell you: Voltigeur do not talk de Inglish. Ven you come to de hurdle you touch him on de shoulder vid de vip, and cry 'hoppe-la!' in his own langage." "Aye, aye! Douyère, I'll remember."

Out of the scales into Voltigeur's saddle—sweet little horse he was! "Mind, sare!" were the last words I heard after "off"—"mind, sare, he talk de Français!"

"Hoppe la!" shouted I, with the prescribed touch on the shoulder, and over we went "like a gangaroo." "Hoppe-la!" at the second; "Hop!" at the third—forgetting myself in the heat—Voltigeur caught the top bar, and making a complete summersault, rolled over, me under! Somewhat confused by the "pip", the voice of Douyére brought me to my senses: "Ah sare! Ah sare! you did call de 'Hop!' not de 'Hoppe-la!' Voltigeur did not—ne comprend pas l'Anglais!" For years after I was greeted with a hop! by my friends. This was my last lesson in French. Ned Hawkins' last word to me, before he sailed to his watery grave in the "Sacramento"—with gold on the brain—was: "Good-bye, old Hop!" three years afterwards.

The spring of 1840 having ushered in the visiting season from the south, which had been opened by Patrick Leslie, who had revelled in the privilege of the entrée into the presence chamber of "our" Queensland—Darling Downs—had warmed up soon into the summer solstice as the throng increased. From the ten stations occupied on the eastern side of the range, in spots marginal to that parterre, in 1842, the number in 1846 had so stuffed every available acre on the waters affluent to Moreton Bay, that stock had already been squeezed out far away to the northward on either dissociated water shed. White faces and their "monkeys" (what a savage misnomer for sleepy sheep) were no surprise now to the natives in the purlieus of Wide Bay, or the Burnett river, on the one hand, nor Peak Downs on the other. In 1848 we know that Leichhardt rested at Macpherson's station so far away to the westward as Mount Abundance—in fact, my pen can keep no pace with strides which bewilder all recollection of the progress of those years.

At intervals of two or three after my first occupation, I was visited usually by a wondrous drift of the common white butterfly from the south-west; in such myriads did they flake by my hut-door at Cecil Plains, that it gave amusement and practice in cutting them down as they passed with the now old-fashioned stock-whip; and so this snow-storm would envelope me for some days consecutively. Months afterwards from the north-east, in a march which spread itself for miles from one edge of my plains to the other, would creep in slow but sure assault on every green thing which lay in its path, an equally marvellous, innumerable host of green caterpillars; every blade of living herbage was shaved off till the soil was bare; the rustling of their advance was quite perceptible to the ear; the footfall of my horse destroyed hundreds at every step; between the reaches of the stagnant Condamine they would find their way, and such wretched cabbages as I was able to grow in my small plot of a garden, not even a ring of fire could protect. Such to the blacks must have been the prospect upon the now steady onslaught of the white man's flocks and herds: as wonderful to them, perhaps, as the other scene ever was to me. They can get no further now. unless to New Guinea, who can say? Will that hold Australia awhile? or must it press to Java, the Celebes—Borneo, and join hands with India and China, before she has quite fraternized with the world's nations? Who can tell? Who, a hundred years hence at our present pace, would feel surprised if she did so? Whence the watchword—"Advance Australia?"

It would be a hopeless task for me to detail events generally or locally digested under treatment which every allusion of mine pivots on the earliest start in the intercolonial race to which these northern districts of New South Wales committed themselves soon after this time.

One with New South Wales, any pulse which disturbed the heart affected in like manner the extremities. The great wail of the day was "land", in all our quarters. In the pressing on of public interests (yet what was our population!) this one question shouldered off every other neighbour in the crush-room of politics: in the midst of which Governor Sir George Gipps, who had to bear the colonial heat of the day, was ever dinning into a ready ear in Downing-street, and into deaf ears here, the shout of "Royal Prerogative" over our lands, a doctrine which was repelled as unfit for our people's instruction, whose faithful mouthpiece was a Wentworth on the one side, and the champion of whose "best interests" on the other was Tribune Lang.

The tale of the trials and triumph (awhile) of the squatting tribe of which Wentworth was political patriarch, may be said to have found its first material during the years of Sir George Gipps' administration, who suddenly—and I say so advisedly—seemed to think that he had been commissioned to check the growth of the "hydra", which had begun to develop features of many-headed dissension and discussion, by which the natural hue of Australia's native claims were imperially obscured.

Land! upset price! limitation to purchase! occupation beyond location! limits of location! Every aspect of the land question had towards the latter part of his arbitrary chieftainship, lilliputianised every other consideration of the colony's well-doing. During the period of the greatest expansive force, which the pastoral pursuits had heated into action, Sir George Gipps laboured hard to restrain and cribb them. Notwithstanding all his efforts the squatters had gone on confident that they had justice and common sense on their side. The last blow that he was able to aim at the system was through stern adherence to his policy, with regard to the occupation of crown lands beyond what were then termed the limits of location. The squatters, nevertheless, worked on unheeding. These pastoral adventurers—the real pioneers of the country at large—whose interests grew with their stock, and necessities with each drought, compelled to search out untrodden feed, in the search for which, danger, loss, hardship of all phases were to be encountered, had all through the disheartening period of Sir George Gipps' administration to contend also with the burden of debt inevitable to bank or firm, who, having themselves at times to succumb to the pressure of the oft panic-stricken times, yet looked for relief to the one paramount panacea—wool; the producers of which they held in bonds. Truly the squatting family began to believe that every man's hand, not bush-branded and embrowned, was turned against them in hatred and malice unaccountable.—

Having little or no voice in the far-away counsels by which we were ruled, individual wants formed a large aggregate of complaints throughout the Northern District. They were the sharpest spur to combined exertion. At the head of each squatter's wants was that of labour: a want to supply which was the general exercise of squatters' fretful tempers. Devices set forth with a view to remedying such a grievance at once raised antagonistic outcries which sprung up on all sides when as little looked for as the Bathurst burr. I am able yet to recall some occasions on which fruitless attempts were made to obtain some consensus in the treatment of this sore which was eating up every energy of the wool-grower. The year 1839 had cancelled the covenant of the assignment system: the sources of transported labour had now dried up: emigration had been a hope even in the north—but interrupted, deferred, and unsound, had sickened the hopeful. Guachos from the Pampas: Coolies from India: Cingalese, had their advertisers and advocates. But the British workman must be no competitor with coloured, foreign, and alien races: the attempt to get work done in the bush at reasonable but ample wages by men of so low a grade in the citizenship of the world was offensive to the liberal landlords who inveighed against class exclusiveness and swore by universal egalité, fraternité, liberté! Men for work liked town life: so men of town had enough of men of work.

The squatters shall have our own countrymen—and no other—was the "Liberal" shout. Friell's experiment of Indian labour in 1847 (on my brother's and Glover's old station Burrandowan) was a solitary and only temporary success for himself: and that culminated, when brought to a general proposal at a meeting at the Caledonian Hotel, in North Brisbane, in January, 1848, in but a spasmodic effort to extend such an introduction, as another had done in February of the preceding year at the Queen's Arms at Ipswich. And again, long before that, in June, 1846, at a meeting at which our devotee, Patrick Leslie, sat in the chair, while Arthur Hodgson brought forward a resolution relative to the importation of one hundred and fifty men from Van Dieman's Land through the proffered agency of J.P. Robinson of Sydney, for which the squatters, alas! themselves were called to subscribe the expenses—a call to which they poorly answered because they couldn't.

It was not until the middle and end of 1848 that ships direct from London to Brisbane arrived—one, the "Columbine", with sixty; the other, the "Artemisia", with two hundred and fifty-one emigrants.

The first Legislative Assembly in which the representative colouring was admitted was convoked in 1843.

The Moreton Bay electoral district was at that time embraced by that of Port Macquarie, and, through the late Colonial Secretary (Alexander Macleay) the requirements of the whole had to be set forth and pleaded. The next was Colonel Snodgrass, who did us the honour of contesting the same seat with Archibald Boyd, of Beardy Plains. Gentle indeed was the voice which could be raised on the part of a seaboard of some three hundred miles at that time! Less the effort to make it heard.

The strength of the electoral district of Moreton, County of Stanley, and town of Brisbane, for 1846, was exhausted by fifty-seven votes! In 1849 Brisbane's alone was that of ninety! Not till 1851 did Moreton Bay return her one member. Not till 1853, two. The leap of ten years—1848-1858—cleared nine representatives of the North Territory; hitherto, under the general name of Moreton Bay. The next was no leap in the dark; 'twas out of darkness into the light of Separation!

But our political pilgrimage can be certified better by authentic sources than this simple monogram.

With my own Darling Downs' life and its attachments, it chimes in more merrily, and regretfully, to clasp into the rest of my time, the social and local memoranda of the period which predetermined the "Nativity of Queensland".

