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Title: Two Journals of Early Exploration in New South Wales
Author: George William Evans
* A Project Gutenberg Australia eBook *
eBook No.: 1300271h.html
Language: English
Date first posted: January 2013
Date most recently updated: January 2013

Produced by: Ned Overton

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Production Notes:

The items in this compilation belong to one of four categories:
* Early (1814) or later (1815) despatches;
* (Relevant) enclosures accompanying these despatches;
* Commentary notes compiled by the Editor of Hist. Recs. NSW; and
* Ordinary footnotes.

The two feature items here—the Journals—are themselves enclosures. These Journals, together with the groups of early and later despatches, comprise the "chapters". Macquarie's first tour beyond the Blue Mountains is also an enclosure.

The relevant enclosures are numbered items after each despatch.

Commentary Notes, rendered thus: {132}, are found at the ends of the appropriate chapters. Note that, while you get to the note by clicking on it, you may not always get back to your place!

Footnotes appear as [* ] at the end of the relevant paragraph

The Table of Contents is intended to reflect this layout/framework and enable fairly straightforward navigation within the material.

Two Journals of Early Exploration
in New South Wales

by George William Evans

Assistant Surveyor of New South Wales

Sourced from









July, 1813—December, 1815.

Published by:







     2.1 GOVERNOR MACQUARIE TO EARL BATHURST. [Despatch No. 2/1814.]

     2.2 GOVERNOR MACQUARIE TO EARL BATHURST. [Despatch No. 3/1814.]


[Enclosure 4 of Despatch No. 3/1814.]


     4.1 GOVERNOR MACQUARIE TO EARL BATHURST. [Despatch No. 4/1815, and Enclosure 7.]

     4.2 GOVERNOR MACQUARIE TO EARL BATHURST. [Despatch No. 7/1815.]

[Enclosure 3 of Despatch No. 7/1815.]

     4.4 GOVERNOR MACQUARIE TO EARL BATHURST. [Despatch No. 9/1815.]


[Enclosure of Despatch No. 9/1815.]




Title Page of "Historical Records of Australia"

Evans's Route, November-December 1813, and January 1814.

Portrait of George Evans


[Extract: pages xv-xvi]

[Lachlan Macquarie landed in Port Jackson on 31st December, 1809 to take up the post of Governor of New South Wales.]

Under these circumstances, Macquarie commenced his administration. He was energetic, and did not spare himself in his desire to obtain a personal knowledge of the country, as is shown by his two visits to Tasmania and his various tours of inspection in New South Wales. He was far-seeing in so far as he recognised the future possibilities of the colony. His administration was vigorous, but was marred by an ill-regulated judgment. He created the first Australian "boom" by the lavish expenditure of public money, which was followed by the inevitable reaction after his departure.

Macquarie's far-sighted policy had two main objects—the material development of the country, and the reinstatement of the emancipists and expirees to a position in the civil life of the colony. But in the pursuit of both these objects, he showed the want of a well-balanced judgment.

He developed the country by encouraging exploration, by improving the means of communication, and by the laying out of towns. His encouragement of exploration has had far-reaching effects. He sent G. W. Evans and John Oxley on expeditions, which opened up the western watershed of New South Wales; but the credit due to him for these results was diminished by his extraordinary neglect in making due acknowledgment to G. Blaxland, W. Lawson, and W. C. Wentworth for their strenuous exertions in a private capacity in discovering the practicable route across the Blue Mountains. The improvement of the means of communication was a much-needed labour, which had been greatly neglected by his predecessors. Macquarie constructed roads in all the settled districts, and made the western districts accessible, soon after they were discovered, by making a road across the mountains. These roads proved an incalculable boon to the colonists. He selected sites for towns and laid them out according to well-considered plans, but in the development of these towns his judgment failed him. It was impossible to foresee the requirements of any town, and the erection of large and substantial buildings, before the necessity for such buildings was evident, was a distinct error of judgment. Commissioner J. T. Bigge, in his report to the House of Commons on the state of New South Wales, stated, "It has been his (Macquarie's) misfortune to mistake the improvement and embellishment of the towns for proofs of the solid prosperity of the colonists, and to forget that the labour, by which these objects have been procured, was a source of heavy expense to the British Treasury, and that other means of employment might have been tried and resorted to, the effect of which would have been to regulate in a cheaper and less ostentatious form the progress of colonization and of punishment." Macquarie erected more than two hundred buildings for public purposes in the colony, many of which bore the inscription "L. Macquarie, Esq., Governor". This inscription was generally so conspicuous that it seemed to imply a personal vanity and a desire on the part of the governor to perpetuate his name. Many of the buildings were of doubtful utility, and were built in anticipation of the expected growth of a town, which in several cases did not grow. It is certain that Macquarie wasted a large amount of convict labour on these buildings, instead of employing it in the formation of agricultural settlements in various parts of the colony, which would have conferred a permanent and lasting benefit. In fact, Macquarie devoted his attentions chiefly to the material and visible improvement of the colony,* and practically left the development of its primary industries and the pioneering experimental work to individuals undirected by the fostering care of government.

FREDK. WATSON."        

"June, 1916.

[* Governor Macquarie formed only two penal agricultural settlements, one at Emu Plains and one at Port Macquarie.]


[Extracts: pages 118-123.]


(Despatch marked "No. 2 of 1814", per ship Earl Spencer, viâ Ceylon; acknowledged by Earl Bathurst, 4th December, 1815.)

Sydney, New South Wales, 19th January, 1814.   

My Lord,

1. It being my Intention.  .  .  .

.  .  .  .
12. The Drought and Consequent Deficiency in Grass and Water for the Cattle, which I have already been obliged to State to Your Lordship in some of the foregoing passages, led me to make an Effort at the discovering of some Track of Country where possibly Nature might be more bountiful than in the present Circumscribed Limits of this Colony; and in furtherance of this object, I some Weeks ago gave Instructions {15} to Mr. Evans, one of the Deputy Surveyors of Land, attended by a few men and provided with the Necessary Accommodations for a two Months' Tour, to proceed in the Attempt of Effecting a Passage over the great Range of Mountains, Called here "The blue Mountains", and to discover what Description of Country lay to the Westward of them. The Consequence, I am most happy to Inform Your Lordship, has been that at a distance of 150 Miles Mr. Evans has discovered a beautiful and Champain Country of very Considerable Extent and great Fertility, thro' which a River of large Size, abounding in large and very fine Fish, takes a Westward Course. Mr. Evans has brought with him some Specimens of the Timbers, Stones and Minerals, which he happened to fall in with, but I am not yet enabled to state what Importance may be attached to them, tho' I am inclined to think that some of them may prove of very great value. Neither am I enabled from the very recent return of Mr. Evans to give Your Lordship at this time a more minute account of the Success which has attended this Tour of Discovery. I am however fully persuaded that this hitherto unexplored Region will at no distant period prove a Source of Infinite Benefit to this Colony. In my next Despatch I shall do myself the Honor to transmit Your Lordship a Copy of Mr. Evans's Journal with every other Circumstance attending the Discovery that may come to my Knowledge and be worthy of Your Lordship's Consideration.

As this Despatch goes by the Ship Earl Spencer, viâ Ceylon, it is not improbable that my next, by the Ship James Hay, will reach Your Lordship before it, but I have Considered it my Duty to embrace even this Circuitous Route to make the present Communications, to which I request Your Lordship's favourable Consideration.

I have, &c.,        

[Extracts: pages 140-150]


(Despatch marked "No. 3 of 1814", per brig James Hay; acknowledged by Earl Bathurst, 25th November, 1815.)

Government House, Sydney, New South Wales,        
28th April, 1814.   

My Lord,

1. Since the Date of my last Dispatch.  .  .  .

.  .  .  .
20. The Increasing Population of this Colony and the very limited Extent of Land within its present Boundaries, rendering it an Object of the Utmost Importance to discover if possible some new Tract of Country fit for Cultivation, I have to announce to Your Lordship that, in November last, I dispatched a small party of Men under the Direction of Mr. George Wm. Evans, one of the Colonial Assistant Land Surveyors, with Instructions {15} to endeavour to effect a Passage from a place called Emu Island in as nearly a due Western Direction as possible over the blue Mountains, which have been hithertofore the boundary of this Colony on the West, and also to the South West, and North West; and if the Country on the other Side should appear worth the exploring, He had my orders to proceed through it, as far as the Quantity of Provisions which the party was able to Carry would enable him, so as that on the whole Tour He should not exceed Eight Weeks Absence. It is now with much pleasure I have to inform Your Lordship that this Tour {38} has been most happily Effected in the Course of Seven Weeks and without any Accident having Occurred. The General Substance of Mr. Evans's Report of this new Country is that it Contains a Number of Extensive and very fertile Plains, very thinly wooded, and well watered by a Variety of Streams and some Considerable Rivers, abounding in Fish of a kind unknown to him, but of remarkably fine Flavour and large Size. The Quality of Land is represented as much superior to any in New South Wales, or in Van Diemen's Land, and the Passage over the Mountains, which is very rugged and much entangled by Timber and Brush Wood, is Capable of being rendered tolerably passable at no very Considerable Expence. For Your Lordship's complete Information on this important Subject, I now do myself the Honor to transmit you the Journal of Mr. Evans's Tour, and also his Map of the Explored Country, and its Chain of Connection with the present Colony. I also send Your Lordship some Specimens of the Pebbles and Minerals found in the Course of this Tour, and a sample of Timber, altogether different from any which has been ever found on this Side of the Western or Blue Mountains. Under Your Lordship's Approbation, I propose to Name this New Country "West-more-land" but I shall wait Your Lordship's Commands on this Head before I give it any distinguishing Name. For the purpose of rendering this new Tract beneficial to the Settlers at as early a Period as possible, it is My Intention to Cause a Cart Road to be Constructed over the blue Mountains to the Commencement of the first Plains, mentioned in the Journal, beyond those Mountains. Mr. Evans has informed Me that such a Road may be Completed in about three Months by a Gang of Fifty Labourers. The Expence of Constructing it, I mean to defray out of the Colonial Funds, which Measure will I trust meet Your Lordship's Approbation.

When this Road shall be so far Completed as to admit of a Provision Cart passing over it, I mean to proceed myself thro' this new Country to the Extent of the present Tour, taking with me the Surveyor General and two or three Intelligent Persons, who will enable me to Appreciate the true Value of the Discovery more fully than Could be expected from Mr. Evans in his first and hurried View of it. My own Remarks and the Judgment I shall form, with the Assistance of the Gentlemen whom I shall have to accompany me, in regard to the Capabilities and general Importance of this Country, I shall do myself the Honor to make Your Lordship a faithful Report of on my Return to Head Quarters.

21.  .  .  .

I have, &c.,       


Note {15}, pages 122 and 149:

Instructions to Mr. Evans.

Instructions to endeavour to effect a Passage from a place called Emu Island in as nearly a due Western Direction as possible over the blue Mountains.

It is difficult to explain the second quotation, unless Governor Macquarie intended to officially ignore the successful crossing of the main range of the Blue Mountains by G. Blaxland, W. Lawson, and W. C. Wentworth. On the 6th of June, 1813, they had returned after penetrating fifty-five and three-quarter miles to Mount Blaxland in a westerly direction from Emu island (see note {131}, Chapter 4.4, below). It is still more extraordinary, when it is remembered that, at the time of writing the despatch (28th April, 1814), Governor Macquarie had sanctioned the payment of £10 from the police fund for services in acting as a guide to G. W. Evans as far as Mount Blaxland, to James Burns, who had accompanied Blaxland and his party.

Note {38}, pages 149 and 165:

This Tour.

Assistant-Surveyor Evans' Journal.

This journal is preserved in the record office, London, and is contained in an ordinary memorandum book of 58 pages.

George William Evans was born in 1778. During the years 1798-1801, he was attached to the naval storekeeper's department at the Cape of Good Hope. He arrived in Port Jackson per H.M.S. Buffalo on the 16th of October, 1802, and seventeen days later he was appointed storekeeper at Parramatta. On the 10th of August, 1803, he was appointed acting surveyor of lands, and held this office until the 22nd of February, 1805, when he was discharged for fraud. In November, 1809, he was appointed deputy surveyor of lands by lieutenant-governor Paterson, and to this appointment he was confirmed by Governor Macquarie. Some time after the death of George Prideaux Harris in 1810, Evans was appointed to the vacant post of deputy surveyor at Hobart.

G. W. Evans, on his expedition to the Macquarie river, was accompanied by five men, one of whom, James Burns, or Byrnes, had accompanied G. Blaxland, W. Lawson, and W. C. Wentworth on their expedition when the practical route over the Blue Mountains was discovered. Burns acted as guide to the party, and for this service received a special payment of £10 from the police fund on his return.

On the 19th of November, 1813, Evans crossed the Nepean river, from Daniel Woodriff's farm to Emu plains, at the shallows, which lie a little below the modern railway bridge. Difficulty was experienced by Burns in finding the way to the site of their first mountain camp in the neighbourhood of Springwood; a similar difficulty was encountered by Blaxland and his party in the same locality on their return journey (see note {131}, Chapter 4.4 below). In the morning of the third day after leaving Springwood, the termination of the Blue Mountains was reached at Mount York. Here a week's provisions were stowed in some hollow cliffs. Three hours were occupied in descending the mountain, and camp was pitched on the banks of the river Lett. The following day was devoted to resting the horses. On the 26th, the night was spent at the foot of Mount Blaxland, which was the termination of the journey of Blaxland, Lawson, and Wentworth, and close to Cox's river. Four days later the main dividing range, separating the eastern and western watersheds, was crossed, and Evans encamped on the banks of the Fish river in the neighbourhood of Waterfall creek. On the 1st of December, Evans commenced his journey down the river on the left bank. On the same day, the remarkable peak, known as Evans' Crown, was noted. Seven days were spent in following the course of the Fish river to its junction with Campbell's river, passing on the journey through Sidmouth valley and across O'Connell plains. Evans ascended Campbell's river for six miles, a little above Apsley, without finding a ford, and was compelled to construct a bridge of logs to cross over to the western bank. The stream formed by the junction of the two rivers, he named the Macquarie river. He followed this river down on its left bank, and on the night of the 9th December encamped on a site now included within the city of Bathurst. For the following two days, he practically followed the route of the road from Bathurst to Ophir, and discovered and named Mount Pleasant. On the night of the 11th, he encamped in the neighbourhood of the locality where the Ophir road begins to ascend the hills and leaves the river flats. Four more days were spent in following the windings of the river for twenty-six and three-quarter miles, as measured by Evans. On the 15th, when in the neighbourhood of Billiwillinga, he described the rocky character of the hills towards Byng, in the south, and Lewis Ponds, in the west. On the 17th, the journey was terminated in the neighbourhood of Chamber's creek. The return was commenced on the following day, and the ford on the Nepean river was reached three weeks later.

As a reward for their services in the discovery of the western watershed and the fertile Bathurst plains, James Burns, Richard Lewis, John Tighe, John Grover, and John Coogan received a donation of £35 from the police fund; and G. W. Evans was paid £130 from the same fund for leading the expedition, and for extra duties performed in Tasmania. In general orders dated 12th February, 1814 (see note {132}, Chapter 4.4 below), Governor Macquarie made promises of land grants to each member of the party.


[pp. 165-177]

[Enclosure No. 4., Macquarie's Despatch No. 3/1814]


To His Excellency Governor Macquarie.
Friday, November 19th, 1813.

