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Title: Narrative of the Voyage of H.M.S. Rattlesnake, Commanded By the Late Captain Owen Stanley, R.N., F.R.S. Etc. During the Years 1846-1850. - Including Discoveries and Surveys in New Guinea, the Louisiade Archipelago, Etc. to Which Is Added the Account of Mr. E.B. Kennedy's Expedition for the Exploration of the Cape York Peninsula. By John Macgillivray, F.R.G.S. Naturalist to the Expedition. — Volume 1
Author: MacGillivray, John, 1822-1867
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Narrative of the Voyage of H.M.S. Rattlesnake, Commanded By the Late Captain Owen Stanley, R.N., F.R.S. Etc. During the Years 1846-1850. - Including Discoveries and Surveys in New Guinea, the Louisiade Archipelago, Etc. to Which Is Added the Account of Mr. E.B. Kennedy's Expedition for the Exploration of the Cape York Peninsula. By John Macgillivray, F.R.G.S. Naturalist to the Expedition. — Volume 1" ***

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It was originally intended that an account of the Surveying Voyage of
H.M.S. Rattlesnake should have been undertaken conjointly by the late
Captain Owen Stanley and myself, in which case the narrative would have
been constructed from the materials afforded by the journals of both, and
the necessary remarks upon hydrographical subjects would have been
furnished by that officer, whose lamented death in March, 1850, prevented
this arrangement from being carried out. Not having had access to Captain
Stanley's private journals, I considered myself fortunate, when the Lords
Commissioners of the Admiralty--in addition to sanctioning the
publication of my account of the Voyage in question--directed that every
facility should be afforded me in consulting the manuscript charts and
other hydrographical results at their disposal, and to Rear-Admiral Sir
F. Beaufort, C.B., Commander C.B. Yule, R.N., and Lieutenant J. Dayman,
R.N., I beg to express my thanks for the liberal manner in which they
carried out their Lordships' intentions.

To the other gentlemen who have contributed Appendices to this
work--George Busk, Esquire F.R.S., Dr. R.G. Latham, Professor Edward
Forbes, F.R.S., and Adam White, Esquire, F.L.S.--I have also to offer my
best thanks. It also affords me great pleasure to record my obligations
to T. Huxley, Esquire R.N., F.R.S., late Assistant-Surgeon of the
Rattlesnake, for the handsome manner in which he allowed me to select
from his collection of drawings those which now appear as illustrations;
and I may express the hope, which in common with many others I entertain,
that the whole of his researches in marine zoology may speedily be laid
before the scientific world. My own collections in Natural History have
been submitted to the examination of various eminent naturalists. Many of
the novelties have already been described, and the remainder will appear
from time to time.



Objects of the Voyage.
Admiralty Instructions.
Hydrographer's Instructions.
Sail from Plymouth.
Arrive at Madeira.
Visit to Curral.
Try for Deep Sea Soundings.
Crossing the Line.
Arrive at Rio de Janeiro.
City of Rio and Neighbourhood.
Dredging in Botafogo Bay.
Religious Processions.
Brazilian Character.
Cross the South Atlantic.
Temperature of the Sea.
Oceanic Birds.
Pelagic Animals.
Arrive at Simon's Bay.
Survey the Bay.
Caffre War.
Observations on the Waves.
Arrive at Mauritius.
Port Louis.
Visit to Pamplemousses.
La Pouce Mountain.
Try for Deep Sea Soundings.
Arrive at Hobart Town.


Arrive at Sydney.
Bramble is attached to the Expedition.
Survey Entrance of Port Jackson and Twofold Bay.
Sail upon our First Northern Cruise.
Arrive at Moreton Bay.
Proceedings there.
Natives at Moreton Island.
Arrive at Port Curtis.
Settlement of North Australia.
Excursions made in Neighbourhood.
Natural Productions.
Call at the Percy Isles.
Port Molle and Cape Upstart.
Unable to find Fresh Water.
Return to Sydney.
Recent Occurrences there.
Sail for Bass Strait.
Visit Port Phillip and Port Dalrymple.
Inspect the Lighthouses of the Strait.


Sail on our Second Northern Cruise.
Entrance to the Inner Passage.
Arrive at Rockingham Bay.
Land Mr. Kennedy's Expedition.
Commence the Survey at Dunk Island.
Communication with Natives.
Barnard Isles.
Botanical Sketch.
Examine a New River.
Frankland Isles.
Find the Cocoanut Palm.
Fitzroy Island.
The Will-o-the-Wisp and her Story.
Trinity Bay.
Animals of a Coral Reef.
Stay at Lizard Island.
Howick, Pelican, and Claremont Isles.
Bird Isles.
Meet party of Natives in Distress.
Cairncross Island.
Arrive at Cape York.


Water the Ship.
Vessel with Supplies arrives.
Natives at Cape York.
Description of the Country and its Productions.
Port Albany considered as a Depot for Steamers.
Sail from Cape York and arrive at Port Essington.
Condition of the Place.
History of the Settlement.
Would be useless as a Colony.
Leave Port Essington.
Arrive at Sydney.


Fate of Kennedy's Expedition.
Sail on our Third Northern Cruise.
Excursion on Moreton Island.
History of Discoveries on the South-East Coast of New Guinea and the
Louisiade Archipelago, from 1606 to 1846.
Find the Shores of the Louisiade protected by a Barrier Reef.
Beautiful appearances of Rossel Island.
Pass through an opening in the Reef, and enter Coral Haven.
Interview with Natives on Pig Island.
Find them treacherously disposed.
Their mode of Fishing on the Reefs.
Establish a system of Barter alongside the Ship.
Description of the Louisiade Canoes, and mode of management.
Find a Watering Place on South-East Island.
Its Scenery and Productions.
Suspicious conduct of the Natives.
Their Ornaments, etc. described.


Leave Coral Haven.
Brierly Island.
Communication with the Natives.
Description of their Huts.
Bartering for Yams and Cocoa-nuts.
Suspicious conduct of the Natives.
They attack the Surveying Boats.
Calvados Group.
Further communication with the Inhabitants.
Stay at Duchateau Islands.
Their Productions.
Proceedings there.
Duperre Islands.
Unable to find Anchorage.
Pass out to Sea, and proceed to the Westward.
Western termination of the Louisiade Archipelago.
Reach the Coast of New Guinea.


Brumer Islands.
Catamarans and Canoes.
Friendly relations with the Natives of New Guinea.
Are well received at their Village.
Tatooing and Dress of the Women.
The Huts described.
Large Canoe from the Mainland.
Tassai ladies return our visit.
The Natives described.
Their Weapons, Ornaments, Food, etc.
Cul de Sac de l'Orangerie, and Communication with the Natives.
Redscar Bay and its Inhabitants.
Leave the Coast of New Guinea.
Arrive at Cape York.


Rescue a white Woman from Captivity among the Natives.
Her History.
Bramble and boats complete the Survey of Torres Strait.
Wini and the Mulgrave Islanders.
Intercourse with the Cape York Natives.
Nearly quarrel with them at a night dance.
Witness a Native fight.
Discover some fine country.
Incidents of our stay.
Many new Birds found.
Remarks on the Climate, etc. of Cape York.