I must ask to be forgiven at the present day if I yet cling to the oasis in which I rested the two or three years which preceded my going back again to the old home. Of course I watched the occupation of the Burrandowan waters. Glover and my brother had gone and were almost forgotten, but by myself. Burrandowan was in other hands—Living's or Friell's; and in 1846 those jolly brothers Haly, and then Cardew, and others had settled down upon the Stuart (I did not give it that name). In the same year did I meet in Sydney Sir Evan Mackenzie, one of our first squatters, who had been laying a foundation stone for some new school in Sydney in connection with St. Andrew's Scot's Church. And on my return thence did I find my esteemed old acquaintance Burnett, just come back from Wide Bay-wards, having rescued from the blacks a cast-away Tahitian who called himself George Moir. The "Tamar", with cheery old Captain Allen, had just before brought up forty working men, who disappeared in high glee as soon as they had landed; and I heard at the same time of the murder of two men on the Tweed, and the worrying of the Logan cattle by the blacks. Poor old Hexton, too! swearing that he should be washed away some night from Amity Point pilot-station by the ever encroaching tides. And before getting away down came on me the hammer of evil news that Andrew—brother of our reverend incumbent of St. John's—Gregor had been killed by the natives on his Pine river station, and others with him there: two men also at Coutts' having about the same time met the same fate: the catalogue of the year's bush horrors being wound up by the treacherous murder by like hands of John Uhr. Such a damning record could not be washed out by the persistent pour of rains, which seemed to threaten a repetition of the deluge of 1841.

Broke in upon us then the failure of the Facing Island farce as a memory of 1847, relieved, however, shortly after by Burnett's published account of his successful whaleboat search for the mouth of the Boyne, and satisfactory examination of the Wide Bay district waters from seawards. Landwards, too, Archibald Campbell and John Cameron had found and occupied fine country more than two hundred miles to the westward; and coastwards the "bunkum" between Cleveland and Brisbane renewed a vigorous pen-and-ink campaign. On the Downs the "Springs", which I could never find, became the sweet village of Drayton, in which swung the profile of a "Bull's Head", supposed to be a correct likeness of "Champion", once on Cecil Plains, which enticed many a hungry and thirsty wayfarer to stop for refreshment at the inn kept by my old bush associate, William Orton, about a year later on, in competition with the "advertisement" immediately on the other side of the road lower down the bank of the "Springs" watercourse—in which I never saw water—of "good accommodation and stabling for horse and man," by Stephen Mehan! As an extinguisher for the last flicker of the pet ministerial scheme which gave Colonel Barney and his suite so much unprofitable leisure at Port Curtis, the closing year capped one of a similar fashion. Dr. Lang's proposal of a cotton colony to supersede and swamp the wool and the so-called squatters' monopoly of the resources of the Australian soil. With the proposal was raised a cry for a township on the river Mary, and a severe dig in the ribs for the Sydney folks was inflicted by the heels of Earl Grey, which touched up the general sensitiveness about a proposed separation of Port Phillip. Moreton Bay was now honoured by the presence of a harbour-master—and a very efficient officer and good fellow he was—of the name of Freeman. His first notable act was to save my poor old friend Pilot Hexton from what is popularly termed a "watery grave", almost at the same time that a brother squatter of the name of Scott escaped a grave less delectable even than that of Jonah of old by finding a refuge from the hands and appetites of the blacks of the "Monoboola" in the cabin of that nondescript but domestic type of the Brisbane marine service the well-remembered ketch "Aurora". She was well named; daylight could be seen through her when I made her acquaintance first.

The public meeting held in November, 1847, to consider Friell's Coolie experiment, resulted in the proposal for another to be held in the following February. Sufficiency of labour, at any reasonable rates, for the wants of the district appearing to be hopeless. This assembled at the "Caledonia", North Brisbane. as suggested, but it came to little or nothing in earnest. Labour offered no resource, under the burden of our need, to be turned to nor returned to as the "Orwell" tea had done years before; when such a man for tea was intoned through our tenancies. The Chinese war of 1838 had been drawing to a close: hideous and vengeful accounts had got wind of the Celestial conspiracy for extinguishing the "Barbarians" by poisoning wells at home, and exports for consumption abroad. In 1841-2, the ship "Orwell", from China, had come into Port Jackson with an immense cargo of tea (green only, in those times), chests in scores found their way through the land, and supplies waning on all far stations were replenished. Well I remember the opening of the first at Cecil Plains! Filthy was the smell of paint, filthier its taste; chest after chest similarly degôutant. "Can't put up with the coves' rations!" was the general shout; demand for settlement of wages summary:—made and met. Each station in ignorance that the cordon de san-té, which encircled the storm of the tea-pot—embraced its neighbour also—almost deserted and helpless. "Why, Russell, why come here to look for men? ours have all bolted: its all the tea! that ——— tea!" Farther and farther each would ride in wild fashion, picking up way-farers in like quest; passing squads of men with "swag' on shoulder, jeering as we ride on, "don't 'ee think we'll drink your ——— tea!" From place to place the cry was re-echoed. Not many days, however, ere amazement, bewilderment, and the voice of "jeering" joined in the burden of a howl: "we're all poisoned by those Chinese villains!" Men could not live without their quart-pot of tea and their 'bacca. Neighbours meeting would watch each other in dread expectancy of seeing some fatal symptoms in each other's features. The wretched traveller would be assailed: "Have any died yet on the next station?" as he parsed on. But, day by day, the "painted" tea was moaned over, anathematised and swallowed; the surf went down, a calm ensued; no bodies to bury, no tale to unfold.

The same squads of tea-travailing turn-coats dribbling in one by one to their old quarters would beg for fresh agreements, get them, and then pack away the perfume of the Pekoe without imprecation nor panic. The run in a ring round Downs and districts; men after fresh masters, masters after fresh men, made up the total of a tea fight which ended for each where it had begun. The following year's supply was above suspicion: the beauty of tea without paint had lost its charms: habit had reconciled and then assumed the sway: taste had de—te—riorated: another tea tour threatened at once the tapis, but stopped at the first stir: so capriciously can "use almost change the stamp of nature."

But there was no resource nor relief in the race for labour now. There was no possible return to the old source from which the demand claimed a supply as of yore; there was no running in the pursuit which could make both ends meet again. Transportation and prison-labour were at an end. It is not surprising that after every subtle suggestion in the furtherance of an introduction of coloured labour had failed, the squatters, in desperation, whose success was of paramount importance to the whole country, turned gradually with half-averted countenances to some plan for re-opening the old polluted springs whereby such growing interests might be preserved from the drought, then wasting industries which could only be energised by the sweat of man's brow. The people's taste nauseated at the suspicion of such renewal of the good old times, or the least modification of the old system. 'No use could change the stamp of the country's determination. An effort was made—but not yet. In 1849, whatever the effort—hope of succeeding in the proposal was dead and buried. Nevertheless, occasion was ingeniously handled: the thimble-rig of expediency was deftly thumbed—soon after—as I shall endeavour to show—when the finger was raised to beckon deliverance from apron-strings, and the privilege to handle reins with which Queensland eventually jehued herself to the grand field of free paces over the intercolonial race-course.

Pre-separation annals yet scored up many occurrences of no mean stamp: one of which opened the door of 1848 to the brave and since lamented Kennedy and his exploring companions. The thirst, in a more limited sense, for better knowledge of the country, far off as well as near, kept pace with the hunger for fresh pasturage, waiting watchfully for the multiplying sheep; with the greed for speculation in towns, and with the exercise of wits keen in unriddling the promise of future progress. One of our oldest residents, Warner, had his specialty in the Surveying Department authoritatively stamped upon the parcelling out of the immediate Moreton Bay platform: Burnett, another old compatriot in the same service had his on the more distant environing pastoral areas. Poor Burnett! it was this setting forth into the rough work west and north that sowed the seeds of that wasting rheumatism which in a few years more brought him to my neighbourhood, Kangaroo Point, to die on the banks of the Brisbane river.

How persistently will death at times run with violence through the groove of a family following! The first minister of religion of any denomination that I had seen on the Condamine was he who was at this season incumbent tor the Church of England at St. John's, at Brisbane—the Rev. John Gregor. He had, If I recollect aright, been in the Scottish days at home, preceptor through the early years of Patrick Leslie's puerile pranks and propensities; and in the blaze of boyhood, perhaps, perversities. He may, for aught I know, have followed his old pupil, and the passages of his old pupil's exploring prowess, with pardonable pride; and been content to span his years with the bridge of attachment from the horizon of the one hemisphere to the other. But he and his brother Andrew compassed not the natural end of their lives' engagements. The strong band which thrust each into a grave brought itself down suddenly and sullenly. The savage yell of the black murderer was, perhaps, the last sound in the ears of the one; as the screeching suck of the stifling waters in the ears of the other. John Gregor was found drowned at the German mission station, near Brisbane.

