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Title: Australasiatic Reminiscences. Author: Daniel Bunce. * A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook * eBook No.: 1305271h.html Language: English Date first posted: September 2013 Date most recently: September 2013 Produced by: Ned Overton. Project Gutenberg Australia eBooks are created from printed editions which are in the public domain in Australia, unless a copyright notice is included. We do NOT keep any eBooks in compliance with a particular paper edition. Copyright laws are changing all over the world. Be sure to check the copyright laws for your country before downloading or redistributing this file. This eBook is made available at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg Australia Licence which may be viewed online.
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Two virtual chapter headings, XIII and XIV, have been added here to more clearly separate several distinct topics and create links to them, while preserving the appearance of the book.
Two newspaper articles, one of them by Leichhardt and both published shortly after the return of this expedition, have been added as an Appendix to show two versions of the expedition.
No attempt has been made to fix inconsistencies in Bunce's spelling of geographical or botanical names. Boecking (the cook) is also referred to as "Bucking" and "Buckin".
A biographical sketch of Ludwig Leichhardt, in "Dictionary of Australian Biography" by Percival Serle at Project Gutenberg Australia, is found here. Leichardt was born 200 years ago (1813), and arrived in Australia in 1842.
Leichhardt's first expedition left the Darling Downs in early
October 1844 and arrived at Port Essington in mid December 1845,
an epic overland journey of some 3000 kilometres. Leichhardt's
journal of this expedition is at Project Gutenberg Australia,
Leichhardt returned to Sydney to honours and accolades in late March 1846 and immediately began preparations for his next expedition, intending to overland to the recently-established colony on the Swan River in W.A. For this second expedition, he recruited (list) and left from Sydney in October 1846.
Leichhardt's party departed the Darling Downs in December, but only reached as far as the Peak Range (near Emerald, about 600km NW of Brisbane) in May, 1847, where many members of the party became ill. On petition from some of them (there being dissension), the expedition returned in July 1847.
From Cecil Plains station on the Darling Downs, Leichhardt immediately started planning his third expedition, west to the Maranoa River, and left from there some 5 weeks later, with a smaller party, which included Bunce. Bunce provides an account by Leichhardt of this third expedition (virtual Chapter XIII); it comes more or less verbatim from an article Leichhardt provided to the Sydney Morning Herald, published on 11 October 1847.
The main interest in the present work is Bunce's account of the Second Expedition. Apart from Bunce's, there are two more or less contemporary accounts: one by Leichhardt himself and another by Hovenden Hely. Travel diaries by both these men, comprehensively edited, were published in 1989 as part of "Proud Intrepid Heart..." by Dan Sprod. From this book, Leichhardt's diary is now available online at Hans Finger's comprehensive website, as "Log of my Journey from Port Stevens to Peak Range (20.10.1846-28.7.1847)", with commentary, edited by Dan Sprod (~12Mb).
John Mann also wrote an account, but did not publish it until more than forty years later.
Also of interest and presented here as an Appendix, are two newspaper articles (available online at National Library of Australia's "Trove" website), showing two versions of events. The first, probably originating from Hely or Mann or both, was published in the Moreton Bay Courier on 14 August. Published a week later in The Sydney Morning Herald was a copy of private letter Leichhardt wrote to his staunch friend, Lt. Robert Lynd, outlining his version of events.
A summary of Leichhardt's activities around this time follows:
|10 Dec. 1846||L.L. leaves on Second Expedition from last stop on Darling
Party: L.L., Heinrich Boecking, Harry Brown, Daniel Bunce, Hovenden Hely, John Mann, James Perry, Henry Turnbull, Wommai ["Jemmy"].
|5 May 1847||L.L. reaches furthest point: Peak Range (near present Emerald).|
|23 July 1847||L.L. returns to Darling Downs (Blyth's) from Second Expedition.|
|30 July 1847||L.L. writes letter to Lt. Robert Lynd from Russell's Cecil Downs; published in S.M.H., 21 August 1847.|
|9 Aug. 1847||L.L. leaves on Third Expedition from Cecil Downs to
Maranoa River and Fitzroy Downs.
Party: L.L., Daniel Bunce, Fred Isaac, James Perry, Wommai.
|20 Sep. 1847||L.L. returns from Third Expedition to Cecil Plains.|
|9 Oct. 1847||L.L. arrives in Sydney on "Tamar"; Summary of Third Expedition (Chapter XIII. here); published in S.M.H., 11 October 1847.|
|4 Dec. 1847||L.L. leaves Sydney on fatal Fourth Expedition.|
Leichhardt! in Australia's name
Evergreen laurels bind around his brow,
If Enterprise her guerdon still may claim
Conquest and worth to crown, bestow them now;
Author of. "Hortus Tasmaniensis," "Guide
to the LinnŠan System of
Botany," "Australian Manual of Horticulture, "Aborigines
of Australia," &c. &c.
PRICE EIGHT SHILLINGS.
PUBLISHED BY J.T. HENDY, 74, SMITH STREET;
PRINTED BY W. FAIRFAX AND CO., 78, COLLINS STREET, EAST.
SOLD BY ALL BOOKSELLERS.
W. Fairfax and
Printers and Publishers, 78, Collins Street. East, Melbourne.
In submitting the present work to the notice of the public, the Author tenders his warmest thanks to his numerous subscribers, and his apology for the delay which has unavoidably taken place in its publication.
He would, also, take the present opportunity of claiming the usual indulgence for any little shortcomings that may be apparent in the course of its perusal. As its title imports, it is simply a record of the incidents of travel, during a period of twenty-three years, over a great portion of Australasia. Statistics and dry detail have been avoided, as being more peculiarly the task of the historian. Should it, however, afford a few hours' amusement to the reader, the Author's object will have been amply attained.
Portrait of Dr. Ludwig Leichhardt to face title page.
Chronological View of Tasmania from the Time of its Discovery, in the Year 1646
Arrival in the Colony, and Excursion to Mount Wellington
Hobart Town: Travels through the Interior, with Remarks on the Geographical and Botanical Features, Incidents in Relation to the Aborigines, &c.
Travels through the Country continued
Continuation of Travels
Launceston: Journey continued from thence to George Town, New Norfolk, Bothwell, Last Resting Place of the Notorious Bushranger, Michael Howe, Mount Pleasant, and the Hermitage
Journey concluded. A Bush Scene with the Aborigines, with Remarks on that unfortunate Race, now extinct
Tasmania concluded—Introduction of first English Fruit and Forest Trees—Primitive Currency of the Time—Arrival of Two Native Chiefs from Port Phillip, with Buckley, the "Wild White Man".
Arrival in Melbourne—The Settlement Described
Excursion to Western Port with a Tribe of Aborigines, and Return to the Settlement
Narrative of Dr. Leichhardt's Expedition, with Striking Incidents and General Remarks on the Aborigines—Geology, Geography, Natural History, and other Interesting Particulars
Expedition to the Westward of Darling Downs. By Dr. Leichhardt
Table of Elevations and Observations
Leichhardt's Final Start on the Last Expedition, and Latest Intelligence before Entering the Wilderness
Leichhardt's Grave [poem]
Treachery and Murder by, and Encounter with, the Fitzroy Downs' Natives
Return to Melbourne
Expedition down the Murray River to Encounter Bay—Gold Discovery, Poetically and in Reality
1. Article in
Moreton Bay Courier, 14 August 1847;
2. Article in The
Sydney Morning Herald, 21 August 1847;
ERRATA. [All corrected]
Page 4, line 27 from top, for "Adventure Bay was an island," read "Brune Island was."
Page 18, line 6 from top, for "man of war Hyacinth," read "Steamer, 'Sea Horse.'"
Page 6, fifth line from top, for "south," read "north."
Page 74, thirty-third line from top, for "head," read "hand "
Page 64, for "Chapter II.," read "Chapter XI."
Page 79, for "Chapter IX.," read "Chapter XII."
In commencing the first chapter of the "Reminiscences", we shall abandon the old and hackneyed style universally adopted by all previous writers on the colony, who usually commence with, "Tasmania is an island;" or, "This interesting island lies between the parallels of 41 degrees 20 minutes and 43 degrees 40 minutes south, and between the meridians 144 degrees 40 minutes, and 148 degrees 20 minutes, of east longitude." Of course, Tasmania is an island, &c. To tell all the world this is to tell all the world what all the world already knows, or, at least, ought to know; and, as we have no desire to compete for the prize offered by some eccentrically disposed individual for those who could furnish the oldest possible news, we shall at once commence with our own experiences.
It will be sufficient for our purpose, then—and, in adopting this course, we are induced to believe that we shall the more readily fall in with the views of our readers—if we confine ourselves to the incidents of travel which have fallen under our own especial observation, during a period of twenty-three years. During the whole of this time, we have been actively employed in developing the resources of a country more peculiar in all its characteristics, both as regards its animal and vegetable productions, than any other country on the face of the globe—to furnish a narrative as novel as we anticipate it will prove interesting to our readers.
We left Gravesend on the seventeenth day of October, in the year one thousand eight hundred and thirty-two, in the good ship "Ellen", of London, George Dixon, master, and reached Tasmania on the second day of March, in the year following—that is, 2nd March, 1833; when we cast anchor in the beautiful estuary of the Derwent.
From the length of time occupied in this passage, our readers will observe that, as we touched at no port from the commencement to its termination, we are writing of times anterior to the clipper ships and circle sailing, and some time prior to the tide of emigration having set in towards the Australian shores. Among the passengers were Mr. Eyre, since celebrated for his exploratory exertions in South Western Australia; and Mr. Thomas Wilkinson, late M.L.C. for the Portland Bay district, but whose name, we anticipate, will be more permanently associated with the annals of that and the adjoining districts as having been the projector, proprietor, editor, printer, and pressman of the Portland Bay Guardian.
Having landed our readers on the Tasmanian shores, we must beg to be permitted to retrograde, for the purpose of furnishing records of a series of important and interesting events which occurred previously to our arrival; and, although we wish not to be tedious, we at the same time feel that we should neither be doing justice to our readers, to the colony, or to ourselves, if we omitted. In doing this we shall, of course, have to be dependent upon other testimony than our own; still, we can safely aver that the authority will be taken from a gentleman long deceased, who, while living, was an intimate and personal friend of Colonel Arthur, Governor of the Colony, as well as his successor, Sir John Franklin, and whose exertions and lucubrations, during his residence in the colony and prior to his melancholy death, will be long remembered. The gentleman was Dr. James Ross; our next chapter will, consequently, have rather the character of a compilation of events. This is, however, necessary, from the reasons already expressed.
A.D. 1646, December 1st.—Abel Jansen Tasman discovered Van Diemen's Land, and anchored the ships "Hemskirk" and "Zeehan" in a bay to the south of Maria Island, which he named Frederick Hendrick's Bay, and called this country Van Diemen's Land, in honor of Athony Van Diemen, at that time Governor-General of the Dutch possessions in the East Indies, residing at Batavia, from which place Tasman sailed. He also named Maria Island in memory of this Governor's daughter, to whom he was attached. Storm Bay was so named by Tasman from his having been nearly lost in a storm, a few days previous to his anchoring off Maria Island.
1773, March 9th.—Captain Furneaux was the first Englishman who visited Van Diemen's Land. He accompanied Captain Cook in his second voyage round the world, from whom he was separated, in a very thick fog, off St. Paul's Island, on the 4th February.
Captain Cook, in the "Resolution", bore up for New Zealand, and Captain Furneaux, in the "Adventure", anchored in the Bay now so named, on the eastern side of BrunÚ Island, which he then considered to be the main land, on the 11th of March. After sailing along the eastern coast to 33 degrees south, and discovering a cluster of islands in Bass's Straits, which now bear his name, he left the coast for New Zealand, when he rejoined his commander.
1777, January 25th.—Captain Cook, in his third voyage, anchored in Adventure Bay, and remained five days taking in wood and water. On his departure, he left a couple of pigs on BrunÚ Island, which the natives afterwards destroyed.
1792, April 20th.—Admiral BrunÚ D'Entrecasteaux, in the "Research", accompanied by Captain Huon Kermander, in the "Esperance", on an expedition in search of La Perouse, anchored in Recherche Bay. They remained upwards of a month exploring the south-eastern coast of the island. They discovered that BrunÚ Island was separated from the main land by a channel, both of which were named after the Captain of the "Research".
1793, January.—The same ships again arrived from the south coast of New Holland and Amboyna, and anchored in Recherche Bay. They remained some time exploring the country; and, on the 14th of February, they sailed to explore D'Entrecasteaux Channel. On the 23rd of February, both vessels anchored in Adventure Bay, where they remained five days before sailing for the South Sea Islands. The admiral landed a male and female goat on BrunÚ Island; and also, near a remarkable tree, he deposited a bottle, containing an account of his voyage as far as it had gone. This bottle was afterwards found by Captain Bunker, of the ship "Venus", in 1809. Captain Bunker, not well understanding French, and seeing the name of La Perouse, erroneously concluded that these papers had been deposited there by that unfortunate nobleman. In the same year, on the 7th of May, Captain Huon died of a fever, and was interred in the island of Pudonza, near New Caledonia. He was succeeded in command of the "Esperance" by M. D. Auribeau, who also died at Batavia, on the 22nd of August, 1794. Admiral D'Entrecasteaux died of cholic, near the coast of La Louisiade, on the 21st of June, 1793. The two ships were taken by the Dutch, and the officers and men were placed under arrest at Samarang, in the island of Java, on the 16th of February, 1796. They were kept in confinement for upwards of a year, and many of them died. The few who remained alive took their passage in a small vessel for the Isle of France, and ultimately reached Paris on the 12th of March, 1796. The only officer of note, belonging to the voyage, who arrived home after an absence of four years, five months, and eleven days, was Labillardiere, the naturalist of the expedition. He afterwards published an interesting account of this voyage, in two volumes, in which is contained the best history of the animals and vegetables of Van Diemen's Land that has hitherto appeared.
1798, February.—Dr. Bass discovered that Van Diemen's Land was an island, being separated from New Holland by the strait which bears his name.
1803, October 9th.—The ships "Calcutta" and "Ocean", with Colonel Collins on board, arrived at Port Phillip, on the north side of Bass's Strait, with officers and provisions, in order to form a settlement. This position was, however, necessarily abandoned for want of water; and, in consequence of instructions from Governor King, at Sydney, it was determined to transfer the expedition to Van Diemen's Land.
1803, August.—Lieutenant Bowen, in the brig Lord Nelson, with a party from Port Jackson, was the first to take possession of the island at Risdon, or Best Down, on the east bank of the Derwent.
1804, February 19th.—Colonel Collins, the first Lieutenant-Governor of Van Diemen's Land, in the ship Ocean, from Port Phillip, arrived in the Derwent, and soon after removed the seat of Government from Risdon to where it now is, on the opposite side of the river. He named it Hobart Town, after Lord Hobart.
The following are the names of the officers of the Civil Establishment originally sent out to form the settlement at Port Phillip:—
Lieutenant-Colonel Collins, of H.M. Royal Marine Forces, Lieutenant-Governor.
The Rev. Robert Knopwood, A.M., Chaplain.
Benjamin Barbauld, Esq., was appointed Deputy Judge Advocate, by the Home Government, but did not arrive.
Mr. W.J. Anson, Surgeon; Mr. Matthew Bowden, Assistant-Surgeon; and Mr. William Hopley, Second Assistant-Surgeon. All these three gentlemen are since dead, and their remains are interred beside each other in the churchyard in Hobart Town.
Leonard Fosbrook, Deputy Assistant Commissary General. This gentleman did not, however, long remain in the colony, but returned home to England.
George P. Harris, Esq., Surveyor, dead.
Adolorius W. Henry Humphrey, Esq., Mineralogist, also dead.
Mr. Thomas Clark and Mr. William Patterson were the two Superintendents of Convicts, at a salary of ú50 a-year each; both dead.
Mr. John Ingle was also appointed to act in the same capacity at Port Phillip, at the same salary. He is now residing in England on a handsome property, which he realised in the early period of the colony.
The officers who were on board H.M. ship "Calcutta", on her voyage to Port Phillip were, Daniel Woodriff, Esq., Post Captain, R.N.; Mr. James Tuckey, first Lieutenant; Mr. Richard Donovan, second do.; Mr. Nicholas Paleshall, third do.; Mr. W. Doers, fourth do.; and Mr. John Houston, fifth do.; Mr. Richard Wright, Master; E.T. Bromley, Esq., Surgeon; and Mr. Edward White, Purser. And of the Royal Marine Forces, Mr. Charles Menzies, first Lieutenant, and Mr. James M'Culloch, second do.; as also Colonel Collins, who arrived at Van Diemen's Land, with whom were Mr. W. Hadden, first Lieutenant, Mr. J. M. Johnson, second do., and Mr. Edward Lord, third do. Three Sergeants, and three Corporals, one Drummer, one Fifer, and thirty-nine Privates.
1804, September 25th.—The limits of the counties of Northumberland, of Cornwall, and of Buckinghamshire, in Van Diemen's Land, were defined by a Government order published in the Sydney Gazette.
1804, October 15th.—Colonel Patterson sailed from Sydney to form a new settlement, and took the command at Port Dalrymple. On his arrival he pitched his tent at a plain on the west bank of the Tamar, near its entrance, which he named York Town; since abandoned.
1807.—During this and the previous year there was a great dearth of provisions in this colony. Kangaroo flesh was sold for one shilling and sixpence a pound, and that species of sea weed, or salsolaceous plant (atriplex halimus), called Botany Bay Greens, being the chief support of the inhabitants.
1810, March 24th.—Lieutenant-Governor Collins died at Hobart Town, and was buried under the altar of the church. From this period until 1813, the Government of the colony was administered in succession by Lieutenant Edward Lord; Captain Murray, of the 73rd Regiment; and Lieutenant-Colonel Geils, of the same Regiment.
1811, November 23rd.—Governor and Mrs. Macquarie, in the "Lady Nelson", arrived at Hobart Town, on a visit from New South Wales.
1813, February 4th.—The second Lieutenant-Governor of this island. Colonel Thomas Davey, arrived and took command.
1813, June 19th.—The ports of Van Diemen's Land were first opened for commerce, and put on the same footing as those in New South Wales; merchant ships having, until that time, been prohibited from entering the harbors under severe penalties.
1817, April 2nd.—Colonel Sorell, the third Lieutenant-Governor of Van Diemen's Land, succeeded Colonel Davey. The latter gentleman, after remaining some years in the colony, returned to England, where he died. Colonel Sorell was ably assisted by Major, now Colonel Bell, C.B., of the 48th Regiment. About the year 1819, the character of Van Diemen's Land began to be known in England, and the emigration of free settlers first commenced to any extent. The practice of bushranging, or the absconding of prisoners into the woods, who subsisted by plunder on the settlers in the interior, was, however, a serious drawback to the progress of the colony during this administration. Roads began to be cut through the woods, across the island to Port Dalrymple, and the other chief settlements in the interior. Previous to Colonel Sorell's arrival, there were no regular roads.
1824, May 14th.—Colonel Arthur, the fourth Lieutenant-Governor of Van Diemen's Land, arrived, and succeeded Colonel Sorell. The horrid practice of bushranging continued to rage until 1826, when it was completely annihilated by the spirited exertions of the Government. Emigration, not only of individuals, but of considerable companies, took place from England, and the cultivation of the island has continued to prosper.
1825, May 18th.—His Majesty appointed the Rev. Thomas Heber Scott to be the first Archdeacon of New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land. The penal settlement, afterwards called Darlington, at Maria Island, was established this year. The Van Diemen's Land Company's establishments at Circular Head, were commenced about this time.
1825, November 24th.—Lieutenant-General Ralph Darling arrived at Hobart Town with a despatch, dated Carlton House, June 14th, proclaiming Van Diemen's Land to be independent of the Government of New South Wales.
1827.—The colony was divided into nine police districts, and a magistrate appointed over each, with adequate salaries; in place of every magistrate in the colony, as before that time, having a salary of eighty pounds a-year, whether he acted or not.
1830, April 16th.—Archdeacon Broughton, the second Archdeacon of New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land, delivered his first charge in St. David's Church. October.—A steam-engine was first introduced into the colony, and successfully set a-going as a flour-mill, on the wharf, by Mr. John Walker. November.—White runaway convicts found among the blacks in the woods, leading and directing them to commit outrages on the white population.
Having now furnished what we consider to be an ample chronological view of colonial events up to this period, and which was absolutely necessary in carrying out our Tasmania history, we will, with the reader's permission, commence the next chapter with our own experiences.
On landing, our first step was to produce our credentials, or letters of introduction, among others, to Captain John Montague, the Colonial Secretary; Governor Arthur; and one to a Wm. Cleavy Browne, Esq., who had just commenced a large and extensive timber and saw mill, at the foot of Mount Wellington, called Sassafraz Valley. This gentleman kindly furnished me with a letter to his overseer. Thus provided, we were enabled to examine the botanically interesting features of Mount Wellington. We were accompanied with one or two of our fellow-passengers, who, being like myself, new chums, were desirous of seeing something of the country. Our objects in the journey were, however, different: mine being to obtain specimens and seed of the flora; and theirs to shoot
"That emblem of Australia,
Genus macropus, class mammalia"—
colonially speaking, "Kangaroos flying".
To reach Mr. Browne's establishment, we passed through Providence Valley, where Mr. Shoebridge had a healthy young hop plantation, to Kangaroo bottom; and thence to Sassafraz Valley, having on our right hand the New Town rivulet, whose banks were lined with shrubs and plants of surpassing luxuriance. The most conspicuous was the sassafraz tree, of a tall pyramidal growth, and whose leaves emitted a most agreeable aromatic odour on the crushing the pustules of volatile oil with which they were surcharged. We observed that, in many cases, large flakes of bark had been stripped from the trunks of the largest trees. On inquiry, we discovered that the inhabitants were in the habit of thus collecting and boiling the bark, and using the decoction as an antiscorbutic, as a substitute for the sarsaparilla. This beautiful tree, Cryptocarya glaucescens belongs to the class Enneandria; order, Monogynnia, of LinnŠus; and Lauracea, of Jussieu, Dodonea, Decaspora, PimeliÔ, Cyathodes, Prostanthera, Lomatia, Indigofera, Banksia, Correa, Pomaderris, Sida, Pittosporum, Phebalium, Ozothamnus, Leptospermum were the leading genera or family of the shrubs which fringed the banks and dipped their lower branches in the pure fast-running stream of the rivulet. In many cases, there were several species of the genera named, but which we need not recapitulate, as our readers can have access to the "Botany", which accompanies the "History", and will be published in a separate form. On the dry barren hills over which we had to travel, the trees were principally gum, or several species of the eucalyptus; but these trees, in their growth, formed a remarkable contrast to the sassafraz and other trees, growing in the immediate neighbourhood of the rivulet. The appearance of the former was rather that of a series of large inanimate trunks, around which were clinging that dainty plant, or ivy green, of Charles Dickens. This was found to be owing to the periodical bush fires, which prevented a free growth of the tree; and the current of the sap being thus checked, produce a numerous progeny of small branches, which, being attached to the butts and stems of the tree, present a most unusual and singular appearance. Common also to the poor, rocky patches of soil, was a singularly beautiful and interesting race of dwarf shrubs, annuals, and herbaceous plants: Daviesia latifolia (native hop), Hibbertia, Pimelia, Hypoxis, Goodinovia, Xyrus, Lobelia. This little, beautifully cerulian blue, flowering annual, has the singular property of dying gradually from the roots upwards; and, although absolutely dead below, the upper part of the plant is in full bloom and healthy. Cynoglossum, Dillwynnia, Stylidium, Pultnea, StackhousiÔ, Anthobulus, Leucopogon, Diannella, DisandriÔ, with Pterostylus, Acianthus, and sundry other of the terrestrial OrchidacŠ.
During the time I was examining and putting by some of the most interesting specimens of the plants named into my portfolio, one of my companions had selected a small hillock of dry soil, intending to rest himself in the interim. He had scarcely seated himself, when he felt a numbing sensation; and, on rising, it was discovered that he had mistaken his position, having selected and besieged the dormitory of a nest of old soldier ants, and was bitten by one of these pugnacious insects, in return for his temerity. On reaching Sassafraz Valley, we were kindly received by Mr. Browne's overseer; and every preparation was made for a nocturnal excursion, in which they anticipated some little amusement in opossum shooting, and killing the devil, as an animal peculiar to this island was colonially termed, but scientifically known as a species of Dasyuris. One of these animals we subsequently saw at the Government Gardens, near the banks of the Derwent. It had been taken in a trap, by one of Mr. Davidson's, the superintendent's, men. This animal was confined in an iron cage, and fed with a stable fork, as it was unsafe to approach it. Although many attempts had been made to tame it during the course of eleven months, they did not succeed; and it was afterwards sent home, under the care of Captain Riddell, of the "Duckenfield", as a present to the Surrey Zoological Gardens, where it lived for many years, and may perhaps be still alive. The devil is carnivorous, and its habits otherwise resemble the English badger. Browne's huts were admirably situated for the kind of sport that my friends anticipated. A few hours after moon-rise, they sallied forth, with deadly intent, and on "evil purpose" bent against the poor harmless opossums and other game; one pouch bearing brute would doubtless have missed the number of his mess but for the kind interference of one of the feathered race; for, just as our sportsman, fresh from the legal precincts of Grey's Inn Square, was taking a probably deadly aim, the solitary and melancholy note of "More pork! more pork!" from the Cyclopean or Australian owl, interposed most opportunely in warding off the shot, as, while Mr. S. lowered his gun, and made nervous enquiries as to the cause of the sounds, the opossum disappeared into some hollow part of the gum-tree, and was lost sight of. Although our companions brought back nothing as the result of their night's exertions, one of our dogs had made a dead set at something, at which he continued barking. Our disappointed sportsman made a grab at what he considered to be a prostrate opossum; but quickly withdrew his hands, at finding that his digits had alighted upon nothing less than the "the quills upon a fretful porcupine." (Echidna Australis.) At this additional dilemma to the ant-hill, and the loss of the opossum, he appeared to entertain but an indifferent opinion as regarded the colonial game. One of Mr. Browne's men, who accompanied us (after a manner peculiar to himself), succeeded in capturing and taking back with him the porcupine, which, on again reaching the huts, was very nicely roasted or baked in a coating of mud, and, when cooked in this manner, was most delicious, with the addition of green peas, the produce of the gardens at Sassafraz Valley.
On the following morning, we made a clear start for the top of Mount Wellington, to reach the summit of which we had to accomplish an elevation of four thousand feet. For the first half mile, the ascent was difficult, and rendered it necessary to hang on (to use a nautical expression) by the eyelids, when we reached a flat open spot of moist rich alluvial soil, rich in many plants not seen at the foot of the Mount. Gaultheria hispida (wax-cluster)—this plant was laden with its beautiful clusters of pure white semi-transparent wax-like berries.
Euphrazia, Billarderia scandens, with its perpetually covered masses of blue spindle-shaped fruit or berries, was hanging in festoons around the branches of the neighbouring shrubs, which rendered it at times difficult to determine the character of plant to which it was attached. This beautiful climber is easily cultivated. The blueish purple berries hang in elegant festoons for several months during the latter part of the season; while, during the earlier months, its pretty cylindrical blossoms make it a desirable acquisition as a climber about a verandah, or wall of a house. During the course of our ascent towards the top of the mountain, we observed a marked difference in the character of the vegetable features; and in the middle regions, the plants totally differed from those at the base, and the vegetation which clothed the top-summit. Among the broken declivities, commencing at about 1500 feet to that of 3000 feet, where we met with running waters, its sure accompaniment was the smaller tree fern, Cibotium, Billarderia, mixed with many plants of the larger arborescent fern, Alsophilla Australis, from alsos and phileo, because it delights in groves. The latter plant had stems from twenty to thirty feet high, clear and straight, from the top of which issued a circular series of fern-like foliage, giving to the landscape a somewhat tropical appearance. Telopia Tasmaniana, Tasmanian warratah, with gorgeously showy crimson flowers and foliage, resembling the rhododendron. The name of the genus is from telopos, seen at a distance, as the brilliancy and quantity of the blossoms makes it an object discernable from a distance in the bush. With much difficulty we reached the summit, where my legal companion anticipated a release from the annoyance of leeches, which had attacked and annoyed him considerably during our passage through the swampy and dank atmosphere of the tree-fern locality.
On arriving at the top of the mount, we found ourselves on an extensive table-land, with nothing but a stunted vegetation and a continued interruption of pools of water, abounding in aquatic plants. The. general surface was covered with a great variety of the yellow flowering Composite order of plants; and a new species of Craspedia had, but a short time previously, been taken from hence, and forwarded for the determination of Sir William Jackson Hooker, of Kew Gardens. To this species he gave the specific name of Grandiflora, Bellendina, mountain rocket; Leptospermum prostrata, a prostrate species of tea-tree. This procumbent character appeared, however, to be rather the consequence of the continued blowing of strong winds, than from a natural growth. Among the Alpine pastures were Bellis, Lycopodium (club-moss), Asplenium assimile (maiden hair-fern), Asplenium alcicorne (hartshorn leaved) asplenium, Nastirtium, Sempinnatifidum, Cardamine (smell mock), Galium, Stenanthera, Xerotes longifolia, Xiphopteris heterophylla (various-leaved fern), Viola, Veronica (two pretty species of speedwell), Euphrazia alpina (a pretty, small-growing annual), Isolepis, and many others of the rush tribe; Fimbristylus, and many species of the sedgy plants. From the top, an extensive view was obtained of the harbor, with the shipping, and, indeed, a bird's eye view of the surrounding country. On travelling over the top, in the direction of the head of the Huon river, we passed two remarkable-looking boulders of rock, of considerable elevation. On the top of them rested another stone, of magnificent proportions; thus forming a kind of Druidical archway. Shortly after passing this remarkable object, we commenced a sort of leap-frog journey over three or four miles of large disjointed granite boulders; and at an unknown depth, we could hear the roaring of a mighty torrent of waters immediately beneath us. I am altogether lame at description, although anxious to describe scenes in nature sublime and unusual as the present. It will be sufficient to say that, for the distance named, we hopped, leaped, and jumped over a continued series of gigantic pebbles, among which was running a large and boiling stream of water, occasioned by the melting of snows, and which we found, on descending the Browne's river side of the mountain, formed into one continuous stream, called the Huon river. About two miles before reaching the head of this river, we subsequently discovered that another branch of these waters formed the source of Browne's river. On reaching the Huon river, we camped for the night, amid dark Cryptogamic vegetation, abounding in leeches, who paid their respects to our unfortunate companion. Among the boulders of rock, we obtained some interesting specimens of the Orchidia; three different specimens of Dendrobium; lichens innumerable; mosses and ferns abundantly attached to the face of the rocks. A few months prior to our visit, a party of officers and gentlemen belonging to the Steamer, 'Sea Horse' had taken an excursion to Mount Wellington; and one of the junior officers was missed, and has never since been heard of. At the time of their visit, these rocks must have been clothed with their winter's covering of snow; and, in all probability, the unfortunate youth may have slipped through one of the many fissures of the rock, and into the boiling torrent of waters below.
On commencing our next day's journey, we travelled for a short distance, following the course of the Huon Kiver, being desirous of seeing the tree, which has been long used, and still furnishes the handsomest colonial material for veneering and other fine cabinet-makers' work. This wood takes a fine polish, and is an improvement on the bird's-eye maple. Its botanical name is Dacrydium cupressimum, or cypress-like; its generic name is derived from dakru, a tear, because the gummy exudations drop like tears from the tips of the little branches. We saw many samples of this beautifully pyramidal tree, which had attained to the height of from between ninety-five to one hundred feet, and thirty feet in circumference, extending its limbs to a great distance, from which hang slender branchlets of the liveliest green, from one to six feet long, giving the trees a richness and elegance of appearance seldom equalled.
The rare plant, and only to be found in this particular neighborhood, was here met with in all its grandeur. I mean the Richia dracophylla, or tall grass tree. These trees have many straggling branches, and numerous smaller heads at the termination of each shoot. From the centres of these spring its beautiful spikes of white flowers, with shades of white, pink and green, upon the larger bracteŠ, which are interspersed among them in their early stages. It is decidedly the most strikingly beautiful of all the Van Diemen's Land plants. Here also the Betula antarctica, or Australian myrtle, as it is most incorrectly called (it is not a Betula or birch; it appears that the young shoots in their earlier stage had been mistaken for the male blossom by the English botanists), is seen to advantage. On our way back to Hobart Town, it was necessary to abandon the Huon River, and as well as also to avoid having to cross Browne's River, we had to hug that side of the mountain which faced the town, an operation which my fat and uncomfortable friend decided to be a difficult operation, and in his progress downwards his movements were somewhat like those of an eel upon ice. After falling down sundry declivities and through a flat floor of tree-fern leaves, which he had mistaken for solid moss and lichen-covered ground, we succeeded in reaching the upper cascade, or springs would be the more proper appellation. It is from this that the Hobart Town rivulet takes its rise, which, after running through the property of Mr. Peter Degraves, and acting as a motive power to his saw-mills and other machines, quietly pursues its way past the Female Factory, and subsequently through the town of Hobart, affording to the inhabitants a plentiful supply of water. On reaching the upper cascade, we camped among the butts of the Acacia affinis, or silver wattle, which here attained a growth of great magnitude, and rivalling in height and far exceeding in beauty the stupendous gum-trees among which they grow. The butts of these trees, as well as those of the gum, sassafraz, and myrtle-trees, bore initials and names of former travellers who had succeeded in reaching thus far in their ascent from Hobart Town. This was a distinction which we considered due to our fellow-traveller, in consequence of the injuries sustained in his journey on this occasion; and he was induced to carve his own initials, J.B.S., on the butt of a stupendous silver wattle-tree. These initials may still be remaining, although we regret to say that the gentleman himself has passed into another and, we trust, a better world. His death occurred about fifteen months since, in Hobart Town. On our downward course, we passed through forests of the black and silver wattle, around which was clinging the clematis; Flamula, or white virgin's bower. Their rope-like stems varying in size from that of a small quill to a man's arm and, in the latter case, suspending its fine wide-spreading blossoms like a white cloth on the top of the highest trees, with the rope, or cable-like jointed stems, hanging down to, or rather growing out of, the ground. In these situations, as it does not embrace the tree, it would seem to have arisen and grown along with it. The whirl-leaved or prickled accacia (A. verticillata), so called from its sharp-pointed leaves standing out in whirls round its stem like the spokes of a wheel, was common, wherever a moist, sheltered situation was to be obtained. A. lancifolia, and many other species of the entire or integral leaved wattles, around which was clinging and hanging, in elegant festoons, our old friend of the Browne's huts' side of the mountain, the Billarderia scandens, Pimelia linifolia, or flax-leaved pimelia. We afterwards found that, in the course of preservation of these specimens, the leaves and stems turned of a deep vitriol greenish blue. Veronica labiata V. formosa, were also met with in the vicinity of the water. The blue gum trees here are of a stupendous growth, attaining the height of from 100 to 150 feet, with tall, straight, cylindrical barrels, until within a few feet of the top.
This noble genus, on the whole, may be said to have taken undisturbed possession of these Australian regions, clothing, as it does, with its stupendous mantle, the surface of both Van Diemen's Land and Australia. For the intermixture which the lordly tribe occasionally permits, compared with its great extent, is but small and partial. Where-ever you go, the gum-tree, of one species or other presents itself. The wood of all the species is highly useful for domestic and other purposes. They are soft at first, and very easily cut down and sawed or split up when green; but when thoroughly dry are as hard as oak. They are all of a remarkably quick growth, and many of the species attain an enormous growth, as previously described. Eucalyptus globulus and some other species have file remarkable property of casting off the grey or whitish bark in longitudinal strips or ribands, which sometimes hang down from the branches, and are shaken about with a singular effect, until stripped off by the winds. The leaves are thus seen on both sides, and present their edges to the body of the trunk or branches to which they belong. The leaves grow in size with the wood, being at first small and scarcely formed, with a reddish yellow tinge, giving to the leaves of young trees, even in. spring, the landscape tints of an English autumn. Several of the species yield an exudation in the spring and summer months, which coagulates, and drops from the leaves to the ground in small irregular particles, often as large as an almond. They are sweet and pleasant to the taste, and greedily devoured by the birds, ants, and other animals, and used to be carefully picked up and eaten by the aborigines. This is a sort of manna. The genus is named from eu (well), and kalupto (to cover), from the circumstance of the blossom being covered with a lid, which, when the flower expands, falls off and discloses a five-celled capsule, or seed-vessel, each filled with numerous small seeds. The common name of gum-tree was given the genus from the large quantities of strong astringent juice which the trees contained. In cutting down a stringy-bark tree, for instance (E. robusta), we often find large cavities between the annual concentric circles of the trunk, filled with a most beautiful red, or rich vermillion-colored liquid gum, which flows out as soon as the saw has afforded it an opening. The gum yielded by E. resinifera is considered by druggists as not in the least inferior to the kind which the pterocarpus, or red Saunder's wood of India produces.
In approaching through the wattle forest, again, towards Degrave's establishment, we found that the long, hollow, cylindrical barrels had been converted into water-pipes for the use of the saw-mills, and through which ran a clear stream of water. These pipes also afforded excellent substitutes for bridges, where-ever it was necessary for a road to be made for the timber-trucks, and thus prevented any injury to the mill-stream or current, which supplied the mills. Clinging to the butts of the large fern trees which formed avenues on either hand of the water-courses, about the middle regions of the mount, there were many small but interesting parasitical plants, as well as Epiphites, Dendrobium, Lingueformi (tongue-leaved), named from dendron, a tree, from its peculiar habit of being mostly attached to trees, instead, as is the case with many of the orchides, to moss-covered blocks of rocks; Asplenium flabelliformis, Polypodium, Billardieria, climbing polypody; P. rugulosum; rough ditto Ferns, with the fructification in circular naked dots, which climb over rocks, and the stems of trees, like ivy; Psilotum truncatum, among the rocks; Pteris vespertilionis, a fern, with leaves resembling the wings of a bat; P. esculenta, edible rooted, and many others, belonging to the twenty-fourth class of LinnŠus. On our way to the town, we passed Degrave's saw mills; and from thence, having the Hobart Town rivulet on our left-hand, we passed the newly-built female factory, or penitentiary; Mr. Hodgson's tannery; and the villa of Dynnyrne, the residence of Mr. Robert Lathrop Murray; and parallel with Liverpool-street, the flour-mills of Mr. Bruford. Although the rivulet or creek had now commenced its course through the metropolis, its banks still furnished an interesting and luxuriant growth of shrubs and other plants, the principal being the Leptospermum lanigerum, or hoary tea-tree, a genera of myrtaceous plants, of which Van Diemen's Land numbers several species. L. lanigerum is the one which, in the earlier period of the colony, was used as a substitute for tea, and the long straight stems were used by the aborigines for making their spears; hardening their points in the fire, and sharpening them with a flint or shell.