T. Huxley, delt. Hullmandel & Walton, Lithographers.
T. & W. Boone, Publishers, London. 1852.


T. Huxley, Esquire del.




T. Huxley, delt. Hullmandel & Walton, Lithographers.
T. & W. Boone, Publishers, London. 1852.


T. Huxley, delt. Hullmandel & Walton, Lithographers.
T. & W. Boone, Publishers, London. 1852.





Hullmandel & Walton, Lithographers.
T. & W. Boone, Publishers, London. 1852.







C. Busk, delt. W. Wing, lith.
T. & W. Boone, Publishers, London. 1852.
Hullmandel & Walton, Lithographers.




Objects of the Voyage.
Admiralty Instructions.
Hydrographer's Instructions.
Sail from Plymouth.
Arrive at Madeira.
Visit to Curral.
Try for Deep Sea Soundings.
Crossing the Line.
Arrive at Rio de Janeiro.
City of Rio and Neighbourhood.
Dredging in Botafogo Bay.
Religious Processions.
Brazilian Character.
Cross the South Atlantic.
Temperature of the Sea.
Oceanic Birds.
Pelagic Animals.
Arrive at Simon's Bay.
Survey the Bay.
Caffre War.
Observations on the Waves.
Arrive at Mauritius.
Port Louis.
Visit to Pamplemousses.
La Pouce Mountain.
Try for Deep Sea Soundings.
Arrive at Hobart Town.

H.M.S. Rattlesnake, one of the old class of 28-gun ships, was
commissioned at Portsmouth on September 24th, 1846, by the late Captain
Owen Stanley, with a complement of 180 officers and men. The nature and
objects of the intended voyage will best be conveyed to the reader
through the medium of the following instructions from the Admiralty, for
the use of which I am indebted to Lieutenant C.B. Yule, who succeeded to
the command of the Rattlesnake, upon the death of our late lamented
Captain, at Sydney, in March 1850, after the successful accomplishment of
the principal objects of the expedition.


Whereas, it being the usual practice of vessels returning from the
Australian Colonies, or from the South Sea, to proceed to India through
Torres Strait; and most of those vessels preferring the chance of finding
a convenient opening in the Barrier Reefs to the labour of frequent
anchorage in the Inshore Passage, it was thought fit to send out an
expedition under Captain Francis Blackwood, to determine which was the
best opening that those reefs would afford, and to make such a survey
thereof as would ensure the safety of all vessels which should continue
to adopt that mode of reaching the Strait:

And whereas, although that specific object was successfully achieved by
the survey of Raine Island Passage, and by the erection of a durable
beacon there to render it the more accessible, yet it appears that much
is still to be done in those seas in order to make the approach to the
Strait more secure and certain, as well as to afford the choice of
another entrance farther to the northward in case of vessels overshooting
the latitude of Raine Island by stress of wind, or current:

We have, therefore, thought proper to appoint you to the command of the
Rattlesnake, for the purpose of carrying out these objects; and you are
here by required and directed, when that ship is in every respect ready
for sea, to proceed in her to Madeira for the verification of your
chronometers--from thence to Simon's Bay at the Cape of Good Hope, for a
supply of water, and to land the 50,000 pounds you have been ordered to
convey to that colony; then to make the best of your way to the
Mauritius, to land the treasure (15,000 pounds) entrusted to your charge
for that island; and having so done, to proceed to King George Sound for
the purpose of carrying its exact meridian distance to Sydney, where you
will lose no time in preparing for the execution of the important service
entrusted to you.

The several objects of that service have been drawn up under our
direction by our Hydrographer; but notwithstanding the order in which
they are placed, we leave to your own discretion the several periods of
their performance, and likewise the times of your return to Sydney to
revictual and refit--being satisfied that your zeal in pushing forward
the survey will never outstrip your attention to the health and comfort
of your crew.

You will take the Bramble and her tender, the Castlereagh, under your
orders, and employ them in those places which require vessels of a
lighter draft of water than the Rattlesnake. They are to be attached as
tenders to the Rattlesnake, and to be manned from that ship; and such of
the present crew of the Bramble as may have served five years
continuously, and volunteer to remain on the surveying service in
Australia, are to be entered in the Rattlesnake under the provisions of
the Act of Parliament. The books of the Bramble are to be closed, and she
is to be considered as no longer in commission; and you are here by
authorised, after being joined by her and by the Castlereagh, to enter
ten supernumerary seaman for wages and victuals in the Rattlesnake
(making her total complement 190) to enable you effectively to man the
said two tenders.

In stretching off from the Barrier Reefs to the eastward, in order to
explore the safety of the sea intervening between them and Louisiade and
New Guinea, you will have occasion to approach those shores, in which
case you must be constantly on your guard against the treacherous
disposition of their inhabitants, all barter for refreshments should be
conducted under the eye of an officer, and every pains be taken to avoid
giving any just cause of offence to their prejudices, especially with
respect to their women.

A naturalist having been permitted to accompany you, every reasonable
facility is to be given him in making and preserving his collections.

In the event of this country being involved in hostilities during your
absence, you will take care never to be surprised; but you are to refrain
from any act of aggression towards the vessels or settlements of any
nation with which we may be at war, as expeditions employed in behalf of
discovery and science have always been considered by all civilised
communities as acting under a general safeguard.

You will consider yourself under the command of Rear-Admiral Inglefield,
the Commander-in-Chief of Her Majesty's ships and vessels on the East
India station, while you are within the limits of that station; and we
have signified to him our desire that he should not divert you from the
survey, nor interfere with your proceedings, except under the pressure of
strong necessity; and that upon all fit occasions he should order you to
be supplied with the stores and provisions of which you may stand in
need; and all officers senior to yourself, with whom you may fall in, are
hereby directed to give you any assistance which may be requisite.

Notwithstanding the 16th article of the 4th section of the 6th chapter of
the Admiralty Instructions, you are, besides your reports to your
Commander-in-Chief, to send brief accounts to our Secretary of your
proceedings, state, and condition: and you will make known to him, in due
time, the nature and quantity of any supplies of which you may be
absolutely in want, and which may have to be forwarded to you from

With our Hydrographer you are by every opportunity in your power to keep
up a constant correspondence; you are to report to him in full detail all
your proceedings; and you are to transmit to him, whenever possible,
tracings of all charts and plans that you may have completed, accompanied
by sailing directions, and with notices of any facts or discoveries which
may be of interest to navigation.

Having completed the service herein set forth, you are to return in the
Rattlesnake, along with the Bramble, to Spithead, when you will receive
directions for your further proceedings. If the Bramble should, however,
by that time be in an unfit state to undertake the voyage to Europe, it
may perhaps be prudent to dispose of her, under the sanction of the

In the event of any unfortunate accident befalling yourself, the officer
on whom the command may in consequence devolve, is hereby required and
directed to carry out, as far as in him lies, the foregoing orders and

Given under our hands, this 1st December 1846.





