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Title: Journals and Reports of Two Voyages to the Glenelg River, and the North-west Coast of Australia, 1863-4. Authors: James Martin and Frederick Kennedy Panter; Edited by Ned Overton. * A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook * eBook No.: 1402601h.html Language: English Date first posted: September 2014 Date most recently updated: September 2014 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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This work combines several works published separately. The main one, catalogued in the Battye Library of Western Australia as "Report for the Information of His Excellency the Governor of Western Australia, and the Promoters of the North-Western Expedition of 1864, on the Voyage and the Resources of the Districts Explored", contains reports dated 1864 to WA Governor Hampton by James Martin (published separately in the Journal of the Royal Geographic Society of London) and Frederick Panter, together with Martin's 1863 and 1864 Journals. To these have been added a journal of the captain of the ship Flying Foam, undertaking the first voyage, and Panter's Journal of the 1864 voyage.
All were originally published in the Perth Gazette or The Inquirer and Commercial News and are available on the Trove website.
The contents of the original have been reordered to fit more logically and chronologically. A table of contents has been provided, together with a series of five charts available through the State Records Office of Western Australia website, bearing on the second voyage. These belong to SRO Series 50, Cons. 342 3_items 011 and 009.
PRINTED BY A. SHENTON.
(The Journals are reprinted from the Perth Gazette; they are transcripts without emendations, of rough bush notes.)
1. Report for the Information of His Excellency the Governor of Western Australia, and the Promoters of the North-Western Expedition of 1864, on the Voyage and the Resources of the Districts Explored, by James Martin.
A. The District of the Glenelg; Climate, Extent, Pastoral Resources, and General Capabilities of the Soil.
B. The District of Roebuck Bay; Climate, Extent, Pastoral Resources and General Capabilities of the Soil.
C. The Aborigines of the District of Roebuck Bay.
2. Report of an Expedition to Brecknock Harbour, Camden Sound and Roebuck Bay, by Frederick Panter.
3. Explorations in North-Western Australia: Journal of the First Voyage, 1863, by James Martin.
A. From Doubtful Bay to the Lower Rapids of the Glenelg River.
B. Land Exploration to Camden Harbour.
C. From the Glenelg River to Collier Bay.
D. Collier Bay.
4. Trip of the "Flying Foam" to the Glenelg River , by Capt. Cooper (supplied by W. Bateman).
5. Journal of a Voyage of Exploration to Brecknock Harbour and Roebuck Bay, on the North-west Coast of Australia, in March, April and May, 1864, by James Martin.
A. From Champion Bay to Camden Harbor.
B. Land Explorations, from Camden Harbor.
C. From Brecknock Harbor to Roebuck Bay.
D. Roebuck Bay and the Adjacent Country.
E. From Roebuck Bay to Fremantle.
6. Journal of the Expedition to the Glenelg , by Frederick Panter.
Chart 1—Bedout Island.
Chart 2—Caffarelli Island and treacherous reef.
Chart 3—Brecknock Harbour and environs.
Chart 4—Roebuck Bay and environs.
Chart 5—N. W. Australia [northern part]; J. S. Roe, 1864].
[* This Report accompanied the narrative of a second expedition, in which Mr. Martin was engaged, in 1864, having the same objects as that of 1863, namely the discovery of new tracts of pastoral country in North-Western Australia. The commander of the expedition was Mr. F. K. Panter. (Text taken from RGS Journal, Vol. XXXV (1865), pp. 268-289—ED.)]
The voyage from Champion Bay to the anchorage in Brecknock Harbour occupied 25 days, owing to a succession of light and contrary winds after passing North-West Cape. During this period two incidents only call for especial remark; namely, a visit to Bedout Island, and the discovery of a dangerous reef.
The visit to Bedout Island was resolved upon in consequence of adverse winds. From careful observations made, the position of the highest land seems to be in longitude E. 118° 56' 20", latitude S. 19° 40' 45"; according to the charts, longitude E. 119°, latitude 19° 36' 20"; according to Norrie's list, longitude E. 118° 52', latitude S. 19° 29'. These data show an extreme difference in the position of the island amounting to 8 minutes of longitude and 11 of latitude. Ships sailing in this direction, therefore, should approach the island cautiously. The island is about a mile in length; its mean breadth is half a mile. It appears to be formed as islands are usually formed in the centre of circular coral-reefs or atolls; it is merely a heap of coral-sand piled up upon a sandstone point of ancient elevation, whose dip is about 15° to the westward. This has gradually become clothed with soil capable of supporting a coarse and stunted vegetation. The rock forming the basis of the island is a trappean sandstone composed of particles derived from the decomposition of greenstones and basalts, consisting chiefly of feldspar and hornblende grains, devoid of external crystalline form, with which are mingled quartzose grains and mica-flakes derived from other sources. The diameter of the encircling reef is about 3 miles; the space between the reef and the island is not more than 6 or 7 feet below low-water mark, in any place. There was no water upon the island. The anchorage 3 miles to the southward of Bedout Island, in 6 fathoms at low water, is good. High tide at full and change of the moon occurs at 10.50 A.M. Rise of tide (spring) 24 feet. The island is at present the resort of pelicans and turtles.
Chart 1—Bedout Island.
[SRO Series 50, Cons. 342 3_item 011.]
[Click on the map to enlarge it.]
On Thursday, the 29th of March, we sighted Caffarelli Island towards sunset, and sailed a course midway between that island and the Brue Rock. But at 8.30 P.M., it being very dark and the weather threatening, we shortened sail; before this was quite accomplished we struck upon a reef. After striking, the vessel drifted into 25 fathoms water. At 8.45 P.M. the anchor was let go, with 60 fathoms of chain. Half an hour afterwards it became necessary to cast a second anchor, with 60 fathoms of heavier cable. During the night a gale from the S.S.E. gradually sprang up. At noon, on the 30th March, the smaller of the two cables parted, whereby we lost the kedge anchor and 70 fathoms of chain. The starboard anchor, weighing 12 cwt., with 60 fathoms of chain, dragged for about 30 minutes, when, just as the preparations were made to unshackle it and try what sails could do, it held; nor did the most violent bursts of the gale again start it. This reef is not laid down upon the charts. The point of the reef where we struck is between 5 and 6 miles from the westernmost point of Caffarelli; the island bearing E.S.E. The reef, on its northern and southern sides, is of a flattened horseshoe shape, and it extends as far as we can see towards Caffarelli. It is awash at three-quarter flood-tide. According to the charts there should be a passage of 14 miles here, between the Brue Rock and Caffarelli, with soundings from 15 to 25 fathoms.
Chart 2—Caffarelli Island and treacherous reef.
[SRO Series 50, Cons. 342 3_item 011.]
[Click on the map to enlarge it.]
Partially surrounded by sea and deeply indented with noble harbours, this district, so far as longitude E. 125° 15', may be said to enjoy a sea climate. The two periods during which meteorological observations have been made are far too short to admit of any precise conclusions on climatological questions even with respect to the particular months during which they were recorded; but as they do not differ greatly from results which might have been predicated of the district, taking its geographical situation alone as argument, they may be of some slight value, although, doubtless, they will have to undergo many alterations and corrections hereafter. These observations, together with our experience of the weather and the appearance of the country, rivers, and vegetation, all confirm the supposition that there are two rainy and one dry season in the year. The first wet season commences about December, and as we find the country everywhere clothed with the richest vegetation of about a month or six weeks' growth, whilst young leaves of such trees as the eucalypti are parched with the sun, it is probable the first and heaviest rains end in February; to these succeeds a period of warm clear weather lasting until the end of March, when the sky again becomes cloud-bearing, but at this season with thunderstorms only. The mornings of April were almost always cloudless, or with high cumulus and cirrus of small amount; but in the afternoon or evening dense banks of cumulus appeared generally upon the eastern horizon, working up against a westerly or sea breeze, and terminating nearly every day in a thunderstorm with rain. These storms rarely lasted more than an hour; they travelled quickly. In the months of June and July the sky is again cloudless, and the various grasses ripen slowly: the heat of the noonday sun being tempered by exceedingly heavy dews and cool sea-breezes. On one of the hottest days in July (19th), 1863, sitting in the sun or in the shade during midday bivouac was a matter of indifference, although the thermometers at the time stood at 122° in the sun and 94° in the shade, at a distance of 45 miles from the coast-line and at an elevation of only 200 feet above mean sea-level. This, the hottest season of the year, lasts until the heavy rains in December. During the latter wet and the succeeding dry seasons the mean temperature appears high; this is caused by the high readings of the minimum thermometers: they seldom register less than 80° in April and 65° in June and July, yet the nights rarely feel oppressive. Lightning to the east and north-east occurs nearly every night in March, April, and May. In June and July the days are bright and cloudless: the nights cool and refreshing. The health of the party has in no case suffered from climatic causes; slight inflammation of the conjunctiva has attacked a few who have been subjected to unavoidable exposure; there has been one case of diarrhœa, and one of dysentery,—both yielded to a single dose of chlorodyne; and one attack of fever, of a typhoid nature, which was successfully treated with quinine.
The mean atmospheric pressure, temperature, &c., is shown in the following Table:—
The hygrometric conditions, &c., are detailed in the annexed Table:—
The direction of the winds, reduced to eight points of the compass, and the force estimated by the Beaufort notation from 1-12 (observations being made at 9 A.M., 3 P.M., and 9 P.M.) are recorded in the Table subjoined:—
The extent of the known portion of the Glenelg district—that is, from the meridian of E. 125° 15' to the sea-coast, and from the parallel of S. 16° 15', to the latitude of Camden Harbour—includes only 2925 square miles; of which area, deducting one-third for stony ridges, an excessive amount, and the sea-inlets Doubtful Bay, George Water, &c., 1,000,000 acres are suited to the depasturing of sheep. Of these 1,000,000 acres, about 100,000 acres are adapted to the cultivation of rice and similar grain; 250,000 acres are especially favourable to the growth of spices, sugar, tea, and coffee; even cereals at high altitudes, and at certain seasons of the year, might be grown at any rate in sufficient quantities to meet the requirements of a pastoral and agricultural population. It is essentially a wool-growing country; it would be difficult to conceive a more luxuriantly grassed and watered territory; at the very lowest estimate it would carry a sheep to an acre, but in some picked spots there would be no risk in quadrupling that number of stock per acre, especially if sheep-farming were here practised with such intelligence as may be found in the tropical and subtropical districts of the Eastern Colonies of Australia. The district, however, is neither fitted for cattle nor horses, except they be paddock-fed.
The islands westward of Brecknock Harbour, although quite as stony as the Glenelg district, are superbly grassed and watered. Augustus Island contains 56,000 acres of pastoral land, after deducting 0.4 of its whole area on account of the deep bays with which its shores are indented. Byam Martin's and Heywood's islands give 20,000 acres more. There are, therefore, about 80,000 acres of the richest pastoral land upon these islands, capable of carrying 80,000 sheep. All this country is so superior in grazing capabilities to the best districts occupied in the southern parts of Western Australia, that it is difficult to institute a comparison.
Mineral Resources.—Excluding building materials, the chief mineral resources are copper and iron.
1. Copper.—Indications of copper-lodes are to be met with in several parts of the Glenelg district; whether these lodes will be found hereafter to yield sufficient quantities to be profitably worked remains to be seen. Other specimens are collected than appear in the following list; but as the means of identification are not now to be obtained, their examination must be made at some future time:—
a. Bornite—East base of
c. Lettsomite—Beach of Brecknock Harbour.
d. Liroconite—Mount Double Cone.
e. Sand containing Erinite, a dystomic Habroneme Malachite
—Beach on Camden Peninsula.
2. Iron.—Hydrous oxides, veins of both crystalline and amorphous iron-ore, together with nodular masses of specular iron-ore, highly crystalline and of considerable size, occur abundantly throughout the district. In Brecknock Harbour, at the base of Mount Lookover, and in the summer bed of the Glenelg, vast quantities of these examples may be found; scarcity of manual labour alone can prevent these ores of iron from becoming an important resource to the Glenelg district when occupied. Titaniferous iron-sand occurs plentifully wherever the formation is either basaltic or sedimentary; it is even found largely predominating in soundings of from 10 to 15 fathoms, at a distance of several miles from the coast-line.
Of the existence of an extensive gold deposit there is no evidence. From the discovery of exceedingly minute particles in the mud of the Glenelg River, and from the finding of a single specimen of nagyagite, an auroplumbiferous telluret, search, if made, should be directed towards the source of the Glenelg River and thence southward as far as the FitzRoy River and the "provincia aurifera" of the old charts.
Precious stones will not be found in sufficient quantity to be of economic value; indifferent specimens of topazes, sapphires, zircons, rubies, agate, &c., will reward the seeker in almost any stream-bed; more rarely beryl, chalcedony, porzellanspath, obsidian, and flint, will be found.
Building Materials.—The principal building stones are basalt and sandstones of various kinds, micaceous, argillaceous, and pseudo-crystalline. The latter, as it has no tendency to split in one direction more than another, may be termed a freestone: it is nearly white in colour, and can be procured in vast quantities upon the surface. The argillaceous variety is a flagstone well fitted for street flagging, steps, &c.; it would likewise be found effective in ecclesiastical architecture.
Limestone yielding lime for building purposes is found in several localities; the specimens obtained from the range of hills to the westward of George Water contain the highest percentage of lime. In the district of the Upper Glenelg there are fine varieties of crystalline limestone of the saccharine kind, together with large deposits of a true magnesian limestone of a pearly lustre. Until an accurate examination of the palæontological contents and petrological relations of these limestones be made, their precise value cannot be more exactly determined.
Indigenous Vegetable Productions.—The following is a very imperfect sketch of the resources which the indigenous vegetation furnishes to this district. In grouping these according to the products afforded by them, the variety, abundance, colossal size of many and the durability of some, first attract the attention. By far the greater number of trees, valued for their timber, may be included among the Eucalypti, several species of which here attain a height but little inferior to the E. globulus, or bluegum-tree of Victoria. The flooded gum-tree (E. rostrata), the white gum (E. acervula), and the ironbark-tree (E. resinifera), are all to be found here in situations where, although too distant from the coast to export, they will prove invaluable to the future settler. Other species of Eucalypti, e.g. E. aspera, ferruginea, citriodora, aurantiaca, phœnicea,—besides their notable service in the bush as ample shade-givers, will all prove useful woods to the settler and to the artisan.
Upon the dividing ranges between the Prince Regent's River and the Glenelg, and in many other localities, the Callitris verrucosa, a pine not unfrequently met with throughout the interior of the Australian continent, from Victoria westward and northward to Champion Bay, Shark's Bay, and Arnheim's Land,—here, in the above-mentioned district, attains a size rendering it an object of great value. It is fitted for all the usual purposes to which deal is applied in buildings generally, and it occasionally reaches dimensions that suffice for the making of masts and spars of moderate size. The wood is nearly of equal value with the well-known Dammara australis, or Kauri pine. Perfectly straight trees of the following admeasurements are common:—Circumference near the base, 8 feet; 5 feet from the ground, 7 feet; approximate height of the whole tree, 100 feet. Sir George Grey speaks of this tree (vol i. p. 275) as "fit for the purposes either of building or making spars for vessels"; he adds, "it is abundant and good, and could be readily and cheaply exported, if they were cut in the vicinity of the streams, and floated down to the sea in the rainy season, whereby all land carriage would be avoided." This Callitris is frequently associated with the Araucaria excelsa on the higher ranges both inland and on the sea-coast.
A melaleuca, very closely allied to if not identical with the Melaleuca leucodendron of India, from whose leaves the cajeput oil of commerce is extracted, grows abundantly, and attains an enormous size. There are many other trees yielding timber in every respect suitable to the requirements of the cabinet-maker, whether of plain or ornamental works.
Fruits.—Amongst the edible indigenous fruits, those of the "quandang" or native peach-tree (Santalum preissianum) deserves first mention: the fruit, notwithstanding its thin pericarp and strongly acidulous taste, is grateful and largely available for food. Other fruiting bushes of the same order (Santalaceæ) yield berries of a pleasant flavour.
Three species of Cissus are found: two run along the ground or entwine amongst shrubs, the third is arborescent. All bear fruit in size, appearance, and flavour like the small black cluster grape, and in bunches from ten to forty. The Baobab-tree yields a drupe as large as a cocoa-nut: the pulp and seeds of this fruit are very palatable; the bark and spongy inner wood, when soaked in boiling water, afford an agreeable mucilaginous drink not unlike maccaroni in taste. These trees attain an enormous diameter (50 feet in one instance), but they rarely exceed 25 feet in height. The young leaves and seeds of the palm fruit are of an excellent flavour: when green the seeds or nuts are not dissimilar to the English filbert.
Native Vegetables.—Amongst the indigenous plants available as culinary vegetables the fine bean, which grows so abundantly on the sand-hills of the coast, offers, when boiled, a nutritious diet: as a species it is as yet unnamed The pea, Abrus precatorius, is plentiful all over the district: its valuable properties as a legume are recognised even by the aborigines. Horses eat greedily the branches, ripe seeds, and leaves. Several herbaceous members of the small family Basellaceæ may be regarded as a substitute for spinach. The amylaceous roots of the Dioscorea, "warrein", and Typha, "yun-jid" or "adjico", are here, as in the southern parts of Western Australia, important articles of vegetable food of the natives.
Fibres.—The lemon grass, Anatherum schoenanthus, is pretty generally distributed throughout the district: this and one of the Liliaceæ, not unlike a dwarf Phormium tenax, yield a fibre from which the aborigines manufacture a strong and well-made twine. But of all the indigenous fibre-yielding leaves that of the palm deserves especial examination: it is a species of Livistonia growing in or near to every stream; its leaf, even if the fibre prove useless for cordage, will be valuable for the manufacture of hats, umbrellas, &c., suited to the climate. It might even be employed in the making of any coarse kind of paper.
Medicinal Plants, Gums, &c.—In this division of the indigenous vegetable productions, little can be safely predicated until opportunity has been afforded for an investigation into the medicinal properties of the plants already discovered; which, doubtless, form a very inconsiderable number of this class within even the limited area explored. The abrus and the anatherum, the pea and the lemon grass, as of most frequent occurrence, may be considered first. From the roots of the former we expect a perfect substitute for liquorice in every respect; from an infusion of the leaves of the latter, we know, from Indian experience, we can obtain a tea acknowledged to be stomachic, tonic, and useful in dyspepsia, From the convolvulaceæ, one species of which is included in the genus Ipomæa, we may extract deoretin, affirmed to be identical with jalapin; from a second species, of the genus convolvulus, scammony or a cathartic resin of equal value may be prepared from the expressed juice of its roots and stalks. From the root-stocks of the typha, extracts astringent and diuretic are obtainable. An elastic gum, something like Indian-rubber, and gum tragacynth, have been found. Sandaric resin can be procured from the pine and gum-resins of various descriptions from several of the eucalypti.
The bark of some of the trees indigenous to this district will yield a tonic and stimulant, depending on the presence of an alkaloid, which there is every reason to believe will make them become an article of export ere many years. The unlimited quantities of the melaleuca may be expected to produce an oil not inferior to the cajeputi oil extracted even by the simple Indian process. There are but few genera of the myrtaceous trees and shrubs from whose leaves and flowers we fail to extract a greater or lesser quantity of essential oil—aromatic, volatile, though somewhat camphoric.
As perfume plants the Chamælaucieæ, the Rutaceæ, and the Labiatæ abound in species; but to what extent they will prove of value for perfume distillation is is difficult to foresee. Lastly, the Acaciæ, producing flowers in the utmost profusion (especially the large species fringing the upper Glenelg and nearly all the freshwater streams of the district), possessing such powerful and agreeable odours, may be indicated as proximate objects of commercial value when this luxuriant country shall become the home of an intelligent people.
Animal Products.—To the geological character of the land its almost universal pre-oolitic fauna may be traced. Here, as elsewhere throughout the Australian continent, the pouch-bearing mammals, Marsupiata, rank next to man, so far as the development of their physical organization is concerned. These native animals, particularly the larger species of the Macropidæ, are extremely numerous in the Glenelg district: the skin of the M. major and the M. laniger, or large red kangaroo, as well as the skins of the smaller varieties, will form no mean item in the resources of the early settlers; whilst these fur-clad skins are regarded as articles of commerce, the value of the carcase of the animals, as excellent meat, must not be wholly ignored.
Of birds, which are numerous both as to species and individuals—the emu, geese, ducks, the native turkey (Otis Australasianus), the "ngowoo" or native pheasant (Leipoa ocellata), the jungle-fowl (Megapodius tumulus), the lyre bird (Menura superba), and very many others, may be mentioned as valuable either for their flesh, brilliant plumage, oil, or eggs.
The waters of the district, both fresh and salt, are rich in products which await enterprise alone to raise them. Foremost amongst these ranks the dugong (Halicore), a marine herbivorous animal included in the Cetacea, observed in both Doubtful Harbour and Camden Sound: its flesh alone, which is not unlike beef, would make it a welcome visitant; but regarded as the source of an invaluable oil, superior in a nearly twofold ratio to the best cod-liver oil, its annual visit would give rise to a fishery attended with greater profit, outlay and other things being taken into account, than that of the sperm oil. The pearl oyster of commerce, the species valued for its nacreous substance, is undoubtedly to be found here plentifully, for the aborigines who would not be likely to undertake any excessive labour to procure them, very commonly wear them as an ornament suspended round the neck. The Tridacna, a conchiferous mollusk, found upon any point of the coast between North-West Cape and the Prince Regent's River, might be included in the pearl-oyster fishery; for although its shell has no valuable nacreous lining, in it pearls of great beauty and of considerable size are not unfrequently obtained. The trepang fishery could not be profitably carried on by Europeans. Whales and seals have been more than once seen within the harbours of this district. There are fine beds of oysters for the table in Brecknock Harbour: turtles, crabs, cray-fish, &c., abound. Deep-sea fishery would in all probability be a profitable occupation. The fresh-water streams teem with fish of large size and of excellent flavour.
Harbours, Rivers, and Internal Communication.—The district of the Glenelg is especially rich in bays, river-harbours, and sheltered anchorages. Along its western shore, from Collier Bay to Camden Sound inclusive, a vessel may at all times select a safe position with good holding ground in 15 fathoms water, and shelter from either the islands or the great coral-reef known as Montgomery Shoal. Doubtful Bay into which the Glenelg flows after receiving the Gairdner and the Fish Rivers, both considerable streams, and almost an innumerable host of minor tributaries, any one of which in the settled districts of Western Australia would be called a river—is a magnificent sheet of water, 9 miles in length from north to south, and 6 miles in breadth from east to west. Although in the summer vast quantities of water may from all sides pour into the bay, and the tides gain additional force thereby, yet as it is thoroughly protected from every wind and from a heavy sea by a range of islands and reefs to seaward, and the natural breakwater of the Montgomery Islands and the coral-reef, 14 miles still further to the westward,—as the holding ground is of the very best,—and as there is an abundance of room in which to work the largest ship,—Doubtful Bay, when this portion of the Australian coast is colonised, will prove a harbour of refuge second to none. From the great rise and fall of the tide also, 36 feet, this bay is a good site for works necessary to the repairing of ships. A better terminus to the system of Australian telegraphs, when connected with those of Europe and Asia, it will be difficult to find. About the centre of a large mangrove-swamp on the eastern side of the bay, there is a red conical hill, which vessels entering by "Foam Passage" should get in a line with the centre of the passage; at a distance of 2 miles westward of "Foam Passage", the summit of the red cone will just appear above the horizon within the bay (bearing true east by south); this course should be kept for 2½ miles within the bay when Success Channel, the western entrance into George Water, will bear due north. The anchorage is safe anywhere within the bay; but in the vicinity of the spot indicated by the above bearings, a vessel at anchor will feel the tidal effect to a much less degree than elsewhere. There is but one known shoal within the bay, and that is situated at a distance of 4 miles from the red cone, on a line bearing N. 31° W. from the hill. At spring-tides this sand-bank was seen dry at low water. Soundings through "Foam Passage" and to the anchorage recommended are not less than 10 fathoms at low water; sand and mud bottom. Wood and water are to be had without difficulty in Doubtful Bay.
Brecknock Harbour, area nearly 20 square miles, is so thoroughly land-locked that a ship once at anchor, need fear no wind. The coast line within the harbour is everywhere indented with beautiful bays. There are several picturesque islands, on nearly all of which there is fresh water; every valley of the main has its rippling brook of the purest water running down to the beach. Ships entering from Camden Sound have but two dangers to avoid; one is the bank extending northwards from the pinnacle rock,—the other is the rocky bar between Careening Island and the circular reef. Until further surveys have been made, Rogers' Strait is considered a very dangerous entrance on account of the reefs, and Camden Harbour a hazardous anchorage by reason of its terrace-like bottom, which at some tides has not more than half or three quarters of a fathom of water. Brecknock Harbour is an excellent place for watering ships, and drift-wood is abundant near the line of high water; but timber, fit for spars and the repairs of ships, grows at too great a distance inland to be available.
Chart 3—Brecknock Harbour and environs.
[SRO Series 50, Cons. 342 3_item 011.]
[Click on the map to enlarge it.]
Vessels entering from Camden Sound should do so only with the flood-tide and with a fair wind; the rocks to the south-west of New Island, to be seen at all times, may be passed in mid-channel; but on sighting the Pinnacle, which is close to the southern shore, a course about one-eighth of a mile distant from New Island will command the deepest water, running from 13 to 14 fathoms at the narrowest part of the entrance; when the Pinnacle bears south, a course E. 10° N. may be sailed for 2½ miles, when the northern entrance opens out into Camden Sound, bearing north-west, all bearings true; thence, a course E.N.E. of 3 miles may be steered, with 6 and 7 fathoms of water, either towards Green Island or Camden Harbour. Vessels above 100 tons register may select any spot within these limits, and obtain safe anchorage. Vessels of less than 100 tons register, with a draught of about 10 feet, after crossing the rocky bar north-east by north of Careening Island, may find a perfectly secure anchorage, anywhere in mid-channel, as far as the entrance to Camden Harbour, with not less than 3 and 4 fathoms of water; all these soundings are at low tide. For beaching a vessel on a soft bottom, it would be difficult to find a better spot than the sand-patch on Careening Island; whilst if a hard even bottom be desired, for repairs of keel, &c., the deep bay whose head bears south-east from Mount Lookover, distant half a mile from the base of the mount, will be found convenient and safe. The time of high water within Brecknock Harbour, at full and change of the moon, or the Establishment of the Port, is at noon; that is 40 minutes later than in Camden Sound. Spring rise of tide 30 feet; neap, 12 feet. The tides rush through the entrances with great force; it would not be advisable for any vessel to attempt the passages under sail, with an opposing tide.
"Success Channel", the north-west passage from Doubtful Bay to George Water, is safe for vessels of any draught, provided the flood tide be made use of; and anchorage in George Water or Maitland Bay is good; thence, to the lower rapids of the Glenelg, distant 40 miles from "Foam Passage", the river Glenelg may be described as safe and easy to navigate with cargo-boat or small steamer. Above the rapids cargo-boats might ply, for fully half the year, to a distance of 25 miles; but this last-mentioned navigation would be uncertain between the months of May and November. The Gairdner and Fish Rivers have a tide of not less than 10 feet; water communication to a limited extent, therefore, could be depended upon in these rivers for the same period as in the case of the upper Glenelg.
With regard to the internal communication of the district, it will suffice to state that there would be no great difficulty in the construction of roads: but lines of railway would in several directions entail great engineering difficulties, owing to the naturally precipitous character of the hills, and deep stream-beds of the rivers and gullies.
The country explored to the eastward of Roebuck Bay between the 17° and 18° S. lat. and along the sea-coast from the head of Roebuck Bay to Cape Latouche Treville, although only 150 miles to the southward of the Glenelg district, offers a remarkable contrast in point of climatic phenomena. The mean temperature in the shade is here only 64° lower than in the Glenelg district, and the solar radiation 50 miles eastward of the sea-coast, although generally 5° lower, is occasionally a few degrees higher; nevertheless the amount of humidity in the atmosphere is here very greatly decreased. In this month, May, the weather is found to resemble that of the Glenelg District in July. Clear cloudless days and nights prevailed, and only such winds, a few miles inland, as serve to keep the air in a perceptible motion; so that the days, although the thermometers read high, are not so warm but that a man can walk 20 or 30 miles without inconvenience from the heat; on one occasion, indeed, our exploring party walked 45 miles of course between the hours of 6 A.M. and 9 P.M. The annexed meteorological tables will in part account for this. The dryness of the atmosphere is like that of the Champion Bay district in the month of October or early in November, when a man can work eight or ten hours of day in the open air without suffering on account of heat. May seems to be an early spring month: the trees are just coming into flower and the grass is everywhere green; the natives take considerable trouble to burn their hunting grounds to entice the game with young feed; but so speedily does the grass grow again, that in a few days the burnt place is once more green, before the ash of the former grass has been displaced by wind or showers. For nearly a week before the party landed, showers were occasionally seen to fall over various parts of the country, but during the period of the land exploration no rain fell. There was more or less dew every night, but an hour after sunrise it had all disappeared.
Chart 4—Roebuck Bay and environs.
[SRO Series 50, Cons. 342 3_item 011.]
[Click on the map to enlarge it.]
The mean atmospheric pressure, temperature, &c., for the month of May, from the 1st to the 23rd inclusive, is shown in the following Table:—
The mean hygrometric conditions, &c., will be found in the annexed Table:—
The direction of the winds, reduced to eight points of the compass and the force estimated by the Beaufort notation, observations being made at 9 A.M., 3 P.M., and 9 P.M., are recorded in the Table subjoined:—
The extent of explored country within the limits already mentioned as far eastward only as the meridian of 123° includes an area of 3300 square miles; but from what has been seen at the most distant stations from our depôt, there is every reason to believe that the same kind of country extends eastward at least as far as the Fitzroy River, in long. E. 123° 30'; and southward we know not to what extent. The known portion, however, contains 2,112,000 acres of perfectly level country,—so level that with the exception of the sea-coast range of sand-hills and three little hummocks near Cape Villarêt, no spot traversed eastward from the depôt exceeded 50 feet in altitude. Of these 2,112,000 acres, perfectly level, well-grassed and almost treeless plains occupy 80,000 acres, the one-half of which lie round the south and east shores of Roebuck Bay, and the remainder inland from or east of Lagrange Bay. These plains possess chiefly an alluvial soil capable of growing many tropical productions; they are fringed with belts of moderately large Cajeputi trees. In the native wells, which are found on these plains at intervals of not more than a mile, water is obtainable within 16 or 18 feet, whilst within the belt of Cajeputi trees it is found plentifully within 4 or 5 feet of the surface. The rest of the country consists of grassy plains with shrubs and small timber chiefly of the order Myrtaceæ, sub-orders Chamælaucieæ, Leptospermeæ, Myrteæ, not growing so thickly as to impede rapid riding except where thickets occur. These thickets are rather difficult to traverse on account of the mass of dead wood, the accumulation of years, not because of the density of the vegetation; once burnt thoroughly, as thickets they would disappear. The grass is fine, sweet, and plentiful; our route crossed no sand plains or barren places; in May the grass averages one foot in height, and it is quite green. A distinguishing feature between the grass of the Glenelg District and that found here must be mentioned, as upon it is based the comparatively low estimate of sheep-grazing capability. The grass grows in tufts. (This is also the case in certain highly valued parts of the already settled districts of Western Australia.) For this reason, as it is as well to under-estimate the carrying capability of a newly discovered country, a deduction of one-half its supposed carrying power is now made, although it is more than probable that the experience of the future settler will declare the amount to be greatly underrated. This premised, the known parts of the Roebuck Bay District, within the limits already mentioned, may be safely asserted to be capable of carrying upwards of one million of sheep.
No evidence of mineral resources was discovered in sufficient quantities to warrant more extended research. Building materials do not abound. The indigenous Vegetable resources are very similar to those already named in reporting of the Glenelg country. The Baobab, palm, and pine do not occur here, and the timber generally can only be described as affording an ample supply of firewood and an inferior material for fencing. With respect to perfume plants, however, the whole district is particularly rich. Nearly every tree and plant in flower yields a strong and grateful odour; the dwarf myrtle, so common here, perhaps, has the most powerful odour; but some of the acaciæ and small shrubs possess scents exquisitely beautiful. The perfume of the heliotrope, the violet, the clove pink, the rose, the stock, were all recognised; but many others, although delicious, were such as could not be likened to that of any commonly known plant or flower. Such animal products as are found here are already included in the list given of those within the district of the Glenelg.
Harbours and Internal Communication.—Roebuck Bay was well explored by Mr. Arthur Du Boulay, during the absence of the expedition inland. Six days were spent in its examination. It is a sheet of water at high tide extending 15 miles inland and having an opening from Cape Villarêt to the opposite coast of Dampier Land of no less than 22 miles; but if a line be drawn from Cape Villarêt to Point Gantheaume, the land dry at low water is at no point distant more than 4 miles from that line. The bay is thus reduced for the purposes of navigation to a trifling indentation of the coast line not exceeding an average breadth of 2 miles at the most. The whole of this is very shallow, 3 fathoms at low water, with the exception of a narrow channel running parallel from Cape Villarêt along the south-east shore of the bay. At a distance of 1½ mile to the north of Cape Villarêt this channel has a depth of 12 fathoms, but on tracing it up the bay it is found to shoal rapidly and ultimately disappeared at 6½ miles in a north-east direction. If a line due north from Cape Villarêt be drawn, after crossing the narrow channel just mentioned, for 20 miles extensive shoals are formed which give in no instance deeper water than 4 fathoms upon that line. The anchorage, however, in or near this deep channel is good and the ship is protected from the strong south-east breezes by the sand-hills of the coast; nor is it found a bad anchorage during south-west, south, east, or north-east winds. No strong wind has yet been registered from the west, north-west, or west. Only one detached rock, dangerous to shipping, has as yet been seen, and that is situated off Cape Villarêt, at a distance of about 1 mile north by west from the beach at the foot of the Cape; it is well above water at low tide. The bay has a series of fine sandy beaches from Cape Villarêt in a north-east direction for 12 miles; to these succeeds a mangrove fringe, attaining its greatest density and breadth at the head of the bay. High water at full and change occurs at 10 A.M. Spring-tides rise 23½ feet; neap-tide 12 feet.
Lagrange Bay as a harbour is of still less value than Roebuck Bay. It is only an indentation of the coast line to the extent of 4 miles at the deepest part. Viewed from the high land on Cape Latouche Treville it appears to be shallow. There was no opportunity to obtain soundings in Lagrange Bay. From the hammock on Cape Latouche Treville, whose summit is 180 feet above mean sea-level, an excellent view of the hay was obtained extending all round its coast line to Cape Bossut and Casuarina Reef. No considerable stream, perhaps not a creek, falls into the sea by this bay.
Throughout the country explored in this district there is an entire absence of rivers and even creeks, except a number of very short ones between Cape Villarêt and Cape Du Boulay. Land transit, however, is exceedingly easy, for the country is perfectly level; the soil, at a greater distance than 2 miles from the sea coast, is a red sandy loam without stone and only rarely showing a very fine gravel upon the surface. It is sufficiently hard for heavy drays to traverse it in any direction: nor does it seem likely to cut up much with continuous traffic.
Summary of pastoral and other lands explored on the North-West Coast:—
The following Table shows the direction and the force of winds experienced on the coast between Champion Bay and Camden Sound:—
The tribes of natives in the interior excel those of the sea-coast in bodily structure. They are more muscular, taller, and apparently more intelligent; at any rate, the expression of their countenances is more pleasing: some of those we met had a profile more resembling that of a Polynesian, or a Kelœnonesian of the first division (New Hebrides, &c.), rather than that of the second division to which the Australian belongs. Of the form of the head (it is an argument from the particular to the universal, for my data are founded upon the examination of the only human skull discovered during the exploration inland),—it is as well perhaps here to give the chief particulars. The facial angle, as indicating the proportions of the cranial cavity and the grade of intelligence, contrasts very favourably with that of the lower types of the Australian native; whilst this angle of the latter is included within an arc of 85°, that of the skull before me measures 94°, or only 1° less than the average facial angle of the European. The occipito-frontal diameter measures 7.23 inches; the inter-parietal 5.31 inches; the vertical height from the glabello-occipital line 45 inches; from the level of the glabello-occipital line on each side, across the middle of the sagittal suture to the same point on the opposite side 11.75 inches; the longitudinal arc from the nasal depression along the middle line of the skull to the occipital protuberance 13.1 inches; the horizontal circumference in the plane of a line joining the glabella with the occipital protuberance 20.7 inches. The walls of the cranial cavity are less thick than in the skull of an adult aboriginal of the southern parts of Australia. The malar bones are prominent; the zygomæ make a wide curve outwards, giving breadth to the face. The upper jaw is so prognathic as to give a very oblique insertion of the teeth.
The eyes of the inland aboriginal are black, and set very deep; the nose in some is a great deal flattened; the nostrils in a few instances were observed to be larger laterally than forwards; the mouth exceeds the average size, but, generally, was well formed, and without the usual accompaniment of thick lips. The chin is of proportionate size, neither long nor broad. The lower part of the face is prominent; the teeth are beautifully even and white. The hair, when allowed to grow naturally, appears in spiral locks about three or four inches in length, spreading out all over the head; its texture may be described as wavy-crisp or frizzled, not strongly; and its colour is what is generally styled a jet-black. The prevailing fashion in both sexes seems to be, to allow the hair to grow long and then to gather it all smoothly to the back of the head, and there tie it in a knot about the size of a cricket ball. No instance was seen of the addition of colouring or oleaginous matters as beautifiers of the hair. The moustache and beard are about equally abundant; these possessions seem as much treasured as coveted: some who rejoiced in them carefully bound the beard beneath the chin with a wrapping of string, others trained the moustache into a horizontal spiral after the fashion of the King of Italy; others again whose upper lips were deficient in quantity of hair, wore false hair, that is, they supplemented that deficiency by a piece of dark-haired opossum skin, cat to the required shape.
In colour these natives are decidedly black; as black as we might expect to find a people in a locality elevated but a few feet above mean sea-level—with large tracts of alluvial soil—and near enough to the equator to feel the influence of the moister character of tropical heat. There are, however, two shades very distinctly marked, like the blonde and brunette of the white race; in one of these shades a bluish hue predominates, in the other the colour might be described as a reddish black.
These natives of the interior wear no clothing whatever, and their shelter from the cold and rainy weather seems to be of two forms: first, a hut of the rudest description, made of a few boughs piled loosely together, affording but little shelter from either wind or rain; and secondly—an arrangement somewhat more complicated but equally defective—a platform of brushwood laid evenly to a height of about one foot above the ground, beneath the centre of which a circular hole wider at the base than at the top, is scraped out of the soil, deep enough and of sufficient size to contain the persons of one or two individuals coiled up, as it were, beneath the overhanging sides of the cavity.
This kind of habitation is used, doubtlessly, in dry but cold weather; when it rains, it is probable they make use of the platform of sticks above the hole, as a sitting or reclining place; it would answer to keep them from the wet earth and that is all. For the greater part of the year, their primitive hut would suffice in exposed situations, if protection of any kind be needed; but during the periodic tropical rains these people, resident in a level country where no cave or other natural shelter is at hand, must practice no mean amount of patient endurance. They seem, nevertheless, to attain a good old age, in spite of privations and exposure; we fell in with several old men and women who had evidently lived many summers more than fall to the lot of Australian natives in general.