Hobart Town was so named by Colonel Collins, the first Lieutenant-Governor, in compliment to Lord Hobart, at that time Secretary of State for the Colonies. Collins-street, named after Colonel Collins, was the first street that was begun to be built.
Macquarie-street was named by Governor Macquarie after himself; Elizabeth-street and Campbell-streets were named after the maiden name of Mrs. Macquarie, daughter of General Campbell. He also named Argyle-street, in memory of his native county of that name, in Scotland. He named Murray-street after Captain Murray, of the 73rd Regiment; and Harrington-street, after the Earl of Harrington, who was Colonel of that Regiment; the name of Barrack-street, as leading to the Military Barracks. Molle-street commemorates the name of Colonel Molle, of the 48th; and Antill-street beyond, that of Major Antill of the same Regiment, and Brigadier-Major to Governor Macquarie. Davey-street was named in memory of the late Colonel Davey, Lieutenant-Governor; Liverpool-street, after the late Earl of Liverpool; Bathurst-street, after the Earl of Bathurst, at that time Secretary for the Colonies; Melville-street, after: Lord Melville; Brisbane-street, after Governor Brisbane. St. Patrick-street was so named at the request of the Rev. P. Conolly, the Roman Catholic chapel being situated in it. Warwick-street was named by Mr. Evans, late Surveyor-General, in memory of Warwick Castle, in which that gentleman first saw the light.
The ground on which the town is built is of unequal surface: the rivulet running through the centre of it extends over seven hills, as many as ancient Rome, and covers upwards of a square mile. The Government Garden was approached through the Government Domain, at Macquarie Point, a promontory of that name so called. The Gardens were pleasantly situated on the banks of the river Derwent. A hot-house and green-house had been erected some few years previous to our arrival in the colony, containing many new and useful exotic plants; and the whole of the grounds were ably managed by the Superintendent, Mr. Davidson; and it was on this occasion that Mr. Davidson submitted to our notice the Dasyuris, or native hyŠna, or devil, alluded to in a former chapter. On leaving Hobart Town we reach New Town and Glenorchy, having the bluff sides of Mount Wellington frowning upon us about five miles distant, on our left-hand. About a mile and a half or two miles from here, a small road turned off to the right-hand, leading to the lower part of New Town; we, however, made a detour to the left-hand, to inspect the flora peculiar to the level of Hobart Town, and how far the washing of Mount Wellington may have affected the sub-Alpine vegetation. On the pasture lands were many of the pretty bulbous plants called Star of Bethlehem by the colonists, but by botanists known as Anguillaria, of which two species clothed the pasture; namely, A. diœcia and A. uniflora, or one flowered; Stylidium (native Jack in a box). Three species were abundant. This genus is remarkable for the singular elasticity of the column styles, which support the anthers, and which, being irritable, will spring up if touched with a pin, or other little substance, below the joint, before the pollen, or male powder, is shed, throwing itself suddenly over, like a reflex arm, to the opposite side of the flower. Hence the colonial designation of Jack in a box. Stackhousia viminea and S. monogynia, pretty dwarf plants, having long spikes of sweetly-scented. Hyacinth-like blossom. Viola, Betonicafolia, Betony, leaved, and V. Hederacea, trailing, stemmed violet; both species have light-colored scentless blossoms; Veronica calycina, V. plebia, two dwarf species of speedwell, Craspedia glauca, C. plebia, two composite plants, which we subsequently discovered to form a universal ornament in all parts of the colony where a similarity of soil presented itself; Clematis gentianoides; Gentian, like clematis, a dwarf, erect-growing species, with entire or slightly-toothed leaves, and white four or five-leaved fragrant blossoms, of the size of a white anemone; Convolvulus erubescens, maiden's blush convolvulus, or morning glory; Boronia variabilis, a small heath-like plant, covered with pink, and sometimes faint-white blossoms during a greater part of the year. The aborigines, or human baboons, as they have, on many occasions, been most inhumanly, termed, by the English writers, were in the habit of naming their wives and daughters after it, from its rare beauty; in the same manner as we, their more cultivated brethren, have done with the rose and other favorite plants. Ranunculus, (crows-foot, or buttercups of the colony), adorned the pastures with their brilliant yellow blossoms; many of the orchis family were also common—the native potatoe (Gastrodia sessamoides). This is a curious plant, belonging to the Orchis tribe, the tubers of which when it obtains a favorable situation about the root of a decayed tree, are often found in large clusters. The pretty bluish white flowering annuals, Euphrazia, or Eyebright; Geranium potentilloides potentilla, like geraniums, with small inconspicuous blossoms; Hyopoxis hygrometrica, weather-glass Hypoxis, and H. pratensis, meadow Hypoxis, small plants, with bright, yellow, gem-like, six-petalled blossoms; Kennedia procumbens, a three-leaved trailing plant, with bright scarlet pea flowers. Along the banks of this lower course of the creek or rivulet were Goodenia, three species, a genus of singular, irregular, bright yellow flowering plants, growing in damp places, and by the sides of streams. The corolla is five-cleft, and are longitudinally split, pushing forth the stamens in a cluster outside. The free growing verdant leaves of the first species, bearing yellow blossoms almost all the year, have made it a favorite in the gardens of Hobart Town. Goodia pubescens native laburnum; Decaspora disticha and Thymifolia, the first two-leaved, and the latter the thyme-leaved Decaspora; Dipplarhœna morea, a flag-leaved plant, with iris-like blossoms; Zierria arborescens, tree Zierria, This is a tall handsome shrub, with pretty, four-petalled white and pink blossoms, and trifoliate spear-shaped verdant leaver. The leaves, especially when rubbed, have a strong, rank, aromatic smell, like hemlock, which at first is rather unpleasant, but, when repeated, becomes refreshing, and will serve, in some degree, to relieve a nervous headache. Culcitium linariafolium, a shrub with woolly leaves, and clusters of composite yellow blossoms, smelling like honey.
About four miles and a half from Hobart Town, on the Launceston Road, is O'Brien's Bridge, and the beautiful little stream called Humphray's rivulet; and, a little beyond the seventh mile-stone, we crossed Roseneath Ferry, where Mr. Austin kept an inn and an excellent garden for the accommodation of visitors and travellers. After travelling sixteen miles from Hobart Town, we reached the town of Brighton, whose original name was Stony Plains. There was a branch-road from this leading to the coal river, passing through the tea-tree brush. This branch-path joined the Coal river-road from Richmond, through Jerusalem to Jericho. To the left of Brighton lay the black brush, watered by the river Jordan, whose banks were covered with small farms, in a high state of cultivation. By following this road, we reached the river Jordan, where there was a settlement called Broadmarsh; and, a short distance beyond Mr. Murdock's farm, the road ceased to be passable for a wheeled vehicle. After leaving Brighton, the traveller passes through about eight miles of level country, through the fertile district of Bagdad, until reaching the foot of Constitution Hill. From thence to the very neat farm and garden of Mr. John Espie, of Bagdad, our road was through a number of small and well-cultivated farms. After leaving the valley of the Jordan, we crossed Constitution Hill. The small stream which waters the vale of Bagdad takes its rise almost ten miles to the eastward of this hill. Near its source it is precipitated down a perpendicular fall of at least seventy feet. There is a remarkable high stony eminence, called the Barren Kock, close to the waterfall. On descending the north side of Constitution Hill, there are two lofty sugar-loaf hills, one on each hand, which may be seen from Hobart Town. To accomplish this ascent and descent, you have three miles of hard and difficult travelling, which brings you to a valley called the Green Ponds.
Twenty-nine miles from Hobart Town, you reach the Cross marsh, where was an inn called the Royal Oak. Close by this inn a road turned off to the right, and passing through the romantic valley, or rather ravine, called Serpentine Valley, with sandstone rocks overhanging on each side. Among these rocks and the sandy soil, which was the natural characteristic here of the country for some miles, we found the usual difference which characterises the botanical features. Xanthorria, or grass-tree, three species of which enlivened the landscape with their scapigerous white blossoms. X. Australis, X. humilis, and X. arborea, or larger grass-tree, with its remarkable strong, grassy, or bent-like leaves, sending up a very long scape, or club-like head, to the height of four to five feet, and exuding a resinous gum, said to possess, in a great degree, the virtue of the dragon's blood of the Pterocarpus and Calamus. As it grows from year to year, this gum continues to exude, so as to be easily collected in large quantities. In 1825, when Captain Smith, of the "Caledonia", was at Western Port, he discovered a quantity of it, and, by boiling it with oil, made a very good and cheap composition for covering the bottom of his vessel, instead of pitch. The aboriginal natives were in the habit of cutting out and eating the heart or pith. Leucopogon, Xerotes, and Veronica were beautifully in bloom at the time we visited this place. Cats are very fond of this plant, Drosera peltata, shield-leaved sundew, throwing up a stem about a foot high, terminated by a few pink blossoms. Its stem is clothed with shield-shaped leaves, upon footstalks inserted into the backs of the leaves, which are covered with hair, bearing on their points small pellucid bulbs, like drops of dew (drosos). In most of the species, their leaves are very irritable, closing upon small insects that touch them, after which the leaf bends and holds them fast. Diuris, Pterostylus, and others of the orchis tribe, were common among the soil between the rocks, and upon the small bulbs of which the little bandicoots had evidently been regaling, from the disturbed appearance of the soil which they had rooted up with their small-pointed noses, or snouts, in search of the small bulbous roots, their favorite food. Anthericum semibarbata was here in bloom, as well as the Dianella. The flag-like leaves of this plant are made into baskets by the aborigines. They are prepared by being drawn over a fire, which softens and renders them more flexible for the purpose. Cynoglossum Australis, a plant from one and a half to two feet high, with blue flowers, resembling the forget-me-not of England, named from kano, a dog, and glossa, a tongue, because the long soft leaves are thought to resemble the tongue of a dog. The Bursaria spinosa was also to be met with on the dryer parts of the valley. This beautiful shrub, however, is common throughout this island. It has already been introduced into the conservatories in England, to which its elegant odoriferous blossoms are a great ornament. The capsules, or seed-vessels, resemble those of the common weed, Thlaspi bursa pastoris, of Britain, so much that Labillardiere fancied he had found a cruciferous tree, when he first discovered it at Recherche Bay. Astroloma humifusum, a native cranberry, was frequent, with a few species of the Aster. The ferns were Allantodia Australis, with oblong "sori", as the dots or patches of fructification are botanically called, covered with an enclosed membrane (involucrum) opening from the veins, and also, when situated near the margin or back of the frond or leaf, opening inwards. It derives its name from allantos, a sausage, to which the arched quality gives it some resemblance. This romantic road led us to the main Launceston-road, near the thirty-seventh milestone.
Passing through the country called Lovely Banks, over Spring Hill, which we found to be a continuation of a high range, stretching across from the Jordan river to the east; and the ground appeared to be tolerably well clothed with grass and herbs, and many plants, which we soon discovered to be of a different genus to those previously seen. Leucopogon, three species; Cryptandria, Disandria, Leptomeria, a low broom-like shrub with white blossoms, and green acid berries; Epacris, and many others, of which the last-named genus form the type. From the country of the river Jordan we reached Jericho, and crossed the Jordan upon a rude wooden bridge of two arches. By following up the river to our right hand, we reached the source of this Orientially-named stream, passing, on our way, several well cultivated farms.
The river Jordan takes its rise from a large lagoon, eight miles and a half in circumference, formerly called Lemon's Swamp, from a noted bushranger of that name, who haunted the neighbourhood. On the borders of this lagoon the unfortunate Mrs. Gough and child, with Ann Gray, were killed by the blacks.
This lagoon was covered with rushes and reeds, and, among them, many interesting acquatic plants—Valisneria spiralis, Valisneria nana. The former is a singular plant, growing at the bottom of the shallowest part of the lagoon. Its flowers were not striking for their beauty; but they are produced on spiral footstalks, which contract like a spring, after flowering and carrying the seed to the bottom of the water. Villarsia reniformis and V. parnassifolius, plants with handsome yellow-fringed blossoms and round leaves, several species of the Sedge tribe, &c. Jericho was merely a small hamlet, consisting, at the time of our visit, of eight houses and of three grants, and no more. About a mile from the inn we arrived at the beautiful circular plain called Fourteen-tree Plain, so named from fourteen gum-trees growing in a clump in the centre.
At the distance of fifty miles from town, we reached Oatlands, a township situated on the borders of a fine lagoon, called Lake Frederick. Half way between Jericho and Oatlands we found Lemon's Springs, contiguous to which we observed a small-peaked hill, where the bushranger, Lemon, from which the place was named, used to lie in ambush, and make his attacks upon the passengers. Five miles to the west of Oatlands, was Michael Howes's Swamp, or Marsh, formerly the resort of that desperado, and where he resided for many months with the native black girl, Mary, whom he afterwards barbarously shot. About two miles from Oatlands, we entered upon a beautiful tract of country called York Plains, and from which, for three or four additional miles, the road was delightful. The land was thinly timbered, and presented to the eye picturesque groups of trees in the midst of verdant valleys and lawns. The trees forming the most interesting groups were the Casuarina torulosa she-oak; and C. stricta, he-oak. It is needless to say that these trees are in no way allied to the true oak, Quercus, of Britain. The name of the first is said to have been derived from "sheeac", the name of an American tree, producing the beef-wood like our she-oak. C. stricta, or he-oak, has been named in contradistinction to the sexes, as if they constituted one diœcious plant, the one male and the other female, whereas they are two perfectly distinct species. In many cases, among the groups of the Cassuarina, the Exocarpus cupressiformis (native cherry), had intruded itself, as if to obtain shelter.
The prospect was bounded by a series of hills, which added greatly to the interest of the landscape, presenting generally the appearance of conical-shaped mounts, covered with luxuriant herbage to their summits. The principal one of these was called Handsome Sugar Loaf.
We should have remarked that, on leaving Oatlands, the traveller had the choice of two roads to Launceston: the new road leading through Albury Vale to St. Peter's Pass; and the other, the branch road to the right, which we have just described. Passing through the Dust Holes, or Spring Plains, we reached the Salt Pan Plains, by taking the road to the right, down a steep declivity, where one of the finest scenes which the island could possibly afford was presented to us. The eye ranges many miles over a beautiful tract of level country, bounded in the distance of from forty to fifty miles by ranges of towering hills and mountains, the most striking being Ben Lomond, which directly fronted the view. The Salt Pan Plains extends over an expanse of ten or twelve miles in diameter. On our descent from the rapid declivity just named we crossed a small stream known as Anthill Ponds. In the centre of the plain, we crossed Black Man's river, over a rude bridge of six arches. This river derives its names from the circumstance of a number of herdsmen having been murdered by the natives; and the graves of the murdered shepherds may be seen at the end of the bridge. The two salt pans which give the name to these plains are at the distance of about five miles to the east of this township. The larger contains forty acres; and the smaller, and the best of the two, twenty acres. In winter they are filled with rain water, which is dried up during the summer months, when they become covered with a crust of excellent salt, fit for any ordinary culinary purpose, presenting a surface as white as snow, from a quarter to half an inch thick. Several tons are annually collected for the use of the neighbourhood; and, when summer rains happen to be succeeded by a few days of hot weather sufficiently powerful to evaporate the water, the salt is renewed; but the firsts or spring gathering, is always the best. The country from Black Man's bridge is now nearly of a level, until reaching Ross—indeed, generally speaking, for the remaining distance to Launceston. The township of Ross was situated near the bridge over the Macquarie River. Campbell Town was the next place we met, after travelling over country tolerably level, crossing the Elizabeth river, over a rude bridge or causeway of 200 yards, and at the north end of which was the township. A remarkable tier of ranges, called the Eastern Tier, well covered with timber, is seen in an easterly direction. This is the source of the Elizabeth river, which falls between very steep and rocky banks. Some miles from hence we passed through Wanstead Park, the seat of Mr. Willis, and were conducted, for ten miles further, into the heavily-timbered tract of level country called Epping Forest. About a mile after leaving Campbell Town there is a track turning off to file right of the main Launceston road, and through the eastern end of Epping Forest, this road leads to St. Paul's and Break o' Day Plains. Following this road for about ten miles from Campbell Town, it touches the South Esk river, at its most southern bend; and after continues up its southern bank amid a large variety of interesting trees, shrubs, and smaller growing plants. At the distance of five to seven miles there is another stream joins this river from the north, flowing from Ben Lomond, whose bluff and magnificent proportions would appear to be about twelve miles distant, which waters the fine tract of country called Buffalo Plain. Here were situated the farms of Mr. Bonney and Mr. John Batman, whose enterprise and intelligence led subsequently to the discovery and development of the unprecedently fine colony of Port Phillip, now known as Victoria, and of which we shall have occasion to say much, on that part of our reminiscences and travels in that colony. Seventeen miles distant from Campbell Town, and about half a mile on the left of the river, is the junction of St. Paul's with the South Esk river. A bridle-road leads from Mr. Hepburn's station, on the St. Paul's river, to Oyster Bay. After crossing the St. Paul's river, the road still follows the course of the South Esk, on its southern bank, through a fine grazing district. At twenty-seven miles from Campbell Town, we reach Tullochgorum The marsh all along the course of the river is upwards of two miles in width, and composed of a strong alluvial soil, producing fine pasturage for cattle; and, were it protected from the effects of sudden floods, would be evidently well calculated for cultivation. Here the road passed round Vinegar Hill; and three miles further, we came upon Fingal; another mile brought us to the junction of Break o' Day river with St. Paul's, at the distance of 113 miles from Hobart Town. On each side there is a fine tract of country: that to the south, on the banks of the South Esk, extending for several miles; and that to the east presented a fine tract for grazing purposes, called Break o' Day Plains, and extending for many miles on either bank of that river, which here formed a fine stream, until it reached within ten miles of the Eastern Sea, from which it is divided by a lofty range of hills near St. Patrick's Head. Continuing along the bank of the stream, we passed the farms of Mr. Betts and two others. This terminates the part of the country known as the Break o' Day Plains. The land in general lies at an elevation of 1,000 feet above sea level. From this to Frankland's Lagoon and George's river, the traveller had only marked trees to guide him through a thick, scrubby road, utterly impassable for carriages. There are two paths to proceed by: the one over a hill, on the further side of which there is a fearfully rapid descent from a height of at least 2000 feet; the other is more gradual and gentle in its descent, but is rough and stony. Then travelling through a dreary country for a few miles, a wide-spread prospect of the sea bursts upon the view.
Having brought the reader to the sea coast, in the branch line of road, through the Break o' Day Plains, &c., we will now retrace our steps to where we left the main Launceston road, at Epping Forest, at the distance of 100 miles from Hobart Town.
Following the road through the snake banks and pleasant banks, we reached the village of Perth, which is built on either bank of the South Esk river, and to cross which there is a commodious punt for the accommodation of travellers. From thence, and at the distance of 124 miles from Hobart Town, we entered Launceston, the chief town of the county of Cornwall, and the second of importance in the island. It is conveniently situated, at the head of the navigation of Port Dalrymple, standing between the North Esk and South Esk rivers, where they meet, and form the junction, or Tamar.
The South Esk falls into the Tamar through a chasm between very rocky, steep hanks, called the cataract. On our visit to this place we were accompanied by Mr. J.E. Underwood, of Launceston, an old and respected colonist, and a close disciple of the botanical profession. Many very interesting plants here presented themselves, which were not common to the southern side of the island. Prostanthera, with blue labiate blossom; Leptospermum, Leptomeria, Leptocarpus, Pittosporum (bicolor) was growing in the most sheltered parts. The seed-vessels open as they hang on the trees, and exhibit a number of bright red resinous seeds, from which the name is derived—Pitto resin and sporos seeds. Phebalium montana, P. olieafolium, Platylobium, Pleurandria, Pomaderris, Ozothamnus, Neottia, P. terostylus, and the fly orchis adorned the upper edges of the basin of water, which is formed by the river, prior to its descent, in the shape of the Cascade. It was at this basin of water where the inhabitants of Launceston were in the habit of washing their clothes and linen. Leucopogon, Boronia, Eriostemon, three species of acacia; Exocarpus, a dwarf-growing species; Aster, four species of the daisy tree; Veronica labiata, an herbaceous growing species, producing spikes of pale lead-colored blossoms, in pyramidal spikes, and in blossom during three months throughout the year. In its character of growth it resembles the Solidagos, or Aaron's rod, of Britain. Ranunculus, Gunnianus, and two other species of the buttercup of the colony; Drosera arcturi, Arthur's sundew Clematis gentianoides, Gentian, like Virgin's bower; Epacris, Goodenia, Craspedia, and many others of the yellow flowering, composite plants. The white, large, blossoming ox-eye daisy (Chrysanthemum leucanthemum) was also common, in moist pastures, with Helichrysum dealbata, or white-flowered everlasting. Guaphalium, three species of the cudweed; Zierria, Lithrum spicatum, with its brilliant and showy spikes of reddish pink blossoms; Plantago plantain, or rib grass; Daviesia, or native hop, two species; Lomatia tintoria, or dyer's weed; Bulbine, Semibarbatum, half-bearded Bulbine, Nastirtium semipinnatifidum, half pinnated mustard, forming a good salad; with the Cardamine, and two other species of native cress. Apium prostratum, or native parsley, was also abundant on the bank of the stream, and forms an excellent ingredient in soup, and otherwise may be used as a pot-herb. Westringia dubiaefolia, a rosemary-leaved plant; Styphelia adscendens, a light green shrub, belonging to the EpacridaceŠ; Solanum laciniatum (kangaroo apple) a quick-growing shrub, with large blue blossoms, succeeded by apples like the common potato, which, when boiled or baked, may be eaten. Polygonum adpressum, or Macquarie harbor grape vine. This plant has long been an inhabitant of the gardens around Launceston and Hobart Town, where it is grown for the purpose of covering harbors and verandahs, for which its quick growth, dense foliage, and white blossoms, succeeded with clusters of waxy transparent fruit, slightly acid, renders it a desirable ornament.
From Launceston we travelled to Norfolk plains, taking the branch road to the south-west. For the first few miles we travelled through a level, poor, sandy, and heavily timbered country. We crossed the South Esk river at its junction with the Western river, and thence to Westbury, through the same level character of country, but in many cases interspersed with small farms, the cultivation of which owed its origin to a number of Norfolk island emigrants, who arrived here at the breaking up of that island. Westbury is a small township, situated on the eastern bank of a winding stream called Quamby's creek, which runs in a serpentine direction for many miles through a fine grazing country. We were informed that the grasses indigenous to this district were of a highly nutritive character; and that the milk produced from the cows fed upon them furnished cream so thick that it was often cut with a knife, and consequently yielding butter of an excellent quality and flavour. Continuing our journey along this western road, we passed through some fine open plains, with occasional belts of forest, consisting principally of the genus Eucalypti, and an undergrowth of Dodonea, Correa, Accacia, Lomatia, Leucopogon, Leptospermum, &c., to which were clinging the Cassytha, or wire grass, one of the Tasmanian representatives of the race of emblems of ingratitude to the vegetable kingdom, as, being a parasite, it takes root and derives all the sustenance from the plant on which it grows, and subsequently kills the source from whence it was indebted for its growth. The country we discovered to be well watered by the river Meander, with its various tributary streams. To the east and west, at about ten miles distance, was the great basaltic wall, or chain of mountains, whose average height was 4000 feet above sea level, covered, to within 200 feet of their summits, with trees of the most stately description, and affording a great and varied field to the botanist. Midway between the road and the main range was a solitary and detached mountain, called Quamby's bluff. The top of this hill, from the position in which we viewed it, had the appearance of being serrated, like the teeth of a saw, or, to borrow a simile, like a cockscomb, on the head of which was a flat rocky table. There was a very interesting anecdote connected with this hill or mount, and which led to its name from the circumstance of a black native who was found near it by a party of men who were in search of kangaroos, in the early period of the colony, when kangaroo flesh formed the principal article of food in the shape of meat diet. Upon the party calling to the native to stop, and on one of them presenting his gun at him, he is said to have fallen on his knees, and exclaiming in a melancholy accent, "Quamby! quamby!" which was the native language for "Mercy! mercy!" or, "Spare me! spare me!" After crossing the ford at the Meander river, the country continued level, and generally varied by gentle rises, moderately wooded. We found the property belonging to the Van Diemen's Land Sheep Grazing Company situated on the south side of the river. Here we found that, during the lambing season, the shepherd's duties were both arduous and difficult, in consequence of having either to fold his flocks, or watch them during the night. This step was necessary to protect the sheep from the destructive visits of the native devil, or hyŠna, which were common in the mountains, and were in the habit of prowling from their cavernous abodes from thence, to the sheep folds below on the plains. One of the animals had been caught a short time prior to our visit. It measured six feet, from the snout to the tail. The skin was beautifully striped with black and white on the back, while the belly and sides were of a white color. Its mouth resembled that of a wolf, with huge jaws, opening almost to the ears. Its legs were short in proportion to the body, and it had a sluggish appearance; but, in running, it bounds like a kangaroo, though with far less speed than that animal. The female carried the young in its pouch, like most other quadrupeds of this country. The Meander afforded fish of a good size; and that called the black fish was sometimes caught of from one to three feet in length; a vast advantage in size as compared to the fish known by that name which are caught in the Yarra Yarra river of Melbourne. After passing through very rich and highly cultivated farms and cattle runs, in nineteen miles from Westbury, we reached the bank of a small stream, falling into the Mersey, near two very remarkable-looking hills, called Gog and Magog. At the distance of about three miles and a half from this, we ascend a range of two hills, which here forms the natural boundary to the west of an extensive country called Dairy Plains. On ascending the ridge of this series of hills, a magnificent view presented itself suddenly to the delighted traveller, of rich and fertile surface, with purple-tinged romantic hills in the distance. After descending this ridge, already named, for the distance of five or six miles, we crossed the Moleside rivulet, so called from the circumstance of its occasionally disappearing and flowing underground, like the river Mole in England. The whole of this neighbourhood is of limestone, with beautiful white veins, and the strata is nearly horizontal. There is a small circular plain, about the distance of five miles from where we crossed Moleside. The character of this country was most remarkable, and appeared to be intercepted for many miles by numerous underground streams, flowing in different directions and at various depths. The effect of these streams thus flowing underground had the effect of undermining the superincumbent earth, which, being thus left without a foundation, has fallen in in many places, forming pits and basins of the most singular kind, varying in depth of from 20 to 300 feet, and shaped like a funnel. (Many instances of this kind may be observed in the neighbourhood of Mount Gambier, and many parts of the country near the Glenelg river, in Victoria.) In the bottom of most of them is a small circular pool of water, of unmeasureable depth. A party on one occasion descended one of the deepest of them, and at the bottom found a cavern, extending both ways, into which they entered. After following its course for some distance, a sound of running water was heard; and, although they were without light, the reflection from the entrance was sufficient to enable them to distinguish a large body of water rushing from a height, and flowing away, as it were, beneath their feet. Some of the smallest of these pits must have fallen in recently. Among them might be found some not more than a couple of yards in diameter, to the edge of which the traveller would suddenly come as he walked along the level grass. There might be seen with the corresponding piece of level grass, a green sward lying at the bottom, while the wet, clayey, and circular sides continued cylindrically perpendicular. In travelling over this plain, the journey was of a circuitous character, to avoid the holes and inequalities; but after emerging from thence, in about four miles, the country becomes hilly and steep, until reaching the banks of the river Mersey, a broad stream of 200 feet wide, and the bottom a bed of rocks. At the crossing-place, the water was shallow, not more than two feet deep. This river takes its rise from the high chain of mountains, from the great lake at the head of the river Ouse and Shannon, already named. A little below where we crossed the river was a long bar of limestone rock, running across the stream; and this would appear to form the line of demarcation of that character of rock in this direction.
After crossing this river, there is a small well-grassed plain, fringed on all sides by lofty timber trees. One of these trees was measured by means of a pocket-sextant, and found to be 205 feet high; and the trunk of another, five feet from the ground, was thirty-nine feet in circumference. On a visit which we subsequently made to the summit of the western tier of ranges, we had an opportunity of inspecting the supposed sources of the Mersey, from the Great Lake, and which we discovered was connected with a chain of smaller bodies of water. The banks were fringed with Alpine plants and shrubs, producing flowers of great beauty. The most common of them was, however, the Telopia Tasmaniensis, or waratah, or scarlet tulip tree, as it has been occasionally termed by stock-keepers, a race of bushmen who had greater facilities for paying these Alpine regions more frequent visits than the ordinary traveller, in consequence of the nature of their employment in mustering stray cattle. The wax-cluster, Gaultheria hispida, Cyathodes, a race of plants having waxy-looking berries, of a pale pink to a deep crimson, and thus affording an agreeable contrast to the white and numerous heroes of the wax-cluster. Ozothamnus montana, or mountain ozothamnus, rare in other places, was here abundantly scattered, its small and numerous thread-like fibres clinging to the wet, mossy rocks for the necessary support and nourishment to the plant. Bellandena, or mountain rocket; Craspedia grandiflora; Cardamine, or mountain smell smock, and many other little annuals and herbaceous, with shrubs of Correa of several species; but C. ferruginea and C. Backhousiana were the two species most frequently met with over the Western tier, although they are also common on Mount Wellington, near Hobart Town. The leaves of C. ferruginea are covered on the under side with a rusty-colored down. The flowers are greenish, and tinged with the same. C. Backhousiana was named by Dr. Hooker, in honor of Mr. James Backhouse, a member of the Society of Friends, who discovered it at Cape Grim. In about the distance of three miles from crossing the Mersey, we ascended a ridge of from 1000 to 1600 feet elevation, which divides the waters of the Mersey and the Forth. The track through the upper part of the ridge was crooked, from the difficult character of the country in regard to ascent; and for almost a mile we travelled through a dense forest, composed principally of myrtle, sassafraz trees, gum trees of stupendous growth, forming altogether a concentrated mass of foliage, through which it was difficult to obtain a glimpse of the sun's rays. On these trees, situated at the junction of the larger stems with the parent trunk, were many large masses of Ephiphites, or air plants; Acrosticum, Dendrobium, and others of the orchid aceons. On reaching the summit, there is a small plain , scantily grassed, called Emu Plain; and this is the only road on which the myrtle tree will be met with. At the bottom of this hill, on the opposite side, was the river Forth; but to reach it was a sort of break-neck journey over the steep and precipitous side of the mountain. The distance between the river Mersey and the river Forth was about ten miles, between which the ridge called Gad's Hill, over which we had travelled, formed a kind of saddle. The Forth runs at the base of the ridge, whose sides were rocky and steep, overhung with the deep, dark, and sombre foliage of the myrtle and sassafraz trees, which dipped their lower branches into the water. Occasionally through the foliage thus laved in the stream was a number of dwarf shrubs and plants, peeping and pushing their way through, as though to enliven with their livelier-colored blossoms the retired and otherwise melancholy of the scene. Among the latter were the permanently-flowering Goodenia, with their bright yellow and singularly-shaped blossoms; three species of integral and lance-shaped leaved acacia, or wattle; Prostanthera, or mint tree; Zierria arboresens, with their bright white blossoms. The water of the Forth was beyond measure pure, clear, and limpid, as is the usual character of rivers deriving their source and supply from melted snows. The river itself is of the same size and character as the Mersey; and, immediately after crossing, we had to commence another grappling ascent for at least four miles, until we had again made up in elevation upon this side what we had lost in the descent on the other side, namely, 1600 feet. We then followed the track, or road, along the ridge, or a sort of tongue, or shoulder, projecting at right angles from the main hill. The soil was of the poorest description, although, as usual in such cases, extremely rich in plants, principally of a heathy character. The Epacridaceous order was plentifully represented, by various species of Epacris, which forms the type of the order. Leucopogon, Cryptomaria, Leptospermum, and many others of the order Myrtacea, whose leaves, when touched, as they frequently were from necessity while effecting our ascent, emitted the most agreeable odour from the crushing of the little postules of aromatic oils. Of the trees also belonging to this order, were many of the Eucalyptus resinifera, or cider tree of the lakes. This tree, at certain seasons, yields a quantity of slightly saccharine liquor, resembling treacle, which the stockkeepers were in the habit of extracting, and using as a kind of drink. The natives had also a method, at the proper season, of grinding holes in the tree, from which the sweet juice flowed plentifully, and was collected in a hole at the bottom, near the root of the tree. These holes were kept covered over with a flat stone, apparently for the purpose of preventing birds and animals coming to drink it. When allowed to remain any length of time, it ferments and settles into a coarse sort of wine or cider, rather intoxicating if drank to excess.
Here we also met with the Blandfordia nobilis, or noble Blandfordia, named in honor of George Marquis of Blandford, son to the second Duke of Marlborough. This splendid plant bears a head of brilliant crimson blossoms, tipped with yellow, one inch long, rising out of a stalk of from two to three feet long, from between two opposite series of strapped-shaped leaves. It belongs to the sixth class, Hexandria, and the first order, Monogynia, of LinnŠus, and ranks among the LiliacieŠe of the natural system of Jussieu. Tetratheca, with its pretty pink four-petalled blossoms, adorned the surface, with Astroloma, Eriostemen, Baeckia diosmafolia, and many other plants of the same heathy character, which the reader will find systematically noticed in the work shortly to be published, in a separate form, under the head of "Botany and Plants of Tasmania and the Australias." From the top of this hill a grand view is obtained of a remarkable hill called Roland's Repulse, as it was from that point that, in the year 1823, Captain Roland, of the 3rd Regiment of Buffs, who was engaged in exploring the country, was stopped in his course, and obliged to return. After travelling for the distance of six or seven miles, abounding in kangaroos, we entered upon an exceedingly open tract of country called Middlesex Plains, which were watered ,by numerous small rivulets, and a considerable stream called the Isis, running through their centre, in a northerly course. A range of lofty but barren mountains bounds the horizon to the south. From above this level are seen, in the distance, two remarkable high points, one of which is called the Ribrock, and the other the Bam Bluff. These two mountains could not have been less than 6000 feet in height, as a patch of snow was reclining calmly and unthawed in the valley between the two, in the middle of summer. After a few hours travelling we ascended a small eminence, which gave us a fine view of a pretty valley of about three miles in width, and composed of various gentle rises covered with grass. Here again the limestone occurred; and, as at Moleside, several of the water courses and creeks running into the principal stream, lose themselves for a time underground, and re-appeared. The valley was barren of trees, although they grew in clumps along its edge, and were principally myrtle. Kangaroos were seen feeding in the valley in various parts. The extreme northern point of the range of hills, which formed the western side of the valley, called Belvoir Vale, terminating in a high naked green hill called May Day Mount, from the circumstance of a number of dark coloured rocks, or basaltic columns, having the appearance of chimney sweepers climbing on a May day. The Black Bluff mountain terminates the northern extremity of the range, and is about seven miles distant. A ridge of high land, covered with heathy plants, and thinly wooded, connected the two mountains, May Day and Bluff. The ascent to the top of this ridge was difficult, although the sense of smell was relieved by the crushing of the leaves of what is called the lemon plant, which is here abundant. It is not a true Lemonia, In the centre of this ridge stands a remarkable and curious block of granite, from whence we obtained a fine view of the Surrey hills, lying in a north-westerly direction. The whole expanse presented a level surface of trees to the eye, and is considered to be the most extensive tract of level country in the island. The only mountains which bound it are St. Valentine's Peak to the north, and Mount Cleveland to the west. Some time previously, two carts, belonging to the Van Diemen's Land Company, had passed over this ridge, each drawn by six oxen, with their drivers. It appears that some natives had observed this; and, a short time afterwards, one of the company's servants passing that way, found in one of their rudely-constructed huts, a piece of the bark of a tree, with a rough drawing of the whole scene. The wheels of the carts, the bullocks drawing them, and the drivers with their whips over their shoulders, were all distinctly depicted in their rude but interesting manner. To reach the Surrey Hills, we had to effect a heavily-timbered descent, and full of bogs and quagmires, until reaching a forest of myrtles, through which the company had cut a track, leading through a confined plain of a mile in width, covered with prostrate trunks of decayed and decaying trees, and over-head by brushes and dense foliage. On our way from May Day Mount plain, we passed through a grove of the Tasmania fragrans, or Tasmania pepper trees, from eight to ten feet high, with Daphne-like foliage; and the flowers of which produce a male powder (farina) of so pungent a nature as to occasion an immediate and violent fit of sneezing; and the black berries, which it produces in abundance, when ripe, form a good substitute for the pepper of commerce. This shrub is also common to the middle regions of Mount Wellington. The country continued to gradually descend, and we, for many miles travelled through an uninteresting, cold, and chilly country, until reaching the company's establishment at the Hampshire hills, through which runs the river Emu and its tributaries, their margins clothed with many interesting Myrtaceus, Rutaceous, and other aromatic shrubs.
At this place was a remarkably large tree, of the string/bark species, which had been hollowed out by numerous fires in former ages. In this hollow, for some time, lived eight men belonging to the company. From this place to Emu Bay, the journey was principally through a forest of myrtles; and the river Emu empties itself into the centre of it. The whole course of this river, from the Hampshire hills to Bass's Straits, is through a thick and dense forest of myrtle and other trees. Circular Head may be reached from this place by taking advantage of low tides to cross the mouth of the various rivers, when you reach Highfield, the chief residence of the Circular Head Company's Manager.
The road from Launceston to the most northerly settlement in the island is 40 miles from Launceston, and 164 from Hobart Town, called George Town; to reach which we had to cross the North Esk river by a punt, and travelled through poor, uninviting, sandy, scrubby, heathy country, until reaching George Town, which is pleasantly situated on the northern bank of the Tamar, within four or five miles of Bass's Strait, near the entrance to Port Dalrymple.
New Norfolk is twenty-two miles from Hobart Town, from whence it is reached by crossing Roseneath Ferry. After crossing the river at this township by a punt, our road to the Macquarie district lay, for several miles, through a highly cultivated country, until reaching a track leading to the Upper Clyde, called the Marked Tree Road, which we followed through a settlement called Hollow Tree, whence we again joined the main road to the Upper Clyde, which we reached at a point where Mr. Roadknight had a flour mill established. Passing through Sorell Plains the township of Hamilton, Spring Hill, we passed the extensive grazing country of Abyssinia, and entered the town of Bothwell. This township was very picturesquely situated, and many streets formed most judiciously, and tolerably lined with buildings. It was the residence of an officer in the command of the forces, with a detachment of troops. At the time of our visit. Major Schaw was the officer in command; and the office of Police Clerk was ably represented in the person of Mr. A. Wheatley, now of this city. A finely-constructed and well-regulated inn was also established, and the duties of host was represented by Mr. W.J. Sugden, also a present resident of the City of Melbourne.