Captain of her Majesty's Surveying Vessel Rattlesnake, at Plymouth,

By command of their Lordships,

Signed: H.G. WARD.



In connection with the preceding general instructions to Captain Stanley,
it will be necessary to give a portion of those more explicit directions
furnished by the Hydrographer, Rear-Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort.


On your arrival at Sydney you should take the earliest opportunity of
communicating with Lieutenant Yule, in order to learn how much has been
executed, by the Bramble and her tender, of the orders which he received
from Captain Blackwood, and you will no doubt avail yourself of his long
experience in those seas in digesting your plan of future operations.

A letter from the Colonial Office having recently apprised their
Lordships that it is the intention of her Majesty's Government to form a
new settlement at Hervey Bay, and having requested that it may be duly
examined with that view, your first undertaking, after leaving Sydney,
should be to repair to that place, and to make an efficient survey of the
whole bay, extending it down through the channel into Wide Bay, and
marking the best anchorages, the most convenient landing-places, and the
several parts where water may be found. And as it appears that Colonel
Barney, R.E. is engaged in the same inquiry, it will be prudent to act in
concert with him, and to give him a copy of such parts of it as may suit
his purposes.

In your way to this district, and indeed on every part of the shores of
Australia, you should lose no fair opportunity of verifying the
positions--of multiplying the soundings--and of improving the smaller
details of the coast as laid down by Captain P.P. King in his excellent
Survey, but which he had not time or means to effect with the same
accuracy that will be in your power. By carrying on this system of
correction and improvement in our present charts from Hervey Bay along
the narrow navigation which is generally known by the name of the Inshore
Passage, between the coast and the Barrier Reefs, a very great benefit
will be conferred on those masters of vessels who would be the more
readily inclined to adopt that channel, if certain parts of it were so
clearly delineated, and the soundings so spread on either side of the
tracks, that they could sometimes continue under sail during the night.
However necessary it was, and is, to contribute as much as possible to
the safety of those vessels who choose the outer voyage by the Barrier
Reefs, it is not the less our duty to facilitate the navigation of the
Inshore Passage to all vessels who prefer its tranquillity and security
to the risk of the former; and your labours for the accomplishment of
this object will prove to be of peculiar importance when steam
communication between Singapore and Sydney shall be established.

In the general and searching examination of those parts of the Coral Sea
which are likely to be traversed by ships steering for Torres Strait, you
will be obliged to regulate your movements by the periodic changes of the
weather and monsoons--probably beginning to windward, and dropping gently
to leeward by close and well-arranged traverses, and by spreading out
your three vessels to a convenient distance apart. This great expanse of
sea, which may be said to stretch from Lord Howe's Island to New
Caledonia and to the Louisiade, would no doubt require many years work in
order to accomplish that object; but, by dividing it into definite zones
or squares, and by fully sifting those which you may undertake, a certain
quantity of distinct knowledge will be gained. Navigators in crossing
those zones will then be sure of their safety, and future surveyors will
know exactly on what parts to expend their labours.

In carefully exploring the northernmost, and apparently the safest
entrance from the Pacific, which may be called Bligh's Channel, you will
connect the islands with a survey of the coast of New Guinea, as well as
with the edge of the Warrior Reef, and as there are throughout moderate
soundings, you will probably be able to draw up such clear directions as
will enable the mariner to use it in moderate weather by night, and to
beat through it at all times. Characteristic views of the coast and hills
of New Guinea, as well as of each island, both from the eastward and
westward, will greatly assist him by the immediate certainty of his
landfall, and will also materially add to your means of giving proper
marks and bearings for avoiding the dangers.

In Torres Strait you will find much to do--not only has a new rock been
discovered in the middle of the Endeavour Channel, but the water in its
western opening is only four and a half fathoms, and there seems no
reason for not believing that Prince of Wales Channel is safer, easier,
and more direct. But before we can decide upon that point, an accurate
survey must be made of it, throughout its length and breadth, including
the adjacent islands, and showing their anchorages and watering-places,
as well as the nature of the soil, and the kind of timber they produce,
along with a full investigation of the tides.

The connection of that Strait with Bligh's Farewell should also be
examined, for many circumstances may render it highly necessary that the
Admiralty should be made aware of what means there are to pass from one
ocean to the other, without being observed from Cape York.

On this latter Cape Government have for some time contemplated a station,
and it will therefore be very desirable to fix upon a convenient but
secure anchorage in its neighbourhood. Our latest surveys do not show
much promise of finding such a port; but, perhaps, inside the reefs
beyond Peak Point, or more likely between Albany Island and the main, a
snug place may be discovered for that purpose.

In tracing out the approach to Bligh's Farewell, you will be led to
examine the southern face of New Guinea as far as Cape Valsche; but after
verifying the position of this point, it will be prudent to quit the
shores of that island, and not to meddle with any part of it over which
the Dutch claim jurisdiction.

When you have arrived at this distant point, the south-east monsoon will
probably render it necessary to repair to Port Essington for such
supplies as may by previous arrangement have been sent there for you from
Sydney; or perhaps unforeseen events might render it more expedient to
proceed for refreshments to some of the islands in the Arafura Sea, or it
is possible to one of the Dutch settlements in Java. And in either of
these two latter cases you should make a complete survey of the island to
which you have proceeded, or you should select any one of the eastern
passages from Bally to Floris most convenient to the object you have in
view, and then lay it down with precision. Of the many well-known
passages between the innumerable islands of that great Archipelago, there
is not one which has ever been charted with plausible accuracy; and it
cannot be too strongly impressed on your mind that hydrography is better
served by one accurate chart than by ten approximate sketches.

The several objects of this highly interesting expedition having thus
been briefly enumerated, I have only to remind you that their Lordships
do not prescribe to you the order in which they are to be executed,
leaving it to your own prudence, and to your experience in those
climates, so to arrange them that each part of your survey shall be
complete in itself, and that each step in your progress shall be
conducive to its successor.

Signed: F. BEAUFORT,




The Rattlesnake left Spithead on December 3rd, and on the 11th took her
final departure from Plymouth, which place we had called at to complete
her fittings, swing the ship a second time to ascertain the amount of
local attraction, and receive some specie for the Cape of Good Hope and
the Mauritius. Being favoured by strong northerly winds, we reached
Madeira on December 18th, after a quick, but most uncomfortable passage;
during the greater part of which the main and lower decks were partially
flooded, owing to the inefficiency of the scuppers, and the leaky state
of nearly every port and scuttle in the ship.


December 20th.