Foremost among the ornaments in common use by these people ranks the pearl-oyster shell of the coast. The centre of this shell, that is, so much of it as can be ground into an oval shape whilst retaining the nacreous substance very nearly flat, is either worn plain or engraved. In the manufacture of these plain ornaments, nothing more is required than the grinding away of about two-thirds of the entire substance of the margin of the shell, the drilling of a hole through it near one end of the smaller diameter, and the suspending of the shell by one or more thicknesses of the native string. But the more valued ornament, after passing through the processes enumerated, has its nacreous surface completely covered with a lace-like pattern composed of four and five sided figures, combined in a very curious manner and included within one or several parallel elliptical lines running equi-distant from the ground edge of the shell. These figures composed of three or more series of the lines, are engraved to a depth of about .025 of an inch; then the spaces are filled up with a black pigment, a mixture of gum and charcoal. Amongst the minor ornaments examined may be mentioned a necklace made of the claws of a crab (Porcellana, a genus of anomurous Crustacea found only occasionally on the north-west coast of Australia): the pieces composing the necklace were about the size and shape of large bugles, similar to those used in ladies' fancy work; and a hair-pin made out of a kangaroo's tooth—an incisor of the lower jaw of one of the larger species of Macropidæ. These natives are as fond of personal decoration in plastic colours done in small round spots upon the legs, arms, and upper parts of the body, as other Australian tribes. Some years ago, at a famous native festival in south-west Australia, several men were painted round the neck in imitation of the then fashionable ladies' lace-collars, with lappets down the breast: this was very neatly executed with a white paint made of pipe-clay, laid on in minute spots with an extempore brush; this kind of painting we also noticed in the case of an individual amongst the group we first met in the interior, but the colouring included four tints and extended down to the feet in a harlequin-like pattern.
As this race of people have no rivers or deep-sea inlets to cross, the craft already described as commonly used by the natives of the Glenelg district is of rare occurrence here. The instrument of most general utility is in the form of a scoop; with this they dig wells, and the indigenous roots used as food; it is their basket and portmanteau: their water-jug and shovel. It is of very varied size and shape, both these latter depending upon the elbow of the tree from which it is cut; so important an instrument is it, that as a rule it receives the highest possible degree of ornamentation; it is carved, sometimes inside and outside, with closely adjoining parallel lines, disposed in a zigzag pattern. Some of the larger scoops are not carried from place to place with the tribe, but left beneath some bush in the neighbourhood of a well: these larger instruments are those which receive the maximum amount of decoration. For cooking purposes they use large shells, species of Strombus and Triton; (the seed of the mangrove undergoes a most elaborate process in its preparation as an article of food). They also make bags of kangaroo skin, fastened with a twine made of the fibres of an Anatherum, and a species of the Liliaceæ; a kind of twine is also made here of a mixture of opossum hair and vegetable fibre; another kind, which was found in use only as a means of suspending the engraved shells, was made of human hair alone.
These natives do not seem to be acquainted with the use of the womera, or throwing-stick. The spears we saw with each tribe or party we presume to be hunting-weapons; these are ill-shapen and not barbed; in some cases they were pointed at both ends; in every case they were intended to be thrown by the hand from the middle: some natives carried bundles of small spears only 3 feet in length; these were no doubt designed to spear small birds, whilst the thrower was in ambush. The usual stone hatchet of the Australian native is everywhere found on this coast. The kiley, however, is a superior instrument to that used by the aboriginal of the south-west coast; its shape more nearly approaches the bomerang of the Eastern Australian: but it is not so effective an instrument either in war or in the chase; both the kiley and the bomerang of Australia are instruments as inferior to that used by the ancient Egyptians as their weapon was inferior to that of the Assyrian huntsman. But notwithstanding the inferiority of the kiley of these natives, it is a weapon in their hands worthy of attention in an engagement; on a shield obtained, there were several indentations made by the kiley. The shield alluded to differs from that common to southern tribes in being cut out of the solid; it has a handle with a sufficient space for the hand of the holder also cut out of the same solid piece. Although heavy, it seems to have done the original owner good service in warding off blows from the kiley in its bizarre and rapid flight.
As concerning the natives of the sea-coast, it will suffice to state that they are inferior to the natives of the interior in physical development; they are less cleanly in their persons and less industrious in the chase. The same extraordinary mutilation, referred to by the officers of the Beagle when describing the sea-coast tribes of this district (Stokes, vol. i., page 117) was observed by members of our expedition; but the custom does not extend beyond the tribes of the coast.
The language of both sea-coast and inland tribes, judging from a limited vocabulary of about seventy words, is agglutinate, with Malay affinities few, obscure, and only partially recognised; the dialects prevail over exceedingly small areas, as is the case with eastern Kelœnonesian tribes. The following vocabulary, in the construction of which the Italian vowel sounds * are adopted, will serve to illustrate these remarks:—
[* The vowels marked with a grave accent are long, those with an acute are short.]
By this it will be seen that the language ignores sibilant letters; many of our consonants these natives cannot pronounce at all; e.g. t, and its compound th, f, g, &c. In short, the language may be said to be composed chiefly of vowel and liquid sounds, with a limited number of consonants. The terminal h in many of the native words given above is very strongly marked, and is characteristic of and points prominently to the origin of the dialect. The letter r is rolled in the native pronunciation after the manner of the French.
Perth, W.A., June 16, 1864.
[END MARTIN's 1863 REPORT.]
[* Source: The Perth Gazette and Independent Journal of Politics and News, Friday 10 June 1864; article/2935125 (Trove).]
Schooner New Perseverance,
Fremantle, June 6, 1864.
Sir,—I have the honor to forward the following Report relative to the result of an expedition to the North-west coast of Western Australia, under my command. On 2nd March, 1864, I left Fremantle in the schooner New Perseverance, 105 tons, William Ouston, master. On the 3rd of April the vessel anchored in Brecknock Harbour, after a tedious passage of one month's duration, owing to light and contrary winds.
The only incident worthy of notice on the passage up was the discovery of a reef extending about six miles S.S.E. from Caffarelli Island, in long. 123 degs, lat. 16 degs. This reef was discovered by the vessel running on it during the night of the 28th of March last. In the course of a few minutes the vessel was "backed" off, and anchored in 25 fathoms water, about half-a-mile south of the place on which she struck.
The following morning the wind rose to a hurricane, blowing from the S.S.E., and lasting fourteen hours. During this time the vessel was obliged to remain at anchor, surrounded almost as she was by the reef. One anchor, with 50 fathoms of chain, was lost. Luckily the large anchor (which dragged a little) held her until the fury of the storm abated.
The day after my arrival at Brecknock Harbour, I started inland with a party, consisting of Dr. Martin, Mr. David Shields, first mate of the vessel, and native Dunedale. We travelled over about 90 miles of country, which for pastoral, and much of it for agricultural purposes, could not be excelled. I shall refrain from entering into minute details concerning the soil, its capabilities, &c., as Dr. Martin will do so in his report. The country we travelled over is abundantly watered by rivers and streams of pure water.
Two rivers—the one I named the "Fish" river, and another known as the "Gardner" river—afford water communication with the Glenelg, and thence to the sea. The two former rivers are navigable at high tide for large boats, the river and fall being 10 feet. The water on them is perfectly fresh at both tides.
The only minerals which I can state with certainly exists are copper and iron. We found good indications of the former on Mount Double Cone (7 miles in a direct line from Brecknock Harbour). The latter exists in large quantities on the beach and in the vicinity of Camden and Brecknock Harbours, in many places it can be picked up almost in its pure state, especially under Mount Lookover.
Timber for building purposes, &c., is not plentiful on the land over which I actually travelled, but exists in large quantities on the McDonald Range (information received from Dr. Martin).
Stone for building purposes is plentiful, both inland and on the coast.
From the large number of small pearl oyster shells picked up I have little doubt that valuable pearl oyster beds might be found with but little trouble.
I visited many of the Islands outside Camden Harbour, all of which (with two exceptions) I found to be permanently watered.
Augustus and Byam Martin's were the two largest islands I landed upon. The former, which contains about 56,000 acres, is luxuriantly grassed, and watered by numerous streams; the latter is well watered, but not so well grassed, and contains 12,000 acres. All the islands are very stony, including the above two islands, I think I may safely assert that in the vicinity of Brecknock and Camden Harbours there is one million and sixty-eight thousand acres of land, which could scarcely be surpassed, if equalled. I have every reason to believe that there are immense tracts of similar country both to the south and eastward of Brecknock Harbour.
Both Camden and Brecknock Harbours contain secure anchorage for vessels of any tonnage; the latter Harbour is almost land-locked and contains a small island, on which at low water a vessel might be left high and dry on an almost level sand beach to undergo repairs, &c. Soundings have been taken in both Harbours, and marked on the chart.
On the 24th of April I sailed for Roebuck Bay. On the passage down the vessel anchored close in to Cape Borda, on the northern part of Dampier's Land; it had been my intention to land here, but owing to the unsettled state of the weather I was unable to do so. Grass could be seen growing, apparently similar to that about Camden Harbour. Several times between Cape Borda and Roebuck Bay we sailed close in shore, where we could see similar land.
Natives were plentiful; some of them came down to the beach. I have not the slightest doubt in my own mind that the whole of Dampier's Land containing two millions four hundred thousand acres is a rich pastoral country; from what I have since seen in the vicinity of Roebuck Bay, which is bounded on the north side by Dampier's Land, tends to confirm me in this belief; part of the land is high and well timbered.
On the 9th May, I landed at Roebuck Bay; the following morning I started inland, accompanied by Dr. Martin, Mr. D. Shields, mounted constable Buck, and native, Tommy (Dunedale). We started from Cape Villaret, and travelled 52 miles due east in a straight line; the whole of the country (which we travelled over) was well grassed, the only drawback being the absence of running streams, but I know for certain that plenty of water can be obtained by seeking on any of the "Flats," at a depth varying from six to twenty feet; most of the native wells which I came across were about eight feet deep, the deepest I saw was sixteen feet; out of this one we were unable to get water on account of the way in which it was sunk. Close to it we put down a shaft and obtained good water eighteen feet below the surface; these are my reasons for speaking so confidently with respect to the supply of water. On the 15th May I returned to the beginning of the "Racecourse Plains," about 8 miles in an easterly direction from Cape Villaret, and close to the beach. It would be difficult for me to describe finer plains than these, containing at the lowest estimate 40,000 acres of splendidly grassed land; these places are bounded on the north and east by Roebuck Bay, and on the south by a belt of cajeput trees; all along this belt there is an abundant supply of water at a depth of from two to six feet from the surface, and in some actually on the surface.
We had friendly intercourse here, as else where in the vicinity of Roebuck Bay, with the natives. They appear a quiet, harmless race; the sea-coast natives differ very much in their appearance from the natives inland. The latter are a fair fine race of men, and for natives appeared very cleanly. The sea-coast natives live almost entirely upon the pearl oysters and other shell fish; for beds they scrape a hole in the sand, and light fires at their heads and feet; the domestic habits of these sea-coast natives very much resemble those of that well-known animal, the "Pig." Their weapons are of the most rude and primitive description; the only ornaments they wear are large pearl shells ground into an oval shape, and hung round their necks by a string made out of their own hair. At all their camps we saw quantities of small pearl shells, which led me to believe that pearl oyster bed exists here as well as at Camden and Roebuck Harbours. On the 17th of May I started for Lagrange Bay with the same party, with the addition of Mr. A. Du Boulay, and Mr. H. Logue. The above bay is scarcely worthy to be called a bay, its extreme depth being barely six miles, and to all appearances very shallow. The land appeared similar round the Bay to the Racecourse Plains; the country for ten miles north of the bay is not so well grassed as that previously travelled over.
At our last outward camp under Cape Latouche Treville we found a natives' well about five feet deep, with plenty of water in it.
At this place we caught two natives, (a man and a woman): we brought them to the camp and after giving them some trifling presents, let them go again.
All the country over which I have travelled is thickly wooded, but the only timber fitted for building and fencing purposes, &c., is the cajeput tree.
This tree is proof against the white ant, and, in a mercantile point of view, is valuable for the oil which can be extracted from it. Stone is scarce, except at Cape Villaret, and along the coast line from thence to Cape Latouche Treville.
The whole country as far as the eye could reach appears level.
No river runs into Lagrange Bay as was generally supposed.
A small estuary extends inland from it for about two miles.
From Lagrange Bay I reluctantly turned and retraced my steps to Cape Villaret, where the vessel was lying at anchor. Although the time for which the New Perseverance was chartered will not expire for another month, still I considered that it would not be prudent to allow a shorter time for the homeward passage than had been occupied by the outward one to Brecknock harbour.
During my absence to the eastward, Mr. A. Du Boulay started in the whale boat, (according to my instructions,) with four hands to explore Roebuck Bay.
He reports the extreme depth to be 14 and miles, at low water, mud and mangrove the only impediments to a person crossing it on foot, five miles from its mouth. He also reports similar country to the Racecourse Plains extending in N.E. direction, (into Dampier's Land.)
The natives at the head of the Bay were quite friendly; from them he obtained the names of several animals, water, &c., which, together with the native words obtained by Dr. Martin and myself, may be of use to future settlers.
Hitherto I have omitted to state that game, such as the kangaroo, turkeys, &c., are very numerous near the sea-coast.
Large beans and red peas, (both most prolific bearers) grow in abundance, both here and at Camden Harbour, and also on all the Islands I visited.
With the exception of iron, I saw no mineral indications near Roebuck Bay.
Including Dampier's Land, the total number of good pastoral land discovered may be safely estimated at five millions five hundred and ninety-two thousand acres. The land in the vicinity of Brecknock Harbour exceeds anything I have ever seen before, from my own experience. I can confidently state that the Land in the vicinity of Roebuck Bay would bear favourable comparison with some of the best runs in Victoria.
The discovery of the land has cost (in fractions) the one fourteenth part of a farthing per acre.
In Dr. Martin's report much more valuable information will be found; it is only due to that gentleman to state that he was always ready and willing to give me any assistance in his power.
The master and owner of the vessel, Mr. Wm. Ouston, together with his ship's company were always ready to render me any assistance I required. In conclusion I can only state that myself and those above referred to have done our best to make the expedition successful; whether it has been so or not I must leave to those who are better able to judge than myself.
I have the honor to be, Sir,
Your most obedient servant,
Frederick Kennedy Panter.
[END of PANTER'S 1864 REPORT]
[* Source: JOURNAL OF THE ROYAL GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY OF LONDON, 1865, VOLUME XXXV, pages 237-267.]
Communicated by the Governor of Western Australia, through the Colonial Office.
[** This part of the memoir is a portion of the narrative of an expedition sent out, with live stock, from Western Australia, in search of new pastoral land in the vicinity of Glenelg River (Lat. 15° 40' S.). The exploring party consisted of three gentlemen (besides Mr. Martin), and sailed from Champion Bay (20° 45' S. lat.) in the schooner Flying Foam, on the 6th of June, 1863.]
June 22, 1863.—Doubtful Bay is a magnificent sheet of water, 9 miles in length from north to south, and six miles in breadth from east to west. Although in the summer vast quantities of water may from all sides pour into the bay, and the tides gain additional force thereby, yet, as it is thoroughly protected from every wind and from a heavy sea by a range of islands and reefs to seaward, and the natural break-water of the Montgomery Islands and the coral reef, 14 miles still further to the westward, as the holding ground is of the very best, and as there is abundance of room in which to work the largest ship, Doubtful Bay, if ever this part of the Australian coast should be colonised, will prove a harbour of refuge second to none. From the great rise and fall of the tide also, 36 feet, this bay would be a good site for works necessary to the repairing of ships. A better terminus to the system of Australian telegraphs, when connected with those of Europe and Asia, I think it will be difficult to find. There does not seem to be any agricultural or even pastoral land in the immediate vicinity of the bay, and the hills both of the islands and the main are of the most precipitous character. The south-east shore is fringed with an immense mangrove swamp, intersected by numerous deep creeks. It has all the appearance of being the mouth of a large river. About the centre of this mangrove swamp, on its western limit, rises the Conical Hill we had in line with the centre of "Foam Passage" when we entered the bay last night. It is a remarkable hill rising abruptly from among the mangroves, of a deep red colour, and without any other hill or land visible from our anchorage, nearer than two miles. I believe it to be of the old red sandstone formation, as are the islands to the westward of the bay. Wood and water are obtainable in Doubtful Bay. The old red sandstone here exhibits a great variety of the most picturesque scenery. Outside the bay, in the islands, it attains its grandest development, wrapping round older rocks and effectually protecting them from the action of the tides and current. The rock is a conglomerate of fine hard gravel of a dark red colour. The character of the old sandstone, and the way in which it is broken and worn away to form picturesque cliffs, is also well illustrated in the smaller islands to the south of the entrance to Doubtful Bay. A bold headland is here nearly separated from the principal island by the action of the waves, which have already worn away deep cavities beneath, and threaten soon to complete the destruction they have begun. The dark, frowning, and gloomy masses of rock are piled over one another in an order not irregular, and the huge step-like terraces, by which one may descend nearly to the line of high water, afford admirable instances of stratification, joints, and faults. The larger of the rugged, isolated, projecting fragments in the island, taken as a type of the whole group, is from 100 to 120 feet in height, and about the same in breadth and thickness.
At 8.45 A.M., a party consisting of three of the explorers, with one servant, and the master of the vessel, left in the long boat to climb the range eastward of the bay to search for a navigable entrance to the Glenelg. Fires, in groups of two, sprang up from the sea-beach, where the party landed, to the summit of the first range;—they are doubtlessly native signal fires. At noon the tide was running into the bay at the rate of four knots per hour. A great many more fires are now springing up in all directions. At 3 P.M. a signal was made from the shore, upon which we got under weigh. About a mile and a half from our anchorage we met the party in the long boat. They report a rugged country without soil, but with trees and coarse grass growing luxuriantly, the latter was nearly three feet in height. Among the trees seen were—eucalypti, acaciæ, adansoniæ, palms, and a tree whose leaf, as to venation and other features, closely resembled the camellia. The walk was so fatiguing that the ascent to the highest point of the range was not accomplished. The natives seemed very numerous, judging by their fires and cooeeing, but they kept out of sight at first; indeed, a near view of one individual only was obtained. This native carried a bundle of unusually long spears. Before the party rejoined the boat, however, several were seen in the distance, as if watching the behaviour of their unlooked for visitors. From the set of the tide, which seemed to come from the north-eastern of the two supposed mouths of the Glenelg, as laid down upon Grey's chart, we determined to examine it more closely. At 4 P.M., although the tide was just commencing to run out, the wind was sufficiently strong to carry us about 2½ miles up the supposed river, to a point on the western shore, where a few detached rocks to the northward protected us from the force of the tide. We anchored in 10 fathoms water at about 50 yards from a rocky precipitous shore, about 30 minutes after sundown. At one mile from the entrance of this passage, on the eastern shore, there was a broad water-course, with mangrove swamps on either side, trending from east by south.
June 23.—Before breakfast a party went on shore, and in an hour returned with numerous specimens of the flora, together with geological and other specimens. Of the geological collection, by far the most interesting were the basaltic fragments. At 9 A.M. the tide was ebbing rapidly. After breakfast another boating party returned with many specimens of coral and sponge alive, obtained from just below low-water line; also a trochus and triton, both of which I believe to be undescribed species; rock-oysters were found adhering in large clumps to the rocks and to each other, but they were of small size. At a quarter past 10 A.M., we fired a gun as a signal to the land party, who forthwith came on board, just as the anchor was weighed at the commencement of flood-tide. The passage here is little more than half a mile wide. About two miles to the north of our anchorage a reef of rocks came out into mid-stream. Through the passage, in soundings of from 8 to 17 fathoms, the tide was now rushing with immense velocity; at one time it took three men at the tiller to keep the vessel under command. Sailing through this critical pass, not more than a quarter of a mile in width, the stream opened to a wide expanse of water about 6 miles in breadth, from east to west, with an apparently clear extent to north of about 9 miles. There seems to be an opening to seaward on the south-west boundary. This splendid sheet of water we propose to name George Water: there was barely a ripple upon its surface, and during the afternoon we were sailing gently through with a scarcely perceptible tide, at a rate varying from two to three knots, and in soundings exceeding 15 fathoms. On our passage we observed dolphins, seals (Phocœna vulgaris and Leptonyx weddellii), and many aquatic snakes (both hydrophides and hydri). At 3.30 P.M. the water shoaled rapidly to six fathoms; the vessel was put about immediately, and we then anchored in east longitude 124° 39' 15", and south latitude 15° 45' 40". Before us stretched a long line of mangroves with several openings: one of the latter a little westward of our course. As soon as possible after coming to anchor, the boat party, as yesterday, left with provisions and equipment, for 24 hours, to search for a navigable passage to that portion of the river which had been seen by Grey; from which point we cannot now be distant more than ten miles in a straight line. The force of the tide, strange to say, is not much diminished here; further observations may, perhaps, show the reason why. At 8 P.M. the boat party returned; they had found the passage N.N.W. of our anchorage to be navigable, with a muddy bottom, and boundaries on either side of mangrove banks. At a distance of about four miles from the vessel, the water-course divided at the base of a round hill, up which our explorers climbed a part of the way; but night coming on, they returned to the vessel.
June 24.—At 9.25 A.M., the boat party again left to search for an opening to the eastward of the mangrove bank. The stream immediately before us has a mud bar, dry at low water, but, from soundings taken last night, with more than a sufficient depth of water on it at high water; inside the bar the soundings exceed 15 fathoms. An ibis, resembling the ibis religiosa, or white ibis, was seen on the mud bar, but beyond the range of our guns. A curious marine creature of the order Errantia, family Eunicidæ, was this day captured alongside the vessel. It may be described as an elongated and distinctly annulated worm, possessing a well developed head, furnished with tentacles and eyes, and a mouth with an armed proboscis. The branchial tufts were developed only slightly. At 1 P.M., the boat party returned unsuccessful as to their search for a navigable opening; so, half-an-hour afterwards, we weighed anchor and crossed the mud bar in from 3 to 4 fathoms water; an hour and a half after this the ebb-tide commenced, and we cast anchor in 6 fathoms water about a mile south of the confluence of the two broad streams immediately before us. Two parties then made preparation to start directly to examine the two streams. One of them, with the master of the vessel and one man, went in the long boat, and undertook the exploring of the western stream; the other, taking the gig, pulled up the eastern. I belonged to the long-boat party; we thoroughly examined our water-course and its tributaries, but we found that all the creeks terminated in tangled mangroves, through which the boat could not pass. At the junction on the return trip, we met the party in the gig, equally unsuccessful: mangroves baffling all in their attempts to get through. The head of the broad sheet of water we entered yesterday, so far as we have examined it, consists of numerous islands, having in many cases their surfaces some distance below high-water mark. The creeks which intersect these low mud islands are deep—from 6 to 17 fathoms—with steep sides covered with a dense growth of at least five species of mangrove. At the head of one of these creeks the water was only brackish at high water; this fact, coupled with the appearance of flocks of cockatoos and pigeons, argues the presence of fresh water at no great distance from our anchorage. A white crested eagle-hawk was this evening shot, whilst perched upon our topsail yard. Another white crested hawk, with wings of a rich chocolate brown, the extremities of the feathers darkening to almost black, was shot, whilst perched upon a mangrove; this I believe to be an undescribed species; I have therefore spared time to preserve the skin and skull. The aquila fucosa we have seen already several times.
June 25.—At 4 A.M., two boat parties were dispatched. In the long boat, Mr. Cooper and Mr. A. Brown, with one servant, went to examine a gulley in which we thought we saw a cascade on the 23rd, with a view to discover some convenient spot where we might obtain a sufficient supply (1000 gallons) of fresh water to fill up our tanks; we have only 600 gallons on board now; the stock require a plentiful supply, as the temperature ranges rather high. The shore party in the gig consisted of two of our party, with a man to bring the boat back after they had landed. The shore party were to walk to a high hill, distant about 5 miles, and from its summit to examine the country, and if possible discover water communication with that portion of the Glenelg seen by Grey. The man, after landing the party, was to return to the vessel and then explore the creeks in search of fresh water. The gig returned at 8 A.M., after landing us on a mud-bank where there were tracks of alligators, both large and small. One large creature,—its motion was too rapid to catch more than a glimpse (although from that glimpse I believe it was an alligator),—ran down the mud-bank opposite to which we were anchored, and with a loud splash plunged into deep water. This was about the time of sunrise. I watched some time, hoping to see it again, but in this hope I was disappointed. Parrots, cockatoos, pigeons, and kingfishers, were all most richly coloured; they were very numerous here. Small birds, too, not larger than humming-birds, fluttered about in great numbers.
The morning was occupied in taking observations to determine the exact position of the vessel. Found the longitude to be 124° 39' 12" E., and latitude 15° 43' 10" S. Found a scarlet-and-black pea in the pod, with leaves but no flowers. Found a half-ripe bean floating past the vessel. The long-boat party returned at 1 P.M. After sailing down the western shore of the broad reach for a short distance they landed at promising spots and looked for water; and although they did not find water, they collected some highly interesting geological specimens. Finally they landed at the conical red hill, four creeks to the south of the cascade gully;—(this latter, by the way, is no cascade at all—but merely a vein of greenstone, which, glistening in the sun, gave us the effect of falling water when we were about four miles off); but, to continue: the party had landed and were advanced some distance in the muddy bank of the little stream, when they overheard natives among the mangroves. In a few minutes about 20 natives made a bold dash to cut off the party from the boat. A very numerous body were also seen rapidly approaching in an opposite direction, that is from the south. The first body of natives then advanced steadily in line, each with a spear shipped in a woomera (throwing-stick) and a bundle of spears held in the left hand. At 15 paces from our party, who had now covered each his man, the natives were prepared to throw their spears, as was seen by their left hands being lowered from the spear about to be thrown. One of them then stepped in advance, and just as he was in the act of hurling his deadly weapon, the first shot was fired. Although the native fell, the rest still advanced steadily. A second then ran forward: he fell at the firing of the second shot. This made them pause for a moment and then retreat in all haste behind the mangroves. During the retreat, a third charge of shot was fired at one poor fellow in the act of running away; none of the shots proved immediately fatal. A ludicrous incident in the affair happened to the man in charge of the boat. He was in the water endeavouring to prevent the boat grounding when he first saw the natives; he immediately took up the gun left for his protection, and found it was not loaded. He at once loaded it, and then discovered there were no caps left in the boat. The affray commencing, he levelled his uncapped piece and commenced a series of shouts and grimaces that rivalled, if they did not excel, those made by the natives. From these details two conclusions may, I think, be arrived at. First: That a species of discipline prevails among the natives; this was evident from the regularity of their advance and retreat, and their conduct under fire. The use of firearms was apparently unknown to them; the rifles, judging by their approach to within a distance of 15 paces, they probably mistook for a kind of club. Second: That the attack was premeditated, as will be seen from the following particulars:—Their personal decoration must have occupied them some considerable time; their foreheads and temples were ornamented with the figure of a half-moon, painted in white. Each man carried a bundle of very long spears. They had most likely seen us sail by their encampment last Tuesday afternoon; indeed, we passed so closely as to see plainly that the place was a native encampment, by the number of small fires, the smoke from which just curled up above the mangrove and other trees. After the skirmish our party passed by some of their fires recently extinguished by scattering about, probably with a view to conceal their proximity just before the attack. Around their fires were strewn fragments of greenstone (syenitic) with conchoidal fractures, broken so as to adapt the cutting edges for making and pointing their spears, chips and shavings of which lay in all directions. Specimens were obtained of this greenstone and also the limestone (a brecciated limestone) which is used, after burning, as a paint. Several other geological contributions were brought away from the vicinity; they nearly all belonged to the primary group.
None of the native weapons were secured, as it was not deemed expedient to follow them into the mangrove thicket; and the whole affair from beginning to end occupied so short a space of time that not one of the party noticed even whether the spears were barbed or not. The half-moon figure seems to be their war standard: even the night previous to the encounter we noticed the shape of the fires on the side of the hill above their camp, to have a half-moon-like outline. In person the natives were tall, broad-shouldered, muscular, and exceedingly black. Their hair was straight and tied at the back of the head. They had no covering whatever. Our party remained on the spot for about half an hour afterwards, collecting such botanical and other specimens as lay in their way. Just before leaving in the boat, the native women and children, who, from higher ground, had surveyed the attack, commenced a wail which resembled that fabulous Dutch concert, where every performer contributed to the harmony by playing his own melody fortissimo, all commencing at a given signal. One remark more may be worth recording, perhaps, as it may tend to prove how little communication takes place between the various native tribes. When the attacks were made on Grey and Stokes, the natives invariably retired when a shot was fired, or, at latest, when the first man fell. Here, however, it was only at the second shot that some connection between the boat party as a cause, and the falling of their men, as an effect, seemed to dawn upon them. The report of the rifles did not produce the slightest hesitation or sign of fear. The afternoon was occupied in attending to botanical specimens, securing various packets of seeds, and so forth. A very pretty gomphrena was among the botanical collections of to-day.
At 4 P.M. the land party returned. From the summit of the hill they had seen the River Glenelg, distant about six miles to the eastward, and they recognised the large lagoons with streams running into them, as laid down in Grey's chart. They also saw the River Gairdner and the land away to the north as far as Camden Harbour. But the 30 or 40 miles of low flat country, as shown upon Grey's chart, seemed from the position of our party to consist of well-grassed ranges of hills, with here and there fertile flats. The hill from which these observations were made was about 600 feet above mean sea-level; but viewed as this part of the country was by Grey from a distance of 15 miles or more, and at an elevation of 1000 or 1200 feet, it doubtless presented an aspect exactly corresponding to that mentioned on the chart. The party also sighted the Glenelg running towards George Water, and also its upper course above the rapids, taking a general southerly direction. They also observed a chain of mangrove marshes running from some swamps, on the northern side of the hill, towards and into Camden Harbour. From these observations and bearings it is probable the water we are now in has no navigable communication with the Glenelg nearer than George Water. Only one opening remains to be examined and that lies in the north-east corner of George Water, so named after the discoverer of the inland Glenelg. The inpenetrable mangrove-swamps forming the northern boundary we propose to name "Barlee's Impediment", after the Honourable the Colonial Secretary of Western Australia. More tracks of alligators seen in the mud to-day.
June 26.—At 9 A.M. a large alligator, not less than 20 feet in length, came out from the mangroves abreast of the vessel and slowly floated along with the receding tide, just below the surface of the water. With the binocular glasses we could clearly distinguish the head, eye, ridges of the back and tail, and observe the slow paddling motion of the feet. The master of the vessel, whilst out with the long-boat in search of fresh water, saw a small alligator, about 3 feet in length, on a mud-bank; he fired with shot, but these glanced from the creature's back as if it had been a coat of iron. At 10 A.M. the boats again left to buoy the stream to an anchorage nearer the spot where they expect to find fresh water. At noon the boats returned; they found an abundant supply of fresh water and cut a road through the mangroves to the water's edge in the creek. The master buoyed the passage to within a few yards of the road. At 5 P.M. set sail to go up to the new anchorage. Anchored again in one fathom water, at low tide, about a mile and a half from last anchorage, up the north-west stream, past the confluence. The tide even here rises 36 feet. There is plenty of fresh water in the bush: almost every little gully yields a supply. It is perfectly fresh, but it has a slightly bitter taste, only just perceptible. During the night an exceedingly heavy dew falls here. Lying on the deck to sleep, we are obliged to make an awning of the mainsail.
June 27.—At daylight the gig, manned by two of our party, and one of the men, left the vessel, with provisions for two days, to explore the north-east corner of George Water. Shortly afterwards all spare hands left in the long-boat with two hogsheads to fill with fresh water. At 9 A.M. the first trip was accomplished: they brought back 130 gallons of water. The obtaining of it, however, was very hard work. They had cut down mangroves from the spring to the landing-place, a distance of nearly 200 yards, and with the felled trees they made a corduroy road over the mud: along this road the water had to be carried in buckets to the boat. The road was passable on foot for a man carrying two buckets full of water, but not solid enough to bear a hogshead when filled; otherwise the watering might speedily have been concluded. I was left, with the steward only, in charge of the vessel: in the event of an attack by natives—here the creek is not 50 yards wide at low water and only 6 feet deep—I consoled myself with the belief that if the steward could only load fast enough we could manage to hold the Foam for some hours. The tide was still nearly 36 feet here. Only four hogsheads of water were obtained to-day: the softness of the mud proved a greater hinderance than was expected.
June 28.—At 1 A.M. the gig party returned. They have found a passage into Grey's part of the Glenelg, through the little bay to the north-east of George Water; the accurate examination of this bay was abandoned last Wednesday as unpromising. The Glenelg falls into this bay, which I intend to name Maitland Bay, by a very narrow mouth, situated on the eastern side, as I have hitherto firmly believed by every indication: the appearance of the ranges warranted this conclusion; and the fact that the chart of our voyage, plotted up to the present date, leaves a blank of scarcely two miles between our survey and that of Grey, made the case stronger; the banks of each part of the river in the two charts trending towards the other in the most unmistakable manner, and, seemingly, inviting us to persevere and accomplish their perfect union. This might have been done three days ago, had a more thorough examination been made; but Wednesday's search in the same direction proved useless, solely from over anxiety on the part of the explorers engaged. They did not deem themselves justified in spending an hour more in that direction; because (1) the stock of fresh water (our total consumption exceeds 50 gallons per diem) was getting low; (2) there seemed but little hope of a navigable river flowing into Maitland Bay; and (3) to the north of our anchorage a sufficiently broad and deep stream lay immediately before us. This, after very accurate and determined examination proving to terminate by numerous branches in mangrove-creeks, not passable by the gig, and in many places traced to the very base of the hills—this brought about the resolution to undertake the land exploration of Thursday, and the boat trip of yesterday, which have resulted so perfectly to our satisfaction.
Before quitting this series of mud-islands and mangrove-swamps, I could have wished to preserve an accurate delineation; but inartistic skill suffices not to record faithfully any of the varied effects. Photography alone could portray the minutiae; I can only compare the effect to that of a level country with clumps of varied and exquisitely green trees, having openings—now straight—now serpentine—ever graceful; with a ground of crystal reflecting every leaf with an almost exaggerated accuracy. Reference to the meteorological journal will shew an almost entire absence of wind and cloud during the past week. The tides are regular, and at springs rise 36 feet. High water in the "Impediment", at full and change, would be, by calculation from observed tides, at 9 A.M. But the highest tides occur three days after the full and change.
At 6 A.M. got the anchor home and, towed by the long-boat, proceed south to the mud-bar, en route to the newly found passage to the known part of the Glenelg. The south-west passage from George Water to the sea bears south-west from the anchorage of Tuesday last Native fires still discernible to the West of Cooper's Creek, but at some distance inland. Anchored at noon just inside Rocky Island at the mouth of Maitland Harbour, in the north-east corner of George Water. At 2.15 P.M. got the anchor aboard and attempted to tow with the long-boat, but we could only just keep our position owing to the force of the tide. At 4.20 P.M. a slight breeze from the south-east gave us a slight advance. The shores of Maitland Bay are of old red sandstone, covered with long coarse grass. Adansoniæ and Eucalypti prevail. A shrub (in fruit) with a strong lemon odour was obtained here, as also some varieties of Melaleuca, a white Hibiscus and some other plants in seed. The soundings in Maitland Bay averaged 15 fathoms.
The mouth of the Glenelg was entered with some little difficulty: a reef bars the entrance, but there is a deep channel near the southern end of the reef. The mouth of the river is about a quarter of a mile in width for the first mile; and it takes a general south-east course. There are several small rocky islands, in this first mile, from 25 to 50 feet in height. The banks also partake of the same precipitous character. A sudden bend of the river opens into a reach, having a northerly course of about four miles; and a width in some places exceeding a mile. This reach, like the first mile of the river, is studded with islands and reefs running parallel to the general course. We anchored to the north of a rocky point on the left bank, about two miles up the reach, in 5 fathoms water, at 7 P.M. A little to the westward. and northward of the anchorage, on the right bank, there are mangrove and mud islands; and, no doubt, there is a tidal communication between this part of the Glenelg and Barlee's Impediment; at each change of the tide the set was observed to be stronger in the direction of the Islands than in the direct course of the river.
June 29.—At the dawn of day, the tide serving, we hove anchor and continued our upward course. The wind was very light, so our progress was slow. After passing the northern termination of the first reach, the rocky banks of the river give place to mangrove and muddy shores; the belt appearing from the centre of the stream to be exceedingly dense. The course of the river also is now generally east by north. At about 1½ mile above the point the tide turned, and there being no wind we were again compelled to anchor. Soon after this, the long-boat with a party of six, left to take soundings and to explore the river. At 4 P.M. the tide left the vessel aground on a mud-bank, and in half an hour she canted over to an angle of 30° and remained high and dry. Tracks of alligators from the river up the mud are to be seen on the north bank; any one may easily understand, after an examination of mud-banks such as this on which we grounded, how fossil tracks were preserved until they were sufficiently hardened; here, on all sides, notwithstanding the rush of tidal waters, tracks we know to be at least two tides old, remain as fresh and as perfect as if just made. This we observe both in the case of birds and heavy reptiles.
June 30.—About 1 A.M., the long-boat party returned, having gone up the river as far as the first rapids. They landed on the country marked in Grey's chart "rich alluvial soil"; they found it level and covered with luxuriant grass, in some places 9 feet high: in other places not exceeding 3 feet and apparently adapted to the keeping of sheep. They found fresh water in abundance and a second series of rapids in the river. They report the river itself to contain sufficient depth of water between half tides to sail the Flying Foam up to within a short distance of the first rapids. At 7 A.M. hove the anchor and commenced towing upwards. At half-past 11 A.M. got the vessel entangled among the mangroves to our great hinderance. A north-east wind, blowing in fitful gusts, ultimately compelled us to anchor again, having accomplished a distance of not more than two miles. The tide at ¼ ebb runs two knots per hour. At 5.30 P.M. aground: the vessel assuming an angle of not more than 20°. At 11 P.M., in a perfect calm but with a favourable tide, we again hove anchor, and for two hours drifted along stern foremost, to a position about one mile to the eastward of Alligator Point, Long Reach. The river here gradually narrows. The tide flows with great velocity in the little bend of our evening anchorage. Duration of flood-tide, 5 hours; of ebb-tide, 7 hours. Rise 28 feet. The mud contains a large proportion of sand at this part of the river. Mosquitoes are both numerous and troublesome.
July 1.—At 1 A.M. at anchor in mid-stream in Long Reach in 3¼ fathoms. At daybreak we found the vessel aground at an angle of about 35°, with a ridge of rocks just rising above the mud, and stretching across the river from north to south, about 200 yards in advance of us. Ducks flying about, but not within range. At 11.40 A.M. hove anchor. Along the banks of the river at low water we see clumps of oysters, and a shoal of porpoises has passed and repassed several times. At noon cast anchor near what appears a favourable spot for landing stock in three fathoms at high water. The long-boat with two land parties left to search along the right bank for a temporary depôt and landing-place. At sunset the two parties met at the boat, when she was found to be about 20 feet above the water-level at the time. The mud seemed very slippery, so a line was sent from the vessel, and, the travellers having seated themselves, a slight impetus was given to the boat, when she glided down the mud at a flying pace into the water without the slightest mishap. Had the temperature been 120° lower, we might have fancied ourselves witnessing the Russian ice-hill sport. The parties report favourably of the spot selected for landing the horses, and the men have cut a road through the mangrove-belt down to the river-bank. In the afternoon, from the mast-head, took bearings of many of the hills shown on Grey's chart. Mount Lyell bears E. 28° N., and is distant about 7¼ miles. At low water we are surrounded by detached rocks: it was fortunate the anchor happened to be cast in the midst of a soft mud-bank. At low water the vessel draws 5 feet of mud! The mosquitoes are a perfect torment here. It is not possible to keep them wholly away: although we sleep in our clothes, cap and boots included, with thick gloves and veils, the little pests, assisted in their onslaughts by minute sandflies, are continually finding their way within our lines. In fact, our only means of obtaining a few hours' sleep during these long nights, consist in fortifying our position with an outer defence of opossum-rugs, with the fur inside; and even under these apparently favourable circumstances the enemy (occasionally with success) puts into force every conceivable stratagem with a view to surprise us. The flood-tide commenced at 11.15 P.M., and in twenty minutes the vessel was afloat; after the first hour of flood, the rush of tide diminished and kept steadily on for three hours more, when the usual eight hours of ebb commenced.