These deaths recurred to me years afterwards. A noble frigate, the "Orpheus", was lying at anchor in the bay, opposite my house, about two miles away. Her commander—Commodore Burnett—was coming to have luncheon with me on the day on which he was to leave for New Zealand. "In past years, Commodore, I was acquainted with a brother of yours out here; he always went by the name of 'Jemmy' Burnett; everyone liked him; poor fellow! he was drowned in trying to cross one of our rivers." "Yes," said the Commodore, "he was; we in our family were four brothers; my other two were also drowned; I only remain."

The day passed so pleasantly that the story of same-sadness had worn off, and blithely did I say good-bye, "hoping to hear from you, Commodore, when you get to New Zealand." "Aye I aye! that you shall," he shouted, as the gig pulled off. I watched the fine new ship as she got away, with unconscious interest. I never saw her again; nor the Commodore. That powerful shapely fabric broke up like glass on the Manukau Bar, and all perished, save a few—who afterwards went down in the "London."

I knew of no disquietude to the even tenor of bush life so intolerable as that of saying good-bye to old friends going home. Every occurrence of this kind tangled the fibre of one's bush system more than any real mishap. I cannot cast off reflection upon the most trying occasion of this character in the earlier part of 1848.

Caparisoned in the joyous garb of hard-earned success, down on me at Cecil Downs, one unheeded afternoon, swooped a throng of merry cavaliers of the olden (Darling Downs) time. Arthur Hodgson:—shall I name more? No! re-gathering now the faces of that familiar group the review dwells on features of dust. All but he have passed on. Laden with convivial elements which symbolised the good-fellowship of the stirrup-cup of parting, these, my then friends, about to leave, had come, in all kindness, to say good-bye!

To the squatter within the loneliness of his own marked trees the good-bye of members of his order "home-ward bound" was in all truth, a concealed but deep distress; if so, to me, was I a foolish exception? The verandah of the thinker left behind with seats of friendship, hitherto always filled by some of the brotherhood at the Yule-tide—to be henceforth empty! The cry which came with these happy fugitives, as it were, from his own dear ones, "Come back to us!" borrowed sound and substance in the presences of this glad gang of old cronies, happy! oh! how happy in the gaze upon a change to that dear old "Homespot", which in them, as in me, spiritualises the love of native land, as it does that of those who are awaiting at home wanderers whose instinct for "Home" they know out of the secret of their blood-knit hearts. Yet when the cry was answered but the shadow of home! These breakings up of the attachments brought the truth home more than one cares to talk about.

Time drives us on with our surroundings, and stows away in each man's wallet of memory many a valued morsel dropped by each year, on its track. Helpful and hopeful was it to pick up the news that there was a higher standard to be raised for the serious thought of life among our people in 1848's March. The name which I shall never speak, but with reverence and respect, was presented to us in the Ministry of the Church: that of one who bore ever since the burden patiently and worthily: the service of which the "yoke is easy." I mean that of Benjamin Glennie. He was not one who would say in clerical "parlance" I will do it, D. V., as a farçon de parler. I never met a man in whom submission to those conventional letters, in faithfulness and simplicity, was more truthfully manifest. If he were yet alive, I could bring back to him from Drayton, in 1853, the grounds on which I built my conviction. How deep a good man's syllables sink into the mud of mere sense! Thirty-four years ago! yet but as yesterday.

Murders by blacks this year—notably one at David Perrier's—were all, I think eclipsed by a foul deed at Kangaroo Point, Brisbane. There had been a man of the name of Cox in an inn called "Sutton's". He was missed one day, and a headless body and limbs were found on the bank of the river. Shortly after the head was picked up out of a brick "tumulus" called "Campbell's Folly". (Colin Campbell, of Glengallan, had begun but never completed the edifice.) A man—then cook. I think, at "Sutton's"—was charged with the crime, tried, convicted, and hung, in spite of loud protestation of innocence. Some years afterwards another, in the horror of a death-bed upbraiding, confessed that he had been the guilty one, and had looked on at the execution of his innocent locum tenens! Let his name perish!

In April of this my last whole year—1848—on Darling Downs, the entertaining but dilatory Commissioner of Crown Lands for New England made way for one whose name in the same position at Armidale, and whose brother's name afterwards at Brisbane as police magistrate, were and are yet held high in public as well as in private regard. About my first meeting with the latter some years before, there was to me a material gratification beyond the pleasure of making an acquaintance then which I have since learnt so much to value. Hamon Massie let me buy a horse from him, which, when I looked at, I had little hope of his consenting to part with. "Rodney" was the best animal I ever rode or drove in Australia. The way in which he stood by me in my need in some sorely unpleasant scrapes in the bush made me often eternally grateful to the name of his former master. In after days, however, long after this period, "Rodney", I found, had never outpaced the kindly feelings which two such brothers—men of the old English squirearchy stamp—won from one who had learnt to appreciate them for what they, in sooth, were. George Macdonald disappeared as commissioner in the Lower Darling District.

The Monoboola had been just now gazetted the river Mary, in memory of Lady Mary Fitzroy. Many old friends' names were being reproduced on stations pressing on north. Ferriter and Uhr, Hawkins, Lawless, Humphries and Herbert, Mort. McTaggart, Scott, Ross, and a legion of others about the water, of the Burnett or Wide Bay. Ah! then the recurrence of the May meeting on the New Farm Racecourse! Baronet and Dermott McFigg pitted against each other by their respective owners, Mackenzie and Bigge, in a private match for £100. Riding Dermott—by request—I did not win! alas! great the rejoicing over "Baronet"! "Creeping Jenny", "Molly Bawn", "Meerza", "Sir William", "Sir Harry" can't even now be separated from their several owners—Patrick Leslie, O'Grady Haly, George Burgoyne. Drayton followed suit the following July on the course over Westbrook Plain. Here our commissioner Rolleston's "Yarico" beat seven others for the Hack Stakes. What a shout went up! And these were followed by a galloping visit to Moreton Bay by the Bishop of Newcastle—Dr. Tyrrell—our first episcopal stirring up, not before church and school matters required it. The Bishop rode hard: of course every one lent him a horse when required. I did so at Cecil Plains, and when it was brought back in a day or two I saw that his Lordship had been very accurate when he assured me in the way of warning "that he used his own spurs."

Much was made and said of the Moreton Bay exports during the year from June, 1847, to June of this year. The sheep were about six hundred and ninety-nine thousand, cattle over forty-eight thousand, horses more than two thousand. Business men sorely felt the want of a bank. This half-year's exports were valued at about £60,000.

The journal of Sir Thomas Mitchell's expedition in search of a route from Sydney to the Gulf of Carpentaria was in August supplied to our inquisitive appetites, too late after satiation by Leichhardt's diet; but it signalled the return of the Surveyor-General again from England, by the "Countess of Yarborough", recently. Locally the launch of the "Eagle" steamer—wooden—built by and supplied to the acquisitive desires of the Moreton Bay trade, by Chowne, of Johnston's Bay, Sydney, for the Hunter's River Steam Navigation Company, created a sensation and raised expectation! The military barracks converted into an immigration depot, much more. The little "Raven", however, had outstripped the "Eagle's" first flight, for she was already active in her passages between Ipswich and Brisbane, carrying wool in desperation; for wool was, alas! very low at this wretched time. For what purpose the "Tamar", as we neared the end of the year, brought up D.A.C.G. Walker Cameron, and thirty-live of his 11th Regiment men, I cannot and never could tell. They were more intelligibly followed by some sixty Chinese in the ship "Nimrod". Dull and dismal was the end of 1848, when it made room for the January, which with its rumours of the golden wonders of the Californian diggings at once began to drive men mad, and dissatisfied with everything Australian. Another good-bye to next neighbours and old friends, the Tummavil family of Rolland, "Home" directly by the "Cheapside", broke up the old social ring on Darling Downs, and clinched my decision for a change too. The sense of loneliness became oppressive. I was in another Wide Bay fog.