The scenery of Madeira has been so often described by voyagers, who, from
Cook downwards, have made it the first stage in their circumnavigation of
the globe, as to render superfluous more than a few passing allusions.
When near enough to distinguish the minor features of the island, the
terraced slopes of the mountainsides converted into vineyards and gardens
studded with the huts of the peasantry, presented a pleasing aspect to
visitors, whom a week's sailing had brought from the snow-clad shores of
England. Here and there a whitewashed chapel or picturesque villa lent a
charm to the scenery by contrasting strongly with the patches of green
upon the slopes, the deep blue of the ocean, and the delicate white of
the ever-changing clouds of mist which rolled incessantly along, while
the rugged summit of the island, and the deep ravines radiating towards
the coast-range of precipitous cliffs, gave an air of wildness to the


The town of Funchal, said to contain about 25,000 inhabitants, is
situated upon the slope of an amphitheatre of hills, behind the only
anchorage of the island. The finest view is obtained from the balcony of
a church dedicated to Nossa Senhora de Monte, situated at a considerable
elevation above the town. Here one looks down upon the numerous quintas
and cottages of the suburbs embosomed in gardens and vineyards, the
orange groves and clumps of chestnut trees, the snow-white houses of
Funchal with its churches and public buildings, the citadel frowning over
the town, the calm waters of the bay with the vessels at anchor gently
heaving to and fro on the long westerly swell, the Ilheo rock and
batteries, the bold headlands, and the dim outline of the distant
Desertas. Some of the streets are pleasantly shaded by rows of
plane-trees (Platanus occidentalis). Several deep ravines passing through
the town are carefully walled in, to prevent damage being done by the
torrents which occasionally sweep down the mountain, carrying everything
before them. From the steepness of the narrow roads and streets, wheeled
vehicles can scarcely be used, and sledges drawn by small bullocks supply
their place, while the wine, the chief article of export, is conveyed
into the town in goat-skins carried on the shoulder.


December 23rd.

Few strangers remain long in Madeira without paying a visit to the
Curral, and a large party of us left the ship for that purpose this
morning. At first the road led through a series of narrow lanes
frequently separated from the fields and vineyards on either side by
hedges of roses, honeysuckle, jasmine and fuchsias; now and then passing
under successions of trellis-work covered by the vines when in full
vigour, and then forming long shady vistas. For several miles we wound
our way along the hillsides, down deep ravines, and up steep rocky
slopes. In spite of the ruggedness of the path, our horses progressed
with wonderful alacrity, although occasionally impeded by the additional
weight of the attendant burroqueros holding on by the tail, and laughing
at our efforts to dislodge them. On reaching the shoulder of one of the
hills, we found the ravines and valleys below us filled with dense mist.
Here, at an elevation of 2500 feet, a species of spruce-like pine
appeared to thrive well. The path, which at times is not more than three
feet wide, now winds along the sides of the mountain with many sharp
turnings; heading numerous ravines, the frightful nature of which was
partially concealed by the obscurity of the mist.

We halted at the Pass of the Curral, to which Captain Stanley's
barometrical observations* assign an elevation of 2700 feet above the
sea. Shortly afterwards the mist gradually dissolved, unveiling the
magnificent scenery below and around. The Curral gives one the idea of a
vast crater** of irregular form, surrounded by a rugged wall (upwards of
a thousand feet in height) of grey weather-beaten rock cut down into wild
precipices, intersected by ravines and slopes of debris mixed up with
masses of crumbling rock, and towering upwards into fantastic peaks. A
winding path leads to the bottom--a small fertile valley watered by a
streamlet which leaves it by a deep gorge on the left, and forms a
picturesque waterfall on its way to the sea. The scattered rustic huts
and snow-white chapel of the Curral complete the picture of this peaceful
and secluded spot, buried in the very heart of the mountains.

(*Footnote. The height of the Pico dos Bodes, determined in the usual way
by the mountain barometer, was found by Lieutenant Dayman to be 3677
feet; his observations on the magnetic dip and intensity (for which see
the Appendix) are interesting, as showing a great amount of local
attraction at the summit.)

(**Footnote. There is reason to suppose the Curral to have been the
principal, although not the only centre of that submarine volcanic
action, during the continuance of which Madeira first emerged from the
sea, an event, which the evidence afforded by the limestone fossils of
St. Vincente (on the north side of the island) associates with the
tertiary epoch. See Paper by Dr. J. Macaulay in Edinburgh New
Philosophical Journal for October 1840.)

Although it is now the middle of winter, today's excursion afforded many
subjects of interest to a naturalist. Some beautiful ferns, of which even
the commonest one (Adiantum capillus-veneris) would have been much prized
by an English botanist as a very rare British species, occurred on the
dripping rocks by the roadside, and many wild plants were in flower on
the lower grounds. Even butterflies of three kinds, two of which (Colias
edusa and Cynthia cardui) are also found in Britain, occurred, although
in small numbers, and at the Pass of the Curral coleoptera of the genera
Pimelea and Scarites, were met with under stones along with minute
landshells, Bulimus lubricus, Clausilia deltostoma, and a Pupa.


After a stay of eight days, we left Madeira for Rio de Janeiro, and on
January 2nd picked up the south-east trade wind, and passed through the
Cape de Verde Islands to the southward between Mayo and St. Jago. Two
days afterwards, in latitude 9 degrees 30 minutes North, and longitude 22
degrees 40 minutes West, a slight momentary shock, supposed to be the
effect of an earthquake, was felt throughout the ship.


On the 11th an attempt was made to strike deep-sea soundings, but failed
from the drawing of a splice used to connect two portions of the
spun-yarn employed. On the following day the attempt was repeated by
Captain Stanley, unsuccessfully, however, no bottom having been obtained
at a depth of 2400 fathoms. Still a record of the experiment may be
considered interesting. At three P.M., when nearly becalmed in latitude 1
degree North, and longitude 22 degrees 30 minutes West (a few hours
previous to meeting the south-east trade) the second cutter was lowered
with 2600 fathoms of line (six yarn spun-yarn) in her, coiled in casks,
and a weight consisting of twelve 32 pounds shot--in all, 384 pounds,
secured in a net bag of spun yarn. The jolly-boat was in attendance to
tow the cutter as fast to whirlwind as she drifted, so as to keep the
line during the time it was running out as nearly up and down as
possible. The following table shows when each 100 fathoms passed over the
stern, the whole 2400 fathoms of line having taken 38 minutes and 40
seconds to run out:


100 : 1 0.
200 : 2 5.
300 : 2 30.
400 : 3 35.
500 : 5 0.
600 : 6 15.
700 : 7 35.
800 : 9 0.
900 : 10 35.
1000 : 12 40.
1100 : 13 30.
1200 : 15 10.
1300 : 17 5.
1400 : 19 0.
1500 : 20 50.
1600 : 22 30.
1700 : 24 25.
1800 : 26 30.
1900 : 29 10.
2000 : 31 0.
2100 : 32 55.
2200 : 35 0.
2300 : 36 55.
2400 : 38 40.


The forenoon of January 13th was employed in the performance of the usual
ceremonies on crossing the line, a custom now happily falling into
desuetude--I allude to it merely for the purpose of mentioning its
unfortunate consequences in the present instance; for, although the whole
proceeding was conducted with the greatest good humour, we had soon
afterwards to lament the occurrence of a fatal case of pleurisy, besides
another scarcely less severe, believed by the medical officers to have
been induced by forcible and continued submersion in what is technically
called the pond, one part of the performance which novices are obliged to
submit to during these marine Saturnalia.