I DIRECTED the Provisions and other necessarys to be conveyed across the Nepean to the N.E. Point of Forest Land, commonly called Emu Island, which was done, and by the time every thing was arranged Evening approached.

Saturday, 20th.

The Night was most uncomfortable, and the Morning being wet prevented our departing so early as I meant; feeling anxious to proceed. I made up my mind to make the best of our way to the end of the Mountains, and on my return to measure the distance of Messrs. Blaxlands, Wentworths and Lawsons recent excursion; it appeared to me that while the Horses were fresh it was a plan likely to meet with your approbation, as I could then refresh them on good grass, and take my time in exploring to the Westward, which I conceived the object of the greatest importance; on returning should I not have sufficient provisions to subsist on to complete measuring the track of the above named Gentlemen, I could send in a Man and Horse to meet me with a small supply. On halting this day I was happy I arranged it so, as my labour would have been lost, in consequence of James Burns having several times mistaken his former track; I cannot make any estimate of the distance, therefore shall defer entering into particulars with respect to the nature of the Country, except that the two last Miles, as near as I can form an Idea, was through a ridge of Forest land, good grass, and found some Water where I mean to remain the Night, all much fatigued.

Sunday, 21st.

The Morning very much overcast, with a thick fog, however I had the Horses loaded, and travelled on mostly on Ridges overrun with Brush; at about 11 o'Clock I passed the Pile of Stones alluded to by the former party; soon after we were on a very high hill, which was clear of Mist, but to my great disappointment the Country to the Eastward being covered with Vapour I could not be satisfied with the Prospect, which must have presented itself had the weather been clear; we made the best of our way on and halted at 2 o'Clock.

Monday, 22nd.

The Weather bad; determined to proceed we loaded the Horses, when one of them turned stubborn having laid down and rolled several times over his load; he at length became steady; our track was through a thick brush; at 9 o'clock we were on a very high Mountain but could not see any of the low Country; it is now disagreeable travelling; the Brush is so very thick, and the surface of the ridges are covered with pieces of sharp Granite intermixed with Quartz; the Horses seemed to step with caution; we stopped at 1 o'Clock, where there was a spacious Valley covered with grass and Rushes, a stream of water running through it. On opening our luggage I found the Bottles of Medicines broke.

Tuesday, 23rd.

The Night was excessive wet and continues so: I was necessitated to move as we could not keep in a fire or get Bark to make a hutt; it rained hard most of the day; am much afraid some of our Bread will be spoiled; the track is still through a brush much the same as yesterday; the Valleys on my right, which are numerous, lead to ravines; they are clear of Trees and covered with Rushes: the holes or drains in the centre are full of good Water; at 3 o'clock we halted, the weather rather clear; no sooner were we comfortable and dry, than one of the most severest Storms came on I ever witnessed; it put out our fire in an Instant, and beat in over our Hutt upon us; at 5 o'Clock the Wind became strong and cleared the Elements.

Wednesday, 24th.

We all rested well, which was a preservation to us, not having done so since our departure, and which we felt the effects of, as nothing could be procured for shelter but green Boughs, that was not sufficient to screen us from rain; we start quite refreshed; at 9 o'Clock came to the end of the Range from which the Prospect is extensive and gives me sanguine hopes, the descent is rugged and steep; I stowed away here a week's provisions in some hollow Cliffs in hopes of it being sufficient for our use back from this place; it was 12 o'Clock when we got into a Valley of good feed and appears a fine part of the Country; I have no doubt but the points of Ridges or Bluffs to the N.W. and S. (the Country seems to open in the form of this Angle) are the termination of what is called the Blue Mountains and that we are now over them; at 1 o'Clock I stopped on the bank of a Riverlett, which is a rapid stream from the N.E., its source springing from very high Mountainous; the two dogs went off after game without success and came to us severely cut.

Thursday, 25th.

The Horses appeared fatigued; therefore determined on remaining this day where we are, being abundance of Grass for them; I went with a party to shoot and look at the Country; there are small Meadows clear of Trees and good Soil, with chains of holes of water; in wet weather they are connected with each other by small Streams, which lead to the riverlett; the Forest land is much overrun with a scrub of young Trees; between it is good Grass in some places; at others are thick iron Bark Brushes, the Soil is of a Sandy Nature; On our return found the Kangaroo the dogs must have killed yesterday, on which we enjoyed ourselves; We have not seen any Natives but hear them shouting around us; Dried our Bread and find a great deal is spoiled.

Friday, 26th.

My Course is along the Stream; the banks are sandy and appear to be overflowed at times by heaps of Timber being lodged at the foot of some of the Trees; when I had proceeded about 2 Miles the Forest ground rises and forms a steeper Bank; in places the Water has a great fall over Rocks; the numerous Valleys carry off the Water in rainy seasons into the riverlett; on one of the small ridges is a Rock resembling White Marble with Yellow Veins; we could not break it but from small Crivices I scraped out small pieces much like Crystal (Paper No. 1); at 4 Miles the stream alters its direction to the South, at which place the main Run joins from the West forming a considerable rapid Riverlett; the land here gets better and the Country has a fine appearance; it resembles the hills to the Eastward of the Cori Linn at Port Dalrymple, and put me in mind particularly of that part; the Trees being thin and light, the flats clear of Timber, a few Honeysuckles on the Banks of the ridges, the Lockett Bird singing, and the seed of the wild Burnett sticking to our legs, neither of the two last are to be seen on the East side of the Mountains; the soil still continues sandy but the feed is good, and better than any I have seen in New South Wales; I stopped this evening near the foot of a very handsome Mount, which I take the liberty to call Mount Blaxland, also two Peaks rather North of it, and which the Riverlett separates Wentworths and Lawsons Sugar Loaves. I am at a loss to describe the pleasant appearance of this place, the Grass being quite green and good makes it look a pleasing scene, this is the termination of the excursion of the above named Gentlemen; be assured it was not without much labour, perseverance and fatigue that enabled them to reach thus far; I am certain that it is at least 50 Miles, and as the present track is, no person in the Colony on the Choicest Horse could reach this and return to the Nepean in four days; you may rely on what I say in this respect; the Mountains, being covered with sharp Granite, would be dangerous to put any Horse out of a walk, and impossible so to do through the Brushes; Kangaroos are numerous, we caught one this day altho' the dogs are so much hurt.

distance measured 7¼ miles.   

Saturday, 27th.

Altho' I have travelled but a short distance we were very tired, the Horses were troublesome; we ascended a very high hill which appeared to lead us on the main Range, but was disappointed, and shall find it an arduous task to reach it, the hills being so very steep that the Cattle are unable to proceed; I therefore halted in a Valley of fine Grass, which the high lands also produce, the Country continues to have a good appearance; I have not seen a Memosa this side of the Mountains or on them.

distance 3 Miles.   

Sunday, 28th.

Left the Horses in the Valley, and three persons went to find a good track for them in the Morning; I crossed to the North side of the Riverlett; the banks are steep but covered with grass; the Country has the same aspect as far as I went, which was about 3 Miles; I returned at one o'Clock; the party arrived soon after, having found a passage that the Horses could ascend.

Monday, 29th.

I stopped in very bad Spirits, not being able to get on, being completely entangled among the hills, and our Course being so little Westing; were it not for the Horses the difficulty to ourselves would be nothing; they are sometimes bad to manage, and soon tire among the high Lands; when so they will not move; after travelling 2½ Miles we were on a lofty hill, from whence the Country N.W. is all Forest hills as far as I could see, which I suppose about 15 Miles, every other direction was obscured by high Ranges; impossible there can be a better grazing Track of land, and has the same good appearance as far as I have been able to get a sight of it to the Westward; I hope I will be able to do better tomorrow, and that in a few days my account will be more interesting. Paper No. 2 is a specimen found near where we stopped.

distance, 3½ Miles.   

Tuesday, 30th.

I have at length reached the Ridge I so much wished to do after walking about 2 Miles, where I had a prospect to the North for a great distance; A Mist arises from a part I suppose to be a River or a large Lagoon about 20 Miles off; the Country in this direction has a fine appearance, the Trees being thin and the hills covered with Grass; A ¼ of Mile farther along the Range, I came to a very high Mount, when I was much pleased with the sight Westward; I think I can see 40 Miles which had the look of an open Country. To the South of me there are large hills much higher than the one I am on, with pasture to their tops; This Range is rather overrun with underwood and larger Timber growing thereon, but the sides are as green as possible; in descending for 2 Miles the verdure is good; the descent then becomes steep for a ¼ of a Mile, leading into Southern Hills. We shot Ducks and caught several trout weighing at least 5 or 6 Pounds each.

distance, 5½ Miles.   

Wednesday, Decr. 1st, 1813.

My Course is down the Riverlett; it appears to lead me North of West; on the North side of it at this place is a remarkable Sugar Loaf Hill having a Stone on the Peak of it, which I have named after myself; I am more pleased with the Country every day; It is a great extent of Grazing land without being divided by barren spaces as on the East side of the Mountains, and well watered by running streams in almost every Valley; I took a walk to the top of a very high Mount where I can see at least 50 Miles West, which gives me great Spirits.

distance, 5¼ Miles.   

Thursday, 2nd.

Being a wet Morning it was late before I could go forward; one of the Horses having a sore Back we were necessitated to put more weight on the others, in consequence thereof our progress is trifling; on considering the fine Country we have passed over this day, I think it equal to Van Dieman's Land, the River winding through fine flats, and round the points of small Ridges that gradually descend to it, covered with the finest grass and intermixed with the White Daisey as in England. I shall not name the River until I am certain of its real course.

distance, 4¼ Miles.   

Friday, 3rd.

I now find the Memosa in clusters on the Banks of the River; am happy to think it favors me so much as to run the course I wish it; the Country continues good, particularly for grazing, yet it has not been altogether so pleasing to the Eye as before, being in some places rather overrun with a shrub among the Grass, somewhat the same as on the Cow Pastures near the Stone Quarry Creek; The land is still of a light sandy nature, thinly wooded with small Gums. We have not yet seen any Natives but can see their late Tracks.

distance, 5¾ Miles.   

Saturday, 4th.

My Progress is through an exceeding good Track of Country; it is the handsomest I have yet seen with gentle rising hills and dales well watered: the distant hills, which are about 5 Miles South, appear as Grounds laid out divided into fields by edges, there are few Trees on them and the Grass quite green; I still keep the river, and at times I walk a few Miles South or North as seems to me most requisite. The Dogs killed a Kangaroo and the river supplies us with abundance of Fish.

Sunday, 5th.

The Night was very wet; we were uncomfortable having no means to shelter ourselves from it, as the trees will not bark; it has rained most of the day; about 4 o'Clock a violent Thunder Storm came on; since, the Clouds seem to disperce, wind blowing fresh from the West;

We remained near the River as it is Sunday. The Horses are getting fat but am Sorry to observe their backs are sore; the Saddles should have been lined; straw stuffing is too hard to render it easy we put our Blankets under them; I walked out this Evening some Miles; I cannot speak too highly of the Country, indeed I am now at a loss what to say as it exceeds my expectations and daily gets better. We are on an Allowance of Bread having lost so much by the bad Weather on the Mountains, we require little pork in this part, a Kangaroo can be procured at any time, there are also Emu's, we killed some Ducks this day.

Monday, 6th.

The Night was very Bad; I was greatly afraid the weather would continue so; this Morning had a better appearance; the river now forms large ponds; at the Space of about a Mile I came on a fine Plain of rich Land, the handsomest Country I ever saw; it surpasseth Port Dalrymple; this place is worth speaking of as good and beautiful; the Track of clear land occupies about a Mile on each side of the River; I have named it after the Lieut. Governor. "O'Connell Plains", on which we saw a number of wild Geese but too shy to let us near them; the Timber around is thinly scattered, I do not suppose there are more than ten Gum Trees on an Acre, their Bark is amazing thick at least 2 Inches; At 3 o'Clock I stopped at the commencement of a Plain still more pleasing and very Extensive; I cannot see the termination of it North of me; the soil is exceeding rich and produces the finest grass intermixed with variety of herbs; the hills have the look of a park and Grounds laid out; I am at a loss for Language to describe the Country; I named this part "Macquarie Plains". I have walked till I am quite fatigued being so anxious to look about me; there is Game in abundance; if we want a Fish it is caught immediately; they seem to bite at any time; had I brought a quantity of salt we could cure some 100 lbs. of them, I am quite astonished at the number the Men catch every Evening, the Dogs thrive on them; I shall bring one home with me to shew you.

distance, 6 miles.   

Tuesday, 7th.

I proceeded over the Plains following the Water, which I now name the "Fish River"; at about 4 Miles I was brought up by a stream nearly as large from the Southward, and terminates the Plains; I imagine I shall be necessitated to travel up it some distance to find a Ford, I determined upon doing so, and traced it about 2 Miles when we stopped to secure ourselves from an approaching Thunder Storm that came on most severe and threatens a wet Night.

distance  {  Over Plains 4  
{ up river 1¾
5¾ Miles.   


Wednesday, 8th.

We are in Spirits from the good appearance of the Morning, we hope it will be fine, as neither of us have been thoroughly dry these last 3 days and Nights; I see no signs of a Ford at present, therefore am obliged to continue tracing up the Stream; at 2 Miles begins a Plain of rich Land which I call "Mitchell Plains". Observing from a hill the course of the water springs from the S.E., I made up my mind to contrive a Bridge to convey our Luggage over, it was done in the following manner; by driving two forked logs into the Mud as far in the water as we dare venture, and by laying a piece of wood in the Forks, form a Gallows, a party swam across and did the same on the other side; we then fell Trees as large as all six of us could carry, and rolled them down the bank; as soon as one end was carried into the water the stream sent it round, and the ropes secured round the end prevented it being carried too far; we lifted two of these up, which reached from one Gallows to the other, and two from each bank to a Gallows, over which we passed our necessaries; and swam the Horses, first conveying to the other side a Rope that held them, otherwise the force of the water would have carried them a great distance as it did the Men who swam across; I was much pleased at our exertions which took some hours and enabled us to reach the junction of the rivers by sun sett; The Country is beautiful no Mountains to be seen, there are high hills at great distances, but can observe them green to their tops.

I named the last run of Water "Campbell River". Paper No. 3 is a sample broke from a Rock near the West end of "Macquarie Plains".

distance up river, 4½ Miles.

Thursday, 9th.

I have called the Main Stream "Macquarie River". At 2½ Miles commences a most extensive Plain, the hills around are fine indeed; it requires a clever person to describe this Country properly. I never saw any thing equal to it; the soil is good; I think the lower parts of the Plains are overflowed at times, but do not see marks to any height; the small Trees on the lower banks of the River stand straight, not laying down as you see them on the banks of the river and Creeks at Hawkesbury. The Grass here might be mowed it is so thick and long, particularly on the flat lands.

distance, 8¼ Miles.

Friday, 10th.

Yesterdays trace led me much North of West; today it is South of it. The extent of the Plain following the River is 11 Miles and about 2 wide on each side, the whole excellent good land, and the best Grass I have seen in any part of New South Wales; the hills are also covered with fine pasture, the Trees being so far apart must be an acquisition to its Growth; it is in general the sweetest in an open Country.

At the termination of the Plain is a very handsome Mount; I named it "Mount Pleasant" from the Prospect it commands to the N.E. The River now winds itself round the Points of Forest hills nearly the same as described some days since.