July 2.—Before breakfast, two of the party landed on the south bank to see what game could be obtained; after an hour's absence they returned laden with spoil. One of two fine cranes shot by them measured from tip to tip of wings, 7 ft.; height, standing, 5 ft. 6 in; from claw to lower end of femur, 1 ft. 3 in.; length of femur, 1 ft. 1½ in.; colour, rose or French grey, with a rose blush. Besides these, there were ducks, geese, and a teal. These birds were obtained from the swamps in the summer bed of the Glenelg, left bank; 1 never saw so many varieties of birds or in numbers so great, in any other part of the world. For breakfast we had geese obtained in a raid last night; they were of excellent flavour, but not fat: perhaps they are scarcely in season at present. The ducks are exquisite eating; they fly over from one side of the river to the other in vast flocks. At 45 minutes after noon we commenced landing the horses, and in an hour they were all safe ashore, in very fair condition. Not one of them has suffered more from the voyage than a week's rest and green food will remedy. The landing, although conducted in rather an every-man-his-own-master style, was certainly as smart and as successful a work as could be wished. At 3 P.M., five of the party started with the seven horses to travel up the right bank of the river to the spot selected for the temporary depôt, whilst the long-boat under the guidance of the master of the vessel carried a load of provisions and stores by water. The long boat returned at sunset having left the depôt party with the horses safely encamped.
July 3.—A watering party went to the rapids with two hogsheads. They returned at 4 P.M., having been detained only by the tide. Preparing now for bush exploration. We propose first to examine the country between this and Camden Harbour. Amongst many highly interesting botanical treasures secured this day, I find a very beautiful bunch of flowers gathered from one of the numerous white acacias, which we here find growing plentifully on the banks of every fresh-water stream. It is generally associated with the palm. As the palm alone here seems to be an unfailing indicator of fresh water, so this acacia would appear to be a finger-post to point out streams plentifully supplied and constant. The tree here attains a height varying from 15 to 30 feet; but at a mile or two of distance from the mangrove-belt which fringes every salt-water stream, it attains, in some instances, a height exceeding 100 feet. In every detail it answers to the description of Mr. F. Gregory—"very handsome tree, resembling an ash. . . . . bearing a beautiful white flower, 4 to 5 inches across, having on the inside a delicate tinge of yellow, and yielding a sweet scent like violets." * Some bunches of this exquisitely beautiful flower measured 3 + 2 + 2 feet. Where several of these trees happened to be in flower, in close proximity, the violet-like odour was perceptible at a great distance. Our old friend the very beautiful pea,—of a bright scarlet colour, with a jet-black spot on one end, is still met with in every ramble ashore. These peas appear from the seed-pods to be precisely similar to those of Abrus precatorius which come from the East and West Indies, where they are used as beads. The leaves and root of this plant taste like liquorice. In the West Indies the Abrus precatorius is called wild liquorice. The roots abound in sugar, and from experiments made since the return of the expedition, I believe them a perfect substitute for liquorice in every respect. These beautiful seeds are strung for necklaces and other ornaments by the people of both Indies. Their specific name (precatorius) was given from the fact of their being occasionally made into Rosaries. De Candolle, speaking of the Abrus, says, "these plants attain a height of about 9 ft. The seed is a wholesome pulse." Hughes, in his 'Natural History of Barbadoes,' treating of Cajanus flavus, a pea most closely allied to A. precatorius, says:—"I know of no part of this shrub but what is of some use. The wood is good for fuel, and by the often falling of its numerous leaves the land it grows upon is very much enriched; and its fruit is of great service by affording hearty, nourishing food to man and beast. The peas, green or dry, are boiled and eaten, and esteemed very wholesome, especially if eaten in the wet time of the year; for, being of a binding quality, they prevent diarrhoeas and dysenteries, so common in wet seasons. The branches, with the ripe seeds and leaves, are given to feed hogs, horses, and other cattle, which grow very fat upon them." Nearly every word of what is here said of C. flavus applies to the pea now found growing abundantly in the Glenelg district. Here, too, the aborigines have discovered the valuable properties of this useful legume: for on the 31st July, on an island in Collier Bay, many pods of this pea were found among the remains of a native feast, although no plants were observed growing upon the island.
[* 'Journal of the North-Western Australia Exploring Expedition,' F. Gregory, p. 18.]
July 4.—Went to the depôt in the gig: it is just below the first rapids, on the north or right bank of the Glenelg, and within the limit of the summer bed: not a very nice spot. The grass is plentiful, but rank: so much so that the horses feed away to sweeter grass growing within a very short distance to the north and east. Mount Lyell is just visible among the trees, distant about 4½ miles north-east. Camden Harbour would seem to bear W. 33° N. from us, and to be distant about 18 miles in a right line; but so many ranges of high hills intervene, that we have no expectation of seeing the sea-coast in that direction, until we are within a distance of a few miles. In some fresh-water pools around the encampment, a lily of great beauty grows abundantly.
July 5.—At 8 A.M. walked to a hill about a mile and a half W. 11¼ N., to seek ground for the measurement of a base line, but no suitable locality was found. The hill proved very rugged; in some places the stones had sharply cutting edges, in others they were rounded and loose,—piled in heaps; in all cases, owing to the luxuriant clothing of grass, they were seldom seen before they were felt. There is no great variety of grasses on our route of this morning, but all are thickly growing, and in height run from 3 to 7 feet Nearly all the hills appear grassed to their summits. This hill, which by Grey's chart is in a line with our depôt and Mount Yule, afforded no extent of view to the north; a higher range, about two miles distant cut off our view in that direction; but to the east our range of view extended to Mount Lyell and its neighbouring hills. The horses are eating better to-day; it was, of course, no more than might be expected that horses after being on board ship for a month, and being in the mean time transferred to a new country, should, when landed, eat sparingly at first of their new food. Even the sheep to-day looked round bewildered, and showed but little disposition to eat. They cannot understand at first that grass four feet high, somewhat coarse and dry, as it is near the depôt, from the advanced period of the season, is their destined food for the future. But in a few days all kinds of stock will feed amply here. The little tree with melon-like seed-pod and lemon odour is now in flower all about these hills. Its yellow flowers and leafless stem look very curious as they peer above the high grass. I saw no specimen exceeding 9 ft. in height. Walking among the acacias after sunset reminds one acutely of the little violets in the old country. In the afternoon sought for beetles, but after a diligent search, extending over nearly four hours, I was only rewarded with two or three small specimens. A few Geocores and Mantidæ were seen, but not captured. Whilst hunting for insects, I came across a dead tree with the bark off, for a space of 3 ft. 6 in. all round. I tested the wood with an axe—it was exceedingly hard, and made the axe rebound. The barking I do not think to be the work of aborigines, as it is so regularly done, and apparently with a keener edge than the stone axe of the Australian native. As our camp is situated close to the Rapids, as the tree is much older than any of the trees in the immediate vicinity, and would therefore be selected for marking by any white man, and, as Grey's route on my copy of his chart runs close to this spot, I am convinced that the tree is one marked by Grey's party.
July 6.—At 7 A.M., barometer 30.105; thermometer 55.8; wind 0, cloud 0. Yesterday I found a plant that had the smell and taste of mint, and another that smelt strongly of musk. At 9.30 left camp with two of our party, three saddle and two pack-horses, with a fortnight's provision, having for our object to reach Camden Harbour, and examine the country between the Glenelg and the sea along the north-west and north boundaries of the district. Hanover Bay and the Prince Regent's River we do not at present intend to explore. I should describe the country between our starting-point and our noon camp as well fitted for sheep, especially after the present growth of grass has been burned—as for feeding it down, it would be impossible. The riding over it now is very rough work, because we keep as nearly as possible to our proposed course N. 57° W., over hill and valley; but if the object was to find an easy road, I can see no difficulty whatever. Pitched our camp at 5 P.M. on the western branch of the Gairdner River. The afternoon's march has been much easier than that of the morning, and we have passed over a greater distance (6 miles) with less fatigue to our horses. From the summit of a range 600 to 700 ft. high, a beautiful prospect was obtained. The whole of this day's track lies through a splendidly grassed country; few birds have been seen, but kangaroo and turkeys have been noticed beyond range. My two companions ascended a hill to the west, and from the top they could see the line of swamps extending towards Camden Harbour. During the night a heavy dew fell, and some birds, uttering a cry I could not recognise, flew over our camp.
July 7.—Started at 7 A.M.; country good at first and easy to travel over; rode two miles to the foot of a double-cone hill, 500 feet high, then turning westward 3¼ miles round the base of two hills, one of them 700 feet in height, and 2½ miles north of fine country to another hill 800 feet high, from which we had a magnificent view of sea and islands in Brecknock and Camden Harbours, with arms of the sea both north and south. From the hill to our camp, one mile, the country was exceedingly rugged, with steep hills coming almost to an edge up and down. In a rocky gully of coarse red sandstone I obtained a large collection of shells. The grass was rather coarse and rank, like coarse wheat-straw; the country more rugged, but still easy and well grassed; noticed some poor sandal-wood, also acacia, baobab, and palms, and a rose-like vine. Good water, probably permanent, is found wherever palms are seen. Camped near the southern arm of the sea, which terminates in mangrove-swamps running towards a remarkable conical hill nearly due south.
July 8.—Travelled over a country with perfectly easy succession of undulations, then crossing the heads of several tidal creeks with mangroves, one of which we attempted to cross but failed, found a particularly easy country with gravelly soil stretching quite across the neck of the peninsula towards. Camden Harbour. It was singular that our route of yesterday should have been so remarkably rough; we chose it because it appeared the better of the two, but our march of to-day, although only a short distance from it, may be considered quite easy and well grassed. At 1 P.M., ascended a hill and took bearings; pack-horses and all went up here; we had a magnificent view of Brecknock Harbour; the green islands studding it and its silvery unruffled surface, from the position in which we stood could only be compared to emeralds in a broad setting of silver. The view was so enchanting that I unwillingly ceased gazing at it to resume the dry work of taking observations. Camden Harbour is somewhat disappointing, it seems, as we look down upon it, so small after those magnificent sheets of water Collier Bay, Doubtful Harbour, George Water, and others. From Camp 4 we passed to a hill about one mile south-east of Camden Harbour, 600 feet high, and then on our return route to Camp 6, half a mile south-east, where we noticed a remarkable geological formation—quartz veins through sandstone. At 4 P.M., resumed march 2½ miles west to the southern heads of Brecknock Harbour, and after passing very tolerable country formed Camp 7 in a well grassed and watered locality. During the night some heavy four-footed animal trotted past at no great distance from our camp, to the great terror of Peter, the pony. I am curious to know what creature it could be; it was evidently a heavy beast, and its motion I noticed very carefully, and can only compare it to a distinct trot. Butterflies abundant and beautifully coloured, but I do not catch as I cannot preserve them.
July 9.—At 8 A.M., en route passing over a particularly easy country, chiefly with a gravelly soil of quartz, ironstone, old red sandstone, and trap. Here and there this easy country was cut by belts of strong country with coarse grass, but still not so rough in any place that a bullock or horse team could not travel all the way. Passing south of the double-coned hill, we made a course east by south, cutting all the little streams that drain the MacDonald Range, under which we camped at noon on the most eastern bend of the Gairdner. Under the range there was fine grass and large timber; the river has permanent water; in some of the pools was a carpet of lilies in flower; palms abundant, water excellent, and characeæ and other water-plants numerous. At 3.30 P.M. resumed the march 4¾ miles to the first of the streams rising in the MacDonald Range and flowing into the Glenelg, over magnificently grassed downs, gently undulating, but elevated 240 feet above mean sea-level, which I proposed calling "Hampton Downs"; they divide the streams falling into the Gairdner and Glenelg. Exquisite palms all around our camp.
July 10.—To the Depôt camp. All the country we passed over is beautifully grassed, but as we approached the depôt the grass became coarser; the soil is a rich alluvium nearly the whole distance. We found all well in camp. The parties looking for land seem disinclined at present to leave a depôt party here, but this is a magnificently grassed and well-watered country, with a practicable natural dray-route all the distance from Camden Harbour to this depôt. The whole of our route during the past week is fringed by timber of sufficient size and in sufficient quantities for all building and pastoral purposes for many years to come; we have already seen 300,000 acres of land of the finest quality for grazing, and at present, although it is now drawing near to the close of the dry season, clothed with grass of the most luxuriant growth. During our march of this morning there were places where, as we rode along, we could not see each other for the grass; in fact the grass-seed was at least three feet above our heads. It is the opinion of us all that the lowest estimate of the carrying power of this district is a sheep to an acre, therefore 300,000 sheep might be fed upon it; but in this estimate of land we do not include the sandstone ranges we have seen, which, although so precipitous as to be impassable save on foot, are still well grassed and available to the depasturing of sheep, and in process of time, as the more easily traversed land becomes stocked, would naturally be included in the runs. But to what extent the ranges would increase the pastoral lands of the district north and north-west of the Glenelg, it is impossible now to conjecture; it is very easy, however, to foresee that in a short period after the settling of the country, ramblers in search of game, or shepherds would discover easy passes through them, and feeding valleys to their summits. Another matter worthy of notice—we have not yet seen one of the many poisonous plants, the bane of the south of this colony, and to eyes so well accustomed as ours to the various kinds, they would if here, before this, doubtless have become apparent.
July 11.—On board the vessel; found all the collections of specimens I had left behind excessively damp, and the botanical ones I fear spoilt. During the last night the mosquitoes prevented all chance of sleep, in spite of smoke or any attempts at covering ourselves up. In the morning a shooting party left for the lagoons on the south side of the Glenelg, returning at noon with a goodly supply of game. One of the silver-grey cranes measured 7 feet 6 inches from tip to tip of wing, and 5 feet 10 inches from toe to beak.
July 12.—A day of rest.
July 13.—Went to the depôt, as it is proposed to start this day on the south and west exploration; on our way up in the long-boat saw eleven alligators on the mud banks, some we estimated at 6 feet, others at 25 feet in length. Left the depôt at 2.30. P.M. with two saddle and one pack horse, carrying a fortnight's provisions. By a direct course steered for Mount Lyell, distant 4¼ miles from depôt, and visible all the way; reached it an hour before sunset, camped and then ascended to the summit. It has changed its appearance very much since Lieutenant Grey described it, and is now clothed with grass and trees; from a clump of huge stones on the apex we had a magnificent view of the surrounding country, extending over the Prince Regent River on one side and the Glenelg district on the other.
July 14.—Left our camp at the foot of Mount Lyell and steered a course generally S. 20° E. until noon, 4½ miles. The first mile was over very rough but well-grassed country, with the largest timber we have yet seen, and water everywhere; the last camp was our first experience of water without palms, there replaced by three species of acacia. The second mile was over an excellent grassed and well watered country, the third and fourth the same, but larger timber; the last half mile was over sandy and rocky country very difficult to travel over, having deep creeks and water-holes equally difficult to cross. When we struck the Glenelg it was at a fine deep reach, one-eighth of a mile broad, with little current in it, and its sides were fringed with lofty eucalyptus and cajeput trees, with fine grass down to the water's edge. Many new flowering trees were passed to-day, and kangaroo seen several times. Palms everywhere around us. In the afternoon, after two hours' particularly difficult travelling both for selves and horses, we only made one mile, and camped in a gully running into the Glenelg; we ascended the hill, out of which the gully runs; it was nearly all stones piled loosely, and spinifex here and there, but with a fair proportion of feed. I was astonished to find a very fine acacia growing among the pile of stones on the top of the hill, sufficiently large to enable us both to climb it, and, sitting among the branches, to take bearings. Here are rapids in the Glenelg, which in the rainy season must afford a magnificent landscape, as the fall in the rocky bed is not less than 50 feet Fish in the river and the water extremely good.
July 15.—En route, steering a general course of S. 20° E. After travelling an eighth of a mile we entered what we may well call "the Happy Valley;" this was a valley running to the southward, of no great breadth (say an eighth of a mile in the widest), clothed with a very carpet of green grasses. The first pines we had seen here fringed our track and formed, with the old red sandstone walls bounding the valley on either side, picturesque clumps of eights and tens intermingled with palms, acacia, eucalypti, and melaleuca, of great variety and beauty. A deliciously cool and clear stream of water flowed everywhere copiously along the valley; we disturbed birds of varied hue, but mostly of brilliant colours; one kind of parrot struck me as peculiarly beautiful, the head and tail of bright green, the wings of a silvery grey hue; pigeons were numerous, but small; at the upper end of the valley two stately emus, at different intervals, gave us first an inquiring and suspicious examination, and then in turn afforded us an opportunity of observing their powers of retreating. The "Happy Valley" terminated in a happier circular plain of about half a mile diameter, covered with the most luxuriant grass, not less than three feet in height and perfectly level; this plain was bounded by timber of different kinds and a wall, broken here and there, of old red sandstone behind the trees; the first Banksias we met with grew here. From the plain we ran up a creek bounded by rocky walls to its source in the dividing range, the route being over a chocolate-coloured sandy detritus; the neighbourhood had been lately burnt, was easy to travel over, well watered and grassed, and had an abundance of fine timber. Our afternoon course was over exceedingly difficult country for three quarters of a mile, then, branching westward, to a gully running parallel to that of the morning, we continued our course over a similar country until we arrived at a large flat, where we camped for the night. Just before making camp we saw extraordinary proofs of the recent presence of some very large, and, I should say from the tracks, five-toed herbivorous animal; during the day we saw a large stone-coloured snake, black cockatoos, and numerous kangaroos.
July 16.—My companion went to the top of the range bounding the eastern side of the swamp, and on his return reported that the country S. 30 ° W. promised easier travelling, and we therefore started on that course. After crossing the Glenelg and a most important tributary, at a spot which we denominated "Rocky Springs", we camped. An entomological research produced me only 30 coleoptera, of three or four species; a beautiful white moth with red markings rewarded me. Native fires sprung up in all directions towards sunset; it is evident the aborigines are close to us.
July 17.—Ascended a hill 1300 feet high. There are between this range and the Prince Regent River three distinct high ranges; one about 12 miles S. 20° E. appeared clothed with grass of the colour of that on Mount Sturt, and apparently as coarse. All the country within this radius of 12 miles I should describe as second-rate compared with the country north-west of the Glenelg, but still it was well grassed on the strong ridges, and magnificently grassed on the flats; it is equally well watered, and possesses finer timber. The hill is singularly uninteresting in a scientific point of view, no specimen of any kind having been collected upon it except the cast skin of a small lizard; no flowers, no insects, except ants and flies; the latter are a daily pest except when travelling; a few butterflies alone gave colour to the eye; clumps of spinifex appear towards the apex.
July 18.—Returned to the last camp, taking a more southerly route. Thence N. 30° 10' W. to the Rocky Springs, passing through some rich alluvial flats, having on our left a stony range well grassed and timbered. We have several climatic nuisances—flies by day, mosquitoes by night, and ticks manifold both by day and night; beyond these trifling discomforts, the climate, since we passed the north-west Cape, may be described as heavenly; only just warm enough in the middle of the day to make shade preferable to sunshine, and the nights delightfully cool but not cold.
July 19.—Whilst gathering palm-leaves to make a fire, I noticed a very beautiful wasp's nest pedicillated delicately to the under side of the green leaves; I was almost too late, however, when I returned, to effect the capture of one or two specimens; they seemed quite indignant at the intrusion, and threatened dire vengeance if molested. The capture of one or two of the ringleaders soon caused the rest to retreat, leaving their city with its inhabitants, in every stage of waspdom from the egg to the larvæ, an easy prey to my spirit bottle. Started, and by picking our way carefully up and down the gullies crossed the Glenelg, by cutting down the palm jungle, after an hour's hard work, camped 1½ mile further on, having only accomplished 4¾ miles direct, at 1.30 P.M., owing to one of the horses having been severely cut the previous day. All the ground passed over during the last three days has been recently burned by the natives. The bed of the river here is drift sand, indicating a river-bed in the summer of 300 to 400 yards in width, fringed by lofty cajeput, eucalypti, acacia, and occasionally dense palm-jungle. I noticed one fine white gum-tree. After dinner I went upon an entomological tour about a mile down the rivulet towards the Glenelg, but with partial success only as to beetles, there being so few flowering trees and shrubs in blossom at this season. In places here the white ants are very numerous, and their hills are frequently from 5 to 6 feet in height with a diameter almost equal to the height.
July 20.—The period of sunrise here is a daily feast: a cloudless sky, not a zephyr stirring with sufficient force to move the smallest leaflet, and a temperature perfectly enjoyable, even clad, as we were, in our travelling garments, which are simply our usual under-clothing, boots, trousers, and outer Crimean shirt, a silk neckerchief, which serves as a cap at night, a light cloth cap, with calico cover cut after the Indian mode, with a well-projecting peak to protect the eyes from the noon-day glare, and a veil about 10 inches square rolled round the cap, except when flies and mosquitoes are troublesome; these, with stout leather gloves only worn on state occasions, such as breaking a road through prickly bush-rose vine, acacias, or palms, complete our toilet of every day and Sunday. Started at 9.15 A.M., and after crossing two broad reaches of water at 1 A.M. crossed our southern track and thence pursued our route down the Happy Valley, whence we passed over 2 miles of stony ridges and 2½ miles of easy well-grassed country, and camped on the Glenelg.
July 21.—Travelled over easy-grassed country as far as Mount Sturt, where we were long delayed hi crossing the Glenelg, and by a reedy swamp running into the broad stream near Mount Sturt; reached the depôt about noon. Went to the vessel to pack away specimens and returned with instruments for measuring a base line, and took lunar distances in the evening to determine the exact position of the depôt. Since our departure all hands at the depôt have been occupied in cutting grass for hay, any quantity of. which is at present to be had for the cutting, and it is of good quality and in such profusion all around us that ships might obtain cargoes of it as quickly as it would be cut, made, and pressed into bales. One of the first objects that met our eye was a tolerably neat press, erected in the midst of the camp, after the manner of a primitive wool-press; close beside the press lay six wool-bales of well-pressed hay, and about a ton of loose. During our absence a good addition has been made to my geological collection, which now includes what I take to be a fair number of specimens of the chief geological treasures brought from the hills by the summer floods of past centuries; many are of a highly interesting nature, either from their exhibiting the general geological features of the district, or from some peculiarity of conformation of strata or crystalline arrangement.
July 22.—The party propose to send some of the hay on board to-day, from this I presume it to be their intention to reship some if not all of the horses, which I cannot think a wise proceeding, for these reasons: first, because a district of unsurpassed fertility has been found and traversed, possessing abundance of feed and water for half a million of sheep, together with timber in far larger quantities than will ever be required for building and fencing purposes; a district blessed with a climate which, at this season of the year, is a joy to live in, with evidences of continual and periodical summer rains of sufficient amount to warrant us in the supposition that this is no exceptional year of fertility, but that an annual supply of grass of a like quality and in no less quantity might reasonably be predicated; a district having a fine and securely land-locked harbour in Brecknock Bay, with a country of almost unequalled fertility immediately adjoining, and fit without road-making to drive a bullock or horse team over it at once so far as even to the very centre of the district: a district having a river leading from the southern harbour, in Doubtful Bay, to the very heart of the grazing country—a river I should describe as safe and easy to navigate with cargo-boat, or a small steamer, from George Water to the rapids, and south of the actual river-entrance in the north-east corner of George Water, perfectly secure for vessels of any class or size, especially if the south-west opening of George Water into the sea should prove, on our return trip, to be wider and less tortuous than the entrance through which we sailed from Doubtful Bay. Here I must admit that although the Flying Foam came safely through the passage, and the actual river entrance from George Water, still the work was hazardous (doubly so then from the fact of ours being the first soundings taken there), but even now, viewed from the most favourable point, a work fraught with visible dangers to any vessels larger than cargo-boats of 10 to 15 tons. At 10.30 started with Mr. Aubry Brown to measure a base line south of Mount Yule. During the whole day it was exceedingly sultry; being on a low mud-flat only just above low-water mark, without wind or cloud, we certainly felt the heat more than on any day since we landed in the Glenelg district. After finishing our chain line and solar observations, we discovered a convolvulus with the leaves and vine dry and dead, twined round a mangrove; the seed was quite ripe; the signal for our recall sounded from the ship, the tide was then high enough for us to get on board without difficulty. Our usual mode of going on board from the mud-banks has been by a process, compared with which a mud-lark's trade on the Thames is clean work, much more pleasantly described than performed, but this is a favourable description of the process: after a toilsome walk along the northern margin of the mangroves we reach a spot where, at low tide, we are just able to wade through the mud and spots of water left by the previous tide, and then by a decidedly muddy and circuitous route reach a road cleared through the mangroves to the edge of the mud-bank proper, when, although we have a road-way paved with mangrove-logs, we sink up to our knees on a bluish grey mud of the consistency of dough, and in some places a man would sink over head in it if unacquainted with the geography, and then by a series of ungraceful evolutions glide alongside or into the boat to be put on board the vessel, objects to be carefully shunned and commiserated; we wash and change our garments and sit down perfect bonnes bouches for the mosquitoes. In early evening, that is by the liberal use of smouldering rags, we obtained a respite from the mosquito nuisance, but from that hour throughout the night an unceasing hum was kept up by clouds of these pests hovering about our heads, but wholly defeated in my case by the manner in which I was packed up in my rug on deck; as to sleeping below, of course no one has been so venturesome as to attempt it during the past month.
July 23.—This morning I found an entomological treasure in the shape of a tick upon my left arm: it was in the same condition as we usually find them—the head buried in the skin immediately over a vein, and its body swollen with its stolen food; it was larger than those we found on the Upper Glenelg. I tried the experiment of making it disengage itself by putting the lighted end of a match to its body; but it required a second application before it would show any signs of relinquishing its hold. This individual seemed unfitted for the experiment of drowning by oil from the hardness of its epidermis; but other species, as soon as a drop of oil is placed on them, disengage themselves quickly, owing, I presume, to the closure of the spiracles by the oil and the consequent stoppage of their powers of breathing. As they are frequently met with in many parts of Australia, and as I am not aware of the existence of any recorded observations on their anatomy or habits, I think it will not be time thrown away to take measures to obtain as many species as possible and make some enquiries into their history, the more especially as I know no greater plagues to travellers in these parts of the world. It is not so much the immediate as the remote consequences that are to be dreaded, for if incautiously the creature be detached summarily on its discovery, or rubbed off by the hand, its presence being undetected, its head may remain in the skin and then there is formed a hard callous lump, which I have known to become a source of pain and anxiety for two years after the first formation. Towards sunset two of the horses and a party arrived from the depôt, and were got on board preparatory to leaving the river. I am lost in amazement at this resolve; for granting the cost of leaving a depôt here, I ask myself, can they expect to find 500,000 acres of land, in any part of the world, capable of carrying perfectly half a million of sheep, at a cheaper rate? However our exploration will open to some future occupants this tract of superb grazing country, certainly inferior to none in the world that I have seen, and I have travelled much. In the evening the whole party returned to the depôt.
July 24.—This morning an alligator was caught by one of the sailors: it was 6 feet in length, head 1 foot 4 inches, first pair of feet 2 feet 5 inches, second 2 feet 9 inches, circumference 2 feet, and weighed 80 lbs. I skinned and dissected the creature, preserving the cervical vertebræ, lungs, skull, and skin. In the afternoon the remainder of the horses arrived from the depôt and were got on board.
July 25.—In the early morning the long-boat went to the depôt for the sheep, and returned at 8 A.M. when they were forthwith put in their pens. During the day I was employed in cleaning, preserving, and stuffing the bones and skin of the alligator, a tedious operation, as some of the smaller bones are so exceedingly thin that the slightest cut would have easily passed through them. At dusk we left our anchorage and towed down the river to long. E. 124° 43' 52", S. lat. 15° 43' 8", and stuck fast in the mud at 9.45 P.M. We did not perceive this bank on our upward passage, or we might easily have avoided it and continued to use the tide for another hour. On reference to our chart of the river we perceive our track runs along the northern edge of the bank: as shown by the soundings this bank can scarcely be called a hidden danger, for it consists of a deposit of mud about a foot in depth lying on a smooth bank of sand, thus affording a safe berth to any vessel during the receding tide; but of course if the vessel were not somewhat flat-bottomed she would have a considerable list For two hours before low tide we were left high and dry with the river running placidly on either side of us. This change of anchorage of last night was a boon appreciated by every individual on board—we were actually enabled to sleep with our faces uncovered. Just before leaving our anchorage a desperate attempt was made to capture a large alligator floating in the river like a log: one shot from a rifle was fired and the ball undoubtedly struck the creature somewhere, for by its rapid lashing of the water we can only suppose that it was in a flurry, at the very least; but, alas! when the vessel's gig and a numerous party reached the spot, no reward awaited them save the view of the still troubled water. One can imagine the creature, when aroused from its reverie by the leaden messenger, to give a look of intelligence around it, and on catching a glimpse at the advancing boat, to resolve, all things being well considered, to explore the bottom of the stream and recline its aching head on its customary mud-pillow, at any rate for a season.
July 26.—At 8 A.M. left our anchorage, and by dint of sail and towing proceeded down the river at a tolerable speed. At 11 A.M. ran aground on a mud and sand bank half a mile south-west of our anchorage of June 6: the vessel was so far fortunate enough in her choice of a berth, as to have avoided a mass of sandstone rocks and boulders, which at low water we found immediately east of us, and against which, if she had struck, an unlucky thumping would have brought us to a stoppage less easily than the mud did; moreover the rocky heap was a foot higher than the mud-bank, and the vessel could not have assumed so upright a posture during the interval before the flood-tide of the afternoon. The shoal patch I purpose naming "Sunday Shoal". At low water many of the party and some of the crew got over the side of the vessel to seek shells, &c.; they were so far rewarded as to find an abundant supply of hermit crabs, which were new to many of them. None of the shells obtained struck me as being very curious or new. The party on the bank spread far and wide over the ground in quest of Glenelg treasures,—I cannot say the treasures of the deep, for when the vessel grounded the lead proclaimed ¼ less 1. Just before sunset the vessel, in swinging with the flood-tide, bumped and grazed upon the rocks in the bed of the river; there are not two fathoms on the rocks at high water. After sunset we sailed to a point in the river, long. E. 124° 42' 10", lat. S. 15° 45' 34", three miles from our anchorage of the 28th June, and then anchored to await the tide of to-morrow morning, so that we may have daylight to pass the narrows and rocky islands; it would be imprudent to attempt the passage in the night owing to the force of the tide. We observed at our last anchorage that there was a considerable set of tide out of the opening opposite to which we were anchored. This would argue some other communication of the river with the sea, besides that with which we are already acquainted: this, although a question of great interest, would be a matter, the solution of which would now be quite foreign to the object of the present expedition.
July 27.—Sailed at 7.45 A.M. with tide and wind north by east, in our favour; notwithstanding this it required the boat, manned with four hands, to keep way upon the vessel from time to time. Cast anchor in Maitland Bay at 11.20 close to the anchorage of the 28th June. Nearly the whole party was here engaged in securing a baobab-tree and collecting seeds. The inner part of the baobab set us all to work chewing away, some pronouncing it almost as good as cocoa-nut; but for my own part I think it tasted more like Indian rubber. At 8 A.M. sailed and passed through the channel between the two islands off the southern extremity of the bay and the main, with soundings all exceeding 10 fathoms. With a variable wind we proceeded down George Water until 1 A.M. Tuesday, 28th July, when both wind and tide leaving us, we anchored in 10 fathoms (mud), in longitude E. 124° 34' 10", latitude S. 15° 51' 35".
July 28.—After a night of the most refreshing sleep, so well appreciated by us after our steamed and mosquito bitten nights on the Glenelg, we arose to see before us what we desired in the south-west corner of George Water; namely—a far wider, shorter, and from this distance we judge, a safer outlet to the sea than the south-east channel, by which we entered from Doubtful Bay. Sailed at 11.15 A.M., calm; at 1 P.M. a breeze sprung up, and we began to beat towards the south-west passage, but at 3.15 P.M., just as we had sighted a series of native fires close by the shore, a loud grating noise—whilst I was making entry of the last sounding ½ 5—and the sudden stoppage of the vessel showed us that we were aground on some rocks, where in a few moments the receding tide left us at an angle of 30°, on a comparatively flat rock with deep water on either side. The master of the vessel left in the long-boat to examine the south-west passage, and after dusk he returned, reporting a deep and safe passage, not as I supposed, to seaward, but into Doubtful Bay, not very far distant from the south-east passage. Just before sunset the natives on shore lighted up many fires, and gave us a "cooee", but whether of friendship or defiance I know not; however, we returned the salutation in like form, and continued this pastime for an hour or so, hoping to entice them, if they possessed canoes, to pay us a visit. On the return of the long-boat the propriety of landing and tying up some presents (we had brought looking-glasses and other trifles with us for the purpose) to the trees was debated; but it was thought generally, that the articles, when found, might be taken possession of with the idea that they had stolen them from us, and that the idea of our leaving them there intentionally as presents, would involve too complex a matter for their understanding. When the tide suite, which will be about 9 P.M., the master of the Flying Foam purposes to sail down the newly explored channel, so it is very improbable the natives will see us depart. About 9 P.M. set sail from the rocks, but the wind failing, had to tow the vessel down the south-west channel. It was a much safer passage from Doubtful Bay into George Water than the south-east one. The soundings were equally good, and its width on an average twice that of the other, whilst there was no dangerous navigation at all to be compared to the northern extremity of the south-east channel. Two points shown in the chart were exceedingly rugged, and there were many parts of the shores precipitous and some cliffs quite perpendicular. We reached Doubtful Bay in half an hour after midnight, and after cruising for some little time in search of a wind, anchored S.S.W. (nearly) of the south-west passage into George Water.
July 29.—An immense whale (humpback) estimated at 6 to 10 tons, is sporting about the bay. From this anchorage the two mouths of the Glenelg appear to be in the positions indicated on Grey's chart, and the shores of the bay and adjacent islands to be moderately but not precisely correct. At 11 A.M. sailed with wind and tide into Collier Bay; the breeze lasted until after sunset and carried us well up into the bay, but then dropped and left us to the mercy of the tide, which drifted us back again to the entrance, from whence it is rather a pretty sight. It is a magnificent sheet of water; we sailed closer to the eastern shore than the western, as it was the wish of the party to land and examine the country sighted from Mount Lizard. What makes the bay so interesting as we sail along is the beautiful geological sections displayed every here and there by hills and cliffs; the distance of our course from the shore is too great to admit of more than a general recognition of strata, but as I do not purpose accompanying the party on the preliminary exploration on foot, I promise myself a ramble along the shores, in the hope of an augmentation to my various collections. The country at the head of the bay is remarkably rugged: hills of very irregular conformation confusedly piled, with here and there a cone of graceful outline. Beyond all a lofty blue range towers over, whose summits are rent and split occasionally in a grotesque manner; lower down towards the level there is now and then a cubical block of old red sandstone standing quite bare, and, viewed at a distance over half a mile, looking very like a red brick house. The soundings up to the present time have all been good, the leadsman having on no occasion called less than 12 fathoms, and very frequently no bottom at 15 fathoms. Drifted at 8.20 P.M. into 20 fathoms water, and there cast anchor for the night. The moonlight is exceedingly brilliant here; some of our party seated on the deck have more than once enjoyed a game of chess by moonlight. This comfort of free exposure of face and hands to the cool evening air after the muffling up we had recourse to on the Glenelg, during the month of our river experience (this applies only to the river itself, mosquitoes being rarities in the bush a mile or so distant) becomes a boon we well know how to appreciate.
July 30.—At 6 A.M., left the anchorage of last night, and sailed till 8 A.M., when we anchored in Shoal Bay in 4 fathoms. Here the long-boat left with a crew of three, and three days' provisions, with a view to walk to some high hills and examine the country which appeared so promising from Mount Lizard. Some of those left on board landed on two of the islands for an hour or two's stroll in the morning. They found nothing worthy of note except an abundance of beans and numerous tracks of turtles. They noted well the spot, however, and intend to re-visit the place this evening in the hope of surprising one of these turtle visitors; it will be acceptable to us as a change of food. Close to the turtle-tracks a vast quantity of fine beans grow; they are now in every stage of development from the green pod to the perfectly ripe seed. So plentiful are they that we contemplate sending our spare hands who remain on board to gather some sacks full; our stock of vegetables has long since been exhausted. They observed recent tracks of large parties of natives, who beyond doubt assemble on these islands to feast on the produce of the sea. A few corals and shells were brought to add to my collection. About 6 P.M., the gig, with a crew, went to the turtle-bank, but after waiting an hour or so returned unsuccessful. The long-boat party also returned; the boat's crew had not taken sufficient provisions to last 24 hours from the vessel, and 12 of the biscuits of our land party were lost; hence the return. They report the bay they entered as much larger than laid down on the chart; it was the hay to the east of Shoal Bay. They also found a river running into the south-east corner of this bay, with the first wide reach running about south-east. They did not get into this river for the reason above alleged. From a hill on the southern shore of the bay they sighted a large sheet of water E.N.E., which they thought might be Doubtful Bay, but on marking the bearings on the chart, it would appear to be a large sheet of water which would be found close to the opening opposite to the anchorage of this morning. The country described agrees so far with our distant view of it from Mount Lizard. They brought with them three specimens of the native canoes, which are a step, and that only, in advance of the single log so frequently used by the Australian aborigines. They (the canoes—not the aborigines) consist of three or four mangrove-sticks, about 6 or 7 feet in length, pegged together with pine. The ends of all the sticks are carefully sharpened, and only such sticks as are naturally bent to a suitable shape appear to be chosen; about the middle of the canoe there is a pine pin projecting 6 or 7 inches on either side, probably affording a similar support to the native mariner as a stirrup does to a horseman. Of course there is no attempt to make a bottom to the canoe, nor do the specimens brought show the least sign of ornamentation. There is a red ochreous stain to be detected upon them here and there, but we account for them as having been communicated from the persons of the natives coloured with wilgi, or they may possibly have been designedly coloured with wilgi (red ochre). They also brought the first specimen we had seen of a Hakea, some few seeds, coral, and other natural objects, but nothing remarkably interesting.
July 31.—At 7 A.M., the long-boat, with an exploring party of six, taking with them a week's provisions, left the vessel to examine the river supposed to exist in the south-eastern corner of "Secure Bay", which latter is laid down in the charts about half its real size. One of our party and myself, an hour afterwards, left for the turtle islands; we were, as we expected, too late for the turtles, but their recent tracks upon the sand and their holes were numerous. At the upper part of the sandy beach there were the remains of an aboriginal festival. Many old fire-places, cracking stones, break-winds, the soft shell of many a turtle's egg, with fragments of a turtle's carapace, were noticed about the ground. Near our fire we observed a portion of a native canoe; it was the thicker end of one of the sticks, standing in the place of the ribs; from this specimen we suppose the natives to be in possession of sharp-edged tools, probably made from the same greenstone which they sharpen their spears with, because the end of the stick was formed by clean even cuts, with no sign of scraping; but as they do not require boring tools, the mangrove-sticks being evidently chosen when dry and capable of being fastened by driving a sharpened pine peg through them, as a carpenter would drive a nail through boards, they seem to be unacquainted with the use of them. Moreover, the pine pegs drive easily through the dry mangroves, and it is only rarely we find the sticks split by the process. On the same sand-patch we found large quantities of the beans, whose creeping runners are of enormous length, some exceeding 40 paces. As the seed was nearly ripe I collected 1½ pint, and gathered a few of the green pods hoping to be able to dry and preserve them. Growing along with the beans was a convolvulus whose shoots equalled theirs in length; a small quantity of its seed I also preserved; we could only find one flower, and that not larger than that of C. major grown in England; its colour was of a purplish pink, with the usual deeper tinge of colours towards the centre of each petal. We then walked up a valley with a water-course having deep stony holes but no water, nor were there any palms to indicate permanent water even at a depth below the ground, so that we imagine the island to be surface-watered, and that alone. When the natives visit this island in the dry season to enjoy a turtle feast they must bring the water from the mainland in shells; for these latter we sought carefully but unsuccessfully.
