By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: A Voyage to Terra Australis — Volume 1
Author: Flinders, Matthew, 1774-1814
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Voyage to Terra Australis — Volume 1" ***


Notes referred to in the book (*) are shown in square brackets ([])
at the end of the paragraph in which the note is indicated.

Italics are indicated by underscore characters (_) at the
start and finish of the italicised words.

References to the charts have been retained though, of course,
the charts are not present in the text only version of the ebook.

The original punctuation and spelling and the use of italics and capital
letters to highlight words and phrases have, for the most part, been
retained. I think they help maintain the "feel" of the book, which was
published nearly 200 years ago. Flinders notes in the preface that "I
heard it declared that a man who published a quarto volume without an
index ought to be set in the pillory, and being unwilling to incur the
full rigour of this sentence, a running title has been affixed to all the
pages; on one side is expressed the country or coast, and on the opposite
the particular part where the ship is at anchor or which is the immediate
subject of examination; this, it is hoped, will answer the main purpose
of an index, without swelling the volumes." This treatment is, of course,
not possible, where there are no defined pages. However, Flinders' page
headings are included at appropriate places where they seem relevant.
These, together with the Notes which, in the book, appear in the margin,
are represented as line headings with a blank line before and after them.


1801, 1802 AND 1803,

[Facsimile Edition, 1966]

The Right Hon. George John, Earl Spencer,
The Right Hon. John, Earl of St Vincent,
The Right Hon. Charles Philip Yorke, and
The Right Hon. Robert Saunders, Viscount Melville,
who, as First Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty,
successively honoured the Investigator's voyage
with their patronage,
This account of it is respectfully dedicated,
their Lordships'
most obliged, and
most obedient humble servant,

Matthew Flinders.

20 May 1814.


The publication in 1814 of a voyage commenced in 1801, and of which all
the essential parts were concluded within three years, requires some
explanation. Shipwreck and a long imprisonment prevented my arrival in
England until the latter end of 1810; much had then been done to forward
the account, and the charts in particular were nearly prepared for the
engraver; but it was desirable that the astronomical observations, upon
which so much depended, should undergo a re-calculation, and the lunar
distances have the advantage of being compared with the observations made
at the same time at Greenwich; and in July 1811, the necessary authority
was obtained from the Board of Longitude. A considerable delay hence
arose, and it was prolonged by the Greenwich observations being found to
differ so much from the calculated places of the sun and moon, given in
the Nautical Almanacks of 1801, 2 and 3, as to make considerable
alterations in the longitudes of places settled during the voyage; and a
reconstruction of all the charts becoming thence indispensable to
accuracy, I wished also to employ in it corrections of another kind,
which before had been adopted only in some particular instances.

A variety of observations with the compass had shown the magnetic needle
to differ from itself sometimes as much as six, and even seven degrees,
in or very near the same place, and the differences appeared to be
subject to regular laws; but it was so extraordinary in the present
advanced state of navigation, that they should not have been before
discovered and a mode of preventing or correcting them ascertained, that
my deductions, and almost the facts were distrusted; and in the first
construction of the charts I had feared to deviate much from the usual
practice. Application was now made to the Admiralty for experiments to be
tried with the compass on board different ships; and the results in five
cases being conformable to one of the three laws before deduced, which
alone was susceptible of proof in England, the whole were adopted without
reserve, and the variations and bearings taken throughout the voyage
underwent a systematic correction. From these causes the reconstruction
of the charts could not be commenced before 1813, which, when the extent
of them is considered, will explain why the publication did not take
place sooner; but it is hoped that the advantage in point of accuracy
will amply compensate the delay.

Besides correcting the lunar distances and the variations and bearings,
there are some other particulars, both in the account of the voyage and
in the Atlas, where the practice of former navigators has not been
strictly followed. Latitudes, longitudes, and bearings, so important to
the seaman and _un_interesting to the general reader, have hitherto been
interwoven in the text; they are here commonly separated from it, by
which the one will be enabled to find them more readily, and the other
perceive at a glance what may be passed. I heard it declared that a man
who published a quarto volume without an index ought to be set in the
pillory, and being unwilling to incur the full rigour of this sentence, a
running title has been affixed to all the pages; on one side is expressed
the country or coast, and on the opposite the particular part where the
ship is at anchor or which is the immediate subject of examination; this,
it is hoped, will answer the main purpose of an index, without swelling
the volumes. Longitude is one of the most essential, but at the same time
least certain _data_ in hydrography; the man of science therefore
requires something more than the general result of observations before
giving his unqualified assent to their accuracy, and the progress of
knowledge has of late been such, that a commander now wishes to know the
foundation upon which he is to rest his confidence and the safety of his
ship; to comply with this laudable desire, the particular results of the
observations by which the most important points on each coast are fixed
in longitude, as also the means used to obtain them, are given at the end
of the volume wherein that coast is described., as being there of most
easy reference.

The deviations in the Atlas from former practice, or rather the
additional marks used, are intended to make the charts contain as full a
journal of the voyage as can be conveyed in this form; a chart is the
seaman's great, and often sole guide, and if the information in it can be
rendered more complete without introducing confusion, the advantage will
be admitted by those who are not opposers of all improvement. In closely
following a track laid down upon a chart, seamen often run at night,
unsuspicious of danger if none be marked; but some parts of that track
were run in the night also, and there may consequently be rocks or
shoals, as near even as half a mile, which might prove fatal to them; it
therefore seems proper that night tracks should be distinguished from
those of the day, and they are so in this Atlas, I believe, for the first
time. A distinction is made between the situations at noon where the
latitude was observed, and those in which none could be obtained; and the
positions fixed in longitude by the time keepers are also marked in the
track, as are the few points where a latitude was obtained from the moon.

It has appeared to me, that to show the direction and strength of the
winds, with the kind of weather we had when running along these coasts,
would be an useful addition to the charts; not only as it would enable
those who may navigate by them alone to form a judgment of what is to be
expected at the same season, but also that it may be seen how far
circumstances prevented several parts of the coast being laid down so
correctly as others. This has been done by single arrows, wherever they
could be marked without confusion; they are more or less feathered,
proportionate to the strength of wind intended to be expressed, and the
arrows themselves give the direction. Under each is a short or abridged
word, denoting the weather; when this weather prevailed in a more than
usual degree a line is drawn under the word, and when in an excessive
degree there are two lines. Single arrows being thus appropriated to the
winds, the tides and currents are shown by double arrows, between which
is usually marked the rate per hour.

On the land, the shading of the hills gives a general idea of their
elevation, and it has been assisted by saying how far particular hills
and capes are visible from a ship's deck in fine weather; this will be
useful to a seaman on first making the land, be a better criterion to
judge of its height, and those hills not so marked may be more nearly
estimated by comparison. Behind different parts of the coast is given a
short description of their appearance, which it is conceived will be
gratifying to scientific, and useful to professional men. The capes and
hills whose positions are fixed by cross bearings taken on shore or from
well ascertained points in the track, as also the stations whence
bearings were observed with a theodolite, have distinguishing marks;
which, with all others not before in common use, are explained on the
General Chart, Plate I.

To have laid down no more than the lands and dangers seen in the
Investigator and other vessels under my command, would have left several
open spaces, and obliged the seaman to have recourse to other charts
where the difference of positions might have perplexed; the discoveries
and examinations of former navigators which come within the sphere of
each sheet, are therefore incorporated with, or added to mine, but so
marked as to be distinctly known. In making the combination, alterations
in their longitudes were frequently necessary to agreement; and that they
might be made with every regard to accuracy, the charts of the former
discoveries were compared with the astronomical observations, narratives,
or manuscript journals, when such could be had, and the alterations
introduced where there seemed to be the best authority. This has been
done with the charts of the east coast of New South Wales, published by
Mr. Dalrymple from the manuscripts, as it should appear, of captain Cook;
and since it may be thought presumptuous in me to have made alterations
in any work of so great a master, this case is selected for a more
particular explanation.

Time keepers were in their infancy in 1768, when captain Cook sailed upon
his first voyage, and he was not then furnished with them; his longitude
was therefore regulated only by occasional observations of lunar
distances and some few of Jupiter's satellites, which even in the present
improved state of instruments and tables, require to be connected by time
keepers before satisfactory conclusions can be drawn. Errors of greater
or less magnitude were thence unavoidable; at Cape Gloucester, where I
quitted the East Coast, my longitude was 20½' greater than captain Cook's
chart--at Cape York where the survey was again resumed, it was 58½; and
to incorporate the intermediate parts, it was necessary not only to carry
his scale of longitude 20½' more west, but also to reduce the extent of
the coast. The chart was compared with the narrative and chart in
Hawkesworth, and the log book of the Endeavour with them all; when it was
found that reductions might be made in various places upon one or more of
the above authorities, for differences between them were frequent and
sometimes considerable, and in one instance alone a reduction of 12' in
the chart was obtained. It is said in Hawkesworth (III, 202), "As soon as
we got within side the reef (through Providential Channel) we anchored in
nineteen fathom;" and afterwards (p. 204), that the channel, "bore E. N.
E. distant ten or twelve miles." In the first chart the distance is 14½
miles, and nearly the same in that which accompanies the narrative; but
in the log book it is said to be 2½ miles only, which corresponds with
having anchored as soon as they got within the reef, and has been
adopted. In some cases it was not easy to make a choice between these
different authorities; but I have commonly followed the narrative and log
book when they were found to specify with precision, and they generally
produced such corrections to the chart as brought the longitudes of
places nearer to my positions. Captain Cook's track in Plates XI. XII.
and XIII. is laid down afresh from the log book; and many soundings, with
some other useful particulars not to be found in the original chart, are
introduced, for the benefit of any navigator who may follow the same

The reconstruction of the charts in the Atlas was done upon various
scales, but that no error might escape unseen, the least was of _ten_
inches to a degree of longitude; they were then reduced by Mr. Thomas
Arrowsmith to four inches, this being thought sufficiently large for a
general sailing scale; and each reduced sheet was scrupulously compared
by me with the original before it went into the engravers hands, and the
proof impressions with the drawing until no errors were found. To those
who may read this voyage with a view to geographical information, a
frequent reference to the Atlas is earnestly recommended; for many
particulars are there marked which it would have been tedious to
describe, and should any thing appear obscure in the narrative the charts
will generally afford an elucidation.

From the general tenour of the explanations here given, it will perhaps
be inferred that the perfection of the Atlas has been the principal
object of concern; in fact, having no pretension to authorship, the
writing of the narrative, though by much the most troublesome part of my
labour, was not that upon which any hope of reputation was founded; a
polished style was therefore not attempted, but some pains have been
taken to render it clearly intelligible. The first quire of my manuscript
was submitted to the judgment of a few literary friends, and I hope to
have profited by the corrections they had the kindness to make; but
finding these to bear more upon redundancies than inaccuracy of
expression, I determined to confide in the indulgence of the public,
endeavour to improve as the work advanced, and give my friends no further
trouble. Matter, rather than manner, was the object of my anxiety; and if
the reader shall be satisfied with the selection and arrangement, and not
think the information destitute of such interest as might be expected
from the subject, the utmost of my hopes will be accomplished.

* * *

N.B. Throughout this narrative _the variation has been allowed upon the
bearings, and also in the direction of winds, tides, etc._; the whole are
therefore to be considered with reference to the true poles of the earth,
unless it be otherwise particularly expressed; and perhaps in some few
cases of the ship's head when variations are taken, where the expression
_by compass_, or _magnetic_, may have been omitted.


TABLE OF CONTENTS. (For both volumes)






Preliminary Remarks:
Discoveries of the Duyfhen; of
Tasman; and of
three Dutch vessels.
Of Cook;
Bligh and Portlock; and
Bampton and Alt.
Conclusive Remarks.



Preliminary Observations.
Discoveries of Hartog:
of the Ship Leeuwin:
the Vianen:
of Pelsert:
Conclusive Remarks.



Discovery of Nuyts.
Examination of Vancouver:
of D'Entrecasteaux.
Conclusive Remarks.




Preliminary Observations.
Discoveries of Tasman;
of Cook;
Marion and Furneaux.
Observations of Cook;
Bligh; and Cox.
Discovery of D'Entrecasteaux.


Preliminary Information.
Boat expeditions of Bass and Flinders.
Discoveries of Bass to the southward of Port Jackson;
of Flinders;
and of Flinders and Bass.
Examinations to the northward by Flinders.
Conclusive Remarks.




Appointment to the Investigator.
Outfit of the ship.
Instruments, books, and charts supplied, with articles for presents and
Liberal conduct of the Hon. East-India Company.
Passage round to Spithead.
The Roar sand.
Instructions for the execution of the voyage.
French passport, and orders in consequence.
Officers and company of the Investigator, and men of science who
Account of the time keepers.


Departure from Spithead.
Variation of the compass.
The Dezertas.
Arrival at Madeira.
Remarks on Funchal.
Political state of the island.
Latitude and longitude.
Departure from Madeira.
The island St. Antonio.
Foul winds; and remarks upon them.
The ship leaky.
Search made for Isle Sable.
Saxemberg sought for.
Variation of the compass.
State of the ship's company, on arriving at the Cape of Good Hope.
Refitment at Simon's Bay.
Observatory set Up.
The astronomer quits the expedition.
Rates Of the time keepers.
Some remarks on Simon's Bay.


Departure from False Bay.
Remarks on the passage to Terra Australis.
Gravity of sea-water tried.
Cape Leeuwin, and the coast from thence to King George's Sound.
Arrival in the Sound.
Examination of the harbours.
Excursion inland.
Country, soil, and productions.
Native inhabitants: Language and anatomical measurement.
Astronomical and nautical observations.


Departure from King George's Sound.
Coast from thence to the Archipelago of the Recherche.
Discovery of Lucky Bay and Thistle's Cove.
The surrounding country, and islands of the Archipelago.
Astronomical and nautical observations.
Goose-Island Bay.
A salt lake.
Nautical observations.
Coast from the Archipelago to the end of Nuyts' Land.
Arrival in a bay of the unknown coast.
Remarks on the preceding examination.


Fowler's Bay.
Departure from thence.
Arrival at the Isles of St. Francis.
Correspondence between the winds and the marine barometer.
Examination of the other parts of Nuyts' Archipelago, and of the main
The Isles of St Peter.
Return to St. Francis.
General remarks on Nuyts' Archipelago.
Identification of the islands in the Dutch chart.


Prosecution of the discovery of the unknown coast.
Anxious Bay.
Anchorage at Waldegrave's and at Flinders' Islands.
The Investigator's Group.
Coffin's Bay.
Whidbey's Isles.
Differences in the magnetic needle.
Cape Wiles.
Anchorage at Thistle's Island.
Thorny Passage.
Fatal accident.
Anchorage in Memory Cove.
Cape Catastrophe, and the surrounding country.
Anchorage in Port Lincoln, and refitment of the ship.
Remarks on the country and inhabitants.
Astronomical and nautical observations.


Departure from Port Lincoln.
Sir Joseph Banks' Group.
Examination of the coast, northward.
The ship found to be in a gulph.
Anchorage near the head of the gulph.
Boat expedition.
Excursion to Mount Brown.
Nautical observations.
Departure from the head, and examination of the east side of the gulph.
Extensive shoal.
Point Pearce.
Hardwicke Bay.
Verification of the time keepers.
General remarks on the gulph.
Cape Spencer and the Althorpe Isles.
New land discovered: Anchorage there.
General remarks on Kangaroo Island.
Nautical observations.


Departure from Kangaroo Island.
Examination of the main coast, from Cape Spencer eastward.
The Investigator's Strait.
A new gulph discovered. Anchorage at, and examination of the head.
Remarks on the surrounding land.
Return down the gulph.
Troubridge Shoal.
Yorke's Peninsula.
Return to Kangaroo Island.
Boat expedition to Pelican Lagoon.
Astronomical observations.
Kangaroo Island quitted.
Back-stairs Passage.
The coast from Cape Jervis, eastward.
Meeting, and communication with Le Geographe.
Remarks upon the French discoveries on the South Coast.


Examination of the coast resumed.
Encounter Bay.
The capes Bernouilli and Jaffa.
Baudin's Rocks.
Differences in the bearings on tacking.
Cape Buffon, the eastern limit of the French discovery.
The capes Northumberland and Bridgewater of captain Grant.
Danger from a south-west gale.
King's Island, in Bass' Strait: Anchorage there.
Some account of the island.
Nautical observations.
New Year's Isles.
Cape Otway, and the north-west entrance to Bass' Strait.
Anchorage in, and examination of Port Phillip.
The country and inhabitants.
Nautical observations.


Departure from Port Phillip.
Cape Schanck.
Wilson's Promontory, and its isles.
Kent's Groups, and Furneaux's Isles.
Hills behind the Long Beach.
Arrival at Port Jackson.
Health of the ship's company.
Refitment and supply of the ship.
Price of provisions.
Volunteers entered.
Arrangement for the succeeding part of the voyage.
French ships.
Astronomical and nautical observations.


Of the winds and currents on the south coast of Terra Australis,
and in Bass' Strait.
Usual progress of the gales.
Proper seasons for sailing eastward,
and for going westward:
best places of shelter in each case,
with some instructions for the Strait.


Account of the observations by which the _Longitudes_ of places on the
north coast of Terra Australis have been settled.





Departure from Port Jackson, with the Lady Nelson.
Examination of various parts of the East Coast, from thence to Sandy Cape.
Break-sea Spit.
Anchorage in Hervey's Bay, where the Lady Nelson joins after a separation.
Some account of the inhabitants.
Variations of the compass.
Run to Bustard Bay.
Port Curtis discovered, and examined.
Some account of the surrounding country.
Arrival in Keppel Bay, and examination of its branches,
one of which leads into Port Curtis.
Some account of the natives, and of the country round Keppel Bay.
Astronomical and nautical observations.


The Keppel Isles, and coast to Cape Manifold.
A new port discovered and examined.
Harvey's Isles.
A new passage into Shoal-water Bay.
View from Mount Westall.
A boat lost.
The upper parts of Shoal-water Bay examined.
Some account of the country and inhabitants.
General remarks on the bay.
Astronomical and nautical observations.


Departure from Shoal-water Bay, and anchorage in Thirsty Sound.
Magnetical observations.
Boat excursion to the nearest Northumberland Islands.
Remarks on Thirsty Sound.
Observations at West Hill, Broad Sound.
Anchorage near Upper Head.
Expedition to the head of Broad Sound:
another round Long Island.
Remarks on Broad Sound, and the surrounding country.
Advantages for a colony.
Astronomical observations, and remarks on the high tides.


The Percy Isles: anchorage at No. 2.
Boat excursions.
Remarks on the Percy Isles; with nautical observations.
Coral reefs: courses amongst them during eleven days search
for a passage through, to sea.
Description of a reef.
Anchorage at an eastern Cumberland Isle.
The Lady Nelson sent back to Port Jackson.
Continuation of coral reefs;
and courses amongst them during three other days.
Cape Gloucester.
An opening discovered, and the reefs quitted.
General remarks on the Great Barrier;
with some instruction relative to the opening.


Passage from the Barrier Reefs to Torres' Strait.
Reefs named Eastern Fields.
Pandora's Entrance to the Strait.
Anchorage at Murray's Islands.
Communication with the inhabitants.
Half-way Island.
Notions on the formation of coral islands in general.
Prince of Wales's Islands, with remarks on them.
Wallis' Isles.
Entrance into the Gulph of Carpentaria.
Review of the passage through Torres' Strait.


Examination of the coast on the east side of the Gulph of Carpentaria.
Landing at Coen River.
Head of the Gulph.
Anchorage at Sweers' Island.
Interview with Indians at Horse-shoe Island.
Investigator's Road.
The ship found to be in a state of decay.
General remarks on the islands at the Head of the Gulph,
and their inhabitants.
Astronomical and nautical observations.


Departure from Sweers' Island.
South side of C. Van Diemen examined.
Anchorage at Bountiful Island: turtle and sharks there.
Land of C. Van Diemen proved to be an island.
Examination of the main coast to Cape Vanderlin.
That cape found to be one of a group of islands.
Examination of the islands; their soil, etc.
Monument of the natives.
Traces of former visitors to these parts.
Astronomical and nautical observations.


Departure from Sir Edward Pellew's Group.
Coast from thence westward.
Cape Maria found to be an island.
Limmen's Bight. Coast northward to Cape Barrow: landing on it.
Circumnavigation of Groote Eylandt.
Specimens of native art at Chasm Island.
Anchorage in North-west Bay, Groote Eylandt;
with remarks and nautical observations.
Blue-mud Bay. Skirmish with the natives.
Cape Shield.
Mount Grindall.
Coast to Caledon Bay.
Occurrences in that bay, with remarks on the country and inhabitants.
Astronomical and nautical observations.


Departure from Caledon Bay.
Cape Arnhem.
Melville Bay.
Cape Wilberforce, and Bromby's Isles.
The English Company's Islands: meeting there with vessels from Macassar.
Arnhem Bay.
The Weasel's Islands.
Further examination of the North Coast postponed.
Arrival at Coepang Bay, in Timor.
Remarks and astronomical observations.


Departure from Timor.
Search made for the Trial Rocks.
Anchorage in Goose-Island Bay.
Interment of the boatswain, and sickly state of the ship's company.
Escape from the bay, and passage through Bass' Strait.
Arrival at Port Jackson.
Losses in men.
Survey and condemnation of the ship.
Plans for continuing the survey;
but preparation finally made for returning to England.
State of the colony at Port Jackson.


Of the winds, currents, and navigation along the east coast of Terra
Australis, both without and within the tropic; also on the north coast.

Directions for sailing from Port Jackson, through Torres' Strait, towards
India or the Cape of Good Hope.

Advantages of this passage over that round New Guinea.




Departure from Port Jackson in the Porpoise,
accompanied by the Bridgewater and Cato.
The Cato's Bank.
Shipwreck of the Porpoise and Cato in the night.
The crews get on a sand bank; where they are left by the Bridgewater.
Provisions saved.
Regulations on the bank.
Measures adopted for getting back to Port Jackson.
Description of Wreck-Reef Bank.
Remarks on the loss of M. de La Pérouse.


Departure from Wreck-Reef Bank in a boat.
Boisterous weather.
The Coast of New South Wales reached, and followed.
Natives at Point Look-out.
Landing near Smoky Cape; and again near Port Hunter.
Arrival at Port Jackson on the thirteenth day.
Return to Wreck Reef with a ship and two schooners.
Arrangements at the Bank.
Account of the reef, with nautical and other remarks.


Passage in the Cumberland to Torres' Strait.
Eastern Fields and Pandora's Entrance.
New channels amongst the reefs.
Anchorage at Half-way Island, and under the York Isles.
Prince of Wales's Islands further examined.
Booby Isle.
Passage across the Gulph of Carpentaria.
Anchorage at Wessel's Islands.
Passage to Coepang Bay, in Timor; and to Mauritius,
where the leakiness of the Cumberland makes it necessary to stop.
Anchorage at the Baye du Cap, and departure for Port Louis.


Arrival at Port Louis (or North-West) in Mauritius.
Interview with the French governor.
Seizure of the Cumberland, with the charts and journals of the
Investigator's voyage; and imprisonment of the commander and people.
Letters to the governor, with his answer.
Restitution of some books and charts.
Friendly act of the English interpreter.
Propositions made to the governor.
Humane conduct of captain Bergeret.
Reflections on a voyage of discovery.
Removal to the Maison Despeaux or Garden Prison.


Prisoners in the Maison Despeaux or Garden Prison.
Application to admiral Linois.
Spy-glasses and swords taken.
Some papers restored.
Opinions upon the detention of the Cumberland.
Letter of captain Baudin.
An English squadron arrives off Mauritius: its consequences.
Arrival of a French officer with despatches, and observations thereon.
Passages in the Moniteur, with remarks.
Mr. Aken liberated.
Arrival of cartels from India.
Applicatiou made by the marquis Wellesley.
Different treatment of English and French prisoners.
Prizes brought to Mauritius in sixteen months.
Departure of all prisoners of war.
Permission to quit the Garden Prison.
Astronomical observations.


Parole given.
Journey into the interior of Mauritius.
The governor's country seat.
Residence at the Refuge, in that Part of Williems Plains called Vacouas.
Its situation and climate, with the mountains, rivers, cascades, and
views near it.
The Mare aux Vacouas and Grand Bassin.
State of cultivation and produce of Vacouas;
its black ebony, game, and wild fruits; and freedom from noxious insects.


Occupations at Vacouas.
Hospitality of the inhabitants.
Letters from England.
Refusal to be sent to France repeated.
Account of two hurricanes, of a subterraneous stream and circular pit.
Habitation of La Pérouse.
Letters to the French marine minister, National Institute, etc.
Letters from Sir Edward Pellew.
Caverns in the Plains of St. Piérre.
Visit to Port Louis.
Narrative transmitted to England.
Letter to captain Bergeret on his departure for France.


Effects of repeated disappointment on the mind.
Arrival of a cartel, and of letters from India.
Letter of the French marine minister.
Restitution of papers.
Applications for liberty evasively answered.
Attempted seizure of private letters.
Memorial to the minister.
Encroachments made at Paris on the Investigator's discoveries.
Expected attack on Mauritius produces an abridgment of Liberty.
Strict blockade.
Arrival of another cartel from India.
State of the public finances in Mauritius.
French cartel sails for the Cape of Good Hope.


A prospect of liberty, which is officially confirmed.
Occurrences during eleven weeks residence in the town of Port Louis
and on board the Harriet cartel.
Parole and certificates.
Departure from Port Louis, and embarkation in the Otter.
Eulogium on the inhabitants of Mauritius.
Review of the conduct of general De Caen.
Passage to the Cape of Good Hope, and after seven weeks stay,
from thence to England.


No. I.

Account of the observations by which the _Longitudes_ of places on the
east and north coasts of Terra Australis have been settled.

No. II.

On the errors of the compass arising from attractions within the ship,
and others from the magnetism of land; with precautions for obviating
their effects in marine surveying.

No. III.

General Remarks, geographical and systematical, on the Botany of Terra
Australis. By ROBERT BROWN,
F. R. S. _Acad. Reg. Scient. Berolin. Corresp._ NATURALIST TO THE VOYAGE.



View from the south side of King George's Sound.
Entrance of Port Lincoln, taken from behind Memory Cove.
View on the north side of Kangaroo Island.
View of Port Jackson, taken from the South Head.


View of Port Bowen, from behind the Watering Gully.
View of Murray's Islands, with the natives offering to barter.
View in Sir Edward Pellew's Group--Gulph of Carpentaria.
View of Malay Road, from Pobassoo's Island.
View of Wreck-Reef Bank, taken at low water.



I. General Chart of TERRA AUSTRALIS and the neighbouring lands,
from latitude 7° to 44½° south, and longitude 102° to 165° east.

II. Particular chart of the South Coast, from Cape Leeuwin to
the Archipelago of the Recherche.

III. Ditto from the Archipelago of the Recherche to past the head
of the great Australian Bight.

IV. Ditto from the head of the great Australian Bight to past
Encounter Bay.

V. Ditto from near Encounter Bay to Cape Otway at the west entrance
of Bass' Strait.

VI. Ditto from Cape Otway, past Cape Howe, to Barmouth Creek.

VII. Particular chart of Van Diemen's Land.

VIII. Particular chart of the East Coast, from Barmouth Creek
to past Cape Hawke.

IX. Ditto from near Cape Hawke to past Glass-house Bay.

X. Ditto from Glass-house Bay to Broad Sound.

XI. Ditto from Broad Sound to Cape Grafton.

XII. Ditto from Cape Grafton to the Isle of Direction.

XIII. Particular chart of the East Coast from the I. of Direction
to Cape York, and of the North Coast from thence to Pera Head;
including Torres Strait and parts of New Guinea.

XIV. A particular chart of the North Coast, from Torres' Strait
to Point Dale and the Wessel's Islands, including the whole
of the Gulph of Carpentaria.

XV. The north-west side of the Gulph of Carpentaria, on a large scale.

XVI. Particular chart of Timor and some neighbouring islands.

XVII. Fourteen views of headlands, etc. on the south coast
of Terra Australis.

XVIII. Thirteen views on the east and north coasts,
and one of Samow Strait.


Ten plates of selected plants from different parts of Terra Australis.


[Errors have been corrected in this ebook]


The voyages which had been made, during the seventeenth and eighteenth
centuries, by Dutch and by English navigators, had successively brought
to light various extensive coasts in the southern hemisphere, which were
thought to be united; and to comprise a land, which must be nearly equal
in magnitude to the whole of Europe. To this land, though known to be
separated from all other great portions of the globe, geographers were
disposed to give the appellation of Continent: but doubts still existed,
of the continuity of its widely extended shores; and it was urged, that,
as our knowledge of some parts was not founded upon well authenticated
information, and we were in total ignorance of some others, these coasts
might, instead of forming one great land, be no other than parts of
different large islands.

The establishment, in 1788, of a British colony on the easternmost, and
last discovered, of these new regions, had added that degree of interest
to the question of their continuity, which a mother country takes in
favour, even, of her outcast children, to know the form, extent, and
general nature of the land, where they may be placed. The question had,
therefore, ceased to be one in which geography was alone concerned: it
claimed the paternal consideration of the father of all his people, and
the interests of the national commerce seconded the call for

Accordingly, the following voyage was undertaken by command of HIS
MAJESTY, in the year 1801; in a ship of 334 tons, which received the
appropriate name of the INVESTIGATOR; and, besides great objects of
clearing up the doubt respecting the unity of these southern regions, and
of opening therein fresh sources to commerce, and new ports to seamen, it
was intended, that the voyage should contribute to the advancement of
natural knowledge in various branches; and that some parts of the
neighbouring seas should he visited, wherein geography and navigation had
still much to desire.

The vast regions to which this voyage was principally directed,
comprehend, in the western part, the early discoveries of the Dutch,
under the name of NEW HOLLAND; and in the east, the coasts explored by
British navigators, and named NEW SOUTH WALES. It has not, however, been
unusual to apply the first appellation to both regions; but to continue
this, would be almost as great an injustice to the British nation, whose
seamen have had so large a share in the discovery, as it would be to the
Dutch, were New South Wales to be so extended. This appears to have been
felt by a neighbouring, and even rival, nation; whose writers commonly
speak of these countries under the general term of _Terres Australes_. In
fact, the original name, used by the Dutch themselves until some time
after Tasman's second voyage, in 1644, was _Terra Australis_, or _Great
South Land_; and when it was displaced by New Holland, the new term was
applied only to the parts lying _westward_ of a meridian line, passing
through Arnhem's Land on the north., and near the isles of St. Francis
and St. Peter, on the south: all to the eastward, including the shores of
the Gulph of Carpentaria, still remained as Terra Australis. This appears
from a chart published by THEVENOT, in 1663; which, he says, "was
originally taken from that done in inlaid work, upon the pavement of the
new Stadt-House at Amsterdam." * The same thing is to be inferred from the
notes of Burgomaster WITSEN, in 1705; of which there will be occasion to
speak in the sequel.

[* "La carte que l'on a mise icy, tire sa première origine de celle que
l'on a fait tailler de piéces rapportées, sur le pavé de la nouvelle
Maison-de-Ville d'Amsterdam." _Rélations de divers Voyages

It is necessary, however, to geographical precision, that so soon as New
Holland and New South Wales were known to form one land, there should be
a general name applicable to the whole; and this essential point having
been ascertained in the present voyage, with a degree of certainty
sufficient to authorise the measure, I have, with the concurrence of
opinions entitled to deference, ventured upon the re-adoption of the
_original_ TERRA AUSTRALIS; and of this term I shall hereafter make use,
when speaking of New Holland and New South Wales, in a collective sense;
and when using it in the most extensive signification, the adjacent
isles, including that of Van Diemen, must be understood to be

There is no probability, that any other detached body of land, of nearly
equal extent, will ever be found in a more southern latitude; the name
Terra Australis will, therefore, remain descriptive of the geographical
importance of this country, and of its situation on the globe: it has
antiquity to recommend it; and, having no reference to either of the two
claiming nations, appears to be less objectionable than any other which
could have been selected.*

[* Had I permitted myself any innovation upon the original term, it would
have been to convert it into AUSTRALIA; as being more agreeable to the
ear, and an assimilation to the names of the other great portions of the

In dividing New South Wales from New Holland, I have been guided by the
British patent to the first governor of the new colony, at Port Jackson.
In this patent, a meridian, nearly corresponding to the ancient line of
separation, between New Holland and Terra Australis, has been made the
western limit of New South Wales; and is fixed at the longitude of 135°
east, from the meridian of Greenwich. From hence, the British territory
extends eastward, to the islands of the _Pacific_, or _Great Ocean_: its
northern limit is at _Cape York_; and the extremity of the southern _Van
Diemen's Land_, is its opposite boundary.

The various discoveries which had been made upon the coasts of Terra
Australis, antecedently to the present voyage, are of dates as widely
distant, as are the degrees of confidence to which they are respectively
entitled; the accounts, also, lie scattered through various books in
different languages; and many are still in manuscript. It has, therefore,
been judged, that a succinct history of these discoveries would be
acceptable to the public; and would form an appropriate introduction to a
voyage, whose principal object was to complete what they had left
unfinished. Such a history will not only, it is hoped, be found
interesting, but, from the occasions it will furnish to point out what
remained to be done at the beginning of the nineteenth century, will
satisfy a question which may be asked: Why it should have been thought
necessary to send another expedition to explore the coasts of a country,
concerning which it has been said, near thirty years ago--"It is no
longer a doubt, that we have now a full knowledge of the whole
circumference of this vast body of land, this fifth part of the world." *
An expression, which the learned writer could have intended to apply only
to the general extent of the new continent, and not to the particular
formation of every part of the coasts; since the chart, which accompanies
the voyage of which he was writing the introduction, represents much of
the south coast, as being totally unknown.

[* _Cook's third Voyage_, Introduction. p. xv.]

In tracing a historical sketch of the previous discoveries, I shall not
dwell upon such as depend upon conjecture and probability, but come
speedily to those, for which there are authentic documents. In this
latter, and solely important, class, the articles extracted from voyages,
which are in the hands of the public, will be abridged to their leading
heads; and the reader referred, for the details, to the original works;
but in such articles as have either not appeared before, or but very
imperfectly, in an English dress, as also in those extracted from
unpublished manuscripts, a wider range will be taken: in these, so far as
the documents go, on the one hand, and the limits of an introduction can
allow, on the other, no interesting fact will be omitted.

Conformably to this plan, no attempt will be made to investigate the
claims of the _Chinese_ to the earliest knowledge of Terra Australis;
which some, from the chart of _Marco Polo_, have thought they possessed.
Nor yet will much be said upon the plea advanced by the Abbé PRÉVOST,*
and after him by the President DEBROSSES,** in favour of _Paulmier de
Gonneville_, a French captain; for whom they claim the honour of having
discovered Terra Australis, in 1504. It is evident from the proofs they
adduce, that it was not to any part of this country, but to Madagascar,
that Gonneville was driven; and from whence he brought his prince
Essomeric, to Normandy.

[* _Histoire générale des Voyages_. Tome XVI. (à la Haye) p. 7-14.]

[** _Histoire des Navigations aux Terres Australes_. Tome I. p. 102-120.]

Within these few years, however, two curious manuscript charts have been
brought to light; which have favoured an opinion, that Terra Australis
had really been visited by Europeans, nearly a century before any
authentic accounts speak of its discovery. One of these charts is in
French, without date; and from its almost exact similitude, is probably
either the original, or a copy of the other, which is in English; and
bears, with the date 1542, a dedication to the KING OF ENGLAND.* In it,
an extensive country is marked to the southward of the Moluccas, under
the name of GREAT JAVA; which agrees nearer with the position and extent
of Terra Australis, than with any other land; and the direction given to
some parts of the coast, approaches too near to the truth, for the whole
to have been marked from conjecture alone. But, combining this with the
exaggerated extent of Great Java in a southern direction, and the animals
and houses painted upon the shores, such as have not been any where seen
in Terra Australis, it should appear to have been partly formed from
vague information, collected, probably, by the early Portuguese
navigators, from the eastern nations; and that conjecture has done the
rest. It may, at the same time, be admitted, that a part of the west and
north-west coasts, where the coincidence of form is most striking, might
have been seen by the Portuguese themselves, before the year 1540, in
their voyages to, and from, India.

[* A more particular account of these charts, now in the _British
Museum_, will be found in Captain Burney's "_History of Discoveries in
the South Sea_." Vol. I. p. 379-383. An opinion is there expressed
concerning the early discoveries in these regions, which is entitled to
respectful attention.]

But quitting those claims to original discovery, in which conjecture
bears so large a share, we come to such as are supported by undeniable
documents. Before entering upon these, it is proper to premise, that,
instead of following precisely the order of time, these discoveries will
be classed under the heads of the different coasts upon which they were
made: an arrangement which will obviate the confusion that would arise
from being carried back from one coast to another, as must, of necessity,
be the case, were the chronological order to be strictly followed.

The discoveries made in Terra Australis, _prior to the Investigator's
voyage_, will, therefore, be divided into four Sections, under the
following heads: 1. The NORTH COAST; 2. The WESTERN COASTS; 3. The SOUTH
COAST; and, 4. The EAST COAST with VAN DIEMEN'S LAND. But the articles in
the fourth Section, being numerous and more extensive, will be divided
into two parts: PART I. will contain the early discoveries, and such of
the later, as were made independently of the British colony in New South
Wales; and PART II. those which were made in vessels sent from that
colony; and which may be considered as a consequence of its




Preliminary Remarks:
Discoveries of the Duyfhen; of
Tasman; and of
three Dutch vessels.
Of Cook;
Bligh and Portlock; and
Bampton and Alt.
Conclusive Remarks.


The late Hydrographer to the Admiralty, ALEXANDER DALRYMPLE, Esq., in his
curious _Collection concerning_ PAPUA, published, with a translation, a
paper which furnishes more regular and authentic accounts of the early
Dutch discoveries in the East, than any thing with which the public was
before acquainted. This interesting paper was procured by the Right Hon.
Sir Joseph Banks; and is a copy of the instructions to commodore ABEL
JANSZ TASMAN, for his _second_ voyage of discovery: It is dated January
29, 1644, from the _Castle of Batavia_, and signed by the
governor-general ANTONIO VAN DIEMEN, and by _Vander Lyn_, _Maatsuyker_,
_Schouten_, and _Sweers_, members of the council. The instructions are
prefaced with a recital, in chronological order, of the previous
discoveries of the Dutch, whether made from accident or design, in NOVA
GUINEA, and the _Great_ SOUTH LAND; and from this account, combined with
a passage from Saris,* it appears, that--


On the 18th of November 1605, the Dutch yacht, the _Duyfhen_, was
dispatched from Bantam to explore the islands of New Guinea; and that she
sailed along, what was thought to be, the west side of that country, to
13¾° of south latitude. "This extensive country was found, for the
greatest part, desert; but, in some places, inhabited by wild, cruel,
black savages; by whom some of the crew were murdered. For which reason
they could not learn anything of the land, or waters, as had been desired
of them; and, from want of provisions and other necessaries, they were
obliged to leave the discovery unfinished: The furthest point of the
land, in their map, was called Cape KEER-WEER," or Turn-again.

(ATLAS, Pl. I.)

The course of the Duyfhen, from New Guinea, was southward, along the
islands on the west side of Torres' Strait, to that part of Terra
Australis, a little to the west and south of Cape York; but all these
lands were thought to be connected, and to form the west coast of New
Guinea. Thus, without being conscious of it, the commander of the Duyfhen
made the first authenticated discovery of any part of the great South
Land, about the month of March 1606; for it appears, that he had returned
to Banda in, or before, the beginning of June, of that year.


LUIS VAES DE TORRES, a Spanish navigator, was the next person who saw
Terra Australis; and it is remarkable, that it was near the same place,
and in the same year; and that he had as little knowledge of the nature
of his discovery, as had the Duyfhen.

Torres was second in command to Pedro Fernandez de Quiros; when he sailed
with three vessels, from the port of Callao in Peru, in the year 1605.
One of the purposes of their expedition was to search for the TIERRA
AUSTRAL; a continent which was supposed to occupy a considerable portion
of that part of the southern hemisphere lying westward of America.

After the discovery of several islands, Quiros came to a land which he
named AUSTRALIA DEL ESPIRITU SANTO, supposing it to be a part of the
great Southern Continent; but this, on his separation from the admiral,
Torres found could be no other than an island; and then continued his
course westward, in prosecution of the research.

About the month of August 1606, and in latitude 11½° south, he fell in
with a coast, which he calls "the beginning of New Guinea;" and which
appears to have been the south-eastern part of the land, afterwards named
Louisiade, by Mons. DE BOUGAINVILLE, and now known to be a chain of
islands. Unable to pass to windward of this land, Torres bore away along
its south side; and gives, himself, the following account of his
subsequent proceedings.

"We went along 300 leagues of coast, as I have mentioned, and diminished
the latitude 2½°, which brought us into 9°. From hence we fell in with a
bank of from 3 to 9 fathoms, which extends along the coast above 180
leagues. We went over it along the coast to 7½ S. latitude, and the end
of it is in 5°. We could not go further on for the many shoals and great
currents, so we were obliged to sail S. W. in that depth to 11°. S.
latitude. There is all over it an archipelago of islands without number,
by which we passed, and at the end of the 11th degree, the bank became
shoaler. Here were very large islands, and there appeared more to the
southward: they were inhabited by black people, very corpulent, and
naked: their arms were lances, arrows, and clubs of stone ill fashioned.
We could not get any of their arms. We caught in all this land 20 persons
of different nations, that with them we might be able to give a better
account to Your Majesty. They give much notice of other people, although
as yet they do not make themselves well understood.

"We were upon this bank two months, at the end of which time we found
ourselves in 25 fathoms, and in 5° S. latitude, and 10 leagues from the
coast. And having gone 480 leagues, here the coast goes to the N. E. I
did not reach it, for the bank became very shallow. So we stood to the
north." *

[* See the letter of Torres, dated Manila, July 12, 1607, in Vol. II.
Appendix, No I. to Burney's "_History of Discoveries in the South Sea_;"
from which interesting work this sketch of Torres' voyage is extracted.]

It cannot be doubted, that the "very large islands" seen by Torres, at
the 11th degree of south latitude, were the hills of Cape York; or that
his _two months_ of intricate navigation were employed in passing the
strait which divides Terra Australis and New Guinea. But the account of
this and other discoveries, which Torres himself addressed to the King of
Spain, was so kept from the world, that the existence of such a strait
was generally unknown, until 1770; when it was again discovered and
passed by our great circumnavigator Captain Cook.

Torres, it should appear, took the precaution to lodge a copy of his
letter in the archives of Manila; for, after that city was taken by the
British forces, in 1762, Mr. Dalrymple found out, and drew from oblivion,
this interesting document of early discovery; and, as a tribute due to
the enterprising Spanish navigator, he named the passage TORRES' STRAIT;
and the appellation now generally prevails.

ZEACHEN. 1618.

ZEACHEN is said to have discovered the land of Arnhem and the northern
Van Diemen's Land, in 1618; and he is supposed, from the first name, to
have been a native of Arnhem, in Holland; and that the second was given
in honour of the governor-general of the Indies.* But there are two
important objections to the truth of this vague account: first, no
mention is made of Zeachen in the recital of discoveries which preface
the instructions to Tasman; nor is there any, of the North Coast having
been visited by the Dutch, in that year: secondly, it appears from
_Valentyn's_ lives of the governors of Batavia, that Van Diemen was not
governor-general until January 1, 1636.

[* _Hist. des Navigations aux Terres Aust._ Tome 1. p. 432.]


The second expedition, mentioned in the Dutch recital, for the discovery
of the Great South Land, "was undertaken in a yacht, in the year 1617,
with little success;" and the journals and remarks were not to be found.
In January 1623, the yachts _Pera_ and _Arnhem_, under the command of JAN
CARSTENS, were despatched from _Amboina_, by order of His Excellency Jan
Pieterz Coen. Carstens, with eight of the Arnhem's crew, was
treacherously murdered by the natives of New Guinea; but the vessels
prosecuted the voyage, and _discovered_ "the great islands ARNHEM and the
SPULT." * They were then "untimely separated," and the Arnhem returned to
Amboina. The Pera persisted; and "sailed along the south coast of New
Guinea, to a flat cove, situate in 10° south latitude; and ran along the
West Coast of this land to Cape Keer-Weer; from thence discovered the
coast further southward, as far as 17°, to STATEN RIVER. From this place,
what more of the land could be discerned, seemed to stretch _westward_:"
the Pera then returned to Amboina. "In this discovery were found, every
where, shallow water and barren coasts; islands altogether thinly peopled
by divers cruel, poor, and brutal nations; and of very little use to the
(Dutch East-India) Company."

[* In the old charts, a river Spult is marked, in the western part of
Arnhem's Land; and it seems probable, that the land in its vicinity is
here meant by THE SPULT.]


GERRIT TOMAZ POOL was sent, in April 1636, from _Banda_, with the yachts
_Klyn Amsterdam_ and _Wezel_, upon the same expedition as Carstens; and,
at the same place, on the coast of New Guinea, he met with the same fate.
Nevertheless "the voyage was assiduously continued under the charge of
the supra-cargo Pieterz Pietersen; and the islands _Key_ and _Arouw_
visited. By reason of very strong eastwardly winds, they could not reach
the west coast of New Guinea (Carpentaria); but shaping their course very
near south, discovered the coast of Arnhem, or Van Diemen's Land, in 11°
south latitude; and sailed along the shore for 120 miles (30 mijlen),
without seeing any people, _but many signs of smoke_."

TASMAN. 1644.

This is all that appears to have been known of the North Coast, when ABEL
JANSZ TASMAN sailed upon his second voyage, in 1644; for the instructions
to him say, that after quitting "Point Ture, or False Cape, situate in 8°
on the south coast of New Guinea, you are to continue eastward, along the
coast, to 9° south latitude; crossing prudently the _Cove_ at that place.
Looking about the _high islands_ or _Speult's River_, with the yachts,
for a harbour; despatching the tender _De Braak_, for two or three days
into the Cove, in order to discover whether, within the GREAT INLET,
there be not to be found an entrance into the South Sea.* From this place
you are to coast along the west coast of New Guinea. (Carpentaria,) to
the furthest discoveries in 17° south latitude; following the coast
further, as it may run, west or southward."

[* The Great Inlet or Cove, where the passage was to be sought, is the
north-west part of Torres' Strait. It is evident, that a suspicion was
entertained, in 1644, of such a strait; but that the Dutch were ignorant
of its having been passed. The "high islands" are those which lie in
latitude 10°, on the west side of the strait. Speult's River appears to
be the opening betwixt the Prince of Wales' Islands and Cape York;
through which captain Cook afterwards passed, and named it Endeavour's
Strait. This _Speult's River_ cannot, I conceive, be the same with what
was before mentioned under the name of THE SPULT.]

"But it is to be feared you will meet, in these parts, with the
south-east trade winds; from which it will be difficult to keep the coast
on board, if stretching to the south-east; but, notwithstanding this,
endeavour by all means to proceed; that we may be sure whether this land
is divided from the _Great Known_ SOUTH CONTINENT, or not."

The Dutch had, by this time, acquired some knowledge of a part of the
south coast of Terra Australis; of the west coast; and of a part of the
north-west; and these are the lands meant by "the Great Known South
Continent." Arnhem's, and the northern Van Diemen's Lands, on the North
Coast, are not included in the expression; for Tasman was directed "from
_De Witt's Land_ (on the North-west Coast,) to run across, very near
eastward, to complete the discovery of _Arnhem's_ and _Van Diemen's
Lands_; and to ascertain perfectly, whether these lands are not _one and
the same island_."

It is a great obstacle to tracing correctly the progress of early
discovery in Terra Australis, that no account of this voyage of Tasman
has ever been published; nor is any such known to exist. But it seems to
have been the general opinion, that he sailed round the _Gulph of
Carpentaria_; and then westward, along _Arnhem's_ and the northern _Van
Diemen's Lands_; and the form of these coasts in Thevenot's chart of
1663, and in those of most succeeding geographers, even up to the end of
the eighteenth century, is supposed to have resulted from this voyage.
The opinion is strengthened by finding the names of Tasman, and of the
governor-general and two of the council, who signed his instructions,
applied to places at the head of the Gulph; as is also that of _Maria_,
the daughter of the governor, to whom our navigator is said to have been
attached. In the notes, also, of Burgomaster Witsen, concerning the
inhabitants of NOVA GUINEA and HOLLANDIA NOVA, as extracted by Mr.
Dalrymple; Tasman is mentioned amongst those, from whom his information
was drawn.


The President De Brosses* gives, from the miscellaneous tracts of
_Nicolas Struyck_, printed at Amsterdam, 1753, the following account of
another, and last voyage of the Dutch, for the discovery of the North

[* _Hist. des Nav. aux Terres Aust_. Tome I. page 439.]

"March 1, 1705, three Dutch vessels were sent from _Timor_, with order to
explore the north coast of _New Holland_, better than it had before been
done. They carefully examined the coasts, sand banks, and reefs. In their
route to it, they did not meet with any land, but only some rocks above
water, in 11° 52' south latitude:" (probably the south part of the great
_Sahul Bank_; which, according to captain Peter Heywood, who saw it in
180l, lies in 11° 40'.) "They saw the west coast of New Holland 4° to the
eastward of the east point of Timor. From thence they continued their
route towards the north; and passed a point, off which lies a bank of
sand above water, in length _more than five German miles_ of fifteen to a
degree. After which, they made sail to the east, along the coast of New
Holland; observing every thing with care, until they came to a gulph, the
head of which they did not quite reach. I (Struyck) have seen a chart
made of these parts."

What is here called the _West_, must have been the North-west Coast;
which the vessels appear to have made somewhat to the south of the
western _Cape Van Diemen_. The point which they passed, was probably this
same Cape itself; and in a chart, published by Mr. Dalrymple, Aug. 27,
1783, from a Dutch manuscript (possibly a copy of that which Struyck had
seen), a shoal, of _thirty geographic miles_ in length, is marked as
running off, from it; but incorrectly, according to Mr. Mc. Cluer. The
gulph here mentioned, was probably a deep bay in Arnhem's Land; for had
it been the Gulph of Carpentaria, some particular mention of the great
change in the direction of the coast, would, doubtless, have been made.

From this imperfect account of the voyage of these three vessels, very
little satisfactory information is obtained; and this, with some few
exceptions, is the case with all the accounts of the early Dutch
discoveries; and has usually been attributed to the monopolizing spirit
of their East-India Company, which induced it to keep secret, or to
destroy, the journals.

COOK. 1770.

The north coast of Terra Australis does not appear to have been seen by
any succeeding navigator, until the year 1770; when our celebrated
captain JAMES COOK passed through _Endeavour's Strait_, between Cape York
and the Prince of Wales' Islands; and besides clearing up the doubt
which, till then, existed, of the actual separation of Terra Australis
from New Guinea, his more accurate observations enabled geographers to
assign something like a true place to the former discoveries of the
Dutch, in these parts. Captain Cook did not land upon the main; but, at
_Possession Island_, he saw ten natives: "Nine of them were armed with
such lances as we had been accustomed to see, and the tenth had a _bow_,
and a bundle of _arrows_, which we had never seen in the possession of
the natives of this country before." *

[* _Hawkesworth's Voyages_, Vol. III. page 211.]

Mc. CLUER. 1791.

At the end of the year 1791, lieutenant JOHN Mc. CLUER of the Bombay
marine, in returning from the examination of the west side of New Guinea,
made the Land of _Arnhem_, in longitude 135¼°, east of Greenwich. He then
sailed westward, along the shore, to 129° 55'; when the coast was found
to take a southern direction. The point of turning is placed in 11° 15'
south latitude; and is, doubtless, the Cape Van Diemen of the old charts,
and the west extremity of the north coast of Terra Australis.

It does not appear that any other account has been given of this
navigation, than the chart published by Mr. Dalrymple, in 1792. According
to it, though lieutenant Mc. Cluer constantly had soundings, in from 7 to
40 fathoms; yet he was generally at such a distance from the land, that
it was not often seen; and, consequently, he was unable to identify the
particular points. No landing seems to have been effected upon the main;
but some service was rendered to navigation, by ascertaining the
positions of several small islands, shoals, and projecting parts of the
coast; and in conferring a certain degree of authenticity upon the
discoveries of the early Dutch navigators.

Lieutenant Mc. Cluer is the last person, who can strictly be said to have
added to our knowledge of the north coast of Terra Australis, previously
to the time in which the voyage of the Investigator was planned; but
several navigators had followed captain Cook through Torres' Strait, and
by considerably different routes: these it will be proper to notice; as
their discoveries are intimately connected with the present subject.

BLIGH. 1789.

After the mutineers of the _Bounty_ had forced their commander,
lieutenant (now rear-admiral) WILLIAM BLIGH, to embark in the _launch_,
near the island _Tofoa_; he steered for Coepang, a Dutch settlement, at
the south-west end of _Timor_. In the way, he made the east coast of New
South Wales, in about 12½° of South latitude; and, sailing northward,
passed round Cape York and the Prince of Wales' Islands.

It was not to be supposed, that captain Bligh, under the circumstances of
extreme distress, of fatigue, and difficulty of every kind, could do much
for navigation and geography; yet, he took views and made such
observations and notes, as enabled him to construct a chart of his track,
and of the lands and reefs seen from the launch. And as captain Bligh
passed to the _north_ of the Prince of Wales' Islands, whereas captain
Cook had passed to the south, his interesting narrative, with the
accompanying chart, made an useful addition to what little was yet known
of Torres'Strait.*

[* Bligh's "_Voyage to the South Seas in H. M. Ship Bounty_," page

EDWARDS. 1791.

CAPTAIN (now admiral) EDWARD EDWARDS of HIS Majesty's frigate _Pandora_,
on his return from the island Taheity,* made the reefs of Torres' Strait,
on Aug. 25; in about the latitude 10° south, and _two degrees_ of
longitude to the east of Cape York. Steering from thence westward, he
fell in with three islands, rather high, which he named MURRAY'S; lying
in latitude 9° 57' south, and longitude 143° 42' east;** and some canoes,
with two masts, were seen running within side of the reef which lay
between the islands and the ship. This reef was of considerable extent;
and, during the whole of August 26, captain Edwards ran along it to the
southward, without finding any passage through. On the 27th, the search
was continued, without success; but on the 28th, a boat was despatched to
examine an opening in the reef; and the ship stood off and on, waiting
the result. At five in the evening, the boat made a signal for a passage
being found; but fearing to venture through, so near sunset, without more
particular information, captain Edwards called the boat on board. In the
mean time, a current, or tide, set the Pandora upon the reef; and, after
beating there till ten o'clock, she went over it into deep water; and
sunk in 15 fathoms, at daylight of the 29th.

[* Commonly written _Otaheite_; but the 0 is either an article or a
preposition, and forms no part of the name: Bougainville writes it

[** In Plates I. and XIII. Murray's Islands are laid down according to
their situations afterwards ascertained in the Investigator; and the
reefs, seen by the Pandora, are placed in their relative positions to
those islands.]

A dry sand bank was perceived within the opening, at the distance of four
miles; and thither the boats repaired with the remaining officers and
people; thirty-nine men having lost their lives in this melancholy
disaster. This opening was ascertained to lie in latitude 11° 24' and
longitude 143° 38'; and is represented as very practicable for ships.

Not being able to save any thing from the wreck, captain Edwards, almost
destitute of provisions and water, set sail on Aug. 30, with his squadron
of four boats; and steered for the north-east part of Terra Australis. No
reefs, or other dangers, appear to have been encountered in the way to
the coast; but in the course northward, along it, some islands and reefs
were seen. From one part of the coast, two canoes with three black men in
each, paddled hard after the boats; but though they waved and made many
signs, it was not thought prudent to wait for them. At one of the York
Isles, the natives, for some trifling presents, filled a keg of water for
captain Edwards; but refused to bring down any more; and, soon afterward,
they let fly a shower of arrows amongst the unfortunate sufferers.
Happily no person was wounded; and the aggressors were put to flight, by
a volley of musketry.

At the Prince of Wales' Islands, good water was found; and much
alleviated the distress of captain Edwards and his people. They heard
here the howling of wolves, (probably of wild dogs,) and "discovered a
_morai_, or rather heap of bones. There were amongst them two human
skulls, the bones of some large animals, and some turtle bones. They were
heaped together in the form of a grave; and a long paddle, supported at
each end by a bifurcated branch of a tree, was laid horizontally along
it. Near to this, there were marks of a fire having been recently made;
and the ground about was much footed and worn." *

[* See "_A Voyage round the World in H. M. frigate Pandora_," by George
Hamilton, Surgeon; page 123, _et seq._]

A few small oysters, a harsh austere fruit, resembling a plum, and a
small berry of a similar taste to the plum, were all that could be found
for food.

"There is a large sound formed here, to which," says Mr. Hamilton, "we
gave the name of _Sandwich's Sound_; and commodious anchorage for
shipping in the bay, to which we gave the name of _Woy's Bay_, in which
there is from five to seven fathoms all round. Near the centre of the
sound is a small, dark-coloured, rocky island."

Sept. 2. In the afternoon, captain Edwards passed out to the northward,
with his little squadron, from amongst the Prince of Wales' Islands; and
the same evening, by steering westward, cleared all the islands and reefs
of Torres' Strait: on the 14th he reached Timor.

The track and discoveries of the Pandora, in Plate XIII. are taken from a
chart published in 1798, by Mr. Dalrymple, upon the authority of one
constructed by lieutenant Hayward; but it does not contain the track of
the boats after the loss of the Pandora. This chart, and the account
given by Mr. Hamilton, which, though more than sufficiently explicit upon
some points, is very defective in what concerns navigation and geography;
are all that appears to have been published of this voyage.


Neither the great extent of the reefs, to the eastward of Cape York, nor
the loss of the Pandora, were known in 1792; when captain WILLIAm BLIGH
came a second time to Torres' Strait, with His Majesty's ship
_Providence_, and the brig _Assistant_ commanded by lieutenant (now
captain) NATHANIEL PORTLOCK. The objects of his mission were, to
transport the bread-fruit plant from Taheity to the West Indies; and, in
his way, to explore a new passage through the Strait; in both of which he
was successful.

A chart of the discoveries made in Torres' Strait, was lodged, by captain
Bligh, in the Admiralty Office; and is incorporated with other
authorities, in Plate XIII. of the accompanying Atlas. No account of this
voyage having yet been published; it is conceived, that the following
brief relation of the passage through the strait, will be acceptable to
the nautical reader; and, having had the honour to serve in the
expedition, I am enabled to give it from my own journal, with the
sanction of captain Bligh.

Aug. 31. Latitude at noon 9° 25' south; longitude from fifteen sets of
distances of the sun west, and star east, of the moon, taken on the 24th,
25th, and 26th, preceding, 145° 22' and by time keepers, 145° 23' east.
No land seen since passing _Louisiade_ the preceding day; but many birds
and fish, and much rock weed. At dusk, having steered W. ¼ S. 27 miles,
breakers were seen ahead, at the distance of two miles; and the vessels
hauled to the wind: no bottom at 94 fathoms.

Sept. 1. They bore away W. by S.; but hauled up gradually to South, on
account of the breakers; and not being able to weather them, tacked to
the N. E. At noon, latitude 9° 37' south, longitude by time keepers, 144°
59' east:* part of the reef, which was named after captain Portlock, seen
in the N. N. W. from the mast head. At four o'clock, the vessels edged
away round the north end of _Portlock's Reef_, which, at dusk, bore
South, about two leagues; and the wind was then hauled for the night.

[* In Plate XIII. some small alterations are made in the longitudes given
by captain Bligh's time keepers, to make them correspond with the
corrected longitudes of the Investigator and Cumberland.]

Sept. 2. The breakers bore South, four or five miles; and captain Bligh
steered westward: the Assistant leading. At noon, the latitude being 9°
26', longitude, by time keepers, 144° 23', other breakers were seen
ahead, and the vessels hauled the wind to the southward; but finding
another reef in that direction, with a dry bank upon it, they tacked to
the N. E. at half past one; and got ground, for the first time, in 64
fathoms, coral bottom. During the following night, they stood off and on,
constantly getting soundings.

No breakers were in sight in the morning of Sept. 3. At seven, a boat was
sent ahead; and the vessels bore away after her to the N. W., in order to
try the New-Guinea side of the Strait. At noon, their course was
interrupted by a reef, which was named _Bonds Reef_, extending from W. N.
W. to North, and distant four or five miles: observed latitude 9° 6',
longitude 144° 13'. The north side of the Strait being judged
impracticable, the wind was again hauled to the southward; and, at dusk,
the vessels anchored in 37 fathoms, fine grey sand; five or six miles
north of a reef, upon which was a dry bank, called _Anchor Key_. An
island of considerable height, bearing S. W. by W. ten leagues, was then
seen from the mast head: Captain Bligh gave it the name of _Darnley's
Island_; and to the space between Portlock's and Bond's Reefs, by which
the vessels had entered the Strait, that of _Bligh's Entrance_.

Sept. 4. A boat was sent to the S. S. W., and the vessels followed. Other
high lands (_Murray's Isles_) were seen to the southward; and a reef with
a sand bank on it, to the west. At noon, the latitude was 9° 32' south,
and longitude 143° 59' east: Darnley's Island bore S. 74° to 82° W., four
leagues; and the largest of Murray's Isles, S. 13° to 21° E.: the western
reef was about three miles distant, but nothing was visible ahead in the
S. by W. At four o'clock, the vessels anchored in 21 fathoms, sandy
bottom; with Darnley's Island bearing N. 60° W., three leagues. Betwixt a
sand-bank, called _Canoe Key_, which bore S. 60° W., two leagues, and a
reef lying in the W. by S., there appeared to be a passage, which the
boats were sent to examine.

On the 5th, boats were again sent to sound the passage. Several large
sailing canoes were seen; and the cutter making the signal for
assistance, the pinnace was sent to her, well manned and armed. On the
return of the boats in the afternoon, it appeared, that, of four canoes
which used their efforts to get up to the cutter, one succeeded. There
were in it fifteen Indians, black, and quite naked; and they made signs
which were interpreted to be amicable. These signs the officer imitated;
but not thinking it prudent to go so near as to take a green cocoa-nut,
which was held up to him, he continued rowing for the ship. A man, who
was sitting upon the shed erected in the centre of the canoe, then said
something to those below; and immediately they began to string their
bows. Two of them had already fitted arrows, when the officer judged it
necessary to fire in his own defence. Six muskets were discharged; and
the Indians fell flat into the bottom of the canoe, all except the man on
the shed: the seventh musket was fired at him, and he fell also. During
this time, the canoe dropped astern; and the three others having joined
her, they all gave chase to the cutter, trying to cut her off from the
ship; in which they would probably have succeeded, had not the pinnace
arrived, at that juncture, to her assistance. The Indians then hoisted
their sails, and steered for Darnley's Island.

No boats could have been manoeuvred better, in working to windward, than
were these long canoes by the naked savages. Had the four been able to
reach the cutter, it is difficult to say, whether the superiority of our
arms would have been equal to the great difference of numbers;
considering the ferocity of these people, and the skill with which they
seemed to manage their weapons.

September 6. Two boats were sent ahead; and the vessels followed them,
between Canoe Key and the reef lying from it half a mile to the north.
After running twelve miles beyond this narrow pass, they anchored in 13
fathoms; the latitude being 9° 37', and longitude 143° 41'. In the
afternoon, they proceeded five miles further, to the N. N. W.; and
Darnley's Island then bore S. 74° to 55° E. two leagues: except on the
north side, this island appeared to be surrounded with reefs and sand
banks to a considerable distance. In sailing from Canoe Key, the vessels
had left, on the larbord hand, a long chain of reefs and banks; at the
north-west end of which, were three low, woody islands: the nearest of
these, bearing S. 41° W. two or three miles from the anchorage, was named
_Nepean Island_. The view to the northward, from W. by N. to E. by S.,
was free from dangers; but in every other direction there were reefs,
islands, or dry banks.

This day, several canoes from Darnley's Island came off to both vessels.
On approaching, the Indians clapped upon their heads, and exclaimed
_Whou! Whou! Whoo!_ repeatedly, with much vehemence; at the same time,
they held out arrows and other weapons, and asked for _toore-tooree_! by
which they meant iron.* After much difficulty, they were persuaded to
come along-side; and two men ventured into the ship. They had bushy
hair--were rather stout made--and nearly answered the description given
of the natives of New Guinea.** The cartilage, between the nostrils, was
cut away in both these people; and the lobes of their ears slit, and
stretched to a great length, as had before been observed in a native of
the _Fejee Islands_. They had no kind of clothing; but wore necklaces of
cowrie shells, fastened to a braid of fibres; and some of their
companions had pearl-oyster shells hung round their necks. In speaking to
each other, their words seemed to be distinctly pronounced.

[* The name for iron at Taheity, is _eure-euree_, or _ooree_, orj,
according to Bougainville, _aouri_.]

[** See _a Voyage to New Guinea_, by Captain Thomas Forrest.]

Their arms were bows, arrows, and clubs, which they bartered for every
kind of iron work with eagerness; but appeared to set little value on any
thing else. The bows are made of split bamboo; and so strong, that no man
in the ship could bend one of them. The string is a broad slip of cane,
fixed to one end of the bow; and fitted with a noose, to go over the
other end, when strung. The arrow is a cane of about four feet long, into
which a pointed piece of the hard, heavy, _casuarina_ wood, is firmly and
neatly fitted; and some of them were barbed. Their clubs are made of the
_casuarina_, and are powerful weapons. The hand part is indented, and has
a small knob, by which the firmness of the grasp is much assisted; and
the heavy end is usually carved with some device: One had the form of a
parrot's head, with a ruff round the neck; and was not ill done.

Their canoes are about fifty feet in length, and appear to have been
hollowed out of a single tree; but the pieces which form the gunwales,
are planks sewed on with the fibres of the cocoa nut, and secured with
pegs. These vessels are low, forward, but rise abaft; and, being narrow,
are fitted with an outrigger on each side, to keep them steady. A raft,
of greater breadth than the canoe, extends over about half the length;
and upon this is fixed a shed or hut, thatched with palm leaves. These
people, in short, appeared to be dextrous sailors and formidable
warriors; and to be as much at ease in the water, as in their canoes.

Sept. 7. The boats having found deep water round the north end of the
three low islands, the vessels followed them; but anchored again, soon
after noon, in latitude 9° 31', and longitude 143° 31'; being sheltered
by the two western islands, named _Stephens'_ and _Campbell's_, and the
reefs which surround them. There were then no less than eight islands in
sight, at different distances; though none further to the westward than
W. S. W. All these, except Darnley's Island, first seen, were small, low,
and sandy; but generally well covered with wood in the central parts.

On the 8th, the vessels steered westward, with the usual precautions. No
land, or other obstruction, had been seen in that quarter; but, at ten
o'clock, they were forced to haul the wind to the southward, their course
being impeded by reefs; upon one of which, was _Pearce's_ sandy _Key_. At
noon, they had anchored in 15 fathoms, under the lee of _Dalrymple's
Island_, the westernmost before seen; but two other islands were then
visible in the S. by W.; and reefs extended from N.4°, to S. 55° W., at
the distance of three or four miles. The latitude here was 9° 37'; and
longitude, from six sets of distances of the sun and moon, 143° 31'; but,
by the time-keepers, 143° 15' east.

Several canoes were lying upon the shore of Dalrymple's Island; but no
natives could he distinguished from the ships. When the boats returned,
however, from sounding, in the afternoon, they came out upon the beach;
waving green branches and clapping upon their heads, in token of
friendship. Boats were afterwards sent to them, and were amicably
received; the natives running into the water to meet them, and some
getting into one of the boats. They eagerly asked for _toore-tooree_; and
gave in exchange some ornaments of shells, and a kind of plum somewhat
resembling a _jambo_. When the boats pushed off from the shore, the
natives followed into the water, and appeared anxious to detain them; but
offered no violence. A moderately-sized dog, of a brown, chestnut colour,
was observed amongst the party.

Sept. 9. The vessels steered after the boats, between the cluster of
islands to the southward, and an extensive reef to the west; with
soundings from 15 to 10 fathoms. At noon, the latitude was 9° 48',
longitude by timekeepers 143° 6'; and two other islands came in sight to
the westward. Before two o'clock, an extensive reef, partly dry, to which
the name of _Dungeness_ was given, made it necessary to heave to, until
the boats had time to sound; after which, captain Bligh bore away along
the north side of the reef, and anchored a mile from it, in 17 fathoms,
hard bottom. In this situation, _Dungeness Island_, which is low and very
woody, bore N. 64° to 87° W. three miles; and a small sandy isle, named
_Warriours Island_, N. 6° to 1° W. four miles: this last appeared to
stand upon the great western reef, and was surrounded with dry sands.
Besides these, there were other low isles, called the _Six Sisters_, in
sight, to the south-east; and a long, flat island, bearing S. 33° to 46°
W. over the dry Dungeness Reef; in the west, also, there were islands
visible, at a greater distance, and much higher, than the others. The
Strait, instead of becoming clearer, seemed to be more and more
embarrassed with dangers, as the vessels proceeded westward. The latitude
of this anchorage was 9° 50½' south, and the longitude 142° 55' east.

Sept. 10. The boats sounded the channel to the north-west, between
Dungeness and Warriours Islands; and finding sufficient water, the
vessels got under way, at noon, to follow them. There were many natives
collected upon the shore of Dungeness Island, and several canoes from
Warriours Island were about the brig. Presently, captain Portlock made
the signal for assistance; and there was a discharge of musketry and some
guns, from his vessel and from the boats. Canoes were also coming towards
the Providence; and when a musket was fired at the headmost, the natives
set up a great shout, and paddled forward in a body; nor was musketry
sufficient to make them desist. The second great gun, loaded with round
and grape, was directed at the foremost of eight canoes, full of men; and
the round shot, after raking the whole length, struck the high stem. The
Indians leaped out, and swam towards their companions; plunging
constantly, to avoid the musket balls which showered thickly about them.
The squadron then made off, as fast as the people could paddle without
showing themselves; but afterwards rallied at a greater distance, until a
shot, which passed over their heads, made them disperse, and give up all
idea of any further attack.

In passing the deserted canoe, one native was observed still sitting in
it. The other canoes afterwards returned to him; and, with glasses,
signals were perceived to be made by the Indians, to their friends on
Dungeness Island, expressive, as was thought, of grief and consternation.

No arrows fell on board the Providence; but three men were wounded in the
Assistant, and one of them afterwards died: The depth to which the arrows
penetrated into the decks and sides of the brig, was represented to be
truly astonishing.

The vessels passed between Dungeness and Warriours Islands, with from 19
to 13 fathoms; and anchored, at four o'clock, under the lee of Dungeness
Island and Reef. The passage to the westward then appeared clearer; three
high islands, bearing from S. 60° W. three leagues, to N. 76° W. five
leagues, forming the sole visible obstructions.

Sept. 11. Captain Bligh proceeded on his course to the W. N. W., and
passed two islands, to which the descriptive names of _Turtle-backed
Island_ and the _Cap_ were given; and, soon after noon, the vessels
anchored in 7 fathoms, soft bottom. There was a dry sand bearing N. 63°
W. two or three miles; between which, and the third high island, called
_The Brothers_, bearing S. 55° to 69° W. three miles, it was judged
necessary for the boats to sound, before proceeding further. This
anchorage was in latitude 9° 43', and longitude 142° 40'; and, besides
the islands already mentioned, there was in sight a mountainous island,
to which the name of _Banks_ was given, bearing S. 43° W., twelve or
thirteen leagues; also _Burke's Island_, S. 13° W. eight or ten leagues;
and _Mount Cornwallis_, on another island, N. 29° W. six or eight
leagues; and from behind this last, to N. 7° W., there extended a level
land, which was supposed to be a part of the coast of NEW GUINEA.

Sept. 12. The vessels followed the boats to the westward; but were
interrupted by reefs, and obliged to anchor again before noon. The water
had shoaled gradually, and there was then only 6 fathoms: the bottom a
coarse, coral sand. Two other islands were then in sight: a low one,
named _Turn-again Island_, bore N. 53° W. about four leagues; and
_Jervis' Island_, which is rather high, S. 48° W. nine leagues. A reef,
with a dry sand upon it, extended from S. 7° E. to 62° W. four or five
miles; another was distant three miles to the west; and a third bore N.
18° W. five miles. The latitude of the anchorage was 9° 41' south, and
longitude 142° 24' east.

A fresh gale from south-east did not allow the Providence and Assistant
to proceed onward for three days. In the mean time, the passage between
the reefs to the N. W., was sounded by the boats; and found to contain
about 5 fathoms, regularly, upon hard ground. They were also sent to
examine the passage round the southern reefs; and this being deeper, with
a superior bottom, it was chosen as the preferable route.

Sept. 16. The vessels passed to windward of the southern reef; and
steered south-westward, as it trended, in from 7 to 5 fathoms water,
until half past noon; when they anchored in latitude 10° 3', and
longitude, by time-keeper, 142° 14'. The sole direction in which the eye
could range without being obstructed, was that whence the vessels had
come; every where else the view was arrested by rocks, banks, and
islands. The most extensive of these, was Banks' Island, extending from
S. 14° E. to 62° W., two or three leagues; with a high hill upon it named
_Mount Augustus_, which bore S. 4° E:* Another large island, named
_Mulgrave's_, extended from behind the last to a cluster of rocks, whose
extreme bore W. 5° N. The nearest land, bearing S. 24° E., one mile and a
half, was the north-westernmost of three small isles; and to this, the
second lieutenant was sent, for the purpose of taking possession of all
the islands seen in the Strait, for HIS BRITANNIC MAJESTY GEORGE III.,
with the ceremonies used on such occasions: the name bestowed upon the

[* This mountain, in latitude 10° 12' south, longitude 142° 13' east, was
seen by captain Bligh from the Bounty's launch, and marked in his chart,
(_Voyage, etc._ p. 220.) It appears to be the same island indistinctly
laid down by captain Cook, in latitude 10° 10', longitude 141° 14'; and
is, also, one of those, to which the term _Hoge Landt_ is applied in
Thevenot's chart of 1663.]

_North Possession Island_ was found to be little else than a mass of
rocks surrounded by a reef; but it was covered with a variety of trees
and shrubs. Amongst them was a cluster of cocoa-nut trees, bearing a
small, but delicious, fruit; and the tree bearing a plum, such as had
been seen at Dalrymple's Island. Besides these, the botanists found the
_peeha_ and _nono_ of Taheity; and two new plants, of the size of the
common mulberry. One, of the class _polyadelphia_, bears a scarlet,
bell-shaped flower, large as the China rose; the other was a species of
_erythrina_, bearing clusters of butterfly-shaped flowers, of a light
yellow, tinged with purple: both were entirely destitute of leaves, and
their woods remarkably brittle.

There did not appear to be any fixed inhabitants upon Possession Island;
but from a fire which had been recently extinguished, and the shells and
bones of turtle scattered around, it was supposed to have been visited
not many days before. The bushes were full of small, green ants; which
proved exceedingly troublesome to those who had sufficient hardihood to
penetrate their retreats. Another, and larger species of ant, was black;
and made its nest by bending and fixing together the leaves, in a round
form, so as to be impenetrable to the wet. These, and a small kind of
lizard, were all the animals found upon the island.

Sept. 17. The boats led to the westward, steering for a passage between
Mulgrave's and Jervis' Islands; but seeing it full of rocks and shoals,
the vessels anchored a little within the entrance, in 10 fathoms, coarse
ground; until the boats should sound ahead. The latitude here was 10° 2',
and longitude 142° 03'. The flood tide, from the E. N. E., was found to
set through between the islands, at the rate of four miles an hour; and
the breeze being fresh, and bottom bad, the situation was considered to
be very unsafe.

Whilst the boats were sounding, several Indians in three canoes, were
perceived making towards them; but on a swivel shot being fired over
their heads, they returned to Mulgrave's Island, on the south side of the
passage. On the signal being made for good anchorage further on, the
Assistant led to the W. by S.; but on reaching the boats, the bottom was
found much inferior to what had been imagined; the approach of night,
however, obliged captain Bligh to anchor, soon afterward, in 8 fathoms.

In this situation, the vessels were so closely surrounded with rocks and
reefs, as scarcely to have swinging room; the bottom was rocky; the wind
blowing a fresh gale; and a tide running between four and five knots an
hour. This anxious night was, however, passed without accident; and next
morning, Sept. 18, the route was continued through the passage, between
reefs and rocks, which, in some places, were not three quarters of a mile
asunder: the smallest depth was 4 fathoms.

On clearing this dangerous pass, which captain Bligh named, _Bligh's
Farewell_, he anchored in 6 fathoms, sandy bottom; the wind blowing
strong at S. E. with thick weather. The latitude here was 10° 5', and
longitude 141° 56'. From north nearly, round by the east, to S. 8° E.,
there was a mass of islands, rocks, and reefs, at various distances; but
in the western half of the compass, no danger was visible; and as far as
three miles to the W. N. W., the boats found good soundings in 6 and 7

Sept. 19. The wind moderated; and the vessels steered W. by S. until
noon, with a depth gradually increasing from 6 to 8 fathoms. The latitude
was then 10° 8½' south longitude, by time keeper, 141° 31' east, and no
land was in sight; nor did any thing more obstruct captain Bligh and his
associate, in their route to the island _Timor_.

Thus was accomplished, in nineteen days, the passage from the Pacific, or
Great Ocean, to the Indian Sea; without other misfortune than what arose
from the attack of the natives, and some damage done to the cables and
anchors. Perhaps no space of 3½° in length, presents more dangers than
Torres' Strait; but, with caution and perseverance, the captains Bligh
and Portlock proved them to be surmountable; and within a reasonable
time: how far it may be advisable to follow their track through the
Strait, will appear more fully hereafter.

In the _Voyage to the South Seas in H. M. ship Bounty_, page 220, captain
Bligh says, "I cannot with certainty reconcile the situation of some
parts of the coast (near Cape York) that I have seen, to his (captain
Cook's) survey;" and from the situation of the high islands on the west
side of the Strait, which had been seen from the Bounty's launch, and
were now subjected to the correction of the Providence's time-keepers; he
was confirmed in the opinion, that some material differences existed in
the positions of the lands near Cape York.

BAMPTON and ALT. 1793.

The last passage known to have been made through Torres' Strait,
previously to the sailing of the Investigator, was by Messieurs WILLIAM
BAMPTON and MATTHEW B. ALT, commanders of the ships _Hormuzeer_ and
_Chesterfield_. Their discoveries were made public, in two charts, by Mr.
Dalrymple, in 1798 and 1799; and from them, and captain Bampton's
manuscript journal, the south coast of New Guinea, and most of the reefs
and islands near it, are laid down in Plate XIII.; after having been
adjusted to the observations of captain Bligh, and to those subsequently
made by me in the Investigator and Cumberland. The journal was obtained
through the kindness of Mr. Arrowsmith; and, though no courses and
distances be given, and the differences from the charts be sometimes
considerable, it is yet so interesting in many points, that I have judged
the following abridgement would be acceptable, as well to the general, as
to the nautical, reader.

The Hormuzeer and Chesterfield sailed together from Norfolk Island; with
the intention of passing through Torres' Strait, by a route which the
commanders did not know to have been before attempted. June 20, 1793, in
the evening, being in latitude 10° 24' south, and longitude 144° 14' east
(by captain Bampton's chart), a dry reef was seen extending from W. ½ S.
to N. W. by W., distant four or five miles, and breakers from the mast
head at N. by E. ½ E. An island (Murray's), which appeared to be large
and woody, was also seen, and bore N. W. ½ W. The ships got ground in 60
fathoms, and hauled the wind to the eastward, till midnight; when, having
no bottom at 70 fathoms, they lay to, till morning.

June 21. The Hormuzeer's long boat was sent ahead; and, at ten o'clock,
the ships bore away northward. At noon, the latitude was 9° 30'. The
course was altered, at three, to the north-west; and at dusk, they hove
to, for the night: soundings from 70 to 56 fathoms. The same course being
resumed on the 22nd, the latitude, at noon, was 8° 48'; and the depth 30
fathoms, on a bottom of sand, mud, and shells. From noon to five p.m.,
when they anchored, the ships appear to have steered W. by S. The land
had been seen at one o'clock; and at two, the water had shoaled suddenly,
from 30 to 10 fathoms, and afterwards diminished to 5, which continued to
the place of anchorage. The land was part of the coast of NEW GUINEA; and
the extremes were set at W. by N. ½ N. and N. W. ½ N., six or seven
leagues, (in the chart, miles.) The flood tide here, set two miles per
hour, towards the land; and the rise, by the lead line, was nine feet.

June 23. The ships got under way with the weather, or ebb, tide, a little
before noon: latitude 8° 52'. At four o'clock, the wind blew strong at
south-east, with thick weather, and they anchored in 9 fathoms, blue mud;
having made a course of E. N. E. nearly parallel to the coast. They
remained here till the next afternoon; when the Hormuzeer having parted
her cable, both ships stood to the north-eastward, along the land, until
midnight; at which time they wore to the south-west, in 30 fathoms. At
daylight of the 25th, the depth had decreased to 16 fathoms; and they
stretched north-eastward again, with little variation in the soundings.
The latitude, at noon, was 8° 10'; and the ships continued their course
upon a wind, keeping as much to the east as possible; and the soundings
having increased to 30 fathoms, at dusk, they hove to; but stretched off,
at midnight, on coming into 10 fathoms. In the morning of June 26, they
were standing to the eastward; but the wind becoming light at nine
o'clock, Mr. Bampton anchored in 9 fathoms, on a muddy bottom, in
latitude 7° 55' south. The coast of New Guinea was then seen to extend
from N. N. W. ½ W. to E. N. E.; and the south end of a reef, running off
from the western extreme, bore W. by S. ½ S., two leagues.

The land here forms a large, unsheltered bay; and an opening nearly at
the head, bearing N. ½ E., appeared like the entrance of a considerable
river; but an officer, who was sent in a boat to sound, saw breakers
stretching across. The soundings were regular, from 9 to 6 fathoms,
within a mile or two of the shore; when there was only twelve feet; and
the surf which rolled in, made it impossible to land. The country round
the bay is described as level and open, and of an agreeable aspect.

On the return of the boat the ships weighed, and stretched southward
until June 27, at noon. The latitude was then 9° 1'; and a sand bank was
seen from the mast head, bearing S. W. ½ W. They then wore to the
north-eastward; and continued upon that course until the 28th, at dusk;
when the land of New Guinea being in sight as far as E. by N., the same,
apparently, which had been set from the anchorage on the 26th, they
stretched off till two in the morning and then in again, towards the

Captain Bampton had followed the coast of New Guinea thus far, in the
hope of finding a passage to the northward, between it and Louisiade; but
the trending of the land so far to the east, and the difficulty of
weathering it, from the current being adverse, obliged him to give up
that hope. A consultation was then held; and a determination made to
attempt the passage through the middle of Torres' Strait.

At the time the ships hauled their wind to the southward, the latitude
was 8° 3'; the longitude, from three distances of the sun and moon, 145°
23'; and the depth of water 40 fathoms, on a muddy bottom. They had no
soundings from that time to July 1, at one a.m.; when there was 35
fathoms. At daylight, land, which was the _Darnley's Island_ of captain
Bligh, bore S. W. by S. seven or eight leagues; a dry sand was seen in
the W. N. W., (probably W. S. W.); and a reef, which appears to have been
that of Anchor Key, was six or seven miles distant in the S. E. At four
in the afternoon, when Darnley's Island bore W. by N. ½ N. five leagues,
and Murray's Island S. E. ½ E. (probably S. S. E. ½ E.) the ships
anchored in 22 fathoms, marly bottom; and the boats were sent towards the
first Island to sound, and see if it were inhabited. The latitude
observed at this anchorage, was 9° 40' south, and longitude from three
distances of the sun and moon 142° 58' 30" east.

July 2. The boats returned. Between the ships and the island, they had
passed over five different reefs, separated by narrow channels of 11 to
14 fathoms deep. The natives of the island came down in considerable
numbers; and exchanged some bows and arrows, for knives and other
articles. They were stout men; and somewhat above the common size of
Europeans. Except in colour, which was not of so deep a cast, they bore
much resemblance to the natives of Port Jackson; and had scars raised
upon their bodies in the same manner. The men were entirely naked; but
the women, who kept at a distance and appeared small in size, wore an
apron of leaves, reaching down, to the knee. Many cocoa-nut trees were
seen in the lower parts of the island.

When the boats returned, they were followed by four canoes. One of them
went along-side of the Chesterfield; and an Indian ventured on board, on
a sailor going into the canoe, as a hostage for him. Most of these people
had their ears perforated. The hair was generally cut short; but some few
had it flowing loose. It is naturally black; but from being rubbed with
something, it had a reddish, or burnt appearance. These Indians, so far
as they could he understood, represented their island to abound in
refreshments; and it was, therefore, determined to send another boat to
make further examination.

July 3. Mr. Shaw, chief mate of the Chesterfield, Mr. Carter, and captain
Hill of the New-South-Wales corps, who was a passenger, went away armed,
with five seamen in a whale boat; and were expected to return on the
following day; but the 4th, 5th, and 6th, passed, without any tidings of
them; although many signal guns had been fired.

On the 7th, two boats, manned and armed, under the command of Mr. Dell,
chief mate of the Hormuzeer, were sent in search of the whale boat. On
reaching the island, Mr. Dell heard conch shells sounding in different
parts; and saw eighty or ninety armed natives upon the shore. To the
inquiries, by signs, after the missing boat, they answered that she was
gone to the westward; but none of them would venture near; nor did they
pay attention to a white handkerchief which was held up, and had before
been considered a signal of peace.

As the boats proceeded in their search, round the island, the natives
followed along the shore, with increasing numbers. One man, who was
rubbed with something blue, and appeared to be a chief, had a small axe
in his hand; which was known, from the red helve, to have belonged to Mr.
Shaw. On reaching the bay in the north-west side of the island, Mr. Dell
remarked that the natives disappeared; all except about thirty, who were
very anxious in persuading him to land. They brought down women; and made
signs, that the boat and people whom he sought, were a little way up in
the island. He, however, rowed onward; when the beach was immediately
crowded with people, who had been lying in ambush, expecting him to land.

After having gone entirely round the island, and seen nothing of the
object of his research, Mr. Dell returned to the first cove; where a
great concourse of natives, armed with bows, arrows, clubs, and lances,
were assembled at the outskirt of the wood. By offering knives and other
things, a few were induced to approach the boat; and the coxswain seized
one of them by the hair and neck, with the intention of his being taken
off to the ships, to give an account of the missing boat and people. A
shower of arrows instantly came out of the wood; and a firing was
commenced, which killed one Indian, and wounded some others. In the mean
time, the coxswain found it impossible to keep the man, from his hair and
body being greased; and the boat's crew was too much occupied to assist

July 8. The two commanders having heard the report of Mr. Dell, proceeded
with the ships, round the northern reefs and sand banks, to the bay on
the north-west side of Darnley's Island, which was named _Treacherous
Bay_. On the 9th, in the afternoon, they anchored with springs on the
cables, in 13 fathoms, sand, mud, and shells; the extremes of the island
bearing E. ½ N. to S. W. by S., and the nearest part distant a quarter of
a mile. A boat was sent on shore; and returned, at sunset, with a few
cocoa nuts; but without having seen any of the inhabitants.

July 10. An armed party of forty-four men landed from the ships, under
the command of Mr. Dell. After hoisting the union jack, and taking
possession of this, and the neighbouring islands and coast of New Guinea,
in the name of His Majesty, they examined the huts, and found the great
coats of captain Hill, Mr. Carter, and Mr. Shaw; with several other
things which had belonged to them, and to the boats' crew; so that no
doubt was entertained of their having been murdered. In the evening, the
party arrived from making the tour of the island; having burnt and
destroyed one-hundred-and-thirty-five huts; sixteen canoes, measuring
from fifty to seventy feet in length; and various plantations of sugar
cane. The natives appeared to have retired to the hills in the centre of
the island; as not one of them could be discovered.

Darnley's Island was judged to be about fifteen miles in circumference.
It is variegated with hills and plains; and the richness of the
vegetation bespoke it to be very fertile; it appeared, however, to be
scantily supplied with fresh water, there being only one small place
where it was found near the shore. The plantations of the natives, which
were extensive and numerous in the plains, contained yams, sweet
potatoes, plantains, and sugar canes, inclosed within neat fences of
bamboo; and cocoa-nut trees were very abundant particularly near the
habitations. The hills, which mostly occupy the middle of the island,
were covered with trees and bushes of a luxuriant growth; and upon
different parts of the shores, the mangrove was produced in great plenty.

The habitations of the Indians were generally placed at the heads of the
small coves; and formed into villages of ten or twelve huts each,
inclosed within a bamboo fence of, at least, twelve feet high. The hut
much resembles a haycock, with a pole driven through it; and may contain
a family of six or eight people. The covering is of long grass, and cocoa
leaves. The entrance is small; and so low, that the inhabitants must
creep in and out; but the inside was was clean and neat; and the pole
that supports the roof, was painted red, apparently with ochre.

In each of the huts, and usually on the right hand side going in, were
suspended two or three human skulls; and several strings of hands, five
or six on a string. These were hung round a wooden image, rudely carved
into the representation of a man, or of some bird; and painted and
decorated in a curious manner: the feathers of the Emu or Cassuary
generally formed one of the ornaments. In one hut, containing much the
greater number of skulls, a kind of gum was found burning before one of
these images. This hut was adjoining to another, of a different form, and
much more capacious than any of the others. The length was thirty feet,
by fifteen in breadth; and the floor was raised six feet from the ground.
The hut was very neatly built of bamboo, supported by long stakes, and
thatched with cocoa leaves and dried grass. It was judged to be the
residence of the chief of the island; and was the sole hut in which there
were no skulls or hands; but the adjoining one had more than a double

The corpse of a man, who had been shot, was found disposed of in the
following manner. Six stakes were driven into the ground; about three
feet from each other, and six feet high. A platform of twigs was worked
upon them, at the height of five feet; and upon this, the body was laid,
without covering; but the putrid state of the corpse, did not allow of a
close inspection.

Upon the reefs which surround the island, square places, of about fifty
feet every way, were formed, by piling up stones of two or three feet
high. The tide flows over these; and, on the ebb, the Indians go down and
take out the fish. On all parts of the reefs, there were bamboos set up,
with pendants of dried leaves; but whether they were intended as beacons
for the canoes, or to point out the boundaries of each fishery, could not
be ascertained.

The description of the canoes is nearly the same as that given in the
voyage of Bligh and Portlock; but Mr. Bampton says, "some of them were
ingeniously carved and painted, and had curious figures at each end." The
weapons of these people are bows, arrows, clubs of about four feet long,
and spears and lances of various kinds, made of black., hard, wood. Some
of the lances were jagged, from the sharp point to a foot upward; and
most of them were neatly carved.

The sole quadrupeds seen, were rats, mice, and lizards; which, when the
huts were set on fire, ran from them in great numbers. Land birds were
numerous in all parts of the island; and upon the reefs were many
curlews, large yellow-spotted plover, king's fishers, sand pipers, red
bills, and gulls.

Captain Bampton lays down Darnley's Island, which the natives call
WAMVAX, in latitude 9° 39' 30" south, and longitude 142° 59' 15" east;
but in his chart, the centre is placed in 9° 34' south., and 143° 1'
east. He much regretted that he could not land again, to examine the
interior parts of this fine island; but his long boat having drifted out
of sight, without water, provisions, or compass, it was judged necessary
for the ships to weigh, and look after her.

July 11. The Hormuzeer stood to the northward, with soundings of 15 to 19
fathoms. After three hours run, with a fresh breeze, a reef and sand bank
were seen ahead, and the ship was veered to the south-west. Another reef
and bank were descried, soon afterward, in the west; and, at the same
time, a signal for seeing the long boat was made by the Chesterfield. In
the afternoon, the boat was picked up, and both ships anchored under
Stephens' Island.

An armed party was immediately sent on shore, to obtain intelligence if
possible, of the lost whale boat. The natives were assembled in hostile
array, upon the hills, sounding their conchs; but, after lancing a few
arrows, they fled. Several were wounded by the shots fired in return; but
they succeeded in escaping to a canoe at the back of the island, and
getting off; all except one boy, who was taken unhurt.* In the huts,
which were burnt, several things were found; and amongst them, a sheet of
copper which belonged to the Chesterfield.

[* It does not appear in the journal, when, or where this boy was set on
shore; nor is any further mention made of him.]

July 12. Stephens' Island was traversed all over; and a spike nail, with
the king's broad arrow upon it, was brought on board, and excited many
conjectures as to whence it came.* The plantations, huts, images, skulls,
and hands, were found similar to those of Darnley's Island. Amongst the
trees, there was one resembling an almond, the nuts of which were good.
The cocoa nut grows abundantly; especially in the south-eastern part,
where the trees formed a continued grove. The sole quadruped seen, except
rats, was a pretty animal of the opossum tribe. It was found in a cage;
and had probably been brought, either from New Guinea, or New South

[* It had probably been obtained from the crews of either the Providence
or Assistant; which had anchored under Stephens' Island, nine months

[** Mr. Bampton's description of this animal is briefly as follows. Size
and shape, of the opossum. Colour, yellowish white with brown spots. End
of the tail, deep red: prehensile. Eyes, reddish brown: red when
irritated. No visible ears. Used its paws in feeding: five nails to each.
Habit, dull and slothful: not savage. Food, maize, boiled rice, meat,
leaves, or any thing offered. Odour, very strong at times, and

July 13. A boat was sent to Campbell's Island; but it did not contain
either plantations, cocoa-nut trees, or fixed inhabitants. This, as also
Stephens' and Nepean's Islands, are mostly low and sandy; and surrounded
with extensive reefs, upon which, it was thought, the Indians pass from
one island to the other, at low water.

In the afternoon, the ships proceeded to the westward; but meeting with
many reefs, they hauled more to the north, and discovered _Bristow
Island_, lying close to the coast of New Guinea. Their attempts to find a
passage here, were fruitless; and after incurring much danger, and the
Chesterfield getting aground, they returned to their former anchorage, in
the evening of July 21. The banks, reefs, and lands, seen during these
eight days, will be found marked in Plate XIII.

Two canoes immediately came off from Stephens' Island; and one of the
natives remained on board the Hormuzeer till eight o'clock. He seemed to
be without fear; and when inquiry was made after the lost boat and
people, he pointed to a whale boat, and made signs that such an one had
been at Darnley's Island; and that six of the people were killed.* Many
presents were made to this man; and he was clothed, and sent on shore in
one of the boats.

[* Captain Hill and four of the seamen were murdered by the natives.
Messieurs Shaw and Carter were severely wounded; but with Ascott, the
remaining seaman, they got into the boat, cut the grapnel rope, and
escaped. They were without provisions or compass; and it being impossible
to reach the ships, which lay five leagues to windward, they bore away to
the west, through the Strait; in the hope of reaching Timor. On the tenth
day, they made land; which proved to be _Timor-laoet_. They there
obtained some relief to their great distress; and went on to an island
called by the natives, _Sarrett_; where Mr. Carter died: Messieurs Shaw
and Ascott sailed in a prow, for Banda, in the April following. See
Collins' _Account of the English Colony in New South Wales_. Vol. I. page
464, 465.]

July 22. The ships' crews beginning to feel the want of fresh water,
people were sent on shore to dig a well; and the natives, though they
still appeared shy and suspicious, gave them some assistance. On the
24th, the boats had discovered a passage to the south-westward; and as
the well produced little water, and no provision could be obtained, it
was determined to proceed onward, through the Strait, without further

They weighed the same afternoon; and anchored, at dusk, in 14 fathoms;
Campbell's Island bearing N. E. by E. to E. by N. ¾ N.; and many other
small isles being in sight to the south-west and southward. Next day, the
25th, they steered S. by W. ½ W., from seven in the morning to six in the
evening; when they anchored in 17 fathoms, having islands in sight nearly
all round: the nearest at the distance of five or six miles. These
islands were small; but inhabitants were seen on the greater number; and
two canoes went off to the Chesterfield.

July 26. The ships proceeded westward, very slowly; the wind being at
south-west. In the morning of the 27th, they were at anchor in 11
fathoms; Dungeness Island bearing W. by N. to N. W. by W. ½ W., about six
miles; and Warriors Island N. N. W. ½ W. eight miles. Mr. Dell had passed
the preceding night upon one of the Six Sisters, which was called _Dove
Island_, bearing from the ship, S. S. E. six miles. A fire on the beach,
with two fish broiling upon it, bespoke the presence of inhabitants; but
on searching the island over, none could be discovered: it was thought
that they had fled to a larger island, it being connected with this by a
reef, which dries at low water. Mr. Dell had a seine with him, and caught
a dozen fine fish; but the object of remaining all night, that of taking
turtle, did not succeed; although large shells of them were found upon
the shore.

Dove Island is about one mile and a half in circumference; and covered
with trees and shrubs, the fragrance of whose flowers perfumed the air.
Amongst other birds, two beautiful doves were shot. The plumage of the
body was green; the head, bill, and legs, red; the tail, and under sides
of the wings, yellow. No huts, plantations, or other signs of fixed
inhabitants were seen; nor was there any fresh water.

On the return of the boat, the vessels weighed; and the wind being at W.
S. W., they worked through. between Dungeness and Warriors Islands, with
the flood tide. They then anchored in 11 fathoms; the first Island
bearing S. S. E. to S ½ W. three leagues, and the second E. by S. ½ S.

July 28. Having a fresh breeze at E. S. E., the long boat was sent ahead,
and the ships followed, to the westward. They passed Turtle-backed
Island, the Cap, and the Brothers, on one side, and Nichols' Key on the
other: the soundings gradually shoaling from 12 to 7 fathoms. Upon the
Cap, Mr. Bampton "saw a volcano burning with great violence," which
induced him to give it the name of _Fire Island_; not knowing that it had
before been named. At noon, the Brothers, with the Cap and Turtle-backed
Island behind, bore S. E. by S. to S. ½ E. four miles; and Mount
Cornwallis N. 16° W.

The water continued to shoal; and at three p.m., the ships anchored in 5
fathoms, sand, shells, and stones; the Brothers bearing E. by S. ¼ S.
five leagues, and Mount Cornwallis N. by E. ¼ E. There were two large
islands in sight in the S. S. W. ¼ W. to S. W. ¼ S., at the distance of
eight or ten leagues; and many nearer reefs in the same direction.

July 29. The long boat was sent to sound in the north-west; and when the
ebb tide slacked, the ships followed: wind at E. S. E. The soundings
increased from 5 to 7 fathoms; and afterwards varied between these
depths, until noon; when the latitude observed was 9° 42' south.* The
Brothers then bore S. 64° E.; Mount Cornwallis N. 38° E; and a long, low
island (Turn-again., of Bligh,) N. 35° to 58° W. At three p.m. the reefs
were so numerous, that the ships were obliged to anchor, until the boats
could sound for a passage: the depth here was 4½ fathoms, on a bottom of
rotten stones and coral.

[* This latitude is from 4' to 6' more _south_ than captain Bligh's
positions; and the same difference occurs in all the observations, where
a comparison can be made.]