Emues are numerous; the Dogs will not give chase; I imagine they are bad ones; we have not been able to get a shot at any of the Geese, altho' plentiful, they are so shy; but frequently shoot Ducks. Nothing astonishes me more than the amazing large Fish that are caught; one is now brought me that weighs at least 15 lb., they are all the same species. I call the Plains last passed over "Bathurst Plains"; at the West end of them I obtained the samples No. 4 and 5.

distance, 7¼ Miles.

Saturday, 11th.

The fine pasture continues but there is a great alteration in the look of the Country; finding the River leads me among hills; the points of them end with rocky Bluffs near the water; at about 4 Miles I was brought too by one of them, which appears to be the termination of a Range of high hills from the South, and is the only Mass of Rocks I have met with since leaving the Blue Mountains, but bears a different aspect being covered with Pines; I determined upon halting a few hours that I may be enabled to look about me; I ascended a Peak and find the River turns about N.W. around the points of stupenduous green hills, to the South, and S.W., I cannot discern their end, the tops of the distant ones shew themselves for a great extent; on the North side of the River is also a Ridge of Pasture hills that range Westward, to the East appears the fine Country I came over. I am pleased to find the large hills are covered with Grass nor can I discern any rocky ranges with Pines except the one I am on; they have a very romantic appearance so very different from any other part; the largest of them is about 4 feet in circumference. I am fearful of bad Travelling for a few Miles; it is not so inconvenient to ourselves as the Horses that have such sore backs. The North side looks well, but cannot cross the Water; I found a pass for the Horses and went forward, it is not quite so bad Travelling as I expected; there are many Rocks but the pasture is good.

distance, 6¼ Miles.

Sunday, 12th.

We stop this day, I took a walk for a few Miles to the S.W. and find it a fine country for Pasture, being steep healthy hills thickly covered with grass; Water in almost every Valley.

Monday, 13th.

The Hills are still steep and not quite so fine as those we have passed, they are rather rough with Rocks, yet the pasture is good; the Gums are much larger and intermixed with the Box Tree; the soil is of a stiffer nature, having pieces of Alabaster rock among it; the higher Lands in general throughout have a great deal about them, that on the surface is quite white in some places, and of a Yellow cast in others; I do not know what to make of the River, its course seems so irregular, the direction to day has been from S.W. to N.E.; the hills are so very high and close, that from any one of them its run cannot be distinguished; I have hopes of coming to their end, and be able to judge what part the river leads to. No. 6 is a piece of Rock found here.

distance, 6¾ Miles.

Tuesday, 14th.

The Country is much the same for about 2 Miles; the hills then get steeper and not so good, indeed it is the worst part I have been over since leaving the Blue Mountains; this place resembles the hill about Mount Hunter at the Cow Pastures. I hope we shall soon be through these high lands being bad travelling, and am afraid we shall soon feel the want of Shoes; the River still winds much and forms some very curious bends. No. 7 is found here. Killed a Kangaroo and two Ducks.

distance, 7 Miles.

Wednesday, 15th.

Our Road is very rugged and the hills increase in size, but covered with fine Grass; I was upon a very high one but cannot determine their end; from the S. to W. they are stupenduous, the only open Country to be observed is from N.W. to E. these hills surpass any grazing track on the East side of the Mountains; in the Valleys the Grass is long and thick, which makes it fatiguing to pass over them; I begin to think of returning; the Dogs not being good there is no certainty of obtaining Skins for our feet, the grass has cut our shoes to pieces. Pampoosers ware out in a few hours, particularly when wet with the Morning Dew. No. 8 sample found where we Halt.

distance, 7 Miles.

Thursday, 16th.

I made up my mind to return in the Morning, seeing no hopes of approaching the end of the high Range of Hills; I would most willingly proceed farther, but the Horses backs being so bad; nor can you have an Idea of the situation we are in with respect to our feet; with patching and mending we may manage to reach home. I am now 98½ measured Miles from the limitation of Mr. Blaxland's excurtion; most part of the distance is through a finer Country than I can describe, not being able for want of Language to dwell on the subject, or explain its real and good appearance with Pen and Ink, but assure you there is no deception in it. I feel satisfied within myself and am happy I can meet your Excellency to say I have done my utmost in endeavouring to accomplish your wish, and that I have succeeded in passing over a Beautiful Country, and make no doubt but that to the Westward of these hills there may be a part equal to it; also beg leave to say I shall be happy and ready to go on at any future time to attempt a Journey to the Western coast, which I think this river leads to; it is a rapid Stream in the Winter Seasons, is of great width there being two Banks. The Hollow, which I imagine from the hills to be its course, bears North of West. I conceive it strange we have not fell in with the Natives; they are near about us as we find late traces of them; I think they are watching us, but are afraid and keep at some distance. Papers No. 9 & 10.

distance, 6 miles.

Friday, 17th.

One of the Men being sick prevented our returning; therefore went with a party a few Miles farther, and returned in the Evening; the high lands are as before described, the corners are particularly good; what I name corners are spaces of Ground of 3 or 400 Acres with grass growing within them that you can scarce walk through; the ground is strong and good with ponds of water which lead to the River; but when within a ¼ of a Mile or so of it the course becomes a Rocky gully, and so steep between the hills, that no person would suspect such places were up them:—it is one Month this day since we crossed the Nepean; (I found more samples which are dated).

Saturday, 18th.

We departed for our Journey homewards, keeping as far from the River as we conveniently could, and find the feed for Stock exceeding good; the farther back among these hills the better it is; the Valleys are beautiful, as also the intervening ridges that divide them, being thickly covered with herbage; Grazers may keep stock here to great advantage, particularly sheep, as they like dry healthy parts.

Sunday, 19th.

I intended to have gone on today but the Morning turned out wet; indeed it was so most of the Night; we could keep ourselves dry here is the reason for not removing, and which I was glad of as it turned out a shocking stormy afternoon.

Monday, 20th.

I did not depart very early, the weather was much against us but managed to reach the Pine hill by Evening where we halted.

Tuesday, 21st.

Fine weather very warm; halted at the commencement of Bathurst Plains early, as I was desirous to examine this part; I ascended Mount Pleasant, the West end led me on a Ridge of Beautiful hills, along which I travelled about 3 Miles, a small stream of Water forming ponds run at their foot; I was gratified with a pleasing sight of an open Country to the S.W. of them; at the space of 7 or 8 Miles I could discern the Course of a River winding to the West; I saw three or four large Plains; the first of them I was on, the Chain of Ponds before mentioned running through it; I feel much regret I am not able to Travel a week or more in that direction; I imagine the flat open Country extends 30 or 40 Miles; at the termination I can only discern one Mountain Quite Pale with three Peaks; I suspected an open Country lay about the S.W. point, as I passed, the Range of hills then obscured it from me, nor had I time to examine it; I cannot speak too much of the Country, the increase of Stock for some 100 Years cannot overrun it; the Grass is so good and intermixed with variety of herbs. Emu's and Geese are numerous, but cannot get any; we counted 41 Emu's this day; our dogs will not follow them. Returning we saw smoke on the North side of the River, at Sun sett as we were fishing I saw some Natives coming down the Plain; they did not see us untill we surprized them: there was only two Women and four Children, the poor Creatures trembled and fell down with fright; I think they were coming for Water; I gave them what Fish we had, some fish Hooks, Twine and a Tomahawk, they appeared glad to get from us; two Boys ran away; the other small Children cried much at first; a little while after I played with them, they began to be good humoured and laugh, both of the Women were blind of their Right Eye.

Wednesday, 22nd.

Travelled over the hills on the South side of the Plains; from them I had a grand prospect North and South; nothing can exceed the fine appearance of this Country; the hill quite Green with grass, and the Plains also, intermixed with variety of Flowers and herbs, with flocks of Emu's feeding on them; I stopped at the East end for the Night.

Thursday, 23rd.

About 9 o'clock crossed Campbell's River; the Water has fallen so much that it was fordable in many places, which saved us a Journey of 6 Miles round to our Bridge; Macquaries River is likewise fordable between the large sheets of Water; these rivers resemble the Esks in Van Diemans Land, being fine streams running over hard gravel Bottoms, I kept some distance back from the River and find the Country as usual, fine pasture and distant hill North and South are Forest lands thinly wooded; we stopped at the West end of O'Connell Plains.

Friday, 24th.

Nothing particular has attracted my attention, the Country is as before stated; halted where we stopped the Evening of the 2nd Inst.

Saturday, 25th.

Being Christmas day we remained for a day's rest; yet we walked about as much as a day's journey looking around us, and ascending Hills to see the Country, which is excellent pasture, the soil is light, but exceeds the Forest Lands in general on the East side of the Mountains. The day is so hott the Fish will not bite; it is the only time they have missed; therefore I opened my tin case of Roasted Beef.

Sunday, 26th.

Proceeded on; the hills are rather steeper, crossed the River ready to leave it in the Morning, and ascend the range by an easy ascent that I took notice of coming along; the Country as usual very good. Shot a large Kangaroo.

Monday. 27th.

We got upon the range by an easy track, as it was exceeding warm I halted in a fine Valley.

Tuesday, 28th.

I stopped near the riverlett about a Mile East of Mount Blaxland, and find the stream not near so rapid as when we left it; I am of opinion that it falls into the Nepean by the run North of the Western River, and that the Source of the Western River springs from the Mountains S.W. of Natai, as far as I am a judge of appearances of Country's I conceive it to be so; I observe on coming from the hills a range that will lead round to the hill where the Trees are marked down to the Fish River, the foot of which forms the valley nearest the Mount. I pointed it out to one of the Men named Richard Lewis. The Lands about here are pleasant and good sheep pasture; but it is by no means to be compared to the Country Westward.

Wednesday. 29th.

Proceeded to the foot of the Mountains, this part, altho' there is tolerable good feed and appeared fine on my first coming from them, looks miserable to me now after returning from so superior and good a Country, I went to the Cliffs where I stowed away the provisions and found all safe. The Natives seem to be numerous; there are fires in many parts not far from us.

Thursday, 30th.

We remained to prepare to ascend the Mountains early in the Morning, by hunting Kangaroo for their skins to secure our feet: Killed a very large one which will furnish us with pampoosers; hoping with what we have will enable us to reach home in safety.

Friday, 31st

At 2 Miles we ascended the Mountains, our track to the passage up was along a Valley of good grass from about 2 to 4 Chains wide. The Atmosphere being thick leaves it out of my power to make any observation on the prospect from them; they are covered with a scrub, the Timber in general is good, chiefly consists of Stringy Bark Trees; I halted at the head of a Valley where there is good water a little way down it, plenty of sweet rushes and some Grass.

Distance from the Riverlett, 7¼ Miles.

Saturday, Jany. 1st, 1814.

The Bush is exceeding thick, and bad travelling on account of the sharp Rocks; the Ravines on my Right are deep. It is hazy weather which prevents me seeing any distant objects; Halted in a Valley, found good Water by making holes among the Rushes.

distance, 5¾ Miles.

Sunday, 2nd.

At a quarter of a Mile is a Tract of Forest Land underneath this Ridge, the centre is a marsh, I judge leads to the Riverlett which appearantly runs between some high Hills about a Mile West; beyond are Mountains considerably higher than what I am now on; The road is through thick brushes and over pieces of sharp Granite Rocks. Halted in a Valley of good feed and Water.

distance, 6 Miles.

Monday, 3rd.

The Mountains have been fired; had we been on them we could not have escaped; the Flames rage with violence through thick underwood, which they are covered with. Bad travelling the stick of the Bushes here are worse than if their leaves had not been consumed; they catch my Chain which makes the measuring very fatiguing; also tears our clothes to pieces, and makes us appear as Natives from black dust off them. The Marks in the Trees are burnt out; therefore am obliged to go over them again; Our Horses now want Grass; the herbage in this spacious Valley is destroyed; we cut some sweet Rushes for them that grow on the edge of a stream of Water which runs through it.

distance, 4 Miles.

Tuesday, 4th.

The Mountains are as yesterday; fired in all directions; at 11 o'clock I was upon the high hill; all objects Eastward are obscured by thick smoke; We stopped where there was feed for the Horses and Water.

distance, 5¼ Miles.

Wednesday, 5th.

Still a thick Brush; the leaves of it are burnt. The weather is disagreeably warm and boisterous, which has been the case these last 3 days. I halted on the top of a Mountain, a ¼ of a Mile North of the Pile of Stones, with the hope that I shall be able to see the Hawkesbury from it, should it turn out a clear Morning. There is water and sufficient feed for our Horses.

distance, 4½ Miles.

Thursday. 6th.

The Fires have been in my favor, otherwise it would be impossible to measure; the flames have consumed the foliage from the highest Trees.

The Ridges continue as usual until the latter part of my journey which is Forest land for ½ a Mile; the timber on it is chiefly lofty stringy Bark and Oaks: there are small patches of Grass left that the fire missed. I was much disappointed this Morning, the mist was so thick that I could not see any long distance from the Mountains.

distance, 5¼ Miles.

Friday, 7th.

The Forest land continues a Mile farther; afterwards the brushy Ridge commences again, the thickest of it is consumed, which I consider fortunate, had it not I should be obliged to have given off measuring; at the end of today's Journey is a Lagoon of good Water, with tolerable grass round the edge of it.

distance, 5¾ Miles.

Saturday, 8th.

¾ of a Mile terminates the brush, the ridges then produce good sheep feed for 1½ Mile, when there is a gully which is the south side of Emu Island. I marked a Tree on the N.E. point of the Forest land nearly opposite the House on Captn. Woodriff's Farm on the Bank of the River Nepean.

distance 4¾ Miles.

The Track out is on one continued ridge of the Mountains with ravines right and left; for the first 10 Miles they are dry and fall immediately into the Nepean, without forming any considerable stream in wet weather. At 30 Miles those on my Right lead into the Grose River, afterwards they alter their course West of North and the Water from them runs into the riverlett I came upon, on my descent from the Mountains; as also does those on my left; in some places the Ridge is Narrow; when that is the case, the Ravines are steep and appear as Bluffs of Band do at Sea, the one projecting before the other; where it is broader, there are Gully's which are bare of Trees, with herbage and good Water; the points of Ridges that they are between lead some distance before the ravines or Gullys become steep and perpendicular.

The ascent from Emu Island is very regular and easy; 12 Men might clear a good Road in 3 Months for a Cart to travel over the Mountains and make the descent of them so easy that it might be drove down in safety.

There are no hills on the Ridge that their ascent or descent is any way difficult; I beg to observe that it will be impossible to drive Cattle or attempt sending a Cart until a Road is made; for reasons that the stumps of the Brush and sharp Granite Rocks will run into their feet and lame them.

I have the honor to be with every respect,

Your very obedient Servant,        
G.W. EVANS.   

Names of men that accompany'd me.
    {Richard Lewis
    {James Burns
Free Men
    [John Cooghan
    [John Grover
    [John Tygh
From Emu Island to the end of the Mountains 46½ Miles
From the end of the Mountains to the Riverlett 2   
"    "    "    "    "    "    "    "    "    " Mount Blaxland 55¾
From Mount Blaxland to the end of my Journey       92½
Up Campbell's River 6    98½
—— ——
Total 154   
G.W. EVANS.   

[Enclosure No. 5.]
[A copy of the chart of surveyor Evans is not available.]