The formation of the island is old red sandstone and freestone, the latter of excellent quality; in one or two places the strata are vertical, but in general the dip is south at an angle of about 15°. Instances of scoria were occasionally met with, and between the water-marks, here 37 feet distant, the formation was evidently volcanic. The trees were not by any means stunted, the eucalypti attaining a height of 50 feet and upwards, but all gave evidences of occasional strong winds prevailing which caused the trunks to grow in anything but a straight line. The fact was the more apparent to us because we had noticed in the Glenelg district how very straight all the timber, from the smallest to the largest, grew. The grass was thin but of good quality. The surface of the ground being covered with loose stones we merely walked to the top of the hill, whence we enjoyed a magnificent view of Collier Bay and our good little vessel at anchor, a mere speck on the water. We then returned to the sandy beach and spent a couple of hours in examining the shells and corals; there were but few good shells, but the specimens of corals were numerous, and my collection included more than an average number of species. Foraminifera are rare in the drift-sand. Towards noon we returned to the boat; en route to the ship we espied, coming rapidly towards us, a dark object which from its direction of progress through the water we thought might possibly be a native crossing the bay on his canoe. As the line of travelling of this object did not exactly coincide with our course, we at once steered towards it in the hope of at least witnessing the mode of propelling and guiding the singular craft used as a canoe. Great was our disappointment to find our native and his canoe to be only the roots of a large tree floating steadily, trunk downwards, through the water; nor was it a little provoking to find a white spot on the top, on which we had laid good stress in our predication, turn out to be a sea-bird perched there and enjoying a quiet sleep until the noise of our approach awoke him, made him stare a little at our intrusion, and then take to flight in utter consternation.
At dusk the long-boat and exploring party returned. They had
passed safely through Secure Bay and entered the river passage,
which is very narrow, has an island in the middle and
perpendicular cliffs on both sides, and a tide which ebbs and
flows with wonderful force; passing up the reach they had come to
a second narrow passage of greater velocity and danger than the
former. Here whirlpools were formed by the flowing tide, and only
by the united strength of all on board was the boat prevented
being drawn in; fortunately the passage was clear of rocks, for
the velocity was estimated at 20 miles per hour, and of course
the slightest check or impediment would have dashed the boat to
pieces, and certain death alone would have stared the explorers
in the face. This hurling of the boat through the second passage,
as through a sluice, terminated in the discovery of a large sheet
of water, equal in extent to George Water, bounded on all sides
by mangrove banks and creeks. With difficulty effecting a
landing, they ascended a high hill of a dark purple coloured
granite, on which only scattered tufts of spinifex and stunted
bushes grew, the rest was all bare granite boulders and
fragments, to walk safely over which the greatest attention to
the footing was every moment necessary. From the summit no view
was obtained, save of numerous cones and bluffs of granite
equally bare and difficult to walk over. The large sheet of water
E.N.E. of Secure Bay was not again sighted. On consideration, it
was thought prudent to return to the vessel at once and proceed
to Roebuck Bay, as the corn and water on board the vessel would
not last more than a month from the time we left the Glenelg, and
to reach the country we sighted from Mount Lizard from this point
would certainly make a sad inroad into the stock of provender and
water, and these failing, nothing could be done save the killing
and throwing overboard some, if not all, of the horses.
Therefore, at 8 P.M., both boats were hoisted on
board, and all made ready to sail from this bay, en route
to Roebuck Bay, by to-morrow morning's tide. The tide here to-day
rose 36 feet.
[END OF MARTIN'S 1863 Journal]
[* Source: The Inquirer and Commercial News, Wednesday 2 September 1863, article/69136422.]
We are indebted to the kindness of Mr. W. Bateman for the following particulars obtained from the log of the Flying Foam, and kept during her interesting trip to the Glenelg, in which river she was the first vessel to anchor. The schooner completed the embarkation of her passengers and stock, on Saturday, June 6th. The passengers were, Messrs. K. Brown, Hamersley, A. Brown, Clarkson, Dr. Martin, Messrs. S. Pearse, Summerfield, Taylor, Monger, and Redman. The stock consisted of 6 horses and 21 sheep. On Sunday, 7th June, (ship's time), at 3 p.m., the vessel left Champion Bay. On the 8th, was off Dirk Hartog's Island. On the 13th, sighted North West Cape at 8 a.m., and Muiron Island at 10 a.m. At 3 a.m. on 14th sighted Montebello, and hove ship till daylight, when they rounded the island. On the 15th, at 6 p.m., sighted Rosemary Islands. June 18th, at 8 a.m., sighted land, and at 10 a.m. passed Cape Baskerville. Native fires were seen as far as the eye could reach all along the coast. On the 19th, at 8 a.m., passed the Cape Borda, and at 10 a.m. passed the Twin Islands. Saturday, June 20; calm clear weather; very hot. At 4 p.m. drifted between the two islands. Among the islands at 8 am. On 21st June, at 4 p.m., dropped anchor in 10 fathoms water, north of a small island called Cockell Island, At 4 a.m., 22nd June, got under-way, and at noon, sighted Lizard Island. Shaped course for Doubtful Bay at 4 p.m., and at 8 p.m. got to the entrance of the passage; current running about 7 knots, and the vessel running with a fresh breeze with all sail set, yet still losing ground. At 10 p.m. got inside the passage, after the current had abated, and at midnight came to anchor in the entrance of the bay, in fifteen fathoms water. Lat. 15 d. 57 m.; Long. 124 d. 29 m. During the trip a large number of whales were seen. Plenty of water was found all through the passage, with high bold islands, on either side. Twenty fathoms was the least depth through the passage. Saw native fires all round. Water smooth, without a ripple, and the tide running about 7 knots an hour.
Doubtful Bay, June 22 , (shore time). At 5 a.m. manned the boat and went on shore, but could not travel far, on account of the stones and rocks. Saw plenty of native fires and some natives, who came down after we left, burning the bush all along our tracks. At 4 p.m. came on board and proceeded towards the supposed Glenelg River. At 6 30. p.m. anchored in 13 fathoms water close to the land, with the trees hanging over the masthead. Calm, still weather, and not a ripple on the water.
June 23.—At 10 a.m., got under-way and proceeded towards the river. Came through some very rapid passes, and crossed a large bay or sheet of water that would hold nearly all the ships in the world, perfectly land-locked, and plenty of water, from 30 fathoms down to 7 and 5. At 4 p.m. came to anchor in 10 fathoms water, mud bottom. Got out the boat and, proceeded through a fine channel in the mangroves. Went on shore and saw plenty of very high grass everywhere—nothing but grass to be seen. At 8 p.m. came on board. Weather calm and clear. Tide rises about 30 feet.
June 24.—Not a breath of wind; water as smooth as a lake. At 8 a.m. proceeded in the boat to the other side of the supposed river, to look for another entrance, but could not find a good one. On board at noon, got under-way, and preceded up the river as far as was considered prudent. Brought up in 10 fathoms water, in the middle of the river, and then went with both boats up two separate branches of the river as far as the boats would go; and it then became dark, and we returned on board. The water had then fallen 18 feet. At low water the banks of the river were level with our foreyard. These banks are muddy, and thickly wooded. There were plenty of cockatoos; and native fires on the hills around. Tide rises 35 feet.
June 25.—At 4 a.m. manned the boat and went to look for fresh water. Messrs. A. Brown and Clarkson were with me (Captain Cooper) in the boat, with Taylor, one of their men. Messrs. K. Brown and Hamersley went in the small boat. Pulled about seven miles, and landed at some native fires, but saw neither natives nor water. Went about 3 miles further up a mangrove creek, and while about 50 yards away from the boat, looking for water, saw about 30 natives. They were wild, savage, and big men, and they came upon us, with their large spears shipped, apparently determined to spear us. I waited until they came within 20 yards, and then fired at the largest of the party, who seemed to be a chief. He dropped, but the others did not stop when he fell, but came on like bloodhounds. Mr. A. Brown then fired and hit one of the others; Mr. Clarkson also fired and wounded a third; upon which they set up an awful yell, and disappeared through the thicket, and we could not follow them, being up to our thighs in mud. Messrs. K. Brown and Hamersley had gone in the other boat to look at the country. At 4 p.m. came on board, the other party also returning. Saw alligators' tracks in two or three places, and heard plenty after dark. The water rose 36 feet. Horses and sheep all on board, and doing well.
Friday, 26th June.—At 4 a.m. manned both boats and went in search of water. Found some at the foot of a hill on the north side of the river. Returned at 9 a.m. and at 10 a.m. took both boats up the mangrove creek; landed, and cut a road through to the fresh water—about half a mile. The mud was some three feet thick, so that we had to cover the road all the way with bushes before we could walk on it. Afterwards dug two wells close to the spring. Saw plenty of alligators' tracks, and in the morning two alligators swimming across the river. At 5 p.m. came on board and got the vessel under way, towing her up nearer the watering place.
June 27.—At 5 a.m. Messrs. A. Brown and Hamersley manned the small boat, and went in search of another entrance to the Glenelg. At half past 5 went ashore in the large boat, with 6 hands, to carry down the water through the mangroves, returning at 9 a.m. with 2 hhds. and 6 buckets of water. At 11 a.m. again went ashore and filled two casks, but had to leave them until high water. Had to roll the casks for half a mile through mud 14 inches deep, and returned to the vessel at 6 p.m. Water rose 30 feet, it being nearly quarter moon. At midnight Messrs. Brown and Hamersley came on board, having discovered the entrance to the Glenelg River.
June 28.—At 5 a.m. got under way, and proceeded towards the Glenelg. At 10 a.m. came to anchor in a fine little bay by the mouth of the River. Current very rapid, and the rise of tide 36 feet. At 4 p.m. got under way and went up the river, the tide being very strong. The mouth of the river is full of islands, but there was plenty of water, and we could get no bottom in the entrance. At 7.30. p.m. anchored in a little bay in the river, in 5 fathoms water; sandy bottom. Calm clear weather. Plenty of native fires all round.
June 29.—At 8 a.m. got under way and proceeded up the river, and at 10 o'clock anchored in 4 fathoms water—fine soft bottom. At 11 manned the boat and went up the river to sound. Found a landing place for the horses. At 4 p.m. came to the rapids, and found plenty of fresh water. The grass was from 7 to 8 feet high, the banks of the river being lined with it, so that one could scarcely walk through it. Saw plenty of ducks and a turkey. Came on board at midnight. The vessel grounded on soft mud this tide. Shot an alligator.
June 30.—At 6 a.m. got under way and sailed up the river, anchoring at noon in 5 fathoms water—muddy bottom, dry at low water. Saw 5 alligators. At 10 p.m. got under way and went up the river, coming to anchor at midnight in 4 fathoms water—muddy bottom. Heard the noise of alligators, and some awful noises in the mangroves. The banks of the river all the way up are all mud and mangroves. Vessel at anchor about 3 miles from the Rapids spoken of by Sir George Grey. Swarms of moschetoes.
Glenelg, July 1, 1863.—At 10 a.m. got under way and towed up the river, to find a place for landing the horses. At 2 p.m. came to anchor in 3½ fathoms water—mud bottom. Went on shore and cut a road through the mangroves, ready for landing the horses. Very fine country, but swarming with moschetoes. Aground every tide on soft mud. Shot 5 large ducks and 2 fine geese. There are plenty of alligators and ducks and geese. The vessel is about 1 mile from the rapids, and cannot go farther up with safety.
July 2.—At 8 a.m. went on shore and shot three large geese, and 3 large birds, measuring 5 ft. 9 in. from wing to wing, and 5 feet in height. At 10 a.m. hauled alongside the land and landed all the horses safe and in good order, swinging them on shore from the foreyard. At 2 pm. went up to the Rapids, with saddles, saddle-bags, provisions, &c. Messrs. K. Brown, Clarkson, Hamersley, Summerfield, and Redman went with the horses, and met the boat at the Rapids, where they intend to camp. The horses were in fine condition. Shot a crocodile as we returned in the boat.
July 3.—At 5 a.m. went up to the Rapids for water; killed a large snake. Had to wait until the water rose to get on board again. Returned to the vessel at 3 p.m. and sent the other boat to the camp with provisions, &c. The vessel will remain here and take in water while the party go to Camden Sound, over land.
Saturday, July 4.—Went to the Rapids for water at 5 a.m. Dr. Martin went to the camp. Fine clear weather, but very hot. One of the sheep died through drinking too much water. Rise and fall of the tide 28 feet. Saw native fires. The vessel aground in the mud, but the tide rises rapidly, and the vessel floats in 15 minutes from the time the river begins to rise.
July 5.—Sent the boat for water, and to the camp with the sheep. Three sheep died this morning. At 4 p.m. the Doctor came on board and reported that he had found one of the trees marked by Grey on the banks of the river. Nothing but calm, clear weather, but we are nearly driven mad by moschetoes at night and flies by day.
July 6.—Messrs. Kenneth Brown and Clarkson and Dr. Martin started this morning for Camden Sound with 5 horses. Cannot get any rest with the moschetoes.
July 7—Sent boat to the Rapids for water. Tide rises from 21 to 23 feet. Calm weather; moschetoes deprive us of rest.
July 8.—At noon very hot; swarms of flies. Plenty of native's fires on the hills. Current not running so rapidly. Rise of water at neap tide 18 feet at spring tide 26 feet. This is where Grey struck the river; found several of his marked trees.
July 9.—At noon very hot, swarms of flies. Saw 3 large crocodiles. Plenty of native fires on the hills. Obliged to have fires on deck and below to keep away the moschetoes. At midnight calm weather, not a breath of air; fish and alligators jumping all round, but the former will not take the bait. No natives seen from the camp yet.
Friday. 10th July.—Sent the boat for the last lot of water. Dr. Martin came on board from Camden Harbour and reports plenty of very fine country, with abundance of good grass and water—one of the finest countries in the world.
July 11.—At 5 a.m. went to the camp and made up a party to go out shooting. At 2 p.m. come on board, having shot 2 geese and one large bird, measuring 7 feet 9 inches from wing to wing; height 5 feet 9 inches. Sent the boat to the camp with Mr. K. Brown and shooting party.
July 12—Still calm weather. Vessel aground every tide on soft mud, perfectly upright.
July 13.—Fresh breezes from N.E. Sent the boat to the camp with a party going to explore to the Southward.
July 14.—Fresh breezes from N.E. Sent boat to camp with Mr. A. Brown. Caught 14 fish. At midnight calm.
July 15.—Light breezes from N.E. Boat came from the camp for articles for an exploring party to the North.
July 16.—Light breezes from N.E. Messrs. Clarkson and Hamersley started to explore to the North. Very heavy dew at night.
July 17—Light breeze from N.E. and calm at noon. Swarmed with flies. Caught 10 fish and shot 2 geese.
July 18.—Light breezes from N.E., and calm at mid-day. The vessel has one anchor down, and stern rope fast to the bushes, and so she is moored. Shot an alligator. Latitude 15 d. 40 m.; long. 124 d. 50 m.
July 19.—Calm clear weather, and very hot.
July 20.—Messrs. Clarkson & Hamersley returned to camp, having knocked up their horses; so that they were unable to travel.
July 21.—Dr. Martin and Mr. A. Brown came on board. They had knocked up one of their horses, and were obliged to return to camp. They saw some very fair country, well watered, and plenty of grass, but very bad for travelling.
July 22.—Clear weather; very hot. Getting fittings ready for the horses.
July 23. Got 2 horses on board. The party make up their minds to give up the place. There is plenty of good grass and water everywhere.
July 24.—Calm clear weather. Shot an alligator, and brought him on board; measured 6 feet 4 inches. Got all the horses on board, and the members of the party, except two, who remained at camp with the sheep.
July 25.—Got the sheep on board. At noon light breeze from N.E. Unmoored the ship and hove short; at 6 p.m. got under-way, and worked down the river. At 9 p.m. came to anchor in 7 fathoms water. No moschetoes.
July 27—Cloudy weather. At 7 a.m. got under-way with a light breeze from the N.W., and proceeded down the river. Came to anchor at 11 a.m. in ten fathoms water, in Albury Bay. At 8 p.m. got under-way with the ebb tide and a light breeze from the N.E., and got out into George's Water. Came to anchor in 12 fathoms water; mud and sand bottom; land-locked, with plenty of water.
George's Water, July 28.—At 10 a.m. got under-way and proceeded towards Doubtful Bay. At 4 p.m. aground on a bank, it being nearly low water. Went in the boat and found a good passage into Doubtful Bay, with plenty of water for my ship to go through.
Doubtful Bay, July 29.—Came to anchor at 3 a.m. in 3 fathoms at low water, on a sand bank. At 11 a.m. got under-way, and proceeded towards Collier Bay. At 9 p.m. came to anchor in 20 fathoms water. Strong current.
Collier Bay, July 30.—At 5 a.m. got under-way, and proceeded down the Bay. At 7. 30. a.m. came to anchor in 3 fathoms, low water, off Shoal Bay, in Collier Bay. At 9 a.m. party took the boat to look for good country. Went on shore to look for water, but could not find any. At 7 p.m. party same back, after going through some very dangerous places, and without seeing good land. They brought back part of two old native canoes, pieces of wood pegged together with deal pegs. Plenty of native fires a little way inland. Rise of tide about 33 ft. Very deep in some places; could not get bottom.
Collier Bay, July 31.—At 6 a.m. Messrs. K. Brown, Clarkson, Pearce, Monger, Summerfield, and Taylor take the boat with 5 days' rations, and returned at 6 p.m., having nearly lost the boat and themselves in a whirlpool. Calm clear weather, very hot; rise of tide 35 feet. No fresh water anywhere. Lat. 16 deg. 21 min.; long. 124 deg. 20 min. Party determine to go to Roebuck Bay.
Aug. 1.—At 6 a.m. got under way, and proceeded towards Roebuck Bay. On the 2nd pass Montgomery Island; on the 4th pass Lacepede Island, wind S.E., blowing hard. On the 5th party desire to go to Nicol Bay. Wind S.E., blowing fresh; thick heavy weather. Lat. 18 deg 45 min.; long. 119 deg 41 min.
Aug. 6.—Sighted Delambre island, it blowing very hard at the time. At noon came to anchor in 4 fathoms under Lewis island. Got the boat out and went on shore to look for water, but could not find any.
August 7.—At 6 a.m. got under way, and proceeded towards Barrow island; sighted Montebello islands and the N.W. Cape on the 8th; on the 12th pass Sharks Bay, and on the 13th arrived at Champion Bay.
[END of CAPTAIN COOPER'S LOG]
[* Sources: Perth Gazette (Trove website); Battye Library.]
(1.)—Went on board the schooner New Perseverance at 6 a.m. Two of the settlers of Champion Bay District—two of the most liberal contributors, in this neighborhood, to the means of the Expedition,—T. Burges, and M. Morrissey, Esquires, came off at the same hour to bid us a last adieu.
(2.)—A fine breeze favoring us, we set sail at 6.45 a.m.; in a short time we lost sight of Champion Bay. At noon we were in long. E. 111 deg. 2 min. and lat. S. 28 deg. 15 min. 30 sec. The same fine breeze from the S.S.W. continued in our favor until midnight, giving us an average speed of 6 knots, under easy sail, with yards nearly square, and with no heavy sea. The vessel rolled a little, but the motion was not so great as to put more than a few of the members of the expedition hors de combat.
(3.)—Throughout the day, the same wind, veering only a few degrees, carried us along at about the same rate and with the same amount of comfort as yesterday.
(4.)—At noon we were abreast of and 14 miles distant from Dirk Hartog's island: in long E. 112 deg. 25 min. and lat. S. 26 deg. 1 min.
(5.)—Oceanic flying fish (Exocetus volitans) and a shoal of grampuses (Delphinus orca) were the only fish noticed.
(6.) Compared with my last voyage in the Flying Foam, the present promises to be a more comfortable voyage, and to yield more successful results in my particular department. I find the sole possession of a cabin, although its cubical contents I may as well not ascertain; to be of essential service in the making of preparations for anticipated collections; it is a source of great comfort too, in the storing away securely of the instruments and appliances already brought into use for the keeping of tolerably complete register of meteorological and other phænomena;—observing of these, whilst afloat, I have entrusted to my friend Arthur Du Boulay, on whom I can depend for a faithful and correct register of these important matters.
(7.)—No great change to-day either as to wind or sea. Our rate of sailing also is the same. At noon we were in long. E. 112 deg. 56 min. and lat. S. 23 deg. 34 min., off Cape Farquhar but at a distance of 40 miles from it. The stock on board, both horses and sheep, doing well; the former have plenty of room, good and attendance.
(8.)—Thus far we have every reason to be thankful: the fairest wind we could desire:—a comparatively smooth sea,—a good ship and careful master—and companions bent on making the least of every evil incident to a sea trip—rejoicing in healthful merriment, without forgetting the author at all.
(9)—Another day of lair wind anal pleasant bailing. At early dawn we sighted, at a distance of about 12 miles, the peninsular terminated northwards by North-West Cape. At noon in longitude E. 113 deg. 50 min., and latitude S. 21 deg. 34 min. 30 sec. Although passing North-West Cape at half the distance (25 miles) mentioned in F. Gregory's Journal of 7th May, 1861, neither its geological formation,—soil (especially that "back on the hills"),—grass,—large wattles,—flooded gumtrees,—nor its mineral indications, could we see: the weather notwithstanding, being perfectly clear.
(10.)—In the morning the Church service was read: eleven only attended.
(11.)—To-day the first water-snake (hydrus) was seen. Moke, the native, a headsman of repute, I am told,—harpooned a porpoise; but the line breaking, it proved a dear venture; only two harpoons now remain.
(12.)—The barometer is falling: this I interpret to be an indication of the approaching loss of our good friend the S.W. wind, at no Tong interval of time.
(13.)—At sun-set, refraction distorted the image of the sun's disk in a singular manner. Some three or four seconds after contact of the lower, limb with the sea horizon,—when, consequently, the whole body had been actually immersed as many seconds,—the upper part of the refracted image assumed first a bell-shaped outline and then a form resembling a solar lamp-shade, ultimately disappearing with startling rapidity, just after taking the shape of a compressed cone. A large spot, distinctly visible to the naked eye, was soon in an equatorial direction about 10 sec. from the prime vertical, northwards, as viewed upon the horizon. This distortion is not by any means an unusual phænomenon in these latitudes. I remember in the months of June and August of last year (1863) on several occasions I noticed similar displays, although, at the time, I had no opportunity of recording them.
(14)—From noon to 4 p.m. the tide and current swept us 16 miles to the eastward.
(15.)—Our fairest of winds still continues faithful: but barometrical and other indications foretell a proximate change. In the early morning we sailed through a mass of whale, food, (composed principally of species of the genus Clionidæ—predominating species Clio australis), whose general direction was east and west, that is, in the line of tidal movement here, but broken up into streaks floating north and south, by the action of a S.W. wind now prevailing many days.
(16.)—The boatswain, or Tropic bird (Phaeton), a bird of frequent occurrence on the north-west coast of Tropical Australia, of a pearly white plumage, red beak and jet-black webbed feet, with two most delicate feathers, equal in length to of the body, projecting in a line with the body, from the tail,—has been our frequent attendant these few days past.
(17.)—At noon in longitude E. 114 deg. 38 min. 30 sec., and latitude S. 19 deg. 40 min.; Ritchie's Reef bearing S. by E., distant 35 miles. At noon the wind decreased rapidly to a calm which lasted until 11 p.m. During this calm the vessel drifted rapidly stern foremost in a N.E. direction at a rate of not less than 2K per hour. The sun-set of to-day was attended by refracted distortions of the image, partaking of the same general character as those described yesterday. The largo solar spot was again distinctly seen. During the afternoon the heat was somewhat oppressive: our solar radiation thermometer indicating a temperature of 113.5 deg. at 3 p.m.
(18.)—The little spider closely allied to Argyroneta aquatica, noticed off the Lacepede Islands during a calm in June 1863, was once more seen disporting around the vessel, but it darted about with a zigzag motion of so great swiftness as to preclude the very hope of entrapping a specimen, under the circumstances. During the calm a host of sober-tinted medusæ travelled with the current, but at a rate greatly exceeding the progress of the vessel. A large shark seems to have selected a shady place beneath us: a glimpse of it only, was caught this afternoon at a very à propos moment namely, when a project of bathing was under discussion. It appears to be a large basking shark (Selachias maximus) and it is suspected to have been our attendant for some days past; I dare say the inducement to persevere in this attendance is great. Besides the offal usually finding its way overboard from ships at sea, a great feast no doubt results from the killing of a sheep nearly every day as we now do.
(19.)—Just sufficient breeze from the westward to keep way upon the vessel, from 11 o'clock last night until 8 a.m. to-day. The heat of the past night was very oppressive, although the thermometer at no time road higher than 86 deg. The hygrometer, however, has remained steadily at perfect saturation for the last twelve hours. Some of my fellow-travellers essayed sleeping on the deck, but a dew of 10 in amount, the maximum, drove the majority under shelter.
(20.)—In the early morning a great number of sharks played about the Vessel, but they refused every tempting bait offered to them. Streaks of whale-food in an E. to W. direction were again sailed through; one must have been nearly two miles in length.
(21.)—At 8 a.m. a S.E. breeze set in. This brought a smile to many a face: for the stillness of the air at 86 deg. has a relaxing effect upon the levator anguli oris and zygomaticus major muscles which allows the depressor labii inferioris to come into action; whilst air of the same temperature in motion contracts these former, the levator anguli oris and the zygomatici, so as almost to ignore the existence of the depressor labii inferioris altogether, and give a cheery appearance to nearly every lice.
(22.)—The S.E. breeze, about 9 a.m., wore round to E.N.E., force 3, but it soon went back again to S.E. and remained steadily until sundown. At noon in longitude E. 115 deg. 7 min. 45 sec., and latitude. S. 19 de,. 48 min. In the afternoon the breeze slackened but did not wholly die away; at 7 p.m. it veered round to W. giving us a rate of three knots per hour until midnight. The first whale was seen this evening near the ship; but as we saw it rise only once, its species cannot be predicated.
(23.)—The breeze has been blowing since midnight, having passed from W. to W. by S., thence to S.E. The sea quite still.
(24.)—Several yellow water-snakes (hydrophes) were seen to-day. This morning's sail approaches perfection, so far as comfort is concerned; the sea has but a ripple upon its surface; there are, however, impatient spirits on board, who wish for still a little more wind. Tropical "dolce far niente" has now possessed the majority of our party: submission having been yielded at the first but unanswerable summons.
(25.)—At noon in longitude E. 116 deg. 19 min. 45 sec., and latitude S. 19 deg. 47 min. Examining instruments in the forenoon: they are all safe at present; those supplied from the Survey Office, Perth, are in very good order.
(26.)—At 2 p.m. the wind went round to E.N.E. Towards 9 p.m. it slackened to very nearly a calm. At 8 p.m. the glare of a large fire was seen upon the southern horizon. The nearest land bearing S. is Rosemary Island, distant 38 or 39 miles: but the glare does not snake the fire appear so far off. At 4 p.m. soundings with the deep-sea lead gave 35 fathoms; bottom, fine siliceous sand and small water-worn sandstone and quartz pebbles, generally of a spindle shape, whose generating arcs were either parabolic or elliptic.
(27.)—Throughout the morning till noon, we were becalmed, or nearly so; the distance made since noon yesterday until the same hour of to-day, is under twenty miles, but fortunately it is on our course eastward. Longitude E. 116 deg. 39 min. 45 sec., and latitude S. 19 deg. 48 min. at noon. In the afternoon, after various cats' paws had disappointed us, a gentle breeze from the north-west in it promises to hold good for a few hours at least. A great number of sharks and snakes (the latter all hydrophes) were seen during the afternoon and evening. The solar spot at sun-set was again observed, linear shaped, and at 2 sec. distance from the limb.
(28.)—The N.W. breeze held good until day-light, when a much stronger wind set in from the eastward; its force at 7 a.m. was 6. This wind continued till noon when we were in longitude E. 118 deg. 3 min: 30 sec., and latitude S. 19 deg. 9 min. At 3.30 p.m. the wind left us; during the calm which lasted till 8.30 p.m., there was a heavy cross swell from the E. and N. which produced a disagreeable compound movement of the vessel.
(29.)—Between noon and 4 p.m., a current drifted the vessel four miles to the westward. At 5 p.m. soundings were again taken with the deep-sea lead (weight 3011;). There was a depth of 48 fathoms: and the lead brought up coral, gravel and shells: the latter studded with the calcareous and horny polypidoms of various species of polyzoa and compound Tunicata to whose examination, at some future date, I look forward with no small degree I of pleasure. During the afternoon and evening, three sharks were caught; one was, according to the sailors, a "shovel-headed" shark; they were all small, the largest not much exceeding six feet in length. At 8.30 p.m. a gentle breeze from the Westward sprang up, veering north about to S.E., force 3-4. No dew whatever; this, together with a high barometer, 30.080 inches, presages a strong wind from the south or south-east.
(30.)—At 3 a.m., it was blowing so heavily from the south-east that it became necessary to shorten sail; the force ultimately ranged between 7-8, when the top-sail was reefed. The sleepers on the deck-house were driven from their pleasantly cool quarters long before the dawn of day: a loss of certain articles of elegant nautical attire being sustained.
(31.)—Several small land birds were flying about the rigging both yesterday and to-day. A locust also came on board: it was captured and preserved; but it differs in no way from the species commonly found in the neighbourhood of Perth, and other parts of Western Australia; even the yellow tint of the second pair of wings is no deeper, as one might have expected from ten degrees nearer approach to the equator. At noon we were in longitude E. 118 deg. 30 min., and latitude S. 18 deg. 52 min., with very little wind, and that contrary, and a heavy short cross sea.
(32.)—In the afternoon an immense shoal of black fish (Physeter Tursio) was passed through; one was harpooned, but though killed, it could not be got on board. One more shark, however, proved an easier prey. A king-fisher, blown out to sea by the morning's wind, was likewise caught; it proved to be a dull-colored species of the genus Dacelo: but not being perfect,—its feathers were damaged probably by its struggle to regain the shore in the morning and by the ropes or the vessel in the afternoon,—after examining it, it was set free. Two or three species of, Libellulidiæ, (dragon-flies) were also seen flying round the vessel, but they did not settle.
(33.)—During the afternoon and evening until 8.30 pm. For the first hour after sun-set there wan a heavy dew, but it all disappeared by 8 o'clock. At 8.30 p.m. a gradually increasing wind from the south commenced blowing: the force imperceptibly rose from 0.5 when it set in, to 4, at midnight. The sea, up to this date, has displayed but few phosphorescent creatures at night.
(34.)—At 4 a.m. the wind had increased to force 6-7, when it became necessary to shorten sail; and, from the wind having veered to N.N.E., to change the course. This wind held good, though of a gradually decreasing force, until 3.30 p.m. At 10.30 a.m. the morning service was small; only eight attended. At noon our longitude was E. 118 deg. 29 min. 30 sec., and latitude 19 deg. 16 min. in green water apparently holding sand, in a manner similar to that within a mile or two of the coast line. Did we not know to the contrary the discoloration would lead us to believe we were off the mouth of some large river.
(35.)—At 3 p.m. the deep-sea lead gave us bottom, at 25 fathoms, consisting or siliceous sand, very fine gravel chiefly composed of arenaceous limestone, Polythalamia, nautilus-shaped spirorbis, and small bivalve shells. A large turtle (Chelonia midas) the first seen this voyage, was observed in the afternoon; it was swimming with its head well out of water, at a few fathoms distance to the eastward of the vessel. At 7 p.m. it fell calm. There is a current here setting to the westward at the rate of about 1 K per hour. At 7.45 p.m. soundings, with the deep-sea lead, gave us 18 fathoms: bottom, the same generally as those obtained, in the afternoon, plus a greater proportion of Foraminifera and some few specks of Titaniferous iron ore. A haze all round the horizon at sunset. Nearly cloudless skies have been registered during the past week. At 10 p.m. an easterly wind sprung up of slowly increasing force, from 0.5 at the commencement to 2.0 at midnight.
(36.)—The wind E.N.E. three 4.5 at daylight; but the rate of sailing is extremely slow. The lee-way, caused chiefly by tide to the westward, exceeding the distance made on our course. At 9 a.m. went about, the wind having gone round to E. by N.; the tide still gave us a lee-way of not less than 22 deg. towards the west. At 10 a.m. in shoal water, green; the deep-sea lead gave us bottom at 20 fathoms; siliceous saint, minute shells and polythalamia. This bank is of very definite, shape, as determined by the color of the water, together with soundings; it runs N. and S. of an ovate shape, greater diameter 31 miles,—lesser diameter 2 miles. At noon we were in longitude E. 118 deg. 48 min., mind latitude S. 19 deg. 23 min. At 1 p.m. we were sailing, over another bank running N. and S. with two spits extending at least 2 miles to the southward of the bank; soundings varying from 20 to 16 fathoms.
(37.)—At 3 p.m. Bedout Island in sight: it appears to have but little high land upon it; on the highest point, with the aid of glasses, we can clearly discern a signal staff with some large object on the top. To the westward two or three miles, but probably ten or fifteen miles to the southward, that in, in the direction of the larger of the two Turtle islands, a column of smoke just visible.
(38.)—Beside the spit the chart prepares us to find on the south-west side or the island, we observe a reel With detached rocks extending 2 or 3 miles to the eastward. At a distance of about 5 miles, to the north, we were in 10 fathoms water; soundings, the same as those last taken, with the addition of small water-worn quartz pebbles. At 5 p.m. we were to the S.W. of Bedout Island, distant nearly 6 miles, with soundings varying from 4, the shallowest, to 7 fathoms, the deepest. We cast anchor a few minutes after sun-set in 6 fathoms at low water, with sand, coral, shell and clay bottom. The easternmost point of the island bears N. 4 deg. W.; the westernmost point N. 23 deg. 30 min. W., and our anchorage is distant about 3 miles. At nearly mid-distance there is a reef, with water between it and the island, of no great depth evidently, for (it is now low water) we can see it to be perfectly motionless and with much floating sea-weed.
(39.—Shortly alter coining to an anchor, a boat was launched; Mr. Panter and myself, with four men, left the vessel;—after pulling a mile and a half, we found the reef to be under water and the flood tide coming in rapidly from the westward. At one or two chains' distance from the reef we grounded on a coral bottom. The four men then waded to the northwards and found the whole distance, between our boat and the island, a mile and a half, to be covered with water, from 6 inches to 3 feet in depth. As moonlight did not suffice to make my notes of value, the party merely picked up such shells as came in their way, (principally of the genera Trochus, Tridacna, and Ostrea—the pearl oyster) and then returned to the vessel, resolving to launch the long-boat in the early morning of the morrow, and make a more accurate examination. The tide here runs, at ¼ flood, at the rate of 4K per hour.
(40.)—Breakfasting at 4 a.m. in readiness to go ashore at daylight. The long boat being launched shortly before sunrise, we (Mr. Panter and myself, with 13 of the party) pulled to the reef. Here, having anchored the boat, we waded a distance of a mile and a half through water, seldom above our knees; the flood tide was just setting in when we reached the Island.
(41.)—On our walk from the boat through the shallow water we observed many specimens of the Trepang, (Holothuria edulis) of a jet-black color, from 18 to 21. inches in length, and from one to two inches in diameter. This marine radiated animal is very abundant on the north-west coast of Australia; indeed, it is the chief attraction to the M day fishermen who periodically visit these parts of Australia in order to supply the Chinese markets with this gelatinous esculent. When properly prepared, the Chinese pay a high price for the Trepang,—using it as a principal ingredient in restorative soups.
(42.)—Many fine specimens of Conchiferous Mollusca were passed;—e.g. Tridacna, nearly 12 inches in length, of greater value, in pearl seeking, in my opinion, on account of the size of the pearls, when the shell is found to contain one, than the oyster of 'Nickol' Bay. It is true the shell of the Tridacna itself is of no great value, for it contains no nacreous substance of commercial importance: But, if this fishery were carried oil, the Tridacna gigas, might sometimes be met with. Specimens have been obtained in the Indian Ocean, weighing 5 cwt., and measuring 2 feet 6 inches in length and 4 feet in breadth. These are of value in; Europe: they are used as benitiers in Continental Cathedrals, and have been purchased for this purpose at an enormous price. We did not find any pearl oysters of sufficient size to warrant more extended search.
(43.)—Having at length walked through the mile and a half of shallow water, we passed over a few yards of beach, composed of broken shells and coral, with little sand,—and found a coarse but good grass, about 2 feet in height, growing in large tufts, with here and there patches of the same kind of bean as that found in Collier Bay (1863) but somewhat modified, by increased latitude. Although the runners are not more than 10 or 15 yards in length, the bean seems to be as prolific as that of the more northern latitude. The pods, too, are equal in length, but the ripe seeds are much smaller. The beautiful green color of the leaves formed a charming contrast with the less brilliant tints of the grass and general vegetation.
(44.)—A new convolvulus, genus Ipomæa, was met with growing most luxuriantly, though in a very dry sand; it was in flower, but I could not obtain a single seed. The runners were of a woody character, 40 yards in, length and rooted in the ground at intervals one or two yards. The stem was of a brown color, round and smooth, without downiness. The leaves were on long foot-stalks, cordate, entire, and very smooth. There were a few bushes of Grevilleæ, on which were found about 20 beetles, all of the same species of the family Curculionidæ. A few scattered plants of Marjoram (Origanum onites) were also seen;—as whalers have for many years past visited these seas, this plant may not be indigenous.
(45.)—Our first walk was to the signal staff seen yesterday. On arriving the word DIG carved on the pole indicated the spot, which, when the sand had been scratched away to the depth of a foot or thereabout, yielded a bottle containing two notes: one reads as follows:—
July 23, 1863.
There is a note buried in a bottle at the foot of pole under dig. The cutter Mystery is in the DeGrey River.
Yours, &c., &c.,
The second note is imperfect; the paper, being of a very inferior quality, is much damaged by damp. This is, however, a copy of what remains intelligible:—
July 23, 1863.
- - - dbury,
The Cutter Mystery - - - the DeGrey River - - - - will be lying between - - - - island and the mouth - - - - will arrive at - - - - ve here, I expect, - - - - Monday all. - - - - -.
Yours, &c., &c.,
We left the signal pole standing and buried the bottle again, together with a note of which the following is a copy:—
The schooner "New Perseverance" anchored about 3 miles to the south of this pole on the 21st March, 1864. The vessel is bound to Camden Harbor on an exploring expedition. All well.
|(Signed)||F. K. PANTER.|
(46.)—This little matter accomplished, observations were made to determine the position of the signal staff; result—Long. E. 118 deg. 66 min. 20 sec., latitude S.19 deg. 40 min. 45 sec. This position differs from that given by Norrie and the Admiralty charts, which also differ widely from each other. As concerning the latitude, I have every reason to believe it correct, as given above; but the longitude, although I have taken the greatest care to ensure accuracy, may be a few seconds in error. I believe the position assigned to Bedout Island upon our charts to be derived from the French. At any rate the track of the "Mermaid" does not seem to indicate a land survey or observation. However, as nearly, but not quite all, the surrounding reefs are coral, and as the shoals for many miles round the island yield indications of coral bottom, it is not at all Unlikely that the position of the land above high water mark, may have undergone many modifications since the year 1818 when the island seems to have been first included in the English Charts.