July 31. They weighed, and hauled the wind eastward, to pass round
Turn-again Island; bearing away occasionally to avoid small reefs: the
soundings 5½ to 4 fathoms. After passing round, they anchored in 5
fathoms; until the boats should sound between the reefs which appeared on
every side: Turn-again Island then bore S. 56° to 83° W. about two
leagues, Mount Cornwallis N. 56° E., the Brothers S. 50° E.; the latitude
observed was 9° 32', and longitude from four sights of the sun and moon,
140° 58' east. Next afternoon, in proceeding to the north-westward, the
Chesterfield struck upon a bank in eight feet water; but the coral giving
way to the ship, she went over without injury. In the evening, they both
anchored in 4½ fathoms, gravel and shells; Mount Cornwallis bearing E. ¼
S., and a long tract of land from N. W. by N. to N. E., at the distance
of five or six leagues. Turn-again Island bore S. S. E. ¾ E. to S. ½ W.,
four miles; and thither the ships ran on Aug. 3, and anchored in 3¾
fathoms, fine sand, within a quarter of a mile of the shore; the extremes
bearing S. 58° E. to 60° W. The purpose for which they came to this
island, was to procure wood, water, and refreshments; during the time
necessary for the boats to explore a passage through the innumerable
reefs and banks, which occupy this part of the Strait.

Messieurs Bampton and Alt remained here seventeen days; being afraid to
move with the strong south-east winds which blew during the greater part
of the time. Turn-again Island is flat, low, and swampy; and about three
miles in length, by half that space in breadth. (Mr. Bampton's chart
makes it the double of these dimensions; and, generally, the islands in
it exceed the description of the journal in about the same proportion:
the journal seems to be the preferable authority.) The reefs which
surround Turn-again Island, extend a great distance to the east and west;
particularly in the latter direction, where there are many dry sand
banks. The island is mostly over-run with mangroves; and at the top of
the flood, the wood cutters were obliged to work in the water; and were,
at all times, exceedingly annoyed with musketoes. The island is said, in
the journal, to be in 9° 34; south and 140° 55' east; which is 3' to the
south and 1° 24' west of its situation in the chart of captain Bligh.

No other refreshment than small quantities of fish, crabs, and
shell-fish, being procurable here, the ships crews were further reduced
in their short allowance. With respect to fresh water, their situation
was still worse: None could be obtained upon Turn-again Island; and had
not captain Bampton ingeniously contrived a _still_, their state would
have been truly deplorable. He caused a cover, with a hole in the centre,
to be fitted by the carpenter upon a large cooking pot; and over the hole
he funded an inverted tea kettle, with the spout cut off. To the stump of
the spout, was fitted a part of the tube of a speaking trumpet; and this
was lengthened by a gun barrel, which passed through a cask of salt
water, serving as a cooler. From this machine, good fresh water, to the
amount of twenty-five to forty gallons per day, was procured; and
obtained a preference to that contained in the few casks remaining in the

By Aug. 20., when the weather had become more moderate, the boats had
sounded amongst the reefs in all directions; but there appeared to be no
practicable passage out of this labyrinth, except to the north-west. In
that direction the ships proceeded three hours, in from 6 to 3 fathoms.
Next afternoon, they steered westward, with the flood tide; and again
anchored in 3 fathoms, sand and gravel. The coast of New Guinea then
extended from N. by E. ¼ E. to N. W. ¾ N.; and the north-west end of a
long island, to which the name of _Talbot_ was given, bore N. by E. ½ E.
nine or ten miles.

Aug. 22, At day-light they followed the long boat to the westward., in
soundings from 2½ to 4 fathoms. At seven o'clock, the Hormuzeer grounded
in 2 fathoms; upon a bank whence Talbot's Island bore N. N. E. to E. N.
E., eight or ten miles, and where the observed latitude was 9° 27' south.
She remained upon this bank until the morning of the 24th; when Mr.
Bampton got into a channel of 13 fathoms, which had been found by the
boats, and the ship did not appear to have received other damage, than
the loss of the false keel. The _still_ continued to be kept at work, day
and night.

Aug. 27. Messieurs Bampton and Alt proceeded onward in a track which had
been sounded by the boats. At sunset, they came to, in 4 fathoms; the
extremes of New Guinea then bearing N. W. by W. to N. E. by E., three or
four leagues. Some further progress was made next morning; and at noon,
when at anchor in 3¾ fathoms, and in latitude 9° 26½', an island was
discovered bearing S. W. ¾ S. five or six leagues; which received,
eventually, the name of DELIVERANCE ISLAND.

Aug. 29. The Hormuzeer grounded at low water; from which it appeared that
the tide had fallen twelve feet, though then at the neaps. When the ship
floated, they made sail to the westward; and deepened the water to 9 and
12 fathoms. At noon, it had again shoaled to 6; Deliverance Island
bearing S. S. W. ½ W. nine or ten miles, and New Guinea N. W. to N. by E.
½ E. four or five leagues: latitude observed 9° 25' south. After
proceeding a little further westward, they anchored in 5 fathoms.

Aug. 30. The soundings varied as before, between 4 and 10 fathoms: the
bottom, rotten coral intermixed with sand. At noon, when the latitude was
9° 21', Deliverance Island was just in sight from the deck, in the S. E.
by S.; and the extremes of New Guinea bore N. E. by E. to N. W. ½ W., ten
or twelve miles.* In the afternoon, the depth again decreased to 4
fathoms, and obliged them to anchor until morning. On the 31st, the ships
appear to have steered south-westward, leaving on the starbord hand a
very extensive bank, on which the long boat had 2 fathoms water: the
soundings from the Hormuzeer were from 3 to 7 fathoms. At noon, the
latitude was 9° 27', and no land in sight. The soundings then increased
gradually; and at sunset, no bottom could be found at 40 fathoms. A swell
coming from S. S. W. announced an open sea in that direction; and that
the dangers of Torres' Strait were, at length, surmounted.

[* Mr. Bampton's chart and journal are more at variance here than in the
preceding parts of the Strait, and I have found it very difficult to
adjust them; but have attempted it in Plate XIII.]

This passage of the Hormuzeer and Chesterfield in _seventy-two_ days,
with that made in _nineteen_, by the captains Bligh and Portlock,
displayed the extraordinary dangers of the Strait; and appear to have
deterred all other commanders from following them, up to the time of the
Investigator. Their accounts confirm the truth of Torres having passed
through it, by showing the correctness of the sketch contained in his
letter to the King of Spain.


The sole remaining information, relative to the North Coast of Terra
Australis, was contained in a note, transcribed by Mr. Dalrymple, from a
work of burgomaster WITSEN upon the _Migration of Mankind_. The place of
which the burgomaster speaks, is evidently on the coast of Carpentaria,
near the head of the Gulph; but it is called _New Guinea; and he wrote in
1705_. The note is as follows; but upon whose authority it was given,
does not appear:

"In 16° 10' south, longitude 159° 17'" (east of Teneriffe, or between
142° and 143° east of Greenwich,) "the people swam on board of a Dutch
ship; and when they received a present of a piece of linen, they laid it
upon their head in token of gratitude: Every where thereabout, all the
people are malicious. They use arrows, and bows of such a length, that
one end rests on the ground when shooting. They have also _hazeygaeys_
and _kalawaeys_, and attacked the Dutch; but did not know the execution
of the guns." On summing up the whole of the knowledge which had been
acquired of the North Coast, it will appear, that natural history,
geography, and navigation had still much to learn of this part of the
world; and more particularly, that they required the accomplishment of
the following objects:

1st. _A general survey of TORRES' STRAIT_. The navigation from the
Pacific, or Great Ocean to all parts of India, and to the Cape of Good
Hope, would be greatly facilitated, if a passage through the Strait,
moderately free from danger, could be discovered; since _five or six
weeks_ of the usual route, by the north of New Guinea or the more eastern
islands, would thereby be saved. Notwithstanding the great obstacles
which navigators had encountered in some parts of the Strait, there was
still room to hope, that an examination of the whole, made with care and
perseverance, would bring such a passage to light. A survey of it was,
therefore, an object much to be desired; not only for the merchants and
seamen trading to these parts, but also from the benefits which would
certainly accrue therefrom to general navigation and geography.

2nd. _An examination of the shores of the GULPH OF CARPENTARIA_. The real
form of this gulph remained in as great doubt with geographers, as were
the manner how, and time when it acquired its name.* The east side of the
Gulph had been explored to the latitude of 17°, and many rivers were
there marked and named; but how far the representation given of it by the
Dutch was faithful--what were the productions, and what its
inhabitants--were, in a great measure, uncertain. Or rather it was
certain, that those early navigators did not possess the means of fixing
the positions and forms of lands, with any thing like the accuracy of
modern science; and that they could have known very little of the
productions, or inhabitants. Of the rest of the Gulph no one could say,
with any confidence, upon what authority its form had been given in the
charts; so that conjecture, being at liberty to appropriate the Gulph of
Carpentaria to itself, had made it the entrance to a vast arm of the sea,
dividing Terra Australis into two, or more, islands.

[* I am aware that the president de Brossed says, "This same year also
(1628) CARPENTARIA was thus named by P. Carpenter, who discovered it when
general in the service of the Dutch Company. He returned from India to
Europe, in the month of June 1628, with five ships richly laden." (_Hist.
des Nav. aux Terres Aust_. Tome I. 433). But the president here seems to
give either his own, or the Abbé' Prevost's conjectures, for matters of
fact. We have seen, that the coast called Carpentaria was discovered long
before 1628; and it is, besides, little probable, that Carpenter should
have been making discoveries with five ships richly laden and homeward
bound. This name of Carpentaria does not once appear in Tasman's
Instructions, dated in 1644; but is found in Thevenot's chart of 1663.]

3rd. _A more exact investigation of the bays, shoals, islands, and coasts
of ARNHEM'S, and the northern VAN DIEMEN'S, LANDS_. The information upon
these was attended with uncertainty; first, because the state of
navigation was very low at the time of their discovery; and second, from
want of the details and authorities upon which they had been laid down.
The old charts contained large islands lying off the coast, under the
names of _T' Hoog Landt_ or _Wessel's Eylandt_, and _Crocodils Eylanden_;
but of which little more was known than that, if they existed, they must
lie to the eastward of 135° from Greenwich. Of the R. Spult, and other
large streams represented to intersect the coast, the existence even was
doubtful. That the coast was dangerous, and shores sandy, seemed to be
confirmed by Mr McCluer's chart; and that they were peopled by "divers
cruel, poor, and brutal nations," was certainly not improbable, but it
rested upon very suspicious authority. The Instructions to Tasman. said,
in 1644, "Nova Guinea has been found to be inhabited by cruel, wild,
savages; and as _it is uncertain what sort of people the inhabitants of
the South Lands are_, it may be presumed that they are also wild and
barbarous savages, rather than a civilized people." This uncertainty,
with respect to the natives of Arnhem's and the northern Van Diemen's
Lands, remained, in a great degree, at the end of the eighteenth century.

Thus, whatever could bear the name of _exact_, whether in natural
history, geography, or navigation, was yet to be learned of a country
possessing five hundred leagues of sea-coast; and placed in a climate and
neighbourhood, where the richest productions of both the vegetable and
mineral kingdoms were known to exist. A voyage which should have had no
other view, than the survey of Torres' Strait and the thorough
investigation of the North Coast of Terra Australis, could not have been
accused of wanting an object worthy of national consideration.




Preliminary Observations.
Discoveries of Hartog:
of the Ship Leeuwin:
the Vianen:
of Pelsert:
Conclusive Remarks.


Under the term WESTERN COASTS, is comprehended the space from the western
extremity of the northern _Van Diemen's Land_ to the _North-west Cape_ of
New Holland; and from thence, southward to _Cape Leeuwin_. The first is
usually termed the North-west, and the second the West Coast: Taken
together, they present an extent of shore of between seven and eight
hundred leagues in length; lying in the fine climates comprised between
the 11th and 35th degrees of south latitude.

HARTOG. 1616.

The recital of discoveries in Tasman's instructions speaks of the first
knowledge gained of these coasts in the following terms: "In the years
1616, 1618, 1619, and 1622, the west coast of this _Great unknown_ SOUTH
LAND, from 35° to 22° south latitude, was discovered by outward-bound
ships; and among them by the ship _Endragt_." The recital gives no
further particulars; but from thence, and from a manuscript chart by
_Eessel Gerrits_, 1627,* there seems to be sufficient authority for
attributing the first authenticated discovery of any part of the Western
Coasts to DIRK HARTOG, commander of the ship _Endragt_, outward-bound
from Holland to India. He appears to have first seen the West Coast in
latitude about 26½° south; and to have sailed northward along it, to
about 23°; giving the name LANDT DE ENDRAGT, to the country so
discovered. An important part of his discovery was _Dirk Hartog's Road_
(at the entrance of a sound afterwards called _Shark's Bay_, by Dampier),
lying a little south Of 25°. Upon one of the islands which form the road
there was found, first in 1697, and afterwards in 1801, a plate of tin,
bearing the following inscription.

[* See Dalrymple's _Collection concerning Papua_, note, page 6.]

"Anno 1616, the 25th of October arrived here the ship _Endragt_ of
Amsterdam; the first merchant _Gillis Miebais_ of Luik, _Dirk Hartog_ of
Amsterdam, captain. They sailed from hence for Bantam, the 27th Do." On
the lower part, as far as could be distinguished in 1697, was cut with a
knife, "The under merchant _Jan Stins_; chief mate _Pieter Dookus_ of
Bill. Ao. 1616."

The _Mauritius_, another outward-bound ship, appears to have made some
further discovery upon the West Coast, in July 1618, particularly Of
WILLEM'S RIVER, near the North-west Cape; but no further particulars are

EDEL. 1619.

In Campbell's edition of _Harris' Voyages_ (p. 325), it is said, "The
next year the LAND OF EDEL was found, and received its name from the
discoverer.". The president De Brosses says nearly the same thing (Tome
I. P. 432); whence, combining this with the Dutch recital and the chart
of Eessel Gerritz, it should appear that J. DE EDEL commanded an
outward-bound ship; and, in July 1619, accidentally fell in with that
part of the West Coast to which his name is applied. The extent of Edel's
discovery appears, from Thevenot's chart, to have been from about the
latitude 29°, northward to 26½°, where the Land of Endragt commences; but
in a chart of this coast, by _Van Keulen_, the name is extended southward
to 32° 20', past the island Rottenest, which, according to Thevenot,
should rather have been the discovery of the ship Leeuwin.

The great reef lying off the coast of Edel, called _Houtman's Abrolhos_,
was discovered at the same time; probably by Edel, or by some ship in the
same squadron.


I do not find it any where said who commanded the _Leeuwin_, or Lioness;
but it should appear, that this was also one of the outward-bound ships
which fell in with the West Coast. In Thevenot's chart, Leeuwin's Land
comprehends about ninety leagues of the south-west extremity of New
Holland; and, from the latitude of 35°, extends northward to about 31°;
but in later publications, it has been much restricted in its northern
limit, apparently, upon the authority of Van Keulen.


The next discovery upon the Western Coasts was that of the ship _Vianen_,
one of the seven which returned to Europe under the command of the
governor-general Carpenter. The Dutch recital speaks of this discovery in
the following terms. The coast was seen "again accidentally in the year
1628, on the north side, in the latitude 21° south, by the ship Vianen,
homeward bound from India; when they coasted two-hundred miles, without
gaining any knowledge of this Great Country; only observing a foul and
barren shore, green fields, and very wild, black, barbarous inhabitants."

This was the part called DE WITT'S LAND; but whether the name were
applied by the captain of the Vianen does not appear in the recital. De
Brosses says, "William de Witt gave his own name to the country which he
saw in 1628, to the north of Remessen's River; and which _Viane_, a Dutch
captain, had, to his misfortune, discovered in the month of January in
the same year; when he was driven upon this coast of De Witt, in 21° of
latitude, and lost all his riches." The confusion that reigns in the
president's account does not render it improbable, that the country might
have received its _name_ in the way he describes, and in the year 1628;
for, in 1644, _De Witt's Land_ is used as a known term for this part of
the North-west Coast.

PELSERT. 1629.

Thus far, the parts of the Western Coasts have been distinguished by
little else than the dates and limits of their discovery; for, in fact,
this is all that has reached us from these early navigators. The
following account is of a different character: it is extracted from the
twenty-first piece in Thevenot's collection; and, in the table of
contents, is said to be translated from the Dutch.

The _Batavia_, commanded by FRANCISCO PELSERT, struck, in the night of
June 4, 1629, upon a reef, "called by our Flemings the _Abrolhos_ or
Rocks of _Frederick Houtman_," lying off the west coast of New Holland.
At daylight, an island was seen about three leagues distant, and two
islets, or rather rocks, somewhat nearer, to which the passengers and
part of the crew were sent. There being no fresh water to be found upon
these islands, Pelsert had a deck laid over one of the boats; and, on
June 8, put to sea, in order to make search upon the opposite main land:
his latitude, at noon, was 28° 13' south.

A short time after quitting the Abrolhos, captain Pelsert got sight of
the coast, which, by estimation, bore N. by W. eight leagues from the
place of shipwreck.* He had 25 to 30 fathoms, and stood off till
midnight, when he again steered for the land; and in the morning of the
9th, it was four leagues off. He ran that day from five to seven leagues,
sometimes to the north, sometimes to the west; the direction of the coast
being N. by W.: it appeared to be rocky--without trees--and about the
same height as the coast of Dover. A small, sandy bay was seen, into
which Pelsert desired to enter; but finding too much surf, and the
weather becoming bad, he was obliged to haul further off.

[* Thevenot says _six miles_, and does not explain what kind of miles
they are; but it is most probable that he literally copies his original,
and that they are Dutch miles of fifteen to a degree. Van Keulen, in
speaking of Houtman's Abrolhos, says, page 19, "This shoal is, as we
believe, 11 or 12 leagues (_8 ä 9 mijlen)_ from the coast."]

July 10. He kept in the same parallel, upon a wind; the weather being
bad, and his boat very leaky. Next day, the wind was at W. S. W., and
more moderate. He then steered north; for the sea was too high to
approach the shore in safety. On the 12th, Pelsert observed the latitude
to be 27°, and steered along the coast with a fair wind at S. E.; but the
shore was too steep to admit of landing; neither could he find any bay or
island to break off the sea. At a distance, the land seemed fertile and
covered with plants. The latitude, on the 13th, was 25° 40', which showed
a current setting to the northward. Here Pelsert found himself a-breast
of an opening, where the coast trends to the north-east (apparently into
Shark's Bay). The course this day was nearly north; the shore consisted
of reddish rock, of an equal height; and there being no island in front,
the waves, which broke high upon it, prevented landing.

June 14. The wind was at east; and at noon, the latitude was observed to
be 24°. The tides (or rather the current) took the boat further to the
north than was desired; for Pelsert then carried but little sail, in the
hope to find a landing place without going further. Perceiving some
smokes at a distance, he rowed towards them; but the shore proved to be
steep, with many rocks, and the sea broke high against it. At length, six
of his people leaped overboard, and with much labour and risk got through
the surf, whilst the boat remained at anchor, in 25 fathoms. The sailors
employed the rest of the day in seeking for water; and on looking about
on every side, they saw four natives creeping towards them on their hands
and feet. One of "our people" having appeared on an eminence, near them,
the natives rose up and took to flight; so that those who were in the
boat could see them distinctly. These men were wild, black, and
altogether naked; not covering even those parts which almost all savages

The six sailors, losing all hope of finding water, swam back to the boat,
wounded and bruised by the blows they had received from the waves and
rocks. The anchor was then weighed, and Pelsert continued his course,
under easy sail, along the coast; but keeping without side of the shoals.
The 15th in the morning, they discovered a cape, off which lay a chain of
rocks, running out four miles into the sea; and behind this was another
reef, close to the shore. The water being tolerably still between them,
Pelsert thought to pass through; but the reefs joined round further on,
and obliged him to return. At noon, an opening was seen, where the water
was smooth, and they went into it, but with considerable danger; for the
depth was no more than two feet, and the bottom stony. On landing, the
people dug holes in the sand; but the water which oozed in was salt. At
length, fresh rain water was found in the cavities of the rocks, and
afforded them great relief; for they had, hitherto, been confined to a
pint of water each. They staid on shore that night, and collected full
forty gallons. Ashes and the remains of cray fish were found; which
showed that the natives had been there no long time before.

July 16. They sought to collect more water, but were unsuccessful; and
none could be expected in the sandy, level country behind the coast. This
plain was destitute of both grass and trees, and covered with ant hills
so large, that they might have been taken for the houses of Indians. The
quantity of flies was such, that the people had great difficulty in
keeping them off. Eight savages, with with each a stick (probably a
spear) in his hand, were seen at a distance. They came within musket
shot; but on the Dutch sailors going towards them they took to flight.

Captain Pelsert, being at length convinced of the impossibility of
procuring more water, determined to quit this coast. At noon, he got
withoutside of the reef by a second opening more to the north; for,
having observed the latitude to be 22° 17', his intention was to seek for
the _River of Jacob Remessens_ (near the North-west Cape); but the wind
veering to north-east, he could no longer follow the direction of the
coast. Considering, then, that he was more than four hundred miles from
the place of shipwreck, and that scarcely water enough had been found for
themselves, Pelsert resolved to make the best of his way to Batavia, to
solicit assistance from the governor-general.

In the mean time, some one of the people left upon the islands of the
_Abrolhos_ thought of tasting the water in two holes, which, from its
rising and falling with the tide, was believed to be salt; but, to their
great surprise and joy, it was found good to drink, and never failed them

On Pelsert's return to the Abrolhos in the yacht _Sardam_, he was under
the necessity of executing some atrocious conspirators, and two were set
on shore upon the opposite main land.* Tasman was directed by his
instructions, in 1644, to "inquire at the continent thereabout, after two
Dutchmen; who, having forfeited their lives, were put on shore by the
commodore Francisco Pelsert, if still alive. In such case, you may make
your inquiries of them about the situation of those countries; and if
they entreat you to that purpose, give them passage hither."

[* For an account of the miseries and horrors which took place on the
islands of the Abrolhos during the absence of Pelsert, the English reader
is referred to Vol. I. p. 320 to 325 of _Campbell's_ edition of _Harris'
Voyages_; but the nautical details there given are very incorrect.]

TASMAN. 1644.

It is not from any direct information, that ABEL JANSZ TASMAN is placed
as the next discoverer upon the western coasts of Terra Australis; for,
as has been already observed, no account of his second voyage has ever
been made public, or is any such known to exist. It is, however,
supposed, with great probability of truth, that, after the examination of
the North Coast, he pursued his course westward along the shore to the
North-west Cape, conformably to his instructions; but that he did not go
further southward along the Land of Endragt than to the tropic of
Capricorn, where he quitted his examination, and returned to Batavia.

The chart published by Thevenot, in 1663, gives a form to the Western
Coasts, and joins them to the northern Van Diemen's Land; but it is
evident from Tasman's instructions, that the part between De Witt's Land
and Cape Van Diemen was unknown to the Dutch government at Batavia in
1644. And since there is no account of its having been seen during the
intermediate nineteen years, it may be concluded that the North-west
Coast was first explored by him; and Dampier says (Vol. III. p. 96), that
he had Tasman's chart of it; though none bearing his name can now be

[* The French editor of the _Voyage de Découvertes aux Terres Australes_,
published in 1807, Vol. I. p. 128, attributes the formation of the
North-west Coast in the common charts to the expedition of the three
Dutch vessels sent from Timor in 1705. But this is a mistake. It is the
chart of Thevenot, his countryman, _published forty-two years previously_
to that expedition, which has been mostly followed by succeeding

The notes of burgomaster Witsen show, that the North-west Coast was
visited by Tasman; and as they give the earliest information of the
inhabitants, and are curious in themselves, they are here transcribed
from Mr. Dalrymple's Papua.

"In lat. 13° 8' S. lon. 146° 18'" (probably about 129½° east of
Greenwich), "the coast is barren. The people are bad and wicked, shooting
at the Dutch with arrows, without provocation, when they were coming on
shore: It is here very populous."

"In 14° 58' S. lon. 138° 59' (about 125° east), the people are savage,
and go naked: none can understand them."

"In HOLLANDIA NOVA,* in 17° 12' S. (lon. 121° or 122° east) _Tasman_
found a naked, black people, with curly hair; malicious and cruel, using
for arms, bows and arrows, hazeygaeys and kalawaeys. They once came to
the number of fifty, double armed, dividing themselves into two parties,
intending to have surprised the Dutch, who had landed twenty-five men;
but the firing of guns frightened them so that they fled. Their prows are
made of the bark of trees: their coast is dangerous: there are few
vegetables: the people use no houses."

[* This expression indicates, that the before-mentioned places were not
then included under the term NEW HOLLAND by Witsen: he wrote in 1705.]

"In 19° 35' S. long. 134° (about 120°, apparently), the inhabitants are
very numerous, and threw stones at the boats sent by the Dutch to the
shore. They made fires and smoke all along the coast, which, it was
conjectured, they did to give notice to their neighbours of strangers
being upon the coast. They appear to live very poorly; go naked; eat yams
and other roots."

DAMPIER. 1688.

The buccaneers with whom our celebrated navigator, WILLIAM DAMPIER, made
a voyage round the world, came upon the north-west coast of Terra
Australis, for the purposes of careening their vessel, and procuring
refreshments. They made the land in the latitude of 16° 50', due south
from a shoal whose longitude is now known to be 122¼° east. From thence,
they ran along the shore, N. E. by E. twelve leagues, to a bay or
opening, where a convenient place was found for their purpose. Dampier's
description of the country and inhabitants of the place, where he
remained from Jan. 5. to March 12., is contained in the account of his
voyages, Vol. I. page 462 to 470; and renders it unnecessary to do more
than to mark its coincidence or disagreement with what is said, in the
above note from Tasman, of the inhabitants and country near the same part
of the coast.

Dampier agrees in the natives being "a naked, black people, with curly
hair," like that of the negroes; but he says they have "a piece of the
rind of a tree tied like a girdle about their waists, and a handful of
long grass, or three or four green boughs full of leaves, thrust under
their girdle, to cover their nakedness." Also, "that the two fore teeth of
the upper jaw are wanting in all of them, men and women, old and young:
neither have they any beards;" which circumstances are not mentioned in
the note from Tasman. Dampier did not see either bows or arrows amongst
them; but says, "the men, at our first coming ashore, threatened us with
their lances and swords; but they were frightened by firing one gun,
which we did purposely to scar them." Of "their prows made of the bark of
trees," he saw nothing. On the contrary, he "espied a drove of these men
swimming from one island to another; for _they have no boats, canoes, or
bark logs_." The English navigator is silent as to any dangers upon the
twelve leagues of coast seen by him; but fully agrees in the scarcity of
the vegetable productions, and in the circumstance of the natives using
no houses.

VLAMING. 1696.

The relation of Willem DE VLAMING'S voyage to New Holland was published
at Amsterdam in 1701; but not having been fortunate enough to procure it,
I have had recourse to _Valentyn_, who, in his _Description of Banda_,
has given what appears to be an abridgment of the relation. What follows
is conformable to the sense of the translation which Dr. L. Tiarks had
the goodness to make for me; and the reasons for entering more into the
particulars of this voyage than usual are, the apparent correctness of
the observations, and that no account of them seems to have been
published in the English language.*

[* The Abbé Prévost in his _Hist. gen. des Voyages_, Tome XVI. (à la
Haye) p. 79-81, has given some account of Vlaming's voyage in French; but
the observations on the coast between Shark's Bay and Willem's River are
there wholly omitted.]

A Dutch ship, called the _Ridderschap_, having been missing from the time
she had left the Cape of Good Hope, in 1684 or 1685, it was thought
probable she might have been wrecked upon the GREAT SOUTH LAND, and that
some of the crew might (in 1696) be still living. Accordingly, the
commodore Willem de Vlaming, who was going out to India with the
_Geelvink_, _Nyptang_, and _Wezel_, was ordered to make a search for

On Dec. 28, the ships got soundings in 48 fathoms, coral bottom; in
latitude 31° 53', and longitude 133° 44' (east, apparently, from the Peak
of Teneriffe, 16° 45' to the west of Greenwich); where the variation was
observed to be 10° 28' west: they afterwards had 25 fathoms, on better
ground. On the 29th, they anchored under the island _Rottenest_, which
lies in lat. 31° 50', long. 134° 25';* and next day, a piece of wood,
which had some time been fixed to the deck of a ship, was found upon the
shore; but the nails were then rusted away. Fire wood was abundant here.

[* The account in _Van Keulen_ is somewhat different. He says "we steered
for the Land of Endragt: and on Dec. 28, got soundings in 63 fathoms,
sandy bottom. The ensuing day we had 30 fathoms, and the coast was then
in sight. The Island Rottenest, in 32° south latitude, was the land we
steered for; and we had from 30 to 10 fathoms, in which last we anchored
on a sandy bottom."]

VLAMING. 1697.

Jan. 5. Vlaming went on shore (to the main coast), with eighty-eight
armed men, and walked inland to the eastward. There were a few large, and
some small trees, from which dropped a kind of _gum-lac_; but they found
nothing which could be used as food: the birds were small cockatoos and
green parrots, and both were very shy. At the end of three hours walk
they came to a piece of water, which was salt, and upon the beach were
footsteps of full-grown persons and of children. No men were seen, but
they observed many smokes; and found three deserted huts, so low and
ill-constructed as to be inferior to those of the Hottentots.

On the 6th, they divided themselves into three parties: one took to the
north, another to the south, and the third went four miles east, more
into the interior; but, except one or two decayed huts, they met with
nothing. Being returned to the salt lake without finding fresh water,
they dug a pit near the side of it, and obtained wherewith to relieve
their thirst. The lake had fallen a foot, which showed it to have a
communication with the sea; and they afterwards found the outlet, a
little to the southward. No noxious animal of any kind was seen; and
after remaining on shore all night, they returned on board on the 7th.
The ships were then anchored nearer to the land, with the entrance of the
lake or river bearing S. E. by E. The commodore afterwards went up this
river, to the distance of fourteen or sixteen leagues, and caught some
smelts, as also several black swans, of which two were taken alive to

[* This appears to be the first mention made of the black swan: the river
was named _Black-Swan River_.]

Having clearly ascertained the latitude (of the ships at anchor, most
probably,) to be 31° 43' south, and discovered a reef four geographic
miles in length, and two miles from the shore, they sailed from thence on
Jan. 13. The wind was from the southward; and whilst the ships steered N.
by W., parallel to the coast, the boats ran along within them, to examine
it more closely. On the 15th, the people from the boats reported that
they had seen neither men nor animals, and very few trees; but had met
with a reef near the shore, in 30° 17'; and many shoals, both under and
above water.

Fires upon the land were seen from all the ships in the night of Jan. 16;
and next day, a boat was sent with armed people; but they returned with
nothing, except some sea-mews which had been caught upon the islands and
shoals lying along the coast. On the 18th, the ships were in latitude 30°
30', and found the variation to be 9° 21' west; and the 20th, some small
islands were seen, and shrubs observed on the main land. On the 23rd,
they were near a steep head, in 28° 8', and sent a boat to the shore; but
the high surf prevented landing. People were perceived walking on the
downs, but at too great a distance to distinguish more than that they
were of the common stature, black, and naked.* The boat got on shore soon
afterward, when some brackish water was found; and having landed again on
the 27th, the people saw some huts, as also the footsteps of men, and
some birds; but there was no other vegetation than small shrubs. Some
very indifferent water was the sole useful thing met with, and it was too
far off for any to be taken on board.

[* It was near this place that captain Pelsert put the two Dutch
conspirators on shore in 1629. Vlaming appears to have passed within
_Houtman's Abrolhos_ without seeing them.]

Jan. 30. The boats were again sent on shore, and discovered two inlets,
of which the southernmost, in latitude 26° 16', was three miles in width.
On Feb. 2, they found two other openings, very deep, one of which ran up
northward, and the other to the east, far inland. They went eleven
leagues up the first of these, and found that it had another
communication with the sea, to the N. N. W.* On the 3rd, a boat brought
the above account; and also, that the chief mate of the Geelvink had
found a plate of tin, with an inscription commemorating the arrival and
departure of _Dirk Hartog_. (See the inscription under the article
Hartog, preceding.) This Road of Dirk Hartog's Bay, where the plate had
been set up, is in 25° 24'; and the west variation was 8° 34'.

[* These two openings, which in the original are called rivers, were
nothing more than the entrance into Shark's Bay. A small island, lying a
little within the entrance, probably made it be taken for two openings.]

No mention is made by Valentyn of the ships entering the road, nor of
their departure from it; but it should seem that they anchored on Feb. 4.
On the 5th, commodore Vlaming and the commander of the Nyptang went with
three boats to the shore, which proved to be an island. They found also a
river, and went up it four or five leagues, amongst rocks and shoals;
when they saw much water inland, as if the country were drowned, but no
men, nor any thing for food; and, wherever they dug, the ground was salt.
They afterwards came to another river, which they ascended about one
league, and found it to terminate in a round basin, and to be entirely
salt water. No men were seen, nor any animals, except divers which were
very shy; and the country was destitute of grass and trees. Returning
downward on the 10th, they saw footsteps of men and children, of the
common size, and observed the point of entrance into the river to be of a
very red sand.

The ships appear to have left Dirk Hartog's Road on Feb. 12. In the
evening, the west variation was observed to be 7° 21'; am on the 13th,
they saw a cliffy point from whence three shoals, connected by a reef,
stretch out to the N. N. E. The shore here, in latitude 24° 42', lies S.
by E. and N. by W. On the 16th, they passed round the point, and steered
southward along the inner side of this land; and having doubled its south
end, found that it was it was an island: their latitude was then 24° 54'.

Feb. 17. The variation was observed to be 5° west, in latitude 23° 59'.
Eight miles south of this situation they saw a bay with a rugged point;
but to the northward the land was low: the variation was 7° 3', in the
evening. They discovered some reefs on the 19th, lying three geographic
miles off shore; and also a point or cape (the North-west Cape) from
which a reef extended two miles to the N. N. W. On the north side of this
cape is a bay, where the Geelvink anchored; and a little further on
(eastward), the other two vessels found an _opening like a river, whose
entrance was twelve miles wide_. They went into it, _but could no where
find anchorage_. The bay is called _Willem's River_; and the two vessels
afterwards there joined the Geelvink: it is in 21° 28'. The same day it
was determined to sail for Batavia, every thing having been done that the
commodore's orders required; and, on the 21st, they departed accordingly.

Thus the West Coast, from the island Rottenest to the North-west Cape,
was examined with care by Vlaming; and it is most probable, that the
chart in Van Keulen, which Mr. Dalrymple republished, and was the best
known at the end of the eighteenth century, resulted from this same

DAMPIER. 1699.

CAPTAIN WILLIAM DAMPIER visited, a second time, the western coasts of
Terra Australis; being then sent out purposely for discovery, in his
Majesty's ship the _Roebuck_.

In the night of Aug. 1, 1699, he struck soundings upon the northern part
of the Abrolhos shoal, in latitude about 27° 40' south. Next morning he
saw the main coast, and ran northward along it; discovering, in 26. 10',
an opening two leagues wide, but full of rocks and foul ground. Aug. 6,
he anchored (in _Dirk Hartog's Road_) at the entrance of a sound, which
he named SHARK's BAY, in latitude 25° 5' south. He remained there eight
days, examining the sound, cutting wood upon the islands, fishing, etc.;
and gives a description of what was seen in his usually circumstantial

[* For the full account of Dampier's proceedings and observations, with
views of the land, see his _Voyages_, Vol. III. page 81, _et seq_.]

An animal found upon one of the islands is described as "a sort of
raccoon, different from that of the West Indies, chiefly as to the legs;
for these have very short fore legs; but go jumping upon them" (not upon
the short fore, but the long hind, legs, it is to be presumed), "as the
others do; and like them are very good meat." This appears to have been
the small kangaroo, since found upon the islands which form the road; and
if so, this description is probably the first ever made of that singular

Leaving Shark's Bay on Aug. 14, captain Dampier steered northward, along
the coast; but at too great a distance to make much observation upon it,
until he got round the North-west Cape. On the 22nd, he saw an extensive
cluster of islands; and anchored, in latitude 20° 21', under one of the
largest, which he called _Rosemary Island_. This was near the southern
part of De Witt's Land; but, besides an error in latitude of 40', he
complains that, in _Tasman's chart_, "the shore is laid down as all along
joining in one body, or continent, with some openings like rivers; and
not like islands, as really they are."--"By what we saw of them, they
must have been a range of islands, of about twenty leagues in length,
stretching from E. N. E. to W. S. W.; and for ought I know, as far as to
those of Shark's Bay; and to a considerable breadth also, for we could
see nine or ten leagues in amongst them, towards the continent or main
land of New Holland, _if there be any such thing hereabouts_: And by the
great tides I met with awhile afterwards, more to the north-east, I had a
strong suspicion that here might be a kind of archipelago of islands; and
a passage, possibly, to the to the south of New Holland and New Guinea,
into the great South Sea, eastward."

Not finding fresh water upon such of the islands as were visited that
day, captain Dampier quitted his anchorage next morning, and "steered
away E. N. E., coasting along as the land lies." He seems to have kept
the land in sight, in the day time, at the distance of four to six
leagues; but the shore being low, this was too far for him to be certain
whether all was main land which he saw; and what might have been passed
in the night was still more doubtful.

Aug. 30, being in latitude 18° 21', and the weather fair, captain Dampier
steered in for the shore; and anchored in 8 fathoms, about three-and-half
leagues off. The tide ran "very swift here; so that our nun-buoy would
not bear above the water to be seen. It flows here, as on that part of
New Holland I described formerly, about five fathoms."

He had hitherto seen no inhabitants; but now met with several. The place
at which he had touched in the former voyage "was not above forty or
fifty leagues to the north-east of this. And these were much the same
blinking creatures (here being also abundance of the same kind of flesh
flies teizing them), and with the same black skins, and hair frizzled,
tall and thin, etc., as those were. But we had not the opportunity to see
whether these, as the former, wanted two of their fore teeth." One of
them, who was supposed to be a chief, "was painted with a circle of
white paste or pigment about his eyes, and a white streak down his nose,
from his forehead to the tip of it. And his breast, and some part of his
arms, were also made white with the same paint."

Neither bows nor arrows were observed amongst these people: they used
wooden lances, such as Dampier had before seen. He saw no houses at
either place, and believed they had none; but "there were several things
like haycocks, standing in the savannah; which, at a distance, we thought
were houses, looking just like the Hottentots' houses at the Cape of Good
Hope; but we found them to be so many rocks." *

[* Dampier could not have examined these rocks closely; for there can be
little doubt that they were the ant hills described by Pelsert as being
"so large., that they might have been taken for the houses of Indians."]

The land near the sea-coast is described as equally sandy with the parts
before visited, and producing, amongst its scanty vegetation, nothing for
food. No stream of fresh water was seen, nor could any, fit to drink, be
procured by digging.

Quitting this inhospitable shore, captain Dampier weighed his anchor on
September 5, with the intention of seeking water and refreshments further
on to the north-eastward. The shoals obliged him to keep at a
considerable distance from the land; and finally, when arrived at the
latitude 16° 9', to give up his project, and direct his course for Timor.


With the voyage of Dampier terminates the information gained of the
Western Coasts, previously to the year 1801. Monsieur de _St. Alouarn_
had, indeed, seen some points or islands, in the year 1772, when he
commanded the French _flûte Le Gros Ventre_; but the particulars are not
generally known, being, in all probability, of little importance.

The summary of the knowledge possessed by the public, and the objects to
which investigation might be usefully directed in these parts of Terra
Australis, were as follow. The outline of the north-west coast was known
upon the authority, as generally believed, of _Tasman_; with some points
corrected by _Dampier_. The accuracy of Tasman's chart was, however, very
much called in doubt: instead of being a continued shore, as the Dutch
chart represented it, Dampier found the southern parts of De Witt's Land
to consist of a range of islands. And he gives it as his opinion, that
the northern part of New Holland was separated from the lands to the
southward, by a strait; "unless", says he, "the high tides and indraught
thereabout should be occasioned by the mouth of some large river; which
hath often low lands on each side of the outlet, and many islands and
shoals lying at its entrance: but I rather thought it a channel, or
strait, than a river." This opinion he supports by a fair induction from
facts; and the opening of _twelve miles wide_, seen near the same place
by Vlaming's two vessels, and in which they could find no anchorage,
strongly corroborated Dampier's supposition.

Later information had demonstrated, that the supposed strait could not
lead out into the Great Ocean, eastward, as the English navigator had
conjectured; but it was thought possible, that it might communicate with
the Gulph of Carpentaria, and even probable that a passage existed from
thence to the unknown part of the South Coast, beyond the Isles of St.
Francis and St. Peter.

But whether this opening were the entrance to a strait, separating Terra
Australis into two or more islands, or led into a mediterranean sea, as
some thought; or whether it were the entrance of a large river, there
was, in either case, a great geographical question to be settled,
relative to the parts behind Rosemary Island.

If Tasman's chart were defective at De Witt's Land, it was likely to be
so in other parts of the same coast; where there was no account, or
belief, that it had been examined by any other person further north than
the latitude 16½°. An investigation of the whole North-west Coast, with
its numerous islands and shoals, was, therefore, required, before it
could enter into the present improved systems of geography and

The chart of the West Coast, as far south as Rottenest, was founded upon
much better authority; but for its formation from thence to Cape Leeuwin
there were no good documents. In this part, there was room even for
discovery; and the whole coast required to be laid down with more
accuracy than had been attainable by the Dutch navigators.

As to the soil and vegetable productions upon several points near the
sea, from Rottenest, northward to 16½, there was tolerably good general
information; the inhabitants, also, had been seen; and, at one place,
communication with them had been obtained. The accounts did, certainly,
not give any flattering prospect, that much interesting knowledge was
likely to be acquired under these heads, unless a strait, or inland sea,
were found; but the accounts were not only confined as to place, but,
with the exception of Dampier's, were very imperfect; and the great
extent of the coasts, in the richest climates of the world, excited hopes
that a close investigation would not only be of advantage to natural
history, but would bring to light something useful in the mineral or
vegetable kingdoms.

In the case of penetrating the interior of Terra Australis, whether by a
great river, or a strait leading to an inland sea, a superior country,
and perhaps a different people, might be found, the knowledge of which
could not fail to be very interesting, and might prove advantageous to
the nation making the discovery.




Discovery of Nuyts.
Examination of Vancouver:
of D'Entrecasteaux.
Conclusive Remarks.

NUYTS. 1627. (Atl. Pl. I.)

No historical fact seems to be less disputed, than that the South Coast
of New Holland was first discovered in January 1627: whether it were the
26th, according to _De Hondt_, or the 16th, as is expressed on
_Thevenot's_ chart, is of very little import. It is generally said, that
the ship was commanded by PIETER NUYTS; but as Nuyts, on his arrival at
Batavia, was sent ambassador to Japan, and afterwards made governor of
Formosa, it seems more probable that he was a civilian, perhaps Company's
first merchant on board, rather than captain of the ship: the land
discovered has, however, always borne his name.

The Dutch recital says--"In the year 1627, the South Coast of the
_Great_ SOUTH LAND was accidentally discovered by the ship the _Gulde
Zeepaard_, outward-bound from Fatherland, for the space of a thousand

This discovery has always been considered as of importance. A memoir was
published at Amsterdam in 1718, "to prove, that NUYTS' LAND, being in the
fifth climate, between 34° and 36° of latitude; it ought to be, like all
other countries so situated, one of the most habitable, most rich, and
most fertile parts of the world." * The journal of this discovery seems to
have been lost; or possibly was either suppressed or destroyed, according
to what is thought to have been the Dutch policy of that time. It was,
therefore, from the chart, and the above passage in the recital, alone,
that any particulars could be drawn. If the extent of a _thousand miles_
were taken to be in a straight line, and to commence at Cape Leeuwin, the
end of Nuyts' Land would reach nearly to the longitude of 135° east of
Greenwich; but if, as was probable, the windings of the shore were
included, and a deduction made of one-sixth to one-seventh in the
distance, then the Isles of St. Francis and St. Peter might be expected
to be found between the 132nd and 133rd degrees of east longitude.

[* _Hist. des Nav. aux Terres Australes_. Tome I. page 429.]


With the exception of Mons. de St. Alouarn, who is said to have anchored
near Cape Leeuwin in 1772, the south coast of Terra Australis, though
occupying much attention from geographers, seems to have been left
unvisited from 1627 to 1791. In this year, captain GEORGE VANCOUVER,
being on his way to North-west America, made the South Coast on Sept. 26,
at _Cape Chatham_, in latitude 35° 3' south, and longitude 116° 35' east,
not many leagues beyond where Nuyts appears to have commenced his
discovery. He sailed eastward, from thence, along the shore, till the
28th; when he anchored in a sound, to which was given the name of KING

The country in the neighbourhood of the Sound, and of its two harbours,
was found to be agreeably variegated in form; to be clothed with grass
and wood; and, though generally more barren than fertile, yet affording
many spots capable of cultivation. No considerable river was discovered;
but fresh water was every where abundant for domestic purposes; and the
climate was judged to be as healthy as the temperature was found to be
agreeable. Kangaroos did not appear to be scarce; nor were the woods ill
tenanted by the feathered tribes; and reptiles and other noxious animals
were not numerous. Amongst the aquatic birds, black swans and wild ducks
held a distinguished place; but, like the land animals, were very shy:
sea and shell fish were in tolerable abundance.

None of the inhabitants were seen; but from the appearance of their
deserted huts, they were judged to be the same miserable race as those of
the North-west and East Coasts. No marks of canoes, nor the remains of
fish, even shell fish, were found near their habitations; and this
circumstance, with the shyness of the birds and quadrupeds, induced a
belief that the natives depended principally upon the woods for their

Captain Vancouver quitted King George's Sound on Oct. 11, and proceeded
eastward in the examination of the coast; but unfavourable winds
prevented him from doing this so completely as he wished, and some parts
were passed unseen; and the impediments to his progress at length caused
the examination to be quitted, in favour of prosecuting the main design
of his voyage. The last land seen was _Termination Island_, in latitude
34° 32' and longitude 122° 8'. The coast to the north of this island
appeared much broken; but, although in Nuyts' chart a considerable group
of islands were laid down in about that situation, captain Vancouver
rather supposed it to be a continued main land.*

[* For captain Vancouver's account of his proceedings and observations on
the South Coast, see his _Voyage round the World_, Vol. I. page 28-57.]

So far as this examination extended, the general form of the coast was
found to correspond with that of the old chart; nor was any material
error found in Nuyts' latitude. A further, and more extended confirmation
of the Dutch navigator's discovery, and of its having been well laid
down, considering the period at which it was done, was obtained in the
following year.


The French rear-admiral BRUNY D'ENTRECASTEAUX, having been sent out with
the ships _La Recherche_ and _L'Espérance_ in search of the unfortunate
La Pérouse made the south coast of New Holland on Dec. 5, 1792, about
twenty-eight leagues to the north-west of Cape Chatham.* The coast, from
the South-west Cape to the longitude of Termination Island, was explored
by the admiral, with all the minuteness that the state of the weather
could permit; and he was, generally, able to keep the shore closer abord
than captain Vancouver had done, and to supply the deficiencies in his
chart. The broken land to the north of Termination Island was found to be
conformable to what Nuyts had laid down: it made part of a very extensive
group of islands, one of which afforded timely shelter to the French
ships on Dec. 9, from a gale which had arisen at south-west.

[*When the Investigator sailed, the journal of _M. Labillardière_,
naturalist in D'Entrecasteaux's expedition, was the sole account of the
voyage made public: but M. DE ROSSEI one of the principal officers, has
since published the voyage from the journals of the rear-admiral and it
is from this last that what follows is extracted.]

They remained a week at this anchorage, whilst the naturalists explored
the surrounding country, and the surveyors examined such of the islands
as were visible from the ships. Seals, penguins, and some kangaroos were
seen; but no fresh water, accessible to shipping, could any where be
found; the country within their reach being sandy and sterile. From Dec.
17 to 24, the ships were occupied in coasting eastward, along the
outskirt of the group of islands, and then found it to terminate at 2½°
of longitude from its commencement. The main land at the back of the
islands had been generally visible, but at too great a distance for the
precise form of the coast to be ascertained, or to allow of fixing the
positions of, or even seeing, many of the inner islands and reefs.

This group is the first of the two marked upon the chart of Nuyts; and
admiral D'Entrecasteaux praises the general accuracy of the Dutch
navigator, in that "the latitude of Point Leeuwin, and of the coast of
Nuyts' Land, were laid down with an exactness, surprising for the remote
period in which they had been discovered." This liberal acknowledgment
renders it the more extraordinary, that in the appellation which it was
judged proper to give to this extensive group, the French admiral had not
rather thought of doing honour to the original discoverer, or to the
_Gulde Zeepaard_, than to his own ship; more especially, as his
examination was far from being complete. This would have been more
conformable to his general practice; but ARCHIPEL DE LA RECHERCHE was the
name adopted.

Beyond the archipelago, the South Coast was found to trend
east-north-eastward; without any island lying off it, or presenting any
place of shelter. The shore was either a steep calcareous cliff, of an
equal height, or low and sandy, with a few naked hillocks behind; and
above these, no hill., nor any thing of the interior country, could be
discerned. "It is not surprising," says D'Entrecasteaux., "that Nuyts has
given no details of this barren coast; for its aspect is so uniform, that
the most fruitful imagination could find nothing to say of it."


Frustrated in his expectation of procuring fresh water, and having no
more than sufficient, at a short allowance, to reach Van Diemen's Land,
the admiral abandoned the investigation of the South Coast, on Jan. 3;
being then in latitude 31° 49' south, and longitude 131° 38½' east of

In the otherwise excellent charts constructed by M. BEAUTEMPS-BEAUPRÉ,
geographical engineer on board La Recherche, there is an extraordinary
omission, arising either from the geographer, or the conductor of the
voyage. In the first 12° of longitude no soundings are marked along the
coast; whilst, in the last 50, they are marked with tolerable regularity:
the cause of this difference is not explained.

In comparing the French chart with that of Nuyts, it appeared that the
rear-admiral had not proceeded so far along this coast as the Dutch
navigator had done; for he did not see the islands of St. Francis and St.
Peter, nor the reef marked about thirty leagues to the west of them. The
point, however, where D'Entrecasteaux's examination terminated, was, in
all probability, within a few leagues of that reef; and the end of Nuyts'
discovery would be between 133° and 134° to the east of Greenwich.


The South Coast was not known, in 1801, to have been visited by any other
than the three navigators, _Nuyts_, _Vancouver_, and _D'Entrecasteaux_.*
The coast line, from Cape Leeuwin to near the longitude of 132°, was
generally so well ascertained, and the charts of Vancouver and
D'Entrecasteaux appeared to be so good, that little remained in this
space for future visitors to discover. At two places, the country and
productions near the sea-side had also been examined; though no
communication had any where been obtained with the inhabitants. It was
known also from Nuyts, that at 133° or 134° of east longitude, commenced
a second archipelago; and that the coast began there to assume an
irregular form; but in what direction it trended, whether to the
south-eastward for Bass' Strait, or northward for the Gulph of
Carpentaria, was altogether uncertain.

[* It afterwards appeared, that lieutenant James Grant had discovered a
part of it in 1800, in his way to Port Jackson with His Majesty's brig
Lady Nelson.]

The great point, then, which required to be ascertained, was the form of
the land from longitude 133° to 146° east, and from south latitude 32° to
38½°; comprising a space of two hundred and fifty leagues in a straight
line. What rendered a knowledge of this part more particularly
interesting, was the circumstance of no considerable river having been
found on any of the coasts of Terra Australis previously explored: but it
was scarcely credible that, if this vast country were one connected mass
of land, it should not contain some large rivers; and if any, this
unknown part was one of two remaining places, where they were expected to
discharge themselves into the sea.

The apparent want of rivers had induced some persons to think, that Terra
Australis might be composed of two or more islands, as had formerly been
suspected by the Dutch, and by Dampier; whilst others, believing in the
continuity of the shores, thought this want might arise from the interior
being principally occupied by a mediterranean sea; but it was generally
agreed, that one end of the separating channels, or otherwise the
entrance, if such existed, into the supposed sea, would most likely be
found in this unexplored part of the South Coast.

Besides the solution of this important geographical problem, something
remained to be done upon the parts already seen. The main land behind the
first archipelago, as also the inner islands, were yet to be examined for
harbours, where refreshment for ships might be obtained; a comparison of
the persons and usages of the inhabitants, with those in other parts of
this vast country, was desirable; and, although little utility could be
drawn from the known productions at the two points visited, it might
reasonably be hoped, that an investigation of a coast so extensive, would
not fail to produce much useful information.

Many circumstances, indeed, united to render the south coast of Terra
Australis one of the most interesting parts of the globe, to which
discovery could be directed at the beginning of the nineteenth century.
Its investigation had formed a part of the instructions to the
unfortunate French navigator La Pérouse, and afterwards of those to his
countryman D'Entrecasteaux; and it was, not without some reason,
attributed to England as a reproach, that an imaginary line of more than
two hundred and fifty leagues extent, in the vicinity of of one of her
colonies, should have been so long suffered to remain traced upon the
charts, under the title Of UNKNOWN COAST. This comported ill with her
reputation as the first of maritime powers; and to do it away was,
accordingly, a leading point in the instructions given to the





Preliminary Observations.
Discoveries of Tasman;
of Cook;
Marion and Furneaux.
Observations of Cook;
Bligh; and Cox.
Discovery of D'Entrecasteaux.


Van Diemen'S Land would more properly have been arranged under the head
of the South Coast; but the later discoveries here have so intimate a
connexion with those on the East, as to render it impossible to separate
them without making repetitions, and losing perspicuity in the narrative.

The anxiety of the Dutch government at Batavia, to know how far the SOUTH
LANDS might extend towards the antarctic circle, was the cause of Tasman
being sent with two vessels, to ascertain this point; and the discovery
of Van Diemen's Land was one of the results. It was not, however, the
policy of the Dutch government to make discoveries for the benefit of
general knowledge; and accordingly this voyage "was never," says Dr.
Campbell, "published intire; and it is probable, that the East-India
Company never intended it should be published at all. However, _Dirk
Rembrantz_, moved by the excellency and accuracy of the work, published
in _Low Dutch_ an extract of captain Tasman's journal, which has ever
since been considered as a great curiosity; and as such, has been
translated into many languages." *

[* _Complete Collection of Voyages and Travels, originally published by
John Harris, D. D. and F. R. S._ London, 1744. Vol. I. page 325.]

If a judgment may be formed from the translations, Rembrantz must have
omitted great part of the nautical details concerning Van Diemen's Land,
a defect which is remedied in the following account. It is taken from a
journal containing, besides the daily transactions and observations
throughout the whole voyage, a series of thirty-eight manuscript charts,
views, and figures. The expression _by me_, which often occurs in it, and
followed by the signature _Abel Jansz Tasman_, shows that if this were
not his original journal, it is a copy from it: probably one made on
board for the governor and council of Batavia. With this interesting
document, and a translation made in 1776, by Mr. C. G. Woide, chaplain of
His Majesty's Dutch chapel at St. James's, I was favoured by the Right

[* I am proud to take this opportunity of publicly expressing my
obligations to the Right Hon. President of the Royal Society; and of thus
adding my voice to the many who, in the pursuit of science, have found in
him a friend and patron. Such he proved in the commencement of my voyage,
and in the whole course of its duration; in the distresses which tyranny
heaped upon those of accident; and after they were overcome. His
extensive and valuable library has been laid open; and has furnished much
that no time or expense, within my reach, could otherwise have procured.]

TASMAN. 1642. (Atlas. Plate VII.)

CAPTAIN ABEL JANSZ TASMAN sailed from Batavia on Aug. 14, 1642, with the
yacht _Heemskerk_ and fly-boat _Zeehaan_; and, after touching at
Mauritius, steered south and eastward upon discovery. Nov. 24, at four
p.m., high land was seen in the E. by N., supposed to be distant forty
miles. The ships steered towards it till the evening; when there were
high mountains visible in the E. S. E., and two smaller ones in the N. E.
They sounded in 100 fathoms, and then stood off from the land, with the
wind at south-east.

In the morning of Nov. 25., it was calm; but on a breeze springing up
from the southward, Tasman steered for the land; and at five p.m., when
it was twelve miles distant, sounded in 60 fathoms, coral bottom: at four
miles off, the bottom was fine white sand. The latitude was then 42° 30'
south; the _mean of all their longitudes_ 163° 50' east (of Teneriffe
apparently); and the compass had no variation. The coast here lies S. by
E. and N. by W. It is of an even height; and was named ANTONY VAN
DIEMEN's LAND, in honour of the governor-general, "our master, who sent
us out to make discoveries. The islands round about, as many of them as
were known to us, we called in honour of the Council of India."

The ships stood off again for the night, with a light breeze at S. S. E.
On the 26th, the wind was from the eastward, and weather rainy, so that
no land could be seen; but its distance was supposed to be twelve or
thirteen leagues. At noon, the latitude from dead reckoning was 43° 36',
and longitude 163° 2'; the course having been S. S. W. 72 miles.* In the
evening the wind shifted to the north-east, and their course was directed
E. S. E.: the variation was then half a degree west.

[* This and the following courses and distances run from one noon to
another, do not always agree with the latitudes and longitudes; but the
differences are not great: They probably arose from the distances being
marked to the nearest Dutch mile on the log board; whereas the latitude
and longitude are taken to minutes of a degree.]

Nov. 27, the land was again seen. At noon, a course of S. E. by E. 52
miles, gave the latitude by estimation 44° 4' south, and longitude 164°
2' east. The weather was thick and rainy, and the wind still from the
north-eastward; and at the fourth hour of the night, the vessels lay to,
not venturing to run in the dark. In the morning of the 28th, it was
foggy, with rain. They made sail to the east; but on seeing the land from
N. E. to N. N. E., hauled up for it. From what could be perceived of the
coast, it extended S. E. by E. and N. W. by W., and seemed to decrease in
height to the eastward. At noon, the latitude by estimation was 44° 1',
longitude 165° 2'; and the course steered, E. by S. 44 miles. The wind
was then at north-west; and in the evening, they came near three small
islands, one of which was shaped like a lion's head, and lies twelve
miles from the continent (this was the _Mewstone_, of Furneaux). The wind
was from the eastward in the night, and the ships lay to.

Nov. 29, they were still near the cliffy, lion-head-shaped island. The
wind was light and fair, and they steered parallel to the coast, which
lies here east and west. At noon, having made a course of E. N. E. 48
miles, the latitude was judged to be 43° 53', longitude 166° 3'. They
had, a little before, passed two cliffy islets lying to seaward; of which
the westernmost (_Swilly_ of Furneaux) is like _Pedra Blanca_ near the
coast of China: the easternmost (_Eddystone_ of Cook) resembles an
awkward tower, and is about sixteen miles from the main land. Continuing
to coast along the shore, they came, at five in the evening, to a bay,
into which it was resolved in council to enter; but when almost in it, a
high wind rose, and obliged them to shorten sail and stand out to sea. At
daylight of the 30th, they found themselves driven so far off by the
_storm_ (whence the name of STORM BAY, applied in the chart), that the
land was scarcely visible. At noon, the general course had been E. by N.
80 miles; the latitude _was found_ to be 43° 41', and longitude by
estimation (corrected) 168° 3': the needle pointed here, true North. The
land was in sight to the north-west, and the wind strong, but variable,
from the northward. The ships steered westward for a short time; but the
weather being too stormy to admit of approaching the land, they went upon
the other tack; and kept as much to the northward., under easy sail, as
the wind would permit.

Dec. 1, the wind was more moderate; and on its veering to W. S. W., the
ships steered towards the shore. At noon, their course made good was N.
N. W. 39 miles; the latitude was 43° 10' and longitude 167° 55'. It then
fell calm, and a council of officers from the two vessels was called, in
which it was resolved, if wind and weather permitted, "to get a knowledge
of the land, and some refreshments." An eastern breeze sprung up soon
afterward; and they got to anchor, an hour after sunset, "in a good port,
in 22 fathoms, whitish good-holding sand; wherefore we ought to cc praise
GOD ALMIGHTY." This port is called FREDERIK HENDRIK'S BAY, in the chart.

Next morning early, two armed boats were sent to an inlet (the inner
bay), situate four or five miles to the north-westward of the ships, in
order to search for fresh water, wood, and refreshments. They returned in
the afternoon, and the officers gave the following account.

They rowed four or five miles round the point of the inlet, along a high
and level shore. Wild greens were plentiful; some resembled those at the
Cape of Good Hope, "and may be used in place of wormwood;" others were
long and saltish, and like sea parsley. They found many dry gullies, and
one watering place in which the water was good, but obtained with
difficulty, and in very small quantities. Some human voices were heard,
and a sound like that of a trumpet, or little _gong_, which was not far
off; but they could see no person. Amongst the trees, two were remarked
whose thickness was two, or two and a half fathoms, and the first
branches from sixty to sixty-five feet above the ground. The bark had
been taken off with a flint stone, and steps were cut, full five feet one
from the other; whence the natives were presumed to be very tall, or able
to get up these trees by some artifice. They supposed the steps to be
made for the purpose of getting at the nests of birds; and that some of
them had not been cut above four days before. They observed traces on the
ground, as if made by the claws of a tiger; and saw the excrements, as
was thought, of quadrupeds. Some well-looking gums, which dropped from
the trees and somewhat resembled _gum-lac_, were brought on board.

Off the east point of the (inner) bay, they found thirteen to fourteen
feet water; and that the tide flowed about three feet. They there saw a
number of men, of wild ducks, and geese; but inland none were seen,
though their noise was heard. Muscles were found sticking to bushes, in
different places. The country was covered with trees; but so thinly
scattered, that one might see every where to a great distance amongst
them, and distinguish men and animals. Several of the trees were "much
burnt about the foot; and the ground was here and there like little
squares (_vuysterchen_), and become as hard as stone, by fire."

A short time before the boats returned, a thick smoke had been observed
upon the continent, to the west of where the ships lay at anchor; and
from the people staying so much longer than they had been ordered, it was
thought to have been made by them, as a signal. But on inquiry, they
answered in the negative; and said that they, also, had seen smoke in
several places; and bushes--(here seems to be a line omitted.) "So that
without doubt, here must be exceedingly tall people."

Dec. 3. A boat was sent to the south-east part of the (outer) bay, and
found fresh water; but it broke through the low shore to the sea, and was
brackish; and the soil was too rocky to dig wells. In the afternoon,
commodore Tasman went, with several officers from both vessels in two
boats, to the south-east extremity of the bay; taking with them the
PRINCE'S flag, and a post upon which was cut a compass, to be erected on
shore. One of the boats was obliged to return, from the bad weather; but
the shallop went to a little cove W. S. W. of the ships. The surf being
there too high to admit of landing, the first carpenter, _Pieter
Jacobsz_, swam on shore with the post and Prince's flag; and set it up
near the last of four remarkable trees, which stood in the form of a
crescent, in the middle of the cove. "When the first carpenter had done
this, in the sight of me ABEL J. TASMAN, of the master _Gerrit Jansz_,
and under-merchant _Abraham Coomans_, we went with the shallop as near as
possible to the shore, and the said carpenter swam back, through the
surf. We then returned on board; and left this as a memorial to the
posterity of the inhabitants of this country. They did not show
themselves; but we suspected some to be not far from thence, watching
carefully our doings."

The wind was from the northward all this day; and at sunset, it blew a
storm. The variation at anchor was observed to be 3° east; the latitude
was 43° south, and longitude 167½° east from Teneriffe.

Dec. 4. The wind was more moderate, and came from the westward, off the
land. The anchors were then weighed, but the flukes of one were broken.
On quitting Frederik Hendrik's Bay, the ships steered northward as much
as possible, to look for a watering place. At noon, the course had been
N. E. 32 miles; the latitude was 42° 40', and longitude 168°. In the
evening, they saw a round mountain, about eleven leagues to the N. N. W.;
and during the whole day, several smokes were visible along the coast.
"Here," says Tasman, "I should give a description of the extent of the
coast, and the islands near it, but I hope to be excused, and refer, for
brevity's sake, to the chart made of it, and herewith joined."

The ships kept close to the wind all night, as they did in the morning of
Dec. 5, when it was N. W. by W. The high round mountain was then seen
bearing west, eight leagues, and this was the furthest land visible, nor
did the wind allow them to come in with it again. At noon, the latitude
was judged to be 41° 34', and longitude 169°; the course for the last day
having been N. E. by N. 80 miles. Tasman then steered "precisely
eastward, to make further discoveries," agreeably to a resolution of the
council, taken in the morning.

The copy of Tasman's charts, given in the Atlas, PLATE III. of
D'Entrecasteaux's Voyage, and taken from Valentyn, is conformable to the
manuscript charts in the Dutch journal. There is, however, an error of
one degree too much east, in the scale of longitude; and Pedra Blanca is
erroneously written against the Eddystone, in the general chart. In the
plan of Frederik Hendrik's Bay, the name is placed _within_ the inner
bay, instead of being written, as in the original, on the point of land
between the inner and outer bays: I conceive the name was intended to
comprise both.*

[* In Vol. III. just published, of captain Burney's _History of
Discoveries in the South Sea_, a copy is given of Tasman's charts, as
they stand in the original.]

COOK. 1770.

More than a century had elapsed after this celebrated voyage of Tasman,
and the eastern limit of Terra Australis remained still unknown. But the
British nation was then taking the lead in discovery; and the new and
liberal principles upon which His Majesty, GEORGE III, ordered it to be
prosecuted, was a sure indication that so considerable a part of the
globe would not long escape attention. Captain JAMES COOK, accompanied by
Mr. Green, was sent in the _Endeavour_ to observe, at Taheity, the
transit of Venus over the sun's disk; and after accomplishing that
object, and making a survey of New Zealand, he continued his course
westward, in order to explore the east side of the _Terra Australis

(Atlas, Pl. I.)

In the morning of April 19,1770, the land was seen bearing from
north-east to west; the furthest part, in the latter direction, being
judged to lie in 38° south, and 148° 53' east. But captain Cook could not
determine whether it did, or did not, join to Tasman's Van Diemen's Land.

It would be superfluous, here, to follow our great navigator in his
discoveries along the coast, northward to _Botany Bay_ and from thence to
Cape York. Such an abstract as suits the plan of this Introduction would
be little satisfactory to the reader; when, by an easy reference to the
original narrative, so much interesting information upon this new
country, its productions, and inhabitants, may be obtained.*

[* _Hawkesworth's Voyages_, Vol. III. page 77, _et seq_.]

This voyage of captain Cook, whether considered in the extent of his
discoveries and the accuracy with which they were traced, or in the
labours of his scientific associates, far surpassed all that had gone
before. The general plan of the voyage did not, however, permit captain
Cook to enter minutely into the details of every part; and had it been
otherwise, the very extent of his discoveries would have rendered it
impossible. Thus, some portions of the east coast of Terra Australis were
passed in the night, many openings were seen and left unexamined., and
the islands and reefs lying at a distance from the shore could,
generally, be no more than indicated: he reaped the harvest of discovery,
but the gleanings of the field remained to be gathered.

MARION. 1772.

The first visitor to Van Diemen's Land, after Tasman, its discoverer, was
captain MARION. He commanded the _Mascarin_ and _Marquis de Castries_,
from the Isle Mauritius; and one of the objects of his expedition, was
the discovery of the supposed SOUTHERN CONTINENT. This voyage possesses a
considerable degree of interest, and was published at Paris in 1783; but
not being generally known in England, the parts which relate to Van
Diemen's Land, are here given in abridgment.

March 3, 1772, M. Marion made the west side, in latitude 42° 56', half a
degree south of Tasman's first land fall; and behind a point in 43° 15',
he saw an opening leading to the northward, but of which no particular
mention is made. Steering eastward, round all the rocks and islets lying
off the south coast, he arrived, on the evening of the 4th, in _Frederik
Hendrik's Bay_; and anchored in 22 fathoms, sandy bottom. The great sandy
cove of the outer bay bore from thence, S. 25° W. one league and a half;
the extreme of Maria's Island, N. E. by N.; and the northernmost part of
the main land, N. 5° W. six leagues: (these bearings appear to be as
taken by the compass). The latitude observed here, was 42° 50' south, and
longitude 145° 20 east of Greenwich; the first being 10', and the
longitude above 5° _less_, than given by Tasman.*

[* According to captain Cook, the longitude should be 148° 10'.]

The fires and smokes, seen by day and night, bespoke the country to be
well inhabited; and, on anchoring, there were about thirty men assembled
upon the shore. On the boats being sent next morning, the natives went to
them without distrust; and, having piled together some pieces of wood,
presented a lighted stick to the new comers, and seemed to ask them to
set fire to the pile. Not knowing what this ceremony meant, they
complied; and the act seemed neither to excite surprise, nor to cause any
alteration in the conduct of the natives: they continued to remain about
the French party, with their wives and children, as before.

These people were of the common stature, of a black colour, and were all
naked, both men and women; and some of the latter had children fastened
to their backs, with ropes made of rushes. All the men were armed with
pointed sticks (spears), and with stones which appeared to have been
sharpened in the manner of axe heads. They had, in general, small eyes,
and the white duller than in Europeans; the mouth very wide, the teeth
white, and flat noses. Their hair, which resembled the wool of the
Caffres, was separated into shreds, and powdered with red ochre. They
were generally slender, tolerably well made, kept their shoulders back,
and upon their prominent chests, several had marks raised in the skin.
Their language, appeared harsh; the words seeming to be drawn from the
bottom of the throat.

The French tried to win them by little presents, but they rejected with
disdain every thing that was offered; even iron, looking-glasses,
handkerchiefs, and cloth. They were shown ducks and fowls, which had been
carried from the ships; and it was endeavoured to make them understand,
that such would be gladly purchased of them; but they took these animals,
with which they seemed to be unacquainted, and threw them away in anger.

The party had been about an hour with the savages when captain Marion
went on shore. One of the natives stepped forward, and offered him a
firebrand to be applied to a small heap of wood; and the captain,
supposing it was a ceremony necessary to prove that he came with friendly
intentions, set fire to the heap without hesitation. This was no sooner
done, than they retired precipitately to a small hill, and threw a shower
of stones, by which captain Marion, and the commander of the Castries
were both wounded. Some shots were then fired; and the French, returning
to their boats, coasted along the beach to an open place in the middle of
the bay, where there was no hill or eminence from whence they could be
annoyed. The savages sent their women and children into the woods, and
followed the boats along shore; and on their putting in to land, one of
the natives set up a hideous cry, and immediately a shower of spears was
discharged. A black servant was hurt in the leg; and a firing then
commenced, by which several of the natives were wounded, and one killed.
They fled to the woods, making a frightful howling, but carried off such
of the wounded as were unable to follow. Fifteen men, armed with muskets,
pursued them; and on entering amongst the trees, they found a dying
savage. This man was a little more than five feet seven inches high; his
breast was marked like those of the Mozambique Caffres, and his skin
appeared as black; but on washing off the soot and dirt, his natural
colour appeared to be reddish. The spears, which it was feared might have
been poisoned, were proved not to be so by the facility with which the
wound of the black servant was healed.

After the flight of the savages, captain Marion sent two officers with
detachments, to search for water, and for trees proper to make a foremast
and bowsprit for the Castries; but after traversing two leagues of
country without meeting a single inhabitant, they returned unsuccessful
in both pursuits; nor could any fresh water be found during the six days
which the ships remained in Frederik Hendrik's Bay.

The land here is quite sandy, but covered with brush-wood, and with small
trees which the savages had mostly stripped of the bark for cooking their
shell fish. The greater part of the trees were burnt at the foot; but
amongst them there was a kind of pine, less than ours, which was
perfectly preserved; apparently from the natives finding them to be of
use in some way or other.*

[* It is more probable, that these trees are able to resist the fire
better than the others.]

There were marks of fire almost every where; and in many places the earth
was covered with ashes. Where it was not burnt, there was plenty of
grass, ferns like those of Europe, sorrel, and _alléluia_. From the few
animals seen, it was thought that the fires made by the natives near the
coast, drove them inland. The shooters met with a tiger cat, and saw many
holes in the ground, like those of a warren. They killed crows,
blackbirds, thrushes, doves, a white-bellied paroquet whose plumage
resembled that of the same bird at the River Amazons, and several kinds
of sea birds, principally pelicans, and the black-bodied red bill.

The climate was cold, although in the end of summer; and it excited
surprise, that the savages could go naked; the more so, as the nearest
approach to houses consisted of branches of trees, set up behind the fire
places to break off the wind. The many heaps of shells seemed to bespeak,
that the usual food of these people was muscles and other shell fish.

Many large rays were caught by the French, as also sea cats, old wives,
and several other fish whose names were not known. They found also plenty
of cray-fish, lobsters, very large crabs, and good oysters; and the
curious picked up sea stars, sea eggs, and a variety of fine and rare

Finding he was only losing time in searching for water in this wild
country, captain Marion determined to make sail for New Zealand, where he
hoped to succeed better, and also to obtain masts for the Castries. He
accordingly left Van Diemen's Land on the 10th of March; and the account
of it concludes with the observation that they had very bad weather on
the west coast, but on the east side the sky was much clearer and winds
more moderate.

The chart of _Mons. Crozet_, which accompanies the voyage, appears,
though on a very small scale, to possess a considerable degree of
exactness in the form of the land. The wide opening, called Storm Bay, is
distinctly marked; as is another bay to the westward, with several small
islands in it, the easternmost of which are the _Boreel's Eylanden_ of


A year after Marion had quitted Frederik Hendrik's Bay, Van Diemen's Land
was visited by captain TOBIAs FURNEAUX, in His Majesty's ship
_Adventure_. He made the _South-west Cape_ on March 9, and steered
eastward, close to the islands and rocks called Maatsuyker's, by Tasman;
and behind which lay a bold shore, which seemed to afford several
anchoring places. Some of these rocks resembled, says captain Furneaux,
"the Mewstone, particularly one which we so named, about four or five
leagues E. S. E. ½ E. off the above cape, which Tasman has not mentioned,
or laid down in his draughts." * This is nevertheless the lion-head-shaped
island, particularly mentioned by Tasman, as lying twelve miles out from
the coast: the mistake arose from the imperfection of the accounts.
After passing Maatsuyker's Isles, captain Furneaux sent a boat to the
main land, on the 10th, and the people found places where the natives had
been., and where pearl scallop shells were scattered about. "The soil
seemed to be very rich; the country well clothed with wood, particularly
on the lee sides of the hills; plenty of water which falls from the rocks
in beautiful cascades, for two or three hundred feet perpendicular, into
the sea; but they did not see the least sign of any place to anchor in
with safety."

[* _Cook's Second Voyage_, Vol. I. p. 109.]

On the return of the boat, captain Furneaux made sail, and came to "the
westernmost point of a very deep bay, called by Tasman _Stormy Bay_. From
the west to the east point of this bay there are several small islands,
and black rocks which we called the _Friars_." From the Friars he
followed the coast N. by E. four leagues, and the same evening anchored
in ADVENTURE BAY. "We first took this bay," says the captain, "to be that
which Tasman called Frederik Henry Bay; but afterwards found that his is
laid down five leagues to the northward."

Captain Furneaux here mistook the Storm and Frederik Hendrik's Bays of
Tasman; and he has been followed in this error by all the succeeding
navigators of the same nation, which has created not a little confusion
in the geography of this part of the world.

The bay supposed to have been Storm Bay, has no name in Tasman's chart;
though the particular plan shows that he noticed it, as did Marion more
distinctly. The rocks marked at the east point of this bay, and called
the Friars, are the _Boreel's Eylanden_ of Tasman; and the true Storm Bay
is the deep inlet, of which Adventure Bay is a cove. Frederik Hendrik's
Bay is not within this inlet, but lies to the north-eastward, on the
outer side of the land which captain Furneaux, in consequence of his
first mistake, took to be Maria's Island, but which, in fact, is a part
of the main land. All this is evident from a close comparison of the
forms of the land in the two charts, and is corroborated by the
differences of longitude from the Mewstone.

Adventure Bay proved to be a valuable discovery, being a good and
well-sheltered anchorage, where wood and water were abundant, and
procurable without much difficulty. The country was found to be pleasant;
the soil black and rich, though not deep; the sides of the hills covered
with large trees of the evergreen kind, growing to a great height before
they spread out into branches. There were several species of land birds;
and the aquatic fowl were ducks, teal, and the sheldrake. An opossum was
seen, and the excrement of another quadruped, judged to be of the deer
kind. Sea fish were caught, but not in plenty. The lagoons abounded with
trout and several other sorts of fish. No natives came down to the ships;
but their fires were seen at a distance, and several of their miserable
huts were examined. Not the least mark of canoe or boat was seen, and it
was generally thought they had none; "being altogether, from what we
could judge, a very ignorant and wretched set of people; though natives
of a country capable of producing every necessary of life, and a climate
the finest in the world. We found not the least sign of any minerals or

After remaining five days in Adventure Bay, captain Furneaux sailed along
the coast to the northward, in order to discover whether Van Diemen's
Land were joined to New South Wales. He passed the Maria's, Schouten's,
and Vanderlin's Islands of Tasman, at some distance; and then, closing
more in with the coast, he found the land to be low and even, and of an
agreeable aspect, "but no signs of a harbour or bay, where a ship might
anchor in safety." In latitude 40° 50', the coast, from running nearly
north, turned to the westward., and, as captain Furneaux thought, formed
a deep bay. From thence to 39° 50', is nothing but islands and shoals;
the "land high, rocky, and barren." In the course northward, past these
islands, he had regular soundings, from 15 to 30 fathoms, though no land
was visible; it was, however, seen again (or thought to be so) in
latitude 39°, and nearly due north from the islands. The bottom then
becoming uneven, our navigator discontinued his course, and steered for
New Zealand.

Whether Van Diemen's Land were, or were not, joined to New South Wales,
was a question not yet resolved; but captain Furneaux gave it as his
opinion, "that there is no strait between New Holland and Van Diemen's
Land, but a very deep bay."

COOK. 1777.

The next visitor to Van Diemen's Land was captain JAMES COOK, with his
Majesty's ships _Resolution_ and _Discovery_. He made the South-west Cape
on Jan. 24, 1777, and steered eastward along the shore, as captain
Furneaux had done, but generally at a greater distance: on the 26th he
anchored in Adventure Bay.

Captain Cook's account of this bay agrees nearly with that of Furneaux;
but he there procured abundance of fish, and had frequent communication
with the natives: his description of them coincides, generally, with what
has been recited in Marion's voyage. The most striking differences
betwixt these people and those captain Cook had seen on the east coast of
New South Wales, were in their language, in having no canoes, and in the
different texture of the hair: in those it was "naturally long and black,
though it be universally cropped short;" whilst in Adventure Bay, "it was
as woolly, as that of any native of Guinea." * In these particulars, as in
some others, they agreed with Dampier's description of the people on the
North-west Coast, who were without canoes, and had woolly hair.

[* See Cook's _Third Voyage_, Vol. I. p. 93-117.]

The following articles, to the conclusion of PART I. of this Section, are
placed somewhat out of their chronological order, for the convenience of
classing together all the discoveries which had no connection with the
British settlement in New South Wales. Those made in vessels from that
settlement, or which may be considered as a consequence of its
establishment, will compose PART II. in uninterrupted order.

BLIGH. 1788.

Captain William Bligh put into Adventure Bay with his Majesty's ship
_Bounty_ in 1788, and with the _Providence_ and _Assistant_ in 1792; for
the purpose of obtaining wood and water. These were procured with
facility, as also plenty of fish; and many useful seeds and trees were

No discoveries being made here, beyond those of Furneaux and Cook, the
reader is referred to captain Bligh's _Voyage to the South Seas_, P. 45
to 54, for his observations on the country and inhabitants. There is,
however, one remarkable circumstance recorded of these people, which is,
that when presents wrapped up in paper were thrown to them, "they took
the articles out, and placed them on their heads;" a ceremony which is
similar to that recorded by _Witsen_, of the inhabitants on the east side
of the Gulph of Carpentaria.

COX. 1789.

The brig Mercury, commanded by JOHN HENRY COX, Esq., anchored at the
entrance of a deep bay on the south side of Van Diemen's Land, on July 3,
1789. This bay was then first discovered, and lies N. by W. ten miles
from the _Mewstone_.* The country was found to be agreeably interspersed
with hills and vallies, and some of the hills were luxuriantly clothed
with trees to their very summits. About four miles from the vessel, there
was a stream of fresh water; and close to it stood a hut, or rather
hovel, neatly constructed of branches of trees and dried leaves. "Around
it were scattered a great quantity of pearl, escalop, oyster, and other
shells, which had been lately roasted." The faeces of some large animal
were met with in every direction; but neither the animal itself nor any
of the natives could be found.

[* _Observations, etc., made during a voyage in the brig Mercury_; by
Lieut. G. Mortimer of the Marines. London, 1791.]

July 5. A heavy swell from the southward obliged Mr. Cox to get under
way; and he worked along shore to the eastward. His intention was to put
into Adventure Bay; but being set to the northward of his reckoning, on
the 8th, he discovered, and came to an anchor in OYSTER BAY, on the inner
side of Maria's Island, the shelter there being found secure, and wood
and water plentiful. This bay lies in 42° 42' south, and 148° 25' east,
and not more than three or four leagues to the northward of Tasman's
_Frederik Hendrik's Bay_; though Mr. Cox, following in the error of
captain Furneaux, seems to have had no idea of this proximity.

Some communication was obtained with the inhabitants of the island; but
as nothing in this, or in other respects, was found materially different
to what was observed by Mons. Marion and captain Cook in the neighbouring
bays, it is unnecessary to enter into the details.


The French rear-admiral, BRUNY D'ENTRECASTEAUX, made the coast of Van
Diemen's Land with the intention of procuring wood and water at Adventure
Bay; "but deceived by the forms of the coast, which resemble each other,
he entered Storm Bay," April 20, 1792.* This is not, however, the Storm
Bay of Tasman; but that which was taken for such by captain Furneaux.

[* _Voyage de D'Entrecasteaux, rédigé par M. de Rossel_: À Paris 1808.
Tome I. p. 48.]

The error was soon detected; but finding shelter and good anchoring
ground, the admiral determined to remain where he was, and to examine the
inlet. The result most amply repaid his labour, by opening to him the
most important discovery which had been made in this country from the
time of Tasman. Instead of an open bay, this inlet was found to be the
entrance into a fine navigable channel, running more than ten leagues to
the northward, and there communicating with the true Storm Bay. It
contains a series of good harbours, or is itself, rather, one continued
harbour, from beginning to end.

This new passage obtained the name of CANAL DE D'ENTRECASTEAUX; and,
after passing through it with his ships, the admiral steered across Storm
Bay, passing to the southward of the land which Furneaux and Cook had
taken for Maria's Islands. At the head of Storm Bay other openings were
seen; but the wind from the north and the pressure of time, did not allow
him to examine them at that period.


On Jan. 21, of the following year, admiral D'Entrecasteaux anchored again
in one of the ports on the west side of the entrance to his newly
discovered channel; and after completing the wood and water of his two
ships, _La Recherche_ and _L'Espérance_, pursued his former course up the
passage, sending boats to complete the surveys of the different harbours
on each side. A boat was also sent to explore the two openings in the
head of Storm Bay. The westernmost proved to be a river, up which the
boat ascended twenty miles to the northward; and so far it was navigable
for ships. It was not pursued further; so that the distance, to which
this _Rivière du Nord_ might penetrate into the country, was uncertain.
The eastern opening led northward into a wide, open bay; and this into
another large expanse of water to the eastward, but which was not
examined. It was thought, however, that this eastern bay communicated
with that of Frederik Hendrik; and on this supposition (which has not
proved correct), the land which Furneaux and Cook had erroneously thought
to be Maria's Island, was named _Ile d' Abel Tasman_.

The charts of the bays, ports, and arms of the sea at the south-east end
of Van Diemen's Land, constructed in this expedition by Mons.
BEAUTEMPS-BEAUPRÉ and assistants, appear to combine scientific accuracy
and minuteness of detail, with an uncommon degree of neatness in the
execution: they contain some of the finest specimens of marine surveying,
perhaps ever made in a new country.

Admiral D'Entrecasteaux gives a very favourable account of the
disposition of the native inhabitants on the shores of the channel; and
he had frequent communications with them. In person and manner of living,
they agree with those described by Marion and Cook; but the vocabulary of
their language is somewhat different; and bark canoes, which preceding
navigators had thought them not to possess, were found in the channel.
The description of the country is, generally, favourable; though somewhat
less so than that of captain Cook at Adventure Bay. The climate was
thought good, though moist; and the supplies of wood, water, and fish,
for ships, were abundant; but the preference, in these respects, was
given to Adventure Bay, even by the French admiral.

_Mons. Labillardière_, in his previously published account of
D'Entrecasteaux's voyage, says, that he found a small vein of coal near
the South Cape; and that limestone rocks exist on the west-side of
Adventure Bay. These circumstances are omitted by M. de Rossel; as is
also the remark, that although the natives had their teeth perfect, in
general, yet in some near the bay, one, and sometimes two of the upper
front teeth were wanting. The same thing was observed by Dampier, of the
inhabitants on the north-west coast of Terra Australis; and this
coincidence, together with their similarity of person, particularly in
the woolly hair, is sufficiently remarkable to induce a belief, that
these people, placed at the two extremities of this vast country, have
yet one common origin; although the intermediate inhabitants of the East
Coast differ in some essential particulars.

HAYES. 1794.

Captain JOHN HAYES, of the Bombay marine, visited Storm Bay and
D'Entrecasteaux's Channel, with the private ships _Duke_ and _Dutchess_
from India, in 1794. He went much further up the Rivière du Nord, than
the boat from the French ships had done, and gave it the name of the
DERWENT RIVER. This name is likely to efflace the first appellation, and
with some degree of propriety; both from the superior extent of captain
Hayes' examination, and from _North River_ being an equivocal term for a
stream at the _south end_ of Van Diemen's Land.

That captain Hayes had some intimation of the French discovery is
evident, but not knowing the distinctive appellations given, he took upon
himself to impose names every where. Succeeding visitors have gone with
his _sketch_ in their hands, whilst the charts of D'Entrecasteaux were
unknown in that part of the world; from whence, and still more from those
names having now become familiar to the settlement established in the
Derwent River, it will be difficult, if not impossible in many cases, for
the original discoverer to be reinstated in his rights.

The head of the Derwent is the sole part where captain Hayes' sketch
conveys information, not to be found much more accurately delineated in
the charts of D'Entrecasteaux.





Preliminary Information.
Boat expeditions of Bass and Flinders.
Discoveries of Bass to the southward of Port Jackson;
of Flinders;
and of Flinders and Bass.
Examinations to the northward by Flinders.
Conclusive Remarks.


The year 1788 will ever be a memorable epoch in the history of Terra
Australis. On Jan. 18, Captain (now vice-admiral) ARTHUR PHILLIP arrived
in Botany Bay, with His Majesty's brig _Supply_; and was followed by the
_Syrius_, captain John Hunter, six sail of transports, and three store
ships. The purpose of this armament was to establish a colony in New
South Wales, over which extensive country Captain Phillip was appointed
_Governor_ and _Captain-general_. Botany Bay proved to be an unfavourable
situation for the new colony; it was, therefore, abandoned in favour of
PORT JACKSON, which lies three leagues to the northward, and was found to
be one of the finest harbours in the world.

A history of this establishment at the extremity of the globe, in a
country where the astonished settler sees nothing, not even the grass
under his feet, which is not different to whatever had before met his
eye, could not but present objects of great interest to the European
reader; and the public curiosity has been gratified by the perusal of
various respectable publications, wherein the proceedings of the
colonists, the country round Port Jackson, its productions, and native
inhabitants, are delineated with accuracy, and often with minuteness. The
subject to be here treated is the progress of maritime geographical
discovery, which resulted from the new establishment; and as the
different expeditions made for this purpose are in many cases
imperfectly, and in some altogether unknown, it has been judged that a
circumstantial account of them would be useful to seamen, and not without
interest to the general reader. These expeditions are, moreover,
intimately connected with the Investigator's voyage, of which they were,
in fact, the leading cause.

(Atlas, Plate VIII.)

The first advantage to maritime geography which arose from the new
settlement, was a survey of Botany and Broken Bays and Port Jackson, with
most of the rivers falling into them. Botany Bay had, indeed, been
examined by captain Cook; but of the other two harbours, the entrances
alone had been seen. This survey, including the intermediate parts of the
coast, was made by captain John Hunter, and was published soon after its
transmission to England by governor Phillip.

In the beginning Of 1795, captain (now vice-admiral) Hunter sailed a
second time for New South Wales, to succeed captain Phillip in the
government of the new colony. He took with him His Majesty's armed
vessels Reliance and Supply; and the author of this account, who was then
a midshipman and had not long before returned from a voyage to the South
Seas, was led by his passion for exploring new countries, to embrace the
opportunity of going out upon a station which, of all others, presented
the most ample field for his favourite pursuit.

On arriving at Port Jackson, in September of the same year, it appeared
that the investigation of the coast had not been greatly extended beyond
the three harbours; and even in these, some of the rivers were not
altogether explored. Jervis Bay, indicated but not named by captain Cook,
had been entered by lieutenant Richard Bowen; and to the north, Port
Stephens had lately been examined by Mr C. Grimes, land surveyor of the
colony, and by captain W. R. Broughton of H. M. ship Providence; but the
intermediate portions of coast, both to the north and south, were little
further known than from captain Cook's general chart; and none of the
more distant openings, marked but not explored by that celebrated
navigator, had been seen.

In Mr George Bass, surgeon of the Reliance, I had the happiness to find a
man whose ardour for discovery was not to be repressed by any obstacles,
nor deterred by danger; and with this friend a determination was formed
of completing the examination of the east coast of New South Wales, by
all such opportunities as the duty of the ship and procurable means could

BASS and FLINDERS. 1795.

Projects of this nature, when originating in the minds of young men, are
usually termed romantic; and so far from any good being anticipated, even
prudence and friendship join in discouraging, if not in opposing them.
Thus it was in the present case; so that a little boat of eight feet
long, called _Tom Thumb_, with a crew composed of ourselves and a boy,
was the best equipment to be procured for the first outset. In the month
following the arrival of the ships, we proceeded round in this boat, to
Botany Bay; and ascending George's River, one of two which falls into the
bay, explored its winding course about twenty miles beyond where Governor
Hunter's survey had been carried.

The sketch made of this river and presented to the governor, with the
favourable report of the land on its borders, induced His Excellency to
examine them himself shortly afterward; and was followed by establishing
there a new branch of the colony, under the name of _Bank's Town_.


A voyage to Norfolk Island interrupted our further proceedings, until
March 1796. Mr Bass and myself then went again in Tom Thumb, to explore a
large river, said to fall into the sea some miles to the south of Botany
Bay, and of which there was no indication in captain Cook's chart.

We sailed out of Port Jackson early in the morning of March 25, and stood
a little off to sea to be ready for the sea breeze. On coming in with the
land in the evening, instead of being near Cape Solander, we found
ourselves under the cliffs near Hat Hill, six or seven leagues to the
southward, whither the boat had been drifted by a strong current. Not
being able to land, and the sea breeze coming in early next morning from
the northward, we steered for two small islets, six or seven miles
further on, in order to get shelter; but being in want of water, and
seeing a place on the way where, though the boat could not land, a cask
might be obtained by swimming, the attempt was made, and Mr Bass went on
shore. Whilst getting off the cask, a surf arose further out than usual,
carried the boat before it to the beach, and left us there with our arms,
ammunition, clothes and provisions thoroughly drenched and partly
spoiled. The boat was emptied and launched again immediately; but it was
late in the afternoon before every thing was rafted off, and we proceeded
to the islets. It was not possible to land there; and we went on to two
larger isles lying near a projecting point of the main, which has four
hillocks upon it presenting the form of a double saddle, and proved to be
captain Cook's _Red Point_. The isles were inaccessible as the others;
and it being dark, we were constrained to pass a second night in Tom
Thumb, and dropped our stone anchor in 7 fathoms, under the lee of the

The sea breeze, on the 27th, still opposed our return; and learning from
two Indians that no water could be procured at Red Point, we accepted
their offer of piloting us to a river which, they said, lay a few miles
further southward, and where not only fresh water was abundant, but also
fish and wild ducks. These men were natives of Botany Bay, whence it was
that we understood a little of their language, whilst that of some others
was altogether unintelligible. Their river proved to be nothing more than
a small stream, which descended from a lagoon under Hat Hill, and forced
a passage for itself through the beach; so that we entered it with
difficulty even in Tom Thumb. Our two conductors then quitted the boat to
walk along the sandy shore abreast, with eight or ten strange natives in

After rowing a mile up the stream, and finding it to become more shallow,
we began to entertain doubts of securing a retreat from these people,
should they be hostilely inclined; and they had the reputation at Port
Jackson of being exceedingly ferocious, if not cannibals. Our muskets
were not yet freed from rust and sand, and there was a pressing necessity
to procure fresh water before attempting to return northward. Under these
embarrassments, we agreed upon a plan of action, and went on shore
directly to the natives. Mr Bass employed some of them to assist in
repairing an oar which had been broken in our disaster, whilst I spread
the wet powder out in the sun. This met with no opposition, for they knew
not what the powder was; but when we proceeded to clean the muskets, it
excited so much alarm that it was necessary to desist. On inquiring of
the two friendly natives for water, they pointed upwards to the lagoon;
but after many evasions our _barica_* was filled at a hole not many yards

[* A small cask, containing six or eight gallons.]

The number of people had increased to near twenty, and others were still
coming, so that it was necessary to use all possible expedition in
getting out of their reach. But a new employment arose upon our hands: we
had clipped the hair and beards of the two Botany Bay natives at Red
Point; and they were showing themselves to the others, and persuading
them to follow their example. Whilst, therefore, the powder was drying, I
began with a large pair of scissors to execute my new office upon the
eldest of four or five chins presented to me; and as great nicety was not
required, the shearing of a dozen of them did not occupy me long. Some of
the more timid were alarmed at a formidable instrument coming so near to
their noses, and would scarcely be persuaded by their shaven friends, to
allow the operation to be finished. But when their chins were held up a
second time, their fear of the instrument--the wild stare of their
eyes--and the smile which they forced, formed a compound upon the rough
savage countenance, not unworthy the pencil of a Hogarth. I was almost
tempted to try what effect a little snip would produce; but our situation
was too critical to admit of such experiments.

Everything being prepared for a retreat, the natives became vociferous
for the boat to go up to the lagoon; and it was not without stratagem
that we succeeded in getting down to the entrance of the stream, where
the depth of water placed us out of their reach.

Our examination of the country was confined, by circumstances, to a
general view. This part is called _Alowrie_, by the natives, and is very
low and sandy near the sides of the rivulet. About four miles up it, to
the north-west, is the lagoon; and behind, stands a semicircular range of
hills, of which the highest is Hat Hill. The water in the lagoon was
distinctly seen, and appeared to be several miles in circumference. The
land round it is probably fertile, and the slopes of the back hills had
certainly that appearance. The natives were in nothing, except language,
different from those at Port Jackson; but their dogs, which are of the
same species, seemed to be more numerous and familiar.

Soon after dark the sea breeze was succeeded by a calm; and at ten
o'clock we rowed out of the rivulet, repassed Red Point, and at one in
the morning came to an anchor in 5 fathoms, close to the northernmost of
the two first rocky islets.* In the afternoon of the 28th, we got on
shore under the high land to the north of Hat Hill and were able to cook
provisions and take some repose without disturbance. The sandy beach was
our bed; and after much fatigue, and passing three nights of cramp in Tom
Thumb, it was to us a bed of down.

[* These islets seem to be what are marked as rocks under water in
captain Cook's chart. In it, also, there are three islets laid down to
the south of Red Point, which must be meant for the double islet lying
directly off it, for there are no others. The cause of the point being
named _red_, escaped our notice.]

The shore in this part is mostly high and cliffy; and under the cliffs
were lying black lumps, apparently of slaty stone, rounded by attrition.
These were not particularly noticed, but Mr. Clarke, in his disastrous
journey along the coast, afterwards made fires of them; and on a
subsequent examination, Mr. Bass found a stratum of coal to run through
the whole of these cliffs.

March 29. By rowing hard we got four leagues nearer home; and at night
dropped our stone under another range of cliffs, more regular but less
high than those near Hat Hill. At ten o'clock, the wind, which had been
unsettled and driving electric clouds in all directions, burst out in a
gale at south, and obliged us to get up the anchor immediately, and run
before it. In a few minutes the waves began to break; and the extreme
danger to which this exposed our little bark, was increased by the
darkness of the night, and the uncertainty of finding any place of
shelter. The shade of the cliffs over our heads, and the noise of the
surfs breaking at their feet, were the directions by which our course was
steered parallel to the coast.

Mr Bass kept the sheet of the sail in his hand, drawing in a few inches
occasionally, when he saw a particularly heavy sea following. I was
steering with an oar, and it required the utmost exertion and care to
prevent broaching to; a single wrong movement, or a moment's inattention,
would have sent us to the bottom. The task of the boy was to bale out the
water which, in spite of every care, the sea threw in upon us.

After running near an hour in this critical manner, some high breakers
were distinguished ahead; and behind them there appeared no shade of
cliffs. It was necessary to determine, on the instant, what was to be
done, for our bark could not live ten minutes longer. On coming to what
appeared to be the extremity of the breakers, the boat's head was brought
to the wind in a favourable moment, the mast and sail taken down, and the
oars got out. Pulling then towards the reef during the intervals of the
heaviest seas, we found it to terminate in a point; and in three minutes
were in smooth water under its lee. A white appearance, further back,
kept us a short time in suspense; but a nearer approach showed it to be
the beach of a well-sheltered cove, in which we anchored for the rest of
the night. So sudden a change, from extreme danger to comparatively
perfect safety, excited reflections which kept us some time awake: we
thought Providential Cove a well-adapted name for this place; but by the
natives, as we afterwards learned, it is called _Watta-Mowlee_.

On landing next morning, March 30, water was found at the back of the
beach. The country round the cove is, in general, sandy and barren. No
natives were seen, but their traces were recent. The extremity of the
reef, which afforded us such signal shelter, bore S.E. by E. from the
centre of the beach, the north head of the cove E.N.E.; and except at the
intermediate five points of the compass, Watta-Mowlee affords shelter for
large boats, with anchorage on a fine sandy bottom.

Between three and four miles to the northward of this cove, we found the
river, or rather port, which was the original place of our destination;
and it having been a pilot named Hacking, from whom the first information
of it had been received, it was named after him: by the natives it is
called _Deeban_.

April 1st, was employed in the examination of the port. It is something
more than one mile wide in the entrance; but soon contracts to half that
space, and becomes shallow. Neither have the three arms, into which it
afterwards branches out, any deep channel into them; although, within the
second branch, there are from 3 to 8 fathoms. Finding there was no part
accessible to a ship, beyond two miles from the entrance, nor any
prospect of increasing our small stock of provisions, _Port Hacking_ was
quitted early in the morning of April 2.

The shores of the port are mostly rocky, particularly on the north side;
but there is no want of grass or wood; and without doubt there are many
culturable spots on the sides of the streams which descend, apparently
from the inland mountains, into the uppermost branch. Two natives came
down to us in a friendly manner, and seemed not to be unacquainted with
Europeans. Their language differed somewhat from the Port Jackson
dialect; but with the assistance of signs, we were able to make ourselves

After sounding the entrance of Port Hacking in going out, and finding 3½
fathoms water, we steered N.E. by E for Cape Solander; and the same
evening Tom Thumb was secured alongside the Reliance in Port Jackson.