February of 1849 was notable by reason of the arrival of Dr. Lang's emigrants, who, in thankfulness to the ship which brought them, surnamed the pretty spot on which, after some little trouble, they managed to settle themselves, "Fortitude Valley". A mishap, almost coincident with this event, to the brother of my early Sydney acquaintance, Bob Graham, of the firm of Graham and Montefiore, stamped the time on my recollection. The "Tamar" was lying in the river; Charles Graham pulled alongside and went aboard, leaving in his boat a box containing some £400 (a larger sum then than it is thought now), and when he came back the boat—it was bare! The box's contents were never traced: the box was, a long time afterwards. On her return from Sydney after this occurrence, the "Tamar" brought up the whole family (some members of which had lately come from England) of my neighbours at Clifton on Darling Downs, at the head of which was, for her first visit to the north, the widow of our first Australian Chief Justice, the highly-gifted Sir Francis Forbes. In the month following—March—Sydney showed herself resolute in her refusal to receive more convicts into her territory, and one whose name must be yet green in Queensland, the Rev. Stewart, came to the front of his fellow-passengers in the "Fortitude" as an able minister devoted to the Presbyterian Church. Moreton Bay had become a warehousing port for the bonding of all dutiable goods; but all encouraging memoranda of "advance" were much clouded by the terrible drought, in Darling Downs especially. Pushing on to Wide Bay apace, the schooner "Vixen", of forty-five tons! was positively crammed with more than a score of passengers, and Brisbane and Cleveland began to form a ring for their wonted annual prize-fight for supremacy as the champion shipping port and anchorage. Brisbane got the best of it, and so in the middle of this year she at length decided upon a site for a custom-house on the river. It must have been about May, just before, I think, that Edward Moriarty and Bagot came up and added supreme strength to the surveying and engineering requirements of the district, for I fancy I found them not long afterwards camped together on the Downs side of the main range, but I do not remember what their special work at the time was.

Rumours about the aspect of our labour difficulty had for some time floated about, and in July we heard that that admirable keen-witted member of the Legislative Council, "Bob" Nicholls had asked "whether Government had received any communication from England as to an intention to forward convicts to Moreton Bay?" Reply from the Colonial Secretary: "None!" But of this, more by-and-by.

Just at this time, Charles Gray, master of that remarkable ketch "Aurora"—Scott's ark of refuge on the Wide Bay Coast some time ago—was murdered by the blacks at Bribie's Island. On my return shortly afterwards to Brisbane, I became acquainted with the Revs. Robert Creyke (formerly, I think, rector of Edlington in Yorkshire) and W. Bodenham, for whom work was clerically found by the Church of England. Both these clergymen had come to Brisbane in search of health. The new colonial wooden built steamer "Eagle" made her maiden trip from Sydney on the 28th July, and on her return from Moreton Bay, I went ashore at the old "'Flour' Company's Wharf" in Sydney, on the 6th of August, 1849.

My bush—not my Australian existence—had come to an end. I have seen neither Condamine, nor Cecil Plains, nor sheep, nor ox of mine since. By the "Phœnician", on the 23rd January of the following year (1850), I was the only male cabin passenger to England.

On my return, in January of 1851, I lived at a house which I completed and called "Shafston", at Kangaroo Point, on the banks of the Brisbane, opposite the old cottage of "New Farm".

The only topic—but that was the engrossing topic of the day—on which I shall venture to say a few words more is "Separation of Queensland" from New South Wales, which, as soon as I knew it to be un fait accompli in the designs of the authorities in London, I preceded in such assurance (for I had again made a trip 'Home' in 1855) in 1859, at the end of which it was declared.

And so my story's done!






{Page 399}

CHAPTER XXII.



With other eyes, too, could I now look upon my fellow-man; with an infinite love, an infinite pity. Poor, wandering, wayward man! Art thou not tried, and beaten with stripes, even as I am? Ever, whether thou bear the royal mantle or the beggar's garbardine, art thou not so weary, so heavy-laden; and thy bed of rest is but a grave.
Carlyle. (Sartor Resartus.)


Having begun this small chronicle of pre-Queenslandiana with the name of the first, it would be inexcusably defective if it did not end with the name of the last official explorer of the north land—Allan Cunningham—Edmund Kennedy. However notable his life had been and promised to be, far more conspicuous was Edmund Kennedy's death.

"More are men's ends marked than their lives before."

Edmund B. Kennedy, Assistant Surveyor, had returned, at the end of 1847, from conducting an expedition to ascertain the course of the "Victoria", the river so named by Surveyor-General Sir Thomas Mitchell, and presumed to run into the Gull of Carpentaria. Kennedy identified it with Sturt's Cooper's creek. His despatch detailing the particulars of his journey may be found in the New South Wales Government Gazette, of Monday, the 24th January, 1848.

He had little rest. In the barque "Tarn O'Shanter"—Captain Merionberg—he sailed from Sydney on the 29th of April, 1848. H.M.S. "Rattlesnake"—Captain Owen Stanley—accompanied her. His associates in the work were William Carron—botanist—and Thomas Wall—naturalist. On the working strength of the party were C. Niblett (storekeeper, who betrayed his trust), James Duff, Edward Taylor, William Costigan, Edward Carpenter, William Goddard, Thomas Mitchell, John Douglas, Dennis Dunn, and Jacky, an aboriginal of Patrick's Plains, on the Hunter: thirteen all told, of whom, only two, Carron and Goddard, survived to tell their pitiable tale, besides that black diamond Jacky, by whose brave fidelity even these two were rescued.

The object of the expedition was to explore the country lying between Rockingham Bay and Cape York.

By any one who had ever attempted travelling on a line parallel with and but little removed from our eastern board the difficulties of such a journey would have, I think, been weighed with more caution and better judgment than seem to have prevailed in the counsels of those who gave instructions for such a crawl over nine degrees of our coast country. On a more limited scale, the energetic Logan would attempt it only on foot, and even on foot could not always surmount obstructions. Abrupt, precipitous gullies: banks of torrent-channels, not only walls on either side but almost invariably imprisoned within belts of dark tangled scrub, impenetrable without the aid of tomahawk or axe; depth of streams so near debouchûre: notoriously swampy and rotten conditions of most land marginal to the salt water and within its tides: ranges or broken ridges rarely clear of their dismal clothing of pine or other brush: the well-known excessive hostility, treachery and bloodthirstiness of the sea-shore tribes, even in contrast to like propensities among the inland or up-river natives might surely have claimed extraordinary provision against such obstacles to success and undue risk to the explorers. Surely a course removed but a hundred miles or even fifty back from such known natural difficulties could have better—at least equally well—have answered the desired purpose: examined the system of drainage and mapped out the intervening land.

Again, it was no new information that coast grass, however green and pleasant to the eye, never fattens nor even sustains sheep, horses, nor cattle, whether travelling or not. Was any thought given to the necessity of crossing with such a following tidal streams so frequent in stopping the way, their banks, if approachable at all, unsound and treacherous, irrespective of depth and width? Wheels, too, for such an undertaking—over five hundred miles or more! No wonder they were soon left behind! These are not after-thoughts. The realities of such a coastal course even in 1848 were no conjectures; they were the characteristics of the whole then known seaboard. In the bush. I well recollect the chances of Kennedy's prevailing over them being discussed with many doubts.

I have before me a pamphlet, now perhaps out of print, written by one; of the two survivors (William Carron), who so bravely and nobly bore himself and his companions through the harrowing scenes which he describes with little mention of himself however. The kind courtesy of Mrs. Carron supplied me with it.

It contains, in addition to this journal, the statements made by Jacky, and others who took part under his guidance in recovering the two who were spared, and the relics of Kennedy's papers. His bones were never found.

An early shadow seems to have fallen upon the venture. "A tedious passage of twenty-two days" before they arrived at Rockingham Bay. "Even here, at the very starting point of our journey, those unforseen difficulties began to arise which led us subsequently to hardships so great and calamities so fatal."

Out of twenty-eight horses, one was lost on the passage; out of a hundred sheep, eleven. One more horse drowned in landing here, after their unavoidable swim ashore of a quarter-of-a-mile. They had three carts. Two miles brought them to a river one hundred and fifty yards wide, which fended them off by mangrove swamps, and then thick brush. The "Rattlesnake" boats here helped them.

From June 5, struggling and straining through swamps; wading or swimming, clearing way through scrub or running miles up and down to find crossing places; rain in torrents; axles breaking brought the carts, at length, to their last standstill on July 17th.

Tomahawking scrub after scrub for a passage, skirting creek after creek, which ran "in all directions," with banks so steep as to "present another obstacle to the progress of our horses," brought them, Sunday after Sunday, a day of rest which was observed in Christian fashion. Soon another "impediment" bewildered them, even the blocks of granite clustered together on the beds of crossing places, which "rendered it very difficult for our horses to pass. One of them fell from a ledge of hard rock at the edge of a river, nearly thirty feet," and, of course, died. On the 29th July "the horses began to look very poor and weak, and although they had always had plenty of grass." On the 31st July they had "begun clearing up a mountain," in which work Kennedy "spoke very highly of Jacky." And so it went on, day after day, "but made very little progress, owing to the great labour of clearing and the number of steep ascents we met with"; rain, rain, rain, keeping company with them.