(47.)—Vast flocks of Pelicans had selected Ice east and west points of the Island for a colony. Here, at intervals of about a yard, the ground was covered with nests: these are of the simplest description—consisting of merely a few bits of dry grass twisted in the form of a nest; in each pseudo-nest there were generally two eggs, at this date in every stage of incubation, from the newly-laid egg to the breaking of the shell; some of the young pelicans were already shewing signs of their future plumage. The parent pelicans, disturbed by the approach of their visitors, flew away to a distance of about half a mile, where they alighted on the water, in groups of twenty and thirty, patiently awaiting our departure. The pelican is as graceful a bird in its slow but majestic flight, as it is when sitting upon then water. This species differs from the common pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus) in the following particulars an absence of the light flesh or rose-color in the plumage; a white instead of a bright-yellow pouch; the naked space round the eyes and at the base of the bill, where the frontal feathers form a point, white—not flesh-color; the upper mandible and terminal nail white: instead of the former being bluish and the latter red; an absence of the crimson line on the top of the upper mandible. The points of similarity are as follow:—the first quill-feathers, and spurious wings, black:—the irides hazel:—feet livid. The young of these pelicans have a white instead of an ash-colored plumage. The eggs are white and of equal roundness at the two ends. This pelican colony does not seem to be of recent establishment, as skeletons and bones long exposed to atmospheric influence lie everywhere scattered. About 500 fresh eggs were collected and stored in basket's of nature's providing; cup-shaped sponges, capable of holding from five to six dozen, and carefully carried on board for use. The white of the egg is of a gelatinous rather than albumenous character. When boiled or roasted they are excellent additions to the table, although the flavor, I must admit, is somewhat peculiar.
(48.)—Whilst taking a ramble round the eastern part of the island the party found occupation in Turtle catching; thirty-three were ultimately secured, all consisting of the Edible or Green Turtle (Chelonia midas). They are small, the largest not weighing more than 200lbs,; the average of the whole number would be between 70 and 80 lbs.; although the shell of this, from its extreme tenuity, is of small commercial value as compared with that of the Chelonia imbricata, which I have already seen in these seas, the flesh will be an acceptable addition to our culinary resources. The lamellæ of the carapace are of the normal number, thirteen dorsal and twenty-five marginal segments. The plastron, of a tough-leathery nature, offers but little resistance to a sharp knife.
(49.)—Snipe and quail were very plentiful; the former were in excellent condition,—about twenty were brought off from the island. Vast numbers of sea-birds were met with during this walk: but as I carried no gun, no specimens were obtained. I collected a splendid assortment of sponges, washed upon the beach or blown amongst the grass: many species are new to me; only two kinds appeared fit for common use, and both much inferior to the sponge of southern European seas. But all I deem of great interest as objects worthy of the scientific investigation of those who devote their time to this particular family.
(50.)—Besides the shells already named, Tridacna and Ostrea,—examples of the following genera were picked up: Cardium, Chama, Pecten, Trochus, Venericardia, Cyproea, Janthina, Parmophorus Australis, and Balinus.
(51.)—The island is about a mile in length and its average breadth about half a mile. It appears to be formed as islands are usually formed in the centre of circular coral reefs or Atolls; it is merely a heap of coral sand piled up upon a sandstone point of ancient elevation, whose dip is about 15 deg. to the westward. This has gradually become clothed with soil capable of supporting a coarse and stunted vegetation, and it may hereafter, by the accumulated detritus of centuries, become fitted for the abode of man. The rock forming the basis of the island is a trappean sandstone composed of particles derived from the decomposition of green-stones and basalts, consisting, chiefly of feldspar and hornblende grains, devoid of external crystalline form, with which are mingled quartzose grains and mica flakes, derived from other sources. Or, it may be described as a resultant of the abrasion and erosion of primitive rocks at some long subsequent age, when they, together with their associated strata, became exposed to tidal action. The interval between the present island and the circular reef, being now only 6 or 7 feet below low water mark, will, doubtless, in time, form an island of at least three miles diameter:—even although this portion of the coast of Australia is undergoing submersion in these our days. There was no water on the island.
(52.)—Towards noon the flood-tide although we have now only just passed the time of neap tides, formed an uninterrupted sheet of water between the island and the long boat. Our native "Moke" and the sailor in charge of the boat, attempted to swim off and bring the boat nearer so as to receive the captured turtle and stores of eggs. But although they succeeded in swimming to within a hundred yards of the boat, they were not successful: for the force of the tide when they were outside the reef, was such as to render the attempt hopeless. No alternative remained but to return to the island,—and it is more than probable that the sailor would have lost his life, but for the strong arm of the native man swimming with him. After three hours delay, that is, at ½ E. tide the whole party set off to the boat wading through water now at times reaching above the waist. It was a droll sight to see each man with his burden; some dragging a turtle in each hand (one unwisely held the two fore paddles of his captives, so that when revived by immersion in their native element, he had the full benefit of proximity to their hawk-like bills—whereby his garments suffered—and at the same time he was afforded the pleasing experiment of comparing his strength with the combined efforts of the two turtles struggling for liberty);—others carried loads of pelicans' eggs—but all arrived safely at the boat and schooner lamenting no loss save unimportant pieces of epidermal and other covering. The anchorage three miles to the south of Bedout Island, in 6 fathoms at low water, is good. The tide today rose 24 feet, so that neap tides probably are about 20 feet. It was high water at 10.50 a.m.
(53.)—Soon after daylight, with a fair wind, the anchor was weighed and we bade adieu to Bedout island. At noon we were in long. E. 118 deg. 57.min. 15 sec. and lat. S. 19 deg. 36 min. Towards 4 p.m., however, we had another sight of Bedout island, just peeping above the horizon, at a distance of 6 miles. Our unsought second view of the island is easily to be accounted for:—whilst a wind from the E.S.E. has been apparently propelling us at a rate of one or two knots per hour, a current and tide from the N.N.E. has been moving bodily, since 10 or 11 a.m., at a greater rate in a direction contrary to what we supposed; hence the unexpected reappearance of an island we had left astern in the morning, on our whether bow in the afternoon.
At 4 p.m. we had the advantage of both wind and tide, and from that hour, throughout the night we sailed along slowly on our course, with scarcely any appreciable motion.
(54.)—A beautiful day—clear sky—favorable wind—and tranquil sea. At noon our long. was E. 119 deg. 38 min. 45 sec. and lat. S. 18 deg. 51 min. These are days of luxurious living; since our visit to Bedout island our table displays Turtle-steaks and soup,—mysterious compounds built on a foundation of pelicans' eggs—game (snipe)—fish, fresh meat &c., &c. Several times during the day, little land-birds have been busied among the sheep on deck turning over the loose hay, without displaying the slightest sign of fear. Two of the kingfisher tribe were perched upon the topgallant yard all night.
(55.)—Very nearly calm at sunrise; then a gentle wind from the south-east all the morning. At noon we were in long. E. 120 deg. 27 min. and lat. S. 18 deg. 27 min. A deep blue cloudless sky all day and a calm sea. Solar radiation attained a higher rate than heretofore; by 4 p.m. this afternoon, the thermometer read 121, deg. at the maximum. Towards evening a water snake (Hydrophes) was caught by "Moke," the native; it was nearly 6 feet in. length—of a dull yellow color with light brown diamond-shaped markings. It was too large in diameter to go through the neck of my large bottles: it was therefore necessary to cut off the head and preserve the skin; this latter was damaged, so only portions of it were saved. Calm at sunset with a copper-colored haze upon the western horizon. A steady breeze from the south-west sprang up at 9 p.m.:—the sea being quite still, the vessel glides through the water with a motion barely perceptible.
(56.)—After midnight the wind was very variable;—towards morning it went round to the south-east and remained steadily at force 3 for some hours. At noon we were in long. E. 121 deg. 7 min. and lat. S. 18 deg, It was calm in the afternoon for one or two hours. At sun-set a dense haze settled all round the horizon. At night the stars were visible in great numbers notwithstanding the hazy but cloudless sky. Several sharks were captured during the calm: one was rather more than 7. feet in length. At 11 p.m. it was calm again.
There was a lunar halo of 90 sec. radius at 9.30 p.m., about an hour after the moon rose.
(57.)—Easter-day. A fine 3 to 5 knot breeze from the south-east, from shortly after midnight till 11 a.m. At sun-rise a dense belt of Stratus stretched along the eastern horizon: it appeared very low and the result of land evaporation. A little while after, the sky became dotted over with very high and thin cirro-cumulus and cirro-stratus. At noon our long. was E. 121 deg. 48 min. and lat. S. 17 deg. 21 min. 45 sec., Point Coulomb bearing nearly east and distant 23 miles. The high summit, some 12 miles from the coast-line, between Cape Boileau and Point Coulomb was first seen about 10 a.m.; smoke from three large fires was also seen in the same direction; at night the glare from these fires was distinctly seen. At 10.30 a.m. the morning service was read: there were ten present—a slightly increased number compared with the previous Sundays. The land-breeze of the morning was quickly followed in the afternoon, by a sea-breeze of equal three. Our course now lies midway between Cape Baskerville and the Lacepede Isles, which we may expect to see at daylight tomorrow. At 8.45 p.m. there being no wind and the tide setting towards the coast, the anchor was cast in 10 fathoms water, with sand and clay bottom.
(58.)—At 3.30 a.m. we hove anchor and sailed with a favorable wind. At sunrise we were off Cape Baskerville. A dense, mass of Cumulonus stretches across from the north-west to the south-east points of the horizon, with out-lying detached cumuli, flocculent and very low. The sun's place was not visible until it had attained a greater altitude than 15 deg. At 8.30 a.m. we sighted the Lacepede Isles and Sandy point, Dampier Land. A great number of native fires visible along the shore, from which we are distant about 6 miles, sailing on a course nearly parallel thereto. At 11 a.m. we sighted Point Emeriau. At noon our position was in long. E. 122 deg. 23 min. 30 sec. and lat. S. 16 deg. 50 sec.
(59.)—All the afternoon making but slow progress in consequence of light and unfavorable wind; carried along by the tide I noticed leaves of Eucalypti, Cajeputi and mangrove. This evening we witnessed a marvellously beautiful sunset, dense nimbus stretched from the west to the north-east, at an altitude of 20 deg., the margin being besprinkled with small detached cumuli of a deep purplish color; the whole, combined with outlaying crimson and bright yellow banks of horizontal stratus, formed a gorgeous mass of coloring—such as would have delighted the eye of a Turner or a Danby, and composed the basis of many an effect of dream-land to the punter or poet. This sunset, from the yellow color predominating, presages wind, according to Admiral FitzRoy.
(60.)—At sundown we had yet some 8 or 10 miles to sail before, passing point Emeriau. The higher ranges of the peninsula named Dampier Land, abreast of and to the southward of our present position, are thickly wooded, though the trees appear by no means large. The coast is indented with a succession of large Bays; where the points project they may be described as rocky cliffs of a dark-red color alternating with sand-hills composed of the detritus of these cliffs—varying in color from slightly tinged with red to sand of a deep red-ochreous hue, here and there covered by patches of vegetation. The actual beach we were not near enough to see, but the line of still-water of about a mile in breadth, within the reef, which seems nearly continuous the whole length of the peninsula, was again as clearly seen as upon the occasion of my last voyage, in 1863. After dusk the whole coast line was illuminated by native fires at a short distance apart. The southern and middle part of Dampier Land, judging by the number of native fires seen last year, as well as at the present time, would lead one to suppose it to be thickly peopled with native tribes:—and if so, then luxuriant vegetation, at a very short distance, from the sea-coast line, may be safely predicated. At any rate on our return from Camden Harbor, as our track to Roebuck Bay must necessarily lie at no great distance from the main, we propose, if possible, to land there and make a journey, however short, in an eastern direction; a direct course of only 14 or 15 miles would most likely take us to the summit of the dividing range, whence we might expect a view of the country lying between it and King's Sound. This preliminary examination of the northern and middle portion of Dampier Land I esteem of great importance, because our projected exploration from the head of Roebuck Bay to the FitzRoy River and the land marked "Provincia aurifera" on the old charts, will solve, so far as I can see, one of the most important questions, whose solution is expected by the projectors of the present expedition. Vivid but distant lightning was seen on the north horizon at 8 p.m.
(61.)—At dawn of day we were a few miles to the south of the Latitude of Cape Lévêque the low sandy point south of Swan Point being just visible above the horizon., At 10 a.m. we threw overboard a sealed bottle, containing paper with the name, position, and destination of the vessel. At 11 a.m. we sighted the Twins; and other rocky islands off the entrance to King's Sound. At noon, our longitude was E. 122 deg. 51 min. 30 sec. and latitude S. 16 deg. 10 min. 20 sec.; Swan Point being distant 15 miles. During the afternoon we had heavy squall from the eastward, the wind being from the same quarter and light. The sky has been obscured nearly all day by dense and low Nimbus; showers have been seen falling all round, but none have reached us. At sunset we were steering a course about midway between Caffarelli Island and the Brue Rock. Lightning on both the north and south horizon at 6.30 p.m.
(62.)—At 8.25 p.m. a low dark line was seen across the ship's course; it was at first thought to be a tide-ripple;—the night was so intensely dark that until we were a cable's length, or thereabout, the error was not discovered. But at 8.30 p.m., only five minutes after the dark, appearance became an object of anxious doubt—the mate, who was in the bows, ordered the helm hard down, the master had just before given the word for shortening sail When the land was clearly made out, and in a few seconds the vessel struck, a reef;—the blow, although of considerable force, was not sufficient to give rise to a fear of any immediately fatal result. After striking, the vessel at once I drifted into deep water (25 fathoms). The pumps were instantly manned: they gave no evidence of damage. In a quarter of an hour, after striking, the anchor was let go with 60 fathoms of chain, in apparently, good holding ground. The squalls increased so rapidly in force that a second anchor, with 60 fathoms of cable, was let go, about half an hour after the first. During the panic the master and crew were perfectly self-possessed and energetic—their work being accomplished quickly and properly, save when impeded by the injudicious, but well-meant assistance of a few fear-stricken amateurs. Towards 10 p.m., the anchors holding well, every one, except the watch, sought his respective niche for the night.
(63.)—During the early morning, before day-light, squalls of wind and rain-showers drove more than one deck-sleeper from his couch. At 7 a.m., when sufficient light struggled through the lead-colored cloud to afford us a view of the horizon, we found ourselves about of a mile from the reef on which we struck. This reef is not laid down upon the charts; through the mist we Could recognise the outline of Caffarelli about 5 or 6 miles distant. The reef, of a flattened horse-shoe shape, extends, as far as we can see, towards the western point of Caffarelli; and breakers can be traced for at least a mile beyond the N.N.W. end of that portion of the reef visible at low water. According to the charts there should be a passage of 14 miles here, between the Brue Rock and Caffarelli, with soundings from 15 to 25 fathoms. At noon the S.S.E. wind attained a force of not less than 8 during the squalls; it is a happy circumstance that we happened to strike on the lee-side of the reef, for up to the present time it has been a break: water for us; if the tide which is now rising rapidly should wholly cover the reef, I fear we shall have no alternative but to slip anchors and run before the wind.
(64.)—Shortly after noon the rollers came over the reef; at this time the wind had attained force 9, or a severe gale, which combined with the strength of the flood-tide, caused the vessel to receive the rollers broadside on. Now also the anchors began to drag and the vessel to forge to the N.N.W., so that it was feared we should barely escape the northerly termination of the reef. The smaller of the two cables now parted, whereby we lost the kedge anchor and 70 fathoms of chain. The starboard anchor, weighing 12 cwt. with 60 fathoms of chain, dragged for about 30 minutes, when just as preparations were made to unshackle it and try what sails could do, it held; nor did the most violent bursts of the gale again start it. The importance of saving this anchor and cable is great; if we lose it, we shall have only the best bower and cable remaining. It is worth while, therefore, to hold on as long as possible, in order, if the gale should abate, to recover these valuable adjuncts to our future exploration.
(65.)—The gale seems to be passing from S. to N.; for 14 hours we had a S.S.E. wind, force 9: the gusts at intervals being 10. The ship labored greatly from half-flood to flood and ebb, owing to the rollers, passing over the reef, meeting our tidal position. The barometer fell rapidly to 29.700 inches at 3 p.m. shortly after which time the gale was at its worst; at 4 p.m. it commenced to rise very slowly but decidedly; the Aneroid about .020 inch in advance of the metallic; with the exception of trifling depressions for occasional squalls, the rise continued till 4 a.m. of the 31st March, when it read 29.800 inches indicating a speedy termination of our second difficulty at this reef. This gale I think presages the breaking up of the N.E. monsoons.
(66.)—At dawn Of day the wind was abating and the sea going down. At 11 30 a.m. we weighed anchor; it was the work of an hour, with 19 men. When recovered it had lost its stock. A S.S.E. wind, force 4, carried us clear of the reef, outside of which we obtained good bearings of the following islands: Caffarelli, Cleft, and Bathurst.
(67.)—Observations for position at 4 p.m., gave us our longitude E. 123 deg, 14 min. 45 sec. and latitude S. 15 deg. 50 min. Outside the reef we expected a heavy sea: to our surprise we had a light S.S.E. wind and quite smooth water. We were becalmed from 6 to 8 p.m. After that a 4 knot breeze from the S.E. set in which lasted until midnight. The meridian passage of [alpha] crucis at 11.35 p.m. gave ours latitude S. 15 deg. 42 min.
(68.)—At 2 a.m. large banks of sea-weed floating from N. to S., a strong odor of decaying sea-weed, and a suspected break in the horizon, made the master again cast anchor in 16 fathoms. At day-light we got under weigh again. Just a glimpse of "Beagle Bank" was obtained, shortly after setting sail. At noon our longitude was E. 123 deg. 46 min. 45 sec., and latitude, S. 15 deg. 13 min. At 4 p.m. we sighted and obtained bearings of "Red Island," the "Champagny, Heywood, and Byam Martin groups, Battery Point" south of Camden Sound, and the bluff on the main, east of Point Hall. At 7.30 p.m. we cast anchor in 20 fathoms at about 24 miles from Battery Point. Shortly after sunset there was a display of zodiacal light. The cone was not very clearly defined: its apex was about 35 deg. in altitude.
(69.)—At day-light we found the vessel had dragged her anchor towards the main for a distance of about 3 miles. At 6 a.m. weighed anchor and set sail with a perceptible breeze in our favour, which soon afterwards died away to a calm. We obtained good bearings of the islands in the middle of the day. At noon we were in longitude E. 124 deg. 9 min. 15 sec., and latitude S. 15 deg. 30 min. A S.W. wind afterwards set in: its force, however, previous to 4 p.m. rarely gave us a rate exceeding one or one and a half knots per hour; after that time our speed increased so that at 7 p.m., when we cast anchor, we were not more than 4 or 5 miles from the entrance to Brecknock Harbor. Our anchorage of to-night is in 18 fathoms, with mud bottom.
There has been a great deal of refraction all day points of the main have been lifted above the horizon, some time before we have actually seen them.
(70.)—At sunrise got under sail again with a light but favorable wind. When near the south passage into Brecknock Harbor, I noticed several specimens of Phyllosoma, or glass-crab,—a striking genus of transparent Crustacea, belonging to the order Stomapoda, described by Grey as follows "When it was taken out of the water, it stood upright on its legs, and crawled a little like a large beetle, but soon died. In the water it swam with the legs, the large joint of which appeared to be feathered. It was not thicker than the thinnest wafer; the back was marked with curved lines; and it shrank instantly when touched. The species have a horny feel to the touch, are destitute of smell, and look like a transparent scale when they lie in your hand."
(71.)—A few minutes after 11 a.m. we had crept up to the southern entrance with a light but favorable wind and a still sea. Slate Island, Battery Point, and the coast-line between, may be described as extremely rugged; pointed rocks, coarse grass, tufts of bright green triodia, with stunted straggling bushes, include all that is visible at a distance of a third of a mile from the shore. The entrance is not quite half a mile in width, but there is a depth of 15 fathoms at ¼ ebb, in mid-channel. Just inside the entrance, near the southern shore, is a little rocky patch with one upright block of dark red sand-stone, not less than 14 or 15 feet in height. This I have named the pinnacle.
(72.)—The south bank is of a rocky precipitous character, attaining an elevation of from 100 to 300 feet; the base is of a dark red compact sand-stone with a dip to the westward of 15 deg. The fracture is vertical. Above this stratum lies a rock of the same character, but, by exposure, fractured in cubical blocks of about a square yard and less, on the north face, whose appearance reminds one of the ruined walls of the giant's castle of fairy lore. From the fracture between the upper stratum and the lower, in several places, streams of water poured and dripped out, forming rills, flowing into the sea. The vegetation near the entrance consists chiefly of Adansoniæ, Eucalypti, Acaciæ, all stunted, together with coarse grass and isolated tufts of green triodia.
(73.)—About a mile within the entrance, on the south shore, a beautiful stream of water came foaming and fretting in its rocky bed, here and there forming miniature cascades, or a series of rapids, on its way to the Harbor. At 1.45 p.m., in 6 fathoms, shallow water seemed to extend from the southern end of a sand-stone reef, whose tops are well above water for at least a mile to the S.S.W. of Green Island, to a small mangrove island about half a mile from the base of Mount Lookover: thus barring our entrance into Camden Harbor, until careful soundings have been obtained. The anchor, therefore, was cast in 5 fathoms, with soft muddy bottom.
(74.)—At 2.30 p.m. the whale-boat, with the master and a crew of 7 hands, left with a view to obtain the required soundings. The dingy, shortly afterwards, with a party of four, left to examine the reef itself. About 4 p.m. the boats returned. The, reef does, extend across from island to island, having upon it, at low water, a depth of about 1 fathom; we cannot, therefore, sail directly eastward, into Camden Harbor; we must lie here to and what water is on the bar at high tide. The second boat-party report the presence of recent, drift upon the tops of the reef, from which we may infer that it is covered at high water. Some pretty pieces of coral were brought on board and a plentiful supply of excellent oysters.
The evening service, together with the form of "thanksgiving after a storm," were read at 6.30 p.m. Nine persons attended.
(75.)—At sun-rise Mr. Panter and myself (with the master to take soundings) and a crew of 8 men, left the vessel to seek first a passage from Brecknock into Camden Harbor; then, a landing-place for the horses, a depôt near water, and a suitable place for beaching the vessel (to ascertain whether she was damaged by running on Treacherous Reef) together with a spot suited to fill up with water (about 4000 gallons are required) and obtain a supply of firewood.
(76.)—By noon all these questions were decided upon. First of all, soundings were taken to the eastern side of Camden Harbor, to the very mangrove belt; the harbor shoals by a succession of steps, of about half a fathom each, from 8 fathoms at the entrance to one fathom at the head, at high, water, neap tides. Consequently, there is a tolerably compact mud bottom, the vessel may be brought up nearly to the head, where I know there are four fresh-water creeks, on two of which we camped in 1863. A landing-place for the horses was also found: it is rather stony, but there does not seem to be a better in the vicinity of the northernmost of the creeks upon which we have decided to establish our depôt. No better spot was found for beaching the vessel than the sand-patch on the mangrove island near to which we anchored on Sunday. At the depôt creek there is an abundance of fresh water, the softest and purest man could desire; firewood, too, is lying about in plentiful store.
(77.)—The hills, down to the line of high water mark, are at this season of the year, covered with the most luxuriant grass of an average height of from 2 to 6 feet, according to the species. The same sort of rugged hills as prevail near Doubtful Bay, obtain here; how Amongst such piles of loose stones so rich a growth of grass can be supported, is a subject of wonder. The geological formation, as at Doubtful Bay, consists of the upper series of the Paleozoic epoch below the carboniferous period, together with unstratified and eruptive intrusive rocks.
(78.)—On shore we found two dwarf species of Hybisceoe, both new to me: they were in flower, but there was no seed. The convolvulus, abrus precatorius, and many other plants were in flower; some of last year's abrus pods, with ripe seeds were picked off the tops of trees growing to a height of 20 feet, close to the seashore. A few ripe black grapes were tasted and pronounced excellent; they were found in small bunches, 20 to 40 in the bunch, of about the size of the black-cluster, and approaching that grape in flavor. This is a cissus (order Vitaceæ, tribe, Viteæ) entwining amongst shrubs. Many sweet-smelling grasses and herbs were met with; among the former the broad-leaved lemon-scented grass (Anatherum schoenanthus) was the most plentiful. Six varieties of seeds and more than twice that number of flowers were added to my collection. The trees here are all more or less stunted: they are nearly all included in the following orders: Malvaceæ, Myrtaceæ, Sterculiaceæ, Leguminiferæ, and Palmæ.
(79.)—On the mangrove stems there were great quantities of oysters, and many varieties of Turbinidæ had attached themselves above the hole of high-water. A liberal supply of oysters was taken on board ship; they formed another change in our already varied dietary scale.
(80) At noon the vessel was moved to an anchorage close to the spot chosen as a landing-place for the horses. By 4.30 p.m. the five horses were safely landed, one slightly lame; the depôt and travelling party quickly followed and encamped for the night. When the horses were landed, the vessel was aground in 4 feet; water, so that no difficulty was experienced; such horses as pleased walked ashore.
Chart 5—N. W. Australia [northern part]; J. S. Roe, 1864]
[SRO Series 50, Cons. 342 3_item 009.]
[Click on the map to enlarge it.]
(81.)—At 2 a.m. there was a thunderstorm about 10 miles to the northward: only a few drops of the rain reached us. At sunrise we were under sail once more on our way to the sand-patch. Resting the horses, shoeing where required, and packing in readiness for a start tomorrow; the long-boat left the vessel at noon with provisions and stores for the first land trip, towards the Glenelg.
(82.)—The vessel grounded on the sandbank as the tide receded at 3 p.m.; shortly afterwards several men were over the side collecting corals all round the vessel; these corals I had no time to examine as I was on the point of landing in Camden Harbor,—but I recognised at a glance various species of the genera Gorgonia and Pavonia of varied color and form,—some branched others fan-shaped.
(83.)—Shortly after 4 p.m. Mr. Panter and myself left the vessel en route to the Dépôt; at mid-distance we encountered the south end of a thunder-storm travelling from east to west, the wind at the time, what little there was of it, being from the westward. A mass of water, resembling a dispersed waterspout, crossed Brecknock Harbor near Rogers' Strait. The night passed quietly over in the dépôt: there was no alarm save that caused by a horse breaking away from his tether.
(84.)—The dépôt camp has a picturesque effect; it is pitched on the side of a beautifully grassed hill, with a brook of the purest water at its base winding its course into Camden Harbor; the tents pitched—the horses feeding round about—and the various groups collected here and there to mature the plans of works proposed for to-morrow, form a whole worthy the pencil of the painter. Camp 1 (Dépôt) long. E. 121 deg. 3 min. 52 sec. lat. S. 15 deg. 29 min. 45 sec., height above the sea 15 feet.
(85.)—At 8.30 a.m. I left the dépôt camp, with Mr. Panter, the mate of the vessel—an old gold-digger—and one native, with four, horses and six days' rations. One pack-horse sufficed to carry the provisions; the pack, weighing 90 lbs., was rather too heavy for one horse; 60 lbs. being as much as a horse can travel with, for any length of time, in this district:—but as our present journey is not expected to occupy, more than five or six days, and as "Clown," the pack-horse elect, is in the best possible condition, he will have the honor on this occasion to be sole carrier of stores to the party.
(86.)—Our destination to-day is Mount Double-Cone: bearing from our dépôt E. 33 deg. S., and distant six miles. As it is desirable to economise our horses' strength, instead of making a direct course over very difficult stony hills, we travelled round to the southern side of Camden Harbor, and then by a succession of tolerably easy gravelly flats and gentle rises, by a course of ten miles, reached the basin between the two cones, after a march of four hours. All the country passed over to-day is splendidly grassed, with sufficient shade for sheep. The timber is light and of no great value except for fencing and firewood. About 4 miles on our course, we fell in with an enormous Baobab tree (Adansonia) with the drupe containing ripe seed; it had no leaves but the buds seemed about to burst out ere long. I am rather anxious to see the leaf of this Baobab: last year, although we saw hundreds of the trees, we found no leaf, fruit, or seed. The diameter of this tree was not much under 50 feet; its height to the branches about 25 feet. The general shape of the stein was cylindrical. We halted under this tree some ten minutes; before leaving, we cut our initials and the date on the bark. According to the table of M. Adanson, based upon the proportionate growth of trees and the number. of zones in some of their branches, this "old organic monument of our planet," as Humboldt called the Baobab, was more than 5150 years old when its diameter was little more than half of its present measurement. Assuming this to be its last term of growth, and setting aside the increasing ratio of age as compared with diameter, this tree may be 8,000 years old: thus, by the table,
|ft. diam.||years old.|
|30 : 50||: :||5,150 : 8,583.|
This Adansonia I believe to be the A. Gregorii described in "Flora australiensis" vol. 1, p.p. 222, 223, 1863; closely allied to the African A. digitata; it is found on 'sandy plains and low stony ridges, from the Glenelg to the western shores of Arnheim's Land, and rarely; above 100 miles inland, F. Mueller, G. Bennet, and others.', "the interior substance of the fruit has an agreeable acidity, and boiled with sugar, is of material service in scorbutic complaints. (See G. Bennet, 'Gatherings of a Naturalist,' 292, t. 5.)"
(87.)—After camping the heat became extremely oppressive for an hour or two: after that time we rambled about the western cone collecting flowers, seeds, beetles, &c. Due north of our camp, there were the remains of an old native encampment with upwards of two hundred fires: no relics were found except some pieces of Greenstone of conchoidal fracture, broken thin so as to use the flint-like edges for, sharpening spears,—and some few small pieces of carboniferous limestone carried to the spot no doubt for the purpose of making the white paint used in their occasional personal decoration.
(88.)—A beautiful bronzed-wing pigeon was shot here toward sunset. There was a great deal of lightning to the eastward and northward in the evening. As there was no [native fire seen near us, we did not deem it necessary to keep watch; so after looking to the safety of the horses, we were soon fast asleep upon our grassy bed. Camp 2. Long. E. 124 deg. 42 min. lat. S. 15 deg. 33 min. 12 sec. Height above the sea 145 feet.
(89.)—At dawn of clay, leaving the native in charge of the camp, we started off to climb the eastern cone. The ascent was not made without many a pause to take breath; for at: though the height of the summit above our camp is only 705 feet (height above mean sea level 850 feet) the sides are so precipitous, and clothed with such high grass growing amongst loose stones, that walking without a load is a matter of no slight toil; in our case, that toil was increased by the weight of instruments, arms, and the necessary appliances, each one had to carry. Before we had taken many paces through the grass, we were wet through to the waist, each blade of grass bending under its load of dew-drops. This was not, however, a source of discomfort: for the sun soon shone with dazzling splendor through a cloudless sky, causing such an amount of evaporation from our drenched clothes, as to lower the temperature of our bodies a few degrees.
(90.)—Arrived at the top we were rewarded with a magnificent view of the country away to the eastward as far as Mount Lyell, with the Glenelg stretching towards Mount King in reaches here and there visible, and thence over the country to the westward: all of which, at this, the spring time of the year, is splendidly clad in verdure. The country drained by the Gairdner likewise appears of surpassing richness.
(91.)—After taking various angles to verify my triangulation of last year, we rested a little while and then commenced our descent in a north-west direction. I also obtained bearings of rocky island in Broad Reach, Glenelg River, near which point I first sighted. Mount Double-Cone, in the Flying Foam, 1863.
(92.)—Several ferns, flowers, and seeds, rewarded our journey both going up and coming down the eastern cone. On the west and north-west sides we found Liroconite and many indications of a copper lode; the specimens I preserve for future examination; as regards Liroconite there can be no doubt; I recognise it by its crystalline form; but as to every blue or green stain upon the various pieces of sandstone, quartz, &c., picked up being indicative of copper I have grave doubts; sulphates of iron have been more than once mistaken for carbonates of copper. The presence of the metal, however, is positively indicated by the finding of Liroconite.
(93.)—We returned to camp at 9 a.m.; the solar-radiation thermometer reading at that hour 127.5 deg. although the thermometer in shade only stood at 80.2 deg.
(94.)We resumed our journey at 1 p.m. As our object was the discovery of an easy rather than a direct route for the horses, our course was anything but straight. The first two miles were through well-grassed flats and gentle rises, with a gravelly soil. We then crossed two creeks; the first takes its rise northwards of Camp 2; the second, the larger of the two, winds round the eastern base of Mount Double-Cone, in a southerly direction, and, after receiving the first creek, flows into the River Gairdner. This second stream we named Dunedale Creek; in both the water is beautifully pure: crossing places are numerous and good, for the beds of both are either pebbly or rocky.
(95.)—After crossing Dunedale Creek the first time, a series of rich alluvial flats, the soil of a black color,—basaltic detritus predominating,—brought us by a line of travelling exceeding four miles, to a chocolate soil on a flat through which Dunedale Creek again flows. On the right bank we rested a few minutes; although we have made only six miles of distance, yet fatigue is beginning to make itself felt; travelling, as we have done this afternoon, over easy ground, the length and close growth of the grass is such as to greatly retard our progress and shorten our marches. Whilst resting, we found an exquisite yellow Hybiscus growing to a height of ten feet. A guana, 5 feet in length, was shot just before making Dunedale Creek the second time. Resuming our route at 6 p.m., we soon afterwards selected a camping place for the night, two miles S. 12 deg. W. of Camp No. 2; the accomplishing of these two miles has cost us ten miles of travelling. Here for the first time we sustained a vigorous attack from those murderers of sleep, mosquitoes. Numerous and brilliant fire-flies (Elaters resembling in color and size the Pyrophorus noctilucus) glittered amongst the dark foliage of the trees and shrubs. Camp 3. Long. E. 124 dog. 41 min. 5 sec. lat. S. 16 deg. 35 min. Height above the sea 145 feet.
(96.)—In the morning our start was delayed until 7 a.m. by the straying of "Tommy," one of the horses. The search for him was not by any means an agreeable occupation; half a dozen steps in the long grass, so liberally bedewed, sufficed to wet us through to the waist. On leaving camp, we travelled first over a mile and a half of flats of rich alluvium, with dense coarse vegetation. Then crossing a narrow belt of sandy loam and bearing away a little easterly we skirted a low white sandstone ridge, running nearly north and south. This ridge has no soil except between the crevices of the blocks of stone: and so, contrasted with the fertility of the flats on either side, appears desolate enough. The stones lie in some places horizontal—here and there intersected by belts quite vertical; at other spots cuboidal masses lie piled one on the other to a height of 15 or 20 feet. Yet, notwithstanding the apparent want of space for the development of any large tree, the Baobab (Adansonia) occurs everywhere, of gigantic girth and ever varying shape: at one time cylindrical, either with single or with twin stems, at other times spheroidal more or less oblate; one very flattened stem I estimated to have its vertical only one fourth the amount of its horizontal section. Here we found many in full leaf and with seed: for the scarcity of the latter I can now in part account; one being injured by its fall from the branch, we opened: it contained 77 seeds, each larger than a French bean, and separately imbedded in a very tough pulp;—they have a most pleasant taste, not much unlike a green filbert;—as the aborigines of this district are: in no mean degree epicures, if I may judge by the remains of their feast on Turtle Island, observed last year, the seed of the Baobab can scarcely have escaped their notice; but even if: it did, in a country teeming with life as this does, animals, birds, or insects would not fail to devour so sweet-tasted a gift of nature.
(97.)—Where the interstices of the ridges were very narrow,—spinifex, the convolvulus, the pea abrus, or even tufts of the coarser grasses found room to grow and flourish. About a mile to the north of our 4th camp we passed a track where there were traces of a recent hurricane; all the trees being uprooted and lying in a line from S.E. to N.W. This, from the state of the leaves upon the fallen trees, I should suppose to have occurred about ten days since; it was in all probability, the same hurricane we experienced on the 30th ultimo, the day after we struck on the reef.
(98.)—Even travelling on the ridges, although our progress was slow, I could not describe as difficult; we marched along, leading our horses at a steady rate of 2½ miles per hour; but making only 2 miles of actual course by 10 a.m., when our progress was stopped by a tributary of the Gairdner, flowing in a rocky bed from west to east. As it was now getting very warm, we camped; there was fine grass all over the flat; by spending the middle of the day here we may find some easy ford for the horses: at the spot were we first struck the water, the south bank was steep and covered with mangroves. This our 4th Camp bears N. 10 deg. E. from Mount King and is distant a little more than 2 miles.
(99.)—During the morning's walk a kangaroo similar to the one captured in this district last year, but unnamed at present, a beautiful little dove, and a magpie, were shot. After tethering out the horses we walked down to the river; in a shakes pool by the side of the river there was a large fish of the family of the Percidæ; we caught it—it weighed about 3 lbs.—and at dinner we pronounced it excellent, Today's journey has brought many additions to our collection of plants, flowers, and seeds.
(100.)—In the afternoon a thunder-storm passed over from the eastward, whilst the lower stratum of wind was from the westward. It divided, one part settling over Mount King and the other northwards, towards Camden Harbor. We did our best to secure the stores and instruments, but owing to the division of the storm, we had not more than a half an hour's rain and that fell not so heavily as to more than inconvenience us.
(101.)—At 3.30 p.m. we walked down to the river again. But in the interval the tide had risen ten feet and it now presented itself as a placid stream of more than 50 yards in breadth. The river bed is about 30 yards in breadth and rocky. At low water, there are rapids, falls of one or two feet, and deep still pools. This bed is fringed by a narrow belt of small mangroves, outside of which, on either side, there is a series of pools of about ten yards in breadth, bounded by another mangrove belt; but we can see abundant traces of the rainy season, at a distance of at least 200 yards from the actual river-bed.
(102.)—The river positively swarms with fish; two were caught in a few minutes with a piece of cooked kangaroo for bait. Bait failing us some small fish were shot; but before we could get them, a larger fish, not less than two feet in length, made his appearance and swallowed those floating, with the voracity of a pike. The fish I could recognise belonged to the family Salmonidæ, and to the genera Mullus and Cyprinus. We propose to name this stream "Fish River" and the flats on the northern bank where we are encamped "Mosquito Flats," the latter is, by our experience, a most appropriate name. I made a good collection of interesting geological specimens from the north bank. Camp 4. Long. E. 124 deg. 39 min. 50 sec. lat. S. 15 deg. 36 min. Height above mean sea level 45 feet.
(103.)—This morning it was high water in Fish River at 5 a.m. We resolved to rest the horses to-day and make a walking trip to the top of Mount King. Accordingly, we left camp at 6.30 a.m. Leaving our direct course a little to the westward, we followed up the stony ridge, on the southern side of the Fish River, that leads to the base of the Mount, only quitting it when a most fertile and level tract offered an easier road. This crossed, we effected our toilsome journey by half-past 8 o'clock.