In this little expedition, I had no other means of ascertaining the
situations of places than by pocket-compass bearings and computed
distances; which was done as follows:

                                              South lat. East lon.
                                                 °    '     °   '
Cliffy south extreme of Cape Solander, lies in  34  2.5   151  12
From thence to Port Hacking, a low curving
shore, mostly beach, lies S. W. b. W. 6 miles      +3.4        -6
Situation of Port Hacking                       34  5.9   151   6
From Port Hacking to Watta-Mowlee; low cliffs,
 but rising gradually to the head of the cove;
 S. S. W. 3½ miles                                  +3,2     -1,6
Situation of Watta-Mowlee                       34   9,1  151 4,4
Thence to the end of steep cliffs, nearly
straight S. S. W. 4½ miles                          +4,2     -2,1
To the end of coal cliffs, and commencement of
Hat-Hill beach; mostly a high shore, sometimes
cliffy, with small beaches at intervals;
S. by W. l0 miles,                                  +9.8     -2.4
From thence to Red Point; a curving sandy beach
with small rocky points; S.¾ E. 6½ miles            +6,4    + 1.1
Situation of Red Point                          34  29.5  151   1
From Red Pt. to the entrance of Tom Thumb's
lagoon; a low, curving sandy beach; S.W. 5 miles    +3.5     -4.3
Situation of the entrance to Tom Thumb's lagoon 34  33.0 151 56.7

CLARKE. 1797 (Atlas, Pl. I.)

After this expedition, the duties of the ship, and a voyage to the Cape
of Good Hope by the way of Cape Horn, suspended our projects for some
time. On the return of the Reliance to New South Wales, we found there
the supra-cargo of the Sydney Cove, a ship from India commanded by Mr. G.
A. Hamilton, which, having started a butt end, had been run on shore at
Furneaux's Islands and wrecked. Mr. Clarke had left the ship, with the
chief mate and others, in the long boat, designing for Port Jackson, in
order to procure means for transporting the officers and people, and such
part of the cargo as had been saved, to the same place; but being
overtaken by a heavy south-east gale, their boat had been thrown on shore
near Cape Howe, three-hundred miles from the colony, and stove to pieces.

There was no other prospect of safety for Mr. Clarke and his companions,
than to reach Port Jackson on foot; and they commenced their march along
the sea shore, scantily furnished with ammunition, and with less
provisions. Various tribes of natives were passed, some of whom were
friendly; but the hostility of others, and excessive fatigue, daily
lessened the number of these unfortunate people; and when the provisions
and ammunition failed, the diminution became dreadfully rapid. Their last
loss was of the chief mate and carpenter, who were killed by Dilba, and
other savages near Hat Hill;* and Mr. Clarke, with a sailor and one
lascar, alone remained when they reached Watta-Mowlee. They were so
exhausted, as to have scarcely strength enough to make themselves
observed by a boat which was fishing off the cove; but were at length
conveyed into her, and brought to Port Jackson.

[* This Dilba was one of the two Botany-Bay natives, who had been most
strenuous for Tom Thumb to go up into the lagoon, which lies under the

Mr. Clarke gave the first information of the coal cliffs, near Hat Hill;
and from him it was ascertained, that, besides the known bays, many small
streams and inlets had interrupted his march along the shore, from Cape
Howe to Watta-Mowlee; but that there were none which he had not been able
to pass, either at the sea side, or by going a few miles round, into the
country. A journal of his route was published in the Calcutta newspapers,
some time in 1798.

The colonial schooner Francis had made one voyage to Furneaux's Islands,
and brought from thence captain Hamilton, and part of his people and
cargo. The same vessel was about to proceed thither a second time, and I
was anxious to embrace that opportunity of exploring those extensive and
little known lands; but the great repairs required by the Reliance would
not allow of my absence. My friend Bass, less confined by his duty, made
several excursions, principally into the interior parts behind Port
Jackson; with a view to pass over the back mountains, and ascertain the
nature of the country beyond them. His success was not commensurate to
the perseverance and labour employed: the mountains were impassable; but
the course of the river Grose, laid down in Plate VIII, resulted from one
of these excursions.

SHORTLAND. 1797. (Atlas, Pl. VIII.)

In September, a small colonial vessel having been carried off by
convicts, lieutenant JOHN SHORTLAND, first of the Reliance,* went after
them to the northward, in an armed boat. The expedition was fruitless, as
to the proposed object; but in returning along the shore from Port
Stephens, Mr. Shortland discovered a port in latitude 33°, capable of
receiving small ships; and what materially added to the importance of the
discovery, was a _stratum of coal_, found to run through the south head
of the port, and also pervaded a cliffy island in the entrance. These
coals were not only accessible to shipping, but of a superior quality to
those in the cliffs near Hat Hill. The port was named after His
Excellency governor HUNTER; and a settlement, called _New Castle_, has
lately been there established. The entrance is narrow, and the deepest
water (about three fathoms) close to the north-west side of the Coal
Island; but no vessel of more than three hundred tons should attempt it.

[* Afterwards captain of the _Junon_. He was mortally wounded, whilst
bravely defending his Majesty's frigate against a vastly superior force;
and died at _Guadaloupe_.]

BASS. 1797.

In December, Mr. GEORGE BASS obtained leave to make an expedition to the
southward; and he was furnished with a fine whale boat and six weeks
provisions by the governor, and a crew of six seamen from the ships. He
sailed Dec. 3., in the evening; but foul and strong winds forced him into
_Port Hacking_ and _Watta-Mowlee_. On the 5th, in latitude 34° 38', he
was obliged to stop in a small bight of the coast, a little south of
_Alowrie_. The points of land there are basaltic; and on looking round
amongst the burnt rocks scattered over a hollowed circular space behind
the shore, Mr. Bass found a hole of twenty-five or thirty feet in
diameter; into which the sea washed up by a subterraneous passage.

Dec. 6., he passed a long sloping projection which I have called _Point
Bass_, lying about three leagues south of Alowrie. Beyond this point, the
coast forms a sandy bay of four or five leagues in length, containing two
small inlets; and the southernmost being accessible to the boat, Mr. Bass
went in and stopped three days. This little place was found to deserve no
better name than _Shoals Haven_. The entrance is mostly choaked up by
sand, and the inner part with banks of sand and mud; there is, however, a
small channel sufficiently deep for boats. The latitude was made to be
34° 52' south; the sloping Point Bass, to the northward, bore N. 12° E.,
and a steep head at the southern extremity of the bay, S. 35° E. The tide
was found to rise seven or eight feet, and the time of high water to be
about _eight hours and a half after_ the moon passed over the meridian.

The great chain of high land, called the Blue Mountains, by which the
colony at Port Jackson is prevented from extending itself to the west,
appeared to Mr. Bass to terminate here, near the sea coast. The base of
this southern extremity of the chain, he judged to extend twenty-five or
thirty miles, in a south-western direction from Point Bass; after which
it turns north-westward. In the direction of west from Shoals Haven, and
in all the space to the south of that line, was an extensive, flat
country, where a party desirous of penetrating into the interior might
reasonably hope to avoid those impediments which, at the back of Port
Jackson., have constantly proved insurmountable.

In an excursion from the boat towards the southern end of the mountains,
Mr. Bass fell in with a considerable stream, which he traced down to the
shore, about three miles north of Shoals' Haven: this is the first inlet
of the long bay, which had been observed from the sea, with a bar running
across the entrance. The soil on the southern bank of this stream he
compared, for richness, to the banks of the Hawkesbury; and attributes
this unusual fertility to the same cause: repeated inundations. In fact,
the stream has since been found to descend from the mountains at twelve
or fifteen miles from the coast, and to run along their southern
extremity to the sea; so that it performs the same office here that the
Hawkesbury does further north--that of being a channel for the waters
which descend from the high back land; but as, in the heavy rains, it is
also unequal to the task, the banks are overflowed, and the low country
to the south and west is inundated and fertilized. There are, however, at
the back of Shoals Haven, many thousand acres of open ground, whose soil
is a rich vegetable mould, and now beyond the reach of the floods.

Dec. 10. The boat left Shoals Haven and entered _Jervis Bay_, a large
open place of very unpromising appearance. On the north side of the
entrance, between Point Perpendicular and Long Nose, there is a small
cove, where a ship's boat might lie at half tide; and with a hose fill
water from the back of the beach, at two pits which appeared to be always
full. The best anchorage for ships seemed to be on the east side of the
bay, between Long Nose and the northern beach, though they would not,
even there, be entirely land-locked. _Bowen's Island_ lies a quarter of a
mile from the south side of the entrance, but the passage between does
not admit any thing larger than boats. There is a small beach at the back
of the island, off which ships might anchor in 8 fathoms sandy bottom,
and be sheltered as far round as south-east; but with the wind nearer to
east they would be exposed.

The east shore of Jervis Bay runs, for twelve or fifteen miles, so near
to north from the entrance, that it is not, at the head, more than four
hundred yards across to the shore of the long outer bay. The piece of
land, which is thus made a narrow peninsula, is rather high, with a face
of steep cliffs toward the sea. The rocks on the inner side bear strong
marks of volcanic fire; and being disposed in parallel layers, their
inclination to the west is very evident: quantities of pumice stone were
scattered along the shores.

The country round the bay is mostly barren. On the eastern side it is
rocky, with heath and brush-wood; the west is low, swampy, and sandy,
with some partial exceptions; but on the south side there are grassy
spaces amongst the brush-wood which might afford pasturage for cattle.

Jervis Bay was quitted Dec. 13., and at noon the Pigeon House bore W. by
N. In the evening Mr. Bass stopped in a cove, which Point Upright
shelters from northern winds; and he employed the next day in looking
round the country. The vallies and slopes of the hills were found to be
generally fertile; but there being nothing of particular interest in this
place, it was quitted on the 15th. Some small islands lying close under
the shore (in Bateman Bay), bore west at noon; and the night was passed
at anchor under a point, in latitude 36° 00', where, the wind being foul
on the 16th, Mr. Bass laid the boat on shore, and proceeded to examine
the surrounding country.

At eight or nine miles from the coast is a ridge of hummocky hills,
extending to the southward; but the space between these hills and the sea
is low and in great part occupied by salt swamps. The sea was found to
have an entrance at the back of the point, and to form a considerable
lagoon, which communicated with the swamps by means of several branching
arms. The soil, as may be supposed, was generally bad, the sloping sides
of some of the hills being alone capable of any utility. In a round of
twelve or fourteen miles Mr. Bass could not find a drop of fresh water,
or see a native. There were, however, many huts, and he traced the paths
from them down to holes dug in the lowest grounds; but these were then
all dried up, and the country in general seemed to be suffering from

Dec. 17. The wind having veered to N. N. W., the boat was launched, and
proceeded to the southward. Mount Dromedary was passed at eleven; and an
island of about two miles in circuit was seen lying off it, a few miles
to the eastward: the latitude at noon was 36° 23'. At four, the fair
breeze died away, and a strong wind, which burst forth from the south,
obliged Mr. Bass to run for a gap in the land, which had just before been
noticed. Here, on a little beach at the mouth of an inlet, across which
the sea was breaking, the boat was hauled up for the night. Next morning,
the inlet being free of breakers, he entered the prettiest little model
of a harbour he had ever seen. Unfortunately it is but a model; for
although the shelter within be complete for small craft, yet the depth
over the bar is too small, even for boats, except at high water, when
there is eight or nine feet. This little place was named _Barmouth
Creek_, and lies, according to Mr. Bass' computation, in 36° 47' south.
The country round, so far as was examined, is rocky and barren near the
sea; and towards the head of the creek, it is low and penetrated by the
salt swamps.

(Atlas, Pl. VI.)

Dec. 19. At day light Mr. Bass continued his course to the southward.,
with a fair breeze. At seven he discovered TWO-FOLD BAY; but unwilling to
lose a fair wind, reserved the examination of it for his return. At five
in the evening the wind came at S. S. W.; and he anchored under the lee
of a point, but could not land. A sea breeze from E. N. E. next day,
enabled him to continue onward; and at eleven, he bore away west, round
_Cape Howe_, whose latitude was observed to be 37° 30'. In the evening he
landed at the entrance of a lagoon, one mile north of the _Ram Head_, in
order to take in as much fresh water as possible; for it was to be feared
that a want of this necessary article might oblige him to discontinue his
pursuit, at a time when, from the coast being unexplored, it would become
more than ever interesting.

Dec. 21. A gale set in at W. S. W., and continued for nine days without
intermission. This time was employed in examining the country, which,
though hilly in external appearance, was found to be mostly low, sandy,
and wet. The hills have a slight covering of green upon them, but consist
of little else than sand; and from what could be seen of the back
country, the soil there is scarcely better. The vallies are overgrown
with long grass, ferns, brush-wood, and climbing plants, so as to be
almost impenetrable; yet even there the soil is good for nothing.

At every landing place, from Jervis Bay to Barmouth Creek, the fresh
water had been observed to diminish both in quantity and quality; and
upon this coast of sand the difficulty of procuring it was expected to be
very great. It was, on the contrary, plentiful; there being many little
runs which drained out from the sand hills, and either trickled over the
rocky spots at their feet, or sank through the beaches into the sea.

The western gale being at length succeeded by a breeze at E. N. E., Mr.
Bass left the Ram Head early on the 31st. His course was W. by S., close
to a low, sandy coast; the beach being interrupted by small, rocky
points, not oftener than once in ten or fifteen miles. The back land
consisted of short ridges of irregular hills, lying at no great distance
from the sea. At noon, the latitude was 37° 42'; and the distance run
from the Ram Head, by computation, was thirty or thirty-five miles.

The furthest land seen by captain Cook, is marked at fifteen leagues from
the Ram Head, and called _Point Hicks_; but at dusk Mr. Bass had run much
more than that distance close along the shore, and could perceive no
point or projection which would be distinguishable from a ship: the coast
continued to be straight, low, and sandy, similar to what had been passed
in the morning. There arose many large smokes from behind the beach;
probably from the sides of lagoons, with which, there was reason to
think, the back country abounded.


The breeze continuing to be fresh and favourable, Mr. Bass ventured to
steer onward in the night, and kept the shore close a-bord. At two in the
morning, the increased hollowness of the waves made him suspect the water
was becoming shallow; and he hauled off for an hour, until there was
sufficient daylight to distinguish the land. It was still low, level, and
sandy, and trended S. W. by W., nearly as the boat was steering. At seven
o'clock, high land appeared at a considerable distance in the south-west;
and the beach then trended in the same direction. It, however, changed
soon afterward, to run nearly west; and Mr. Bass quitted it to keep on
his course for the high land. The latitude at noon was 38° 41'; and the
difference made from the noon before, upon the average course of S. W. by
W, makes the distance run 107 miles; which, added to the preceding thirty
or thirty-five, gives the length of the beach from the Ram Head, to be
about 140 miles.*

[* But the latitude observed appears to be 8' or 10' too little; and if
so, the length of the beach would be something more than 150 miles. It is
no matter of surprise if observations taken from an open boat, in a high
sea, should differ ten miles from the truth; but I judge that Mr. Bass'
quadrant must have received some injury during the night of the 31st, for
a similar error appears to pervade all the future observations, even
those taken under favourable circumstances.]

The high land extended from the bearing of S. W. by S. to W. N. W., and
was distant in the latter direction two or three leagues. North of it
there was a deep bight; and further eastward, two or three places in the
Long Beach which had the appearance of inlets. To the south there were
several rocky islets; and great numbers of petrels, and other sea-birds,
were flying about the boat.

From the latitude of the high land, Mr. Bass considered it to be that
seen by captain Furneaux (or supposed to have been seen), in 39°; and
consequently, that he had traced the unknown space between Point Hicks
and _Furneaux's Land_. His course was now steered to pass round this
land; but on coming abreast of the rocky islets, a hummock appeared above
the horizon in the S. E. by S., and presently, a larger one at S. ½ W.;
and being unable to fetch the first, he steered for the latter, which
proved to be an island; and at six in the evening, he anchored under its
lee. Vast numbers of gulls and other birds were roosting upon it, and on
the rocks were many seals; but the surf would not admit of landing. This
island was judged to be thirty miles, S. by W., from the situation at

Jan. 2. The wind was strong at E. N. E.; and Mr. Bass being apprehensive
that the boat could not fetch the high main land, determined to steer
southward for the islands, in the hope of procuring some rice from the
wreck of the ship Sydney Cove, to eke out his provisions. The wind,
however, became unfavourable to him, veering to E. S. E; so that with the
sea which drove the boat to leeward, the course to noon was scarcely so
good as S. S. W. The latitude observed was then 39° 51'; and no land
being in sight, the prospect of reaching Furneaux's Islands became very
faint. At four o'clock an accident caused it to be totally given up:
water was observed to rush in fast through the boat's side, and made it
absolutely necessary to go upon the other tack. The latitude to which Mr.
Bass supposed himself arrived, was something to the south of 40°; and the
weather was clear enough for land of moderate height to have been seen
five leagues further, had there been any within that distance.

The boat was then kept north-eastward, towards Furneaux's Land. At nine
in the evening, the wind blew hard at S. E. by E., accompanied by a
hollow, irregular sea, which put our enterprising discoverer and his
boat's crew into the greatest danger; but the good qualities of his
little bark, with careful steerage, carried him through this perilous
night. On the 3rd, at six o'clock the land was seen; and in the
afternoon, whilst standing in to look for a place of shelter, a smoke and
several people were observed upon a small island not far from the main
coast. On rowing up, they proved to be, not natives, to Mr. Bass' great
surprise, but Europeans. They were convicts who, with others, had run
away with a boat from Port Jackson, in the intention of plundering the
wreck of the Sydney Cove; and not being able to find it, their
companions, thinking their number too great, had treacherously left them
upon this island, whilst asleep. These people were seven in number; and
during the five weeks they had been on this desert spot, had subsisted on
petrels, to which a seal was occasionally added. Mr. Bass promised to
call at the island, on his return; and in the mean time, proceeded to the
west side of the high main land, where he anchored, but could not get on

Jan. 4. The wind being at north-east, he continued his course onward,
steering W. N. W. round an open bay; and afterwards N. W. by W., as the
coast generally trended. The shore consisted of long, shallow bights, in
which the land was low and sandy; but the intermediate rocky points were
generally steep, with a ridge of hills extending from them, into the
interior, as far as could be distinguished. In the evening an inlet was
discovered, with many shoals at the entrance; and the deep channel being
not found till a strong tide made it unattainable, Mr. Bass waited for
high water; he then entered a spacious harbour which, from its relative
position to the hitherto known parts of the coast, was named WESTERN
PORT. It lies, according to the boat's run, about sixty miles N. W. by W.
½ W. from Furneauxs Land; and its latitude is somewhere about 38° 25'
south.* The time of high water is near _half an hour_ after the moon's
passage over the meridian, and the rise of tide from ten to fourteen

[* The true latitude of the east entrance into Western Port, is about 38°
33' south.]

The examination of this new and important discovery, the repairs of the
boat, and the continuance of strong winds, kept Mr. Bass thirteen days in
Western Port. His sketch of it has since been superseded by the more
regular examination of ensign Barralier, copied into the chart, where its
form, situation, and extent will be best seen. The land upon its borders
is, generally, low and level; but the hills rise as they recede into the
country, and afford an agreeable prospect from the port. Wherever Mr.
Bass landed, he found the soil to be a light, brown mould, which becomes
peaty in the lowest grounds. Grass and ferns grow luxuriantly, and yet
the country is but thinly timbered. Patches of brush wood are frequent,
particularly on the eastern shore, where they are some miles in extent;
and there the soil is a rich, vegetable mould. The island (since called
_Phillip Island_) which shelters the port, is mostly barren, but is
covered with shrubs and some diminutive trees.

Mr. Bass had great difficulty in procuring good water, arising, as he
judged, from unusual dryness in the season; and the head of the winding
creek on the east side of the port, was the sole place where it had not a
brackish taste. The mud banks at the entrance of the creek may be passed
at half tide by the largest boats; and within it, there is at all times a
sufficient depth of water.

No more than four natives were seen, and their shyness prevented
communication; the borders of the port, however, bore marks of having
been much frequented, but the want of water seemed to have occasioned a
migration to the higher lands. Kangaroos did not appear to be numerous;
but black swans went by hundreds in a flight, and ducks, a small, but
excellent kind, by thousands; and the usual wild fowl were in abundance.

The seventh week of absence from Port Jackson had expired, by the time
Mr. Bass was ready to sail from Western Port; and the reduced state of
his provisions forced him, very reluctantly, to turn the boat's head

Jan. 18. At daylight, he sailed with a fresh wind at west, which
increased to a gale in the afternoon, with a heavy swell from the
south-west; and he sought shelter behind a cape since named _Cape
Liptrap_. Next morning, he ran over to the islands on the west side of
Furneaux's Land; but was obliged to return to his former place of
shelter, where a succession of gales kept him until the 26th. A quantity
of petrels had been taken on the islands, and this week of detention was
mostly employed in salting them for the homeward bound voyage.

At length, Mr. Bass was able to execute the project he had formed for the
seven convicts. It was impossible to take them all into the boat;
therefore to five, whom he set upon the main land, he gave a musket, half
his ammunition, some hooks and lines, a light cooking kettle, and
directions how to proceed in their course toward Port Jackson. The
remaining two, one of whom was old and the other diseased, he took into
the boat with the consent of the crew, who readily agreed to divide the
daily bannock into nine with them. He then bore away, with a fresh wind
at west, round Furneaux's Land.*

[* I have continued to make use of the term Furneaux's Land conformably
to Mr. Bass' journal; but the position of this land is so different from
that supposed to have been seen by captain Furneaux, that it cannot be
the same, as Mr. Bass was afterwards convinced. At our recommendation
governor Hunter called it WILSON'S PROMONTORY, in compliment to my friend
Thomas Wilson, Esq. of London.]

From Jan.26 to Feb. 1, Mr. Bass was detained by eastern gales from
proceeding on his return. The boat lay in _Sealers Cove_, whilst he
occupied the time in examining Wilson's Promontory. The height of this
vast cape, though not such as would be considered extraordinary by
seamen, is yet strikingly so from being contrasted with the low, sandy
land behind it; and the firmness and durability of its structure make it
worthy of being, what there was reason to believe it, the boundary point
of a large strait, and a corner stone to the new continent. It is a lofty
mass of hard granite, of about twenty miles long, by from six to fourteen
in breadth. The soil upon it is shallow and barren; though the brush
wood, dwarf gum trees, and some smaller vegetation, which mostly cover
the rocks, give it a deceitful appearance to the eye of a distant

Looking from the top of the promontory to the northward, there is seen a
single ridge of mountains, which comes down, out of the interior country,
in a southern direction for the promontory; but sloping off gradually to
a termination, it leaves a space of twelve or sixteen miles of low, sandy
land between them. This low land is nearly intersected by a considerable
lagoon on the west, and a large shoal bay, named _Corner Inlet_, on the
east side; and it seemed probable, that this insulated mass of granite
has been entirely surrounded by the sea at no very distant period of

There were no inhabitants on Wilson's Promontory; but, upon the sandy
neck, some were seen near the borders of the inlets. The few birds were
thought to have a sweeter note than those of Port Jackson.

Four small, barren islands lie seven or eight miles to the northeast,
from Sealers Cove. The northernmost of them was visited, and found to be
about one mile and a half in circuit, ascending gradually from the shore,
to a hill of moderate elevation in the centre. There was neither tree nor
shrub upon it; but the surface was mostly covered with tufts of coarse
grass, amongst which the seals had every where made paths and the petrels
their burrows. Mr. Bass was of opinion, that upon these islands, and
those lying scattered round the promontory, which are all more or less
frequented by seals, a commercial speculation on a small scale might be
made with advantage. The place of shelter for the vessel would be Sealers
Cove, on the main land; which, though small, and apparently exposed to
east winds, would be found convenient and tolerably secure: fresh water
is there abundant, and a sufficiency of wood at hand to boil down any
quantity of blubber likely to be procured.

The observed latitude of the cove was 38° 50';* and the rise of tide
found to be ten or eleven feet, _ten hours and a quarter after_ the moon
passed over the meridian. The flood, after sweeping south-westward along
the great eastern beach, strikes off for the Seal Islands and the
promontory, and then runs westward, past it, at the rate of two or three
miles an hour: the ebb tide sets to the eastward. "Whenever it shall be
decided," says Mr. Bass in his journal, "that the opening between this
and Van Diemen's Land is a strait, this rapidity of tide, and the long
south-west swell that seems to be continually rolling in upon the coast
to the westward, will then be accounted for."

[* This appears to be from 10' to 15' too little: an error which probably
arose from the same cause as others before noticed.]

Feb. 2., Mr. Bass sailed to Corner Inlet; and next day fell in with the
five convicts, whom he put across to the long beach.* but was himself
unable to proceed until the 9th, in consequence of foul winds. Corner
Inlet is little else than a large flat, the greater part of it being dry
at low water. There is a long shoal on the outside of the entrance, which
is to be avoided by keeping close to the shore of the promontory; but
when the tide is out the depth, except in holes, no where exceeds 2½
fathoms. A vessel drawing twelve or thirteen feet may lie safely under
the high land, from which there are some large runs of most excellent
water. The tide rises a foot less here than in Sealers Cove, and flows an
hour later; arising, probably, from the flood leaving it in an eddy, by
setting past, and not into the inlet.

[* Nothing more had been beard of these five men., so late as 1803.]

Feb. 9, Corner Inlet was quitted with a strong south-west wind, and Mr.
Bass steered E. by N. along the shore. At the distance of five miles, he
passed the mouth of a shallow opening in the low sandy beach, from which
a half-moon shoal stretches three miles to the south-eastward. Four or
five miles further, a lesser opening of the same kind was passed; and by
noon, when the latitude was 38° 34' (probably 38° 46'), he had arrived at
the point of the long beach, which in going out, had been quitted to
steer for the promontory. His general course from thence was N. E. by E.
along the shore, until nine o'clock, when judging the coast must begin to
trend more eastwardly, he again steered E. b. N.; the wind blowing a
fresh gale at W. S. W., with a following sea. At daylight, Feb. 10, the
beach was distant two miles, and trending parallel to the boat's course.

The western gale died away in the morning, and was succeeded by one from
the eastward. The boat was in no condition to struggle against a foul
wind; and Mr. Bass, being unwilling to return to Corner Inlet, ventured
through a heavy surf and took refuge upon the beach; having first
observed the latitude to be 37° 47' south.

The country at the back of the beach consisted of dried-up swamps and
barren sand hills. Some natives came down with very little hesitation,
and conducted themselves amicably: they appeared never to have seen or
heard of white people before.

(Atlas, Plate VIII.)

Feb. 11. the foul wind had ceased to blow, and the clouds threatened
another gale from the south-west. So soon as there was sufficient
daylight, the boat was launched, and at four the same afternoon anchored
under the Rain Head. Mr. Bass was kept there till the 14th in the
evening; when a strong breeze sprung up suddenly at south-west, and he
sailed immediately, passing Cape Howe at ten o'clock. By noon of the
15th, he had reached Two-fold Bay, where the latitude was observed to be
36° 53' south;* and having ascertained that _Snug Cove_, on its
north-west side, afforded shelter for shipping, he steered northward, and
passed Mount Dromedary soon after midnight. At noon, Feb. 16, Mr. Bass
landed upon a small island lying under the shore to the south-east of the
Pigeon House, to examine a pole which he had before observed, and
supposed might have been set up as a signal by shipwrecked people; but it
proved to be nothing more than the dead stump of a tree, much taller and
more straight than the others. He sailed next morning; but the wind hung
so much in the north and east quarters that he was forced successively
into Jervis Bay, Shoals Haven, and Port Hacking; and it was not until the
24th at night, that our adventurous discoverer terminated his dangerous
and fatiguing voyage, by entering within the heads of Port Jackson.

[* The true latitude of the mouth of Two-fold Bay is 37° 5', showing an
error of 12' to the north, nearly similar to what has been specified in
the observations near Wilson's Promontory.]

It should be remembered, that Mr. Bass sailed with only six weeks
provisions; but with the assistance of occasional supplies of petrels,
fish, seal's flesh, and a few geese and black swans, and by abstinence,
he had been enabled to prolong his voyage beyond _eleven_ weeks. His
ardour and perseverance were crowned, in despite of the foul winds which
so much opposed him, with a degree of success not to have been
anticipated from such feeble means. In three hundred miles of coast, from
Port Jackson to the Ram Head, he added a number of particulars which had
escaped captain Cook; and will always escape any navigator in a first
discovery, unless he have the time and means of joining a close
examination by boats, to what may be seen from the ship.

Our previous knowledge of the coast scarcely extended beyond the Ram
Head; and there began the harvest in which Mr. Bass was ambitious to
place the first reaping hook. The new coast was traced three hundred
miles; and instead of trending southward to join itself to Van Diemen's
Land, as captain Furneaux had supposed, he found it, beyond a certain
point, to take a direction nearly opposite, and to assume the appearance
of being exposed to the buffetings of an open sea. Mr. Bass, himself,
entertained no doubt of the existence of a wide strait, separating Van
Diemen's Land from New South Wales; and he yielded with the greatest
reluctance to the necessity of returning, before it was so fully
ascertained as to admit of no doubt in the minds of others. But he had
the satisfaction of placing at the end of his new coast, an extensive and
useful harbour, surrounded with a country superior to any other known in
the southern parts of New South Wales.

A voyage _expressly_ undertaken for discovery in an open boat, and in
which six hundred miles of coast, mostly in a boisterous climate, was
explored, has not, perhaps, its equal in the annals of maritime history.
The public will award to its high spirited and able conductor, alas! now
no more, an honourable place in the list of those whose ardour stands
most conspicuous for the promotion of useful knowledge.


During the time that Mr. Bass was absent on his expedition in the whale
boat, the _Francis_ schooner was again sent with captain Hamilton to the
wreck of his ship the Sydney Cove; to bring up what remained of the cargo
at Preservation Island, and the few people who were left in charge. On
this occasion I was happy enough to obtain governor Hunter's permission
to embark in the schooner; in order to make such observations serviceable
to geography and navigation, as circumstances might afford; and Mr. Reed,
the master, was directed to forward these views as far as was consistent
with the main objects of his voyage.

(Atlas. Plate VIII.)

Feb. 1, we sailed out of Port Jackson with a fair wind; and on the
following noon, the observed latitude was 35° 42', being 14' south of
account. I prevailed on Mr. Reed to stand in for the land, which was then
visible through the haze; and at sunset, we reached into Bateman Bay.*
When the two rocky islets in the middle of the bay bore S. by W. ¼ W., a
short mile, we had 8 fathoms water, and 6 fathoms a mile further in. The
north head is steep with a rock lying off it; but Bateman Bay falls back
too little from the line of the coast to afford shelter against winds
from the eastward. The margin of the bay is mostly a beach, behind which
lie sandy, rocky hills of moderate elevation.

[* The bearings in the following account are corrected, as usual, for the
variation; but I am sorry to say that the steering compasses of the
schooner proved to be bad, and there was no azimuth compass on board.]

In the morning of the 3rd, we steered S. by W. along the shore; and saw,
in latitude about 35* 58', and eight or nine miles from the south point
of Bateman Bay, a small opening like a river running south-westward. It
was here that Mr. Bass found a lagoon, with extensive salt swamps behind
it, and observed the latitude 36° 00'. At noon, the east point of the
opening bore N. ¼ W. seven miles, and the top of Mount Dromedary was
visible above the haze; but no observation could be taken for the

Soon after noon, land was in sight to the S. S. E., supposed to be the
Point Dromedary of captain Cook's chart; but, to my surprise, it proved
to be an island not laid down, though lying near two leagues from the
coast. The whole length of this island is about one mile and a quarter,
north and south; the two ends are a little elevated, and produce small
trees; but the sea appeared to break occasionally over the middle part.
It is probably frequented by seals, since many were seen in the water
whilst passing at the distance of two miles. This little island, I was
afterwards informed, had been seen in the ship Surprise, and honoured
with the name of _Montague_.

When captain Cook passed this part of the coast his distance from it was
five leagues, and too great for its form to be accurately distinguished.
There is little doubt that Montague Island was then seen, and mistaken
for a point running out from under Mount Dromedary; for its distance from
the mount, and bearing of about N. 75° E., will place it in 36° 17', or
within one minute of the latitude assigned to the point in captain Cook's

(Atlas Pl. VI.)

At six in the evening, Mount Dromedary was set at N. 40° W. five leagues.
We steered S. S. W. until two in the morning, when the land was so near
as made it necessary to alter the course; and at daybreak of the 4th, the
shore was not more than three miles distant; it was moderately high and
rocky, and at the back were many hummocky hills. Having been much upon
deck in the night, I then retired to rest; and in the mean time, the
schooner passed Mr. Bass's _Two-fold Bay_ without its being noticed. At
nine we came abreast of a smooth, sloping point which, from its
appearance, and being unnoticed in captain Cook's chart, I named GREEN
CAPE. The shore, for about seven miles to the northward, lies N. 16° W.,
and is rocky and nearly straight, and well covered with wood: the Cape
itself is grassy. On the south side, the coast trends west, three or four
miles, into a sandy bight, and then southward to Cape Howe.

The latitude at noon was 37° 25', giving a current of twenty miles to the
south, in two days; Green Cape bore N. by E. four leagues, and Cape Howe
S. by W. five or six miles. Captain Cook lays down the last in 37° 26',
in his chart; but the above observation places it in 37° 30½', which I
afterwards found to agree with an observation of Mr. Bass, taken on the
west side of the cape. The shore abreast of the schooner was between one
and two miles distant; it was mostly beach, lying at the feet of sandy
hillocks which extend from behind Green Cape to the pitch of Cape Howe.
There were several fires upon the shore; and near one of them, upon an
eminence, stood seven natives, silently contemplating the schooner as she

On coming abreast of Cape Howe, the wind chopped round to the south-west,
and the dark clouds which settled over the land concealed it from our
view; we observed, however, that it trended to the west, but sought in
vain for the small island mentioned by captain Cook as lying close off
the Cape.*

[* Hawkesworth, Vol. III. p. 80. Mr. Bass sailed close round the cape in
his whale boat, but did not ace any island lying there.]

Our latitude was 38° 30' next day, or 38' south of account, although the
wind had been. and was still from that direction. Mr. Reed then steered
W. by N., to get in again with the coast; and on the following noon, we
were in 38° 16' and, by account, 22' of longitude to the west of Point
Hicks. The schooner was kept more northward in the afternoon; at four
o'clock a moderately high, sloping hill was visible in the N. by W., and
at seven a small rocky point on the beach bore N. 50° W. three or four
leagues. The shore extended E. N. E. and W. S. W., and was low and sandy
in front; but at some miles distance inland, there was a range of hills
with wood upon them, though scarcely sufficient to hide their sandy

At five in the morning of the 7th, the rocky point bore N. E. ½ N. six or
seven miles, and the furthest visible part of the beach W. ½ S. The
southern wind had died away in the night; and a breeze springing up at N.
E. by E., we steered before it along the same low, sandy shore as seen in
the evening. The hills which arose at three or four leagues behind the
beach, appeared to retire further back as we advanced westward; they
would, however, be visible to a ship in fine weather, long before the
front land could be seen.

The observed latitude at noon was 38° 17' south, and by two sets of
distances of the sun east of the moon, reduced up from the morning, the
longitude was 147° 37' east.* The beach was six or seven miles distant,
but after obtaining the noon's observation, we closed more in; and at two
or three miles off, found a sandy bottom with 11 fathoms fathoms of line.
Our course along the shore from two to four o'clock, was S. W. ¾ S., with
a current in our favour. The beach then trended more to the west; but the
breeze having veered to E. by N. and become strong, with much sea, it was
considered too dangerous to follow it any longer. At five, the western
and most considerable of two shallow-looking openings bore north-west,
seven or eight miles; and at sunset, some high and remarkable land was
perceived bearing S. W. by W., which proved to be the same discovered by
Mr. Bass, and now bearing the name of _Wilson's Promontory_. It appeared,
from a partial view given by a break in the clouds, as if cut in two, and
the parts had been removed to some distance from each other: the gap was
probably Sealers Cove.

[* It was 147° 10'; but as I afterwards found that observations of the
sun to the east gave 27' less, by this small five inch sextant, and those
to the west 27' greater than the mean of both, that correction is here
applied; but not any which might be required from errors in the solar or
lunar tables.]

The state of the weather, and the land to leeward, made it necessary to
haul up south-eastward, close upon a wind. At day-break of the 8th,
neither Wilson's Promontory nor any other land to the northward could be
seen; but between the bearings of N. 84° and S. 63° E., six or eight
miles distant, there was land rather high and irregular, with a cliffy
shore; and a separate cluster of rocky islets bore south to S. 16° W.,
from three to five miles. We passed close to these last, at six o'clock,
and perceived that the tide, which before had set to leeward, was then
turned to the east: the moon had just before passed the meridian.

This small cluster consists of a steep island, near one mile in length,
of two smaller round islets, and two or three rocks; one of which
obtained the name of _Judgment Rock_, from its resemblance to an elevated
seat. The higher and more considerable land to the eastward was seen, as
we advanced, to divide itself also into several parts. This group is
principally composed of three islands; and between the largest on the
east and two others on the west, there appeared to be a deep channel. The
other parts are rocks, which lie scattered mostly off the north-western
island. These two clusters were called KENT'S GROUPS, in honour of my
friend captain William Kent, then commander of the Supply.

Our latitude at noon was 39° 38'; the steep island of the small group
bore N. 50° W., and the passage through the larger islands N. 12° E.,
six or eight miles. This observation places the centre of the passage and
of the large group, in about 39° 29' south; and from the lunar
observations of the preceding day, brought on by log, (for unfortunately
I had no time keeper,) it should lie in longitude 147° 25' east. It is,
however, to be observed, that a fortuitous compensation of errors can
alone render a dead reckoning correct in the way of such tides as we had
experienced during the last twenty-four hours.*

[* The longitude of the large group, as given by my time keepers in a
future voyage, is 147° 17'.]

By keeping the wind to the southward, we came up with a pyramidal-shaped
rock through which there is a chasm: it bore W. 8° S. one mile, at four
o'clock, when the eastern island of Kents large group was set at N. 17°
E, five or six leagues. At six, the pyramid bore N. 38° W. five miles,
and high land came in sight to the eastward: one piece extended from N.
75° to S. 87° E., apparently about five leagues distant, and the bluff,
southern end of another range of hills bore S. 51° E., something further.
Captain Hamilton supposed these to be parts of the land he had seen to
the north-west of Preservation Island, where the wreck of his ship was
lying; but whether they might belong to Furneaux's Islands or to the
main, was unknown to him. He had always gone to, and returned from his
island by the east side of this land; and the wind having veered
northward, the schooner was kept as much to the north-east as possible,
in order to pursue the same track.

We came up with a low point or island at eleven at night, when the wind
died away. At six in the morning of Feb. 9., the northern land extended
from N. 49° E. three leagues, to S. 47° E. four or five miles; the
southern land bore S. 24° to 2° E. five or six leagues, and seemed to
form a hilly, separate island; although, as low land was seen between
them, the two may probably be connected: there was also a cliffy island
bearing north, seven or eight miles. On a breeze springing up from
south-west, our course was steered to pass close round the northern land;
but finding much rippling water between it and two islands called the
_Sisters_ by captain Furneaux, we passed round them also, and then hauled
to the southward along the eastern shore.

This northern land, or island as it proved to be, has some ridges of
sandy-looking hills extending north and south between the two shores; and
they are sufficiently high to be visible ten leagues from a ship's deck
in clear weather. On the west side of the north point, the hills come
nearly down to the water; but on the east side, there is two or three
miles of flat land between their feet and the shore. The small trees and
brush wood which partly covered the hills, seemed to shoot out from sand
and rock; and if the vallies and low land within be not better than what
appeared from the sea, the northern part of this great island is sterile
indeed. The Sisters are not so high as some of the hills on the great
island, and are less sandy: the small, cliffy island, which lies eight or
nine miles, nearly west, from the inner Sister, had no appearance of

Whilst passing round the north end of Furneaux's Islands, I experienced
how little dependence was to be put in compass bearings, in such, at
least, as were taken with my best instrument, the steering compass of the
schooner. The south extreme of the inner Sister shut on with the
north-west point of the great island at E. ¾ S., magnetic bearing; but
after passing round, they shut, on the other side, at W. by N. ¼ N.; so
that, to produce an agreement, it was necessary to allow half a point
more east variation on the first, when the schooner's head was N. by W.,
than on the last, when it was S. S. E. In a second instance, the north
end of the outer Sister opened from the inner one at N. E. ½ N.; but they
came on again at S. W. ½ W., making a difference of a whole point, when
the head was N. by W. and E. S. E. These bearings were probably not
correct within two or three degrees; but they showed that a change in the
course steered produced an alteration in the compass.

The observed latitude at noon was 39° 50 1/3', the centre of the outer
Sister bore N. 34° W., nearly five leagues, and our distance from the
sandy, eastern shore of the great island was about six miles. At two,
o'clock, we came up with an island of three miles in length, and nearly
the same space distant from a sandy projection of the great island. The
passage between them is much contracted by shoal spits of sand which run
out from each side; and it seemed doubtful, whether the water were deep
enough in any part of the channel to admit a ship. The form of the land
here is somewhat remarkable: upon the low projection of the great island
there are three pyramidal hills, which obtained the name of the
_Patriarchs_, and stand apart from the more western high land; and upon
the south-west end of the island opposite there is also a pyramid, which,
with other hills near it, presents some resemblance to the Lion's Head
and Rump at the Cape of Good Hope. This island and two rocky islets lying
off its south-east end were afterwards called the _Babel Isles_. The
largest is covered with tufted grass and brush wood; and the whole
appeared to be much frequented by shags, sooty petrels, and other sea

We had scarcely passed the Babel Isles, when the wind, which had been at
W. by S., chopped round to the southward, with squally weather, and drove
the schooner off to the north-east. In the night, it became less
unfavourable; and at noon of the 10th, our latitude was 40° 3½'; the
isles bore N. 78° W., three or four leagues, and the high land of _Cape
Barren_ S. 13° to 34° W. Having a fair wind in the afternoon, we passed
along the outskirts of the Bay of Shoals, without perceiving any
breakers; but in the space between the great island and the land of Cape
Barren there were many rocks, and a low island of three or four miles
long, with a hill in the middle, lay at the entrance of the opening.

The high part of Cape-Barren Island, but particularly the peak, may be
seen eleven, and perhaps more leagues from a ship's deck. The extremity
of the cape is a low point, which runs out two miles east from the high
land; and off this point lies a flat, rocky islet and a peaked rock. The
shore is sandy on each side of the Cape point: it trends N. 40° W., for
about five miles, on one side, and S. 49° W., past two sandy bights on
the other, to a rocky projection on which are two whitish _cones_, shaped
like rhinoceros' horns.

We steered south-westward, in the evening, round the Cape point, and were
sufficiently close to hear the bellowing of the seals upon the islet.
Arrived off _Cone Point_, the schooner was hauled offshore; and the wind
becoming strong and unfavourable in the night, it was not until the
evening of the 12th, that we got to anchor in _Hamilton's Road_, at the
east end of Preservation Island. This road is sheltered from all winds,
except between south and S. S. E.; and these do not throw in much sea:
the bottom is good-holding sand, in from 4 to 3 fathoms, at a quarter of
a mile from the beach.

The ship Sydney Cove had been run on shore between Preservation and Rum
Islands, and part of her hull was still lying there; but the sea thrown
in by western gales had, in great measure, broken her up, and scattered
the beams, timbers, and parts of the cargo, upon all the neighbouring

My purpose of making an expedition amongst the islands was delayed by the
schooner's boat being out of repair; but in the mean time, a base line
was measured round the sandy north-east end of Preservation Island, and
angles taken from all the conspicuous points.

Feb. 16. The boat was fitted, and I made an excursion of five days,
through the channel which separates the land of Cape Barren from the more
southern islands. It is called ARMSTRONG'S CHANNEL, from the master of
the Supply, who had gone to afford assistance in saving the cargo of the
Sydney Cove, and was the first to pass through it on his return towards
Port Jackson; but he never arrived there, having, in all probability,
perished at sea with his sloop and crew. The stations whence angles were
taken for a survey of the channel and surrounding lands, were--1st.
_Point Womat_, a rocky projection of Cape-Barren Island, where a number
of the new animals, called _womat_, were seen, and some killed. 2nd.
_Battery Island_; so named from four rocks upon it, resembling mounted
guns; sooty petrels, and large hair seals were found there. 3rd. The
sandy north-east point of Clarke's Island; which, with the opposite
_Sloping Point_, forms the narrowest part of the channel. Its width was
found to be three-quarters of a mile, but is somewhat contracted by rocks
lying on the south side. These rocks were also frequented by hair seals,
and some of them (the old males) were of an enormous size, and of
extraordinary power. I levelled my gun at one, which was sitting on the
top of a rock with his nose extended up towards the sun, and struck him
with three musket balls. He rolled over, and plunged into the water; but
in less than half an hour had taken his former station and attitude. On
firing again, a stream of blood spouted forth from his breast to some
yards distance, and he fell back, senseless. On examination, the six
balls were found lodged in his breast; and one, which occasioned his
death, had pierced the heart: his weight was equal to that of a common

The 4th station was on Sloping Point, where an aculeated ant-eater was
caught, and some quartz crystals were picked up from the shore. 5th, At
the east side of _Kent's Bay_, under the peak of Cape Barren. This peak I
wished to ascend, in order to obtain a view of the surrounding lands,
particularly of an extensive piece to the southward, which, from the
smokes continually seen there, was supposed to be a part of Van Diemen's
Land; but the almost impenetrable brush wood, with which the sides of the
peak and surrounding hills were covered, defeated my purpose.

The 6th station was at _Passage Point_. The 7th, on Cone Point, where the
number of seals exceeded every thing we had, any of us, before witnessed;
and they were smaller, and of a different species from those which
frequented Armstrong's Channel. Instead of the bull-dog nose, and
thinly-set, sandy hair, these had sharp-pointed noses, and the general
colour of the hair approached to a black; but the tips were of a silver
grey, and underneath was a fine, whitish, thick fur. The commotion
excited by our presence, in this assemblage of several thousand timid
animals, was very interesting to me, who knew little of their manners.
The young cubs huddled together in the holes of the rocks, and moaned
piteously; those more advanced scampered and rolled down to the water,
with their mothers; whilst some of the old males stood up in defence of
their families, until the terror of the sailors bludgeons became too
strong to be resisted. Those who have seen a farm yard, well stocked with
pigs, calves, sheep, oxen, and with two or three litters of puppies, with
their mothers, in it, and have heard them all in tumult together, may
form a good idea of the confused noise of the seals at Cone Point. The
sailors killed as many of these harmless, and not unamiable creatures, as
they were able to skin during the time necessary for me to take the
requisite angles; and we then left the poor affrighted multitude to
recover from the effect of our inauspicious visit.

My 8th station was taken, in returning to the schooner, upon the south
end of the eastern _Passage Isle_; 9th, the south-west end of the western
Passage Isle; and 10th, the south-east point of Clarke's Island. The 11th
and last station was at _Look-out Head_, the bearings from which included
some parts of the southern land, between the extremes of S. 20° 20' E.
and S. 59° 35' W. At these different stations, the needle of the
theodolite was sometimes found to vary one or two degrees from itself, as
it had done at Preservation Island; an effect which I attribute to the
attraction of the rocks, having since experienced the same, and even
greater, differences in most places where the rocks, as here, are

In the wider parts of Armstrong's Channel there are many shoals of sand
on each side, but a passage of sufficient width and depth is swept out by
the tides, for ships to go through in safety. The bottom is either rocky
or sandy: rocky in the deep and narrow parts, where the tides run three
or four miles in an hour; and sandy in the bights and shoaler places. The
sand of the beaches is mostly granitic, but it sometimes consists of
black metallic particles, such as are found in the stone of the islands.

It was not until Feb. 25 that the remains of the Sydney-Cove's cargo were
all on board, and that a favourable change in the wind permitted us to
sail for Port Jackson. These four days of detention enabled me to
continue the survey along the south side of Preservation Island, and as
far as the _Bay of Rocks_ upon that of Cape Barren. A meridian altitude
from the south horizon, observed under more favourable circumstances than
two others before taken, gave 40° 28' for the latitude of Hamilton's
Road. The longitude is 19' 20" west of Cape Barren; and therefore should
be 148° 6' east of Greenwich. It is high water in the road, according to
Mr. Hamilton's report, _half an hour before_ the moon passes over the
meridian; but from what I observed, without paying particular attention
to it, the tide did not appear to flow so late by an hour: the medium
rise was about seven feet, as at Port Jackson.

Well tasted fresh water is collected, at certain seasons, in small pools
near the east end of Preservation Island; but that which drains from the
rocks was first used by the Sydney-Cove's crew, until several of them
died. Small runs or pools of water are to be found almost every where
under the high parts of Cape-Barren Island, and it is probable there may
be some upon Clarke's Island; but at the Passage Isles we found it
difficult to obtain wherewithal to satisfy our thirst.

The stone of which the southern, and probably the whole of Furneaux's
Islands are composed, is mostly a whitish granite, but sometimes
inclining to red; and is full of small, black specks. Quartz seems to
have a more than usual share in its composition, and we occasionally
found crystals of that substance upon the shores. The black specks were
thought to be grains of tin, and to have communicated a deleterious
quality to the water used by the shipwrecked people. The exceptions to
the general prevalence of granite were few: they consisted of some black,
and some grey slate, in thin _strata_, placed nearly perpendicular to the
horizon; but even here, the granite had pervaded the fissures of the
_strata_; and, in two instances, a substance which, from its appearance,
I supposed to be a toad stone, had insinuated itself.

Some of the trees on Preservation Island had partly undergone a peculiar
transformation. The largest of them were not thicker than a man's leg,
and the whole were decayed; but whilst the upper branches continued to be
of wood, the roots at the surface, and the trunks up to a certain height,
were of a stony substance resembling chalk. On breaking these chalky
trunks, which was easily done, rings of the brown wood sometimes appeared
in them, as if imperfectly converted; but in the greater number, nothing
more than circular traces remained. The situation in which these trees
were principally found, is a sandy valley near the middle of the island,
which was likewise remarkable for the quantity of bones of birds and
small quadrupeds, with which it was strewed. The petrefactions were
afterwards more particularly examined by Mr. Bass, who adopted the
opinion that they had been caused by water.

Upon Cape-Barren Island the hills rise to a considerable height, that of
the peak, which does not much exceed some others, being near twelve
hundred feet; but on the smaller islands there is no elevation of
importance. The upper parts of all are generally crowned with huge lumps
of granite; and upon many of these, particularly on Rum Island, is a
smaller, unconnected, round lump, which rests in a hollow at the top, as
a cup in its saucer; and I observed with a glass, that there was a stone
of this kind at the summit of the peak of Cape Barren. The lower parts of
the islands are commonly sandy; and, in several places under the hills,
swamps and pools are formed. The water in these is generally tinged red;
and in one, situate between Passage and Cone Points, it had so much the
appearance of blood, that I went to taste it; but, except being a little
brackish, found nothing remarkable. Whether the water become thus tinged,
in its course down the hills, by earthy or metallic substances, or
acquire its colour from the roots and leaves of vegetables, I am unable
to decide; but think the former most probable.

All the islands are over-run with brush wood, amongst which, in the more
sheltered and less barren parts, are mixed a few stunted trees, which
seem to shed their bark annually, and to be of the heavy kind called gum
tree at Port Jackson. The brush wood overspreads even the rocks where it
can get the least hold; it is commonly impenetrable, and on the south and
west sides of the islands assumes a depressed, creeping form, strongly
indicative of the strength and generality of the winds from those
quarters. Many of the sandy parts are covered with the hassocks of wiry
grass, which constitute the favourite retreat of the sooty petrel; and at
the back of the shores, there is frequently some extent of ground where
the creeping, salt plants grow, and to which the penguins principally
resort. To this general account of the scanty vegetable productions of
Furneaux's Islands, may be added several low shrubs, and a grass which
grows on the moist grounds near the borders of the pools and fresh
swamps, and which, though coarse, might serve as food for cattle.

Of the animal productions of the islands, the list is somewhat more
extensive. Those for which they are indebted to the sea, are seals of two
kinds, sooty petrels, and penguins. The hair seal appears to frequent the
sheltered beaches, points, and rocks; whilst the rocks and rocky points
exposed to the buffettings of the waves are preferred by the handsomer
and superior species, which never condescends to the effeminacy of a
beach. A point or island will not be greatly resorted to by these
animals, unless it slope gradually to the water, and the shore be, as we
term it, steep to. This is the case with the islet lying off Cape Barren,
and with Cone Point; with parts of the Passage Isles, and the south end
of Clarke's Island; and at these places only, did I see fur seals in any

The sooty petrel, better known at sea under the name of _sheerwater_,
frequents the tufted, grassy parts of all the islands in astonishing
numbers. It is known that these birds make burrows in the ground, like
rabbits; that they lay one or two enormous eggs in these holes, and bring
up their young there. In the evening, they come in from sea, having their
stomachs filled with a gelatinous substance gathered from the waves; and
this they eject into the throats of their offspring, or retain for their
own nourishment, according to circumstances. A little after sunset, the
air at Preservation Island used to be darkened with their numbers; and it
was generally an hour before their squabblings ceased, and every one had
found its own retreat. The people of the Sydney Cove had a strong example
of perseverance in these birds. The tents were pitched close to a piece
of ground full of their burrows, many of which were necessarily filled up
from walking constantly over them; yet, notwithstanding this
interruption, and the thousands of birds destroyed, for they constituted
a great part of their food during more than six months, the returning
flights continued to be as numerous as before; and there was scarcely a
burrow less, except in the spaces actually covered by the tents. These
birds are about the size of a pigeon, and when skinned and dried in smoke
we thought them passable food. Any quantity could be procured, by sending
people on shore in the evening. The sole process was to thrust in the arm
up to the shoulder, and seize them briskly; but there was some danger of
grasping a snake at the bottom of the burrow, instead of a petrel.

The penguin of these islands is of the kind denominated _little_; the
back and upper parts are of a lead-coloured blue; the fore and under
parts, white. They were generally found sitting on the rocks, in the day
time, or in caverns near the water side. They burrow in the same manner
as the sooty petrel; but, except in the time of rearing their young, do
not seem, like it, to return to their holes every night. The places
preferred for breeding are those at the back of the shore, where the sand
is overspread with salt plants; and they were never found intermixed with
the petrels, nor far from the salt water. Their flesh is so strong and
fishy, that had not the skins served to make caps, rather handsome, and
impenetrable to rain, the penguins would have escaped molestation.

No other quadrupeds than the kangaroo, womat, and duck-billed aculeated
ant-eater were found upon the islands. The kangaroo, is of a reddish
brown, and resembles the smaller species which frequents the brush woods
at Port Jackson: when full grown, it weighs from forty to fifty pounds.
There were no traces of it upon the Passage Isles; but, upon Cape-Barren
and Clarke's Islands, the kangaroo, was tolerably abundant, though
difficult to be procured, owing to the thickness of its retreats. There
were also numbers on Preservation Island, when the Sydney Cove was first
run on shore; but having been much harassed and destroyed, a few only
were shot during the time of our stay.

Clarke's Island afforded the first specimen of the new animal, called
_womat_; but I found it more numerous upon that of Cape Barren:
Preservation and the Passage Isles do not possess it. This little
bear-like quadruped is known in New South Wales, and called by the
natives _womat_, _wombat_, or _womback_, according to the different
dialects, or perhaps to the different rendering of the wood rangers who
brought the information. It burrows like the badger, and on the Continent
does not quit its retreat till dark; but it feeds at all times on the
uninhabited islands, and was commonly seen foraging amongst the sea
refuse on the shore, though the coarse grass seemed to be its usual
nourishment. It is easily caught when at a distance from its burrow; its
flesh resembles lean mutton in taste, and to us was acceptable food.
Another species of this animal has been discovered in New South Wales,
which lives in the tops of the trees and, in manners, bears much
resemblance to the sloth.

The aculeated ant-eater was not found on any other of the islands than
that of Cape Barren: it is exceedingly fat, the flesh has a somewhat
aromatic taste, and was thought delicious.

Of the birds which frequent Furneaux's Islands, the most valuable are the
goose and black swan; but this last is rarely seen here, even in the
freshwater pools, and except to breed, seems never to go on shore. The
goose approaches nearest to the description of the species called
_bernacle_; it feeds upon grass, and seldom takes to the water. I found
this bird in considerable numbers on the smaller isles, but principally
upon Preservation Island; its usual weight was from seven to ten pounds,
and it formed our best repasts, but had become shy. Gannets, shags,
gulls, and red-bills were occasionally seen; as also crows, hawks,
paroquets, and a few smaller birds. Fish were not plentiful, but some
were taken with hook and line from the rocks.

Speckled yellow snakes, of three or four feet in length, were found upon
Preservation Island, and exist, no doubt, upon the larger isles. They
sometimes get into the burrows of the sooty petrel, and probably destroy
the young. I saw one dragged out by a sailor who expected to have taken a
bird; but, being quick in his movements, he was not bitten. These snakes
possess the venomous fangs; but no person experienced the degree of
virulence in their poison.

The schooner was ready to sail on Feb. 25; and the wind from the westward
being fresh and favourable, we left Hamilton's Road to return to Port
Jackson. It was still a matter of doubt whether the land to the south of
the islands were, or were not, a part of Van Diemen's Land; and I
therefore requested of Mr. Reed to make a stretch that way. At noon our
latitude was 40° 44 2/3', and the peak of Cape Barren bore N. 13° E.; an
island which had been visited by the Sydney-Cove's people, and was
represented to be a breeding place for swans, bore from N. 68° W. to
west, five or six miles, and there were some smaller islets behind it.
The land lying two or three miles more to the south is sandy and low in
front, but ascends in gently rising hills as it retreats into the
country. Its general appearance was very different from that of
Furneaux's Islands, the lower hills being covered with green grass,
interspersed with clumps of wood, and the back land well clothed with
timber trees.

We stretched on until the land was seen beyond 40° 50'; and then veered
to the northward. In this latitude, captain Furneaux says, "the land
trenches away to the westward;" * and as he traced the coast from the
south end of the country to this part, there could no longer be a doubt
that it was joined to the land discovered by Tasman in 1642. The smokes
which had constantly been seen rising from it showed that there were
inhabitants; and this, combined with the circumstance of there being none
upon the islands, seemed to argue a junction of Van Diemen's Land with
New South Wales; for it was difficult to suppose, that men should have
reached the more distant land, and not have attained the islands
intermediately situated; nor was it admissible that, having reached them,
they had perished for want of food. On the other hand, the great strength
of the tides setting westward, past the islands, could only be caused by
some exceedingly deep inlet, or by a passage through to the southern
Indian Ocean. These contradictory circumstances were very embarrassing;
and the schooner not being placed at my disposal, I was obliged, to my
great regret, to leave this important geographical question undecided.

[* _Cook's Second Voyage_, Vol. I. page 114.]

At the time we veered to the northward, the coast of Van Diemen's Land
was about three miles distant, and the furthest extreme, a low point,
bore S. 15° E. two or three leagues. On repassing Cape-Barren Point at
four o'clock. I obtained two sets of distances of the sun west of the
moon, to pair with others of the sun on the east side, taken on the 10th,
also within sight of the Cape. The mean result, freed from the errors of
the tables, gave its longitude 148° 20' E; being 14' more than is
assigned to it by captain Furneaux, but 5½' less than what appears to be
its real situation.

Nothing worthy of notice occurred in our passage back to Port Jackson: we
made Hat Hill on March 7, and on the 9th, anchored in Sydney Cove.

Mr. Bass had been returned a fortnight from his expedition in the whale
boat; and he communicated all his notes and observations to be added to
my chart. There seemed to want no other proof of the existence of a
passage between New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land, than that of
sailing positively through it; but however anxious I was to obtain this
proof, the gratification of my desire was required to be suspended by a
voyage to Norfolk Island in the Reliance.

FLINDERS and BASS. 1798.

In September following, His Excellency Governor Hunter had the goodness
to give me the _Norfolk_, a colonial sloop of twenty-five tons, with
authority to penetrate behind Furneaux's Islands; and should a strait be
found, to pass through it and return by the south end of Van Diemen's
Land; making such examinations and surveys on the way as circumstances
might permit. Twelve weeks were allowed for the performance of this
service, and provisions for that time were put on board; the rest of the
equipment was completed by the friendly care of Captain Waterhouse of the

I had the happiness to associate my friend Bass in this new expedition,
and to form an excellent crew of eight volunteers from the king's ships;
but a time keeper, that essential instrument to accuracy in nautical
surveys, it was still impossible to obtain.

My report of the seals at Furneaux's Islands had induced Messrs. Bishop
and Simpson, the commander and supracargo of the snow Nautilus, to
prepare their vessel for a sealing speculation to that quarter; and on
Oct. 7, we sailed out of Port Jackson together.*

[* Mr. Bass' Journal of observations upon the lands, etc. discovered or
seen in this voyage, has been published by colonel Collins, in his
_Account of the English Colony in New South Wales_, Vol. II. page 143 _et
seq._; his observations will, therefore, be generally omitted in this

(Atlas, Pl. VIII.)

The wind being fair, we passed Hat Hill at four in the afternoon, and
next morning, made Mount Dromedary. I took this opportunity of passing
between Montague Isle and the main; but the depth of water being
uncertain, the Nautilus was desired by signal not to follow. There was no
bottom with 13, and afterwards with 20 fathoms, at a mile distance from
the island; and the passage seemed perfectly free from danger, and is
five or six miles wide. Mount Dromedary, from which the island lies E by
N ½ N., is the highest land upon this part of the coast; its elevation
being, I think, not less than 3000 feet. The top is about three miles
long, and the south end is somewhat the most elevated part; it is covered
with wood, even there, but still more so down the sides; the shore under
it is mostly a white, sandy beach.

(Atlas, Pl. VI.)

At noon the centre of the mountain bore N.N.W. four leagues; but the
haziness of the weather prevented an observation being taken for the
latitude, as it had before done when passing in the Francis*. We then
hauled further off the coast, with the Nautilus in company, and being
near the latitude of Cape Howe, at ten o'clock, lay to until daylight,
for the purpose of obtaining a good departure; but on the 9th, the wind
had veered to south-west, and the weather having a bad appearance, we
bore up for Two-fold Bay. The course after passing Green Cape, was N. 16°
W. seven miles to _Haycock Point_, and N. 44° W. three or four miles from
thence to the south point of entrance to the bay; the shore being all
along bold, and for the most part rocky. From the south point, which may
be known by its reddish appearance and having a steep rock lying off it,
we steered for _Snug Cove_, on the north-west side of the bay; and there
anchored in 3½ fathoms, sandy bottom, at something more than a cable's
length from the small beach, and the same distance from the two points
which bound the cove. In this situation, the outer red point was hidden
by Snug-cove Head; and further out, in 5 fathoms, where the Nautilus
anchored, the head and point were in a line.

[* The highest part of Mount Dromedary appears to lie in 36° 19' south,
and longitude 150° 11' east; or about 2' south and 11' east of its
position in captain Cook's chart.]

In order to make some profit of this foul wind, Mr Bass landed early next
morning to examine the country, whilst I went with Mr Simpson to commence
a survey of Two-fold Bay. In the way from Snug Cove, through the wood, to
the long northern beach, where I proposed to measure a base line, our
attention was suddenly called by the screams of three women, who took up
their children and ran off in great consternation. Soon afterward a man
made his appearance. He was of a middle age, unarmed, except with a
_whaddie_, or wooden scimitar, and came up to us seemingly with careless
confidence. We made much of him, and gave him some biscuit; and he in
return presented us with a piece of gristly fat, probably of whale. This
I tasted; but watching an opportunity to spit it out when he should not
be looking, I perceived him doing precisely the same thing with our
biscuit, whose taste was probably no more agreeable to him, than his
whale was to me. Walking onward with us to the long beach, our new
acquaintance picked up from the grass a long wooden spear, pointed with
bone; but this he hid a little further on, making signs that he should
take it on his return. The commencement of our trigonometrical operations
was seen by him with indifference, if not contempt; and he quitted us,
apparently satisfied that, from people who could thus occupy themselves
seriously, there was nothing to be apprehended.

We measured 116 chains along the north beach, and having taken the
necessary angles, returned to Snug Cove for the purpose of observing the
latitude; but the thick squalls, which were continually passing over from
the south-west, prevented a sight of the sun. The survey was continued in
the afternoon; and on the following morning, 11 October, the wind being
still unfavourable, the west side of the bay was nearly completed.

I was preparing the artificial horizon for observing the latitude, when a
party of seven or eight natives broke out in exclamation upon the bank
above us, holding up their open hands to show they were unarmed. We were
three in number, and, besides a pocket pistol, had two muskets. These
they made no objection to our bringing, and we sat down in the midst of
the party. It consisted entirely of young men, who were better made, and
cleaner in their persons than the natives of Port Jackson usually are;
and their countenances bespoke both good will and curiosity, though mixed
with some degree of apprehension. Their curiosity was mostly directed to
our persons and dress, and constantly drew off their attention from our
little presents, which seemed to give but a momentary pleasure. The
approach of the sun to the meridian calling me down to the beach, our
visitors returned into the woods, seemingly well satisfied with what they
had seen. We could perceive no arms of any kind amongst them; but I knew
these people too well not to be assured that their spears were lying
ready, and that it was prudent to keep a good lookout upon the woods, to
prevent surprise whilst taking the observation.

Oct. 12. We sailed in the afternoon, with a breeze from the eastward; but
a return of the wind to south-west, with threatening weather, induced me
to bear up again in the evening; and we anchored on the south side of the
bay. This part is not so well sheltered as Snug Cove, for the Nautilus
was not quite land-locked in 3 fathoms water. The weather became very bad
in the night; and, being no better on the 13th, the two vessels were
completed with wood, and the country further explored; a few more
bearings were also added to our materials for laying down a plan of the
bay, and thus terminated our examination.

The latitude of Snug Cove on the north-west side of Two-fold Bay, and by
much the best anchorage in it, is 37° 4' south. The longitude, from two
sets of distances of the sun west of the moon, deducting 16½' for the
errors of the tables, was 150° 3' east of Greenwich. The variation of the
azimuth compass observed on the beach, was 9° 29' and of the surveying
theodolite 11° 8½' east. My haste to complete the survey did not allow of
much attention being paid to the tides; but it was high water _about
nipte??? hours after_ the moon passed over the meridian, and the general
rise from six to eight feet.

Two-fold Bay is not, of itself, worthy of particular interest; but as
nothing larger than boats can find shelter in any other part of this
coast, from Jervis Bay, in latitude 35° 6', round to Corner Inlet, or to
Furneaux's Isles in 40½°, it thereby becomes of importance to whalers,
and to other ships passing along the coast.

Besides its latitude, Two-fold Bay may be known by Mount Dromedary, which
will be seen, in moderately fine weather, at the distance of fifteen or
sixteen leagues to the northward; and also by the land behind the bay
lying more in hummocks than elsewhere. One of these hummocks is round,
and much higher than the rest; and when it bears S. 60° W. (S. W. ½ W.
nearly, by compass,) a course for it will bring a ship to the middle of
the bay. On approaching near, she should look for two rocks, rather
pointed, of which one lies off the outer north, and the other off the
outer south point. Snug Cove is difficult to be distinguished by a
stranger; but on coming near the rocky head, at the south-west end of the
long northern beach, it will be seen on the south side of that head; and
the anchor must be then ready to be let go. If the wind be from the
southward, it should be dropped a little before the head shuts on with
the south point of the bay, in 5 or 6 fathoms water; and in veering away,
the lead should be kept out astern of the vessel. There is room for two
or three small ships in Snug Cove, but not for more.

Wood, in abundance, can be procured on every side of the bay; but there
are only two places where fresh water was found, and that not very good.
One of these was a swampy pond upon the low neck behind Snug Cove, where
casks might be filled without much difficulty; the other is near the
inferior anchorage on the south side of the bay; and both are indicated
in the particular plan.

The ponds and lagoons, which are to be found at the back of most of the
beaches, are frequented by ducks, teal, herons, red-bills, and some small
flights of the curlew and plover. The bay seemed to be well stocked with
fish; and our success with hook and line made us regret having no seine,
for the hauling of which many of the beaches are particularly well
adapted. It is not improbable that Two-fold Bay, like some of the open
bays on the east coast of Africa, may be frequented by whales at certain
seasons: of this I have no decisive proof; but the reef of rocks, called
_Whale Spit_, received its name from the remains of one found there. The
natives had taken their share; and the dogs, crows, and gulls were
carrying away the rest.

Oct. 14. In the morning, we left Two-fold Bay with a breeze at
north-east; and at sun-set, having run eleven leagues from the south
point, our departure was taken from Cape Howe. I then steered S. W. by
S., judging it to be the course best calculated to bring us within sight
of the land supposed, by captain Furneaux, to lie in 39° south. On the
15th, at noon, our latitude was 38° 34'; the weather was fine., but no
land visible to the southward. In the opposite direction there was a
range of hills whose centre bore N. by W. ½ W.; at sunset it was seen as
far as N. 37° W., from the sloop's deck, and from the mast head of the
Nautilus, the land was distinguished, or thought to be so, as far as N.
60° W. These bearings, but particularly the last, seemed to show a strong
current to the westward, for neither Mr. Bass nor myself could believe,
that the hills at the back of the Long Beach were sufficiently elevated
to be seen beyond fifteen leagues; I therefore took four sets of
distances, of stars east and west of the moon, which placed us, an hour
and a half after sunset, in longitude 149° 13' east, agreeing nearly with
the dead reckoning. The land, if it really were such, was consequently
twenty-five or more leagues off; and if the bearing of N. 60° W. were not
a mistake, it must have been thirty leagues distant in that direction.
This supposed land was visible all the afternoon; but it might possibly
have been the dense clouds hanging over the hills at the back of the Long
Beach, and not the land itself.

Our course to the south-westward was continued all night; but the wind
having veered to W. S. W. at daybreak of the 16th, the sloop was then put
on the northern tack. No land was visible in any direction; nor was there
any at noon, when the observed latitude was 38° 42'. The wind veered
round by the south until it fixed itself at east; and when the day broke,
on the 17th, the signal was made to the Nautilus, and we bore away S.W.
by W. until noon. The latitude was then 39° 11' south, and we judged
ourselves to be nearly in the meridian of the Sisters; the weather was
tolerably fine, and had been so all the morning, yet no land was any
where to be seen; and I therefore concluded, that none could lie in or
near the meridian of these islands, and be in the latitude of 39°.

The course steered at noon was west; but in half an hour it was altered
for high irregular land which came in sight to the south-westward, and
proved to be the largest of the two clusters which I had discovered when
in the Francis, and named _Kent's Groups_. We sounded in 30 fathoms, but
lost the lead, the _sole_ deep-sea line with which we had been furnished,
proving to be totally rotten. After running twenty miles, assisted by a
flood tide, we came up with the group at four o'clock, and steered
through the channel by which the principal islands are separated. It is
about three miles long, and a full mile in width; is free from danger,
and so deep, that our hand line could not reach the bottom. There are two
sandy coves on the east, and one on the west side of the channel, where
small vessels might find shelter, if there were any inducement to visit
these steep, barren, granitic masses of rock. Above the cliffs we could
occasionally perceive a brown-looking vegetation of brush wood, and here
and there a few starved gum trees; but there was neither bird nor
quadruped to enliven the dreary scene.* The principal island of the
small, western group, opened at S. 68° W., on clearing the channel; and
we then hauled the wind to the southward, for Furneaux's Islands, that
the Nautilus might no longer be detained from her sealing business.

[* Kent's large group is not, however, so barren and deserted as
appearances bespoke. It has since been ascertained that, in the central
parts of the larger islands, there are vallies in which trees of a fair
growth make part of a tolerably vigorous vegetation, and where kangaroos
of a small kind were rather numerous; some seals, also, were found upon
the rocks, and fresh water was not difficult to be procured in certain

The wind blew fresh from the eastward all night, with hazy weather. At
daylight, Oct. 18, a large piece of hilly land bore N. 48° to 64° E.,
four leagues; and soon afterward, _Mount Chappell_, a smooth round hill
which had been seen from Preservation Island, was set at S. 78° E.,
distant seven or eight leagues, and was as conspicuous on this side as
when seen from the eastward. Our latitude at noon was 40° 22', and Mount
Chappell bore N. 71° E. seven or eight miles, which would place it to the
north of its position before determined. Between us and the mount were
two small, low islands, and to the northward the hilly land first seen
was visible under the sun.

Finding the wind hang obstinately in the eastern quarter, we had tacked
to the north in order to keep under the lee of the islands. This course
brought us, in the evening, within two miles of the hilly northern land,
the same which had been discovered in the Francis, and of whose
connection with the great island of Furneaux I was doubtful; nor could it
yet be determined. The shores of the south-western part are rocky; and
the land rises, by a steep ascent, to hills of an elevation equal to that
of Mount Chappell. These hills are slightly covered with grass and small
brush wood, but the general appearance was that of great sterility.

About four miles to the south of this land we had passed a rocky islet,
and observed a circular reef which seemed to connect the two together.
The stormy appearance of the night induced me to stretch in, under this
reef; and finding there was shelter from the east winds, we came to an
anchor in 5 fathoms, coarse sand: the Nautilus followed; but not liking
the place, captain Bishop preferred keeping the sea. On sounding round
the sloop, I found the bottom every where foul, and that there were no
means of escape in case of a shift of wind; therefore, after killing a
few seals upon the granitic rocks, we weighed the anchor, ran two leagues
to the southward, and then hauled the wind under storm sails for the

Oct. 19, the wind was at north-east; and we bore away to pass between
Mount Chappell and the low islands lying to the westward. The passage is
about two miles wide, and the water much discoloured; but 10 fathoms of
line did not reach the bottom. A similar appearance in the water had been
observed several leagues to the westward of the low islands, where there
was 23 to 25 fathoms, on a bottom of sand and broken shells.

This small group, to which the name of _Chappell Isles_ is affixed in the
chart, consists of three, or perhaps four islands, for the mount seemed
to stand detached from the land on the east side of the passage. The
basis of the whole is probably of granite, and they seemed nothing
superior in fertility to the worst of Furneaux's Islands; but in a
distant view, a slight covering of small herbage upon their sloping, even
surfaces, gave them a prepossessing appearance. Mount Chappell is five or
six hundred feet above the water, a very conspicuous object until, by the
clearing away of the haze the high mountains of the great island behind
it became visible: their white, towering peaks, bathed in the late
showers, reflected the gleaming sunshine with great splendour, and
presented a spectacle so magnificent, that the circular, gently sloping
Mount Chappell no longer attracted attention.

We joined the Nautilus off the south side of the islands and, after
passing several rocks in our course eastward, anchored at the east end of
Preservation Island about noon. Mr Hamilton had left his house standing,
with some fowls and pigeons in it, when we had quitted the island nine
months before. The house remained in nearly the same state but its
tenants were not to be found, having probably fallen a prey to the hawks.

Oct 20, the wind was at north-west, and blew a gale, accompanied with
rain, which continued for several days. This weather very much impeded
our progress with the Nautilus in Armstrong's Channel, but Captain Bishop
at length moored in Kent's Bay, the most secure place to be found within
reach of the sealing points. The greater part of Kent's Bay is occupied
by shoals; but along the shore of Sloping Point there is a deep channel
running northward, which leads into the western head of the bay; and
there, behind a reef of dry rocks, several ships may lie in 4 or 5
fathoms, sheltered from all winds. The Nautilus's tents were pitched upon
the borders of a run of fresh water, about one mile north of the
anchorage; and a garden, which Captain Bishop made there, produced some
tolerable vegetables.

We had no prospect of advancing along the north coast of Van Diemen's
Land whilst the strong western winds continued to blow; and therefore,
whilst Mr Bass explored some of the islands, I occupied myself in
sounding different parts of Armstrong's Channel, and in making some other
additions to my former survey. At length, on Oct. 31., the gale moderated
to a light breeze, and we stretched over, with the flood tide, towards
the Swan Isles. At noon, our situation was as under.

                                          °  '
Latitude observed,                       40 39 S.
Peak of Cape Barren,                  N. 16 E.
Van Diemens Land, eastern extr. about S. by E.
Largest Swan Isle, the centre,        S. 53 W.

Soon after three o'clock, we anchored in a small sandy bay, at the
south-east end of the largest Swan Isle, in 4 fathoms; being well
sheltered from north and western winds, but entirely open to any that
might arise from the opposite quarters. The furthest extreme of the
opposite coast then bore S. 36° E. three leagues; but the nearest part,
in the direction of S. by W., was little more than three miles distant.

I landed with Mr Bass; and leaving him to pursue his researches, went
round to the north side of the island, to take angles. From a small,
elevated projection there,

                                          °  '
The peak of Cape Barren was set at    N. 28 40 E.
Mount Chappell,                       N. 21 20 W.;

from which, and several intermediate bearings, this station became firmly
connected with the survey of Furneaux's Islands. Mr. Bass thought the
stone to contain a rather large quantity of iron, and the bearings seemed
to confirm it, for they did not agree in any common intersection with the
allowance of 9° east, which I considered to be the true variation; but
with 6° 30', they not only coincided, but placed this station in latitude
40° 43' south, the same as deduced from three meridional observations
taken within sight of the island.

One mile from the north-west end, lies a low, rocky islet, and several
rocks both above and under water. All these are comprehended under the
general name of the _Swan Isles_; a name which, on examination, they
appeared very little to deserve, for we did not see a single bird of that
species, or any of their nests; but there were several of the bernacle
geese, and two of them were shot by Mr Bass.

The length of the largest Swan Isle is two and a quarter miles, by a
medium breadth of one mile. The stony parts are over-run with thick brush
wood, and the sandy are mostly covered with hassocks of wiry grass, to
which the sooty petrels resort. In external appearance, this island bears
a resemblance to that of Preservation; but its sterility is greater, and
it is destitute of the kangaroo. We did not see any fresh water in the
valleys, a seal upon the shores, nor any marks of the island having been
ever visited by the natives of the opposite coast.

Nov 1. Having an unfavourable wind, I waited the flood tide, and then
proceeded westward, along that part of Van Diemen's land to which the
name of CAPE PORTLAND was given, in honour of His Grace the then
secretary of state for the colonies. From the eastern extremity, the
coast trends about N. 62° W. six leagues, and terminates in a point, off
which lie some small rocky islets. The shore consists of long, sandy
beaches, separated by low and stony points, which project very little
beyond the coastline. The country for two or three miles behind the shore
is low and sandy; but it then ascends in gradations of gently rising
hills, and being covered with verdure, interspersed with clumps of wood
and single trees of a fair growth, it had a very pleasing appearance. At
the back of these hills, the bare and rugged tops of a ridge of distant
mountains appeared here and there, and formed a striking contrast with
the verdure of the front scene.

Our soundings along the south side of the largest Swan Isle were
generally 8 fathoms, on a sandy bottom; nor was there much decrease until
noon, when the low shore of Cape Portland was at something less, and the
outer rocky islets something more than a mile distant, and we came rather
suddenly into 3 fathoms. The latitude observed was 40° 43 2/3' south, and
the island last quitted bore N. 85° to S. 84° E., distant six miles.

There being little wind at this time, the sloop, in passing round the
rocky islets of Cape Portland, was carried by the tide over a ledge where
there was scarcely 2 fathoms; and was then driven westward on a curved
line of rippling water, which extended northward from the islets as far
as the eye could reach. We passed over the rippling in 9 fathoms; and the
wind being entirely gone, were then carried to the south-west.

Soon after four o'clock, the ebb appeared to be making; and the anchor
was dropped in 11 fathoms, sandy bottom, about one mile west of Cape
Portland. The shore on this side of the cape trends south, in rocky heads
and beaches, and afterwards curves westward, forming an extensive bay,
which terminates in a point. To this the name of _Point Waterhouse_ was
given, in honour of the commander of the Reliance, and an island, whose
top is level and moderately high, lying off the point, was named ISLE

The bottom of the large bay is sandy, and the hills of Cape Portland
there retiring further back, permitted a view of the inland mountains, of
which there was a high and extensive ridge. Mountains like these are
usually the parents of rivers; and the direction of the ebb tide, which
came from between S.W. by S. and S.W. by W. at the rate of two-and-a-half
miles an hour, gave hopes of finding some considerable inlet in the bay,
and increased our anxiety for a fair breeze.

A set of distances of the sun east of the moon, a meridian altitude of
the planet Mars, and a western amplitude of the sun were taken at this
anchorage, the results of which, with the bearings of the land, were as

                                                           °   '
Latitude observed,                                        40  44 S.
Longitude from lunar distances corrected,                147  56 E.
Variation of the compass (the sloop's head being S.W.)    12  30 E.
C. Barren peak, over the outer islets of C. Portland,  N. 47 E.
Mount Chappell,                                         North.
Isle Waterhouse, centre, dist. 5 or 6 leagues,         S. 71 W.
Point Waterhouse.                                      S. 61 W.
Ridge of inland mountains,                    South to S. 42 W.
Highest part of ditto, a round top,                    S. 19 W.

The flood tide ceased to run at three quarters past three in the morning,
or _about nine hours after_ the moon passed over the meridian.

Nov. 2. A light breeze having sprung up from the eastward we steered for
the bottom of the bay, and at noon the nearest part of the beach was
distant only two miles.

                                               °  '
Observed latitude,                            40 49¾ S.
C. Portland, with the outer islets behind, N. 27 E.
Isle Waterhouse, extremes,          N. 78° to 89 W.
Point Waterhouse,                          S. 88½ W.

We stood on another mile, and then bore away westward, following the
round of the shore, but no inlet could be perceived. At three o'clock, we
had passed Point Waterhouse, and seeing a fair channel of about two miles
wide between it and the island, steered through, S.W. by W.

Isle Waterhouse is near four miles in length. Its southern shore consists
of beaches and rocky points; but it rises abruptly to a moderate
elevation. The level top is mostly covered with wood; and although its
appearance did not bespeak fertility, it was superior to any we had seen
of Furneaux's Islands. The land at the back of Point Waterhouse is higher
than that of the island, and is composed of grassy, woody hills, rising
over each other by gentle ascents. Upon the point there is a sandy
hillock, and a reef of rocks extends out from it a quarter of a mile. We
had 8 fathoms, whilst rounding this reef; and in steering through the
passage, the soundings were 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 5, 6 fathoms; the sandy bottom
being visible under the sloop. At the further end of the channel, a rocky
islet and a small reef were passed, leaving them on the starbord hand.
The islet was almost covered with sea birds and hair seals; from which
circumstance we judged, that the natives of Van Diemen's Land were not
able to get across here, any more than to the Swan Isles; and that,
consequently, they had no canoes upon this part of the coast.

From Point Waterhouse, the shore trends S. 67° W., five or six miles, and
is mostly rocky. It then takes a direction of S. S. W., in a long sandy
beach, and afterwards curves westward to a projecting point, near which
we had no ground with 13 fathoms a little before sunset. Another island
had been for some time visible, and was then distant six miles: It was

_Ninth Island_, and bore                N. 32° W.
Isle Waterhouse, about the centre,           N. 50° E.
South side of the passage,                   N. 62° E.
Projecting point, dist. one-third of a mile,  South.

The projecting point is over-topped with hillocks of almost bare sand, as
is a second, which lies W. 6° S., two or three miles from, and much
resembles, the first: these two projections received the joint name of
_Double Sandy Point_. The back country was manifestly worse than any
before seen on this coast. The pleasant looking hills of Point Waterhouse
no longer approached the shore; but retiring far inland, left a low space
between the back hills and the sea, which had every appearance of being
sandy and barren.

In passing the western part of Double Sandy Point, we had 5, and then 4
fathoms; and saw a reef extending from it some distance to the westward.
It was then nearly dark, and we hauled off upon a wind, for the night;
the furthest visible extreme, a remarkable stony head, bearing S. 70° W.
about eight miles.

The wind blew a moderate breeze all night, at north-east. At five in the
morning, Nov. 3, the Ninth Island was distant two miles, and bore E. 2°
N., in a line with Point Waterhouse. The top of the island appeared green
and level; but I did not see any seals upon the rocks. Resuming our
former course along shore, we passed close to _Stony Head_ at ten
o'clock, when two sets of distances of the sun east of the moon, gave its
corrected longitude 147° 10' east. The wind having then veered more to
the north, we hauled further off, and passed a rocky islet (the tenth),
upon which a few overgrown hair seals were sunning themselves. At noon,
our situation was as follows.

Latitude observed,                       40° 55½' S.
Tenth I., distant four miles,         S. 87 E.
Stony Head, dist. six or seven miles, S. 62 E.
A low head, distant ten miles,        S. 35 W.
Western extreme of the land,          S. 53 W.

Stony Head is the extremity of a ridge of hills which branches out from
the inland mountains, and stretches across the low, sandy land in front,
to the sea. On each side of the ridge there were several smokes, which
induced me to suppose the flat lands might contain lakes of fresh water.
The low head, bearing S. 35° W. seemed to be the termination of another
branch from the inland mountains; round it there was some appearance of
an opening, and at two o'clock, this excited so much hope that I ventured
to bear away before the wind. We advanced rapidly with the flood, and at
four, had passed LOW HEAD and were steering S. E. by S., up an inlet of
more than a mile wide. Some shoals, not quite covered, we left on the
starbord hand; keeping a straight course for the entrance of a basin or
bay, at which the inlet seemed to terminate. This course took us over
some strong ripplings of tide, on none of which, however, there was less
than 5 fathoms; and so soon as they were passed, 13 fathoms did not reach
the bottom. After advancing three miles, we approached a low, green
island, lying nearly in mid-channel; and being uncertain which was the
deepest side, I took the most direct, which lay to the west. From 8
fathoms, the next cast of the lead was 3½, and immediately the sloop was
aground. Fortunately, the bottom was soft, and the strong flood dragged
her over the bank without injury. The water deepened again as quick; and
when the channel on the east side of _Green Island_ was open, there was
no bottom at 13 fathoms.

We could not but remark the contrast between the shores of this inlet,
covered with grass and wood down to the water's edge, and the rocky
sterile banks observed in sailing up Port Jackson: it spoke favourably
for the country, and added to the satisfaction we felt in having made the
discovery. There was, however, little time for meditation: the tide drove
the sloop rapidly onward to the basin; and the evening coming on, I
pushed between some dry rocks and a point on the western side, and
anchored in 2 fathoms, on a bottom of sand and mud.

There appeared to be three arms, or rivers, discharging themselves into
this extensive basin. That which came from the westward., had its
_embouchure_ close to the sloop; and Mr. Bass went off in the boat to
look up it. His attention was, however, soon called to another pursuit: a
number of black swans were swimming before him, and judging from former
experience in Western Port, that several of them were unable to fly, he
gave chase with the boat. On his return at dusk, he rejoiced us with the
sight of four, and with a promise that we should not be in want of fresh
provisions in this port.

Nov. 4. I landed Mr. Bass with two men, to examine the country, and then
commenced a survey of the port by an examination of the _Western Arm_. It
is narrow, and has not more in the entrance than 3 fathoms, although,
about one mile up, there be 7 near the starbord shore. This arm is not
accessible to ships beyond three miles; and even in that distance there
is much more shoal than deep water.

The rocks lying at the entrance of the basin are covered at the top of
the flood, but at other times are much frequented by shags. After
observing the latitude and taking bearings there, I went down to Green
Island; and the tide being then out, perceived the shoals in Sea Reach to
be so numerous and extensive, that it was surprising how the sloop could
have reached thus far without striking upon some of them. In the channel
to the east of Green Island I found from 7 to 25 fathoms, and both the
sides of it steep to; a rock lies in the middle of the passage, but at
twenty yards from it there was 3 fathoms all round. Green Island is
covered with long, coarse grass and bushes, with a few small trees
intermixed. The large, noisy gulls frequent it for the purpose of
breeding, as do the swans, several of whose deserted nests were found
with the broken egg-shells in them. These were corroborating proofs, that
the natives of this part of Van Diemen's Land have not the means of
transporting themselves across the water; for Green Island is scarcely
two cables length from the shore.

In returning to the sloop, I took off Mr. Bass and his party, together
with a kangaroo weighing between eighty and ninety pounds, which he had
shot out of a considerable flock. Our fresh provisions were still further
increased by an addition of six swans, caught this evening with the boat.

Nov. 5 was employed in the survey of the Western Arm, and searching, but
in vain, for the means of conveniently replenishing our water casks. Next
morning we steered across the basin., and sought to anchor under an
island which, from its situation at the entrance of the eastern arm, was
called _Middle Island_; but there not being a sufficient depth of water
behind it, the course was continued up the eastern arm, in 10 or more
fathoms water, for two or three miles; when we anchored upon a
five-fathom bank, near a small cove on the northern shore. On landing, a
little stream was found descending from the hills into the south-east
corner of the cove, and in the middle was a gully with several deep holes
in it full of excellent water: this last, though not accessible till half
flood, was the most convenient for our purpose.

There were many recent traces of natives on the shore; and after
returning to the sloop, we saw, on the opposite side of the arm a man who
employed or amused himself by setting fire to the grass in different
places. He did not stay to receive us, and we rowed down to Middle Island
where a smoke was rising. The natives shunned us there also; for soon
after landing, I saw three of them walk up from the shoal which joins
Middle Island to the opposite low, sandy point. The party appeared to
consist of a man, a woman, and a boy; and the two first had something
wrapped round them which resembled cloaks of skins.

The gently-sloping hills of Middle Island afford about forty acres of
pasture land, well covered with grass, and thinly wooded. No fresh water
was seen, but it might probably be obtained by digging. This island is
little frequented by aquatic birds, from the circumstance of its being
accessible, at low water, to the inhabitants of the main.

Nov. 7. Mr. Bass and myself landed on the south shore upon our respective
pursuits. The sandy point at the back of Middle Island was particularly
favourable to the survey; and a base of sixty-six chains measured round
it, with the concomitant angles, enabled me to connect the eastern arm
with the basin. The sloop had been completed with water in the morning,
and was ready to proceed in continuation of the voyage; but the width of
the arm, the depth of water in it, and strength of the tides, were too
strong indications of a river of extensive course for me to be able to
quit it without some further examination.

(Atlas, Pl. VII.)

A rainy gale from the eastward did not allow of moving until Nov. 9th; we
then got under way with the flood tide, and beat up the first, or _Long
Reach_, against a south-east wind. Abreast of _Point Rapid_ (see the
chart), where the river turned sharp round to the south-west, I went away
in the boat to examine the upper end of Long Reach; but the haste
required in following after the sloop, which the tide assisted in driving
fast upward, allowed me to do it but very cursorily. In _Crooked Reach_,
I stopped at two places, and measured a short base near _Glen Bight_. The
sloop was then lost to view, although the wind had died away; and on
reaching _Brush Island_, it was not easy to know which way she had taken,
_Round-head Bay_ having as much the appearance of being a continuation of
the river, as had _Whirlpool Reach_. This reach stretches south-eastward,
and its width is much less than in any of the lower parts of the river,
being no more than a short quarter of a mile; but, as might be expected,
the depth in it, from 10 to 22 fathoms, is greater, and its borders are
steep and rocky. At the end of Whirlpool Reach, the banks of the river
opened out so considerably that, from our little boat, it appeared like a
sea, the land at the further end being scarcely distinguishable.
Fortunately, we got sight of the sloop in _Anchor Bight_ before it was
dark, and carried with us another black swan.

Nov. l0, being under the necessity of going down to Brush Island, to
bring the survey up from thence to the position of the sloop, we did not
get under way till near noon. The wind was from the westward, and I went
forward in the boat to Egg Island, so named from the number of eggs,
mostly of the gull and red bill, which were there found. It is small and
stony; but covered with grass, and had not been visited by the natives.
My next station was on the opposite side of the river, upon a low sandy
point which is lengthened by a dry shoal. These project out from the
general line of the southern shore, and contract the river to less than
half a mile; whereas its width above and below, is one mile and a half.
On the east, or lee side of this point and shoal was a flock of swans, in
number not less than from three to five hundred; and their cast quills
were so intermixed with the sand, as to form a component part of the
beach. This countless number of quills gave me an insight into the cause
why so many of the swans, though not young birds, were unable to fly:
they moult their wing feathers, probably at stated periods, though not, I
should think, every year. This sandy projection was named _Swan Point_.

On steering southward from thence, I found that the bight in which this
great number of birds had assembled, was full of shoals producing the
long aquatic grass which forms the principal part, if it be not their
sole food. We sailed through the flock, and might have procured a good
number, had not the progress of the sloop obliged us to hasten onward to
_Shoal Point_: one incautious bird was caught by his long neck as we
sailed past him.

The change in the direction of the river, from south-east to south, made
the extension of a new base necessary. From the end of Shoal Point, I ran
thirty-two chains westward, across a small stream of _fresh water_; and
having taken the necessary angles, returned to the sloop, which had then
anchored at half a mile from the point, in 4 fathoms. The shoal was dry
in the evening, within two cables length of the vessel, and rendered the
fresh stream inaccessible to a boat.

The time of our absence from Port Jackson being restricted to the
beginning of January, I did not think it advisable to take the sloop any
further up the river; but determined, after devoting one day more to an
excursion in the boat, to return and proceed along the north coast of Van
Diemen's Land, in prosecution of the main object of the voyage.

Nov. 11, Mr. Bass landed near Shoal Point, to go as far back into the
country as the limited time would permit. I steered from thence over to a
red bank on the east side of the river, measured a base of seventy nine
chains, and took angles from a variety of stations. At the Crescent
Shore, the river was contracted to a quarter of a mile in width, the
water was half fresh, and the depth across as follows: 1½, 3, 5½, 8, 8½,
12½, 11, 6, 4 fathoms at half flood.

The direction of the river, from where the sloop was lying to this part,
is nearly S. S. W.; but it then winds round the Crescent Shore, and runs
E. S. E. My uppermost station was upon a hill near the water side, at the
commencement of this new reach; and from thence the river appeared, at
the distance of a mile and a half, to reopen out its banks, and to turn
more southward. In an eastern direction, across the wide part, there were
three ridges of hills, and beyond them some blue peaks and caps of
distant mountains, which I judged to be the same we had seen from Cape
Portland; and amongst which the source, or some of the sources of this
river most probably arose. The distance of these mountains concurred with
the strength of the tides and the depth of water to indicate, that, at
the Crescent Shore, the larger half of the river still remained to be

[* The chart will show from later examinations, how far the river is
navigable, and whence its different sources are derived.]

The morning of Nov. 12 was foggy and calm. We rowed the sloop down with
the assistance of the ebb tide, to Round-head Bay, and anchored in 3½
fathoms. At high water, the anchor was again weighed; and at dusk, having
had a breeze, we reached the five-fathom bank in Long Reach, near
Watering Cove. From the upper end of Whirlpool Reach to Point Rapid, I
went ahead in the boat and examined all the creeks and gullies on the
western shore, for watering places. There were drains of fresh water down
some of these, but in none, not even in Glen Bight, was there any
accessible to boats.

Nov. 13, we beat down with the ebb tide to Middle Island, and then
steered across the basin for the _Middle Arm_, which was yet totally
unexplored; but after many ineffectual attempts to find a passage over
the shoals, we came to, in 5 fathoms, near the Shag Rocks, and I went to
examine the arm with the boat. From _Inspection Head_ I discovered a
narrow channel leading into it, where there was more than sufficient
depth for ships; but this arm is altogether of little consequence.

In the evening, it blew a gale of wind from the north-westward, with hail
and rain; and the same weather continuing next day, I employed the time
in examining Sea Reach. On the 15th, somewhat finer weather enabled us to
get down to Outer Cove, a place opposite to Green Island, where there is
room for a larger vessel than the Norfolk to ride at single anchor, in 8
fathoms. The head of the cove is shoal, and the stream that falls into it
is salt to a greater distance than a boat can go; nor could any
accessible fresh water be found in the neighbourhood. _Middle Rock_, so
named from its situation in the deep channel between the cove and Green
Island, is hidden at half flood. Fine muscles were gathered from it, many
of them containing small, discoloured pearls, such as are found in those
of Adventure Bay.

From this time to the 20th, the western winds continued to blow strong;
and finding, after an ineffectual attempt, that it was impossible to make
any progress in the voyage, we remained in port, taking astronomical
observations, completing the survey, and examining the country, until a
favourable change should take place. At the back of the longest beach
near Low Head, and on the same side, I found a deep pool of tolerably
good water, at which our casks were again replenished; and when the boat
was not employed in this, or other services, the people were sent swan
hunting, and never without success.

Nov. 20. The wind having become moderate at north-west, we beat out of
the port with the ebb tide; and at one p.m., took a departure from Low
Head. The breeze had then veered to E. N. E.; and when we had run nine
leagues, a head on the west side of the port bore S. 53° E., and the
furthest visible part of the coast was at west: being then dusk, the wind
was hauled off shore.

We had rainy weather in the night, and the wind shifted back to W. N. W.,
and blew a fresh gale. This soon raised a high sea, and reduced us to a
close-reefed main sail and jib; nor were we without apprehensions of the
shore for the following night, so much did the sloop drive to leeward. On
the 22nd at noon the gale was more moderate, the wind at W. by S., and
the weather permitted an observation to be taken for the latitude; it was
40° 13', and we had land bearing E. N. E. about three leagues distant. So
soon as I had satisfied myself that this could be no other than the hilly
land lying five leagues to the northward of the Chappell Isles, we bore
away before the sea; and by carrying all sail, secured an anchorage in
Hamilton's Road before dark.

It was not safe to move on the 23rd, and there being a lunar eclipse
announced in the ephemeris to take place in the following night, I landed
to observe it with the telescope of the sextant. The times at which the
beginning and end happened by the watch, being corrected from altitudes
of the stars _Rigel_ and _Sirius_ observed in an artificial horizon, gave
148° 37½' for the uncorrected longitude of Preservation Island; which is
37' more than was deduced from the lunar distances in the Francis. The
penumbra attending the earth's shadow is usually supposed to render this
observation uncertain to two or three minutes of time, or more than half
a degree of longitude.

Nov. 24. The gale had subsided to a moderate breeze, and we tried to beat
back to the westward; but finding too much sea, bore away into
Armstrong's Channel to speak the commander of the Nautilus; that, through
him, governor Hunter might be informed of our discoveries thus far, and
of the delays experienced from the western winds. I was happy to find
captain Bishop proceeding successfully in his sealing business, though
slower than he might have done, had the anchorage been nearer to the
eastern points.*

[* Nine thousand skins of the first quality, with several tons of oil,
were procured by the Nautilus, and Furneaux's Islands have since been
frequented by small vessels from Port Jackson upon the same errand.
Unfortunately, this species of fishery is soon exhausted in any one
place; or it would have been the means of raising up an useful body of
seamen, and thus proved of advantage, both to the colony and to the
mother country.]

In the evening it fell calm, and the tide being favourable, we rowed back
for Hamilton's Road; but a fair breeze springing up when abreast of it,
instead of anchoring we made all sail to the west-south-west for Van
Diemen's Land.

On the 25th at day-light, the Ninth Island bore south, five miles; the
wind had then shifted to N. by W., and blew strong, with rainy weather;
and at eight o'clock, it was at N. W. by W., and obliged us to tack
offshore. This gale cleared away on the 26th, and at noon our situation
was in

Latitude                       40° 34½' S.
Mount Chappell bore             N. E.
Peak of Cape Barren,            N. 78° E.
Land taken for Isle Waterhouse, S.  7° E.