The most interesting occurrence in natural history during the passage, in
addition to the usual accompaniments of flying fish, dolphins, physaliae
and velellae, was our finding, in the neighbourhood of the equator,
considerable numbers of a rare British bird, Thalassidroma leachii, a
species of storm-petrel, not before known to extend its range to the
tropics; it was distributed between the tropic of Cancer and latitude 5
degrees South.

As we approached the South American coast, the rates of several of our
seventeen chronometers (fifteen Government and two private ones) were
found to have strangely altered, thus reducing the value of our meridian
distance between Madeira and Rio; this effect was ascribed to the firing
of shotted guns when exercising at general quarters, a practice which in
consequence was not afterwards repeated.


January 23rd.

I shall not soon forget my first view of the shores of the new world. The
morning was beautifully fine, and with a light breeze scarcely sufficient
to cause a ripple on the water, we were slipping past the high and
remarkable promontory of Cape Frio, which at first appeared like an
island. A long beach of glittering sand stretched away to the westward,
and was lost in the distance; behind this a strip of undulating country,
clad here and there in the richest green, was backed by a range of
distant wooded hills, on which many clumps of palms could be
distinguished. Few harbours in the world present a more imposing entrance
than that of Rio de Janeiro. Several islands lie off the opening, and on
either side the coast range terminates in broken hills and ridges of
granite, one of which, Pao d'Acucar, the Sugarloaf of the English, rises
at once from near the water's edge to the height of 900 feet, as an
apparently inaccessible peak, and forms the well-known landmark for the

Passing the narrows (where the width is a mile and a quarter) strongly
guarded by fortifications, of which Fort Santa Cruz, an extensive work,
with several tiers of guns occupying a rocky point, is the principal, the
harbour widens out with beautiful sandy bays on either side, and rocky
headlands covered with luxuriant vegetation. Here the view of the city of
Rio de Janeiro is magnificent. The glare of the red-tiled buildings,
whitewashed or painted yellow, is relieved by the varied beauty of the
suburbs and gardens, and the numerous wooded eminences crowned by
churches and other conspicuous public edifices. Beyond the city the
harbour again widens out to form an immense basin, studded with green
islands, extending backwards some seventeen or eighteen miles further
towards the foot of the Organ Mountains, remarkable for their pinnacled
summits, the highest of which attains an elevation of 7800 feet above the

The harbour presented a busy scene from our anchorage. The water was
alive with small craft of every description, from the large
felucca-rigged boat down to the fishing canoe simply constructed of a
hollowed-out log, and steamers crowded with passengers plied between the
city and the opposite shore. The seabreeze died away, and was succeeded
by a sultry calm; after a short interval, the grateful land wind, laden
with sweet odours, advanced as a dark line slowly stealing along the
surface of the water, and the deep boom of the evening gun echoing from
hill to hill may be said appropriately to have closed the scene.


Landing at the Largo do Paco, or palace square, my first favourable
impressions of the city of Rio de Janeiro were somewhat lessened by the
stench arising from offal on the beach, and the vicinity of the market,
under the conjoined influence of a perfect calm and a temperature of 90
degrees in the shade. The palace, now used by the emperor only on court
days, has two sides of the large irregular square in which it is
situated, occupied by shops and other private buildings. Close by is the
market, which the stranger, especially if a naturalist, will do well to
visit. The variety of fruits and vegetables is great, that of fish
scarcely less so. On the muddy shore in the background, the fishing
canoes are drawn up on their arrival to discharge their cargoes, chiefly
at this time consisting of a kind of sprat and an anchovy with a broad
lateral silvery band. Baskets of land crabs covered with black slimy mud,
of handsome Lupeae, and the large well-flavoured prawns, called
Cameroons, are scattered about, and even small sharks (Zygaenae, etc.)
and cuttlefish are exposed for sale.

The streets, which, with few exceptions, are very narrow, are paved with
large rough stones--they have usually a gutter in the centre, and
occasionally a narrow pavement on each side. For building purposes,
unhewn granite is chiefly used, the walls being afterwards smoothed over
with a layer of plaster, whitewashed, and margined with yellow or blue.
The two principal streets are the Rua Direita, the widest in the city,
and the principal scene of commercial transactions, and the narrow Rua do
Ouvidor, filled with shops, many of which equal in the richness and
variety of their goods the most splendid establishments of European
capitals. Of these the most tempting, and the most dangerous to enter
with a well-filled purse, is the famous feather-flower manufactory of
Mme. Finot, where the gorgeous plumage of humming birds and others of the
feathered tribe is fabricated into wreaths and bouquets of all kinds.
Although the absence of sewerage is everywhere apparent, the town is well
supplied with water from numerous large fountains, filled by pipes from
an aqueduct five or six miles in length, communicating with the Corcovado
mountain. One is struck with the comparative absence of wheeled vehicles
in the streets of Rio. Now and then a clumsy caleche is driven past by a
negro postillion, in blue livery and jackboots, riding a second horse
yoked outside the shafts, and omnibuses drawn by four or six mules, are
not infrequently met with, and seem to be much patronised.

Many of the walks in the neighbourhood of the city are exceedingly
beautiful; one of the pleasantest leads along the line of the aqueduct.
Here the botanist fresh from Europe, will find subjects of interest at
every step, and the entomologist may revel to his heart's content among
gaudily coloured Heliconiae, Hesperiae, and Erycinae, or watch the larger
butterflies of the restricted genus Papilio, slowly winging their lazy
flight among the trees just beyond the reach of his insect net. A common
butterfly here (Peridromia amphinome) has the singular habit of
frequenting the trunks and limbs of the trees where it rests with
expanded wings, and generally manages adroitly to shift its position, and
escape when swept at with the net. Some large dark Cicadae are common
among the branches, and the air often resounds with their harsh grating
cries, especially towards evening. On the trunks of various trees along
the path, especially a thorny-stemmed Bombax, the pretty Bulimus
papyraceus is common, with an occasional B. auris-leporis, but I never
during my walks was so fortunate as to find any of the more magnificent
of the Brazilian landshells--for example, B. ovalis, a noble species,
four or five inches in length, of which I have bought live specimens in
the market.

Some of the lanes, in which, on one occasion I lost my way, about dusk,
would have reminded me of those of the south of England on a fine
autumnal eve, were it not for the scattered palms and papaw trees in the
hedgerows, and the hedges themselves occasionally consisting of the
coffee plant, concealing clumps of banana and sugar-cane. The Cicadae
were singing their evening hymn from the branches overhead, and in due
time the fireflies came out in all their glory.