Evans's Route, November-December 1813, and January 1814.
Source: Ernest Scott's Australian Discovery By Land, Chapter 2


[Extracts: pages 461-9.]


(Despatch marked "No. 4 of 1815", per ship Marquess of Wellington; acknowledged by Earl Bathurst, 18th April, 1816.)

Government House, Sydney, 24th March, 1815.   

My Lord,

1. The Date of My last General Dispatch.  .  .  .

.  .  .  .
12. I have the pleasure of reporting to Your Lordship that the Road, {42} which I informed Your Lordship in a former Dispatch {105} had been Commenced upon in the Month of July last under the Direction of Wm. Cox, Esqr., Chief Magistrate at Windsor, from the left Bank of the River Nepean across the Blue Mountains to the new discovered Country to the Westward of them, was Completed in the Month of February last, so far as the Western Extremity of "Bathurst Plains" on the "Macquarie River", the Distance being upwards of one Hundred Measured Miles in nearly a due Westerly Direction to Bathurst Plains. The Whole of this Extent has been made a Safe Carriage Road, and great praise is due to Mr. Cox for his perseverance and arduous Exertions in getting it so soon Completed. The Road to the newly discovered Country being thus opened, it is My Intention to proceed thither Early next Month for the purpose of Surveying and ascertaining its real Value and Capabilities; for this purpose, I shall take with me the Surveyor General and the two Deputy Surveyors (including Mr. Evans, the first Explorer of this New Region), and some other Scientific Gentlemen, to assist me in My Survey and Examination of the Quality of its Soil, Timber, and other Natural productions. I also intend taking with me two small light portable Boats for the purpose of Ascertaining the Course of the "Macquarie River", and whether or not it Empties itself into the Sea on the Western Coast, which it is Supposed to do. I shall therefore detach Mr. Evans to trace the Course of this River on my Arrival at Bathurst Plains, where I am informed the Land is extremely fertile and luxuriant. On my Return from this Tour, which I expect will Occupy me at least a Month, I shall not fail to transmit Your Lordship a minutely detailed Report of the Result of All my Discoveries and Observations.

13.  .  .  .

I have, &c.,                  


P.S.—I take the liberty to forward herewith for your Lordship's notice and indulgent consideration, a Letter addressed to me lately by Mr. Evans, the Deputy Surveyor of Lands in Van Diemen's Land, Soliciting an increase of Salary, and also enclosing a Demand for Surveying Instruments; and I respectfully beg leave to recommend that Mr. Evans's Salary may be increased, and his Demand for Instruments Complied with.

Sydney, 24 March, 1815.


[Enclosure No. 7. of Despatch No. 4/1815.]


Hobart Town, Van Diemen's Land,        
1st February, 1815.   


Confident that any reasonable request, which may be made to your Excellency by any Officer, who has the honor to be under your command, will meet your generous attention, I presume most respectfully to solicit your recommendation to His Majesty's Ministers for an augmentation of the Salary attached to the performance of the duties of His Majesty's Land Surveyor on this Island.

Your Excellency, being perfectly acquainted with the excessive price that every necessary article bears at these Settlements, must also be aware that the small sum of Five Shillings per day (from which the income Tax is deducted) is a very inadequate compensation for the arduous duties I have to attend to as Land Surveyor, especially if your Excellency will be pleased to take into consideration the expences I am frequently compell'd to incur in exploring this extensive Island, together with the charges attending my Journies from hence to Port Dalrymple (a distance of One Hundred and twenty Miles), where my presence is required at least twice a Year; and when to these circumstances is added the loss I annually suffer in the unavoidable distraction of my apparel in travelling through the woods, your Excellency will not be surprized that I find it more than difficult to support myself on my present allowances with that degree of respectability, which my situation requires.

Having had the honor to serve His Majesty for a number of Years at Port Jackson, and have every reason to believe to your Excellency's satisfaction during the time you have administered the Government of these Colonies, I have taken the liberty to make the preceeding application in the humble hope that you will be pleased to make such representations to His Majesty's Ministers in my behalf, as may induce them to sanction an increase of Salary with allowances equivalent to the important appointment I now hold, An appointment to which I was originally nominated by your Excellency, and which has recently been most graciously confirmed by His Royal Highness the Prince Regent.

I have, &c.,                  

G.W. EVANS.   

P.S.—The several Surveying Instruments and other Articles specified in the accompanying Demand, being essentially necessary for enabling me to execute my Duties as Deputy Surveyor of Lands, I have to request your Excellency will move the Rt. Honble. the Secretary of State to order them to be purchased and sent out to me by an early opportunity.

G. W. EVANS.   

[Extracts: pages 553-66]


(Despatch marked "No. 7 of 1815", per ship Sydney Packet; acknowledged by Earl Bathurst. 18th April. 1816.)

Government House, Sydney, New South Wales,        
24th June, 1815.   

My Lord,

1. Since the Date of My last General Dispatch.  .  .  .

.  .  .  .
12. On my leaving Bathurst, I sent Mr. George William Evans, the Deputy Surveyor (the original Discoverer of the New Country), on another Tour of Discovery {127} to explore the Country for One Hundred Miles to the South west of Bathurst, having Reason to Suppose that the Land in that Direction was good and the Country Accessible, and being Also in hopes that he might fall in again in that Direction with the Macquarie River, it not proving Navigable, as was at first expected, from Bathurst.

I sent 3 Men and 6 weeks Provisions with Mr. Evans, and I now expect him back very soon from his Tour; in the Course of which, I trust he will make some important Discoveries; the Result of this Tour I shall not fail to make Your Lordship acquainted with in my Next Dispatch.

13.  .  .  .

I have, &c.,                  



[Extracts: pages 568-576]

[Enclosure No. 3.]



Government House, Sydney, 10th June, 1815.   

THE Governor desires to communicate, for the information of the public, the result of his late tour over the Western or Blue Mountains, undertaken for the purpose of being enabled personally to appreciate the importance of the Tract of Country lying Westward of them, which had been explored in the latter end of the year, 1813, and the beginning of 1814, by Mr. G. W. Evans, Deputy Surveyor of Lands.

To those, who know how very limited a tract of country has been hitherto occupied by the colonists of New South Wales, extending along the eastern coast, to the north and south of Port Jackson, only 80 miles, and westward about 40 miles to the foot of the chain of mountains in the interior, which forms its western boundary, it must be a matter of astonishment and regret that amongst so large a population no one appeared, within the first 25 years of the establishment of this settlement, possessed of sufficient energy of mind to induce him fully to explore a passage over these mountains; but, when it is considered that, for the greater part of that time, even this circumscribed portion of country afforded sufficient produce for the wants of the people, whilst on the other hand the whole surface of the country beyond those limits was a thick, and in many places nearly an impenetrable, forest, the surprise at the want of effort to surmount such difficulties must abate very considerably.

The records of the Colony only afford two instances {130} of any bold attempt, having been made to discover the country to the westward of the Blue Mountains. The first was by Mr. Bass, and the other by Mr. Cayley; and both ended in disappointment; a circumstance, which will not be much wondered at by those, who have lately crossed those mountains.

To G. Blaxland and W. Wentworth, Esqs. and Lieutenant Lawson, of the Royal Veteran Company, the merit is due of having, with extraordinary patience and much fatigue, effected the first passage {131} over the most rugged and difficult part of the Blue Mountains.

The Governor, being strongly impressed with the importance of the object, had early after his arrival in this colony, formed the resolution of encouraging the attempt to find a passage to the Western Country, and willingly availed himself of the facilities, which the discoveries of these three gentlemen afforded him. Accordingly on the 20th of November, 1813, he entrusted the accomplishment of this object to Mr. G. W. Evans, Deputy Surveyor of Lands, the result of whose journey was laid before the public {132} through the medium of the Sydney Gazette on the 12th of Feb., 1814.

The favourable account, given by Mr. Evans of the country he had explored, induced the Governor to cause a road to be constructed for the passage and conveyance of cattle and provisions to the interior; and men of good character, from amongst a number of convicts who had volunteered their services, were selected to perform this arduous work, on condition of being fed and clothed during the continuance of their labour, and being granted emancipation, as their final reward, on the completion of the work.

The direction and superintendence of this great work was entrusted to W. Cox, Esq., the chief magistrate at Windsor; and to the astonishment of every one, who knows what was to be encountered and sees what has been done, he effected its completion in six months from the time of its commencement, happily without the loss of a man or any serious accident. The Governor is at a loss to appreciate fully the services rendered by Mr. Cox to this colony in the execution of this arduous work, which promises to be of the greatest public utility by opening a new source of wealth to the industrious and enterprising. When it is considered that Mr. Cox voluntarily relinquished the comforts of his own house and the society of his numerous family, and exposed himself to much personal fatigue with only such temporary covering, as a bark hut could afford, from the inclemency of the season, it is difficult to express the sentiments of approbation to which such privations and services are entitled.

Mr. Cox having reported the road as completed on the 21st of January, the Governor, accompanied by Mrs. Macquarie and that gentleman, commenced his tour on the 25th of April over the Blue Mountains, and was joined by Sir J. Jamison at the Nepean, who accompanied him during the entire tour.

The following gentlemen composed the Governor's suite:—Mr. Campbell, secretary; Captain Antill, major of brigade; Lieutenant Watts, aide-de-camp; Mr. Redfern, assistant surgeon; Mr. Oxley, surveyor-general; and Mr. G. W. Evans, deputy surveyor of lands, who had been sent forward for the purpose of making further discoveries and rejoined the party on the day of arrival at Bathurst plains.

The commencement of the ascent from Emu Plains to the first depot, and thence to a resting place, now called "Spring Wood", distant 12 miles from Emu Ford, was through a very handsome open forest of lofty trees, and much more practicable and easy than was expected. The facility of the ascent for this distance excited surprise, and is certainly not well calculated to give the traveller a just idea of the difficulties he has afterwards to encounter. At the further distance of 4 miles, a sudden change is perceived in the appearance of the timber and the quality of the soil, the former becoming stunted, and the latter barren and rocky. At this place, the fatigues of the journey may be said to commence. Here the country became altogether mountainous and extremely rugged. Near the 18th mile mark (it is observed that the measure commences from Emu Ford) a pile of stones attracted attention; it is close to the line of the road on the top of a rugged and abrupt ascent, and is supposed to have been placed there by Mr. Cayley, as the extreme limit of his tour; hence the Governor gave that part of the mountain the name of "Cayley's Repulse". To have penetrated even so far was at that time an effort of no small difficulty. From hence, forward to the 26th mile, is a succession of steep and rugged hills, some of which are almost so abrupt as to deny a passage altogether; but at this place an extensive plain is arrived at, which constitutes the summit of the Western Mountain; and from thence a most extensive and beautiful prospect presents itself on all sides to the eye. The town of Windsor, the river Hawkesbury, Prospect Hill, and other objects within that part of the colony now inhabited, of equal interest, are distinctly seen from hence. The majestic grandeur of the situation, combined with the various objects to be seen from this place, induced the Governor to give it the appellation of "The King's Table Land".

On the S.W. side of the King's Table Land, the mountain terminates in abrupt precipices of immense depth; at the bottom of which is seen a glen as romantically beautiful as can be imagined, bounded on the further side by mountains of great magnitude, terminating equally abruptly as the others, and the whole thickly covered with timber. The length of this picturesque and remarkable tract of country is about 24 miles, to which the Governor gave the name of "The Prince Regent's Glen". Proceeding hence to the 33d mile on the top of a hill, an opening presents itself on the S.W. side of the Prince Regent's Glen from whence a view is obtained particularly beautiful and grand. Mountains rising beyond mountains, with stupendous masses of rock in the foreground, here strike the eye with admiration and astonishment. The circular form, in which the whole is so wonderfully disposed, induced the Governor to give the name of "Pitt's Amphitheatre", in honour of the late Right Hon. Wm. Pitt, to this first branch from the Prince Regent's Glen. The road continues from hence for the space of 17 miles on the ridge of the mountain, which forms one side of the Prince Regent's Glen; and it suddenly terminates in nearly a perpendicular precipice of 676 feet high, as ascertained by measurement. The road constructed by Mr. Cox down this rugged and tremendous descent through all its windings is no less than three fourths of a mile in length, and has been executed with such skill and stability, as reflects much credit on him. The labour here undergone and the difficulties surmounted can only be appreciated by those who view the scene. In order to perpetuate the memory of Mr. Cox's services, the Governor deemed it a tribute justly due to him to give his name to this grand and extraordinary Pass, and he accordingly called it "Cox's Pass". Having descended into the valley at the bottom of this pass, the retrospective view of the overhanging mountain is much higher than those on either side of it; from whence it is distinguished at a considerable distance, when approaching it from the interior, and in this point of view it has the appearance of a very high distinct hill, although it is, in fact only the abrupt termination of a ridge. The Governor gave the name of "Mount York" to this termination of the ridge in honour of his Royal Highness the Duke of York.

On descending Cox's Pass, the Governor was much gratified by the appearance of good pasture land, and soil fit for Cultivation, which was the first he had met with since the commencement of his tour. The valley at the base of Mount York, he called "the Vale of Clwyd" in consequence of the strong resemblance it bore to the vale of that name in North Wales. The grass in this vale is of a good quality and very abundant, and a rivulet of fine water runs along it from the eastward, which unites itself at the western extremity of the vale with another rivulet containing still more water. The junction of these two streams forms a very handsome river, now called by the Governor "Cox's River", which takes its course, as has been ascertained, through the Prince Regent's Glen, and empties itself into the River Nepean; and it is conjectured from the nature of the country, through which it passes, that it must be one of the principal causes of the floods, which have been occasionally felt on the low banks of the river Hawkesbury into which the Nepean discharges itself. The vale of Clwyd from the base of Mount York extends six miles in a westerly direction, and has its termination at Cox's River. West of this river the country again becomes hilly; but is generally open forest land and very good pasturage.

Three miles to the Westward of the Vale of Clwyd, Messrs. Blaxland, Wentworth, and Lawson had formerly terminated their excursion; and when the various difficulties are considered, which they had to contend with, especially until they had effected the descent from Mount York, to which place they were obliged to pass through a thick brush wood, where they were under the necessity of cutting a passage for the baggage horses, the severity of which labour had seriously affected their healths, their patient endurance of such fatigue cannot fail to excite much surprise and admiration. In commemoration of their merits, three beautiful high hills, joining each other at the end of their tour at this place, have received their names in the following order, viz.: "Mount Blaxland", "Wentworth's Sugar Loaf", and "Lawson's Sugar Loaf". A range of very lofty hills and narrow vallies alternately form the tract of country from Cox's River for a distance of 16 miles, until the Fish River is arrived at; and the stage between these rivers is consequently very severe and oppressive on the cattle. To this Range, the Governor gave the name of "Clarence Hilly Range".