"August 10. This morning we took the sheep and horses to a spot in the river where the current was not so strong and drove them across. We then cut down three small, straight trees, and made a bridge across a deep channel which ran between two rocks which projected out of the water, across which we carried our stores on our backs. The position of our camp here was about 17 deg. 48 min. S. latitude, 145 deg. 20 min. E. longitude." Here Kennedy, having discovered the storekeeper's breach of trust, made over charge of the remaining stores to Carron.

"15th August. Cutting through scrub all day, and crossed several small creeks. The horse carrying my specimens had become so poor and weak, that he fell five different times; so many became 'poor and weak' and fell so often, that we now made up our minds for the first time to make our horses, 'when too weak to travel, available for food"—and they soon found an appetite for such beef. "On. the 17th, the weak state of our horses prevented us making almost any progress. 19th. A horse died," which they did not eat. 28th. Another horse fell, and was fed upon. 29th. Another. "30th and 31st. The country was very mountainous, and so full of deep gullies, that we were frequently obliged to follow the course of a rocky creek, the turnings of which were very intricate." (Who does not compare, if he know either, the old Crawney road from Aberdeen to the Page, or the old Bulga track from Maitland to Sydney, with this description of coast country?) "To add to our difficulties many of the hills were covered with scrub so thickly that it was with much difficulty that we could pursue our course through it. We had intended to keep along the bank of the river, thinking it might lead us to Princess Charlotte's Bay. Sept. 4 and 5. The country much the same, making travelling most difficult and laborious. We were now in the vicinity of Cape Tribulation. 6th. We now found the river beginning to run in all directions through the hills, over which it was impossible to travel. We were consequently forced to keep the bed of the river, our horses falling every few minutes in consequence of the slippery surface.

September 23. They fell in with "a great many trees of moderate size, about fifteen to twenty feet high, of rather pendulous habit, loaded with an oblong, yellow fruit, having a rough stone inside. The part covering the stem has, when ripe, a meally appearance and a very good flavour. I considered, from its appearance, it was the fruit which Leichhardt called 'Nonda', which we afterwards called it. We all ate plentifully of it."

In the middle of September, the repeated thefts by some one of the party were detected, and alarm as to the consequences—before arrival at Cape York, where a vessel was to meet them—was intelligible. Either Kennedy, Carron or Wall had "to watch" the stores "by day and night", and even "the food whilst cooking," much of which was supplied by the death of their wretched horses!

"October 3. Kennedy found that it was even necessary to have the horse-flesh watched while drying, finding that two or three of the party had secreted small quantities amongst their clothes; such precautions were quite necessary, as well in justice to the whole of the party, as to keep up the strength of all, which seemed to be fast declining. At night we made a fire to smoke the meat; and to destroy the maggots. All we got from the horse we last killed was sixty-five lbs. of meat.

"October 9. Came to a river running into Princess Charlotte's Bay, in latitude S. 14 deg. 30 min., longitude E. 143 deg. 56 min. Crossed it about twelve miles from the sea. 13th Kennedy abandoned the thought of going to the beach, as he felt sure H.M.S. 'Bramble', which was to have met us at the beginning of August would have gone, our journey having occupied so much longer time than we could possibly have anticipated. 16th. Another horse to be eaten. We left one of our round tents and such other things as we could possibly spare behind us, as our horses were now so weak they could not carry their loads. 19th. Several of our horses were now quite unable to carry anything but the saddle. 21st. Killed another, too weak to stand. The health and hearts of many began now to fail them. Three could not walk. November 1st. Killed another horse, too weak. 5th. Another. 6th. Two more, and packed the meat in the hide of one." And so, men and horses, well nigh helpless, Kennedy resolved to push on for assistance to Cape York, with Jacky, Costigan, Luff and Dunn, leaving the rest of his companions as near Weymouth Bay as possible. "November 11. After we had camped we killed our last sheep. We had but nine horses left. One of our dogs killed a young dog belonging to the natives during the night, which I afterwards ascertained was eaten by Dunn, Luff, Costigan and Goddard.

"November 13th." From this date the journal was written and "preserved in full" to that of rescue, 30th December. "This morning everything was prepared for the departure of Kennedy and his party, and the last of our mutton was served out. Kennedy gave me written instructions how to act during our stay at Weymouth Bay, it being his intention to send for us by water if possible, as he expected to meet H.M.S. 'Bramble' at Port Albany. He calculated that he should be from ten to fifteen days before he reached that place, and directed me to keep a sharp look out from the hill for a vessel, and, if I should see one, to hoist a flag on the hill. If the natives were friendly I was to put a ball beneath the flag, and above it should they be hostile. In the evening I was to fire three rockets, at intervals of about twenty minutes. The party left in my charge were eight in number. The provisions consisted of two horses and twenty-eight pounds of flour. The whole party left at the camp were very weak. Luff being the weakest man that proceeded to Cape York. Before leaving, Kennedy told me that he expected to meet with some difficulties for the first few days, from the nature of the country he had seen from the hill. I did not mention this to the rest, for fear it might still further tend to depress their spirits, as three or four of them seemed even now to despair of ever reaching our destination. I did all in my power to keep them in good heart, but they were saddened from long suffering. We removed our camp back along the creek to the side of the high bare hill on which I was to hoist a flag, and from which I could look out for a vessel. It also afforded us a security from the natives, as we could see them at a greater distance. The latitude of this camp was 12 deg. 35 min. S. Wearied out by long endurance of trials that would have tried the courage and shaken the fortitude of the strongest, a sort of sluggish indifference prevailed that prevented the development of those active energies which were so necessary to support us in our critical position. The duties of our camp were performed as if by habit, and knowing how utterly useless complaint must be, the men seldom repined aloud."

The desolation of these poor starving prisoners of the bush quickly became too great for some of them to endure and live. The self-denying, considerate nature of William Carron shines out brightly in the midst of the growing darkness. With him, as with Kennedy, the grand principle was manifestly, as it had been with some whose renowned names have taken men's minds and admiration captive, "Duty". With his human circle around him, heart and health broken, sullen in their agony and despair, with but one brother in peril perhaps (Wall) with whom he could in any way hold counsel and sympathetic converse, and by whom he might be understood as men of education and refined fibre only can understand each other's unexpressed and inexpressible feeling, Carron's sense of what was due to them and to the wishes of his official superior seems never to have been lost sight of. Three days of this strain of inactive despair brought the first of that circle to the grave. "Douglas died this morning" (November 16th), "and we buried him at dusk, when the natives were gone, and I read the funeral service.    .    .    . His death cast an additional gloom over us." 19th, Sunday. "I read prayers to-day." 20th. "Taylor died this morning, and we buried him in the evening by the side of Douglas. I read the funeral service." 26th. "Carpenter died this morning, without pain or struggle. At eleven o'clock I read prayers, and in the evening buried our late companion in the bed of the creek, and I read the funeral service." 27th. "Killed the other horse this morning, with all appearance of a fine day to dry it; but about eleven o'clock a heavy thunderstorm came on, and it rained all day." 28th. "We were very uneasy at the continued wet weather, as it threatened to destroy the scanty remains of our provisions, the flesh already beginning to smell very badly." 29th. "The meat almost putrid." 30th. "Cut up all the meat that would hold together, but a great deal of it was quite rotten. I saved the hide of the horse for ourselves; the other I had fed the dogs with, Kennedy having requested me to keep them alive, if possible."

And out of this fearful fog of hopelessness and helplessness flared out a cruel beam (an ignis fatuus such as many a lost thirst-throed wanderer has hailed in an agony of reacting gladness as the light of some shepherd's hut—some white man's campfire—and struggled and striven and staggered on towards it until he has sunk under the sudden perception of the impish treachery) upon the withering hearts of those sufferers. Cruel! oh how cruel was the chance that the morning of the 1st of December conveyed to Carron's strained sight of a home at last! A schooner beating towards them, too, from the northward! Rescue from death at last! the promised coming of Kennedy! "Down on our knees men! with thanksgiving," (I can fancy the glad-tidings carrier) "here comes the 'Bramble'!" Let the journal speak for itself: "I supposed her to be the 'Bramble', as it was about the time Kennedy had given me expectation of being relieved by water, and I afterwards found I was right in the supposition. I naturally concluded that she had come for us; and full of hope and joy I immediately hoisted a flag on a staff we had previously erected on a part of the hill where it could be seen from any part of the bay. We placed a ball above the flag to put the crew on their guard against the natives. We then collected a quantity of wood and at dusk lighted a fire and kept it burning till about half-past seven or eight o'clock. I then fired off three rockets one after the other at intervals of about twenty minutes. I also took a large pistol up the hill, and stood for some time firing it as quickly as I could load it, thinking they might perhaps see the flash of that, if they had not seen the rockets.