I had looked forward with eager anticipation to the result of the first
dredging of the Voyage. None of the ship's boats could be spared, so I
hired one pulled by four negro slaves, who, although strong active
fellows, had great objections to straining their backs at the oar, when
the dredge was down. No sieve having been supplied, we were obliged to
sift the contents of the dredge through our hands--a tedious and
superficial mode of examination. Still some fine specimens of a curious
flat sea-urchin (Encope marginata) and a few shells, encouraged us to
persevere. Two days after, Mr. Huxley and myself set to work in Botafogo
Bay, provided with a wire-gauze meat cover, and a curious machine for
cleaning rice; these answered capitally as substitutes for sieves, and
enabled us by a thorough examination of the contents of the dredge, to
detect about forty-five species of mollusca and radiata, some of which
were new to science. Among these acquisitions I may mention a new species
of Amphioxus, a genus of small fishes exhibiting more anomalies than any
other known to ichthyologists, and the lowest organisation found in the
class; it somewhat resembles the sand-eels of Britain in habits, like
them moving with extraordinary rapidity through the sand. By dint of
bribery and ridicule, we had at length managed to get our boatmen to work
tolerably well; and when we were alike well roasted by the sun and
repeatedly drenched, besides being tired out and hungry, they had become
quite submissive, and exchanged their grumbling for merriment. A more
lovely spot can scarcely be found, than the secluded bay of Botafogo with
its pretty village, and the noble Corcovado mountain immediately behind,
and we paid it other visits.


One of the principal characteristics of Rio is slavery. Slaves here
perform the work of beasts of burden; and in the business parts of the
city the attention of a stranger is sure to be arrested by gangs of them
heavily laden, proceeding at a jog-trot, timing their steps to a
monotonous song and the noise of a tin rattle filled with stones, carried
by their leader. What their domestic condition and treatment may be, I
know not, but, among the slaves one sees out of doors, the frequency of
iron collars round the neck, and even masks of tin, concealing the lower
part of the face, and secured behind with a padlock, would seem to
indicate extreme brutality in those capable of resorting to such means of
punishment. Yet these, I was told, were rare exceptions, the Brazilians
not being worse task-masters than the people of other slave-holding
countries--and such may be the case.


Whatever he may think of the true state of religious feeling, it soon
becomes obvious to a stranger that great care is taken to celebrate the
numerous festivals of the Church with all possible pomp and splendour.
One day I happened to encounter a procession in honour of St. Januarius,
the patron saint of Rio. The number of ecclesiastics taking a part
amounted to several hundreds, and a body of military brought up the rear.
The streets and windows were crowded with people in their holiday
costume, bands of music were playing, bells were ringing, flowers were
scattered about and showered down from the houses. The profusion of
tinsel and embroidery was very great, and the balconies and windows in
the line of procession were hung with rich brocade in all the colours of
the rainbow.


A short stay, such as ours, afforded very limited opportunities of
judging of the national character; and my impressions on this point were,
probably, often erroneous. The Brazilians and English did not then
reciprocate very cordially, on account of the existing state of
international relations. Of late years great advances appear to have been
made upon the mother-country, judging from the increasing liberality of
their institutions, the establishment of commercial relations abroad, the
freedom of discussion and influence of the press, the attention paid to
public education (especially of the middle classes) the support granted
to literature and science, and the declining influence of the priesthood
in secular matters. The national character, however, can scarcely be
considered as fully formed; the Brazilians have been too recently
emancipated from the thraldom of a modified despotism to have made, as
yet, any very great progress in developing the elements of national
prosperity and greatness which the vast empire of Brazil so abundantly
possesses, and the foul blot of slavery, with its debasing influence,
still remains untouched.


On February 2nd we sailed from Rio for the Cape of Good Hope. The morning
being calm, we were towed out by the boats of the squadron until a light
air, the precursor of the seabreeze, set in. While hove-to outside the
entrance, a haul of the dredge brought up the rare Terebratula rosea, and
a small shell of a new genus, allied to Rissoa. The remainder of the day
and part of the succeeding one were spent in a fruitless search for a
shoal said to exist in the neighbourhood, to which Captain Stanley's
attention had been drawn by Captain Broughton, of H.M.S. Curacao.

At one P.M. of each day, when the weather was favourable, the ship was
hove-to for the purpose of obtaining observations on the temperature of
the water at considerable depths, under the superintendence of Lieutenant
Dayman. As these were continued during our outward voyage as far as Van
Diemen's Land, and the number of observations amounted to 69, the results
will more clearly be understood if exhibited in a tabular form, for which
the reader is referred to the Appendix. "Two of the Sixe's thermometers
were attached, one at the bottom of the line of 370 fathoms, the other
150 fathoms higher up. The depth recorded is that given by Massey's
patent sounding machine. As the same quantity of line was always used,
the difference of depth of each day should be trifling, varying only in
proportion to the ship's drift; yet on several occasions the depth
recorded by the machine gives as much as 100 fathoms short of the
quantity of line let out."*

(*Footnote. Lieutenant Dayman, R.N.)


While engaged in sounding, a process which usually occupied
three-quarters of an hour, a boat was always at my service when birds
were about the ship, and the state of the sea admitted of going after
them--by this means many species of petrels were obtained for the
collection. On one of these occasions, owing to a mistake in lowering the
stern boat before the ship had quite lost her way through the water, one
of the falls could not be unhooked in time; consequently the boat was
dragged over on her broadside, and finally capsized with eight people in
her. Some reached one of the life-buoys, which was instantly let go, the
others managed to roll the boat over and right her, full of water. All
were eventually picked up by the leeward quarter-boat; the weather one,
from the shortness of the davits, would not clear the ship's side, but
turned over on her bilge, dipping in the water, and was rendered
ineffective when most wanted. This defect in the davits was afterwards
remedied by the substitution of other and longer ones, which had formerly
belonged to H.M. steam vessel Thunderbolt, wrecked at Algoa Bay a short
time previously.


Among many interesting birds* procured in the above-mentioned manner, I
may allude to Puffinus cinereus, a European species of shearwater, which
was found to be generally distributed across the South Atlantic between
the meridians of 28 degrees West and 1 1/2 degrees East; on two
successive days, while in the neighbourhood of Tristan da Cunha, myriads
of these birds passed the ship to the westward, apparently coming from
that island. A few days afterwards, while 480 miles from the nearest
land, we caught a beautiful tern (Sterna melanorhyncha) hitherto
considered to be peculiar to Australia.

(*Footnote. For the occurrence of Procellariadae during our outward
voyage, with a view to determine the geographical distribution of the
species met with by me, see Contributions to Ornithology by Sir W.
Jardine, Bart. page 94.)


On several occasions the towing net* produced a rich harvest, especially
one day when almost becalmed in latitude 34 degrees 40 minutes South and
longitude 4 degrees West. The surface of the water was absolutely teeming
with marine animals. Of these a small Physalia and a Velella (V.
emarginata ?) were the most plentiful. The latter curious animal,
consists of a flat oval expansion, an inch and a half in length,
furnished below with numerous cirrhi and a proboscidiform mouth, and
above with an obliquely vertical crest, the whole of a rich blue colour
with white lines and dots, the soft parts conceal a transparent
cartilaginous framework. The crest acts as a tiny sail (hence the name)
and communicates to the animal a slow rotatory movement while drifting
before the wind. Two kinds of Janthinae (J. globosa and J. exigua)
molluscs with a fragile, snail-like shell, and a vesicular float, were
drifting about, and, together with a very active, silvery-blue Idotea,
half an inch long, prayed upon the Velellae. At another time, among many
other pelagic crustacea, we obtained three kinds of Erichthus, a genus
remarkable for the glassy transparency of its species, also Hyalaea
inflexa and H. tridentata, curious pteropodous molluscs which swim near
the surface.