From Bothwell we paid a visit to the Upper Clyde, with letters of introduction to Mr. Axford, who had a corn mill. We were also kindly entertained by Mr. Hovell, who had also a corn mill constructed on this river. From hence we visited the source of the Clyde, by following up a steep, broken, rocky track on its eastern bank, and having on our right hand two remarkable eminences, called respectively the Quoin and the Table mountains, near Jericho. These mountains formerly formed places of great resort for the aborigines. At the distance of twenty-two miles from the township of Bothwell, the road crossed the source of the Clyde, where it falls out of the southern end of Lake Crescent. From thence a track, leading on the western edges of Lake Crescent and Lake Sorell, brought us to a log hut. Lake Crescent and Lake Sorell have a small, slow-running stream, which forms a connecting lake of half a mile in length.
In crossing the Clyde from Bothwell, the traveller passes Cluny Park, where is a beautiful plain called Bark Hut Plains, and having on one hand a lofty hill, called the Blue Hill, about four miles distance on the left hand. Shortly after crossing the river Shannon, we passed through Weavell's Plain, and afterwards over another extensive plain called Hunterston, situated on the banks of the river. This is the spot where the notorious bushranger, Michael Howe, was apprehended, and where he perished in the struggle, and now lies buried. From the last resting-place of Michael Howe, by following a track on the left hand, we passed close under the beautiful hill called Mount Pleasant; and from thence to the romantic and original residence of the late lamented and universally-respected Dr. James Ross, LL.D.
We are now reminded that it is time to bring our travels in Tasmania to an end. The foregoing excursion through that interesting island will, we trust, present a fair outline of its general character, both geographically and otherwise. One very interesting feature, peculiar to all new countries, was the absence of the aboriginal inhabitants. These people had been collected, through the conciliatory exertions of Mr. G.A. Robinson, before our arrival in the colony; and a short time subsequent to that event had been removed to the establishment which had been set apart for them at Flinders Island—the total number of blacks being 110. They were said to be a happy and contented race, gradually acquiring industrious and useful habits. Each little family had a hut built by their own hands, with a fire-place and a window to each. They had tables, chairs, and bedsteads, rudely manufactured of the timber of the island, imitating, as closely as they could, the customs of their white associates.
The females gave their attention to the domestic duties, in keeping their little hovels clean, and mending and washing clothes. In their hunting excursions, they brought home skins of wallabies and kangaroos, which they stretched out with pegs on the grass to dry. These they afterwards sent to Launceston to be exchanged for knives, handkerchiefs, and other useful little European articles.
They cultivated one large garden in common, using the hoe to the tune of one of their wild melodies.
The last of this unfortunate race of beings (now extinct) was brought in (except four) by Mr. Robinson, in May, 1834, and to whom, in April, 1836, a splendid silver vase was presented by the inhabitants of the Bothwell district, in testimony of their acknowledgement of the benefits which the colony had derived from his successful conciliation of the aborigines.
The following very graphic description of these people in their wild state is from the pen of Dr. Ross:—
"On looking round, we were not a little surprised to see several small parties of blacks, some strolling about, while others sat in little families, as it were, round small fires. We found they were a tribe of about sixty or seventy, whom I had occasionally seen before, and who had occasionally visited Hobart Town, where they had been kindly treated by the Government and the inhabitants, who had supplied them with provisions, clothing, and blankets. Here we slackened our pace, willing to waste a few minutes on the new scene which had presented itself. As we were walking towards one of the small parties, a tall fellow overtook us with a bunch of seven fat but strong-smelling opossums slung on his back and round his neck. We followed him to the fire; and he very deliberately chucked them all upon it, one after the other, just as he had caught them. The company seemed to have very little to say, for but few words passed between them; and what was rather mortifying to gentlemen of our rank of life, they scarcely deigned to look upon us!
"On our parts, however, we could not help admiring their upright, and even elegant, gait, which would be a pattern to any Bond-street lounger. It was quite indicative of persons who had little to do, with their pleasure only to seek. Their air of independence was quite charming, and, upon reflection, I know no race of people who have greater claims to that property. So perfectly indifferent were they of dress and clothing, that several of them had cast away their blankets they had had in Hobart Town as an unnecessary incumbrance. What a host of super-vacareous tinkers, tailors, dressmakers, shoemakers, bottle-blowers, shopkeeper, storekeepers, and manufacturers of all kinds and sorts of things, ore thrown into the shade by these aboriginal ladies and gentlemen. Diogenes with his tub was a man of luxurious life compared to them. The only symptom of weakness which they betrayed, was the pains that some of them (no doubt dandies in their community) took with their heads. They had smeared their hair with a red pigment, mixed with grease; and one gentleman had decorated himself with two white cockatoo feathers. In this respect they resembled some of the civilised race, whom I have known to besmear their heads with perfumed pomatum, or some of the four-legged canine species, whom, I hear, sometimes, when they come across some putrified or strong-smelling substance, rub their cheeks against it until they have thoroughly imbibed the stench.
"As soon as the opossums were singed and well-heated on one side, our cook turned them upon the other; and then dragging them by the leg from the fire, he scraped off the fur, and, with a sharp flint, cut out the inside, and again threw it on the fire, from which it was soon after taken and eaten, without the trouble of knife or fork, in a half raw state. Occasionally they would take a short walk to the lagoon, and, laying themselves on their breasts and dipping their mouths into the water, drank, without cup or chalice, the pure element of nature. They then returned to their rural hearth, and, sitting or reclining on the ground, they dozed as deliciously as if they had reposed on a velvet couch."
Upon another occasion, the humane doctor says, in regard to these people:—
We had not penetrated far into this scrub, when we accidentally met one of Mr. Lord's stockmen, sitting on the stump of a tree, nearly starved to death. He told us that, three days before, a black woman whom he had caught and chained to a log with a bullock chain, and whom he had dressed in a very fine linen shirt (the only one he had), in hopes, as he said, to tame her, had contrived somehow to slip the chain from her leg, and run away, shirt and all. She had already got a quarter of a mile off, when he saw her, and, without reflecting, he pursued her for upwards of five hours, through copse, vale, and thicket, up-hill and down-hill, led by the occasional glimpses of his own white shirt, still upon her back, as seen through the trees. At last he was obliged to abandon the chase; and he had not been able since to rejoin his companions, to whom we now directed him, first giving him from our own slender supply two biscuits.
"I fear that his object in chaining the girl was not exactly as platonic, or pure and as disinterested, as could be wished. There is little doubt, indeed, but such, and even worse treatment than this by the white stock-keepers, in the earlier periods of the colony, was the chief and original cause of the hostility which the aborigines have since indiscriminately shown to the whites."
Many years have elapsed since our departure from the shores of Tasmania, and, during that period, many changes have taken place. A Natural History and Royal Society have been established; and the members have published the results attending the discoveries both of subsequent travellers and other parties engaged in developing the resources of that island; and whose exertions are published in the "Transactions of the Royal Society", to whom we refer our readers for information on these topics. It is but justice to add that, at the time of our arrival, it was in every sense of the word a "penal colony"; and, as a natural consequence, the state of persons and properties was represented to us as being insecure in the highest degree. On our arrival here, we found that the reputation thus acquired was undeserved, as nothing could have afforded a better guarantee of the safety of property in the town of Hobart than the utter carelessness observed by the inhabitants, in leaving the doors unlocked during the night time. The system of unshingling, or taking a hat from the traveller's head in the darkness of night, during his wanderings through the streets, did not fall to our lot to experience.
In the "Ross's Van Diemen's Land Almanac for 1836," among the chronological order of events, appears the following notice:—
"ROSS'S VAN DIEMEN'S LAND ANNUAL FOR 1885.
"A nursery fruit and seed garden, on a scientific and extensive scale, is commenced at Mr. Lightfoot's, on the New Town Road. Mr. Lightfoot also deserves credit as having been the first to introduce the present choice stock of pear trees.
"The plants, of which there is already a very extensive collection, both exotic and indigenous, are arranged by Mr. Bunce in two departments: the one according to the classification of LinnŠus; and the other agreeably to the natural orders of Jussien.
"The establishment is highly deserving the support of the public."
This establishment we subsequently purchased, and opened as the Denmark Hill Nursery; and the same year we introduced the first importation of English forest trees, and other choice British shrubs and plants, from the well-known establishment of the Messrs. Whitley and Osborne, of Fulham, London. We may take credit to ourselves, as having been the first to commence the arrangement of our indigenous and exotic plants, agreeably to the LinnŠan and natural systems, to which we had large cross wooden labels attached, indicating their class, order, and natural relationships. After three years close observation of the climate, and its effect upon garden produce, we composed a monthly magazine, or periodical, to be completed in twelve monthly parts, under the title of "Bunce's Manual of Practical Gardening." This work was very favorably received; and finished in due course at the printing office of the Hobart Town Courier, the property of Mr. W.G. Elliston, who succeeded Dr. James Ross as the proprietor of that establishment. We must also conscientiously admit that, with unshingling, and other interesting peculiarities which we had been led to expect on our arrival, we also appear to have escaped the epoch when the shopkeeper's profits would not afford the indulgence to purchasers of paper wherein to enclose or wrap whatever may have been the kind or character of commodity.
We were more particularly struck with the character and various kind of currency; and, in receiving change for a pound note or sovereign, it was difficult to ascertain, with any degree of certainty, whether you had obtained your right change or otherwise. Our first change for a pound consisted of two dumps, two holy dollars, one Spanish dollar, one French coin, one half-crown, one shilling, and one sixpence. The last three were the only legitimate British currency with which we were then acquainted. There were at that time loud complaints from the country districts regarding the rapid increase of the wild dog, partly owing to the departure of the aborigines to their settlement at Flinders Island, leaving behind them several which had bred in the bush, but more through the carelessness of persons engaged in the distant out-districts.
In May, 1836, intelligence was received that his Majesty had been pleased to release Colonel Arthur from the Government of this Colony; and, in the August following, the intelligence arrived that Sir John Franklin had been appointed as his successor.
Almost contemporaneously with Colonel Arthur's departure from the Government of the island, Tasmania was honored by the arrival of some distinguished visitors from Port Phillip, which had been just discovered by Mr. John Batman, in the persons of two of its princes, or chiefs: Derrimut, King of the Werriby district; and Betbenjee, of the adjoining district, two brothers; and with whom was the tall and gigantic prototype of Robinson Crusoe—Buckley, whom Batman had discovered among the natives on his first visiting Port Phillip, where he had resided for thirty-three years. Among others, we, in company, paid our respects to the renowned Buckley, in company with the late Dr. Ross. Our visit was not absolutely void of self-interest, as we had contemplated the probability, or rather possibility, of obtaining from the great semi-barbarian materials of his long residence among the aborigines in Port Phillip, for an interesting shred of autobiography. Our visit, however, proved a failure, as we could obtain no information from the party whose memoirs we were desirous of perpetuating, and whose conversation consisted merely of a few monosyllabic words. Since that time, however, a most elaborate, and as interesting as elaborately written work has been published by Mr. John Morgan, of Hobart Town. Of this production, we know not which most to admire, the extreme facility of acquiring information from a to us dumb man, or his remarkable powers of imagination. Of the two native chiefs, a singular instance of the effects of strong drinks may be related. On their arrival, they both got extremely intoxicated, and they both felt the sickening effects the following morning. Poor Derrimut was induced to taste "a hair of the dog that bit him," and recommenced his debauch, and still continues a drunkard to this day. But his brother Betbenjee was so heartily disgusted, that he never could be induced to taste spirits since. Betbenjee is now dead; Buckley is dead; and Derrimut we saw on Sunday evening, April 27th, 1856, at Moordyyallack, and who, we may as well state, was the first to greet us on our first arrival in Port Phillip, in 1839; from which date our "Reminiscences of Van Diemen's Land" must end, and those of Victoria commence.
We bade farewell to Tasmania in the early part of the month of October, in the year 1839, and reached Port Phillip after a protracted and rough passage of nearly three weeks, in the Lord Hobart, Thomas Nichol, master.
As was usual with those who arrived for the first time in Hobson's Bay, the captain of our vessel took the ship's boat up the Yarra Yarra. The river was then densely covered on both banks with mellaeuca or tea-tree, and the monomeeth parbine. This latter was called by the aborigines "the good mother", from the seed pods, or receptacle for the developing process of the seeds, being attached in whirls to the stems or branches on which they are produced years after the trees at those parts have shed their blossoms. The long heavy branches of the monomeeth parbine hung in massive graceful arches over the river's side. Flocks of wild ducks were disturbed by our boat, as we glided up the stream. The notes peculiar to the ornithorinchus paradoxus, or platipus, wattle bird, and leather-head or old soldier bird, added in no small degree to the novelties which on every side thrust themselves upon our awakened attention. The wattle bird has been not inaptly termed the "what's-o'clock?"—the leather-head, the "stop-where-you-are." Lofty eucalyptus or flooded-gum trees formed a back ground to the natural plantation of tea-tree. As we approached the site whereon Melbourne has been built, the reverberating echoes from a blacksmith's shop, and the unmistakeable odour of a fellmonger's yard, reminded us that the elements of civilization had preceded our arrival. In the latter part of the year one thousand eight hundred. and thirty-nine, we landed on the low muddy bank on the north side of the river, the site known as the wharf. Proceeding eastward, we passed a neat and tasteful building, situated on a small hillock, called Batman's Hill. Wandering over the undulating ground in the locality, the place where Melbourne now stands, we noticed two or three hotels, which had recently been erected in different quarters of the township, a few stores, and an auction mart. We also noticed a small brick building in Little Collins-street, opposite the spot where Temple Court has since been erected, which was called the Treasury. There was a small wooden house used for a Police Court, and another for a Post Office. Mr. La Trobe was the Superindent [sic] of this newly-formed settlement of Port Phillip, or "the Settlement", as it was then termed. Wild fowl were very plentiful both in the swamp, near Batman's Hill, and at the Salt Water River. On the hill where the Supreme Court stands we gathered large quantities of mushrooms. The lagoon formed by the back waters of the Yarra Yarra abounded in snipe. Proceeding up the river by the bank, passing through what is now the Richmond Paddock, we found that a gentleman, named Arden, had erected a residence in that locality. The hill on the eastern side of Melbourne was then thickly wooded. In the streets of the township there were numerous stumps of the eucalypti, or gum trees; here and there a whole tree,—a solitary example, which may be termed the last of its race, may be seen by the fence of the Roman Catholic Church in Elizabeth-street, and to which we apply the words of the song) in serious earnestness, "Oh, Woodman! spare that Tree."
AN EXCURSION TO WESTERN PORT.
Having been introduced by one of their number to a tribe of aborigines, I formed the intention of proceeding to the Dandenong ranges, and thence to Western Port. Among the natives were Derrimut, Yammabook or Hawk's-Eye, and Benbow. The latter is he who gave information of an evil design which some of his companions had conceived, and thus prevented what might have been a fatal encounter between them and the first white settlers. Benbow invariably rejected all solicitations to partake of spirituous liquors, and is the only teetotaller I ever met with among the aborigines. In a corner of Mr. Batman's garden, Benbow and his wife, Kitty, dwelt in a small hut of his own constructing. Within everything was cleanly, and in good order. Benbow was often consulted by the settlers concerning various matters; and he was always willing to impart what information he possessed. He was not only an intelligent native, but a really worthy fellow: an evidence that the aborigines of Australia are not, as has been so frequently stated by various writers, incapable of being civilized.
Proceeding on our projected excursion on foot, we crossed the Yarra Yarra by a punt, at the place where Prince's Bridge has been built, and passed up the river to Gardiner's Creek. The ground on our right has been surveyed, and sold in allotments of various sizes, and the rising township of Prahran has grown up. Mr. Arden's house was the only building we saw on the spot where Richmond now stands. On that side of the river there was a swamp or marsh, edged with a natural plantation of swamp broom. Gardiner's Creek, at its confluence with the river, rushing through a dense mass of tea-tree, like water bubbling from the neck of a bottle. In this neighbourhood I saw many new plants, of a totally different character from those which I had previously had an opportunity of observing in Tasmania. Dodonea, goodenia, and the brilliant spikes of reddish-purple blossom, of the lithrum spicata, enlivened the banks of the creek. With the exception of a small wattle-and-dab hut, the only house in the locality was a building of stone, which was in the course of erection by Mr. W.G. Robinson, the protector of the aborigines. After crossing Gardiner's Creek, leaving the river on our left, we travelled over a piece of rising sandy ground, which formed a belt between the Yarra Yarra and the sandy heath which we found in the neighbourhood of Brighton. This place was richly covered with low shrubs, and plants of a heathy nature; Leucopogon, several species; Astroloma, or native cranberry; Epacris, white and red; a dwarf species of Casuarina; Tetratheca; Eriostemon; several species of dwarf integral-leaved Acacia, or wattles; Leptospermum; Hippuris, or mare's tail; Daviesia; Pultnea; and Pleurandria, were among the most prominent. On our way to the base of the first mountain, in an easterly direction, we crossed some clear, running streams of water, all tributaries of the Yarra, their banks being well covered with trees, and interesting shrubby herbaceous plants, which my readers will find described in a separate work on the plants of these colonies. We encamped the first night between Gardiner's and Babee Jim creeks, where the country was extremely rich, undulating, thinly-timbered, and thickly-grassed. Our camp was about the distance of four miles from the southern bank of the river, on which was then a station belonging to Messrs. Walpole and Goggs. The latter gentleman we had the pleasure to meet during our wanderings with Leichhardt, Mr. Goggs and his brother having followed upon our new track on the Condamine river.
This was the first time I had ever camped for the night in company with aborigines. Having at that time but a very imperfect acquaintance with their language and customs, my first impressions concerning these singular and inoffensive people were by no means favorable. It being clear and star-light, we were sufficiently sheltered for the night by a few branches from the neighbouring gum trees.
As an additional protection for me, my new Mends covered the spot where I was to lie with a sheet of bark, supported upon wattles. They cooked an opossum for our evening meal. Although delicate in appearance as an English rabbit, the flesh was not so agreeable as I had been led to anticipate, it being very strongly tinctured with the volatile peppermint smelling oil, common to the leaves of the eucalyptus piperita, or peppermint tree, in which tree the opossum finds its chief food.
In searching for and catching the opossum, the natives display acute observation and much skill. Indications of the presence of their game, quite imperceptible to the white man, are by them instinctively recognised. They examine cursorily all the large trees likely to afford shelter to the animal. If, from observation of any particular tree, the hunter has conceived it probable that the opossum has taken refuge amongst its branches, he, by making a series of notches in the bark for his feet, ascends to what altitude he pleases. Should the opossum have taken refuge in a hollow, a small stick is used to dislodge him. On emerging from his retreat, he is caught dexterously by the tail, and swung rapidly round twice or thrice, until his head is made to come in contact with the tree and stunned.
After retiring to my berth, I lay awake a great part of the night, watching the natives, who were seated around the camp fire, endeavouring to catch the meaning of the language in which they conversed cheerfully with each other.
We were afoot again by early dawn. At my request, my companions tarried a short time, while I collected specimens of the flora of the place; and, as soon as they perceived the reason of our delay, rendered willingly what assistance they could, by bringing to me various leaves, herbs, &c. They had names for many of them, which I carefully noted, for future reference. When the sun was fairly up, the short, rich notes of the native thrush, the sweet warble of the magpie, and the jocund cadence of the laughing jackass, reverbrated through the woods. We made for Mount Koronth Marabool, a small mountain, divided from the main chain of ranges. Pursuing our journey over the gently undulating country, we stayed for refreshment beside a small streamlet, known as Babee Jim Creek. This creek has well-defined banks, with a great variety of subalpine shrubs and plants. I found the Prostanthera lasianthus, pencil cedar; Pomaderris apetala; and Parvifolia, the large and small-leaved, which the natives called callerwood; and the colonists dogwood. Occasionally, where the volcanic blocks of bluestone abutted along the edges of the creek, were two species of Hakea, or native walnut, with others of the ProteaceŠ, Grevillia, Lomatia, and a dwarf species of Banksia, or native honeysuckle. The large arborescent Banksia Australis was abundant, and sprinkled occasionally over all parts where the soil was sandy. Three species of the Euphrasia, or native eyebright, and Stilidiums of various species, were common to the pasture lands. Clematis gentianoides and Ranunculus, of various species, were, with many other plants, brilliantly in flower. Upon reaching the creek, some of my companions walked into a neighboring lagoon, for the purpose of catching eels (eeoke). With a small spear in his hand, the aboriginal eel-catcher walks slowly and cautiously about the shallow water, until he has trodden so gently upon the object of his search as not to awaken its attention. Although half-buried in the mud, its position is judged with such accuracy, that, with one blow, the eel is pierced by the native. Immediately he takes it out of the water, and disables it by giving it a crush between his teeth. We arrived at the foot of the mountain about sunset. In reaching it we had been delayed while some of our friends secured a fine kangaroo, which was shot by one of them, named Jemmy, in a small patch of grass. It would appear that the kangaroo cannot, or does not, notice objects directly ahead; and by Jemmy, with his gun under his arm, cautiously creeping, under cover of a large bough, which he carried in his hand (some others having placed themselves in the rear), he was allowed to approach, shoot, and secure his prey without difficulty. It was a noble specimen, although not full-grown, and was carried in triumph to the camp over the shoulders of Jemmy. In skinning the kangaroo, one of the natives made his feet serve him very usefully. I have often had occasion to remark how dexterous these people are in making use of their feet. The kidney-fat they ate as soon as the entrails were taken out. The hinder part roasted made us an excellent evening meal. The tail, which is regarded as a great delicacy, was cooked separately; and I do not remember ever having eaten anything with greater gusto than the two joints of tail which fell to my portion. The fore-quarter was given to the dogs, and the bones and other portions of the tail, which the black fellows could not eat, were thrown over their shoulders, and caught by their wives, with less concern than they observed in feeding their canine companions. The ladies received these scraps with a quiet humility, which it was really quite charming to observe in them, although I could never see such indifference manifested on the part of the blacks towards their wives without aversion.
Our camping-place was on the rise of the mountain, behind which flowed a small gurgling brook, with banks lined with the tree-fern, Billarderia, and which the blacks call Quambee Jack. The heart of the tree was cut out and eaten by the natives, in the same manner as we have subsequently seen the aborigines in north-eastern tropical Australia appropriate the crown or heart of the Corypha, palm tree, as well that of the larger fern tree, Alsophilla elegans, which in those parts assume a height and size of stupendous magnitude. Here we stayed for the night. Rising earlier in the morning than the rest, I took a stroll up the valley of the creek, among a forest of fern trees. Occasionally the climbing plants, which were thickly interspersed with ferns, with the Dodonea, Sassafraz, Leptospermum, and Ozothamnus, formed scrub so dense as merely to leave a small opening, enabling me to take a sidelong peep, at intervals, into, the valley of the creek below. In most cases, I observed that the ground had been torn or scratched up. On our visit in company with Jemmy, we afterwards learned that this was the work of the Bullen Bullen, or lyre bird, in its search for large worms, its favorite food.
When the rest of the party arose, one of them caught a native porcupine, which abound at the foot of Koronth Marrabool. When properly cooked, it is a dish by no means to be despised. The country here being thickly wooded, the experience of Jemmy, who acted as the guide to our party, was invaluable to us. He was an excellent marksman, and often brought me birds of various kinds which he had killed. Amongst them were several lyre birds. He pointed out to us the disturbed patches of ground where these birds had been seeking their prey; he also led us to various spots where we could hear the ridiculous sounds of mimicry raised by this truly Australian mocking bird. It possesses the power of mimicing, with wondrous fidelity, the notes of the various other birds, as well as the chuckle of the flying squirrel, and other animals. It is so extremely shy that we could never get near enough to examine one of them alive. The tails of those brought to me by Jemmy were of great beauty, and I therefore preserved them as specimens.
The native women sometimes went out by themselves, and returned with a quantity of the liquid amber gum, which exudes from the AcaciŠ decurrens, or black wattle tree. This gum they call korong. They prepare it as a relish for their food in the following manner: having formed, of a sheet of wattle bark, a trough to hold water (willum), the women soak the gum until it assimilates with the water, and forms a thin glutinous liquid; a little sugar, or manna, is then added to make it palatable.
Some of the women brought large white grubs, the larvae of the gigantic moth, which they considered as a dainty not easily to be rejected. These grubs were slightly grilled before being eaten. Some long tuberous roots, of a composite plant, were also brought, and of which we partook. These plants produced a bunch of tubers like the fingers on the hand, from whence they were called myrnong-myrnongatha, being the native word for "hand".
As we were returning towards the camp one evening. Jemmy captured a native bear, or sloth, from among the branches of a huge gum tree. None but a native would have observed the creature, as the color of its wool so nearly resembled that of the bark of the tree.
During the excursion, our diet consisted chiefly of opossum and kangaroo, varied occasionally with the flesh of the porcupine and wombat. The heart or crown of the fern tree, slightly roasted, furnished us an acceptable dish, the taste of which reminded me of the flavor of the cocoa-nut. Native potatoes, or roots of the OrchidaceŠ, were not wanting; those of the Gastrodia Sessamoides were especially plentiful, large, and well-flavored. One evening we took three wombats, and next day the natives held a banquet, preceded, as a matter of course, by a grand corroborree.
Proceeding upon our journey, we crossed several creeks and streams, and eventually ascended the highest part of the Western Port ranges. Each day I was enabled to add some fresh varieties to my herbarium. The western mountains abound in healthy timber. In this locality, too, there is plenty of a light, white wood, which the natives call weenth kalk kalk (fire stick), as they obtain a light from it, by means of friction, very readily. This kind of wood is also called thaal kalk (sounding stick), because a solid, ringing sound can be produced by two round billets being beaten together. When the natives hold a corroborree, a festival in which dancing forms the chief element, those who do not join in the dance beat time with the sounding stick, while they sing continually, "Yah-yabba, yah-yabba, yah."
After remaining in this locality long enough to enable me to obtain all the species of plants which I found desirable, and with a wombat, a porcupine, a native bear, and a kangaroo, which my companions intended as presents for some of their friends whom they had left behind at the settlement, we turned homewards.
We determined upon our return the following morning, by way of Dandenong Creek, near, the station then belonging to the Rev. Mr. Clowe, but now the property of Mr. Beilby. Unfortunately, shortly after sundown, there were signs of rain, the sky became overcast, thunder was heard in the distance, and forked lightning played among the branches of the trees. The women were busy with their tomahawks in stripping large flakes, or sheets of bark, from the stringy-bark trees, and setting forks and saplings whereon to place the bark for the erection of willams, or dwellings, as a shelter. The only parties disengaged were the black fellows, whose duties appeared to be to pray for fine weather by a continued melancholy chant. This office they continued for a short time after the rain commenced, and when all the rest of us had retired under shelter; but finding that their good divinity, in the present instance, was deaf to their appeals, they exclaimed, "Marmingatha bullarto porkwadding: quanthueeneera?" "Marmingatha is very sulky, and why?" and commenced throwing ashes in the direction in which they believed she resided; and saying, "T'see waugh!" an exclamation of contempt and defiance, they returned to the willams. In this instance they did not believe in her. The storm raged for a short time, but, like all other occurrences, whether of divine or human agency, ceased, and towards midnight all was again calm, and a clear moon and brilliant starlight night succeeded. Sleep had sealed the eyes of most of our party, when a gruff, "Noo-jee, noo-jee" (Anglice, "That will do, that will do") was heard in response to the sharp whizzing bark of poor old "Go-away", the dog, upon which the camp was fully awake, and greeting the new comer. Our nocturnal visitor was "Big Jack" (a notice of whose death from cholera was noticed, a few weeks since, in the Melbourne journals), the husband of the plump, curly-haired, pleasing, and musical-voiced Mary Anne, of Yore, but now decrepid with pains at Moordy-Yallock. After helping himself, without "by'r leave", to a plentiful supply of the various viands, he coiled in, and we were soon all asleep.
Shortly after breakfast all the older men disappeared, leaving me, and Jemmy, and two or three youths, to take charge of the camp and its interesting and astonishing lovely female occupants. On this occasion, my desire to acquire a knowledge of their language appeared to have been observed, and little Sally Sally, the affianced bride of Jemmy (two most faithful likenesses of whom we observed the other day in a window in Elizabeth-street, by Mr. Haseldon), undertook the part of instructing me, and I consequently commenced taking my first lessons in the language. My clumsy attempts at pronouncing their soft Italian, although somewhat guttural idiom, was the occasion of loud bursts of laughter from Sally Sally, in which she was joined by the other females, and occasionally by the young men.
The first lesson consisted, as usual, in. making me acquainted with the names for the various parts of the body; and commencing, first, with the hand, "Myrnong-atha"—foot, "Geenong-ah-tha"—leg, "Thorrong-ah-tha"—the boots, "Geenong-alook," or, covering for the foot—trowsers, "Thorong-alook," or covering for the legs—gloves, "Myrnong-alook"—head, "Gowong-atha"—hat, "Cobbera Cowong"—eyes, "Myrring-ah-tha"—mouth, "Worong-ah-tha"—ear, "Kidnong-ah-tha,"—hair, "Yarra gondackahtah." We observed that every substance of a flowing character was accompanied by the word "Yarra," in its various forms and modifications. The name of salt-water, rolling in on the beach, was "Yarrain"—the river Yarra Yarra, "flowing flowing"—the beard and whiskers, "Yarragondook," &c. For further information touching their language, the readers should refer to my work on the aboriginal language, printed at the Argus office in 1851, the production of which work was the result of the present lesson. This morning we observed that they practised some little amusements among themselves, and some were playing with a puzzle made of string—"cudgi, cudgick"—made from the fibre of a tree (Sida pulchella) common on the banks of the mountain streams, as well as occasionally on the banks of the Yarra. This puzzle was played between two individuals, and required two pairs of hands, in the same manner as the juvenile game of "cats' cradle", common to our own country. Many opossums had been caught during our excursion, and the skins were now pegged out on sheets of bark, and stretched to their fullest tension with wooden pegs of the Pomaderris apetala, or dogwood. The points of the pegs had been previously scraped with a piece of broken bottle, and hardened in the fire so as to enable them to act as a substitute for European tacks and nails; and a quantity of them was the never-failing accompaniment of a "Baggerooks", or black woman's basket, or "Beenack". After the opossum skins are sufficiently stretched and dried, they are very curiously marked, the work of the men; animals, kangaroos, emus, as well as the human figure, are frequently represented by ft piece of broken glass bottle, or, when not to be obtained, the bowl of a metal spoon, with one side filed sharp, for the purpose of scratching the skin when in the soft state. Prior to the introduction among them of needles and thread, they used the finer tendons and sinews of the kangaroo and opossum for thread, and the sharp-pointed bone of a fish or kangaroo for a needle, in sewing their rugs. In those days they needed not the aid of foreign ornament, but were amply adorned with strings, and a necklace called "Coornburt", composed of a number of short pieces of reed, strung together, and hanging pendant from the neck. Through the septa of the noses of the young dandies of the male sex were large pieces of bone running transversely through, and forming a kind of spritsail-yard. The young ladies wore around them a kind of bustle, composed of a ropeyarn-like substance, which hung in pendant waves halfway down to the knees. With their hair they took great pains, and, to judge from the extreme anxiety observed in carefully using and putting by into their baskets every string or other decorative material, it would seem to have been connected with one of their rude superstitions; and, as I subsequently discovered, such was the case. Pomade and grease of opossum fat was rubbed abundantly on the hair, a piece of gaily-colored rag being afterwards tied around the head. Fortunately for us, we had taken our first day's lesson in languages before their elaborate toilette of the day, otherwise we should have committed a breach of aboriginal etiquette, in leaving a neighborhood whose perfume resembled not the aroma of the mignionette or jasmine.
Towards sundown the old warriors returned, as warriors of any nation should, with shield, helimar, spear, jagged geraor, and the "wommera", or throwing-stick, an instrument necessary in giving the proper impetus to the spear. The helimar, with many other of its ornamental companions, is now extinct. It was made of the thin piece of wood which may be occasionally seen forming protuberances from the large trees; and, in being removed, the outer portion of the bark was taken off, and the whole affair finished into an excellent shape, with a handle through the middle of the under portion, whilst on the outer surface was cut or carved a number of zig-zag characters or stripes, on which, in whatever way the spear of the enemy alighted, its point was caught. Our friends had brought with them, in addition to the shields, a plentiful supply of some other particularly formidable-looking implements of warfare. They appeared to be in a high state of excitement, as compared with the usually philosophic and well-bred bearing which in general characterised this sooty generation. A hive of native bees had been discovered by one of the children—a yan yean, or boy—who had caught one of the little insects, not much larger than a musquito, while dipping its little proboscis into the blossom of a native honeysuckle, Banksia, extracting from the nectaries of the flower its sweet juices. The little fellow was caught and marked by the boy with the feather-like seed of a composite plant, and followed to its home in a neighboring gum tree; thus betraying the little industrious community of which it formed a member. The boy returned to the camp, and communicated the result of his discovery, when two large hollow sheets of bark were procured, thus forming bowls, which were carried to the tree and speedily filled with pure honey.
The native bees are very small, half the size of the common house-fly, and are stingless.
The bellicose intentions of the warriors appeared to lead them in the direction of the Plenty ranges, and the Goulburn river, as they took that direction in leaving the camp; and, as I had not yet visited that part of the country, I determined upon prevailing upon Jemmy and one or two of his companions to accompany me in that direction.
My desire met with a ready response, and the next morning was determined on as the time for setting out. The warriors made their exit simultaneously, during the silence of the night, as is their wont. In taking the direction of the ranges, we were in some measure actuated by a desire to see to what use they would apply the spears at the fight, if fight was intended; and we had now gained sufficient knowledge of the natives as induced us to place the strictest reliance upon their good faith of respecting our claim as a non-combatant, to prevent any fear of being compromised in the results of the campaign.
On starting next morning, we travelled for some distance through a forest composed of several sorts of bushy species of the acacia, of which the most prominent and troublesome were the prickly wattle, Acacia verticillata. After emerging from this, we had for some distance an open country, until reaching a part of the creek on which now stands the station of Mr. Turner, where we camped at noon to take luncheon. A porcupine and a wollabee had been caught during this morning's stage. From this creek we travelled in a direction bearing to the left, and found large clusters of the Daviesia latifolia, or native hop; and wherever this plant was common, the neighborhood abounded in crab-holes. We soon reached what was afterwards called Thomson's Station (now Frencham's), near the Anderson's Creek diggings. We camped here for the night, and, after travelling a few miles the following day in the direction of the ranges, learned that peaceful overtures had been made by the Plenty blacks, and accepted by our advanced plenipotentiaries; we again returned to Thomson's Station, and from thence commenced our final return to the settlement. Passing through the scrubby ground and thinly-timbered and undulating country about Heidelberg, we reached the settlement, after an absence of a few days.
We shall now endeavour to vary our narrative with the results of our travels with Dr. Leichhardt, in the north-eastern tropical portions of the tropics of the Colony.
NARRATIVE OF DR. LEICHHARDT'S EXPEDITION: ITS OBJECT BEING TO EXPLORE THE INTERIOR OF AUSTRALIA, TO DISCOVER THE EXTENT OF STURT'S DESERT, AND THE CHARACTER OF THE WESTERN AND NORTH-WESTERN COAST, AND TO OBSERVE THE GRADUAL CHANGE IN VEGETATION AND ANIMAL LIFE, FROM ONE SIDE OF THE CONTINENT TO THE OTHER.
Dr. Leichhardt did not expect to be able to accomplish this overland journey to Swan River in less than two years and a half.
He purposed to travel over his old route as far as Peak Ranges, and then to shape his course westward; but thought it not impossible, as his course depended on water, that he should be obliged to reach the Gulf of Carpentaria, and follow up some river to its source.
It now becomes our duty to let our readers know with what success these intentions were carried out.
There are, perhaps, few names more closely associated with the rise and progress of the Australian colonies than that of the lamented Br. Ludwig Leichhardt, whether we consider the success attendant on his first expedition to Port Essington, and the valuable addition made to the geographical and scientific departments of the hitherto terra incognito, or tropical portions of the colony; or the hardships attending the two subsequent expeditions, in which he contemplated nothing less than the exploration of the whole of the island lying between Sydney and Swan River, with its animal and vegetable productions. The author acted in the capacity of naturalist and botanist to the expedition, and collected upwards of one thousand plants, with, where practicable, their specimen papers in triplicate; and among which were some, forming new genera, species, and varieties, in the Botanical Gardens, Melbourne, which have been determined by the Government botanist, Dr. Ferdinand Mueller.
Until our arrival in Sydney, we were personally unknown to Dr. Leichhardt, although, with others, we formed one of those who admired the steadfast and courageous manner in which he had just terminated an undertaking that rendered his name, from one end of the continent to the other, as familiar as household words. My arrangements with the doctor were effected through a written correspondence; one of our conditions on joining the party was an equal share of any specimens in natural history which might be collected during the journey, and this threatened to be the cause of my not joining in the interesting movement of the forthcoming expedition. In a few days I received a reply favorable to my expectations,, with instructions to be in Sydney in time to start on the first of October. On the receipt of this letter, I made instant preparations for my departure, and took my passage in the "Himmalaya", under the command of Captain Burn. I bade farewell to this good city at a time memorable in the annals of Australia Felix, as on that day Dr. Palmer, the present respected Speaker of our Legislative House of Assembly, but who at that time occupied the civic chair of our then infant municipality, had the pleasing duty of reading the Riot Act to the playfully but mischievously-disposed citizens of Melbourne. I trust this interesting and important epocha may not be overlooked by the compilers of almanacs, in manufacturing their next chronological summary of remarkable events. But to proceed.
We left Melbourne on a Tuesday, in September, in the year of grace 1846, and, after a pleasing passage of six days, reached the picturesque entrance to the celebrated harbor of Port Jackson early on the Sunday morning following; and a gentle breeze wafted us slowly into the harbor, near the Circular Wharf, where we anchored in the evening. Our slow progress up the river gave us ample time to admire what has been on so many occasions, and by able writers, graphically described. The apparently artificially-cut semi-circular inlets on either side, and in the back-ground scenery the most picturesque, relieved with innumerable villa residences, built from the natural free-stone, the abundance of which, combined with prison labor in former years, conduced materially in rendering Sydney, in point of buildings and architecture, one of the most important cities in the Austral Asiatic colonies.