"December 2nd. Early this morning I was up straining my eyes to catch a view of the bay, and at length saw the schooner standing in to the shore, and during the forenoon a boat was lowered. I now made quite certain they were coming for us, and thinking they might come up the creek in the boats, for some distance, I hastened down the hill and began to pack up a few things, determined to keep them waiting for our baggage no longer than I could help. I looked anxiously for them all the afternoon, wondering much at their delay in coming, at last I went up the hill just in time to see the schooner passing the bay."

"White as a white sail on a dusky sea,
When half the horizon's clouded, and half free,
Fluttering between the dim wave and the sky,
Is Hope's last gleam in man's extremity!"

"I cannot describe the feeling of despair and desolation which I, in common with the rest of our party, experienced as we gazed on the vessel as she fast faded from our view. On the very brink of starvation and death—death in the lone wilderness peopled only with the savage denizens of the forest, who even then were thirsting for our blood. Hope, sure and certain hope, had for one brief moment gladdened our hearts with the consoling assurance, that after our many, many trials and protracted sufferings, we were again about to find comfort and safety. The bright expectancy faded, and although we tried to persuade ourselves that the vessel was not the 'Bramble', our hearts sank within us in deep despondency.

"December 4th. Finished our scanty remnant of flour.

"December 7th. Our horse-flesh was so bitter that nothing but unendurable hunger could have induced us to eat it. A number of small brown beetles were generating from it, which ate it, and we were also much annoyed by flies.

"December 13th. This morning Mitchell was found dead by the side of the creek with his feet in the water. He must have gone down at night to fetch water, but too much exhausted had sat down and died there! None of us being strong enough to dig a grave for him, we sewed the body in a blanket, with a few stones to sink it, and then put it in the brackish water. Rain! rain! rain!

"December 21. Our kangaroo dog being very weak, and unable to catch anything, we killed and lived on him for two days. We drank the water in which we boiled him.

"24th. My legs had swelled very much, and I was able to walk but a very short distance. 26th. The natives brought us a few pieces of fish and turtle, but almost rotten; also, a blue-tongued lizard, which I opened and took out eleven young ones, which we roasted and ate. We always equally divided whatever we got, but the natives brought us very little that was eatable. I could easily see that their pretended good feeling towards us was assumed for the sake of fulfilling their own designs upon us. Their object was to obtain an opportunity of coming upon us by surprise, and destroying us. They had many times seen the fatal effects of our fire-arms, and I believe it was only the dread of these that prevented them from falling upon us at once. They were a much finer race of men than the natives we had seen at Rockingham Bay, most of them being from five feet ten inches to six feet high. 28th. Niblett and Wall both died this morning. Niblett was quite dead when I got up, and Wall, though alive, was unable to speak. I had been talking with them both, endeavouring to encourage them to hope on to the last, but sickness, privation and fatigue had overcome them, and they abandoned themselves to a calm and listless despair. About eleven o'clock some fifty natives, armed with spears, and many of them painted with a yellowish earth, made their appearance in the vicinity of our camp. There were natives of several strange tribes among them. They were well aware that neither Niblett nor Wall was able to resist them, if they did not know that they were dead. They also knew that we were very weak, although I always endeavoured as much as possible to keep that fact from them. This morning when I made signs to them to lay down their spears they paid no attention, with the exception of two who had been in the habit of coming very frequently to the camp. These two came running up quite close to us without their spears, and endeavoured to persuade one of us to go across a small dry creek for a fish, which another of the rascals was holding up to tempt us.

"They tried various methods to draw our attention from the rest who were drawing their spears along the ground with their feet, closing gradually around us and running from tree to tree to hide their spears behind them. Others lay on their backs in the long grass and were working their way towards us. Goddard and myself stood with our guns in readiness and our pistols by our sides for about two hours, when I fell from excessive weakness. When I got up, we thought it best to send them away at once or stand our chance of being speared in the attempt; both of us being unable to stand any longer, we presented our guns at the two by our side, making signs to them to send the others away or we would shoot them immediately. This they did and ran off in all directions without a spear being thrown or a shot fired.    .    .    . As the evening came on there came with it the painful task of removing the bodies of our unfortunate companions who had died in the morning. We had not strength to make the smallest hole in the ground as a grave, but after great exertion we succeeded in moving the bodies to a small patch.    .    .    . We laid them side by side and coveredthem with a few branches.    .    .    . I did not quite despair, but I knew we could not live long.    .    .    . Our sole remaining companion, the sheep-dog, I intended to kill in a day or two, but he could not last long, as he was nothing but skin and bone.

"December 30th. Goddard went to get another pigeon, and, if the natives made their appearance, I was to fire a pistol to recall him to the camp. After he had gone I saw natives coming toward the camp, and immediately fired a pistol, but before Goddard could come back they were in the camp, and handed me a piece of paper very much dirtied and torn. I was sure from the first by their manner that there was a vessel in the bay. The paper was a note from Captain Dobson, of the schooner 'Ariel'; but it was so dirtied and torn that I could only read part of it. For a minute or two I was almost senseless with the joy which the hope of our deliverance inspired. I made the natives a few presents, and gave them a note to Captain Dobson, which I made them easily understand I wanted them to take to that gentleman. I was in hopes they would then have gone, but I soon found they had other intentions. A great many were coming from all quarters, well armed with spears. I had given a shirt to the one who had brought the note and put it on him, but I saw him throw down the note and pull off the shirt, and, picking up his spear, he joined the rest, who were preparing to attack us. We were expecting every moment to be attacked and murdered, our newly-awakened hopes already beginning to fail, when we saw Captain Dobson and Dr. Vallack, accompanied by Jacky and a man named Barrett, who had been wounded a few days before in the arm by a barbed spear, approaching us across the creek. I and my companion, who was preserved with me, must ever be grateful for the prompt courage with which these persons, at the risk of their own lives, came to our assistance, through the scrub and mangroves, a distance of about three miles, surrounded as they were all the way by a large number of armed natives. I was reduced almost to a skeleton. The elbow of my right arm was through the skin, as also the bone of my right hip. My legs also were swollen to an enormous size. Goddard walked to the boat, but I could not do so without the assistance of Captain Dobson and Dr. Vallack, and I had to be carried altogether a part of the way, Jacky and Barrett kept a look out for the blacks. I could only secure an abstract of my journal: that portion of it from 13th November to 30th December, which I have in full.

"We got on board the 'Ariel', and, after a very long passage, arrived in Sydney."

And this journal was penned from the 13th of November to the 30th of December, at a time when Carron was encompassed by a cordon of death; when himself dying by the slow process which was enticing Death's presence day and night within the shrinking ring in which he was pent up. Not a word of his own torments; no querulous cry; no reproachful reflection. Calm, observant, collected, and patient, this sufferer, ministering to his fellows ere they passed away, in forgetfulness of self and devotion to duty, kept—mirabile dictu!—likewise a daily record of every object which attracted the scientific exercise of his vocation.

Such power makes one proud of such a fellow countryman!

Calm! In the words written under his soul's overpowering disturbances, is there aught but calmness? Observant! In the whirl of his daily and nightly agony did he fail? Not a plant, not an object, not even when Death had brought him a first summons to prepare himself to follow Douglas, did he allow the texture of the native women's girdles to escape notice. Collected! When was he off his guard against his savage foes? When taken by surprise? Patient! His simple precis of the sufferings around him and within him is a monument on which his name may endure. I fall short of telling what this journal speaks to myself, at least. I must find shelter for my shortcomings in a grand man's cry, even Carlyle's: "How happy could I, but in any measure, in such times as these, make manifest the meanings of Heroism!"

From Carron let us turn to his leader. Noble must have been some feature in Kennedy's character which could thoroughly win the attachment—even unmistakeable affection—of an Australian aboriginal. Attributable to other powers must have been the faculty of ensuring the respect of his own people. No ill-will, no suspicion, no jealousy of the method prescribed,—pour savoir vivre,* no sullen rejection of instruction, or advice, nor inattentiveness to his expressed directions—no animosities, notwithstanding the thousand and one provocations to which such a trial of sickness, hunger, helplessness and death subjected the general temper—why was it so? Kennedy was fitted to his work, and under this conviction, others cheerfully and confidently fitted themselves to terrible occasions under his leadership, and were left no room for complaint nor passion. What testimony gives William Carron from the very outset? June 22nd. "Kennedy returned this evening, and again having found it impossible to cross the swamps, we were obliged to return to the beach, where the travelling was better than among the trees. At this time we had only two meals a day; breakfast at daylight, and dinner when we had completed our day's work, and camped. 'Whenever any birds were shot they were boiled for supper.' 'Kennedy appeared admirably fitted for the leader of an expedition of this character in every respect.'