(104.)—From the top we ascended, we had a magnificent view of the country to the west, north, and east. Our view was bounded to the westward by the seaboard Ranges; thence to Brecknock Harbor, Augustus Island, and the MacDonald Ranges to the north,—whilst eastward, Mount Lyell, conspicuous above all from its beautiful conical outline, and the dividing ranges between the Prince Regent's River and the Glenelg, were included within our horizon. At our feet, displayed as on a man, lay that portion of the Glenelg district drained by the Gairdner and, its many tributaries. The flats between the rugged hills, the Gairdner, and the line of swamps outside the mangrove belts fringing the Glenelg, being flooded, presented a vast sheet of water, with a few hill-tops appearing above the water like so many islands. Into these swamps the Gairdner and the Fish River flow, thence by the Glenelg and George Water into the sea. The same fertility, vegetation, and light timber characterise this Mount and the country around it, as already described of the country passed over yesterday. On our way to the top we noticed three species of Hybisceæ, somewhat dwarfed owing to the increased altitude; on the top itself, where there was a rich brown soil, a tangled mass of creepers and vines made walking exceedingly difficult. The height of this summit above mean sea level is 900 feet. The temperature at 9 a.m. in the shade was 88 deg.
(105.)—To the westward, ½ of a mile distant, there is another peak 50 feet higher than that we first made. This we now climbed; from it we obtained an excellent view of the northern part of George Water and the course of the Glenelg as far as our dépôt camp of last year. The tangled mass on this summit was even more dense than that of the first; our progress here may be properly described as creeping rather than walking. The abrus, convolvulus, and many leguminosæ form the undergrowth,—whilst stunted pines, acacieæ, and eucalypti include the principal trees. The whole mount is now covered with the richest grass.
(106.)—Geologically, this is not an interesting Mount, being one of circumdenudation composed almost entirely of red sand-stone, so far as we can see, from out-cropping precipices and fragments, devoid, at any rate, of large fossils. Whilst on the summit, we heard a rumbling noise, apparently within the mount (at 9.25 a.m.) like the subterranean noise so often heard in countries within a narrow zone of the earthquake lines. The mate of the Perseverance, who was with us, has travelled in New Zealand; without any enquiry on my part, at once, on hearing the noise, he exclaimed, "that is like a New Zealand rumbling." Whether this noise were really of subterranean origin or not, I cannot confidently assert:—this part of the coast of Australia, however, does lie within the limits of the terrestrial movements, and evidences of not remote activity are not wanting in this vicinity. I noticed at the time there was a perfect calm and a cloudless sky.—(Having taken a series of angles, the descent was commenced at 10.30 a.m.)
(107.)—Although I describe the whole of the country passed over as luxuriant, still the vegetation between the base of Mount King and Fish River, except the grasses and adansoniæ, is slightly less so than northwards towards Camden Harbor. The flats, on our homeward route, to the westward of the white sandstone ridge, are rather of a sandy nature, owing to the disintegration of the white sandstone; but now and then we met with tracts of the same soils as those already described.
(108.)—All the hills to seaward, that is, to the westward of our course, seem of the same general character as those between Mount Lyell and Camden Harbor. In short, all this district westward of the dividing range between the Glenelg and the Prince Regent's River, I consider well adapted to the purposes of the sheep-farmer; but the country is neither fitted for cattle nor horses, except they be paddock-fed; the former—cattle—could not be mustered, after they had left the plains, owing to the difficult nature of the hilly ground; the latter horses—as any one accustomed to the breeding of horses will perceive at a glance, would not thrive here because of the stony ridges, so productive of splints.
(109.)—There is no deficiency of the best materials for road-making, but the amount of skilled and unskilled labor requisite will be great. Materials for bridge-making and building materials of every kind abound. Some of the flats would grow rice and similar grain; other spots I think suited to the cultivation of spices, sugar, tea, coffee, and even corn at high altitudes. We returned to camp at 1.15 p.m. thoroughly fatigued with our morning's walk under an almost cloudless sky: the thermometer in the shade reading 88 deg.; the solar radiation thermometer, 135 deg. There has been a thunderstorm every afternoon since we landed; this one came from the east, whilst an under current of wind and scud was coming over from the west. The two winds struggled for the mastery immediately over our camp dispersing the storm south of Mount King and north of Camden Harbor, between which places no rain fell, but beyond these limits, there must have been a down-pouring rain. Ducks, cranes, and the most brilliant colored parrots fly over our tent frequently: but, as a rule, beyond the range of our guns.
(110.)—From the force of habit, we suppose when it is dark we are to go to sleep; two hindrances in the shape of mosquitoes and sand-flies, however, give us occupation, from the moment we lie down until the time arrives when human endurance can bear the torture no longer; this period varies from ten minutes to an hour. By the united effect of four pipesful of tobacco vigorously puffed away, our little pests retreat: but only to renew the attack, tobacco-odor subsiding. And so the long night is passed in an atmosphere teeming alternately with tobacco-smoke and mosquitoes.
(111.)—At sunrise we bade adieu to Mosquito Flat,—travelling westward for a mile up the flat on the north bank of Fish River. We then made a succession of richly grassed flats directly on our course; for the first five miles the soil was black, it then changed to a chocolate-color with an occasional sandy patch. We re-crossed Fish River at one and a half miles and Dunedale Creek at three miles on our course. All along our route the flats were lightly timbered with eucalypti, acacieæ, palms—and baobabs everywhere. We camped at 1 p.m. on a stream running into Camden Harbor, not more than two miles from our Dépôt, but with too rugged a series of little hills between our camp and the Dépôt, to undertake at the end of a good day's journey.
(112.)—More seed of the baobab was procured on our way. Two new coleoptera were captured;—a snipe, a pheasant, closely allied to if not identical with the "Megapodius tumulus" of Port Essington, and several red and grey kangaroo, were either shot or seen. Many additions too were made to the botanical and geological collections. At 5 p.m. the daily thunderstorm gathered, to the southward this time, so that we escaped without a drop of rain once more. The night was very warm: little sleep was obtained by any one, by reason of our old enemies, the mosquitoes and sand-flies. Camp 5, Long. E. 124 deg. 40 min. 27 sec., Lat. S. 15 deg. 30 min. 32 sec. Height above the sea 100 feet.
(113.)—We left our camp at 6 a.m., and after a laborious walk, both to men and horses, reached the dépôt at 7.30 a.m., by a circuitous route of nearly three miles. During our absence those left in dépôt have been travelling in the neighbourhood, encountering all kinds of minor disagreeables and difficulties incident to the bush of unknown shores.
(114.)—In the course of the morning we returned to the schooner, for the purpose of storing away collections and making arrangements for our departure from Brecknock Harbor. In the afternoon whilst the sails were hanging loosened, a breeze from the westward caused the vessel to drag her anchor; more chain was payed out and she was brought up, but in such shallow water that the ebbing tide left us high and dry upon a rocky spit at sun-down. Whilst we were in the bush, the vessel was laid twice upon a sand-bank, but she leaks now more than before. It was low water at 8.5 p.m.
(115.)—At 2 a.m. the tide took us off the rocks and sail was made to a spot a little north of mid-channel in 7½ fathoms of water (8 fathoms at springs, H.W.) At 9 a.m. under sail to the sand bank once more, with the hope of discovering and stopping the leak which now alone detains us. Neap tides coming on, it was some time after sunset before the water was low enough to get over the side to commence the search; when, however, a few feet of the keel was laid bare, off set all those engaged upon the work with a motley collection of impromptu lamps, tools, and implements of curious device to those ignorant of the ship-building art. At a few minutes before 9 p.m., the advancing tide put a stop to the work in a summary manner: nor can it by any possibility be resumed until to-morrow. Much good I fear has not been done; the entire keel was at no time above the water.
(116.)—At 2 a.m. the vessel was hauled three fathoms further up the sand-bank. This morning's tide disappointed us even more than that of last night; less of the keel was exposed and less time to discover the leak was afforded. As the said leak is rapidly increasing each time the vessel is beached, the master is about to try another plan. The vessel was sailed once more into mid-channel, at high water, and anchored in 7½ fathoms. On our sounding the pump we found two feet of water in the hold. For 50 minutes the pumps were kept at work; this reduced the water at 5.15 p.m. to 10¾ inches, but one hour afterwards it had increased to 13½ inches. At 8 p.m. the sounding rod gave 16 inches, or at the rate of 1½ inches per hour. To-day the party has been broken up into three divisions; one filling up the casks with fresh water, a second preparing firewood, and a third bringing the horses to a spot on the peninsula more convenient for re-shipment.
(117)—This morning at 6 a.m. the vessel was pumped out and baled quite dry, and a thorough search made from the inside; but beyond the belief that the leak is not in the fore part of the ship, it has been labor lost. She must be put ashore again; this time the master has selected a flat shingle beach not far from the base of Mount Lookover. At 2 p.m. we essayed to get there, but a contrary wind prevented us.
(118.)—At 4 a.m. Mr. Panter and a crew of seven men left the vessel in the whale-boat, to visit the islands westward of Brecknock Harbor. The schooner was moved, during a favorable wind, to the spot selected for the examination of the bottom: we hope to be more successful now in finding the leak. It was high tide at 5 p.m.; about an hour afterwards the vessel was once more aground, the tide ebbing slowly. At 11 p.m. the flood tide set in without having given an opportunity to walk round the hull: this I attributed to a N.W. wind having kept back the water within the harbor.
(119.)—There was a fine display of zodiacal light in the early morning. The tide to-day neither rose nor fell so much as we expected; for this reason we are still in the same state of ignorance as to the position of the leak. The ground selected seems so favorable from its hardness and level, that, although we regret the loss of time, we see not how we can expedite matters by moving. Here, therefore, we must remain, moored by the stern to an old mangrove, and our anchor far away in deeper water, until a low tide enable the search on the outside to be completed.
(120.)—To-day two specimens of the genus gelasimus, or large-clawed calling land-crab, were brought on board. This seems to be their season for spawning, for they have left the hills and are now to be found in great numbers on the sea-shore where they have made burrows in the sand for the purpose of depositing their eggs. In making these burrows they bring up to the surface a quantity of sand with the left or larger claw; then by a jerk they scatter the sand to a distance of eight inches from the hole, taking care to vary the direction of the excavated sand, so as to ensure an equal accumulation all round the hole. The left claw of one specimen is of greater length than the entire body and legs, measured in the line of greatest extent. The rapidity with which they run, in any direction, or with any part of their bodies foremost, is such as to render their capture rather difficult; the more especially since the distance they are seen from their burrows is but a few feet at the most; and their vigilance is such that they regain their holes, at the first alarm, almost as quickly as the sight can follow them. The surest method of catching them is to sit down near the hole and wait patiently until the creature comes, to the surface, if it be already within the burrow,—or, if it be abroad, to intercept its return. They are of various colors: the two specimens I now have are of a bright vermilion tint, but some have been seen here of a dark rich-purple hue. Species of this genus, found in other parts of the world, are said to be excellent food; but of this I cannot judge in the present case unless I obtain many more specimens; the two I now have, I reserve for future anatomical examination.
(121.)—The tides are beginning to be more favorable to the repairs of the vessel. This afternoon's tide left her dry to about half her length: to-morrow we hope she will be quite dry. I had no one with me at the usual time of reading the morning service: all who have hitherto attended were either absent from the vessel or engaged on necessary work.
(122.)—At 2 a.m. the ebb tide left the schooner dry all but some 10 or 12 feet of her length. At 3 p.m. we were enabled to walk round the bows. We now see the injury done by running on Treacherous Reef: it is trifling; only a few inches have been broken away of what I believe is technically called "the gripe," but what the uninitiated might describe as the point of junction between the cut-water and the keel. This has nothing to do with the leak; this weak spot it now appears is not on the larboard side. The tide of to-morrow will set the question at rest; for during the interval of the low tides, the vessel will be listed over contrariwise, so as to complete the circuit of the examination. It was low water at 3.30 p.m.
(123.)—The whale-boat which has been absent now four days returned at 4 p.m. A thorough examination has been made of the four groups of islands westward of Brecknock Harbor. All the islands may be described as rugged in the extreme, but well watered and tolerably well wooded, with abundance of grass. On one of Heywood's Group, there, were some natives, but they would not show themselves. Two turtle's nests were found: one yielded sixty and the other sixty-two most delicious eggs. Another pheasant was shot there; these birds are more numerous on the islands than on the main. A very remarkable tree, whose genus has yet to be determined, was observed on Byam Martin's island.
(124.)—A fine slab of horizontal white sandy shale, shewing water ripple, was brought back; it is formed of a succession of rippled surfaces one under the other, a space not exceeding half an inch apart vertically. The distance from crest to crest of the ridges is on an average 1.5 inches, with a depth of the hollows between them of 0.3 of an inch. It is worthy of note that this ripple-marked shale was found on a little island between Byam Martin's and Augustus islands, that is, in a locality where to this day a tide ripple of unusual force is found nearly every day: an evidence tending to strengthen the conclusion that the force, velocity, and mode of action of the tidal waters in this locality, were precisely the same in the old geological period, when these deposits were consolidated, as at the present time. The bean grows on all the islands. Yesterday about a bushel were cooked for dinner, and pronounced good by every one.
(125.)—At 4 a.m. the vessel was again dry: the repairs of the starboard side were carried on so long as the tide would allow. The work was resumed in the afternoon: several small leaks were discovered and stopped.
(126.)—In the afternoon I climbed Mount Lookover: this hill will yield to none in the district for ruggedness and steepness. Although not more than 650 feet in height, the ascent is as fatiguing as that of Mount King. It is another instance of old red sandstone, of a conical outline, broken only by precipices. Here and there are thin quartz veins, non-meridional, and boulders with minute irregular contortions of great beauty; the anticlinals and synclinals have for the most part exceedingly short axes, consisting in some cases of points only, from or towards which the various deposited strata have a quâ quâ versal dip or inclination on all sides. All over the mount I find masses of sandstone and quartz some enclosing bands of specular iron ore—others having their cavities filled with a highly crystalline iron, resultants either of a chemical precipitate or a mechanical sediment.
(127.)—On the summit I obtained an extensive and charming view, eastward as far as Mount Lyell and south ward to Mount King. Brecknock Harbor with its beautiful bays and islands formed a picture that years will not efface from my memory. For two hours I was engaged in taking a series of angles and a complete outline of the harbor in which we are now lying, as well as the inner or Camden Harbor. From what I could see of Rogers' Strait, I do not think there is a passage for vessels, except at high water; for I could see two reefs stretching across with their black rocky tops projecting several feet above the water.
(128.)—Around the north and east base of Mount Lookover there is a dense thicket or jungle of vines and creepers, difficult to pass through, and swarming with the green ant; I contrived to get some hundreds upon me coming down the mount; these ants are most provoking little creatures,—their bite is not very severe and it has no after painful effect, but when climbing a hill with both hands full and many straps round the neck-each strap supporting an instrument, these insects are decidedly 'de trop.'
(129.)—Pausing to rest I used my geological hammers with success; two stones yielded fossil plants, which, after securing, I scarcely looked at, as the means of identification are not within my reach; a glance, however, suffices to assign to them a place very low in the scale of vegetation. Other stones enclosed, or were interstratified with, iron pyrites; in two other instances of stones picked up upon the beach, minerals of the copper series were found, remolinite and bornite.
(130.)—To-day the party camped at the base of Mount Lookover shot a turkey, (Otis Australasianus), several pigeons, doves, and a curlew. I could see a great number of native fires between Mount King and the Glenelg. There is a stream of beautiful water at the eastern base of the Mount.
(131.)—Further progress was made to-day, at low water, in the repairing of the hull of the vessel; it is hoped now that our damages will be all made good in two tides more. This, so far, is satisfactory: we are all tired of remaining so long in forced inactivity.
(132.)—To-day I obtained several specimens of another calling crab, of the genus Gelasimus; its shell is beautifully variegated—a rich sepia-brown color predominating; it is smaller than the first kind seen. I have now captured many specimens of the rare Lepidosiren, a genus placed by some naturalists amongst the Fish, by others included in the Amphibia, called popularly on our first visit to the Glenelg, "the walking" or "mud fish." This is another species of the genus found on the Glenelg banks: but the two resemble each other closely in many particulars. The mode of progress on the mud is by a series of leaps performed by the action of the pseudo-ventral fins and the tail: these fins are peculiarly adapted to this kind of motion; they are inserted immediately beneath the true pectoral fins and have a motion from below upwards of 90 deg. in arc, from the vertical to the horizontal, in a line with the tail. The motion is very rapid whether leaping on the shore or on the surface of water. They seem to be of a warlike disposition: their battles during the day are numerous but productive of few calamities. The challenge—the combat—and the retreat, or disappearance into the mud, is but the work of a few seconds. The genus may be recognized, among other ways, by the presence of Osteo-dentine, the second modification of fundamental tissue of the tooth, where the cellular basis is arranged in concentric layers around the vascular canals, and containing radiated cells like those of osseous tissue.
(133.)—Shells of the following genera were this day added to my collection: one species of Neritoides and three Trochi;—of the latter, one is mammillated, with bright pink stripes,—another is spinous, to a less degree only than "Trochus imperialis."
(134.)—Further repairs were made to the vessel this afternoon at low-water; it is proposed to take her off into mid-channel at high tide to-night, and try if the leaks be sufficiently stopped to warrant our departure. It is found that the vessel strains herself more and more each time she is put upon the hard ground this is not much to be wondered at, as it is supposed she has, including the ballast and water, not less than 70 tons weight on board even now. One sheet of copper was torn across to-day by the overhanging weight of the bows. At 9 p.m., the flood tide serving, the vessel was towed by the whale boat to mid-channel, off the entrance to Camden Harbor; we anchored at 11 p.m. in 7½ fathoms at nearly high tide.
(135.)—It was low water at 6 a.m. Off the mouth of Camden Harbor, it is high tide, at full and change, at noon; rise at springs 30 feet, neap tides about 12 feet. The ship's leaks have now been so far stopped that during the last six hours she has made only ¾ of an inch of water.
(136.)—In the afternoon I landed at the north-eastern base of Mount Lookover for the purpose of sketching a remarkable adansonia, just inside the mangrove fringe, on which tree, at some far distant date, an aboriginal artist has depicted somewhat caricatured outlines of two alligators. These outlines, although rude and exaggerated, are in some particulars correct to an unexpected degree; e.g. the number of the carpals (5) as distinguished from the tarsals (4) is carefully shewn,—an evidence of accuracy one could have scarcely anticipated in the work of either an amateur, or a tyro, for as such these efforts must be regarded when compared with the more artistic cave-paintings and shell engravings already seen. The outlines are clear and were deeply cut in the original bark, which has been supplanted by a growth of a far darker color; they now have the appearance of being in relieve. After carefully copying these outlines, I made a sketch of the tree itself, as its shape is unlike any of the species seen in the vicinity.
(137.)—Taking a solitary ramble to the south-east of Mount Lookover, I was struck with the frequency, size, and solidity of the edifices of the Termitidæ, white ants. One in the form of a sugar-loaf, about 9 feet in height, I imagined to be abandoned; so, wanting a few feet of additional height, to see over a saddle in the range before me, and having first tried my geological pick upon its base, I climbed to the top and obtained the desired view, but at the expense of no small amount of terror to the countless thousands of white ants, that now came swarming from the ground upwards. This is not by any means the largest ant-hill I have seen in this district: but the general height ranges between 4 and 6 feet. The shape is in all cases an irregular cone. A second species selects an old tree in which to build the nest; and in one instance the mere shell of this tree alone remained, all the wood having been replaced by the mortar of the working ants. Hermit crabs (Paguridæ) are here upon the beach in countless numbers, and in every sized shells, from the smallest Trochus to the larger shells of the Muricidæ.
(138.)—Selecting a few more additions to my geological cabinet, I waded through the mud and water to the long-boat, distant about ¼ of a mile from the mangroves, in consequence of the ebbing tide, and thence returned to the schooner, at anchor in mid-channel, fatigued by the journey but amply repaid by my collected specimens.
(139.)—The older mangroves on the seaward side, here attain an enormous growth; the tree to which the vessel was moored has a girth of not less than 24 feet; its height being about 30 feet, 18 of which are immersed in every high tide. The mangroves are just now putting on their verdant clothing for the year; the green leaves are so brittle that they break with an even line of fracture, upon the application of the slightest pressure.
(140.)—In the early morning the Dingo's howl was heard all round the Harbor; from the two camps on shore we learn, that this creature is so bold that it comes up to the very fires, prowling about at night in search of booty near the camp. Our old friends, the alligators, have not shown themselves much: not more than half a dozen have as yet been seen. They have done us no material damage; twice, their inquisitive deposition led them to inspect the boats, and to meddle with the oars; and once,—so report says, a large one, being attacked by a mongrel lurcher, such a dog as we see pictured in the company of poachers and other nocturnal robbers, the property of a man included in the Expedition party,—resented the attack of the contemptible quadruped by swallowing him; so says report; facts simply declare, that the dog was seen no more. The bereaved owner expresses great regret at his loss, as the dog was very valuable to him. The day has been passed in refitting the vessel for sea; and in receiving and stowing water, firewood, &c.
(141.)—To-day the ship was moved from the anchorage in mid-channel, to a spot very close to the camp on the peninsula, where the horses have been feeding since our return from Mount King. Between 5 and 6 p.m. the first five horses were taken on board without sustaining any injury whatever. In the afternoon, one of the party. Mr. Logue, met with an accident, which, fortunately does not promise to have serious results. He was firing off a carbine, in order not to bring it on board loaded, when it burst at the breach, and badly wounded his left hand. The loss of the use of this hand for a time, and a little pain, will probably include all the inconvenience to be suffered.
(142.)—At early morn the anchor was weighed and we proceeded towards the rocky bar between Careening island and Green island. We found a break in the bar near the southern end of the circular reef, with 4½ fathoms water upon it at low tide. All the men and stock are now on board; we only await to-morrow's tide and land breeze to take us clear of Brecknock Harbor. The church service was read this evening: only seven attended.
(143.)—At 4 a.m. we set sail with a fair wind and tide towards the entrance of Brecknock Harbor. In two hours we were abreast of the pinnacle, in mid-channel, when the water was observed to shoal rapidly; a few minutes afterwards the vessel grounded aft in 1½ fathoms, at low water. All hands then went into the bows, and the whale-boat was manned in order to keep the schooner so that her sails should catch the wind; after a few seconds she broke away the coral bottom and floated slowly off into 8 fathoms of water. We came out by this channel because 16 fathoms are marked on the chart and because we found sufficient water when we came in: but on entering we were perhaps 50 yards further to the north, where there is sufficient water for any vessel at low tide, provided she have both wind and tide in her favor; but there is no room to beat. If the soundings, 16 fathoms, were inserted, in future charts, quite close to the rocky point north of the pinnacle, it would be correct, and future accidents to vessels entering or coming out of Brecknock Harbor, would be prevented.
(141.)—Brecknock Harbor is in shape somewhat like a right-angled triangle, whose hypothenuse or northern limit, about eight miles in length, is formed by the south-eastern shores of Augustus island. At its apex are the entrances, made narrow by the four large and several small islands situate there. At the union of the two sides forming the right angle is the entrance to Camden Harbor, which is nearly dry at low water throughout its greater length from west to east. At the third angle, that is, five miles to the north of Camden Harbor, are Rogers' Straits, forming a water communication with Port George the Fourth. The southern line of the triangle is about 6½ miles in length. The coast line within the harbor is everywhere indented with beautiful bays; there ave several picturesque islands on nearly all of which we find abundance of fresh water: nearly every valley too has its rippling brook running down to the blue waters of the Harbor. Grass is plentiful in any direction.
(145.)—The anchorage in all parts is good; and once at anchor a ship need fear no wind, as the harbor is thoroughly land-locked. Ships entering from Camden Sound have but two dangers to avoid; one is the bank extending northwards from the pinnacle rock,—the other is the rocky bar between Careening island and the circular roof. Until further surveys have been made, I should consider Rogers' Strait a very dangerous entrance on account of the reefs, and Camden Harbor a hazardous anchorage by reason of its terrace-like bottom, which at some tides has not more than ½ and ¾ of a fathom of water. Brecknock Harbor is an excellent place for watering ships, and drift-wood is abundant near the line of high water; but timber fit for spars and the repairs of ships, grows at too great a distance inland to be available.
(146.)—Vessels entering from Camden Sound should do so only with the flood tide and with a fair wind; the rocks to the south-west of New island, to be seen at all times, may be passed in mid-channel: but on sighting the pinnacle, which is close to the southern shore, a course about [1/8] of a mile distant from New island will command the deepest water, running from 13 to 16 fathoms at the narrowest part of the entrance; when the pinnacle bears S., a course E. 10 deg. N. may be sailed for 2½ miles, when the northern entrance opens out into Camden Sound (bearing N.W.): thence, a course E.N.E. of 3 miles may be steered, with 6 and 7 fathoms water, either towards Green island or Camden Harbor. Vessels above 100 tons register may select any spot within these limits, and obtain safe anchorage. Vessels of less than 100 tons register, with a draught of about 10 feet, after crossing the rocky bar N.E. by N. of Careening island, may find a perfectly secure anchorage, anywhere in mid-channel, as far as the entrance to Camden Harbor, with not less than 3 and 4 fathoms water; all these soundings are at low tide.
(147.)—For beaching a vessel on a soft bottom, it would be difficult to find a better spot than the sand-patch on Careening island; whilst if a hard even bottom be desired, for repairs of keel, &c., the deep bay whose head bears S.E. from Mount Lookover, distant half a mile from the base of the Mount, will be found convenient and safe. The time of high water within Brecknock Harbor, at full and change of moon, or the Establishment of the port, is at noon; that is 40 minutes later than in Camden Sound. Spring rise, 30 feet; neap 12 feet. The tides rush through the entrances with great force: it would not be advisable for any vessel to attempt the passages under sail, with an opposing tide.
(148.)—Soon after passing the mouth of the harbor the land wind deserted us, giving place to the sea-breeze, which was less favorable to our course. At noon our long, was E. 124 deg. 21 min. 20 sec. and lat. S. 15 deg. 30 min.; Battery point bore E. by N., distant 7 miles. Towards sunset we sighted Cockell's island at 10 miles' distance. At 7.30 p.m. whilst taking soundings with the deep-sea lead in order to find anchorage, through carelessness the lead and line were lost: so the ship was put about and we steered a N.W. course until midnight, when the anchor was cast in 32 fathoms water. We now found that although the vessel had appeared to be sailing on her course, the tide, running S.E. at the rate of K. 4½ per hour, was carrying her towards Montgomery reef, at the mouth of Collier Bay.
(149.)—In the early morning the threatening appearance of the weather caused the master to keep the vessel at anchor until 9 a.m. A dense bank of black hard-edged cumulonus was seen to the S.E., the wind blowing in squalls, and an unusually high barometrical column for the hour of the day (6 a.m.) At 9 a.m. the storm having passed south about to the W. we set sail with a fair wind but strong tide against us. At noon we were in long. E. 123 deg. 46 min. 40 sec. and lat. S. 15 deg. 32 min. 42 sec. Cockell's, McCleay, and Bathurst Islands were sighted during the afternoon. At sunset Caffarelli and Treacherous Reef lie immediately in our course, and the wind was so light we had no hope of keeping clear of these, or of the still greater dangers of King's Sound; so getting into 22 fathoms water at 7 p.m., we anchored for the night, in white water.
(150.)—At early dawn the vessel was under sail with a fine N.E. wind; as our course was within a few degrees of W., and as the tide for six hours set us off shore, we saw but little of the islands near King's Sound. Caffarelli was sighted soon after 2 p.m. at a distance of not less than 18 miles. During both tides of to-day their strength, velocity and color were remarkable; the muddy color of the water, the fields of sea-weed sailed through, and the drifting of the schooner oven when sailing at K. 7½ per hour were equally remarkable. Observations determine the combined force of tide and current to be between 4 and 4½ knots per hour.
(151.)—During the afternoon the dreaded Brue Rock was seen, just awash at ¾ flood. The soundings were between 30 and 45 fathoms: in the former the anchor was cast at midnight, as our position with regard to King's Sound and the islands of the Buccaneer Archipelago, owing to the sweep of the tide, was now a matter of uncertainty. We noticed vivid lightning to the westward all the evening. At noon our Longitude was E. 123 deg. 6 min. 35 sec, and Latitude S. 15 deg. 38 min. 30 sec.
(152.)—At dawn of day all were at work getting home the anchor and the 60 fathoms of chain. This was not finished until 7 a.m., when we were again under sail with a fine N.E. wind. At 11.30 a.m., we sighted the main near Sandy Point, Dampier Land. At noon we were in Longitude E. 122 deg. 30 min., and Latitude S. 16 deg. 25 min. At 2 p.m. we cast anchor in 5½ fathoms at ¾ flood; Cape Borda bearing N.E. by N., distant 4 miles, and Point Emeriau S.W. by W., distant nearly 10 miles. The beach is about 2½ miles from our anchorage. On the beach we can see two or three natives walking along the sand. It was high water at 4 p.m. Towards night it was feared there would not be sufficient water at low tide; accordingly soundings were taken at intervals of 15 minutes until 10.15 p.m., when we had about 9 feet of water beneath the keel; the tide falling only 12 feet, or at the rate of 2 feet per hour. These are neap tides.
(153.)—We had a thunderstorm last night which lasted 6 hours; it came from the S.W. and disappeared to the N. The lightning was remarkable for the rapidity with which flash succeeded flash, so as, at times, to light up the whole horizon for a period of several seconds. The thunder was confused: one report blending with the other and producing a rumbling turmoil that prevented the making of an estimate of the distance we were anchored, from the spot to which the electrical disturbance was vertical. The whole sky seemed to be highly charged with the disturbed fluid: even after the apparent termination of the storm, the equilibrium was far from restored; the most vivid discharges continued to take place at intervals of a few seconds, apparently, in many cases, from the sea upwards. This display was grand in the extreme: and it was prolonged until nearly sun-rise.
(154.)—At dawn of day we left our anchorage with a fair wind, some of the men of the party complaining of the anchor being cast here at all. They allege, I believe, the weather, &c., as a reason why we should not remain but other considerations I fear have no little weight in the hatching of this remonstrance. Be that as it may, we are under sail without having landed at the spot we purposely came in shore to examine, as we had proposed to do on our outward voyage. (See March 28th.)
(155.)—Sailing closer to the shore of Dampier Land, than on our outward voyage, we have every evidence to favor the opinion of the prevalence of rich verdure on the hills and table lands; from Point Emeriau southward, the grass and trees grow down to the line of sand-hills and red cliffs. Our Longitude at noon was E. 122 deg. 16 min. 20 sec, and Latitude S. 16 deg. 55 min. 50 sec. Running one mile more on our course, we anchored at 1 p.m. about midway between the Lacepede islands and the main, in 10½ fathoms water. This is a good anchorage; the Lacepedes and their encircling reef act as a breakwater: their influence was well marked soon after noon, when we passed, in a few cable's length from slightly rough water, to a sea disturbed only by a gentle undulation.
(156.)—There was a succession of thunderstorms all the afternoon, some passing immediately over us, The lightning was very vivid; a slight electrical breeze set in for a few minutes, on one occasion only. Each storm brought its rainfall, which although prolonged was not great in amount.
(157.)—At 6 a.m. under sail again, with a very light wind. In the course of the morning we passed over a bank bearing S.S.E. of Cape Baskerville; the soundings on this bank at low water were four fathoms at the shallowest part, at a distance of 3 miles from the Cape. At noon our Longitude was E. 122 deg. 8 min. 20 sec, and Latitude S. 17 deg. 4 min. 20 sec. The breeze freshened a little in the afternoon, so that at 6 p.m., when the anchor was cast, in 12 fathoms water, Point Coulomb bore east, distant five miles. Dense cumulonus stretched all round the horizon; we had vivid lightning and squalls of wind and rain in the evening. After 10 p.m. the clouds dispersed, and a clear star-light night ensued; there was no wind after the last-named hour. The vessel rode easily at anchor, with little strain. The current and tide here, setting in a N.E. by N. direction, does not travel at a less rate than 3 knots per hour.
(158.)—At day-light it was calm; very heavy rain-storms were hanging over the land; from the perpendicular margins of the clouds when the rain was falling, I should imagine it fell without wind. We caught one of the Gadidæ, a family belonging to the Malacopterygious (or soft-finned) order, very closely resembling the gadus carbonarius, the coal-fish of North European seas. All day yesterday we noticed shoals of these fish but they would not take a bait. The food of this Gadus consisted of crustaceans and small fish: among the former were several prawns (Palæmon serratus) 3 to 4 inches in length, and three crabs too far digested to enable me to recognize the species; the small fish also were in the same partially-digested state. The weight of this fish was about 20lbs. Later in the morning a specimen of the Indian Remora, or sucking fish was caught; it is the Echcneis neucrates, which is of a more slender shape than the species described by Pliny, and other ancient naturalists. The apparatus by which it effects its adhesion to sharks and other fish, consists of an oval area (diameters 7 and 4 inches.) on the top of the head, traversed by 22 pairs of partitions on each side of the longitudinal septum. Its length was 2 feet; diameter, not inclusive of the pectoral fins, 4½ inches.
I took a careful outline of the fish; it was too, long and too broad to go into my bottles, so it was skinned for preservation. A second specimen was caught: its sucker was preserved for microscopic examination.
(159.)—During the afternoon a very large scaled yellow water-snake (Hydrophes) was caught; it was about 6 feet in length. In its stomach was a fish about 8 inches in girth. It is difficult to conceive how so small a mouth could be sufficiently distended to admit so disproportionate a morsel, until we see that besides the usual modification of the superior maxillary, which is moveably articulated to the palatine, ectoptorygoid, and lacrymal bones, as in all poisonous snakes,—there is an extraordinary enlargement of the edentulous inferior maxillary, which, viewed externally, appears like a longitudinal symphysis in the jaw, rendering it capable of great lateral extension.
(160.)—The anchor was up at 9 a.m. with the promise of a breeze; but, becalmed, we drifted only to the N.E. by N. until noon, when our Longitude was E. 122 deg. 3 min. 15 sec, and Latitude S. 17 deg. 16 min.; then a N.W. breeze, force 2, sprung up, and we sailed along, nearly parallel with the coast line, until 8.35 p.m. when the wind being very light, and the tidal movement drifting us in shore at the rate of about 3 knots per hour, the anchor was let go in 12 fathoms water. The evening service was read as usual: there were but seven persons present.
(161.)—At daylight we were under sail once more with, a very light wind from the eastward. Shoals of fish are to be seen all round the vessel, but they will not take a bait. The land breeze soon died away and we were becalmed, so that at noon we found we had lost, by drifting, eight miles; our position being Longitude E. 121 deg. 54 min. and Latitude S. 17 deg. 38 min. 30 sec. A good N.W. wind set in about 2 p.m., and by 5 o'clock we were 5 miles to the westward of Point Gantheaume, the northernmost head of Roebuck Bay, but in such shallow water, 6¼ fathoms, that as it was getting dark, and as the state of the tide was not known with certainty, the vessel was put about and sailed into 7¼ fathoms, when the anchor was cast for the night. During the calm no water-snakes were seen; but as soon as the breeze set in, an unusual number of both Hydrophes and Hydri were seen in all directions.
(162.)—We were becalmed until noon, in Longitude E. 122 deg. 9 min., and Latitude S. 18 deg. 6 min. During the afternoon we had a westerly wind, which would have carried us across the Bay, had not the tide set against us with so much force, that in the early afternoon we had enough to do to hold our own. Towards night, the wind freshening, we sailed a few miles on our course, until we reached 6¼ fathoms water, when we cast anchor. It was high water at our anchorage, 13 miles S. by W. of Point Gantheaume, at 9.30 p.m. Rise of tide 12 feet. During the morning three large sharks were caught: in the stomach of one, we found its most recent meal consisted of Hydrophes, of from one to 4½ feet in length.
(163.)—Expecting a more favorable wind to-day, the anchor was got on board at 6 a.m., but until noon we made only a retrograde course; our Longitude being E. 122 deg. 6 min. 0 sec., and Latitude S. 18 deg. 2 min. After dinner a strong breeze from the westward carried us by 3 p.m. into Longitude E. 122 deg. 1 min. 45 sec., and Latitude S. 18 deg. 13 min. 20 sec., where, finding our soundings gradually decreasing, we anchored in 5 fathoms water, hard sand; Cape Villaret bore nearly S.S.E., distant 7 miles.
(164.)—We have now cruised about the mouth of Roebuck Bay for three days without finding any indication of a channel: whenever we have had Point Gantheaume and Cape Villaret, the two heads of Roebuck Bay, in a line, the soundings have been less than 5 fathoms; and approaching either shore to a distance of 5 miles, we obtain the same soundings. The whale-boat, therefore, was got over the side as soon as we came to anchor; its destination is Cape Villaret, the result hoped of it, is a line of soundings taken as it returns from the shore to-morrow morning. This is by far the most exposed anchorage we have had since we left Brecknock Harbor; there is a swell setting with the tide, even without wind, of sufficient force to cause the vessel to ride uneasily: in the event of a westerly gale of wind, this anchorage would be highly dangerous. It is high water here, at full and change at 10 a.m. Rise of tide, 20 feet this day.
(165.)—Great quantities of water-snakes were seen off this Bay: several were caught. The capturing is a very simple matter; we have a long pole with a large fish-hook fastened at the end; a snake approaching, this contrivance is slipped underneath and a sudden jerk brings the creature, generally uninjured, on deck, where, although it is extremely fierce, biting the ropes and even the very deck itself, it is by no means formidable, for the shape which so beautifully adapts it to its aquatic life, is precisely that which prevents its active movement on a solid surface. Rapid contortions of the body with fierce darts and bitings, without direct progress in any direction, have alone characterised their action when on deck. (Native fires seen on both heads of Roebuck Bay.)
(166.)—At sun-rise only a glimpse of the solar eclipse was obtained, and that sight was rendered the more uncertain on account of a haze upon the eastern horizon. It was high water at 10 a.m. Rise of tide 23.5 feet. At 2 p.m. the whale-boat party returned: they bring excellent news. A 16-fathom channel, half a mile from Cape Villaret a sandy beach—an easy country to travel—good grass—and many natives, consequently, abundance of game and some water. Wind and tide did not favor us, so we remained at anchor all night.
(167.)—In the early morning we had a very strong S.E. wind; this with the flood tide soon produced a heavy sea. We were unable to weigh anchor until 10 a.m. Then the tide being against us, we were carried four or five miles to the westward of our destination, so that at 2 p.m., when becalmed, the anchor was let go in 9 fathoms water. In two hours time, a S.W. breeze springing up, we were under sail again steering towards Cape Villaret. At 6.30 p.m. we were in 4½ fathoms water at 2 miles from the shore. We anchored in 12½ fathoms water at 7 p.m., Cape Villaret bearing S. 9 deg. E. distant 1¾ miles. This is our final anchorage in Roebuck Bay; as we have so little of our time remaining, all further exploration of the Bay itself, must be made with the boats, whilst we are away inland to the eastward. At noon the vessel was in long. E. 121 deg. 57 min. 40 sec. lat. S. 18 deg. 20 min. At final anchorage the long. was E. 122 deg. 5 min. and lat S. 18 deg. 17 min.
(168.)—The longboat with a party went on shore to-day to examine and deepen the native well they found yesterday. Deepening the well does not seem to have increased the supply, which although small is sufficient for all purposes; even the filling up of the water casks may be completed, whilst we are absent on the land exploration, if the depot party left here will show a little more activity than they did in Brecknock Harbor. There is also an abundant supply of firewood within a short distance of the beach.
(169.)—Cape Villaret viewed from the sea is very remarkable. It is formed of red and white sandstone, with detached pinnacles, from 15 to 60 feet in height, of greatly varied outline. These rocks are capped with sands of the same colors, bearing tufts of grass of good quality, with an exquisite odor of verbena. Rocks lie piled about the beach in fantastic groups: the result of extensive land slips and partial disintegrations. The sandy beach slopes rapidly into deep water. About 1½ miles north of the cape the depth of water at low tide is not less than 12 fathoms; whilst on a line due north from the cape, for 20 miles, extensive shoals are formed which give in no case deeper water than from 3 to 4 fathoms. Only one detached rock, dangerous to shipping, has as yet been seen; that rock lies off Cape Villaret, north by west, at a distance of about 1 mile; it was revealed to us, after we had sailed quite close to it, by the low tide of this evening. At 4 p.m. we moved closer into the shore and anchored at ½ a mile from the beach in 3 fathoms water at low tide.