On the following morning, we paid our respects to Dr. Leichhardt, by whom we were kindly received. We found him busily engaged in packing up, arranging, and putting by the various collections in natural history, the result of his former travels, in which he was being assisted by his faithfully attached friend (of the 63rd), Lieutenant Lynd, barrackmaster, and with whom we had been personally acquainted some years previously, during our botanical travels in Tasmania. Dr. Leichhardt expressed his satisfaction at our speedy arrival, as it enabled us to accompany his personal staff overland to Darling Downs. Had our arrival been delayed, we should have had the alternative of reaching Moreton Bay by sea, in which case we should have been deprived of the pleasure of an inspection of the Hunters River, the table land of New England, and the fertile district of Darling Downs, one of the most celebrated squatting localities in either northern or southern Australia. This lovely country was discovered by poor Cunningham, the botanist, who has long since paid his debt at the altar of science, during one of Sir Thomas Mitchell's expeditions, in which he took the part of naturalist; his disappearance and death occurred most mysteriously, during a botanical reconnaisance from the camp. The only remains of this unfortunate gentleman was the remnant of a coat which he was known to have worn when be absented himself from his companions. This melancholy circumstance occurred on the Bogan, a tributary of the Darling, which, next to the Murray, forms one of the great arteries of the western system of waters. How many botanists and naturalists have met with a similar fate to poor Cunningham!—Gilbert, Kennedy, Leichhardt, and lastly poor Strange, collector for Gould, the celebrated ornithologist, of London. Mr. Strange was one of our oldest and most constant contributors and correspondents: he had just returned from a visit to Europe, by the "Vimiera". Two months before seeing the melancholy account of his death by the blacks,. in the Sydney Morning Herald, which occurred in the Wide Bay district, he called for the purpose of seeing us in Melbourne, and for the first time, after a series of years in which we were correspondents, to effect a personal acquaintance. We did not meet, and in two or three short months he was numbered with the dead; and let us hope that, "after life's fitful fever, he sleeps well,"—if a man can be said to have had time to arrange his mind for that great event while suffering from the effect of several barbed spears, which had entered his body in various places. "Peace to his manes." And now to again proceed with the more legitimate subject of Leichhardt's movements.
It was proposed to leave Sydney on the following evening; and from tie multiplicity of bis arrangements, and the many calls on his time, which under present circumstanced he could so ill afford to spare, he was desirous of concealing his intentions from the public. It is needless to say that in this attempt he was disappointed; as one who occupied so much of the notice of the people, a kind and attentive surveillance followed his every movement; and, on reaching the steamer "Thistle" at 10 p.m. a large concourse of the citizens was in attendance, offering their congratulations and good wishes for the successful termination of his intended and arduous undertaking. Among those who wished for an introduction, were some friends of our own. Excepting, however, to two or three who accompanied us on hoard, we did not encroach upon the doctor's attention.
Our passage up the Hunter as far as Newcastle being performed in the night time, we had no opportunity of observing the character of the adjoining country. We stepped upon deck at six o'clock the next morning, and found ourselves abreast of the harbor at Newcastle. We saw little to admire in this township, and believe its principal recommendation to be an abundant supply of indifferently-good coal. We reached the pretty township of Raymond Terrace in time to partake of a sumptuous breakfast with the Rev. Mr. Spencer, the officiating minister of that place. We waited for the arrival of the "Cornubia", on board of which vessel was our baggage, horses, and another group of our future compagnons de voyage—Mr. James Perry, saddler; Mr. Boecking, cook; and a Mr. Myers (as far as we remember), professor of music—to which we were introduced.
The next morning we started for Irrawing, the residence of James King, Esq., long celebrated for his growth and manufacture of colonial wine, as well as having been the first to establish a pottery for the manufacture of delf. Here we took the remainder of our horses, which had been grazing in Mr. K.'s paddock. awaiting our arrival; after which we proceeded to the residence of Lieutenant Caswell, where we were again kindly received, and our whole party most hospitably entertained until the following morning. From hence we made a start for the village of Stroud, at Port Stevens, the head station of the Australian Agricultural Company, at that time under the management of Captain P.P. King, of the Royal Navy. Dr. Leichhardt was anxious to reach that establishment, as he wished to see the twelve mules he had bought from the company, being apprehensive that some delay would be necessary in breaking in these playful animals. He had also purchased from William Charles Wentworth, Esq., M.L.C., the flock of Thibet goats, consisting of 270 head, at five shillings each. The doctor's object in this purchase was that he conceived they would easily travel, and furnish a supply of meat during the early part of the expedition, in which case they would not impede our progress; and by the time that portion of our live stock was consumed, our mainstay, the bullocks, would be quiet, and carry us to Swan river, even should the time exceed the period of three years.
We made an early start, as the distance from hence to Stroud was of a somewhat hilly character. In the course of the day's journey, we had an opportunity, for the first time, of seeing some fine specimens of the apple-tree gum (Angophera latifolia), Sterculia heterophylla (Corryong tree of the northern districts), and, among crevices in the sandstone-rock, the Dwarf zamia.
On reaching the end of our journey, we were, as usual, kindly met and welcomed by the inhabitants, who furnished accommodation to the whole of the party during our sojourn, which exceeded a fortnight.
At Stroud, the various little gardens were divided by hedges of rose-trees, geraniums, olives, lemon and orange trees; the latter were of luxuriant growth, and had been clipped in the same manner as the larch, yew, and similar trees in Britain. The doctor was not wrong as regarded the mules, which proved to be stubborn to the fullest extent of the proverb—"stubborn as a mule", and as active as monkeys. Not to tire the reader with what might be appropriately termed "a chapter of accidents", the consequence of the attempt at breaking in the mules, and in the course of which an indelibly-impressed mark of an acute crescent, the result of a kick on the shin, fell to our share, it will be sufficient to state that Dr. Leichhardt purchased from the company fourteen, for which he paid fourteen pounds ten shillings per head. Many of these animals were of a cross from the Cleveland breed of horses, and in some cases were upwards of seventeen hands high. Mr. Hovendon Hely was despatched, in company with Wommai, a black fellow, native of Port Stephens, to Windermere, one of Mr. Wentworth's stations, for the purpose of bringing in the flock of goats. In three days they returned with their interesting flock of live stock. The prevailing color of the goats was white, the lot consisting entirely of ewes and wethers, and did not include a single billy. Fortunately, however, we were very kindly presented with a quiet and perfect male specimen by a gentleman at Gloster. This animal was a great pet with Wommai, the native, who, at his urgent request, was allowed to accompany us in the expedition; and, during its continuance, the reader will discover that he did "yeoman's service."
Everything being now, as the doctor imagined, in readiness, and as he wished to reach the bounds of civilisation as early as possible, we made another start for the table land of New England.
It must have been extremely gratifying to Dr. Leichhardt's feelings to witness the many very liberal offers made to himself and party by the various residents at this interesting village, each person vieing with the other in pressing upon our acceptance articles which they considered might be of service to us during our long and solitary journey through the wilderness; but as the main feature of the expedition was to take only such articles as could not be dispensed with, they were politely declined.
Perhaps in no part of the work could an outline of the very limited amount of stores, and other matters, which our means of carriage allowed, be more appropriately famished to our readers.
It is, of course, generally understood that our only way of transporting our supplies was on the backs of the mules taken from Stroud; each mule carrying one hundred weight and a half. The loads were so arranged as to be packed in three separate lots, fifty pounds in each leathern bag on either side of the animal, and the third placed on the top, so as partly to rest on the side loads; and over all was thrown and buckled a strong leathern belt, or circingle. The quantity of flour taken was just sufficient to admit of a daily allowance of three ounces and a half to each man for a period of eight months, by which time it was supposed that they would have become sufficiently abstemious in their habits to enable them to dispense with that "staff of life" during the remainder of the journey, which it was expected would terminate in two years from that period. The party consisted of nine individuals: this quantity was usually made into a damper, and subdivided into nine parts; and we can assure our readers that to nine hungry fellows it appeared to be a mighty small affair. As regarded the meat department, that was allowed to carry itself in the shape of bullocks. Of clothing, each man took two pairs of spare trousers, one pair of blucher boots, one blanket, and other articles upon the same ratio; we had also each a light oiled calico poncho, through which in wet weather we were enabled to poke our head; and the bottom part of that article thus protected our lower limbs, as well as forming a shelter to our saddle-bags and blankets, which were strapped over the horse's withers; we had also thereon fastened, by their double wire handles, two pannikins, which were so made as that the smaller fitted into the larger one where it was fastened. We had also two small tents made (unfortunately) of the same (by far too thin and light) material as the ponchos, into which we, so long as they continued tenable, crept and sheltered ourselves from the wet and inclement weather, for which the year that we commenced our journey (1846) was remarkable.
During our journey from Stroud to Gloster, we passed over some fine,, rich, but broken country; and among the crevices of the moss and lichen-covered blocks of rock, we saw some beautiful species of Epiphites, Dendrobium linguiformis, Dendrobium speciosum, and a smaller glaucous-leaved species; with Acrosticum alcicorne, Cymbidium sauveolens. The glutinous but sweetly-tasted berries appeared to be much relished by the aborigines, as well as by ourselves subsequently during our long journey in the wilderness, as by that time there was not the slightest degree of fastidiousness remaining among us, We were kindly entertained at this place by Mr. Darby, whose residence was beautifully situated near the base of two remarkably bluff-looking mountains, called the Buckens. Here we had the pleasure of meeting, for the first time, a gentleman who has since made himself, or has been made, the subject of a world-wide reputation, and for some time formed an ample field for colonial discussion. It is needless to say that the party to whom we allude is Mr. Hargraves, who, on that occasion, certainly could lay no claim to the precept held out in the much-quoted line, "Coming events cast their shadows before," as he was then looking for timber, in which he was a dealer; and not for what has since, by an extraordinary accident, laid the basis of a magnificent fortune—Gold.
We still continued our journey, through small farms and stations, the property of the company, and through which ran many free-flowing streams and rivers. At all of these places we were kindly treated; and on the Monday following the time of leaving Stroud, we commenced the ascent of Hungry Hill, whose top forms the table land of New England.
In the course of our ascent up the hill, we observed, for the first time, the large hillocks made by the white ant; many of them three to four feet in height, and, being constructed of the deep red clay common to the locality, they presented a singular and imposing appearance. Where they are situated near a hut, the hutkeepers convert them into ovens for baking bread; and in any case they form, if properly managed, floors as firm as Roman cement. We reached the top of Hungry Hill early in the evening, and were heartily welcomed by Mr. Lowry, the superintendent of the station, which also belonged to the A.A. Company.
After spelling one day at Mr. Lowry's, on the following morning we commenced our descent on the other side of the hill. We reached the residence of Mr. Thomas Rusden, at Salisbury Plains, New England, where we were kindly entertained until the arrival of the rest of the party in charge of the goats.
The nights here were very cold. The elevation, taken by the boiling water apparatus of the Rev. W.B. Clarke, of St. Leonard's, was 3,127 feet.
From Salisbury Plains, we continued our journey over New England, through Falconer Plains, at an elevation of 4,386 feet, until reaching Rosenthall, the station of Mr. Bracker, at Darling Downs. Here we remained a few days, and made our final departure for Jimba, the furthest advanced station, and from where we intended entering upon our travels through the wilderness.
Not to tire the reader, it will be sufficient to remark that our journey from Rosenthall to this station was over a country unequalled in any other part of Australia, either as regards beauty of scenery, variety of surface, or the rich character of its grazing capabilities. All the intervening stations are situated on creeks and watercourses, falling from the western slope of the coast range, meandering through rich extensive plains until they join the Condamine river, which appears to form for a great distance the separation of the sandstone country to the westward from the rich volcanic plains to the eastward. These plains have become remarkable as the depositories of the remains of extinct species of animals of a gigantic size—the marsupial representatives of the Pachydermal order of other continents.
The station of Messrs. Hughs and Isaacs (Gowrie) has proved to be wonderfully prolific in the production of these gigantic remains; indeed, fresh specimens generally offer themselves after an unusually high flood, when portions of the banks of the creek and water-courses have given way. We believe Mr. Isaacs deserves credit for having sent the first perfect specimens for the examination of Professor Owen, of London, who devoted a pamphlet to that especial subject. It is, perhaps, remarkable that similar remains should have been discovered in the vicinity of the Hopkins, Lake Colac, and other parts of the Port Phillip district.
Among the herbage, which was luxuriant, were many plants of the Leguminous order, consisting of several species of Swainsonia, whose blossoms were both large and showy, and of the most brilliant colors; amidst which, in the richest soil and most sheltered situations, the Glycine bimaculata, and large groups of the Crinum, white lily. The Mimosa terminalis (native sensitive plant) was most abundant, its densely pinnatifid phyllodia collapsing at the slightest touch. In places which were slightly elevated, many species of Acacia made their appearance, including the celebrated Weeping Myall (A. pendula), with an erect-growing species, known as Coxen's Myall. The timber was principally composed of the box and apple-tree, together with the Moreton Bay ash and three species of the Eucalypti.
On reaching Jimba, we had the satisfaction of finding that Mr. John Mann had arrived from Moreton Bay with our stores, which he had brought from Sydney by sea, as also a Mr. Turnbull, from Port Stevens.
Our party now consisted of nine individuals. Dr. Ludwig Leichhardt, leader; Daniel Bunce, botanist and naturalist; John Mann, draftsman; Hovenden Hely; James Perry, saddler; Henry Boecking, a German cook; Mr. Turnbull, assistant stock-keeper: Wommai (alias Jemmy), and Harry Brown, both aboriginal natives of Port Stevens. The latter had accompanied Dr. Leichhardt in his former expedition to Port Essington. Of stock, we had 108 sheep, which had been presented to the party by the various gentlemen through whose stations we had travelled; Mr. Dennis, of Jimba, having very liberally given twenty out of the number. Our goats were 270, bullocks forty, horses fifteen, mules thirteen.
On December 7, 1846, having made every necessary preparation, we left Jimba, and, following the course of the Condamine river, which now presented a mere chain of water holes, we made a station which had been lately taken up by a Mr. Goggs, formerly of the firm of Goggs and Walpole, whose station was on the Yarra Yarra, near the Survey Paddock, Richmond, now called Hawthorne.
December 8.—Left for Mr. Stephens', another advanced station on the Condamine, the doctor and myself driving the goats and sheep. This was a tedious day's journey to the party in charge of the cattle and stores, as well as ourselves, owing to the frequency of Brigalowe scrub, which rendered the course very circuitous. The Brigalowe is a species of hard-wooded Acacia, apparently identical with the rosewood Acacia of Moreton Bay. At the latter place it assumes the character of a tree of considerable height, and isolated. Its leaves are long and slightly falcate, and of a silvery grey color. In addition to the scrub, the long, tangled tussocks of grass and Polygonum, offered great impediments to the sheep and goats; and we were compelled to camp for the night. Having no provisions, we had to fast until the following morning.
December 9.—We made an early start this morning for the station of Mr. Stephens, where we found that our companions had arrived late the night before, with the cattle, mules, and stores. Owing to the fatigue attendant on yesterday's stage, the doctor determined on remaining a day to rest the sheep and goats, as well as to enable the party to wash what clothes they might have dirty. We, of course, made up for our long fast of the preceding day and night. Peculiar to the scrub through which we passed, was a species of Lemonia, producing a fruit the size of a small apple. The stem is famished with small privet-like leaves, and armed with thorns, or spines, of considerable length, very sharp, and consequently, however agreeable their produce, the shrubs themselves formed an unpleasant obstruction to our movements while travelling through the scrub in which they abounded.
The weeping Myall was here literally overgrown with a very pretty and showy species of Loranthus, This parasite was at the time in blossom, and of which we obtained specimens. Pentophyllum elatum and Ranunculus inundatus were common in and around the melon holes, which were frequent, and of a tenacious and calcareous nature. The horses ate greedily of a species of Eryngium. A new composite, with white blossoms, made its appearance. The banks of the river were lined with the dark, sombre-colored Casuarina, of a tall pyramidal growth, These trees presented the nearest approach to the fir tribe of any we had as yet seen. The heaps of a large kind of muscle shell (Unio.) were apparent on the banks of the river and in the scrubs, to which they had probably been carried, cooked, and eaten by the natives, whose tracks were plainly to be seen. We disturbed many of the short, knobby-tailed sleeping lizard (Agama); Jemmy killed one, from which he took a number of eggs with soft shells, which he cooked and ate; he very kindly invited us to partake of his dainty repast. Kangaroo and Wallabee tracks crossed the scrubs in various directions.
December 10. Left Stephens' station, which proved to be the last between us and the wilderness, and from the time of leaving whence we expected to be confined to our own little party until we succeeded in reaching the "land of the west," namely, Swan River; and in order to effect which the doctor conceived would take at least between two and three years. The reader may easily imagine the cordial and friendly parting we took of our friends the Stephens prior to leaving the station.
We continued a north by west course, following the valley of the Condamine, until half-past two p.m., when we camped, having accomplished, as we supposed, a distance of ten miles. About seven miles from Stephens' station, and thirty-two from Jimba, we found the skull of a horse, which on showing to Dr. Leichhardt, he at once pronounced as being the remains of the one formerly left by Mr. Pemberton Hodgson, while prosecuting the search for the doctor, during the time he was supposed to have been lost, while engaged in exploring the country between Moreton Bay and Port Essington. His alleged death created no ordinary sensation at the time, and was the theme of some very elegant and touching verses by his friend Lieutenant Lynd and others.
At a short distance from were we found the skull, a heap of bones was also seen; they had been partly burnt, and evidently formed a portion of the same animal.
The white lily grew here in patches, on the red puffy soil, producing a large coated bulb like the onion; its seeds are spongy and resemble the human testes, and from this circumstance the natives call it Byarrong, their name for that part of the body. They made us understand that the bulbs were a deadly poison. For dinner a fat cake was made of two pounds of flour, and afterwards divided into nine portions; and to avoid anything like partiality in the distribution, one of the party turned his back while another (Mr. Mann) called out to know to whom the pieces he then touched were to be given. This system was continued during the whole term of the expedition. Our night watching was divided into four parts, two persons in each watch of two and a half hour's duration. Latitude of our camp, 26 deg. 46 sec. 23 min.
December 11.—This day, for the first four or five miles, our course was N.W. and by N. when we came suddenly upon a large patch of boggy soil, into which the mules would persist m going, and several of them became bogged up to their girths. The spade that we had brought with us for the twofold purpose of either digging wells or graves, as either became requisite was brought into use in extricating them from the mud. After catching and reloading the mules we made another starts changing our course to west and by north. The country was a red, puffy sand, and very wet, and laborious travelling for the horses and mules. We encamped at three p.m., at what the Doctor called Charley's Creek. We had scarcely succeeded in unloading the mules, when L were visited by a very heavy shower of rain, accompanied by thunder and lightning. After the weather had cleared up, we rigged our two thin calico tents, and a sheep was killed for the first time in preference to another goat, the latter being the best travellers. On unpacking our kitchen utensils, we found that the handle of our only fryingpan was unfortunately broken, this was a source of great vexation to Bucking, the cook. From the number of tracks of black fellows seen during the day's stage, we had every reason to apprehend the close proximity of those sable gentry, and a close watch was ordered to be kept during the night.
About ten o'clock there was a great commotion in the camp, many parties imagining that they saw a small fire in the distance, of course supposed to proceed from a camp of blacks. At eleven p.m., during the doctor's watch, the whole of our stock, excepting three horses, and the sheep and goats, gallopped off simultaneously at great speed through the mud up the creek, nor could we account for this unusual commotion, unless by supposing that they had either seen or smelt the black fellows, who, for the remainder of the night were supposed to be, as our two black fellows remarked, close up.
December 12.—It was not until daylight this morning that we discovered we had the three horses remaining, on two of which Mr. Hely and Brown were dispatched in search of the missing cattle. At noon a number of blacks made their appearance, to whom we perhaps unjustly attributed the loss of our stock, for which reason they met with a very cool reception; indeed, the doctor waved them off with his hand. This was a hint they could not or would not understand, as they continued for some time to advance towards us; they at length, however, turned in the direction of a small patch of scrub, where they made a small fire and camped. In a short time the doctor visited them, taking with him the handle of the fryingpan, which he presented to them. They did not appear to appreciate this gift very highly, as after looking at it they threw it carelessly on the ground. Among their number was a fine chubby little boy, who caught hold of my hand, in which I had a small piece of tobacco: "Bacco by ———," exclaimed the little urchin, shewing they had not only seen whites before, but had picked up as usual some of the worst words used in our language, and what was more remarkable, it proved to be the extent of their knowledge of English, as we endeavoured to obtain from them some information respecting our missing stock, but we could not succeed in making ourselves understood. Many of these blacks appeared to have a habit of closing one eye, or that organ was wanting altogether; they appeared to suffer much from ophthalmia, and each individual carried a small branch for the purpose of brushing off the flies which were both numerous and troublesome, and settled in large numbers around their eyes. Their bodies were horribly scarified, evidently inflicted by sharp weapons. We afterwards learned that they were in the habit of fighting hand to hand, inflicting on each other deep and dangereous wounds with pieces of stone, wood, bones, and other articles made sharp, and used for fighting instruments. I was much struck by the similarity of many of their words to those used by the aborigines at Melbourne, as instance the following, which are precisely the same: head, cowong; foot, geenong; eyes, myrring; nose, cong; leg, thirrong; mouth, worong; hair, yarragong; whiskers, yarra-gondock; teeth, leeang; fire, weenth; water, baanth; bark, willam; sun, nowing; moon, menia; this word slightly differs, as the blacks at Melbourne call that planet Meeniyang. There is also a trifling difference in their name for stars, tutbiern, the Melbourne word, being toothyroong. Mr. Turnbull and Wommai, who had alžo been in search of the cattle, returned in the evening without success. They tracked them to a dense brigalowe scrub; among the cattle tracks they observed those of two blackfellows, who had very probably been the cause of the dilemma. Neither Mr. Hely nor Brown returned this night. The thermometer at two p.m., 104, while hanging under the shade of a large gum tree. Latitude 26░ 44'.
December 13.—Sunday.—Mr. Turnbull and Wommai were again despatched for the cattle, &c., with instructions to follow on the tracks left yesterday.
The weather being oppressively hot, Mr. Mann and myself entered the creek for the purpose of bathing, but our aquatic gambols were of very short continuance, as we observed many snakes in the vicinity. Their heads were the only parts at first observable, and we imagined they were nothing more than small aquatic insects, until one landed on the opposite bank, when his whole length was displayed, and we were no longer in doubt as to their character. We lost no time in getting ashore, and gave the reptiles absolute possession of the creek. The mosquitoes were very numerous, and we were not long in finishing our toilette.
Took a stroll along the bank of the creek, when I found its course to be from E.N.E. to W.S.W.; it abounded in the small tortoise. I found the following plants: Zornia, a small trailing species with orange-coloured blossoms, and rough articulated seed-pods. Two species of Solanum or Kangaroo apple. Stenochilus, two species: the one a dwarf shrub, the other growing to the size of a small tree. One very odoriferous Cassia: three species of Grewia, These plants have leaves exactly resembling the filbert nut trees; their fruit is a three-celled capsule, the flavour being that of the raisin of commerce. This agreeable taste is only extracted, however, by means of pounding or crushing the fruit between the teeth or otherwise. We afterwards, when in the tropics, were in the habit of collecting, crushing between stones, and afterwards boiling this fruit in water, which yielded a very pleasant and agreeable beverage, not to be despised by those who, like ourselves, were not in a position to become even as abstemious as teetotallers; as a very short time after leaving civilisation sugar was a forbidden article to all but the leader; of tea, however, we had plenty, but without sugar even that was not much appreciated. Speaking for myself, I, in the absence of sugar, preferred the pure element, cold water. In the evening Turnbull and Wommai returned with some of the mules and horses. Meteoric appearances or falling stars were very frequent this night to the northward and westward. Lightning very vivid was also seen from the westward. Thermometer at noon, 98; half-past three p.m., 110. I here commenced a practice which I afterwards followed at every convenient opportunity where the soil and situation was suitable, of sowing seeds of the most useful fruit and vegetables. The snakes here were both numerous and large; they were also bold and fearless in proportion to their size. Mr. Turnbull and Wommai were attacked to-day while following the track of the cattle through a thick Brigalowe scrub, by one of these monsters of the brown kind!
December 14.—In the course of the night some of the horses and mules again escaped, and Wommai was sent in search of them; he returned about noon, having found those for which he was looking as well as some that had strayed previously. Dr. Leichhardt, Mr. Turnbull and Mr. Bucking, went also to look for the mules. About four p.m. Mr. Hely and Brown returned with all the cattle, they had tracked them through a dense Brigalowe scrub to Mr. Gogg's station. At seven p.m. the doctor and his companions returned after a fruitless search. I collected seeds of a new Glycine, saw also another scarlet flowering species of the same genera, seeds not ripe. Along the banks of the creek I found a new species of bean, with long round dagger-like pods, and the blossoms large and richly scented, with many species of grasses, which I believe have not as yet been described; very common among the other plants was the little Australian Sensitive Mimosa (Acacia terminalis); this plant possesses contractility and the power of mimicking animal sensibility in as great a degree as the sensitive plant (Mimosa pudica) of South America. I also collected seeds of a very handsome Swainsonia. The natives here collected and eat the bulbous root of a pretty species of Atrodium. The day until four p.m. was cloudy, and the glass stood at 81.
December 15.—The only stock missing at this time were eleven horses and mules, to obtain, which Mr. Hely and Wommai were despatched in one, and Mr. Turnbull and Brown. in another direction. The two former returned at four p.m. after an unsuccessful search. Took another stroll down the creek to relieve the monotony of our long sojourn at this camp, and found a species of Jasminum, with blossoms white, waxy, and very sweet, and an interesting plant belonging to the HedysareŠ of Jussieu. Dr. Leichhardt had also taken a stroll up the creek and returned with specimens of the very remarkable pendulent and arborescent Hakea Lowria, and native daffodil or Callostemma, a bulbous plant belonging to the AmaryllideŠ, Charlie's Greek joins the Condamine river about nine miles from our camp. At six p.m. two messengers arrived on horseback with a letter to the doctor, intimating the return of Sir Thomas Mitchell, and as an inspection of Sir Thomas's despatches were likely to form an important feature in our expedition, Dr. L. made arrangements for returning to Darling Downs on the morrow for that purpose. Thermometer four p.m., 98 in the shade.
December 16.—The doctor sent Mr. Hely to Darling Downs, instead of performing that journey himself. Mr. Turnbull and Brown returned after a useless search. After dinner the doctor and two native black fellows went in search of the missing stock; his two companions never having been on a horse before, mounted with caution. They returned with four; Wommai shot some ducks. Several birds of the Ibis kind, having beautifully bronze-coloured plumage, made their appearance. Weather very close and hot. The saddler very busy altering the pack-saddles; the party taking turn-about herding cattle. There was a great quantity of a succulent species of Portulacca, growing at this place on the banks of the creeks, which was boiled and eaten as a vegetable.
December 17.—Having been tolerably successful yesterday with his naked body guards, the doctor continued their acquaintance and went again in quest of the horses, &c., but returned, having been less fortunate than on the former occasion; he brought with him specimens of the Capparis Mitchellii, having large fruit, with a long stalk, the size of an apple, and leaves like the orange; the fruit was very pungent. Also a plant with leaves and thorns like the Bursaria, but producing a fruit as large as a plum. In the afternoon we were visited by a heavy thunder-storm, which was very agreeable, as the weather previously had been hot and sultry.
December 18.—Mr. Mann, myself, and Wommai went up the creek to select a crossing-place, and found one at the distance of three miles; found a very pretty species of Symphetum and one Cassia. Our old friends, the blacks, whom we had seen on first making the creek, returned, bringing with them their gins, as well as my young friend who had so great a penchant for tobacco. They made their camp close to ours, much against the wish of Dr. Leichhardt. In the evening, much thunder, lightning, and heavy rain, which continued until midnight, when my watch commenced.
December 19.—This morning two of the black fellows had breakfast with us, on the understanding that they were to accompany Mr. Turnbull and Brown to look for the mules. I say on the understanding, as far as we were concerned, but the fact was that they themselves understood nothing more than that they were getting a good feed. They went, however, and returned, having found one mule and one horse. Preserved specimens of Phillanthus, Cassia, Fimbristylus, Justitia, Sida, and another smaller kind of bean with yellow blossoms. Thunder and lightning again in the evening, accompanied with rain. Thermometer, 6 a.m., 66; at 3 p.m., 90; sunset, 71. Wind from the S.W.
December 20.—Sunday.—The doctor. Brown, and the two black fellows again went in search of the mules. At one o'clock they returned, the doctor suffering from diarrhœa. I give a few more words of these natives (Charlie's Creek): Bockara, boy; Condamine river, Yandukal; a' a' da, wood; Thonee, woman; Thanthi, no good; Booathanth, stinking; Boging, dog; Gothong, cloud; N'yan n'yan, pot; Pard'ng, grass; Koranga, reed; Knownong, fœces; Powang, opossum. Thermometer, sunrise, 66, 2 p.m., 88; half-past five p.m. 82, in the shade. The pumpkins and some of the other seeds sown on the 13th made their appearance above ground.
December 21.—Mr. Turnbull and Brown were again despatched for the mules. Among the blacks who returned, yesterday was one more intelligent than any we had as yet seen; and he made his debűt at our camp in the character of a wandering minstrel, singing as he went, or rather as he approached, for want of thought, the old English ballad—
He promised to buy me a bunch of blue
He promised to buy me a bunch of blue ribbons,
He promised to buy me a bunch of blue ribbons,
To tie up my tiddelle lol de dol de dol de da.
The last, words appeared to be sung, or added, more from his having forgotten, or never having known, the finish of the verse in English, than as a chorus to the song. It was not until he had sung it two or three times, that we became aware of the name of the song, and we were even then more indebted to the air, which he was very perfect in, than to the words. His sable friends appeared to be much delighted at our enjoyment of Mr. Dennis' song. The said Mr. D. proved to have a very perfect knowledge of the geography of his own and the adjoining country. He drew a rough sketch on the sand, showing the number and bearings of the different water-courses for a distance, as we afterwards discovered, of 150 miles. He represented the Condamine river as being joined a long way lower down by many more creeks, when it at times formed a vast body of water. This we afterwards, on our Fitzroy Downs' expedition, found to be the case, as the river is then called the Balonne, which, in the season of floods, leaves the surrounding country inundated for many miles; we saw watermarks on the large trees, six feet at least above the ground, at a considerable distance from, the river. Thermometer at sunrise, 65; noon, 85; sunset, 72.
December 22.—The creek had risen much within the last twenty-four hours. Our friend, the musical Dennis, took his departure. I gave him an old penny-piece, on which I had engraved, as neatly as I could, his name. This would appear to be the first piece of British currency he had ever handled, and he was apparently pleased with the Queen's head. Being in a state of nudity, and innocent of pockets, I put it in a small bag for him, after which he departed. Before going, however, he expressed a strong desire that we should follow the course of the Condamine, as far as we could judge by his signs, until we had made one of the water-courses which he had marked in the sands, and which we afterwards discovered to be Bottle Tree Creek. He appeared to signify that, by going in a north or north-easterly course, we should fall in with much Brigalow scrub, and many wild black fellows. I took rather a long stroll to-day over the red, sandy, puffy plains, and obtained specimens of three fresh Leguminous plants, a (to me) new species of Stackhousia, and a yellow, flowering Senecio. The goats' flesh appeared not to agree with any of the party excepting the doctor and myself, causing a laxity in the bowels. Nothing more having been heard of the stray mules, the doctor began to despair of finding them; and, in the event of their not being forthcoming before Mr. Hely's return with Sir Thomas Mitchell's despatches, he determined on using a large portion of the flour and sugar as fast as possible, leaving the more necessary kind of stores to be carried by the mules at present at the camp.
From the heat of the weather and the large number of flies, great part of our mutton was generally spoiled before it was eaten, although we tried both smoking it by the fire, and burying it underground. Thermometer, sunrise, 65; noon, 89; sunset, 80.
December 23.—In addition to the common flies, we were this day much annoyed by the small sand-flies, whose bite was as sharp as the mosquito's. Thermometer, sunrise, 60; noon, 88.
December 24.—The doctor and Mr. Mann rode to Kent's lagoon, and in travelling through a Brigalowe scrub he found and brought me a rare specimen of Hibiscus, They also found a duck's nest containing nine eggs, a rather singular number, being exactly one for each of the party. They were reserved for to-morrow, which being Christmas day, we were promised a tapioca pudding. In the evening Mr. Perry, the saddler, who was out herding the cattle, did not reach the camp at dark, and fearing that he had lost himself, or that some accident had befallen him, the doctor and Wommai went in search, the leader taking a horn with him which he blew with all his might, and Wommai firing a gun continually. At the distance of a mile from the camp, they heard him cooeying, in answer to the horn and gun. He was driving the cattle up instead of down the creek, having, as we had anticipated, lost his way. The party were in high spirits, which was evidently pleasing to the doctor's feelings. Thermometer at daybreak, 60; noon, 82; sundown, 79.
December 25.—Christmas day, and a smoking hot one; tapioca pudding, each man having as much as he could eat, and had no occasion, like Oliver Twist, to ask for more. Thermometer at daybreak, 69; noon, 89; four p.m., 86.
December 26.—Early this morning two more black fellows paid us a visit. They were quite strangers, and to judge from their having no knowledge of a single word of English, and their timid manner of approaching our camp, had evidently seen but little, possibly nothing of white people before; they were ushered into our presence by those already camping near us. As far as we could make out by their signs they had seen two of our missing mules, as they mimicked the actions of these animals in hobbles, and held up two fingers, evidently meaning that as being the number they had seen.
The doctor had gone this morning with Wommai to have another search for the mules, and returned at noon, having found some of them in a small richly pastured opening, surrounded by Brigalowe scrub. He had taken with him the bugle, from which he blew a long and loud blast to announce his successful return. Some of us went to meet him, and we were followed by the whole of the black fellows; on our giving the leader three cheers, they joined to a man, and the noise was almost deafening. Thermometer, two a.m., 66; noon, 92; five p.m., 88.
December 27.—Sunday. This morning the doctor and Wommai went with the two wild natives to look for the mules, which we supposed by their signs they had seen when on their way to our camp. They returned, however, at noon, after a long and useless ride. It was evident that they had either misled ns with the belief of having seen the mules, with the view of obtaining some damper and meat, or we had altogether misunderstood them: the one conjecture was just as probable as the other. Their ride, however, was not altogether without its use, as the doctor found and brought me some very fine specimens of the Logania, growing to the size of a small tree, with semi-pinnatified foliage. Our dog Spring caught a fine brush Kangaroo. Thermometer, sunrise, 64; noon, 89. It is to be understood that the glass was always kept in the shade.
December 28.—The doctor despatched the two wild black fellows with a letter stuck in a cleft stick, to be taken or forwarded by them to Mr. Dennis or Mr. Bell, at Jimba, the object of the letter being to request either of those gentlemen to engage one of their civilised natives to interpret for those who delivered the letter, with the view of learning something respecting our missing stock, as we had altogether failed in making ourselves understood. Another diseased goat was killed, the flesh of which had the effect of giving the whole of our party a violent attack of vomiting and dysentery. In addition to which, they suffered much (myself excepted) from ophthalmia, occasioned by the flies perpetually settling around their eyes, where they so firmly attached themselves as to be readily killed, a dozen at one time. After crushing these insects, a most unpleasant and fœtid smell remained on the hand. So numerous were they, that it was utterly impossible to keep the eyes more than half open. A solution of nitrate of silver was used as a dressing for the eyes affected. Thermometer, noon, 92; 4 p.m., 93; sunset, 82Ż.
December 29.—The doctor and Wommai returned to the camp at noon, from an excursion undertaken with the view of ascertaining if it was possible, on leaving this camp, to travel in a direct course without the intervention of Brigalowe scrub. The weather being oppressively hot, we erected a kind of arcade, covered with boughs, which served in some measure to protect us from the heat of the sun. Wommai shot two ducks, which we had for tea, and found them a most desirable improvement upon the diseased goat's flesh. Saw, for the first time, some whistling ducks, which were common here; they were smaller than the common black duck, and their plumage resembled the sparrow hawk. Thermometer at sunrise, 64; noon, 85; 6 p.m., 90; sundown, 83. Collected, from curiosity, to-day, upwards of thirty distinct kinds of grasses, highly nutritious, and eaten greedily by our cattle within a circuit of three miles of our camp. On mentioning this fact in a letter written and addressed to the Argus, sent with the two black fellows in a cleft stick with the doctor's, I afterwards, on my return, read in one of the Adelaide papers, where it had been copied, the number of distinct grasses being, by mistake, stated as 250.
December 30.—As none of the missing mules, after the most diligent search and inquiry, were forthcoming, and as many of the others had sore backs, the doctor, with the view of lightening the loads, and moreover being determined to travel with those we at present possessed, he determined on eating 150 lbs. of flour as speedily as possible; and when it is considered that, since leaving the settled districts, we had been restricted to the ninth part of a two-pound damper daily, it was no wonder that we were somewhat elated at the prospect of having this addition to our daily quantity of bread, although we were fully aware that our rejoicing was premature, and we should feel its effects ultimately. What with the flies, bad eyes, musquitos, and our inactive position, the party were waiting anxiously for Mr. Hely to return with the despatches, when we should be enabled to make a fresh start, and progress on our long and mysterious journey. Thermometer, sunrise, 60; noon, 89; sundown, 82.
December 31.—This day a fine fat sheep was killed as a change to the goat's flesh, which appeared to disagree with the party, and in consequence of new year's day, to-morrow, when, in addition to the mutton, we were promised by the leader a suet pudding, with the additional indulgence of sugar. Thermometer, sunrise, 60; noon, 89; sundown, 83.
January, 1, 1847.—New year's day, and like Christmas, it was a smoker. For dinner we had our promised suet and sugar pudding. After dinner, I took a walk with Wommai, crossed the creek, and went towards Kent's Lagoon to look for plants and duck's eggs; found a few of the former, but none of the latter. Thermometer, sunrise, 64; nine a.m., 89; noon, 98; sunset, 80.