(*Footnote. Not having seen a description of this useful instrument, I
may mention that the kind used by Mr. Huxley and myself, consisted of a
bag of bunting (used for flags) two feet deep, the mouth of which is sewn
round a wooden hoop fourteen inches in diameter; three pieces of cord, a
foot and a half long, are secured to the hoop at equal intervals and have
their ends tied together. When in use the net is towed astern, clear of
the ship's wake, by a stout cord secured to one of the quarter-boats or
held in the hand. The scope of line required is regulated by the speed of
the vessel at the time, and the amount of strain caused by the partially
submerged net.)


On March 8th, we anchored in Simon's Bay; our passage from Rio de
Janeiro, contrary to expectation, had thus occupied upwards of five
weeks, owing to the prevalence of light easterly winds (from north-east
to south-east) instead of the westerly breezes to be looked for to the
southward of latitude 35 degrees South. We were fortunate, however, in
having fine weather during the greater part of that time.

The period of our stay at the Cape of Good Hope was devoted to the
construction of a chart of Simon's Bay and its neighbourhood, which has
since been incorporated with the previous survey of Captain Sir Edward
Belcher in H.M.S. Samarang, and published without acknowledgment. The
requisite shore observations were made by Captain Stanley and Mr. Obree,
while Lieutenants Dayman and Simpson conducted the sounding. Our
detention was lengthened by a succession of south-east gales, and the
state of the weather throughout was such that during the period of
twenty-one days the sounding boats were able to work on six only--the
other fine days were devoted to swinging the ships for magnetical
purposes. It was also intended to survey the Whittle shoal in False Bay,
but when we sailed, the weather was so thick and unsettled, that Captain
Stanley was reluctantly obliged to give it up.


Simon's Town is a small straggling place of scarcely any importance,
except in connection with the naval establishment kept up here--dockyard,
hospital, etc.--this being the headquarters of the Cape station. It is
distant from Cape Town twenty-three miles. The neighbourhood is
singularly dreary and barren, with comparatively little level ground, and
scarcely any susceptible of cultivation. I have often been struck with
the great general similarity between the barren and sandy tracts of this
district, and many parts of New South Wales, where sandstone is the
prevailing rock. In both countries there are the same low scrubby bushes,
at the Cape consisting of Heaths and Proteae, and in Australia of
Epacridae and Banksiae--the last the honeysuckles of the Colonists. Even
the beautiful sunbirds of the Cape, frequenting especially the flowers of
the Proteae, are represented by such of the Australian honeysuckers as
resort to the Banksiae.


We found the Cape Colony suffering from the long continuance of the
Caffre war. As a natural consequence, the price of everything had risen,
and there was little specie left in Cape Town. All the troops had been
sent to the frontier; a party of bluejackets from the flagship at one
time performed garrison duty at Cape Town; the emergency was so great
that even some detachments of troops on their way back to England after
long service in India, having put in at the Cape for refreshments, were
detained and sent to Algoa Bay. We were all heartily tired of Simon's Bay
long before leaving it; not the less so from having this all engrossing
Caffre war dinned into our ears from morning to night as an excuse for
high prices, and sometimes for extortions, which I had before supposed to
be peculiar to new colonies.

On April 10th we left Simon's Bay for Mauritius. Our passage of
twenty-four days presented little remarkable. We experienced every
gradation between a calm and a heavy north-east gale; during the
continuance of one of the latter, we passed near the Slot Van Capel bank
of the old charts, the existence of which it was of importance to verify;
* but the heavy confused sea, such as one would expect to find on a bank
during a gale, rendered it dangerous to heave-to to try for soundings.

(*Footnote. I have since learned that H.M.S. Meander, Captain the
Honourable H. Keppel, struck soundings on this bank, but have not been
able to procure the particulars.)


During this passage some important observations were made by Captain
Stanley and Lieutenant Dayman to determine the height, length, and
velocity of the waves. The results will be apparent from the following
tabular view.*

COLUMN 1: DATE 1847.

April 21 : - : 5 : 7.2 : 22 : 55 : 27.0 : Ship before the wind with a
heavy following sea.

April 23 : 8 : 5 : 6 : 20 : 43 : 24.5 : Ship before the wind with a heavy
following sea.

April 24 : 6 : 4 : 6 : 20 : 50 : 24 : Ship before the wind with a heavy
following sea.

April 25 : 9 : 4 : 5 : - : 37 : 22.1 : Ship before the wind with a heavy
following sea.

April 26 : - : 4 : 6 : - : 33 : 22.1 : Ship before the wind with a heavy
following sea.

May 2 : 6 : 4 and 5 : 7 : 22 : 57 : 26.2 : Sea irregular, observations
not very good.

May 3 : 7 : 5 : 7 and 8 : 17 : 35 : 22.0 : Wind and sea on port quarter.

(*Footnote. The height was determined by watching when the crest of the
wave was on a level with the observer's eye (the height above the trough
of the sea being known) either while standing on the poop or in the
mizzen rigging; this must be reduced to one half to obtain the absolute
height of the wave above the mean level of the sea. The length and
velocity were found by noting the time taken by the wave to traverse the
measured distance (100 yards) between the ship and the spar towing
astern. In column 3, the number 4 denotes a moderate breeze, and 5 a
fresh breeze.)

Oceanic birds were plentiful in our wake, and gradually dropped off as we
approached the tropic. On May 2 the vicinity of land was denoted by the
appearance of four tropic birds (Phaeton aethereus) and a tern; and next
evening, shortly before sunset, we sighted the Island of Mauritius, the
Bamboo Mountain at Grand Port being the first part seen. We rapidly
closed in with the land, and during the night were near enough to see the
surf on the coral reefs fringing the shore, it assuming the appearance,
in the bright moonshine, of a sandy beach of glittering whiteness.

Captain Stanley remarks, that "The reef on the east side of the island
projects further than is laid down on the Admiralty chart, and as from
the prevalence of the south-east trade a current is constantly setting to
the westward, vessels approaching this part of the island should be very
cautious, even with a leading wind, not to get too close in with the land
until the passage between Gunner's and Round Island is well under the
lee. At night, also, the distance from the land, when off the north-east
end of the island, is very deceiving, as the plains of Pamplemousses are
very low. The Rattlesnake, in passing at night between the Gunner's Quoin
and Flat Island, experienced a strong set of nearly three miles an hour
to the westward, which at times is said to be much stronger, and partakes
in some measure of the nature of the tide."


May 4th.