(170.)—At 7 a.m. two of the horses were safely taken ashore. The strength of the tide is such as to make a second boat necessary to tow the long-boat with the horse. At low water in the afternoon, the remaining three horses were landed without accident; two boats, the whale-boat and the long-boat, were still required. In the evening the Church Service was read; some of the party being at the depot, there were only six present.
(171.)—At day-break we landed in the long-boat to measure a base line, and take angles of all the hills visible from Cape Villaret. The highest land on the Cape is 145 feet above mean sea level; the surrounding country does not present many points favorable to a series of triangles. Such as there were to be seen were taken, although one only lies in the neighbourhood of our proposed course; but the others will serve to lie down the minor details of the coast line with more accuracy than we now find them on the charts.
(172.)—Two remarkable hillocks to the S.W. of Cape Villaret we obtained from both ends of the line; that to the eastward we named the Church, on account of its general outline, seen from the seaward, bearing a strong resemblance to such an edifice; the tower is formed by a large tree growing near the summit. The second hillock we named the Barn, from its shape. An ancient lava stream, intrusive, as to existing Pleistocene strata, may be seen upon the surface, not more than half a mile inland from Cape Villaret. On the beach I took a sketch of a curious pile of feldspathic and weathered calcareous sand-stone, standing isolated on the sandy shore: this, from the fancied resemblance, was by all named "the Judge sitting in his chair;" it forms a remarkable pile of stones: and from the shadows projected from overhanging pieces, before the sun attains an altitude of 35 deg., it gives the appearance of a weathered sculpture, when viewed from the S.E., at a distance of 200 yards. Height of sitting figure 15 feet: total height, including pedestal, 35 feet.
(173.)—The cliffs here have been subject to intense volcanic action: for half a mile the strata lie quite vertical. To this volcanic action, as a cause, may be ascribed the picturesque appearance of the Cape when viewed from the sea. Here, too, we found some curious cylindrical pipes from one to three or four inches in diameter, and of various lengths; they were lying scattered about the beach in the vicinity of Cape Villaret. These pipes are apparently stratified and compounded of alternate deposits of thin layers of crystalline specular iron, carbonate of lime, and water-worn compacted siliceous sand. They are due to the percolation down channels; in the sand-hills, during the process of consolidation, of water containing alternately carbonate of lime and oxides, of iron in solution. From, the highest land on the Cape we could see what we believe to be a range of hills running north and south, about 35 or 40 miles inland; from this spot to the range of hills, the country appears quite flat. The soil, within a mile of the sea, changes from sandy to a series of rich alluvial flats, and then a compact red sandy, loam with patches of very fine gravel. The grass changes in like manner, becoming much finer and sweeter, but still growing in tufts.
(174.)—We left the vessel at 6.30 a.m.; at the depot we found the horses nearly ready to start. The depot is situated E. ¼ S., about 2¾ miles from Cape Villaret, on a little lightly timbered and well-grassed flat, just inside the double range of sand-hills on the coast, close to a native well. At 8 a.m. (the party consisting of Mr. Panter, Shields, the mate of the schooner, Buck, our native Dunedale, and myself,—with my pony, and 3 pack-horses carrying a fortnight's provisions) we left the depot and travelled 12 miles; 10 miles on our due east course. We could not keep a straight line of march on account of thickets; these are not dense, but they are so encumbered with dead wood on the ground, that the horses find it difficult to keep their footing. If the thickets were once burnt there would be nothing to prevent a straight course being made through them in any direction. The ground passed over is perfectly level and sufficiently well grassed; by sufficiently well grassed is meant, a second rate country as compared with the Glenelg district; it is about equal in grazing capabilities to the average runs of Champion Bay. The timber is all small; it includes Eucalypti, Acacieæ, Cupresseoe, occasionally very stunted Sautalaceæ, and frequently trees not yet recognised as to genera but belonging to the order Myrtaceæ.
(175.)—The soil being of a sandy loam; without stones or gravel, we have as yet fallen in with no water except in the native wells, one of which determined the position of our depot, and a second here, conspicuous by its fringe of Hybisceæ, induced us to make its vicinity the sight of our noon-day bivouac. This well is about 15 feet deep. On going down, it was found to have no water in it; but when the spade was thrust into the bottom, it came out quite wet. Having dined, using the water we had brought here in a keg, four of the party set to work to dig another well close alongside the one found. The well was dug in two hours to a depth of 16 feet and water reached, the same soil as at the surface holding all the way down; it was now found that the sides of the well would fall in; indeed they already began to do so before the well was considered to be finished. We now, therefore, determined, as both men and horses were still fresh, and the day not too far advanced, to pack up and travel a few miles further.
(176.)—During the period of the well-sinking operations, the opportunity to examine our resting-place more minutely, was embraced. Near the well a fine shady tree, one of the Myrtaceæ, was found to be covered as to its trunk and lower branches, with the climbing abrus. At its base lie scattered hundreds of the seeds, about 50 of which had already taken root. The edifices of the white ant have been numerous and large all along our route; many recently fallen trees were being enclosed within the covered ways of these busy insects. Near Brecknock Harbor, the habitation of the Termitidæ consisted most frequently of a single, conical hill; but here the building presents a series of irregular cones connected below, but without any indication of a design hereafter to enclose them within one large edifice of any given definite shape.
(177.)—Following a native path, which it was supposed might lead to another well, we travelled four miles S.E., when the track diverged in so many directions that we resumed our course for two miles E.; evening coming on, we were obliged to encamp without water in thick country, but with an abundance of green feed for the horses. Our supper was rather a sorry one: a piece of damper and half a pint of the scanty supply of the water we started with. Camp No. 3. Long. E. 122 deg. 20 min. 45 sec., lat. S. 18 deg. 23 min. 5 sec. Approximate height above mean sea level 25 feet.
(178.)—At 5.30 a.m. we started off again; in the matter of food the horses have the advantage of us: there was enough dew to moisten the grass, which itself was green, thus preventing their hunger and thirst rebelling against so early a departure; in short they have fared far from badly. Our course for four miles was E.N.E.; our track then crossed a dense thicket which compelled us to travel S. one mile and S.E., one mile, in order to avoid it. Our native then declared we were near water, so to spare the horses extra and difficult travelling, whilst Mr. Panter and the native followed up the track of a native woman which does not seem older than last night, we, the remainder of the party, halted. After walking two miles through the thickets, for there were several, they came upon a native encampment, but its occupants had all fled, even leaving their fires burning. There were here two wells, both containing water. Our route with the horses, through alternate thickets and grassy plains, was E.N.E., two miles. We encamped at 9.30 a.m.
(179.)—Two hours afterwards, when we were having our breakfast, some natives were seen watching us from some neighbouring trees. We advanced towards them armed, but making signs to them to throw down their spears; this after a time they did. Then they came up to us making signs that they wanted water from the wells. We lent them a pannican; after they had satisfied their thirst, we gave them some sugar, biscuit, and damper. Several tendered back the sugar even after we had shewn them how to use it: others threw it away. We then exhibited to them a horse, and illustrated its use; this was a source; of wonder not unmixed with fear to them. At the sight of lucifer matches, pipes, and firearms, they were astonished and terrified; the discharge of a gun together with a view of Tommy's mouth and teeth, (this Tommy, was one of the pack-horses) kindly afforded them by one of our party who, after the display of equitation, called their attention by pantomime to the various organs of what to them must have been a marvellous quadruped, caused them to effect an immediate and final retreat, in spite of our amicable signs and their voluntary promise after a while to return.
(180.)—We endeavoured to find out from them where we should next seo water: but we are not certain that they understood us; if they did, they pointed out the direction of our course. They were all very thirsty: each drank two pints of water, and as there were nineteen of them, we feared for a supply sufficient for the horses; however, the wells filled up again so speedily that a bucketful was obtained a few minutes after their departure. They appeared charmed to meet the native of our party, one "Tommy Dunedale," whom they, seemed to recognise as some long lost relative. They spared not their caresses upon this individual whom they were evidently anxious should accompany them. One old man was so affectionately disposed towards "Tommy" as to hug him to an undesired extent. Whether this was from the pleasing contemplation of a feast at Tommy's expense, for he is a half-caste young and plump,—or whether it was the fancied recognition of Tommy as an old acquaintance I cannot yet make out, but appearances favor the latter supposition.
(181.)—These natives were naked with the exception of a few leaves just donned. They were not above the average height of men, they were mostly young, and all were well-conditioned and muscular. Some were wilgied, (painted with a mixture of red-ochre and grease)—others were colored with charcoal—and others again were decorated with spots of color, as if they had just left the scene of some recent festivity. Their hair was strained back from the forehead and tied at the back of the head in most cases, but in some few instances, it was allowed to grow naturally, that is, it stood out from the head in radiating spiral locks about four inches in length; briefly, the hair may be described as wavy-crisp in texture, jet-black in color. In no instance could any individual be said to have woolly hair. Some wore the beard and moustache plaitted up in locks with string. One young native was particularly proud of his personal appearance: he rejoiced in the possession of a charming moustache gummed and twisted upwards and outwards quite à la mode du Roi d'ltalie. Their countenances were far from repulsive. More evenly set or whiter teeth than theirs, could scarcely be imagined. Unusquisque apella esset.
(182.)—Their arms were of the most primitive description—roughly cut sticks, some pointed at both ends, served as spears; they had with them neither womeras, bomerangs, nor shields. In all probability we have fallen in with a hunting party not connected with the tribe wham we this morning frightened away from the site of our present encampment. The only specimens of native art yet found here, are the scoops they use for digging wells, &c.; the makers are most lavish in the carving of these implements, carving them all over, inside and out, with oblique and curved lines; the superiority of our spade, when it was shewn them how digging might be done with it, was immediately understood, and by signs they expressed their appreciation of it. Besides the eatables, we gave them a clasp knife and some lucifer matches. When a match failed to light, they exclaimed málo; this is the only word recognized as allied to the southern dialects. After their departure, we did not find ourselves minus any little articles lying about the tent, as is too frequently the case after interviews with the Australian tribes; it is possible they were so much astonished at our unexpected appearance on their hunting ground, and so much bewildered with the many sights new and marvellous to them, that they had not time to develop the idea of possession. Evidently they were not quite satisfied in their minds as to our good intentions in the matter of presents, for we found soon after they had left, that they had thrown away nearly everything we had given them, even to the matches with which they had at first seemed so pleased. A tame Dingo accompanied them, but it would not come near enough to us to enable us to make friendly overtures to it. We camped here for the night, keeping watch, lest, having had time to ponder well over the matter, the natives should return in greater numbers, or with less friendly intentions. Camp No. 4. Long. E. 122 deg. 27 min. 20 sec., lat. S. 18 deg. 22 min. 40 sec. Approximate height above mean sea level 40 feet.
(183.)—We left the camp at 6,30 a.m. Our courses were as follow: (1) E., 9 miles,—5 miles of well-grassed open country, then thickets of 4 miles; (2) E. by N. 2 miles, one of grassy plain and the second, more sandy than the prevailing soil, was covered with the Clyanthus; (3) E.N.E., 1 mile; and (4) E. by N., 4 miles. The fourth course, from the number of burnt patches, seems a favorite hunting ground of the natives: we did not see auy of them, but they could not have been very far distant from us at any time, because the burnt ground was covered with quite recent tracks and fresh fires were burning all round us. Our route led through timber not exceeding 30 feet in height, of the same kind but of superior growth to that seen in the country between, Camps Nos. 1 and 3. Leguminiferæ, genus abrus and genera of sub-tribe acacicæ predominating;—Malvaceaæ, tribe Hibisceæ being largely represented; here too was found the lemon-grass, of the same genus as that growing abundantly near Brecknock Harbor, but of very much less luxuriant growth, the Anatherum of India, called lemon-grass from having a strong lemon scent when rubbed between the fingers; the same grass from whose fresh leaves Europeans in India make an agreeable tea which is considered stomachic, tonic, and useful in dyspepsia. Our 16 miles of course, accomplished by more than 20 miles of route, brought us to a spot where, although there was no water, we camped because green grass was growing luxuriantly. Camp No. 5, Long. E. 122 deg. 43 min., Lat. S. 18 deg. 21 min. Height above the sea 45 feet.
(184.)—At 3 p.m. we re-saddled the horses and travelled 7 miles further; thus, 4 miles E., 1 mile S., and 2 miles E. by S. The ground was quite level; no rise, probably, exceeded 10 feet. It was well grassed and timbered like the ground passed over in the morning. In places our progress was delayed by fallen trees and dead brushwood, the accumulated result of many years. Bush fires, in the sense understood in southern parts of Western Australia seem not to obtain here. The grass burns with difficulty until after noon, and at night, the first formation of dew arrests the fire or else extinguishes it. Where the natives burn round their wells, we can see the grass is burnt only by dint of firing in many places. Trees are rarely burnt here. Again, the thickets are so only by reason of the mass of dead trees and brushwood forming a tangled under-stratum beneath the living trees and scrub; if fire were once to gain in these thickets they would entirely disappear. All the country passed over to-day is well fitted for the keeping of any kind of stock, provided only it were first burnt; and wells obtained; the trees, although so small, afford splendid shade.
(185.)—Nearly every tree and plant in flower yields a strong and grateful odor—the dwarf myrtle, so common here, perhaps has the most powerful odor, but some of the acacicæ and small shrubs possess scents exquisitely beautiful. The perfume of the heliotrope, the violet, the clove pink, the rose, the stock,—were all recognised; but many others although delicious were such as could not be likened to that of any commonly known plant or flower. A snake marked somewhat like the carpet-snake of southern parts of this colony was shot this morning; it was about 7 feet in length. This is the second only that has been seen in this district; the first was an Elaps Gouldii, about 2 feet in length, killed at Station No. 2. We encamped again at night without water at 5 p.m., having travelled upwards of 30 miles. The phenomena of lunar paraselenæ are seldom witnessed within tropical regions; this evening, however, between 7 and 8 o'clock there was a beautiful display, due alone to the diffractive refraction of light by aqueous vapor. It lasted more than an hour. In intensity, the moon's light being 1000, it exceeded 750 on the most brilliant lines, fading off on either side to a barely perceptible nebulous edge. Camp No. 6, Long. E. 122 deg. 49 min., Lat. S. 18 deg. 22 min. 40 sec. Height above mean sea-level 50 feet.
(186.)—At day-light, not waiting to breakfast, we started again and travelled 7 miles E. At 8.30 a.m. finding no change of country, no hill visible, no sign of native wells, and fearing to incur the risk of the time necessary to sink a well, whilst the horses have been without water for 30 hours, during which time they have travelled more than 37 miles,—we commenced to retrace our steps to the native wells at Camp No. 4. It seems a pity to turn back as we are now upwards of 50 miles to the eastward of Cape Villaret, and our hope of reaching the FitzRoy River is thus laid aside, for our time is far too limited to make a second attempt eastward,—but there is no help for it. The journey, however, is quite practicable. The country thus far is well grassed and easy to travel over; if one-half or even one-third of our daily distances were made, and water obtained by sinking a well at each stopping place where no native wells existed, one month or six weeks would suffice to enable any party of three or four to reach the FitzRoy and return to Roebuck Bay without the incurring of more difficulty and fatigue,—danger there is none,—than during the overland route from Champion Bay to Perth. But our time in this district is limited to 14 or 15 days only, owing to the tedious voyage to Brecknock Harbor, and the delay there of repairing the vessel after our land-exploration was finished. Having now therefore ascertained an extent of good pastoral land for upwards of 50 miles in a direct line eastward of Cape Villaret, it seems, under the circumstances, an important question to examine so much of this district southwards from Roebuck Bay as the time will admit of. This resolution made, after marking some trees, we journeyed westward for an hour and then halted for breakfast on a very short allowance of water. The position of our most eastern point (Station No. 7) was in Long. E. 122 deg. 56 min., and Lat. S. 18 deg. 23 min. Height above the sea 48 feet.
(187.)—At 11 a.m. we were again en route. After passing Camp 6 about a mile, a noise like that of some one chopping a tree, was heard at no groat distance from our track. Three of the party approached the spot where the noise was heard. In a few minutes they found a native cutting off a bough of a tree for the purpose of obtaining honey in a hollow made by bees of the carpenter kind (genus Xylocapa). The moment the native caught a glimpse of his unexpected visitors, he stood motionless for a few seconds, lost in astonishment; then bethinking him of his spear, he threatened Buck with it, who in self-defence fired and wounded the native with shot. This man seems to have been one of a hunting party, for, upon the firing of the gun the bush resounded far and wide with retreating shrieks of terror. As we had no time to follow the natives, although doubtless we were at no great distance from a native well, as soon as men and horses were all collected together again, we resumed our course, travelling under a cloudless sky; the solar radiation thermometer indicating a temperature of 143 deg. at noon. We halted for an hour at 1 p.m. and then continued our journey. Except the pleasing discovery, at the root of a tree, of about a quart of what we were now willing to designate water, but what at other times we should, simply call mud, for liquid and solid matters were in nearly equal ratios—nothing disturbed our toilsome walk, save fatigue, until we reached the native wells, at ½ past 9 p.m. The distance travelled over during the day, exceeded 45 miles. The wells did not fail us; by 11 p.m. both men and horses had satisfied their thirst and were well disposed to enjoy a night's rest.
(188.)—This day we are resting. By frequently dipping water from the well we get a sufficient supply; but wells that may hereafter be sunk here will require to be either slabbed or stoned. Some pigeons and kingfishers were shot to-day. There is an abundance of game all along our track, but tune could not be spared to obtain it.
(189.)—Before sunrise we had saddled up and were ready to start again. Our course for 5 miles was N.W.; then we struck a native path, which we followed for 15 miles, running nearly W. by N. towards Roebuck Bay. The first mile was clear: the succeeding four contained belts of thicket; then the native path ran through thickly wooded but well-grassed country down to the plains immediately within the sea-coast range. We camped near the base of the sand-hills which are here not more than 2 or 3 hundred yards wide. The day we quitted the vessel a whale-boat party, in charge. of Mr. A. Du Boulay, started to examine the head of Roebuck Bay. We had not encamped here, on the plain, many minutes when we met one of the crew of the whale-boat, who had walked from the head of Roebuck Bay. We have water in the native well to which the path we followed led us, but this man reports a better supply some 5 or six miles further up the plain. The native wells are not sunk deep enough: and being carried down so crookedly and badly, any attempt to deepen them generally ends by their falling in; but as the same loamy sou prevails all down, sinking to water is only the work of a few hours. We purpose to remain encamped here the rest of the day; two of the men have gone up the plain to water the horses at a spot where we learn a large supply can be obtained at a depth of only two feet from the surface.
(190.)—Our native "Dunedale" went out for an hour, to make some additions to our impoverished larder; he returned with a kangaroo, 3 turkeys, and 3 cockatoos. In the pouch of the kangaroo was a young one, of about 14 days, which was forthwith preserved in spirit. A new lizard also was caught: it is one of a connecting genus between the Gecko and the Molochus horridus of Grey. A black snake of the same species as is common to the southern parts of this Colony, was shot just before we reached our present camp.
(191.)—In the afternoon, during a stroll along the sea-beach of Roebuck Bay, we picked up shells of the following genera: Solen, Aspergillum (a smooth, club-shaped species, whose calcareous tube is 5 inches in length, nearly like the Java aspergillum, with the terminal anterior perforated disc surrounded by fimbriated rays) 2 new species of Echini, of a dark purple color, and some spines of a cidaris which I believe to be undescribed; the sand in the dead shells yields many Forameniferæ, chiefly of the families Helicostogidæ and Entomostegidæ, whose precise generic and specific differences cannot at present, be determined, through lack of time and sufficient microscopic power; we likewise collected specimens of Voluta, Helix, Strombus, Mactra, Donax, Arca, Pccten, Pinna, Conus, Murex, Trochus, Haliotis, Cyproea, Pyrula, Akera, Tridacna, Iridina, Astrae, Turritella and others. Rocks of 20 or 30 feet in height here project through the side of the sand-hills and form steep boundaries to the beach. These rocks are post-pliocene or aerial, formed of loose incoherent shell and coral sand only recently compacted together into a solid stone by the solution and redeposition of the carbonates of lime and oxides of iron.
(192.)—The men did not return from the place, where they watered the horses until 9 p.m. They had an interview with some of the sea-coast tribe. One young native woman even for a few minutes entrusted her child, about a fortnight old, to be nursed by Buck, one of the two in charge of the horses; she afterwards gave the same person her necklace made of pieces of the claws of a crab; (Porcellana, a genus of Anomurous Crustacea found only occasionally on the North-West Coast of Australia.) The pieces composing, the necklace, were about the size and shape of large bugles, similar to those used in ladies' fancy work, strung on a twine as neatly made as whipcord, but, being manufactured of a mixture of hair and various grass fibres, greatly inferior to it in strength. Another trophy these men gained was a rude kind of shield, not hollowed-out behind, after the fashion of those used by more southern tribes, but with a handle cut out of the solid; although heavy, it seems to have done the original owner good service, as it bears the marks of several kileys; (the kiley is an inferior kind of bomerang, less useful in the chase and less destructive as an instrument of native warfare). No fighting spears have as yet been seen in the possession of any of these native tribes, nor is there any evidence to show that they are acquainted with the use of the womera, or throwing stick. As a race the sea-coast tribes appear timid and less intelligent than those of the interior, or, if we may judge a race by its handicraft, those of the Glenelg district. Camp No. 6, Long. E. 122 deg. 10 min. 30 sec., Lat. S, 18 deg. 16 min. 12 sec. Height above the sea 24 feet.
(193.)—As we hear a very favorable account of the fertility of the plains to the eastward, at 1 p.m., leaving the native Dunedale in charge of the camp, we each took a horse and started for the watering place which is 5½ miles E. by N.; from Camp No. 8. The whole distance, our route lay over treeless plains, bounded on the one side by the dunes and on the other by a belt of cajeputi trees. The plains gradually widened from one mile at Camp No. 8 to 5 or 6 miles, near the watering place. At this spot water is easily obtainable within 2 or 3 feet of the surface; either from native wells or by sinking; The plains passed over we propose to name "the Racecourse Plains," as obviously here, when the district is settled, the Roebuck Turf Club will hold its first meeting; these plains are well-grassed and will feed a large number of stock: the soil near our halting ground is alluvial of a deep black color, consisting chiefly of decomposed vegetable matter, with little sand. To the eastward these plains extend as far as the eye can see gradually increasing in breadth. It is a great pity we did not discover them before starting on our eastward journey; had we done so, we might easily have travelled 35 or 40 miles a day on our course, instead of the average of 20 miles made daily, with difficulty, last week. If we could only spare 3 or 4 weeks to the work we could doubtless now reach the FitzRoy in this direction with our present resources; but as the vessel's charter expires in now little more than a month, we cannot entertain the question, and provincia aurifera must remain a provincia incognita so far as this expedition is concerned. In the meantime the country between Cape Villaret and our Camp No. 7, it may be observed, presents no indication whatever of a gold-field: should this exist, the geological formation must undergo a prodigious change within a few miles of our easternmost point, of which change we could see no single evidence. I am inclined to the belief that the name has been adopted by the ancient navigators in a figurative sense, just as we speak of our "golden age" in English History. Certainly any European beholding this country towards the end of the spring time of the year, when the rich earth is carpeted with verdure not to be excelled, and the trees and bushes laden with the most fragrant and brilliant flowers,—any man might be pardoned for a slight departure from the routine of descriptive terms and indulge in the figurative to the extent in question.
(194.)—During the afternoon, four native men came up to us and we held a conference of not less than two hours' duration; but as neither party understood a sentence of what the other said, it ended in the most amicable manner, as such meetings not unfrequently do in other parts of the earth. At parting we each made the most friendly signs; in the bestowal of gifts the reciprocity was almost entirely on our side; our presents to them consisted of pins, buttons, string, fish-hooks, paper, colored pencils, &c. From them we gained only a limited number of words to add to our vocabulary and these only by dint of no little display of patience. One old man insisted upon calling me Iágo. Their "Kardo", is equivalent to our indeed! ah! yes! &c., and is repeated rapidly when emphatic throughout a descending scale of about 5 or 6 tones. At 6.30 p.m. we left the watering-place with the horses and travelled quietly to our camp in two hours. As we were returning, native fires kept springing up all along the cajeputi thicket. These cajeputi trees I believe will be valued by future colonists; not only as producers of an oil possessing medical properties, but as sources of an oil that has the power of dissolving India rubber and various resins, and, therefore, in the manufacture of varnishes, &c., an item of commercial importance. In. the course of the evening Mr. A. Du Boulay joined us; he is to accompany us to Lagrange Bay.
(195.)—Mr. Du Boulay gives me the following narrative of his exploration of Roebuck Bay and its neighbourhood. He left the "New Perseverance" on Tuesday the 10th courant, in the whale-boats with a crew of four. About noon he reached the third or most distant point of land on the southern shore of Roebuck Bay, which is visible from the ship. The point itself is an island at spring tides. The channel from Cape Villaret he found to shoal rapidly from 12 to 3 fathoms within a distance of 7 miles in a N.E. direction from the Cape. The land between the point and the main was covered with Echini, sponges, and shells. From this point he examined an inlet running S.S.W.; it is quite dry at low water, and at about 3 miles from the opening, terminates in two smaller inlets fringed with mangroves. The night of the 10th was passed in the boat at anchor off the Bay, and aground at low tide. On the next day when the tide served, the boat was taken round a sand-bank which extends off this point to a distance exceeding 4½ miles, in a N.W. direction: then, the point rounded, he approached the shore again to seek water, but the mangroves were too dense to admit of landing there. Following up the S.E. shore of the Bay some 2 miles further, he was more successful; he not only found a good landing place but a native well in a thicket round the north end of some low sand-hills running from S.W. to N.E., at a distance of about a mile from the shore. Here too he had his first interview with the sea-coast tribe, and obtained many words from them. The mode of salutation, as evinced by these natives, is the putting of the hand upon the head of the individual saluted. After refilling the water kegs, and stowing them in the boat on Thursday morning, he ascended the sand-hills; he found their height above the sea to be about 70 feet. From the summit he obtained a good view of the eastern shore of the Bay which is fringed with a mangrove belt—and at low water he was enabled by a series of bearings to determine the line of the Bay which is dry at low water; he also secured compass and other observations to fix the position of the summit itself. This done, he sailed to the head of the Bay but could see no land eastward owing to the dense mangrove belt. Land on the northern shore, however, was always in sight. He tried to reach the sand-hills towards evening, but the tide failing, a fire was kindled near the boat and the night passed there, about 3½ miles N.E. of the sand-hills. On Friday, May 13th, he returned to the sand-hills and with one of the crew slept on shore; two of the natives had promised to remain with them, but during the night they disappeared. On Saturday one of the boat's crew left the party to walk back to the Depot camp, and another interview with the natives took place. Before the boat was afloat, one of the natives (there were eight of them collected together at the time) was detected in the act of stealing the boat's crutches and burying them in the sand; but upon perceiving he was discovered, the stolen property was restored. A strong S.E. wind blowing in the afternoon, the boat, under sail, left the beach to the north of the sand-hills, and without further difficulty reached a point due north of the first mentioned inlet; then the tide left her high and dry for the night. During the night the tide did not rise high enough to float the boat; but on the afternoon of the next day (Sunday, 15th May,) the boat floated once more, and by 8.30 p.m. she was safely alongside the schooner. Position of watering place. Long. E. 122 deg. 17 min., lat. S. 18 deg. 15 min. 20 sec. Height above the sea 18 feet.
(196.)—At 7.30 a.m. we left camp No. 8 and travelled in a S.W. direction for ten miles when at noon we reached Church Hill. The country passed, over is still the same; well grassed, red loamy soil, with thickly growing but small trees. All along our route kangaroos were numerous and game of all sorts abundant. We halted at the eastern base of Church Hill. The summit of this hill is about 190 feet above the mean sea level; it is merely a pile of irregularly disposed stones, conglomerates of coarse old red sandstone with here and there a stratum of gritty white sandstone, stained with oxides of iron or containing deposits of specular iron ore. On descending by the western side of the hill out-cropping beds of Tilestones of the upper silurian period were crossed; they were evenly bedded and disposed in layers beneath the sparse old red sandstone conglomerate. At a lower point in the hill, where recent weathering effects had caused a rather large land-slip, and where the generally luxuriant vegetation clothing the hill was arrested for a time,—associated, fragments of a slightly micaceous sandy shale and thin bedded soft argillaceous sandstone, banded of a violet, and in some instances of a purple color, were exposed. Time did not admit of a close examination on the spot; but I believe all to be unfossiliferous. Some interesting examples of a honey-combed greenish gray sandstone were also collected at the same spot. This hill although small, is a beautiful instance of circumdenudation; in some cavern-like spaces near the summit, water-worn pillars supporting arches; equally water-worn formed miniature grottoes. One was so picturesque as to claim the taking of an imperfect outline. Even here in the crevices and in holes filled with eroded particles not yet sufficiently disintegrated to form a soil, the bean, convolvulus, and the beautiful abrus, so characteristic, of north-west Australian districts, grew as luxuriantly, although no water appeared in the vicinity, as in the plentifully watered valleys of the Glenelg.
(197.)—At 5 p.m. we re-saddled the horses, and travelled along the coast, for a distance of 4½ miles, to a spot where a series of now perfectly dry, short creeks, empty themselves into the sea-through deep ravines in a coarse light red sand-stone formation; dip 10 deg. S.E. Down these ravines the summer torrents rush with immense velocity. In one place, a mere rivulet had worn in the solid rock, a circular hole about 7 feet across and 12 feet deep; at the bottom, in a less compact stratum, a water-course wound its way by an underground channel to the sea. We sought water in these ravines for a short time, but without success; night coming on we selected a bare stony place and then encamped with very indifferent feed for the horses. The ground passed over from the Church Hill to our present camp, being hear the sea-coast, and broken up by ravines and stony hills to the summit of the sea-coast range, did not offer grazing capabilities equal to those of the country further inland; at our camp to-night, for instance, it was a difficult matter to find a suitable tether for more than two horses within a range of 100 yards of the camp fire. Camp No. 9, Long. E. 122 deg. Lat. S. 18 deg. 24 min. Height above the sea 85 feet.
(198.)—About 2 a.m. "Tommy," the pack-horse, being tied up short to a dead tree, broke away with two halters on, and in the morning of course he was nowhere to be seen. There was time, whilst search was being made for the missing horse, to re-examine the ravines. In the sections, which are here and there perpendicular, search was made for fossil remains, but in vain. Large cuboidal blocks, twenty feet and more in the sides, lie, where the banks slope, at every angle of inclination: these masses are detached by the undermining effects of the summer rains. The ravines are about 80 feet in depth and consist of coarse red, and while sand-stone rocks; the latter not greatly dissimilar to the Upper Ludlow rocks, and the former, a coarse red sand-stone, belongs to the upper silurian period. There is a singular absence of Coleoptera throughout the district, which I can only attribute to the earliness of the season for flowers of both trees and shrubs. Only two species of Curculionidæ and one Carabus have as yet been found.
(199.)—At 8 a.m. we started again, leaving the missing horse to find his way back to the Dépôt; his pack-saddle we left at the camp. We made a very zigzag course, as we were in search of water; at 11 a.m. we halted at a native well in the bed of a dry water-course, about a mile from the sea, at a spot where, when the stream runs, there is a fall of about 14 feet, over some rocks into a sandy basin, ten yards in diameter. The water mark shews that during the rainy season there is a pool here 5 feet in depth. From this place it winds its way, by a serpentine course, through a small flat, when at a distance of a few hundred yards it meets a similar stream, and uniting, they pursue their way together into the sea. Although finding these native wells has been a difficult task to us, they must certainly be very numerous, or the country could not support so great a number of natives as we find here. From any little eminence, native fires can in general be seen all round the horizon. Another reason for supposing the number of wells to be large, may be inferred from their size; they are all so small as to afford only just sufficient space, in the case of the deep ones, for a man to creep down and reach his hand to the water—whilst the shallow wells are holes barely large enough to dip out the water with a small shell. The aborigines of this district, whether stationary, travelling, or hunting, from the nature of the climate, and from the food they eat,—(the sea-coast tribes subsist chiefly on shell-fish)—must require a plentiful supply of this necessary; finding them located here in such great numbers and scattered about the country in small groups is evidence of their abundant water-supply. In the case of the little well near to which we are now resting, it is so situated that one might pass within a few yards of it in any direction without detecting the slightest sign of anything of the kind, save natives' tracks. Another and larger well was dug here close to the one first found; at a depth of 4 feet, as much water was obtained as was required, but it was so strongly impregnated with iron that when our cocoa was made it was as black as ink, though not disagreeable to the taste.
(200.)—Several additions were made to the botanical collection; that of Natural History was increased only by some unios and land shells, e.g., Helix (Corocolla, nearest species) with brown bands, Lymnæus, Physa Novæ Hollandiæ, Planorbis, Succinea and Clausilia. It is perhaps worthy of remark that as in the Glenelg district the presence of permanent fresh water, either on the surface or at a very trifling depth below it, is indicated by the presence of the palm and white acacia, so here in every instance, where we find water, there all round grow the abrus and the yellow hybiscus. The palm, baobab, and white acacia are wholly wanting here: Collier Bay seems to be the southern limit to their growth, so far at least inland as the country lying within 50 miles of the sea-coast. Camp No. 10, Long. E. 121 deg. 59 min. 50 sec., Lat. S. 18 deg. 25 min. 30 sec. Height above the sea 65 feet.
(201.)—At 3.30 p.m., we were again en route. We travelled mostly through the thickets, which run parallel to the sea-coast line, until 7.30 p.m. when we camped for the night, with short tethers for the horses but with plenty of grass. Our motive for diverging from our course was the hope of striking the native track from Roebuck Bay to Lagrange Bay, as it would be easier travelling than our present line. However, finding it went too far inland, we intend to resume our own course to-morrow. The native tracks are well beaten paths, traversing the district, where the locality will admit, in nearly right lines. Camp No. 11, Long. E. 122 deg. 0 min. 40 sec., Lat. S. 18 deg. 28 min. Height above the sea 50 feet.
(202.)We left camp at 7 a.m. and travelled about S.W. till 11 a.m. when we struck the sea-beach, having walked about 12 miles, 4 only of which were on our course. All our route lay through thickets as last night, none of which were dense, and all were tolerably well grassed. Here we made our noonday halt. Camp No. 12, long. E. 121 deg. 57 min. 30 sec, lat. S. 18 deg. 29 min. 30 sec. Height above the sea 35 feet.
(203.)—On the road hither a new curculio, and a carabus were caught: the former on an acacia bush, the latter on the wing. Underneath the bark of a small Eucalyptus we found several gaily colored scutata closely resembling the Callideæ, an undescribed genus whose fully developed scutellum serves as a sheath for the protection of the wings; this genus being first found in the Glenelg district is named Glenelgidæ:—four species are already included in this genus. Near the sea-beach, between the sand-hills, there was a beautiful specimen of the post-pliocene epoch, an accumulation of sand, shell, and corals, entire and in fragments, including only species now living in the adjacent ocean, in process of conversion into a hard stone by solutions of carbonate of lime, &c. It is 10 inches in length and 2 inches in diameter: it was found upright in the surface sand; of course it has been brought to its present site by some native whose attention may have been drawn to it, perhaps, by a bright red pecten on the top of it. It is a beautiful example, containing quartz sand both angular and water-worn, fragments of secondary sandstone, garnet grains, univalve, bivalve and multivalve shells, the calcareous polypidoms of several Polyzoæ, various corals, &c.
(204)—At 3 p.m. we started again and travelled for two hours within the line of sand-hills, on level country, but with more scrub than grass. At the end of a long flat towards the hilly land forming Cape Latouche Treville, the northernmost head of Lagrange Bay, we encamped near a native well, which on being cleared out and enlarged, yielded plenty of excellent water both for men and horses. The flat was covered with beans, the abrus, and dwarf acacia. Two old native women and a man were fishing on a reef close by. One of the former was afterwards caught and led down to the fire, not without much opposition on her part. The poor creature evidently expected we were going to eat her, nor could we by our little presents induce her to dismiss her fears; but after a short time, when she found she was free to depart, she required no second intimation to sidle off and eventually disappear. She was a miserable specimen of the genus homo: with short grey hair, remarkably long and large upper lip, disproportionately small chin, thin shrivelled legs, and a body bearing evidences of scanty and unwholesome food for many a year past. Her load was made up principally of bivalve shell-fish, mussels predominating. All our presents she threw away very soon after she left us.
(205.)—Flocks of small pigeons flew about the will, but as our shot was large, they were difficult to kill; notwithstanding this, we obtained 11 as a contribution to our evening meal. A burrowing owl, not unlike the Athene cunicularia, was shot in the morning. From tracks on the ground, I am led to believe it inhabits the holes made by the burrowing marsupials, whose excavations here are very numerous. Soon after sunset we lost no time in seeking our welcome beds, having first placed our saddles for pillows, and dug up soft spots in the sand to form sleeping places, as luxurious to the explorer as the down bed to the fire-side traveller. Camp No. 13. Long. E. 121 deg. 53 min. 40 sec., lat. S. 18 deg. 32 min. Height above the sea 35 feet.
(206.)—In the early morning only 13 pigeons were shot for breakfast. At 8 a.m. we left the horses to feed at Camp No. 13, and started on a pedestrian trip to the high land on Cape Latouche Treville, bearing N.W. and distant 4 miles. For the first three miles we walked along the beach; there were plenty of good dead shells, but our means of carrying them to the ship being limited, we were content to pick up a few small examples of rare Trochus, Strombus, and Spondylus. We then crossed the sand-hills where an out-jutting post-tertiary sandstone rock gave easier footing than the loose sand of the dunes, and climbed two or three little hills covered with the long runners of the Convolvulus and the bean; we then ascended a conical hill, 90 feet above the mean sea level. As this, the highest land hear, gave us no view to the southward, we started off to another red hummock, distant about ¾ of a mile. From this point which is 180 feet above the sea, the highest summit on the neck of land forming Cape Latouche Treville, we gained an excellent view of Lagrange Bay,—all round its coast line to Cape Bossut and Casuarina Reef. It is a much smaller Bay than we were led to expect from the space left vacant on the charts; it is also very shallow, and no considerable stream falls into the sea by this Bay. We could see the clumps of mangroves at its head, looking like a number of small green islands; and beyond these a broad belt of treeless plains; these are bounded by a fringe of cajeputi trees, precisely as is the case with Roebuck Bay. The country adjoining these plains is perfectly level, and, as far as we could see, has the same kind of soil, trees, and grass as the rest of the district. To the east and south the same level country extends to the horizon, without any variation of color in the foliage to indicate a chance in the soil. Drawing a line from Cape Latouche Treville to Cape Bossut, the head of the Bay is in no place distant more than 4 miles. In future times, when this country is occupied by the settler, a ship will have to anchor 3 or 4 miles away from Lagrange Bay to land or receive cargo, which must be transferred between the ship and the shore in flats drawing but little water. Stock, too, in all the places we have visited, could be landed much better and safer in flats than by swimming or by the ordinary boats. We returned to camp at noon, the solar radiation thermometer reading 124 deg.