January 2.—A number of black fellows again paid us a visit, and among them our old, intelligent, and musical friend, Mr. Dennis. They reported the safe delivery of the letter sent by the two wild fellows to Mr. Dennis and Mr. Bell, as well as that we might speedily expect the return of Mr. Turnbull and Brown, and another white fellow (Mr. Hely), who were, they said, bringing plenty more sheep and the missing mules. We soon discovered that they were in error in regard to the sheep and mules, as in the afternoon Mr. Turnbull and Brown returned without bringing any sheep, and had heard nothing of the mules. He also said that a report was current on the Downs that we had been rushed by the blacks, and one of the party killed. Had for dinner, by way of change, a dish of skillagalee, instead of bread. Mr. Mann shot two enormous guanas, measuring each five feet. They were given to our sable friends and visitors, our time for indulging in these luxuries not having yet arrived. Thermometer, midnight, 70; sunrise, 64; 10 a.m., in the sun, 90; from noon till half-past 4 p.m., 93 in the shade.
January 3 Sunday.—Our camp this day was one continued scene of mirth and activity, quite a change to our long, monotonous style of living, occasioned by the arrival of a great number of blacks of both sexes and all ages, from the child in its mother's arms, to men at least six feet in height, and stout in proportion. Among them were, without exception, some of the finest men I had ever seen as aborigines of this colony. As the men were large in comparison to other tribes, so were the women as proportionably small. To add to their decrepid and' miserable appearance, they had adopted the singular fashion of not allowing a single hair to grow on any part of their bodies. Over their heads they frequently run a fire-stick, to burn the hair the moment it appeared. Under the armpits, &c., I have seen a man engaged in pulling it. Occasionally he takes between his fingers more than one at a time, which gives / pain to the patient, and causes her to express as much by saying, in a plaintive tone, "Yucca! yucca! eeburra!" All the Australian natives, as far as I have observed, have some singular and superstitious customs in regard to the hair.
In my late expedition to Adelaide, my black fellow. Jemmy, preserved every single hair until his return to Melbourne, where he intended burying it in some particular locality. Indeed, it is this very remarkable custom which leads them into the still more erroneous belief that none of their people die a natural death. No sooner is one of their number taken ill, than he appeals to the Kooloolook, doctor or conjuror, who tells him that a black fellow of a neighboring tribe has visited the camp of the invalid, and stolen some of his or her hair. If, after this, the patient dies, the thief is said to have burnt the hair he had formerly stolen, and was the cause of death.
Among them was a very young woman, who had several white spots on her skin, from which circumstance she was called by our party the Piebald. This was a problem in physiology by no means difficult to solve, it being nothing more than an absence of the usual quantity of pigment, or coloring matter; when this humor is wanting in a white person, the spots are black, or what are usually called moles. The whole of these people were on their way to the Bunya Bunya country, for the purpose of obtaining that very remarkable fruit, the product of the Araucaria Bidwellii. Perhaps I shall be better understood by representing it as a species of the Norfolk Pine, Araucaria excelsa. The present species is, however, much larger than the latter kind, with large, feather-like branches; altogether, perhaps a more magnificent tree it is difficult to conceive.
The fruit is as large as a common-sized cocoanut, and, then roasted, the taste is equal, if not superior, to a mealy potato. It is only produced in large quantities every third year, when the various tribes meet for many miles round to collect and eat it. It is also said, although I am not in a position to vouch for its truth, that the eating of this fruit gives them a strong relish for human flesh, and that many people are killed, for the purpose of appeasing their unnatural and degraded appetites.
The Bunya bunya tree is confined to a narrow belt of elevated country on the. coast range, averaging from twelve and a half miles wide by twenty-five in length, and in no other part of Australia has this plant been found. Thermometer, 2 a.m., 65; noon, 93; 5 p.m., 88.
January 4.—Having. found all our mules, the doctor determined not to wait longer, for Sir Thomas Mitchell's despatches; and, for this purpose, he sent Mr. Turnbull and Brown for Mr. Hely, with instructions to the latter gentleman to return to the party immediately. I believe the doctor to have been led to adopt this measure from the fact of another and a larger body of black fellows having arrived, all being on their way for the Bunya fruit. The number of these people at our camp at this time could not have been less than two or three hundred. Their presence gave us considerable trouble in. the management of our cattle, as they could not abide their close neighborhood. Thermometer, noon, 92; 6 p.m., 88.
January 5.—By eleven o'clock this morning we had all the mules loaded, and everything prepared for a fresh start. At half-past eleven, we took leave of our sable friends, who appeared, as far as we could judge by their looks, to be somewhat astonished at our taking a course still further from civilised life. Our journey was pretty generally over low, puffy, boggy flats, intersected by small patches of rising ground, very scrubby, principally Cypress pine trees (Callaetris), having an undergrowth of Dodonea Ozothamnus Logania, Prostanthera, and another very handsome pyramidal-growing tree, which we called white Vitex, The leaves were of a lively green, and, when rubbed, emitted a strong bitter smell. We camped in the evening on a small creek, a tributary of what the blacks called Koim, Baby Creek; the bed was rotten-stone and pipe-clay. Saw many tracks of emus and kangaroos in the bed of the creek, where they had gone for water.
January 6.—Left the camp at 10 a.m., and travelled a N.W. and W. course. The country a loose, rotten sandstone, and very puffy. A new species of Eucalyptus made its appearance, having foliage, very large and bright green,—a great relief to the landscape, contrasted with the dark, sombre, and melancholy-looking cypress pines. About six miles after leaving, we again came to a bend of the creek we had left, and which proved to be a tributary of Charlie's Creek, or the northern branch of Koimbaboy. Camped at 4 p.m., on a fine chain of waterholes, called by the Doctor Thermometer Creek, Mr. Roper having broken one of these instruments at this place on his first expedition. Thermometer, on camping, 109 in the shade.
January 7.—Made an early start this morning, at half-past eight; our course being N.W. by N. Passed some finely-grassed country, crossed Acacia Creek twice, and, at two p.m., camped on the banks of Dogwood Creek, about two miles higher up than Dr. Leichhardt's old camping-place, where the soil was light and puffy, in latitude 36 deg., 24 min., 32 sec. Found in the red loose soil an interesting species of Crassula, with blossoms blue, large, and showy. The banks of this creek were in many places lined with plants of the native Dogwood (Jacksonia); hence its name.
January 8.—Our course this day was N. by W. The country was indifferent, but well watered. We crossed two creeks, running to the eastward, and camped at three p.m., on a third. The party were busy drying mutton in the sun. I collected seeds of two species of Swainsonia, Ashonemonie, Cassia, and an Amaranthaceous plant. Mr. Buckin expressed a slight disinclination to the performance of a part of his duties as cook, but was immediately silenced by the doctor, whose motto, like that of the great and immortal Nelson, was: Leichhardt insists that every man shall do his duty.
January 9.—We remained at the camp all day, for the purpose of drying the meat. The doctor took Wommai with him on a reconnoitering trip. He fell in with the tracks of Mr. Pemberton Hodgson's party. The weather was oppressively hot, and the flies troublesome. In the evening, Wommai caught some fish very like the English perch. Along the banks of the creek was another and remarkable kind of gum tree, having leaves large and laurel-like, with long, oval Kalyptra. The stem was a deep brown, and the bark fell off in small scales, which, laying in large masses at the roots, had, at first sight, a very singular effect. Latitude, 26 deg. 16 min.
January 10.—Sunday.—Course, north; 29 deg. west. Country very fine, interesected in every direction by waterholes, deep and plentiful, all running into Dogwood Creek. We camped at half-past four, p.m. On the banks of the creek were some fine specimens of the Mallaleuca, or tea tree.
January 11.—Here we remained until the return of Mr. Hely, Mr. Turnbull,;and Brown. Weather very hot; saw many wood ducks. Latitude, 26 deg. 11 min. 12 sec.; longitude, 151 deg. 30 min. Here we saw two new species of gum; the one. having the singular property of ejecting the bark from the stems in small shell-like pieces, which lie in large heaps at the butts of the trees, giving the stems of the trees the appearance of having been stripped of the bark by the natives. The other kind was very handsome: the flowers were large and abundant; the leaves were glaucous and laurel-like; the stems scaly, but closely attached to the trees. There were also, here and there, trees like the quince, but smaller, producing a fruit like a small peach, but of a bright orange color; the taste was very pungent, and would appear to be a very great favorite (as, indeed, are all bitter fruits) with the emus. For this reason we were in the habit afterwards of calling it the emu peach.
January 13.—Mr. Turnbull, Hely, and Brown returned without bringing letters or information of any kind respecting Sir Thomas Mitchell's expedition. In the afternoon, some black fellows approached our camp, bringing in their hands branches of an integral-leaved wattle, or Acacia, as tokens of peace. They did not, however, come nearer than one hundred yards or so. I obtained the following words from them, by pointing to different parts of my body and by signs:—Bobboyarra, Dogwood Creek; mea, eyes; somborong, mouth; geenong, foot; keering, arms; maang, hand; maong, hair; mea, nose; deang, teeth; peenong, ears; ma-a, head; moo, stomach; bannanoobrim, breast. By comparing these words with those I have formerly given, and which I obtained from the natives of Charlie's Creek, it will be seen how closely their language assimilates with that of the Melbourne natives. I also obtained their names for the following species of plants, which I had then in my hand:—Tharrum, Capparis, or caper trees; N'yangan, Cymbidium. This plant is an Epiphite, and common in the forks of the dead or diseased gum trees. Its blossoms are a rich waxy peach white, very sweet, and pendulant, succeeded by clusters of fleshy-like, oblong, and octangular seed pods, which are collected and eaten by the natives; N'yerroomburra, an Asceplidaceous plant, which clings to the larger trees, and produces large bags of cotton-like seed pods; Parree nettle, Coodjarra, swamp oak (Casuarina paludosa), Meen meerijarra, Erythrina, or fire tree, as it is sometimes called; N'gneera, a plant belonging to the Laurinea. They represented that, by making an incision into the stem of this tree, a violently poisonous juice exuded, which was dangerous to be touched by the tongue. Wommai said they meant "Cobbon, saucy fellow;" Bookoroo cassytha, a parasite, and a very troublesome one. This plant very much retarded our progress while travelling through the Dodonea scrub. It produces a number of large, unwholesome, viscid-looking berries. Booboira, another species of the Capparis, with long, thorn-like tendrils clinging to the neighboring trees. The fruit is large and edible. Booyilling, a handsome shrub, belonging to the CorymboseŠ. Geeinjee geeinjee, a name common, or rather applied by them to all the parasitical mosses and lichens.
January 14.—Made another, and, as we then thought, a final start, steering N.N.E. course for the first part of the day's stage, through tolerably good country, which, shortly before our camping, however, changed to rather thick, but low scrub, composed principally of white vitex, Ozothamnus, Dodonea, Metrosideros, and occasional clumps of Mellaleuca, or tea tree, in the highest, driest, and poorest situations, which was something remarkable, as these trees generally delight in wet, marshy places. Caught a very large and beautifully-marked mantis, or animated straw, which was crawling over Mr. Perry's shirt. Its length was, from head to tail, ten inches. Our kangaroo dog. Swift, caught a fine kangaroo, which was cooked and dressed for the dogs. At the distance of a mile and a half from where we camped, we passed a remarkably-formed conical hill, of sandstone formation, called by the doctor, on his former expedition, Roper's Peak, in honor of Mr. Roper, who was one of his persevering companions on that occasion. We encamped at noon on a small creek near the grave of a black fellow, for which reason it was called Dead Man's Creek.
15th January.—Course to-day, west, 66 deg. north, through the most magnificent volcanic and undulating plains-like country, equal to Darling Downs. We camped at half-past two p.m., at the head of the River Dawson. Saw, for the first time, a fine specimen of the Bottle tree, a Sterculiaceous plant, which, at the suggestion of Sir Thomas Mitchell, has been determined as a new genus, called Dela Bechia, in honor of a friend of Sir Thomas of that name. This tree grows to the height of from forty to sixty feet, and the stems have precisely the form of a sodawater bottle. The blacks appear to be in the habit of cutting through the bark, and eating the soft pulpy stem, which is almost as soft as a turnip. With the bark itself they make nets and twine. The Doctor got a kick in the stomach from Parramatta Jenny (one of the mules). It commenced raining heavily yesterday afternoon, shortly after camping, and did not clear up until twelve o'clock this day. On the banks of the Dawson I collected specimens of a (to me) new and spineless species of Bursaria, Commelina, ConvolvulacŠ, another species of bean, mimosa with very large pendulant and closely pinnatified leaves. Glycine, and on the rich open plains, Sida, Anthericum or Bulbine, with very large blossoms, Ruellia, Phytolacco, Cassia, Symphetum Phillanthus, Justitia, and a very graceful and abundant flowering Sida, five and six feet high.
16th January.—The same fine rich open country continues; our course was west by north. Another kangaroo was killed. The dogs gave chase to two large emus, but they took to the scrub, which put an end to the chase.
17th January.—The country to-day rich confined plains, and belts of Brigalowe and Dodonea scrubs alternately. Our course was north-west. Found a very beautiful species of Pimelia, with large globular-headed blossoms of a deep crimson; saw also in the scrubs for the first time some very beautiful trees of the Bauhinia; they were covered with long leguminous pods of seeds, which, hanging among the dark and somewhat sombre-colored twin-like leaves, had a pretty effect. About two o'clock p.m., we camped on a tributary of the Dawson, among a small forest of silver box saplings.
January 18.—Country nearly the same as yesterday; our course was north. Two hours after leaving the camp, we came upon a very large boggy flat, surrounded by silver box, Brigalowe, Dodonea, Bauhinia, and white Vitex trees. About half-past three p.m., we again made the river Dawson, and camped' on its bank. ,The river had a great fresh in it, that augured badly for our chance of crossing it lower down. Latitude, 25 deg., 54 min. Thunder again this afternoon, but no rain.
January 20.—Travelled through a fine open country to-day; undulating plains, with trees in the distance. About noon we ascended a slight elevation, from whence we obtained a view of Lynd's and Gilbert's range in the distance, the former bearing N.W., the latter N. by W. On this patch of elevated land, was a group of seven of the remarkable looking bottle-trees, the largest we had yet seen. Heavy thunder again in the afternoon. The Doctor suggests as an improvement to our flour diet, that instead of damper or Johnny cake, each person makes his three ounces of flour into a dish of skillagalee, as being likely to go farther, or, to use his own words, "it would be more satisfying." After making each man his "mess of pottage", the great difficulty was to eat it, without swallowing with every spoonful of skilly about twenty flies; indeed, there was no alternative but to take a fair share of each. These were not times for being fastidious, and, after finishing, the parties could not fail to bear testimony to the truth of the Doctor's words, that it was more satisfying than the same quantity of damper or fat cake. For a great part of the satisfaction I have no doubt we were indebted to the number of flies we had compulsorily swallowed. The Doctor complained of rheumatic pains and palpitation of the heart. Collected a dish of portulacca, which was boiled and' eaten, and acted on the whole of the party in the same manner as a dish of jalap. We all suffered much from opthalmia, occasioned by the flies. Thermometer, 8 p.m., 104 in the shade. The day's course was north-west.
January 21.—This day the heat was excessive; the glass at noon, 108. The flies were more numerous than on any former occasion. The leader and Wommai walked down the bank of the river to select a crossing-place. The banks were clothed with a belt of silver box saplings, of from a quarter to half a mile in width. I took a stroll up the river through this miniature forest, and saw, in the most sheltered and shady parts, large heaps of bivalve shells, the remains of aboriginal feasts. Many of these shells were as large as the usual sized cheese plates. Saw, also, hanging from the branch of a large tree, a string of some seven or eight breast bones of emus. On my mentioning this fact to Wommai, on my return to the camp, he expressed much pleasure on hearing that I had not in any way disturbed them. He represented them as having been placed there by the natives in strict observance of some religious rite or ceremony; the same, or very nearly the same custom being followed by his own tribe at Port Stephens, of which place he was a native. In the evening, Wommai and Brown, the other black fellow, absented themselves from the camp; and, on going to the scrub, we found that Wommai was taking another degree as a young man. The blood was trickling rapidly from his breast. Brown having inflicted thereon, with a sharp knife, some sixty or seventy wounds. On healing up, these incisions would leave as many swollen lumps or vesicles, which are considered by them as adding greatly to the beauty of their personal appearance.
January 22.—We travelled down the banks of the river for the distance of five miles, when we came to a part where we observed that a large tree had fallen across the entire width of the stream. This was too favorable a chance to be thrown away, and we lost no time in availing ourselves of such unlooked-for means of getting our stores over dry. Here, it may be truly said, that our expeditionising commenced in earnest. To carry over our luggage with anything like safety, we found it was necessary to do the work barefooted; and, as the bark and other inequalities presented a surface very different to that of a Turkey carpet, and, independent of the log, we had to walk some distance before reaching our primitive bridge, and the same being the case after crossing over, ours was no pleasant task in perspective. Necessity, they say, has, no law, and as "needs must when the d——l drives,"we had no alternative but to set to with a good will. The first task was for two of the party, to place on the head of a third the load which it was his duty to carry over. On reaching the log, it required a considerable share of nerve to preserve the necessary balance during the critical journey across, the river roaring like a torrent below. After getting fairly under weigh, it was not a little amusing to see the caution exhibited by each individual in trying to place his feet on the smoothest part of the log; and was a forcible verification of the adage, "walking circumspectly". After effecting the transit of our baggage, the next job was to cross over the goats and sheep, neither of which would face the log. Wommai at this juncture offered himself as architect, and succeeded in making, with saplings, boughs, and mould, a very ingenious substitute for a jetty running gradually down to the river. By this means, many of the animals took to the water, and we were progressing swimmingly, when, unfortunately, poor Wommai's very cleverly conceived affair gave way, and we had much difficulty in crossing the remainder. "Perseveranda et prospera", says Leichhardt, in the midst of his employment; and, by following the precept conveyed in the proverb, we had everything finished by dusk, as the cattle, mules, and horses gave us but little trouble; the only deaths which it is my melancholy duty to record on that occasion being five goats and two sheep. I am sorry to say, however, that this day's work was the cause of the fever and ague which, a few days afterwards, attacked, first, myself, and subsequently the whole of the party. In consideration of our exertions, we were rewarded at night by the doctor with the true pastry of the bushman, a fat cake, to which was added an extra pot of tea with sugar.
January 23.—Left the camp at ten a.m., and travelled a north by east course, through a very indifferent and scrubby country, until reaching Palm-tree Creek, where we arrived just in time to catch the benefit of a heavy storm, before we had time to erect our two miserable calico apologies for tents. This creek was named from the Corypha palm-trees which adorned its banks, and than which nothing could be more beautiful than their tall, upright, nearly cylindrical stems, and wide-spreading umbrageous palmate leaves. The .unexpended leaves found at the heart of the tree were very pleasant eating; the taste being that of the Spanish chestnut.
From the heat of the day, and difficulty in driving the sheep and goats through the scrub, poor Norval, our sheep-dog, was knocked up.
I tried my luck in the evening, after the rain had abated, at fishing for eels; but was not favored with as much as a nibble.
January 24.—The country improved to-day, but still continued scrubby. Our course was W.N.W. We had Gilbert's Range in sight the greater part of the day, bearing N.E. Encamped within two miles of its base, on the head of Palm-tree Creek. Latitude, 25 deg., 83 min., south. During the course of the day's stage, as Wommai and I were following with the goats and sheep (I may as well say that we were always some miles behind those of the party with the mules and cattle) we passed a very large sheet of water, hall lake, half lagoon, on the opposite side of which we saw, as I imagined, a fine bay horse, but to make assurance doubly sure, I dispatched Wommai to the spot. He shortly afterwards returned; he had not seen the horse, but said there was a large quantity of horse-dung and tracks of hoofs.; he brought a portion of the dung with him.
This being Sunday, it was again suggested to the Doctor that he, as leader, should read the service of the Church of England. To this request he replied that it was better for each individual to do his share of that solemn and very necessary duty.
January 25.—We made a long stage of fifteen miles. The greater part of the distance the country was low, flat, and swampy, very rich diluvium, covered with a rank growth of polygonum, sedges, rushes, and such like rank-growing, semi-aquatic plants. As though we had not experienced sufficient misery from the sandflies, common flies, and musquitoes, we had now to commence war with a more determined enemy than any which had as yet beset us, in the shape of hornets of a large size, and whose bite or sting was more painful for a time than that of a snake, and left an immense swelling that took two or three days to allay. These hornets were as treacherous as their sting was violent. They build their nest in the hollows of trees, and generally just such a height from the ground as left the head of a man on horseback on a level with their domicile, thus bringing literally a hornet's nest about his ears. Several of the party, as well the horses, were this day stung. The horses and mules had no sooner felt the violence of the sting than they commenced bucking, and one or two of their riders were unseated. Even my old Number 8 tried this game, which somewhat surprised me, as, judging from his generally quiet demeanour, I did not suppose, as Mr. Hely remarked, he had a kick in him. Our course was west and south-west.
January 26.—This morning we had to commence the ascent of the ranges of the Robinson, which were, in many parts, steep and precipitous; and, to avoid the chasms in the rocks, we were under the necessity of tracing them up to their commencement. This style of travelling, combined with the extreme heat of the sun, rendered our day's stage a long and tedious one. In one of these broken, rocky bites of land, we saw a clump of very large bottle trees. They had all been stripped, in many parts, of the bark, and a large quantity of the stem itself taken by the natives, very probably for food—indeed, many of our party were in the habit of eating the wood of this tree, which had very much the taste of a turnip. This remarkable tree belongs to the natural order of Jussien StirculeaceŠ, and has been determined as a new genera De Labechia, in honor of a friend of Sir Thomas Mitchell's of that name. Sir Thomas was the first to introduce a specimen of the plant to England; and I believe I may take the credit of having sent the first seeds, which I found at a camp from whence the wild blacks bolted on our appearance. We only obtained, on that occasion, twelve seeds. In the course of the day's stage, while passing through a small patch of scrub, I saw and obtained seeds of a magnificent crimson flowering species of Passiflora, the seed pods were as large as pigeons' eggs and the flavor good; but as the quantity obtained was limited, they were too valuable to be used as an article of food. We camped in the afternoon on the bank of a small but well-watered creek, a tributary of the Robinson. We pitched our camp near a beautiful grove, composed of sweetly-scented Myrtaceous plants, and a species of Tristanea; many of the latter were as tall as the usual sized silver-leaf box gum. Clinging to these trees was a species of Clematis, or Virginian bower, having foliage different from any I had previously seen. They were not in blossom. We soon discovered that our camping ground was infested with ants of two or three kinds, whose bite was very violent, and kept the party on the move the whole night. Owing to the broken and mountainous character of the country, this day our course was much broken and indirect.
January 27.—It was no very gratifying sight to look at the apparently inaccessible chain of mountains, one tier peeping over another, laying directly in our line of route, and which we knew we must in consequence, pass over. We made an attempt, and left our camp at 10 a.m.; and by dint of dodging round the large boulders, and following up or down the fissures, or ravines, we eventually succeeded in reaching the summit of the highest part of the group. Here we had a fine view of the peaks of Expedition Bange in the distance. This was a broken chain of mountains, over which we should also have to march. On the top of the ranges passed over to-day, saw some fine trees of Fusanus, and a new arborescent species of Hakea, having leaves large and serrated at the edges, like the native honeysuckle (Banksia Australis), Shortly after descending the ranges, the country opened into fine rich flats, of no great extent, however, intersected by water-courses, but many of them dried up. The trees were—the rusty gum, Tristanea, Sterculea (Corrijong), and emu peach. The greater part of the forenoon was showery, which made it bad travelling by the side of the gulleys, so common on the ranges. We camped late in the afternoon again on the river Robinson, where it assumes a very singular character, being of extreme breadth, with a deep bed of white sand, through which ran a chain of water-holes. Saw among the grass on the flats a great many different kinds of Mantis, with some large and gorgeously-marked butterflies. We followed, as nearly as the nature of the country would allow, on the westerly course. Latitude of our camp, 25 deg. 25 min.; elevation, 1,028 feet. I omitted to state the elevation of the head of the river Dawson, which was 1,461 feet.
January 28, 1850[sic].—One of the horses having met with an accident by staking his leg, occasioned us to remain at the camp the whole of the day. The weather was cloudy, and so far pleasant, as compared to the heat of the last few days. The grass and herbage were literally covered with innumerable varieties of the Mantis and locusts, presenting a fine field for the entomologist. Obtained a new species of Aster, The doctor and Wommai reconnoitered for our next day's camping place, and found a suitable one at the distance of ten miles. I sowed some more vegetable seeds on the banks of the river.
January 29.—Made an early start, and travelled a N.W. by N. course over rocky ridges, and loose sandy confined plains, on which were some fine trees of Metrosideros and Xylomelon, or, as it is generally called, native pear; the large woody seed pods being as large, and very like that fruit. Crossed a small creek twice, containing but little water, and encamped upon a fine chain of water-holes, at the head of the Robinson, among a group of the beautiful, palm-like aborescent Zamias, many of them in full fruit. This fruit is collected by the natives, soaked in water, pounded and roasted after a fashion peculiar to themselves, and eaten. Wommai dressed and eat some of it; but, I imagine from not properly understanding the process of preparation, he was ill for some days afterwards. Much of the soil passed over to-day was soft and puffy, and the gulleys and intersections were of limestone formation. On the puffy ground the dogwood (Jacksonia) and Cypress pine (Callaetris) made its appearance again. The wood of the Jacksonia, when burnt, gives out a disagreeable, fœtid smell, from whence it has derived the name of stink-wood.
January 30.—The early part of this day's stage was of a breakneck description, which by noon brought us clear of the ranges of the Robinson. We entered, after the descent, a beautifully-confined valley, richly grassed, and where water-holes were plentiful; on one of these we camped about two p.m. Observing a remarkably broken-looking, rocky hill, or boulder, at the distance of about a mile and a half from our camp, Mr. Mann and myself wended our steps thither; he to take a sketch of the country, and myself to look for plants. On ascending this place, my companion had a delightful field for his labors, as we had a full and uninterrupted survey of the surrounding country in every direction. Mount Aldis and Mount Nicholson were plainly to be discerned; and, on casting our eyes in d north-westerly direction, we observed an unbroken chain of apparently perpendicular rocks, forming a double wall, the one peering over the other. Among the broken crevices in the rocks, I found a pretty, shrubby species of Phyllanthus, with an abundance of small, coral-like seeds, each about the size of a pea, as also a large species of Asclepius, and a great number of Rutaceous plants.
The weather being fine at the time of camping, we omitted to rig up our tents: and as, in the night, we were visited by a heavy storm of rain, we had the pleasure of being most completely saturated. Our course was N.W. by N. Elevation, 1,648 feet.
January 31.—Sunday.—Shortly after leaving the camp, we entered a narrow and picturesque rocky valley, which gave us much trouble to descend, the large stones following close upon our horses' heels in our progress. After travelling in this manner for the distance of five miles, we entered upon closely timbered country, which continued until meeting an apparently inaccessible bank of rocks. Here it was deemed desirable to camp, although it was early in the day, to enable the doctor, accompanied by Wommai, to take a reconnoisance. From the broken character of the country, our course was very indirect: first, N.N.W., and subsequently N.E. by N.
February 1.—The first part of the day's stage was through poor scrubby country, much interrupted by gulleys, many of them containing water. After passing through one of these gulleys, more than usually deep, we came upon the edge of an immense precipice, extending further than the eye could reach. On the opposite side of this was another wall, equally precipitous. Between these gigantic enclosures was a deep and, as it would seem, fertile valley; and through the centre ran a fine water-course. These gigantic natural walls, or boundaries, presented appearances the most fantastic; occasionally your imagination would picture a large castle, which again changed to some of the old abbeys and nunneries, common in England and on the Continent. In fact, every style of architure, [sic] as you continued to gaze, was presented, from the old abbey in ruins, to the more modern cottage ornÚe. With much difficulty we effected an entrance to the valley below. We travelled for some distance along the edge of the creek we had formerly seen, although we frequently met with interruptions, until three p.m., when we encamped on what the doctor named, from the romantic scenery around, the Creek of Ruined Castles. On following up a glen amid broken rocks, I found two new species of Acacia, with pendulent, viscid, horse-tail like foliage, three Dodonea, one Notolea, two Hovea Boronia, and three of the Grevillia, one species very handsome. Towards nightfall, it commenced raining heavily, and, as the grass was long, made it unpleasant watching at night.
February 2.—Left the camp at half-past ten a.m., but were not able to travel more than three miles, the horse with the sore fetlock being knocked up. Just as we were unloading the mules, we experienced a heavy thunder storm, which drenched us all to the skin, and made it difficult to kindle a fire. As we followed up the course of the creek, we found this remarkable valley to open out on either 'side, the country still being confined and walled in. The extent of the valley was sufficient for four large cattle stations at least; and a few rods of fencing would have secured the whole area, from which it would have been difficult for the cattle to have strayed.
The timber was the emu peach, native pear, and silver-leaved box gum. Mr. Hely was very unwell. Latitude, 26 deg. 11 sec; elevation, 1,750.
February 3.—This morning was showery, and we remained at the camp. Mr. Mann, Hely, and myself visited a rocky eminence, and found another new species of prickly Mimosa, Dodonea, and the rock Mitrosacme.
February 4.—The lame horse being unable to travel, we made another start without him. We followed up this Ruined Castle Creek to its source, among a series of elevated ranges, through which we, with difficulty, succeeded in making our way. I found the country interesting, botanically, and collected the following plants, one remarkable shrub having a false corolla:—Pittosporum, a new kind of vine, having fruit like the black cluster grape, and pleasant eating: the slightly pungent Eustrephus, the Cassia, and several berry-bearing shrubs. On descending the ranges, we had to avoid deep gulleys, containing water in many places. Camped at four p.m. on a small, sheltered creek, with sandy and rocky bed. Our course was, as nearly as it was possible to judge, N.W. by N. The creek on which we camped was called Zamia Creek, there being many of these plants on its banks. Elevation, 1,406.
February 5.—Continued following down Zamia Creek in a northerly direction. Crossed and re-crossed several times in the course of the day. The scenery was pretty, but in many parts very scrubby. Collected a new Cassia and one Acacia, trees Bauhinia, Cyprus pine, silver box, and three other species of the Eucalyptus, The Zamia adorned the banks of the river in many places. Thermometer at half past two p.m., in the shade, 93. Mr. Hely suffered much from toothache, and had his gums lanced previous to having one drawn. The operator was Dr. Leichhardt, and the instrument a bullet-mould. I need not say that, after a sharp jerk with this instrument, the tooth remained as firmly in the mouth as ever, although the doctor happily, or, as poor Hely thought, unhappily remarked, it broke or shook the nerve, which of itself was likely to give him ease. Pitched our tents at a small water hole, at 3 p.m., when Mr. Mann and myself ascended a hill, from whence he took another sketch of the country, including our camping grounds.
February 6.—We found this morning that one of our mules, Don Pedro by name, and one who had crossed the Cordilleras, in South America, on many occasions, had taken it into his head to wander from the camp; and we consequently made a late start, and continued following down Zamia Creek, whose many windings gave us the same trouble in crossing and re-crossing as yesterday. After travelling the distance of five miles, we again camped on its banks; the weather was oppressively hot, and the flies troublesome. We were, in the early part of the evening, visited with another thunder storm.
February 7.—We made a long stage this day, following a north north-easterly course; passed Mount Aldis on our left hand—country scrubby in places.
February 8.—From the time of starting this morning until camping in the afternoon, we were travelling through swamps. Camped, at three p.m., on the banks of Erythrina Creek;. course, N.E. by N.; elevation, 914.
February 9.—This day we commenced the ascent of Expedition Range. The country broken, and in many places boggy. Passed thorough much scrub and closely timbered country. Saw many interesting plants. Our course was N.N.W. We encamped, about four p.m., on the bank of a small creek, where there were many plants of the dwarf Zamia, with a tolerable show of pine-apple like fruit.
February 10.—Continued travelling over the same range, and effected a clear descent by five in the evening, when we encamped on a finely-watered creek, the banks on either side being clothed with a great variety of shrubs. Saw, on the tops of the range, a large variety of the Acacias, obtained three (to me) new species, as well as two Hoveas, one Glycine, two Hakea, three Boronia, two Eriostemon, many new species of the genus Acacia, two of which adorn the Botanical Gardens, Melbourne; among them one with the stems compressed, after a very singular fashion, very like the Anceps common near Sydney. Our course was westerly.
The doctor named the pretty creek on which we had camped Expedition Creek, from taking its rise on the ranges bearing that name.
February 11.—Our course was W.N.W. In the course of the day's stage, crossed no less than four creeks, all running parallel with each other, and taking their sources from Expedition Range. The intervening country was boggy in the extreme, and the whole of the mules became fixed in the mud up to the girths; and we were under the necessity of taking off their loads to set them at liberty.
This morning I was scarcely able to mount my horse, having a violent attack of fever, which, in a few days subsequently, attacked the whole of the party, more or less. As the weather looked bad, and indicated a wet night,, we rigged up our two thin and almost useless calico tents. This was done in respect to my illness; indeed, my fever increased, and, to add to the misery of my situation, shortly after dark, it commenced raining in torrents, which soon swamped us out of our tents.
In consideration of my sufferings, Mr. Hely, my companion (allotted by Dr. Leichhardt), kindly undertook my share of watching the cattle for the night.
February 12.—The rain continued the whole of the night, and made the ground, which was naturally loose and puffy, in such a muddy and boggy condition, as to render it quite impossible for the mules, with their small feet and heavy loads, to travel; and we were necessitated to remain at the camp the whole of the day. Three or four of the party, in addition to myself, complained of being unwell. Wommai, one of the black fellows, was positively ill.
February 13.—We this day entered a dense Brigalowe scrub, through the centre of which ran the Comet River, so named by Dr. Leichhardt from the fact of the comet having made its first appearance while he was travelling along its banks on his former expedition, and from whence we did not clearly emerge until after the lapse of many days. During the whole time it was a continuance of wet weather, and travelling was wretched; sometimes passing through a sheet of muddy water for the distance of a quarter of a mile, into which we had frequently to dismount to relieve the horses, who constantly got bogged. Sometimes the back water would nearly surround our camping ground, which was a place we had generally some difficulty in selecting, a little above the level of the inundated country around. On this mud we had every night to make our couch, which was simply a few handfuls of boughs broken off the Brigalowe trees. Our only covering for many consecutive nights was the half of a wet blanket; and this, from the frequency of showers, and the dank; unwholesome, confined atmosphere of the Brigalowe scrub, we had not often an opportunity of drying. Watching the stock at night, the greater part of the time up to our knees in mud, was eventually sufficient to lead to a general sickness. Such was the opinion entertained at the time, and such was, in a few days, the result. We followed, as nearly as the scrub would admit, a north-westerly course; the only relief to the sombre Brigalowe scrub being a few trees of the Bauhinia and silver-leaved box gum.
February 14.—This was, perhaps, one of the best day's specimens we had of expeditionising. The country, for the greater part of the day's stage, was through muddy and boggy water-holes, up to the horses' girths. They were so frequently bogged, that we preferred walking the greater part of the morning. Course again pretty nearly N.W.
February 16.—Still roaming through the scrub—the ground a little more firm than formerly, and the travelling far better. We had, however, one large sheet of water to travel through, of at least half a mile in extent. It was very difficult for me and Wommai to follow in the tracks of the party ahead, through this scrub, we being generally a considerable distance behind, with the sheep and goats—our only guide being the ripples where the water had been disturbed. About noon this day, I was nearly drowned in crossing a sheet of water, the horse, poor old Number 8, having been bogged; and, owing to my late suffering from fever and ague, I was unable, until assisted by Wommai, who was in truth nearly as ill as myself, to extricate my feet from the stirrup-irons. With much difficulty, however, we managed to get clear of the water; but we were both so completely exhausted that we were compelled to lie down, and the sheep and goats were allowed to wander among the scrub at their leisure. About five p.m., the doctor, on account of our not appearing at the camp, became apprehensive that something had occurred, and despatched Bucking, with the black fellow. Brown, as his guide, to look for us; and they found us in the helpless condition already mentioned. On reaching the camp (a bed of soft mud, over which had been spread a few Brigalowe boughs). Dr. Leichhardt was at last convinced that I was really and truly very ill; and expressed some little sympathy, by having boiled for me and poor Wommai a little gelatine soup. I only managed to swallow a few spoonsfull. Small as the quantity was, it was the first food of any kind I had eaten for several days. In the course of the night, much and heavy rain fell, and I was lying half-covered with water during the whole of the time; but of this fact I was not aware until the following morning. As the crisis of my disease took place during the night, I was unconscious of all and everything around me. I was told that I was very kindly attended by the doctor and Mr. Perry during the night. The doctor afterwards remarked that I had forcibly verified the old proverb of, "The ruling passion strong in death," as the only remark made by me during the night was, "Mr. Perry, take care of my specimens." Elevation, 1,048 feet.
February 17.—Shortly after leaving the camp this morning, the country began to open a little, but still continued scrubby. Saw a very fine species of Datura, or Stramomium, with large white, trumpet like blossoms. The doctor having made a long stage to-day, we continued travelling with the sheep and goats, which were knocked up, until nearly dark; and we were just on the eve of camping by ourselves as Wommai sighted the smoke of the camp fire, when we pushed on to the party, the doctor sending Turnbull and Brown to fetch the sheep and goats. Course, W.N.W.
February 18.—Before the middle of the day We had the pleasure of finding ourselves clear of the scrub, and travelled over open flats of considerable extent; the soil being puffy, and very wet, made it harassing travelling for the loaded mules. We camped on what Dr. Leichhardt called Deception Creek, where the sandflies and musquitoes were numerous and extremely troublesome. Collected in the course of the day's stage specimens and seeds of Trichodesma, Lasiopetalon—a new Stenochilus, with beautifully-pendulant fuschia-like blossoms; and, among the silver-leafed box gum trees which adorned the banks of the creek, I found a handsome species of Hibiscus, with large, rose-colored blossoms; with several Leguminous plants having pink blossoms. Latitude, 24 deg. 27 min.; course, W.N.W.
February 19.—From the scarcity of grass, and the labor necessarily undergone in getting the stock through the Brigalowe scrub for the last few days, the doctor determined upon remaining a day at this place.
February 20.—We this day reached the Comet River, or, I should rather say, we were, for the first time, enabled to approach and camp on its banks, as the river, in fact, ran through the scrub from whence we had just, with so much difficulty, emerged, and where we had once or twice caught sight of it. The musquitoes continued to be. troublesome at night, and prevented the party from obtaining their usual allowance of sleep.
February 21.—This day the sandflies were so excessively troublesome as to render it necessary to ivrap our hands and faces in our pocket-handkerchiefs; so annoying did they become, about noon, as to cause the mules to buck and unship their loads. Unfortunately I overtook the party at this juncture, and was, of course, called upon to assist the others in the operation of holding and reloading them. This work could not be done, however, until a number of small fires were ignited, in the centre of which the mules were led while being loaded, as the smoke arising from the fires drove away the insects, and the mules were, of course, quiet.