We were then steering south-westward again with a fair breeze; but had
scarcely passed Stony Head, next morning, when another gale sprung up
from the north-west. It was a happy circumstance that we were able to
reach our new discovered port, and take refuge at the former secure
anchorage near the Shag Rocks; for this gale was more violent and of
longer continuance than any of the preceding. This long succession of
adverse winds caused us almost to despair of accomplishing the principal
object of the voyage; for of the twelve weeks, to which our absence from
Port Packson was limited, nearly eight were already expired.

Dec. 2. The gale moderated, and we made an attempt to continue the
voyage, but were driven back. On the 3rd, the attempt was repeated; and
the wind being light, we anchored at the entrance of the port, to prevent
losing by the flood what had been gained by the ebb tide. In the evening
a fair wind sprung up; and at length, to our great satisfaction, we were
enabled to proceed in the discovery of the strait.

The harbour, which we entered with so much pleasure on Nov. 3, and
finally quitted with still more on Dec. 3, was named PORT DALRYMPLE, by
His Excellency governor Hunter, as a mark of respect to Alexander
Dalrymple, Esq., the late hydrographer to the Admiralty. The following is
a summary of the observations taken there, for fixing the position of Low
Head, on the east side of the entrance:

_Latitude_ from six meridian altitudes, of which three
were taken in port, and three at sea within sight
of Low Head                                                    41°  3'
30" S.
_Longitude_ from two sets of distances of the sun east,
and two west of the moon, with Troughton's nine
inch sextant No. 251, corrected for the errors of
the lunar and solar tables                                    146° 43'
45" E.

From two sets of distances of the sun east, and two west
of the moon, with a five-inch sextant of Adams                146° 52'

Mean from sun and moon                                 146° 48' 15" E.

From one set of a star east, and one west of the moon,
with No. 251                                                  146° 52'
From two ditto, ditto, with the five-inch                     146° 56'
Mean from stars and moon                                      146° 54'
Mean of all                                                   146° 51'
28" E.*

_Variation_ of the theodolite., observed on the shore
of Outer Cove                                                    7 28
Do. of the azimuth compass, observed in the same place,          8 30
Do. of the same, taken at anchor off the port, the
sloop's head being N. by E. (magnetic),                          7 44
The time of high water in Port Dalrymple, is _one quarter of an hour
before_ the moon passes over the meridian; and the rise of tide is from
six to eight, or it is said to ten, feet. The ebb sets out seven hours;
and both ebb and flood run with much rapidity in the narrow parts, but
the particular rate was not ascertained.

[* The longitude of Low-Head, deduced from the Investigator's time
keepers, combined with my surveys in the Francis and Norfolk, is 146° 47½
east; as the observations with the large sextant, No. 251, taken alone,
would give it very nearly.]

Port Dalrymple and the _River Tamar_* occupy the bottom of a valley
betwixt two irregular chains of hills, which shoot off north-westward,
from the great body of inland mountains. In some places, these hills
stand wide apart, and the river then opens its banks to a considerable
extent; in others, they nearly meet, and contract its bed to narrow
limits. The Tamar has, indeed, more the appearance of a chain of lakes,
than of a regularly-formed river; and such it probably was, until, by
long undermining, assisted perhaps by some unusual weight of water, a
communicating channel was formed, and a passage forced out to sea. From
the shoals in Sea Reach, and more particularly from those at Green Island
which turn the whole force of the tides, one is led to suppose, that the
period when the passage to sea was forced has not been very remote.

[* So named by the late lieut. colonel Paterson, who was sent from Port
Jackson to settle a new colony there, in 1804. The sources of the river
were then explored, and the new names applied which are given in the
chart. The first town established was _Yorktown_ at the head of the
Western Arm, but this proving inconvenient as a sea port, it was proposed
to be removed lower down, near Green Island. _Launceston_, which is
intended to be the capital of the new colony, is fixed at the junction of
the _North_ and _South Esks_, up to which the Tamar is navigable for
vessels of 150 tons. The tide reaches nine or ten miles up the North Esk,
and the produce of the farms within that distance may be sent down the
river by boats, but the South Esk descends from the mountains by a
cataract, directly into the Tamar, and, consequently, is not accessible
to navigation of any kind.]

Of the two chains of hills which bound the valley, the eastern one
terminates at Low Head; the other comes down to the sea, five or six
miles from it, on the west side of the port. The ends of these chains,
when seen from directly off the entrance, appear as two clusters of hills
having some resemblance to each other; and in fine weather, the distant
blue heads of the back mountains will be seen over the tops of both
clusters. These appearances, joined to the latitude and longitude, are
the best _distant_ marks for finding Port Dalrymple. If a ship come along
shore from the eastward, the Ninth Island, and afterward Stony Head with
the Tenth Islet lying three or four miles to the north-west, will
announce the vicinity of the port; and Low Head will be perceived in the
bight to the S. S. W., but it is not a conspicuous object.

Three or four leagues to the westward of the port, the back land is
uncommonly high, and the top of the ridge is intersected into uncouth
shapes. From the brilliancy of some of these mountains, on the appearance
of the sun after rain, I judged them to be of granite, like those of
Furneaux's Islands. These mountains, with the direction of the coast and
what has been said of the clusters of hills, may serve as marks for Port
Dalrymple to ships coming along shore from the westward.

Reefs and banks extend out to a considerable distance on the west side of
the entrance; so that strangers should avoid that side, and endeavour to
come in with Low Head. The greater part of these shoals, as also of those
in Sea Reach, are covered at half tide; therefore the first of the flood,
or even a little before, is the best time to enter Port Dalrymple, as
almost the whole of the dangers are then visible. A signal post, with
pilots, was fixed at Low Head on the settlement of the new colony in
1804, and beacons have since been placed on the most dangerous rocks and
shoals; it has therefore become unnecessary to give particular
instructions for sailing up the port, especially as they may be found in
my _Observations on the coasts of Van Diemen's Land, etc._; a little
memoir published by Mr. Arrowsmith, in 1801.*

[* In Mr. Horsburgh's _Sailing Directions, etc._ Part II., are given,
upon my friend captain Kent's authority, notices of the beacons laid
down, and directions respecting them; to which I add, from the
information of lieut. Oxley, that a rock, on which H. M. ship Porpoise
struck, lies W. ½ N. by compass, one cable's length from _Point
Roundabout_. There is no more than four feet upon it at low water, but it
way be safely passed on either side.]

We found Port Dalrymple to be an excellent place for refreshment. Out of
the flocks of black swans, from one-fifth to one-tenth of them were
unable to fly; and since the same thing has been found to obtain in the
months of January and May, as well as in October. it is probably so at
all times of the year. These birds are endowed with a considerable
portion of sagacity: they cannot dive, but have a method of immersing
themselves so deep in the water, as to render their bodies nearly
invisible, and thus frequently to avoid detection. In chase, their plan
was to gain the wind upon our little boat; and they usually succeeded
when the breeze was strong, and sometimes escaped from our shot also.

Kangaroos appeared to be rather numerous in this part of Van Diemen's
Land; but as they were shy, and we had little time or necessity to go
after them, one only was procured; it was of the large, forest kind, and
the flesh was thought superior to that of the same animal at Port

Ducks and teal went by flocks in Port Dalrymple; but they were shy, and
we took no trouble after them. The white-bellied shag, and the black and
pied red bills were common in the lower parts of the port, and some
pelicans were seen upon the shoals. The large black shag, usually found
in rivers, was seen in different parts of the Tamar; and upon another
occasion, we found these birds to be tolerable food.

Neither our wants nor leisure were sufficient to induce any attempt to
catch fish. Muscles were abundant upon those rocks which are overflowed
by the tide; and the natives appeared to get oysters by diving, the
shells having been found near their fire places.

The country round Port Dalrymple has, in general, a pleasing and fertile
appearance; nor did examination prove it to be deceitful. But this
subject, and what concerns the natives, came more particularly within the
department of Mr. Bass; and his observations upon them having been
published, I proceed to the continuation of the voyage.

Dec. 3, in the evening, the Norfolk was lying at anchor off the entrance
of the port, when a breeze sprung up from the north-eastward, and enabled
us to proceed along the coast. At dusk, Low Head bore S. 77° E. six
miles, and we then hauled off for the night. The shore on the west side
of Port Dalrymple falls back to the southward and forms a bight under the
high land, where it is possible there may be some small opening; for the
haziness of the weather did not allow the coast line to be distinctly
traced. Upon the back mountains are many variously-shaped tops, of which
the easternmost bore S. 5° E., and a flat one towards the other end of
the ridge, S. 38° W. The furthest land which could be seen was a round
hill, making like an island, and bore very nearly west from the mast

Dec. 4. We resumed our course westward, but the wind being at N. N. E.,
did not dare to approach very near the shore. At noon, the observed
latitude was 40° 58', and the hills on the west side of Port Dalrymple
bore S. 65° E. five or six leagues. From thence to S. 38° W., where
another chain of hills came down to the sea, the country is well wooded,
and lies in hills and vallies. The Round Hill bore S. 65° W. five or six
leagues, and in the evening, when three leagues distant, the low land
connecting it with the main was visible.

During the night, and next day, Dec. 5, the winds were light and
variable, so that we made little progress. At noon, the furthest land
seen to the westward appeared like a small flat-topped island, but being
found to be connected with the main land, received the descriptive name
of _Circular Head_; a nearer projection, of a jagged appearance, was
called _Rocky Cape_, and a steep cliffy head still nearer, _Table Cape_,
from its flat top. Our situation was then as under;

Latitude observed,                    40° 56' S.
Round Hill, distant three leagues, S. 22 E.
Table Cape, north extreme,         N. 88 W.
Rocky Cape, highest knob,          N. 77 W.
Circular Head                      N. 71 W.
A flat-topped peak, inland,        S. 14 W.

The sandy shore abreast was seven or eight miles distant, and behind it
the land was low, but tolerably well covered with wood. The sole
remarkable object inland, was the flat-topped peak, which had very much
the appearance of an extinguished volcano. From after bearings, it was
found to lie S. 1° E. eleven leagues from Table Cape; and in that
direction its top assumes the form of a pointed cone.

In the morning of Dec. 6, our situation was N. 8° E. four miles from the
cliffy, north-east end of Table Cape, and the Round Hill bore S. 41° E.
Having a favourable breeze, we passed, at eight o'clock, within half a
mile of the reef which surrounds Rocky Cape, and steered onward for
Circular Head, which as yet was the furthest visible land.

Table Cape, Rocky Cape, and Circular Head lie nearly in a line of N. 62°
W., and are about ten miles apart from each other. Between these, the
coast forms two shallow bights; the shore of the first is mostly rocky,
and an islet lies in the middle; the western bight is sandy, and promises
better anchorage, particularly near Circular Head, where a vessel may be
sheltered against all winds from the western half of the compass. The
land at the back of the shore, from Table Cape westward, is of a
different description to that before passed: instead of having an
extensive view over a variegated, and well wooded country, the sight was
there confined by a ridge of stony hills, of which Rocky Cape is no more
than a projecting part.

Circular Head is a cliffy, round lump, in form much resembling a
Christmas cake; and is joined to the main by a low, sandy isthmus. The
land at the back is somewhat lower than the head, and is formed into very
gentle slopes. A slight covering of withered grass gave it a smooth
appearance; and some green bushes scattered over it much resembled, at a
distance, a herd of seals basking upon a rock.

We passed Circular Head at ten, and three hummocks of land then came in
sight to the north-westward, the southernmost and highest having
something of a sugar-loaf form. Between these hills and the smooth land
to the west of Circular Head, there was a large bight, in which some
patches of land were indistinctly visible through the haze; but as the
wind was then blowing directly into the bight, the fear of getting
embayed prevented its examination. Our position at noon was as follows:

Latitude observed,                            40° 39¾' S.
Circular Head, distant seven miles,        S. 17 E.
West extreme of the smooth land behind it, S.  6 W.
Sugar-loaf hummock,                        N. 55 W.
Northernmost hummock,                      N. 49 W.

From the time of leaving Port Dalrymple no tide had been observed, until
this morning. It ran with us, and continued until three o'clock; at which
time low land was seen beyond the three hummocks. This trending of the
coast so far to the north made me apprehend, that it might be found to
join the land near Western Port, and thus disappoint our hopes of
discovering an open passage to the westward; the water was also
discoloured, as if we were approaching the head of a bay, rather than the
issue of a strait; and on sounding, we had 17, and afterwards 15 fathoms
on a sandy bottom.

The wind having become light and the tide turned to the eastward, our
situation at dusk was little altered from what it had been at three
o'clock; but from the clearing away of the haze, the lands in the great
bight had become more distinguishable, and the following bearings were

Table Cape, distant 11 or 12 leagues,         S. 43½° E.
Circular Head,                                S. 26   E.
Sugar-loaf hummock,                           N. 75   W.
Extreme of the three-hummock land,            N. 48   W.
Low point in the great bight, with a cliffy
head at a further distance behind it,         S. 70   W.

The cliffs visible behind the low point had every appearance of being the
north head of an opening, but of what kind, our distance was too great to

[* In 1804, Mr. Charles Robbins, acting lieutenant of His Majesty's ship
Buffalo, was sent from Port Jackson to examine this great bight; and from
his sketch it is, that the unshaded coast and soundings written at right
angles are laid down in the chart.]

During the night and next day, Dec. 7, the wind was variable, with
alternate calms. The latitude at noon was 40° 28', and the sugarloaf hill
bore W. by S. ten miles. On the 8th a breeze sprung up from the
south-westward, and threatened a gale from that boisterous quarter. We
were in 40° 23' at noon, and trying to work up to the land of the three
hummocks, to prevent losing ground; and at six in the evening, got to an
anchor in a quarter less 4 fathoms, in a small sandy bight under the
northern hummock, being sheltered from N. 2° E., round by the west to S.
30° E. Circular Head was still visible, bearing S. 35° E.; and the
difference of longitude made from Port Dalrymple was calculated at 1¾°,
subject to future revision.

Mr. Bass and myself landed immediately to examine the country and the
coast, and to see what food could be procured; for the long detention by
foul winds had obliged me to make a reduction in the provisions, lest the
object of our voyage and return to Port Jackson should not be
accomplished in the twelve weeks for which we were victualled. At dusk,
we returned on board, having had little success as to any of the objects
proposed; but with the knowledge of a fact, from which an interesting
deduction was drawn: the tide had been running from the eastward all the
afternoon, and contrary to expectation, we found it to be near low water
by the shore; the flood, therefore, came from the west, and not from the
eastward, as at Furneaux's Isles. This we considered to be a strong
proof, not only of the real existence of a passage betwixt this land and
New South Wales, but also that the entrance into the Southern Indian
Ocean could not be far distant.

The little time there was for examining the coast, confined my
observations to what were necessary for giving it the formation it has in
the chart. The country is hilly, and Mr. Bass found it impenetrable from
the closeness of the tall brush wood, although it had been partially
burnt not long before. There was very little soil spread over the rock
and sand, and the general aspect was that of sterility. Several deserted
fire places, strewed round with the shells of the sea ear, were found
upon the shore.

The south-west wind died away in the night; and at six next morning, Dec.
9, we got under way with a light air at south-east. After rounding the
northeast point of the three-hummock land, our course westward was
pursued along its north side.

A large flock of gannets was observed at daylight, to issue out of the
great bight to the southward; and they were followed by such a number of
the sooty petrels as we had never seen equalled. There was a stream of
from fifty to eighty yards in depth, and of three hundred yards, or more,
in breadth; the birds were not scattered, but flying as compactly as a
free movement of their wings seemed to allow; and during a full _hour and
a half_, this stream of petrels continued to pass without interruption,
at a rate little inferior to the swiftness of the pigeon. On the lowest
computation, I think the number could not have been less than a hundred
millions; and we were thence led to believe, that there must be, in the
large bight, one or more uninhabited islands of considerable size.*

[* Taking the stream to have been fifty yards deep by three hundred in
width, and that it moved at the rate of thirty miles an hour, and
allowing nine cubic yards of space to each bird, the number would amount
to 151,500,000. The burrows required to lodge this quantity of birds
would be 75,750,000; and allowing a square yard to each burrow, they
would cover something more than 181 geographic square miles of ground.]

From the north-east point of the three-hummock land, the shore trended W.
1° N. three miles; then S. 39° W. four miles, to a rocky point, forming
the south-west extremity of what was then ascertained to be THREE-HUMMOCK
ISLAND. The channel which separates it from the land to the west, is, at
least, two miles in width, and is deep; so that it was difficult to
conjecture how the Indians were able to get over to the island. It was
almost certain that they had no canoes at Port Dalrymple, nor any means
of reaching islands lying not more than two cables length from the shore;
and it therefore seemed improbable that they should possess canoes here.
The small size of Three-hummock Island rendered the idea of fixed
inhabitants inadmissible; and whichever way it was considered, the
presence of men there was a problem difficult to be resolved.*

[* Future visitants to these islands have seen the Indians passing over
in bodies, by swimming, similar to those whom Dampier saw on the
north-west coast of New Holland. Why the natives of Port Dalrymple should
not have had recourse to the same expedient, where the distance to be
traversed is so much less, seems incomprehensible.]

The coast on the west side of the channel lies nearly south, and rises in
height as it advances towards the cliffy head, set on the 6th p.m. The
north end of this land is a sloping, rocky point; and the first
projection which opened round it, was at S. 32° W., five or six miles.
Beyond this there was nothing like main land to be seen; indeed, this
western land itself had very little the appearance of being such, either
in its form, or in its poor, starved vegetation. So soon as we had passed
the north sloping point, a long swell was perceived to come from the
south-west, such as we had not been accustomed to for some time. It broke
heavily upon a small reef, lying a mile and a half from the point, and
upon all the western shores; but, although it was likely to prove
troublesome, and perhaps dangerous, Mr. Bass and myself hailed it with
joy and mutual congratulation, as announcing the completion of our
long-wished-for discovery of a passage into the Southern Indian Ocean.

We had a fine breeze at east; and our course was directed for a small,
rocky island which lies W. ½ N. 6 miles from the north point of the
barren land. This island appeared to be almost white with birds; and so
much excited our curiosity and hope of procuring a supply of food, that
Mr. Bass went on shore in the boat whilst I stood off and on, waiting his
return. No land could be seen to the northward, and the furthest clearly
distinguishable in the opposite direction was a steep island at the
distance of four leagues. The observations taken at noon were,

Latitude,                                      40° 23½' S.
The bird island, distant two miles,   S. 16 to 64 E.
Three-hummock Island, the sugar loaf,       S. 64 E.
Steep-head Island                           S.  9 E.

Mr. Bass returned at half past two, with a boat load of seals and
albatrosses. He had been obliged to fight his way up the cliffs of the
island with the seals, and when arrived at the top, to make a road with
his clubs amongst the albatrosses. These birds were sitting upon their
nests, and almost covered the surface of the ground, nor did they any
otherwise derange themselves for the new visitors, than to peck at their
legs as they passed by. This species of albatross is white on the neck
and breast, partly brown on the back and wings, and its size is less than
many others met with at sea, particularly in the high southern latitudes.
The seals were of the usual size, and bore a reddish fur, much inferior
in quality to that of the seals at Furneaux's Islands.

_Albatross Island_, for so it was named, is near two miles in length, and
sufficiently high to be seen five or six leagues from a ship's deck: its
shores are mostly steep cliffs. The latitude is 40° 25', and longitude
made by the running survey, 2° 7' west of Port Dalrymple; but it
afterwards appeared from the Investigator's time keepers, to lie in 144°
41' east of Greenwich.

The tide (apparently the ebb) had set so strong to the south-westward,
that notwithstanding our efforts to keep up with the island, it was
distant five miles when Mr. Bass returned and the boat was hoisted in. A
black lump of rock was then seen three or four leagues to the
south-westward, and the following bearings were taken just before making

Albatross Island,               N. 75° to 86° E.
Steep-head Island,                     S. 31  E.
Black. pyramidal rock,                 S. 59  W.

We kept close to the wind at north-east, in order to fetch Steep-head
Island; but were carried so far to leeward by the tide, that soon after
four o'clock our situation was as follows:

Albatross Island,                      N. 18° E.
Sugar-loaf hummock,                    N. 71  E.
Western part of the barren land,       N. 61  E.
Steep-head Island, centre,             S. 71  E.
Black, pyramidal rock,                 N. 77  W.
High black rock, dist. 2 miles,
having breakers to the south-westward, S. 18  E.

Besides these islands and rocks, we passed another cliffy island four or
five miles to the south of Steep-head, and to which I gave the name of
_Trefoil Island_, its form appearing to be nearly that of a clover leaf;
there were, also, several others of less importance, mostly lying near
the barren land. The steep south end of this land was set over the north
end of Trefoil at N. 65° E.; and being almost assured of its separation
from Van Diemen's Land, I added it, under the name of _Barren Island_, to
the rest of this cluster; and in honour of His Excellency, the governor
of New South Wales, I gave to the whole the title of HUNTER'S ISLES.

(Atlas Pl. VII.)

The north-west cape of Van Diemen's Land, or island, as it might now be
termed, is a steep, black head, which, from its appearance, I call CAPE
GRIM. It lies nearly due south, four miles, from the centre of Trefoil,
in latitude 40° 44'; the longitude will be 144° 43° east, according to
the position of Albatross Island made in the Investigator. There are two
rocks close to Cape Grim, of the same description with itself. On the
north side of the cape, the shore is a low, sandy beach, and trends
north-eastward, three or four miles; but whether there be a sufficient
depth for ships to pass between it and Barren Island, has not, I believe,
been yet ascertained. To the south of the cape, the black cliffs extend
seven or eight miles, when the shore falls back, eastward, to a sandy
bay, of which little could be perceived.

Our situation at dusk, was three miles from the cliffs, with Cape Grim
bearing N. 18° E. The furthest land, beyond the sandy bay, bore S. 4° E.
four or five leagues, and proved to be near the westernmost point of Van
Diemen's Land. The wind being strong at E. N. E. and the night dark and
tempestuous, we kept as much under the land as possible; but found
ourselves in the morning, Dec. l0, to be driven far to the
south-westward. At eight o'clock, the wind having moderated, we made
sail, S. E. ½ E; and at noon, were in the following situation.

Latitude observed,                            41° 13¾' S.
Sandy west Pt. of V. D. Land, dist. 10 m.  N. 10 W.
Furthest extreme, a low point,             S. 22 E.
An inland mount,                           S. 53 E.

The nearest part of the coast was between two and three miles distant,
and consisted of sandy beaches, separated by points which had many
straggling rocks lying off them. At the back of the shore, the land was
low for two or three miles, and then rose gently to a ridge of barren,
low hills. The inland mount, set at S. 53° E., appeared to be the north
end of a second chain, much higher, and better wooded, than the front
ridge: it lies eight miles back from the shore, and is named _Mount
Norfolk_, after my little vessel.

After obtaining the noon's observation and bearings, we steered southward
along the shore; and at six o'clock, had passed five leagues of the same
kind of coast as before described; but the wind then flew round to W. N.
W., and made it necessary to haul further off. At 6° 30',

Mount Norfolk bore                                     N. 56° E.
Low, rocky projection, distant four miles,             N. 35  E.
Distant mount, at the southern end of the back ridge,
and the furthest land in sight,                        S. 42  E.

Dec. 11. Before five o'clock, we came in with the land a few miles from
where it had been quitted in the evening.

Mount Norfolk then bore                     N. 27° E.
Low, rocky projection, dist. three leagues, N. 12  W.
Two conic rocks, at the southern extreme,   S. 42  E.

The wind was moderate at north-west, and we bore away along the shore,
which was distant four miles, and much similar to that of the preceding
day; but it had no scattered rocks lying in front. Behind some low
cliffs, passed at seven o'clock, was perceived a small opening like a
river, whose course seemed to run northward, between the front and back
ridges of hills: a smoke, which arose from the inner side of the opening,
was the first seen upon this west coast. I steered a short time for the
entrance; but seeing rocks in it, and the wind coming more on shore,
hauled off south, to increase our distance.

Two miles from the opening are the conic, and several low rocks, which
were passed at the distance of one mile and a half. At ten, we kept two
points more away, having gained an offing of seven miles; and at noon

Latitude observed,                                42° 2¼' S.
Furthest extreme of the coast,                 S. S. E.
Mount at the southern end of the back ridge,   N. 42 E.
A peaked hill, four miles E. S. E. from it,    N. 60 E.

The two last appear to have been the smaller mountains seen by TASMAN to
the north-east, on his discovering this land Nov. 24, 1642; and I have
therefore named the first _Mount Heemskerk_, and the latter _Mount
Meehan_, after his two ships. The back ridge of woody hills does not
terminate here; but it retreats further inland, and as far as could be
perceived through the haze, rises in height to the southward. The extreme
of the coast, which bore S. S. E., forms the southern point of a sandy,
and rather deep bight, where I thought it probable there might be some
small opening; but as the wind blew strong directly into it, there was
too much danger in bearing away for its examination.

At three o'clock, we passed the southern point of the bight, at the
distance of four miles; and the coast then again trended S. S. E., waving
in rocky bights and projections. The land here rises by a gentle ascent
for two or three miles from the shore; its appearance was smooth and
uniform; but it was destitute of wood, and almost of other vegetation:
the back mountains were obscured by the haze.

The heavy south-west swell, which had met us at the entrance of the
Indian Ocean, still continued to roll in, and set dead upon this coast;
and the wind blew fresh at W. N. W. Under these circumstances, we looked
out for some little beach where in case of necessity, the sloop might be
run on shore with a prospect of safety to our lives; for should the wind
come three or four points further forward, there was no probability of
clearing the land on either tack. No such beach could, however, be
discovered; and we therefore carried all possible sail to get past this
dreary coast. A remarkable pyramid came in sight in the evening; at eight
o'clock it was distant five miles to the east, and seen to be a rock on
the north side of a point, which projects two or three miles from the
coast line. This point, named _Point Hibbs_ after the colonial master of
the Norfolk, is higher than the neck by which it is joined to the back
land; and from thence, it appears to have been taken for an island by
Tasman; for I consider Point Ebbs and the pyramid to be the two islands
laid down by him, in 42° 35': their latitude, by our run from noon, is
42° 39'.

We hauled off, upon a wind, at eight o'clock; and at four next morning,
Dec. 12, came in again with the same land. At five, when our course was
resumed along shore, Point Hibbs was distant two or three miles, and the
pyramid, which bore N. 31° E. over its extremity, then appeared like the
crown of a hat. The coast to the southward is more irregular in its
trending, is of somewhat greater elevation, and not so destitute of wood
as on the north side of the point. At the distance of three leagues we
passed a cliffy head, with high rocks lying a mile from it; and two
leagues further, there were some patches of breakers two miles off the
shore: the general trending was between S. by E. and S. S. E.

At ten o'clock, a projection which merited the name of _Rocky Point_ bore
S. 74° E., five miles; and here the direction of the coast was changed to
east, for near seven miles, when it formed a bight by again trending
south-eastward. The shore round the bight is high, and at the back were
several bare peaks which, from their whiteness, might have been thought
to be covered with snow; but their greatest elevation of perhaps 1200
feet, combined with the height of the thermometer at 62°, did not admit
the supposition. These peaks are probably what Tasman named De Witt's
Isles, from his distance having been too far off to distinguish the
connecting land, and I therefore called the highest of them, lying in 43°
9½' south, _Mount De Witt_.

This morning, two sets of distances of the sun west of the moon were
observed, and our situation at noon was as follows:

Latitude,                                           43°  7' S.
Longitude from the lunar observations,             145  16  E.
Rocky Point, distant six or seven miles,         N.  3 W.
Mount De Witt,                                   S. 77 E.
Highest of two smaller hills, at the S. extreme, S. 59 E.

It afterwards appeared, that these smaller hills stood upon the extremity
of a point; and in honour of the noble admiral with whose victory we had
become acquainted, it was named POINT ST. VINCENT.

The western breeze died away in the evening, and the sloop was drifted in
by the swell, and perhaps by a tide, towards an opening round Point St.
Vincent. This opening is indicated in the small chart which accompanies
the voyage of M. Marion, but does not appear to have been seen by any
other navigator. Our bearings of the land, at sunset, deduced from the
sun's amplitude and sextant angles, were as follow:

Mount De Witt,                                         N. 18° E.
Point St. Vincent, distant five miles,                 N. 57  E.
Steep head on the east side of the opening, dist. 8 m. N. 86  E.
Pyramidal rock, lying off a cliffy head,               S. 46  E.

At a further distance, and in the same bearing with the pyramidal rock,
was a steep, jagged point, which proved to be the south-west cape of Van
Diemen's Land. Our latitude at this time was 43° 18½', the passage of the
moon having allowed me to get an observation at four o'clock; from whence
to eight, our position had changed only one-and-half mile to the east.

It remained nearly calm all night; and on the 13th, at daybreak, I was
much surprised to find our situation near ten miles to the southward,
instead of being in the same place. This circumstance, and a breeze which
arose at north, precluded me from examining the opening as I had
intended; for a width of three or four miles at the entrance, and the
form of the mountains behind, made it probable that a considerable river
discharged itself there; and the offset during the night strengthened the
supposition. At six o'clock,

Mount De Witt bore                            North.
Point St. Vincent,                           N.  7° E.
Steep head on the east side of the opening,  W. 27  E.
Pyramidal rock, off the cliffy head,         N. 33  E.
South-west Cape, the extreme.                S. 82  E.

We were then steering for the South-west Cape, and at nine I set Mount De
Witt over it at N. 22° W., our distance from the cape being then about
three miles.

Seven islands and rocks were counted to the eastward, lying at different
distances from the coast; and the wind having veered to west, permitted
us to pass within them. At noon, the shore to the north being too near
for the sun's altitude to be observed, its supplement was taken to the
south, and gave the latitude 43° 27½'. A steep head which lies N. 79° E.
four or five miles from the south-west Cape, then bore S. 74° W., three
miles;* whence the latitude of the Cape should be 43° 29', which is 10
_less_ than given by captain Furneaux, and 8' by captain Cook. This
difference naturally excited some suspicion of an error in the
observation, and I measured the supplement in the same manner on the
following noon, when it gave 2' 40" _less_ than the latitude determined
by D'Entrecasteaux in Storm Bay. The South-west Cape is therefore placed
2' 40" further south than my observation gave it; that is, in latitude
43° 32'.** The longitude of the Cape, from the observations taken off
Rocky Point and brought forward by the survey, would be 145° 47'; but its
situation in 146° 7', by captain Cook, appears to be preferable:
D'Entrecasteaux places it in 146° 0'.

[* This head opened round the Cape at E. 14° N.. magnetic, the sloop's
head being E. by N.; and shut at W. 20° S., when the head was north. In
the first case I allow 3½° east variation, and in the last, 8°; which
makes them agree as nearly as can be expected from bearings taken under

[** Captain Furneaux says (in _Cook's second Voyage_, Vol. I. page 109),
that on March 9, 1773, at noon, the South-west Cape bore _north, four
leagues_; and by referring to the _Astronomical Observations_, p. 193, I
find that his latitude was 43° 45 2/3', which would place the Cape in 43°
33 2/3'; nevertheless the captain says it is in 43° 39', and it is so
laid down in his chart. The observation by which captain Cook appears to
have fixed the South-west Cape, is that of Jan. 24, 1777, at noon; when
he says, "our latitude was 43° 47' south" (_Third Voyage_, Vol. I. p.
93.) But the _Astronomical Observations_ of that voyage show (p. 101),
that the observed latitude on board the Resolution was 43° 42½'; which
would make the Cape in 43° 32½' south. I consulted captain King's journal
at the Admiralty, but found no observed latitude marked by him on that

The nearest land, at noon, was a steep head bearing N. 66° E., one mile
and a half; and between this, and the head which bore S. 74° W., the
shore forms a sandy bay four miles deep, where it is probable there may
be good anchorage, if two clumps of rock, which lie in the entrance, will
admit of a passage in. After taking bearings of Maatsuyker's Isles and
the different headlands, we bore away eastward, and passed another deep,
sandy bight, probably the same in which Mr. Cox anchored in 1789. At two
o'clock, the

South-west Cape, distant 15 or 16 miles, bore   W.  2° S.
A steep head at the furthest extreme,
which proved to be the _South Cape_,            S. 72° E. *

[* The magnetic bearing of the South-west Cape was W. 5° S., and that of
the South Cape E. 15° S. The true variation I believe to have been 8° E.;
but as the sloop's head was at east, no more than 3° are allowed, from a
system which will be hereafter explained. It seemed necessary to say
this, because the formation of the south end of Van Diemen's Land in my
chart, differs from that given by captain Cook, and from those of most
others. In Bayly's _Astronomical Observations_, page 192, it appears that
six sets of variations were observed on board the Resolution, Mar. 24,
1777, off the South Cape; the mean result of which was 4° 43' east. Next
morning six other sets were taken near the same place, and the mean
variation came out 10°8' east. In captain King's journal, I found the
same observations entered, and that the ship's head was E. by N. ½ N. in
the first case, and N. W. by W. in the second. This, with the example in
the Francis, page cxxvi {The relevant paragraph begins "Whilst passing
round the north end . . ." ebook Ed.}, and that in the Norfolk on the
preceding page {a few paragraphs above this point. ebook Ed.}, may serve
to show, for the present, that corrections are required to the variation,
according to the direction of the vessel's head.]

At this time we were one mile within, or north of the largest of the
islands; and saw with some surprise, for it is three miles from the main,
that its grassy vegetation had been burnt. From hence we steered for the
easternmost isle, lying off a wide open bight in the coast, and
afterwards hauled up for the South Cape. The wind died away at six
o'clock, when the Cape was one mile distant; but thick clouds were
gathering in the south and west, and strong gusts with heavy rain
presently succeeded. Fortunately, the squalls came from the westward, so
that we were enabled to get further from those stupendous cliffs; had
they come from the south, the consequences might have been fatal to the

The first steep head, to the eastward of the South Cape, opened round it
at E. 7° N., (allowing 4° east variation,) and a second from the first,
at E. 16° N., their distances asunder being each about five miles. It is
the middlemost of these three heads which is called South Cape by captain
Cook, as appears from the relative situations of his Peaked Hill and of
Swilly rock; but he had not the opportunity of seeing the heads opening
one from the other, as we had in the Norfolk. I make the latitude of the
Cape (adding the 2' 40") to be 43° 37', nearly as captain Furneaux did;
and as captain Cook would have done, had his latitude at noon been taken
43° 42½', according to the _Astronomical Observations_, instead Of 42°
47', as in the voyage.

Pedro Blame, or Swilly rock, became visible at half past seven, when the
squalls had mostly blown over; and the following bearings where then

South Cape, distant five miles,                        W. by N.
East extreme of the next steep head, dist. 2½ miles,  N. 14° E.
Pedro Blanca,                                         S. 33  E.
Distant land through the haze,                        N. 60  E.

At nine o'clock we hauled up for D'Entrecasteauxs Channel, of which I had
the sketch of Mr. Hayes, and stood off and on, in the entrance, during
the night; the wind blowing hard at west, with dark rainy weather.

Dec. 14, at four in the morning, our situation was far to leeward; and
having no prospect of fetching into the channel, we bore away for
Boreel's Isles, which were seen bearing N. 65° E. two leagues. Three of
these produce some vegetation, and that of the largest had been partially
burnt not long before. The two easternmost, called the Friars by captain
Furneaux, are bare pyramidal rocks, and, except where they had been made
white by the gannets, are of a black, weather-beaten colour: a patch of
breakers lies one mile to the north-east from them.

Fluted Cape opened round Tasman's Head at N. 18° E. We passed these steep
projections at a mile distance; and not being able to fetch into
Adventure Bay, did the same by Cape Frederick Henry.* At noon, this cape
bore S. 13° W. eight miles, and Fluted Cape was behind it in the same
bearing. I proposed to enter the Derwent River; but on making a stretch
toward Betsey's Island,** it appeared that the Henshaw's Bay of Hayes,
instead of being a shallow bight, was a deep opening; and as the
north-west wind blew out of the Derwent, we stretched on, seven miles
above the island, and came to an anchor in 10 fathoms, sandy ground. This
opening is the _North Bay_ of D'Entrecasteaux; but I was totally
ignorant, at that time, of its having ever been entered.

[* This name, given by Captain Furneaux, is altered in D'Entrecasteaux's
voyage to that of _>Cape Trobriand_. The captain was undoubtedly mistaken
in his idea concerning Frederik Hendrick's Bay; but this does not appear
to be a sufficient reason for changing the established name of the cape,
unless Tasman had applied it to some other land, which is not the case.]

[** This is the _Isle Willaumez_, of D'Entrecasteaux; but it was known to
me from the sketch of captain Hayes, and is still to the colonists, under
the name of Betsey's Island.]

Dec. 15, the wind being at north-west, we passed a sloping island (Isle
St. Aignan of D'Extrecasteaux), and steered north-eastward, to explore
the inlet. After running three-and-half miles, with soundings from 13 no
bottom, to 5 fathoms, we anchored under a small island, which lies S. 75°
W., one mile and a half, from _Point Renard_, the uppermost station of
the French boats. This small spot received the descriptive name of _Isle
of Caves_, and lies in the passage from North Bay to a large extent of
water which appeared to the eastward, and which the French boats did not

From the Isle of Caves we ran six miles, E. S. E. up the new bay, for
_Smooth Island_. The width of the entrance, from Point Renard to _Green
Head_, is two miles, the soundings are from 6 to 16 fathoms, and there
are no dangers. Smooth Island, behind which we anchored in 4 fathoms, and
where I again landed to take bearings, is three quarters of a mile long,
and covered with grass and a few small trees. It had been visited by the
natives, as had the Isle of Caves; but from the eggs of gulls found upon
both, I judge they do not go often.

Dec. 16, we anchored two miles to the south-east of Smooth Island, in 6
fathoms, near a point of the main where a round hill afforded me a good
view of this extensive bay. The country there is stony and barren, though
covered with wood and much frequented by kangaroos. In the evening, the
appearance of a southern gale induced me to shift our berth to the north
side of the point; between which, and an islet lying half a mile from it,
the depth was 5 to 7 fathoms.

On the 17th, we landed upon the islet, and killed some out of the many
gulls by which it is frequented. A small arm of the bay extending
north-eastward, where we hoped to obtain fresh water, was the object of
our examination in the afternoon. There was a little stream falling in at
the head, but rocks prevented it from being accessible to boats, or to a
raft; and a walk of perhaps a mile to the eastward, afforded nothing but
the sight of a stony country, and of a few miserable huts. Our greyhound
started a kangaroo, but it was lost in the wood; and there were no birds
to shoot.

Dec. 18, the wind still blowing fresh from the westward, we worked up to
Smooth Island; and then stretched over to the south side of the bay. The
soundings were generally 9 fathoms, on mud and sand, to within a mile of
the shore; and at half a mile, where the anchor was dropped, the depth
was 4 fathoms.

We landed at a steep, but not high point near the sloop, where I took
some bearings, and observed the meridian altitude of the moon in an
artificial horizon, which gave the latitude 43° 1½'; Mr. Bass, in the
mean time, walked a little distance inland, but saw nothing of particular
interest. Some further bearings were taken next morning, from a head
lying to the west; after which the anchor was weighed, and we steered
northward along the west side of the bay, with soundings from 8 to 4
fathoms. In the evening, we had worked back into North Bay, and come to
an anchor under the north-east end of Sloping Island.

The great eastern bay now quitted had never been entered till this time;
and as it is proved not to be Frederik Hendrik's, I have named it NORFOLK
BAY. It is about eight miles long, north and south, and three to five
miles broad from east to west. The largest fleet may find shelter here,
with anchorage on a good bottom of 4 to 9 fathoms deep. We saw but one
small stream of fresh water, and that was of difficult access; but it is
scarcely probable that, amongst the many coves all around the bay, water
convenient for ships should not be found. The country near the shore is
rocky; but as the kangaroo seemed to be abundant, there are probably many
grassy plains further inland. Wood abounds every where, except at Green
Head, which is mostly covered with grass. Of the four islands in the bay,
Smooth and Gull Islands were found superior in fertility to the main
land: the first contains about forty acres of tolerable pasturage.

In North Bay, the upper part seemed to be circumscribed by a sandy beach,
and to offer nothing of particular interest; we therefore steered
downward, on Dec. 20, for the Derwent River; but rainy squalls coming on
from the south, ran for a small beach on the western shore, and anchored
off it in 2½ fathoms. A narrow inlet there, from which the tide issued
with some strength, excited the hope of finding a short cut into the
Derwent; but it proved, on examination, to terminate in a shoal lagoon.
The country on its borders affords good pasturage, with some spots fit
for cultivation; there is, also, fresh water on the north side, but only
for domestic purposes. The lagoon is frequented by ducks, black shags,
pelicans, and gannets.

Dec. 21, we proceeded round for the Derwent. On clearing North Bay, I
went off in the boat to Betsey's Island, leaving Mr. Bass to conduct the
sloop. This island is high, and accessible only towards its north end;
its length is one mile, and mean breadth about half that quantity; the
soil is fertile, and nourishes a luxuriant vegetation of grass and wood;
and though the natives visit it occasionally, none of their traces were
recent. On rejoining the sloop, I found she had passed between the island
and two flat rocks near the main, with from 5 to 9 fathoms water; in
which depths the gigantic sea-weed grows up to the surface. At eight
clock we anchored in 9 fathoms, off Cape Direction, at the entrance of
the river.

Dec. 22, a base was measured and bearings taken for a survey of the
entrance, which proved to be near three miles wide. On the 23rd, the wind
being fair, we ran upwards between shores which were sometimes steep, but
generally of a gradual ascent, and well clothed with grass and wood. At
nine miles from the entrance lies _Sullivan Cove_, on the west side,
where a settlement has since been established by colonel Collins;* and
here the width of the river is suddenly contracted, from one mile and a
half to less than three-quarters of a mile, but the depth is not
diminished. Four miles higher up we found Risdon Cove, and anchored there
in 4 fathoms, with the intention of filling our empty water casks at the
_Risdon River_ of Mr. Hayes; but finding it to be a little creek which
even our boat could not enter, I determined to seek a more convenient
watering place higher up the Derwent.

[* The first settlement was made in Risdon Cove, in 1803, by captain John
Bowen of the navy, who was sent from Port Jackson for that purpose, by
his Excellency governor King; but on the arrival of colonel Collins in
1804, it was removed to Sullivan Cove.]

Dec. 24, the wind being adverse to proceeding upward, an extensive set of
angles was taken from the top of Mount Direction; and next day, I carried
the survey up the river, whilst Mr. Bass ascended the great _Mount
Table_, on the western side. At the northern foot of this mount lie _King
George's Plains_, a name given by Mr. Hayes to about three hundred acres
of pasture land; and in the front of the plains is his _Prince of Wales'
Bay_, a small shallow cove. Such names as these led us, at first, into
some errors with respect to the importance of the places sought; but
after the above examples, we were no longer deceived by them.

In the afternoon of the 25th, we got the sloop, with much difficulty,
five or six miles further up the river, to an inlet which I called
_Herdsman's Cove_, from the pastoral appearance of the surrounding
country. Two streams fall into it; and up the principal one, in the
north-east corner, I went two miles with the boat. The water was there
found to be fresh, and the depth sufficient to allow of its being reached
by the sloop; but the banks being steep and channel narrow, I was
deterred from watering in this place, by the fear of detention from foul

The width of the Derwent abreast of Herdsman's Cove is half a mile; but
except a very narrow channel close to the eastern shore, it is too
shallow even for boats. The intention of proceeding further with the
sloop was therefore abandoned; but so soon as the rainy, blowing weather
permitted, which was not until the 28th, I accompanied Mr. Bass in a boat
excursion up the river. Three miles above Herdsman's Cove the banks open
out to a mile in width; the river, from running north-westward, turns to
the south-west; and the deep channel makes a short cut across to the
convex bank, leaving the mud to collect in the opposite elbow. A great
deal of long, aquatic grass growing upon these mud flats, seemed to have
attracted the black swans, for the number collected there was not
estimated at less than five hundred.

The width of the Derwent is contracted in the south-west reach to little
more than a quarter of a mile, and we had not rowed far up it before the
water became perfectly fresh. The land on both sides rises to hills of
moderate elevation, and the rather steep acclivities being well clothed
with verdure, they had an agreeable appearance. Our attention was
suddenly called from contemplating the country, by the sound of a human
voice coming from the hills. There were three people; and as they would
not comply with our signs to come down, we landed and went up to them,
taking with us a black swan. Two women ran off, but a man, who had two or
three spears in his hand, stayed to receive us, and accepted the swan
with rapture. He seemed entirely ignorant of muskets, nor did any thing
excite his attention or desire except the swan and the red kerchiefs
about our necks; he knew, however, that we came from the sloop, and where
it was lying. A little knowledge of the Port Jackson, and of the
South-Sea-Island languages was of no use in making ourselves understood
by this man; but the quickness with which he comprehended our signs spoke
in favour of his intelligence. His appearance much resembled that of the
inhabitants of New South Wales; he had also marks raised upon the skin,
and his face was blackened and hair ruddled as is sometimes practised by
them. The hair was either close cropped, or naturally short; but it had
not the appearance of being woolly. He acceded to our proposition of
going to his hut; but finding from his devious route and frequent
stoppages, that he sought to tire our patience, we left him delighted
with the certain possession of his swan, and returned to the boat. This
was the sole opportunity we had of communicating with any of the natives
of Van Diemen's Land.

At one o'clock, when advanced five miles above the elbow, the ebb tide
made; and the wind being unfavourable, we landed to dine. The general
course of the river had been nearly south-west; but it there turned
west-by-north. The width, found by extending a base line, was two hundred
and thirty yards, and the depth, as it had generally been in the channel
from Herdsman's Cove, was 3 fathoms; but in some parts there may not be
more than 2, at low water.

We arrived on board the sloop in the evening, with fourteen swans, in
time to get a short distance down the river, before the ebb tide had done
running; and no place more convenient than Risdon Cove having offered
itself, we anchored there next day, and proceeded to complete our water,
and refit the sloop for returning to Port Jackson. The late rains had so
much increased the stream at the head of the cove, that our labour was
much abridged; and in the evening of Dec. 30, every thing was completed.

This cove is the highest part of the Derwent to which a ship can advance.
There is no danger in proceeding thus far, except off Shoal Point, about
two miles below, on the western shore; and on the opposite side, near the
echoing cliffs, there are 12 to 17 fathoms. Above Risdon Cove the mud
flats commence, and will stop any vessel which draws more than ten or
twelve feet; although there be, in some places higher up, from 5 to 8
fathoms. Mount Direction, on the north side of Risdon Cove, forms two
round heads which are distinguishable from the entrance of the river,
bearing N. 16° W. from Cape Direction. The latitude observed under the
mount, from the moon's meridian altitude, was 42° 48' 12" south;
variation of the azimuth compass on the south side of the cove, 8° 28',
and of the surveying theodolite 9° 15' east; but I found it alter one or
two degrees in different places, both in Norfolk Bay and in the Derwent,
owing to partial attractions in the land.*

[* Upon the top of Mount Table, the compass has since been found to vary
as much as 20°, from one part of the mountain to another.]

In Risdon Cove the tide rises between four and five feet, which is more,
by at least a foot, than it appeared to be at the entrance of the river.
The time of high water is _about eight hours after_ the moon's passage
over the meridian, or one hour later than in Adventure Bay.* In the
narrow parts, above Sullivan Cove, the tides run with tolerable
regularity, and with some degree of strength; but towards the entrance of
the river, the water at the surface sometimes ran down twelve hours
together, and at other times as much upwards, whilst the rise and fall by
the shore were at the usual periods. These anomalies were probably
occasioned by the wind, and seemed not to extend far below the surface;
for I found a counter current at the bottom.

[* See Bligh's _Voyage to the South Seas_; page 53.]

The banks of the Derwent are not remarkably high, but the country in
general may be termed mountainous. Mount Table, at the back of Sullivan
Cove, is supposed to be three-quarters of a mile in height; nor do I
think, from having seen it beyond the distance of thirty miles from the
sloop's deck, that it can be much less. The publication of Mr. Bass'
remarks upon the soil and productions of this part of Van Diemen's Land
dispenses me from entering upon those subjects; it is sufficient to say,
that the reports of them were so favourable as to induce the
establishment of a colony on the banks of the Derwent, four years
afterward; and that the discoveries which have since been made are marked
in the chart.


The last day of December and the first of January were occupied in
beating down to the entrance of the river.

Jan. 2. The wind blew strong from the south-east, with heavy rain; and
finding no advantage could be made by beating in Storm Bay, we ran into
D'Entrecasteaux's Channel, passed the large _North-west Port_, and
anchored in Pruen Cove, in 4 fathoms. We landed, so soon as the rain
cleared away, and found a small creek in which the water was fresh at a
few hundred yards above where it falls into the cove. A tree had been
felled on the bank, probably in 1793 or 4 by Mr. Hayes, who called this
stream Amelia's River; but it would be very difficult to fill casks here,
except when long continued rains should bring the fresh water to the
entrance of the creek. The valley through which it comes from the
westward, seemed to be of a rich, though damp soil.

On Jan. 3, having a breeze at north-west, we got under way at daylight;
and after repassing the northern entrance of D'Entrecasteaux's Channel,
steered across Storm Bay. At two clock I had the following bearings:

Tasman's Head.                    S. 37° W.
Cape Frederik Henry,             S. 71  W.
Quoin Island, distant six miles,  N. 28  W.
Low point, distant 1¼ miles,      N.  6  E.
Cape Raoul,* distant 3 miles,     S. 71  E.

[* This is the cape which, from its appearance, I had called by the
descriptive name of _Cape Basaltes_; not knowing that D'Entrecasteaux, or
any other navigator, had previously affixed an appellation. I give it up
the more readily, because it is said these columns are not strictly

Cape Pillar opened round Cape Raoul at E. 5° N., and the distance run
from one to the other was nine miles. These two high, columnar capes are
the extreme points of the land which captain Furneaux took to be Maria's
Island. Between them, the shore falls back about four miles, and forms a
small bay at the head, where there appeared to be shelter against all
winds except those from the southward; and perhaps from those also, for
the water seemed to reach behind the inner western point. At five clock
we passed Tasman's small, cliffy Island and Cape Pillar, and Maria's
Island came in sight at N. 6° E. We then hauled up to keep close in with
the shore to the northward; but the wind came in such violent puffs down
those steep cliffs, that the necessity of steering further off frustrated
my intention: the outer Hippolite Rock bore N. 56° W. three miles, at

Jan. 4. At daylight, Maria's Island appeared to be divided into two,
Schouten's Island was visible, and the principal bearings taken were as

Tasman's small Island,                        S. 24° W.
A deep bight in the coast,                    S. 56  W.
South head of Frederik Hendrik's Bay,         S. 72  W.
Maria's Island, south part,            N. 64° to 43  W.
north part,                            N. 39  to 19  W.
Schouten's Island,                    North to N. 5  E.

The wind shifted to north at ten o'clock, and we tacked towards Maria's
Island. At noon, the north-east extreme, a cock's-comb-like head, was
distant four or five miles; but the islet lying off it, in Mr. Cox's
chart, was not visible, nor yet the isthmus which connects the two parts
of the island.

Observed latitude,                               42° 41½' S.
South head of Frederik Hendrik's Bay,         S. 40 W.
Maria's Island, south part,                    Clouded.
--------------- north part,         S. 82° to N. 64 W.
Schouten's Island, dist. 4 leagues, N.  3 W. to   8 E.

We had squally weather in the afternoon, with the wind at north-west; and
being unable to get near Maria's Island before the evening, bore away
northward, having then a fresh breeze at W. S. W. Schouten's Island was
passed within two miles at ten o'clock, and at eleven, a piece of land
called Vanderlin's Island by Tasman, but which has since been found to be
the southern extremity of a peninsula. We then steered north, to keep in
with the coast; but the wind drawing forward in the morning of the 5th,
the sloop was drifted off, by noon, to four or five leagues. The land
then abreast rose in ranges of irregular, well-wooded hills; and behind
them were two peaks and a flat-topped piece of land, seemingly not many
leagues from the shore. The southernmost of the two peaks is the most
elevated, and appears to be the _high round mountain_ seen by Tasman on
Dec 4 and 5, 1642; I have, therefore, called it _Tasman's Peak_. It is
the northernmost part seen by him on this side of Van Diemen's Land, as
Mount Heemskerk was on the west coast: the flat-topped mountain is that
which colonel Paterson afterwards named _Benlomen_. To the southward, the
land was visible at a great distance; and if Schouten's Island and the
cape of the peninsula near it can possibly be seen so far as twenty
leagues from the deck, it must have been them. My observation and
bearings at this time were as follow:

Latitude observed,                         41° 27½' S.
South extreme of the coast,             S. 18  W.
Another piece of land, like an island,  S. 23  W.
Tasman's Peak,                          S. 63  W.
Northern extremity of the land,         N. 32  W.

It was to me a subject of regret, that the wind did not allow of keeping
close in with this east coast, since captain Furneauxs examination was
made at too great a distance to be exact; but my limited time of absence
being expired, and provisions nearly out, nothing more could be attempted
than what might be done in the way to Port Jackson.

(Atlas, Plate VI.)

Jan. 6, in latitude 40° 45½' no land was in sight; but on the 7th, when
in 40° 24¾', the high land of Cape Barren was visible through a thick
haze, bearing S. 76° W. five or six miles. The wind being then nearly at
east, we steered to pass between Cape Barren and the great northern
island, intending to explore the west side of the latter in our way. At
five o'clock breakers were seen two miles to the north, though no bottom
could be found at 17 fathoms; at six, however, we fell suddenly into 3
fathoms; but hoping to find a sufficient depth for the sloop round the
island which lies in the opening, stood on till the soundings diminished
to nine feet, and breakers were seen all round ahead, from beam to beam.
It was then near sun-set, and the breeze right aft; but whilst I was
considering what could be done for our safety, the wind shifted suddenly,
as if by an act of Providence, to the opposite quarter, and enabled us to
steer back, out of this dangerous place, with all sail. At nine o'clock
the wind returned to the south-eastward, having just lasted long enough
to take us out of danger; at eleven we had 20 fathoms; and in two hours
more steered N. by W., for the Babel Isles, with a fresh and fair wind.

Jan 8, at six o'clock, Mr. Bass went on shore to the small, south~
eastern islet; whence he brought a boat load of seals and gannets.
Besides these, the islet is inhabited by geese, shags, penguins, gulls,
and sooty petrels; each occupying its separate district, and using its
own language. It was the confusion of noises amongst these various
animals which induced me to give the name of _Babel Isles_ to this small

After taking on board our seals and gannets, we steered north-westward;
and at one o'clock took a departure from the Sisters. I wished to make
another effort to find the supposed Furneaux's Land, represented to lie
north of these islands and in latitude 39°; but the wind being strong
from the south-eastward, the course steered was N. by E. At eight o'clock
we had passed the 39th degree; and no land being visible, the course was
then altered to north-east, for Cape Howe.

Jan. 9, the wind blew strong at S. S. E., with thick, hazy weather. At
eight in the morning, high land was distinguished two points on the
weather bow, and sand hills from thence to abaft the lee beam, not more
than six or seven miles distant. We immediately hauled the wind to the
eastward, and carried every sail the sloop could bear in such a sea as
was then running. The land to windward was judged to be near the Ram
Head; although our reckoning was 20' short in latitude, and we supposed
ourselves to the eastward.

To make certain of clearing Cape Howe, the eastern course was prolonged
until day-light of the 10th; we then bore away, and at noon were in
latitude 37° 5'. On the 11th, the observation gave 34° 30'; and the gale
still continuing, we anchored within the heads of Port Jackson at ten
o'clock the same evening, having exceeded, by no more than eleven days,
the time which had been fixed for our return.

To the strait which had been the great object of research, and whose
discovery was now completed, governor Hunter gave, at my recommendation,
the name of BASS' STRAIT. This was no more than a just tribute to my
worthy friend and companion, for the extreme dangers and fatigues he had
undergone in first entering it in the whale boat, and to the correct
judgment he had formed from various indications, of the existence of a
wide opening between Van Diemen's Land and New South Wales.


The success of this expedition favoured my views of further discovery;
and the Reliance not being immediately wanted for service, His Excellency
accepted a proposition to explore _Glass-house_ and _Hervey's Bays_, two
large openings to the northward, of which the entrances only were known.
I had some hope of finding a considerable river discharging itself at one
of these openings, and of being able by its means to penetrate further
into the interior of the country than had hitherto been effected.

The sloop Norfolk was again allotted to me, with nearly the same
volunteer crew as before; and I was accompanied by Mr. S. W. Flinders, a
midshipman of the Reliance, and by _Bongaree_, a native, whose good
disposition and manly conduct had attracted my esteem. Of the assistance
of my able friend Bass I was, however, deprived, he having quitted the
station soon after our last voyage, to return to England. The time of my
absence was limited by the governor to six weeks, some arrivals being
then expected which might call the Reliance into active service.

(Atlas, Plate VIII.)

We sailed out of Port Jackson on July 8; and next morning came in with a
part of the coast, north of Port Stephens, which captain Cook had passed
in the night.* Off a projection which I called _Sugar-loaf Point_, in
latitude 32° 29', lie two rocks to the south-eastward, at the distances
of two and four miles. We passed between these rocks and the point, and
kept close in with the shore as far to the north as the hills called
_Three Brothers_ by captain Cook, of which the northernmost and highest
lies in latitude 31° 43' south.

[* The journal of this expedition, delivered to governor Hunter on my
return, having been published in great part by colonel Collins, the
account here given will be brief, and almost wholly confined to nautical
subjects. The reader who desires more information upon the lands visited,
and upon their productions and inhabitants, is referred to the _Account
of the English Colony in New South Wales_, Vol II. page 225 to 263.]

(Atlas, Plate IX.)

July 10, the observed latitude of 31° 38' showed a set of 33' to the
south; whereas it had the day before been 8' the contrary way. Our
distance from the shore had then become six leagues, owing to a foul
wind; but we got in with it again in the evening, and steered northward
with a fair breeze. On the 11th we sailed amongst the Solitary Isles, of
which five were added to the number before seen; and the space from
thence to twelve leagues northward having been passed by captain Cook in
the night, I continued to keep close in with the coast.

In latitude 29° 43', we discovered a small opening like a river, with an
islet lying in the entrance; and at sunset, entered a larger, to which I
gave the name of SHOAL BAY, an appellation which it but too well merited.
On the south side of the entrance, which is the deepest, there is ten
feet at low water; and within side, the depth is from 2 to 4 fathoms in a
channel near the south shore: the rest of the bay is mostly occupied by
shoals, over which boats can scarcely pass when the tide is out. High
water appeared to take place about _seven hours after_ the moon's
passage; at which time, a ship drawing not more than fourteen feet might
venture in, if severely pressed. Shoal Bay is difficult to be found,
except by its latitude, which is 29° 26½'; but there is on the low land
about four leagues to the southward, a small hill somewhat peaked, which
may serve as a mark to vessels coming from that direction.

July 12. The morning was employed in examining the bay, and in looking
round the country. The sloop had sprung a bad leak, and I wished to have
laid her on shore; but not finding a convenient place, nor any thing of
particular interest to detain me longer, we sailed at one o'clock, when
the tide began to rise. Cape Byron, in latitude 28° 38', and the coast
for twelve miles to the north and south, were passed on the 13th: but no
particular addition or correction could be made to captain Cook's chart.
At Moreton Bay, further on, that navigator had left it in doubt whether
there were any opening; and therefore we closed in again with the land at
Point Look-out, on the 14th. At noon, the point bore S. 42° E., three or
four miles, and a small flat islet E. 3° N. three miles; the opening in
Moreton Bay was then evident, and bore W. N. W. It is small, and formed
by two sandy points, beyond which a large extent of water was visible.
Our latitude at this time, was 27° 24', giving that of Point Look-out to
be 27° 27' south. Captain Cook says it is "in latitude 27° 6';" * a
difference which probably arose from his having allowed for a strong
northern current during the run of four or five hours from the preceding
noon, whereas, in reality, none existed; for his course and distance by
log, from the noon's observation, would give the point in its true

[* _Hawkesworth's Voyages_, Vol III. page 119.]

We stood on to within two miles of the opening in Moreton Bay; but seeing
it blocked up by many shoals of sand, and the depth having diminished
from 12 to 4 fathoms, the course was altered for Cape Moreton, which was
visible seven or eight leagues to the northward. At eight in the evening,
the anchor was dropped in 7 fathoms at the entrance of Glass-house Bay,
Cape Moreton bearing E. S. E. two or three miles.

But little progress was made up the bay on the 15th, owing to the many
shoals in it, and to a foul wind. At noon, the latitude of Cape Moreton
was ascertained to be 27° 0½' south, and the longitude from distances of
stars east and west of the moon, corrected by the observations at
Greeenwich, was 153° 25' east; being 4½' south, and 7' west of its
position by captain Cook. In the evening, when the lunar distances were
observed, the sloop was at anchor in 11 fathoms on the west side of the
entrance, within two miles of a low projection which an unfortunate
occurrence afterwards caused to be named Point Skirmish.

On the 16th, whilst beating up amongst the shoals, an opening was
perceived round the point; and being much in want of a place to lay the
sloop on shore, on account of the leak, I tried to enter it; but not
finding it accessible from the south, was obliged to make the examination
with the boat, whilst the sloop lay at anchor five miles off. There was a
party of natives on the point, and our communication was at first
friendly; but after receiving presents they made an attack, and one of
them was wounded by our fire. Proceeding up the opening, I found it to be
more than a mile in width; and from the
quantities of pumice stone on the borders, it was named _Pumice-stone
River_. It led towards the remarkable peaks called the Glass Houses,
which were now suspected to be volcanic, and excited my curiosity.

On board the sloop, the leak had, in the mean time, been found to arise
from a plank having started from the timbers, at three or four streaks
above the keel; and the open space being filled up with oakum from the
inside, very little water came in; I therefore left the river and the
Glass Houses for a future examination, and proceeded up the bay with the
afternoon's flood. On the 18th at noon, we had passed two low islands
surrounded with shoals, and were at anchor in 6 fathoms, abreast of a
third. The south point of the opening from Moreton Bay then bore N. 77°
E., ten miles; and the observed latitude being 27° 27¼', confirmed the
observation taken without side on the 14th. Next day, we beat up against
a southern wind to a sixth island; but the shoals then became more
numerous, and the channels between them so narrow, that it was very
difficult to proceed further.

The latitude observed upon the sixth island was 27° 35', being
thirty-four miles south of Cape Moreton at the entrance of the bay. Above
this island, the east and west shores, from being nine or ten miles
apart, approach each other within two miles, and the space between them
takes the form of a river; but the entrance was too full of shoals to
leave a hope of penetrating by it far into the interior, or that it could
be of importance to navigation. Under this discouragement and that of a
foul wind, all further research at the head of Glass-house Bay was given
up; and I returned on board to seek in Pumice-stone River for a place to
stop the leak, and the means of visiting the Glass Houses. On the 22nd,
we got into the river after many difficulties, arising principally from
shoals in the entrance, which could only be passed at high water. The
place chosen for laying the sloop on shore was on the east side, five
miles above Point Skirmish, at a small beach, close to which the depth
was 7 fathoms.

July 25. The leaky plank being secured, and the sloop restowed and
completed with water, we proceeded two miles further up the river,
amongst mangrove islets and muddy flats. Next morning I landed on the
west side, as far above the sloop as the boat could advance; and with my
friend Bongaree and two sailors, steered north-westward for the
Glasshouse peaks. After nine miles of laborious walking, mostly through
swamps or over a rocky country, we reached the top of a stony mount, from
whence the highest peak was four miles distant to the north-west. Three
or four leagues beyond it was a ridge of mountain, from which various
small streams descend into Pumice-stone River; the principal place of
their junction seeming to be at a considerable extent of water which bore
N. 80° E., and was about six miles above the sloop. Early on the 27th, we
reached the foot of the nearest Glass House, a flat-topped peak, one mile
and a half north of the stony mount. It was impossible to ascend this
almost perpendicular rock; and finding no marks of volcanic eruption, we
returned to the boat, and to the sloop the same evening.

July 28, we proceeded down the river; but owing to strong winds and
squalls from the south-east, did not clear it before the 31st. Some
communications with the natives had been obtained whilst the sloop was
lying on shore; and this detention afforded opportunities of repeating
them. I am happy to say they were all friendly, which is attributable to
their opinion of us having undergone a salutary change from the effect of
our fire arms at Point Skirmish.

These people were evidently of the same race as those at Port Jackson,
though speaking a language which Bongaree could not understand. They fish
almost wholly with cast and setting nets, live more in society than the
natives to the southward, and are much better lodged. Their spears are of
solid wood, and used without the throwing stick. Two or three bark canoes
were seen; but from the number of black swans in the river, of which
eighteen were caught in our little boat, it should seem that these people
are not dextrous in the management either of the canoe or spear.

The entrance of Glass-house Bay, from Point Skirmish to the inner part of
Cape Moreton, is eight miles wide; but it contains so many shoals that a
ship would have much difficulty in finding a passage. These shoals are of
sand, and in the channels between them are various depths from 5 to 13
fathoms upon similar ground; but towards the head of the bay, both on the
shoals and in the deeper parts, the bottom is almost universally of mud.
The land on the borders of Pumice-stone River is low; and is either sandy
or rocky, with a slight superficies of vegetable soil; yet not ill
clothed with grass and wood. On the west side of Glass-house Bay, the
appearance of the land was much similar, but with a diminution of sand in
the upper part. The long slip on the east side, which I have called
_Moreton Island_, as supposing it would have received that name from
captain Cook, had he known of its insularity, is little else than a ridge
of rocky hills, with a sandy surface; but the peninsula further south had
some appearance of fertility. I judged favourably of the country on the
borders of what seemed to be a river falling into the head of the bay,
both from its thick covering of wood, and from the good soil of the sixth
island, which lies at the entrance. The other islands in the bay are very
low, and so surrounded with forests of large mangrove, that it must be
difficult to land upon them. It was high water in Pumice-stone River,
_nine hours and a half after_ the moon's passage over the meridian; and
the rise of tide was from three to six feet, the night tide being much
the highest.

July 31, we sailed out of Pumice-stone River; and by keeping near the
shore of Point Skirmish had generally 6 fathoms; but two narrow shoals
were passed upon which the depth was only twelve feet. At noon, when the
east extreme of the point bore S. 40° W. one mile and a half, the
observed latitude was 27° 4', and depth 10 fathoms; but before one
o'clock, it suddenly diminished to 3; and during five miles run to the N.
N. E., varied from that to 6 fathoms. It then deepened to 9, and the
outer edge of the shoals, a well-defined line of discoloured water, was
seen stretching S. 60° E. for Cape Moreton. At five o'clock, the top of
the highest Glass House, appearing like a small peak upon the mountainous
ridge behind, bore S. 62° W., and Cape Moreton S. 11° E. twenty-two
miles. The cape was then disappearing from the deck; whence its elevation
should be between three and four hundred feet above the sea.

(Atlas, Plate X.)

August 2 at noon, the eastern extremity of Sandy Cape bore N. 51° W., six
miles, and its latitude was found to be 24° 42', being three minutes
north of its situation by captain Cook. In running northward, within two
or three miles of the edge of Break-sea Spit, we had 12 fathoms; and at
five o'clock, passed over the end of the spit in 3½; Sandy Cape then
bearing S. 9° E. six leagues. The water deepened almost immediately to
more than 17 fathoms; and in keeping close to a south-east wind, up
Hervey's Bay, the depth was from 20 to 14, during the night.

On the 3rd, the wind veered to S. S. W; and at noon the anchor was
dropped in 17 fathoms, with the extreme of Sandy Cape bearing N. 66° E.
seven or eight miles. The observed latitude was 24° 45 1/3', and a tide
of one mile per hour came from the southward. A fair wind sprung up in
the afternoon, and we ran five leagues by log in a S. by W. direction,
anchoring at dusk in 11 fathoms, sandy bottom.

Aug. 4 was employed in beating up along the eastern shore, against a
south-west wind. At three leagues above the anchorage, our progress was
stopped by a mass of shoals which seemed to preclude all further access
towards the head of the bay on that side. In the night, we stretched
north-westward, to get round them; and in the evening of the 5th,
anchored in 5 fathoms, three or four miles from the western shore.

Aug. 6. The wind being off the land, we followed the line of the coast
upwards, as close as the shoals would allow; and before noon entered an
opening formed by the western shore on one side, and an island of
moderate height, three or four miles long, on the other. The opening was
not more than two miles wide, and was still further contracted by a low
islet in the middle, surrounded with shallow banks. There was a large
expanse of water above; but we had not advanced two miles before shoal
water obliged us to tack; and after having tried for a channel in every
direction, without success, I anchored in 3 fathoms, half a mile
north-west from the low islet, and landed.

This rocky, sandy spot lies in latitude 25° 17'. It is much frequented by
aquatic birds, particularly by that species whence it obtained the name
of _Curlew Islet_; and since a small shield and three wooden spears were
found there, it must also be visited occasionally by men. The larger
island, lying to the east, is richly covered with grass and wood. Its
position is nearly in the middle of the entrance to what may be called
the upper bay; and as no deep channel past the island could be found on
the west, I determined to try on the east side; having much difficulty in
believing, that a piece of water six or seven miles in extent every way,
should not have a channel into it sufficiently deep for the Norfolk.

The anchor was weighed soon after four o'clock, and several attempts made
to get round the larger island; but being constantly repulsed by shoals,
I was at length forced to relinquish the hope of penetrating further up
Hervey's Bay. We then steered north-westward, to complete the examination
of the west side down to the coast seen by captain Cook.

Aug. 7. At daylight, a sloping hummock, in latitude 24° 50', bore W. 16°
N., our distance off the shore under it being one mile and a half, and
the depth 7 fathoms. At nine, the water shoaled suddenly, and obliged us
to haul off north-eastward. The coast was then seen extending to the W.
N. W., and having been laid down by captain Cook, the north-eastern
course was continued for Break-sea Spit, and the examination of Hervey's
Bay concluded.

This inlet is about fifteen leagues across, from the sloping hummock to
the eastern extremity of Sandy Cape, and nearly as much in depth. The
east side is formed by a great sandy peninsula, of which the cape is the
northern extremity; but about half way up, there are several white
cliffs, and others in the upper bay, which had the appearance of chalk.
The shores at the head and on the west side are more rocky than sandy.
The back land is low for some miles, and not ill covered with grass and
wood; it then rises to hills of considerable elevation, amongst which
Double Mount was most remarkable. The smokes in different places bespoke
the country to be inhabited in the scanty numbers usual on other parts of
the east coast; but none of the people were seen.

Aug. 7, at ten in the evening, we passed the end of Break-sea Spit in 13
fathoms, and hauled up south-east; but the winds were so unfavourable,
that on the 14th our latitude was no more than 29° 19'. I kept the land
barely within sight, in order to obtain the greatest advantage from the
southwardly current; for, contrary to captain Cook's observation, it was
found to be strongest at the distance of six, and from thence to twenty
leagues. Close in with the shore, more especially in the bights which
fall within the general line of the coast, an eddy had been found setting
to the northward.

Light northern winds favoured us for two days; but returning to the
south-west, and sometimes blowing strong, it was the 20th in the evening
before the sloop was secured in Port Jackson, although the current had
set us 210 miles on the way.

I must acknowledge myself to have been disappointed in not being able to
penetrate into the interior of New South Wales, by either of the openings
examined in this expedition; but, however mortifying the conviction might
be, it was then an ascertained fact, that no river of importance
intersected the East Coast between the 24th and 39th degrees of south


The account of the discoveries which resulted from the establishment of
the colony in New South Wales, closes with this expedition; and it
remains only to point out what was wanted to be done in these parts of
Terra Australis.

(Atlas, Plate I.)

In Van Diemen's Land, the opening round Point St. Vincent and the space
between Maria's Island and Cape Portland required to be further explored.
The north side also, from the want of a time keeper in the Norfolk,
required to have the longitude of its points better ascertained; and that
the bight between Circular Head and Cape Grim should be examined. In
Bass' Strait, some of the islands were known, but the middle of the
strait and its western entrance were in want of much investigation,
before it could be deemed a safe passage for ships; and the greater part
of the coast on the north side, remained as laid down by Mr. Bass, with
all the uncertainty attending the navigation of an open boat.

On the east coast of New South Wales, from Bass' Strait to Bustard Bay in
latitude 24°, the shore might be said to be well explored; but from
thence northward to Cape York, there were several portions which had
either been passed by captain Cook in the night, or at such a distance in
the day time, as to render their formation doubtful: The coast from 15°
30' to 14° 30' was totally unknown.

The following openings or bights had been seen and named by captain Cook,
but were yet unexamined: _Keppel_ and _Shoal-water Bays_; _Broad Sound_;
_Repulse_, _Edgecumbe_, _Cleveland_, _Halifax_, _Rockingham_, and _Weary
Bays_. To the northward of these were _Weymouth_, _Temple_, _Shelburne_,
and _Newcastle Bays_; and perhaps many others which distance did not
permit our great navigator to notice. There was also a numerous list of
islands, of which a few only had been examined; and several were merely
indicated from a distant view.

From 16° northward to Cape York, an extensive chain of reefs had been
found to lie at a considerable distance from the coast, without side of
the islands; and two vessels from Port Jackson had met with others
further south, extending nearly from 21° to 23°. It was of importance to
ascertain the limits of these vast bodies of coral, were it only on
account of the ships employed in the whale fishery; but in the view to
future settlements within the tropic, it was necessary to be known
whether these reefs might form such a barrier to the coast, as to render
it inaccessible from the eastward: if not, then the open parts were to be

Of the persons, manners, and customs of the inhabitants, little new
information could be expected. The skirts of their country had been
examined in the southern parts, and extensive collections in natural
history made there; but to the north of _Endeavour River_, the country
had been seen only at a distance. The vast interior of this new continent
was wrapped in total obscurity; and excited, perhaps on that very
account, full as much curiosity as did the forms of the shores. This part
of the subject, however, will scarcely be thought to belong to a naval
expedition; except in so much as rivers and other inlets might conduce to
obtaining the desired information.

* * *

On a general review of the various objects in Terra Australis, to which
investigation might be usefully directed at the commencement of the
nineteenth century, and in which natural history, geography, navigation,
and commerce were so much interested, the question, Why it should have
been thought necessary to send out another expedition? will no longer be
asked. But rather it will be allowed that, instead of one, there was
ample room for two or three ships; each to be employed for years, and to
be conducted with a zeal and perseverance not inferior to the examples
given by the best navigators.

On the arrival of His Majesty's ship Reliance in England, at the latter
end of 1800, the charts of the new discoveries were published, and a plan
was proposed to the Right Hon. SIR JOSEPH BANKS for completing the
investigation of the coasts of Terra Australis. The plan was approved by
that distinguished patron of science and useful enterprise; it was laid
before EARL SPENCER, then first Lord Commissioner of the Admiralty; and
finally received the sanction of HIS MAJESTY, who was graciously pleased
to direct that the voyage should be undertaken; and I had the honour of
being appointed to the command.





Appointment to the Investigator.
Outfit of the ship.
Instruments, books, and charts supplied, with articles for presents and
Liberal conduct of the Hon. East-India Company.
Passage round to Spithead.
The Roar sand.
Instructions for the execution of the voyage.
French passport, and orders in consequence.
Officers and company of the Investigator, and men of science who
Account of the time keepers.

1801. JANUARY.


On the 19th of January 1801, a commission was signed at the Admiralty
appointing me lieutenant of His Majesty's Sloop INVESTIGATOR, to which
the name of the ship, heretofore known as the _Xenophon_, was changed by
this commission; and captain John Henry Martin having received orders to
consider himself to be superseded, I took the command at Sheerness on the
25th of the same month.

The Investigator was a north-country-built ship, of three-hundred and
thirty-four tons; and, in form, nearly resembled the description of
vessel recommended by captain Cook as best calculated for voyages of
discovery. She had been purchased some years before into His Majesty's
service; and having been newly coppered and repaired, was considered to
be the best vessel which could, at that time, be spared for the projected
voyage to Terra Australis.

The ship was in a state of re-equipment; but, on obtaining permission
from the Navy Board to fit her out in such manner as I should judge
necessary, without reference to the supplies usually allotted to vessels
of the same class, all the stores were returned, and others of the best
quality demanded, upon a more extensive scale. Such of the officers and
crew as were aged, or did not volunteer for this particular service, were
discharged; and able young men were received in lieu from His Majesty's
ship Zealand, on board of which the flag of vice-admiral Graeme was
flying at the Nore. Upon one occasion, where eleven volunteers were to be
received from the Zealand, a strong instance was given of the spirit of
enterprise prevalent amongst British seamen. About three hundred
disposable men were called up, and placed on one side of the deck; and
after the nature of the voyage, with the number of men wanted, had been
explained to them, those who volunteered were desired to go over to the
opposite side. The candidates were not less than two-hundred and fifty,
most of whom sought with eagerness to be received; and the eleven who
were chosen, proved, with one single exception, to be worthy of the
preference they obtained.

In making the various alterations required in the ship, and in performing
the duties incident to an equipment of this nature, I received the most
ready concurrence and assistance from Isaac Coffin, Esq., (now
vice-admiral Sir Isaac Coffin, Bart.) the resident naval commissioner at
Sheerness. At his suggestion I had the ship coppered two streaks higher
than before, and took on board a spare rudder, which, after being fitted,
was stowed away in pieces, ready against those accidents to which ships
employed in examining new, or little known coasts, are more peculiarly
liable. To Mr. Whidbey, the master attendant, who had served in the
expedition of captain Vancouver. I was also much indebted, for his
valuable advice and assistance in the selection of the proper stores.
Both these officers constantly took pleasure in promoting whatever could
be useful to the voyage, or add to our comfort and convenience; and in
some cases, our wants, and even wishes, were anticipated.


February 16, I was promoted to the rank of commander. On the 14th of the
following month, the guns, twelve six-pounders, with their ammunition and
a chest of fire works were received; and the provisions and stores being
all on board on the 27th, and the ship ready for sea, we dropped out to
the Nore. I was anxious to arrive upon the coasts of Terra Australis in
time to have the whole of the southern summer before me; but various
circumstances retarded our departure, and amongst others, a passport from
the French government, to prevent molestation to the voyage, had not
arrived. I took advantage of this delay to remedy an inconvenience, under
which we were otherwise likely to suffer. The quantity of provisions
necessary to be carried out did not leave room in the holds for more
water than fifty tons; but by removing ten of the long guns, and
substituting a few light carronades which could be carried on the upper
deck, ten tons more of water might be received, without reducing our
efficient strength; for the ship was too deep to admit of the guns below
being used in bad weather, whereas the carronades would be always
serviceable. My application to have this exchange made, was complied
with; and on May 20 it was effected.


On the 22nd, a set of astronomical and surveying instruments, for the use
of myself and officers, was sent down by direction of the Navy Board; as
also various articles for presents to, and barter with, the native
inhabitants of the countries to be visited, and many for our own use and
convenience. Amongst the latter were most of the books of voyages to the
South Seas, which, with our own individual collections, and the
Encyclopedia Britannica, presented by the Right Hon. Sir Joseph Banks,
formed a library in my cabin for the use of all the officers. Every chart
at the Admiralty, which related to Terra Australis and the neighbouring
islands, was copied for us under the direction of the late hydrographer,
Alexander Dalrymple, Esq.; who also enriched our stock of information by
communicating all such parts of his works as were appropriate to the

The expense to officers of an outfit for several years, was much
alleviated by the liberality of the Hon. East-India Company. The sum of
£600. was ordered by the Court of Directors, to be paid as an allowance
to the men of science, to the officers of the ship, and myself, for our
tables; and the same sum to be given at the conclusion of the voyage.
This allowance the directors were pleased to make, from the voyage being
within the limits of the Company's charter, from the expectation of our
examinations and discoveries proving advantageous to their commerce and
the eastern navigation, and partly, as they said, for my former services.

On the 26th, I received orders to proceed round to Spithead; but the
winds being generally from the westward, we did not arrive there before
the 2nd of June. A circumstance occurred during the passage, which,
amongst many others, showed the necessity there was for a regulation
since adopted, to furnish His Majesty's ships with correct charts. No
master had been appointed to the Investigator; nor was any officer on
board intimately acquainted with the navigation of the Channel; and
having been most of my life engaged in foreign voyages, I was under the
necessity, after leaving the pilot in the Downs, to trust almost wholly
to my chart, which was that of Mr. J. H. Moore. In working up under
Dungeness, on the evening of May 28, we made a trip in shore, towards the
town of Hythe, as I supposed from the chart. A little after six, the
officer of the watch had reported our distance from the land to be near
two leagues; and there being from 10 to 14 fathoms marked within two or
three miles of it, and no mention of any shoal lying in the way, I
intended to stand on half an hour longer; but in ten minutes, felt the
ship lifting upon a bank. The sails were immediately thrown aback; and
the weather being fine and water smooth, the ship was got off without
having received any apparent injury.

This sand is laid down in the Admiralty charts, under the name of the
_Roar_; and extends from Dungeness towards Folkstone, at the distance of
from two and a half, to four miles from the land. The leadsman, having
found no bottom with 15 fathoms at ten minutes before six, had very
culpably quitted the chains when his watch was out, without taking
another cast of the lead; and the ship, in going at the rate of two knots
and three-quarters, was upon the bank at twenty minutes after six; so
that it appears to be steep on the east side.

The bearings given by the azimuth compass, whilst the ship was aground,
were as under:

Dungeness light house,                             S. W.
Lidd church                                      W. by S. ½ S.
Town of Dim, but taken to be Hythe,              N. W. by N.
Cheriton church, then supposed to be Folkstone,    E. N. E.
Cliffy eastern extreme of the land, near Dover,    E. ½ N.

The distance from the town of Hythe (Dim,) was guessed to be not less
than two-and-half, nor more than four miles.



In consequence of this accident, we went into Portsmouth Harbour and into
dock on June 10; and it being ascertained that the ship had received no
injury, we returned to Spithead next day, and moored as before, waiting
for orders. On the 18th, commissioner Sir Charles Saxton paid the ship's
company their wages up to the end of May, with an advance of two months;
and the officers were permitted to draw bills for three months pay in


On July 17, I received the following instructions for the execution of
the voyage.

By the Commissioners for executing the office
of Lord High Admiral of the United Kingdom of
Great Britain and Ireland, etc.

Whereas the sloop you command has been fitted and stored for a voyage to
remote parts; And whereas it is our intention that you should proceed in
her to the coast of New Holland for the purpose of making a complete
examination and survey of the said coast, on the eastern side of which
His Majesty's colony of New South Wales is situated; You are hereby
required and directed to put to sea the first favourable opportunity of
wind and weather, and proceed with as little delay as possible in
execution of the service above-mentioned, repairing in the first place to
_Madeira_ and the _Cape of Good Hope_ in order to take on board such
supplies of water and live stock as you may be in want of.

Having so done you are to make the best of your way to the coast of New
Holland, running down the said coast from 130 degrees of east longitude
to _Bass's Strait_; (putting if you shall find it necessary, into _King
George the third's Harbour_ for refreshments and water previous to your
commencing the survey;) and on your arrival on the coast, use your best
endeavours to discover such harbours as may be in those parts; and in
case you should discover any creek or opening likely to lead to _an
inland sea or strait_, you are at liberty either to examine it, or not,
as you shall judge it most expedient, until a more favourable opportunity
shall enable you so to do.

When it shall appear to you necessary, you are to repair to _Sydney Cove_
for the purpose of refreshing your people, refitting the sloop under your
command, and consulting with the governor of New South Wales upon the
best means of carrying on the survey of the coast; and having received
from him such information as he may be able to communicate, and taken
under your command the Lady Nelson tender, which you may expect to find
at Sydney Cove, you are to recommence your survey, by first diligently
examining the coast from Bass's Strait to King George the third's
Harbour; which you may do either by proceeding along shore to the
westward, or, in case you should think it more expedient., by proceeding
first to King George's Sound, and carrying on your survey from thence to
the eastward.

You are to repair from time to time, when the season will no longer admit
of your carrying on the survey, to Sydney Cove; from whence your are to
return in the execution of these instructions, so soon as circumstances
will enable you so to do.

You are to be very diligent in your examination of the said coast, and to
take particular care to insert in your journal every circumstance that
may be useful to a full and complete knowledge thereof, noting the winds
and weather which usually prevail there at different seasons of the year,
the productions and comparative fertility of the soil, and the manners
and customs of the inhabitants of such parts as you may be able to
explore; fixing in all cases, when in your power, the true positions both
in latitude and longitude of remarkable head lands, bays, and harbours,
by astronomical observations, and noting the variation of the needle, and
the right direction and course of the tides and currents, as well as the
perpendicular height of the tides; and in case, during your survey, any
_river_ should be discovered, you are either to proceed yourself in the
tender, or to direct her commander to enter it, and proceed as far up as
circumstances will permit; carefully laying down the course and the banks
thereof, and noting the soundings, going on shore as often as it shall
appear probable that any considerable variation has taken place either in
the productions of the soil or the customs of the inhabitants; examining
the country as far inland as shall be thought prudent to venture with the
small number of persons who can be spared from the charge of the vessel,
wherever there appears to be a probability of discovering any thing
useful to the commerce or manufactures of the United Kingdom.

When you shall have completely examined the whole of the coast from
Bass's Strait to King George the third's Harbour, you are, at such times
as may be most suitable for the purpose, (which may be seen on a
reference to Mr. Dalrymple's memoir, an extract of which accompanies
this,) to proceed to and explore the _north-west coast of New Holland_,
where, from the extreme height of the tides observed by Dampier, it is
probable that valuable harbours may be discovered.

Having performed this service, you are carefully to examine the _Gulf of
Carpentaria_, and the parts to the westward thereof, between the 130th
and 139th degrees of east longitude; taking care to seize the earliest
opportunity to do so, when the seasons and prevalent winds may be
favourable for visiting those seas.

When you shall have explored the Gulf of Carpentaria and the parts to the
westward thereof, you are to proceed to a careful investigation and
accurate survey of _Torres' Strait_, and when that shall have been
completed, you are to examine and survey the whole of the remainder of
the north, the west, and the north-west coasts of New Holland, and
especially those parts of the coast most likely to be fallen in with by
East-India ships in their outward-bound passages. And you are to examine
as particularly as circumstances will allow, the bank which extends
itself _from the Trial Rocks towards Timor_, in the hope that by
ascertaining the depth and nature of the soundings thereon, great
advantage may arise to the East-India Company's ships, in case that
passage should hereafter be frequented by them.

So soon as you shall have completed the whole of these surveys and
examinations as above directed, you are to proceed to, and examine very
carefully the _east coast_ of New Holland, seen by captain Cook, _from
Cape Flattery to the Bay of Inlets_; and in order to refresh your people,
and give the advantage of variety to the painters, you are at liberty to
touch at the _Fejees_, or some other of the islands in the _South Seas_.

During the course of the survey, you are to use the tender under your
command as much as possible; moving the Investigator onward from one
harbour to another as they shall be discovered, in order that the
naturalists may have time to range about and collect the produce of the
earth, and the painters allowed time to finish as many of their works as
they possibly can on the spot where they may have been begun: And when
you shall have completed the whole of the surveys and examinations as
abovementioned, you are to lose no time in returning with the sloop under
your command to England for farther orders, touching on your way, if
necessary, at the Cape of Good Hope, and repairing with as little delay
as possible to Spithead, and transmit to our secretary an account of your

During your continuance on the service above-mentioned, you are, by all
proper opportunities, to send to our secretary for our information,
accounts of your proceedings and copies of the surveys and drawings which
you shall have made, and such papers as the Naturalist and the Painters
employed on board may think proper to send home; and upon your arrival in
England you are immediately to repair to this office in order to lay
before us a full account of your proceedings in the whole course of your
voyage; taking care before you leave the sloop to demand from the
officers and petty officers the log books and journals which they may
have kept and such drawings and charts as they may have taken, and to
seal them up for our inspection.

And whereas you have been furnished with a _plant cabin_ for the purpose
of depositing therein such plants, trees, shrubs, etc., as may be
collected during the survey above-mentioned, you are, when you arrive at
Sydney Cove, to cause the said plant cabin to be fitted up by the
carpenter on the quarter deck of the sloop you command, according to the
intention of its construction; and you are to cause boxes for containing
earth to be made and placed therein, in the same manner as was done in
the plant cabin carried out by the Porpoise store ship, which plant cabin
you will find at Sydney Cove.

You are, to place the said plant cabin, with the boxes of earth contained
in it, under the charge and care of the naturalist and gardener, and to
cause to be planted therein during the survey, such plants, trees,
shrubs, etc., as they may think suitable for the _Royal Gardens at Kew_;
and you are, as often as you return to Sydney Cove, to cause the said
plants to be deposited in the governor's garden and under his charge,
there to remain until you sail for Europe: And so soon as you shall be
preparing to return home, you are to cause the small plant cabin to be
removed from the sloop's quarter deck, and the one brought out by the
Porpoise (which is something larger), to be placed there in its stead. In
this last mentioned cabin the naturalist and gardener are to place the
plants, trees, shrubs, etc., which may have been collected during the
survey, in order to their being brought home for His Majesty; and you
are, so soon as the sloop shall arrive at any port in England, to give
notice of her arrival to His Majesty's botanic gardener at Kew, and to
transmit to him a list and state of the said plants etc., which the
gardener employed under your orders is to furnish you with for that

Given under our hands the 22nd of June, 1801.

Commander of His Majesty's sloop
Investigator, at Spithead.

By command of their Lordships,

The instructions were accompanied with the extract of a memoir from Mr.
Dalrymple, respecting the winds and weather to be expected, principally
upon the south coast of Terra Australis. Also with the following PASSPORT
from the French government.

rendu de la demande faite par le LORD HAWKESBURY au Citoyen Otto,
commissaire du gouvernement Français à Londres, d'un Passeport pour la
corvette Investigator, dont le signalement est ci-après, expédiée par be
gouvernement Anglais, sous le commandement du capitaine Matthew Flinders,
pour un voyage de découvertes dans la Mer Pacifique, ayant décidé que ce
passeport seroit accordé, et que cette expédition, dont l'objet est
d'étendre les connoissances humaines, et d'assurer davantage les progrès
de la science nautique et de la géographie, trouveroit de la part du
gouvernement Français la sureté et la protection nécessaires.

LE MINISTRE DE LA MARINE ET DES COLONIES ordonne en conséquence à tous
les commandants des bâtiments de guerre de la République, à ses agens
dans toutes les colonies Françaises, aux commandants des bâtiments
porteurs do lettres de marque, et à tous a autres qu'il appartiendra, de
laisser passer librement et sans empêchement, ladite corvette
Investigator, ses officiers, équipage, et effets, pendant la durée de
leur voyage; de leur permettre d'aborder dans les différents ports de la
République, tant in Europe que dans les autres parties du monde, soit
qu'ils soient forcés par le mauvais tems d'y chercher un refuge, soit
qu'ils viennent y reclamer les secours et les moyens de reparation
nécessaires pour continuer leur voyage. Il est bien entendu, cependant,
qu'ils ne trouveront ainsi protection et assistance, que dans le cas ou
ils ne se seront pas volontairement détournés de la route qu'ils doivent
suivre, qu'ils n'auront commis, ou qu'ils n'annonceront l'intention de
commettre aucune hostilité contre la République Française et ses alliés,
qu'ils n'auront procuré, ou cherché à procurer aucun secours à ses
ennemis, et qu'ils ne s'occuperont d'aucune espéce de commerce, ni de

Fait à Paris le quatre Prairial an neuf de la République Française.
Le Ministre de la Marine et des Colonies
(signed) FORFAIT.

Par le Ministre de la Marine et des Colonies

Signalement de la corvette.

La corvette l'Investigator est du port de 334 tonneaux. Son équipage est
composé de 83 hommes, outre cinq hommes de lettres.

Son artillerie est de 6 carronades de 12.
                      2 ditto      de 18.
                      2 canons      de 6.
                      2 pierriers.

Le soussigné, commissaire du gouvernement Français à Londres, certifie le
signalement ci-dessus conforme à la note qui lui a été communiquée par le
ministre de Sa Majesté Britannique.

Londres le 4 Messidor an 9.

(Signed) OTTO.

In consequence of this passport, I received directions from the Admiralty
"to act in all respects towards French ships as if the two countries were
not at war; and," it was added, "with respect to the ships and vessels of
other powers with which this country is at war, you are to avoid, if
possible, having any communication with them; and not to take letters or
packets other than such as you may receive from this office, or the
office of His Majesty's secretary of state."

From His Grace the duke of Portland, I carried an order to the governor
of New South Wales to place the brig Lady Nelson under my command, on
arriving at Port Jackson; and also one from the Admiralty, directing the
governor, in his quality of senior naval officer, not to take the
Investigator from the purposes of the voyage; but to assist me with all
the means in his power to put them into execution.

So soon as my sailing orders were received, demands were sent on shore
for provisions to replace what had been consumed at Spithead; and they
came on board next morning, when the ship was unmoored. We were able to
stow a proportion of provisions for twelve months, bread excepted, of
which only seven months could be taken, including a part in flour. Of
salt meat I took for eighteen months, knowing that little reliance could
be had upon the colony in New South Wales for that article; and further
to guard against any detriment to the voyage from a want of provisions, I
left an application to the Admiralty for a general supply, for twelve
months; to be sent after me, and lodged in the store houses at Port
Jackson for our sole use.

Of the various extra provisions usually furnished as preservatives of
health to the crews of His Majesty's ships going upon similar service,
our supply was abundant; and the surgeon was as liberally furnished with
antiscorbutic medicines.

The complement of the Xenophon had been seventy-five men; but on the name
and destination of the ship being changed, the following establishment
was ordered. The names of the officers are added to the list, and also of
the men of science who took part in the expedition.

Astronomer,              1 John Crosley.
Naturalist,              1 Robert Brown.
Natural-history painter, 1 Ferdinand Bauer.
Landscape painter,       1 William Westall.
Their servants,          4
Gardener,                1 Peter Good.
Miner,                   1 John Allen.
Supernumeraries         10
Commander,               1 Matthew Flinders.
Lieutenants,             2 Robert Fowler.
                           Samuel W. Flinders.
Master,                  1 John Thistle.
Surgeon,                 1 Hugh Bell.
Surgeon's assistant,     1 Robert Purdie.
Master's mates and
midshipmen               6 Thomas Evans.
                           William Taylor.
                           John Franklin.
                           Thomas Bell.
                           Nathaniel Bell.
                           Kennet Sinclair.
                           Sherrard P. Lound.
                           James Wolsey.
Boatswain,               1 Charles Douglas.
Gunner,                  1 Robert Colpits.
Carpenter,               1 Russel Mart.
Clerk,                   1 John Olive.
Cook and mate,           2
Sailmaker and mate,      2
Armourer,                1
Master at arms,          1
Boatswain's mates,       2
Gunner's mate,           1
Carpenter's mates,       2
D. crew,                 2
Quarter masters,         4
Able and ordinary seamen
and landsmen,           35
Serjeant,                1
Corporal,                1
Drummer,                 1
Privates,               12
Complement              83
Sailmaker,               1
Master at arms,          1
Quarter masters,         2
Cook's mate,             1
Carpenter's crew,        1
Seaman,                 1
Deficient of complement  7

The deficiency of seven, and the two young gentlemen more than allowed,
left the whole number of persons on board to be eighty eight, at the time
of sailing.

Mr. Crosley, the astronomer, brought with him an assortment of
instruments from the Board of Longitude; part for use at sea, and the
larger instruments for making observations on shore, at such ports and
bays as we might anchor in during the voyage. His time keepers were the
numbers 543 and 520, and watch 465 of Earnshaw; and the numbers 176 and
82 of Arnold. Amongst the instruments supplied to me by the Navy Board,
which were unconnected with the above and mostly intended for surveying,
was Arnold's watch number 1786, sent for the purpose of being taken up
rivers in the tender, or in boats. Its error from mean Greenwich time, at
noon July 17, was 2' 38.71" slow, and its rate of losing per day 4.41".
This error and rate were given me by Mr. Bayly, mathematical master of
the naval academy at Portsmouth, who had the kindness to take charge of
the watch during our stay at Spithead.


Departure from Spithead.
Variation of the compass.
The Dezertas.
Arrival at Madeira.
Remarks on Funchal.
Political state of the island.
Latitude and longitude.
Departure from Madeira.
The island St. Antonio.
Foul winds; and remarks upon them.
The ship leaky.
Search made for Isle Sable.
Saxemberg sought for.
Variation of the compass.
State of the ship's company, on arriving at the Cape of Good Hope.
Refitment at Simon's Bay.
Observatory set Up.
The astronomer quits the expedition.
Rates Of the time keepers.
Some remarks on Simon's Bay.

1801. JULY.


On July 18 we sailed from Spithead; and in the afternoon of the 20th,
having a light breeze from the eastward, with fine weather, our departure
was taken from the Start, bearing N. 18° W. five or six leagues. On the
following day we fell in with vice-admiral Sir Andrew Mitchell, with a
detachment of four three-decked ships from the grand fleet cruising
before Brest. It was gratifying to learn from the admiral, that although
he had not dropped an anchor for seventeen weeks, there was not a
scorbutic man on board; nor any in the sick list, except from slight

The variation of the compass off St. Alban's Head, had been observed by
Mr. Thistle, the master, to be 28° 43' west, from amplitude; off the
Start it was 29° 34' from a western azimuth, and 29° 30' from amplitude;
but on the following afternoon, where the variation should have been
nearly the same, azimuths gave 24° 12' and an amplitude 23° 43' west; the
mean 5° 35' less than off the Start. The same compass was always used,
and the ship's head was at west (magnetic), or within one point of it, in
all the cases; but in the first observations the compass was placed on
the binnacle, and in the last, was upon the booms. In order to ascertain
clearly what effect this change of place did really produce, I took
observations a few days afterward [MONDAY 27] with every compass on
board, and Mr. Thistle did the same upon the booms, ten or twelve feet
before the main mast, where the compasses were as far removed from any
quantity of iron, as they could be placed in any part of the ship. The
head was south-west by the steering compass, our latitude was 38° 1'
north, longitude 14° 18' west, and the results were as under.

                                                  Binnacle. Booms.
Variation from an azimuth compass by Walker,        °  '     °  '
marked No 1: mean of both sides of the vane.       25 47    22 17 W.
From a ditto marked No. 2,                         25 35    19 15
       ditto marked No. 3,                         24 41    21 27
       Walker's meridional compass,                25 46     -  -
       Ditto used as a common azimuth,             25 51    20 35
       Compass made by Adams,                      25 44    21  9
                                 Means,            25 34    20 57 W.

Thus a change of place from the binnacle to a little before the centre of
the ship, produced an alteration of 4° 37' in the mean variation, the
same way as, but a less quantity than Mr. Thistle had found it off the
Start, when the ship's head was west. The true variation I judge to have
been 23°, and that the observations on the booms showed 2° too little,
and those on the binnacle 2½° too much. The error in excess, upon the
binnacle, appeared to continue so long as the ship was in the northern
hemisphere and the head to the westward; but it diminished gradually as
we approached the equator, and the observations on the binnacle and booms
then nearly coincided. This example is sufficient to show the impropriety
of allowing a variation upon the ship's course, from observations taken
elsewhere than at the binnacle.