[* "The meals were cut up into thirteen parts, as nearly equal as possible, and one person touched each part in succession, whilst another, with his back turned, called out the names of the party, the person named taking the part touched. The scrupulous exactness we were obliged to practise with respect to our provisions was increased by our misfortune in getting next to nothing to assist our scanty ration, while the extreme labour to which we were subjected increased our appetites."—Carron's Journal.]

"Although he had innumerable difficulties and hardships to contend with, he always appeared cheerful and in good spirits. Travelling through such a country as we were, such a disposition was essential to the success of the expedition. He was always diverting the minds of his followers from the obstacles we daily encountered, and encouraging them to hope for better success: careful in all his observations and calculations as to the position of his camp, and cautious not to plunge into difficulties without personal observation of the country to enable him to take the safest path.".    .    .    (What a comment on the style of ground they had to overcome!).    .    .    . "But having decided, he pursued his deliberate determination with steady perseverance, sharing in the labour of cutting through the scrub, and all the harassment attendant on travelling through such a wilderness, with as much or greater alacrity and zeal than any of his followers. It was often grievous to me to hear some of the party observe after we had passed over some difficult tract 'that a better road might have been found, a little to the right or to the left.' Such observations (the nearest to grumbling I meet with) "were most unjust and vexatious, as in all matters of difficulty and of opinion he would invariably listen to the advice of all, and if he thought it prudent, take it. For my own part, I can safely say that I was always ready to obey his orders and conform to his directions,' confident as I then was, of his ability to lead us to the place of our destination as speedily as possible."

Having followed Kennedy so far, we must follow him to his death. Of that there was but one witness, Jacky; from whose statement when taken on board the "Ariel", at Port Albany, I have the sad story.

Kennedy had on the 13th of November started from Carron's camp within sight of Weymouth Bay with Jacky, Costigan, Luff, and Dunn. A few days afterwards Costigan was severely wounded through his own careless handling of his gun. Kennedy left the sufferer with his two companions at a place which he called "Pudding-pan Hill" near Shelburne Bay. "Mr. Kennedy wanted to make great haste when he left this place to get the doctor to go down to the men that were ill. This was about three weeks after leaving Weymouth Bay. Next morning Mr. Kennedy and me went on with four horses—leaving one with the men at Pudding-pan Hill. One horse got bogged in a swamp. We tried to get him out all that day but could not: we left him there.

"The next day Mr. Kennedy went on again, and passed up a ridge, very scrubby, and had to turn back again, and went along gullies to get clear of creek and scrub." (Rain! rain! rain! day and night!) "My horse fell down, me, and all; the horse lay upon my thigh. Here Mr. Kennedy got off his horse and moved my horse off my thigh; we stopped there that night, and could not get the horse up; we looked to him in the morning and he was dead.

"The next day we went a good way. Mr. Kennedy told me to go up a tree to see a sandy hill somewhere: I went up a tree, and saw a sandy hill a little way down from Port Albany. That day we camped near a swamp; it was a very rainy day. The next morning we went on, and Mr. Kennedy told me we should get round to Port Albany in a day.' We travelled on all day till noon, and then we saw Port Albany. Then he said: 'There is Port Albany, Jacky; a ship is there—you see that island there'—pointing to Albany Island; this was when we where at the mouth of Escape river. We stopped a little while; all the meat was gone; I tried to get some fish, but could not; we went on in the afternoon half-a-mile along the river side, and met a good lot of blacks and we camped. The blacks all cried out 'powad! powad!' and rubbed their bellies, and we thought they were friendly, and Mr. Kennedy gave them fish-hooks all round; everyone asked me if I had anything to give away, and I said 'No', and Mr. Kennedy said 'give them your knife, Jacky.' This fellow on board was the man I gave the knife to; I am sure of it; I know him well; the black that was shot in the canoe was the most active in urging all the others on to spear Mr. Kennedy. I gave the man on board my knife. We went on this day, and I looked behind, and they were getting up their spears and ran all round the camp which we had left. I told Mr. Kennedy that very likely those blackfellows would follow us, and he said 'No! Jacky, those blacks are very friendly.' I said to him 'I know those blackfellows well; they too much speak.' We went on some two or three miles and camped. I, and Mr. Kennedy, watched them that night, taking it in turn every hour all night; by-and-by I saw the blackfellows; it was a moonlight night, and I walked up to Mr. Kennedy and said to him 'there is plenty of black fellows now;' this was in the middle of the night.

"Mr. Kennedy told me to get my gun ready. The blacks did not know where we slept, as we did not make a fire. We both sat up all night. After this daylight came, and I fetched the horses and saddled them. Then we went on a good way up the river, and then we sat down a little while, and we saw three blackfellows coming along our track, and they saw us, and one fellow ran back as hard as he could run and fetched up plenty more, like a flock of sheep almost. I told Mr. Kennedy to put the saddles on the two horses and go on, and the blacks came up and followed us all the day. All along it was raining, and I now told him to leave the horses and come on without them—that the horses made too much track. Mr. Kennedy was too weak and would not leave the horses. We went on this day till towards evening; raining hard; and the blacks followed us all the day, some behind, some planted before—in fact blacks, blacks, all around, following us. Now we went into a little scrub, and I told Mr. Kennedy to look behind always. Sometimes he would do so, and sometimes he would not look behind, to look for the blacks. Then a good many blackfellows came behind in the scrub and threw plenty of spears, and hit Mr. Kennedy in the back first. Mr. Kennedy said to me, 'Oh! Jacky, Jacky, shoot 'em, shoot 'em!' Then I pulled out my gun and fired, and hit one fellow all over the face with buck-shot. He tumbled down and got up again and again, and wheeled right round, and two blackfellows picked him up and carried him away.

"They went away then a little way and came back again, throwing spears all round more than they did before—very large spears. I pulled out the spear at once from Mr. Kennedy's back, and cut out the jag with Mr. Kennedy's knife. Then Mr. Kennedy got his gun and snapped, but the gun would not go off. The blacks sneaked all along by the trees, and speared Mr. Kennedy again in the right leg, above the knee a little, and I got speared over the eye; and the blacks were now throwing their spears all ways, never giving over, and shortly again speared Mr. Kennedy in the right side. There were large jags to the spears, and I cut them out and put them into my pocket. At the same time we got speared the horses got speared too and jumped and bucked all about, and got into the swamp. I told Mr. Kennedy to sit down while I looked after the saddlebags, which I did, and when I came back again I saw blacks along with Mr. Kennedy. I then asked him if he saw the blacks with him. He was stupid with the spear wounds, and said 'No.' Then I asked him where was his watch. I saw the blacks taking away watch and hat as I was returning to Mr. Kennedy. Then I carried Mr. Kennedy into the scrub. He said, 'don't carry me a good way.' Then Mr. Kennedy looked very bad—this way" (Jacky rolled his eyes). "I said to him, 'Don't look far away,' as I thought he would be frightened. I asked him often, 'Are you well now?' and he said, 'I don't care for the spear wound in my leg, Jacky, but for the other two spear wounds in my side and back,' and he said, 'I am bad inside, Jacky.' I told him blackfellow always die when he got spear in there—the back, He said, 'I am out of wind, Jacky.' I asked him, 'Mr. Kennedy, are you going to leave me?' and he said, 'Yes, my boy, I am going to leave you.' He said, 'I am very bad, Jacky. You take the books, Jacky, to the Captain, but not the big ones; the Governor will give anything for them.' I then tied up the papers. He then said, 'Jacky, give me paper, and I will write.' I gave him paper and pencil, and he tried to write, and he then fell back and died, and I caught him as he fell back, and held him, and I then turned round myself and cried. I was crying a good while until I got well; that was about an hour, and then I buried him. I digged up the ground with a tomahawk, and covered him over with logs, then grass, and my shirt and trousers. That night I left him near dark. I would go through the scrub, and the blacks threw spears at me—a good many—and I went back again into the scrub. Then I went down the creek, which runs into Escape river, and I walked along the water in the creek very easy, with my head only above water, to avoid the blacks and get out of their way. In this way I went half a mile; then I got out of the creek and got clear of them, and walked on all night nearly, and slept in the bush without a fire. I went on next morning, and felt very bad, and I spelled for two days. I lived upon nothing but salt water.