Proceeding from the Fish River, and at a short distance from it, a very singular and beautiful mountain attracts the attention, its summits being crowned with a large and very extraordinary looking rock, nearly circular in form, which gives to the whole very much the appearance of a hill or fort, such as are frequent in India. To this lofty hill, Mr. Evans, who was the first European discoverer, gave the name of "Mount Evans". Passing on from hence, the country continues hilly, but affords a good pasturage, gradually improving to Sidmouth Valley, which is distant from the pass of the Fish River 12 miles. The land here is level, and the first met with unincumbered with timber; it is not of very considerable extent, but abounds with a great variety of herbs and plants, such as would probably highly interest and gratify the scientific botanists. This beautiful little valley runs north-west and south-east between hills of easy ascent, thinly covered with timber. Leaving Sidmouth Valley, the country becomes again hilly, and, in other respects, resembles very much the country to the eastward of the valley for some miles. Having reached Campbell River, distance 13 miles from Sidmouth Valley, the Governor was highly gratified by the appearance of the country, which there began to exhibit an open and extensive view of gently rising grounds and fertile plains. Judging from the height of the banks and its general width, the Campbell River must be on some occasions of very considerable magnitude; but the extraordinary drought, which has apparently prevailed on the western side of the mountains, equally as throughout this colony for the last three years, has reduced this river so much, that it may be more properly called a chain of pools than a running stream at the present time. In the reaches or pools of the Campbell River, the very curious animal called the Paradox, or Watermole {90} is seen in great numbers. The soil on both banks is uncommonly rich, and the grass is consequently luxuriant. Two miles to the southward of the line of road which crosses the Campbell River, there is a very fine tract of low lands, which has been named Mitchell Plains. Flax was found growing in considerable quantities. The Fish River, which forms a junction with the Campbell River a few miles to the northward of the road and bridge over the latter, has also two very fertile plains on its banks, the one called O'Connell Plains, and the other Macquarie Plains, both of very considerable extent and capable of yielding all the necessaries of life.

At the distance of seven miles from the bridge over the Campbell River, Bathurst Plains open to the view, presenting a rich tract of campaign country of 11 miles in length, bounded on both sides by gently rising and very beautiful hills, thinly wooded. The Macquarie River, which is constituted by the junction of the Fish and Campbell River, takes a winding course through the plains, which can be easily traced from the high lands adjoining by the particular verdure of the trees on its banks, which are likewise the only trees throughout the extent of the plains. The level and clear surface of these plains gives them at first view very much the appearance of lands in a state of cultivation.

It is impossible to behold this grand scene without a feeling of admiration and surprise, whilst the silence and solitude, which reign in a space of such extent and beauty as seems designed by nature for the occupancy and comfort of man, create a degree of melancholy in the mind which may be more easily imagined than described.

The Governor and suite arrived at these plains on Thursday, the 4th of May, and encamped on the southern left bank of the Macquarie river; the situation being selected in consequence of its commanding a beautiful and extensive prospect for many miles in every direction around it. At this place, the Governor remained for a week, which time he occupied in making excursions in different directions through the adjoining country on both sides of the river.

On Sunday, the 7th of May, the Governor fixed on a site suitable for the erection of a town at some future period, to which he gave the name of "Bathurst", in honour of the present Secretary of State for the Colonies. The situation of Bathurst is elevated sufficiently beyond the reach of any floods which may occur, and it is at the same time so near to the river on its south bank, as to derive all the advantages of its clear and beautiful stream. The mechanics and settlers, of whatever description, who may be hereafter permitted to form permanent residences to themselves at this place, will have the highly important advantages of a rich and fertile soil, with a beautiful river flowing through it, for all the uses of man. The Governor must, however, add, that the hopes, which were once so sanguinely entertained of this river becoming navigable to the Western Sea, have ended in disappointment.

During the week that the Governor remained at Bathurst, he made daily excursions in various directions:—one of these extended 22 miles in a south-west direction, and on that occasion, as well as on all others, he found the country chiefly composed of valleys and plains, separated occasionally by ranges of low hills, the soils throughout being generally fertile and well circumstanced for the purpose of agriculture and grazing. The Governor here feels much pleasure in being enabled to communicate to the public that the favourable reports, which he had received of the country to the west of the Blue Mountains, have not been by any means exaggerated. The difficulties, which present themselves in the journey from hence, are certainly great and inevitable; but those persons, who may be inclined to become permanent settlers there, will probably content themselves with visiting this part of the colony but rarely, and of course will have them seldom to encounter. Plenty of water and a sufficiency of grass are to be found in the mountains for the support of such cattle as may be sent over them; and the tracts of fertile soil and rich pasturage, which the new country affords, are fully extensive enough for any increase of population and stock, which can possibly take place for years.

Within a distance of ten miles from the site of Bathurst, there is not less than 50,000 acres of land clear of timber, and fully one half of that may be considered excellent soil, well calculated for cultivation. It is a matter of regret, that, in proportion as the soil improves, the timber degenerates; and it is to be remarked, that every where to the westward of the Mountains, it is much inferior both in size and quality to that within the present colony; there is, however, a sufficiency of timber of tolerable quality, within the district around Bathurst, for the purpose of house-building and husbandry.

The Governor has here to lament, that neither coals or limestone have yet been discovered in the western country, articles in themselves of so much importance that the want of them must be severely felt whenever that country shall be settled.

Having enumerated the principal and most important features of this new country, the Governor has now to notice some of its live productions. All around Bathurst abounds in a variety of game; and the two principal rivers contain a great quantity of fish, but all of one denomination, resembling the perch in appearance and of a delicate and fine flavour, not unlike that of a rock-cod; this fish grows to a large size, and is very voracious. Several of them were caught during the Governor's stay at Bathurst, and at the halting-place of the Fish River. One of those caught weighed 17 lb., and the people stationed at Bathurst stated, that they had caught some weighing 25 lbs.

The field game are kangaroos, emus, black swans, wild geese, wild turkeys, bustards, ducks of various kinds, quail, bronze and other pigeons, &c.; the water-mole or paradox also abounds in all the rivers and ponds.

The site designed for the town of Bathurst, by observation taken at a flag-staff, which was erected on the day of Bathurst receiving that name, is situated in lat. 33° 24' 30" south, and in long. 149° 37' 45" east of Greenwich, being also 27½ miles north of Government House in Sydney, and 94½ west of it, bearing west 20° 30' north 83 geographic miles, or 95½ statute miles; the measured road distance from Sydney to Bathurst being 140 English miles.

On Thursday, the 17th of May, the Governor and suite set out from Bathurst on their return, and arrived at Sydney on Friday, the 19th ult.

The Governor deems it expedient to notify here to the public, that he does not mean to make any grant of land to the westward of the Blue Mountains, until he shall receive the commands of his Majesty's Ministers on that subject, and in reply to the report he is now about to make them upon it.

In the mean time, such gentlemen, or other respectable free persons, as may wish to visit this new country, will be permitted to do so on making a written application to the Governor to that effect, who will order them to be furnished with written passes. It is at the same time strictly ordered and directed that no person, whether civil or military, shall attempt to travel over the Blue Mountains, without having previously applied for and obtained permission in the above prescribed form. The military guard stationed at the first depot {126} on the mountains will receive full instructions to prevent the progress of any persons, who shall not have obtained regular passes. The necessity for the establishing and strictly enforcing this regulation is too obvious to every one, who will reflect on it, to require any explanation.

The Governor cannot conclude this account of his tour without offering his best acknowledgements to W. Cox, Esq., for the important service he has rendered to the Colony in so short a period of time, by opening a passage to the newly-discovered country, and at the same time assuring him that he shall have great pleasure in recommending his meritorious services on this occasion to the favourable consideration of His Majesty's ministers.

By Command of His Excellency the Governor,

J. T. CAMPBELL, Secretary.   

[p. 608]


(Despatch marked "No. 9 of 1815", per ship Sydney Packet; acknowledged by Earl Bathurst, 18th April, 1816.)

Government House, Sydney, 30th June, 1815.   

30 June. My Lord,

In my Dispatch No. 7 by the present Opportunity, I mentioned that, on my leaving Bathurst on my Return hither, I had directed Mr. Evans to pursue his Discoveries as far Westward as his Supply of Provisions, the Nature of the Country, and other Circumstances would permit.

I have now very great Satisfaction in being enabled to report to Your Lordship that Mr. Evans and the Persons, who Attended him, have returned hither Safe after a Journey, {138} which occupied them one Month from their Departure until their Return to Bathurst on the 12th Inst. Mr. Evans, in the Course of this Journey, travelled about 142 Miles from Bathurst. Upwards of 100 of which were due West, and the remainder Arose from Occasional Digressions to the North and South.

I have not had time to peruse with Attention the Journal kept by Mr. Evans on this Occasion, but, from what I have read of it and his personal Report, I have every Reason to believe he has travelled over a very great Extent of Country possessed of Many and very important Advantages for a Numerous Population. Among other things, he has brought Specimens of Lime Stone, which prove to be of the best Quality, and will of Course be of Infinite Service whenever Colonization shall take place there. He has also brought me a very Unusual and extraordinary Production, to which I am not enabled to give a proper or Scientific Name. It possesses much of the Sweetness and Flavour of Manna, but in appearance is different, being very white and of a roundish irregular Surface, not unlike the rough Outside of Confectioners' Comfits and about the Size of large Hail Stones. From any thing I Can learn from Mr. Evans, this is not the production of any Insect, Tree, or Vegetable of that part of the Country; and I am thence led to Conjecture that it is a production of the same nature of that which is found in Arabia, and there called "Wild Honey" or "the Almighty's Sugar Plumbs", and Considered as a Dew. I do myself the Honor to transmit a Small Phial, with Some of this remarkable Production in it, for your Lordship's Inspection. Mr. Evans has Observed to me that in the parts of the Country where he found this Substance most plentiful, he there saw Kangaroos in Numerous Flocks like Sheep and Wild Fowl equally abundant, and Also met with Several Natives.

In the Account I published of my own Tour over the Blue Mountains, I accidentally Omitted to Observe that I had fallen in with Some of the Natives. On my Arrival at Bathurst on the 4th of May, I found there three Native Men and Six Children, Standing with Some of our Working Party; they appeared Much Alarmed, particularly at the Sight of Our Horses; but in a very short time their Apprehensions Ceased and they became quite familiar in their Manner, Eating whatever was offered to them, and Appearing very proud of some little Articles of Dress which were given them; frequently during My Stay Afterwards, Small Parties of Men and Boys Came in, and I always gave them Meat and Some Articles of Slop Clothing and Tomahawks, with which they seemed much pleased. These Natives are very like those in the Neighbourhood of Sydney, tho' rather better looking and Stronger Made. Some of them were blind of one Eye tho' not always on the Same Side, and their Language being altogether dissimilar to that of the Natives to the East of the Mountains, I could not learn whether their being blinded was the Result of a Custom, or Merely Accidental. A Native from this Side of the Mountains, whom I had taken with me in the Hope that he might Assist as an Interpreter, in Case of Meeting with any Natives to the Westward, was much agitated at the Appearance of the Strangers, but afterwards endeavoured to hold a Conversation with them; this was however fruitless, as their Languages were Altogether different. These Men were Covered with Skins neatly Sewed together, the fur Side Inwards, and they had Curious Devices* on the Skin Side. On One of these I Observed, with not a little Surprize, as regularly a formed St. George's Cross as Could be made, but Could not discover that it was Connected with any religious Ceremony; these figures are formed by the throwing up of the Skin with a Sharp Instrument on the Outer Lines; they Certainly appear, by the Neat Sewing and Work on their Dresses, to have made some little Advance towards Civilization beyond what the Natives of this part of the Country have done. In other respects, they Appear perfectly harmless and Inoffensive, and not at all Warlike, few of them Carrying any Weapons Whatever, but merely a Stone Instrument like an Axe, with which they cut their Steps up Trees, when in quest of the little animals which live upon them.

They brought no females with them on any of the Occasions I have been Mentioning; and I had not an Opportunity of seeing any of them, but an old and wretched looking Creature, Mere Skin and Bone, whom in One of my Rides from Bathurst I came up with Unawares, and the poor Creature Appeared much Alarmed.

By Mr. Evans's late Journal, it Appears that he has Seen Several Natives, Altho' All so wild that he Could hold no Intercourse with them. A Country, producing such a fine Article of Food as the Manna or Wild Honey I have described to Your Lordship, and Abounding with Kangaroos, Can Scarcely fail of being well peopled.

Your Lordship will receive herewith a Copy of Mr. Evans's Journal, which I trust will prove an Acceptable Report of the New Western Country; and by the Next Opportunity, I shall transmit Your Lordship the Chart of his Tour, which he has not been enabled to get perfected for the present Occasion.

It is My Intention to Send Mr. Evans on a further Tour of Discovery some time hence, When he Can be spared from his Duties as Land Surveyor in Van Diemen's Land; and it is My purpose to Instruct him to pursue a Western Course, as far as Circumstances will Admit, Until he shall fall in with the Western Ocean. In the pursuit of this Object, I have Sanguine Hope that he will meet with some great River,** which may probably fall into the Sea on that part of the Coast, bearing in a South Easterly Direction from Spencer's Gulph, which Captn. Flinders and all the former Navigators have left Unexplored. The Result of these Discoveries will, I trust, prove of no Small Importance at Some future Day to the Mother Country, and prove satisfactory to Your Lordship.

I have, &c.,                  



Note {42}.; Also pages 314, 467, and 558.

A very good Road.

The method of making the early roads was somewhat primitive. An alignment was marked by blazing the trees along a route which presented the least difficulties. A track was cleared and grubbed along this route, the road was graded, bridges and small culverts were made where necessary, but no attempt was made to metal it, and in rare cases only was it fenced. Several day-books of William Cox, when road-making, are extant, and they illustrate the method adopted. In making the road across the Blue Mountains, his road party consisted at first of a superintendent and guide, who had been members of Evans' exploring party, a storekeeper, doctor, constable, overseer of tools, carpenter, blacksmith, miner, two bullock drivers, twenty labourers, and a sergeant, corporal, and six privates of the Royal Veteran company as a guard. The men were divided into messes, and one man in each mess was detailed to draw the rations for his comrades. Depôts were formed successively near Blaxland and Wentworth Falls; and at Blaxland a strong storehouse, twenty-four feet by twelve, was erected to contain the provisions and tools. For his own convenience, Cox converted a cart into a caravan, which was provided with a sleeping berth and lockers for his personal property. The road was commenced on the 18th of July, 1814, by cutting an approach to Emu ford down the eastern bank of the Nepean river; it was completed to Bathurst on the 14th of January, 1815. All obstacles were overcome; rocks were blown up with gunpowder; boulders were levered out, or removed by block and tackle from the alignment of the road. The construction of Cox's pass at Mount York was commenced on the 7th of November, and completed on the 15th of December, 1814. This was the most formidable obstacle.

Note {90}, page 387. Also page 573.

The Female Ornitherinici.

The duck-billed platypus or Ornithorhynchus paradoxus was first described by Shaw in the Naturalists' Miscellany, vol. X, June, 1799. He bestowed the name of Platypus anatinus; but, as the name Platypus had been previously applied to a genus of insects, the name Ornithorhynchus, given by Blumenbach, became universally adopted. When first discovered, the colonists called it the water mole. As it possesses a bill like a duck and fur like a mole, it caused considerable astonishment when discovered.

Note {105}, page 467:

I informed Your Lordship in a former Dispatch.

The reference was to paragraph 36 (see page 314) of the despatch, dated 7th October, 1814.

Note {125}, page 557. Also page 568.

My Tour of Inspection.