This work of loading was a severe trial to our tempers; and even Mr. Perry, the most religious young man of the party, was, on several occasions, in the act of swearing a few oaths, but caught himself in the middle of each oath, and sought forgiveness for his half-committed offence; thus clearing his way and his conscience at the same time. We crossed and recrossed the Comet River twice before camping. The country was scrubby until noon, when we made some fine open plains; these were called Sandfly Downs, in commemoration of the trouble we had experienced in that locality from sandflies. Among the patches of scrub in the vicinity of the river, we saw, for the first time for many days, several black fellows gunyas. The timber on the plains was principally box gum. Course, north-west and westerly.
February 22.—Brown returned late this forenoon, with only a few of the horses and mules, the others having strayed; and we were compelled to remain all day in the camp. Saw, on the banks of the river, some fine trees, of the beautiful aborescent Cassia; but, unfortunately, they were neither in blossom nor in seed. Elevation, 920 feet.
February 23.—This was a day of accidents: two of the mules were nearly drowned; what little sugar and flour we yet possessed got saturated; and we lost our spade, as well as a portfolio, containing a few of the most interesting insects which had been collected on the expedition. Our course was north-easterly, through scrub, along the bank of the river. On arriving at the camp. Bucking and Brown were despatched for the lost spade, with a promise of a reward of a two-pound flat cake, if they were successful in their search. They returned in about an hour and a half with the spade, and received their cake, which they generously divided with their companions. Latitude, 24 deg. 10 min. south.
February 24.—Course N. by W., still following the course of the Comet River, which continues to be scrubby, and of the same character as yesterday.
February 25.—Course the same as yesterday, following the course of the river. About noon we came suddenly upon a number of blacks, who appeared to be much frightened, as they held up their hands, screamed, and ran away as fast as their legs could carry them. Found among the patches of scrub a very large and beautiful shrubby species of Abutylon in full blossom, yellow, and, when expanded, as large as a rose. Towards evening we were driven by the scrub to the distance of two or three miles from the river, where we camped on a large creek or backwater of the river itself.
We had scarcely been camped two hours, when it commenced raining in torrents, and continued pouring down the whole of the night. The soil being black and tenacious, it clung to our boots in large flakes or clods, and made it difficult in walking round and watching the cattle during the night.
February 26.—It still continued raining; but from the trampling of the cattle during the night, the place was so muddy as to render it necessary to "up sticks!" and start for another, and, as we hoped, a better and firmer camping ground. We travelled for about three miles, when we came to a wide sheet of water, where, as it continued to rain, we again encamped. We had not remained long, however, before this place, like the one we had left, from the trampling of the cattle, was soon a bed of mud.
We were all completely soaked, and were for a long time trying before we could succeed in lighting a fire to warm ourselves. Fortunately, about noon, it began to clear up, end we were enabled to dry our clothes and blankets. It kept tolerably fine until midnight, which was the time for me and my companion, Mr. Hely, to commence our watch, when it again came down thick and fast, and continued in that manner for the remainder of the night. We were still encamped in a scrub composed of Brigalowe, Dodonea, and Stenochilus, with a few scattered box trees. We heard some black fellows cooeing, in the night, during our watch.
February 27.—We were again compelled to remain at the camp, the continued rains during the night having rendered the country too muddy for travelling. The dogs gave chase to a brush kangaroo; but did not succeed in catching it.
February 28.—Sunday.—This morning I was early astir with Wommai, having been disturbed by the repeated and continual bleating of a young calf, proceeding apparently from the confines of a thick patch of scrub at a little distance from the camp. After a diligent search we found in the midst of the aforesaid scrub a young calf which had been deserted by its mother. We had not the slightest idea that our only cow was so hear giving us an addition to our stock. It was, however, a gratifying fact, as we were in hopes that we should from this circumstance be furnished for some little time to come with a supply of milk; but on this matter we were egregiously mistaken, inasmuch as we could not succeed in erecting a bail sufficiently strong to hold her during the operation of milking.
From the time lost in the attempt at milking the cow and in fixing the calf on one of the mules, it being unable to travel, we did not succeed in leaving the camp until near midday. We had not travelled for more than a mile when the calf commenced crying for its mother; this so alarmed the mule, on the back of which it was placed, that it became frightened and commenced bucking; this practice was followed by its companions, and in a short time we had the trouble of catching and reloading the whole of them.
The doctor was determined that the mule should carry its live burden, and this time he (it was a bull calf) fastened it under the tarpaulin, a slit being cut, through which it could put out its head and breathe. Another start was made, and we had travelled this time for not more than three quarters of a mile when the calf again commenced crying, and the mule to buck as before; the same trouble in catching would have been necessary, but after some persuasion the doctor agreed to camp at the place as we happened to be, on the bank of the Comet River, which, from the late rains, we found to be much flooded.
March 1.—This day we had heavy travelling through patches of scrub, composed principally of Brigalowe and Dodonea. Had also to cross many backwaters of the Comet River. We travelled about eight miles, when we camped on the bank of the river, which was evidently rising. On unpacking our traps, we found that we had lost a small bag of sugar, one of tea, and one of salt. Bucking and Brown were again despatched for them, with a promise of being allowed to retain the sugar, and to which the doctor was to add some tapioca for a pudding on our reaching the Mackenzie River, if they were fortunate in their search. We were in expectation of reaching this river the day after to-morrow. Saw in the patches of scrub some fine trees of the Santalum (bastard sandal wood), and a new leguminous plant, from which I obtained both seeds and specimens.
March 2.—This morning we had to use all imaginary despatch to load our mules, as the river was rising rapidly, and the back current of water was surrounding our camping ground. Some of our cattle were missing, and Brown was despatched for them. Mr. Hely and Turnbull were ordered to remain until his return to the camp. This day the doctor made a very long stage, and Wommai and myself, with the goats and sheep, and the party with the cattle, had much difficulty in making the camp; indeed hut for the report of firearms, we should for the night have formed three separate parties, although we knew by tracks in the mud, and the repeated cooeing, that a number of wild blacks were at no great distance. We travelled until late, owing to the crooked course which the scrubs and backwaters rendered it necessary for us to adopt, although we did not make more than nine miles in distance, our average course being E. I did not observe an inch of ground on the Comet River that could by any possibility be turned to any account, although I think it probable that plains of some extent may exist a few miles back. Brown reported that while looking for the cattle he observed the tracks of black fellows who had been following his and the course of our tracks yesterday, and very probably they had found our bag of sugar, &c., as Brown and Bucking returned without them. Mr. Perry was this evening taken suddenly ill. We camped on the bank of the Comet. Latitude 23 deg. 41 min.
March 3.—Mr. Perry much worse, and we remained all day in camp.
March 4.—To-day the whole of the horses could not be found until late in the afternoon, when we made a start for a place indicated by Brown as being clear of scrub, dry, and not more than a mile distant. We travelled, however, a distance of three miles, when we again camped on the banks of the Comet.
March 5.—We made the Mackenzie River at mid-day, and camped on a fine patch of open country, but not far distant from a thick patch of scrub. The river was much flooded, and there was every prospect of our remaining for at least a fortnight. This evening Mr. Turnbull was attacked with fever. The doctor also complained. Mr. Perry much worse. Mr. Hely had the toothache. The doctor recommended bathing.
March 6.—The weather being oppressively hot, and as the invalids, more particularly Mr. Perry and Mr. Turnbull, continued ill, we erected, with much labor, (owing to our weak state of health,) a sort of arbour or bower, to shelter them from the sun. The cow would not take the slightest notice of the young calf, and to prevent its dying of starvation, Mr. Hely killed it. It was afterwards cooked, and made into a kind of jelly. The doctor commenced a new arrangement, and allowed us to have two meals a day, and our three ounces of fat cake for luncheon; unfortunately, many of the party were too ill to eat, and had but little appetite, and consequently the worthy leader's very humane system commenced, like many other good intentions in this world, too late to benefit the greater part of his companions.
March 7.—Sunday.—This morning, the doctor, Mr. Hely, and Brown, the black fellow, were added to the list of invalids. The others worse, and myself again very unwell. We were situated within four miles of the tropics, and the weather consequently very hot. Latitude, 23 deg., 34 min. To add to the misery of our situation, the musquitoes and sandflies were beyond measure troublesome, and prevented the poor fellows who were suffering from the fever getting anything in the shape of wholesome slumber, which was so necessary to them under the circumstances.
The duties of watching the cattle at night, and attending upon the others, devolved upon myself and three others, two of whom were barely able to crawl about. In the evening, Mr. Mann, who had, up to this time, retained his health better than the others, complained of feeling some symptoms of the fever.
March 8.—The doctor and the other invalids better. Turnbull and Perry were, however, but a little better. The river going down rapidly. I attributed our sickness, in a great measure, to our so long travelling down the Comet River, which, as the waters receded from the back waters, as the river continued to fall, left a mass of vegetable matter, which, becoming putrid, a very unpleasant effluvium arose, and may have had some effect on the constitutions of the party who had already suffered so much from the bad weather and wet blankets. In such situations as the above, I observed always a greater number of musquitoes and sandflies. The black fellows, however, attributed it to our drinking the water in such places. Unfortunately, Dr. Leichhardt, acting upon the fact of having escaped sickness in his Port Essington tour, omitted to bring the necessary quantity of medicines, and we were completely helpless. Some of the party had fortunately brought a few papers of rhubarb, calomel, &c., which, with one small bottle of quinine supplied by the doctor himself, was all the medicines we had. This omission led to much grumbling on the part of the invalids. The only thing we possessed, as being palatable to the poor fellows, was tapioca and gelatine; but, as he would allow no sugar with the tapioca, their stomachs were too weak to take it. Shortly after sundown, the sky became overcast, and every appearance of a tropical storm; nor were we deceived in its aspect, as it commenced raining hard, accompanied by heavy thunder and very vivid flashes of lightning. Our tents being useless, no attempt was made—indeed, we had not strength or time to get the necessary forks and poles for erecting them, and the sick had to bear the storm with all its force. The doctor, in the evening, gave us all a dose of calomel and scammony, which, he said, he trusted would allay the effects of the fever.
March 9.—Mr. Mann, myself, and Wommai were the only persons in the party who were able to crawl about. In the morning, it was discovered that one of the goats had kidded during the night; and we took advantage of the circumstance to furnish the sick with a little milk. It was no trifling job, sick and weak as we were, to catch the brute. Having succeeded, Wommai managed to extract a quart of milk. To prevent a recurrence of the party suffering from the effect of another thunder-storm, we managed to erect the two tents, previously sewing up the parts that were torn. The invalids' regimen now was gelatine, boiled with a little tapioca, seasoned with pepper and salt. Mr. Boecking was seized with a violent rash, which broke out all over his body, occasioned, the doctor thought, from his drinkly too freely of cold water. Mr. Mann and Wommai were the only sound persons in the party. From the number of sandflies by day, and musquitoes at night, the situation of the invalids was truly pitiable. In the middle of the night, during my watch, I heard a strange noise, very like the howling of a native dog, and, on looking round, I was surprised to find Wommai by my side greatly alarmed. He had been awoke by the same noise, which, he said, was a kind of signal used among the natives when they were bent on any mischievous undertaking. On walking in the direction of the river from whence the noise proceeded, we distinctly heard them talking in a low hut hurried manner. I went and informed the doctor of this fact, who awoke Mann and Boecking, the others being unable to keep their feet. We loaded our pieces, and made a breastwork, or defence, with the pack-saddles and stores, behind which we kept watch for some time; everything, however, continued quiet, and morning appeared without bringing the threatened danger. Probably the noise of ourselves and goats may have alarmed them. Elevation, 787 feet.
March 10.—The greater part of the invalids were much better this morning. The weather was overcast and cloudy, with every appearance of rain. Should it again fall in any quantity, it will cause the Mackenzie River to rise, and prevent our crossing for some time to come.
March 11.—Our situation to-day was truly painful; the invalids, who were better yesterday, having relapsed, and Mr. Boecking and Wommai, the black fellow, were added to the list. There were, consequently, only two of us able to go about and attend upon the others—namely, Mr. Mann and myself. The doctor suffered from the fever and ague, and lowness of spirits. I believe the latter feeling arose from his having brought no medicine, and seeing the helpless condition of the party—surrounded as we were by wild black fellows, who, although not visible, we knew, from their tracks, and occasionally overhearing them, that they were not far distant. The whole of the watching at night consequently devolved on Mr. Mann and myself. During my watch this night, the dogs were very uneasy, barking and running in the direction of a patch of scrub, at a short distance from the camp, sufficient to afford shelter to a whole tribe of blacks; and, being within spear-shot of our camp, we were completely at their mercy, had they been inclined to attack us. We, however, had taken the precaution of having very small fires, covered with cow dung to hide the blaze, while the smoke drove away the mosquitoes, greatly to the relief of the invalids. Mr. Hely had recovered wonderfully; and it was arranged that, in the event of our being able to cross the river (which had fallen considerably the last day or two), to catch and load the mules, cross, and camp above the junction of the Comet River with the Mackenzie, where there was no flood, as the whole of the water came from the Comet. Our black fellows assured us that we might attribute our sickness to the miasma, arising from the decayed vegetable matter left or deposited in the gullies from whence the floods had receded, and to drinking the water in such localities. They consequently highly applauded the intention of Mr. Mann, Mr. Hely, and myself, as to our removal to above where the river was flooded.
Until removing, at the suggestion of the blacks, we used the water from a small water-hole in the scrub, in preference to the river water, although it was rather muddy. The doctor allowed the party to have a three-ounce allowance of damper, made into toast and water, and highly relished by the invalids. It was fortunate for us that our cattle, mules, and horses were tolerably tame, and went out to feed and return of themselves without herding; for this, however, we were indebted to the sandflies and musquitoes, which generally attacked the cattle about ten or eleven o'clock in the forenoon, when they immediately rushed home to the camp, where we had several small fires lighted to keep the insects off. The fish in this river must livery large and numerous, judging by the noise caused by their leaping up above the surface during the night, and may, perhaps, be the occasion of its being so much resorted to by the blacks. To add to our distress, we were again visited by another violent tropical shower, and, so sudden was its approach, that we had not time to remove the invalids to the tents before it commenced; fortunately, however, it was not of long continuance, but sufficient to prevent the sick from removing from their tents during the whole night, where they were nearly driven mad by the mosquitoes, as there was no possibility of lighting a fire and causing a smoke in the tent.
March 12.—Mr. Hely had a relapse to-day, which put an end to the possibility of crossing and removing higher up the river. In the night. Dr. Leichhardt was very ill, and complained much. Wommai also had a relapse, so that Mann and myself were the only parties to keep watch and attend to the other duties.
March 13.—No visible improvement in the party, except Perry, who ate a whole quart of skillygalee, which he managed to retain in his stomach for the first time for many days; and I was rejoiced at the circumstance.
Boecking, Hely, and Wommai took each an emetic. We were very uneasy this day, at finding that the cattle, horses, and mules did not return to the camp at the usual time. Both the blacks being ill, the duty of looking for them, of course, devolved on Mr. Mann or myself; and, as he was stronger than I, he kindly undertook the job, and started in the afternoon, and returned in the evening with the intelligence of having tracked them to a dense scrub, when he returned to the encampment. Our scrub water-hole becoming too thick and muddy, we were compelled again to have recourse to the river.
March 14.—Sunday.—This morning was ushered in by fine cooling and refreshing breezes from the southward; and, in consequence, Dr. Leichhardt, Perry, Turnbull and Boecking felt a little better. Wommai also felt the effects of the cool breezes, and, although very ill, kindly undertook to ride and look for the cattle. We killed another sheep, although Mr. Mann and I were the only consumers. The doctor felt much better in the evening. Wommai returned about four p.m. with the whole of the cattle.
Three other goats had kids. We had, however, much trouble in catching the rascals to milk them. Wommai succeeded, at length, with the lasso, which he had learned to throw from the Spaniards, at his native place. Port Stephens.
It was not a little amusing to witness the various wants and wishes of the different invalids. Poor Perry wished me this morning to furnish him with a pinch of snuff. Mr. Boecking, who was suffering more from the fever and ague than any of his companions, would persist in eating his share of damper, immediately it was cooked, in preference to having it afterwards toasted, and made into toast and water. The only excuse to be offered for him was, that he invariably took his meals kindly under any circumstances. Mr. Turnbull's weakness was, a determination to eat the sop from the toast and water. I would not allow him to do so. The cattle came in of their own accord this morning about eleven a.m. Mr. Perry wished for a piece of grilled goat's flesh, which I cooked and gave to him. At the present time we had scarcely a mule or a horse in hobbles, they having broken them, from our inability to attend to such matters; and I desired to see Mr. Perry sufficiently recovered to attend to his duties. Dr. Leichhardt also took a small portion of grilled goat's flesh for his breakfast. It struck me that under the present circumstances a tonic would be advantageous to the invalids, and with this view I sowed early this morning some vegetable seeds.
Two more goats kided, making altogether five milkers. On retiring to my blanket at night, I found a snake coiled between its folds. Fortunately there was sufficient light from the Are to enable me to observe it; indeed, I am generally cautious in examining my blankets when I go to rest at a late hour. I was of course anxious to dispose of so dangerous a bedfellow as quickly as possible, and was in the act of shaking or kicking him into the Are, but Dr. Leichhardt (who occupied the opposite side) insisted on my not killing it, as it might prove a new species. I remarked, that if he wished the gentleman secured it was highly necessary for him to assist; he readily responded, and seized our boiler, which he held on its side until I with much difficulty managed to put the snake into the mouth, when the doctor immediately placed on the lid, where we left him regularly potted until daylight in the morning, when we discovered that it was one of the common brown kinds, and as the boiler was required to boil the water for tea, the snake was ejected, and the pot full of water placed on the fire. This little incident shews how little fastidious are bushmen when engaged in these expeditions.
March 16.—From the heat of yesterday, the invalids appeared not to present any signs of improvement. The mustard and cress seed sown yesterday morning made its appearance to-day above ground. Early this morning a large congregation of crows came and settled near the camp, and continued for the whole day.
March 17.—The invalids were better this morning, except Mr. Boecking, and his remaining worse was on account of his humouring his voracious appetite. The doctor issued an order yesterday that he in particular should be allowed to eat nothing of a heavy nature. In despite, however, of this order, he went to Mr. Mann, the storekeeper, for enough flour to make himself a cake. Mr. Mann, however, refused to give him flour for any other purpose than for making skillagalee. Boecking took some flour on these conditions, but instead of converting the same into skilly, he made himself a half-cooked heavy cake. Fortunately the doctor observed the "dodge" before he had eaten it, and took it away from him. On being denuded of his cake, the poor fellow gave such a melancholy look as could only have been equalled by Adam when expelled from the gates of Paradise. So deeply did he appear to feel his loss, that, although I knew him to be wrong, I could not do less than pity a man who appeared to be fated to carry with him so destructive an appetite. The history of the cake was not allowed to stop here. One of the others, who was not so sick as Boecking, took it and fried it in the pan in fat with the view of eating it. In this matter, however, he was as much mistaken as was poor Boecking when Leichhardt deprived him of it; for while the cake was swimming and phizzing away in the pan, and while the party occupied in its cooking turned, for a moment only, his back from his occupation, Boecking whipped his hand into the pan, walked off with and after all enjoyed the pleasure of eating the cake of his own making. In consequence of this transaction the doctor issued an order that none of the invalids should be allowed to have flour diet in any way for the next three days. A two pound damper had been cooked before the leader had issued the order, which consequently fell to the lot of Mr. Mann and myself, as being the only parties able to get about. The sight of so much bread falling to us nearly proved fatal to poor Boecking. We had now thirteen or fourteen goats in milk, and we found it a great improvement to our tea. The doctor was much better, but Mann and myself were the only two capable of keeping watch.
March 18.—"Many happy returns of the day to you," were the salutations I received on rising from my blanket this morning, on which I commenced my thirty-fourth year of a crooked and somewhat eventful life. The morning was dull and cloudy, and being surrounded by so many invalids, whose spirits partook in a great measure of the melancholy character of the weather, their salutations were received by me in a very different manner than when uttered in the midst of social life, and under other than the present circumstances.
March 19.—From sundown last evening until sunrise this morning the weather was cool and agreeable, and the invalids obtained a little wholesome repose, the effect of which was agreeably perceptible this morning, as they arose with better spirits. Dr. Leichhardt, availing himself of this improvement, had a horse saddled, on which we lifted the worst of the invalids, who took a little exercise in that manner, alternately. Brown (the blackfellow), considerably better, rode out with the doctor, and shortly returned with the whole of the cattle. This was a great relief to our minds, the cattle being our main stay. Mr. Hely suffered much from constipation and had no relief for nine days, nor had Boecking for eight. I attribute this in a great measure to our being destitute of the necessary medicines.
March 20.—Not the slightest improvement in any of the party; and to add to our misery, we found that the only palatable article we had was turned sour, namely our flour, and the doctor issued an order that none of the invalids should be allowed to eat any. Of course this order did not affect Mr. Mann or myself, as we continued the only two convalescents. Poor Turnbull begged hard for a portion of my three ounce cake, and I gave him a small grain, not much larger than a penny piece, with which he appeared much pleased.
March 21.—No improvement in the invalids. No medicines of any kind, save calomel and quinine; the only stimulants being fat mutton, goats' flesh, and sour flour. If they recover, they will have reason to thank the Almighty for the possession of good constitutions, and a more than usual share of human patience and endurance. This continued sickness has driven many of them to their bibles and prayer-books, a practice that I trust they may continue.
The doctor gave the party a feed of skillygalee, made of flour, which had been previously roasted in a pan with the view to remove the acidity.
This delicacy was enjoyed by the whole of the party, invalids and otherwise. He also promised us a similar treat on the following day.
March 22.—Much disappointment was expressed this day by the party from Dr. Leichhardt having broken faith with them as regarded the feed of skillygalee similar to that of yesterday. Wommai was much better; this was fortunate, one black fellow being worth two, or I may say half-a-dozen white men, from their sagacity, and capacity in tracking and finding cattle, and general knowledge of locality.
March 23.—The invalids were a little better this morning. I went down the banks of the Mackenzie river with a tin plate, and knife, to cut a dish of the mustard and cress which I had sown, and which I promised them as being ready for use this day. On arriving, however, at the spot, judge of my surprise and disgust at finding that the whole of it had been cut, and that too by some one wearing European boots. Now, I knew that we were surrounded by wild blackfellows, who might have cut it, although it was not probable, but when I considered that they were not in the habit of making or wearing boots, my suspicion rested on three persons only, namely. Dr. Leichhardt, Mr. Mann, or myself, the others being too ill to get about. Of course I was in a position to account for my own innocence in the matter, and as I had an equally good opinion of Mr. Mann, I was compelled to appeal to Dr. Leichhardt for a solution of the mystery, who at once admitted that he had cut and eaten it. This admission on the part of the doctor was a sore disappointment to the poor helpless invalids, who were unable to eat anything as substantial as meat, And had been led by me for the last few days to expect on this particular day a dish of this salad. Dr. Leichhardt observed, that there would be more fit for cutting in two or three days, and if the invalids liked to cut it themselves they might have it, but not otherwise. This was tantamount to saying that they should not have it, as they were not capable of moving twenty yards from their blankets without assistance.
March 24.—Last evening, Mr. Mann, for the first time exhibited symptoms of fever and ague, and took an emetic. We commenced early this morning to make a kind of pen of boughs for the purpose of swimming the sheep and goats to the opposite side of the river. Mr. Mann (who was by profession a Civil Engineer and Surveyor) was architect on the present occasion, but was, shortly after commencing his labors, attacked by the fever and ague, and compelled to take to his blanket. I was consequently the only one to keep watch from dark until midnight; this I considered to be necessary, owing to the patch of scrub which left us at all times open to an attack from the natives. The evenings, about eleven p.m., began to get cool and pleasant, and from midnight to sunrise positively cold. The sheep pen on the bank of the river was finished this evening by Dr. Leichhardt, Boecking, and myself. A sheep's head was skinned, cleaned with much trouble, and boiled. Each of the poor unfortunate invalids was, in imagination, apportioning to himself a part. One was going to secure a piece of the cheek—another a little of the brain—another a small portion of the tongue. The whole matter was, however, very shortly set at rest, greatly to the disappointment of their prematurely formed expectations, by the following accident:—Mr. Boecking, who had, as cook, the management of the boiler, turned bis back for a short time, and by the sudden falling-in of a log, the pot was capsized, and the broth, for which many of their numbers had been waiting, was spilled and lost. Dr. Leichhardt very coolly picked up the sheep's "jemmy" from the sand╗ and placed the same on his plate; and, deaf to the remonstrances of the patients, very quickly and quietly swallowed the whole, bones excepted. None of the horses returned to the camp to-day; and, as we had neglected to retain one on the tether last evening for riding, much anxiety was manifested on that account.
March 25.—Wommai was this morning despatched for the missing horses, and Brown was compelled to accompany him in the search, although the poor fellow was afraid it would either kill or make him worse than ever. A few of the sick having passed the crisis of their disorder, had an appetite, and complained bitterly at the thinness of the skilly and tapioca.
The moment they had an appetite to eat, the allowance was shortened. With the exception of Mr. Mann, they were all a little better, which was, considering their treatment, a miracle. As we intended crossing the river shortly, if the party were well enough, I dug a hole at the butt of a large gum tree, on which Dr. Leichhardt marked the word "dig". Here, as it was a problem if we should ever reach this side of the river again, we buried a powder cannister, containing a letter from Leichhardt, representing the miserable and helpless condition of the party; one from myself, addressed to the Melbourne Argus, and one or two from the party. As Dr. Leichhardt has taken the same route in his present expedition, should a party be organised to ascertain his fate, it would be as well for them to note the present remark. The tree is very large and isolated, at an angle of the Mackenzie River, formed by the junction of the Comet; at the hack is a dense patch of scrub, at a distance of probably one hundred yards.
March 26.—We this morning made an attempt at crossing the sheep and goats; hut I first buried the powder cannister, as mentioned yesterday. After placing it in the hole, I strewed a quantity of charcoal all around the cannister as a preservative. The doctor, Wommai, myself, and Boecking were the only parties able to assist in the work; poor Boecking was knocked up, however, in half an hour. The heat of the sun, before getting the whole of them across, was intense, and Wommai was nearly knocked up.
March 27.—This morning Dr. Leichhardt issued orders for all the people to rise and be in readiness for crossing the river, as he strongly recommended exercise and violent exertion under a tropical sun, as a substitute for medicine. I had scarcely crossed and re-crossed the river, leading the pack mules a second time, when I had a relapse, and was once more as helpless as some of the others.
March 28.—In consequence of the exertions of yesterday, the whole of the party were much worse, myself nearly dead. We had not as yet had time or strength to erect a bower of any kind to shelter us from the heat of the sun, which had thrown us into a violent fever. The only sound persons now were Dr. Leichhardt and Wommai. Altogether, our situation was at this moment truly alarming—worse than on any former occasion.
March 29.—Towards daylight we were visited with a heavy fall of rain, soaking the whole of the party excepting the doctor. He, being well, had rigged up and occupied one of the calico tents. A cat fish was caught and cooked, and we all ate a small piece. From the heavy rains of this morning, the whole of the party, as the night closed in, were worse than ever, and, from their continued sickness, began to lose all heart and confidence, fancying they would never recover.
March 30.—Was ushered in with another fall of rain. It was really heartrending to see the debilitated position of our little party, principally, I am sure, from the absence of medicines, seven out of nine not being able to stand on their legs for fifty seconds together, and reeling like drunken men. We had every reason to believe that our sheep were lost. As the evening threatened rain (and from my extreme sickness), I was invited by the doctor to occupy a part or his tent. Dr. Leichhardt and Wommai took a ride, and fortunately returned with the whole of the cattle.
On the day preceding that on which we crossed the river, there was some more mustard and cress fit for cutting, and of which I, on this occasion, took care that they partook.
March 31.—The weather continued to he oppressively hot, and the situation of the invalids was rendered more unbearable from their inability to erect a bower to shelter them from the heat of the sun. I regret to remark that many of the party, from various circumstances, expressed a desire to return, and indeed made an application to the doctor to that effect, requesting that he would allow them to do so under the conduct and guidance of Brown, one of the blackfellows, who was as anxious for this step as any of the others. In this matter of trusting themselves to the guidance of Brown, they were acting, in my opinion, with very poor judgment, as a blackfellow in a new country is one of the most helpless and stupid companions imaginable. Ill as I was, I strongly objected to returning, after having progressed so long a distance on the expedition.
April 2.—Continued grumbling at being debarred the use of sugar.
April 3 and 4.—It never rains, they say, but it pours. On the first of these days Dr. Leichhardt gave the party a quantity of dough-boys, or, as we called them, dips, and on the following day a suet pudding.
April 5.—Whether arising from the quantity of dough taken for the last two days, in the shape of dough-boys and suet pudding, or from the heat of the weather, I know not, but they were much worse this morning, and in consequence the doctor very wisely came to the determination of taking the worst of the invalids a few days' stages towards Peak Range, where the country was more elevated.
April 6.—We were early astir this morning, catching and loading some of the mules to take with us to carry stores for the invalids. We started early, and took with us Brown, Boecking, Perry, and Wommai. We took the latter, however, merely for the purpose of bringing the cattle, in which duty he was assisted by Boecking. We encamped on a back water, or tributary of the Mackenzie river. Much anxiety was manifested on account of Boecking and Wommai not making their appearance until after dusk, and only bringing with them a portion of our herd of cattle, namely 26 out of 38.
April 7.—We made a short stage, and camped on the bank of the Mackenzie, at a hole where the water was very clear and good. Our black fellow, Brown, on observing the goodness of the water, pronounced his opinion that we should soon recover. After assisting in unloading the mules. Dr. Leichhardt returned, with Wommai, to the camp he had left, promising to rejoin us in a few days with the remainder of the party and stores.
April 8.—Brown and Turnbull exhibit signs of improvement, which Brown attributes to the goodness of the water at this place.
April 9.—We were this day visited by a large school of crows, who not only annoyed us by their unpleasant croaking, but flew off with pieces of our meat.
April 10.—Boecking was better this morning, and undertook to go in search of the horses and goats. We mounted him on the horse which we had tethered at the camp. As he did not return in the evening we commenced firing guns; but no signs of Boecking all night.
April 11.—Boecking not having returned last night, and as Brown was too ill to go and track him, I myself took a walk along the bank of the river, where I observed his trail for some distance. I continued on his track until I was knocked up, and being fearful that I might be required at the camp, after taking a little rest, I returned, and left poor Boecking to his fate. About 3 p.m. he made his appearance, and accounted for his absence from having mistaken the gullies and backwaters of the Mackenzie for the streams of the river itself. This is a mistake very commonly made by parties who are not in the habit of travelling, and taking notes of localities in the bush. He complained bitterly of having forgotten to take his tinder-box, which deprived him of the pleasure of a smoke or fire. There was a great show of fruit or berries on various kinds of salsolaceous plants, which were good to eat; of this fact poor Boecking was fortunately aware, and he appears to have made so good a use of his knowledge, that on travelling down the river in that direction afterwards, there was scarcely a berry to be seen. These fruits appeared to act on Boecking as a powerful tonic, and oil reaching the camp (although I cautioned him to the contrary) I placed by the side of the blankets on which he was reclining a leg of mutton; on my return to him shortly afterwards, what was my surprise at finding that he had cleaned the meat to the bone, and was swelling and straining his eyeballs like a frog in convulsions. But the most remarkable feature in the whole affair was, that after this very remarkable feat, which would have done credit to the celebrated Dando, he continued to recover apace, and he ever afterwards attributed his recovery to this leg of mutton.
On our way from the old to the present camp, the country in places opened with small patches of plains, surrounded by Brigalowe, Myall, Dodonea, Santalum, and innumerable other shrubs and trees, forming thick scrubs. On the surface of these plains were large blocks of fossil or petrified wood, in some cases whole stems of trees in this state of petrifaction, and occasional blocks of bright-looking coal cropping out along the banks of the river and back waters, might be seen. I am certain that at this place coal of the best and most gaseous description might be obtained, sufficient to supply the colony for centuries. But how it is to be brought into requisition, unless the Mackenzie river may prove to be navigable, is beyond my power to show. It would not be practicable in the direction in which we travelled, from the large belts of scrub, and broken ranges, to take waggons even for the purpose of occupying the country for grazing.
About four p.m.. Dr. Leichhardt returned with the remainder of the party, in whom there was no improvement. Ours was now a sick camp, indeed; myself and the doctor being the only two individuals able to get about.
April 11 to 16.—The whole of my time, during this interval, was devoted to searching for the horses, mules, goats, sheep, and cattle. The sheep and goats were completely lost, and, if not immediately forthcoming, the doctor intended abandoning them, and depending, in future, upon the cattle for subsistence, of which we had yet left thirty-eight head.
April 17.—We made another start this morning, leaving the goats and sheep to their fate. Our day's stage was at no great distance from the bank of the river, and the country was much broken, uneven, and intersected with innumerable dry, or nearly dried up, backwaters and lagoons of the Mackenzie. This style of travelling was very trying to my poor fellow-sufferers, who had to be lifted on their horses on starting in the morning, and who were so exhausted from the exertion of having to hold on by their horses' manes in rising and descending the numerous gullies that, on sighting a lagoon containing a good supply of water, the doctor was induced to camp. Adorning the edge of this lake were some very magnificent trees of the Bauhinia, from which I collected seed. These trees were growing among Brigalowe, which formed a thick scrub in one direction. On the immediate bank of the lagoon, they were but thinly scattered, sufficient only to add to the beauty of the scenery. It is a remarkable circumstance, that a tree so common in its growth, and so generally distributed—so much so as to be one of the greatest enemies to the settlers in the newly-formed countries in the northern latitudes—should never have been known to have produced either a seed or blossom. Among the Brigalowe scrubs, as we drew nearer the tropics, I found the undergrowth of smaller plants to change their features: instead of the various kinds of Dodonea, frequently mentioned, and similar plants, we had now many species of the Myaporum, very dwarf, with bright, shining foliage, and waxen blossoms, highly odoriferous. Three species of Jasminum, or sweet jasmine, with blossoms plentiful, very large, and as fragrant as the European species. These plants, were succeeded by large clusters of black, brilliantly-shining berries, which the aborigines led as to understand were poisonous.
Three new species of Cassia; one species was in full flower, and very fragrant—indeed, all the plants, as we approached the tropics, appeared to possess a richer and more powerful perfume.
In the hollows, so common to the scrubs from whence the water had receded, were a large species of Anthericum, or Bulbine—a very remarkable sedge (Fimbristylus), and a very pretty dwarf, growing densely pinnate—species of Ashonemonie. On approaching the lagoons, or water-holes, towards sundown, we seldom failed to disturb large flocks of the little partridge pigeon, which we were in the habit of shooting, and found an agreeable variety to our very limited diet. Of kangaroos, emus, and turkeys, we had seen but few since leaving the Dawson River. Of snakes, however, and iguannas, we had no stint; the largest specimen of the former myself, Mr. Boecking, and Dr. Leichhardt saw while camping on the Mackenzie River. Its place of abode was a very large, hollow tree, standing at a considerable distance from our camp, and on the edge of the river. Mr. Boecking was the first to observe and report the circumstance; but, from his representation of its immense size, we gave little credence to his statements. He had only seen two-thirds of the creature, as it was in the act of entering the hollow of the tree. Subsequently, however, both Dr. Leichhardt and myself saw it at the same time, and precisely in the same position as described by Boecking, with his head and part of his body in the tree; but, having no gun at the time, we were unable to kill and take its dimensions. It was certainly the largest snake I had ever seen, and longer than I had imagined any of these kind of reptiles to exist in Australia.
April 18.—One of the mules not being forthcoming this morning, we were necessitated to remain at the camp for the day. I took a stroll amongst the Brigalowe plantation, it was not dense enough to be called a scrub; and I saw scattered in various directions a number of very curious shells, convolute, and flat like the ammonite, as well as a fine specimen of the Paludina, with the operculums perfect. These were, however, only seen in or near the little water-holes, surrounded by aquatic weeds, of which I found one that both Dr. Leichhardt and myself considered as a new species of Vallisneria, with pyramidal, showy blossoms. I also saw in this scrub the beautiful arborescent Capparis Mitchellii in full blossom, for the first time. I endeavoured to preserve a few of these large, graceful, and fragile blossoms; but my specimens, on opening them some months afterwards, on my return to civilisation, I found to be much injured, and very imperfect. Wommai shot a wallaby; the specimen was much smaller than the common kind, and had a dark brown stripe on either cheek. It was skinned, and the skin preserved; but, unfortunately, it was afterwards accidentally lost, with the whole of our collection of animals and insects, of which he had collected a great number.
April 19.—This day, shortly after starting, the character of the country changed to large, open, and very extensive plains of volcanic formation, over which was scattered a variety of pretty-looking pebbles, mixed with broken fragments of quartz and agates; many of the latter were very clear, and presented a variety of colors. About two hours after leaving the camp, Brown, the black fellow, caught sight of Peak Ranges. They were merely two very remarkable-looking pyramidal hills. Having again entered on the region of plains, we had a renewal of our troubles with the mules. Very common to these plains, was a large-growing salsolaceous plant, belonging to the ChenopodeaceŠ, of Jussieu. These weeds grow in the form of a large ball, to the height of five or six feet, and, being annuals, die away in the autumn, and, as they do not speedily decay, lie loose on the surface. Whirlwinds were very common, and, as these weeds came within its influence, they were taken up to a considerable height, sometimes out of sight. Very frequently these eddies took place within a few yards in advance of our cavalcade. No sooner were a few of these balls (or, as we were in the habit of calling them, "rolly-poleys") taken up with the current of air, than the mules began to kick and buck, until they had relieved themselves of their loads. The exercise necessary for catching and reloading them again was very trying, when the smallness of our numbers and the heat of the weather is considered, we being now seven miles within the Tropics.
Continued travelling longer than usual, and began to apprehend that we should have to camp without water, when Brown was heard to cooee. We followed the direction of the cooee, and came upon a fine lagoon of good water. The flies continued troublesome, and we travelled with our eyes but half open, and the mosquitoes to-night prevented any of us getting a fair share of sleep.
I forgot to remark, that on the Mackenzie we found a large climbing papilionaceous plant, probably a glycine. The fruit was a large pod, nine inches long. The beans contained in these pods were, at the suggestion of Dr. Leichhardt, roasted and made into coffee, in which character it was used; one dose of this beverage was sufficient, as it created a violent vomiting and diarrhœa.