"Next day I went on and camped one mile away from where I left and sat down there, and I wanted to spell a little there and go on: but when I tried to get up, I could not, but fell down again. One mile, and got nothing to eat but one nonda, and I went on that day and camped, and on again next morning about half a mile, and sat down, where there was good water, and remained all day. On the following morning I went a good way; went round a great swamp of mangroves and got a good way by sundown. The next morning I went and saw a very large track of blackfellows: I went clear of the track and of swamp or sandy ground. I then came to a very large river and a large lagoon—plenty of alligators in the lagoon—about ten miles from Port Albany. I now got into the ridges by sundown, and went up a tree and saw Albany Island. Then next morning at four o'clock I went on as hard as I could go, all the way down over fine clear ground, fine iron-bark timber, and plenty of good grass. I went on round the point" (this was towards Cape York, north of Albany Island) "and went on and followed a creek down, and went on top of the hill and saw Cape York, because the sand did not go on further. I sat down then a good while. I said to myself 'this is Port Albany, I believe, inside somewhere.' Mr. Kennedy also told me that the ship was inside, close up to the mainland. I went up a little way and saw the ship and boat. I met close up here two black gins and a good many piccanninies. One said to me 'powad! powad!' Then I asked her for eggs: she gave me turtle eggs, and I gave her a burning glass. She pointed to the ship which I had seen before. I was very frightened at seeing the black men all along here, and when I was on the rock coo-eeing, and murry, murry glad when the boat came for me."

Captain Dobson of the "Ariel", tells the sequel of this terrible episode in this ill-advised exploring venture. "Proceeded on the 2nd of October last—1848—to Port Albany to meet Kennedy's exploring party and to supply them with provisions. We arrived at Port Albany on the 27th October, and remained there till the 23rd December, when, in consequence of a signal, I went on shore and learnt from Jacky-Jacky the death of Kennedy and the unfortunate fate of the expedition. And, in consequence of this information, we made preparations, and the next day weighed anchor and sailed to Shelburne Bay. Jacky informed us that Pudding-pan Hill, between Albany Point and Shelburne Bay, was where Kennedy had left the three sick men. On proceeding there, Jacky said it was not there but on a hill like it further down. On arriving at Shelburne Bay Jacky recognised the hill; we landed early in the morning and fell in with the natives and went inland, but could not get through the scrub; we came back to the beach and found a canoe with the cloak (produced) in it; on the afternoon previous, thought I saw two natives on the beach with cloaks or blue shirts on; we then pulled further on and landed again, and went about six miles inland, but Jacky could not cross the track Kennedy had taken; he recognised the hill where the camp was, and said we might reach it to-morrow. At starting Jacky said it would not take us long, and we took no food with us, After a consultation we agreed to return to the vessel, believing, from the cloaks on the natives that the men must have perished. We then pursued our way to Weymouth Bay, and rescued Carron and Goddard. We brought with us what instruments we could from the camp—they were not many—as Carron was hardly in a state to tell me what was there. We then consulted and determined to come on at once to Sydney, as from what Jacky told us, it was thought useless to return to look for the men at Shelburne Bay.

"I should have returned to the camp at Weymouth Bay to save everything but for the hostility of the natives, who surrounded us in great numbers, and, as soon as we had left the camp, rifled it."

Dr. Vallack's description of the scenes during the rescue conducted by Jacky is full of interest: "Saturday, 3rd December, 1848. About eight o'clock, a.m., Captain Dobson called down to me, saying he thought Kennedy had arrived, as there was a black on shore, with a shirt and trousers.    .    .    . The Captain left in his dingy, and I observed with the glass the black first standing, then walking very lame; then sitting down on a rock. The dingy made there and took him on board. It turned out to be Jacky, who looked very haggard. He became faint on board, and a glass of wine revived him. He told a woeful story. Depositions were taken. Conversing with Jacky all the next day, I took down in pencil what he had to say, changing the subject now and then by speaking of his comrades at Jerry's Plains. I did so, as he told me what kept him awake all last night was 'thinking about Mr. Kennedy.' The following day saw what appeared to be land. On nearing found it to be a canoe, about fifteen feet long, with seven or eight natives in it, shearing about, now in one direction, now in another. They drew close to the vessel; very wary, however, in doing so. Jacky was placed in the fore-top, and word came that Jacky knew all those fellows; that they were the party who speared Kennedy. One was allowed on board. A seaman, Parker, told me that Jacky wanted to speak to me. He said, 'that fellow,' pointing to the one named, 'is the fellow that speared Mr. Kennedy. I gave him a knife; bale let him go.' He was immediately secured.

"It was as much as three men could do; the others in the canoe jumped overboard, and observing now that the man secured had a part of a bridle round his arm, and a piece of sinew or tendon of a horse, and Jacky being so positive as to his identity, it was determined to examine the canoe, and an order was given to fire over their heads whilst they (the blacks) were endeavouring to recover the canoe. The long boat was sent after the canoe, but in the meantime the blacks had recovered it and a hard chase took place: the boat overhauled them, and as it closed upon them I saw the blacks jump overboard again, and afterwards the ship's boat bring back the canoe. Barrett said to me when alongside that he was speared, and that he had shot the black who had speared him, and who was now in the canoe nearly dead. It appears that one black stuck to his canoe, and on the ship's boat nearing it had thrown a spear into Barrett's arm, and was on the eve of throwing another when Barrett shot him. From the canoe was brought the leg part of a pair of trowsers, three spears, a piece of saddle-iron, &c., and a piece of moleskin was taken off the native's leg, which Jacky says was part of a pair of trowsers which he had tied round Kennedy's head when he buried him: Jacky being sure that they had dug up the body. I had observed at the time that the native was nearly on board, the moment he and they saw Jacky, they looked at each other as if everything was not right. As we neared Pudding-pan Hill—as marked on the chart—Jacky said 'this is not the place.' Being placed in the fore-top he became more positive, saying at length, 'do you think I am stupid? Mr. Kennedy sent me from the camp to look out the coast so that I might know it again when I came back in the ship, and I will tell you when we come to it: the ship must go on that way further,' pointing to the south.

"26th December. We anchored in Shelburne Bay, opposite where Jacky wished to proceed to recover the three men: he was sure this was the place, seeing the mountain which Kennedy had called Pudding-pan Hill" (it may be here stated that this mountain is the very fac simile of Pudding-pan Hill of the chart). The result of the search for the three men has been briefly told by Captain Dobson, but at greater length in Dr. Vallack's journal. It is all most interesting; and then enters into the particulars of their coasting to Weymouth Bay. "Saturday, December 30. At Weymouth Bay" (returning to Dr. Vallack's journal) "five canoes were now seen creeping off towards us from under the mangroves with from five to ten natives in each: there was yet no flag nor any token of white people on the hill.

"The canoes gradually neared us, in a string, and one came cautiously alongside, making signs and saying 'ferraman, ferraman' (white man), and pointing towards Jacky's mountain. A few lines were written, stating that a vessel was in the bay and the bearer, one of the natives, would take them to it. This was given to one of the natives in the first canoe, and Jacky, whom they had recognised, beckoned and motioned to them to take the note to the camp. In the meantime, the captain and I had determined, as soon as the boat could be got ready, to proceed, according to Jacky's instructions, to the camp. Jacky directed us some distance off, in the wake of the canoes, there being nothing but a mangrove swamp on the shore near us. We landed beside a creek, knee deep in water, among some mangroves. Here we got out of the boat—Jacky, the Captain, Barrett, and myself,—Jacky leading through a mangrove swamp for a considerable distance till we came out on a beautiful flat, and followed up a creek, which Jacky said would lead us to the camp. After getting on (keeping a good look-out) for about two miles, Jacky doubled his pace, and all at once said with great emphasis, 'I see camp.' 'Well done, Jacky,' I think, was exclaimed by all of us. Jacky, still going on at a sharp pace, stopped for a moment and said, 'I not sure, and suddenly, with great excitement, exclaimed, 'See two whitefellows sit down and camp!' We were now on one side of the creek. Down the creek we went, and up on the other side in double-quick time, and a scene presented itself.

"On the side of the hill, not two hundred yards from us, were two men sitting down looking towards us, the tent and fire immediately behind them; and on coming up to them, two of the most pitiable creatures imaginable were sitting down! One had sufficient strength to get up; the other appeared to me to be in the very last stage of consumption. Alas! Alas! They were the only two left of eight men; the remainder having died of starvation! Whilst we were considering what was best to be done, natives in great numbers were descried watching our movements. Jacky said—calling me aside—'Doctor! now I tell you exactly what to do; you see those blackfellows over there; you leave him tent, everything, altogether there, and get the two whitefellows to the boat, quick!'

"Jacky was exceedingly energetic and grave as well. 'Get away as quick as possible' was resounded by all; but what was to be done? Two men almost dead to walk two or three miles. We looked over the tent, asked Carron for what important things there were, and each laid hold of what appeared to be of most value—the Captain taking two sextants, others firearms, &c. 'Come along!' again and again Jacky called out, and the Captain too, whilst they were half-way down towards the creek, and Barrett and I were loading ourselves. I took a case of seeds, some papers of Carron's, a double-barrelled gun and pistol, which, together with my own double gun and pistols, thermometer, and my pockets full of powder and shot, was as much as I could manage. Seeing Carron could not get along, I told him to put his hands on my shoulders, and in this way he managed to walk down as far as nearly through the mangrove swamp towards the water's edge, when he