We continued our course for Madeira, with fair winds. Our latitude on the
30th, was 30° 5' north, longitude 15° 31' west; and in the afternoon
Porto Santo was seen, bearing west-north-west; the wind then became light
and variable, and soon afterwards died away. The variation observed on
the binnacle by the master, when the head was south-west-by-south, was
22° 45', but on the booms 19° 51'; the true variation being as I believe,
20° 51' west.

FRIDAY 31 JULY 1801.

It was calm on the 31st, and I had a boat lowered down and went round the
ship with the carpenter, to inspect the seams near the water line, for we
had the mortification to find the ship beginning to leak so soon as the
channel was cleared, and in the three last days she had admitted three
inches of water per hour. The seams appeared sufficiently bad, especially
under the counter and at the butt ends, for the leak to be attributable
to them; and as less water came in when the ship was upright than when
heeling to a beam wind, I hoped the cause need not be sought lower down.
Before hoisting up the boat, a small hawke's-bill turtle was picked up;
and between this time and that of anchoring in Funchal Road, several
others were seen, and a second, weighing about thirty pounds, was caught.


Aug. 1, at noon, Porto Santo bore N. 11° W., and the rocky islands called
_Dezertas_, from N. 65° to S. 85° W. distant three leagues. The south end
of these islands lies, by our observations, in latitude 32° 24' 20"
north, which differs less than one mile from its position in Mr.
Johnston's chart of the Madeiras. There being little wind next morning
[SUNDAY AUGUST 2], I went off in one of the cutters, accompanied by
Messieurs Brown and Bauer, the naturalist and natural-history painter, to
the southernmost island, called _Bujio_, which was not far distant. On
the way, I shot several birds of the puffin kind, one of which had a
fathom of small brass wire attached to its wing. The distance of the land
proved to be more considerable than was expected; and there being a
current setting southward we did not reach the shore until near three in
the afternoon, when it was necessary to think of returning.


A small ledge of rocks, which projected a little from under the cliffs at
the south-west part of Bujio, afforded a landing place; but it was
impossible to ascend the top of the island. We saw no other animated
beings than a few birds something like green linnets, but which were
said, at Madeira, to have been canary birds; and the other productions
were scarcely sufficient to afford amusement even to a naturalist. The
cliffs over head showed marks of irregular stratification, and in some of
the lines there was a red tinge, apparently of iron. The base underneath
was black and honey-combed, as if it had been in the fire, resembling in
this respect the common stone at Funchal.

We left Bujio well satisfied that, so far as we could judge of the
islands, the name Dezertas, or Desert Islands, was well chosen; and soon
after dusk, reached the ship. There was then a good breeze from the
north-eastward, with which we steered for Madeira. tacking occasionally
during the night, to take advantage of the different flaws of wind. At
the following noon [MONDAY 3 AUGUST], the ship was under Brazen Head,
which forms the east side of Funchal Road; and being there becalmed, we
towed in with the boats, and came to an anchor at four o'clock, in 22
fathoms, steadying with a kedge to the north-west. In this situation,
which seems to be as good as any in the road, the bearings by compass
were as follow:

Brazen Head,                           S. 71° E.
Punta de Cruz, on the west side,       N. 85  W.
Loo Fort, distant one-third of a mile, N. 12  W.

The north-east winds usually prevail at Madeira in the summer season, and
sometimes blow very strong. To reach Funchal Read, ships are accustomed
to sail between the east end of Madeira and the Dezertas, before the
wind. They are not very desirous of passing close to Brazen Head, where
they would be becalmed, but keep off a mile or two, in the skirt of the
north-east wind, until they are off the town, or even off Punta de Cruz,
where they generally find a breeze from the south-west, which takes them
to the anchorage. This south-west wind is the sea breeze of Funchal; and
during the time we lay in the road, it usually set in at eight or nine
o'clock in the morning, and prevailed as far as three or four miles in
the offing, till sunset. A variable breeze comes off the land in the
night; at which time it is recommended to ships to pass close to Brazen
Head and tow into the road.

We found his Majesty's ship Argo lying here; and I waited upon captain
James Bowen, immediately that the ship was secured. Lieutenant Flinders
was sent, at the same time, to present my respects to the Portuguese
governor, and to ask his Excellency's permission to purchase the
necessaries of which we stood in need; as also for the scientific
gentlemen to make such an examination of the natural productions of the
island, as our short stay would allow. The first request was granted by
the governor in polite terms, and accompanied with offers of assistance;
but an answer to the second was deferred until he should see me.

This evening the ship was heeled three streaks, when it was found that
she admitted more than three inches of water per hour; whereas, when
upright, it scarcely amounted to one inch. Next morning [TUESDAY 4
AUGUST], therefore, the carpenters began caulking two seams above the
copper, all round, whilst the seamen were employed in shifting the top
masts and examining the rigging.

By the assistance of Joseph Pringle, Esq., the British consul, I procured
boats from the shore to be sent for our empty water casks; and an ox was
killed for our use, and wine prepared for embarkation. His Excellency,
the governor, had appointed noon of this day to receive my visit; and I
waited upon him in form, accompanied by the consul, who interpreted
between us. The governor repeated his offers of assistance; and on being
made to understand the nature of the excursions which our gentlemen
desired to make into the country, he granted his permission with the
utmost readiness. After I had answered some questions relative to the
settlement of political affairs in the north of Europe, we took our
leave; and were attended out by the officers in waiting, and saluted by
the guard.


On the 6th in the evening, our supply of provisions was received, and the
caulking of the ship completed. The scientific gentlemen returned from an
expedition towards the _Pico Ruivo_; which is the highest of a ridge of
mountains occupying the central parts of the island, and is said to be
5067 feet, or nearly an English mile, above the level of the sea. The
ascent was found to be very difficult; and this, with the heat of the
weather and limitation of their time to this evening, disabled them from
reaching the summit. It was late when they arrived at the shore; and in
embarking abreast of the town, they had the misfortune to be swamped, and
to lose the greater part of their collections and sketches, although the
boat was managed by Portuguese watermen, accustomed to the place.

The best landing is behind the Loo Rock; but the stony beach in front of
the town is usually safe in the summer time. It was so on our first
arrival, until the strong eastern winds in the offing raised so much
swell as to make it dangerous, even for people experienced in the
management of a boat in the surf.

The town of Funchal is placed at the foot of a mountain, which projects
from the great central ridge; and the houses being mostly white, they
form a strong, but agreeable contrast with the back land. At different
elevations up the side of the mountain, are scattered the country houses
of the richer inhabitants, placed amongst groups of trees and surrounded
with vines. These, with a convent dedicated to _Our Lady of the
Mountain_, which, like the houses, is white, but partly hidden by
foliage, give to the whole a picturesque and pleasing appearance from the
ships in the road. The town is larger, and there was more trade and
activity in it than I was prepared to expect in a small colony, where the
students of the college and ecclesiastics of different orders form no
inconsiderable part of the superior class of inhabitants. Several British
merchants reside at Madeira; their houses of business are at Funchal, but
their favourite residences are upon the side of the mountain. I
accompanied captain Bowen to one of these, the hospitable seat of Mr.
Murdoch, and thought it one of the prettiest places I had seen. The house
of Mr. Pringle, the consul, was my home when on shore; indeed the
politeness of our countrymen prevented me from experiencing the
accommodation afforded to strangers at a house in the town, dignified
with the name of hotel. Some of our gentlemen complained of its being
miserable enough, even without the swarms of fleas and other vermin by
which they were molested.

His Majesty's ships Argo, Carysfort, Falcon, and transports, under the
command of captain James Bowen, had arrived in Funchal Road about nine
days before us; having on board the 85th regiment under colonel Clinton.
After making their dispositions, the two commanders sent to inform the
Portuguese governor, that His Britannic Majesty, considering the
probability of an attack from the French upon the island, had sent troops
to assist in its defence; and they demanded permission for the forces to
land. A council was called by the governor; and it being agreed that even
were they inclined yet no effectual resistance could be made, the
permission was given, and a place assigned for the encampment of the
troops to the west of the town. A part of the 85th was afterwards
quartered in the Loo Fort and in that of St. Diego, which command both
the town and the road; and the men were employed in putting these
fortifications into a state of defence.

These arrangements caused no change in the administration of the
government, nor in the trade of the island; but the governor was said to
be not satisfied that his conduct would be approved. On the day of our
arrival, he received intelligence of peace being concluded between
Portugal and Spain, but that the war with France was continued; and
before we sailed, His Majesty's sloop Voltigeur brought despatches from
the Court of Lisbon, which directed the governor to receive the British
troops; and it was supposed that every thing connected with the defence
of the island would be committed to them. This was the state of things
when I took leave of captain Bowen and of colonel Clinton.

Water, wine, and fresh beef, were the supplies procured at Madeira. Wine
for the ship's company was charged at the enormous price of 5s. 8d. per
gallon, and the beef at 10d. per pound; I therefore took only small
quantities of each. For good Madeira, we paid as much as £42. the pipe.
Fruit and onions were in abundance, and probably were not of less
advantage to the health of the people than the more expensive articles.

The latitude observed in Funchal Road was 32° 37' 44" north. The
longitude, as given in the Requisite Tables, is 17° 6' 15" west; but in
the _Connoissance des Temps_ for 1792, it is laid down by a member of the
Academy of Sciences, probably the _Chevalier de Borda_, at 16° 56' from
Greenwich. Arnold's watch No. 1736, in my care, gave 16° 22' 42", and the
greatest longitude shown by any of the six time keepers was 16° 54' 26".
This was given by Earnshaw's watch No. 465, which had kept an uniform
rate during fifteen months previously to its being brought on board. We
made use of this watch to reduce some lunar observations taken a few days
before arriving, and others after sailing, to the place of anchorage; and
the result was as follows:

Ten sets of distances, east and west of the moon,
taken by Mr. Crosley in Funchal Bay and afterwards,
with a Troughton's sextant,                                 16° 59' 21" W.
Eight sets,* east and west, taken by me with a
Troughton's circle and two sextants, before and afterwards, 16  51  28
West longitude of Funchal by lunar observations,            16  55  24

[* Four of these are uncorrected for the errors of the lunar and solar
tables. They were taken Aug. 29, on which day no observation of the moon
was made at Greenwich; and the errors observed on the 27th and 30th were
so irregular, that no proportion can be made between them with any
prospect of accuracy. Were the errors of the 30th applied, the longitude
of Funchal would be 4' less.]

We were therefore induced to prefer the 16° 56', in the Connoissance des
Temps, as being nearer the true longitude of Funchal from Greenwich, than
the 17° 6' 15" of the Requisite Tables.

Every person had returned on board on Friday morning; and a young man, a
native of Ireland, who had been sent here sick in a French cartel,
applying to go the voyage, I ordered him to be entered, on the surgeon
reporting him to be a fit man for His Majesty's service.


On quitting Funchal Road, we were taken aback, at two o'clock, by the
east-north-east wind, about two miles off Brazen Head. It blew so strong
as to make it necessary to clew down all the sails; and until next
morning [SATURDAY AUGUST 8], nothing above close-reefed top sails could
be carried with safety. At noon, the log gave 162 miles from Funchal; but
the cloudy weather did not admit of taking observations.


At daybreak of the 9th the island Palma was in sight, bearing S. 72° E.
ten or twelve leagues. Albacores and bonitas now began to make their
appearance, and the officers and men were furnished with hooks and lines,
and our harpoons and fizgigs were prepared. This day I ordered lime juice
and sugar to be mixed with the grog; and they continued to be given daily
to every person on board, until within a short time of our arrival at the
Cape of Good Hope.


We carried fair, and generally fresh winds, until the 15th in the
morning, when St. Antonio, the north-westernmost of the Cape-Verde
Islands was in sight. At eight o'clock, the extremes bore N. 69° E. and
S. 13° W., and the nearest part was distant four miles; in which
situation no bottom could be found at 75 fathoms. A boat was observed
near the shore, and our colours were hoisted; but no notice appeared to
be taken of the ship.

The north-west side of St. Antonio is four or five leagues in length; and
rises abruptly from the sea, to hills which are high enough to be seen
fifteen, or more leagues from a ship's deck. These barren hills are
intersected by gullies, which bore marks of much water having passed down
them. By the side of one of these gullies, which was near the place where
we lost sight of the boat, there was a path leading up into the interior
of the island. The south-west and south points are low; they lie N. 14°
W. and S. 14° E. and are five or six miles asunder. Between them, the
land hollows back so as to form somewhat of a bay, which, if it afford
good anchorage, as it is said to do, would shelter a ship from all winds
between north and east-south-east. We did not observe any beach at the
head of the bay, perhaps from having passed at too great a distance.

No observations could be taken for fixing the situation of this island;
but in 1795, Mr. Crosley and myself made the high land near the
south-west point to lie in 17° 00' north, and by uncorrected lunar
observations, in 25° 12' west; which agrees well with the position of the
north-west point, as given by captain Vancouver.* The variation from
azimuth on the evening of the 14th, before making the land, was 13° 51'
west, and 13° 3' this evening, when four leagues to the west of it; the
compass being placed on the binnacle, and the ship's head
south-south-west (magnetic) in both cases. The true variation here, at
this time, I judge to have been 12° 24' west. Captain Vancouver observed
12° 32', in 1791; but it does not appear how the ship's head was

[* _Voyage round the World_, Vol. I. page 10.]

Some distant land opened from the south point of St. Antonio, at S. 75°
E.; which I took to be a part of the island St. Lucia.

During the three days before making St. Antonio, the wind varied from the
regular north-east trade, to east-north-east, and as far as
south-east-by-east; and about the time of seeing the land, it dwindled to
a calm. For three days afterwards it was light, and variable between
north and south-east; after which it sometimes blew from the north-west
and south-west, and sometimes from the eastward. These variable winds,
with every kind of weather, but most frequently with rain, continued
until the 23rd [SUNDAY], in latitude 11° north and longitude 23° west;
when a steady breeze set in from the south-westward, and the weather
became more settled and pleasant. The clouds were sufficiently dense to
keep off the intense heat of the vertical sun, but did not often prevent
us from obtaining daily observations for the latitude and longitude. At
the same time with the south-west wind came a swell from the southward,
which made the ship plunge considerably; and so far opened her leaks,
that she again made two inches of water in the hour.


On the 27th, in latitude 6° north and longitude 17½° west, a noddy was
caught, and next day a swallow was found dead in my sleeping cabin. This
poor little bird had been our companion for three or four days before,
and had become a favourite. It was generally seen darting past the lee
scuttles and ports, apparently after the flies which were carried out by
the streams of air; sometimes it alighted upon the boats which hung on
the ship's quarters, and more than once rested itself in the cabin where,
at length, it was found dead.


The south-western winds continued to blow without intermission, and drove
us, much against my inclination, far to the eastward, towards the coast
of Africa. One or two attempts were made to go upon the western tack; but
this could not be done with any advantage until the 2nd of September,
when we were in latitude 3° 50' north, and longitude 11¼° west. The wind
had veered gradually round, from south-west to south, as we approached
the African coast, to the direction of which it kept at nearly a right
angle. I had not fully adverted to the probability, that the winds
blowing upon this coast would prevail to a greater extent at this season
than at any other time of the year; otherwise, as I wished to avoid
Africa, I should have passed some degrees to the westward of the
Cape-Verde Islands, and probably have carried the north-east trade to the
12th, or perhaps to the 10th degree of north latitude; and in 8°, or at
furthest in 6°, the south-east trade might have been expected.

Captain Cook, in his second voyage, experienced the same south-western
winds, and was carried so far eastward, that he crossed the equator in
longitude 8° west. Monsieur de la Pérouse also experienced them, and both
were here at the same season with ourselves; that is, in the months of
August and September, when the African continent had received its
greatest degree of heat.

Although I preferred to avoid Africa, it is by no means certain that a
good passage to the Cape of Good Hope may not be made, especially at this
season, by steering round the Bight of Benin with the south-west and
south winds. It is probable, that on approaching the meridian of
Greenwich the wind would be found to return to the south-west, and
perhaps more westward, and enable a ship to reach the 10th degree of
south latitude before meeting the south-east trade; in which case, the
circuit to be made before attaining the western winds beyond the southern
tropic, would be much shortened. The East-India-Company's ships bound to
St. Helena, do, I believe, now generally follow that route.

The leakiness of the ship increased with the continuance of the
south-west winds; and at the end of a week, amounted to five inches of
water an hour. It seemed, however, that the leaks were mostly above the
water's edge, for on tacking to the westward they were diminished to two
inches. This working of the oakum out of the seams indicated a degree of
weakness which, in a ship destined to encounter every hazard, could not
be contemplated without uneasiness. The very large ports, formerly cut in
the sides to receive thirty-two-pound carronades, joined to what I had
been able to collect from the dock yard officers, had given me an
unfavourable opinion of her strength; and this was now but too much
confirmed. Should it be asked, why representations were not made, and a
stronger vessel procured? I answer, that the exigencies of the navy were
such at that time, that I was given to understand no better ship could be
spared from the service; and my anxiety to complete the investigation of
the coasts of Terra Australis did not admit of refusing the one offered.


The wind was at south when we tacked to the westward; but it shortly
veered to south-by-east, and as far as south-east-by-south, which enabled
me to look up for the small _Isle Sable_, or St. Paul, said to lie in 0°
25' south, and about 18½° west. I was desirous of ascertaining the true
position of this, and of some other small islands, laid down in the
neighbourhood of the equator. They are placed so much in the tracks, both
of outward and homeward bound ships, that it was not improbable some one
of the vessels missed at different times, might have suffered shipwreck
upon them; and the hope that we might be the happy means of restoring to
their country and friends some unfortunate fellow creatures, perhaps
countrymen, was an additional incitement to look after them.


On the 7th, our latitude was 0° 43' north, and we expected to cross the
equator some time in the following night. It was a part of my plan for
preserving the health of the people, to promote active amusements amongst
them, so long as it did not interfere with the duties of the ship; and
therefore the ancient ceremonies used on this occasion, were allowed to
be performed this evening; and the ship being previously put under snug
sail, the seamen were furnished with the means, and the permission, to
conclude the day with merriment. At noon next day, the latitude was 0°
17' south, and longitude 17° 7' west; so that the _line_ had been crossed
in nearly 17°, about seven in the morning [TUESDAY 8 SEPTEMBER].

From the longitude of 11°, we had been constantly attended by that
species of the pelican called man-of-war bird by our seamen, and
_frègate_ by the French; but not one of them was to be seen at this time,
although we were drawing near to the supposed situation of St. Paul. At
four in the afternoon, our latitude was judged to be 0° 29' south; and
the course then steered was west, by compass, for a current of ten miles
to the north had fully counteracted the western variation on the two
preceding days. On the 9th [WEDNESDAY], the latitude was 0° 43' south,
and longitude 18° 35'. We ran northward four hours, finding the current
had not prevailed as before; and then steered in the parallel of the
island. Next day at noon [THURSDAY 10 SEPTEMBER], our situation was in 0°
22' south and 20° 5' west; and seeing no land, nor any signs of being in
its neighbourhood, I gave up the search after the island, and hauled
south-westward on our way to the Cape of Good Hope.

In the morning, I had observed the variation with Walker's meridional
compass, when the ship's head was W. by N. (magnetic); upon the binnacle
it gave 14° 30', and on the booms 13' 0' west. Thus the difference,
arising from a change of place in the compass, appeared to diminish
sensibly as we approached the magnetic equator. The true variation I
judge to have been 13° 11' west.

During the two nights of our search for St. Paul's, the quantity of sail
was so reduced that not more than ten or twelve leagues should be passed
between dusk and daylight; by which means the view astern, in the
morning, nearly reached to the horizon of the preceding evening, and any
thing, a little elevated above the surface of the water, could scarcely
escape being seen from the mast head, more especially as we were
fortunate in having distinct views towards each setting and rising sun.
The look-out, also, was particularly attended to; for at this time was
commenced the system which, in all similar cases, I intended to pursue
throughout the voyage. A part of this plan was an order to the three
warrant officers to take charge of the look-out betwixt dark and
daylight, and to be answerable for the vigilance with which it should be
executed, both in their own persons, and in those who were placed upon
the same duty under them. The leisure usually enjoyed by this class of
officers, particularly by the gunner and carpenter, I conceived to admit
of this abridgment, without injury to their ordinary sea duties.

I had twice before crossed the equator, at the respective distances of
twenty-six and seventy-three miles to the west of where our search for
the Isle of St. Paul ceased; and Mr. Thistle, the master, had crossed the
parallel of 25' south, in longitude 22° 12', a few months before; indeed
if the Isle had existed between the longitudes of 20° and 25°, it must
have been repeatedly seen. I therefore think it may be asserted, that
there is no land between 17° and 25° west, either in, or about the
latitude of 25' south. The track of Mons. de la Pérouse cuts that
parallel in longitude 16°; and he saw no other marks of the vicinity of
land than the man-of-war birds which had followed him for several days.
If the presence of these birds be any indication of land, I should
suppose that there was some lying between the 11th and 16th degrees of
west longitude; and if such an island as St. Paul exist, it will probably
be found within those limits.

Having lost all hope of finding this island, I could have wished to
recross the equator and run in the latitude of 55' north; in which
parallel the isle _Pennedo de St. Pedro_, sometimes also called St. Paul,
is said to be situate. In Arrowsmith's general chart, it is marked in 24°
west longitude, whilst another authority places it to the west of 27°,*
but I considered that the search might carry me as far as 29°, and
perhaps further; and my orders being silent with respect to these
islands, I did not think myself authorized to thus occupy so much time;
and we therefore hauled to the south-westward on the afternoon of the
10th, as before mentioned. On the following day [FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 11], a
gannet was seen, which seemed to imply that our situation of 1 ¾° south,
and 21½° west, was not far removed from some island or rock; for I do not
recollect to have seen this bird at a greater distance from land than
thirty leagues.

[* _Voyage of La Pérouse_, page 50 of the London translation. I am lately
informed, that Pennedo de St. Pedro lies in latitude 0° 55' north, and
longitude 27° 0' west; that it makes like four sail of ships, and is
covered with birds, but affords no water.]

The trade wind varied from south-south-east to east-south-east, and
commonly blew fresh, with frequent squalls. The swell from the southward,
with which these winds were for some days accompanied, caused the ship to
work so much, that she soon let in as great a quantity of water on this
tack, as she before had done on the other; I therefore judged it
advisable to alter the plan of keeping within seven points of the wind,
and to go with it upon the beam; and also to put in practice every means
of lightening the upper works, for they seemed to be very inadequate to
support the weight with which they had been unavoidably loaded. Two
eighteen-pound carronades, stern chacers, were taken off the upper deck
and struck into the hold; the spare rudder, and a variety of other things
which a want of room had obliged us to stow in the main and mizen
channels, were taken within board; and every exterior weight concentrated
as much as possible. After this was done, the tremulous motion caused by
every blow of the sea, exciting a sensation as if the timbers of the ship
were elastic, was considerably diminished; and the quantity of water
admitted by the leaks was also somewhat reduced.


On the 13th, in latitude 4° 44' south and longitude 23° 17' west, a
swallow, a gannet, and two sheerwaters were seen; and from six to eight
in the evening, the officer of the watch and myself thought the water to
be much smoother than before, or than it was afterward. Had it been in an
unknown sea, I should have been persuaded that some island, or shoal, lay
at no great distance to the south-eastward of our situation at that time.


The trade wind continued, with some little variety in its direction, to
blow fresh until the 20th, when it became light, and sometimes calm. We
were then approaching the small island Trinidad. Many gannets were seen
at twenty-four leagues off, but none at a greater distance. On the 23rd
[WEDNESDAY], the island was in sight; and at noon, when our latitude was
20° 1' south, and longitude 29° 13' west, a peaked hummock near the
eastern extremity bore S. 25° W., nine or ten leagues. The western
extremity bore S. 29° W., and at first appeared to be a bluff head; but
it afterwards assumed the form of a conical rock, and was, in all
probability, the _Nine Pin_ of captain D'Auvergne's chart. One of the
rocks called Martin Vas, was visible from the main top, and angled 49°
43' to the left of the peaked hummock; its bearing was consequently very
near S. 25° E.

Mons. de la Pérouse, who sent a boat on shore to Trinidad, lays down the
latitude of the south-east point at 20° 31' south, and longitude from
lunar observations, 28° 37' west of Greenwich. The latitude appeared to
agree with our observations; but in the longitude there is some
difference. According to Earnshaw's two time keepers, No. 465 and 543,
which kept better rates than the remaining four, the longitude of the
Nine Pin is 29° 25½' west; which being reduced to the south-east point,
will place it in 29° 23', or 46' west of the French navigator.* The
longitude in captain D'Auvergne's plan of Trinidad, constructed 1782, is
29° 55', or 32' still further west. From two sets of distances of the
star _Altair_ to the west, and two of _Aldebaran_ east of the moon, I
made the longitude of the south-east point to be 29° 19' west; the
difference from the time keepers, which I consider to have given the best
longitude, being no more than 4'.

[* The error of No. 465 was found, at the Cape of Good Hope, to be 10'
57", 2 to the east, and of No. 543, to be 39' 21", 5 east, contracted in
96 days upon their English rates. To obtain the above longitude, a
proportional part of these errors according to the number of days, has
been applied to the keepers; and the difference between them is then no
more than 2".]


Azimuths taken upon the binnacle in the morning, with three compasses,
and the ship's head at S. W. by S., gave variation 3° 54'; and in the
evening, at S. W., 3° 50'; but next morning, when Trinidad was just
disappearing from the deck in the N. 60° E., other azimuths then showed
the variation to be 1° 35' west, the ship's head being S. S. W.; it
therefore appears, that there is a difference off the north, and off the
south-west sides of the island. From the first observations I deduce the
true variation to be 4° 14' west, and from the last 1° 50' west. Captain
D'Auvergne marks the variation 0° 45' west, in 1782; but under what
circumstances it was ascertained, does not appear.


The trade wind having again arisen from east-south-east, we were enabled
to make between eighty and ninety miles a day. It afterwards veered
gradually round, by the north-east and north, to the westward, and blew
fresh; so that on the 29th, our latitude was 31° 2' and longitude 26° 0'
west. This was 17' to the south, and about 6° west of the situation
usually assigned to _Saxemberg_; an island which has been frequently
sought by the East-India, and other ships, in the place which it still
occupies in the charts; and not finding it there, they have run a few
degrees to the _eastward_, in the same parallel, but always without
success. The opportunity which presented itself of now adding 6° of
longitude to the examined space, and on the opposite side, I should have
thought myself culpable in neglecting; and therefore, having placed the
ship in the supposed parallel of the island, we steered due east for it;
adopting the same regulations for the look-out at night, as when
searching for St. Paul's.

We had seen an unusual number of pintado and sooty petrels on the
preceding afternoon, as also of a brown bird, apparently one of the
sea-swallow tribe, having a white belly and the form and size of a
woodcock; and this evening it was reported to me from the mast head, and
confirmed by others on deck, that a turtle was seen lying upon the water.
These indications of land gave me some hope that the long lost Saxemberg
might be brought to light. On the following noon [WEDNESDAY 30
SEPTEMBER], the observed latitude was 30° 41' and longitude 22° 46'; and
nothing further had transpired to betoken the vicinity of land. Next day
[THURSDAY 1 OCTOBER], our observations gave 30° 34' south, and 20° 28'
west; and I then steered east-south-east, a course which should have
taken us almost directly over the supposed situation of Saxemberg, if the
same current of 11' north had prevailed, as on the preceding day. But
this not proving to be the case, our track lay a few miles to the south;
though sufficiently near for us to be satisfied of the non-existence of
the island in the place assigned to it, if that could any longer admit of
a doubt.*

[* At the Cape of Good Hope, in 1810, His Excellency the Earl of Caledon
favoured me with the following extract from the log book of the sloop
Columbus--Long, master; returning to the Cape from the coast of Brazil.

"September 22, 1809, at five p.m., saw the island of Saxonburg, bearing
E. S. E., first about 41 leagues distant: clear weather. Steered for the
said island, and found it to be in the latitude of 30° 18' south,
longitude 28° 20' west, or thereabout.

"The island of Saxonburg is about four leagues in length, N. W. and S. E,
and about 2½ miles in breadth. The N. W. end is a high bluff of about 70
feet, perpendicular form, and runs along to the south-east about 8 miles.
You will see trees at about a mile and a half distance, and a sandy

The situation of Saxemberg in the common tables and charts, was 30° 45'
south and 19° 40' west, almost 9° of longitude too little; and therefore
it is not surprising that ships have missed it. At the time so many birds
were seen, on the 28th, the Investigator was not more than eighty miles
from the position of the island, as above given from Mr. Long.]


The fresh western winds continued, with short intervals of calm, as far
as the latitude 33° 23', and longitude 13° 0' west; when they died away,
and a breeze sprung up from the eastward. With this wind we could do
little more than look up for the isles of Tristan d'Acunha, whose bearing
was then S. 16° E., and distance seventy-seven leagues. From the
description given by sir Erasmus Gower* of the anchorage, and the
convenience with which water may be obtained, and his account of the
animals which resort there, I should not have considered it to be lost
time, had the wind made it advisable to put in at Tristan d'Acunha, for a
few days; but it veered round to the north-west, on the [TUESDAY] 6th.
and we resumed our former course to the Cape of Good Hope.

[* _Lord Macartney's Embassy to China_, by sir G. Staunton, Vol. I. p.


In the morning of the 14th, the variation by mean of amplitude and
azimuth, was 25° 10' west; the ship's head being E. by S., and our
latitude 35° 4' south, and longitude 12° 50' east. It is worthy of being
mentioned, that in the year 1797, and near the same place, I observed the
variation to be 19° 40' west, on board His Majesty's ship Reliance; and
as the compass was upon the binnacle in both cases, the sole cause to
which I can attribute this great difference is, that the ship's head was
west, instead of E. by S. The true variation could not be far from the
mean of the two observations, since it was 26° at the Cape of Good Hope.
In the English Channel, the compass on the binnacle had shown nearly 4°
too much west variation, when the ship's head was at _west_; but here, it
gives at least 2° too much, with the head in an opposite direction! This
difference in the two hemispheres merits particular notice; it is part of
a series of apparent anomalies in the compass which have hitherto
remained unaccounted for; but which seem reducible to one general cause,
as I have attempted to show in the Appendix No. II. to the second volume.


At daybreak of the 16th, we expected to see the high land of the Cape;
but the weather being hazy, it could not be distinguished until eight
o'clock, when it bore north-east, eight leagues; being _three leagues
more_ than Earnshaw's pocket time keeper, in which we had most
confidence, led us to expect, and _four miles less_ than was given by my
uncorrected lunar observations of the 14th p.m., brought forward by the
time keeper.

At this time we had not a single person in the sick list, both officers
and men being fully in as good health, as when we sailed from Spithead. I
had begun very early to put in execution the beneficial plan, first
practised and made known by the great captain Cook. It was in the
standing orders of the ship, that on every fine day the deck below and
the cockpits should be cleared, washed, aired with stoves, and sprinkled
with vinegar. On wet and dull days they were cleaned and aired, without
washing. Care was taken to prevent the people from sleeping upon deck, or
lying down in their wet clothes; and once in every fortnight or three
weeks, as circumstances permitted, their beds, and the contents of their
chests and bags, were opened out and exposed to the sun and air. On the
Sunday and Thursday mornings, the ship's company was mustered, and every
man appeared clean shaved and dressed; and when the evenings were fine,
the drum and fife announced the fore castle to be the scene of dancing;
nor did I discourage other playful amusements which might occasionally be
more to the taste of the sailors, and were not unseasonable.

Within the tropics, lime juice and sugar were made to suffice as
antiscorbutics; on reaching a higher latitude, sour krout and vinegar
were substituted; the essence of malt was reserved for the passage to New
Holland, and for future occasions. On consulting with the surgeon, I had
thought it expedient to make some slight changes in the issuing of the
provisions. Oatmeal was boiled for breakfast four days in the week,
instead of three; and when rice was issued, after the expenditure of the
cheese, it was boiled on the other three days. Pease soup was prepared
for dinner four days in the week, as usual; and at other times, two
ounces of portable broth, in cakes, to each man, with such additions of
onions, pepper, etc. as the different messes possessed, made a
comfortable addition to their salt meat. And neither in this passage,
nor, I may add, in any subsequent part of the voyage, were the officers
or people restricted to any allowance of fresh water. They drank freely
at the scuttled cask, and took away, under the inspection of the officer
of the watch, all that was requisite for culinary purposes; and very
frequently two casks of water in the week were given for washing their

With these regulations, joined to a due enforcement of discipline, I had
the satisfaction to see my people orderly and full of zeal for the
service in which we were engaged; and in such a state of health, that no
delay at the Cape was required beyond the necessary refitment of the
ship, and I still hoped to save a good part of the summer season upon the
south coast of Terra Australis.


The usual time for His Majesty's ships to leave False Bay and go round to
Table Bay, I found to be the latter end of September; but being then
unacquainted with the precise time, and knowing of the loss of the
Sceptre in Table Bay, on November 5, from a heavy gale at north-west, I
determined to go into False Bay; unless we should get previous
information that it had been quitted by the squadron. At noon, the
extremes of the land bore N. by W. ½ W. and E. ½ N. The Cape Point bore
north, three leagues; and our observed latitude being 34° 32', showed the
Requisite Tables to be erroneous in the position of this point; but that
34° 23', as assigned to it by captain King, was correct.*

[* See _Cook's third Voyage_, Vol. III. page 484.]

At one o'clock we hauled round the rocks which lie off the Cape Point,
and steered into False Bay. Near these rocks were two whales; and one or
more of what seamen call _thrashers_ were engaged in a furious combat
with them, at a less distance than half a mile from the ship. The sinewy
strength of the thrasher must be very great; for besides raising his tail
high out of the water to beat the adversary, he occasionally threw the
whole of his vast body several feet above the surface, apparently to fall
upon him with greater force. Their struggles covered the sea with foam
for many fathoms round.

At three o'clock we got sight of the squadron lying in Simon's Bay. It
consisted of His Majesty's ships Lancaster, Jupiter, Diomede, Imperieuse,
Hindoostan, Rattlesnake, and Euphrosyne, under the command of
vice-admiral sir Roger Curtis, Bart. The master of the Lancaster came on
board to pilot the ship to a proper berth, and I went on shore to wait
upon the vice-admiral. On showing my orders, and presenting an account of
the supplies and the work requisite to put the Investigator in the same
state as on leaving England, I found that the naval magazines could
furnish only some part, and that many articles, especially biscuit, were
not to be obtained; but with great consideration for the service on which
I was sent out, the commander in chief ordered every request to be
granted either in the articles specified, or by substitution; and a
thorough caulking, both within and without side of the ship, being the
work most essential to be done, a gang of caulkers, collected from the
squadron, was sent on board on the following morning.


The water which is conducted in pipes to the wharf, for the convenience
of shipping, was said not to keep well at sea; and the master of the
Lancaster, from whom this information was obtained, recommended, as much
superior, that which drains through the sand, from the hills on the north
side of Simon's Bay. I went, accordingly, to make an examination; and
found that by sinking a cask in the sand, with the head out and the upper
hoops taken off, the water drained through the spaces between the staves,
sufficiently fast for our purpose. This plan was therefore adopted; and
the watering of the ship immediately commenced.

Having seen this, and some other duties set forward under the proper
officers, I accompanied Mr. Crosley, the astronomer, in search of a place
where the observatory and tents could be conveniently set up. The
situation chosen was near a small rill on the south side of the bay,
about three-hundred yards from the magazine; and the permission of the
military commandant being obtained, two tents, the observatory, and
astronomical instruments were landed in the afternoon, with a guard of
marines. The whole was placed under the charge of Mr. Flinders, the
second lieutenant, who was also to act as an assistant in making and
calculating the observations, for which he was qualified. The situation
of the tents was tolerably well sheltered from the south-eastern gales,
which begin to prevail at this season of the year; but the quantity of
sand put in motion by every breeze, was a great molestation, and proved
injurious to the instruments. Besides this inconvenience, there was
another attached to the situation which had not been foreseen. The road
from Simon's Town to a place called the Company's garden, led close past
the observatory; and this was the sole ride or walk in the neighbourhood,
which the inhabitants and the gentlemen belonging to the ships in the bay
could enjoy. From those of the first rank, who took their morning's ride,
to the sailor who staggered past on a Sunday, and even the slave with his
bundle of fire wood, all stopped at the observatory to see what was going
on. Ramsden's universal theodolite, set up for the purpose of observing
transits, excited its share of attention from the curious. Some wanted
information, some amusement, and all would have liked to see how the sun
appeared through the telescope.

By the end of October, our provisions and stores were received; the sails
had been examined and repaired on board the Lancaster, and were rebent;
and the caulkers having completed their work, the ship was fresh painted.
Being anxious to commence the investigation of the coasts of Terra
Australis, the stripping of the masts and reparation of the rigging were
deferred to King George's Sound, and no more was done at the ship than
necessity required; for I preferred passing the time necessary to a
complete re-equipment in a port where astronomical observations and
surveys could be at the same time usefully carried on, and the
naturalists employ themselves in a field almost unexplored, rather than
in a bay already well known, and where the surrounding country had been
so often traversed.

Mr. Crosley had been frequently unwell during the passage from Madeira;
and after trying the effect of a few days on shore, he decided to remain
at the Cape of Good Hope, and relinquish the expedition. The instruments
supplied by the Board of Longitude he agreed to leave in my care; after
having consulted with the commander in chief upon the subject, and
received his approbation. The loss of the astronomer was severely felt by
me, both from being deprived in the surveys of his more accurate
observations, and from being called upon to supply his place so far as
was in my power. The duties of commander joined to the occupation of
surveyor, left little time for other employment; but through an increase
of effort, and with the assistance of my officers, I hoped to carry on
the surveys and fulfil the most essential parts of the instructions from
the Board of Longitude, at the same time. Of these instructions, Mr.
Crosley permitted me to take a copy.


The rates of going with mean solar time of the four time keepers
committed to my charge, were deduced by Mr. Crosley from three days
observation of equal altitudes, with a sextant and quick-silver horizon,
between the 21st and 27th of October. These rates, which he left with me,
I extended to November 1, by equal altitudes taken on that day; and their
respective errors were deduced by allowing 1h 13' 40.47" to be the
longitude in time of Simon's Bay. *

[* In 1763, Mr. Mason determined the longitude of his observatory in Cape
Town, from the transit of Venus, to be 18° 23' 7" east; and the
difference of longitude from thence to Simon's Bay, by the Dutch survey,
is 2' 00" east.]

Earnshaw's No. 543,
slower than mean Greenwich time at noon  h  '  "               "
there Nov. 1,                            0 14 35.33 and losing 5.33
         No. 520,                          34 16.62           15.84
Arnold's No. 176,                          50 59.29            8.96
         No. 82                            --------           -----
         No. 1736, watch, faster           21 20.03           17.27

The watch was intended to be taken up rivers, and to such places as the
ship did not go; and in order to gain some knowledge of its probable
performance, I wore it five days in the pocket. Its rate of losing during
that time, was from 11.59" to 8.79" per day; so that upon the average, it
lost 7" less in the pocket than when in a fixed situation; for the above
rate of 17.27" was what it kept in the box, during the last three days.
Arnold's No. 89, altered its rate on the last day, from 2.98" to
1' 18.68", without any apparent cause; no rate could therefore be fixed
for it, with any probability of its being kept. Of the excellent watch
No. 465 of Earnshaw, being Mr. Crosley's private property, we were
deprived at the same time with the astronomer; he also took with him the
reflecting circle, No. 74 of Troughton, both of which I considered to be
an addition to our loss.

So soon as the corresponding altitudes of Sunday afternoon were obtained,
I took on board the time keepers and instruments, with the tents and
observatory. The ship was then ready for sea; but the wind blew a gale
from the south-eastward, which continued until Tuesday [3 NOVEMBER 1801].
It then fell calm, and we unmoored; but before getting under way, the
same wind again set in, and obliged us to drop a second anchor.

Through the kind attention of sir Roger Curtis, the commander in chief,
the state of the ship and our provisions and stores were as complete as
when leaving Spithead. The ship's company had been regularly served with
fresh meat every day, beef and mutton alternately; vegetables were not to
be purchased, but we several times received small quantities, with
oranges and lemons, from the naval hospital in Cape Town; and a
proportion of these for a week, with a few days fresh meat, were carried
to sea. Two of my ship's company, whose dispositions required more
severity in reducing to good order than I wished to exercise in a service
of this nature, were exchanged by the vice-admiral; as also two others,
who from want of sufficient strength, were not proper for so long a
voyage. In lieu of these, I received four men of good character from the
flag ship, who made pressing application to go upon a voyage of
discovery. Mr. Nathaniel Bell, one of the young gentlemen of the quarter
deck, having expressed a wish to return to England, he was discharged;
and Mr. Denis Lacey, midshipman of the Lancaster, received in his place.

Simon's Bay is known to be a large and well-sheltered cove, in the
north-western part of the sound, called False Bay. Since the loss of the
Sceptre in Table Bay, it has been more frequented than formerly; and I
found it to be a prevailing sentiment, that were it not for the
advantages of Cape Town, Simon's Bay would, in every respect, be
preferable for the royal dockyard, and the equipment of His Majesty's
ships. It was remarked to me by an officer of discernment, captain of the
flag ship, that instances of vessels being driven from their anchors by
winds blowing into Simon's Bay, were exceedingly rare. He had observed
that the strain upon the cables with these winds, was much less than with
those of equal strength blowing off the land; and he accounted for it
from the water thrown into the bay by sea winds, rebounding from the
shore and forming what is called an under-tow, which tended to keep a
ship up to her anchors. This takes place in Simon's Bay, with the
south-east winds, but not in Table Bay with those from the north-west,
which blow into it; owing, in part, to the distance at which ships there
ride from the land, and apparently, also, from the under-tow passing out
on the eastern side of the bay, clear of the anchoring ground.

The Cape of Good Hope cannot now be supposed to furnish much of novelty
in the department of natural history, especially to transient visitors;
but it still continues to afford much amusement and instruction to
English botanists. It did so to our gentlemen, who were almost constantly
on shore upon the search; and their collections, intended for examination
on the next passage, were tolerably ample. They were sufficiently
orthodox to walk many miles for the purpose of botanising upon the
celebrated Table Mountain; for what disciple of Linnaeus could otherwise
conscientiously quit the Cape of Good Hope? In taking so early a
departure, though it were to proceed to the almost untrodden, and not
less ample field of botany, New Holland, I had to engage with the counter
wishes of my scientific associates; so much were they delighted to find
the richest treasures of the English green house, profusely scattered
over the sides and summits of these barren hills.


Departure from False Bay.
Remarks on the passage to Terra Australis.
Gravity of sea-water tried.
Cape Leeuwin, and the coast from thence to King George's Sound.
Arrival in the Sound.
Examination of the harbours.
Excursion inland.
Country, soil, and productions.
Native inhabitants: Language and anatomical measurement.
Astronomical and nautical observations.



At daybreak of November 4, a light breeze from the eastward enabled me to
quit Simon's Bay, after a stoppage of eighteen days. The high land of
Great Smit's Winkel afterwards becalmed the sails; and we were no further
advanced, at noon, than to have the Cape Point bearing south-west, at the
distance of two or three leagues. On receiving the breeze, which came
from the south-south-west, we stretched towards Cape Agulhas, veering
ship at eleven at night, on coming into 50 fathoms. This wind died away
in the morning, and remained calm till noon; the Cape Point then bore N.
W. ¾ N., Cape False N. ¾ E., and our latitude was 34° 36'. Near this
situation, the bottom is a greenish mud, at the depth of 78 fathoms.

The report of the guns fired by the squadron in Simon's Bay, to
commemorate the escape from gunpowder treason, was distinctly heard at
one o'clock, when we were occupied in making sail to a fine breeze which
had sprung up from the south-westward. At six in the evening, it blew
fresh with cloudy weather; the extremes of the land bore from N. 20° W to
W. 58° E., and we took our departure for New Holland.

Lieutenant Flinders observed azimuths this evening from the binnacle with
two compasses; the ship's head was south (magnetic), and the variation
found to be 26° 13' west; and in default of observations on shore, I
consider this to have been the true variation at the Cape of Good Hope in

During our run across the Agulhas Bank, I did not find any current
setting to the westward; but in the five days taken to reach the latitude
36° 30' and longitude 33° 38', [TUESDAY 10 NOVEMBER 1801] the ship was
set 59' to the north of the reckoning. The swell which followed after the
ship probably counteracted the effect of the usual westwardly current;
and indeed it must have done something more, if our log were correct,
since the longitude by time keepers was then 30' ahead of account.

I considered the parallel Of 37° south, at this season of the year, to be
sufficiently distant from the verge of the south-east trade to insure a
continuance of western winds; and to be far enough to the north, to avoid
the gales incident to high latitudes. Having made this passage three
times before, I was satisfied of the impropriety of running in a high
southern latitude, particularly when the sun is in the other hemisphere,
and there is nothing else in view than to make a good passage; not only
from the winds there being often stronger than desired, but because they
will not blow so steadily from the westward. In the latitude of 42°, I
have experienced heavy gales from the north, and from the south, and even
from the eastward, in the months of June and July; allowances for lee way
were also frequent in that passage, and light winds or calms not
uncommon. The parallel of 42° seems to be a very proper one, when the sun
is in his highest south declination, and from that time until the middle
of February; but in the opposite months of the year, I should prefer to
run down my easting two or three degrees even to the northward of what
was now chosen for the Investigator.

It may not be improper to anticipate upon the voyage so far as to state
what was the result of keeping in the parallel of 37°, in the month of
November. From the Cape of Good Hope to the island Amsterdam, the winds
were never so strong as to reduce the Investigator to close-reefed top
sails; and on the other hand, the calms amounted to no more than seven
hours in nineteen days. The average distance on the log board upon direct
courses, for we had no foul winds, was a hundred and forty miles per day;
and the Investigator was not a frigate, but a collier-built ship, and
deeply laden. In the following twelve days run, from Amsterdam to the
south-west cape of New Holland, the same winds attended us; and a hundred
and fifty eight miles per day was the average distance, without lee way
or calm.


On the 12th, I took the opportunity of light winds to send down a bucket,
fitted with valves to bring up water from a depth; but having no
thermometer of a proper size to go into the bucket, I could only immerse
one after the water was brought up. In this imperfect way, the
temperature at 150 fathoms depth was found to be 63°,1, differing very
little from that of the water at the surface, which was 63°,8. In the
air, the thermometer stood at 63°,6. The specific gravity of the water
brought up was afterwards tried at King George's Sound, and proved, at
the temperature of 69°, to be 1,026, taking that of the crystal-glass
bulb, with which the experiment was made, at 3,150; and the specific
gravity of the surface water, taken up at the same time, was exactly the
same. The latitude of our situation was 36° 36' south, and longitude 38°
23' east. The mean inclination of the dipping needle, placed upon the
cabin table, was 58° 4' of the south end; and the variation, by mean of
azimuths on the preceding evening and amplitude this morning, taken on
the binnacle when the ships head was S. E. by E., magnetic, was 31° 47';
but the true variation, or such as would have been obtained with the head
at north, or south, I consider to have been 29° 22' west.

Throughout the passage to the island Amsterdam, we were accompanied by
some, or all of the oceanic birds usually found in these latitudes; but
not in the numbers I had been accustomed to see them further south. The
spouting of a whale was occasionally perceived, and became more frequent
on approaching the island; the number of small blue petrels was also
increased, and a few Cape hens then made their appearance.


At five in the evening of the 24th, the mean variation from three
compasses on the binnacle, was observed to be 23° 7' west, with the
ship's head E. S. E., or 20° 4' true. Our latitude was then 38° 20'
south, longitude 76° 26' east; and at eleven at night, having nearly
reached the longitude of Amsterdam, whose situation I wished to compare
with the time keepers, we hove to, in a parallel between it and the
island St. Paul. At five next morning [WEDNESDAY 25 NOVEMBER 1801], we
steered southward to make Amsterdam; but having reached its latitude, and
no land being visible, our eastwardly course was resumed. The weather was
thick, so that objects could not be distinguished beyond five or six
miles; and at noon the ship was found to have been set 23' of longitude
to the east of what the log gave. From these joint causes it must have
been that Amsterdam was not perceived, if its situation of 38° 43' south
and 77° 40' east, as made in His Majesty's ship Providence, in 1792, were
rightly ascertained.

In passages like this, when fortunately made, it is seldom that any
circumstance occurs, of sufficient interest to be related. Our
employments were to clean, dry, and air the ship below; and the seamen's
clothes and bedding, with the sails, upon deck. These, with the exercise
of the great guns and small arms, were our principal employments in fine
weather; and when otherwise, we were wet and uncomfortable, and could do
little. It was a great satisfaction that frequent pumping of the ship was
not now required, the greatest quantity of water admitted during this
passage being less than two inches an hour. The antiseptics issued were
sour krout and vinegar, to the extent of the applications for them; and
at half an hour before noon every day, a pint of strong wort, made by
pouring boiling water upon the essence of malt, was given to each man. It
was drunk upon deck; and with half a biscuit, made a luncheon for both
officers and people. The allowance of grog was never issued until half an
hour after the dinner time.



On the 6th of December, our latitude was 35° 10' and longitude 114° 19';
which placed us about S. W. ½ S. twenty-two leagues from the westernmost
isles lying off the south-west cape of New Holland, according to their
position by the French rear-admiral D'Entrecasteaux; a traced copy of
whose general chart of this coast had been furnished to me from the
hydrographical office at the Admiralty. There were no names applied in
this copy; but in the charts of the French voyage, lately published,
these islets are called _Îles St. Alouarn_.

Notwithstanding the nearness of the land there were no signs of such
proximity: no discolouring in the water, no sea weed, no new birds, and
but few of the species before seen. The current had, indeed, somewhat
changed; for while, during the three preceding days, it had set N. 12° W.
twenty-seven miles per day, on an average, it was found this day to have
run N. 47° E. twenty-two miles. This change, however, could scarcely be
thought a sign of land, since equal, or greater differences had occurred
during the passage, and might arise, in part, from errors in the log.

(Atlas Plate II.)

At two in the afternoon, the wind being north-westward, we hauled up to
make the south-western point of Leeuwin's Land, and bent the cables. At
seven, land was seen right ahead, bearing N. 14° E., at the supposed
distance of ten leagues; and on sounding there was 85 fathoms, coral
sand. We stood for it until eleven at night, and then veered to the
south-west, in 65 fathoms, same bottom.

The examination of Nuyts' and of Leeuwin's Lands was not prescribed in my
instructions to be made at this time; but the difference of sailing along
the coast at a distance, or in keeping near it and making a running
survey, was likely to be so little that I judged it advisable to do all
that circumstances would allow whilst the opportunity offered; and I had
the pleasure to find this slight deviation approved at the Admiralty.


At two in the morning we had 80 fathoms, and veered towards the land. It
was seen from the mast head at five; and the highest part, the same which
had been set in the evening, bore N. 12° W. This is the largest of the
before-mentioned Isles of St. Alouarn; but at half past seven we saw
hills extending from behind, and, to all appearance, joining it to the
main land. This supposed isle is, therefore, what I denominate CAPE
LEEUWIN, as being the south-western and most projecting part of Leeuwin's
Land. The highest hill lies nearly in latitude 34° 19' south, and
longitude 115° 6' east; it is a sloping piece of land of about six
hundred feet in elevation, and appeared to be rocky, with a slight
covering of trees and shrubs; but this cape will be best known from Mr.
Westall's sketch. (Atlas Plate XVII. View I.). A piece of lower land was
seen to the north-west, probably a continuation of the coast, and there
are some rocky islets scattered on the south side of the cape. The
largest of these islets, lying about four miles off, was passed before
eight o'clock, at the distance of seven or eight miles, and seen to be
surrounded with high and extensive breakers.

On the east side of Cape Leeuwin the land falls back north-eastward three
or four leagues, and afterwards curves to the south-east, forming a large
bight which appeared to be wholly exposed to the southern winds. The
coast-line round the upper part of this bight was not distinguishable;
but the hills at the back showed more of bare sand than of vegetable
covering. At ten o'clock a low, black projection, forming the eastern
point of the bight, bore east three miles; and the depth was 15 fathoms
upon a coarse sandy bottom. We then veered round to the south-eastward,
following the direction of the coast, with the wind at west-south-west
and weather somewhat squally; and at noon, our situation and principal
bearings were as follow:

Latitude observed,                      34° 32 2/3' S.
Longitude by time keepers,             115  30 E.
C. Leeuwin, furthest visible part,   N. 55 W.
The low, black point,                N.  4 W.
Furthest extreme of the coast ahead, S. 53 E.

The shore abreast was seven or eight miles distant; and behind it ran a
continuation of the same ridge of sandy hillocks which surrounds the
bight, and it extended to the southern extreme. Over this ridge were
perceived, here and there, the tops of some higher and less sandy hills,
standing a few miles inland; but the general aspect of the country was
that of great sterility; nor was there, as yet, any appearance of its
being inhabited.

Soon after four we passed the noon's extreme at the distance of four
miles. It is a steep, rocky cape, named in the French chart, Point
D'Entrecasteaux; and is one of the most remarkable projections of this
coast. I make its latitude, from the bearings, to be 34° 52' south, and
longitude by time keepers 116° 1' east. A low rock lies two or three
miles to the east-south-east, from the point, and a patch of breakers
nearly the same distance from the south; and soon after passing the
point, two other rocks, white and rather high, were seen lying from it
five leagues to the south-east. At a quarter past seven, when the night
closed in

The two white rocks bore                        N. 20° E.
Furthest extrem of the land, like a steep head, N. 71° E.


The wind was then at south-west, and we stretched onward until one in the
morning, before tacking to the north-west for the land. At daylight the
ship was found to have been carried to the eastward, and neither Point
D'Entrecasteaux nor the two white rocks were in sight; but in the N. 19°
E., about eight miles, was a head not far from the extreme set in the
evening. It afterwards proved to be a smooth, steep rock, lying one mile
from the main; and is the land first made upon this coast by captain
Vancouver, who called it Cape Chatham. Its latitude is very nearly 35° 3'
south, longitude 116° 29' east, and it was sketched by Mr. Westall.
(Atlas Plate XVII. View 2.)

Whilst stretching in for the shore, with the ship's head
north-west-by-north (magnetic) I took azimuths with two compasses on the
binnacle; after which they were immediately placed on a stand near the
taffrel and other azimuths taken. The variation resulting from the
observations on the binacle was 5° 59' west, and from those near the
taffrel 8° 24' west; affording another instance of the effect produced by
changing the place of the compass. In 1803, and at twenty leagues to the
west of Cape Leeuwin, we had 10° 4' variation on the binnacle, with the
head south-east; from which, and the above 5° 59', the true variation off
the cape, or such as would be obtained with the ship's head at north or
south, should be 7° 48' west.*

[* The mode by which these, and other observations made with the compass
on the binnacle, are reduced to what is conceived to be the true
variation, is explained in the Appendix No. II, to the second volume.]

At seven o'clock we got sight of the two white rocks, which enabled me to
take up the survey of the preceding evening; and we then bore away along
the coast at the distance of four or five miles, with a pleasant breeze
and fine weather.

Some parts of the shore between Point D'Entrecasteaux and Cape Chatham
were not distinctly seen. That which is nearest to the cape lies in the
line of N. 38° W. from its outer part, and presents an intermixture of
steep cliffs and small sandy beaches, with a back land moderately high,
and better covered with wood than that before described. On the east side
of Cape Chatham the shore falls back to the northward, and makes a bight
in which is a small reef of rocks. It then projects in a cliffy head,
which lies S. 75° E. seven miles from the cape, and is called Point Nuyts
in the French chart; upon the supposition, probably, that this was the
first land seen by Nuyts in 1627. Beyond this point the coast trends very
nearly east; but forms several projections, some of which are steep and
others low; and between them are sandy bights where small vessels might
obtain shelter from all northern winds. The hills lying at the back of
the shore seemed to be barren, though trees grew thickly on their eastern
sides; they are not high, but it was rare to perceive any thing of the
interior country above them.

At noon the nearest parts of the coast were a steep and a more eastern
low point, both distant about four miles; and from the bight between them
was rising the first smoke seen upon this coast. Our situation at this
time, and the principal bearings taken, were as under;

Latitude, observed to the north and south,               85°  7'  5".
Longitude by time keepers,                              116  50.
Point Nuyts, with Cape Chatham behind,                N. 75 W.
Steep point, near the smoke,                          N. 15 W.
Furthest visible extreme ahead,                       N. 84 E.

Soon after two o'clock we passed at the distance of five miles from a
steep point which has a broad rock lying near it. This point, being
unnamed and somewhat remarkable, I call _Point Hillier_; it lies in 35°
4' south and 117° 9' east. The coast extends from thence nearly
east-by-south, without any considerable projection except at the furthest
extreme then visible; and on coming up with it, at half-past five, it
proved to be the Cape Howe of Vancouver. There is another Cape Howe upon
this same coast, named by Captain Cook, which makes it necessary to
distinguish this by a descriptive adjunct, and I shall therefore call it
_West_ Cape Howe. The situation of this projecting cliffy cape is in 35°
8½' south and 117° 40' east. Beyond it the land trends north-by-east,
four miles, into a sandy bight, in which there is a small islet; and
further along the shore, which then stretches eastward and again becomes
cliffy, there are two others. When the cape bore N. 10° W. four miles,
the highest of the Eclipse Isles was in sight, bearing E. 4° N.; but "the
small detached islet," which Captain Vancouver says (Vol. I p. 32) "lies
from Cape Howe S. 68° E., three leagues," could not be seen; though it
should have lain nearly in our track.*

[* This islet, seen by Captain Vancouver in the evening, must have been
the highest of the Eclipse Isles; but from the apparent difference of its
situation, was thought not to be the same on the following morning. The
change in the variation of the compass, which had taken place on altering
the direction of the ship's head, seems to have been the cause of this
apparent difference.]


(Atlas Plate XVII. View 3.)

The wind blew fresh at this time, and a current of more than one mile an
hour ran with us, so that, by carrying all sail, I hoped to get sight of
King George's Sound before dark. At seven we passed close on the south
side of the Eclipse Isles; but Bald Head at the entrance of the sound had
so different an appearance from what I had been led to expect, being a
slope in this point of view, that the steep east end of Break-sea Island
was at first taken for it. The error was fortunately perceived in time;
and at eight o'clock we hauled up round the head, with the wind at west,
and made a stretch into the sound. It was then dark; but the night being
fine, I did not hesitate to work up by the guidance of captain
Vancouver's chart; and having reached nearly into a line between Seal
Island and the first beach round Bald Head, we anchored at eleven o'clock
in 8 fathoms, sandy bottom.


King George's Sound had been chosen as the proper place in which to
prepare ourselves for the examination of the south coast of Terra
Australis, and I sought to make the best use of the advantages it might
furnish. The first essential requisite was a place of secure shelter,
where the masts could be stripped, the rigging and sails put into order,
and communication had with the shore without interruption from the
elements; but this, from captain Vancouver's chart and description, I did
not expect the outer sound to afford. The facility of quitting
Princess-Royal Harbour, with such a wind as would be favourable for
prosecuting the investigation of the coast, induced me so far to prefer
it to Oyster Harbour as to make it the first object of examination; and
in the morning, after we had sounded round the ship and found her so
placed as to require no immediate movement, I went in a boat for the
purpose, accompanied by the master and landscape painter; the naturalist
and some other gentlemen landing at the same time, to botanise in the
vicinity of Bald Head.

(Atlas Plate VII. View 4.)

Seal Island, where we stopped in passing, is a mass of granite, which is
accessible only at its western end, as represented in Mr. Westall's
sketch. After killing a few seals upon the shore, we ascended the hill to
search for the bottle and parchment left by captain Vancouver in 1791;*
but could find no vestiges either of it or of the staff or pile of
stones; and since there was no appearance of the natives having crossed
over from the main, I was led to suspect that a second ship had been here
before us.

[* See his Voyage, Vol. I. Page 40]

At Point Possession, on the south side of the entrance to Princess-Royal
Harbour, we had a good view of that extensive piece of water. Wood seemed
not to be abundant near the shores; and therefore a projection two or
three miles to the south-west, which was covered with trees, first
attracted my notice. The depth of water in going to it was, however, too
little for the ship; nor was there any fresh stream in the neighbourhood.
Some person, but not captain Vancouver, had nevertheless been cutting
wood there; for several trees had been felled with axe and saw. Not far
from thence stood a number of bark sheds, like the huts of the natives
who live in the forests behind Port Jackson, and forming what might be
called a small village; but it had been long deserted. Going across from
the woody point to the north side of the harbour, we there found 3
fathoms within less than half a mile of the shore; and an increasing
depth from thence out to the entrance. The soundings in the entrance were
from 5 to 7 fathoms; but the channel was too narrow to admit of getting
in without a leading wind and much caution.


On Thursday morning the master was sent to examine the north side of the
harbour for water and wood; and we got the ship under way to beat up to
the entrance, the wind blowing still from the westward. At eleven o'clock
the anchor was dropped in 6 fathoms half a mile from Point Possession;
and as I was doubtful of the master's success, I went in a boat,
accompanied by lieutenant Flinders, to examine Oyster Harbour. We carried
7 and 6 fathoms from the ship towards the entrance until Michaelmas and
Break-sea Islands were closing on with each other; after which the depth
diminished to 5, 4, 3, and 2¾ fathoms. On hauling westward we got into
six feet; but steering the other way, it deepened to seventeen, the east
side of the opening behind then in a line with the middle of some high,
flat-topped land, at the back of the harbour. Keeping in that direction,
we carried 3, 4, and 5 fathoms; and had 6 in the narrowest part of the
entrance. Within side the deep water turned on the starboard hand, but in
many parts there was not more than 3 fathoms.

As I proposed to make a new survey of King George's Sound, we landed to
take a set of angles upon the small central island; the same which
captain Vancouver describes (Vol. I. page 35), as covered with luxuriant
grass and other vegetables, and where he planted vine cuttings,
water-cresses, and the seeds of various fruits. There were no remains of
these valuable gifts, although nothing indicated the island to have been
visited since his time; and, to our disappointment, the vegetation upon
it now consisted of tufts of wiry grass and a few stunted shrubs,
supported by a thin layer of sandy soil, which was every where perforated
with rat-holes.

From the island we rowed in various directions, sounding the harbour; but
the boat could seldom approach the shore within a cable's length, or the
eighth part of a mile. On the south-west side there were two small
streams, in one of which the water was fresh, though high-coloured.
Returning to the entrance, we landed on the east side, and found a spot
of ground six or eight feet square, dug up and trimmed like a garden; and
upon it was lying a piece of sheet copper, bearing this inscription:
"August 27, 1800. Chr. Dixson--ship Elligood"; which solved the
difficulty of the felled trees and the disappearance of captain
Vancouver's bottle. On digging in this place I found that fresh water of
a high colour, but well tasted, might be obtained; wood was abundant, and
the depth of the entrance admitted of the ship being made fast to the
shore; so that this was a situation adapted to our purpose of refitment,
provided the ship could be got over the bar. This point I was desirous to
ascertain in my way on board, but the strength of the wind prevented it.

The report of the master from Princess-Royal Harbour was, that water
could be obtained at the north side by digging near the shore, at the
foot of the highest hill; but that there was no wood at a convenient
distance. I therefore sent him, next morning [FRIDAY 11 DECEMBER 1801],
to land the naturalists at the entrance of Oyster Harbour, and then to
sound the bar; and not being satisfied with his report, that there was
not so much as fourteen feet, which the ship drew when captain Vancouver
had marked seventeen, I went to the nearest head, with a theodolite and
signal flags, to direct his movements. No more, however, than _thirteen_
feet could now be found upon the shallowest part of the bar; and,
consequently, the idea of refitting in Oyster Harbour was abandoned. The
boat which brought off Mr. Brown and his party in the evening collected a
good quantity of oysters, and of the large fan muscles, from the shoals.


The wind continuing foul for going into Princess-Royal Harbour, a wooding
party was sent next morning to a bight round the north side of the
entrance, where the wood was found to split better than at some other
places. Another party went to the same place with the launch, to haul the
seine, but the wind coming round to the eastward, the boat was recalled
and a kedge anchor and hawser put into it. We then weighed and ran into
the harbour under the top-sails; and at eleven anchored in seventeen feet
upon muddy ground, at one-third of a mile from the shore under the
highest hill. When the ship was moored Michaelmas Island was on with the
north, and Break-sea Island with the south point of the entrance, and the
highest hill bore N.E. by N. by compass. The least depth of water we had
in passing the entrance was 4 fathoms; but to those who may wish to go
in, the plan in Plate II of the Atlas, and a good look-out from the
masthead, will be of more service than any written directions.

So soon as the ship was secured, I landed with the naturalists; and after
fixing upon a place for our tents, ascended the highest hill to take
angles. Amongst other objects I perceived in the bearing of N. 87° 20' W.
two distant pieces of water, at the back of the bight near West Cape
Howe; but whether they were lakes or an inlet of the sea could not be
distinguished. Our tents, under the guard of a party of marines, were set
up this evening; and in the morning [SUNDAY 13 DECEMBER 1801] the
observatory and instruments were sent on shore, under the care of
lieutenant Flinders, who had undertaken to assist me in performing the
office of astronomer.

Marks of the country being inhabited were found every where, but as yet
there was nothing to indicate the presence of the natives in our
neighbourhood; I therefore allowed a part of the ship's company to divert
themselves on shore this afternoon; and the same was done every Sunday
during our stay in this harbour. On Monday [14 DECEMBER 1801] the
topmasts were struck, and our various duties commenced; the naturalists
ranged the country in all directions, being landed at such places as they
desired; whilst my own time was divided betwixt the observatory and the
survey of the Sound.

Some smokes being perceived at the head of the harbour, Mr. Brown and
other gentlemen directed their excursion that way and met with several of
the natives, who were shy but not afraid. One man with whom they had
communication was admired for his manly behaviour, and they gave him a
bird which had been shot, and a pocket-handkerchief; but, like the
generality of people hitherto seen in this country, these men did not
seem to be desirous of communication with strangers; and they very early
made signs to our gentlemen to return from whence they came. Next morning
[TUESDAY 15 DECEMBER 1801], however, we were agreeably surprised by the
appearance of two Indians, and afterwards of others, upon the side of the
hill behind our tents. They approached with much caution, one coming
first with poised spear, and making many gestures, accompanied with much
vociferous parleying, in which he sometimes seemed to threaten us if we
did not be gone, and at others to admit of our stay. On Mr. Purdie, the
assistant-surgeon, going up to him unarmed, a communication was brought
about, and they received some articles of iron and toys, giving in
exchange some of their implements; and after a short stay, left us,
apparently on very good terms.


On the 17th one of our former visitors brought two strangers with him;
and after this time, they and others came almost every day, and
frequently stopped a whole morning at the tents. We always made them
presents of such things as seemed to be most agreeable, but they very
rarely brought us anything in return; nor was it uncommon to find small
mirrors and other things left about the shore, so that at length our
presents were discontinued.


I formed a party on the 23rd, consisting of the officers of the ship, the
scientific gentlemen, and others, amounting to thirteen, well armed and
provided for two days, in order to visit the lakes behind West Cape Howe.
We walked along the shore to the north-western extremity of
Princess-Royal Harbour, where several small runs of fresh water were
found to drain in from peaty swamps. Striking from thence into the
country in a western direction, we had not advanced far when a native was
seen running before us; and soon afterward an old man, who had been
several times at the tents, came up, unarmed as usual. He was very
anxious that we should not go further; and acted with a good deal of
resolution in first stopping one and then another of those who were
foremost. He was not able to prevail; but we accommodated him so far as
to make a circuit round the wood, where it seemed probable his family and
female friends were placed. The old man followed us, hallooing frequently
to give information of our movements; and when a paroquet was shot, he
expressed neither fear nor surprise, but received the bird with gladness
and attended with some curiosity to the reloading of the gun.

Our course for the lakes led us through swamps and thick brushwoods, in
which our new acquaintance followed for some time; but at length, growing
tired of people who persevered in keeping a bad road in opposition to his
recommendation of a better, which, indeed, had nothing objectionable in
it but that it led directly contrary to where our object lay, he fell
behind and left us. We afterwards took to the skirts of the sea-coast
hills and made better progress; but were obliged to recross the swamps
and force our way through a thick brush before reaching the eastern lake.

This piece of water was found to be one mile and a half east and west,
and one mile in breadth, and appeared to receive the drainings from the
numerous swamps round about. In coasting round the north side, to reach
the south-western lake, we were stopped by a serpentine stream, upon
which were two black swans; but they took to flight before we could get
near to shoot them. After following the windings of this riverlet some
distance to the north-west, without being able to pass over, we struck
inland towards the skirt of some rising hills, and crossed the stream
early enough to walk a mile to the south-west before sunset, when the
convenience of dry ground, with wood and water at hand, induced us to
halt for the night.


On Thursday morning we reached the south-western lake, and found it to be
larger than the first. Its water was brackish, which bespoke a
communication with the sea; and as there was no certainty that this
communication might not be too deep to be passed, it was thought prudent
to give up the intention of proceeding to the sea side, and our steps
were retraced across the rivulet and round the northern lake. We then
struck southward and ascended the hills to the top of the cliffs facing
the sea; from whence I had an opportunity of seeing the bight near Cape
Howe, and the form of the lakes; but no water communication was visible
between them.

Our course homeward was pursued along the sandy ridge at the back of the
cliffs, where the want of water was as great as the superabundance had
been in the low land going out. Towards sunset, when Princess-Royal
Harbour was still some miles distant, the natural-history painter became
unable to proceed further, being overcome with the labour of the walk,
with the excessive heat, and with thirst. To have detained the whole
party in a state of sufferance would have been imprudent; and Mr. Brown
and two others having volunteered to stay, we left them the scanty
remains of our provision, and pushed forward to the tents, which we
reached at eight o'clock. At midnight we had the pleasure to see our
friends arrive, and the preparation made for sending to their assistance,
at daybreak, became unnecessary.

The country through which we passed in this excursion has but little to
recommend it. The stony hills of the sea coast were, indeed, generally
covered with shrubs; but there was rarely any depth of vegetable soil,
and no wood. The land slopes down gradually behind these hills; and at
the bottom water drains out and forms a chain of swamps extending from
Princess-Royal Harbour to the lakes. Here the country is covered with
grass and brushwood, and in the parts a little elevated there are forest
trees; nevertheless the soil is shallow and unfit for cultivation.


On the 30th, our wooding and the watering of the ship were completed, the
rigging was refitted, the sails repaired and bent, and the ship unmoored.
Our friends the natives continued to visit us; and the old man with
several others being at the tents this morning, I ordered the party of
marines on shore to be exercised in their presence. The red coats and
white crossed belts were greatly admired, having some resemblance to
their own manner of ornamenting themselves; and the drum, but
particularly the fife, excited their astonishment; but when they saw
these beautiful red-and-white men, with their bright muskets, drawn up in
a line, they absolutely screamed with delight; nor were their wild
gestures and vociferation to be silenced but by commencing the exercise,
to which they paid the most earnest and silent attention. Several of them
moved their hands involuntarily, according to the motions; and the old
man placed himself at the end of the rank, with a short staff in his
hand, which he shouldered, presented, grounded as did the marines their
muskets, without, I believe, knowing what he did. Before firing, the
Indians were made acquainted with what was going to take place; so that
the vollies did not excite much terror.


The tents and observatory were already struck; and everything being sent
on board, we took leave of the natives, and embarked with the intention
of running into the Sound this evening; but a change in the wind, to
south-by-east, prevented it. This wind veered to east and north-east, and
for a short time blew strong; so that it was the 3rd of January in the
afternoon before we steered out of Princess-Royal Harbour. It was not my
intention to proceed immediately to sea; and I therefore took the
opportunity of standing backward and forward in the Sound, with the
dredge and trawl overboard; and a variety of small fish were brought up.
These were of little use as food; but with the shells, sea weeds, and
corals they furnished amusement and occupation to the naturalist and
draughtsman, and a pretty kind of hippocampus, which was not scarce, was
generally admired.

In the evening the anchor was dropped in 7 fathoms, abreast of the second
sandy beach near a flat rock on the south side of the Sound, almost in
the same spot where captain Vancouver had anchored in 1791. I think the
Sound does not afford a more secure place, the sole points of exposition
being between Bald Head and Break-sea Island, making an angle of no more
than 10°; and as both wood and water are procurable here, though neither
very good, a ship proposing to stay only a few days is under no necessity
of having recourse to the harbours.


On the 4th a fresh gale blew from the westward and prevented me from
moving the ship. A bottle, containing a parchment to inform future
visitors of our arrival and intention to sail on the morrow, was left
upon the top of Seal Island; and the wind having moderated next day, and
the weather become finer, though still squally, we then made sail out of
King George's Sound to prosecute the further examination of the coast.


The refreshments we had procured were fish and oysters. The seine was
frequently hauled upon the different beaches; but although it was done in
the evening, round fires which had been previously kindled, little
success was obtained in this way. With hook and line we were more
fortunate, both alongside and from boats stationed off the rocky points;
and the whole ship's company had generally a fresh meal once in three or
four days. Of oysters, as many were taken from the shoals in both
harbours as we chose to spare time for gathering. Our fire wood was
procured from the north point of entrance to Princess-Royal Harbour, at
the inner end of the long middle beach; but the trees best calculated for
sawing into planks were obtained at the easternmost of the two woody
projections on the south side of the harbour. A good number of planks and
logs were taken on board for making garden boxes to contain the most
curious plants collected by the naturalist, and for a variety of other
purposes. The fresh water, procured by digging near the tents, was a
little discoloured, but good; and it was sufficiently abundant for every
purpose: its specific gravity was 1.003 at the temperature of 69°.

Captain Vancouver has described the country in the neighbourhood of King
George's Sound, and therefore a few observations upon it will suffice.
The basis stone is granite, which frequently shows itself at the surface
in the form of smooth, bare rock; but upon the seacoast hills, and the
shores on the south sides of the Sound and Princess-Royal Harbour, the
granite is generally covered with a crust of calcareous stone; as it is,
also, upon Michaelmas Island. Captain Vancouver mentions (Vol. I. p. 49)
having found upon the top of Bald Head, branches of coral protruding
through the sand, exactly like those seen in the coral beds beneath the
surface of the sea; a circumstance which should seem to bespeak this
country to have emerged from the ocean at no very distant period of time.
This curious fact I was desirous to verify; and his description was
proved to be correct. I found, also, two broken columns of stone three or
four feet high, formed like stumps of trees and of a thickness superior
to the body of a man; but whether they were of coral or of wood now
petrified, or whether they might not have been calcareous rocks worn into
that particular form by the weather, I cannot determine. Their elevation
above the present level of the sea could not have been less than four
hundred feet.

But little calcareous matter was found elsewhere than on the southern
shores. In Oyster Harbour a rather strongly impregnated ironstone
prevails, but mixed with quartz and granite; and in some parts of both
harbours a brown argillaceous earth was not uncommon.

The soil of the hills is very barren, though, except near the sea coast,
generally covered with wood; and that of the plains at the head of
Princess-Royal Harbour has been described as shallow, and incapable of
cultivation. In the neighbourhood of Oyster Harbour the land was said to
be better, especially near the rivulet which falls into the northern
corner; and on the borders of a small lake, at the back of the long beach
between the two harbours, the country was represented to be pleasing to
the eye and tolerably fertile.

The timber trees of the woods consist principally of different species of
that extensive class called _gum tree_ by the colonists at Port Jackson,
by botanists _eucalyptus_. They do not grow very large here, and the wood
is heavy and seldom fit for other than common purposes. Amongst the
plants collected by Mr. Brown and his associates was a small one of a
novel kind which we commonly called the pitcher plant. Around the root
leaves are several little vases lined with spiny hairs, and there were
generally found to contain a sweetish water, and also a number of dead
ants. It cannot be asserted that the ants were attracted by the water,
and prevented by the spiny hairs from making their escape; but it seemed
not improbable that this was a contrivance of nature to obtain the means
necessary either to the nourishment or preservation of the plant.

Amongst the animal productions the kangaroo and cassowary hold the first
ranks. The kangaroo appeared to be numerous, and of more than one
species; but none were caught. Three of them seen by me bore a
resemblance to the large kind which inhabits the forests of Port Jackson;
and the cassowary showed nothing distinguishable at a distance from the
same animal at that place: both were shy; as were the ducks, swans, and
all the birds.

Near Point Possession were found two nests of extraordinary magnitude.
They were built upon the ground, from which they rose about two feet; and
were of vast circumference and great interior capacity, the branches of
trees and other matter, of which each nest was composed, being enough to
fill a small cart. Captain Cook (see Hawkesworth, Vol. III. p. 195) found
one of these enormous nests upon Eagle Island, on the East Coast; and if
the magnitude of the constructor be proportionate to the size of the
nest, Terra Australis must be inhabited by a species of bird little
inferior to the condor of the Andes.

Amongst the reptiles was a variety of lizards; one of which, of the
larger size, was met with by Dampier on the West Coast, and is described
by him "as a sort of guano, but differing from others in three remarkable
particulars: for these had a larger and uglier head, and had no tail: and
at the rump, instead of the tail there, they had a stump of a tail, which
appeared like another head; but not really such, being without mouth or
eyes. Yet this creature seemed, by this means, to have a head at each
end; and, which may be reckoned a fourth difference, the legs, also,
seemed all four of them to be fore legs, being all alike in shape and
length, and seeming by the joints and bendings to be made as if they were
to go indifferently either head or tail foremost. They were speckled
black and yellow like toads, and had scales or knobs on their backs like
those of crocodiles. They are very slow in motion and when a man comes
nigh them they will stand and hiss, not endeavouring to get away. Their
livers are also spotted black and yellow; and the body when opened hath a
very unsavoury smell. The guano's I have observed to be very good meat,
and I have often eaten of them with pleasure; but though I have eaten of
snakes, crocodiles, and alligators, and many creatures that look
frightfully enough, and there are but few I should have been afraid to
eat of, if pressed by hunger, yet I think my stomach would scarce have
served to venture upon these New Holland guano's, both the looks and the
smell of them being so offensive." The animal is certainly of a singular
form; but it is scarcely necessary to say that the merit of Dampier's
description does not consist in being strictly accurate.

The fish caught with hook and line were principally small mullet, and an
excellent kind of snapper, nearly the same as that called _wollamai_ by
the natives of Port Jackson; but these were larger, weighing sometimes as
much as twenty pounds.

Our frequent and amicable communication with the natives of this country
has been mentioned. The women were, however, kept out of sight with
seeming jealousy; and the men appeared to suspect the same conduct in us,
after they had satisfied themselves that the most beardless of those they
saw at the tents were of the same sex with the rest. The belief that
there must be women in the ship induced two of them to comply with our
persuasion of getting into the boat, one morning, to go on board; but
their courage failing, they desired to be relanded, and made signs that
the ship must go on shore to them.

It was with some surprise that I saw the natives of the east coast of New
South Wales so nearly portrayed in those of the south-western extremity
of New Holland. These do not, indeed, extract one of the upper front
teeth at the age of puberty, as is generally practised at Port Jackson,
nor do they make use of the _womerah_, or throwing stick; but their
colour, the texture of the hair, and personal appearance are the same;
their songs run in the same cadence; the manner of painting themselves is
similar; their belts and fillets of hair are made in the same way, and
worn in the same manner. The short, skin cloak, which is of kangaroo, and
worn over the shoulders, leaving the rest of the body naked, is more in
the manner of the wood natives living at the back of Port Jackson than of
those who inhabit the sea coast; and everything we saw confirmed the
supposition of captain Vancouver, that they live more by hunting than
fishing. None of the small islands had been visited, no canoes were seen,
nor was any tree found in the woods from which the bark had been taken
for making one. They were fearful of trusting themselves upon the water;
and we could never succeed in making them understand the use of the fish
hook, although they were intelligent in comprehending our signs upon
other subjects.

The manners of these people are quick and vehement, and their
conversation vociferous, like that of most uncivilised people. They
seemed to have no idea of any superiority we possessed over them; on the
contrary, they left us, after the first interview, with some appearance
of contempt for our pusillanimity; which was probably inferred from the
desire we showed to be friendly with them. This opinion, however, seemed
to be corrected in their future visits.

Notwithstanding the similarity of person and manner to the inhabitants of
Port Jackson, the language of these people is very different. We found
their pronunciation difficult to be imitated; more so, indeed, than our
language was to them. Several English words they pronounced perfectly;
whilst of such where an _f_ or an _s_ entered they could make but little:
Finger, was pronounced _bing-gah_, ship, _yip_; and of King George they
make _Ken Jag-ger_. In the difficulty of pronouncing the _f_ and _s_ they
resemble the Port Jackson natives; and the word used by them in calling
to a distance, _cau-wah_! (come here) is nearly similar to _cow-ee_! The
word also to express _eye_ is nearly the same. But in the following
table, which contains all the words that, with any certainty, I was able
to collect, the most essential differences will be found both from the
Port Jackson language and from that of the south end of Van Diemen's
Land; and the words collected by Captain Cook at Endeavour River bear no
resemblance to any of them.

English. K. George's Sound. Port Jackson.*        Van Diemen's Land.**

Head            Kaat               Ca-ber-ra
Hair            Kaat-jou           De-war-ra      Pelilogueni
Nose            Mo-il              No-gro         Mugui (Muidge, Cook)
Cheek, or beard Ny-a-nuk           Yar-rin        Canguine
Teeth           Yea-al             Da-ra          Pegui or Canan (Kamy,
Ear             Du-ong             Go-ray         Vaigui (Koygee, Cook)
Lips            Ur-luk             Wil-ling       Mogude lia
Throat          Wurt               Cad-le-an
Nipple          Bpep               Na-bung
Belly           Ko-bul             Bar-rong       Lomangui
Posteriors      Wa-la-kah          Boong          Nune
Thigh           Dtou-al
Knee            Wo-nat             Go-rook        Ronga
Leg             Maat               Dar-ra         Lerai
Foot            Jaan               Ma-no-e        Pere
The sun         Djaat              Co-ing         Panubere

[* From Collins' _Account of the English Colony in New South Wales_, Vol.
I. p. 610-611]

[** _Voyage de D'Entrecasteaux_, par M. de Rossel. Tome I. p. 552 _et.
seq._ These words are written after the French pronunciation of the

The following anatomical admeasurement of one of the best proportioned of
our visitors was furnished by the surgeon, Mr. Hugh Bell:

Full height                                                 Ft.  in.
Circumference of the head                                    5    7   6
From the transverse nasal suture to the posterior ridge      1   11   0
    of the occiput                                           1    3   0
From the small rim of each ear across the forehead           1    0   0
From the nasal suture, over the nose, to the tip of the chin 0    5   2
From ditto to the tip of the nose                            0    1   0
From the tip of the nose to the edge of the upper lip        0    1   0
From the edge of the under lip to the tip of the chin        0    1   5
Extent of the mouth                                          0    2   1
              nostrils                                       0    1   6
              lower jaw from each angle                      0    8   6
Length of the arm                                            1    1   6
              fore arm                                       1    0   0
              middle metacarpal bone                         0    4   0
              middle finger                                  0    4   3
              femur, from the great trochanter
                   to its lower end                          1    5   6
              tibia                                          1    4   6
              foot                                           0   10   0
Length from the protuberance of the inner ankle to the tip
                   of the heel                               0    3   9
Ditto to the end of the great toe                            0    8   6
Circumference of the neck                                    1    0   6
                     chest                                   2    8   9
                     pelvis                                  2    4   9
                     arm                                     0   10   6
                     elbow joint                             0    9   6
                     fore arm                                0    9   9
                     wrist                                   0    6   0
                     thigh                                   1    7   6
Circumference just above the knee joint                      1    1   0
              of the knee joint                              1    1   0
               of the leg, immediately below the knee joint  0   11   0
              of the leg                                     1    0   0
               of the leg small                              0    7   6
              of the foot                                    0   10   6

Our operations at the observatory were not favoured by the weather; but a
sufficient number of observations was obtained for all the purposes of

The _Latitude_ of the tents in Princess-Royal Harbour, from three
meridian zenith distances of the sun, observed with Ramsden's universal
theodolite, was
                                                      35°  2'  5" south.

_Longitude_ from thirty-one sets of distances of the sun east and west of
the moon, of which the particulars are given in Table I. of the Appendix
to this volume,
                                                     117° 53' 10" east.

These being reduced by the survey to BALD HEAD,
at the entrance of the sound, will place it in

Latitude                                              35°  6' 15" south.
Longitude                                            118°  0' 45" east.*

The mean rates of the time keepers, deduced from equal altitudes taken on
and between Dec. 15 and Jan. 1, and their errors from mean time at
Greenwich, at noon there on the last day of observation, were as under:

                         h  '  "               "
Earnshaw's No. 543, slow 0 21 46,69 and losing 6,46 per day.
           No. 520,      0 51  2,81           16,72
Arnold's   No. 176,      1  0 45,46            9,26
           No. 82 went too irregularly to be worth taking.

The longitude of the tents given by the time keepers on the first day of
observation, with the Cape rates, was as follows:

Earnshaw's No. 543, 118° 14' 49" east.
               520, 117  59  22
Arnold's       176, 118   1  14

The two first, which generally throughout the voyage showed themselves to
be the best time keepers, were on a mean 13' 56" to the east of the lunar
observations; but by using rates accelerating in arithmetic progression
from those of the Cape of Good Hope to the new ones of King George's
Sound, the mean of Earnshaw's two time keepers will then differ only 8'
19" to the east in forty-four days. In fixing the position of places from
Cape Leeuwin to the Sound, these accelerating rates have been used; and
the longitude has been further corrected by allowing an equal proportion
of the error, 8' 19", according to the number of days after Nov. 1, when
the last observations were made at the Cape of Good Hope. In the
Appendix, the nature of these corrections is more particularly explained.

[* The situation of Bald Head, in captain Vancouver's chart, is 35° 6'
40" south, and 118° 16' 30" east from lunar observations which were not
corrected for the errors of the astronomical tables. The situation
assigned to Bald Head in the voyage of the French admiral
D'Entrecasteaux, is 35° 10' south, and 118° 2' 40" east; but since the
admiral passed it at six in the evening, and in blowing weather, an error
of a few minutes may have entered into both latitude and longitude.]

The height of the thermometer at the tents, as observed at noon, varied
between 80° and 64°. On board the ship, it never exceeded 70½°, nor was
below 60°. The range of the barometer was from 29,42 inches in a gale of
wind from the westward, to 30,28 inches in a moderate breeze from

Mean Dip of the S. end of the needle, taken onshore, 64° 1'

On board, upon the cabin table,                      64° 52'.

The increase being probably occasioned by the iron ballast in the bread
room underneath.

The _Variation_ given by three compasses at the observatory was 6° 22½'
west, by Walker's meridional compass 5° 25', and by the surveying
theodolite 8° 17'; but upon the _eastern_ part of the flat granite rock,
on the south side of the sound, two theodolites gave only 4° 1' west. On
board the ship, at anchor off Point Possession, the variation from the
three compasses on the binnacle., when the head was southeastward, was 9°
28'; or, corrected to the meridian, 7° 12' west. It seems not easy to say
what ought to be considered as the true variation; but the mean of the
observations at the tents being 6° 42', and on board the ship 7° 12', I
conceive it will not be far wrong if taken at 7° 0' west.

This is what I allowed in tracing a base line upon the beach between the
two harbours; and the back bearings from different stations did not vary
more than a degree from it, except at the _west_ end of Michaelmas
Island, where the variation, in one spot, was _greater _by 3°.

The above different variations show that the needle was affected by the
rocks; and there will be frequent occasion, in the course of the voyage,
to point out similar anomalies in the observations on land; for they were
found to take place upon almost all those parts of Terra Australis, where
the basis stone is of granite, as here; and also in those where
green-stone, porphyry, basaltes, or iron-stone prevail; whereas in the
lime, or grit-stone countries, the needle did not appear to suffer any
derangement. In the Appendix No. II. to the second volume, where the
changes on ship board, which arose from altering the direction of the
head, are explained, this subject of the differences on shore is
mentioned; for they also were not without a certain degree of regularity.

No set of _Tide_ was perceived on board, either whilst the ship was in
the Sound or in Princess-Royal Harbour; nevertheless it was sometimes
found to run with considerable strength in the narrow entrances of both
harbours. According to lieutenant Flinders' observations on shore during
sixteen days there was only one high water in twenty-four hours, which
always took place between six and twelve at night; for after, by
gradually becoming later, it had been high water at twelve, the next
night it took place soon after six o'clock; and then happened later by
three-quarters of an hour each night as before. The greatest rise
observed was three feet two inches, and the least two feet eight inches.
The accumulation was made in this manner: After low water it rose for
several hours; then ceased, and became stationary, or perhaps fell back a
little. In a few hours it began to rise again; and in about twelve from
the first commencement was high water. It was observed by Captain Cook
upon the east coast of this country*, and since by many others, including
myself, that the night tide rose considerably higher than that of the
day; which is conformable to our observations in King George's Sound; but
with this difference, that in the day we had scarcely any tide at all.

[* See Hawkesworth's Voyages, Vol. III. p. 224.]

The base line for my survey of the Sound was of 2.46 geographic miles,
measured round the curve of the long beach between the two harbours. The
other stations whence bearings were taken with the theodolite were--in
the Sound, four; at the entrance of and within Princess-Royal Harbour,
three; and in Oyster Harbour, four; at each of which a point with a
circle is marked in the plan. The soundings were either taken in the
ship, with simultaneous cross bearings, or in boats, generally
accompanied with notices of known objects in a line, or the angles
between them taken with a sextant.

There are many small but no very essential differences between my plan
and that of captain Vancouver. The most important to navigation is that
in the soundings going into Oyster Harbour; I could find only thirteen
feet over the bar, whereas he marked seventeen; a difference, however,
which may not improbably have taken place between 1791 and 1801.


Departure from King George's Sound.
Coast from thence to the Archipelago of the Recherche.
Discovery of Lucky Bay and Thistle's Cove.
The surrounding country, and islands of the Archipelago.
Astronomical and nautical observations.
Goose-Island Bay.
A salt lake.
Nautical observations.
Coast from the Archipelago to the end of Nuyts' Land.
Arrival in a bay of the unknown coast.
Remarks on the preceding examination.



In running along that part of the South Coast which lies to the west of
King George's Sound, I had endeavoured to keep so close in with the land
that the breaking water on the shore should be visible from the ship's
deck; by which means our supposed distance would be little subject to
error, and no river or opening could escape being seen. This close
proximity could not, however, be obtained in every part, especially where
the coast retreated far back; but it was always attempted where
practicable and unattended with much danger or loss of time; and when it
could not be done, I was commonly at the mast head with a glass. All the
bearings were laid down so soon as taken whilst the land was in sight,
and before retiring to rest I made it a practice to finish up the rough
chart for the day, as also my journals of astronomical observations, of
bearings, and of remarks. When we hauled off from the coast at night,
every precaution was taken to come in with the same point in the morning,
as soon after daylight as practicable; and when the situation of the ship
relatively to the land of the preceding evening was ascertained, our
route along the coast was resumed. This plan, to see and lay down
everything myself, required constant attention and much labour, but was
absolutely necessary to obtaining that accuracy of which I was desirous;
and now, on recommencing the survey from King George's Sound to the
eastward, I persevered in the same system; and it was adhered to,
although not particularly mentioned, in all the succeeding part of the


(Atlas, Plate II.)

On the 5th of January, in the morning, we got under way from the Sound,
having a fresh wind from the westward and squally weather. I steered
between Michaelmas Island and the main, in order to explore better that
part of the Sound, and ascertain the extent of a shoal running off from
the north-west end of the island. It was found to run out not further
than half a mile, at which distance we passed in 5 fathoms water; and at
noon, when the east end of Break-sea Island bore S. 30° W., we had 33

Mount Gardner is a high, conic-shaped hill, apparently of granite, very
well delineated in captain Vancouver's atlas. It stands upon a projecting
cape, round which the shore falls back to the northward, forming a sandy
bight where there appeared to be shelter from western winds; indeed, as
the coast-line was not distinctly seen round the south-west corner of the
bight, it is possible there may be some small inlet in that part.

The south end of an island, called Ile Pelée (Bald Island) by
D'Entrecasteaux, opened round the cape of Mount Gardner at N. 69° E. The
French navigator having passed without side of this island, I steered
within, through a passage of a short mile wide; and had 17 fathoms for
the shoalest water, on a sandy bottom. Bald Island is of moderate
elevation, and barren, as its name implies; it is about two-and-half
miles in length, and the south end lies in 34° 55' south and 118° 29'
east. It lies off a rocky projection of the mainland, at which terminates
a ridge of mountain extending three leagues along the shore from the
bight behind Mount Gardner. There are a number of small peaks upon the
top of this ridge which induced me to give it the name _Mount Manypeak_.

After clearing the passage of Bald Island I found the shore to trend
north-eastward, and to be low and sandy; but at the distance of eight
leagues inland there was a chain of rugged mountains, of which the
eastern and highest peak, called _Mount Rugged_, lies N. 11½° W. from the
passage. At six we came up with a steep rock, one mile from the main, and
then hauled to the wind, offshore, for the night. This lump, which
appeared to be of granite, I called _Haul-off Rock_; it lies in 31° 43'
south and 118° 39' east, and two leagues to the south-west of a cliffy
point which bears the name of Cape Riche in the French chart.


At one in the morning, being seven or eight leagues from the coast and in
45 fathoms, we tacked ship towards the land, having a fresh breeze at
west-south-west, with fine weather. Haul-off Rock bore N. 77° W., three
or four miles, at six, and we then bore away along the coast. Beyond Cape
Riche the shore forms a sandy bight, in which is a small island; and on
the north side of another cliffy projection, four leagues further, there
is a similar falling back of the coast, where it is probable there is
also good shelter for boats, if not a small inlet. At noon a projecting
head two miles long, which, from the lumps of rock at the top, I called
_Cape Knob_, was three miles distant; and our observations and bearings
of the land were then as under;

Latitude, observed to the north and south  34° 35' 26"
Longitude by time keepers,                119  15
The cliffy projection past Cape Riche,
with Mount Rugged behind it,            N. 75 W.
Two rocks, distant 7 or 8 miles,        N. 56 W.
Cape Knob, eastern extremity,           N. 11 E.
A cliffy projection further eastward,   N. 46 E.
One of the Doubtful Isles,              N. 54 E.

The coast is sandy on both sides of Cape Knob, but especially on the west
side, where the hillocks at the back of the shore are little else than
bare sand.

At four o'clock we had passed the Point Hood of Vancouver; and seeing a
channel of nearly a mile in width between it and the two outer of his
Doubtful Islands, steered through it with soundings from 20 to 24
fathoms. I then hauled up south-westward, along the inner island and
point, and sent away the master to sound between them; it being my
intention to anchor, if a sufficient depth should be found for the ship
to escape in case the wind came to blow from the eastward: it was then
light at south-east-by-south. Mr. Thistle found the opening to be very
narrow, and no more than 2 fathoms in the shoalest part; we therefore
stood out, repassing within a small black islet, upon which were some
seals. At eight, tacked to the southward and weathered the Doubtful

On the north side of the isles and of Point Hood the shore falls back
five or six miles to the west-south-west before it curves northward, and
affords good shelter against all winds which do not blow strong from
between north-east and east. At the time we stood out of the bay the ship
was three miles within the outermost islands, and not more than a cable's
length from the shore of Point Hood, and we had 7½ fathoms, sandy bottom.
The point and islands are steep and rocky, but the western shores of this
great bay are mostly sandy beaches. On the north-western and north sides
there are some masses of tolerably high land which appeared to be
granitic; and for distinction in the survey they are called _West_,
_Middle_, and _East Mount Barren_.


The wind was variable between east and north-by-east during the night. At
daybreak the three mounts were in sight, and the north end of the
Doubtful Isles bore N. 74° W. three leagues. As the wind veered round to
the west and southward, we steered more in for the north side of Doubtful
Island Bay; and at noon, our situation and the bearings of the land were

Latitude, observed to the north and south         34° 16' 40"
Longitude by time keepers                        119  47
Doubtful Isles, south extreme, dist. 11 miles, S. 55  W.
West Mount Barren,                             N. 77½ W.
Middle do.,                                    N. 25  W.
East do., the furthest visible land,           N. 28  E.

Our course was directed to the northward, with the wind at
south-east-by-south; but seeing the appearance of an opening in the
north-west corner of the bay, with smokes rising there, we steered
north-west for it. In an hour the low land was seen from the mast head to
extend across the supposed opening, and we then hauled up east-by-north,
to the wind, at the distance of five or six miles from the high, rocky
shore between the Middle and East Mount Barren. At seven in the evening
the eastern mount bore N. 44° W., three leagues, and the coast, which
from thence becomes sandy, was seen as far as N. 76° E. A small reef, one
of two before laid down both by Vancouver and D'Entrecasteaux, was then
observed three or four miles to seaward. It was important to get sight of
this reef before dark, for we should otherwise have been at great
uncertainty during the night, more especially as the surf upon it broke
only at times.

The wind being at south-by-east, we tacked and stood westward, nearly in
our afternoon's track, until midnight; and the breeze having then veered
to south-west, we were able to stretch off south-south-east to windward
of the breakers. At half-past five in the morning [FRIDAY 8 JANUARY
1802], East Mount Barren was four leagues distant to the northward, and
our course was resumed along the shore. The breakers were passed at the
distance of two miles, and the mount was set over them, bearing N. 38° W.
at seven o'clock. The second small reef lies nearly east-north-east from
the first, and was left three miles to the northward.

On the preceding evening a small rocky island had been seen indistinctly
from the mast head, and it now again came in sight to the eastward. The
French ships had passed without side of this island, and I therefore
steered to go between it and the mainland; but breaking water was seen to
extend so far to the north that the uncertainty of finding a passage made
the attempt too dangerous with the wind right aft. We accordingly hauled
up to windward of the island, and had 38 fathoms between it and a small
reef lying S. 72° W., between two and three miles from it. The island is
low, smooth, and sterile, and is frequented by seals; its latitude is 34°
6' and longitude 120° 28', and it lies eight or nine miles from the

At noon the rocky island was near ten miles astern, and a cluster of four
small islets appeared in the offing at the distance of four leagues. The
nearest part of the main land, seven or eight miles distant, was low and
sandy, as it had been all the way from East Mount Barren, and continued
to be to the furthest extreme visible from the masthead; there were,
however, a few scattered sandy hillocks on the shore, but nothing could
be seen of the back country. Our situation, and the bearings taken at
this time were as under:

Latitude, observed to the north and south,    34°  1' 48"
Longitude by time keepers,                  119  38
East Mount Barren,                         N. 80½ W.
The small island astern,                   S. 65  W.
Four islets in the offing,                 S. 77  E.
Mast-head extreme of the coast,            N. 59  E.

We passed at nearly an equal distance between the four rocky islets and
the main land, that is to say, at six or eight miles from each; and at
five o'clock were abreast of a projecting part of the coast where the
sandy hills seemed to form white cliffs. This is called Cap des Basses
(Shoal Cape) in the French chart; and we saw, in fact, an islet under the
land, surrounded with much broken water, and the soundings decreased from
35 to 25 fathoms soon after passing it at the distance of five or six
miles. There was an appearance of small inlets on each side of Shoal
Cape, but as admiral D'Entrecasteaux passed within three miles and does
not mark any, it was probably a deception, caused by the land being very
low between the sand hills.