April 20.—Left our encampment this morning about ten a.m., and continued travelling over the same fine open country, the soil being rich and of deep black color, covered with the richest verdure, consisting of two grasses, much admired by sheep-farmers, namely, Panicum Leavinode, or millet grass, and Anthistiria, or kangaroo grass. The Panicum Leavinode is the plant from which the natives make their bread, and is called by the blacks of Liverpool Plains, coola grass. This plant produces an abundance of a small firm and heavy seed. which when ripe, is by them collected in nearly the same manner as corn by the Europeans. It is cut, dried, and threshed, and after the seed is properly winnowed from the chaff, it is crushed and pounded to a pulp between two heavy stones, after which it is made into bread. It has often puzzled me to know how the wild blacks contrived to cut the grass, having, as far as I have observed, nothing in the shape of sharp instruments at all adapted for the purpose. We occasionally came across very large heaps of the refuse, that had evidently been cut by some sharp instrument. From the Hunter's river to the Tropics, the aborigines appeared to have been fully aware of the value and importance of this plant, and they all appeared to adopt the same method in its preparation.
Among the grasses on these plains were a great variety of aromatic herbs, which, from the trampling of our horses and cattle, gave out a sweet refreshing perfume. Among them I found a new species of marjoram, which we were sometime afterwards in the habit of cutting, drying, and using in the liquor in which our dried meat was boiled, and was a great improvement to the flavour to our apology for soup. The only trees on these plains were a few solitary individuals of the Brigalowe.
To this fine country, unfortunately, there appeared to be no means of approach with a dray, which was in every way so admirably adapted to the purposes of keeping either sheep or cattle, as, in addition to the richness of the herbage, the little clumps of shrubs first mentioned would form excellent places of shelter during the heat of the day. The weather continued hot, and the flies as troublesome as ever. We had travelled until late in the afternoon without sighting water, or anything like a water channel, and we began to fear that we should have to camp without it. This was no pleasant prospect, as the invalids, who were still suffering from the effects of fever and ague, were beginning to complain much of thirst.
The cattle, also, from the excessive heat of the weather, appeared to be suffering from the same cause. Brown, the blackfellow, was dis-. patched to search for this much coveted agent, with instructions to fire a gun in the event of his being successful. Should we find water first we were of course to fire a gun in the same manner, as a signal for him to join us.
Shortly after Brown departed we observed what appeared to be a very small channel in wet weather; by following this down for a little more than an hour, we came to a hole containing a small quantity of liquid mud. We had much difficulty in keeping the mules from rushing into it and getting bogged. Although we succeeded in keeping the mules from it, we were not so fortunate with some of the party, who, more stubborn than the mules, would persist in drinking a small quantity of this lukewarm and muddy deposit. We continued following the course of the channel until sundown, when we came, as we expected, upon a fine creek at a bend where there was a fine sheet of pure water, with sandy banks. The party were much exhausted on reaching the camp. Just as we came upon the creek. Brown rode up and joined us, with the intelligence that he also had found a waterhole.
April 21.—In collecting the horses this morning, we perceived that four were missing; and we were consequently compelled to remain at the camp the whole day. It was fortunate for us that along the hank of the creek were some fine green spreading gum trees, which partly-sheltered us from the scorching rays of the sun. Growing and twining round the branches of Dodonea, bastard sandal wood, and other shrubs, which clothed the bank of the creek, were a large number of the native melon (Cucumis mollis), or downy cucumber, which, some months subsequent to the present time, we were in the habit of collecting and converting into an article of food, when we had but little else to eat. We now, for the first time, began to feel the loss of our sheep and goats. We had no meat, and it was too late to kill a bullock. In this dilemma. Dr. Leichhardt ordered the cook to mix up a lot of flour, and treated us all to a feed of dips. These were made as follows:—a quantity of flour was mixed up with water, and stirred with a spoon to a certain consistency, and dropped into a pot of boiling water, a spoonful at a time. Five minutes boiling was sufficient, when they were eaten with the water in which they were boiled.
April 22.—Having no meat, and as the morning broke fine, the doctor determined on killing and drying our only cow. As this was the first beast we had dried after the South American fashion, in the sun, perhaps a short description of the process may not be considered uninteresting. The bull, or, as in our case, the cow, being killed, it was first cut into quarters, or large pieces, and placed on a stage erected for the occasion. In this manner it was allowed to remain one night. I should have said that we always killed in the evening. In the meantime, the party—at least, such as were able to job about—were engaged in various duties connected with the drying; some in cutting saplings and forks, which others carried to the place where they were wanted for the stage. After a sufficient quantity of forks and poles were cut, and on the ground, they were rigged up in the shape of a stage, on which the meat was hung. The stage being erected, in readiness at daylight in the morning, the whole of them were employed in sharpening their knives, and cutting off the meat from the bones in long steaks, and not more than one inch in thickness. As the meat was cut off in this manner, others were employed in hanging it on the poles. Generally speaking, a bullock would be cut up, and hung out by two or three p.m. It was allowed to remain in this fashion until eleven o'clock on the following day, when it was turned, much to the annoyance of myriads of blow-flies, who had deposited thereon a tolerable quantity of larvŠ. On the third day, these larvŠ, or fly-blows, or maggots (it is best to speak in the vulgar tongue), might be seen in full life and activity travelling and exploring the piece of meat which had, for a time, become their adopted home. In turning, we, of course, knocked off as many of these gentry as possible. If the weather proved fine, a bullock was dried, chopped up, and packed in four or five days.
We were doomed in this, as in everything else connected with the expedition, to be unfortunate.
April 23.—The party were busily employed in cutting up the beef; and a great portion was hung out to dry. Before, however, they had finished cutting up, it commenced raining heavily, and continued for the remainder of that day and the following night. Having no tents, we were, of course, completely saturated in our blankets; and this, we had every reason to apprehend, would tend to a relapse with the invalids—who had, for the last few days, exhibited signs of improvement—as well as the destruction of our meat.
April 24.—The rain still continued until nearly noon, when it cleared up, and the sun made its appearance, when we lost no time in turning the meat. It continued fine, however, for a very short time, when it commenced again raining in torrents; and, as the party had no means of shelter, the fever and ague again made its appearance.
April 25.—This morning broke fine, and the sun rose in all its splendor. The meat was again turned, and was found to be eatable, although, from the late rains, it was much and strongly tainted. Several of our horses were missing.
April 26.—The weather was very warm; and many of the party, from their late soaking, were very weak again, and moved about with difficulty.
April 27.—The doctor had intended going this morning, accompanied by Brown, to look for the stray horses, but they both found themselves too unwell.
April 28.—The doctor and Wommai went in search of the horses, but found two only. Great dissatisfaction was expressed at the camp this day, from the doctor having reduced our rations of tainted meat to two-thirds of a pound to each individual. It was rather unfortunate that he should have done this just at the time when they were most in need of nourishment.
April 29.—Both Dr. Leichhardt and Wommai went out this morning to look for the horses. The former returned shortly after starting, being too ill to continue the search; but the latter did not return all night. From the last two fine days, the meat was well dried, and was cut up with tomahawks into small pieces, of about two inches in length, and packed in sacks for the convenience of carriage. The entrails were dried and packed up in a similar manner, for the use of our four canine companions—namely, Spring, Norval, Camden, and Wasp; the latter was a small terrier, and a great pet of the doctors.
April 30.—From the continued ill state of the doctor and many of the party, a proposition was again made to him to return. Upon hearing this second application, he came to me, and asked if I was one of those for going back. I told him that I was not, but, on the contrary, desirous of reaching Swan River; and I thought that, by studying the wishes of his party, ha would find them pretty much of my mind. And, in the first place, I suggested an increase in flour, which was immediately granted.
May 1.—We were busy this day in packing up, and making arrangements for another start. The increase of our flour diet had already done wonders, and given a fresh impetus to the invalids.
May 2.—This morning made another move from our camp. Just, however, as we were leaving, our usual bad luck began to show itself. Mr. Mann was taken seriously and suddenly ill. As everything was in readiness for moving, the doctor commenced the march, and left poor Mr. Mann behind with Brown, who was also unwell, with instructions, as soon as Mr. Mann felt himself sufficiently recovered, to follow upon our tracks. We continued travelling over well-grassed plains, of great extent, until nearly sundown, without finding water. Dr. Leichhardt caught sight of a number of cockatoos; and, by tracking the course of their flight, we, in a short time, reached a creek well supplied With water. Scattered over these plains were some fine trees of the laurel-leaved and box gum. We had the remarkable Peak Range in view the greater part of the day, and, by evening, we had approached it so closely as to be able to discern the outlines of trees on the tops of the peaks. Neither Mr. Mann, Brown, or Wommai appeared that night.
May 3.—About eleven in the forenoon Mr. Mann and Brown reached the camp. They appeared to be much exhausted, having had nothing to eat except a few very small fish, found in some small shallow water holes, and were caught easily with a pocket handkerchief. Night closed without Wommai making his appearance with the cattle. This circumstance created much uneasiness at the camp, as we had nothing but the cattle to fall back upon for subsistence.
May 4.—Wommai reached the camp by breakfast time, but without the cattle. The poor fellow was nearly starved, and otherwise in a bad humour. He had tasted nothing since parting with us, and having missed our track in consequence of Dr. Leichhardt having made a sudden turn to the right, he had taken the cattle back to the old camp, where he had left them, and had since followed upon our track on horseback until reaching the camp, to avoid (as he said) being starved to death. Before leaving this morning, Mr. Hely and Brown were dispatched for the cattle, with instructions to bring them in the direction of the Peaks, as our stage Would be in that direction. Our day's journey was over the same fine rich open plains, and we encamped in the evening at one' of the doctor's old camps, when on his way to Port Essington, at no great distance from the Peak.
May 5.—Made a short stage over a beautiful undulating park-like country, better grassed if possible than any we had as yet passed over. We saw many kangaroos and emus. We camped early in the afternoon, at a fine waterhole. We fixed our camp on a patch of elevated land, a kind of terrace, on which were some fine patches of scrub. It was from this camp that we intended to commence making our westing, or longitude, for Swan River. Neither Mr. Hely or Brown made their appearance with the cattle.
May 6.—Here we had to remain until the arrival of the men who were absent, which was not until the evening, and then their appearance was anything but of a gratifying character. They had seen nothing of the cattle, and returned with but one horse between them. Brown lost his, the day after leaving us, at the camp where we had killed and dried the cow.
May 7.—Here we were again fixed for probably some time, as it was not at all unlikely that the cattle may have taken their journey homewards. Dr. Leichhardt went out to reconnoitre the surrounding country, and Mr. Hely, Brown, and Wommai to find the cattle and horses. They took two or three days provisions with them. Mr. Mann shot a few small partridge-pigeons at a waterhole this morning, Dr. Leichhardt did not return to the camp at night, and much anxiety was manifested on his account. Of course, neither Hely, Brown, or Wommai, were expected for two or three days.
May 8.—The doctor did not join us until noon this day, and accounted for his absence by having lost his way. He blamed us for not firing guns, on his not appearing at the camp last night. We of course expressed our regret at his having to sleep all night without a blanket, food, or society. But after taking his food he fortunately lost his appetite and ill humour together. He spoke highly of the country to the westward, our intended line of route. He had seen plenty of water. The country was, however, rough and stoney, and bad travelling for horses.
May 9.—Erected a kind of bower, as the doctor was unwell. The other members of the party suffering from a violent attack of diarrhœa.
May 10, 11, and 12.—The nights became cold. Thermometer average—sundown, 64; sunrise, 42. Our latitude, 22.54 south; elevation, 1,038 feet. The cook, Boecking, put leaven in our miniature damper—a great improvement.
May 13.—The nights continued cold. The doctor was requested to fulfil his promise to the party in giving them some flour and sugar to celebrate our reaching Peak Range. He refused. In this matter he may have acted from a feeling of economy, fearing that we may have lost our cattle, as well as several horses; nothing as yet having been heard of the party gone in search.
May 14.—This morning Dr. Leichhardt rode to a waterhole, three miles from our camp, to ascertain the capabilities of that place for killing another bullock, if the cattle are found.
May 15.—The party in search of the cattle had now been absent nine days, and great anxiety was manifested for their safety. Symptoms of fever and ague were again apparent with those whom we had imagined to have recovered. Of what incalculable benefit to the party would have been a package of those invaluable pills manufactured by Dr. L.L. Smith, the infallible properties of which are modestly represented by the inventor as being capable of caring every disease incidental to humanity, from a corn to a consumption. Dr. Smith was, however, non est, and his pills consequently not comeatable, so that it is now useless to lament their absence. The moon changed, and the weather became cloudy and overcast in the evening. I believe this, however, to be pretty generally the case at every change of the moon in the northern latitudes.
May 16.—No signs of the cattle, or the party who were in search of them. We had only dried meat enough to last us the day, and the country being destitute of game, our position was not of the most cheering character. If they are fortunate enough to find and bring in the whole of the cattle, they will not he more than sufficient to carry us to Swan River, which we cannot expect to reach in less than eighteen months.
May 17.—Mr. Hely, Brown, and Wommai, returned with only nine head of cattle, which they found in one mob by themselves, having separated from the main herd. They had also seen two more mobs, one consisting of four, and another of three, making altogether eighteen head, and there were consequently twenty more of which they had seen nothing. If we are fortunate in finding the whole herd, it will be very difficult in future to prevent their straying. They were fortunate in catching, with the assistance of the dogs, an emu and a kangaroo, or they would have suffered from want of food, having eaten their rations by the fourth day after leaving the camp. They had come suddenly on a camp of wild blacks, before either party were aware of it. They endeavoured by signs to make themselves understood, but
May 18.—This day it was the doctor's intention to return to the creek we had previously left, for the purpose of killing and drying one of the nine bullocks, his object being to get the benefit of water, as our present water hole was nearly exhausted. But not being able to find the horses, and many of the mules also having strayed, he determined on killing the bullock at our present camp. We had been already two days without meat; and we were not sorry to see Brown take aim with his rifle, and bring down one of the fattest of the remaining nine. We were all very hungry, and set to with a will in rigging up a stage, in order that no time should be lost, while the weather proved fine.
May 19.—Mr. Hely and Brown were again despatched for the cattle, with a stock of provisions for five days. Brown intimated having found a fine camp at some distance from this place; and Hely and Brown had instructions given to them by the doctor that, if our present stock of water proved insufficient, we should move on to the place indicated, where they were to rejoin us, if they found we had left the present camping ground on their return. We were all busy in cutting up and drying. A killing day was always a grand day with us, as we had as much and, in fact, more than we could eat. The boiler was never idle during that period, and the cook had his hands full, as, in fact, had all the rest, with grilled bones and Boup made from the head and other offal. I had cut, dried, and rubbed to powder some of the new native marjoram, which the cook mixed up with the blood and some fat; and with this he made thirty-two black puddings.
Having been so long stinted to a small quantity of dried tainted meat, we requested the doctor to allow us to reserve a piece of the round for salting, the taste of which, we told him, would remind us of old times. He consented, and a piece about thirty pounds was salted and put by. From the time of killing the last bullock up to the present moment, we had a succession of beautifully fine weather. We had no sooner, however, got the meat cut up and hung on the stage, when, about six p.m., it commenced raining heavily. Poor Leichhardt appeared to be almost heart-broken at the circumstance, remarking, that nothing but a continued chain of misfortune appeared to attend the present expedition. We covered the stage where the meat was hanging with our two old tents, and crawled underneath for shelter, enjoying, not only the rank smell, but receiving all the gravy as it exuded from the meat. We were just on the eve of going to sleep, when we were disturbed by hearing that the dogs had broken loose, and were making free with our beautiful round of salt beef. This fact was no sooner communicated to those who were under the stage, than they immediately arose. But our discovery arrived too late; as, after dragging it in the sand, they had eaten all the fat off it, of which we were all particularly fond. The dogs were again tied up, and the meat put by until morning, when it was washed preparatory to being used. Another specimen, as the doctor remarked, of the spirit of opposition and misfortune accompanying our undertaking. "Misfortunes never come alone", says the proverb. We had no sooner again taken to our cover, than Turnbull, who was watching the cattle, gave the very unpleasant intelligence that they had again bolted. This was a worse misfortune than the loss of the round of beef, and sent us again to our miserable quarters with heavy hearts.
May 20.—It was delightful to contrast the brilliant rising of the sun this morning, with our dark and unhealthy quarters of the previous night; nothing could exceed the balmy fragrance of the air, and the chirping of the little feathered choristers, as they approached to drink at the water hole then fast drying up. We were all very busy in cutting up and turning the meat. We had scarcely congratulated ourselves on the favorable progress made in preserving the meat, when, about four p.m., the sky again became overcast and cloudy, as also did the countenances of my companions at the prospect of another wet night. Fortunately, however, it cleared up in the evening, and a fine clear night followed, thus enabling the whole of the party to obtain a good night's repose around the fire. As the nights were now getting cold, we began to fancy we could put up with an additional half-blanket, as those in use were half worn out. Before going to sleep, we became alarmed at the non-appearance of Wommai; but our fears were allayed about midnight, when he made his appearance with the cattle, having found his way to the camp by moonlight. The instinct of some of the aborigines is remarkable, as in this instance. Here was a black fellow, in a new country, hundreds of miles from civilised life, with no track, and no knowledge of the use of the compass, traversing many miles of country, and, being in search of cattle, rendered his course circuitous; and yet, without a landmark, and with a mob of cattle driving, he managed to travel for hours by night through a country, in many cases, thickly timbered and scrubby. With all these impediments, is it not wonderful that, by an instinct peculiar, I believe; to savages only, he was able to steer directly to our camp, which occupied, comparatively speaking, so small a space?
May 21.—The weather continued fine, and our meat was drying beautifully. Much anxiety was manifested on account of the lost stock. I looked over my botanical specimens, and was rejoiced to find them uninjured, excepting some specimens of the beautiful but fragile blossoms of the Capparis Mitchellii. Wommai brought me, on his return, some green and dry pods of the creeping plant to which we had given the name of the Mackenzie Bean, having found it, in the first instance, growing on the banks of that river. I subsequently found the same plant very plentifully on the banks of the river Burnett, in the district of Wide Bay.
May 22.—Another bright and glorious sunrise—a finer day never broke. A great consolation to those labouring under depression of spirits consequent on their long illness. Yesterday the cattle contrived again to escape, and poor Wommai, as a matter of course, was sent to bring them back. But for the good tempered and willing disposition of Wommai on all occasions, I know not what would have been the fate of the expedition. After having eaten the fiour and sugar to a certain extent, the remainder was put by, and it was laid down as a general rule, to be only used on festivals and fast days, such as Christmas Day, Good Friday, &c. The following day being Whitsunday, was, after some little discussion, declared as coming under the head of festivals, it was determined we should have our accustomed feed allowed on such occasions—a boiled suet pudding weighing five pounds. This, when divided among nine individuals, was a very great indulgence towards us on the part of the doctor, our usual allowance of flour diet, whilst that article was in general use, being only three ounces to each individual daily. The anticipation of the forthcoming feed of pudding gave a cheerful appearance to the countenances of each individual. The party still continued very weak. I cannot help thinking that much of our sickness was attributable to an over indulgence on killing days, when each man had the privilege of eating as much as he wanted. No small temptation certainly to men who were, during the intervals, limited to a small allowance. These days were a kind of jubilee in our reckoning,—cooking and eating, rolling and smoking to any extent, and gnawing grilled bones as large as one's arm,—this feeding on the spare bones and other parts of the bullock, which would otherwise have been lost, continued for four or five days, the time usually necessary in drying the meat. This over eating and luxuriating, like other debauches, had, in my opinion, a great influence in prolonging the sickness.
Wommai returned with the cattle. During Mr. Perry's watch they again made off, and Mr. P. very foolishly followed them, and lost himself. In about four hours he returned. He had the good sense to give the horse his head, or he would never have found the camp at all. A sort of fatality appeared to accompany Mr. Perry, this being the third time he had lost himself while on watch, and on every occasion it was on the eve of a festival. It was hinted by some of the party that Dr. Leichhardt should be applied to for a little sugar in addition to the flour, as in that case Mr. Turnbull volunteered his services as cook in making a bolster pudding. Latitude of our camp, 22.54; elevation, 1,038 feet.
May 23.—All along the banks of the rivers and creeks, as well as other low situations where the water occasionally settled, forming a rich diluvian, we seldom failed to observe an abundant growth of a species of grewia. The grewia in general appearance and foliage is not unlike the filbert nut tree: instead, however, of growing to the size of the latter, its height seldom exceeded five feet, except in very sheltered and favorable situations, where it occasionally attained a foot or eighteen inches higher. The product of this plant was a small fruit forming a three-celled capsule, about the size of the common hazel nut of Britain. Its appearance to the hungry traveller, at the first glance, was rather of a tempting character, being a rich soft red, like that common to peaches, apparently fleshy. On testing its qualities, however, it was found to be of little use except to those who could boast of a good set of teeth, which enabled them to crack the internal stone of which it principally consisted, when a very pleasant and refreshing taste was obtained, not unlike that of the raisin of commerce. During our long sojourn at certain camps, which were frequently in the neighbourhood of the grewia plantations, we were in the habit of collecting the fruit, and afterwards pounding them between stones or otherwise. This, when boiled in a good quantity of water, afforded us a very wholesome and agreeable beverage, very highly prized by us at our solitary and weary tropical encampments. This being Whitsunday, and consequently a festival, we had our promised pudding; the doctor, on being asked, gave us some sugar, and Turnbull made a bolster instead of a suet one. To counteract the effect of the heavy feed, I took a walk with the gun in the expectation of shooting some partridge-pigeons, which were often seen between the patches of scrubs, but saw nothing worth powder and shot.
May 24.—This, the morn of the Queen's birth-day, was ushered in with the death of poor Norval, our sheep and cattle dog. This dog was always considered as one of the party, having, prior to the loss of the sheep and goats, had his allotted duties to perform, the same as the rest of us. And well and faithfully he performed his part, when assisting myself and Wommai in driving the sheep through the long grass and tangled scrubs; many times, poor fellow, when the sun was shining and the thermometer standing 120 and 124, in the confined patches of plains surrounded by brigalowe scrubs, which prevented the ingress of a breath of wind to assist respiration, have we, although reluctantly, been compelled to leave him to recover himself,—and he has frequently not overtaken us at the camp until late at night. His services were now no longer needed, and as there was a chance of our running short of provisions, he was doomed to 'die the death', by the hands of Dr. Leichhardt, and Boecking, the cook. An application had been made to the blacks the previous evening, but they refused to have any hand in killing Norval, who was a favorite with the party generally.
Soup was to have been made of the green hide of the last bullock killed, but it was required to make tether ropes, in the manufacture of which two or three of us were busy the whole of the forenoon. The Queen's Birth-day was of course observed by so loyal a subject as Dr. Leichhardt, as another festival, and we had a repetition of yesterday's pudding. After despatching the dinner, the doctor arose and proposed the Queen's health, which we were requested to drink standing. The toast was drunk with as much loyalty and ardour as could have been expected in cold tea, without milk or sugar.
May 25.—We to-day tried the first dish of our new batch of meat, which proved excellent, considering the rain during the operation of drying.
The glass this morning at sunrise, was only one degree above freezing point. This was a dull season for me in the way of plants, the only ones now in blossom being a handsome species of acacia and an alstromeria. Wommai was again sent for the cattle this morning.
May 27.—The wind this day was very cold, and drove us to our blankets.
May 28.—It was fortunate for us we had bagged and put by the dry meat, as this morning it commenced raining heavily, and continued the whole day and following night, a regular tropical soaker, as different from a Scotch mist as is a south-west rain in Melbourne to a water-spout.
About noon Hely and Brown returned to the camp like drowned rats, after an absence of nine days, and what was very remarkable, and by no means satisfactory, they returned on foot, having lost their horses. They said that after travelling a day and a half, they were again attacked by fever and ague, which prevented their looking for the cattle, and was the cause of their losing the horses they were riding. After in a measure recovering from their sickness, they returned towards the camp, and fell in with and drove to within two or three miles of the camp our horses and mules; at this point they lost them, as well as the horses they were riding. They had evidently suffered from the effects of the fever and ague, as well as the fatigue of walking to the camp. At 6 p.m. the rain was accompanied by heavy thunder, and continued pouring down all night. Poor Wommai had now been absent in search of the cattle for three days, and we began to feel anxious for his safety, not having taken with him a supply of provisions.
May 28.—This morning we were a very miserable looking party indeed, moving with much difficulty. The rains of yesterday and last night had extinguished our fire, and the wood and chips being saturated, it was a difficult task to re-kindle it The party squatting on their heels, taking their miserable breakfast around the fire, was a picture to behold. Wommai returned to the camp, but without the cattle, they having bolted from him during the heavy rains and thunder of the previous night. The poor fellow was nearly exhausted by exposure to the heavy rains and want of food, having started, as I before observed, without taking a supply. We were now in a truly unenviable position, without horses, mules, cattle, sheep, or goats; so that our only dependence now was the dried carcase of the last bullock killed.
May 29.—Dr. Leichhardt now, with the assistance of Wommai, undertook to search for the whole, or a portion of the lost stock; as this was likely to be a work of time, they took with them a sufficient supply of food to last for four or five days. Mr. Hely also accompanied them to the place where he and Brown had deposited the saddles, and from whence he returned safely with those articles. About eight o'clock, the doctor and Wommai returned to the camp without any of the cattle or other stock they went in search of. They had, however, been fortunate in catching an emu, with the assistance of the dogs. They had eaten nearly the whole of their game before reaching the camp, and we had consequently the poor satisfaction of sleeping upon the expectation of having the remains for our breakfast the next morning in perspective.
May 30, Sunday.—This morning, we made an early, and I am sorry to say, retrograde movement with our remaining mules and horses in the direction of our former encampment at "Cow-killing Creek". Independent of the lowness of spirits, consequent on our travelling in a home direction, the day's stage was tedious over the plains of Peak Ranges; we passed a few small water holes with sandstone beds, and camped about five p.m. on what appeared to be a small creek containing a moderate supply of water, the bed of the creek, like that of the water holes we had previously passed, was of sandstone formation. Saw two trees of the very elegant and beautiful Hakea Lowria, in full blossom, of which I obtained specimens.
May 31.—We succeeded in reaching Cow-killing Creek, at four p.m., where we camped after a very fatiguing journey to the invalids, some of whom were getting worse. In the course of our day's stage, we passed one or two clumps of shrubs, where I obtained seed of an odoriferous species of mangrove (myaporum, and a specimen of an interesting species of Tecoma. It was also in one of these patches of scrubs that Wommai shot a native turkey or bustard, which was very fat and yielded us an excellent supper. It was cut into steaks and fried in the pan.
June 1.—Last evening a cabinet council was held as to the best means of obtaining our missing stock, and the result of our deliberations was, that it would be desirable for the doctor himself, accompanied by Wommai, to again undertake the search. As this was likely to be a work of time, and as there were again symptoms amongst us of a return of our former sickness, we succeeded in rigging up a kind of bower as a protection from the mid-day sun.
June 2.—It was evident, from the sinking state of the sick, that exercise, as recommended by Dr. Leichhardt, proved but an indifferent substitute for medicine. Dr. Leichhardt and Wommai yesterday started in search of the cattle, and consequently seven only were left in the camp. Out of these, six were again laid up, or, perhaps, laid down would be the most correct manner of expressing it, with fever and ague. The continued and long suffering of Mr. Boecking had affected his mind. He was the strongest and most muscular man in the party, and, in a state of delirium, he arose from his blanket, reeling like a drunken man, asking if the pudding was in the pot, and other extraordinary questions. Mr. Perry, in addition to the fever and ague, suffered from a violent attack of diarrhœa at the same time. Our continued sickness, combined with an absence of medicine, and the loss of stock, with all the other untoward circumstances, had driven them to the conclusion that the most prudent course to be taken, under the circumstances, would be to return while we had the dried meat and few remaining stores; and although I was, up to this time, anxious to reach the Swan, I did not consider myself justified, any longer, in differing from the others in their decision, as an opposite course now was likely to lead to an eventual loss of life to many, if not the whole of the party.
June 3, 4, and 5.—There was no improvement at the camp. On the fifth I added myself to the list of invalids.
June 6.—This morning Mr. Turnbull took a short ride, and, on his return, with the assistance of the dog Swift, succeeded in catching a kangaroo. He was only able to bring the tail with him; but Brown, the black fellow, jumped on the horse, and, following Turnbull's tracks returned with the body, which was at once cut into strips, and dried in the same manner as the beef, as any addition to our stock of provisions was of great importance, and not to be overlooked.
June 7.—This morning the doctor and his black companion, Wommai, returned with only four head of cattle. He appeared to be much distressed at the apparently helpless state of the party. He came to me, as I was lying in my blanket, and inquired my opinion respecting the party and its present prospects. After much painful conversation, he said he also thought the best step to be adopted was to go back; and that he would do so as soon as he could find the missing mules and horses. Only four head of cattle having been returned to the camp, they were anxious to make off again to their companions, a double degree of vigilance was requisite in watching; and for this purpose, the doctor offered, as an inducement, a two-pound fat cake to those who were willing to undertake the duty; considering the small quantity now on hand, this was no common bribe, and it consequently elicited offers from more than one candidate.
June 8.—In despite of all our caution in watching, the cattle contrived to escape again: during the night. Wommai went in search, and brought them back in the early part of the day.
June 9.—The doctor and Wommai went again in quest of the mules and horses. Having determined upon returning, he did not intend troubling himself to look for more of the cattle, as he considered that the four which were at the camp, with the dried meat in store, would be sufficient to take us back to the Condamine River, where we should find stations. To secure the four we already possessed, it was unanimously agreed that the party at the camp should take watches of two hours each during the day and night. By some means, however, they again escaped in the forenoon, during Mr. Turnbull's watch. In the course of his search, the doctor fell in with some black fellows, who appeared very shy. They would not allow him to approach. He cut from his red woollen shirt two buttons, which he put. in a piece of paper, and placed on the ground. On going to some little distance from this spot, the black fellows: were observed to approach the paper, which they picked up, and appeared to be much pleased with the buttons.
June 10.—The party were earnestly employed to-day in rubbing and scraping off the flakes of dirty flour adhering to the bags. This very questionable-looking material was made into a kind of dough, which from the quantity of woolly fibres mixed with it from the bags, had, when cooked, pretty much the appearance of balls of worsted, far from tempting to a gourmand.
June 11.—For the last few nights the weather was excessively cold, and accompanied by sharp frosts, which froze the water or cold tea in our pannikins, at no great distance from the Are, to the thickness of a penny piece.
June 12.—The doctor not returning, and having again lost the four head of cattle, we became alarmed at the hole which our daily consumption was making in our stock of dried beef, which was intended as our principal supply to take us again to the haunts of civilized life, a distance of 700 or 800 miles.
June 13.—The weather fortunately continued fine. By a very singular and fortunate coincidence, as our horses at the camp became knocked up, three mules and two horses made their appearance of their own accord.
June 14.—A continuation of good luck appeared to be our present destiny, for as yesterday we were blessed with the return of some horses and mules, just as they were needed, to-day as Mr. Mann was strolling on a rising ground at a little distance from our encampment, he caught sight of our four missing bullocks. These cattle were now far more wild and unmanageable than before, and some little care was necessary in heading them round to the camp, at a part where an angle was formed by the creek taking a turn. After some consideration, it was deemed the safest plan to shoot and secure one at least, as there was every probability of their again bolting. To accomplish this object. Brown, who was an excellent shot, placed himself behind the butt of a large gum tree that was growing on the bank of the creek. Turnbull jumped on a horse and headed the cattle round in the direction of the tree behind which Brown was ensconced, and from whence he after some trouble succeeded in shooting one: it was a beautiful shot, considering that, he was aware in his own mind that our future subsistence almost depended on his taking a correct aim. He lodged a rifle bullet just in the centre of the forehead, in the very spot which stockmen call the star. This beast was in excellent condition, and we watched his falling with much anxiety. We were now, comparatively speaking, a happy party. A supply of meat secured for our return homewards, as well as an immediate feast of marrow-bones, devilled-bones, and other choice dainties, such as soup from the head, the tail, the liver and lights—to say nothing of the black puddings. The party were too weak to carry the meat, and it was consequently opened and skinned, and in that manner left until the following day. We had all a heavy feed off the fry for supper, and if none of those who partook of it were visited with an attack of night mare it was a mercy.
June 15.—We were all busy in cutting up and hanging out our meat. We had scarcely half finished our work when the weather became overcast and cloudy (as was the case generally every change of the moon), and we began to fear we were to be visited with a continuation of our usual bad luck. We were too weakhanded to finish cutting up the beast to-night, and as the weather looked had we were the less anxious ahout it
June 16.—This morning broke beautifully, and we commenced a renewal of our duties of cutting up with redoubled vigour. After the meat was hung up to dry, Mr. Hely, Mr. Turnbull, and Brown, expressed a wish to go and look for the doctor and Wommai, who had been absent eight days. About noon they started, and as Brown was an excellent bushman and tracker, we were in hopes they would succeed in their search.
June 17.—We were this evening agreeably surprised by the reappearance of Dr. Leichhardt and the faithful and trusty Wommai. They brought only a part of the mules and horses, although they had travelled back on our former track a distance of ninety miles, in fact to the Mackenzie river, where they found some fine radishes, turnips, and other edible vegetables of my sowing. This was gratifying news to us, as we expected to find the same at all our old encampments on our return, where I never failed to sow seeds, although at the time I had little thought or expectation of either eating the produce or of seeing the places again. Mr. Ferry, the saddler, was busy converting the straps of the pack saddles, which we are compelled to leave behind, into hobbles for the horses and mules. Indeed, it was at this camp where the things of which I have formerly written were deposited, and Dr. Leichhardt intended to call for them on his future expedition.
June 18.—This was the anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, and was observed as a festival. From this time until the 21st, Perry, the saddler, was busy in converting the straps and buckles of the abandoned pack-saddles into hobbles for the horses and mules.
On the 22nd, we reached the banks of the Mackenzie, and, on the following morning, we made a start for the bounds of civilization; and, in order to do so at the earliest possible moment. Dr. Leichhardt intended making forced and hurried stages. As we followed upon our outward track, it will be scarcely necessary for me to give a detail of each day's proceeding. By the second of July, we had reached the Christmas Ranges, instead of the Expedition Ranges, owing to the doctor having kept too westerly a course. On the 3rd, camped at the foot of Expedition Range, on the bank of a pretty creek, lined with the trailing branches of the Cucumis mollis, or native melon. There was a plentiful supply of this fruit; and we grilled, boiled, and ate a great quantity. Having made rapid stages since leaving the Mackenzie, the doctor spelled here a day to rest the mules and horses. It was on the banks of this creek that I discovered (among others) the new and interesting plant, since dedicated to Dr. Greeves, Greevesia cleisocalyx, Dr. Leichhardt was good enough to name a mountain at the head of this romantic creek after my unworthy self. The doctor gave us some sweet tea, and the day was finished with that and a dish of boiled melons.
July 5.—We resumed our travels, and nothing occurred to interrupt our progress to Charlie's Creek, where we saw; fresh tracks of cattle. We again camped on its bank, and were on the eve of going to sleep, when the barking of dogs was heard on the opposite bank of the Condamine River. This was an intimation of the close proximity of a station; and visions of damper, mutton, and other sweetmeats, attended the slumbers of many of the party. Early the following morning, Dr. Leichhardt crossed the river, and followed the direction from whence the sounds from the dogs proceeded. He had not been long absent, when he returned with Mr. Chauvell and Mr. Ewer. The two gentlemen had followed on our outward track, and settled upon this part of the Condamine. These gentlemen expressed pleasure at our safe return, after noticing the worn-out and haggard appearance presented by the party. We remained two days at Mr. Chauvell's station, where we were kindly supplied with every necessary, when we finally started for Jimba and Darling Downs. Previous to leaving, I exchanged pipes with Mr. C., receiving a new one for my old black veteran of the wilderness, and to which Mr. C. appeared to attach considerable value. Upon reaching Jimba, we were sorry to learn that, during our absence, its worthy proprietor, Mr. Dennis, had been drowned during a passage to Sydney by the "Tamar" steamer.
Dr. Leichhardt was now put in full possession of the result of Sir Thomas Mitchell's expedition, and expressed a wish, before going to Sydney, to make an excursion in the direction of the Grafton Range and Fitzroy Downs, newly discovered by Sir Thomas, in order to connect Sir Thomas's track with his own. Of this excursion, we shall feel much pleasure in allowing the doctor to speak for himself.
WITH THE VIEW OF EXAMINING THE COUNTRY BETWEEN
SIR THOMAS MITCHELL'S TRACK AND MY OWN.
I started from Mr. Henry Stuart Russell's station on the 9th of August, 1847, accompanied by Mr F.N. Isaacs, Mr. Daniel Bunce, Mr. Perry, and Wommai (or Jemmy) the blackfellow. We followed the dray track to Mr. Gogg's station, at the head of Acacia Greek, which is a tributary of Dogwood Creek.
On the 15th we travelled down Acacia Creek about twelve miles W.N.W., and made Dogwood Creek on the 16th, at my old crossing place, in latitude 26.24; and continuing for about ten miles N.W. by W., following a small creek up to its head, and coming to watercourses belonging to another creek, which I had called Bottle-Tree Creek on my first expedition. The country was scrubby, with a few patches of open forest; the latitude of our camp being 26.20.
On the 17th we followed the watercourses down to Bottle-Tree Creek, which was well supplied with water. We crossed it, and came on a fine rocky creek, with running water, about two miles W.S.W. from the latter. The intervening country was, however, a rotten, rusty, gum forest, with occasional patches of Cypress Pine and Forest Oak. Passed another dry creek in the same course, and came upon a fine open flat of undulating narrow-leaved ironbark forest, which seemed to continue to the eastward. Encamped upon a chain of fine water holes, about twelve miles W.S.W. from our last camp.
On the 18th we travelled about twelve and a half miles S.W. Two and a half miles from our camp we came to a good sized creek, with the water filtering through the sand and pebbles. In following it up between hills and ledges of rock, we came upon a tableland, with patches of shrubby underwood. To the S.W. there were other creeks and gullies, which compelled us to keep to the southward, to a more open country. Here the Brigalowe scrub reappeared, which, with one exception, we had not seen since quitting the left side of Dogwood Creek.
Entered upon a box flat, which widened as we followed down its dry watercourse, in a southerly direction, and even south-easterly direction; and when the Brigalowe scrub ceased, and allowed us to travel to the S.W., we passed, for four miles, down most beautiful open box ridges, well grassed, and perfectly sound. This open country extended to the S.E., as far as the eye could reach. In latitude 26.32, we came to a fine creek, with very large ponds of permanent water, surrounded with reeds, and with Myall groves growing along its banks.