The diaries kept by Governor Macquarie and captain Antill during this tour have been preserved; the first is now in the Mitchell library, Sydney, and the second is in the possession of Mr. Antill, Jarvisfield, Picton, N.S.W. Governor Macquarie was accompanied by Mrs. Macquarie, Sir John Jamison, J. T. Campbell, captain H. C. Antill, lieutenant John Watts, William Redfern, John Oxley, William Cox, James Meehan, and J. W. Lewin, the artist, and about forty soldiers and servants. The Nepean river was crossed at Sir John Jamison's Regentville farm on the 26th of April, 1815, and the journey began at the government stockyards on Emu plains. Lapstone hill was ascended, and the first depôt, situated six miles from Emu ford, was passed. This depôt had been formed for stores by William Cox, when constructing the road; and at it, a corporal and three privates were stationed. Camp for the first night was pitched at Springwood. On the second day, the cairn of stones near Linden was passed and the mountain in the neighbourhood was named "Caley's Repulse"; a visit was made to King's Tableland, and camp for the night was made at Wentworth Falls, where a second depôt was located. The valley in this neighbourhood was named "Jamison's Valley" by Governor Macquarie. On the 28th of April, Pulpit hill was passed and named, and the day's journey terminated at Blackheath. On the following morning, Mount York was reached, the descent of Cox's pass accomplished, and in the afternoon Governor Macquarie stated that camp was pitched on the left bank of the western branch of Cox's river. Sunday, the 30th of April, was spent at Cox's river. The route followed from Emu plains to Cox's river was nearly the same as that of the modern western road, with the exception of the deviations that have been made to avoid the descent of Mount York. The track followed after leaving Cox's river, however, lies several miles south of the modern road from that locality to Bathurst, The modern road lies entirely to the north of the Fish river, and in consequence does not cross Campbell's river. On the 1st of May, Macquarie and his party journeyed to the Fish river; on the 2nd, to Sidmouth valley; on the 3rd, to a bridge on Campbell's river, three miles above its junction with the Fish river; and on the 4th the journey terminated at Bathurst. Governor Macquarie spent seven days at Bathurst, devoting his time to a thorough examination of the neighbourhood. He caused the site of a town to be surveyed, and on Sunday, the 7th of May, he unfurled the union jack in the presence of seventy-five people, and gave the name of Bathurst to the intended town. The return journey was commenced on the 11th of May, and the successive daily camps were made at Campbell, Fish, and Cox's rivers, Blackheath, Wentworth Falls, and Springwood, Emu ford being reached on the 18th of May.

Note {126}, page 558. Also page 576.

An Intermediate Post.

This post was situated six miles from Emu ford after the ascent of Lapstone hill. This site is in the neighbourhood of the modern Blaxland railway station. Captain Antill, in his diary, stated that it lay one hundred yards off the road near a lagoon. Governor Macquarie, in his diary, stated that the guard of one corporal and three privates had cultivated a small garden, and had constructed pretty arbours made from native brush. William Cox had erected a storehouse 24 feet by 12 feet at this spot.

Note {127}, page 560:

Another Tour of Discovery.

This was the third expedition of G. W. Evans (see note {138} [see 5., below]), during which the Lachlan river was discovered. In his first expedition (see note {38}) he crossed the range dividing the eastern and western watersheds and discovered Bathurst plains. His second expedition was made in April, 1815, and resulted in a failure to trace the course of the Macquarie river.

Note {130}, page 569.

Two instances.

Governor Macquarie evidently referred to attempts to cross the mountains in the neighbourhood of the latitude of the city of Sydney, and therefore did not include the explorations of ensign Barrallier from his depôt at Nattai. He also omitted to notice the journey of lieutenant Dawes in December, 1789, which terminated at "Mount Twiss", probably in the neighbourhood of Linden (see note 192, volume V). In the year 1797, George Bass made a determined attempt to penetrate the mountains by way of the Grose valley. In 1805, George Caley met with more success, and penetrated as far as Mount King George, following in a general way the route now known as Bell's line of road (see note 193, volume V, and also volume I, series V).

Note {131}, page 569.

The first passage over the most rugged and difficult part of the Blue Mountains.

It is a remarkable fact that Governor Macquarie did not make an official report to Earl Bathurst on the successful crossing of the main range of the Blue Mountains by Gregory Blaxland, William Lawson, and William Charles Wentworth. This omission is difficult of explanation. The termination of the journey was situated within the eastern watershed, and it may be that Macquarie was doubtful whether there were not still more difficult obstacles to be overcome before the western watershed was reached. On the other hand, Macquarie held a very poor opinion of Blaxland, who was the originator of the expedition, and it may be that he resented the successful accomplishment of a feat, which had baffled the colonists for twenty-five years, by an unofficial party led by a man he despised (see note {15}). The tardy recognition of the exploit was keenly resented by Blaxland in a letter dated 10th June, 1815, to Governor Macquarie. In this letter he pointed out that the efforts of the Reverend Samuel Marsden and William Cox had failed, and that he was deprived of the honour of the discovery of the pass at Mount York, when Macquarie called it Cox's pass. The full story of the expedition will be found in volume I, series V.

The exploring party consisted of the three principals, attended by four servants, with four horses, loaded with provisions and other necessaries, and five dogs. They left Blaxland's farm on the South creek on Tuesday, 11th May, 1813, and forded the Nepean river a little below the present railway bridge. After travelling about two miles they pitched their first camp at the foot of the mountains. On the following day the first hills were ascended, and they encamped for the night a little distance from the present Blaxland railway station. On the 13th of May, they passed through some open forest land, and pitched their third camp near Springwood, when the forest land was found to terminate and further progress was blocked by dense undergrowth. It was then decided to cut a path through these bushes, and for two days the three leaders and two men were thus occupied, leaving two men in charge of the camp. On Sunday, the 16th, they rested at the Springwood camp; but this unfortunately gave the men time to think of the dangers, and they were with difficulty persuaded to proceed on the next day. No grass for the horses had been discovered along the route marked, and accordingly each horse was loaded with about two hundredweight of grass on Monday, when they proceeded about six and a half miles, encamping near Numantia. On the 18th of May a track was marked for only two miles further, and the next day was spent in shifting camp to the end of this track, about half a mile from the present Woodford station. On this day, the heap of stones, subsequently known as Caley's Repulse, was passed. The explorers then commenced the practice of marking a track each afternoon, and on the following morning moving camp to the end of such track. This method made progress slow; but on Saturday, the 22nd, they reached and camped on King's Tableland, where their progress towards the west and south was blocked by an impassable line of cliffs. On the following day, they travelled in a northerly direction, and encamped on the swamp above Wentworth falls. On the 23rd, their track crossed the present railway line east of Wentworth Falls station, and proceeded in a north-west direction about one mile and a quarter, when it turned south-west, and the explorers camped on the swamp above Leura falls. This circuitous track was subsequently followed by the old mountain road. On the 25th, they encamped near Pulpit hill, on the 26th, a little north of Medlow; on the 27th, a little distance from Mount Victoria railway station, and on the 28th, the explorers pitched their camp at five o'clock on the edge of Mount York. As there was no water at the camping place, the horses were taken down the mountain in the evening, where water and abundant grass were discovered, the first fresh grass the horses had eaten since leaving the neighbourhood of Springwood on the 17th of May. On the next day, Saturday, the 29th, the horses were brought up the mountain, loaded, and taken down the line of Cox's pass, which had been discovered the previous evening. After travelling two miles, they encamped on the banks of the river Lett. On Sunday, the whole party rested, and on Monday, they travelled six miles to the foot of Mount Blaxland, and encamped on Cox's river. From this camp, the explorers were compelled to return; the whole party were ill with gastro-intestinal disorders, their provisions were nearly exhausted, their shoes were worn out through constant travelling over the stony ranges, and their clothes in rags through penetrating the brush. On the 1st of June, the return journey was commenced, and on the 4th their old camp at Springwood was reached. On the following day, they experienced considerable difficulty in finding their way to the Nepean river, which they reached opposite Sir John Jamison's farm about two miles above the present railway bridge, where they encamped for the night. On Sunday, the 6th of June, they crossed the river at the ford below the bridge, and returned to Blaxland's farm after an absence of twenty-six days.

Note {132}, page 569.

The result of whose journey was laid before the public.

This was published in the form of a government and general order as follows:—

"Government House, Sydney, 12th February, 1814.   

"It having been long deemed an Object of great Importance by His Excellency the Governor to ascertain what Resources this Colony might possess in the Interior beyond its present known and circumscribed Limits, with a View to meet the necessary Demands of its rapidly encreasing Population; and the great Importance of the Discovery of new Tracts of good Soil being much enhanced by the Consideration of the long continued Droughts of the present Season, so injurious in their Effects to every Class of the Community in the Colony, His EXCELLENCY was pleased some Time since to equip a Party of Men, under the Direction of MR. GEORGE WILLIAM EVANS, one of the Assistant Land Surveyors (in whose Zeal and Abilities for such an Undertaking he had well founded Reason to confide), and to furnish him with written Instructions for his Guidance in endeavouring to discover a Passage over the Blue Mountains, and ascertaining the Quality and general Properties of the Soil he should meet with to the Westward of them. "This Object having been happily effected and Mr. Evans returned with his entire Party all in good Health, the GOVERNOR is pleased to direct, that the following Summary of his Tour of Discovery, extracted from his own Journal, shall be published for general Information.

"Mr. Evans, attended by five Men, selected for their general Knowledge of the Country, and habituated to such Difficulties as might be expected to occur, was supplied with Horses, Arms and Ammunition, and a plentiful Store of Provisions for a two Months Tour. His instructions were, that he should commence the Ascent of the Blue Mountains from the Extremity of the present known Country at Emu Island, distant about thirty-six Miles from Sydney, and thence proceed in as nearly a west direction as the nature of the Country he had to explore would admit, and to continue his Journey as far as his Means would enable him.

"On Saturday, the 20th of November last, the Party proceeded from Emu Island, and on the 5th Day, having then effected their Passage over the Mountains, arrived at the Commencement of a valley on the western Side of them, having passed over several Tracts of tolerably good Soil, but also over much rugged and very difficult Mountain; proceeding through this Valley, which Mr. Evans describes as beautiful and fertile, with a rapid Stream running through it, he arrived at the Termination of the Tour lately made by Messrs. G. Blaxland, W. C. Wentworth, and Lieutenant Lawson. Continuing in the western Direction prescribed in his Instructions for the Course of 21 Days from this Station, Mr. Evans then found it necessary to return, and on the 8th of January he arrived back at Emu Island, after an Excursion of seven complete Weeks. During the Course of this Tour, Mr. Evans passed over several Plains of Great Extent, interspersed with Hills and Vallies abounding in the richest Soil, and with various Streams of Water and Chains of Ponds. The Country he traversed measured 98½ Miles beyond the Termination of Messrs. Blaxland, Wentworth, and Lawson's Tour, and not less than 150 from Emu Island. The greater Part of these Plains are described as being nearly free of Timber and Brushwood, and in Capacity equal (in Mr. Evans's Opinion) to every Demand which this Colony may have for an Extension of Tillage and Pasture Lands for a Century to come. The stream already mentioned continues its Course in a westerly Direction and for several Miles, passing through the Vallies with many and great Accessions of other Streams, becomes a capacious and beautiful River, abounding in Fish of very large Size and fine Flavour, many of which weighed not less than 15 lbs. This River is supposed to empty itself into the Ocean on the western Side of New South Wales, at a Distance of from 2 to 300 Miles from the Termination of the Tour. Prom the Summits of some very high Hills Mr. Evans saw a vast Extent of flat Country laying in a westerly Direction, which appears to be bounded at a Distance of about 40 Miles by other Hills. The general Description of these heretofore unexpected Regions, given by Mr. Evans, is that they very far surpass in Beauty and Fertility of Soil any he has seen in New South Wales or Van Diemen's Land.

"In Consideration of the Importance of these Discoveries, and calculating upon the Effect they may have on the future Prosperity of this Colony, HIS EXCELLENCY the GOVERNOR is pleased to announce his intention of presenting Mr. Evans with a Grant of 1,000 Acres of Land in Van Diemen's Land, where he is to be stationed as Deputy Surveyor: and further to make him a pecuniary Reward from the Colonial Funds, in Acknowledgment of his diligent and active Services on this Occasion.

"His EXCELLENCY also means to make a pecuniary Reward to the two Free Men who accompanied Mr. Evans, and a Grant of Land to each of them. To the three Convicts who also assisted in this Excursion, the GOVERNOR means to grant Conditional Pardons, and a small Portion of Land to each of them, these Men having performed the Services required of them entirely to the Satisfaction of Mr. Evans.

"The GOVERNOR is happy to embrace this Opportunity of Conveying His Acknowledgments to Gregory Blaxland and William Charles Wentworth Esquires, and Lieutenant William Lawson of the Royal Veteran Company, for their enterprizing and arduous Exertions on the Tour of Discovery when they effected a Passage over the Blue Mountains, and proceeded to the Extremity of the first Valley particularly Alluded to in Mr. Evans's Tour, and being the first Europeans who had accomplished the Passage over the Blue Mountains. The GOVERNOR desirous to confer on these Gentlemen substantial Marks of his Sense of their Meritorious Exertions on this Occasion, means to present each of them with a Grant of 1,000 Acres of Land in this newly discovered Country.

"By Command of His Excellency The Governor,

"J. T. CAMPBELL, Secretary."   

Note {138}, pages 608 and 611:

A journey.

The Journal of Assistant-Surveyor Evans.

G. W. Evans and his party of four men left Bathurst on the 13th of May, 1815, and encamped in the evening in the neighbourhood of Perth. One day was lost in searching for the horses which had strayed, and on the 16th he reached the centre of the three peaks now known as the Three Brothers. Evans named these hills, Antill's Peak, Mount Macquarie, and Maclaine's Peak. On the 22nd, he discovered and named Mount Lachlan, about three miles south-east of Carcoar. He camped four miles south of this peak; and on the following day, he travelled west for four miles, when in the distance he sighted the Canobolas, and named the peak Jamison's Table Mountain. On the 24th, he discovered Limestone creek at a point a little north of west from Lyndhurst. He followed the creek down to its junction with the Belabula river, which he named Lewis' creek. On the 25th, he ascended the Sugarloaf, which he named Mount Lewin. On the 26th, he passed Licking Hole creek, and on the following day he discovered the Lachlan river between North Logan and Cowra. On Sunday, the 28th, he allowed three of his men to rest in camp, and with the fourth man he ascended the river for six miles to the neighbourhood of Cowra, and named the river flats Oxley's Plains. During the next four days, he traced the river down to its junction with Mandagery creek, which he named Byrne's creek. From this point, he was compelled to commence his return journey on the 2nd of June, 1815, and he arrived at Bathurst ten days later.

Note {140}, page 610:

Curious Devices on the Skin Side.

This is the earliest notice of the system of totems which was highly developed amongst the aborigines of western New South Wales. They were used as indicative of tribe and ownership.

Note {141}, page 610:

I have Sanguine Hope that he will meet with some great River.

The early speculations with regard to the interior of Australia were remarkable. They were divided into two schools, one depending on the idea of a vast river, and the second on the existence of an inland sea. The Friend of Australia, published anonymously in London in 1830, but written by Allen Francis Gardiner, a retired captain of the H.E.I. Company's service, may be taken as an example. This book elaborated the idea of the large river. It contained a map drawn in 1827, on which a river was shewn flowing into King Sound on the north-west coast of Australia. The watershed of this river included the whole of Australia north of 30° S. latitude with the exception of small coastal areas. The head waters of this river extended from the Gulf of Carpentaria to the south of Queensland. In two cases the headwaters were south of 30° S. latitude, the Macquarie and Castlereagh rivers being regarded as tributaries.