Before sunset the westernmost isle of D'Entrecasteaux's _Archipel de la
Recherche_ was in sight to the eastward, and at half-past seven our
distance from it was about six miles. The French admiral had mostly
skirted round the archipelago, a sufficient reason for me to attempt
passing through the middle, if the weather did not make the experiment
too dangerous. It was fine at this time, and the breeze moderate at
south-south-west; and I therefore took measures to be in with the western
group as early on the following morning as possible, to have the whole
day for getting through.


At a quarter-past five we bore away for the south end of the westernmost
island, passed in within a mile and a half at seven, and steered eastward
for the clusters rising ahead and on both bows. At noon the number of
rocks above water, the patches of breakers, and the islands with which we
were surrounded made it necessary to heave to, in order to take the
angles of so many objects with some degree of accuracy. The situation of
the ship, and the three most material bearings were these:

Latitude, observed to the north and south              35°  0' 25"
Longitude reduced up from eight o'clock               121  49  45
Observatory I. (Of D'Entrecasteaux) dist. 6 miles,  N. 37  W.
High Peak on Cape Le Grand,                         N. 84½ E.
Small, high, peaked island, distant 7 or 8 miles,   S. 57  E.

This last peak had been visible from daybreak, and appears to be the top
of the imperfectly formed _Ile de Remarque_ of D'Entrecasteaux's chart.
and from it I measured with a sextant the angles of most of the other
objects. The long reef of rocks called _La Chaussée_ (The Causeway) was
four or five miles distant to the southward; and a sunken rock, upon
which the sea broke at times, was three miles off to the north-east. The
islands were more particularly numerous to the east-south-east, where our
course lay; but as they were generally high, with bold rocky shores, and
we had hitherto found deep water, I bore away for them so soon as all the
bearings were obtained.

The chart alone can give any adequate idea of this labyrinth of islands
and rocks, or of our track amongst them until half past five in the
evening. We were then abreast of the _Ile du Mondrain_, and the view from
the mast head was almost as crowded as before; but with this difference,
that the islands were smaller, and the low rocks and patches of breakers
more numerous. Seeing no probability of reaching a space of clear water
in which to stand off and on during the night, and no prospect of shelter
under any of the islands, I found myself under the necessity of adopting
a hazardous measure; and with the concurrence of the master's opinion, we
steered directly before the wind for the main coast, where the appearance
of some beaches, behind other islands, gave a hope of finding anchorage.
At seven in the evening we entered a small sandy bay; and finding it
sheltered everywhere except to the south-westward, in which direction
there were many islands and rocks in the offing to break off the sea, the
anchor was dropped in 7 fathoms, sandy bottom. The master sounded round
the ship, but nothing was found to injure the cables; and except the
water being shallow in the north-west corner of the bay, there was no
danger to be apprehended, unless from strong south-west winds. The
critical circumstance under which this place was discovered induced me to
give it the name of LUCKY BAY.


I had intended to pursue our route through the archipelago in the
morning; but the scientific gentlemen having expressed a desire for the
ship to remain two or three days, to give them an opportunity of
examining the productions of the country, it was complied with; and they
landed soon after daylight. I went on shore also, to make observations
upon the rates of the time-keepers; and afterwards ascended a hill at the
back of the bay to take angles with a theodolite. A party of the
gentlemen were upon the top, eating a fruit not much unlike green walnuts
in external appearance, and invited me to partake; but having
breakfasted, and not much liking their flavour, I did but taste them. Mr.
Thistle and some others who had eaten liberally were taken sick, and
remained unwell all the day afterward. The plant which produced these
nuts was a species of _zamia_ (_Zamia spiralis_ of Brown's _Prodr. flor.
Nov. Holl._, I. 348); a class of plants nearly allied to the third kind
of palm found by captain Cook on the East Coast, the fruit of which
produced the same deleterious effects on board the Endeavour.*

[* Hawkesworth, Vol. III. p. 220.,221.]

The weather, unfortunately for my bearings, was so hazy that unless
objects were eminently conspicuous they could not be distinguished beyond
four or five leagues. My list, however, contained forty-five islands and
clusters of rocks, independently of many patches of breakers where
nothing above water appeared; yet most of those in the western part of
the archipelago were invisible, either from their distance or from being
hidden by other lands.

In turning from the view of these complicated dangers to that of the
interior country the prospect was but little improved. Sand and stone,
with the slightest covering of vegetation, every where presented
themselves on the lower lands; and the many shining parts of the sides of
the hills showed them to be still more bare. The vegetation, indeed,
consisted of an abundant variety of shrubs and small plants, and yielded
a delightful harvest to the botanists; but to the herdsmen and cultivator
it promised nothing: not a blade of grass, nor a square yard of soil from
which the seed delivered to it could be expected back, was perceivable by
the eye in its course over these arid plains.

Upon a rock on the side of the hill I found a large nest, very similar to
those seen in King George's Sound. There were in it several masses
resembling those which contain the hair and bones of mice, and are
disgorged by the owls in England after the flesh is digested. These
masses were larger, and consisted of the hair of seals and of land
animals, of the scaly feathers of penguins, and the bones of birds and
small quadrupeds. Possibly the constructor of the nest might be an
enormous owl, and if so, the cause of the bird being never seen, whilst
the nests were not scarce, would be from its not going out until dark;
but from the very open and exposed situations in which the nests were
found, I should rather judge it to be of the eagle kind, and that its
powers are such as to render it heedless of any attempts from the natives
upon its young.


On the following morning I sent the master to examine a small bay or cove
lying two miles to the westward of Lucky Bay. He found it to be capable
of receiving one ship, which might be placed in perfect security in the
western corner, with anchors out on the off bow and quarter, and hawsers
on the other side fast to the shore. She would thus lie in from 3 to 5
fathoms, almost near enough to lay a stage to the beach. There was wood
for fuel; and at less than a hundred yards from the shore, a lake of
fresh water, one mile in circumference, from which a small stream runs
into the cove; but another stream, descending from the hills nearer into
the western corner, would better suit the purposes of a ship. This
account was from the master, after whom this little but useful discovery
was named _Thistle's Cove_. It seems to be much superior to Lucky Bay,
where neither wood nor water can be procured without much time and
trouble, nor is the shelter so complete.


Next day Mr. Thistle was sent to examine the coast and islands to the
eastward, when he found the archipelago to be full as dangerous in that
direction as to the west. He landed upon an island three leagues distant,
and brought me from thence a list of other islands and rocks further on,
whose bearings had been taken. Several seals were procured on this and
the preceding day, and some fish were caught alongside the ship; but our
success was much impeded by three monstrous sharks, in whose presence no
other fish dared to appear. After some attempts we succeeded in taking
one of them; but to get it on board required as much preparation as for
hoisting in the launch. The length of it, however, was no more than
twelve feet three inches, but the circumference of the body was eight
feet. Amongst the vast quantity of substances contained in the stomach
was a tolerably large seal, bitten in two, and swallowed with half of the
spear sticking in it with which it had probably been killed by the
natives. The stench of this ravenous monster was great even before it was
dead; and when the stomach was opened it became intolerable.


On the 13th the wind blew fresh from the eastward; and as we could not
sail with the ship, lieutenant Fowler and Mr. Thistle went over to
Mondrain Island, the largest we had yet seen in the archipelago. An
observation of the latitude and a set of angles were there taken, and
they brought back some seals of a reddish fur, and a few small kangaroos
of a species different from any I had before seen. The island was covered
with brush wood; but some of the party, either from accident or design,
set it on fire, and the wind being fresh, there was a general blaze in
the evening all over the island.

Very little other stone was seen about Lucky Bay than granite; and all
the surrounding hills, as well as the islands visited, were composed of
varieties of the same substance; and some specimens from Mondrain Island
contained garnets. In many places the surface of the rocks was scaling
off in layers, and in the steep parts great lumps had fallen off, and
some caverns were formed in the cliffs. This propensity to decomposition
was more remarkable in the high peak of Cape Le Grand, about five miles
to the westward, to which Mr. Brown made an excursion. He found a
perforation at the top forming an arch of great width and height, and
above it, at the very summit of the peak, were loose pieces of granite of
considerable size.

There did not appear to be any Indians at this time in the neighbourhood
of Lucky Bay; but from their fire places, it was judged that they had not
quitted it long since. Geese and ducks were found here, and not being
very shy, some of them were killed by the shore parties. The goose was
also found upon the islands; and is the same bird spoken of in the
Introduction [**] as resembling the bernacle goose, and frequenting
Furneaux's Islands in Bass Strait.*

[* This goose is described by M. Labillardière, page 258 of the London
translation, as a new species of swan.]

[** Of the birds which frequent Furneaux's Islands, the most valuable are
the goose and black swan; but this last is rarely seen here, even in the
freshwater pools, and except to breed, seems never to go on shore. The
goose approaches nearest to the description of the species called
_bernacle_; it feeds upon grass, and seldom takes to the water. I found
this bird in considerable numbers on the smaller isles, but principally
upon Preservation Island; its usual weight was from seven to ten pounds,
and it formed our best repasts, but had become shy. Gannets, shags,
gulls, and red-bills were occasionally seen; as also crows, hawks,
paroquets, and a few smaller birds. Fish were not plentiful, but some
were taken with hook and line from the rocks.]

The _latitude_, observed upon a point of the main land on the east side
of Lucky Bay, from one supplement of the sun's altitude, was 33° 59' 45";
but as the supplement of the preceding day gave 39" less than the mean of
both observations, I consider the true latitude to be more nearly 34° 0'
20" S.

The _longitude_ from sixteen sets of distances of the sun east and west
of the moon, of which the individual results are given in Table II. of
the Appendix to this volume, was 122° 15' 42"; but from the two best time
keepers, in which, from the short period since leaving King George's
Sound, I put most confidence, it will be more correctly 122° 14' 14" E.

_Dip_ of the south end of the needle, taken on shore upon the granite
rock, 66° 4' 0"

But I am inclined to think it was attracted by the granite; and that,
had the needle been considerably elevated, it would not have shown more
dip than at King George's Sound, where it was 64°.

The _variation_ deduced from observations taken on shore, morning and
evening, with three compasses placed on the same rock, was 2° 35' west;
with Walker's meridional compass, 4° 55'; and with the surveying
theodolite 0° 30' west.* An amplitude taken on board the ship, with the
head east-south-east, gave 7° 25', which, reduced to what it should be
with the head in the meridian, is 4° 26' west. The mean, and what I
consider to be nearest the true variation in this neighbourhood, will be
3° 6' west.

[* It is remarkable, that the difference between these three kinds of
instruments is directly the reverse here of what it was in King George's

This is what I allowed upon the bearings taken with the theodolite upon
the top of the hill behind the bay, and it appeared to be the same upon
two small islands, one to the east and the other west, where Mr. Thistle
took angles; but at Mondrain Island there seemed to be considerable

Before entering the archipelago, the variation was observed to be 9° 21'
west, with the ship's head east-south-east; but at three leagues to the
east of Termination Island, in the following year, and with the head at
east-north-east, it was no more than 3° 50' west. From the first, I
should deduce the true variation on the west side of the archipelago to
be 6° 28', and off Termination Island, from the second, to be 0° 57'
west; both of which coincide with the other observations in showing the
islands of the archipelago to possess a considerable degree of magnetic

The rise of _tide_ in Lucky Bay was so trifling, that under the
circumstances of our stay no attention was paid to it.


In the morning of the 14th, the wind being then light from the northward,
we got under way and steered for Mondrain Island. In our route eastward
from thence, several low rocks and patches of breakers were left on each
side, besides small islands whose bearings had been taken from the hill
behind Lucky Bay; the depth of water, however, was between 20 and 30
fathoms. The wind was then moderate from the south-westward, but the
weather so hazy that there was much difficulty, and some uncertainty, in
recognizing the different islands.

At half-past ten we steered more towards the main land, that no opening
in it might escape unseen; and at noon, hove to for the purpose of taking
bearings. The latitude observed to the north was 34° 2', and longitude
122° 36'. A chain of islands and breakers lay about two miles to the
northward; and amongst the cluster to the east were two islands with
peaks upon them, which, from their similarity, were named the _Twins_:
the southernmost and nearest bore E. 7° N., three leagues. The nearest
part of the main land was a projection with hills upon it which had been
set from Lucky Bay, whence it is nearly five leagues distant; the
intermediate space being a large bight with a low, sandy coast at the
back, and containing many small islands and breakers. To the eastward of
the hilly projection the coast seemed again to be sandy; but although our
distance from it was not more than six or seven miles, it was scarcely
visible through the haze.

After the bearings were obtained we bore away along the south side of the
chain of islands and rocks; and at half-past one steered north-east to
look for a place of shelter, either amongst the cluster near the Twins or
in the opposite main land. The water shoaled amongst the small islands,
from 30 to 10 fathoms, and suddenly to 3, when the bottom was distinctly
seen under the ship. The next cast was 7 fathoms, and we steered on
eastward for two islets three-quarters of a mile asunder, between which
the master was sent to sound. On his making the signal we followed
through, having 20 fathoms, and afterwards hauled the wind to the
south-east, seeing no hope of shelter either amongst the islands or near
the main land. The coast stretched eastward with little sinuosity, and
was sandy, but not so low as before.

At six o'clock we had some larger, flat islands to windward, and in the
east-south-east was one much higher and of greater extent, which proved
to be the _I. du Milieu_ (Middle Island) of D'Entrecasteaux. Betwixt this
island and his _Cap Aride_ on the main there were many small isles and
apparently passages; and we therefore bore away in the hope of finding
anchorage against the approaching night. Many patches of breakers were
passed; and seeing a small bay in the north side of Middle Island, we
stood in for it under shortened sail, and came to an anchor in 7 fathoms,
sandy bottom, off the first of three small beaches. The island sheltered
us from east-north-east, round by the south to west-by-north; and to the
northward there was, besides the main land, a number of reefs and small
isles, of which the nearest and largest was a quarter of a mile distant,
as Middle Island was on the other side. The master was immediately sent
to examine the passage through to the eastward, that we might know
whether there were a possibility of escape in case the anchor should not
hold; for the wind blew fresh at west-south-west, and threw some swell
into the bay; he found 3 fathoms in the shallow part of the opening.


The botanists landed in the morning upon Middle Island; for I had
determined to stop a day or two, as well for their accommodation as to
improve my chart of the archipelago. I went to the northern island, which
is one mile long and near half a mile in breadth, and found it to be
covered with tufts of wiry grass intermixed with a few shrubs. Some of
the little, blue penguins, like those of Bass Strait, harboured under the
bushes; and amongst the grass and upon the shores were a number of the
bernacle geese, of which we killed nine, mostly with sticks; and sixteen
more were procured in the course of the day.

After taking bearings from the uppermost of the small elevations of GOOSE
ISLAND, as it was now named, I ascended the high north-western hill of
Middle Island, which afforded a more extensive view. The furthest visible
part of the main land was a projecting cape, with a broad-topped hill
upon it bearing N. 58° E., six or seven leagues. This projection not
having been seen by D'Entrecasteaux, was named after the late admiral Sir
Thomas Pasley, under whom I had the honour of entering the naval service.
The shore betwixt Cape Pasley and Cape Arid is low and sandy, and falls
back in a large bight, nearly similar to what is formed on the west side
of Cape Arid. Behind that cape was a high bank of sand, which stretched
from one bight nearly to the other, and had the appearance of having been
the sea shore not very long since.

(Atlas, Plate XVII. View 5.*)

[* This view was taken in the following year, at five leagues distant
from Middle Island, but it shows the form of the mount, and of the
granitic ridge.]

The mount upon which I stood is the highest part of a ridge of almost
bare granite, extending along, or rather forming the west side of Middle
Island. The other parts of the island are low, and thickly covered with
brush wood and some trees, where a small species of kangaroo seemed to be
numerous, though none were caught. In the north-eastern part was a small
lake of a rose colour, the water of which, as I was informed by Mr.
Thistle who visited it, was so saturated with salt that sufficient
quantities were crystallised near the shores to load a ship. The specimen
he brought on board was of a good quality, and required no other process
than drying to be fit for use. This lake is at the back of the
easternmost of three small beaches on the north side of the island, and
it might be concluded that the salt was formed by the evaporation of the
water oozing through the bank which separates it from the sea; but as, in
the small drainings from the hills, the water was too salt to be
drinkable, this may admit of a doubt.


On Saturday morning a part of the people were employed cutting a boat
load of fire wood, and the master was again sent to sound the passage out
to the eastward, and amongst the rocks lying beyond it. The shallowest
depth he found was 3 fathoms, after which the water deepened to 7 and 10,
past the north-east point and out to sea. He landed upon some of the
rocky islets, and brought from thence twenty-seven more geese, some of
them alive. The botanical gentlemen employed the day in going round
Middle Island, but they found very little to reward their labour. A piece
of fir plank, with nails in it, which seemed to have been part of a
ship's deck, was picked up on the shore; but no trace of the island
having been visited, either by Europeans or the natives of the main land,
was any where seen.

The basis stone of this, as it appears to be of all the islands as well
as of the coast of the archipelago, is granitic; but at the south side of
Middle Island there is a thick crust of calcareous rock over it, as there
is at the south end of Goose Island. It was also on the south side of
King George's Sound that the calcareous rock covered the granite; a
coincidence which may perhaps afford some light to the geologist.

The _latitude_ of Goose Island Bay, for so this anchorage was named, is
34° 5' 23" south, and _longitude_ by the two best time keepers corrected
123° 9' 30",5 east; the observations being made on the middlemost of the
three southern beaches.

The _variation_ from azimuth, observed on the binnacle when the ship's
head was west-south-west, was 0° 54' west, and in the following year
similar observations taken at anchor one mile to the eastward, with the
head east, gave 6° 10' west; whence I deduce the variation which would
have been obtained with the head at north or south, to be 3° 25' west.
From the bearings on shore, compared with the latitudes and longitudes,
it appeared to be 5¼° on the centre of Goose Island; and 4° upon the
granitic mount of Middle Island.

No run of _tide_ was observed, notwithstanding the narrowness of the
channel, where the ship lay.

Goose-Island Bay may be useful as a place of refreshment, but the geese
were not found to be so numerous at a different season of the year: a few
hair seals may be procured, probably at all times. The wood is a species
of _eucalyptus_, neither abundant nor large; but two or three ships may
be supplied with fuel. Fresh water was not to be obtained upon either of
the islands; but upon the opposite Cape Arid, five miles to the north, I
judged there might be small streams running down from the hills. The lake
of salt will be the greatest inducement for vessels to stop in this bay;
they must not, however, come to it in the winter season, as there will be
occasion to show hereafter.


On the 17th in the morning, the anchor was weighed and we steered out
eastward. The shallowest water was seventeen feet, between the south-east
point of Goose Island and the opposite west point of the middle beach;
after which it deepened; and abreast of the middle rock there was 7
fathoms. Having cleared the islets lying off the north-east point of
Middle Island, we steered for Cape Pasley, leaving the _South-East Isles_
of the archipelago far distant on the starbord hand. A low islet and some
rocks lie three miles to the south of the Cape, and the soundings we had
in passing between them were 28 and 34 fathoms.

The wind at this time was moderate at south-west, with fine weather.
Middle Island and Cape Arid were still visible at noon, and the _Eastern
Group_, which, according to D'Entrecasteaux, terminated the archipelago,
was coming in sight. Our situation and most material bearings were then
as under:

Latitude, observed to the north and south,            33° 54' 55"
Longitude reduced up from eight o'clock,             123  55
Middle Island, top of the mount,                    S. 65  W.
Cape Pasley, the hill, dist. 6 miles,               S. 84  W.
Furthest extreme, a low point, dist. 3 leagues,     N. 38  E.
A ragged mount in the interior of the country,      N. 21  W.
Eastern Group, the northern hill upon the
highest and southernmost isle, dist. 8 leagues,     N. 80  E.

At half-past one we passed within three miles of the point which had been
the furthest extreme at noon; it is low and sandy, and a ledge of rocks
extends from it to the north-east. I named it _Point Malcolm_, in honour
of Captain Pultney Malcolm of the navy. The depth diminished from 20 to
10 fathoms, in passing near a sunken rock two miles to the south-east of
the point, and upon which the sea breaks only at times. The coast from
thence trended rapidly to the northward; and in following its direction
at from three to five miles distance, we left eight islands of the
Eastern Group on the starbord and two on the larbord hand. These, with
the exception of the southernmost, which has a hill at each end and some
vegetation, are little better than low sterile rocks.

At seven in the evening, the water being smotth, we anchored in 8
fathoms, sandy bottom, three or four miles from the shore; where our
calculated situation and the bearings of the land were as follows:

Latitude,                                33° 17' S.
Longitude,                              124°  6' E.
Northern extreme of the coast,        N. 27 E.
Southern extreme,                     S. 36 W.
A point in the interior country,      S. 68 W.

From Cape Pasley to the northern extreme the coast is sandy and low,
presenting, with trifling exceptions, a continued beach. On the north
side of Point Malcolm it stretches north, and then eastward, forming a
bight five miles within the land; after which the general trending is
north-north-east, with very little sinuosity. Four or five miles behind
the shore, and running parallel with it, is a bank of moderately high and
level land, over which the tops of some barren-looking mountains were
occasionally seen. The most remarkable of these is Mount Ragged, lying N.
8° W. nine or ten leagues from Cape Pasley.


We had now altogether lost sight of the Archipelago of the Recherche. The
chart which I have constructed of this extensive mass of dangers is much
more full, and in many parts should be more accurate than that of
D'Entrecasteaux; but I dare by no means assert that the very great number
of islands, rocks, and reefs therein contained are the whole that exist;
nor that every individual one is correctly placed, although the greatest
care was taken to obtain correctness. All the islands seem to be more or
less frequented by seals; but I think not in numbers sufficient to make a
speculation from Europe advisable on their account; certainly not for the
China market, the seals being mostly of the hair kind, and the fur of
such others as were seen was red and coarse. There is, besides, a risk of
being caught in the archipelago with strong south or western winds, in
which case destruction would be almost inevitable, for I know of no place
where a ship might take refuge in a gale. The shelter in Thistle's Cove
is, indeed, complete, when a vessel is once placed; but the cove is too
small to be entered except under favourable circumstances, and the
shelter in the western corner could not be attained with winds blowing
strong out of it. The archipelago should not, therefore, be entered
without the assurance of carrying fine weather to the proposed anchorage.

During the night of the 17th there was no current or set of tide past the
ship. Every thing was kept prepared for getting under way at a moment's
notice; but the wind blew gently off the land, and the people of the
watch occupied themselves successfully in catching dog-fish. At daybreak
[MONDAY 18 JANUARY 1802] we made all sail to the north-eastward, along
the same low and, if possible, more sandy coast. The wind was light, and
at nine it fell calm. This was succeeded by a sea breeze at
east-south-east, and we trimmed close to it, keeping on our former course
until four in the afternoon; when the land being one mile and a half
distant, we tacked in 12 fathoms, and stretched to the southward.

The shore curved round here, and took a more eastern direction; and the
bank of level land, which continued to run along behind it, approached
very near to the water side. Three leagues further on it formed cliffs
upon the coast; and a projecting part of them, which I called Point
Culver, bore N. 77° E. four leagues: this was the furthest land in sight.

This afternoon we passed a number of pale red medusas, such as I had
usually seen on the East Coast at the entrances of rivers, and which, on
being touched, produced a sensation like the stinging of a nettle. There
was also a red scum on the water, and some of it was taken up to be
examined by Mr. Brown in a microscope. It consisted of minute particles
not more than half a line in length, and each appeared to be composed of
several cohering fibres which were jointed; the joints being of an
uniform thickness, and nearly as broad as long. These fibres were
generally of unequal length, and the extremities of the compound particle
thence appeared somewhat torn. The particles exhibited no motion when in
salt water; and the sole effect produced by immersing them in spirit of
wine was the separation of each into its component fibres.

Until daybreak next morning the wind was unfavourable; but it then veered
round to the south, and enabled us to pass Point Culver. Our situation at
noon, and the bearings taken were these:

Latitude, observed to the north and south,            32° 52' 51"
Longitude reduced up from eight o'clock,             124  58
Point Culver, distant five leagues,                S. 78  W.
Small rock under the cliffs, dist. 5 miles,          North.
Furthest extreme of the coast, cliffs,             N. 39  E.

Our course along the shore was so favoured by the wind that at seven in
the evening we had passed another projecting part of the cliffs, named
POINT DOVER, distant from Point Culver fifty miles; and the extreme in
sight ahead was twenty miles further, and still cliffy. The nearest part
was two or three leagues distant; and the wind being still at south, we
hauled up to it, and at nine o'clock stood back to the westward.

The elevation of these cliffs appeared to be about five hundred feet, and
nothing of the back country was seen above them. In the upper part they
are brown, in the lower part nearly white, and the two _strata_, as also
the small layers of which each is composed, are nearly horizontal. They
were judged to be calcareous, as was the white, grey, and brown sand
which the lead brought up when the bottom was not of coral.

A surveyor finds almost no object here whose bearing can be set a second
time. Each small projection presents the appearance of a steep cape as it
opens out in sailing along; but before the ship arrives abreast of it, it
is lost in the general uniformity of the coast, and the latitude,
longitude, and distance of the nearest cliffs are all the documents that
remain for the construction of a chart. Point Culver and Point Dover are
exceptions to the general uniformity; but it requires a ship to be near
the land before even these are distinguishable. The latter point was
somewhat whiter than the cliffs on each side, which probably arose from
the front having lately fallen off into the water.


In the night of the 19th the wind shifted round to the eastward, and
continued there for three days; and during this time we beat to windward
without making much progress. Several observations were taken here for
the variation of the compass: with the ship's head east-by-north,
azimuths gave 7° 15' west, and at south, 4° 26'; five leagues further
eastward they gave 6° 13' with the head north-east, and eight leagues
further, an amplitude 4° 18' at south-by-east. These being corrected
would be 4° 13', 4° 26', 4° 2', and 3° 42' west; so that the variation
had now reassumed a tolerably regular course of diminution. The mean of
the whole is 4° 6' west variation in the longitude of 125° 51' east.


At the end of three days beating our latitude in the evening of the 22nd
was 32° 22', and longitude 126° 23', the depth in that situation was 7
fathoms at two miles from the land, and the furthest extremes visible
through the haze bore west-half-north and east, the latter being distant
four or five miles. The bank which before formed the cliffs had retired
to a little distance from the coast, and left a front screed of low,
sandy shore. Several smokes arose from behind the bank, and were the
first seen after quitting the archipelago.

The barometer had kept up nearly to 30 inches during the east and
south-east winds, but it now fell to 29,65; and we stretched off for the
night in the expectation of a change of wind, and probably of blowing
weather. At ten the sails were taken aback by a breeze from the westward;
but at daylight [SATURDAY 23 JANUARY 1802] it had veered to
south-by-west, and the mercury was rising. We then bore away for the
land; and having reached in with the low, sandy point which had borne
east in the evening, steered along the coast at three or four miles
distance in from 7 to 11 fathoms water. The latitude at noon from very
indifferent observations was 32° 22½', and longitude 127° 2'; the coast,
four miles distant to the northward, was low and sandy, but rose quickly
to the level bank, upon which there were some shrubs and small trees.
Nothing of the interior country could be seen above the bank; but this
might possibly have been owing to the haze, which was so thick that no
extremes of the land could be defined. The wind was fresh at
south-south-west, and by seven in the evening our longitude was augmented
55'; the land was then distant six or seven miles, trending
east-north-eastward; and we hauled to the wind, which had increased in
strength though the barometer was fast rising.

Having stood to the south-east till midnight, we then tacked to the
westward; and at five next morning [SUNDAY 24 JANUARY 1802] bore away
north for the land, the wind being then at south-by-east, and the
barometer announcing by its elevation a return of foul winds. At six we
steered eastward, along the same kind of shore as seen on the preceding
day; but the wind coming more unfavourable, and depth diminishing to 5
fathoms soon after eight o'clock, made it necessary to stretch off to
sea. The coast in latitude 32° 1' and longitude 128° 12' was three miles
distant to the north. A league further on it took a more northern
direction, but without much changing its aspect; it continued to be the
same sandy beach, with a bank behind it of level land topped with small
trees and shrubs as before described.


The rest of the day and the whole of the 25th were taken up in beating
fruitlessly against an eastern wind. Azimuths observed when the ship's
head was east-by-north gave variation 6° 4'; and ten miles to the south a
little eastward they gave 3° 8' west, at south-by-east; corrected 3° 2'
and 2° 32', and the mean 2° 47' for the true variation, showing a
decrease since the last of 1° 19' for 2° 11' of longitude.

At ten in the evening our situation was less advanced than on the morning
of the 24th, when we tacked off shore; but the mercury was again
descending, and during the night the wind veered to north-east, to north,
and at eight in the morning [TUESDAY 26 JANUARY 1802] to west-by-north,
when we steered in for the land. At ten the shore was eight or nine miles
distant, and our course was north-east, nearly as it trended. The
latitude at noon, from observations to the north and south, was 31° 51'
34", and longitude by timekeepers 128° 41'; the beach was distant three
or four miles in the north-north-west, and the bank behind it lay two or
three miles inland and was somewhat higher, but had less wood upon it
than further westward. The wind was fresh at south-west, and the mercury
was rising; but the haziness of the weather was such that no extremes of
the land could be set.

Our course from noon was nearly east at the distance of five or six miles
from the shore; and we ran at the rate of between seven and eight knots,
under double-reefed top-sails and foresail. Abreast of our situation at
half-past two the level bank again closed in upon the shore, and formed
cliffs very similar to those along which we had before run thirty
leagues. Their elevation appeared to be from four to six hundred feet,
the upper part was brown, and the lower two-thirds white; but as we
advanced, the upper brown _stratum _was observed to augment in
proportional quantity. We could not distinguish, as before, the smaller
layers in the two _strata_; and from the number of excavations in the
white part, apparently from pieces having fallen down (see Mr. Westall's
sketch, Atlas, Plate XVII. View 6.), I was led to think the lower portion
of these cliffs to be grit stone rather than calcareous rock. The bank
was not covered with shrubs, as before it came to the water side, but was
nearly destitute of vegetation, and almost as level as the horizon of the

At dusk we hauled up south-east-by-south to the wind, at one in the
morning [WEDNESDAY 27 JANUARY 1802] tacked to the westward, and at four
bore away north for the land. Having reached within six miles of the
cliffs, we steered eastward again, with a fair breeze; and at noon were
in latitude 31° 40' 52' and longitude 130° 59'; the cliffs were then
distant seven miles to the northward, and at N. 9° E. was their

The length of these cliffs, from their second commencement, is
thirty-three leagues; and that of the level bank, from near Cape Pasley
where it was first seen from the sea, is no less than _one hundred and
forty-five leagues_. The height of this extraordinary bank is nearly the
same throughout, being no where less, by estimation, than four hundred,
nor any where more than six hundred feet. In the first twenty leagues the
ragged tops of some inland mountains were visible over it; but during the
remainder of its long course the bank was the limit of our view.

This equality of elevation for so great an extent, and the evidently
calcareous nature of the bank, at least in the upper two hundred feet,
would bespeak it to have been the exterior line of a vast coral reef,
which is always more elevated than the interior parts, and commonly level
with high-water mark. From the gradual subsiding of the sea, or perhaps
by a sudden convulsion of nature, this bank may have attained its present
height above the surface; and however extraordinary such a change may
appear, yet, when it is recollected that branches of coral still exist
upon Bald Head, at the elevation of four hundred or more feet, this
supposition assumes a great degree of probability; and it would further
seem that the subsiding of the waters has not been at a period very
remote, since these frail branches have yet neither been all beaten down
nor mouldered away by the wind and weather.

If this supposition be well founded, it may, with the fact of no hill or
other object having been perceived above the bank in the greater part of
its course, assist in forming some conjecture of what may be within it;
which cannot, as I judge in such case, be other than flat, sandy plains,
or water. The bank may even be a narrow barrier between an interior and
the exterior sea, and much do I regret the not having formed an idea of
this probability at the time; for notwithstanding the great difficulty
and risk, I should certainly have attempted a landing upon some part of
the coast to ascertain a fact of so much importance.

At the termination of the bank and of the second range of cliffs the
coast became sandy, and trended north-eastward about three leagues; after
which it turned south-east-by-east, and formed the head of the _Great
Australian Bight_, whose latitude I make to be 31° 29' south, and
longitude 131° 10' east. In the chart of admiral D'Entrecasteaux the head
of the Great Bight is placed in 31° 36' and 131° 27'; but I think there
is an error at least in the latitude, for the admiral says, "At daybreak
I steered to get in with the land; and the wind having returned to
south-east, we hauled our starbord tacks on board, being then four or
five leagues from the coast. At _eleven o'clock_ the land was seen ahead
and we veered ship in 32 fathoms, fine sand."* The latitude observed at
noon, as appears by the route table, was 31° 38' 58"; and if we suppose
the ship, lying up south-south-west, to have made 2' of southing in the
hour, as marked in the chart, she must have been in 31° 37' at eleven
o'clock; which is within one mile of the latitude assigned to the head of
the bight, where the shore curves to the south-east-by-east. This does
not accord with the land being only then seen ahead, since the weather
appears to have admitted the sight of it at the distance of four or five
leagues. If we suppose the admiral, when he veered, to have been eight,
instead of one mile from the head of the Great Bight, and the account
strongly favours the supposition, it will then agree with my latitude.
I had only 27 fathoms in crossing the head, and although it is possible
there may be 30 closer in, yet in such a place as this the probability
is, that the ship having the greatest depth of water was the furthest
from the land.

[* _Voyage de D'Entrecasteaux_, par M. de Rossel, Tome I. page 220. The
32 fathoms are, I believe, of five French feet each, making very nearly
30 fathoms English measure.]

After steering east-north-east, east, and east-south-east, and having
seen the beach all round the head of the Great Bight, we hauled up
parallel to the new direction of the coast, at the distance of six miles;
and at five o'clock were abreast of the furthest part seen by the French
admiral when he quitted the examination. The coast is a sandy beach in
front; but the land rises gradually from thence, and at three or four
miles back is of moderate elevation, but still sandy and barren.
According to the chart of Nuyts, an extensive reef lay a little beyond
this part. (Atlas, Plate IV.) It was not seen by D'Entrecasteaux, but we
were anxiously looking out for it when, at six o'clock, breakers were
seen from the mast head bearing S. 43° E. some distance open from the
land. We kept on our course for them, with the wind at south-south-west,
until eight o'clock, and then tacked to the westward in 27 fathoms; and
the ship's way being stopped by a head swell, we did not veer towards the
land until three in the morning, at which time it fell calm.


On a light breeze springing up from the northward we steered in for the
coast; and at noon were in the following situation:

Latitude, observed to the north,                     32° 2½'
Longitude reduced up from eight o'clock,            131  51
Breakers, distant two or three miles,       N. 22 to 42 E.
A sandy projection of the coast, south part,      N. 37 E.
Extremes of the land from the deck,         N. 15 W. to 89 E.

The breakers lie five or six miles from the land, and did not appear to
have any connection with it, nor with two other sets of small reefs which
came in sight to the east and east-south-east, soon afterward. At two
o'clock our situation was betwixt these last reefs. The southernmost
patches are two or three miles in length, and there are large rocks upon
them, standing above water; the northern patches extend eight miles along
the coast, from which they are distant three miles, and on the eastern
parts there are also some rocks above water, but there were none upon the
western reef first seen. It may be doubted whether the western reef were
known to Nuyts, but there can be no doubt concerning these last; and I
call the whole NUYTS' REEFS.

The aspect of the shore to the northward was nearly the same as that seen
the preceding afternoon, but behind the second reefs it began to assume a
more rocky appearance. A high cliffy cape is formed a little further
eastward; it has a pyramidal rock near it, and the coast there takes a
direction somewhat on the north side of east. This remarkable projection,
being within a few leagues of the furthest part of the main coast
discovered by the Dutch, I have called CAPE NUYTS: its latitude is 32° 2'
south, and longitude 132° 18' east.

After clearing Nuyts' Reefs we steered east-north-east, past the cape, to
look for anchorage in two bights, but there were rocks in both, and they
were open to the southward. Beyond them was a low, cliffy point, lying E.
3° N. seven or eight miles from Cape Nuyts; and seeing a bay behind it
which promised shelter from south-west and south winds, we hauled round
the point at half-past five. The water shoaled gradually from 11 to 3
fathoms, on which I hove the sails aback and sent the master ahead to
sound; and as he did not make the signal for deeper water, as we were
already in tolerable shelter, the anchor was dropped in 3¼ fathoms, sandy
bottom. We had then the following bearings:

Low cliffy point, distant 2 or 3 miles             S. 35° E.
Head of the bay, distant 1 ½ miles,                S. 58  W.
Cliffs, appearing like an island, dist. 4 leagues, N. 77  E.
Furthest land visible from the masthead            E. S. E.

Between the first and the last of these bearings we were exposed to the
sea, but sheltered at all other points of the compass.

Being arrived at the extremity of that part of the south coast of Terra
Australis which had been previously explored, it may be useful, before
entering on the unknown part, to compare my examination of it with what
was contained in former charts. It will thence appear that the employment
of fifteen days in running along the coast, more than would probably have
been required had I kept at a distance, was not without some advantage to
geography and navigation.

(Atlas, Plate II.)

At Cape Leeuwin, the largest _Ile St. Alouarn_ of D'Entrecasteaux was
seen to be joined to the main, and to form the south-western extremity of
Leeuwin's Land, and of Terra Australis. The coast from thence to King
George's Sound was more accurately investigated than the French admiral
had an opportunity of doing and his omission of soundings supplied.
Captain Vancouver's chart is superior to that of the French from Cape
Chatham to the Sound; but that officer's distance from some parts
prevented him from seeing them correctly. In the Sound, no particular
advantage will be derived from the new survey, the plan given by
Vancouver being sufficiently correct for nautical purposes, with the
exception of the bar to Oyster Harbour, over which he had marked
seventeen feet, but where thirteen now appeared to be the greatest depth.
From King George's Sound to Point Hood the coast had been very
indistinctly, and sometimes not at all seen by Vancouver; but I found it,
speaking generally, to be laid down by D'Entrecasteaux with accuracy,
though the bights in the land are marked somewhat too deep, from his
distance not allowing the low beaches to be always distinguished. These
trifling inaccuracies were remedied, the passages between Bald and
Doubtful Islands and the main land opposite to them ascertained to be
safe, and the omission of soundings along the coast remedied.

In Doubtful Island Bay the French chart does not give the north-western
part sufficiently deep; but the coast from thence to the Archipelago of
the Recherche, as also the reefs and rocks, were well distinguished,
better perhaps than by me; but the usual want of soundings, with the
exception of some distant ones by Vancouver, still continued.
D'Entrecasteaux's chart appeared to be excellent in the western part of
the archipelago, and good in the positions of the islands on the
outskirts; so that I have, in some cases, borrowed from it. With respect
to the inner islands and the main coast, it was necessarily defective,
from the French ships having sailed round the archipelago, and not
through the middle of it as I did in the Investigator. Here, my survey,
though far from complete in the details, will afford much new information
and useful also, since it has brought to light a well-sheltered cove
affording wood and water, and two other tolerable anchorages at which
some refreshments may be procured, and at one, quantities of salt in the
summer season.

(Atlas, Plate III.)

From the archipelago eastward the examination of the coast was prosecuted
by D'Entrecasteaux with much care, and with some trifling exceptions very
closely; but as far as the 127th degree of longitude from Greenwich no
soundings were given. These have been supplied, and a more minute
description given of the coast. At the 129th degree the French ships seem
to have been closer in with the land than was the Investigator; and it
would appear by the track that they were also closer at the 30th, and at
the head of the Great Bight, but these last are not corroborated by the
soundings. From thence to the bay in which we anchored on the 28th, the
Dutch chart of 1627 was the sole authority; and making allowances for the
state of navigation at that time, it is as correct in form as could
reasonably have been expected.

The latitudes and longitudes of the points and islands along the coast
have been either verified or corrected, for there are commonly some
differences between any longitudes and those of Vancouver and
D'Entrecasteaux. The observations by which certain places, taken as fixed
points, are settled in longitude, are mentioned at those places, as also
are the corrections applied to the time-keepers for laying down the
intermediate parts; and both are more particularly specified in the
Appendix to this volume.

Monsieur _Beautemps Beaupré_, geographical engineer on board La
Recherche, was the constructor of the French charts; and they must be
allowed to do him great credit. Perhaps no chart of a coast so little
known as this was will bear a comparison with its original better than
those of M. Beaupré. That the Plates II and III in the accompanying
Atlas, are offered as being more full and somewhat more correct, does
neither arise from a wish to depreciate those of my predecessor in the
investigation, nor from an assumption of superior merit; there is,
indeed, very little due to any superiority they may be found to possess;
but there would be room for reproach if, after having followed with an
outline of his chart in my hand, improvements should not have been made
in all or some of those parts where circumstances had not before admitted
a close examination.


Fowler's Bay.
Departure from thence.
Arrival at the Isles of St. Francis.
Correspondence between the winds and the marine barometer.
Examination of the other parts of Nuyts' Archipelago, and of the main
The Isles of St Peter.
Return to St. Francis.
General remarks on Nuyts' Archipelago.
Identification of the islands in the Dutch chart.


(Atlas, Plate IV.)

The bay in which we anchored on the evening of January 28, at the
extremity of the before known south coast of Terra Australis, was named
FOWLER'S BAY, after my first lieutenant; and the low, cliffy point which
shelters it from southern winds and, not improbably, is the furthest
point (marked B) in the Dutch chart, was called POINT FOWLER. The
botanical gentlemen landed early on the following morning [FRIDAY 29
JANUARY 1802] to examine the productions of the country, and I went on
shore to take observations and bearings, and to search for fresh water.

The cliffs and rocks of Point Fowler are calcareous, and connected with
the main land by a low, sandy isthmus of half a mile broad. Many traces
of inhabitants were found, and amongst others, some decayed spears; but
no huts were seen, nor anything to indicate that men had been here
lately. Upon the beach were the foot marks of dogs, and some of the emu
or cassowary. I found in a hole of the low cliffs one of those large
nests which have before been mentioned, but it contained nothing, and had
been long abandoned.

No fresh water was discovered round the shores of the bay, nor was there
any wood large enough for fuel nearer than the brow of a hill two or
three miles off. Two teal were shot on the beach, whence it seemed
probable that some lake or pond of fresh water was not far distant; a
sea-pie and a gull were also shot, and a few small fish caught alongside.
These constituted everything like refreshment obtained here, and the
botanists found the scantiness of plants equal to that of the other
productions; so that there was no inducement to remain longer.

Fowler's Bay, however, may be useful to a ship in want of a place of
shelter. It is open to the three points of the compass between
south-east-by-south and east-south-east; and it was evident, from plants
growing close to the water side, that a swell capable of injuring a
vessel at anchor was seldom if ever thrown into it.

The _latitude_ of the east extremity of Point Fowler is  32° 1' south.

_Longitude_ of the point, deduced from twenty-two sets of distances (see
Table III of the Appendix to this volume) is 132° 30'; but that given by
time keepers with accelerated rates and supplemental correction, as
explained at the end of Chap. VI, and in the Appendix, is preferred, and
is 132° 27' east.

The _variation_ observed upon the binnacle, with the ship's head
east-south-east, was 3° 11' west by the surveying compass; and in the
offing, with the head north-north-east, it was 1° 41' west. These,
corrected, will be 0° 19' and 0° 30'; and therefore the variation allowed
upon the bearings on shore was 0° 25' west.

The wind was at south-east-by-south at one in the afternoon, when the
anchor was weighed to beat out of the bay. At half past five we were
three miles from a cliffy head which had been taken for an island at the
anchorage, and set at N 77° E. The shore forms a small bight on the east
side of this head, and then stretches south-south-eastward in a sandy
beach, with a ridge of barren land behind. At sunset we passed to
windward of Point Fowler, and stood off to sea for the night.



Cape Nuyts bore north, two or three leagues, soon after daylight, and the
wind was then at east; but as the day advanced it veered to the
south-east, and permitted us to make a stretch toward the furthest land.
At five in the evening we tacked near some low, whitish cliffs, which had
been seen from the mast head when in Fowler's Bay; they were two or three
miles off, and the furthest land visible from the deck bore S. 63° E. at
no great distance. The coast here is broken into sandy beaches and small,
cliffy points, and the same ridge of barren land runs behind it, but the
elevation is not great.


At three in the afternoon of the 31st we reached in again with the coast,
about four leagues beyond our situation on the preceding day. The depth
at two miles off shore was 7 fathoms on a coral bottom; the northern
extreme bore N. 58° W., and a low point on the other side, named _Point
Bell_, S. 45° E., seven miles. To seaward, a flat rock bore W. 3° S., one
mile and a half; it is the largest of four which were called _Sinclair's
Rocks_, and lie scattered at the distance of two or three miles off the
coast. We stood off at this time; but so little could be gained upon the
south-east winds that when we came in next morning [MONDAY 1 FEBRUARY
1802] it was almost exactly in the same spot, and Point Bell was not
passed until late in the afternoon; the weather, also, was adverse to the
examination, being so hazy that the highest land could not be seen beyond
three or four leagues.

At half-past six in the evening, when we tacked to stand off for the
night, Point Bell bore N. 68° W. four miles. It lies in 32° 16½' south
and 133° 5' east; and there is a broad, flat rock, surrounded with
breakers, one mile to the westward. The main coast beyond the point forms
some bights, and is divided betwixt sand and rock, as before described:
its general trending is nearly east. A small island, somewhat elevated,
lies six miles to the south-east of Point Bell, and has a ledge of rocks
and islets extending from it a league to the north-eastward, and a
separate islet one or two miles to the east: these obtained the name of
_Purdie's Isles_. After we had tacked in 9 fathoms, a wave was perceived
to break upon a sunken rock within less than half a mile of the ship; and
I think it would be dangerous to pass between Point Bell and Purdie's


At noon of the 2nd February no land was in sight. The weather was still
hazy, and the wind at south-east; but in the afternoon it favoured us two
points, and we got sight of a higher and larger island than any before
seen on this part of the coast. At half-past four, being then near a
smaller isle and several rocks, we tacked towards the large island which
was six or seven miles to the southward; and soon after eight in the
evening got to an anchor in a little sandy bay on its north side. The
depth was 6 fathoms in passing the north-west point of the bay, but 10
within side, on a fine sandy bottom, where the anchor was dropped. At
daylight [WEDNESDAY 3 FEBRUARY 1802] we found ourselves hall a mile from
the shore, and the extremes bearing from N. 32° W., round by the west and
south, to S. 77° E.; and at the distance of two miles we were sheltered
by four small islands, extending from N. 41° to 88° E. The master was
sent to sound in the bay; but the bottom was everywhere good, and nothing
found to injure the cables. The scientific gentlemen landed upon their
respective pursuits; and I followed them to take angles for my survey,
and see what could be procured for the ship's company.

The island is nearly three miles long, north-west and south-east, and is
moderately high and cliffy at the ends; the middle part is a sandy
isthmus, not more than half a mile broad, but the breadth of the higher
ends is from one-and-half to two miles. This island is the central one of
a group; for besides the four small isles to the north-east, there are
two close to the west end, and two others, something larger, lying off to
the southward. I call these the ISLES OF ST. FRANCIS; in the persuasion
that the central one is that named St. Francis by Nuyts. Independently of
the eight isles and a rock, surrounding this Isle St. Francis, I set from
the north-east point three other islands. The first, named _Lacy's Isle_,
bore N. 28° E., seven miles; and two miles from it to the north-west
there is an islet and a separate rock above water surrounded with
breakers, the same near which we had tacked at half-past four on the
preceding evening. The second was called _Evans' Isle_, and bore N. 49°
E. eleven miles, and the third to which the name of _Franklin_ was given,
bore N. 81° E. sixteen miles. All these are much inferior in magnitude to
the central island of St. Francis.

For several days before anchoring here we had observed large flocks of
sooty petrels; and I found the surface of the island, where it was sandy
and produced small shrubs, to be full of their burrows. Penguins, similar
to those of Furneaux's Islands, had their burrows nearer to the
water-side. A small species of kangaroo, was also found, and at some
preceding season the island had been frequented by geese; but at this
time, the vegetation being almost burnt up, they seemed to have quitted
it from want of food. The heat was, indeed, such as to make walking a
great fatigue; and this was augmented by frequently sinking into the bird
holes and falling upon the sand. The thermometer stood at 98° in the
shade, whilst it was at 78° on board the ship.

Where the surface is not of sand it consists of calcareous rock, mostly
in loose pieces; but the stone which forms the basis of the island is
heavy and of a close grain, and was judged to be porphyry. In the
crevices of a low calcareous cliff, at the south-east side of the bay, I
found some thin cakes of good salt, incrusted upon a stone containing
_laminae_ of quartz.

A party was sent on shore at dusk to collect petrels, and in less than
two hours returned with sufficient to give four birds to every man in the
ship. Early in the morning [THURSDAY 4 FEBRUARY 1802] the boats were
again sent upon the same errand, and to haul the seine; but the birds
were gone off to sea for the day, and no fish were caught. A small
kangaroo was brought off, as also a yellow snake, which was the second
killed on this island. The great heat deterred the naturalists from going
on shore this morning, for the very little variety in the vegetable
productions presented no inducement to a repetition of their fatigue. I
landed to see what further could be discovered of the neighbouring
islands; and we then prepared to get under way so soon as the breeze set
in from the south-eastward, which it usually did about noon, after a few
hours of calm or of light airs.

The small bay in the Isle St. Francis, which I call _Petrel Bay_, affords
excellent shelter for two or three ships; but no fresh water, not even to
rinse our mouths, could be found at this time; and a few scattered bushes
were the nearest approach to wood upon the island. Petrels, penguins, and
a few hair seals may be procured, and probably some geese in the wet

I had hitherto observed upon this coast that the south-east and east
winds produced the same effect upon the barometer as at the Cape of Good
Hope, in keeping the mercury high, commonly at or above 30 inches and
the more fresh was the wind, the higher it stood; but within the last few
days the barometer was much lower with the same winds, and at this time
was at 29.74. The dense haze which prevailed might possibly have caused
the change, but I suspected another reason for it. Winds coming off the
land, I had remarked, had a tendency to depress the mercury, and sea
winds to make it rise, though no change took place in the weather; and it
therefore seemed probable, as the trending of the coast beyond these
islands was unknown, that the south-east and east winds came off the
land, and not from the sea, as before; in which case the unknown coast
would be found trending to the southward, a conjecture which, it will be
seen, was verified. That there was no entrance to a strait, nor any large
inlet near these islands, was almost demonstrated by the insignificance
of the tides; for neither in Fowler's Bay nor at this Isle St. Francis
could any set be perceived; nor was there any rise by the shore worthy of

At half-past one we left Petrel Bay; and having passed between the small
isles to the north-east, steered for Evans' Island, and toward the Isles
of St. Peter, which were expected to lie beyond it. At five o'clock, we
passed between Evans' Island and some rocks above water, with breakers
round them, lying three miles to the eastward. An island, equally high
with that of St. Francis, was then seen to the north, and low land
extended from it to N. 45° E., which had some appearance of being part of
the main. We steered for these lands; and seeing an opening between them
at sunset, I attempted it in the hope of getting anchorage for the night;
but the water shoaled suddenly, from 4 fathoms to sixteen feet upon
rocks, and obliged me to veer on the instant. We then stood back to the
southward till eight o'clock, and nothing being perceived in the way of
the ship's drift, hove to for the night.


The wind was north-east in the morning; and at half-past four o'clock we
filled the sails and steered eastward until eight, when the central
island of St. Francis bore N. 71° W., and Franklin's Isles, for there are
two, besides rocks, were distant four leagues, the small opening between
them bearing N. 28° W. To the south-eastward of these islands, at the
distance of eleven miles, is a low projection of the main land, to which
the name of _Point Brown_ was given, in compliment to the naturalist; and
four leagues further, in the same line, was a cliffy head, called _Cape
Bauer_ after the painter of natural history. Between these projections
there was a wide space where no land was visible, and for which we
accordingly steered on the wind veering more to the northward. The
atmosphere was still hazy, more especially about the horizon, and no
observations worthy of confidence could be taken for either latitude or
longitude. At noon,

Franklin's Isles bore                 N. 48½° to 56½° W.
Point Brown, distant four miles,              N. 34 W.
Cape Bauer, south extremity, dist. 3 leagues, S. 50 E.

No land was yet visible ahead; and there being much refuse from the
shore, as well as seaweed floating about, some hopes of finding a river
were entertained. At half-past two, however, low, sandy land was seen
from the mast head, nearly all round, the depth had diminished from 19 to
7 fathoms, and the water was much discoloured in streaks at less than a
mile from the ship. Smokes Were rising in three different places; but as
the wind was unfavourable, and there was no prospect of any opening
sufficiently large to admit the Investigator, I gave up the further
examination of this place, and called it STREAKY BAY.

There remained nearly forty miles of space between Point Bell and Point
Brown, in which the main coast had not been seen. This it was necessary
to explore; but the wind being then at north-north-east, I steered to the
southward, to gain some further knowledge of the coast in that direction
before dark.

West of Cape Bauer, and distant four miles, there is a low island,
extensively surrounded with rocks and breakers, which I called _Olive's
Island_. We passed between it and the cape, and observed the cliffs of
the latter to be stratified, and apparently calcareous. Another cliffy
and somewhat higher projection opened from it at S. 1° W., distant seven
miles, the intermediate low land forming a bight four or five miles deep,
which is mostly skirted by a sandy beach. This projection I named _Point
Westall_, in compliment to the landscape painter; and at six in the
evening, when it bore north-east-by-east two or three miles, we veered
round to the northward. Beyond Point Westall the coast takes a more
eastern direction, the first land which opened out from it being at S.
43° E.: this was a third cliffy projection, terminating another sandy
bight in the coast. No hill nor anything behind the shore could be
perceived, but it does not certainly follow that there are no hills in
the back country, for the haze was too thick to admit of the sight
extending beyond four or five leagues.

The wind having veered to east-north-east, we kept to the northward all
night, under easy sail; and at daylight [SATURDAY 6 FERBRUARY 1802], the
lands around us were in the following bearings:

I. St. Francis, the largest southern cliffs,  N. 80° W.
Lacy's Isle, centre,                          N. 57  W.
Evans' Isle, centre,                          N. 43  W.
Franklin's Isles, extremes,            N. 29° to 10  W.
Point Brown, south extremity,                 N. 65  E.
Cape Bauer, north extremity,                  S. 78  E.
Olive's Island, centre,                       S. 67  E.
Cliffy Head beyond Point Westall,            S. 45  E.

All sail was made to fetch between Franklin's Isles and Point Brown, in
order to follow the course of the main land as close as possible; but
finding, after several tacks, the impossibility of weathering the isles,
we bore away; and at noon hauled up north-north-east round them. The wind
was light at east, and the weather fine over head; but there was so dense
a haze below that, the true horizon could not be distinguished from
several false ones, and we had six or seven different latitudes from as
many observers: those taken by me to the north and south differed 19
minutes. This dense haze, from its great refractive power, altered the
appearance of objects in a surprising manner: a sandy beach seemed to be
a chalky cliff, and the lowest islands to have steep shores. The
thermometer stood, at this time, at 82° and the barometer at 29.60

On the north side of Point Brown the shore formed a large open bay, into
which we hauled up as much as the wind would permit, passing near to a
reef of rocks and breakers, two miles to the north-north-east of
Franklin's Isles. At half-past two the water had shoaled to 5 fathoms;
and not being able to distinguish any inlet, we then bore away westward
along the land. The number of smokes rising from the shores of this wide,
open place induced me to give it the name of SMOKY BAY.

At four o'clock we passed the small opening which had been unsuccessfully
attempted in the evening of the 4th, and hauled up northward under the
lee of the island forming its western side. The mainland then came in
sight ahead; but between it and the islands was a space five or six miles
wide, which had the appearance of being the entrance to a river. No land
was visible to the north-east; and besides quantities of grass and
branches of trees or bushes floating in the water, there was a number of
long, gauze-winged insects topping about the surface, such as frequent
fresh-water lakes and swamps. In order to form a judgment of how much
fresh was mixed with the salt water, or whether any, I had some taken up
for the purpose of ascertaining its specific gravity; but before the
experiment could be made, the depth diminished to 3 fathoms, and low land
was distinguished nearly all round. We then veered ship; and at seven
o'clock came to an anchor in 6 fathoms, off a small beach on the north
side of the western and smallest island, being sheltered at all points
except between S. 58° and N. 80° W.

The specific gravity of the water taken up proved to be 1.034, or .008
greater than the water of the Southern Indian Ocean, westward of the
Island Amsterdam, although the temperature in which it was weighed was
higher by 14°. This circumstance, with the shallowness of the inlet and
the land having been seen to close round so nearly, made me give up the
intention of attempting to proceed any higher up, since no river of
importance was to be expected.

Great flocks of sooty petrels were observed coming in from sea to the
island, and at the first dawn next morning [SUNDAY 7 FEBRUARY 1802] a
boat was sent to collect a quantity of them, and to kill seals; but the
birds were already moving off, and no more than four seals, of the hair
kind, were procured. The botanists preferred going on shore to the more
eastern land, which, though low, was much more extensive than the island
nearer to the ship; and in fact it was not yet ascertained whether it
were not a part of the main. I went to the higher island with a
theodolite to take bearings; and as the survey had shown that no
dependence was to be placed in any observations taken on board the ship
during the last five days, I took with me the necessary instruments for
determining the latitude and longitude.

Granite was found to compose the rocks of the shore, and seemed to be the
basis of the island; but it was covered with a crust of calcareous stone,
in some places fifty feet thick. The soil at the top was little better
than sand, but was overspread with shrubs, mostly of one kind, a whitish
velvety plant--(_artriplex reniformis_ of Brown),* nearly similar to what
is called at Port Jackson, Botany Bay greens. Amongst these the petrels
had everywhere undermined; and from the excessive heat of the sun, the
reflection from the sand, and frequently stepping up to the mid-leg in
the burrows, my strength was scarcely equal to reaching the highest hill
near the middle of the island. I had no thermometer, but judged the
temperature could scarcely be less than 120°; and there was not a breath
of air stirring. My fatigue was, however, rewarded by an extensive set of
bearings, and I overlooked the lower and larger island to the eastward,
and saw the water behind it communicating with Smoky Bay. That low land
and the island upon which I stood, being the north-easternmost of this
archipelago, must, I conceive, be the ISLES OF ST. PETER in Nuyts' chart,
notwithstanding their relatively small distance from those of St.
Francis. The bay to the northward, between these islands and the
mainland, I named DENIAL BAY, as well in allusion to St. Peter as to the
deceptive hope we had formed of penetrating by it some distance into the
interior country. The bearings most essential to the survey, taken from
this station were these,

Point Brown, sandy hillocks on it,             S. 52°  0' E.
Franklin's Isles, the extremes,     S. 49° 15' to 33  45  E.
Evans' Isle, centre,                           S. 23   0  W.
Isles of St. Francis, southernmost,
the centre                                     S. 34   0  W.
do., the largest extremes,          S. 38   0  to 46  20  W.
Lacy's Isle, centre,                           S. 51   0  W.
Purdie's Isles, the easternmost,               N. 83  15  W.
Lound's Isle, centre,                          N. 76  30  W.
Point Bell, the hill on it,                    N. 73   0  W.
Point Peter, across Denial Bay,                N. 12  45  W.

[* _Prod. flor. Nov. Holl._ p. 406.]

On returning to the shore to complete my observations, a flock of teal
presented themselves, and four were shot. There were also pied shags, and
gulls of three species; and in the island were seen many crows, a green
paroquet, and two smaller birds. A black snake, of the common size, was
killed, but its form did not bespeak it to be venemous. After observing
the sun's altitude at noon, I returned on board with the intention of
getting the ship under way, to examine more closely a bight in the coast
near Point Bell; and then of returning to Petrel Bay in the Isle St.
Francis, in order to obtain better observations for a base to my chart of
this archipelago. At two o'clock, Mr. Brown and his party returned from
the eastern island, bringing four kangaroos, of a different species to
any before seen. Their size was not superior to that of a hare, and they
were miserably thin, and infested with insects. No other than calcareous
rock was seen upon the eastern island. It seemed to afford neither wood
nor water, nor were there any marks of its having been visited by the
natives of the continent; in which respect it resembled the western
island, as it also did in its vegetation, and in being frequented by the
sooty petrel. Mr. Brown's pocket thermometer stood at 125° when placed on
the sand, and 98° in the shade; whilst on board the ship the height was
only 83°.

The sun was too high at noon for its altitude to be taken from an
artificial horizon with a sextant; but by laying down upon the beach I
obtained it from the sea horizon tolerably free from the refractive
errors caused by the haze. The _latitude_ of the north side of the
western Isle of St. Peter, thus observed, was 32° 21¼' south, and the
_longitude_ by time-keepers, corrected as usual, 133° 29' east. There was
no set of _tide_ past the ship; but from eight o'clock to noon the water
had risen about a foot by the shore.

The anchor was weighed on the return of the botanists, and we steered
westward past the small island named Lound's, and as far as Purdie's
Isles. when, having seen the whole line of the coast behind them, we
hauled to the southward at six o'clock for Petrel Bay; and at one in the
morning [MONDAY 8 FEBRUARY 1802] came to, in 13 fathoms, near our former

It was here confirmed by satisfactory observations on shore that our
former latitudes and longitudes taken on board the ship were erroneous;
and the consequent necessity of reconstructing my chart of these islands
induced me to remain at anchor the rest of the day. A boat was sent to
fish with hook and line, and had some success; and at dusk a sufficient
number of sooty petrels were taken from the burrows to give nine to every
man, making, with those before caught, more than twelve hundred birds.
These were inferior to the teal shot at the western Isle of St. Peter,
and by most persons would not be thought eatable on account of their
fishy taste, but they made a very acceptable supply to men who had been
many months confined to an allowance of salt meat.

The _latitude_ of our anchorage in Petrel Bay proved to be 32° 33 1/3'
south, and corrected _longitude_, by time-keepers, 133° 15½' east. The
_variation_ of the compass on the binnacle, with the ship's head
south-eastwardly, but the exact point not noted, was 2° 23' west. Other
azimuths, taken five leagues to the north-westward, with the head
south-half-west, gave 0° 19' east; and six leagues to the eastward, the
head being north half-west, we had 0° 16' east. All these observations,
being corrected, and supposing the ship's head in the first case to have
been south-east-half-east, as is probable, would agree in showing that
the true and magnetic meridians exactly coincided at the Isles of St.
Francis in 1802.

Being about to quit this archipelago, it may be expected that I should
make some general remarks upon it. The basis stone of the islands where
we landed, and that of the others, as also of the projecting parts of the
main, appeared to be similar, was either porphyry or granite; but this
was generally covered with a _stratum_, more or less thick, of calcareous
rock. The and sterility of the two largest islands has been already
mentioned; and yet they appeared superior to any of the smaller isles,
where there was no probability that the small kangaroos could exist in
the dry season. The surface of the continent seemed to be almost equally
destitute of vegetable soil to cover the sand and rock; and from the hot
winds off the land, which we felt in Streaky and Smoky Bays, it would
seem that this aridity prevails to a considerable distance in the
interior. There are, however, some grounds to believe that a lake or run
of fresh water exists not far from Denial Bay: the flock of teal seen
upon the western Isle of St. Peter, and the number of winged, fresh-water
insects skimming the surface of that bay, are the grounds to which I

My examination of this group of islands was tolerably minute to be done
wholly in a ship; but much still remained, which boats would best
accomplish, to make the survey complete, especially in the bays of the
main land. No more than a general examination was prescribed by my
instructions at this time, and I therefore left the minute parts for a
second visit, when the ship would be accompanied by the Lady Nelson

Upon the identity of the particular islands composing this group, as
compared with the chart of Nuyts' discovery, there may possibly be some
difference of opinion, but there can be no doubt that the group generally
is the same with that laid down by the Dutch navigator; and I therefore
distinguish it from others upon this coast by the title of NUYTS'
ARCHIPELAGO. Besides the nine Isles of St. Francis and two of St. Peter,
and several distinct rocks and patches of reef, it contains Sinclair's
four Rocks, Purdie's Isles, Lound's Isle, Lacy's and Evans' Islands,
Franklin's Isles, and Olive's Island; all of which are named after young
officers of the Investigator. The state of navigation in 1627 does not
permit the expectation of any exact coincidence between the islands laid
down by the Dutch and those in my chart; if a few leading features of
resemblance be found, this is all that can be fairly required; and these
I shall endeavour to trace.

The Cape marked A (see the copy of the Dutch chart from _Thevenot_), the
point B, and the western reefs, I conceive to be clearly identified in
Cape Nuyts, Point Fowler, and Nuyts' Reefs, although there be a
difference of near half a degree in latitude. The next leading mark is
the line of islands marked 1, 2, to 5, extending south-south-east from
the furthest extremity of the main land. I found no islands corresponding
to the first three of these; but the main coast there trends south-east,
and there are cliffy projections upon it which might appear like islands
to a ship so far distant as not to raise the intermediate beaches. I
conceive then, that the island marked 3, is the projecting point which I
have named Point Bell; and that 1 and 2 are the two cliffy projections
further northward. The island marked 4 will be the largest of Purdie's
Isles; and in looking on, nearly in the same line, we find 5 in Lacy's
Island. The island 6, or St. Francis, should lie to the west-south-west,
or perhaps south-west, for since the line of the five islands is two
points too much to the right, this bearing may be the same. To the
south-west-by-south the large Isle St. Francis is found, in the centre of
eight smaller isles which Nuyts has not distinguished. The islands 8, 9,
and 10, are to be sought to the east-north-east of 5, or Lacy's Island,
or rather to the north-east, two points to the left; and there we find,
though not very exactly, Evans' Island and the two Isles of St. Peter.
Island 7 should be to the north-west of 8, and in a direction between 4
and 9; and in that position is Lound's small Isle.

This explanation, I am aware, may be disputed, because it leaves
Franklin's Isles unnoticed; and it may be objected, that had Lound's Isle
been seen, the main land north of it would have been seen also. That
Nuyts passed to the southward of all the islands laid down in his chart
seems improbable, since he distinguished only one of the Isles of St.
Francis; but if this be supposed, then 7 and 8 might be Evans' and
Franklin's Isles, and 9 and 10 would be Point Brown and Cape Bauer, which
lie to the south-east, instead of north~east; and in this case the
islands which I suppose to be St. Peter's, and that of Lound, will not
have been seen. The question is, in fact, of no importance, other than
what arises from a desire to do justice to the Dutch navigator; and on
this head, I trust there can be no accusation. My opinion coincides with
the first explanation; and unless an island exist to the south-west of
St. Francis, and I am tolerably certain that none lies within five
leagues, a correspondence more free from objections cannot easily be
pointed out.


Prosecution of the discovery of the unknown coast.
Anxious Bay.
Anchorage at Waldegrave's and at Flinders' Islands.
The Investigator's Group.
Coffin's Bay.
Whidbey's Isles.
Differences in the magnetic needle.
Cape Wiles.
Anchorage at Thistle's Island.
Thorny Passage.
Fatal accident.
Anchorage in Memory Cove.
Cape Catastrophe, and the surrounding country.
Anchorage in Port Lincoln, and refitment of the ship.
Remarks on the country and inhabitants.
Astronomical and nautical observations.



At daybreak in the morning of Feb. 9, when the anchor was weighed from
Petrel Bay to prosecute the examination of the unknown coast, we were
unexpectedly favoured with a refreshing breeze from the westward; and our
course was directed for Cape Bauer. At noon, the latitude from mean of
observations to the north and south, which differed only 1', was 32° 43'
17"; but although our distance from the land could not be more than three
leagues, no part of it was distinguishable; the haze was very thick, but
it was of a different nature, and had none of that extraordinary
refractive power which the atmosphere possessed during the prevalence of
the eastern winds. At one o'clock, Olive's Island was indistinctly
perceived; and at two we came in with Point Westall, and then steered
south-south-eastward along the coast at the distance of four or five
miles. At six, a bold cliffy head, which I named CAPE RADSTOCK, in honour
of Admiral Lord Radstock, bore N. 75° E., six or seven miles; and the
land seemed there to take another direction, for nothing beyond it could
be perceived. The wind was at west-south-west; and we kept on the
starboard tack till eight o'clock, and then stood off for the night.


At five in the morning we steered for the land; and soon afterward Cape
Radstock was in sight, bearing N. 57° E., five leagues. The latitude of
this cape is 33° 12' south, and longitude 134° 15' east. Other cliffy
heads came in sight as we advanced eastward; and at seven, the appearance
of an opening induced me to steer close in; but it proved to be a bight
full of rocks, with low land behind. The line of the projecting parts of
the coast is nearly east from Cape Radstock for four leagues; and at the
end of them is a cliffy point which received the name of _Point Weyland_.
Round this point an opening was seen of so promising an appearance that I
bore away north and north-east for it, although land was in sight as far
as east-south-east. Before noon the greater part of the open space was
found to be occupied by low land; and no more of the opening remained
than a small inlet through the beach, leading, apparently, into a lagoon,
the water of which was distinguished from the mast head. This inlet was
fit only to receive boats; and therefore we hauled the wind to the
southward, when the sandy shore near it was distant two-and-half miles on
one side, and Point Weyland one mile and a half on the other. The
latitude of this point is 33° 14' south, and longitude 134° 32' east. As
the day advanced the wind veered to south-west, and there being a swell
from the same quarter, we could do no more than make a
south-east-by-south course, parallel with the shore. At three o'clock the
mainland was seen to extend out beyond what the ship could fetch; there
were besides two islands lying still further out, and a third was
perceived in the offing, almost directly to windward. The two first
received the name of _Waldegrave's Isles_, and the latter with some rocks
near it were called _Top-gallant Isles_. Our distance from the sandy
shore was then barely a league; and coming into 7 fathoms water soon
afterward, we tacked, hoping to weather Cape Radstock; but finding this
to be impossible, were constrained to pass the night in working to
windward in the bay. The weather was squally with rain, but our situation
made it necessary to carry all possible sail; and we had the
satisfaction, at daylight [THURSDAY 11 FEBRUARY 1802], to find the ship
had gained considerably. It then blew a strong breeze at
south-west-by-south, and we stretched in under Waldegrave's Isles; and
finding the water become smooth, the anchor was let go in 7 fathoms, on a
bottom of calcareous sand, at half a mile from the north-east end of the
inner and largest island. We were here sheltered from the present wind,
but exposed from west-by-south to north-north-west; the master was
therefore immediately sent to sound the opening of one mile wide between
the island and the main, by which alone we could hope to escape, should
the wind shift to the north-westward and blow strong; but the opening
proved to be full of rocks and breakers.

The press of sail carried in the night had so much stretched the rigging
that it required to be set up, fore and aft. Whilst this was doing on
board, the naturalists landed upon the island; where I also went to take
bearings with a theodolite, and observations for the latitude and
longitude. The island is about two miles long, and connected by rocks
with the small outer isle; and they extend four or five miles from a
projecting part of the main, in a west direction. These islands form the
southern boundary, as Cape Radstock does the north point of a great open
bay, which, from the night we passed in it, obtained the name of ANXIOUS

I found the island to bear a great resemblance to the western Isle of St.
Peter, in its cliffy shores, granitic basis and _super-stratum_ of
calcareous stone; in its vegetable productions, and in its surface being
much excavated by the burrows of the sooty petrels. It had also been
frequented by geese at some preceding season of the year, and there were
marks of its having been a breeding place for them; but at this time the
vegetation was too much dried up to afford any subsistence. Crows of a
shining black colour were numerous; and in two which I shot the bill was
surrounded at the base with small feathers, extending one-fourth of the
length towards the extremity. There were no appearances of the island
having been before visited either by Europeans or Indians, and a single
rat was the sole quadruped seen; but a few hair seals were killed upon
the shore. Mr. Brown remarked that this was the first island where not a
single novelty in natural history had presented itself to his


From the highest part of the island I saw two patches of breakers, lying
near three miles out from the western island; and beyond the Top-gallant
Isles in the offing, there was a piece of land of more considerable
extent, which the haze did not allow of being well defined. No part of
the main coast was visible from hence, beyond the projection close to
Waldegrave's Isles; but on changing my station to the southward, land
opened from it at the distance of three or four leagues. The principal
bearings taken were as follow:

Point Weyland, distant 7 or 8 leagues,      N. 24° 10' W.
Top-gallant Isles, centre of the largest,   S. 52  20  W.
Southmost rock, like a ship under sail,     S. 48   5  W.
Further land, the east side,      S.57° 40' to 69  10  W.
Southern extreme of the coast,              S. 49  40  E.

A squall passed over as the sun came to the meridian, and deprived me of
an observation for the latitude; but the centre of Waldegrave's largest
Isle was afterwards found to be in 33° 35½' south, and the longitude by
my observations on shore for the time keepers, was 131° 44' east.

There were strong squalls during the night, with rain, but the wind being
off the land, the ship rode easy with a whole cable. At daylight [FRIDAY
12 FEBRUARY 1802] the weather was more moderate, and we stretched out for
the distant piece of land in the offing. At noon it was seven miles to
windward, and seen to be an island of about five miles in length; and
being near enough at dusk to observe that it afforded shelter, and that
there were no apparent dangers, we continued to beat up, and got to
anchor at half-past nine, in 7 fathoms, fine sand; the nearest beach
being distant half a mile, and the island extending from S. 85° E. to 67°


In the morning we were surprised to see breaking water about one mile
from the ship, and as much from the shore. It was not far from the place
where the last tack had been made in the evening, and the master found no
more than six feet water close to it; so that we were fortunate in having
escaped. The botanical gentlemen landed early; and I followed them to
make the usual observations for the survey.

From my first station, at the north-east end of the island, the largest
of the Top-gallant Isles bore S. 67° E., four or five miles. It is of
little extent, but high and cliffy; and there are three rocks on its
south side resembling ships under sail, from which circumstance this
small cluster obtained its present name. To the south-west I
distinguished several small islands, of which the northernmost and
largest is remarkable from two high and sharp-pointed peaks upon it,
lying in latitude 33° 57' and longitude 134° 13'. This cluster, as it
appeared to be, received the name of _Pearson's Isles_; but it is
possible that what seemed at a distance to be divided into several may
form two or three larger islands, or even be one connected land. Another
island, about one mile long and of moderate height, was discovered
bearing S. 72° W., about four leagues. It was surrounded with high
breakers, as was a smaller isle near it; and the two were called _Ward's
Isles_. These three small clusters, with Waldegrave's Isles, and this
larger island, which was named Flinders', after the second lieutenant,
form a group distinct from Nuyts' Archipelago; and I gave it the name of

The form of Flinders' Island is nearly a square, of which each side is
from three to five miles in length. Bights are formed in the four sides;
but that to the north seems alone to afford good anchorage. In its
composition this island is nearly the same as that of Waldegrave's
largest isle; but between the granitic basis and the calcareous top there
is a _stratum_ of sand stone, in some places twenty feet thick. The
vegetation differed from that of other islands before visited, in that
the lower lands were covered with large bushes; and there was very little
either of the white, velvety shrub (_atriplex_) or of the tufted, wiry
grass. A small species of kangaroo, not bigger than a cat, was rather
numerous. I shot five of them, and some others were killed by the
botanists and their attendants, and found to be in tolerably good
condition. We were now beginning to want a supply of water, and the
northern part of the island was sought over carefully for it; but the
nearest approach to success was in finding dried-up swamps in which the
growing plants were tinged red, as if the water had been brackish. No
other trees than a few small _casuarinas_, at a distance from the
anchorage, were seen upon the island; but wood for fuel might with some
difficulty be picked out from the larger bushes growing near the shore.
The beaches were frequented by seals of the hair kind. A family of them
consisting of a male, four or five females, and as many cubs was lying
asleep at every two or three hundred yards. Their security was such that
I approached several of these families very closely; and retired without
disturbing their domestic tranquillity or being perceived by them.

The _latitude_ of the north-east sandy cove in Flinders' Island was found
to be 33° 41' south, and _longitude_ 134° 27½' east. The _variation_ on
board, observed by Mr. Thistle on the binnacle with the ship's head
south-by-east, was 0° 6' east; which, corrected, gives 0° 44' for the
variation to be allowed on the bearings taken on shore, or on board the
ship with the head at north or south. The tide appeared to be as
inconsiderable here as in Nuyts' Archipelago. With the present southern
winds the temperature at this island was very agreeable; the thermometer
stood between 65° and 68°, and the barometer at 30.08 inches, and it was



In the morning of the 14th, the wind was at south-south-east. We weighed
the anchor at daylight, and beat to windward the whole day; but without
gaining any thing to the southward. A little before midnight, the wind
having veered more to the east, we passed the Top-gallant Isles, and at
noon next day [MONDAY 15 FEBRUARY 1802] were in the following situation:

Latitude observed,                             33° 59½'
Longitude from bearings,                      134  38
Top-gallant Isles, centre of the largest,   N. 12 W.
Pearson's Isles, the two northern peaks,    N. 83 W.

No part of the main land was visible; but the wind having veered back to
the southward, in the nature of a sea breeze., we were then standing
eastward; and in two hours several smokes were seen, and soon afterward
the land. At six o'clock, a very projecting point of calcareous cliffs,
distant five miles, was the southernmost visible extreme. It was named
_Point Drummond_, in compliment to captain Adam Drummond of the navy; and
lies in 34° 10' south and 135° 13' east.

The coast from Waldegrave's Isles to Point Drummond runs waving in a
south-eastern direction, and forms bights and broad, cliffy heads. It
appeared to be of moderate elevation, and barren; but the further parts
of it could not be well distinguished on account of the haze.

We tacked from the shore at six o'clock, when the following bearings were

Point Drummond,                             S. 14° E.
A broad cliffy projection, the north end,   N. 11  W.
---- south end, distant 4 or 5 miles,       N. 26  E.
A rocky islet, distant three leagues,       N. 41  W.
This islet lies four miles from the main land, and nothing was seen to
prevent a ship passing between them.

Soon after we had tacked, the wind veered gradually round from the south
to east; and having steered southward under easy sail till midnight, we
then hove to. A heavy dew fell, which had not before been observed upon
this part of the coast.


At daylight, Point Drummond was seven miles distant to the north-by-east.
The shore, after falling back four or five miles from it, trended
northward; but there was other land further out, and we steered for the
opening between them, passing a rocky islet five miles from Point
Drummond and nearly as much from the eastern shore. At eight o'clock we
found ourselves in a bay whose width, from the outer western point of
entrance, named _Point Sir Isaac_, to the shore on the east side, was
near three leagues. It extended also far into the south-south-east but
the depth diminished, in less than half an hour, to 4 fathoms, although
the head of the bay was still six or seven miles distant. We were then
two miles from the eastern shore, with Point Sir Isaac bearing N. 67° W.;
and hoping to find deeper water in that direction, hauled to the
westward; but coming into 3 fathoms, were obliged to tack, and the wind
veering round from the sea, we worked to windward in the entrance of the

The situation of Point Sir Isaac is 34° 27' south, and from observations
of the moon with stars on each side, in 135° 13' east; but by the
time-keepers corrected, which I prefer, the longitude is 135° 10' east.
The basis of the point seemed to be granitic, with an upper _stratum_ of
calcareous rock, much similar to the neighbouring isles of the
Investigator's Group. Its elevation is inconsiderable, and the surface is
sandy and barren, as is all the land near it on the same side. The large
piece of water which it shelters from western winds I named COFFIN'S BAY,
in compliment to the present vice-admiral Sir Isaac Coffin, Bart.; who,
when resident commissioner at Sheerness, had taken so zealous a part in
the outfit of the Investigator. Coffin's Bay extends four or five leagues
to the south-eastward from Point Sir Isaac; but I do not think that any
stream more considerable than perhaps a small rill from the back land
falls into it, since sandy cliffs and beach were seen nearly all round.
On the east side of the entrance the shore rises quickly from the beach
to hills of considerable height, well covered with wood. The highest of
these hills I call _Mount Greenly_; its elevation is between six and
eight hundred feet, and it stands very near the water-side.

Many smokes were seen round Coffin's Bay, and also two parties of
natives, one on each side; these shores were therefore better inhabited
than the more western parts of the South Coast; indeed it has usually
been found in this country that the borders of shallow bays and lagoons,
and at the entrances of rivers, are by far the most numerously peopled.
These natives were black and naked, differing in nothing that we could
perceive from those of King George's Sound before described.

In the evening the wind veered to the southward; and at sunset we passed
Point Sir Isaac at the distance of half a mile. Our course was then
directed to the south-west, towards two high pieces of land which
appeared in the offing, and obtained the name of _Greenly's Isles_. The
ship was hove to at midnight; but on seeing the islands to leeward at two
in the morning [WEDNESDAY 17 FEBRUARY 1802], we filled; and at three,
tacked towards the main land. At daylight a rocky point which lies ten or
eleven miles to the south-south-west of Point Sir Isaac, and is called
_Point Whidbey_, was distant two miles; and the peak upon the
southernmost of Greenly's Isles bore S. 66° W., four or five leagues. At
S. 18° E., seven or eight miles from Point Whidbey, lies an island one
mile in length, the middlemost and largest of seven, which I named
WHIDBEY'S ISLES, after my worthy friend the former master-attendant at
Sheerness. The basis of these isles appeared to be granitic, but the more
elevated are covered with a thick crust of calcareous rock; and in the
middlemost this upper _stratum_ is perforated, admitting the light
through the island.

The two easternmost of Whidbey's Isles are close to a low projection of
the main land which was named _Point Avoid_. It lies eleven or twelve
miles to the east-south-east of Point Whidbey; and the shore between them
forms so deep a bight that the peninsula between it and Coffin's Bay
seems to be there not more than two or three miles broad. At the head of
this bight is a low, rocky island, and there are rocks and breakers on
each side of the entrance; on which account, and from its being exposed
to the dangerous southern winds, I named it AVOID BAY.

Having a wind at south-east-by-south, we beat up all the morning off the
entrance of this bay, taking bearings of the different islands and
points, and of Mount Greenly which was visible over the peninsula, to fix
their relative positions. At noon, our

Latitude, observed to the N. and S., was       34° 43' 32"
Longitude by time keepers,                    135   3  35
Greenly's Isles, the peak, bore             N. 74 W.
Whidbey's Isles, three westernmost,     S. 36° 60 W.
---- middlemost, north end dist. 2 miles,   N. 81 E.
---- two near Point Avoid,                  N. 81 E.
Mount Greenly, over the peninsula,          Not distinct.
Point Whidbey, distant 7 miles,             N.  2 E.

At dusk in the evening, having weathered Whidbey's Isles, we tacked near
Point Avoid and stretched off to sea; but on coming in with the land at
daylight of the 18th [THURSDAY 18 FEBRUARY 1802], it appeared that
nothing was gained, our situation being then in the same bight to the
eastward of the point.

The shore of the bight is sandy and low, and trends from Point Avoid
about five miles to the east; after which it takes a more southern
direction and becomes higher, and the projecting parts of the waving
coast line are cliffy. Behind the shore the land rises to a moderate
height, is destitute of vegetation, and of a yellow colour, but whether
from the surface being of bare rock, or of sand, could not be

In stretching off again, with the wind at east-south-east, we passed near
to a small circular reef, lying nine miles from Point Avoid and six from
the nearest shore. Azimuths taken at this time with three compasses on
the binnacle, and the ship's head at south (magnetic), gave the mean
variation 1° 12' east; but with the surveying compass alone it was 1° 39'
east, which is what I allowed in the survey. On the preceding day the two
guns upon the quarter-deck, nearest to the binnacle, had been struck down
into the after-hold, from a persuasion that the differences so often
found in the variations and bearings when on different tacks must arise
from some iron placed too near the compasses. Strict search had been
repeatedly made for sail needles, marline-spikes, or other implements of
iron which might have been left in or about the binnacle, but I could fix
on nothing unless it were the guns; for it is to be observed that,
notwithstanding the constancy of the differences, the idea of any
regularly acting cause to derange the needle had not yet fixed itself in
my mind. The perfection to which naval science had arrived did not allow
me to suppose, that if a constant and unavoidable attraction existed in
ships, it would not have been found out, and its laws ascertained; yet no
longer than three days before, differences had been observed sufficient,
one would think, to have convinced any man that they were produced by
some regular cause. Off Point Drummond, about fifteen leagues to the
north of where the variation 1° 39' east was observed with the ship's
head at south, both azimuths and an amplitude had been taken with the
same compass. The first gave 1° 33' _west_, the head being
south-east-by-east; and after we had tacked, and the head was
south-west-by-west, the amplitude gave 3° 56' _east_! I did not yet see
that as the ship's head was as much on the east side of the magnetic
meridian in one case as it was to the west in the other, so was the
variation as much too far west then as it was too far east afterward.
Differences like this, of 5½°, which had frequently occurred, seemed to
make accuracy in my survey unattainable from not knowing what variation
to allow on the several bearings. The guns were removed in the hope to do
away the differences, but they still continued to exist, nearly in the
same proportion as before; and almost in despair, I at length set about a
close examination of all the circumstances connected with them, in order
to ascertain the cause, and if possible to apply a remedy; but it was
long, and not without an accumulation of facts, before I could arrive at
the conclusions deduced and explained in the Appendix No. II to the
second volume.

We tacked towards the land soon after noon; and being within five miles
of it at three o'clock, stood off again. The furthest extreme of the main
land was a sloping low point, distant about three leagues; but two or
three miles beyond it, to the south, was a small island to which I gave
the name of _Liguanea_. Some of Whidbey's Isles were still to be
distinguished, and the bearings taken just before tacking were as under:

Inner island near Point Avoid,  N. 31° W.
Nearest part of the cliffs,     E. N.  E.
The sloping low point,          S. 71  E.
Liguanea Island, highest part,  S. 57  E.

At seven in the evening, we came in with the land a little further to
windward, and tacked at a mile and a half from a patch of breakers which
lie N. 72° W. three or four miles from the sloping low point. This point
was still the furthest part of the main land visible, the coast seeming
from thence to take a more eastern direction.


In the afternoon of the 19th when the wind had returned to the south, we
passed to windward of Liguanea Island, and saw it surrounded with many
breakers on its south and west sides. The sloping low point was also
visible; and three miles further eastward there was a steep head, with
two high rocks and one lower near it, of which Mr. Westall made a sketch.
(Atlas Plate XVII. View 7.) This projection I named CAPE WILES, after a
worthy friend at Liguanea, in Jamaica; it lies in latitude 34° 57' south,
and longitude 135° 38½' east. Before dark we got sight of a hill situate
upon a projecting cape, thirteen miles to the east-south-east of Cape
Wiles, and observed the intermediate coast to form a large bight or bay,
which I proposed to examine in the morning; and for that purpose we stood
off and on during the night, with the wind from the southward.


At daylight of the 20th the hill on the east side of the bight bore N.
68° E. five or six miles, and an island, named _Isle Williams_, was seen
to lie two miles from it to the south-east. We steered north-west soon
afterward, up the bight; but in an hour were able to see the land all
round, and that this place, which, I called SLEAFORD BAY, was dangerous
with the wind at south-east, as it was then blowing. We therefore braced
up, to work out; and at noon, our situation, with that of the surrounding
lands, was as follows:

Latitude, observed to the north and south,      35°  2' 33"
Longitude by time keepers,                     135  44
Liguana Isle, the centre nearly,             N. 67  W.
Cape Wiles, centre of the cliffs,            N. 38  W.
Hill on the east side of Sleaford Bay,       N. 77  E.
Isle Williams,                               E.  2  N.

In the afternoon the wind favoured us by veering to south-by-west, and
the passage between the projection of the hill and Isle Williams, (Atlas
Plate XVII. View 8.) seeming to be clear, we steered through it with good
soundings, the least being 12 fathoms, upon rippling water. Three miles
further the main land formed a point, and took the uncommon direction of
N. 15° W.; but to the eastward, there was a large piece of land, whether
island or main we could not tell, and several small islands lay between.
The opening was four miles wide; and we steered into it, passing through
ripplings of tide with irregular soundings. No land could be seen to the
north-east, but the night was coming on; and as the eastern land
sheltered us from the present wind, we ran within half a mile of the
shore and anchored in 3½ fathoms. The master was sent to sound about the
ship; and finding we had not a sufficient depth for swinging toward the
shore, the anchor was tripped and let go further out, in 7 fathoms, on a
sandy bottom. No part of the eastern land was visible beyond the bearing
of N. 76° E., distant one mile and a half; and the furthest extreme of
what we could be certain was main land bore N. 17° W.

A tide from the north-eastward, apparently the ebb, ran more than one
mile an hour; which was the more remarkable from no set of tide, worthy
to be noticed, having hitherto been observed upon this coast. No land
could be seen in the direction from whence it came; and these
circumstances, with the trending of the coast to the north, did not fail
to excite many conjectures. Large rivers, deep inlets, inland seas, and
passages into the Gulph of Carpentaria, were terms frequently used in our
conversations of this evening; and the prospect of making an interesting
discovery seemed to have infused new life and vigour into every man in
the ship.


Early in the morning I went on shore to the eastern land, anxious to
ascertain its connexion with or separation from the main. There were
seals upon the beach, and further on, numberless traces of the kangaroo.
Signs of extinguished fire existed everywhere; but they bespoke a
conflagration of the woods, of remote date, rather than the habitual
presence of men, and might have arisen from lightning, or from the
friction of two trees in a strong wind. Upon the whole I satisfied myself
of the insularity of this land; and gave to it, shortly after, the name
of THISTLE'S ISLAND, from the master who accompanied me. In our way up
the hills, to take a commanding station for the survey, a speckled,
yellow snake lay asleep before us. By pressing the butt-end of a musket
upon his neck I kept him down whilst Mr. Thistle, with a sail needle and
twine, sewed up his mouth; and he was taken on board alive for the
naturalist to examine; but two others of the same species had already
been killed, and one of them was seven feet nine inches in length. We
were proceeding onward with our prize when a white eagle, with fierce
aspect and outspread wing, was seen bounding towards us; but stopping
short at twenty yards off, he flew up into a tree. Another bird of the
same kind discovered himself by making a motion to pounce down upon us as
we passed underneath; and it seemed evident that they took us for
kangaroos, having probably never seen an upright animal in the island of
any other species. These birds sit watching in the trees, and should a
kangaroo come out to feed in the day-time, it is seized and torn to
pieces by these voracious creatures. This accounted for why so few
kangaroos were seen, when traces of them were met with at every step; and
for their keeping so much under thick bushes that it was impossible to
shoot them. Their size was superior to any of those found upon the more
western islands, but much inferior to the forest kangaroo of the

From a clear spot upon the north-western head of the island I traced the
main coast to a cape bearing N. 18° W., where it was lost, but reappeared
at a further distance, and extended to N. 2½° W. More to the right were
three small islands, which I named _Sibsey_, _Stickney_, and _Spilsby
Islands_, but no other land in a north-east, and none in an eastern
direction. On the opposite side, six leagues out at sea, there was a
small cluster of low islands, and some rocks and breakers at a less
distance; these were called _Neptune's Isles_, for they seemed to be
inaccessible to men. In the opening between Thistle's Island and the main
are several small isles; and the two southernmost so much contract the
entrance of the passage that one mile and a half of its breadth, between
the main land and western isle, are alone safe for ships; I gave to this
the name of THORNY PASSAGE. The bearings taken at this station, of most
importance to the survey, were these:

Hill on the east side of Sleaford Bay,              S. 70° 50' W.
Point where the coast turns northward,              S. 73  30  W.
Hill of a conic form, on the main land,             N. 35  50  W.
Sibsey I., centre, over a nearer low rock,          N. 12   0  E.
Stickney Island, centre,                            N. 26   0  E.
Spilsby Island, centre,                             N. 33   0  E.
Thistle's I., west side, furthest visible part,     S. 35  30  E.
Neptune's Isles, the furthest, centre,              S.  5  30  E.
---- two nearer, the extremes,              S. 1° E to  4   0  W.

Thistle's Island is about twelve miles long, and from one to two or three
in breadth, and in the middle part is high enough to be seen ten or
twelve leagues from a ship's deck. The stone of the north-east end was
found to be calcareous; but at the top of the north-west head, not less
than two hundred feet high, there were many small pieces of granite,
rounded to all appearance by attrition in the water. Some of the cliffs
on the western side are white, as if composed of chalk, and the soil in
general seemed to be sandy; yet the island was pretty well covered with
wood, principally _eucalyptus_ and _casuarina_. No water could be found;
and as the ship's hold was becoming very empty, I returned on board,
after observing the latitude, with the intention of running over to the
main in search of it. But on comparing the longitude observed by
lieutenant Flinders with that resulting from my bearings, a difference
was found which made it necessary to repeat the observation on shore; and
as this would prolong the time too near dusk for moving the ship, Mr.
Thistle was sent over with a cutter to the mainland in search of an
anchoring place where water might be procured.

The _latitude_ of a small beach on the north end of Thistle's Island was
found to be 34° 56'; and _longitude_, by the time-keepers corrected, 136°
3½', agreeing with thirty sets of lunar observations reduced to a place
connected with this by land bearings. The strongest _tides_ set past the
ship at the rate of two miles an hour, from the north-north-east and
south-south-west; the latter, which appeared to be the flood, ceasing to
run _at the time of the moon's passage_ over the meridian. It rose seven
feet and a half by the lead line in the night of the 20th; and there were
two tides in the twenty-four hours.

At dusk in the evening the cutter was seen under sail, returning from the
main land; but not arriving in half an hour, and the sight of it having
been lost rather suddenly, a light was shown and lieutenant Fowler went
in a boat, with a lanthorn, to see what might have happened. Two hours
passed without receiving any tidings. A gun was then fired, and Mr.
Fowler returned soon afterward, but alone. Near the situation where the
cutter had been last seen he met with so strong a rippling of tide that
he himself narrowly escaped being upset; and there was reason to fear
that it had actually happened to Mr. Thistle. Had there been daylight, it
is probable that some or all of the people might have been picked up; but
it was too dark to see anything, and no answer could be heard to the
hallooing or to the firing of muskets. The tide was setting to the
southward and ran an hour and a half after the missing boat had been last
seen, so that it would be carried to seaward in the first instance; and
no more than two out of the eight people being at all expert in swimming,
it was much to be feared that most of them would be lost.*

[* This evening, Mr. Fowler told me a circumstance which I thought
extraordinary; and it afterwards proved to be more so. Whilst we were
lying at Spithead, Mr. Thistle was one day waiting on shore, and having
nothing else to do he went to a certain old man, named Pine, to have his
fortune told. The cunning man informed him that he was going out a long
voyage, and that the ship, on arriving at her destination, would be
joined by another vessel. That such was intended, he might have learned
privately; but he added, that Mr. Thistle would be lost before the other
vessel joined. As to the manner of his loss the magician refused to give
any information. My boat's crew, hearing what Mr. Thistle said, went also
to consult the wise man; and after the prefatory information of a long
voyage, were told that they would be shipwrecked, but not in the ship
they were going out in: whether they would escape and return to England,
he was not permitted to reveal.

This tale Mr. Thistle had often told at the mess table; and I remarked
with some pain in a future part of the voyage, that every time my boat's
crew went to embark with me in the Lady Nelson, there was some degree of
apprehension amongst them that the time of the predicted shipwreck was
arrived. I make no comment upon this story, but recommend a commander, if
possible, to prevent any of his crew from consulting fortune tellers.]


At daybreak I got the ship under way and steered across Thorny Passage,
over to the main land, in the direction where the cutter had been seen;
keeping an officer at the masthead, with a glass, to look out for her.
There were many strong ripplings, and some uncommonly smooth places where
a boat, which was sent to sound, had 12 fathoms. We passed to the
northward of all these; and seeing a small cove with a sandy beach,
steered in and anchored in 10 fathoms, sandy bottom; the main land
extending from north-half-west, round by the west and south to
east-south-east, and the open space being partly sheltered by the
northern islands of the passage.


A boat was despatched in search of the lost cutter, and presently
returned towing in the wreck, bottom upward; it was stove in every part,
having to all appearance been dashed against the rocks. One of the oars
was afterwards found, but nothing could be seen of our unfortunate
shipmates. The boat was again sent away in search; and a midshipman was
stationed upon a headland, without-side of the cove, to observe
everything which might drift past with the tide. Mr. Brown and a party
landed to walk along the shore to the northward, whilst I proceeded to
the southern extremity of the mainland, which was now named Cape
Catastrophe. On landing at the head of the cove I found several footmarks
of our people, made on the preceding afternoon when looking for water;
and in my way up the valley I prosecuted the same research, but
ineffectually, although there were many huts and other signs that natives
had resided there lately.

From the heights near the extremity of Cape Catastrophe I examined with a
glass the islands lying off, and all the neighbouring shores, for any
appearance of our people, but in vain; I therefore took a set of angles
for the survey and returned on board; and on comparing notes with the
different parties, it appeared that no further information had been
obtained of our unfortunate companions.


Next morning I went in a boat ten miles along the shore to the northward,
in the double view of continuing the search and carrying on the survey.
All the little sinuosities of the coast were followed, and in one place I
picked up a small keg which had belonged to Mr. Thistle, and also some
broken pieces of the boat but these were all that could be discovered.
After taking angles at three stations on the main land, I crossed over to
the northernmost and largest of the six small islands lying within Thorny
passage. It is a mile and a half long, with a small islet off the north
and another off its south end. These I called _Taylor's Isles_, in memory
of the young gentleman who was in the cutter with Mr. Thistle. They lie
near two miles from the main, and the depth between is from 7 to 10
fathoms, on a sandy bottom. A ship might anchor and be sheltered here,
off a small beach at the north end of the largest island; but I did not
find any fresh water, either there or on the opposite parts of the main

On returning to the ship I learned from some of the gentlemen who had
been at the top of the highest hills at the back of the cove, that they
had seen an inlet, going in westward, a little beyond where my excursion
had terminated. Next day [WEDNESDAY 24 FEBRUARY 1802], I went up with
instruments; and having climbed upon a high lump of granite, saw the
water extending 40° behind the coast, and forming, apparently, an
extensive port. The view taken from near the same spot by Mr. Westall
shows what was visible of this fine piece of water, and the appearance of
the neighbouring land. In addition to this interesting discovery, I
obtained bearings of Cape Wiles, of the furthest extremity of Thistle's
Island, and of a group of four islands and two rocks, five leagues beyond
it to the east-south-east. The largest of these was named _Wedge Island_,
from its shape, and the group GAMBIER'S ISLES, in honour of the worthy
admiral (now lord Gambier) who had a seat at the Admiralty board when the
Investigator was ordered to be fitted.

This morning lieutenant Fowler had been sent to search the southern
islands in Thorny Passage for any remains of our people; but he was not
able to land, nor in rowing round them to see any indication of the
objects of his pursuit. The recovery of their bodies was now the furthest
to which our hopes extended; but the number of sharks seen in the cove
and at the last anchorage rendered even this prospect of melancholy
satisfaction extremely doubtful; and our want of water becoming every day
more pressing, we prepared to depart for the examination of the new
opening to the northward. I caused an inscription to be engraven upon a
sheet of copper, and set up on a stout post at the head of the cove,
which I named _Memory Cove_; and further to commemorate our loss, I gave
to each of the six islands nearest to Cape Catastrophe the name of one of
the seamen: Thistle's and Taylor's Islands have been already mentioned.
Mr. Westall's view from the ship in Memory Cove, represents Thistle's
Island and three of the small isles in front of it.