The open box forest to the westward of this creek made me believe that I could proceed in a westerly course, but after a few miles travelling, we were checked by a scrub, which pushed us to the S.E. until we came back to the creek we had left. Followed it down for a few miles, and encamped in latitude 26.39. To the left the country was still open, but on our right a Brigalowe scrub approached very nearly the banks of the creek. The water holes, though well provided with water, were all boggy, and our mules went without rather than expose themselves to being bogged. The creek turned to the south east, and E.S.E. In travelling westward we soon entered into a dense Brigalowe scrub, which continued foi nine miles, when the country again opened into fine box ridges and undulations.
Continued following a small creek, well provided with water holes, for about five miles to the westward, where it turned to the south; and having crossed a ridge, we came to another creek of the same character, running north and south, on which we camped, in latitude 26.43., having made about thirteen miles W.S.W. from our last camp. A mile and a half to the westward of this creek we met another small creek, and four miles farther we crossed a large creek, with high flood marks, and high box ridges, particularly on its right bank. I am inclined to believe that this open box country of the four last mentioned creeks, extends in an easterly direction, round the scrub we had crossed, to the first box creek, and in a southerly direction to a large creek or river, which is formed by the combined Dogwood Creek and Bottle-Tree Creek. Soon after having crossed the largest of these creeks, which we called Emu Creek, in consequence of numerous tracks of emus on the young grass, we entered into a Brigalowe scrub, which became so dense that, after five miles scrubbing, we were glad to follow a very winding watercourse to the S.E., which enlarged into a chain of large deep water holes, which seemed to be the constant resort of numerous natives, who had constructed their bark gunyahs at most of them. Having followed it down for six or seven miles, we encamped in latitude 26.48. This creek continues for ten miles E.S.E. Before meeting Dogwood Creek it becomes rocky. The country opens, but the ground is rotten, and timbered with Cypress Pine, Forest Oak, and Apple Tree, which is here anything but an indication of a good country. The scrub continues about two and a half miles above the junction, where we turned to the westward, and after travelling about three miles, came to the channel of a large creek, with floodmarks above its banks. The latter were frequently formed by perpendicular rocks. The last was sandy and rather boggy, in consequence of the slight stream of water, which was filtering through the sand. A small narrow leaved teatree was growing along the water's edge. Cypress Pine and White Gum forming a tolerably open forest. Encamped on the right bank of this creek, in latitude 26.55.
Mr. Bunce and Jemmy, the Blackfellow, who had gone to shoot ducks, did not return to the camp that night, nor next morning, and fearing that some accident had happened, I returned to the Winding Creek, we had left, and encamped. The following morning the absentees joined us, and explained the cause of their delay, by having come on the fresh tracks of another party which they followed, until observing the want of mule tracks they determined to return to the place where they had left us. They had seen a great number of natives, amongst whom they recognised a blackfellow and his gin by a white spot which the "lubra" had on her neck. These two had visited us in our camp on Charlie's Creek, when starting for Peak Range, where the latter was known as the "Piebald". At that time many natives from the Balloone River passed Charlie's Creek, on the way to the Bunya Bunya country. We had travelled above the little creek to its junction with Dogwood Creek, following the latter for one and a half miles till where the Sandy Creek joined it. Below this junction Dogwood Creek increases very much in size, and the high flood-marks on the box trees that cover the flats indicate that large bodies of water sweep down its channel during the rainy season.
Continuing our westerly coarse, we left the river, which takes a turn to the southward, but brigalowe scrub and sandstone gullies compelled us to south a little, and we encamped on a small scrubby creek about ten miles W. by S. from Sandy Creek. For the next eleven miles to the westward, we travelled over a scrubby Myall country, with patches of open puffy Ironbark forest, and of Cypress Pine. At this stage we saw a conspicuous hill to the southward, and came to a river from the northward, with high but irregular banks, lined with large water Gum Trees. Its bed was sandy, containing pebbles of fossil wood, broken pieces of agate, and variously coloured flint and quartz. It was overgrown with Tea Tree, and was well provided with water-holes. Judging from its size its course could not be less than 180 miles, and the presence of the fossil-wood and agate made us believe that it came from a Downs country. I was inclined to think that it was Robinson's Creek, which I had crossed in latitude 25.30. About ninety miles above our present crossing-place the country along its banks was closely timbered with Box and Box Saplings. Here we saw the tracks of five horses from the westward, and apparently coming down the river. Fourteen miles to the westward of this stream, which we distinguished by the name of Horse-track River, we came to a large creek, trending to the S.E., the intervening country being generally scrubby, with occasional patches of open forest and very puffy. In this puffy ground were clusters of Cypress Pine, and here we observed burrows of a probably unknown animal.
The entrance is a large hole, four or five feet deep, from the bottom of which the burrow passed horizontally under ground; it being about a foot and a half in diameter, indicating an animal of the size of the Beaver. Its tracks resembling those of a child two or three years old, according to the observations of my companions; its dung resembling that of the Kangaroo, indicating a herbiverous animal. The creek was lined with Water-Gum and Teatree, and was well provided with numerous large reedy water-holes. My companions called it the "Yahoo River", which name I adopted to distinguish it from other creeks.
While sitting round our fire at night we heard a shrill "pish-sh-sh", the disagreeable call of a night bird, which Wommai watched and succeeded in shooting. It proved to be a species of Cyclops.
Ten miles west of the "Yahoo", we crossed another large creek, with ample reedy water-holes in its sandy bed, the intervening country being covered with a nasty Cypress Pine and Dodonea Scrub, which when seen from the westward appeared like a low range, the approaches from the east of the creek being fine and open.
Continuing our course to the westward for ten miles, over sandy ridges covered with most wretched Pine Scrub, we came to a large creek with reedy water holes and sandy bed, which I called Bunce's Creek; its direction being from N.E. to S.W., the slopes towards the creek being openly timbered with Box. Beyond it we descried a low range extending from N. to S., which we crossed in latitude 26.59. Scarcely two miles to the westward we came on sandstone ridges covered with Scrub, Dodonea, Cypress Pine, and Brigalowe, which extended fully ten miles to the westward. Here another species of Acacia, akin to the Brigalowe, formed a scrub worse than any we had yet met with. Dead timber made our course extremely circuitous, and our progress slow, and the way being overgrown with thick underwood, composed of various interesting aromatic shrubs, it became dangerous for our horses and mules to pass through.
Being tired of an apparently never-ceasing succession of these Acacia ridges, we followed a water course W. 80 S. for three or four miles, where we found a good supply of water in a reedy water-hole. Shortly after camping we had a visit from three natives who walked boldly towards us after having coo-ed, and having received our coo-ey in return. Mr. Isaacs and I met them about fifty yards from our camp, to ascertain if possible whether we were near the Colgoon, which we expected soon to see. However they did not understand us, and we parted good friends, we having presented them with three brass buttons each. No doubt they had seen white men before. In coming down the little creek we had seen a fine plain to the eastward, leaving which and travelling westward, we passed over fine open Box ridges.
Six miles from the little creek, and about twenty miles west of Bunce's Creek, we came to a small river with a deep but dry bed, having some ponds full of water, parallel to it. The country continuing open for about three miles to the westward, when it became of a scubby mountainous character. This river was the Colgoon. We expected it, bat not finding Sir Thomas Mitchell's track, I supposed I was out in my reckoning, and determined to push on to the westward till we came upon his track. Journeying for seven miles over scrubby mountains we were surprised to come to a large creek, which flowed to the westward, on which we camped in latitude 27. Following it for about four miles to the northward, it preserved its mountainous character, and we consequently left it, continuing our course to the westward. Continued travelling over a succession of Acacia ridges and creeks, which turned all to the N.E. and E.N.E. to join the North Creek. Some of the creeks had patches of very fine Box and Myall country.
At that distance we met a water course running S.S.W., which we followed for about ten miles before coming to water. Our blackfellow Jemmy heard the neighing of a horse; a gun was fired immediately, which was answered by the cracking of a stock whip, and shortly afterwards Mr. Ewer came up, and gave us the agreeable intelligence that we were near his station. We had seen numerous cattle tracks several mules before, and were sure that a station was close at hand.
On my return to Sydney, Captain Perry kindly furnished me with the inspection of Sir Thomas Mitchell's charts, maps, &c. I find that my supposition was correct, as his Fitzroy Downs commence about ten to fifteen miles above the place where we crossed the Colgoon. He could not have seen the river Balloone to the east of his Grafton Range, when he was standing on Mount Abundance. It was very probably Bunce's creek. I am inclined to believe that similar patches of good open country exist at the heads of Bunce's Creek, Frederick's Creek, Yahoo River, Horsetrack River, and perhaps even Sandy Creek, but I do not think that they form an uninterrupted belt of Downs above the scrubs of their lower course. A dray road will be found practicable in the dry season from Mitchell's track along the Balloone and Condamine (which is one of its principal heads) to Mr. Ewer's station and Darling Downs. Should stations be formed on the heads of the various creeks, the respective roads will have to follow down the creek, and from the main road along the Balloone, which will be rendered extremely circuitous and difficult by numerous gullies, back waters, and deep creeks which join the river. And such stations would become very isolated in consequence of the broad belts of scrubby country intervening between the creeks.
The natives appear to form powerful tribes along the Balloone and its numerous lagoons, and would be dangerous enemies along the scrubs, which would allow a secure retreat from their aggressions.
Considering the long and precarious land carriage, and the high rate of wages—particularly on stations so remote—I do not believe that sheep farming would pay even so far back as the Horsetrack River. Cattle stations might be formed, perhaps, even as fur back as the Maranoa, which at camp 80 of Sir Thomas Mitchell, would be very eligible for that purpose. But the road from the camp to Maitland will, in all probability, be found shorter than that to Moreton Bay.
I shall add a few distances, but I beg to remark that my distances from Mr. Ewer's station, down the Condamine and the Balloone, are estimated at straight lines, which in a dray road might be occasionally doubled. The distance from Brisbane to the Woolshed is about 160 miles; from the Woolshed to Mr. Ewer's 46 miles; from hence to the B, at the horseshoe bend of the Condamine, 26 miles; from the B to Sandy River, 27 miles; from Sandy River to Horsetrack River, 26 to 80 miles; from Horsetrack River to the Yahoo River, about 12 miles; from the Yahoo River to Frederick's Creek, and the J. C, about 16 miles; from the Colgoon up to the Fitzroy Downs, between 40 and 60 miles. The distance from Brisbane to the junction of the Colgoon with the Balloone, would be according to this estimate 382 miles; but the dray road would prove to be at least 400 miles.
It is to be expected that creeks, corresponding to those from the westward, will join the Balloone from the south and south-east, taking their rise from the M'Intyre Ranges; and I have heard that Mr. O'Connor has succeeded in finding a fine run upon one of them.
Should the country of Peak Ranges be settled upon, Sir Thomas Mitchell's track will no doubt form the road on which stock will move up to the latitude of that locality, thence turning to the eastward. My track is too mountainous and scrubby for a dray road; and I shall very probably choose Ms track on my next starting for the westward.
In judging of the country I have seen, I have availed myself of the experience of Mr. Frederick N. Isaacs, who had such a large share in the exploration of Darling Downs and its confines.
I shall take this opportunity of giving my best thanks to him, to Mr. Daniel Bunce, and to Mr. Perry, for their kind assistance in this expedition. I am personally obliged to Mr. Bunce for a fine collection of seeds and plants which he made, not only on this occasion, but on my expedition to Peak Range. Mr. Boecking, another of my companions to Peak Range, though most willing to accompany me to the Colgoon, had been compelled to return to the Woolshed from an attack of fever; and I feel bound to recommend him, as well as Mr. Perry, to any one who should wish to employ them for their unimpeachable, moral conduct, and unceasing activity and intelligence.
In the extract of my letter, published in the Sydney newspapers, it is stated that Sir Thomas crossed my track at expedition Range. This is a mistake; he crossed Expedition Range to the westward of my track.
I shall here annex a series of observations on the elevations of various points along the road from Port Stephens to Peak Range. They are made with the boiling water apparatus, which the Rev. W.B. Clarke had the kindness to lend me on this expedition.
Mr. T. Rusden's station in New England.
Mr. M'Donald's, at Falconer Plains.
Mr. Marsh's, at Maryland
Mr. Bracher's, at Canning Downs
Mr. Hodgson's, at Darling Downs
Mr. Andrews's ditto
Mr. Bell's, at Woolshed.
The head of the Dewson River.
The "Robinson", near tho head of the
A tributary creek of the Upper Boyd
Ruined Castle Creek
Upper point of Zamia Creek
Lagoons west by south from Mount Nicholson.
Erythrina Camp, at tho foot of
The scrub at the N.W. side of
Junction of Comet River and Mackenzie
Peak Downs, about 12 miles S.S.E. of
In travelling from the junction of the Comet River with the Mackenzie to Peak Range, I followed the Mackenzie up to one of its heads; and ascertained that the waters which drain from Peak Range to the south and west, collected into the channel of that River; those to the north-west and west by south very probably belong to the system of the Bellyando of Mitchell, or of my Cape.
On the upper part of the Mackenzie, which is well watered, we found some large plains and downs, of the existence of which I had not been aware. They extend about 60 miles from S.S.E. to N.N.W., and are frequently from six to eight miles broad. They are, however, hemmed in by a scrubby country to the west, south, and east.
In concluding these remarks, I shall add the agreeable intelligence that five of the seven mules which I lost at Peak Range have made their appearance at Darling Downs, after having travelled six hundred miles by themselves, and have been secured by the stockman of Mr. Goggs and young Mr. Headly, to whom I feel deeply obliged for their exertions."
Thus ends Dr. Leichhardt's narrative of the expedition to the Fitzroy Downs.
On our return to Darling Downs he thus writes to Wm. Hull, Esq., J.P., of Melbourne:—
My Dear Sir,
Mr. Bunce wished me to send his share of dried plants, collected on our journey to Peak Range and on the trip to the Maranoo, to your care. As he is himself inclined to join me again on a new attempt to cross the continent to the westward, and as Port Phillip was so distant from our starting points, he determined upon remaining at Darling Downs, and in the Moreton Bay District, to examine the Bunya Bunya brushes, and to make, if possible, some collections of plants and seeds.
I have to thank you for your Essay on the Aborigines. I was in the midst of my preparations for starting, and had not time enough to pay it sufficient attention, but I shall take the first opportunity of studying it, and should I find that my observations made on the tribes to the northward should differ, or should tend to other conclusions, I shall take the liberty of communicating them to you.
It is a very interesting fact, that the relationship of language extends much farther to the northward, along the western waters, than along the sea coast, and Mr. Bunce will have told you that he met natives on Charlie's Creek, a tributary of the Condamine and Balloone, whose language had many words in common with that of several tribes at Port Phillip, with whom he seems to have had long intercourse.
The most interesting, and still most obscure, feature amongst the tribes to the northward, are the Castes, which seem to be unknown to the southward. Mr. F.N. Isaacs was either the first, or one of the first, who discovered their existence among the natives of Darling Downs, and Captain Macarthur, at Port Essington, told me of them amongst the Monobar tribes of the Coburgh Peninsula. These Castes are probably intimately connected with the laws of intermarriage, which seem to be very general, and by which the natives effect the proper crossing of blood.
Mr. Bunce mentioned to me that a young friend of his, a Mr. Dunbar, would be inclined to join me on my next expedition, and that he would be a person well adapted for the purpose.
Mr. Bunce has seen enough of our life in the bush, and of myself, to judge of the necessary qualifications—activity, good humour, and "sound moral principle", elasticity of mind and body, and perfect willingness to obey my orders; "even if given harshly,—are the principal requisites for my expedition.
I have been extremely unfortunate in the choice of my former companions, and you well know that even one "sauve qui peut" is sufficient to upset a whole army.
Should you know the young man, I should feel deeply obliged if you would examine him on these points, and give me a direct answer about his intentions, shall be most willing to oblige Mr. Bunce, who seems much attached to Mr. Dunbar.
Excuse the liberty I take in asking such a favor. The interest yon have taken in my proceedings of discovery has encouraged me to do so.
Believe me to be,My Dear Sir,Your most obedient Servant,
Wm. Hull, Esq., J.P.,
Melbourne, Port Phillip.
Our readers will perceive, by the tone of the foregoing particulars, that it was a settled arrangement, as regarded our again accompanying the unfortunate doctor on the last, and by far the most unfortunate, expedition; and that, during the completion of his arrangements in Sydney, we employed ourselves in making botanical excursions in the neighborhood of Darling Downs, and especially in the dense brushes of the Moreton Bay, and northerly ranges of Wide Bay.
When the doctor rejoined us at Darling Downs, we regretted to discover that he objected to comply with the conditions on which we undertook to again accompany him. It is needless to enter into the nature of these conditions. They were such, however, as we humbly conceived to be of the greatest importance to the success of the expedition, and to which he readily complied at the time of his going to Sydney. From his determination not to accede to our proposals, we did not feel justified in again accompanying him; and he finally started, with but a small party, in the month of March, 1848. The following is the last letter he wrote, before he plunged into the unknown wilderness, from whence no tidings have since been received of him or his party:—
I take the last opportunity of giving yon an account of my progress. For eleven days we travelled from Mr. Birrell's station, on the Condamine, to Mr. Macpherson's, on the Fitzroy Downs. Though the country was occasionally very difficult, yet everything went on well. My mules are in excellent order; my companions in excellent spirits. Three of my cattle are footsore; but I shall kill one of them to-night, to lay in our necessary stock of dried beef.
The Fitzroy Downs, over which we travelled for about twenty-two miles from east to west, is, indeed, a splendid region; and Sir Thomas has not exaggerated their beauty in his account. The soil is pebbly and sound richly grassed, and, to judge from the Myall, of most fattening quality. I came right on Mount Abundance, and passed over a gap of it with my whole train, My latitude agreed well with Mitchell's. I fear that absence of water on Fitzroy Downs will render this fine country, to a great degree, unavailable. I observe the thermometer daily, at six a.m. and p.m., which are the only convenient hours. I have tried the wet thermometer, but am afraid my observations will be very deficient. I shall, however, improve on them, as I proceed. The only serious accident that has happened was the loss of a spade; but we are fortunate enough to make it up on this station, where the superintendent is going to spare us one of his.
Though the days are still very hot, the beautiful clear nights are cool, and benumb the mosquitoes, which have ceased to trouble us. Myriads of flies are the only annoyance we have.
Seeing how much I have been favored in my present progress, I am full of hopes that our Almighty protector will allow me to bring my darling scheme to a successful termination.
Your most sincere friend,Ludwig Leichhardt.
|Mr. Macpherson's Station, Cogoon,
April 3rd, 1848.
The accompanying lines written by Lieutenant Lynd on a former occasion, have, we fear, proved but too painfully prophetic as regards the present expedition. We had great hopes that some clue might have been furnished by Mr. Gregory's party during their late expedition, no information however seems to have been obtained:—
Ye who prepare with pilgrim feet
Your long and doubtful path to wend,
If—whitening on the waste—ye meet
The relics of my murder'd friend —
His bones with reverence ye shall bear
To where some mountain streamlet flows;
There, by its mossy bank, prepare
The pillow of his long repose.
It shall be by a stream whose tides
Are drank by birds of ev'ry wing;
Where ev'ry lovelier flower abides
The earliest wakening touch of spring I
O meet that he—(who so carest
All-beauteous Nature's varied charms)—
That he—her martyr'd son—should rest
Within his mother's fondest arms!
When ye have made his narrow bed,
And laid the good man's ashes there,
Ye shall kneel down around the dead,
And wait upon your God in prayer.
What though no reverend man be near;
No anthem pour its solemn breath;
No holy walls invest his bier
With all the hallow'd pomp of death I
Yet humble minds shall find the grace,
Devoutly bow'd upon the sod,
To call that blessing round the pla
ce Which consecrates the soil to God.
And ye the wilderness shall tell
How, faithful to the hopes of men.
The Mighty Power, he served so well,
Shall breathe upon the bones again!
When ye your gracious task have done,
Heap not the rock above his dust I
The angel of the Lord alone
Shall guard the ashes of the just!
But ye all heed, with pious care.
The mem'ry of that spot to keep;
And note the marks that guide me where
My virtuous Mend is laid to sleep!
For oh, bethink, in other times,
(And be those happier times at hand,)
When science, like the smile of God,
Comes bright'ning o'er that weary land;
How will her pilgrims hail the power.
Beneath the drooping myall's * gloom.
To sit at eve, and mourn an hour,
And pluck a leaf, on Leichhardt's tomb.
[* The only specimen in Victoria of this truly elegant tree, may be seen in the garden of Wm. Weire, Esq., the Town Clerk of Geelong, at Chillwell.]
Before taking our final departure, we made an excursion in the direction of Wide Bay and Port Curtis, in which we were accompanied by Mr. Thomas Archer of Dorondoa, and bis black boy, Jacky Small. Upon this occasion we discovered some fine grazing country, now taken up and fully occupied. A township called Yeyndah has been formed on the Burnett River. On again reaching Darling Downs we received the melancholy intelligence that Mr. Isaacs, who bad followed and settled upon our track to the Fitzroy Downs, had been annoyed by the natives, who had rushed his station, and taken the whole of his sheep; planted his horses, and killed the hutkeeper and one of the shepherds. A party of us immediately started to Mr. Isaacs, assistance, consisting of Messrs. Sheridan, M'Crae, Birrell, myself, and Mr. John Dangar. Accompanied by three natives from Mr. Birrell's station, called Terreboo, on Acacia Creek. Their names were Frank or Brankee, as he pronounced his name, Blucher, Bully, with Mr. M'Crae's black fellow Billy, from the Castlereigh River, Upon reaching Mr. I's station, we found that the blacks had absconded with the sheep several days before, and we lost no time in giving chace. We overtook them near the Grafton Range; the blacks shewed fight before allowing us to re-take possession of the sheep. They had killed and eaten between 2 and 800 during the short time they remained in their keeping. In the midst of the affray necessary in capturing the sheep, an extensive group of at least seventy or eighty naked females presented themselves, and while making signs by pointing to their breasts, and other symbols to convince us that they were women and not men, with the view of not being molested, we were saluted with an occasional spear jerked from the centre of the group, and Billy, M'Crae's blackfellow, galloped his horse through the women, and caught the thrower of the spears in the person of a powerful man, who, from sundry marks on his person, Mr. Isaacs recognised as the leader of the party who had attacked his station. As an expiation for his offence, he was compelled to accompany us back, and mark a line of trees, thus opening an easy means of approach to the lovely country of Fitzroy Downs of Sir Thomas Mitchell. Before leaving, our three Terreboo natives had selected from the group of women three young girls whom they represented as having been prisoners taken from their own tribe some time previously. After taking a friendly farewell of our friends, we commenced our return route towards Port Phillip. Passing through Darling Downs, M'Intyre Brook, Liverpool Plains, until reaching M'Crae's station on the Castlereigh River. In the course of our journey we observed on the Millee Plains, myriads of pigeons flying in clouds across the plains. I was informed by the natives that they only made their appearance every six or seven years. These birds were larger than the bronze wing,—plump, of a dark nankeen colour, with a white spot on either side the head, above the bill and under the throat; there were also four white spots on each wing, which were slightly bronzed on the under side. They were called by the blacks Yammayamamarra. Continuing our journey southward, we passed through Wellington, Yass, and Bathurst. When at Mr. Hood's at Boree Cobbon, we inspected the new Molong copper mines lately opened, and were furnished with some fine specimens of the various ores. From Boree Cobbon, we continued our journey; we reached Monera Plains, and from thence continued our course over the Snowy Mountains, until reaching Gipps Land, where we were kindly received by Mr. Crook, whose station was known as Holey Plains. From thence we passed over the Gipps' Land Ranges, following a track abounding in crab holes, and whose surface emitted a hollow sound like that of a rotten pumpkin. Having reached the middle region of the Range, we were agreeably surprised on meeting a number of the Melbourne natives, who expressed much pleasure at our return. We had a long chat with our old aboriginal friends, who gave me a long account of passing events in Melbourne. Among other things, they informed me that an Inn had been built and opened at St. Kilda during my absence, by Mr. J. Howard, and that a vehicle which they described as being "like a load of hay", and drawn by horses, visited Melbourne twice a day. This proved to be a large square omnibus, which Mr. Howard ran between the two places, and was indeed the first vehicle of the kind started in Victoria. After smoking the "pipe of peace", we parted from our friends, and reached the base of the Ranges at Mr. Hooks' Inn, where we caught sight of Mr. Warman, now of Little Collins-street, who invited us to spend the night at his house which was close by. Mr. Warman was the leader of the party who went in search of the white woman, said to be a captive in the hands of the Snowy River and Gipps' Land natives. Of the truth of this matter, however, I have some doubts; and believe the story to have arisen from a person named Pack Bullock Jack, the overseer of a station belonging to Mr. Terry Hughes, called Gallanthropy, on the Snowy Mountains; and of which the following is the version furnished us by the said Jack, at whose station we remained one night:—He said that on one occasion while searching for cattle, he suddenly surprised a number of blacks who on seeing him took to the Snowy River. Upon jumping into the water, the hair of one of the women expanded on the surface like a horse's tail, as he expressed it, and from this circumstance he concluded that it must have been a white woman. We are reminded, however, that the space allotted to us is filled up, or we would willingly have treated less cursorally of the return journey. We reached St. Kilda after an absence of nearly three years: After recruiting, we resumed our travels down the Murray River, which we followed till it joined the sea through Lake Alexandrina and Encounter Bay,—having by this means followed the Great Western system of waters from their upper sources in the tropics. As a full account of that excursion was published in the Argus, under the head of "Journal of a Naturalist", we need not now recapitulate in this work. Shortly after our return from thence, gold was positively discovered at Clunes; and we were dispatched as special correspondent for the Argus, and had thus an opportunity of recording the working of the first cradle by Messrs. Esmond and Hiscock. We shall not delay the reader with an account here of the rise and progress of the gold-fields, as that we conceive to be the duty of the historian. It is not a little remarkable that as one gentleman, named Campbell, claimed the authorship of the first discovery in this district, so with equal justice may another Campbell (the poet) be accredited with the discovery through the realms of imagination. In the year, 1843, (nearly ten years before the real discovery), that celebrated poet thus writes:—
"Untracked in deserts lies the marble mine,
Undug the ore that midst thy rocks shall shine;
Unborn the hands: but born they are to be,
Fair Australasia that shall give to thee
Proud temples, domes, &c., &c."
Upon Mr. Campbell's return to this colony, he kindly presented me with a handsomely bound copy of his work, entitled the "Grown Lands of Australia", which Mr. Michie facetiously termed "The acts of the squatters according to the gospel of St. Campbell;" as also his pamphlet on "The discovery of Gold", for which he had received a reward. Touching the disposal of this sum, Mr. Campbell wrote me the following note, dated 4th March, 1857:—"On Mr. Campbell's return to the colony, he found that a sum was awarded to him as the original discoverer, which he divided amongst those who were with him when he made the discovery; and his portion he handed over to the hospitals throughout the country and the gold-fields."
In conclusion the author would refer the reader's attention to what was the condition of Victoria at the commencement of the work, and its flourishing character at the present time, 1867; and would ask is not something due to the original founder of a country which has afforded an asylum to hundreds of thousands, and a comparatively princely fortune to many? And we earnestly conclude with the hope—most emphatically expressed by a previous writer on this colony—that "justice may be done to Batman" or his Descendants.
[Written on the return of L. Leichhardt, Esq., from an Expedition through the unexplored regions qf Australia between Moreton Bay and Port Essington.]
Sydney, March, 1846.
W. FAIRFAX AND CO., PRINTERS, COLLINS-ST. EAST.
Article in Moreton Bay Courier, 14
August 1847, pages 2, 3)
(Trove article 3708439-2)
DR. LEICHHARDT'S EXPEDITION.
We are informed that Dr. Leichhardt arrived at Mr. Russell's station on the Condamine, about a a fortnight since, and that he intends, as soon as he has recruited himself, to proceed to the Fitz Roy Downs, in order to ascertain its exact distance from Darling Downs, and whether there is a good practicable route for stock, as there appears to be considerable doubt whether the party alluded to in our paper of the 30th ultimo, had reached so far in the interior. Mr. Mann and Mr. Hely arrived in Brisbane on Thursday evening; both are suffering very severely from the effects of the malady the party were visited with on the Mackenzie River.
The expedition arrived at the Mackenzie on the 5th March, having been detained for several days at the Comet River in consequence of the floods. Two days prior to their arrival, Perry, the saddler, was taken ill, and was unable to travel without support. The next day several more of the party fell sick, and finally all became perfectly helpless from fever and ague, and continued in that state for three weeks. Some partially recovered, and were enabled by turns to provide necessaries for the party, and also to keep the stock tolerably well together; occasionally milk was procured from the goats, and proved of the greatest service to the invalids. The floods having at length gone down, the party crossed the Mackenzie, and remained for fourteen days on the north bank, where most of them had a relapse, and underwent severe suffering.
Dr. Leichhardt seeing the helpless condition to which his party was reduced, determined upon conducting all who were able to travel to Peak Range, or some elevated land, where he imagined they would have a better chance of recovery. Messrs. Hely and Mann were, therefore, left in charge of the bulk of the stores until the return of the party. Dr. Leichhardt then proceeded up the river for about thirteen miles, where he encamped; but was himself compelled to return the following day, in consequence of some of the bullocks having strayed to the old encampment. It was then resolved that Messrs. Hely and Mann should accompany him back, bringing with them the mules and the packs containing the stores. After remaining at the camp a few days, and the condition of the party not having undergone any change for the better, the Doctor resolved upon abandoning the goats, as it was found to be impossible to attend to them; they were, therefore, allowed to roam wherever they pleased.
After travelling for three days, the party arrived in a very exhausted state on the Peak Downs, and encamped on a creek about forty miles from Peak Range; sickness having prevented their proceeding further. After staying about a fortnight at this place, the party proceeded on their journey, leaving Mr. Hely and Brown to follow on with the cattle[.] The cattle, moreover, had gone astray, and Mr. Hely and a black went in search of them, but were compelled to return to the camp for a fresh horse, and provisions; one of the horses they took with them having strayed. After being absent eleven days, they brought back nine out of thirty six head. One of these was killed, but the others again got away on the following night. Mr. Hely and the black started on a third trip after them, but were again seized with fever and ague, lost their horses, and it was with the greatest difficulty they managed to crawl as far as the camp, after being absent nine days. The Doctor now volunteered to go in search of the cattle himself, and took Wommai, the black boy, with him. He returned after an absence of seven days, bringing with him four head, which he had with great difficulty recovered. Meanwhile, the party at the camp found no alleviation of suffering, and were quite incapable of exertion.
On the day of his return the Doctor went round and examined the invalids, the result of which was that he declared it impossible to proceed further with the expedition, and announced his intention of returning to Darling Downs without delay, to recruit himself, and form a fresh party.
At this time Dr. Leichhardt, and Wommai, the black, were the only persons in the camp who could assist in doing what was necessary for the support of life. After remaining one day at the camp, he left the place with the intention of recovering the mules, as he had observed their tracks a few days previous. Shortly after his departure, the remaining bullocks got away, and could not be found for four days, when luckily they were observed on a ridge at some distance from the camp. One of the party immediately went in pursuit, and brought them in. They then deemed it prudent to shoot one of the animals, which was done, and the meat was cut into strips and dried. This was a work of the greatest labour and difficulty, owing to the extreme weakness to which they were all reduced.
As the Doctor did not return so soon as was expected, Mr. Hely, Mr. Turnbull, and Brown, the black boy, determined to go in search of him, and started on the sixth morning of his absence. They rode about ten miles on the Doctor's tracks, when Brown was taken so unwell that he was unable to proceed further, and the other two were compelled to remain with him. On the eighth day Dr. Leichhardt appeared, and found the party lying down. After staying with them a short time, he returned to the camp, and on mustering the horses and mules, it was ascertained that eleven were missing.
The party having been got together, then commenced their journey homeward, leaving behind them several pack saddles, a quantity of salt, tea, shot, and other articles, which were not needed, and which might have encumbered them on their route. They reached Mr. Bligh's station, on the Condamine, on the 21st ultimo, in a most miserable plight, and suffering dreadfully from sickness.
The party speak in glowing terms of the kindness and hospitality they experienced from Mr. Bligh, and indeed from all the squatters whose stations they visited on their return to the Downs.
Article in The Sydney Morning Herald,
21 August 1847,pages 2, 3)
(Trove article 12897713-3)
(Extract of a letter from Dr. Leichhardt.)
Russel's Station, Darling Downs,
1st August, 1847.
The news of my return to the Downs will no doubt have reached you by the last steamer from Moreton Bay. I had hoped to go by her to Sydney, and that expectation, added to a very severe rheumatism in my hands, prevented my writing by her. I wrote to you last from Charley's Creek, mentioning the loss and recovery of my mules, horses, and cattle. I had despatched Mr. Hely in quest of intelligence of Sir T. Mitchell's expedition, of whose return I had been informed, but by some accident of the post, neither your letters nor Sir Thomas's despatches ever reached me. Mr. Hely, Mr. Turnbull, and Brown joined me forty miles farther on my journey, and we travelled quietly without accident down the Dawson, then running so strong as to compel us to take advantage of a large tree which had fallen across it, to convey our baggage over. At Ruined Castle Creek I left one of my horses which had become hopelessly lame. At Expedition Range, the rains set in, and the ground soon became so boggy that our mules sank to their bellies, and we made but slow progress. All the water-courses and creeks between Expedition and Christmas Ranges became flooded, and compelled us to make a long roundabout to head them.
Deception Creek and Comet Creek were swollen into immense rivers, and all the surrounding country was inundated. I had feared the Mackenzie would stop us, and on our arrival at that river, after seven weeks' travelling from Dried-beef Creek, my fears were but too fully realised, There had been several cases of illness as we travelled through the scrub, but here the whole party were attacked by fever, which subsequently assumed the character of fever and ague. I suffered from it for nine days, and it left me very weak for a long while after. We had to wait for three weeks before the river was fordable, and after getting over the party were so exhausted by illness, we found ourselves wholly unable to proceed, and had to remain for three weeks longer to recover our strength; no doubt the disease was very depressing, though not of that dangerous character which the party apprehended, most of whom had hitherto been unacquainted with illness of any kind. Our energy, however, was much broken, and our bodily strength entirely prostrated for the time. From the idea that change of place and slight exertion would operate beneficially on our health, I resolved to move on with the strongest of the party, and accordingly proceeded with the stock towards Peak Range, which I knew to be only sixty miles from the junction of the Comet and Mackenzie rivers. After the first stage, however, our helplessness became so apparent, that I saw the impracticability of dividing our party, and returned with my healthy black (poor Brown was quite knocked up), and brought in the remainder of the party with all our luggage, to my halting ground. Here our goats and sheep strayed away from the camp. No one was able to watch them, and we were at length compelled to leave them behind.
After a rest of three days we again moved on for three days more, making about thirty miles in all, and reached the Downs of the Upper Mackenzie and Peak Range. Here the loss of the horses compelling us to stop, and as we had no more sheep, we killed the first head of cattle. I had some hope that the change of diet, from fat mutton to dried beef, might operate favourably on our health, but in this also I was disappointed, as the rain set in as the meat was drying, and it consequently become tainted and unpalatable. After having stopped here for nearly a fortnight, we again advanced about ten miles farther. The black whom I had sent for the cattle, mistook our track and passed us when he had found them, and after watching them, left them during the night to rejoin us. During the interval they strayed away. I again sent two of the party in pursuit, namely, Mr. Hely and Brown, and moved on my camp towards Peak Range. Unfortunately, Brown lost his horse the first night, and they were compelled to return to us for fresh horses and provisions, without having found the cattle. Thus the cattle got a long way in advance, became dispersed in the scrub, and frightened probably by the natives, became so wild that when Mr. Hely and the blacks again approached them, they were so wild, they only succeeded in bringing back nine out of thirty-seven, after a fortnight's absence from the camp, Here we killed another bullock and dried the meat, and endeavoured by using great vigilance to retain the others. But in spite of all our efforts the wild brutes broke away every night, and in five days we lost them altogether. Mr. Hely and Brown had again started in pursuit of the others, but after an absence of ten days, during which they had been overtaken by sickness, they returned unsuccessful. Nothing now was left but to go myself upon this errand, and accordingly I went with Jemmy, the black, to that part of our track which I thought they were most likely to have retreated to, and after a week's anxious search, I came upon four, which I brought back to camp, where I found all my companions ill with fever, and the mules and horses gone.
I now saw the thorough helplessness of our position, that all further endeavour was vain, and that we had nothing for it but a speedy return. I cannot express to you the extreme agony of mind I endured when this distressing conviction came upon me.
I immediately set about collecting the mules and horses, leaving the cattle in charge of the party. The mules had separated, which they had not done since leaving Charley's Creek. I followed six of them for ninety miles on our track towards Expedition Range, but could not overtake them, and was compelled to return to Camp, with seven others. On my arrival I found, as indeed I had anticipated, that my companions had not been able to retain the Cattle, which had gone off the morning after I left. They had, however, again secured them, and had killed one and dried the meat, which was of the greatest advantage to us. They had also recovered three horses and three mules, which thus increased our stock to ten horses and nine mules.
Leaving our tea, salt, shot, and other baggage behind, we started on our road home, and after travelling thirty days without any interruption we reached the camp of Messrs. Blyth and Che[au]vel, on the Condamine, on the 21st July, and on the 28th the station of Mr. H. S. Russel, on Darling Downs, where I propose to leave my things till a new party is organized, which I hope will be about the beginning of next May.
Notwithstanding the many unforeseen hardships we endured, my party behaved extremely well.
I am indeed sadly vexed by this disappointment: I find I have lost a year of my life in effecting nothing, and have been obliged to turn back from the very point at which I had proposed to strike to the westward. At the Downs I read the account of Sir T. Mitchell's discoveries. I find he has crossed, my track at Expedition Range, but farther to the westward than I did; his Mudge-kye is the most distant of my Christmas Range, his Mantuan Downs are my Albinia Downs; his Nogoa is my Comet River, though I did not go so far up as to see the junction of the Salvator and the Claude; and I am afraid that as his Belyando turns out to be the Cape, his Victoria will turn out to be the Clarke, the largest tributary of the Burdekin from the westward.
I am desirous to examine the country between my track and Fitz Roy Downs, which I shall do as soon as my rheumatism will allow me, for at present I am laid up with it.
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