[pages 611-619]

[Enclosure of Despatch 9/1815


To His Excellency Governor Macquarie, etc., etc., etc.
Saturday, May 13th, 1815.

I SHOULD have left Bathurst yesterday; when near ready to go, one of my Horses threw his Load, which damaged some of his tackling: repairs being necessary caused my delay until this Morning; my Course was S. 30° W. or thereabouts along the fine flat, named Queen Charlotte Vale. I halted near the junction of it with the Main Creek, which bears S. 20 W., having plains on both sides; the Vale is also clear of Timber; this day's journey is over exceeding good Land, well watered; distance from the Flag Staff. 8¼ Miles.

Sunday, 14th.

I follow the Vale, which still continues very good; at about 5 Miles, a fine Valley comes into it, hearing up S. 20 W., which is well watered; at 6½ Miles, the Valley is rather contracted, and remains so a short distance, when it again opens, producing the rankest of Grass with ponds as before alternately: the Land is of the strongest nature; the hills that gradually rise on each side are covered with good pasture; the steepest of them grow serviceable Timber, namely Stringy Bark, which is a Tree most used in this part of the World; my distance is 10 Miles, the Ponds are then South about ¼ of a Mile, afterwards S. 30° W., when a number of Gullies come in from various points, which form the head of Queen Charlotte Vale.

Monday, 15th.

Lost the Horses; they were tied together, but not secured in a proper manner; the Men were in search of them, but returned without success late in the day. I then went myself, and had the good fortune to come upon their track; at length discovered them fast round a Tree in Princess Charlotte Valley; the walk afforded me an opportunity of seeing a part that was before obscured from sight by the Woods in travelling along the Ridge, I had the pleasure of conducting your Excellency round; had you seen it, you would have been much gratified; for the distance of 5 or 6 Miles, it is near ¾ broad, of rich Land, well watered, and the hills abound with the finest Timber I have yet seen.

Tuesday, 16th.

The first half hour's Chaining was tolerably good; but, for six Miles afterwards, it was extremely fatiguing along a Rocky and Bushy Ridge, which led me to the Centre of the three hills. I shewed you in our long Ride and which I have named "Mount Macquarie"; the three range in a direct line, bearing N.W. and S.E.; that to the S.E., measuring ¾ of a Mile from Mount Macquarie. I call "Maclaine's Peak"; the N.W. one is seperated from the others by a small Gully, and at the distance of about 2 Miles from Mount Macquarie, I have named "Antill's Peak"; they are most remarkable and conspicuous hills; I see no other in any direction of their shape; from these lofty eminences, I had a clear and perfect View of the Country. The S.W., West and N.W. is a series of high Mountainous hills, their tops shewing themselves at a great distance; in the direction of E. 20° S., about 15 Miles is a fine looking Country; there are plains, I suppose it, towards the head of Campbell River, as I can trace it down some distance; it continues round to S.E. If I cannot do better, or see a more satisfactory prospect Westward to-morrow, I shall travel South for 10 or 12 Miles, where, from present appearances, I think I may be able to wind round some hills again to the West; the hill at the end of my last Journey is W. 12° N. about 14 Miles. I was convinced, when there, I could not make further in a S.W. line, all my dependance is in getting South about; I halted at some Water holes running N.E.; they empty themselves into the River by way of Queen Charlotte Vale at the 8th Mile noted on the 13th Instant. I observed their Course from Maclaine's Peak.

distance, 8 Miles.

Wednesday, 17th.

I perceived yesterday that Gullies take rise from the West and S.W., which I trace to a gap leading down to Princess Charlotte Valley. I travelled South to get clear of them. I continued so for 7½ Miles over hills and dales, through a thick Forest of good grown Trees; the Soil is Sandy but bears fine Pasture; at length. I asscend a ridge that shewed me a more open Country; ¾ of a Mile further, led me into a Valley with ponds of Water, in rainy seasons form a considerable Stream.

distance, 9 Miles.

Thursday, 18th.

This reach of the Ponds bear down S. 20° W.; at 22 Chains is a small Valley on my right hand, to the head of it is about 10 Chains, surrounded with hills; under them is a Spring (I have named it "Cox's Spring"); from it flows a stream that would fill the circumference of a Pint Pott, which the ponds receive; a short space onward they form a deep Rocky Creek. I therefore leave it, when my track is more westing over a fine grazing Country, well wooded, with Box and Stringy Bark Timber for three Miles; at this distance are again Ponds; I follow them into a Valley of excellent Land with fine Trees; I kept in it for 5 Miles and halted; some part of this Valley widens, in others it is rather narrow. The Hills grow fine Grass but poor Timber.

distance, 9¼ Miles.

Friday, 19th.

After a Mile and half, finding the Valley bend off East of South, I followed a ridge; in the space of two Miles, I had asscended a very high Conical hill; the sight from it quite astonished me; the whole Country I suppose from 30 to 40 Miles from S.E. to S.W. is covered with Conic hills, which are lost to me in distant Mountains. I took a Man to examine a few Miles, and found that between each Chain of these pointed hills are ponds; in one of the Gullies is a small stream; with much difficulty I travelled down it to a Main one from the S.E.; to climb up the hills we were obliged to crawl upon our hands and knees: the whole of them are thinly wooded with small Crooked Gums and covered with good Grass; but the sharp Rocks render travelling disagreeable and bad. I went among them, so far as to convince me that the principal Stream runs through a break, bearing near West; the last two Miles Chaining took me close upon three hours, nor could the Horses travel faster from sliping about; besides this is not half the difficulties, that appears before us, which I unavoidably experienced to make myself certain of the direction the Stream led. Appledore and myself returned much fatigued, I never was more so in my life; from a sudden slip in climbing the hills, I am quite unwell with a pain in my left side; I thought it would be labour in vain to penetrate into a Country, where I could not see a possibility for a Road to be made, or Horses to travel with loads in safety. I think best of returning to "Cox's Spring", from thence to take a Western Course for some distance, and endeavour to come near the break alluded to.

distance 3½ Miles.

Saturday, 20th.

Travelled back to "Cox's Spring"; several heavy showers of rain fell to-day; it has disolved a white sweet substance, that lay scattered quite thick on the Ground, particularly where the Grass was burnt; some Gallons might have been picked up in a very short time. I had previously collected a little; no doubt some scientific Gentleman may be pleased to give their opinion thereon.

12¾ Miles back.

Sunday, 21st.

My direction is West Northing for near two Miles on a ridge covered with a Brush; the sides and Valleys bear excellent Pasture; the remaining part of this day's journey was through a fine Grassy Country over hills and dales, well watered, good Soil, thickly wooded with Box, Gum, and Stringy Bark Trees; I stoped on a low ridge, that divides two Valleys, one leading N.W., the other South.

distance, 7¼ Miles.

Monday, 22nd.

I took a W. 20° S. direction through a fine Grazing Country, most part a thick Forest of various description of good grown timber; at five Miles is a Valley, which bears down West. I perceive it to open in places to about a ¼ of a Mile wide; at 6½ Miles, I cross another leading to it from the South; the Main one bears off N.W.; rounding hills to the West again, where I halted, a strong stream runs down it in wet seasons. A remarkable round top'd high hill is now North of me, about 4 Miles, I have taken the liberty to name it "Mount Lachlan".

distance 8½ Miles.

Tuesday, 23rd.

There are hills a head. I thought a West Course would avoid them, but found I was necessitated to asscend, and the Ridge led me onward for Four Miles, when a prospect appear'd at which I was highly gratified. I never saw a more pleasing Country. I cannot express the pleasure, I feel, in going forward; the hills we have passed are excellent land, well wooded; to the South distant objects are obscured by high hills; in the S.W. are very distant Mountains; under them appear a Mist as tho' rising over a River; it has the like look round to West; but, beyond, the loom of low hills are very faintly distinguished; in the N.W. are high distant Mountains; one with a flat top bearing N. 70° W., I name "Jamison's Table Mountain."

The intermediate space is a grassy Country, thinly wooded; there are hills and dales; between some, appear Valleys clear of Timber; at a great distance is a remarkable Peaked hill standing alone, as it were, in the Centre of an immense flat Country. Finding a Valley with ponds led near N.W., my anxiety obliges me to deviate from the intended course to follow them; at a Mile and half is a clear hill on my right hand, which I have named "Mount Molle", and the fine Valley under it "Redfern Valley"; the end of Four Miles ponds form a junction from an E. 20° S. point down a spacious flat, I have called it "Meehan Valley". I then travel near West; at about a Mile other Ponds join the Main ones from the N.E., and at the end of to-day's journey they have almost the appearance of a River; there is no perceptible Stream, but some of the ponds are a ¼ and ½ a Mile long.

distance, 10 Miles.

Wednesday, 24th.

My Course was West for three Miles; it led me to the top of an high hill; the Water shewed itself about ½ Mile North of me; on the South is an extensive flat; from the hill I travelled W. 20° S., two Miles; at one and half, I crossed a small Creek coining from the South leading to the Ponds; I then went on again West for 5½ Miles, which brought me on a second hill; in following it down, I was rather North of West for upwards of a Mile, and there found a Creek bearing up South; I resolved on tracing it, which I did for three Miles North; here the points of the hills end in perpendicular heads 30 or 40 feet high, which is pure Lime Stone of a Misty Grey Colour; this Creek joins the bed of a River, rising in a N. 30° E. direction, now dry except in hollow places; it is full 70 ft. wide, having a pebbly bottom; on each side grow large swamp Oaks; I travelled down in the bed of it ¾ of a Mile near West, and halted greatly fatigued. The open Country and falling on the Water courses encouraged me so much that I made every exertion to push forward, besides being full of anxiety hoping soon to reach a River of some consequence. Every steep hill, between the Lime Rocks and Bathurst, may be avoided except two, and they are not worse than that at the Fish River. An handsomer and finer Country I never saw than what I have been over these last two Days; greatest part of the Land is good: Timber is its worst production; Kangaroos Emu and Wild Ducks are very numerous.

distance 14½ Miles.

Thursday, 25th.

The Lime Cliffs having the appearance of being very steep down the run, I thought it prudent to let the Horses have a day's rest; in the mean time I took Appledore with me to examine the Country; large Ponds of Water are now in the River Bed; they connect with each other by a small stream that I distinctly see to rise up between the Stones; its general course is W. 15° N. I walked down about Five Miles; it was impossible to proceed further as perpendicular Cliffs of Slate Rock prevents me; with much difficulty I got so far. The Stream is now equal to Macquarie River. I imagine it springs up, being certain the Channel receives the overflowings of the ponds I spoke of on Tuesday; The Lime Stone Rocks do not continue Westward more than a Mile from our halting place. On leaving the Water, I made for the high Peak, which bore S. 40° E. about three Miles; it was a fatiguing matter to reach the top and feel happy I did so, as it convinced me I could not go on in a West direction, as I should be impeded by high head lands and Gullies. I found I must be necessitated to travel three or Four Miles South; then a S.W. direction has the appearance of taking me into a level Country; therefore returned with a determination of carrying that plan into effect to-morrow. I named the Peak "Mount Lewin".

Friday, 26th. river.

I travelled S. 30° E. for 3 Miles, then S.W.; at Four Miles, I came upon some empty Ponds; at 5¼ Miles are more Lime Rocks; on account of the dryness of the Season, Water is scarse; the large Water holes were empty; our search for it down them caused a tedious day's measuring; the Country is level, thinly wooded, and good land. I hope to-morrow's travelling will meet my expectations.

distance 12¼ Miles.

Saturday, 27th.

My day's Journey was over a level open Country, thinly wooded with Box Trees; at 6½ Miles S.W. I asscended a hill; from it I distinguished Plains; the North one bore W. 22° S., which I made for in hopes I should find a River, and that it would tend S.W., as it appears an even space for 30 or 40 Miles; I am sure I can see that distance, no hill or object stands in the way to impede my sight; it is likewise a fine looking Country, quite level in a N. 60° W. Point.

On descending the hill. I found the Soil a Red Loom, bearing poor Grass; at three Miles, Pine Trees are intermixed with the Box, which grow from 30 to 40 feet high without a Branch and quite straight; at 3½ Miles, the Grass is better; instead of Box Trees, Gums are thinly scattered. Four and three Quarters of a Mile brings me into a fine flat of rich Land; and at 5½, I arrive on the bank of a River, but am much mortified to see the stream run N.W.; as I intend to follow it, I shall not have time to go up to the plains. A very little Rain would make this River Navigable for Boats; the Banks are steep as the South Creek at Windsor, but much wider, and the Soil equally as Rich; there are exceeding large Gum Trees growing on each side.

From the hill, Natives smokes were discerned in many directions, and find they must be numerous indeed from the number of Fire places on the River Bank; it appears as tho' they had been lately successful in obtaining Emu, as I counted 23 large heaps of Feathers by their different Fire sides at this lately forsaken Camp.

distance. 12 Miles.

Sunday, 28th.

Being determined to see the Plains, I started at day break with a Man; in the space of an hour, we arrived on one this side of the River; it reached about a Mile, and is at least 1½ deep. I suppose I went up the River six Miles; the Plains are alternately on each, and nearly the same size; opposite to the Plains are Woodlands, and appeared to continue so for a great distance S. 30° W.; the River comes from about that point, and to the best of my Judgment the Stream empties into it that I mention on the 10th Instant; the Soil on the plains is very rich, and the woodlands are equally so; when about to return we saw a number of Natives: on making towards them, they run from us: all that I could do had no avail in having communication with them; it was past One O'clock when we got back, and I was too fatigued to go down the River any distance, therefore remained to wash and clean ourselves; I have named the Plains "Oxley's Plains".

Monday, 29th.

My general Course is about N.W. I find the Land as yesterday; this part resembles the Nepean flats, and is much flooded; but at about ½ a Mile back on each side of the river is a second bank, quite safe from inundation; it has many sudden turns; at the lower end of a deep bite, I suppose half a Mile on the West side of the river, is a hill covered with Pines. The Gums continue very large and good, particularly those growing near the Water. This part of the Country is a second Hawkesbury; every thing is equal to it except the River, and am certain that in every Spring of the Year after a wet Winter, it is Navigable for Boats; considering the late drought, a strong stream runs now.

7¾ Miles.

Tuesday. 30th.

The Country continues as Yesterday; at a Mile before we stoped, the River inclined South of West; at our halting place a range of Rocky hills end; on them, grow Pine Trees. I was on the highest, from whence I had an extensive View; the Stream from the Lime Rocks I perceive to enter a Break bearing North of me, and still seems to run Westerly. I consider it likely to fall into the one I am now following. If I am not deceived from present appearances, I shall find this to bear off again North of West; it is extremely tedious tracing the river; I would willingly leave it to make the most of my time, but am prevented as I cannot cross; it would not answer to do so on this side, because the river inclines so much round to North, and it would be equally bad to pass many Rocky hills, which would hinder me travelling in a direct line. I am sorry the provisions will not admit of my going on more than two days.

7½ Miles.

Wednesday, 31st.

The River took the direction I supposed N.W.; points of Rocky hills, every Mile or Mile and half, lead down to it; the flats continue rich Soil; on the S.W. side are no hills, but a continued space of level Rich Land, thinly wooded, except near the Water's edge, where the timber is good and very large; they are what is called Black Butted Gums; some of them are 8 and 10 feet in diamiter.