(Atlas, Plate XVII, View 9.)

The reader will pardon me the observation that Mr. Thistle was truly a
valuable man, as a seaman, an officer, and a good member of society. I
had known him, and we had mostly served together, from the year 1794. He
had been with Mr. Bass in his perilous expedition in the whale-boat, and
with me in the voyage round Van Diemen's Land, and in the succeeding
expedition to Glass-house and Hervey's Bays. From his merit and prudent
conduct he was promoted from before the mast to be a midshipman, and
afterwards a master in his Majesty's service. His zeal for discovery had
induced him to join the Investigator when at Spithead and ready to sail,
although he had returned to England only three weeks before, after an
absence of six years. Besides performing assiduously the duties of his
situation, Mr. Thistle had made himself well acquainted with the practice
of nautical astronomy, and began to be very useful in the surveying
department. His loss was severely felt by me; and he was lamented by all
on board, more especially by his mess-mates, who knew more intimately the
goodness and stability of his disposition.

Mr. William Taylor, the midshipman of the boat, was a young officer who
promised fair to become an ornament to the service, as he was to society
by the amiability of his manners and temper. The six seamen had all
volunteered for the voyage. They were active and useful young men; and in
a small and incomplete ship's company, which had so many duties to
perform, this diminution of our force was heavily felt.

The _latitude_ of our anchorage in Memory Cove was 34° 58' south, and
_longitude_ 135° 56½' east. The _variation_ observed on the binnacle by
lieutenant Flinders, when the ship's head was S. by W., was 2° 38' east,
or corrected for one point of western deviation from the magnetic
meridian, 2° 0' east. In the bearings taken on the _eastern_ side of the
high land behind the cove, the variation appeared to be 3° 20', but upon
the summit it was 1° 40', being less than on board the ship.

The soil of the land round Memory Cove, and of Cape Catastrophe in
general, is barren; though the vallies and eastern sides of the hills are
covered with brushwood, and in the least barren parts there are small
trees of the genus _eucalyptus_. The basis stone is granite, mostly
covered with calcareous rock, sometimes lying in loose pieces; but the
highest tops of the hills are huge blocks of granite. Four kangaroos, not
larger than those of Thistle's Island, were seen amongst the brushwood;
and traces of natives were found so recent, that although none of the
inhabitants were seen, they must have been there not longer than a day
before. Water does consequently exist somewhere in the neighbourhood, but
all our researches could not discover it.

Before quitting Memory Cove a boat was sent to haul a seine upon the
beach, which was done with such success that every man had two meals of
fish and some to spare for salting. In the morning [THURSDAY 25 FEBRUARY
1802] we sailed for the new discovered inlet, and at two o'clock passed
round the projection which had been set at N. 18° W. from Thistle's
Island. It formed the south side of the entrance to the new opening, and
is named CAPE DONINGTON. Our soundings in passing it were from 7 to 9
fathoms, and in steering south-westward we left an island four miles
long, named _Boston Island_, on the starboard hand, and passed two islets
on the other side, called _Bicker Isles_, which lie off _Surfleet Point_.
On the depth of water diminishing to 5 fathoms we tacked, and presently
came to an anchor on the west side of this point in 4½ fathoms, soft grey
sand. We were then three miles within the entrance, and the nearest shore
was a beach half a mile distant, lying under a hill which had been seen
from Thistle's Island. This is a ridge of moderately high land about two
miles long, but when seen to the north or south it assumes a conical
form. I named it _Stamford Hill_; and there being a good deal of wood
scattered over it, a hope was given of procuring water by digging at the
foot. A boat was sent to make the experiment this evening, at the back of
the beach; but the water which flowed into the pit was quite salt; and
notwithstanding the many natives huts about, no fresh water could be

Boston Island at the entrance of the port being also woody and of some
elevation, the boat was sent next morning [FRIDAY 26 FEBRUARY 1802] to
search there for water; and in the mean time I landed with the botanists,
and ascended Stamford Hill to ascertain the nature of this inlet and take
angles. The port was seen to terminate seven or eight miles to the
west-south-west; but there was a piece of water beyond it, apparently a
lake or mere, from which we, might hope to obtain a supply, if no more
convenient watering place could be found. Betwixt Cape Donington at the
entrance, and Surfleet Point, was a large cove with a sandy beach at the
head, capable of sheltering a fleet of ships, if the depth should be
sufficient, as it appeared to be, to receive them; this was named
_Spalding Cove_. Wood was not wanting there, but no stream of water could
be distinguished. On the north side of the port, higher up, was a
projecting piece of land, with an island lying off it nearly one mile in
length. This island, which was named _Grantham Island_, contracts the
width of that part to one mile and three-quarters; whereas above and
below it the width is from two to three miles.

The eastern entrance to the port, between Boston Island and Cape
Donington, is one mile and a half wide; the western entrance, betwixt the
island and what was called _Kirton Point_, is larger, and appeared to be
as deep as the first, in which we had from 7 to 9 fathoms. From Kirton
Point, northward, the shore curves back to the west, and makes a
semicircular sweep round the island, forming an outer bay which was named
Boston Bay. It is terminated by _Point Boston_, a low point one mile and
a half from the north end of the island; but whether the water between
them be deep was not ascertained. From Point Boston the shore takes
another sweep to the west and northward, and comes out again three or
four leagues to the north-east, at a low but somewhat cliffy projection,
to which I gave the name of _Point Bolingbroke_. The large bight within
received the appellation of _Louth Bay_; and two low islands in it, of
which the largest is more than a mile in length, were called _Louth
Isles_. At Point Bolingbroke the land appeared to trend north or
westward, and could no further be perceived from Stamford Hill.

Three small isles had been seen from Thistle's Island and their bearings
set, and the discovery of them was now augmented by several others,
forming a cluster to the eastward of Point Bolingbroke. This was called
SIR JOSEPH BANKS' GROUP, in compliment to the Right Honourable president
of the Royal Society, to whose exertion and favour the voyage was so much

Of the numerous bearings taken with a theodolite from the top of Stamford
Hill, those which follow were the most important to the connexion of the

Extreme of the land toward C. Catastrophe,          S. 17° 56' E.
Thistle's I., highest part and N. E. extr., S. 40° and 42  50  E.
Sir J. Banks' Group, Stickney I., centre,           N. 70  30  E.
---- Sibsey Island, centre,                         N. 57  10  E.
---- Kirkby Island, centre,                         N. 45  20  E.
Cape Donington, north-west extremity,               N. 37  50  E.
Point Bolingbroke, south end,                       N. 29  12  E.
Boston Island, highest hill near the centre,        N.  5  10  W.
---- the extremes,                    N. 15° 54' E. to 13  46  W.
A lake behind the head of the port, N. end,         S. 74  40  W.


The port which formed the most interesting part of these discoveries I
named PORT LINCOLN, in honour of my native province; and having gained a
general knowledge of it and finished the bearings, we descended the hill
and got on board at ten o'clock. The boat had returned from Boston
Island, unsuccessful in her search for water; and we therefore proceeded
upward, steering different courses to find the greatest depth. Soon after
one o'clock we anchored in 4 fathoms, soft bottom, one mile from the
beach at the furthest head of the port, and something less from the
southern shore.

Fresh water being at this time the most pressing of our wants, I set off
the same afternoon, with a party, to examine the lake or mere discovered
from Stamford Hill. The way to it was over low land covered with loose
pieces of calcareous rock; the soil was moist in some places, and, though
generally barren, was overspread with grass and shrubs, interspersed with
a few clumps of small trees. After walking two miles we reached the lake,
but to our mortification the water was brackish and not drinkable; the
distance, besides, from Port Lincoln was too great to roll casks over a
stony road. This piece of water was named _Sleaford Mere_. It is one mile
broad, and appeared to be three or four in length. The shore was a
whitish, hardened clay, covered at this time with a thin crust, in which
salt was a component part. The sun being too near the horizon to admit of
going round the mere, our way was bent towards the ship; and finding a
moist place within a hundred yards of the head of the port, I caused a
hole to be dug there. A _stratum_ of whitish clay was found at three feet
below the surface, and on penetrating this, water drained in, which was
perfectly sweet though discoloured; and we had the satisfaction to return
on board with the certainty of being able to procure water, although it
would probably require some time to fill all our empty casks.


Early in the morning a party of men was sent with spades to dig pits; and
the time-keepers and astronomical instruments, with two tents, followed
under the charge of Mr. Flinders. I went to attend the digging, leaving
orders with Mr. Fowler to moor the ship and send on shore empty casks.
The water flowed in pretty freely, and though of a whitish colour, and at
first somewhat thick, it was well tasted. Before the evening the
observations for the rates of the time-keepers were commenced; and the
gunner was installed in the command of a watering party, and furnished
with axes to cut wood at such times as the pits might require to be left
for replenishing.

The necessary duties being all set forward under the superintendance of
proper officers, I employed the following days in surveying and sounding.
The direction of the port was too remote from the meridian to obtain a
base line from differences of latitude, which, when observed in an
artificial horizon, and at stations wide apart, I consider to be the
best; nor was there any convenient beach or open place where a base line
could be measured. It was therefore attempted in the following manner:
Having left orders on board the ship to fire three guns at given times, I
went to the south-east end of Boston Island with a pendulum made to swing
half-seconds. It was a musket ball slung with twine, and measured 9.8
inches from the fixed end of the twine to the centre of the ball. From
the instant that the flash of the first gun was perceived to the time of
hearing the report I counted eighty-five vibrations of the pendulum, and
the same with two succeeding guns; whence the length of the base was
deduced to be 8.01 geographic miles.* A principal station in the survey
of Port Lincoln was a hill on the north side called _Northside Hill_,
which afforded a view extending to Sleaford Mere and Bay and as far as
Cape Wiles on one side, and to the hills at the beak of Coffin's Bay on
the other. A great part of the bearings taken from hence crossed those
from Stamford Hill very advantageously.

[* This length was founded on the supposition, that sound travels at the
rate of 1142 feet in a second of time, and that 6060 feet make a
geographic mile. A base of 15' 24" of latitude was afterwards obtained
from observations in an artificial horizon, and of 25' 17" of longitude
from the time keepers with new rates, both correct, as I believe, to a
few seconds. From this long base and theodolite bearings, the first base
appeared to be somewhat too short; for they gave it 8.22 instead of 8.01
miles. The length of the pendulum in the first measurement was such as to
swing half seconds in England; and I had not thought it, in this case,
worth attention, that by the laws of gravity and the oblate spheroid, the
pendulum would not swing so quick in the latitude of 35°. I must leave it
to better mathematicians to determine from the _data_ and the true length
of a geographic mile in this latitude, whether the base ought to have
been 8.22 as given by the observations and bearings: it was proved to be
sufficiently near for all the purposes of a common nautical survey.]

Amongst the various excursions made by the scientific gentlemen, one was
directed to Sleaford Mere, of which they made the circuit. The two
southern branches were found to terminate within a hundred yards of the
head of Sleaford Bay, with which the mere had been suspected to have a
communication from its water being not quite fresh; but they are
separated by a stony bank too high for the surf ever to pass over it. At
the head of the bay a boat's sail and yard were seen floating, and no
doubt had belonged to our unfortunate cutter: after being set out to sea
by the tide, it had been driven up there by the late south-east winds.


The refitment of the ship being nearly completed on the 3rd of March,
lieutenant Fowler was sent round to Memory Cove in a boat, to make a
final search along the shores and round the islands in Thorny Passage for
the bodies of our late shipmates, which the sea might have thrown up. On
the 4th [THURSDAY 4 MARCH 1802] the last turn of water was received, and
completed our stock up to sixty tons; and the removal of our
establishment from the shore waited only for the observation of a solar
eclipse, announced in the nautical ephemeris for this day. The morning
was cloudy, with rain; but towards noon the weather cleared up, and I had
the satisfaction to observe the eclipse with a refracting telescope of
forty-six inches focus, and a power of about two hundred. The beginning
took place at 1h 12' 37.8" of apparent time, and the end at 3h 36' 11.8".
So soon as the observation was concluded, the tents and astronomical
instruments were carried on board, the launch was hoisted in, and
everything prepared for going down the port on the following morning.

Many straggling bark huts, similar to those on other parts of the coast
were seen upon the shores of Port Lincoln, and the paths near our tents
had been long and deeply trodden; but neither in my excursions nor in
those of the botanists had any of the natives been discovered. This
morning, however, three or four were heard calling to a boat, as was
supposed, which had just landed; but they presently walked away, or
perhaps retired into the wood to observe our movements. No attempt was
made to follow them, for I had always found the natives of this country
to avoid those who seemed anxious for communication; whereas, when left
entirely alone, they would usually come down after having watched us for
a few days. Nor does this conduct seem to be unnatural; for what, in such
case, would be the conduct of any people, ourselves for instance, were we
living in a state of nature, frequently at war with our neighbours, and
ignorant of the existence of any other nation? On the arrival of
strangers, so different in complexion and appearance to ourselves, having
power to transport themselves over, and even living upon an element which
to us was impassable, the first sensation would probably be terror, and
the first movement flight. We should watch these extraordinary people
from our retreats in the woods and rocks, and if we found ourselves
sought and pursued by them, should conclude their designs to be inimical;
but if, on the contrary, we saw them quietly employed in occupations
which had no reference to us, curiosity would get the better of fear; and
after observing them more closely, we should ourselves seek a
communication. Such seemed to have been the conduct of these Australians;
and I am persuaded that their appearance on the morning when the tents
were struck was a prelude to their coming down, and that had we remained
a few days longer, a friendly communication would have ensued. The way
was, however, prepared for the next ship which may enter this port, as it
was to us in King George's Sound by captain Vancouver and the ship
Elligood, to whose previous visits and peaceable conduct we were most
probably indebted for our early intercourse with the inhabitants of that
place. So far as could be perceived with a glass, the natives of this
port were the same in personal appearance as those of King George's Sound
and Port Jackson. In the hope of conciliating their good will to
succeeding visitors, some hatchets and various other articles were left
in their paths, or fastened to stumps of the trees which had been cut
down near our watering pits.

In expressing an opinion that these people have no means of passing the
water, it must be understood to be a deduction from our having met with
no canoe, or the remains of any about the port; nor with any tree in the
woods from which a sufficient size of bark had been taken to make one.
Upon Boston Island, however, there were abundant marks of fire; but they
had the appearance, as at Thistle's Island, of having been caused by some
conflagration of the woods several years before, rather than of being the
small fire-places of the natives.

There are kangaroos on the main land but none were caught; our efforts,
both in hunting and fishing, were indeed very confined, and almost wholly
unsuccessful. What has been said of the neck of land between the head of
the port and Sleaford Mere may be taken as a description of the country
in general; it is rocky and barren, but has a sufficient covering of
grass, bushes, and small trees not to look desolate. The basis stone is
granitic, with a _super-stratum_ of calcareous rock, generally in loose
pieces; but in some parts, as at Boston Island, the granite is found at
the surface or immediately under the soil. Behind the beach, near our
watering pits, the calcareous stone was so imperfectly formed that small
shells and bits of coral might be picked out of it. This fact, with the
saltness of Sleaford Mere and of a small lake on the south side of the
port, accords with the coral found upon Bald Head and various other
indications before mentioned to show that this part, at least, of Terra
Australis cannot have emerged very many centuries from the sea, the salt
imbibed by the rocks having not yet been all washed away by the rains. In
the mountains behind Port Jackson, on the East Coast, at a vastly
superior elevation, salt is formed in some places by the exhalation of
the water which drips from the grit-stone cliffs.

Port Lincoln is certainly a fine harbour; and it is much to be regretted
that it possesses no constant run of fresh water, unless it should be in
Spalding Cove, which we did not examine. Our pits at the head of the port
will, however, supply ships at all times; and though discoloured by
whitish clay, the water has no pernicious quality, nor is it ill tasted.
This and wood, which was easily procured, were all that we found of use
to ships; and for the establishment of a colony, which the excellence of
the port might seem to invite, the little fertility of the soil offers no
inducement. The wood consists principally of the _eucalyptus_ and

Of the climate we had no reason to speak but in praise; nor were we
incommoded by noxious insects. The range of the thermometer on board the
ship was from 66° to 78° and that of the barometer from 29.4 to 30.20
inches. The weather was generally clouded, the winds light, coming from
the eastward in the mornings and southward after noon. On shore the
average height of the thermometer at noon was 76°.

The _latitude_ of our tents at the head of Port Lincoln, from the mean of
four meridian observations of the sun taken from an artificial horizon,
                                                    34° 48' 25" S.

The _longitude_, from thirty sets of distances of the sun and stars from
the moon (see Table IV. of the Appendix to this volume), was
                                                   135  44  51" E.

These observations, being reduced to Cape Donington at the entrance of
the port, will place it in latitude 34° 44' south,
          longitude 135  56½' east.

No corresponding observation of the solar eclipse appears to have been
made under any known meridian, and from the nature of circumstances, the
error of the moon's place could not be observed at Greenwich; the
distances would therefore seem most worthy of confidence, and are
adopted; but the longitude deduced from the eclipse, as recalculated by
Mr. Crosley from _Delambre's_ solar tables of 1806, and the new lunar
tables of _Burckhardt_ of 1812, differs but very little from them: it is
135° 46' 8" east.

The rates of the time keepers, deduced from equal altitudes on, and
between Feb. 27 and March 4, and their errors from mean Greenwich time,
at noon there on the last day of observation, were found to be as under:

Earnshaw's No.543 slow Oh 30' 30.54" and losing  8.43" per day.
              520 slow 1h  9'  7.72" and losing 18.82" per day.

Arnold's No. 176 altered its rate prodigiously on March 1st, and on the
2nd it stopped. His watch, No. 1736, varied in its rate from 7.81" to
1.90", so that it continued to be used only as an assistant.

The longitude given by the time keepers with the King-George's-Sound
rates, on Feb. 27, the first day of observation at the tents, was by

No. 543, 136° 15' 9.0" east.
    520, 135  58 53.55
    176, 136   1 23.95.

But by allowing a rate accelerating in arithmetic progression, from those
at King George's Sound to what were obtained at this place, the mean
longitude by the two first time keepers would be 135" 52' 16", or 7' 25"
to the east of the lunar observations; which quantity, if the positions
of the Sound and of Port Lincoln be correct, is the accumulation of their
irregularity during fifty-seven days. In laying down the coasts and
islands from the Sound up to Cape Wiles, the longitudes are taken from
the time keepers according to the accelerated rates, corrected by an
equal proportion of the error 7' 25" in fifty-seven days. From Cape Wiles
to the head of Port Lincoln the survey is made from theodolite bearings
and observed latitudes, without the aid of the time keepers.

The _Dip_ of the south end of the needle, taken at the tents, was nearly
the same as in K. George's Sound, being                    64° 27'
Variation of the theodolite at the same place,  1  39  E.
And the bearings from different stations in the port were conformable to
this variation, except at Cape Donington, where, at a station on the
north-western part, it appeared to be as much as 4½° east.

The observations for the variation on board the ship, at anchor in the
lower part of the port, gave 2° 23' _west_, when the ship's head was
eastward, and 0° 53' east, at south-south-east. According to the first,
which were taken by lieutenant Flinders whilst the ship lay under
Stamford Hill, the true variation should be 0° 51' east; but by the
second, observed by myself near Cape Donington, 2° 7' east, or nearly the
same as was found in Memory Cove. Were the mean taken, it would be 1°
29', or 10' less than at the head of the port.

From Mr. Flinders` remarks upon the _Tide_, it appeared that the rise did
not exceed three-and-half feet; and that, like Princess Royal Harbour,
there was only one high water in twenty-four hours, which took place at
night, about _eleven hours after_ the moon's passage over the meridian,
or one hour before it came to the lower meridian; yet at Thorny Passage,
which is but a few leagues distant, there were two sets of tide in the
day. This difference, in so short a space, appears extraordinary; but it
may perhaps be accounted for by the direction of the entrance to the
port, which is open to the north-east, from whence the ebb comes.


On the 5th of March in the morning we ran down the harbour, and anchored
under Cape Donington at the entrance of Spalding Cove in 7 fathoms, soft
mud; the north-western extremity of the point bearing N. 16° E., one
mile, and partly hiding Point Bolingbroke. In the evening, lieutenant
Fowler returned from his search. He had rowed and walked along the shore
as far as Memory Cove, revisited Thistle's Island, and examined the
shores of the isles in Thorny Passage, but could find neither any traces
of our lost people nor fragments of the wreck. He had killed two or three
kangaroos upon Thistle's Island.


On the following morning I landed at Cape Donington to take some further
bearings, and Mr. Evans, the acting master, was sent to sound across the
entrance of Spalding Cove, and between Bicker Isles and Surfleet Point,
where a small ship-passage was found. The boat was afterwards hoisted up;
and our operations in Port Lincoln being completed, we prepared to follow
the unknown coast to the northward, or as it might be found to trend.


Departure from Port Lincoln.
Sir Joseph Banks' Group.
Examination of the coast, northward.
The ship found to be in a gulph.
Anchorage near the head of the gulph.
Boat expedition.
Excursion to Mount Brown.
Nautical observations.
Departure from the head, and examination of the east side of the gulph.
Extensive shoal.
Point Pearce.
Hardwicke Bay.
Verification of the time keepers.
General remarks on the gulph.
Cape Spencer and the Althorpe Isles.
New land discovered: Anchorage there.
General remarks on Kangaroo Island.
Nautical observations.



At ten in the morning of March 6 we sailed out of Port Lincoln, and
skirted along the east side of Boston Island and the entrance of Louth
Bay. In the afternoon we passed within two miles of Point Bolingbroke,
and at six in the evening came to an anchor in 10 fathoms, off the north
side of Kirkby Island, which is the nearest to the point of any of Sir
Joseph Banks' Group, and had been seen from Stamford Hill. A boat was
lowered down to sound about the ship, and I went on shore to take
bearings of the different islands; but they proved to be so numerous that
the whole could not be completed before dark.


I landed again in the morning with the botanical gentlemen, taking
Arnold's watch and the necessary instruments for ascertaining the
latitude and longitude. Twelve other isles of the group were counted, and
three rocks above water; and it is possible that some others may exist to
the eastward, beyond the boundary of my horizon, for it was not
extensive. The largest island seen is four or five miles long, and is low
and sandy, except at the north-east and south ends; it was called
_Reevesby Island_, and names were applied in the chart to each of the
other isles composing this group. The main coast extended northward from
Point Bolingbroke, but the furthest part visible from the top of Kirkby
Island was not more than four or five leagues distant; its bearing and
those of the objects most important to the connection of the survey were

Main coast, furthest extreme,                         N. 13° 40' E.
Point Bolingbroke,                                    N. 86  50  W.
Stamford Hill, station on the north end,              S. 45  17  W.
Thistle's Island, centre of the high land,            S.  5  37  W.
Sibsey Island, extremes,                   S. 16° 27' to 13   2  W.
Stickney Island,                           S. 18  30  to 22  40  E.
Spilsby Island,                            S. 39  30  to 48  25  E.

Granite forms the basis of Kirkby Island, as it does of the neighbouring
parts of the continent before examined; and it is in the same manner
covered with a _stratum_ of calcareous rock. The island was destitute of
wood, and almost of shrubs; and although there were marks of its having
been frequented by geese, none of the birds were seen, nor any other
species of animal except a few hair seals upon the shore. This
description, unfavourable as it is, seemed applicable to all the group,
with the exception of Reevesby and Spilsby Islands, which are higher and
of greater extent, and probably somewhat more productive.

The _latitude_ of the north side of Kirkby Island, observed from an
artificial horizon, was 34° 33' 1" south, and _longitude_ by timekeepers,
136° 10' 8" east. The _variation _from azimuths taken on board the ship
at anchor, with the head south-by-west (magnetic as usual), was 2° 40'
east; which corrected to the meridian would be 2° 2' east, the same
nearly as was observed in Memory Cove and at the entrance of Port
Lincoln; but an amplitude taken on shore with the surveying theodolite
gave 3° 57' east. This seemed extraordinary when, except at Cape
Donington, no local attraction of importance had been found in the shores
of Port Lincoln, where the stone is the same. It was, however,
corroborated by the bearings; for that of Stamford Hill, with 3° 57'
allowed, differed only 2' from the back bearing with the allowance of 1°
39'; which is a nearer coincidence than I have generally been able to

At two in the afternoon the anchor was weighed, and leaving most of Sir
Joseph Banks' Group to the right, we steered northward, following the
direction of the main land. The coast is very low and commonly sandy,
from Boston Bay to the furthest extreme seen from Kirkby Island; but a
ridge of hills, commencing at North-side Hill in Port Lincoln, runs a few
miles behind it. In latitude 34° 20' this ridge approaches the water
side, and in its course northward keeps nearly parallel at the distance
of two or three miles. It is moderately elevated, level, destitute of
vegetation, and appeared to be granitic. At half-past six, when we hauled
off for the night, the shore was five or six miles distant; the furthest
part bore N. N. E. ½ E., and a bluff inland mountain was set at N. 71°
W., over the top of the front ridge.

The wind was moderate from the south-eastward; and at seven on the
following morning [MONDAY 8 MARCH 1802], when the bluff inland mountain
was bearing W. 2° N., we resumed our north-eastern course along the
shore; which was distant seven miles, and had not changed its appearance.
Towards noon the water shoaled to 6 fathoms at three miles from a sandy
beach; a lagoon was visible from the mast head, over the beach, and a
small inlet, apparently connected with it, was perceived soon afterward.
A few miles short of this the ridge of hills turns suddenly from the
shore, and sweeps round at the back of the lagoon, into which the waters
running off the ridge appeared to be received. The corner hill, where the
direction of the ridge is changed, was called _Elbow Hill_; and since
losing sight of the bluff inland mount, it was the first distinguishable
mark which had presented itself for the survey; it lies in latitude 33°
43' and longitude 136° 42'. The coast there trends nearly east-by-north,
and obliged us to haul close to the wind, in soundings of 7 to 9 fathoms.

We had then advanced more than twenty-five leagues to the
north-north-east from Cape Catastrope; but although nothing had been seen
to destroy the hopes formed from the tides and direction of the coast
near that cape, they were yet considerably damped by the want of boldness
in the shores and the shallowness of the water; neither of which seemed
to belong to a channel capable of leading us into the Gulph of
Carpentaria, nor yet to any very great distance inland.

At two o'clock the shore again took a northern direction, but it was
still very low in front, and the depth did not materially increase. Land
was presently distinguished on the starbord bow and beam; and before
four, an elevated part, called _Barn Hill_ from the form of its top, bore
E. 4° N. We continued to follow the line of the western shore, steering
north-north-east and north; and the wind being at south, we hauled
north-westward at six o'clock, intending to anchor under the shelter of
the land. From 7 fathoms the depth diminished to 5, and quickly to
seventeen feet; upon which we veered round, ran back into 5 fathoms, and
came to an anchor three or four miles off the shore on a sandy bottom.
The wind blew fresh, with rainy squalls; but a whole cable being veered
out, we rode smoothly all night. The furthest land visible to the
northward consisted of detached hummocks of which the highest was called
_Mount Young_ in honour of the admiral. Abreast of the ship the land rose
gradually from the beach to the ridge of hills which still continued to
run behind it; but at this place some back hills were visible over the
ridge; and the highest of several hummocks upon the top, which served as
a mark in the survey, was named _Middle Mount_.  Observations for the
time keepers were taken in the morning [TUESDAY 9 MARCH 1802] before
getting under way, and the situation of the anchorage was found to be in

Longitude,                             137° 27½'
Mount Young bore,                    N. 11  E.
Middle Mount,                        N. 62½ W.
Low western shore, extreme,          S. 21  W.
High eastern land, about the middle, N. 71  E.

Having obtained the observations, we steered for the outermost of the
northern hummocks, with soundings gradually increasing to 12 fathoms; but
shoaling on a sudden to 7, upon coral, we hauled to the wind and tacked
instantly; finding, however, that the depth did not further decrease, I
let the ship go entirely round, and continued the former north-eastern
course, with soundings from 7 to 9 fathoms.

At noon, the furthest hummock seen from the anchorage was distant four or
five miles; it stands on a projection of low sandy land, and beyond it
was another similar projection to which I gave the name of _Point Lowly_.
This was the furthest visible part of the western shore; but the eastern
land there approached within seven or eight miles, and extended
northward, past it, in a chain of rugged mountains, at the further end of
which was a remarkable peak. Our situation and bearings at this time were
as follow:

Latitude, observed to the north and south, 33°  5' 14"
Longitude by time keepers,                 137 41 1/3
Middle Mount,                            S. 75 W.
Mount Young,                             S. 87 W.
Point Lowly, the extreme,                N. 43 E.
High peak on the eastern land,           N. 25 E.

Our prospect of a channel or strait, cutting off some considerable
portion of Terra Australis, was lost, for it now appeared that the ship
was entered into a gulph; but the width of the opening round Point Lowly
left us a consolatory hope that it would terminate in a river of some
importance. In steering for the point we came into 4 fathoms, but on
hauling to the eastward found 8, although a dry sand-bank was seen in
that direction. The depth afterwards diminished to 6, on which the course
for Point Lowly was resumed; and we passed it at the distance of a mile
and a half, in 9 fathoms water. Here the gulph was found to take a
river-like form, but the eastern half of it was occupied by a dry, sandy
spit and shoal water. We continued to steer upwards, before the wind; but
as the width contracted rapidly, and there was much shoal water, it was
under very easy sail, and with an anchor ready to be let go. At four
o'clock, in attempting to steer close over to the western side, we came
suddenly into 2½ fathoms; the ship was instantly veered to the eastward,
and on the water deepening to 7, we let go the anchor and veered out a
whole cable; for the wind blew a fresh gale right up the gulph, and
between S. 4° W. and 30° E. there was no shelter from the land. At sunset
a second anchor was dropped under foot.

We had reached near five leagues above Point Lowly, at the entrance of
the narrow part of the gulph; but the shores were low on both sides, and
abreast of the ship not so much as four miles asunder. At the back of the
eastern shore was the ridge of mountains before mentioned, of which Mr.
Westall made the sketch given in the Atlas (Plate XVII. View 10.); and
the highest peak toward their northern extremity, afterwards called
_Mount Brown_, bore N. 32° E. On the western side, upwards, there was
moderately high, flat-topped land, whose eastern bluff bore N. 36° W.,
about three leagues, and there the head of the gulph had the appearance
of terminating; but as the tide ran one mile an hour past the ship, we
still flattered ourselves with the prospect of a longer course, and that
it would end in a fresh-water river.


Early on the following morning, Messrs. Brown, Bauer and Westall, with
attendants, set off upon an excursion to the eastern mountains,
intending, if possible, to ascend to the top of Mount Brown; and I went
away in a cutter, accompanied by the surgeon, to explore the head of the
gulph, taking with me Arnold's pocket time-keeper. After crossing the
middle shoal, upon which we had 2½ fathoms in the ship, the water
deepened to 10, but afterwards diminished to 2, on approaching the
mangroves of the western side. Keeping then upwards, I had from 7 to 10
fathoms in the mid-channel, but found shoal water extending a mile, and
sometimes more, from the shore and no possibility of landing until we
came near the broad, flat-topped hill. From the eastern bluff of this
hill, Mount Brown bore N. 62° 20' E., and _Mount Arden_, a peak nearly at
the furthest extreme of the ridge, N. 18° 40' E.; and the inlet was seen
to run in a serpentine form to the northward, between low banks covered
with mangroves. After taking the bearings we returned to the boat and
pursued our course upward along the western shore, having from 4 to 7
fathoms past the bluff; but the inlet was there less than two miles wide,
and a league further on it was contracted to one mile, half of which,
besides, was occupied by mud flats. These banks were frequented by ducks
and other water fowl; and some time being occupied in chasing them, our
distance above the ship was not so much as five leagues in a straight
line, when the setting sun reminded us of looking out for a place of
rest. A landing was effected with some difficulty amongst the mangroves
on the eastern shore; and from a small eminence of red earth I set the
ship's mast heads at S. 14° E., and Mount Brown N. 85° E.


Next morning we continued the examination upwards, carrying 4, 3, and 2
fathoms in mid-channel; but at ten o'clock our oars touched the mud on
each side, and it was not possible to proceed further. I then landed and
took observations in an artificial horizon for the time-keeper, which
gave 4' 34" of longitude to the west of the ship, or only two seconds
more than was deduced from the bearings. Mount Brown bore S. 72° E.,
Mount Arden N. 26° E., and my last station on the eminence of red earth
S. 6° E. The inlet wholly terminated at one mile and a half to the N. 16°

It seemed remarkable, and was very mortifying, to find the water at the
head of the gulph as salt nearly as at the ship; nevertheless it was
evident that much fresh water was thrown into it in wet seasons,
especially from the eastern mountains. The summits of the ridge lie from
three to four leagues back from the water-side, but the greater part of
that space seemed to be low, marshy land. To the northward no hill was
visible, and to the westward but one small elevation of flat-topped land;
all else in those directions was mangroves and salt swamps, and they
seemed to be very extensive.

Two miles below the place where the observations for the time-keeper were
taken was a small cliff of reddish clay on the western shore; and being
near it on our return, when the sun was approaching the meridian, I
landed to observe the latitude. It was 32° 27' 56" south, so that the
termination of the gulph may be called in 32° 24½' without making a
greater error than half a mile. Mount Brown bore from thence S. 80½° E.,
and its latitude will therefore be 32° 30¼' south; the longitude deduced
from bearings and the time-keepers on board is 138° 0¾' east.

Our return to the ship was a good deal retarded by going after the black
swans and ducks amongst the flats. The swans were all able to fly, and
would not allow themselves to be approached; but some ducks of two or
three different species were shot, and also several sea pies or red
bills. Another set of bearings was taken on the western shore, and at ten
in the evening we reached the ship, where Mr. Brown and his party had not
been long arrived. The ascent of Mount Brown had proved to be very
difficult, besides having to walk fifteen miles on a winding course
before reaching the foot; by perseverance, however, they gained the top
at five on the first evening, but were reduced to passing the night
without water; nor was any found until they had descended some distance
on the following day. The view from the top of Mount Brown was very
extensive, its elevation being not less than three thousand feet; but
neither rivers nor lakes could be perceived, nor anything of the sea to
the south-eastward. In almost every direction the eye traversed over an
uninterruptedly flat, woody country; the sole exceptions being the ridge
of mountains extending north and south, and the water of the gulph to the

Mr. Brown found the stone of this ridge of craggy mountains to be
argillaceous, similar to that of the flat-topped land where I had taken
bearings on the west side of the inlet. It is reddish, smooth,
close-grained, and rather heavy. Bushes and some small trees grown in the
hollows of the rising hills; and between their feet and the mangrove
swamps near the water there was some tolerably good though shallow soil.

We had seen fires upon the eastern shore opposite to Point Lowly on first
entering the head of the gulph, and wherever I had landed there were
traces of natives; Mr. Brown found them even to a considerable height up
the side of the mountain; and it should therefore seem that the country
here is as well inhabited as most parts of Terra Australis, but we had
not the good fortune to meet with any of the people.

The observations taken by lieutenant Flinders fixed the position of the
ship in _latitude_ 32° 44' 41" south, and _longitude_ by the time keepers
137° 49' 56" east. Twelve sets of distances of the sun and moon gave 137°
50' 9"; but these being all on one side, the time keepers are preferred.
Azimuths observed from the binnacle, when the ship's head was between S.
by E. and S. S. E., gave 0° 42' east, or 1° 37' east, nearly, for the
true _variation_; and there was no particular attraction upon the
theodolite at any of my stations on shore.

We had two flood _tides_ in the day setting past the ship, and they ran
at the strongest one mile and a half per hour; the rise appeared to be
from six to eight feet, and high water to take place at _two hours and a
half after_ the moon passed the meridian. Except in the time of high
water, which is considerably later than at Thorny Passage, the tides at
the head have a near affinity to those at the entrance of the gulph;
whence the great differences at Port Lincoln, intermediately situate,
become so much the more extraordinary.


Nothing of particular interest having presented itself to detain us at
the head of the gulph, we got under way in the morning of the 13th,
having a light breeze from the north-westward. The western shore had been
followed in going up, and for that reason I proposed to keep close to the
east side in returning; but before eight o'clock the water shoaled
suddenly from 4 to 2 fathoms, and the ship hung upon a mud bank covered
with grass, two or three miles from the shore. A kedge anchor was carried
out astern; and in half an hour we again made sail downward, in soundings
from 5 to 10 fathoms near the edge of the shoal.

At noon, latitude observed to the N. and S.  32° 57' 6"
Mount Brown bore                          N.  9  30  E.
Pt. Lowly south extreme dist. 7 miles,    S. 79   0  W.

The depth was then 7 fathoms; but there were banks ahead, extending to a
great distance from the eastern shore, and in steering westward to pass
round them, we had 3½ fathoms for the least water. It afterwards deepened
to 7, and we again steered southward, but were not able to get near the
land; on the contrary, the shallow water forced us further off as we
proceeded. The wind was at west-southwest in the evening; and this not
permitting us to lie along the edge of the bank, we came to an anchor in
7 fathoms, soft bottom; being then above four leagues from the eastern
low shore, although there was only 3½ fathoms at less than a mile nearer

Mount Brown bore           N. 21° E.
Barn Hill,                 S. 43  E.
Mount Young,               N. 66  W.


In the morning we followed the line of the great eastern shoal, and its
direction permitted us to approach nearer to the land, with soundings
between 8 and 4 fathoms. A little before noon, after running half an hour
in less than 4 fathoms and getting within about six miles of the land, we
were obliged to tack and stretch off, the wind having veered to the
south-west. Our situation twenty minutes afterward, was in

Latitude, observed to the north and south,    33° 23' 49"
Longitude by time keepers,                   137  47
Mount Young bore                           N. 38  W.
Middle Mount, west side of the gulph,      N. 66  W.
Barn Hill, on the east side,               S. 60  E.

We beat to windward all the afternoon, and at sunset anchored in 3½
fathoms near the edge of the great bank and seven or eight miles from the
land. The shore was low and sandy, but there was a ridge of hills behind
it nearly similar to that on the west side of the gulph. Barn Hill lies
at the back of this ridge and about twelve miles from the water; and
towards the southern end of the ridge was another hill, also some
distance inland, of which I shall have occasion to speak hereafter. A
middle mount on the west side of the gulph, higher and further back than
the one before set, was in sight from this anchorage; and the bearings
taken were these:

Middle back mount,           N. 61° W.
Barn Hill on the east side,  S. 74  E.
A more southern hill,        S. 38  E.

Mount Br own was no longer visible; but it had been seen this afternoon
at the distance of fifty-eight miles, and was sufficiently above the
horizon to have been distinguished some miles further from a ship's deck
in a perfectly clear day.


On the morning of the 15th the wind had shifted to south-east; and the
great bank then trending south-westward, we followed it with variable
soundings between 3 and 10 fathoms. At ten o'clock the water had deepened
to 15; and being then nearer to the west than to the east side of the
gulph, and the wind having come more ahead, we tacked to the
east-south-east; but in fifty minutes were obliged to steer westward
again, having fallen into 3 fathoms on the edge of the bank. This is the
narrowest part of the gulph below Point Lowly, the two shores being
scarcely more than twenty miles asunder; and of this space, the great
eastern bank, if the part where we last had 3 fathoms be connected with
it, occupies about eleven, and the shallow water of the west side one or
two miles. The soundings we had in stretching westward across the deep
channel were, from the shoal, 3, 5, 7, 10, 12, 12, 12, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 7,
6, 5 fathoms, at nearly equal distances asunder, and the last at six
miles from the western land.

After sounding across the channel we stood back, lying up south-east, and
reached within five miles of the eastern shore, where the anchor was
dropped in 4½ fathoms; Barn Hill bearing N. 69° E., and a cliffy
projection, named _Point Riley_ after the gentleman of that name in the
Admiralty, S. 14° W., two or three leagues. This point was the furthest
visible part of the eastern shore; and so low and uniform had the coast
been from the head of the gulph, that this was the first mark I had found
upon it for the survey. The great eastern bank, which we had already
followed about sixty miles, seemed to terminate at Point Riley; and from
thence southward the gulph greatly enlarges its breadth. The situation of
the point is about 33° 53' south and 137° 30' E.


We got under way at six in the morning, and the wind being from the
south-eastward made a good stretch along the coast until noon. A patch of
breakers then lay five miles to the south-east; but the land was ten
miles distant, and some white sandy cliffs, four or five leagues from
Point Riley, bore S. 52° E. The intermediate coast, as also that which
extends several leagues to the north of the point, is low and sandy; but
at a few miles back it rises to a level land of moderate elevation, and
is not ill clothed with small trees. In the afternoon we had to beat
against a southern wind; and the coast in that part being too open for
anchorage, this was continued all night and the next morning [WEDNESDAY
17 MARCH 1802]; but with so little profit that the same land was still in
sight at noon, and our situation found to be as follows

Latitude, observed to the north and south,             34° 15' 24"
Longitude by time keepers,                            137  24½
North extreme near the sandy cliffs, dist. 6 miles, N. 19  E.
Low red cliffs, south end dist. 6 or 7 miles,       S. 54  E.

At six in the evening, the reddish cliffs were brought to bear N. 44° E.,
and a long point, or an island lying off a point, bore S. 43° W. two
leagues. Our distance from a cliffy islet, close under the shore, was two
or three miles, but the breakers from it were only half a mile off, and
the depth was 4 fathoms.


On the 18th, in the morning, we fetched to windward of the island-like
point, to which I gave the name of _Point Pearce_, in compliment to Mr.
Pearce of the Admiralty. Its latitude is 34° 28½' south and longitude
137° 21' east. On the south side of this point or island, for I could not
fully ascertain its connection, the shore falls back seven or eight miles
to the east, and then trends southward. It is low and very sandy, but
rises gradually to a level country of the same description as that near
Point Riley. At sunset the land was seen as far as south-west-by-south;
and the wind favouring us a little, we made a stretch for it. A fire upon
the shore served as a mark to steer by; and on approaching it at ten
o'clock, the anchor was let go in 6 fathoms, upon a bottom of coarse sand
and small stones, the weather being fine, and wind moderate off the land.

The howling of dogs was heard during the night, and at daylight [FRIDAY
19 MARCH 1802] the shore was found to be distant two or three miles, and
was woody, rising land, but not of much elevation. A remarkable point,
which I named _Corny Point_, bearing S 73° W. three miles, was the
furthest land visible to the westward; its latitude, from meridian
observations of Jupiter and the moon, is 34° 52' South, and longitude
from the time-keepers 137° 6½' east. Between this point and Point Pearce,
twenty-eight miles to the north-north-east, is a large bay, well
sheltered from all southern winds, and none others seem to blow with much
strength here. The land trends eastward about seven leagues, from Corny
Point to the head of the bay; but what the depth of water may be there,
or whether any fresh stream fall into it, I am not able to state; the
land, however, was better wooded, and had a more fertile appearance than
any before seen in the neighbourhood. I called this HARDWICKE BAY, in
honour of the noble earl of that title.

Several observations for the variation of the compass had been taken
whilst beating in the neighbourhood of Point Pearce. On its north side,
eight miles from the shore, an amplitude with the ship's head S. W. by S.
gave 4° 38' east; at E. by N., when fourteen miles off, another gave 1°
13' east; but azimuths three or four miles nearer in, 0° 10' _west_; and
at S. E., when six miles off, 0° 35' _west_. On the south side of Point
Pearce, the head being S. S. W., and the land distant thirteen miles, an
amplitude gave 3° 15' east. These different observations, which were all
taken with the surveying compass, being corrected upon the principles and
by the proportion explained in the Appendix No. II. to the second volume,
will be respectively, 2° 51', 4° 21' furthest from the land, 2° 58', 1°
41' nearest the land, and 2° 1' east. The mean is 2° 46' east; which may
be taken for the true variation at three or four leagues off Point Pearce
in 1802; but close in with the shore, I suspect it was less by 1°, or
perhaps 2°.

Having remained at anchor until the sun was high enough to admit of
observations for the time keepers, we got under way at half past seven
o'clock; and the coast round Corny Point being found to trend S. 27° W.,
nearly in the wind's eye, I stretched westward across the gulph towards
Thistle's Island, in order to compare the time keepers with the
longitudes of places before settled. Our latitude at noon, observed on
both sides, was 34° 50' 10"; Spilsby Island, the south-eastern most of
Sir Joseph Banks' Group, was seen bearing N. 56° W., and the eastern
bluff of Wedge Island, the central and largest of Gambier's Isles, bore
S. 16½° W. Gambier's Isles, four in number besides two peaked rocks, had
been first seen from the high land behind Memory Cove. They lie nearly in
the centre of the entrance to the gulph; and the latitude of Wedge Island
is 35°11' south, and longitude 136° 29' east. Soon after four in the
afternoon, I had the following bearings:

Wedge Island, highest part,                        S. 21½° E.
Thistle's Island, highest part,                    S. 29   W.
C. Catastrophe, former station on the S. E. point, S. 53½  W.
Stamford Hill, former station at the top,          N. 86   W.
Sibsey Island, centre,                             N. 33   W.
Stickney Island,                                   N. 11   W.
Spilsby Island,                                    N. 17½  E.

The longitude deduced from these bearings was 30° 22" east, from the head
of Port Lincoln, and that resulting from observations for the time
keepers taken in the same place, was 30° 53"; showing a difference of no
more than 0' 31" to the east, since quitting the port. This quantity in a
sea observation is so small and uncertain, that I considered the time
keepers to have gone correctly from March 4, when the last observations
in Port Lincoln had been made, up to this time; and that the lunar
observations taken in the interval might be reduced back to the head of
the port by their means, and used to fix its longitude without any
further correction.

Besides the bearings above given, there was a rocky islet four miles
distant in the S. 78° W.; part of a ledge of low rocks which extended
towards the north end of Thistle's Island, and may possibly be connected
with the rock set from thence. This ledge is marked _dangerous_, in the
particular chart.

Having satisfactorily ascertained the going of the time keepers, we
tacked and stretched back for the coast on the east side of the gulph;
but did not get sight of it before dark. At six on the following morning

Corny Point, dist. 5 or 6 leagues, bore         N. 63½° E.
A cliffy head, distant 10 miles,                S. 85   E.
Furthest extreme, a cliffy point,               S. 21   E.
Wedge Island, eastern bluff,                    S. 49   W.
Thistle's Island, highest part,                   West.

An amplitude taken when the ship's head was south-by-east, gave variation
1° 25' east, and azimuths at south-south-east, 1° 10': the mean, reduced
to the meridian, is 2° 13' east, or a few minutes more than had been
found on the west side of the gulph, and half a degree less than off
Point Pearce.

The tide appeared to set us along the shore to the southward, although,
from what was observed at Thistle's Island, it should have been the time
of flood. With its assistance, and the wind having become less
unfavourable, we were enabled to make a course for the furthest land.
This proved to be a cape, composed of three cliffy points, near the
northern part of which lay a cluster of black rocks. The southernmost
cliff bore at noon E. 4½° S. six or seven miles, and beyond it there was
no main coast visible; but three small islands, with several rocks and a
reef, were seen to lie as far as five miles to the southward, out from
the cape.

Although the continuation of the main coast was not to be distinguished
beyond the cape, yet there was land in sight at the distance of seven or
eight leagues, from about south to S. 18½° W. Whether this land were an
island or a part of the continent, and the wide opening to the eastward a
strait or a new inlet, was uncertain; but in either case, the
investigation of the gulph was terminated; and in honour of the
respectable nobleman who presided at the Board of Admiralty when the
voyage was planned and ship put into commission, I named it SPENCER'S
GULPH. The cliffy-pointed cape which forms the east side of the entrance,
and lies in 35° 18' south and 136° 55' east, was named CAPE SPENCER; and
the three isles lying off it, with their rocks, _Althorp Isles_.

A line drawn from the nearest part of Cape Catastrophe to Cape Spencer
will be forty-eight miles long, and so much is the entrance of the gulph
in width. Gambier's Isles lie not far from the middle of the line; and if
we measure upward from them, the gulph will be found, without regard to
the small windings, to extend one hundred and eighty-five miles into the
interior of the country. For the general exactness of its form in the
chart I can answer with tolerable confidence, having seen all that is
laid down, and, as usual, taken every angle which enters into the
construction. Throughout the whole extent of the shores the water line
was almost every where distinguished; the only exceptions being small
portions at the head of Hardwicke and Louth Bays, of a bight near Point
Lowly, and of the low land at the back of the great Eastern Shoal.

At noon, when off Cape Spencer, the wind became variable and light, with
very hazy, cloudy weather; and the mercury in my marine barometer had
fallen two-tenths of an inch. At six in the evening a breeze sprung up at
west-north-west; and as I expected a gale would come on, and that as
usual it would veer to the south-west, we ceased to follow the coast
beyond Cape Spencer, and steered for the land seen in the southern
quarter. The Althorp Isles were passed at eight o'clock, at the distance
of eight or nine miles; and the wind being fresh at west, we made short
trips during the night between the two lands, not knowing what might be
in the space to leeward. At daylight [SUNDAY 21 MARCH 1802] the ship was
nearly in mid-channel, between the southern land and Cape Spencer, and
nothing was seen to the eastward. It then blew a fresh gale at
south-west, with much sea running; we stretched south-west under
close-reefed top-sails, to get under the lee of the southern land; and at
eight o'clock, when the largest Althorp Isle bore N. 32° W., it was
distant six or seven miles to the south, and extended from S. 61° W. to
79° E. as far as the eye could reach. It was rather high and cliffy; but
there was nothing by which to judge of its connection with the main.

At ten o'clock we were close under the land; and finding the water
tolerably smooth, had shortened sail with the intention of anchoring near
a small, sandy beach; but the situation proving to be too much exposed,
we steered eastward along the shore under two close-reefed topsails and
fore-sail, the wind blowing strong in squalls from the south-west. The
furthest land seen ahead at noon was a projecting point, lower than the
other cliffs; it bore E. 7° S., four leagues, and and lies in 35° 33'
south and 137° 41' east. It was named _Point Marsden_, in compliment to
the second secretary of the Admiralty; and beyond it the coast was found
to trend southward into a large bay containing three coves, any one of
which promised good shelter from the gale. This was called NEPEAN BAY. in
compliment to the first secretary (now Sir Evan Nepean, Bart.), and we
hauled up for it; but the strength of the wind was such that a headland
forming the east side of the bay was fetched with difficulty. At six in
the evening we came to anchor in 9 fathoms, sandy bottom, within a mile
of the shore; the east extreme bearing S. 76° E., and the land near Point
Marsden, on the west side of Nepean Bay, N. 61° W., six leagues. A piece
of high land, seemingly unconnected, bore from N. 45° to 78° E.; but no
land could be distinguished to the northward.

Neither smokes nor other marks of inhabitants had as yet been perceived
upon the southern land, although we had passed along seventy miles of its
coast. It was too late to go on shore this evening; but every glass in
the ship was pointed there, to see what could be discovered. Several
black lumps, like rocks, were pretended to have been seen in motion by
some of the young gentlemen, which caused the force of their imaginations
to be much admired; next morning [MONDAY 22 MARCH 1802], however, on
going toward the shore, a number of dark-brown kangaroos were seen
feeding upon a grass-plat by the side of the wood and our landing gave
them no disturbance. I had with me a double-barrelled gun, fitted with a
bayonet, and the gentlemen my companions had muskets. It would be
difficult to guess how many kangaroos were seen; but I killed ten, and
the rest of the party made up the number to thirty-one, taken on board in
the course of the day; the least of them weighing sixty-nine, and the
largest one hundred and twenty-five pounds. These kangaroos had much
resemblance to the large species found in the forest lands of New South
Wales, except that their colour was darker, and they were not wholly
destitute of fat.

After this butchery, for the poor animals suffered themselves to be shot
in the eyes with small shot, and in some cases to be knocked on the head
with sticks, I scrambled with difficulty through the brushwood, and over
fallen trees, to reach the higher land with the surveying instruments;
but the thickness and height of the wood prevented anything else from
being distinguished. There was little doubt, however, that this extensive
piece of land was separated from the continent; for the extraordinary
tameness of the kangaroos and the presence of seals upon the shore
concurred with the absence of all traces of men to show that it was not


The whole ship's company was employed this afternoon in skinning and
cleaning the kangaroos; and a delightful regale they afforded, after four
months' privation from almost any fresh provisions. Half a hundred weight
of heads, forequarters and tails were stewed down into soup for dinner on
this and the succeeding days; and as much steaks given, moreover, to both
officers and men as they could consume by day and by night. In gratitude
for so seasonable a supply I named this southern land KANGAROO ISLAND.


Next day was employed in shifting the topmasts on account of some rents
found in the heels. The scientific gentlemen landed again to examine the
natural productions of the island, and in the evening eleven more
kangaroos were brought on board; but most of these were smaller, and
seemed to be of a different species to those of the preceding day. Some
of the party saw several large running birds; which, according to their
description, seemed to have been the emu or cassowary.

Not being able to obtain a distinct view from any elevated situation, I
took a set of angles from a small projection near the ship, named
_Kangaroo Head_; but nothing could be seen to the north, and the sole
bearing of importance, more than had been taken on board, was that of a
high hill at the extremity of the apparently unconnected land to the
eastward: it bore N. 39° 10' E., and was named _Mount Lofty_. The nearest
part of that land was a low point bearing N. 60° E. nine or ten miles;
but the land immediately at the back was high, and its northern and
southern extremes were cliffy. I named it CAPE JERVIS, and it was
afterwards sketched by Mr. Westall. (Atlas Plate XVII. View 12.)

All the cliffs of Kangaroo Island seen to the west of the anchorage had
the appearance of being calcareous, and the loose stones scattered over
the surface of Kangaroo Head and the vicinity were of that substance; but
the basis in this part seemed to be a brown slate, lying in _strata_
nearly horizontal, and _laminae_ of quartz were sometimes seen in the
interstices. In some places the slate was split into pieces of a foot
long, or more, like iron bars, and had a shining, ore-like appearance;
and the _strata_ were then further from the horizontal line than I
observed them to be elsewhere.

A thick wood covered almost all that part of the island visible from the
ship; but the trees in a vegetating state were not equal in size to the
generality of those lying on the ground, nor to the dead trees standing
upright. Those on the ground were so abundant that in ascending the
higher land a considerable part of the walk was made upon them. They lay
in all directions, and were nearly of the same size and in the same
progress towards decay; from whence it would seem that they had not
fallen from age, nor yet been thrown down in a gale of wind. Some general
conflagration, and there were marks apparently of fire on many of them,
is perhaps the sole cause which can be reasonably assigned; but whence
came the woods on fire? That there were no inhabitants upon the island,
and that the natives of the continent did not visit it, was demonstrated,
if not by the want of all signs of such visit, yet by the tameness of the
kangaroo, an animal which, on the continent, resembles the wild deer in
timidity. Perhaps lightning might have been the cause, or possibly the
friction of two dead trees in a strong wind; but it would be somewhat
extraordinary that the same thing should have happened at Thistle's
Island, Boston Island and at this place, and apparently about the same
time. Can this part of Terra Australis have been visited before, unknown
to the world? The French navigator, La Pérouse, was ordered to explore
it, but there seems little probability that he ever passed Torres'

Some judgment may be formed of the epoch when these conflagrations
happened from the magnitude of the growing trees; for they must have
sprung up since that period. They were a species of _eucalyptus_, and
being less than the fallen trees, had most probably not arrived at
maturity; but the wood is hard and solid, and it may thence be supposed
to grow slowly. With these considerations I should be inclined to fix the
period at not less than ten, nor more than twenty years before our
arrival. This brings us back to La Pérouse. He was in Botany Bay in the
beginning of 1788; and if he did pass through Torres' Strait, and come
round to this coast, as was his intention, it would probably be about the
middle or latter end of that year, or between thirteen and fourteen years
before the Investigator. My opinion is not favourable to this conjecture;
but I have furnished all the _data_ to enable the reader to form his own
judgment upon the cause which might have prostrated the woods of these

The soil of that part of Kangaroo Island examined by us was judged to be
much superior to any before seen, either upon the south coast of the
continent or upon the islands near it, with the exception of some
portions behind the harbours of King George's Sound. The depth of the
soil was not particularly ascertained; but from the thickness of the wood
it cannot be very shallow. Some sand is mixed with the vegetable earth,
but not in any great proportion; and I thought the soil superior to some
of the land cultivated at Port Jackson, and to much of that in our stony
counties in England.

Never perhaps had the dominion possessed here by the kangaroo been
invaded before this time. The seal shared with it upon the shores, but
they seemed to dwell amicably together. It not unfrequently happened that
the report of a gun fired at a kangaroo near the beach brought out two or
three bellowing seals from under bushes considerably further from the
water-side. The seal, indeed, seemed to be much the most discerning
animal of the two; for its actions bespoke a knowledge of our not being
kangaroos, whereas the kangaroo not unfrequently appeared to consider us
to be seals.

The _latitude_ of the landing place near Kangaroo Head from an
observation in the artificial horizon, was 35° 43' 0" south; and the
_longitude_ of our anchorage by timekeepers, 137° 58' 31" east. This
last, being deduced from observations only four days after the proof had
of the time keepers having gone correctly since leaving Port Lincoln,
should be as accurate, or very nearly so, as the longitude of that port.

The _variation_ observed from two compasses on board, with the head
south-westward, was 6° 31' east; but when the ship swung to a tide coming
from east-north-east, the change in the bearings of different objects
showed the variation to be about 4° less. The true variation I deduce to
be 4° 13' east; which is an increase upon what was observed on the west
side of Cape Spencer, of 2°; although the distance be no more than
twenty-four leagues, and the previous increase from Cape Catastrophe had
been almost nothing. It seems probable that the existence of magnetic
bodies in the land to the north-westward, and perhaps also in Kangaroo
Island and Cape Jervis, was the cause of this change in the direction of
the needle.

From appearances on the shore, I judged the rise of _tide_ to be about
six feet. The flood came from the east-north-east, twice in the day, and
by the swinging of the ship, ceased at _two hours and a half after_ the
moon's passage; but the time of high water was afterwards found to be
later by one hour and a half.


Departure from Kangaroo Island.
Examination of the main coast, from Cape Spencer eastward.
The Investigator's Strait.
A new gulph discovered. Anchorage at, and examination of the head.
Remarks on the surrounding land.
Return down the gulph.
Troubridge Shoal.
Yorke's Peninsula.
Return to Kangaroo Island.
Boat expedition to Pelican Lagoon.
Astronomical observations.
Kangaroo Island quitted.
Back-stairs Passage.
The coast from Cape Jervis, eastward.
Meeting, and communication with Le Geographe.
Remarks upon the French discoveries on the South Coast.



March 24 in the morning, we got under way from Kangaroo Island in order
to take up the examination of the main coast at Cape Spencer, where it
had been quitted in the evening of the 20th, when the late gale
commenced. The wind had continued to blow fresh from the southward, but
had now moderated, and was at south-west. We steered north-westward from
ten o'clock till six in the evening, and then had sight of land extending
from N. 62° W. to a low part terminating at N. 17° E. distant three
leagues. A hummock upon this low part was named _Troubridge Hill_, and at
first it makes like an island. Nothing was visible to the eastward of the
low land; whence I judged there to be another inlet or a strait between
it and Cape Jervis. Soon after dusk the wind veered to south-by-east, on
which we steered south-westward, and continued the same course until four
in the morning [THURSDAY 25 MARCH 1802]; when the largest Althorp Isle
being seen to the north-west, the ship was hove to, with her head
eastward; and at daylight, before making sail, the following bearings
were taken of the lands to the northward, but no part of Kangaroo Island
was visible.

Wedge I. (of Gambier's Isles), highest part,      N. 64½° W.
Althorpe Isle, largest, distant 6 miles,   N. 83° to 78   W.
Cape Spencer, south point,                        N. 44   W.
Furthest extreme of the northern land,            N. 44   E.

The wind fixed itself at south-east, and it took us two days to work back
against it as far as Troubridge Hill [SATURDAY 27 MARCH 1802]. The shore
is generally low and sandy; but with the exception of one very low point,
it may be approached within two miles. Many tacks were made in these two
days from the northern land across to Kangaroo Island, and gave
opportunities of sounding the intermediate strait. From 45 fathoms, in
the middle of the western entrance, the depth diminished quickly to 25,
then more slowly to 20 after which it is irregular between 12 and 20
fathoms, as far as the mouth of the second inlet. Of the two sides, that
of Kangaroo Island is much the deepest; but there is no danger in any
part to prevent a ship passing through the strait with perfect
confidence, and the average width is twenty-three miles. It was named
INVESTIGATOR'S STRAIT, after the ship. The bottom is mostly broken
shells, mixed with sand, gravel or coral, and appeared to hold well.

From two amplitudes taken to the north-north-west of Point Marsden, and
near the middle of the strait, the variation was 1° 49' east; the ship's
head being south-south-east in one case, and north-east-by-north in the
other. The true variation deduced from these, is 3° 20' east; which is 1°
7' greater than at Cape Spencer, and 0° 53' less than at the anchorage
near Kangaroo Head.

At noon of the 27th, the eastern wind died away; and we dropped a kedge
anchor in 15 fathoms, about two miles from Point Marsden, where the
following observations and bearings were taken.

Latitude, observed to the north,                35° 31' 38"
Longitude by time keepers,                     137  42
Kangaroo I., furthest western extreme,       S. 82  W.
do., Point Marsden, west side,               S. 26  W.
do., innermost head up Nepean Bay,           S. 27  E.
do., furthest eastern extreme,               S. 57½ E.
Cape Jervis, south extreme,                  S. 73  E.

No set of tide was observable until three o'clock, when it made gently to
the north-east, towards the new inlet; and a breeze springing up at
south-east soon afterward, we pursued the same course, and were well
within the entrance at eight o'clock. Fires were seen ahead; but the
soundings being regular, and increasing, we kept on until midnight; when
the land was seen also, and we stood back for two hours. At daylight
[SUNDAY 28 MARCH 1802] I recognised Mount Lofty, upon the highest part of
the ridge of mountains which, from Cape Jervis, extends northward behind
the eastern shore of the inlet. The nearest part of the coast was distant
three leagues, mostly low, and composed of sand and rock, with a few
small trees scattered over it; but at a few miles inland, where the back
mountains rise, the country was well clothed with forest timber, and had
a fertile appearance. The fires bespoke this to be a part of the

Light airs and calms prevailed during the morning, and the ship had very
little way until noon, when a breeze sprung up at south-west. Our
situation was then in

Latitude, observed to the north and south,   35° 4' 13"
Longitude by time keepers,                  138 23
Mount Lofty bore                          N. 71  E.
Southern extreme toward Cape Jervis,      S. 17  W.
Northern extreme, trees above the water,  N. 32  E.

The situation of Mount Lofty was found from hence and from some other
cross bearings, to be 34° 59' south and 138° 42' east. No land was
visible so far to the north as where the trees appeared above the
horizon, which showed the coast to be very low, and our soundings were
fast decreasing. From noon to six o'clock we ran thirty miles to the
northward, skirting a sandy shore at the distance of five, and thence to
eight miles; the depth was then 5 fathoms, and we dropped the anchor upon
a bottom of sand, mixed with pieces of dead coral.


In the morning, land was seen to the westward, and also a hummocky
mountain, capped with clouds, apparently near the head of the inlet.
Azimuths with the surveying compass, taken when the ship's head was
south-eastward, gave 2° 27' east variation; but an amplitude taken at the
same anchorage on the preceding evening, when the head was south-by-west,
showed 5° 22' east. These corrected to the meridian, will be severally 4°
43' and 4° 44' east; or half a degree more than was observed near
Kangaroo Head. The observations at this anchorage and the bearings taken
were as follow:

Latitude observed from the moon,              34° 36' S.
Longitude by time keepers,                   138  18  E.
Mount Lofty,                               S. 41½° E.
Nearest shore, distant 7 miles,            N. E. to N.
Hummock mount, highest top,                N. 12½  W.
Western land, furthest extremes, N. 51° to S. 65   W.

There being almost no wind in the morning, we remained at anchor until
nine o'clock, to set up afresh the rigging of the new top masts; and I
took a boat to sound upon a rippling near the ship, but found the same
depth of 5 fathoms. Very little progress was made until noon, at which
time shoal water obliged us to steer westward. At three the soundings had
increased from 3½ to 10 fathoms, which was the deepest water to be found;
for it became shallower on approaching the western shore. After steering
various northwardly courses, we anchored at sunset in 5 fathoms, sand,
shells and broken coral; the shores then appeared to close round at the
distance of seven or eight miles; and the absence of tide gave no
prospect of finding any river at the head of the inlet.

According to lieutenant Flinders' observations, the situation of the
anchorage was in

Latitude,                                  34° 16' 36"
Longitude by time keepers,                138   6
Mount Lofty, dist. 17 leagues, bore,    S. 35 E.
Hummock Mount, highest part,            N.  5  E.
A low sandy point, dist. 3 or 4, miles, N. 69 E.
A low point covered with mangroves,     N. 53 W.

The variation from an amplitude, observed when the ship's head was
south-eastward, was 2° 50' east; but the compass being upon a stand out
of its usual place, I cannot deduce the true variation, but took it to
be; 4° 40' east, nearly as found at the preceding anchorage.


Early in the morning I went in a boat, accompanied by the naturalist, to
examine more closely the head of the gulph. We carried from 4 to 3
fathoms water four miles above the ship, when it shoaled to fifteen and
eight feet, which brought us to mud flats, nearly dry; but by means of a
small channel amongst them we got within half a mile of the shore, and
walked to it upon a bank of mud and sand.

It was then ten o'clock, and the tide was out; so that I judged the time
of high water to be _about seven hours after_ the moon's passage, or
three hours later than at Kangaroo Island; and the ordinary rise appeared
to be six or eight feet. An observation of the sun's meridian altitude
from the artificial horizon showed the landing-place to be in latitude
34° 8' 52", and the uppermost water might be 30" less; whence the extent
of this inlet, from Cape Jervis on the east side of the entrance, is 1°
30' of latitude.

Microscopic shells of various kinds, not larger than grains of wheat,
were heaped up in ridges at high-water mark; further back the shore was
sandy, but soon rose, in an undulating manner, to hills covered with
grass; and several clumps of trees scattered over them gave the land a
pleasing appearance from the water side. We set off in the afternoon for
the Hummock Mount, which stands upon a northern prolongation of the hills
on the west side of the inlet, and about eight miles from the water; but
finding it could not be reached in time to admit of returning on board
the same evening, I ascended a nearer part of the range to inspect the
head of the inlet. It was almost wholly occupied by flats, which seemed
to be sandy in the eastern part and muddy to the westward. These flats
abounded with rays; and had we been provided with a harpoon, a boat load
might have been caught. One black swan and several shags and gulls were

I found the grass upon these pleasant-looking hills to be thinly set, the
trees small, and the land poor in vegetable soil. The mountainous ridge
on the east side of the inlet passes within a few miles of Hummock Mount,
and appeared to be more sandy; but the wood upon it was abundant, and of
a larger growth. Between the two ranges is a broad valley, swampy at the
bottom; and into it the water runs down from both sides in rainy weather,
and is discharged into the gulph, which may be considered as the lower
and wider part of the valley.

This eastern ridge is the same which rises at Cape Jervis; from whence it
extends northward towards Barn Hill and the ridge of mountains on the
east side of Spencer's Gulph. If it joins that ridge, as I strongly
suspect, its length, taking it only from Cape Jervis to Mount Arden, will
be more than seventy leagues in a straight line. There are some
considerable elevations on the southern part; Mount Lofty is one of them,
and its height appeared nearly equal to that of Mount Brown to the north,
or about three thousand feet. Another lies six or seven miles to the
north-by-east of the Hummock Mount, near the head of this inlet, and
seems to have been the hill set from Spencer's Gulph, at the anchorage of
March 14, in the evening, when it was distant ten or eleven leagues and
appeared above the lower range in front of Barn Hill.

From my station on the western hills of the new inlet, across to
Spencer's Gulph, the distance was not more than thirty miles; but as I
did not ascend the highest part of the range, the water to the westward
could not be seen. Had the Hummock Mount been within my reach, its
elevation of near fifteen hundred feet would probably have afforded an
extensive view, both across the peninsula and of the country to the


In honour of the noble admiral who presided at the Board of Admiralty
when I sailed from England, and had continued to the voyage that
countenance and protection of which Earl Spencer had set the example, I
named this new inlet the GULPH OF ST. VINCENT. To the peninsula which
separates it from Spencer's Gulph I have affixed the name of YORKE'S
PENINSULA, in honour of the Right Honourable Charles Philip Yorke, who
followed the steps of his above-mentioned predecessors at the Admiralty.


On the 31st at daylight we got under way to proceed down the gulph, and
having followed the eastern shore in going up, I wished to trace the
coast of the peninsula in returning; but the wind being nearly at south,
it could only be done partially. At two in the afternoon we tacked in 3
fathoms from the eastern shoals, and at sunset in the same depth one mile
from the western side; our distance from the head of the gulph being then
about ten leagues, and the furthest land of the peninsula bearing S. 3°
E. The western hills come down nearly to the water-side here, and have
the same pleasant appearance as at the head of the gulph, being grassy,
with clumps of wood scattered over them; the coast-line is somewhat
cliffy, and not so low as the eastern shore.


During the night the wind veered round to east, and at three in the
morning to north-east; and a fire being seen on the eastern shore, the
fore top sail was laid to the mast. At daybreak we made sail west for the
land of the peninsula; and at half-past nine it was less than five miles
distant, being very low and sandy. The northern extreme then in sight
appeared to be the same land set in the evening at S. 3° E.; the other
extreme was not far from Troubridge Hill, on the west side of the
entrance to the gulph; and near it was an extensive bank, part of it dry,
which I called _Troubridge Shoal_. The bearings taken at this time were,

Northern extreme of the west shore,           N.  2° E.
Southern extreme, distant 7 miles,            S. 42  W.
Troubridge Shoal, dry part           S. 13° W. to 9  E.
Cape Jervis, S. extreme of high land,          S. 18  E.
Mount Lofty,                                  N. 85  E.

We now hauled the wind to the south-east, and weathered the dry part of
Troubridge Shoal; but passed amongst several patches of discoloured water
in soundings from 4 to 3½ fathoms. At noon, when our latitude observed on
both sides was 35° 9' 38" and longitude by time keepers 138° 4½', the
shoal was distant three leagues to the west-north-west; Cape Jervis bore
S. 12°, and Mount Lofty N. 72° E.

Our examination of the gulph of St. Vincent was now finished; and the
country round it had appeared to be generally superior to that on the
borders of Spencer's Gulph. Yorke's Peninsula between them is singular in
its form, bearing some resemblance to a very ill-shaped leg and foot. The
length of the southern part, from Cape Spencer to the sandy point near
Troubridge Shoal, is about forty-five miles; and from thence northward,
to where the peninsula joins the main land, about sixty miles. Its least
breadth is from the head of Hardwicke Bay to the Investigator's Strait,
where it appears to be not more than three leagues.


Having now made myself acquainted with the shores of the continent up to
Cape Jervis, it remained to pursue the discovery further eastward; but I
wished to ascertain previously whether any error had crept into the
time-keepers' rates since leaving Kangaroo Island, and also to procure
there a few more fresh meals for my ship's company. Our course was in
consequence directed for the island, which was visible from aloft; but
the winds being very feeble, we did not pass Kangaroo Head until eleven
at night. I purposed to have run up into the eastern cove of Nepean Bay,
but finding the water to shoal from 12 to 7 fathoms, did not think it
safe to go further in the dark, and therefore dropped the anchor about
three-quarters of a mile from the shore, and two miles to the
south-west-by-west of our former anchorage.


Early on the following morning a party was sent to shoot kangaroos,
another to cut wood, and the naturalists went to pursue their researches.
The observations taken by lieutenant Flinders, compared with those of
March 24th, showed the timekeepers to have erred 2' 10" of longitude to
the west in the nine days we had been absent; and they had not,
consequently, lost quite so much upon a medium as the Port Lincoln rates
supposed. This small error, which principally affected the Gulph of St.
Vincent, has been corrected in the longitudes there specified and in the
chart by an equal proportion.

The kangaroos were found to be less numerous than at the first anchoring
place, and they had become shy, so that very few were killed. Those few
being brought off, with a boat load of wood, we got under way at daylight
next morning to prosecute the examination of the coast beyond Cape
Jervis; but the timekeepers had stopped, from having been neglected to be
wound up on the preceding day. We therefore came to an anchor again; and
as some time would be required to fix new rates, the ship was moored so
soon as the flood tide made. I landed immediately, to commence the
necessary observations, and a party was established on shore, abreast of
the ship, to cut more wood for the holds. Lieutenant Fowler was sent in
the launch to the eastward, with a shooting party and such of the
scientific gentlemen as chose to accompany him; and there being skins
wanted for the service of the rigging, he was directed to kill some


On the 4th I was accompanied by the naturalist in a boat expedition to
the head of the large eastern cove of Nepean Bay; intending if possible
to ascend a sandy eminence behind it, from which alone there was any hope
of obtaining a view into the interior of the island, all the other hills
being thickly covered with wood. On approaching the south-west corner of
the cove, a small opening was found leading into a considerable piece of
water; and by one of its branches we reached within little more than a
mile of the desired sandy eminence. After I had observed the latitude 35°
50' 2" from an artificial horizon, we got through the wood without much
difficulty, and at one o'clock reached the top of the eminence, to which
was given the name of _Prospect Hill_. Instead of a view into the
interior of the island, I was surprised to find the sea at not more than
one and half or two miles to the southward. Two points of the coast
towards the east end of the island bore S. 77° E., and the furthest part
on the other side, a low point with breakers round it, bore S. 33° W., at
the supposed distance of four or five leagues. Between these extremes a
large bight in the south coast was formed; but it is entirely exposed to
southern winds, and the shores are mostly cliffy. Mount Lofty, on the
east side of the Gulph of St. Vincent, was visible from Prospect Hill at
the distance of sixty-nine miles, and bore N. 40° 40' E.

The entrance of the piece of water at the head of Nepean Bay is less than
half a mile in width, and mostly shallow; but there is a channel
sufficiently deep for all boats near the western shore. After turning two
low islets near the east point the water opens out, becomes deeper, and
divides into two branches, each of two or three miles long. Boats can go
to the head of the southern branch only at high water; the east branch
appeared to be accessible at all times, but as a lead and line were
neglected to be put into the boat, I had no opportunity of sounding.
There are four small islands in the eastern branch; one of them is
moderately high and woody, the others are grassy and lower; and upon two
of these we found many young pelicans, unable to fly. Flocks of the old
birds were sitting upon the beaches of the lagoon, and it appeared that
the islands were their breeding-places; not only so, but from the number
of skeletons and bones there scattered, it should seem that they had for
ages been selected for the closing scene of their existence. Certainly
none more likely to be free from disturbance of every kind could have
been chosen than these islets in a hidden lagoon of an uninhabited
island, situate upon an unknown coast near the antipodes of Europe; nor
can anything be more consonant to the feelings, if pelicans have any,
than quietly to resign their breath whilst surrounded by their progeny,
and in the same spot where they first drew it. Alas for the pelicans!
Their golden age is past; but it has much exceeded in duration that of

I named this piece of water _Pelican Lagoon_. It is also frequented by
flocks of the pied shag, and by some ducks and gulls; and the shoals
supplied us with a few oysters. The surrounding country is almost
everywhere thickly covered with brushwood; and the soil appeared to be
generally of a good quality, though not deep. Prospect Hill and the parts
around it are more sandy; and there seemed to be swamps at the head of
both branches of the lagoon. The isthmus which separates the southern
branch from the sea is low, but rises gradually up the cliffs of the

Not being able to return on board the same night, we slept near the
entrance of the lagoon. It was high water by the shore, on the morning of
the 5th [MONDAY 5 APRIL 1802], at six o'clock; but on comparing this with
the swinging of the ship, it appeared that the tide had then been running
more than an hour from the westward. The rise in the lagoon seemed to be
from four to eight feet.

A few kangaroos had been obtained during my absence, as also some seal
skins; but one of the sailors having attacked a large seal incautiously,
received a very severe bite in the leg and was laid up. After all the
researches now made in the island, it appeared that the kangaroos were
much more numerous at our first landing-place, near Kangaroo Head, than
elsewhere in the neighbourhood. That part of the island was clearer of
wood than most others; and there were some small grass plats which seemed
to be particularly attractive and were kept very bare. Not less than
thirty emus or cassowaries were seen at different times; but it so
happened that they were fired at only once, and that ineffectually. They
were most commonly found near the longest of the small beaches to the
eastward of Kangaroo Head, where some little drainings of water oozed
from the rocks. It is possible that with much time and labour employed in
digging, water might be procured there to supply a ship; and I am sorry
to say that it was the sole place found by us where the hope of procuring
fresh water could be entertained.

Having received on board a good stock of wood, the launch was hoisted in
and every thing prepared for going to sea. Next morning [TUESDAY 6 APRIL
1802], so soon as the sun was sufficiently elevated to be observed in the
artificial horizon, I landed to take the last set of observations for the
time-keepers; after which the anchor was weighed, and we steered out of
Nepean Bay with a light breeze from the south-west. Towards noon it fell
calm, and finding by the land that the ship was set westward, an anchor
was dropped nearly in our first place off Kangaroo Head; and Mr. Westall
took the sketch given in the Atlas. (Atlas Plate XVII. View 11.)

The rates of the time keepers were obtained, for the sake of expedition,
from single altitudes of the sun's upper and lower limbs, taken from a
quicksilver horizon with a sextant fixed on a stand; the time being noted
from Arnold's watch, compared with Earnshaw's time keepers before going
on shore and immediately after returning. From the altitudes of the 3rd,
4th, and 6th, in the morning, the rates of the two time keepers and their
errors from mean Greenwich time, reduced to noon there on the last day,
were as under.

Earnshaw's No. 543, fast 0h  0' 18.03" and losing  8.46" per day.
           No. 520, slow 0  45  29.66  and losing 18.07" per day.

In deducing these errors, the longitude given by the time keepers on our
first arrival from Spencer's Gulph, which I consider to be equally good
with that of Port Lincoln, was used, with a correction of -1' 20" for the
change of place. The medium of the Port Lincoln rates was something
greater than that now found; which corresponded with the time keepers
having given the longitude of Kangaroo Head less on the second than on
the first arrival. This was some proof that the letting down had not
affected the rates, and tended to give me confidence in their accuracy.

The _variation_ observed on shore, with the theodolite,
was 5° 48' east. Do. with azimuth compass, No. 1 with the theodolite,
was 2° 58' east.

For this difference between the instruments, I find it difficult to
account satisfactorily; but it is the same way, and nearly similar in
quantity to what was observed in Lucky Bay. The true variation on board
the ship, deduced from azimuths taken at anchor two miles to the
north-east, and using the compasses No. 1 and 2, was as before mentioned,
4° 13', nearly the mean of the above; but the bearings taken with the
theodolite at Kangaroo Head and Prospect Hill showed only 2½° east, as
compared with the bearings on board the ship. There can be little doubt
of the existence of magnetic substances in the lands about here, more
particularly, as I think, in Yorke's Peninsula; and there will presently
be occasion to notice more instances of their effect.

The approach of the winter season, and an apprehension that the discovery
of the remaining unknown part of the South Coast might not be completed
before a want of provisions would make it necessary to run for Port
Jackson, prevented me from stopping a day longer at Kangaroo Island than
was necessary to obtaining rates for the time-keepers, and consequently
from examining the south and west parts of that island. The direction of
the main coast and the inlets it might form were the most important
points to be now ascertained; and the details of particular parts, which
it would interfere too much with those objects to examine, were best
referred to the second visit, directed by my instructions to be made to
this coast. When, therefore, the rising of a breeze made it advisable to
get under way from Kangaroo Head, which was not until two in the
afternoon, we proceeded for the eastern outlet of the Investigator's
Strait, in order to prosecute the discovery beyond Cape Jervis.

The wind was at south-east; and the tide being against us, but little
progress was made until the evening, when it became favourable. Our
soundings were irregular, and some rocky islets being seen without side
of the opening, I stood in at nine o'clock, to look for anchorage at the
east end of Kangaroo Island; and finding no shelter there, we ran a
little to leeward into a small bay which I had observed before dark, and
anchored at half past ten, in 4½ fathoms, on a bottom of hard sand. At
daylight [WEDNESDAY 7 APRIL 1802], the following bearings were taken.

East point of the little bay, dist. 1½ mile,    East.
West point, distant three miles,             N. 38° W.
Cape Jervis, inner low point,                N.  3  W.
Eastern extreme of the coast,                N. 65  E.

The bay is perfectly sheltered from all southern winds; and as there were
several spots clear of wood near the beach, it is probable that the
kangaroos, and perhaps cassowaries, might be numerous. We did not stop to
land, but got under way so soon as the bearings were taken, to beat out
of the strait against the south-east wind; so little was gained, however,
after working all the day, that at eight in the evening the ship was
still off the east end of Kangaroo Island.

This part of the Investigator's Strait is not more, in the narrowest
part, than seven miles across. It forms a private entrance, as it were,
to the two gulphs; and I named it _Back-stairs Passage_. The small bay
where we had anchored is called the _Ante-chamber_; and the cape which
forms the eastern head of the bay and of Kangaroo Island, and lies in 35°
48' south and 138° 13' east, received the appellation of _Cape
Willoughby_. Without side of the passage, and almost equidistant from
both shores, there are three small, rocky islets near together, called
the _Pages_, whose situation is in latitude 35° 46½' and longitude 138°
21' east; these are the sole dangers in Back-stairs Passage, and two of
them are conspicuous. Our soundings in beating through were from 8 to 23
fathoms; and in a strong rippling of tide like breakers there was from 10
to 12, upon a bottom of stones and shells.

At eight in the evening we tacked from Cape Willoughby; and having passed
to windward of the Pages, stretched on east and north-eastward until four
in the morning [THURSDAY 8 APRIL 1802]. Land was then seen under the lee,
and a tack made off shore till daylight, when we stood in with the wind
at east-south-east. At nine the land was distant five miles, and of a
very different aspect to that of Cape Jervis. As far as six leagues from
the cliffy southern extremity of the Cape the land is high, rocky and
much cut by gullies or ravines; a short, scrubby brush-wood covers the
seaward side, and the stone appeared to be slaty, like the opposite
cliffs of Kangaroo Island. But here the hills fall back from the sea, and
the shore becomes very low with some hummocks of sand upon it; and the
same description of coast prevailed as far as could be seen to the

Our situation at nine o'clock, when we tacked to the south, was as

Longitude by time keepers,                    138° 47½'
Cape Jervis, two southern parts, bore       S. 84 W.
A round hummock,                            N. 85 W.
A rocky islet, under the land,              N. 62 W.
Furthest visible part of the sandy coast,   S. 87 E.

Before two in the afternoon we stretched eastward again, and at four a
white rock was reported from aloft to be seen ahead. On approaching
nearer it proved to be a ship standing towards us, and we cleared for
action, in case of being attacked. The stranger was a heavy-looking ship,
without any top-gallant masts up; and our colours being hoisted, she
showed a French ensign, and afterwards an English jack forward, as we did
a white flag. At half-past five, the land being then five miles distant
to the north-eastward, I hove to, and learned, as the stranger passed to
leeward with a free wind, that it was the French national ship _Le
Géographe_, under the command of captain NICOLAS BAUDIN. We veered round
as Le Géographe was passing, so as to keep our broadside to her, lest the
flag of truce should be a deception; and having come to the wind on the
other tack, a boat was hoisted out, and I went on board the French ship,
which had also hove to.

As I did not understand French, Mr. Brown, the naturalist, went with me
in the boat. We were received by an officer who pointed out the
commander, and by him were conducted into the cabin. I requested captain
Baudin to show me his passport from the Admiralty; and when it was found
and I had perused it, offered mine from the French marine minister, but
he put it back without inspection. He then informed me that he had spent
some time in examining the south and east parts of Van Diemen's Land,
where his geographical engineer, with the largest boat and a boat's crew,
had been left, and probably lost. In Bass Strait captain Baudin had
encountered a heavy gale, the same we had experienced in a less degree on
March 21 in the Investigator's Strait. He was then separated from his
consort, _Le Naturaliste_; but having since had fair winds and fine
weather, he had explored the South Coast from Western Port to the place
of our meeting without finding any river, inlet or other shelter which
afforded anchorage. I inquired concerning a large island said to lie in
the western entrance of Bass Strait; but he had not seen it, and seemed
to doubt much of its existence.

Captain Baudin was communicative of his discoveries about Van Diemen's
land; as also of his criticisms upon an English chart of Bass Strait
published in 1800. He found great fault with the north side of the
strait, but commended the form given to the south side and to the islands
near it. On my pointing out a note upon the chart, explaining that the
north side of the strait was seen only in an open boat by Mr. Bass, who
had no good means of fixing either latitude or longitude, he appeared
surprised, not having before paid attention to it. I told him that some
other and more particular charts of the Strait and its neighbourhood had
been since published; and that if he would keep company until next
morning, I would bring him a copy, with a small memoir belonging to them.
This was agreed to, and I returned with Mr. Brown to the Investigator.

It somewhat surprised me that captain Baudin made no enquiries concerning
my business upon this unknown coast, but as he seemed more desirous of
communicating information, I was happy to receive it; next morning
[FRIDAY 9 APRIL 1802], however, he had become inquisitive, some of his
officers having learned from my boat's crew that our object was also
discovery. I then told him, generally, what our operations had been,
particularly in the two gulphs, and the latitude to which I had ascended
in the largest; explained the situation of Port Lincoln, where fresh
water might be procured; showed him Cape Jervis, which was still in
sight; and as a proof of the refreshments to be obtained at the large
island opposite to it, pointed out the kangaroo-skin caps worn by my
boat's crew, and told him the name I had affixed to the island in
consequence. At parting the captain requested me to take care of his boat
and people in case of meeting with them; and to say to Le Naturaliste
that he should go to Port Jackson so soon as the bad weather set in. On
my asking the name of the captain of Le Naturaliste, he bethought himself
to ask mine; and finding it to be the same as the author of the chart
which he had been criticising, expressed not a little surprise, but had
the politeness to congratulate himself on meeting me.

The situation of the Investigator, when I hove to for the purpose of
speaking captain Baudin, was 35° 40' south and 138° 58' east. No person
was present at our conversations except Mr Brown; and they were mostly
carried on in English, which the captain spoke so as to be understood. He
gave me, besides what is related above, some information of his losses in
men, separations from his consort, and of the improper season at which he
was directed to explore this coast; as also a memorandum of some rocks he
had met with, lying two leagues from the shore, in latitude 37° 1', and
he spoke of them as being very dangerous.

I have been the more particular in detailing all that passed at this
interview from a circumstance which it seems proper to explain and
discuss in this place.

At the above situation of 35° 40' south and 138° 58' east, the
_discoveries_ made by captain Baudin upon the South Coast have their
termination to the west; as mine in the Investigator have to the
eastward. Yet Mons. Peron, naturalist in the French expedition, has laid
a claim for his nation to the discovery of all the parts between _Western
Port_ in Bass Strait, and _Nuyts' Archipelago_; and this part of New
South Wales is called _Terre Napoléon_. My Kangaroo Island, a name which
they openly adopted in the expedition, has been converted at Paris into
_L'Isle Decrés_; Spencer's Gulph is named _Golfe Bonaparte_; the Gulph of
St. Vincent, _Golfe Josephine_; and so on along the whole coast to Cape
Nuyts, not even the smallest island being left without some similar stamp
of French discovery.*

[* The most remarkable passages on the subject are the following, under
the title of _Terre Napoléon_.

"De ce grand espace (the south coast of Terra Australis), la partie seule
qui du Cap Leuwen s'étend aux îles St. Pierre et St. François, écoit
connue lors de notre départ d'Europe. Découverte par les Hollandois en
1627, elle avoit été, dans ces derniers temps, visitée par VANCOUVER et
surtout par DENTRECASTEAUX; mais ce dernier navigateur n'ayant pu
lui-même s'avancer au-delà des îles St. Pierre et St. François, qui
forment la limite orientale de la terre de Nuyts, et les Anglois n'ayant
pas porté vers le Sud leurs recherches plus loin que le port Western, il
en résultoit que toute la portion comprise entre ce dernier point et la
terre de Nuyts étoit encore inconnue au moment où nous arrivions sur ces
rivages." p. 316. That is on March 30, 1802. M. Peron should have said,
not that the south coast from Western Port to Nuyts' Land was then
unknown; but that it was unknown _to them_; for captain Grant of the Lady
Nelson had discovered the eastern part, from Western Port to the
longitude 140¼°, in the year 1800, before the French ships sailed from
Europe; and on the west I had explored the coast and islands from Nuyts'
land to Cape Jervis in 138° 10', and was, on the day specified, at the
head of the Gulph of St. Vincent.

"Dans ce moment, le capitaine Anglois nous héla, en nous dernandant si
nous n'étions pas l'un des deux vaisseaux partis de France pour faire des
découvertes dans l'hemisphère Austral. Sur notre réponse affirmative, il
fit aussitôt mettre une embarcation a la mer, et peu d'instans après nous
le reçûmes à bord. Nous apprîmes que c'étoit le capitaine FLINDERS,
celui-là même qui avoit déja fait la circonnavigation de la terre de
Diémen; que son navire se nommoit _the Investigator_; que, parti d'Europe
depuis huit mois dans le dessein de compléter la reconnoissance de la
Nouvelle Hollande et des archipels du grand Océan équatorial, il se
trouvoit, depuis environs trois mois, à la terre de Nuyts; que, contrarié
par les vents, il n'avoit pu pénétrer, comme il en avoit eu le projet,
derrière les îles St. Pierre et St. François; que, lors de son départ
d'Angleterre," etc. p. 324, 325.

"En nous fournissant tous ces détails. M. FLINDERS se montra d'une grande
réserve sur ses opérations particulières. Nous apprimes toutefois par
quelques-uns de ses matelots, qu'il avoit eu beaucoup à souffrir de ces
mêmes vents de la partie du Sud qui nous avoient êtê si favorables, et ce
fut alors sur-tout que nous pûmes apprécier davantage toute la sagesse de
nos propres instructions. Après avoir conversé plus d'une heure avec
_nous_," (no person except Mr. Brown was present at my conversation with
captain Baudin, as I have already said), "le capitaine FLINDERS repartit
pour son bord, promettant de revenir le lendemain matin nous apporter une
carte particulière de la rivière _Dalrymple_, qu'il venait de publier en
Angleterre. Il revint en effet, le 9 avril, nous la remettre, et bientôt
après nous le quittâmes pour reprendre la suite de nos tra vaux
géographiques." p. 325.

"L'île principale de ce dernier groupe" (their _Archipel Berthier_) "se
dessine sous la forme d'un immense hamaçon." (Thistle's Island seems to
he here meant.) "Indépendamment de toutes ces îles, il en existe encore
plus de vingt autres disséminées aux environs de la pointe occidentale du
golfe et en déhors de son entée: chacune d'elles fut désignée par un de
ces noms honorables dont notre patrie s'enorgueillit à juste titre." p.

_Voyage de Découverte aux Terres Australes_, rédigé par M. F. Peron,
Naturaliste de l'expédition, etc. Paris, 1807.]

It is said by M. Peron, and upon my authority too, that the Investigator
had not been able to penetrate behind the Isles of St. Peter and St.
Francis; and though he doth not say directly that no part of the before
unknown coast was discovered by me, yet the whole tenor of his Chap. XV
induces the reader to believe that I had done nothing which could
interfere with the prior claim of the French.

Yet M. Peron was present afterwards at Port Jackson when I showed one of
my charts of this coast to captain Baudin, and pointed out the limits of
his discovery; and so far from any prior title being set up at that time
to Kangaroo Island and the parts westward, the officers of the Géographe
always spoke of them as belonging to the Investigator. The first
lieutenant, Mons. Freycinet, even made use of the following odd
expression, addressing himself to me in the house of governor King, and
in the presence of one of his companions, I think Mons. Bonnefoy:
"Captain, if we had not been kept so long picking up shells and catching
butterflies at Van Diemen's Land, you would not have discovered the South
Coast before us."

The English officers and respectable inhabitants then at Port Jackson can
say if the prior discovery of these parts were not generally
acknowledged; nay, I appeal to the French officers themselves, generally
and individually, if such were not the case. How then came M. Peron to
advance what was so contrary to truth? Was he a man destitute of all
principle? My answer is, that I believe his candour to have been equal to
his acknowledged abilities; and that what he wrote was from over-ruling
authority, and smote him to the heart; he did not live to finish the
second volume.

The motive for this aggression I do not pretend to explain. It may have
originated in the desire to rival the British nation in the honour of
completing the discovery of the globe; or be intended as the forerunner
of a claim to the possession of the countries so said to have been first
discovered by French navigators. Whatever may have been the object in
view, the question, so far as I am concerned, must be left to the
judgment of the world; and if succeeding French writers can see and admit
the claims of other navigators as clearly and readily as a late most able
man of that nation* has pointed out their own in some other instances, I
shall not fear to leave it even to their decision.



Examination of the coast resumed.
Encounter Bay.
The capes Bernouilli and Jaffa.
Baudin's Rocks.
Differences in the bearings on tacking.
Cape Buffon, the eastern limit of the French discovery.
The capes Northumberland and Bridgewater of captain Grant.
Danger from a south-west gale.
King's Island, in Bass' Strait: Anchorage there.
Some account of the island.
Nautical observations.
New Year's Isles.
Cape Otway, and the north-west entrance to Bass' Strait.
Anchorage in, and examination of Port Phillip.
The country and inhabitants.
Nautical observations.



I returned with Mr. Brown on board the Investigator at half past eight in
the morning, and we then separated from Le Géographe; captain Baudin's
course being directed to the north-west, and ours to the southward. We
had lost ground during the night, and the wind was very feeble at east,
so that the French ship was in sight at noon, and our situation was as

Latitude observed,                              35° 44'
Longitude by time keepers,                     138  53
Cape Jervis bore                             N. 82½ W.
Hummock at the east end of the high land,    N.  4½ E.
Nearest sandy hillock, dist. 3 or 4 leagues, N. 65  E.

At the place where we tacked from the shore on the morning of the 8th,
the high land of Cape Jervis had retreated from the waterside, the coast
was become low and sandy, and its trending was north-east; but after
running four or five leagues in that direction it curved round to the
south-eastward, and thus formed a large bight or bay. The head of this
bay was probably seen by captain Baudin in the afternoon; and in
consequence of our meeting here, I distinguished it by the name of
ENCOUNTER BAY. The succeeding part of the coast having been first
discovered by the French navigator, I shall make use of the names in
describing it which he or his country men have thought proper to apply;
that is, so far as the volume published enables me to make them out; but
this volume being unaccompanied with charts, and containing few latitudes
and longitudes by which the capes and bays can be identified, I must be
excused should any errors be committed in the nomenclature.

There was no wind from noon to two o'clock; and it appeared by the lead
that the ship was drifted to the west-north-west, probably by a flood
tide. On a breeze springing up from the southward we stretched in for the
shore; and at six in the evening it was four miles distant, being sandy
and generally very low; but there were several hillocks upon it high
enough to be seen four or five leagues from a ship's deck, and one of
them, more bluff than the rest, and nearly destitute of vegetation, bore
N. 17° E. Next day [SATURDAY 10 APRIL 1802] at noon our situation was
within three miles of the land, but very little advanced beyond that of
the preceding day, our latitude being 35° 49 1/3', and the bluff hummock
in sight bearing N. 22° W.

A tide or current setting along the shore appeared to retard us
considerably, for at sunset we were not so much as two miles from the
noon's place; the hummock then bore N. 25° W., and the furthest part of
the coast south-east-by-east from the mast head.

An amplitude taken in the morning, with the ship's head west-by-south,
gave 5° 11' _east_ variation; and in the afternoon, when the land was
only three miles distant and the head south-east, azimuths with the same
compass gave 0° 50' _west_. These, corrected to the meridian in the mode
I have adopted, will be severally 1° 57' and 1° 30' east; and the mean 1°
44'. The variation had therefore _decreased_ considerably since leaving
Kangaroo Island, contrary to the natural order; which proves that the
quick increase on passing Yorke's Peninsula, was owing to some peculiar
attraction, either in that or the neighbouring lands. Whilst beating
through the Back-stairs Passage, I had observed an amplitude when the
ship's head was south-south-west, which gave the extraordinary variation
of 2° 41' east, or reduced to the meridian, 1° 27' east; although we were
then not so much as four miles from the anchorage where it had been found
4° 13' east. Another amplitude was observed at eight leagues to the east
of Cape Willoughby, when the head was north-east-half-east, and gave 2°
5' east variation, or reduced, 4° 36'. This last is correspondent with
what was observed near Kangaroo Head and in the Gulph of St. Vincent; but
the variation of 1° 27' in the passage is totally irregular, and must I
think be ascribed to an attraction either in Cape Jervis to the
north-east, or in the east end of Kangaroo Island to the south-east, or
to both. When the great variation Of 4° 36' was obtained, both these
lands were to the west; and when afterwards the 1° 57' and 1° 30' were
observed, the nearest land was again to the eastward of the ship; and
nearest in the last case.

The winds continued to be light and unfavourable; but by taking advantage
of the changes in direction, and keeping further from the land, out of
the tide or current, we had gained eight leagues by noon of the 11th
[SUNDAY 11 APRIL 1802]. About twenty miles of coast beyond what had been
set as the furthest extreme on the preceding day, was then in sight
(Atlas Plate V.); and our situation and bearings were as follow:

Latitude by corrected log,                36° 11'
Longitude by time keepers.               139  29½
Northern extreme, from the mast head,  N. 10 E.
Nearest part, distant 7 or 8 miles,    N. 59 E.
A broad patch of white sand,           N. 78 E.
Southern extreme, from the mast head,  S. 66 E.

At one o'clock we bore away along the coast with a light breeze from the
north-eastward; and having run five leagues, tacked to seaward soon after
dark. Next morning [MONDAY 12 APRIL 1802] we again followed the coast at
the distance of from five to three miles; and at noon a somewhat
projecting part, which appears to be the _Cape Bernouilli_ of the French
navigators, was three or four miles distant to the east. Its latitude is
36° 33' and longitude 139° 51'; and about six miles to the
south-south-east there are two low, black rocks lying close under the


From Encounter Bay to this slight projection the coast is little else
than a bank of sand, with a few hummocks on the top, partially covered
with small vegetation; nor could anything in the interior country be
distinguished above the bank. The shore runs waving between
east-south-east and south-south-east; but to form what is called Cape
Bernouilli it trends south, and then curves back south-eastward into a
bight. The land then becomes better clothed with bushes and small trees;
and it also differs from the more northern part in that some little
risings of back land were visible.

Our soundings were more shallow along this part of the coast than before.
The depth in passing Cape Bernouilli was from 8 to 12 fathoms; and on
tacking out of the southern bight, at half past five in the evening, it
was no more than 6, at three miles from the shore. We then saw land
extending as far out as S. 29° W., which was the south head of the bight,
and appears to be the _Cape Jaffa_ of the French; but I do not find that
they have given any name to the bight or bay, although much more
deserving than some other sinuosities in the coast on which that honour
is conferred.