(207.)—We commenced our return journey to Roebuck Bay at 7 a.m. Crossing the sand-hills we walked along the beach as far as our old camp No. 12. Thence we travelled on the inland side of the dunes to a bold Cape forming the northern termination of the beautiful bay north of Cape Latouche Treville. We halted here at 10 a.m. for a short time to obtain a series of angles and admire the coast scenery; this cape, situate between Latouche Treville and Gourdon, I have named Cape Du Boulay, after our fellow traveller Arthur Du Boulay, who has ever been ready to promote the objects of this expedition. With the exception of one more halt (at station 14) of an hour's duration, from 1 to 2 p.m. we walked till 3 p.m. when we reached Camp No. 10 of our outward journey, and found the yield of water in the well in no way diminished. Kangaroos, Turkeys, many kinds of parrots, Parrakeets, Pigeons, Cockatoos, Cranes—Ardea Antigone and A. Scopacia—and Crows, are numerous everywhere between Lagrange Bay and Cape Villaret. Soon after we arrived upon our old camping ground, we dined on a compound stew of Kangaroo and Turkey, cooked in one vessel. We journeyed no further to-day; the night passed pleasantly in our sheltered nook, with the brightest moonlight, clearest sky, and balmy air.
(208.)—At 7 a.m. we left the native well and kept a course seaward of our outward track. We found but little difficulty in crossing the ravines, so long as we travelled near the sea-coast line. This line offers no impediment in the shape of thickets; but walking over the low myrtle scrub is rather hard work. We arrived at the Barn Hill at 10 a.m., and rested there a quarter of an hour, during which time I found a new dwarf acacia in flower; we then walked to the Dépôt Camp near Cape Villaret, which we reached easily in two hours. Here the missing horse "Tommy" was accounted for; he made his way back to the dépôt the morning after we lost him. Several times during our walk from Camp 10 we crossed his tracks, so that we were not surprised to learn the result on reaching the dépôt. After an hour's rest we went on board the vessel, now anchored about 2 miles from the shore. We found rest for the remainder of the day very acceptable. We have travelled fully 250 miles during the past 13 days: all of which distance was done on foot by the whole of the party, myself excepted:—I may perhaps have ridden altogether 20 miles, but certainly not more.
(209.)—Our land Exploration is now finished; the results so far as pastoral interests are concerned, are these, no mean additions to the present limited area of known pastoral lands within the boundaries of Western Australia:
|Area in acres||Estimated carrying
|Augustus and other islands||80,000||80,000|
|Roebuck Bay district||2,112,000||1,056,000|
Dampier's Land, as far north as Cape Borda, from the sea, and we sailed for 5 days within a very short distance of the coast, appears better grassed even than DeWitt's Land. If we include this and suppose it to be not inferior to the land in the Roebuck Bay district, which we have actually travelled over, the total will amount to 5,592,000 acres fit to be used for runs for 3,336,000 sheep. All the land we have seen in this district is equal to the average of the stations in Champion Bay district; and this country possesses those two very important advantages over the present settled districts of Western Australia: (1) there are no sand plains (2) there is no astrolobium or poison plant,—the bane of the Southern sheep-runs.
(210.)—All day long every one was occupied in making preparations for to-morrow, when we hope to start on our homeward route. The horses were brought off safely at low tide in the afternoon without much difficulty although the ship was further from the shore than when they were landed; still the vessel was as near as it was prudent to take her.
(211.)—Several live specimens of the Echinus whose coriaceous integuments divested of their spinous armature we have found so frequently on this coast, were brought on board; these Echini are remarkable for the delicate and transparent nature of their spines; they are not thicker than hogs' bristles, but exceedingly tough and so sharply pointed that the incautious handler is soon surprised, if not aggrieved. The longest spines are three inches in length. A 25 rayed Asterias, of a black color, and also an Aphrodita, or sea-mouse, were, brought on board. The latter marine annelide is oval and aculeated as to its figure; it is 3 inches long and of a dull red metallic lustre.
(212.)—At early dawn the dépôt camp was broken up, and the remainder of the party and stores re-embarked. At 8 a.m. we set sail, homeward hound, with a light but favorable wind. At noon we were abreast of Cape Gourdon in long. E. 121 deg. 54 min. and lat. S. 18 deg. 10 min. (14 fathoms; sand.) At 5 p.m. Cape Latouche Treville bore S.E. by S. ½ S. and was distant 11 miles. During the afternoon the wind was very light, but at 7 p.m. it went round to the S.E., and freshened a little. In the afternoon we saw a remarkably still line of water across our course, presenting all the appearance of a shallow or bank nearly awash. The ship's course was changed and soundings taken: finding we had 12½ fathoms we resumed our course and the motionless water was sailed through. It may have been the meeting of the tidal waves, for directly after passing the line there was a strong tide ripple; it was about the hour of the day when Such an effect might be expected here.
(213.)—To-day I obtained a rather large specimen of the Mantidæ. It is 8.9 inches long and 0.53 inch in diameter, at the largest part of the body. Its expanse of wing, posterior pair, is 6 inches. The body is of a cinerious to hue; the legs, of a chrome yellow color with bright emerald green markings, extending to the spinous processes with which they are armed. The first pair of wings measure in length 1.22 inch; the breadth is 0.45 inch; these are of a dull green color. The upper parts of the posterior wings are green tinted with lilac; on the under aide there is a broad band of a crimson hue; the transparent parts of the wings have the nervures tinted with brilliant emerald green, the smaller reticulations are of the same color but of a lighter tint. The head, antennæ, and tail, are banded with green and yellow.
(214.)—We had a fair wind from the setting in of the S.E. wind, throughout the night. At noon we were in long. E. 120 deg. 3 min. and lat. S. 18 deg. 41 min. During the morning the wind went round to the E.; this entails a certain amount of disagreeables consequent upon the rolling of the vessel. A meridian altitude of Spica Virginis shortly after; 9 o'clock in the evening gave our latitude in S. 18 deg. 52 min.
(215.)—At 4 a.m. the minimum thermometer on deck, and the thermometer in shade read 80 deg. We had a fair wind all day: but towards sundown its force decreased a little. At noon, we were in Long. E. 118 deg. 37 min. and Lat. S. 19 deg. 1 min., Bedout Island being distant about 40 miles and bearing S.S.E. Sunset was attended with much refraction; the sun's image was greatly lengthened vertically so as to give an outline of the disk not unlike a balloon. The sea in the evening displayed a great number of phosphorescent creatures.
(216.)—The wind has been in our favor all night. The prevailing wind in this latitude, in the months of June, August, and May seems to be included between the S.E. and N.E. points of the compass. In the present month it veers from S.E. in the morning to N.E. during the afternoon: backing to S.E. between the hours of 6-9 p.m. We sailed over the meridian of Nickol Bay at 10 a.m., at a distance of 118 miles of Latitude to the north of it. At noon we were in Long. E. 116 deg 25 min., and lat. S. 19 deg. 28 min., Rosemary Island, one of Dampier's Archipelago, bearing S by E distant 58 miles. To-night our colored lamps are displayed, as it is thought there may be some whaling vessels cruising about here.
(217.)—In the course of the morning we sailed past Ritchie's Reef, leaving it a few miles to the S., but we did not see it; it would not now be seen on account of the smoothness of the sea, unless the intervening distance were less than 4 miles. At noon our Long. was E. 114 deg. 40 min., and Lat. S. 20 deg. 26 min.
(218.)—At day-break we saw the high land on the promontary to the westward of Exmouth Gulf; the schooner being, at the time nearly abreast of N.W. Cape, Vlaming Head being only 10 Miles distant. At noon our Long was E. 113 deg. 32 min. 30 sec., and Lat. S. 22 deg. 19 min. Towards 4 p.m. we obtained bearings of Point Cloates. During the evening we perceived the first warning of our departure from the region of cloudless skies; across the south horizon a dense bank of rapidly rising stratus came upwards and onwards towards the north; until one by one each glittering star became first dim, then invisible, until the whole firmament became of a lead-colored line. At the Service read in the evening only five attended, although the vessel was sailing so steadily as to give no inconvenience whatever to those walking up and down for exercise.
(219.)—In the a.m. the sun's place was visible only for a few minutes, and those happened just at the usual time of taking the early morning altitude. At noon we were in Long. E. 112 deg. 45 min., and Lat. 24 deg. 21 min. To-day our storm suit of sails were bent and everything made ready for rough weather which may now be expected, although no barometrical indications of a gale from the N.W. have as yet been registered; on the contrary, the readings of the past few days, considering the moon's age, 24 days, have been so unusually high as to indicate strong southerly rather than northerly winds. In the course of the day we sighted Bernier, Dorrée, and Dirk Hartog Islands.
(220.)—An overcast sky prevailed throughout the day. Dense cumulus and cumulonus spread over the sky. At noon our position by dead-reckoning was in Long. E. 112 deg. 25 min., and Lat. S. 26 deg. 32 min. In the after noon we had rain and squalls from the N.N.W. The rain angle at 5 p.m. was 44 deg. from the N.W.; the temperature of the rain was 71 deg., or 5 deg. lower than the temperature of the atmosphere at the same time. The force of one squall at 7.30 p.m. was estimated at 10. The vessel was then put under close reefed fore and aft canvass for the night.
(221.)—The weather is still very overcast. Indifferent sights were obtained at 9 a.m. and at noon. Our approximate position is in long. E. 112 deg. 38 min. and lat. S. 28 deg. 38 min: at noon, about 45 miles to the westward of the Abrolhos. About 2 p.m. we passed the latitude of Champion Bay.
(222.)—Very heavy squalls all day, at intervals of about an hour. At noon we were in long. E. 113 deg. 42 min. and lat. 30 deg. 26 Min.
(223.)—Soon after daylight, land was sighted to the eastward, but as we were not certain of our exact position as to a few miles, the vessel was put about until a meridian altitude could be obtained. At noon our position proved to be in long: S. 114 deg. 41 min. and lat. S. 39 deg. 57 min.; so that the land seen in the early morning must have been in the neighbourhood of Mount Lesueur. The rest of the day we stood S.W., contending with a strong S.E. wind and heavy sea.
(224.)—During the night the sea went down a little; but the wind although of lessened force blows steadily from the S.E. At noon we were in long. E. 113 deg. 28 min. and lat. S,; 32 deg. 3 min.; nearly 120 miles to the westward of our Port.
(225.)—The wind is more favourable to-day; and from our position at noon we expect to sight Rottnest Island at 3 p.m. About 5 minutes before 3 p.m. the island was sighted. At sundown we were near enough to see the signal flag upon the island. At 8 p.m. we were abreast of the island, and creeping very slowly along in shore, trying to discover the Fremantle light.
(226.)—But few of us slept during the past night; almost every hour we heard the LIGHT was sighted, but each time it was a mistake until 2 a.m. when indeed the actual light was clearly made out. Two hours afterwards we were at anchor, and by 8 a.m. we were quietly breakfasting once more on terra firma,—thankful for escape from many dangers, and thankful in having participated in a voyage of great interest, and one calculated (it is to be hoped) to prove of lasting benefit not only to this Colony but to the Australian community at large.
[END of MARTIN'S 1864 JOURNAL]
[* Source: The Inquirer and Commercial News,Wednesday 29 June 1864, p. 2 of 4. article/66013130.]
The following is from Mr. Panter's Journal of the Expedition to the Glenelg from the date of leaving Champion Bay:—
March 10 1864.—Weighed anchor and sailed from Champion Bay for Camden harbour at 6.30 o'clock a.m. Dr. Martin, who accompanies the Expedition as Surveyor, and Mr. A. Du Boulay (one of the party), came on board. Wind S.W.; fresh.
March 11.—Off Shark's Bay at noon; cold weather and rolling sea. Wind S.W.; fresh.
March 12.—Wind S.E.; light.
Sunday, MARCH 13.—Sighted the N.W. Cape at daylight; passed out of sight of it at 12 o'clock noon. Head the church service to all who wished to attend. Wind S.W.; fresh.
March 14.—Calm from 10 o'clock a.m. until 10 o'clock p.m., when a light westerly wind sprung up. Wind W.
March 15.—Calm from 5 o'clock a.m. until 8 o'clock a.m. light wind from then until evening. Wind S E.; very light.
March 16.—Light wind all day. Saw several sharks and small sea-snakes, the latter about 5 feet long. Wind E.; light.
March 17.—Calm all day; light wind at 7 o'clock p.m. wind E.
March 18.—Fresh easterly wind from 7 o'clock a.m.; died away gradually towards evening. Wind E.
March 19.—Blowing a strong easterly wind; shortened sail at 7 o'clock a.m. heavy sea running. At 4 o'clock p.m. almost a dead calm. Saw large schools of black fish. Wind easterly.
March 20.—Blowing fresh easterly wind 30 miles N.E. of Bedout Island; read church service to all who wished to attend. Wind E.
March 21.—Fresh easterly wind blowing during the forenoon. At 3 o'clock p.m. sighted Bedout Island. The wind being very light and almost; dead ahead; we dropped anchor about three miles south of the Island in 7 fathoms at low water. Wind E.
March 22.—Went on shore at 6 o'clock a.m. in the long-boat. Found the island to be covered with coarse grass and low scrub. Native Moke and one of the seamen named William Griffiths were nearly drowned to-day in attempting to reach the long-boat which, was anchored outside the reef about 1½ mile from the island. Turtle abound in the shallow water. In about two hours we caught 93. Pelicans are also numerous. We obtained about 400 of their eggs from a sandy point above high-water mark. Beans, much resembling in size and taste the English broad bean, are plentiful. On the centre of the island there was a pole stuck in the ground, at the foot of which was found a bottle containing a letter addressed to "Walter Padbury, Esq.," stating that the cutter Mystery, had called in there on the 23rd July, 1863. A considerable quantity of trepang was seen on the reefs at low water; large tridacna-shells were numerous. Rise and fall of tide 20 feet.
March 23.—Got underweigh at 5 o'clock a.m. with a fair but very light wind. The prisoner Wildman had an epileptic fit, at 6.30. o'clock a.m. Wind died away about 3 o'clock p.m., at which time the strong current had drifted the schooner back within 6 miles of the island. I omitted to state yesterday that I left a bottle in lieu of the one found at Bedout Island, containing a piece of paper, on which I stated that Mr. Padbury's letter had been received, also stating that the New Perseverance had called in there.
March 24.—Fair wind at 4 o'clock a.m., which freshened a little towards sunrise, and died away again at noon. Wind S.E.
March 25.—Very light wind all night, which died away about 1 o'clock p.m. Caught a sea-snake, 5 feet long. Wind E.
March 26.—Light and variable wind. Caught 5 sharks. Wind variable.
March 27.—Fair but very light wind. At 9. 45. o'clock a.m. sighted the highest part of Dampier's Land, bearing about East. Could see smoke in several places along the beach. Read the church service. Wind S.E.
March 28.—Passed the Lacepede Islands, At 9 o'clock a.m. abreast of "Sandy Point." Judging from the number of fires the natives must be very numerous on Dampier's Land. Anchored at 8 o'clock p.m. last night as there was no wind, and a strong current. Got under-weigh again at 4 o'clock a.m. Wind Easterly. Threw a bottle over board this morning containing a slip of paper on which was written the ship's position &c., passed Cape Emeriau about 11 o'clock a.m. Last night fires were lighted all along the beach for many miles by the natives.
March 29.—Last night we had a narrow escape from shipwreck. The following are the circumstances:—About 2 o'clock p.m. we sighted Caffarelli Island, in long.— — deg., lat. 15 deg. 58 min. Towards evening the wind, which had been light all day, slightly increased, and that the vessel was steering a course between Caffarelli Island and the Brue Bock. Two men were on the look out. At 8.20 o'clock p.m. I was talking to the Captain on the deck house, when his attention was called to what appeared to be a tide ripple. He ordered, the foresail to be taken in, and told the second mate, who was at the wheel, to mind the vessel was not taken aback. A few seconds afterwards she struck upon a reel; had she struck the reef in any other place than the spot she did her doom, and ours would have been sealed, in a few short minutes. This reef is not laid down on any of the charts, it extends about six miles S.S.E. from Caffarelli Island. In about five minutes after the vessel struck she was backed off the reef and anchored about ½ a mile from it in 25; fathoms. The night was so dark and cloudy that we could not tell what sort of a place we were in until daylight this morning.
March 30.—Last night was bad enough, but to-day was ten fames worse. At 8 o'clock a.m. the wind was blowing a heavy gale and at 10 o'clock a.m. had reached the force of a hurricane. Surrounded almost as the vessel was by the reef, she could sot get underweigh without imminent, danger; therefore the captain determined to remain at anchor as long as possible. When the wind was at its highest pitch, one of the anchors was lost with fifty fathoms of chain. The large anchor was then found to be dragging. Everything was ready to slip the cable but luckily the anchor got fresh hold and held the vessel, which was straining heavily, until the wind abated. At times the wind blew with such force that it was almost impossible to stand on deck. Wind S.E.
March 31.—The wind abated about 2.30 o'clock this morning. At daylight there was only a fresh breeze. At 11 o'clock a.m. got under weigh, and in two hours were out of sight of the place, that a few hours before had threatened destruction to us all. During the afternoon passed several small islands belonging to the Buccaneer Archipelago. Threw a bottle overboard, containing our longitude and latitude written on a piece of paper; also stating our reasons for anchoring at such an infernal place as "Treacherous Reef," which I think is as good a name as it can receive. The above reef is covered at high tide, and has been correctly laid down on the chart. Wind S.E.
April 1.—About 2 o'clock this morning large quantities of seaweed were observed floating near the vessel; she was hove to, and soundings taken, which resulted in 16 fathoms. The anchor was let go. At daylight the Beagle Bank was visible, about 1½ mile astern. Got underweight at 6 o'clock a.m.; at 3 o'clock sighted the Champagny Islands. Served out the firearms, in order to get them cleaned. Gave strict orders to each man not to allow the prisoner to touch or use them. Dropped anchor at 7.40. o'clock p.m. Wind S.S.E.
April 2.—Wind blowing fresh during the night. At daylight this morning could see Augustus Island, bearing due east from where the vessel was at anchor. At 6.30 o'clock a.m. got underweigh. At 3 o'clock p.m. made out the entrance to Camden Harbour. At 6.40 o'clock p.m. took soundings which resulted in 18 fathoms. Anchored at 7 p.m. The prisoner applied to Captain Owston to look at the chart, which was of course refused. Wind E.S.E.
April 3.—Got underweigh at daylight. At 11.30 o'clock entered the south passage into Camden Harbour. At 1.40. o'clock dropped anchor in Brecknock Harbour. As no vessel has ever entered Camden. Harbour before, it would be well to state that we had no difficulty in sailing from the entrance nearly to the head of Brecknock Harbour. There are numerous small islands in this harbour, which are covered with oysters below high-water mark. At 7 o'clock p.m. read church service to those who wished to attend.
April 4.—Started at daylight this morning in the whale-boat to look for a suitable place to land the horses. Returned at 12 o'clock noon. At 1 o'clock p.m., the vessel got underweigh, and proceeded to within ½ a mile of the head of the harbour. At 3 o'clock p.m. swam the horses onshore; one of them (Prince) lame. At low water the vessel was aground within 50 yards of the beach. It was then ascertained that she had received considerable damage through striking Treacherous Reef, and riding at anchor the day following during the hurricane. To-morrow she will be placed on a small sandy island at high water to undergo the necessary repairs.
April 5.—Formed a depot camp on the banks of a small creek running into the N.E. end of Brecknock Harbour. Placed the prisoner in irons, owing to his gross misconduct, and chained him to a tree at the camp.
April 6.—Left depot camp at 8 o'clock a.m. with a party consisting of Dr. Martin, Mr. David Shields, the first mate of the vessel, native Dunedale, and four horses. After travelling 12 miles E N.E., camped under Mount Double Cone. Tommy (Dunedale) and myself went during the afternoon to the top of the smallest Cone. The land we travelled over to-day was as rich pastoral land as could be imagined. I don't think we travelled two miles during the day without coming to either springs or running water. Distance 12 miles.
April 7.—Left Tommy in charge of the horses, &c., and proceeded at daylight to the top of Mount Double Cone. As far as the eye could reach, nothing but the richest pastoral land could be seen, intersected by numerous running streams. Found on this Mount large blocks of stone, containing copper ore. Re turned to camp at 9 o'clock a.m. At 10 o'clock a.m. started in the direction of Mount King. Owing to the numerous creeks, we were unable to make a straight course. At S o'clock p.m. camped at a small creek about ½ a mile from the Gairdner River. On the banks of this river the yellow hybiscus grows in great profusion. The country passed over to-day could not be surpassed. Many of the large flats were composed of rich black soil, well watered by running streams. On some of these flats the convolvulus (two kinds) grows like a weed, in many in stances the stems or runners attaining a length of 40 or 50 yards. Kangaroo tracks were numerous, but owing to the height of the grass, but few were seen. During the afternoon we passed an old native encampment. Judging from the number of old fire places, &c., I should think there must have been between 400 and 500 natives together. Distance travelled to-day 20 miles.
April 8.—Left camp at 6.40. o'clock a.m. for Mount King. Again to-day we were unable to make a straight course, but the ground was not so stony as that of yesterday. At 10 o'clock a.m. came to a small river about 50 yards wide. As I wanted to examine this river, I determined to camp for the day. Our camp on this river bore due north about 3 miles from the base of Mount King. This river literally swarms with fish of all sizes and of many different sorts, some of them much resembling in taste and appearance the Murray cod of Victoria. It is a tidal river, the rise and fall of tide being 10 feet; the water is perfectly fresh at both high and low tide; it rises in the sea-coast ranges, and flows into the Glenelg, or rather into some large swamps which empty into the Glenelg. The Gairdner River also runs into these swamps. Boats of a considerable size (15 to 20 tons) might be used on either of these rivers, thus affording water communication to the Glenelg; and from thence to the sea. The country passed over to-day similar to that of yesterday. Distance 10 miles.
April 9.—Left Tommy in charge of the horses, &c., and started at 6. 30. o'clock a.m. for the top of Mount King, which we reached at 9. o'clock, after six miles' hard walking. From the top of this lull or mount we had a splendid view of the surrounding country; nothing could exceed its rich appearance: grass grows most luxuriantly to the very top of Mount King. The Glenelg runs about; 3 miles from the southern base of this mount, and certainly is a fine river, notwithstanding its low mangrove banks. This evening Tommy shot 4 whistling ducks. Distance 15 miles.
April 10.—Left camp at 6 30. o'clock a.m. in the direction of Brecknock Harbour, but taking a fresh route from our outward one. At 1 o'clock p.m. camped about 5 miles S.E. of the depot camp. During this trip I saw several specimens of the following fruits:—melons, about the size of a pigeon's egg; black grapes, growing in clusters; and each berry about as large as a common sized revolver bullet, if anything a little larger. Those we found were quite ripe and sweet tasted. Beans are plentiful and most prolific bearers; red peas do. do. Celery grows almost everywhere. Cocoa Tree—this only bears a small capsule. The principal birds seen—Ducks, geese, cranes, (very large), pigeons, (4 different kinds), doves, cockatoos, parrots, small magpies, wattle birds, a bird very much resembling in size and appearance the English hen pheasant and many other small birds of the most brilliant plumage, but too numerous to mention. The principal trees seen were as follows—Baobab, averaging 20 feet in diameter; eucalyptus, acacia, palm (sure sign of water), stunted pines, and cyprus. Alligators, snakes and guanos, the only reptiles seen, and these scarce. I saw no poison plant, at least that I recognised as such.
April 11.—Arrived at depot camp at 8.30 o'clock. Came on board at 11 o'clock a.m.; found that the ship's cook had received serious injury from a block falling from the topsail-yard, and striking him on the back; also found that the vessel was still undergoing repairs. Distance 5 miles.
April 12.—Yesterday evening the vessel dragged her anchor for a short distance, and at low water was high and dry. I am afraid we shall be detained here for some days before the vessel is ready for sea.
April 13.—Brought the horses from depot camp to opposite where the vessel was lying.
April 14.—Went to the top of Mount Lookover. Found that iron, some of it almost in its pure state, existed from its base to the summit. Shot two pheasants in a thicket going up the hill. This evening, at high water, the vessel was found to be making fourteen inches of water in the 24 hours. The principal leak appears not yet to have been found.
April 15.—Started at 4 o'clock in the whaleboat to visit the islands outside Camden Harbour. At 9 o'clock a.m. reached Byam Martin's Island, containing about 15,000 acres. This island is well watered and grassed, .but very stony. On the south end of it there is a small bay, with a fine sandy beach, where a vessel might undergo repairs, almost as safely as in a dry dock. Saw large quantities of small pearl oysters. On the N.E. end of the island there is a small waterfall where vessels might very easily take in water, as boats could lie right under it. Saw recent tracks of natives. Camped for the night on a small island bearing east about two miles from Byam Martin's.
April 16.—The little island on which we camped last night was well watered and grassed. Pulled round the island at daylight to look if there were any pearl oysters; could only; find very small ones. At 7 o'clock started for an island bearing doe east from Byam Martin's about four miles; found on it good water, but no grass. Started again at 10.30. a.m. and visited several small islands, upon all of which I found good water, but not all well grassed. At 3.0. p.m. landed on the east end of Augustus Island. This splendid island, containing in round numbers 56,320 acres, is well watered by numerous, small running streams, and the grass is as good on it as that on the mainland, from which it is separated by Rogers' Straits. Camped for the night on a small island bearing W.S.W. about 4 miles from Augustus island. On this little island, containing about 25 acres, there was plenty of grass, but no water. Broken cowrie shells were strewed all round the beach, found a turtle's nest with 62 fresh eggs in it. Like all the rest of the islands visited; there were recent tracks of natives. They cross from the main to the islands on a kind of raft made out of three or four light poles, pegged together.
April 17.—Started at 8 o'clock a.m. for an island bearing due north about 7 miles, on which smoke apparently from natives' fires could be seen. Walked about ten miles over the island, but could find no natives. This island is well watered (5 running steams in four miles), and fairly grassed, but very stony between the hills. There are some narrow flats composed of rich black soil, but on account of the rough nature of the ground, they are almost inaccessible. Saw a few pheasants and plenty of wallaby on the island. At 4 o'clock p.m. started for a small island ten miles from the entrance to Camden Harbour. Camped for the night at 6.30 p.m. Distance 36 miles.
April 18.—.Started at 6 o'clock a.m. for the ship. Visited three small islands. at the mouth of the northern entrance to Camden Harbour. Found a turtle's nest on one of them with 64 fresh eggs in it. Water but no grass on any of these three islands. Reached the vessel at 3 o'clock p.m. Distance 16 miles.
April 19.—The vessel not yet seaworthy, and no one seems to know when she is likely to be.
April 20.—Living in hopes that some day or another we shall be able to sail for Roebuck Bay, where I expected to have been before this time.
April 21.—At 9 o'clock p.m., (high water). towed the vessel into mid-channel. Found that she was all right again.
April 22.—All hands getting wood and water on board.
April 23.—Got sheep and horses on board. This afternoon Mr. Henry Logue met with an accident. He was firing off the right hand barrel of a carbine, when it burst, inflicting a severe cut on the left hand.
April 24.—Got underweigh at 4.30 o'clock a.m. Dropped anchor again at 6 o'clock a.m. on the east side of a reef in Brecknock harbour. Read the Church service to all those who wished to attend.
April 25.—Got underweigh at 5 o'clock a.m. At 8 o'clock a.m. grounded on a rotten coral reef near the entrance to Camden Harbour. In half an hour got off and proceeded on our way to Roebuck Bay, leaving behind us one of the finest countries that could well be imagined. Hitherto I have emitted to state that large quantities of beans grow Above high-water mark on all the islands and main land. I have also omitted to state that Byam Martin's and Augustus Islands are well timbered. About one mile doe north from Green Island, in Brecknock Harbour, there is a vein of iron ore. It crops out on the surface on the side of a mangrove creek. I should think this ore contains 60 per cent of iron. At 11.30 o'clock p.m. dropped anchor in 32 fathoms, as the current was drifting us in-shore.
April 26.—Got underweigh at 9 o'clock a.m. At 2 o'clock p.m. were abreast of the Cockell Islands. At 3.30 o'clock p.m. sighted some of the islands belonging to the Buccaneer Archipelago. At 7 o'clock p.m. dropped anchor in 22 fathoms, as the current was drifting us towards King's Sound.
April 27.—Got underweigh at daylight. At 11 o'clock a.m. sighted Cape Borda. At 2 o'clock p.m. dropped anchor in a small bay on the south side of Cape Borda, in 5½ fathoms; could not land, as the wind was too fresh and the sea breaking on the reefs in shore; saw several natives, who came down to the beach. Some of the members of the party wished to know why the vessel had been brought to anchor, And also stated that in their opinion they ought to be consulted. I at once told them that I could not think of doing any thing of the sort—that I should use my own judgment in forming whatever plans I thought proper. From the deck of the vessel the grass could be seen, apparently growing in as great profusion as around Camden Harbour. Timber appears plentiful.
April 29.—Got underweigh at 6.30 o'clock, the weather so unsettled and rough that I did not think it advisable to land last night; several native fires were sighted close to the beach. About 1 o'clock p.m. the wind died away, and the vessel anchored in ten fathoms, about midway between the Lacepede Islands and the mainland. Let the prisoner out of Irons, as his behaviour has been good since leaving Brecknock Harbour.
April 30.—Got underweigh at daylight, with a light wind, which lasted till sunset, when the vessel was anchored in 12 fathoms water, abreast of the Red Cliffs, on Dampier's Land During the day we sailed at times close in shore; the land appeared well grassed.
May 1.—Got underweigh at 10 o'clock a.m. with a very light wind, which lasted till 8 o'clock p.m., when the vessel was anchored. Saw large shoals of fish; caught one (coal fish), about 30 lbs weight. Read church service to those who wished to attend.
May 2.—Got underweigh at 6.30 o'clock a.m.; fresh breeze sprang up at noon. At 5.30 o'clock anchored off the mouth of Roebuck Bay, in 7¼ fathoms.
May 3.—Got underweigh at 12 o'clock noon; scarcely enough wind to enable the vessel to stem the current. Tried to get into Roebuck Bay (on the north side), but could not do so, on account of the shallow water. At 5 o'clock p.m. anchored in 5¼ fathoms. Caught four sharks, the largest 11 feet Jong.
May 4.—Got underweigh at daylight; anchored at 3.15 o'clock p.m. off Cape Villaret; at 4 o'clock p.m. I started in the whale-boat to try and find a place suitable to land the horses. At 6 o'clock p.m. after considerable difficulty we landed and pulled the boat up above high-water mark. Camped for the night on the beach.
May 5.—Started inland at daylight to look for water; found a native well with plenty of good water in it about ½ a mile from the beach. Left for the ship at 12 o'clock noon, arrived at 5.15 o'clock p.m.; found that there was plenty of water to anchor the vessel within ¾ of a mile from Cape Villaret (north); took soundings from the shore to the ship.
May 6.—Could not get underweigh until 10.15. o'clock, as there was a strong breeze. Dropped anchor at 7.15. o'clock p.m. about 1½ mile S.S.E. from Cape Villaret.
May 7.—Blowing a strong breeze all night from the S.W. Went on shore at daylight, to clean out the native well and form a depot camp. During the afternoon the vessel came in and anchored within ½ a mile of the shore.
May 8.—Swam the horses on shore at low tide; one of them, Prince, still lame. Read the church service to those who wished to attend.
May 9.—Getting horses shod, and everything ready to start inland to-morrow.
May 10.—Left camp at 8 o'clock a.m. with Dr. Martin, Mr. D. Shields, M. C. Buck, and native Tommy: travelled 18 miles over a well-grassed country; at 12 o'clock came to a native well, but could get no water out of it; sank a shaft close to it, and got good water at 18 feet, but before we could get water out for the horses, the side caved in. Mr. Arthur Du Boulay and four hands left the ship this morning in the whale-boat to explore Roebuck Bay.
May 11.—Left camp before sunrise. Came across the tracks of a native woman and child, which Tommy and myself followed for 3½ miles, at the end of which distance I found two wells, both containing good water. Made signals for the rest of the party to come up. About 10 o'clock a.m. saw a native standing close by an ant-heap; immediately afterwards saw a lot more. Made signs for them to approach, which they apparently did not like to do; so we went to meet them, and they then came towards us. When within range, made signs to them to throw down their spears, which they did. They remained with us for about two hours, and became quite friendly. Gave them several small presents before they left. Altogether there were 19 of them, and fine, clean, able-bodied men they were. The sight of one of the horse's teeth struck terror into their hearts. By the way they clung together, it was evident they thought that the horse was partial to human flesh. Stopped here for the day, hoping the natives would return. Distance 9 miles.
May 12.—Left camp at 6 o'clock a.m. Travelled 16 miles in an easterly direction. No water, but plenty of good grass. Four miles out of the above distance was through a thicket composed mostly of Cyprus trees. Stopped at 11 o'clock a.m.; started again at 3 o'clock p.m.; travelled 11 miles over a clear well-grassed country; shot a large carpet snake. Distance 27 miles.
May 13.—Left camp at daybreak. Travelled 7 miles over country if anything better grassed than that passed over yesterday. From the highest trees could see the same level country as far as the eye could reach, but no water. As I was sure our time would be too short to enable us to reach the Fitzroy River, I determined to turn back, in order that we might go to Lagrange Bay. We had now travelled due east in a straight line nearly 60 miles. All the country passed over was good, and I have not the slightest doubt that plenty of water might be obtained anywhere at a depth of 20 feet at the outside. I also have every reason to believe that the same level country as we have passed over extends to the Fitzroy River. Timber is plentiful, but not large. During the afternoon, whilst following our tracks to the last wells, came across a large hunting party of natives. One of them faced M. C. Buck with his spear up (they threw them from the middle); Buck fired a charge of shot at him, which frightened more than hurt him as he started off with all the rest, making the bush resound with the most unearthly yells. Found a tree where the natives had been taking a bee's nest from; about a pint of honey was still left in it The bees were not much larger than a small fly. At 9 o'clock p.m. reached the two wells; all of us nearly knocked up, after walking 45 miles, without coming to water. Distance 45 miles.
May 14.—Remained in camp all day; cleaned the two wells out, so as to get plenty of water for the horses. During our absence from these wells, the natives had burnt the bush around them. This appears to be a usual custom amongst them. Found this morning the place where some of them had slept close to us during the night.
May 15.—Started at 6 o'clock a.m. towards Roebuck Bay; about 5 miles from the wells came across a well-beaten natives' path; followed this for 13 miles, when we came to a good well of water 7 miles north of the depot camp. Camped for the day. Distance 20 miles.
May 16.—Followed up the plain on which we camped last night (Racecourse Plains). At their commencement these plains are not more than ½ a mile broad, but at a distance of 12 miles up they are between 7 and 8 miles broad, and extend, to my certain knowledge, for 25 miles. These plains (where they have not been lately burned) exceed anything I have yet seen for both grass and water. They are bounded on the one side by the bay (Roebuck) and on the south side by a fine belt of cajeput-trees. All along this belt there is an abundant supply of pure water, in some places, within a foot of the surface, and in no one place more than 6 feet below it. It would be hard to describe finer plains than these, containing, in round numbers [ ] acres of land, much of which is suited for agricultural purposes as well as pastoral. On these plains we had frequent intercourse with the natives, all of whom appeared friendly and harmless. Their domestic habits very much resemble those of the pig—for sleeping places they scrape a hole in the ground. Pearl oysters and shell fish are their principal articles of diet (on the sea-coast) The only ornaments they wear are large pearl shells, ground into an oval shape, and hung round their necks by a string made out of their own hair. Their weapons are of the most primitive kind, and consist of spears, kaelys, dowaks, shields, and stone tomahawks. The sea-coast natives are not nearly so fine a race of men as those seen inland. These plains abound with wild turkeys, and cockatoos, and kangaroos are very plentiful on the outskirts of them. Returned to camp at 8 o'clock p.m. Distance 24 miles.
May 17.—At 7 o'clock a.m. started with the same party as before for Lagrange Bay. Reached the two hummocks at 12 o'clock noon; started again at 4 o'clock p.m.; camped at 7 o'clock p.m. without water. At the hummocks Mr. A. Du Boulay joined us, as well as Mr. H. Logue, the latter unexpectedly. All the ground passed over to-day was well grassed. Distance 18 miles.
May 18.—One of our horses got away during the night, which delayed us until 8 o'clock a.m., when we started without him. After travelling 5 miles, came to a natives' well, where we stopped until 3 o'clock p.m. when we went on 6 miles further, and camped for the night. Shot four red kangaroos and a large owl. All the country passed over to-day well grassed. Distance 12 miles.
May 19.—Started at daylight. After travelling 12 miles of a scrubby and thinly-grassed country, struck the sea beach. At 5.20 o'clock p.m. camped close to Cape Latouche Treville, which forms the northern boundary of Lagrange Bay. At the top of the flat on which we camped found a good well with plenty of pure water in it. During the afternoon, Shields, myself and Tommy went a-head of the party to look for water. When within a mile of the well we surprised three natives (one man and two women) who were gathering shells on a reef; we tried to catch the man, but after several trials, he got off the reef, and none of as could catch him. He came up within 20 yards of me with his spear up. As soon as I put my gun to my shoulder he took to his heels. After this, the rest of the party came up. Whenever I went near the women, they began to spit at me. Dr. Martin and Buck did not care for their spitting, for they brought one of them down to the camp. We gave her several small presents, and to her surprise, let her go, instead of (as she evidently thought) roasting her. Distance 22 miles.
May 20.—Left the horse at the well, and started to see Lagrange Bay. This place is scarcely worthy to be called a bay; its extreme depth is barely 6 miles, and the water apparently very shallow. There is a. small estuary running inland from it about 2 miles long. All round the bay there seemed to be plains similar to the Racecourse Plains at Roebuck Bay. The country along the sea-coast over which we travelled yesterday was very good pastoral country, consisting of well-grassed flats. This evening a native was seen walking towards our camp with a piece of firewood on his shoulder and a scoop of honey in his hand. I was a short distance from the well, and stood perfectly still. He did not see me until within 20 yards, when he turned off the path, but was quickly caught by Tommy. We gave him a few trifling presents, and after keeping him for half an hour, let him go again. Distance 8 miles.
May 21.—Started at 6.30. o'clock a.m. for Roebuck Bay. Travelled along the coast-line, as that route appeared easier for ourselves and horses. Shot two kangaroos and a turkey; saw flights of parroquets; saw large quantities of small pearl shells at all the native encampments which we have passed. Distance 22 miles.
May 22.—Started at daybreak; arrived at depot camp at noon. Was informed that the prisoner Wildman made his escape from the ship on the 13th of May, at 1 o'clock a.m., and was recaptured on the 14th. Before leaving the ship he cut the long-boat adrift, and landed in the dingy. Distance 15 miles.
May 23.—Shipped the horses at low water. The horse that got away on the night of the 18th found its way back to the depot.
May 24.—Weighed anchor at 9.30. o'clock a.m., and sailed for Fremantle. Although the time for which the vessel is chartered does not expire for another month, I am afraid to stop here any longer, in case our passage back should occupy as long a period (31 days) as it did coming up. The prisoner very impertinent to the captain. Ordered to have bread and water for 7 days. Wind S.E.; light.
May 25.—Wind S.E.; light.
May 26.—Wind S.E.; fresh.
May 28.—Wind S.E.; fresh.
May 29.—Wind East. Sighted the N.W. Cape at daylight.
May 30.—Wind North.
May 31.—Wind N.W.; off Champion Bay.
June 1.—N.N.W.; strong and squally.
June 2.—Wind N.N.W.; strong and squally.
June 3.—Wind S.E.; strong.
June 4.—Wind S.E.; strong.
June 5.—Wind S.W.; light. Sighted Rottnest lighthouse at 3 o'clock p.m.; anchored in Gage's Roads at [. .]
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