We see Natives two or three times a day; I believe we are a great terror to them; a Woman with a young Child fell in our way this afternoon, to whom I gave a Tomahawk and other triffles; she was glad to depart: soon after we suddenly came upon a Man, who was much frightened; he run up a Tree in a moment, carrying with him his Spear and Crooked throwing Stick; he hallowed and cryed out so much and loud, that he might have been heard half a Mile; it was useless entreating him to come down, therefore stuck a Tomahawk in the Tree, and left him; the more I spoke, the more he cryed out.

7 Miles.

Thursday, 1st June, 1815.

The River to-day is near West, and am clear of the points of hills; the Country is good indeed: these fine flats are flooded; there are rising Lands clear of it as I before stated, but no hill that will afford a prospect; to-morrow I am necessitated to return, and shall asscend a very high hill, I left on my right Hand early this Morning. I could leave no mark here more than cutting Trees; on one situated in an Angle of the River and a wet Creek, bearing up North, I have deeply carved "Evans 1st June 1813". The Country continues good, and better than ever I expected to discover. I must defer making further remarks, until I have been upon the height I speak of. 7½ Miles.

Friday, 2nd June.

In travelling back, I left the River; at about a Mile from it, the Land is not so Rich; the Soil changed to red loom, as deep colour'd as a burnt Brick, whereon the Grass is poor and the Box Trees small. I am glad to observe that the deficiency is made up by useful Pine Trees from one Inch to three feet in Diamiter, as straight as Arrows, some of them at least 40 feet high before the Branches begin to shoot out; those, growing on what I term Pine hills, are stinted; the trunks of them rise but a few feet from the Ground before their Branches spread, which I think may be accounted for by those hills being chiefly a Mass of Granite Bock. I asscended the Height; no Country can possibly have a more interesting aspect; so much so that, if a further trace into the interior is required at a future period, I respectfully beg leave to offer myself for the Service. I see no end to travelling. I am deficient in abilities to describe it properly, but shall endeavour to do so by compareing the Country to an Ocean, as it is nearly level, with the Horizon from N.W. to S.W.; small Hillocks are seen at great distances of a pale Blue, shewing as Land appears when first discovered at Sea; Spaces clear of Trees may be imagined Islands, and the Natives Smokes, rising in various points, Vessels; it is a clear calm Evening near Sunsetting, which shewed every part advantageously.

The River I can distinctly discover to continue near due West, and rest confident that, when it is full, Boats may go down it in safety; my meaning of being full is its general height in moderate Seasons, which the banks shew, about Five feet above the presant level; it would then carry Boats over Trees and Narrows that now obstruct the Passage; no doubt the Stream connects with Macquarie or some other River further West; the Channel then sure is of great magnitude; I should think so to carry off the body of Water that must in time of Floods cover these very extensive flats.

Saturday, 3rd June.

The Country is as before described; at a distance from the River, the Soil is a red loom, and the Points of the Hills alternately meet it. We have not caught any Fish; there are some very large, but could not see them distinct enough to know if they are of the same species as those in Macquarie River. Wild Ducks are very plentiful.

Sunday, 4th June.

It was a wet, uncomfortable Night; this Morning has every appearance of setting in so. I consider myself fortunate by the fine Weather holding up until now; we saw a number of Natives; they run immediately on seeing us; I would not allow them to be followed; it must be the Horses they are so much alarmed at.

Monday, 5th June.

Left the River, which I have now called "The River Lachlan". The Rain has fallen very heavy; we were completely washed up last Night; it extinguished our Fire, which made us still more uncomfortable, besides damaging my papers. I am fearful we shall experience the like this Evening, but have taken every precaution to prevent it.

Tuesday, 6th June.

We reached Lime Stone Creek; the descent was not down so bad a hill as I expected; I cutt off about 6 Miles, and find abundance of Lime Stone more convenient upwards without going down the Creek at all, by which means a difficult road is avoided; there is also good Water and fine bottoms of Land, containing in each from 5 to 10 Acres, surrounded with Lime Stone Rocks; This is a fine Grazing Country with plenty of Wood.

Wednesday, 7th June.

The ascent from Lime Stone Creek is the steepest part in my way; I examined it particularly, and do not think it near so bad as the Fish River hill.* I left the height, mentioned on the 24th Ulto., about a Mile North of me, and crossed the flat then spoke of, which is very extensive; it bears up South for some distance, then bends to the East and S.E. The Soil is Rich, and well watered by large Ponds; I have named this place "Warwick Plains".

[* This was the hill from the Fish river to the top of the range dividing the eastern and western watersheds. It was situated on the first road formed to Bathurst.]

Thursday, 8th June.

I made "Mount Lachlan" by way of Meehan Valley, supposing I could avoid the hill; I am sorry to say it was not the case; under Mount Lachlan, they close on each side of the Water with perpendicular Bluffs; during my way up, I crossed the Water Course several times quite dry over a pebbly bottom; I was astonished to see, as the meeting of the Hills confined the Channel, a rapid stream running over Rocks, which is lost underground down it Westward. This Hill is not so bad, yet if a better road was found it would be more convenient; it is not near so steep as any one between Mount York and the Fish River; I am sure by going a little to the South an easyer ascent will be discovered.

The space of Country between Lime Stone Creek and Mount Lachlan, upwards of 20 Miles, is very pleasing and Picturesque, besides being as good as I am able to express it in point of Soil, Grass, Timber and Water; the Lime Stone is also at hand; The Mountains, I observed bearing N.W., are covered with Snow; I thought on my way out that their tops looked rather White; to-day it was distinguished as plain as I ever saw Snow on the Mountains in Van Dieman's Land; I never felt colder Weather than it has been some days past; we have broken Ise full two Inches thick.

Friday, 9th June.

The Country is Hills and Dales thickly wooded, rather over run with an evergreen Shrub that Cattle are fond of; between, it is as good Grass as the Country generally is covered with; the holes of Water at our halting place I imagine to connect with those I left this Morning, winding round through fine Valleys.

Saturday, 10th June.

This day's journey was through the worst part of the Country I have travelled over; it cutts off the track that took up 5 days' time, From the 17th to 21st Ulto.

Sunday, 11th June.

I followed the ponds, I allude to on the 16th Ulto., for some Miles, but was obliged to leave them at last on account of some steep Rocks obstructing Me; I sent a Man to meet me in Queen Charlotte Vale at the junction, which he did; I was there some time before him as he found it bad travelling down the run. My Motive was to discover a better road than that in my track out on the day abovementioned.

Monday, 12th June.

Arrived at Bathurst, having experienced for these last six days extremely cold uncomfortable Weather, with Misty rain. My journal is short; but have endeavoured to state every thing, as it actually is, in as plain and correct a manner as I am capable of doing, that it should be clearly understood by any person, who may hereafter follow my Track.

I assure your Excellency, I have lost no time in persevering to reach Westward so far as is herein represented, and do at all times with the utmost pleasure strive to fulfil to your satisfaction, any wish or Commands I have the honor to be entrusted with.

I remain, &c.,        
G. W. EVANS.   

P.S.—I beg leave to state that the undernamed Persons were very attentive and Obedient to my Orders:—

George Kane, alias Thos. Appledore; James Butler; Patk. Nurns; also John Tyghe, who accompanied me each journey previous to this.

G. W. EVANS, Dy. Surveyor.   


[p. 638]


(Despatch No. 58. per ship Atlas; acknowledged by Governor Macquarie, 4th April. 1817.)

Downing Street, 4th December, 1815.   


I have had the Honor of receiving your Dispatches to No. 17 inclusive of the year 1814, which have been laid before H.R.H. The Prince Regent.

H.R.H. derived great Satisfaction from the Representation, which those dispatches contain, of the continued tranquility of the Colony and its rapid Advancement in Prosperity and Wealth. It was above all pleasing to H.R.H. to observe that your attention had been directed to the Reduction of the Expences of the Colony; and altho' the Statement of the Annual Accounts, transmitted in your Dispatch No. 3,* gives me no reason as yet to congratulate you upon the Success of your Exertions in this particular, yet I cannot but entertain a confident Hope that in succeeding years, when the Causes assigned by you for the Increase of Expenditure can no longer operate, the result will be more conformable to your Wishes and to the Views of H.M.'s Government.

[* Also Your Dispatch No. 6.:— These despatches were dated 30th and 28th April, 1814 (see page 235 et seq. and page 140 et seq.).]

The Discovery of a Passage on the Blue Mountains, and of an extensive Country beyond them, possessing so many Advantages in point of Soil and Climate, is an Event in the History of New So. Wales not more important on Account of its immediate Consequences than for the Effect, which it must ultimately produce in the Nature and Value of the Colony.

I cannot withhold from you my sincere Congratulations upon the Attainment of an Object which has been so often, but in vain, attempted by your Predecessors in the Government, nor refrain from expressing my Sense of the Exertions Perseverance of Mr. Evans, and those who accompanied him in the Course of his Journey. The Journal of that Gentleman does not (nor could it indeed be expected to) afford more than a very general Description of the face of the Country. I await therefore, with the more Anxiety, the report of your own Observations, made more at leisure, and with very superior Advantages, during the tour which you propose to make into the newly discovered Country; one fact in Mr. Evans' Journal, the Discovery of the Macquarie River, excited general Surprize; for after the fruitless Attempt made by Captain Flinders to discover, on the West Coast of New Holland, the Embouchure of any considerable River, I was but little prepared to expect that a River should have so soon been discovered in the Interior of that Continent flowing for so considerable a distance to the Westward. In a Geographical point of View, it is most desirable to ascertain the Course of this River; and H.R.H. has been pleased to signify His Commands that an Expedition, on a small Scale, should proceed from the Colony for this purpose. You will therefore, as soon after the receipt of this Dispatch as Circumstances will admit, select any Persons, who may be willing to undertake and whom you may consider best qualified to conduct it, and afford them all the means necessary to ensure their Success. As the River is described to be one of some Magnitude, it will afford great facility to the progress of the Travellers, and to the Transport of Provisions and other necessary Articles; and it therefore appears adviseable that a small Vessel should be either constructed on the Banks of the Macquarie River itself, or conveyed thither in frame, and set up on that part of the River deemed most convenient for the Commencement of the Navigation. Altho' it would certainly be advisable, with a View to the scientific Objects of the Expedition, that the Person, to whom the Conduct of it is to be entrusted, should possess a Variety of Knowledge; yet as the Principal Object is to ascertain the Course of the Macquarie River, all, that will be required in the first instance, is that degree of Observation and Knowledge, which is requisite for making a Survey of the River and the adjacent Country, and giving a general Description of its Principal Character and features. Among Officers under your Command, if not among the Colonists, you will, no doubt, find many well qualified for the Undertaking, and I have therefore declined acceding to the Offers, which have been made by Persons in this Country desirous of conducting it.

.  .  .  .

I have, &c.,        


Extract from:

[also refer to George EVANS page at Project Gutenberg Australia.]

Portrait of George Evans
(sourced from the National Library of Australia website)

EVANS, GEORGE WILLIAM (1778-1852), explorer,

was born at Warwick, England, in 1778. He came to Australia in October 1802, on 2 November was appointed a storekeeper at Parramatta, and in August 1803 became acting-surveyor-general of lands during the absence on leave of C. Grimes (q.v.). He was made deputy surveyor of lands at Port Dalrymple on 27 October 1809, and three years later was appointed deputy surveyor of lands at Hobart.

He was recalled to Sydney in 1813 and on 19 November, accompanied by five men, one of whom had been with G. Blaxland's (q.v.) party at the first crossing of the blue mountains, began to follow the same track, taking seven days to reach the end of that journey. Four days later Evans reached the Fish River and for a week followed its course until he reached Campbell's River. On 9 December he came to the site of Bathurst, and on the 15th he was near Billiwinga. His farthest point near Chambers Creek was reached two days later. He began his return journey on 18 December 1813 and the Nepean River was reached three weeks later. Evans received £130 and a grant of land in Tasmania in recognition of his feat.

The discovery of so great a tract of good land was of the utmost importance to the colony, Macquarie (q.v.) at once began making a road over the mountains, and on 7 May 1815 the town of Bathurst was founded. Six days later Evans, who had been recalled from Tasmania, started from this point on another expedition travelling mainly towards the west which led to the discovery of the Lachlan River. On 1 June he found himself running short of provisions and returned to Bathurst where he arrived on 12 June. Another valuable stretch of country fit for settlement had been discovered.

Though Evans had now finished his work as an independent explorer, when John Oxley (q.v.) went on his journey of exploration in April 1817, Evans accompanied him as his lieutenant, held the same position during the second expedition which started in June 1818, and did his work worthily. Oxley, in his report dated 30 August 1817, spoke of "the obligations I am under to Mr Evans for his able advice and cordial co-operation throughout the expedition, and, as far as his previous researches had extended the accuracy and fidelity of his narrative was fully exemplified". He also commended Evans in his report on the second expedition. In August 1818, on Macquarie's recommendation, Evans was given a grant of £100.

In the intervals between these expeditions he carried out his surveying work in Tasmania, and in 1821, backed by recommendations from both Sorell (q.v.) and Macquarie, endeavoured to obtain an increase in his salary which was only about £136 a year. He published at London in 1822 A Geographical, Historical and Topographical Description of Van Diemen's Land of which a second edition under the title History and Description of the Present State of Van Diemen's Land appeared in 1824. A French translation was published at Paris in 1823. In November 1824 he applied to be allowed to retire on a pension, his position had recently been removed from any control by the surveyor-general of New South Wales.

In 1825 he was accused of receiving bribes from persons having business with his department, and Lieut.-Governor Arthur (q.v.) found much difficulty in ascertaining the facts. In October 1826, in a dispatch to Earl Bathurst, he stated that Evans was proceeding to England by the same vessel conveying the dispatch and that he would "leave his address at your lordship's office". He sailed for England on 14 November 1826. Arthur found he could not justify Evans's conduct but in view of his services hoped he would not "be deprived of the retirement I have had the honour to recommend". The matter dragged on for some time but in the following year Evans was granted a pension of £200 a year. It would appear that he had accepted money, but irregularities had grown up in the office and it is probable that Evans regarded this money as fees rather than bribes.

Oxley as surveyor-general of New South Wales made the greater part of his income from fees; Governor Darling (q.v.) in a dispatch dated 5 September 1826 stated that though the surveyor-general's salary was only £1 a day the fees of his office were considerable and raised his income to £1000 a year (H.R. of A. ser. I, vol. XII, p. 542). Darling's dispatch led to the fees system being discontinued, and instructions were given that the surveyor-general's salary was to be fixed at not more than £800 a year.

Evans returned to Australia about six years later and his name will be found in the New South Wales Calendar 1833-7 as a bookseller and stationer in Bridge-street, Sydney. He spent his last 10 years at Hobart and died there on 16 October 1852 (Launceston Examiner, 23 October 1852). He was married twice. Sketches by him of early Sydney and Hobart are in the Dixson gallery at Sydney.

Evans takes high rank among our early explorers. He was careful and capable and his discoveries were of great importance.

References: E. Favenc, The Explorers of Australia; Ida Lee, Early Explorers in Australia; J. E. Tenison Woods, A History of the Discovery and Exploration of Australia; Historical Records of Australia, ser. I, vols. IV, V, VII to XI, ser. III, vols. III, IV, V; R. W. Giblin, The Early History of Tasmania, vol. II; Sir William Dixson, Journal and Proceedings Royal Australian Historical Society, vol. V, pp. 233-6.


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