This evening the variation from azimuths was 1° 25' east, taken when the
ship's head was S. S. E. ½ E.; which being corrected upon the same
principle as before, is 3° 0' east, and showed the variation to be now
increasing, according to the regular order.

During the night, we worked up successfully against a south-south-east
wind, for at six in the morning [TUESDAY 13 APRIL 1802] the low, outer
extreme of Cape Jaffa bore N. 15° E., six or seven miles. The shore is
sandy, but rises from the beach to a moderate elevation, and is then well
clothed with small wood. About three leagues to the south of the cape is
a cluster of low rocks, apparently the same of which captain Baudin had
given me information; they do not, however, lie exactly in the situation
expressed in his memorandum, and are not more than two miles from the
land. We called them _Baudin's Rocks_; and since no name is applied to
them in M. Peron's account of their voyage, the appelation is continued.

Four miles beyond the rocks is a point of moderate elevation; sandy, but
mostly overspread with bushes. This is their _Cape Lannes_; and on its
north side is a small bay, called the _Baye de Rivoli_, with a sandy
shore and open to west winds. The bearings of these places, and our
situation at noon, half an hour after tacking from Baudin's Rocks, were
as under;

Latitude, observed to the north        37° 7¼'
Longitude by time keepers,            139 41
Cape Jaffa, extreme,                N.  2  E.
Baudin's Rocks, distant 3 miles,    N. 70  E.
Rivoli Bay, about the middle,       S. 72  E.
Cape Lannes, distant 4 or 5 miles,  S. 46  E.
Furthest extreme of the coast,      S. 38  E.


For the last two days there had been a little current in our favour, and
notwithstanding that the winds had been mostly adverse, we made some
progress along the coast; but on opening out the land beyond Cape Lannes,
the current took a northern direction, and at noon of this day we were no
further advanced than to have that cape bearing N. 86° E. at the distance
of nine or ten miles. The furthest part of the coast then visible was a
peaked sandy hummock, bearing S. 68½° E. In the night, the wind came more
off the land, and permitted us to make an advantageous tack to the
southward; and at noon next day [THURSDAY 15 APRIL 1802], when we had
reached in again with the coast, our situation was in

Latitude observed,                           37° 23½'
Longitude by time keepers,                  139  50
Cape Lannes, west extreme, bore           N. 13 W.
The peaked sandy hummock, dist. 5 miles,  N. 29 E.
Furthest extreme,                         S. 59 E.

In the evening we got sight of a projecting and somewhat elevated part
which lies ten leagues to the south-eastward of Cape Lannes, and appears
to be the _Cape Buffon_ of the French navigators. The intermediate coast
is similar to that between Encounter Bay and Cape Bernouilli, with the
sole difference that the hummocks upon the sandy bank are somewhat
higher: nothing inland appeared above them.

The wind was again favourable in the night for making a long stretch to
the southward; and it was prolonged to the next day at noon [FRIDAY 16
APRIL 1802], when our distance from the coast was judged to be ten
leagues; but no part of it was in sight, and we had then got out of
soundings, there being no bottom at 200 fathoms. The latitude was 37° 57'
south, and longitude from six sets of distances of stars east and west of
the moon, 139° 39', but by the time keepers corrected, 139° 45' east. Not
more than seven or eight leagues from this situation, there should lie an
island according to the account given by captain Turnbull of the
Britannia south whaler, who saw it in his passage out to Port Jackson.
Having thick weather at the time, he was not able to ascertain its
latitude or longitude, otherwise than by the log; and as it was not in
sight from our mast head, its position must be considered as very

The variations observed this day, with the same compass always on the
binnacle, were as under:

By morning's amplitude, ship's head S. E. by S. 2° 39' east.
By morning's azimuth, ship's head S. S. E.      2   2
By evening's azimuth, ship's head N. E.         2   2

The mean, reduced to the meridian, will be 4° 5' east. Nine leagues to
the north, and half the distance nearer to the land, an amplitude had
been taken with the ship's head in the meridian, which gave 4° 8' east.

On the three preceding days many tacks had been made from the shore, and
I had frequently taken bearings just before the helm was put down; and so
soon as the ship was round and the compass steady, they were again taken.
Differences always took place; and without any exception the bearings
required a _greater_ allowance of variation to the right after tacking,
when the head was _westward_, than before, when eastward; agreeing with
the differences so frequently found in the azimuths and amplitudes, which
had always been to show a greater east or less west variation when the
head was on the west side of the meridian. The least average difference
in any one of five sets of bearings was 5°, the greatest 6½°, and the
mean 5° 54'; and according to the system adopted in correcting the
variations, explained in the Appendix No. II. to the second volume, the
mean difference arising from the five changes in the direction of the
ship's head, should be 5° 33'.

The eastern wind died away at noon of the 16th, and the ship scarcely had
steerage way until after midnight; a breeze then sprung up from the
north-westward, and we steered north-east to make the land near Cape
Buffon. At half-past seven [SATURDAY 17 APRIL 1802] the cape bore N. 1°
W. seven miles, and was ascertained to be in nearly 37° 36' south and
140° 10' east. There is a bight in the coast on its north side where the
land was not distinctly seen all round, owing probably to its being a low
beach. At nine o'clock we bore away southward, keeping at the distance of
two or three miles from the shore. It was the same kind of hummock-topped
bank as before described; but a ridge of moderately high hills,
terminated to the southward by a bluff, was visible over it, three or
four leagues inland; and there was a reef of rocks lying in front of the
shore. At noon, two larger rocks were seen at the southern end of the
reef, and are those called by the French the _Carpenters_. They lie one
or two miles from a sandy projection named by them _Cape Boufflers_; and
here a prior title to discovery interferes.

On arriving at Port Jackson I learned, and so did captain Baudin, that
this coast had been before visited. Lieutenant (now captain) James Grant,
commander of His Majesty's brig Lady Nelson, saw the above projection,
which he named _Cape Banks_, on Dec. 3, 1800; and followed the coast from
thence through Bass Strait.* The same principle upon which I had adopted
the names applied by the French navigators to the parts discovered by
them will now guide me in making use of the appellations bestowed by
captain Grant.

[* See _A Voyage in the Lady Nelson to New South Wales_, by James Grant.
London, 1803. This voyage was published four years previously to M.
Peron's book; but no more attention was paid at Paris to captain Grant's
rights than to mine; his discoveries, though known to M. Peron and the
French expedition in 1802, being equally claimed and named by them.]

The termination to the west of that part of the South Coast discovered by
captain Baudin in Le Géographe has been pointed out; and it seems proper
to specify its commencement _to the east_, that the extent of his _Terre
Napoléon_ may be properly defined. The beginning of the land which, of
all Europeans, was first seen by him, so far as is known, cannot be
placed further to the south-east than Cape Buffon; for the land is laid
down to the northward of it in captain Grant's chart, though
indistinctly. The Terre Napoléon is therefore comprised between the
latitudes 37° 36' and 35° 40' south, and the longitudes 140° 10' and 138°
58' east of Greenwich; making, with the windings, about fifty leagues of
coast, in which, as captain Baudin truly observed, there is neither
river, inlet nor place of shelter, nor does even the worst parts of
Nuyts' Land exceed it in sterility.

At noon of the 17th we were in

Latitude observed,                                        37° 47½'
Longitude by time keepers,                               140  16½
Cape Buffon bore                                       N. 26 W.
Reef of rocks, (nearest part dist. 2½ miles) N. 51° to S. 42 E.
Hills behind the coast,                      N. 38  to N. 79 E.
Sandy hummock on _West_* Cape Banks                       S. 44 E.

[* The addition of West is made to the name, to distinguish it from Cape
Banks on the East Coast, named by captain Cook. It is to be regretted,
that navigators often apply names in so careless a manner as to introduce
confusion into geography.]

In the afternoon the wind veered to the southward, and we tacked from the
shore, not being able to weather the Carpenters at the south end of the
reef. A long swell rolled in at this time, and seemed to announce a gale
from the southward, yet the wind died away in the night, and at daybreak
[SUNDAY 18 APRIL 1802] a light breeze sprung up at north-west, and
enabled us to close in with the land. We passed the Carpenters at the
distance of four miles; but at two in the afternoon the wind again died
away. A cliffy point, which proved to be the _Cape Northumberland_ of
captain Grant, was then in sight, as also were two inland mountains lying
to the north-east; the nearest is his _Mount Schanck_, of a flat,
table-like form; the further one, Mount Gambier, is peaked. The following
bearings were taken whilst lying becalmed.

West C. Banks, sandy hummock, dist. 2 leagues, N.  2° W.
Mount Schanck,                                 N. 70  E.
Cape Northumberland, dist. 3 or 4 leagues,     S. 82  E.

The long swell from the southward still prevailed, and the barometer was
fast falling; but at seven in the evening a breeze sprung up once more
from the north-west, and after stretching a little off from the shore, we
laid to for the greater part of the night. At daylight [MONDAY 19 APRIL
1802] the wind was at north-north-west, and blew fresh, with squally
weather. We reached in for the land; and at eight,

C. Northumberland, dist. 6 or 7 miles, bore   N. 32° W.
Mount Schanck,                                N.  1  W.
Furthest extreme, obscured by haze,           S. 66  E.

Close to Cape Northumberland are two pointed rocks resembling the back
fins of sharks; and on its eastern side were heavy breakers, extending
more than a mile from the shore. The situation of the cape, as near as it
could be ascertained, is in 38° 2' south and 140° 37½' east.

Beyond Cape Northumberland the coast was found to trend east-by-north,
but curved afterwards to east-by-south; it was higher than we had lately
seen and not so barren; nevertheless, the shrubs and small trees did not
more than half cover the sandy surface. We pursued the round of the coast
at the distance of four or five miles, having three reefs in the
top-sails on account of the squally weather. At ten o'clock, in a clear
interval, land was seen bearing S. 51° E.; and a thick squall with rain
coming on, in which the wind shifted suddenly from north-north-west to
south-west, we were forced to haul close up and let out the third reefs
in order to weather the coast. A constant succession of rainy squalls
prevented us from knowing how the land lay for some time, nor could an
observation for the latitude be obtained; but at half-past noon our
anxiety was relieved by distinguishing the furthest extreme, a bold,
cliffy, cape, bearing S. 72½° E., broad on the lee bow.


This high projection was the _Cape Bridgewater_ of captain Grant. A hill
upon it slopes to the edge of the cliffs in which the cape is begirt
toward the sea; and on the land side it descends so low that the
connection of the hill with the main could not be clearly discerned. To
the northward, and nearly in a line with the first, are two other hills
almost equal to it in elevation. As we passed Cape Bridgewater, a second
cliffy head opened at S. 73½° E., and a further round the last at N. 83°
E. These are the _Capes Nelson_ and _Sir W. Grant_, though differing
considerably in relative position from what they are laid down in captain
Grant's chart.

At two o'clock, the weather having become somewhat finer, I ventured to
bear away along the coast; and presently a small island with two hummocks
on it and a rock nearer to the shore were visible: these are _Lawrence's
Isles_. The bearings of the land at four were,

C. Bridgewater, top of the hill, dist. 4 leagues,  N. 44° W.
Cape Nelson, the south-west extreme,               N. 21  W.
Cape Sir W. Grant, east part of the cliffs,        N. 12  E.
Lawrence's double Isle, dist. 3 leagues,           N. 25  E.

Before six we hauled the wind off shore; having set the double isle at N.
43° W., six or seven miles, and seen the land indistinctly as far as

During the night there were squalls of wind with hail and rain, but
tolerably moderate weather in the intervals. At daylight [TUESDAY 20
APRIL 1802], we bore away for the land; and at half past seven, the

Hill on Cape Bridgewater bore                N. 66° W.
Lawrence's double isle,                      N. 53  W.
A cliffy, flat-topped isle, west extreme,    N. 16  E.

This last is _Lady Julia Percy's Isle_; and when it bore N. 64° E. five
miles, we steered eastward along the coast. At some distance inland, to
the northward of Lady Percy's Isle, a round hill was distinguished; but
the shore was scarcely perceptible through the squalls and haze: what
little of it could be seen, appeared to be sandy and of moderate

At eleven, the land was perceived to the eastward, and we hauled up
east-south-east. Our latitude at noon, from an indifferent double
altitude, was 38° 33½' and it is upon this uncertain observation, that
the correctness of the neighbouring lands in the chart principally
depend; I do not, therefore, specify here either the latitudes or
longitudes. The coast was seen to leeward at times, and appeared to he
moderately high; we ran along it at the distance of five, and from that
to eight miles, clewing down the treble-reefed top sails occasionally,
and setting them after the squalls were passed. At two o'clock, the land
appeared to be trending south-east, which obliged us to haul up to the
wind and take in close reefs; and the gale increasing, the fore and mizen
top sails were handed.

It was seldom that the weather would allow of any thing being
distinguished beyond two miles; and when the night came on we were quite
uncertain of the trending of the coast. At eight o'clock, by favour of
moon light and a short cessation of rain, land was perceived on the lee
beam; it seemed to be a head of considerable elevation, and was judged to
be from three to six miles off. The fore and mizen top-sails and reefed
main-sail were immediately set, notwithstanding the danger to the masts;
and there being much sea running, the ship was kept one point from the
wind to make her go through the water. We had no chance of clearing the
land on the other tack, and therefore our sole hope was that the coast
might not trend any further to the southward.


At two in the morning the strength of the gale obliged us to take in the
fore and mizen top sails and main sail; and we had soundings in 45
fathoms, small stones. Our anxiety was great until daylight, when it was
dissipated by not finding any land near us; and in the course of the
morning the wind moderated, the barometer began to ascend, and the
weather became even fine. Our latitude at noon was 39° 10½' and longitude
144° 22'; the last being 22' more than given by the log. High land was
then visible astern, extending from about N. 50° to 17° W., at the
supposed distance of twelve or fifteen leagues.


We were now entered into Bass' Strait; and the subsiding of the sea made
me suspect that the large island, concerning which I had made inquiry of
captain Baudin, was to windward. The south part of this island was
discovered by Mr. Reid in a sealing expedition from Port Jackson; and
before quitting New South Wales in 1799, I had received an account of its
lying to the north-west of Hunter's Isles. It afterwards appeared that
the northern part was seen in January 1801 by Mr. John Black, commander
of the brig Harbinger, who gave to it the name of KING'S ISLAND.* Of this
I was ignorant at the time; but since it was so very dangerous to explore
the main coast with the present south-west wind, I was desirous of
ascertaining the position of this island before going to Port Jackson,
more especially as it had escaped the observation of Captain Baudin.

[* _Grant's Voyage to New South Wales_, page 86.]

Our soundings in the afternoon, and until four in the morning [THURSDAY
22 APRIL 1802] when we tacked to the westward, were from 35 to 28
fathoms, sand and shells. At eight o'clock, land was seen to the
south-west; and at noon our

Latitude observed was                 39° 31¼'
Longitude by time keepers,           144  16
King's Island, south extreme, bore S. 18  W.
King's Island, a middle hummock,   S. 37  W.
King's Island, northern extreme,   S. 74  W.
High main land from the mast head, N. 23  W.

We tacked to the south-south-east at three o'clock, working up for King's
Island, which was distant about five or six leagues directly to windward.
In the night we lay up south, parallel with the east side of the island;
but the soundings having diminished to 16 fathoms, I feared we might be
approaching a reef of rocks lying off the south-east end, of which Mr.
Reid had spoken. We therefore tacked to the northward at eleven o'clock;
and after beating until three in the following afternoon [FRIDAY 23 APRIL
1802], got to an anchor in 9 fathoms, fine sand, under the north-east end
of King's Island; the nearest part of the shore being distant a short
half mile, and the extremes bearing S. 37° E. and N. 69° W.

A boat was immediately hoisted out, and I landed with the botanical
gentlemen. On stepping out of the boat I shot one of those little
bear-like quadrupeds called _Womat_; and another was afterwards killed. A
seal, of a species different to any yet seen by us, was also procured;
its phippers behind were double when compared to the common kinds of
seal, and those forward were smaller, and placed nearer to the head; the
hair was much shorter, and of a blueish, grey colour; the nose flat and
broad; and the fat upon the animal was at least treble the usual
quantity. I never saw the sea elephant, and possibly this might have been
a young female; but there was no appearance of any trunk. A top-mast
studding-sail boom, not much injured, was lying near the landing-place;
and as I afterwards learned that the wreck of a vessel had been found
upon the west side of the island, this boom had probably drifted from

The north-east part of King's Island extends south-east-by-east, three or
four leagues. The shore is mostly of sand, and behind the beach it was
washed or blown up in great ridges, but partly overspread with a kind of
dog grass which kept the sand together. In general the land is low; but
some little eminences appeared at a distance, and at the north end of the
island there is a short range of hills, moderately high and covered with
wood. Granite seemed to be the basis of the shore where we landed. Behind
the front ridges of sand was a brush wood, so thick as to be almost
impenetrable; but whilst I was occupied in taking bearings, the botanists
found some openings in the brush, and picked up so many plants as to make
them desirous of a further examination. We returned on board at dusk,
with our womats, the seal and a kangaroo; the last being of a middle size
between the small species of the lesser islands and the large kind found
at Kangaroo Island and on the continent. It appeared indeed, all along
the South Coast, that the size of the kangaroo bore some proportion to
the extent of land which it inhabited.


In the morning the wind blew fresh from the southward. A boat was sent on
shore with Mr. Brown and his party; and at eleven o'clock, when they
returned, we got under way.

A small lake of fresh water was found at a little distance behind the
sandy ridges in front of the shore. This was surrounded by a good
vegetable soil; and the number of plants, collected near it was greater
than had before been found upon any one island. The small lake is too far
from the sea side for a ship to obtain water from it conveniently; but
two little streams which drained from the sand hills made it probable
that fresh water might have been obtained anywhere at this time by
digging. The water of these rills was tinged red, similar to that
obtained at King George's Sound and to the pools I had before seen at
Furneaux's Islands; and as the stone in these places is granite, and
water so discoloured was not found any where else, it seems very probable
that the discolouring arises from the granite and granitic sand.

Two more womats were killed this morning; and a skull was picked up which
was thought to be of a small dog, but more probably was that of an

From the observations taken whilst beating up to the anchorage, the top
of the highest hill at the north end of King's Island will be in
_latitude_ 39° 36½' south, and _longitude_ 143° 54' east. The _variation_
of the compass, taken on the binnacle with the ship's head at south, was
7° 59' east; but ten leagues to the eastward it was 11° 52', with the
head west-south-west, or reduced to the meridian, 8° 43' east. The
_tides_ set one mile and a half an hour past the ship, northwest-by-west
and south-east-by-east, nearly as the coast lies; that from the eastward
running nearly eight hours, and turning about two hours after the moon
had passed the meridian; but, which tide was the flood, or what the rise,
we did not remain long enough to determine.

The time was fast approaching when it would be necessary to proceed to
Port Jackson, both on account of the winter season, and from the want of
some kinds of provisions. Before this took place I wished to finish as
much of the South Coast as possible, and would have recommenced at Cape
Bridgewater had the wind been favourable; but it still blew fresh from
the southward, and all that part remained a lee shore. I determined,
however, to run over to the high land we had seen on the north side of
Bass' Strait, and to trace as much of the coast from thence eastward as
the state of the weather and our remaining provisions could possibly

In steering north-north-west from King's Island, two small isles were
seen lying off the north-west side; the first opening from the northern
extreme at S. 50°, and the second being clear of it at S. 36° W. These
are the same which Mr. Black named New Year's Isles; and his Harbinger's
Reefs were seen to extend, in patches, nearly two leagues from the north
end of King's Islands; but there is, as I afterwards learned, one or more
passages between the reefs, and another between them and the island.*

[* The New Year's Isles form a small roadsted, in which the brig
Harrington from Port Jackson, commanded by Mr. W. Campbell, had rode out
the south-west gale; and was lying there at this time, engaged in a
sealing speculation. Bass' Strait had not been discovered much above two
years, and it was already turned to purposes of various utility; a strong
proof of enterprising spirit in the colonists of New South Wales.]

At three in the afternoon the northern land was in sight, and the highest
hills of King's Island were sinking below the horizon as seen from the
deck. Their distance was twenty-five miles; and consequently the
elevation of them is between four and five hundred feet above the level
of the sea. At five o'clock a bluff head, the most projecting part of the
northern land, was distant three or four leagues; it was Captain Grants'

Cape Otway, and bore           N. 54° W.
The extremes of the land,      N. 58  W. to 23° E.

We then hauled to the wind and stood off and on; at daylight [SUNDAY 25
APRIL 1802] bore away for the land with a moderate breeze from the
southward; and at eight o'clock, when Cape Otway bore N. 69° W. ten miles
we steered north-eastward along the shore. On the west side of Cape Otway
the coast falls back somewhat to the north, and projects again at the
distance of ten or eleven miles, where it is not, as I think, more than
three leagues to the east of the headland seen under the lee at eight in
the evening of the 20th. From Cape Otway, eastward, the shore trends
east-north-east about three leagues, to a projection called Cape Patton,
and according to Captain Grant a bay is formed between them; but at three
leagues off nothing worthy of being called a bay could be perceived.
Beyond Cape Patton the coast took a more northern direction to a point
with a flat-topped hill upon it, and further than this it was not

The whole of this land is high, the elevation of the uppermost parts
being not less than two thousand feet. The rising hills were covered with
wood of a deep green foliage, and without any vacant spaces of rock or
sand; so that I judged this part of the coast to exceed in fertility all
that had yet fallen under observation.

Cape Otway lies very nearly in latitude 38° 51' south and longitude 143°
29' east. The width of the north-west entrance to Bass' Strait, between
this cape on the north and King's Island to the south, is therefore
sixteen leagues; and with the trifling exception of the Harbinger's
Reefs, which occupy not quite two leagues of the southern part, the
passage is free from danger. In such parts of it as we got soundings the
depth was between 38 and 50 fathoms.

At noon, the wind had veered to the south-east, which being directly upon
the shore, I did not think it prudent to follow the land too closely; and
we therefore kept up nearly to the wind. In the course of the afternoon,
land came in sight to the eastward; and the bearings taken at sunset were

Furthest extreme towards C. Otway,                      S. 73° W.
Furthest connected part to the northward,               N. 18  W.
Two small distant peaks,                                N.  1  W.
Bluff head, like the N. end of an island,               N. 63  E.
Extreme of the eastern land,                            N. 83  E.

Between the first and last of these bearings there was a deep bight
formed, at the head of which no other land than the two small peaks could
be perceived.


In the morning we kept close to an east-south-east wind, steering for the
land to the north-eastward; and at nine o'clock captain Grant's Cape
Schanck, the extreme of the preceding evening, was five leagues distant
to the N. 88° E., and a rocky point towards the head of the bight bore N.
12° E. On coming within five miles of the shore at eleven o'clock we
found it to be low, and mostly sandy, and that the bluff head which had
been taken for the north end of an island was part of a ridge of hills
rising at Cape Schanck. We then bore away westward in order to trace the
land round the head of the deep bight; and a noon, the situation of the
ship and principal bearings were as under:

Latitude observed,                           38° 22'
Longitude by time keepers,                  144  31½
Cape Schanck,                               S. 68° E.
The rocky point, distant 6 or 7 miles,      N. 48  E.
Highest of two inland peaks,                N. 15  W.
A square-topped hill near the shore,        N. 28  W.
Extr. of the high land towards C. Otway,    S. 56  W.

On the west side of the rocky point there was a small opening, with
breaking water across it; however, on advancing a little more westward
the opening assumed a more interesting aspect, and I bore away to have a
nearer view. A large extent of water presently became visible within
side; and although the entrance seemed to be very narrow, and there were
in it strong ripplings like breakers, I was induced to steer in at
half-past one, the ship being close upon a wind and every man ready for
tacking at a moment's warning. The soundings were irregular between 6 and
12 fathoms until we got four miles within the entrance, when they shoaled
quick to 2¾. We then tacked; and having a strong tide in our favour,
worked to the eastward between the shoal and the rocky point, with 12
fathoms for the deepest water. In making the last stretch from the shoal
the depth diminished from 10 fathoms quickly to 3, and before the ship
could come round, the flood tide set her upon a mud bank and she stuck
fast. A boat was lowered down to sound, and finding the deep water lie to
the north-west, a kedge anchor was carried out; and having got the ship's
head in that direction, the sails were filled and she drew off into 6 and
10 fathoms; and it being then dark, we came to an anchor.


The extensive harbour we had thus unexpectedly found I supposed must be
Western Port, although the narrowness of the entrance did by no means
correspond with the width given to it by Mr. Bass. It was the information
of captain Baudin, who had coasted along from thence with fine weather,
and had found no inlet of any kind, which induced this supposition; and
the very great extent of the place, agreeing with that of Western Port,
was in confirmation of it. This, however, was not Western Port, as we
found next morning [TUESDAY 27 APRIL 1802]; and I congratulated myself on
having made a new and useful discovery; but here again I was in error.
This place, as I afterwards learned at Port Jackson, had been discovered
ten weeks before by lieutenant John Murray, who had succeeded captain
Grant in the command of the Lady Nelson. He had given it the name of PORT
PHILLIP, and to the rocky point on the east side of the entrance that of
_Point Nepean_.

Our situation was found in the morning to be near two miles from the
south shore, and the extreme towards Point Nepean bore N. 83° W., two
leagues. About three miles to the north-by-west were some dry rocks, with
bushes on them, surrounded with mud flats; and they appeared to form a
part of the same shoal from which we had three times tacked in 2½ and 3
fathoms. The mud bank where the ship had grounded is distinct from the
middle shoal; but I am not certain that it is so from the south shore,
from which it is one mile distant. The Bluff Mount (named _Arthur's Seat_
by Mr. Murray, from a supposed resemblance to the hill of that name near
Edinburgh) bore S. 76° E.; but from thence the shore trended northward so
far that the land at the head of the port could not be seen even from
aloft. Before proceeding any higher with the ship I wished to gain some
knowledge of the form and extent of this great piece of water; and
Arthur's Seat being more than a thousand feet high and near the
water-side, presented a favourable station for that purpose.

After breakfast I went away in a boat, accompanied by Mr. Brown and some
other gentlemen, for the Seat. It was seven or eight miles from the ship;
and in steering nearly a straight course for it we passed over the
northern skirt of the shoal where the ship had touched; but afterwards
had from 7 to 5 fathoms nearly to the shore. Having observed the latitude
there from an artificial horizon, I ascended the hill; and to my surprise
found the port so extensive, that even at this elevation its boundary to
the northward could not be distinguished. The western shore extended from
the entrance ten or eleven miles in a northern direction to the extremity
of what, from its appearance, I called _Indented Head_; beyond it was a
wide branch of the port leading to the westward, and I suspected might
have a communication with the sea; for it was almost incredible that such
a vast piece of water should not have a larger outlet than that through
which we had come.

I took an extensive set of bearings from the clearest place to be found
on the north-western, bluff part of the hill; and we afterwards walked a
little way back upon the ridge. From thence another considerable piece of
water was seen, at the distance of three or four leagues; it seemed to be
mostly shallow; but as it appeared to have a communication with the sea
to the south, I had no doubt of its being Mr. Bass's Western Port.

Arthur's Seat and the hills and vallies in its neighbourhood were
generally well covered with wood; and the soil was superior to any upon
the borders of the salt water which I have had an opportunity of
examining in Terra Australis. There were many marks of natives, such as
deserted fire-places and heaps of oyster shells; and upon the peninsula
which forms the south side of the port a smoke was rising, but we did not
see any of the people. Quantities of fine oysters were lying upon the
beaches, between high and low water marks, and appeared to have been
washed up by the surf; a circumstance which I do not recollect to have
observed in any other part of this country.


We returned on board at dusk in the evening; and at daylight the anchor
was weighed with the intention of coasting round the port with the ship.
The wind was at north-east, but the flood tide was in our favour; and
having made a stretch toward the middle shoals, we tacked and ran
east-south-east along their south side, until past eight, when, the flood
having ceased, we came to in 7 fathoms. At slack water in the afternoon
we again steered eastward, but were soon obliged to anchor for want of
wind; and I found that this slow mode of proceeding was not at all suited
to the little time for which we had provisions remaining, besides that
there was much probability of getting frequently aground; the plan of
examining the port with the ship was therefore abandoned.

Having left orders with Mr. Fowler, the first lieutenant, to take the
ship back to the entrance, I went in a boat early next morning [THURSDAY
29 APRIL 1802] with provisions for three days, in order to explore as
much of the port as could be done in that time. Round the east end of the
middle shoals I carried 6 and 7 fathoms; and keeping north-eastward, had
8 and 9 fathoms at a mile or more from the shore, and 4 close past the
second rocky point above Arthur's Seat. The wind being at north-west, I
was obliged to land behind some rocks more than two miles short of the
third point, but walked to it with my surveying instruments. This was
nine miles from the Seat, and the furthest part of the shore seen from
thence; further on the shore falls back more eastward, in long sandy
beaches, and afterwards curves to the north-west; but it was lost to
sight long before joining the land on the west side of the port. After
taking angles and observing for the latitude and longitude, I rowed to
windward for Indented Head, five leagues off. At the end of the first
mile and a half the depth was 11 fathoms, but afterwards no bottom at 12
until within two miles of the western shore, where it was 9 fathoms. We
landed at nine o'clock at night, near the uppermost part which had yet
been seen.


In the morning a fire was perceived two hundred yards from the tent; and
the Indians appeared to have decamped from thence on our landing. Whilst
I was taking angles from a low point at the north-easternmost part of
Indented Head, a party of the inhabitants showed themselves about a mile
from us; and on landing there we found a hut with a fire in it, but the
people had disappeared, and carried off their effects. I left some strips
of cloth, of their favourite red colour, hanging about the hut, and
proceeded westward along the shore to examine the arm of the port running
in that direction.

Three natives having made their appearance abreast of the boat, we again
landed. They came to us without hesitation, received a shag and some
trifling presents with pleasure, and parted with such of their arms as we
wished to possess without reluctance. They afterwards followed us along
the shore; and when I shot another bird, which hovered over the boat, and
held it up to them, they ran down to the water-side and received it
without expressing either surprise or distrust. Their knowledge of the
effect of fire-arms I then attributed to their having seen me shoot birds
when unconscious of being observed; but it had probably been learned from
Mr. Murray.

At noon I landed to take an observation of the sun, which gave 38° 7' 6"
for the latitude; my position being nearly at the northern extremity of
Indented Head. Some bearings were taken from the brow of a hill a little
way back; and after a dinner of which the natives partook, we left them
on friendly terms to proceed westward in our examination. The water
became very shallow abreast of a sandy point, whence the shore trends
nearly south-west; and there being no appearance of an opening to the sea
this way, I steered across the western arm, as well to ascertain its
depth as with the intention of ascending the hills lying behind the
northern shore. Two of the peaks upon these hills had been set from the
ship's deck at sunset of the 25th, at the distance of thirty-seven miles;
and as their elevation must consequently be a thousand feet, or more, I
expected to obtain from thence such a view of the upper parts of the port
as would render the coasting round it unnecessary.

The width of the western arm was found to be six miles; and the soundings
across augmented regularly to 6 fathoms in mid channel, and then
decreased in the same way; but there was less than 3 fathoms at two miles
from the northern shore. That side is indeed very low and marshy, with
mud banks lying along it; and we had difficulty in finding a dry place to
pitch the tent, and still more to procure wood wherewith to cook the
ducks I had shot upon the banks.


At day dawn I set off with three of the boat's crew for the highest part
of the back hills called _Station Peak_. Our way was over a low plain,
where the water appeared frequently to lodge; it was covered with
small-bladed grass, but almost destitute of wood, and the soil was clayey
and shallow. One or two miles before arriving at the feet of the hills we
entered a wood where an emu and a kangaroo were seen at a distance; and
the top of the peak was reached at ten o'clock. My position was then 21'
of latitude from Point Nepean, in the direction of N. 28° 30' W., and I
saw the water of the port as far as N. 75° E., at the distance of seven
or eight leagues; so that the whole extent of the port, north and south,
is at least thirty miles. The extremity of the western arm bore S. 15°
45' W., which makes the extent, east and west, to be thirty-six miles;
but there was no communication with the sea on that side, nor did the
western arm appear to be navigable beyond seven miles above where I had
crossed it. Towards the interior there was a mountain bearing N. 11° E.,
eleven leagues distant; and so far the country was low, grassy and very
slightly covered with wood, presenting great facility to a traveller of
penetrating inland.

I left the ship's name on a scroll of paper, deposited in a small pile of
stones upon the top of the peak; and at three in the afternoon reached
the tent, much fatigued, having walked more than twenty miles without
finding a drop of water. Mr. Lacy, the midshipman of the boat, had
observed the latitude at the tent from an artificial horizon to be 38° 2'
22"; and Station Peak bore from thence N. 47° W.

In the evening we rowed back to Indented Head, and landed there soon
after dark. Fires had been seen moving along the shore, but the people
seemed to have fled; though we found two newly erected huts with fires in
them, and utensils, which must have belonged to some of the people before
seen, since there was boiled rice in one of the baskets. We took up our
quarters here for the night, keeping a good watch; but nothing was seen
of the Indians till we pushed off from the shore in the morning [SUNDAY 2
MAY 1802], when seven showed themselves upon a hill behind the huts. They
ran down to examine their habitations, and finding every thing as they
had left it, a little water excepted of which we were in want, they
seemed satisfied; and for a short time three of them followed the boat.

Along the north-east and east sides of Indented Head I found the water to
be shoal for nearly a mile off; but on approaching the entrance of what
Mr. Murray called Swan Harbour, but which I have taken the liberty to
converting into _Swan Pond_, it became somewhat deeper. Seeing swans
there, I rowed into it after them, but found the place full of mud banks,
and seldom more than three or four feet in depth. Three of the birds were
caught; and at the south side of the entrance, upon the sandy peninsula,
or island as it is when the tide is in, I shot some delicate teal, and
found fresh water in small ponds.

The ship was lying about three miles within the mouth of the port, near
to the south shore; and after I had taken bearings at two stations on the
sandy peninsula, we steered a straight course for her, sounding all the
way. It appeared that there was a passage up the port of a mile wide
between the middle banks and the western shore, with a depth in it from 3
to 4½ fathoms. On the western extremity of the banks I had 2½ fathoms,
and afterwards 5, 7, 4, 7, 8, 9, 9 to the ship.

Lieutenant Fowler had had a good deal of difficulty in getting back to
the entrance of the port; owing in part to the western winds, and partly
from the shoals, which do not seem to lie in any regular order. He had
touched upon one of these, where there was ten feet on one side of the
ship, and on the other 5 fathoms. This seems to have been a more eastern
part of the same shoal upon which we had before grounded; but no danger
is to be feared from these banks to a flat-floored ship.

I find it very difficult to speak in general terms of Port Phillip. On
the one hand it is capable of receiving and sheltering a larger fleet of
ships than ever yet went to sea; whilst on the other, the entrance, in
its whole width, is scarcely two miles, and nearly half of it is occupied
by the rocks lying off Point Nepean, and by shoals on the opposite side.
The depth in the remaining part varies from 6 to 12 fathoms; and this
irregularity causes the strong tides, especially when running against the
wind, to make breakers, in which small vessels should be careful of
engaging themselves; and when a ship has passed the entrance, the middle
shoals are a great obstacle to a free passage up the port. These shoals
are met with at four miles directly from the entrance, and extend about
ten miles to the east-south-east, parallel with the south shore; they do
not seem, however, to be one connected mass, for I believe there are two
or three deep openings in them, though we had not time to make an

No runs of fresh water were seen in any excursions; but Mr. Charles
Grimes, surveyor-general of New South Wales, afterwards found several,
and in particular a small river falling into the northern head of the
port. Mr. Grimes was sent by governor King, in 1803, to walk round, and
survey the harbour; and from his plan I have completed my chart of Port
Phillip. The parts of the coast left unshaded are borrowed from him, and
the soundings written at right angles are those of his companion,
lieutenant Robbins.

The country surrounding Port Phillip has a pleasing, and in many parts a
fertile appearance; and the sides of some of the hills and several of the
vallies are fit for agricultural purposes. It is in great measure a
grassy country, and capable of supporting much cattle, though better
calculated for sheep. To this general description there are probably
several exceptions; and the southern peninsula, which is terminated by
Point Nepean, forms one, the surface there being mostly sandy, and the
vegetation in many places little better than brush wood. Indented Head,
at the northern part of the western peninsula, had an appearance
particularly agreeable; the grass had been burned not long before, and
had sprung up green and tender; the wood was so thinly scattered that one
might see to a considerable distance; and the hills rose one over the
other to a moderate elevation, but so gently that a plough might every
where be used. The vegetable soil is a little mixed with sand, but good,
though probably not deep, as I judged by the small size of the trees.

The most common kinds of wood are the _casuarina_ and _eucalyptus_, to
which Mr. Grimes adds the _banksia_, _mimosa_ and some others; but the
timber is rarely sound, and is not large.

Were a settlement to be made at Port Phillip, as doubtless there will be
some time hereafter, the entrance could be easily defended; and it would
not be difficult to establish a friendly intercourse with the natives,
for they are acquainted with the effect of fire-arms and desirous of
possessing many of our conveniences. I thought them more muscular than
the men of King George's Sound; but, generally speaking, they differ in
no essential particular from the other inhabitants of the South and East
Coasts except in language, which is dissimilar, if not altogether
different to that of Port Jackson, and seemingly of King George's Sound
also. I am not certain whether they have canoes, but none were seen.

In the woods are the kangaroo, the emu or cassowary, paroquets, and a
variety of small birds; the mud banks are frequented by ducks and some
black swans, and the shores by the usual sea fowl common in New South
Wales. The range of the thermometer was between 61° and 67°; and the
climate appeared to be as good and as agreeable as could well be desired
in the month answering to November. In 1803, colonel Collins of the
marines was sent out from England to make a new settlement in this
country; but he quitted Port Phillip for the south end of Van Diemen's
Land, probably from not finding fresh water for a colony sufficiently
near to the entrance.

Point Nepean is in _latitude_ 38° 18' south. The _longitude_ from twelve
sets of distances taken by lieutenant Flinders in the port, and six
others by me ten days before arriving, the particulars of which are given
in Table V. of the Appendix to this volume, is 144° 30½' east; but these
observations being mostly on one side of the moon, the corrected
longitude by time keepers, 144° 38' east, is preferred.

No observations were taken in the port for the _variation_ of the
compass; but at seven leagues to the south-south-west of Point Nepean,
azimuths gave 3° 41' when the ship's head was at N.E. by E. ½ E., and an
amplitude at N. N. E. ½ E., 6° 48' east. The mean of these, corrected to
the meridian, will be 7° 30', or half a degree less than at King's
Island; I therefore take the variation in Port Phillip to have been
generally, 7°, though at some stations it seemed to have been no more
than 6° 30' east.

The rise of _tide_ is inconsiderable in the upper parts of the port; near
the entrance it is from three to six feet. By the swinging of the ship,
which, however, varied at different anchorages, it appeared to be high
water _two hours and a half after_ the moon's passage; but at Point
Nepean the time of high water by the shore is said by Mr. Grimes to be
only _one hour after_ the moon. At Western Port, Mr. Bass found high
water to take place half an hour after the moon's passage, and the tide
to rise from ten to fourteen feet. This great increase, in a place so
near, seems extraordinary; but may perhaps be accounted for by the
meeting of the tides from two entrances, whilst Port Phillip has only
one, and that very narrow.


Departure from Port Phillip.
Cape Schanck.
Wilson's Promontory, and its isles.
Kent's Groups, and Furneaux's Isles.
Hills behind the Long Beach.
Arrival at Port Jackson.
Health of the ship's company.
Refitment and supply of the ship.
Price of provisions.
Volunteers entered.
Arrangement for the succeeding part of the voyage.
French ships.
Astronomical and nautical observations.



On the 3rd of May at daylight the anchor was weighed to go out of Port
Phillip with the last half of the ebb; and the wind being from the
westward, we backed, filled and tacked occasionally, dropping out with
the tide. When the entrance was cleared, and five miles distant, Mr.
Westall took a view of it (Atlas Plate XVII, View 13.), which will be an
useful assistance in finding this extensive but obscure port; and at
eleven o'clock, when we bore away eastward to pass Cape Schanck, he
sketched that cape and the ridge of hills terminating at Arthur's Seat
(View 14). Cape Schanck is a cliffy head, with three rocks lying off, the
outermost of which appears at a distance like a ship under sail: the
latitude is 38° 29' or 30' south, and longitude 144° 53' east. It will
always be desirable for vessels to get sight of this cape before they run
far into the great bight for Port Phillip; and if the wind blow strong
from the southward it will be unsafe to run without having seen it.

Cape Schanck is also an excellent mark for ships desiring to go into
Western Port, of which it forms the west side of the principal entrance;
but as there are many breakers and shoals on that side, which extend
almost to mid-channel, it will be necessary to give the cape a wide berth
by keeping over to Phillip Island on the starboard hand.

At noon, Cape Schanck bore N. 36° W. five or six miles; the breeze was
fresh from the westward, with cloudy weather, and we steered for Point
Grant, at the east side of the entrance into Western Port. There is a
square-topped rock surrounded with a reef lying off the point; but the
Lady Nelson has passed between them, with 3 fathoms water. On reaching
within a mile of this reef, at one o'clock, I set

C. Schanck, distant 9 or 10 miles, at            N. 85° W.
A cliffy head up the entrance, distant 5 miles,  N. 16  W.
Square-topped rock,                              N. 85  E.
Cape Wollamai,                                   S. 80½ E.

We then steered eastward along the south side of Phillip Island, and
passed a needle-like rock lying under the shore. Cape Wollamai is the
east end of the island, and forms one side of the small, eastern entrance
to the port; and at three o'clock when it bore, N. 14° E., five or six
miles, its longitude was ascertained by means of the time-keepers to be
145° 25' east: the latitude deduced from bearings is 38° 33' south.
_Wollamai_ is the native name for a fish at Port Jackson, called
sometimes by the settlers light-horseman, from the bones of the head
having some resemblance to a helmet; and the form of this cape bearing a
likeness to the head of the fish, induced Mr. Bass to give it the name of

We ran south-eastward along the shore, at the rate of six or seven knots,
until sunset; when a steep head, supposed to be the Cape Liptrap of
captain Grant, was seen through the haze, and our bearings of the land

Cape Wollamai, distant six leagues,     N. 49° W.
A low projection, distant seven miles,  N. 21  E.
Cape Liptrap,                           S. 50  E.

We soon afterwards hauled to the wind off shore, under treble-reefed
top-sails; and the gale increasing, with much swell from the
south-westward, the close reefs were taken in. At midnight, tacked to the
northward, and stood off and on till daybreak [TUESDAY 4 MAY 1802]; the
wind being strong at west, and weather squally with rain. We then bore
away for the land, which was seen to leeward; and at seven, the bearings
of the principal parts were as under:

Land indistinct, apparently C. Liptrap,         N. 5° W.
Wilson's Promontory, south extreme,             S. 85 E.
A peaked I. (Rodondo of captain Grant),         S. 71 E.

Besides Rodondo, which lies about six miles to the south-by-east of the
promontory, I distinguished five or six less conspicuous isles, lying
along the south and west sides of this remarkable headland; these are
called Glennie's Isles. To the N. 88° E. from Rodondo, and distant about
two leagues, was a small island which appears to have been one of
Moncur's Isles; and in steering south-eastward we got sight of the
Devil's Tower, and of the high island and rocks named Sir Roger Curtis'
Isles. These names were given by captain Grant in 1800; but he was not
the discoverer of the places to which they are applied. They are all laid
down upon my chart of 1799, on the authority of Mr. Bass; and when it is
considered that this enterprising man saw them from an open boat, in very
bad weather, their relative positions to Wilson's Promontory will be
thought surprisingly near the truth. Unfortunately the situation of the
promontory itself, owing to some injury done to his quadrant, is
considerably in error, being twelve or fourteen miles wrong in latitude.
A reef is mentioned by captain Grant as lying to the southward between
Rodondo and Moncur's Isles; and a rock, level with the water, was seen in
the same situation by the ships Gato and Castle of Good Hope, from which
last it received the appropriate name of _Crocodile Rock_. This also was
seen by Mr. Bass, and laid down in its relative situation; but in the
Investigator I was not sufficiently near to get sight of this important

We continued to steer south-eastward, round all these islands, having a
fresh gale at west-south-west with squally weather; and at noon our
situation was in

Latitude observed,                                 39° 35'
Longitude by time keepers,                        146  30
Rodondo bore                                    N. 15 W.
Sir R. Curtis' Island, the peak, dist. 7 miles, N. 46 E.
(The Devil's Tower being nearly on with the north side.)
Two pointed rocks,                              N. 57° and 62 E.

Wilson's Promontory was no longer visible; but from the best bearings I
had been able to obtain in such blowing weather, its south-eastern
extremity lies in latitude 39° 11½' south, and longitude 146° 24' east.

Not seeing any more islands to the southward from the masthead, we bore
away east soon after noon to make Kent's Groups; and before three o'clock
they both came in sight, as did an island to the northward, which seems
to have been one of the small cluster discovered by Mr. John Black, and
named Hogan's Group. The longitude by time keepers at this time was 146°
58' east, and the following bearings were taken:

Sir R. Curtis' Island, the peak,                 N. 71° W.
Hogan's highest Island, from the mast head,      N.  5  E.
Kent's large Group, south end of the eastern I.  N. 70  E.
Small Group, dist. 6 or 7 miles, hiding the
north-west end of the large group,        N. 52° to 45  E.

In steering past the south sides of the two groups at the distance of
four to six miles, I was enabled to correct their positions; and also
that of the pyramid, which was set at S. 4½° E. ten miles at four
o'clock. When these lands had been laid down in the Francis and Norfolk
in 1798, it was without the assistance of a time keeper, and therefore
liable to considerable errors in longitude.

At five in the evening I thought myself fortunate to get a sight of
Furneaux's great island through the haze; and also of a small, craggy
isle which had been before fixed relatively to the inner Sister. To
obtain the positions of these places by our timekeepers was to me an
important object; since they were connected with the former survey of
Furneaux's Islands and the north-eastern part of Van Diemen's Land. The
bearings taken at five were,

Furneaux's great I., hills on the west part, S. 48° E.
Small craggy isle,                           S. 69  E.
Kent's large Group, extremes,          N. 7° to 47  W.
Small Group, the largest isle,               N. 77  W.
A small rock, not seen before,              N. 88  E.

The hills upon Furneaux's great island, which I believe, but could not
certainly ascertain to have been upon the westernmost point, will
therefore lie very nearly S. 48° E., from the bluff south-west end of
Kent's large Group, instead of S. 38° E., as before marked. This places
the great island 10' of longitude further east from the group, than was
given by my run in the Francis during the night of Feb. 8, 1798.

We passed to the northward of the small new rock at the distance of three
miles, and I judged it to lie four, or four-and-half leagues from the
eastern side of Kent's large Group. No kind of danger was observed
between them, but it was then nearly dark; and the wind being fresh and
favourable, and not having more than ten days provisions in the ship, I
felt it necessary to leave this and some other parts of Bass' Strait to a
future examination; and we steered onward, east-north-east for Port


At daylight of the 5th the course was altered more northward; and at
noon, land was seen from the mast head to the north-north-west, probably
some of the hills at the back of the Long Beach, and distant not less
than twenty leagues: our latitude was 38° 32' south and longitude 149°
35' east. The wind had then moderated and having shifted to north-west we
kept close up to make Cape Howe. At four, hove to and sounded, but no
bottom could be had with 90 fathoms; the land extended in patches from
west-north-west distant twenty-five or more leagues to near the Ram Head
at north; and consequently the hills at the back of the Long Beach must
be of considerable elevation, superior to any other land _near the sea_
in the southern, or perhaps any part of New South Wales.


On the wind shifting to the east side of north, next day, I tacked to get
in with the land; being desirous of running near to as much of the coast,
and correcting its longitude in our way to Port Jackson, as could be done
without loss of time; but at noon the wind veered back, and our
north-eastern course was resumed. The land could not then be further
distant than nine or ten leagues; but no part of it was in sight, nor
from the dullness of the weather could any observation be taken.



After a squally night the wind fixed at west-by-north; and at daybreak of
the 7th the land was visible from west to north-west, and our course was
parallel to it (Atlas Plate VIII). At noon, the latitude was 36° 24'
south, and longitude 151° 16' east; Mount Dromedary was in sight bearing
N. 85° W., and by the difference of longitude, was distant fifty-two
miles: I estimate its highest south part to lie in 36° 19' south, and
150° 11' east. The wind returned to the north-west in the afternoon, and
we lost sight of the land; but becoming fairer afterwards, and the
southern current not having much strength, by four next day [SATURDAY 8
MAY 1802] the heads of Port Jackson were in sight. At dusk the flag-staff
upon the South Head bore west-south-west, and our distance from the shore
was seven or eight miles.

I tried to beat up for the port in the night, being sufficiently well
acquainted to have run up in the dark, had the wind permitted; but we
were still to leeward in the morning [SUNDAY 9 MAY 1802], and Mr. Westall
made a good sketch of the entrance (Atlas Plate XVIII. View 1). At one
o'clock, we gained the heads, a pilot came on board, and soon after three
the Investigator was anchored in Sydney Cove.

There was not a single individual on board who was not upon deck working
the ship into harbour; and it may be averred that the officers and crew
were, generally speaking, in better health than on the day we sailed from
Spithead, and not in less good spirits. I have said nothing of the
regulations observed after we made Cape Leeuwin; they were little
different from those adopted in the commencement of the voyage, and of
which a strict attention to cleanliness and a free circulation of air in
the messing and sleeping-places formed the most essential parts. Several
of the inhabitants of Port Jackson expressed themselves never to have
been so strongly reminded of England as by the fresh colour of many
amongst the Investigator's ship's company.

So soon as the anchor was dropped, I went on shore to wait upon his
Excellency Philip Gidley King, Esq., governor of New South Wales, and
senior naval officer upon the station; to whom I communicated a general
account of our discoveries and examinations upon the South Coast, and
delivered the orders from the Admiralty and Secretary of State. These
orders directed the governor to place the brig Lady Nelson under my
command, and not to employ the Investigator on other service than that
which was the object of the voyage; and His Excellency was pleased to
assure me that every assistance in the power of the colony to render
should be given to forward a service so interesting to his government,
and to himself. The Lady Nelson was then lying in Sydney Cove; but her
commander, lieutenant Grant, had requested permission to return to
England, and had sailed six months before.

Besides the Lady Nelson, there were in the port His Majesty's armed
vessel Porpoise, the Speedy, south-whaler, and the Margaret privateer;
also the French national ship _Le Naturaliste_, commanded by captain
Hamelin, to whom I communicated captain Baudin's intention of coming to
Port Jackson so soon as the bad weather should set in. Le Géographe's
boat had been picked up in Bass' Strait by Mr. Campbell of the brig
Harrington, and the officers and crew were at this time on board Le

MAY 1802

The duties required to fit the ship for prosecuting the voyage with
success being various and extensive, Cattle Point, on the east side of
Sydney Cove, was assigned to us by the governor for carrying on some of
our employments, whilst others were in progress on board the ship and in
the dockyard. On the morning after our arrival we warped to a convenient
situation near the point, and sent on shore the tents, the sailmakers and
sails, and the cooper with all the empty casks. Next day the observatory
was set up, and the time-keepers and other astronomical instruments
placed there under the care of lieutenant Flinders, who, with Mr.
Franklin, his assistant, was to make the necessary observations and
superintend the various duties carrying on at the same place; and a small
detachment of marines was landed for the protection of the tents.

I had found the barricade of the quarter deck to stand so high, as to be
not only an obstacle to beating to windward, but a great inconvenience to
surveying the coast; for when the wind was on the side next to the land,
there were no means of taking bearings over it but by standing on the top
of the binnacle; or otherwise by removing the compass to different
places, which I had found could not be done without materially changing
the variation. These inconveniences being stated to the governor, his
permission was obtained to reduce it so low as that it might be
overlooked in all cases; and an order was given that four convict
carpenters, and such other assistance from the dockyard should be
furnished as was necessary.

To supply the place of the cutter we had lost at the entrance of
Spencer's Gulf, I contracted for a boat to be built after the model of
that in which Mr Bass made his long and adventurous expedition to the
strait. It was twenty-eight feet seven inches in length over all, rather
flat floored, head and stern alike, a keel somewhat curved, and the
cut-water and stern post nearly upright; it was fitted to row eight oars
when requisite, but intended for six in common cases. The timbers were
cut from the largest kind of banksia, which had been found more durable
than mangrove; and the planking was of cedar. This boat was constructed
under the superintendance of Mr. Thomas Moore, master builder to the
colony; and proved, like her prototype, to be excellent in a sea, as well
as for rowing and sailing in smooth water. The cost at Port Jackson was
no more than £30.; but this was owing to some of the materials being
supplied from the public magazines.

Whilst these branches of our refitment were going on, a thorough
examination was made and survey taken of all the ship's stores; as well
for the purpose of sending away those unserviceable and replacing them
with others so far as they could be obtained, as with a view to enable
the warrant officers to pass their accounts and obtain their pay up to
this time; a precaution which the nature of our voyage rendered more
peculiarly necessary. After the surveys were ended, the seamen were
employed in stripping and re-rigging the masts, and preparing the hold to
receive a fresh stock of provisions and water; the naturalist and his
assistants, as also the two painters, made excursions into the interior
of the country; and my time was mostly occupied in constructing the fair
charts of our discoveries and examinations upon the south coast, for the
purpose of their being transmitted to the secretary of the Admiralty.

JUNE 1802

On the 4th of June, the ship was dressed with colours, a royal salute
fired, and I went with the principal officers of the Investigator to pay
my respects to His Excellency the governor and captain-general, in honour
of HIS MAJESTY'S birth day. On this occasion, a splendid dinner was given
to the colony; and the number of ladies and civil, military, and naval
officers was not less than forty, who met to celebrate the birth of their
beloved sovereign in this distant part of the earth.

On the 6th, the Speedy, south-whaler, sailed for England. By Mr. Quested,
the commander, I transmitted to the Admiralty an account of my
proceedings upon the south coast of Terra Australis; but the charts being
unfinished, were obliged to be deferred to a future opportunity. To the
Astronomer Royal I sent Arnold's time keepers, No. 82 and 176, which had
stopped; together with a statement of the principal astronomical
observations hitherto made, and an account of Earnshaw's two time
keepers, No. 543 and 520, which continued to perform well.

Captain Baudin arrived in Le Geographe on the 20th, and a boat was sent
from the Investigator to assist in towing the ship up to the cove. It was
grievous to see the miserable condition to which both officers and crew
were reduced by scurvy; there being not more out of one hundred and
seventy, according to the commander's account, than twelve men capable of
doing their duty. The sick were received into the colonial hospital; and
both French ships furnished with everything in the power of the colony to
supply. Before their arrival, the necessity of augmenting the number of
cattle in the country had prevented the governor from allowing us any
fresh meat; but some oxen belonging to government were now killed for the
distressed strangers; and by returning an equal quantity of salt meat,
which was exceedingly scarce at this time, I obtained a quarter of beef
for my people. The distress of the French navigators had indeed been
great; but every means were used by the governor and the principal
inhabitants of the colony, to make them forget both their sufferings and
the war which existed between the two nations.*

[* These liberal proceedings, which do so much honour to governor King
and the colonists, are handsomely acknowledged by M. Peron in his account
of the French voyage.]

JULY 1802

His Excellency, Governor King, had done me the honour to visit the
Investigator, and to accept of a dinner on board; on which occasion he
had been received with the marks of respect due to his rank of
captain-general; and shortly afterward, the Captains Baudin and Hamelin,
with Monsieur Peron and some other French officers, as also Colonel
Paterson, the lieutenant-governor, did me the same favour; when they were
received under a salute of eleven guns. The intelligence of peace, which
had just been received, contributed to enliven the party, and rendered
our meeting more particularly agreeable. I showed to Captain Baudin one
of my charts of the south coast, containing the part first explored by
him, and distinctly marked as his discovery. He made no objection to the
justice of the limits therein pointed out; but found his portion to be
smaller than he had supposed, not having before been aware of the extent
of the discoveries previously made by Captain Grant. After examining the
chart, he said, apparently as a reason for not producing any of his own,
that his charts were not constructed on board the ship; but that he
transmitted to Paris all his bearings and observations, with a regular
series of views of the land, and from them the charts were to be made at
a future time. This mode appeared to me extraordinary, and not to be
worthy of imitation; conceiving that a rough chart, at least, should be
made whilst the land is in sight, when any error in bearing or
observation can be corrected; a plan which was adopted in the
commencement, and followed throughout the course of my voyage.

Amongst our employments was that of fitting up a green house on the
quarter deck, and sawing plank to make boxes for the reception of such
plants as might be found by the naturalist, and thought worthy of being
transported to His Majesty's botanic garden at Kew. This green house had
been received at Sheerness, and stowed away in pieces; but I saw that
when filled with boxes of earth, the upper works of the ship, naturally
very weak, would be incapable of supporting the weight; and that in bad
weather, we should be obliged to throw it over board for the safety of
the ship. I therefore proposed its reduction to two-thirds of the size;
and Mr. Brown being of opinion it would then contain all the plants
likely to be collected in any one absence from Port Jackson, it was
reduced accordingly; and the feet lowered down close to the deck. This
arrangement required an alteration in the tiller, and a short one, with
two arms, was fitted to the after part of the rudder head; with which
expedient, and leading the main braces forward, the green house was not
likely to cause much inconvenience to the working of the ship. The plants
already collected on the South Coast had been landed on our arrival, in
good order; and deposited in the governor's garden until such time as,
the objects of the voyage being completed, we should be ready to sail for

The ship had never made more than three inches of water in an hour, after
leaving the Cape of Good Hope; so that much caulking was not required,
either within or out board. What was found necessary, was finished by the
middle of July, at the same time with the barricading of the quarter
deck; and the masts being then new rigged, and holds nearly completed
with water and provisions, the sails were bent and the ship was painted.
On the 21st, the last bag of bread and turn of water were received, the
new whale boat was brought off, and we dropped down the harbour; being
then ready for going to sea next morning.

In consequence of the directions given by His Majesty's principal
Secretary of State for the Colonies, the Lady Nelson, a brig of sixty
tons, commanded by Acting-Lieutenant John Murray, was placed under my
orders, as a tender to the Investigator. This vessel was fitted with
three sliding keels; and built after the plan of that ingenious officer
commissioner (now vice-admiral) Schanck. When the sliding keels were up,
the Lady Nelson drew no more than six feet water; and was therefore
peculiarly adapted for going up rivers, or other shallow places which it
might be dangerous, or impossible for the ship to enter. Mr Murray's crew
was mostly composed of convicts; and having no officer in whom he could
place entire confidence, I lent to him Mr Denis Lacy, one of my young
gentlemen acquainted with the management of a time keeper, to act as his
chief mate.

The price of fresh meat at Port Jackson was so exorbitant, that it was
impossible to think of purchasing it on the public account. I obtained
one quarter of beef for the ship's company, in exchange for salt meat,
and the governor furnished us with some baskets of vegetables from his
garden; and in lieu of the daily pound of biscuit, each man received a
pound and a quarter of soft bread, without any expense to government. But
with these exceptions, I was obliged to leave the refreshment of the
people to their own individual exertions; assisting them with the payment
due for savings of bread since leaving the Cape of Good Hope, and the
different artificers with the money earned by their extra services in
refitting the ship. Fish are usually plentiful at Port Jackson in the
summer, but not in the winter time; and our duties were too numerous and
indispensable to admit of sending people away with the seine, when there
was little prospect of success; a few were, however, occasionally bought
alongside, from boats which fished along the coast.

In purchasing a sea stock for the cabin, I paid £3 a head for sheep,
weighing from thirty to forty pounds when dressed. Pigs were bought at
9d. per pound, weighed alive, geese at 10s. each, and fowls at 3s.; and
Indian corn for the stock cost 5s. a bushel.

To complete the ship's provisions, I entered into a contract for 30,000
pounds of biscuit, 8000 pounds of flour, and 156 bushels of kiln-dried
wheat; but in the meantime, the ship Coromandel brought out the greater
part of the twelvemonths' provisions, for which I had applied on sailing
from Spithead; and the contractor was prevailed upon to annul that part
of the agreement relating to flour and wheat. The biscuit cost 33s. per
hundred pounds; and considering that the colony was at short allowance,
and that the French ships were to be supplied, it was a favourable price.
From two American vessels which arrived, I purchased 1483 gallons of rum
at 6s. 6d. per gallon; which, with what remained of our former stock was
a proportion for twelve months. In other respects our provisions were
completed from the quantity sent out from England; and the remaining part
was lodged in the public stores, in charge of the commissary, until our

In addition to the melancholy loss of eight officers and men, at the
entrance of Spencer's Gulf, and the previous deficiency of four in the
complement, I found it necessary to discharge the man who had been bitten
by a seal at Kangaroo Island, as also a marine, who was invalided; so
that fourteen men were required to complete my small ship's company. Mr
John Aken, chief mate of the ship Hercules, was engaged to fill the
situation of master, and five men, mostly seamen, were entered, but
finding it impossible to fill up the complement with free people, I
applied to the governor for his permission to enter such convicts as
should present themselves, and could bring respectable recommendations.
This request, as every other I had occasion to make to His Excellency,
was complied with; and when the requisite number was selected, he gave me
an official document, containing clauses relative to these men, well
calculated to ensure their good conduct. As this document may be thought
curious by many readers, it is here inserted; premising, that the men
therein mentioned, with the exception of two, were convicts for life.

By His Excellency Philip Gidley King, Esq.,
captain-general and governor in chief, in and
over His Majesty's territory of New South Wales
and its dependencies, etc., etc., etc.

"Whereas Captain Matthew Flinders, commander of His Majesty's ship
Investigator, has requested permission to receive on board that ship the
undermentioned convicts as seamen, to make up the number he is deficient.
I do hereby grant Thomas Toney, Thomas Martin, Joseph Marlow, Thomas
Shirley, Joseph Tuzo, Richard Stephenson, Thomas Smith, Francis Smith,
and Charles Brown permission to ship themselves on board His Majesty's
ship Investigator, and on the return of that ship to this port, according
to Captain Flinders' recommendation of them, severally and individually,
they will receive conditional emancipations or absolute pardons, as that
officer may request.

"And in the interim I do, by virtue of the power and authority in me
vested, grant a provisional-conditional emancipation to the said Thomas
Toney, etc.; for the purpose of their being enabled to serve on board His
Majesty's said ship Investigator, whilst in the neighbourhood of this
territory; which conditional emancipation will be of no effect, in case
any of those named herein do individually conduct themselves so ill, as
to put it out of captain Flinders' power to recommend them for a
conditional or absolute pardon on his return to this port.

"Given under my hand and seal at government house Sydney,
in New South Wales, this 15th day of July, in the year
of our Lord 1802. (Signed) Philip Gidley King, (L. S.)"

Several of these men were seamen, and all were able and healthy; so that
I considered them a great acquisition to our strength. With respect to
themselves, the situation to which they were admitted was most desirable;
since they had thereby a prospect of returning to their country, and that
society from which they had been banished; and judging from the number of
candidates for the vacancies, such was the light in which a reception on
board the Investigator was considered in the colony. When the master was
entered, one of the men, being over the complement, was sent to the Lady
Nelson, with a reserve of the privilege above granted.

I had before experienced much advantage from the presence of a native of
Port Jackson, in bringing about a friendly intercourse with the
inhabitants of other parts of the coast; and on representing this to the
governor, he authorised me to receive two on board. _Bongaree_, the
worthy and brave fellow who had sailed with me in the Norfolk, now
volunteered again; the other was Nanbaree, a good-natured lad, of whom
Colonel Collins has made mention in his _Account of New South Wales_.

My instructions directed me to consult with Governor King upon the best
means of proceeding in the execution of the voyage; they also pointed out
my return to the south coast, as the first step after refitting the ship
at Port Jackson; but His Excellency was of opinion, as well as myself,
that it would be unsafe to do this in the middle of the winter season;
and that to remain six months in port waiting for the fine weather would
be a sad waste of time; I had, besides, left very little of importance to
be examined upon the south coast, a circumstance which the instructions
had not contemplated. Upon all these considerations, it was decided to
proceed to the northward--examine Torres' Strait and the east side of the
Gulf of Carpentaria before the north-west monsoon should set in--proceed
as I might be able during its continuance--and afterwards explore the
north and north-west coasts; returning to Port Jackson when, and by such
route as might be found most advisable, and conducive to the general
purposes of the voyage.

It was probable that the north-west monsoon would not set in before the
beginning of November; I therefore intended to examine such parts of the
east coast of New South Wales in my way to the northward, as had been
passed by Captain Cook in the night, and were not seen in my expedition
with the Norfolk sloop in 1799. The openings of Keppel and Shoal-water
Bays, and the still larger of Broad Sound, I was also anxious to explore;
in the hope of finding a river falling into some one of them, capable of
admitting the Lady Nelson into the interior of the country. These
desirable objects I expected to accomplish before the approach of the
monsoon would call me into the Gulf of Carpentaria.

The French ships were in no forwardness for sailing; and it was
understood that Captain Baudin intended sending back Le Naturaliste to
France, by the way of Bass' Strait, so soon as the season should be
favourable. He had purchased a small vessel of between thirty and forty
tons at Sydney, to serve him as a tender; and he told me that we should
probably meet in the Gulf of Carpentaria in December or January. I
understood that he meant to return to the south coast, and after
completing its examination, to proceed northward, and enter the Gulf with
the north-west monsoon; but it appeared to me very probable, that the
western winds on the south coast would detain him too long to admit of
reaching the Gulf of Carpentaria at the time specified, or at any time
before the south-east monsoon would set in against him.

Before leaving Sydney Cove, I placed in the hands of governor King two
copies of my chart of the south coast of Terra Australis, in six sheets;
with three other sheets of particular parts, on a large scale. One copy I
requested him to send with my letters to the secretary of the Admiralty,
by the first good opportunity that offered; the other was to remain in
his hands until my return, or until he should hear of the loss of the
Investigator, when it was also to be sent to the Admiralty.

During our stay of twelve weeks at Port Jackson, there were not many days
favourable to our pursuits at the observatory, the weather being dull and
rainy for the greater part of the time; by watching all opportunities
however, a sufficient number of observations were obtained to show the
rates of the time keepers, and to answer the purposes of geography and

The _Latitude_ of Cattle Point, from thirty meridian altitudes in an
artificial horizon, of which fourteen were taken by Mr. Crosley and seven
by me in 1795, and nine by lieutenant Flinders at this time, is 33° 51'
45.6" S.

_Longitude_ from forty-four sets of distances of the sun and moon, of
which the individual results are given in Table VI of the Appendix to
this volume, 151° 11' 49" E.*

[* In 1795 and 1796 I took sixty sets of distances upon Cattle Point, an
equal number on each side, which gave the longitude 151° 17' 12"; but
these observations not having been calculated with great nicety, nor
corrected for the errors of the lunar and solar tables, the result is not
considered to be of equal authority with that given above. The present
admiral D'ESPINOSA, when an officer in the voyage of Malaspina, observed
an eclipse of the sun at Port Jackson, and occultations of the first and
second satellites of Jupiter, from which he deduces the longitude of the
town of Sydney to be 151° 12' 45" east of Greenwich; not differing more
than a minute of longitude from the above forty-four sets of corrected
lunar observations.]

This position of Cattle Point, being reduced to the entrance of Port
Jackson, will be for the Flag staff on the south head, latitude 33° 51½'
south, longitude 151° 16½ east.

Ramsden's universal theodolite was set up at the observatory, and
intended to be used as a transit instrument; but from the unfavourable
state of the weather and my numerous occupations, it was not adjusted to
the meridian; and the rates of the time keepers were therefore deduced
from equal altitudes, taken with a sextant and artificial horizon in the
usual way. Their errors from mean Greenwich time, at noon there July 18,
and the mean rates of going in the last fifteen days, which were selected
as the best, were as under:

Earnshaw's No. 543, slow Oh 16' 39.72" and losing  8.63" per day.
Earnshaw's No. 520, slow 1  18  53.00  and losing 19.52  per day.

The longitude of Cattle Point, given by the time keepers with the
Kangaroo-Island rates on May 10th, the first day of observation after our
arrival, was by

No. 543 151° 31' 21" east
No. 520 151  26  49  east.

The mean is 17' 16" more than deduced from the lunar observations; and
when rates are used equally accelerating from those at Kangaroo Island,
to what were found on first arriving at Port Jackson, the longitude by
the time keepers would still be 14' 57.4" to the east; so that they
appear to have gone less regularly during this passage than before. In
fixing the longitudes of places between the two stations, the time
keepers with their accelerated rates have been used; and the error of 14'
57.4" has been corrected by quantities proportionate to the times of
observation, between April 6 at Kangaroo Island, and May 9 at Port

The mean _dip_ of the south end of the needle at Cattle Point was 62° 52'

Variation of the compass, observed by lieutenant Flinders on Garden
Island in the following year, 8° 51' east.

No remarks were made at this time upon the _tide_; but it is known to be
high water in Port Jackson about _eight hours and a quarter_ after the
moon's passage over and under the meridian; and the usual rise to be
between four and six or seven feet. When high water takes place between
three or four in the afternoon and one or two in the morning, it rises
from six to eighteen inches higher than the preceding flood; and the
following ebb descends a few inches lower than that which preceded the
high tide.

The range of the thermometer on board the ship, was from 51° to 69°; and
nearly the same on shore. The mercury in the barometer stood from 29.60
to 30.36 inches; but it was remarkable that it stood lowest in the fine
weather, when the wind came from the westward off the land, and was
highest in the rainy, squally weather, with the wind from the sea.
According to the information communicated by colonel W. Paterson, F. R.
S., commander of the troops at Port Jackson, this relation between the
mercury and the weather was general here in the winter season, when the
eastern winds bring rain with them; and I had frequent occasion to remark
upon the South Coast, that sea winds raised the mercury in the barometer,
whilst those from the land, even with fine weather, caused it to descend.


Of the winds and currents on the south coast of Terra Australis,
and in Bass' Strait.
Usual progress of the gales.
Proper seasons for sailing eastward,
and for going westward:
best places of shelter in each case,
with some instructions for the Strait.


Before entering upon the second part of the voyage, it seems proper to
give an account of the winds and currents which prevailed upon the South
Coast; and to add thereto such other general information as may be useful
in rendering the navigation more safe and expeditious, both along the
coast and through Bass' Strait.

The rate and direction of the currents here described, are deduced from
the daily positions of the ship by astronomical observation, compared
with those given by a log kept in the common way, but with somewhat more
than common attention. In the observations, however, there may be some
errors, and a log cannot be depended upon nearer than to five miles in
the distance, and half a point in the course for the twenty-four hours;
and consequently this account of the currents must be taken as subject to
the sum, or to the difference of the errors in the observations and log;
though it is probable they may have been diminished by taking the medium
of several days, which has always been done where it was possible.

Besides the difficulty there is in obtaining the exact rate and direction
of a current, it is known that a continuance of the wind in any
particular quarter may so far change its rate of moving, and even its
direction, that at another time it may be found materially different in
both. Of the probability of these changes the commander of a ship must
form his own judgment, from the winds he may have previously experienced;
and he will consider what is here said upon both winds and currents, as
calculated and intended to give him a general notion, and no more, of
what may usually be expected upon the South Coast.

(Atlas Plate I.)

Several days before making Cape Leeuwin, I experienced a current setting
to the northward, at the rate of twenty-seven miles per day; but at the
mean distance of forty leagues, west-south-west from the cape, the
current ran north-east, twenty-two miles; and when the ship got in with
the South Coast, I found it setting N. 70° E., at the average rate of
twenty-seven miles per day: this was in the month of December. On
approaching Cape Leeuwin in May, from the north-westward, the current for
five days was ten miles to the east; but at forty leagues from the cape,
it ran N. 35° E. fifteen miles; and from the meridian of the cape to past
King George's Sound, the current set east, twenty-seven miles per day,
nearly as it had before done in December. Captain Vancouver and admiral
D'Entrecasteaux do not speak very explicitly as to the currents; but it
may be gathered from both, that they also experienced a set to the
eastward along this part of the South Coast.

The winds seem to blow pretty generally from the westward at Cape
Leeuwin. In the summer time, they vary from north-west in the night, to
south-west in the latter part of the day, though not regularly; and in
the winter season this variation does not seem to take place. A long
swell of the sea, called _ground swell_ to distinguish it from the
lesser, variable one of the surface, appears to come at all times from
the south-westward, which indicates that the strongest and most durable
winds blow from that quarter; and this was partly confirmed by our
experience, for whenever it blew hard, the wind was at, or near to

It is from the superior strength and apparent prevalence of this wind,
that the currents in the neighbourhood of Cape Leeuwin may be explained.
The sea being driven in from the south-west, and meeting with the cape,
will necessarily be divided by it, and form two currents, which will
follow the directions of the land; one branch will run northward, along
the west coast of Terra Australis, and the other eastward along the South
Coast: our present business is to follow the latter current.

If a line be drawn from the south-western extremity of New Holland, to
King's Island in Bass' Strait, it will show where the current may be
expected to run strongest; though it will not be equally strong at those
parts of the line which are distant from the land, as at those in its
immediate vicinity. In drawing another line, from the north-eastern isles
of the Archipelago of the Recherche to Cape Northumberland, we shall have
what will commonly be the northern boundary of the current; for within
this line the water does not seem to run in any constant direction, but
is moved according as the wind may happen to blow. This was found by
admiral D'Entrecasteaux; and is conformable to my experience, as I shall
now explain.

It has been said, that the eastwardly current was found in May and
December to run twenty-seven miles per day, from Cape Leeuwin past King
George's Sound. From thence to a little beyond the Archipelago of the
Recherche, keeping in with the shore, I found it to set north-east
thirteen miles; and at a distance from the coast, it ran
north-east-by-east sixteen miles per day, the wind being more from the
south than from the northward in both cases.

In coasting from the Archipelago, all round the Great Bight and as far
south-eastward as to Cape Northumberland, I had no determinate current;
it generally followed the impulsion given to it by the winds, and was
inconsiderable. From the middle of January to the middle of April, the
winds were most prevalent from south-south-east to east-north-east;
coming more from the land at night, and from the sea in the day time.
They seldom had any strength; whereas the winds which occasionally blew
from the westward were fresh, and sometimes became gales, veering in that
case, invariably to the south-west.

On reaching Cape Northumberland I again found the eastwardly current; and
from thence into Bass' Strait it ran N. 80° E., at the rate of twelve
miles a day, the wind blowing strong from the south-westward in the
latter part of the time.

In a subsequent run across the Great Bight in May, from the Archipelago
nearly direct for Bass' Strait, the current set upon the average, N. 39°
E. fourteen miles a day; appearing to be much influenced in its northern
direction by the winds blowing strong from the southward. Mr. Dalrymple,
in reasoning from the analogy of southern Africa, expected that the winds
upon this coast would be found to blow from the northward, or off the
shore, _in the winter time_, and this might possibly be the case if close
in with the land; but at a distance from it, as just observed, the winds
were from the southward.

Such an accumulation of water forcing itself through Bass' Strait, would
naturally lead to the expectation of finding a strong current there,
setting to the east; but on the contrary, the set in common cases was
found to be rather in the opposite direction, the current appearing to be
predominated by the tides, whose superior strength forced it below the
surface. The flood comes from the eastward; and after making high water
at Furneaux's Isles, passes on to Hunter's and King's Islands, where it
meets another flood from the southward; and the high water then made
seems to be nearly at the time that it is low water at Furneaux's Isles.
Another flood is then coming from the east, and so on; whence a ship
going eastward through the Strait, will have more tide meeting than
setting after her, and be commonly astern of her reckoning. This applies
more especially to the middle of the strait, and is what I there found
with winds blowing across it; but the bight on the north side, between
Cape Otway and Wilson's Promontory, seems to be an exception, and in
fact, it lies out of the direct set of the tides. In running from Port
Phillip to the Promontory I was set S. 73° E., thirty-five miles in the
day; but it then blew a gale from the west and south-westward.

Although the eastwardly current be not commonly found at the surface in
Bass' Strait, it is not lost. Navigators find it running with
considerable strength, when passing the strait two or three degrees to
the east of Furneaux's Islands; and it was this current so found, which
led admiral Hunter to the first opinion of the existence of an opening
between New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land.

Every thing in Bass' Strait bespeaks the strongest winds to come from the
south-west; and there is reason to believe that during nine months of the
year, it generally blows from some point in the western quarter. In
January, February, and March, eastern winds with fine weather seem to be
not uncommon; but there is no dependence to be had on them at any other
season. At the eastern side of the strait and of Van Diemen's Land, it is
not unusual to meet a north-east or north wind, though it seldom blows
strong. The gales usually come from between south-west and south-east,
and most frequently from the latter direction; which renders it hazardous
to approach the coast between Cape Howe and Wilson's Promontory.

Thus, speaking generally of the south coast of Terra Australis, it may be
considered that during the six or eight winter months, the winds blow
almost constantly from some western point; and that gales of wind at
south-west are frequent. The progress of the gales is usually this: the
barometer falls to 29½ inches, or lower, and the wind rises from the
north-westward with thick weather, and commonly with rain; it veers
gradually to the west, increasing in strength, and the weather begins to
clear up so soon as it has got to the southward of that point; at
south-west the gale blows hardest, and the barometer rises; and by the
time the wind gets to south or south-south-east, it becomes moderate, the
weather is fine, and the barometer above 30 inches. Sometimes the wind
may return back to west, or something northward, with a fall in the
mercury, and diminish in strength, or die away; but the gale is not over,
although a cessation of a day or two may take place. In some cases, the
wind flies round suddenly from north-west to south-west; and the rainy,
thick weather then continues a longer time.

Such is the usual course of the gales along the South Coast and in Bass'
Strait; but on the east side of the strait the winds partake of the
nature of those on the East Coast, where the gale often blows hardest
between south and south-east. and is accompanied with thick weather, and
frequently with heavy rain.

In the four or five summer months, the south-east and east winds appear
to be most prevalent all round the Great Bight; but even there, the
western winds sometimes blow at that time, and usually with considerable
strength. Thus I had a strong south-west wind in the middle of February,
near the Investigator's Group, and a gale from the same quarter in March,
at the entrance of Spencer's Gulph; which last was felt still more
severely in Bass' Strait by captain Baudin. At the two extremities of the
coast, that is, in the strait and near King George's Sound, the winds
blow sometimes from the west and sometimes from the eastward, in the
summer; but the strongest winds are from the south-west.

It will hence appear, that the summer is alone the proper time for a ship
to come upon, and still more so for exploring the south coast of Terra
Australis; whether she proceed along it from west to east, as I did in
the Investigator, or from east to west, as captain Baudin, seems to be
almost a matter of indifference. From Cape Leeuwin to the end of the
Archipelago of the Recherche, and from Cape Northumberland to Bass'
Strait, it is perhaps most advantageous to proceed eastward, on account
of the current; but in the intermediate and more considerable part of the
coast, a western route is certainly preferable. It has also this general
advantage, that the winds which are fair for running along the coast are
those that blow moderately, and are accompanied with fine weather, most
proper for making a survey; whereas those favourable to the opposite
route frequently blow strong, and render it dangerous to keep in with the
land. As to making a survey of the South Coast in the winter season,
which had been judged from theoretical analogy to be the most proper
time, it appears to be not only a dangerous experiment, but also one from
which very little accuracy of investigation could be expected; and with
as much ardour as most men for such pursuits, I should very unwillingly
undertake the task.


These observations upon the danger of sailing along the South Coast in
the winter season, are not meant to apply to the commander of a ship
desirous of going eastward through Bass' Strait, and of seeing no more of
the land than is necessary to assure his situation. The strait may be
passed without more than very common danger, at any time of the year,
provided that the navigator be certain of his latitude before approaching
the longitude of 143½°; he should not, however, enter the strait in the
night, unless he have previously seen the land, or be certain both of
latitude and longitude. The parallel of 39°, or 39° 20', according as the
wind may incline, is the best for taking a ship between King's Island and
Cape Otway; and a sight of either, or preferably of both, will point out
his position on the chart. The sole danger to be apprehended here, is the
Harbinger's Reefs, two patches lying nearly two leagues out from the
north end of King's Island; but are so far separated from it, and from
each other, as to leave practicable passages between them, where the
shoalest water found by the Cumberland schooner was 9 fathoms.

(Atlas Plate VI.)

When the position of the ship at the entrance of the strait is
ascertained, a course should be shaped for Curtis' Island, which will be
visible ten or eleven leagues from the deck in fine weather; and as the
distance is between forty and fifty leagues, and nothing lies in the way,
a part of it may be run in the night, with a good look-out. I would
afterwards pass on the south side of Kent's Groups, at not a greater
distance from the largest than two leagues; and then steer
east-north-east by compass, if nearly before the wind, or on either side
of that course as the wind may incline; but taking care not to approach
the northern Long Beach.

In case of meeting with a continuance of foul winds, the most convenient
places in the strait for anchorage, when going eastward, are these:

1st. Under the north-west end of King's Island, near the New Year's
Isles. Of this anchorage I know only, besides what is given in the chart,
that the brig Harrington there rode out a gale from south-west, the heavy
sea being broken off by the New Year's Isles; and the shelter from
eastern winds must certainly be much more complete.

2nd. Port Phillip; anchoring just within the entrance, on the south side.
When a fair wind comes, a ship can get out of the port by means of the
strong tides.

3rd. Hunter's Isles, between Three-hummock and Barren Islands; taking
care not to anchor too close to the weather shore, lest the wind change

4th. The bight between Wilson's Promontory and Cape Liptrap, _in case of
necessity_; but I would not recommend this place, it being very dangerous
should the wind shift to south-west.

5th. Kent's large Group for brigs and lesser vessels; in one of the small
sandy coves under the eastern island.

6th. Furneaux's Isles, between Clarke's and Preservation Islands. If the
ship be not able to weather Clarke's Island, and pass out to the
south-eastward when the fair wind comes, she may run through Armstrong's
Channel, with a boat ahead and a good look-out.

This is all that it seems necessary to say for the information of a
commander desirous of going eastward through Bass' Strait; and with the
chart in the Atlas, (Plate VI.), it is all that a man of moderate
experience and judgment will desire. I have not mentioned the entrance to
the strait between King's Island and Hunter's Isles, thinking it not to
be recommendable; both on account of _Reid's Rocks_, which lie in the
passage, and whose position is not well ascertained, and also because I
am not satisfied that Hunter's Isles are placed in the chart at their
true distance from King's Island: the difference of longitude is from an
approximation only; but the error, if any, cannot exceed eight or ten
miles, and is in excess. However, with daylight and a good look-out, the
strait may be safely entered by this pass, at any time that a ship can
carry sail upon a wind. I entered this way in the Investigator, during
the night; but what a ship on discovery may do is not to be given as an
example to others, whose sole objects are expedition and safety. The
outlet by the pass called Banks' Strait, between Furneaux's Islands and
Cape Portland, is perfectly safe; but is out of the way for a ship bound
to Port Jackson.

It has been observed that the winds are commonly favourable for making a
passage to the _westward_, through Bass' Strait and along the South
Coast, in the months of January, February, and March. I have no personal
experience of such a passage, further than through the strait, though it
has lately been made several times; but to those who may be desirous of
doing the same, and are strangers to these parts, the following
observations may be acceptable.

The first remark is, that the three months when this passage is most easy
to be made, are precisely those in which it is unsafe, if not
impracticable to go through Torres' Strait; and the second, that it will
generally be of no avail for a ship to be in Bass' Strait before the
middle of December, and if it be the middle of January it will be

Ships coming from Port Jackson, or anywhere from the north-eastward, may
take a departure from Cape Howe in 37° 30½' south and 150° 5' east; but
from thence, they should not steer a course more westward than
south-south-west by compass, until in latitude 39° 30'; on account of the
danger to be apprehended from south-east winds upon the Long Beach.
Having reached 39° 30' they should steer a true west course, or
west-by-south by compass, leaving the Sisters, the craggy islet, and a
rock, on the larbord hand. The eastern island of Kent's large Group,
which lies in 39° 30' south, 147° 19' east, and may be seen ten, or
perhaps twelve leagues from the deck in fine weather, will come in sight
ahead; and in passing three or four miles on the south side, the small
western group will be seen, and is to be passed in the same way; as are
Curtis' peaked Isles, which will then be in sight. From Curtis' Isles to
the north end of King's Island, the course is nearly true west, and
distance about forty-two leagues, with nothing in the way; but it is
better to steer five or six leagues to the north of King's Island, if the
winds permit. Should they hang to the westward of north, the course may
be safely directed for Three-hummock Island; passing afterwards to the
north or south of King's Island, as the winds may be most favourable.

In the case of foul winds, which, if the weather be thick or rainy, may
be expected to fix at south-west and blow strong, there are many places
where a ship may anchor, to wait a change; but the following appear to be
the most convenient.

1st. Hamilton's Road, at the east end of Preservation Island.

2nd. On the south side of the largest Swan Isle, for small vessels, or
under Isle Waterhouse.

3rd. Port Dalrymple.

4th. Various places amongst Hunter's Isles.

5th. Sea-elephant Bay, on the east side of King's Island, where there is
fresh water; or under the north-east end of that island, if the wind be
from south-west.

6th. Western Port, under Phillip Island; anchoring so soon as the ship is
sheltered. A fair wind for going onward through the strait, will take a
ship out of this port.

7th. Port Phillip.

(Atlas Plate I.)

After clearing Bass' Strait, I think it most advisable to keep at not
more than ten or twenty leagues off the coast, from Cape Otway to
Kangaroo Island; as the wind may there be expected more favourable, and
the contrary current less strong than in steering a straight course
toward Cape Leeuwin. But should the wind rise from the north-westward,
with thick weather and a descent more than usually rapid in the marine
barometer, a stretch off shore should immediately be made, to prepare for
a south-west gale. A look-out must be kept for an island lying to the
west-south-west of Cape Northumberland; it was seen by Mr. Turnbull,
commander of the Britannia, south whaler, but the weather being thick,
its situation was not well ascertained. According to the best information
I could procure, this island lies in 38¼° south, and about 139½° or ¾
east longitude.

From Kangaroo Island, a straight course may be made for the southernmost
part of the Archipelago of the Recherche; but should the winds come from
the westward and not blow a gale, or be light and unsteady, I would steer
more northward, nearer to the land, in the hope of having them more
favourable. From the Archipelago to Cape Leeuwin it seems best to keep at
a distance from the land, unless under the necessity of stopping in that
neighbourhood; for the current runs strong near the shore, and with the
advantage of an offing of twenty or thirty leagues, a ship may lie clear
of the cape with a wind which might otherwise keep her beating for many

There appears to be no place of shelter against western gales, between
Bass' Strait and Kangaroo Island; but there are then, besides various
anchorages under that island, the bays and coves at the entrance of
Spencer's Gulph; and further westward, Coffin's Bay, Petrel Bay in the
island St. Francis, and Fowler's Bay near the head of the Great Bight.
Afterwards come Goose-Island Bay, Thistle's Cove, and the lee of
Observatory Island, all in the Archipelago of the Recherche; the cove
cannot be entered in a gale, but when once secured in the south-west
corner, a ship will be safe; the other two places afford very indifferent
shelter from strong winds, and are indeed fit only for a temporary
anchorage in moderate weather. Doubtful-Island Bay and King George's
Sound afford complete shelter against western gales; but some little time
would be lost in getting out of them, if a ship waited until an eastern
wind set in. Some account of all these places will be found in the
preceding pages of this volume; with the exception of Observatory Island,
for which D'Entrecasteaux's voyage may be consulted.


Account of the observations by which the Longitudes of places on the
south coast of Terra Australis have been settled.

The lunar distances and other observations taken in the Investigator's
voyage having been ordered by the Commissioners of the Board of Longitude
to be recalculated by a professed astronomer, with every degree of
correctness which science has hitherto been able to point out as
necessary, this delicate, but laborious task was assigned to Mr. John
Crosley, formerly assistant at the Royal Observatory at Greenwich; a
gentleman who formed part of the expedition as far as the Cape of Good
Hope, but whose ill health had then made it necessary to relinquish the
voyage and return to England. The data and results of all the
observations will probably be made public, by order of the Commissioners;
but in the mean time, for the satisfaction of the geographer, and more
especially for that of the seaman, whose life and property may be
connected with the accuracy of the charts., the _results of the lunar
distances_ observed upon each coast are added in the form of an Appendix
to the volume wherein that coast is described. It is by these results
that the time keepers have been regulated; and the longitudes used in the
construction of the charts are taken from the time keepers.

To appreciate the degree of confidence to which these results may be
entitled, it is necessary to know under what circumstances the
observations were taken; also the method used in the calculations, and
the corrections which have been applied beyond what is usual in the
common practice at sea: of these the following is a general statement.

1st. The instruments used in taking the distances, were a nine-inch
sextant by Ramsden, and three sextants of eight inches radius by
Troughton, the latter being made in 1801, expressly for the voyage. On
board the ship, the sextant was necessarily held in the hand, and the
distances were sometimes so taken on shore; but in most of the latter
cases, it was fixed on a stand admitting of the sextant being turned
easily in any direction. The telescopes were of the largest magnifying
powers which the motion of the ship, or state of the atmosphere could
admit, and each longitude is the result of a set of observations, most
generally consisting of six independent sights. They were taken either by
lieutenant Flinders or by myself; those by him being designated in the
column of _Observers_ by the letter F, the others by C.

2nd. Preparatory to the reduction of the apparent to the true distance,
the four following corrections have been applied.

From the _sun's semi-diameter_, as given in the nautical almanack, 3"
have been subtracted. In the almanacks of the years comprehending our
observations, the semi-diameter was stated from Mayer's tables, which
gave it 3" too great; owing to the imperfection of the telescope with
which Mayer observed.

The semi-diameters of the sun and moon being less in the vertical, than
in the horizontal direction, on account of the differences in the
refraction, they have been reduced proportionally to these differences
and to the angles at the points of contact in measuring the distance.
This correction is called _contraction of the semi-diameter_.

Before using the _moon's horizontal parallax_ in the nautical almanack,
where it is calculated for the equator, it has been corrected (printed as
'diminished', and corrected in the errata) by a number of seconds
depending upon the latitude of the place, and upon this assumed position:
that the earth is a regular spheroid, whose polar axis is to the
equatorial axis, as 320 to 321. This, and the preceding correction are
unnecessary, unless where great exactness may be required.

The _refraction_ of the heavenly bodies given in the tables, being
calculated for a mean height of 50° of Fahrenheit's thermometer, and 29.6
inches of the barometer, it has been corrected for the difference between
these means and what was the state of the atmosphere at the time of

3rd. In reducing the apparent to the true distance, Mr. Crosley has used
the method of Joseph Mendoza de Rios, Esq., F. R. S., given with his
_Nautical Tables_, second edition, 1809; and the tables from which the
corrections were taken and the computations made, are those of the same
valuable work.

4th. The reduced distance, found as above, has been corrected to the
spheroidal figure of the earth, according to the theory explained in the
_Philosophical Transactions_ of the Royal Society of 1797; and for doing
which, rules are given by Mr. Mendoza with his _Nautical Tables_ of 1801.
This calculation is tedious, and the correction, more especially in low
latitudes, too small to be necessary in common cases.

5th. In the nautical almanack the distances are given to every three
hours, but the irregularities of the moon's motion being such as to cause
some inequality in the different parts of this interval, the distance at
the hour preceding, and at the hour following the time of observation,
was found by interpolation from the two nearest given on each side; and
having the distances at Greenwich for each hour, the observed distance
can never fall more than half an hour from one of them; and the moon's
inequalities do not then produce any sensible error in the corresponding
time, as obtained from common proportion. The correction arising from
this process is seldom so important as to be necessary in sea

6th. The longitude deduced from a comparison of the true distance at
observation with the hourly distances at Greenwich, is contained in the
following tables under the head of _Longitude from Nautical Almanack_.
But as it frequently happened, that the observation was not taken exactly
in the place which it is intended to fix, this longitude is reduced to
that place by the application of the difference shown by the time keepers
to have existed between the two situations. In ascertaining this
difference, the rates of going allowed to the time keepers are generally
those found at the place which is to be fixed; whether applied to
observations taken before arriving, or after quitting that place. This,
however, could be done only at those stations where rates had been
observed; at the intermediate points, where the result of lunar distances
is given principally as an object of comparison with the time keepers,
the rates allowed in the reduction are those found at the station
previously quitted; but then the difference of longitude is corrected by
the quantity consequent on the following supposition: that the time
keepers altered their rates from those at the previous, to those at the
following station, in a ratio augmenting in arithmetic progression. The
difference of longitude, thus corrected when necessary, is given under
the head of _Reduction by time keepers_; and the longitudes reduced by it
to the place intended to be fixed, are taken to be of equal authority
with those resulting from observations made in the place itself.

7th. But these longitudes, whether reduced to, or observed in, the place
to be fixed, still require a correction which is of more importance than
any of those before mentioned. The theories of the solar and lunar
motions not having reached such a degree of perfection as to accord
perfectly with actual observation at Greenwich, the distances calculated
from those theories and given in the almanack become subject to some
error; and consequently so do the longitudes deduced from them. The
quantities of error in the computed places of the sun and moon, have been
ascertained at Greenwich as often as those luminaries could be observed;
and Mr. Pond, the astronomer royal, having permitted access for this
purpose to the table of errors kept in the Observatory, Mr. Crosley has
calculated the corresponding effects on the longitude, and proportioned
them to the time when our observations were taken. The combined effect of
the two errors forms a correction to the longitudes obtained from the sun
and moon; but when the moon was observed with a star, then the moon's
error alone gives the correction. But it has sometimes happened, that
there were many days interval between the observations of the moon at
Greenwich, and that the errors preceding and following are so extremely
irregular, that no accuracy could be expected in reducing them by
proportion; in these unfortunate cases, that part of the error belonging
to the moon has been taken absolute, such as it was found on the day
nearest to the time of observation; but the sun's error is always from
proportion. These corrections, with the interval in the Greenwich
observations of the moon, are given under their proper heads.

8th. The longitudes thus computed, reduced to the intended point, and
corrected, are placed under each other; and the mean of the whole is
taken to be the true longitude of that point, unless in certain cases
where it is otherwise expressed. The mean is also given of the longitudes
_uncorrected_ for the errors of the sun and moon's places, that the
reader may have an opportunity of comparing them; and some sea officers
who boast of their having never been out more than 5', or at most 10',
may deduce from the column of corrections in the different tables, that
their lunar observations could not be entitled to so much confidence as
they wish to suppose; since, allowing every degree of perfection to
themselves and their instruments, they would probably be 12', and might
be more than 30' wrong.

In the nautical almanacks for 1811 and 1815, the distances are computed
from the new tables of _Burg_ for the moon, and of _Delambre_ for the
sun; and it is to be hoped that the necessity of correcting for errors in
the distances at Greenwich will have ceased, or be at least greatly
diminished. Should the computed places of the sun and moon be happily
found to agree with actual observation, and supposing that our results
may be taken as the average of what practised observers with good
instruments will usually obtain when circumstances are favourable, then
lunar observations taken in 1814 and afterwards, may be entitled to
confidence within the following limits:

From one set of distances, consisting of six independent sights, the
error in longitude may be 30' on either side; but will probably not
exceed 12'.

From six sets on one side of the moon, each set consisting as above, the
error may be 20'; but not probably more than 8'.

Twelve sets of distances, of which six on each side of the moon, are not
likely to err more than 10' from the truth; and may be expected to come
within 5'.

The error in sixty sets, taken during three or four lunations, and one
half on each side of the moon, will not, I think, be wrong more than 5';
and will most probably give the longitude exact to 1' or 2', This degree
of accuracy is far beyond what the hopes of the first proposers of the
lunar method ever extended, and even beyond what astronomers accustomed
only to fixed observatories will be disposed to credit at this time; but
in thinking it _probable_ that sixty sets of lunar distances will come
within 1' or 2' of the truth, when compared with correct tables, I
conceive myself borne out by the following facts.

In Port Lincoln, I observed an eclipse of the sun with a refracting
telescope of forty-six inches focus, and a power of about two hundred. It
was recalculated by Mr. Crosley from Delambre's and Burckhardt's tables,
the one made four and the other ten years afterwards. The longitude
deduced from the beginning differed only 1' 31.5" from that at the end,
and the mean of both only 1' 17" from _thirty_ sets of lunar distances
corrected for the errors of the tables.

The Spanish admiral D'Espinosa observed emersions of the first and second
satellites of Jupiter in 1793, at Port Jackson, and also an eclipse of
the sun which he recalculated by the tables of Burg. He deduces from
thence the longitude of Sydney Cove to be 151° 12' 45"; and from
forty-four sets of lunar distances by lieutenant Flinders, it would be
151° 11' 49" east.

At Port Louis in the Isle Mauritius, the Abbé de la Caille observed an
eclipse of the sun, the transit of mercury over the sun's disk, and
various occultations of Jupiter's satellites; M. d'Aprés also observed
several occultations; and this place should therefore be well determined.
Its longitude in the Requisite Tables is 57° 29' 15" east; and from
_twenty-seven_ sets of distances taken whilst a prisoner there, I made
it, when corrected for the errors of the tables, 57° 29' 57" east.

In appreciating the degrees of accuracy to which a small or larger number
of lunar distances may be expected to give the longitude, I suppose the
observer to be moderately well practised, his sextant or circle, and time
keeper to be good, and his calculations to be carefully made; and it is
also supposed, that the distances in the nautical almanack are perfectly
correct. As, however, there may still be some errors, notwithstanding the
science and the labour employed to obviate them, it cannot be too much
recommended to sea officers to preserve all the data of their
observations; more especially of such as may be used in fixing the
longitudes of places but little, or imperfectly known. The observations
may then be recalculated, if requisite; the corrections found to be
necessary may be applied; and the observer may have the satisfaction of
forwarding the progress of geography and navigation, after having
contributed to the safety of the ship, and benefit of the particular
service in which he may happen to have been engaged.

The following tables, set out in the book, are not reproduced in this
text version of _A Voyage to Terra Australis_--refer to the _html_

Table I. (Reference from Chapter III., "_Longitude_ from thirty-one sets
of distances of the sun east and west of the moon, of which the
particulars are given in Table I. of the Appendix to this volume")

Table II. (Reference from Chapter III, "The _longitude_ from sixteen sets
of distances of the sun east and west of the moon, of which the
individual results are given in Table II. of the Appendix to this

Table III. (Reference from Chapter V., "_Longitude_ of the point, deduced
from twenty-two sets of distances (see Table III of the Appendix to this

Table IV. (Reference from Chapter VI., "The _longitude_, from thirty sets
of distances of the sun and stars from the moon (see Table IV. of the
Appendix to this volume)")

Table V. (Reference from Chapter IX., "Point Nepean is in _latitude_ 38°
18' south. The _longitude_ from twelve sets of distances taken by
lieutenant Flinders in the port, and six others by me ten days before
arriving, the particulars of which are given in Table V. of the Appendix
to this volume")

Table VI. (Reference from Chapter X., "_Longitude_ from forty-four sets
of distances of the sun and moon, of which the individual results are
given in Table VI of the Appendix to this volume")

Table VII. Variations in rate and errors in longitude, made by Earnshaw's
time keepers No. 543 and No. 520, between the Cape of Good Hope and Port


*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Voyage to Terra Australis — Volume 1" ***

Copyright 2023 LibraryBlog. All rights reserved.