When I came upon deck I found that we had rounded the north end of the
island, and were beating up for Port Louis. It was a delightful morning,
with bright sunshine, smooth water, a gentle trade wind, and an unclouded
sky. The view was very beautiful, and quite equalled my expectations,
based, though they were, upon the glowing descriptions of La Pierre. The
extremes of the island are low, but the centre is occupied by the
partially wooded crest-like ridge, rugged and pinnacled, connecting La
Pouce with the famous Peter Botte. Viewed in a mass, the country looked
burnt up, of a dull yellowish red hue--the higher hills were dark green,
and the lower grounds partially so. To the left was the fertile plain of
Pamplemousses, even now, in the beginning of winter, one mass of green of
various degrees of intensity. As we approached we began to make out more
distinctly the sugar plantations, the groves of coconut trees and
casuarinas, the features of the town, and the dense mass of shipping in
the harbour. We hove to off the Bell Buoy (denoting the outer anchorage)
for the steamer which towed us to our berth abreast of Cooper's Island.


The harbour of Port Louis is of singular formation. It is entered by a
narrow passage or break in the coral reef surrounding the island, leading
into a large basin, the central portion only of which has sufficient
water for shipping. The bottom is mud, which, they say, is fast
accumulating, especially in a small bight called the Trou Fanfaron, where
a few years ago a line-of-battle ship could float, but which has now
scarcely water enough for a large corvette. The reefs about the entrance
are nearly dry at low-water, at which time one may wade to their outer
margin, as is daily practised by hundreds of fishermen.

Passing through the closely packed lines of shipping, and landing as a
stranger at Port Louis, perhaps the first thing to engage attention is
the strange mixture of nations--representatives, he might at first be
inclined to imagine, of half the countries of the earth. He stares at a
Coolie from Madras with a breech-cloth and soldier's jacket, or a
stately, bearded Moor, striking a bargain with a Parsee merchant; a
Chinaman, with two bundles slung on a bamboo, hurries past, jostling a
group of young Creole exquisites smoking their cheroots at a corner, and
talking of last night's Norma, or the programme of the evening's
performance at the Hippodrome in the Champ de Mars; his eye next catches
a couple of sailors reeling out of a grog-shop, to the amusement of a
group of laughing negresses in white muslin dresses of the latest
Parisian fashion, contrasting strongly with a modestly attired Cingalese
woman, and an Indian ayah with her young charge. Amidst all this the
French language prevails; everything more or less pertains of the French
character, and an Englishman can scarcely believe that he is in one of
the colonies of his own country.


May 16th.

Few passing visitors, like ourselves, leave the Isle of France without
performing a pilgrimage to Pamplemousses, a pretty village seven miles
distant, near which are the (so-called) tombs of Paul and Virginia, and
the Botanic Gardens. For this purpose--as we sail the day after tomorrow,
I started at daylight. The road, even at this early hour, was crowded
with people--Coolies, Chinamen, Negroes, and others, bringing in their
produce to market, while every now and then a carriage passed by filled
with well-dressed Creoles enjoying the coolness of the morning air, or
bent upon making a holiday of it, for the day was Sunday. I breakfasted
in one of the numerous cabarets by the roadside, dignified with the name
of Hotel de ----, etc. Numerous small streams crossed the road, and the
country, so far as seen, exhibited a refreshing greenness and richness of

Les Tombeaux are situated in a garden surrounded by trees, and a grove of
coffee plants, behind the residence of a gentleman who must be heartily
sick of being so constantly disturbed by strangers. They exhibit nothing
more remarkable than two dilapidated monumental urns on opposite sides of
the garden, shaded by a clump of bamboos and casuarinas, the latter
usually mistaken for cypresses. In the coffee plantation close by, I was
delighted to find great numbers of a large and handsome land shell,
Achatina mauritiana--it burrows in the earth during dry weather, but some
rain which had fallen during the night brought it out in abundance.


The Botanical Gardens are close to the church. Among the plants are some
magnificent sago palms, almost rivalling those I had seen in New Guinea,
during the voyage of the Fly,* and many clove and nutmeg trees, the
cultivation of which in the island it had been the intention of
Government to introduce. Here are some very fine shady walks with ponds
of water and rivulets, but although these cool retreats are admirably
adapted for solitary rambles and the holding of merry picnic parties, I
found with regret that the title of botanical had misled me.

On my return I was not surprised to see in an island colonised by the
French--so little outward respect paid to the Sabbath. Many people were
at work in the fields, and washerwomen in the streams--a party of
Chinamen were employed roofing a house, and blacksmiths hammered away
within gun-shot of the church, while many of the shops and all the
taverns were open in the villages.

(*Footnote. Narrative of the Surveying Voyage of H.M.S. Fly in Torres
Strait, New Guinea, and other Islands of the Asiatic Archipelago by J.
Beete Jukes.)


On a former occasion I had made an excursion to the summit of La Pouce, a
remarkable knob-like peak on the sharp crateriform ridge behind Port
Louis. Following a path, leading from the town directly to Wilhelm's
Plains, one crosses a small stream and skirts the steep face of the hill
over rough ground covered with burnt up grass, and straggling bushes. To
this succeeds a region of evergreens (among which the wild mango is the
prevailing tree) where a species of monkey introduced many years ago into
the island has taken up its abode. I saw none, however, but occasionally
heard their chattering as they hurried along among the bushes. Where the
path crosses the ridge, it widens out into a succession of rounded
eminences, with the summit of La Pouce rising suddenly from its centre in
a thumb-like form. Its base is watered by a small gushing rill, and the
vegetation now is very luxuriant from the continual supply of moisture.
The most striking plants are the tree-ferns (Cyathea excelsa and C.
bourbonica) some of which attain a height of from fifteen to twenty feet.
From the eastern margin of the ridge the view is very fine; a sloping
precipice, several hundred feet in height, covered with stunted bushes,
overlooks Wilhelm's Plains, nearly all under cultivation and studded with
sugar plantations. The soil, when newly turned up, appeared of a dull red
colour. Numbers of tropic birds were flying along the face of the cliff
where they probably breed. Eight species of land shells were picked up
here, either creeping up the grass or under stones and logs; they were of
the genera Caracolla, Helix, and Pupa.

A narrow path, difficult to find among the long grass, leads to the
summit of the mountain, 2600 feet above the level of the sea. The view
from the top embraces the greater part of this fine island. The coral
reef fringing the shores is well seen--the pale green of the shoal water
is separated from the deep blue of the ocean by a line of snow-white


For entomological purposes I frequently visited the Cemetery, numbers of
insects being attracted by its flowers and trees. The road leading to it,
one of the principal evening drives, is shaded by rows of magnificent
casuarinas, from Madagascar. Some five or six widely-separated religious
creeds may each here be seen practising their peculiar modes of
interment--Chinese, Mahomedan, Hindoo, and Christian; and among the last
it was a novelty to me to observe, for the first time, the pleasing
custom of decking the graves with fresh flowers, often renewed weekly for
years, disposed in jars of various kinds, from the richly ornamented vase
down to the humblest piece of crockery. All the low land hereabouts has
been borrowed from the sea; it is a mixture of sand and fragments of
coral; and the land-crabs have established a colony in one part of the
cemetery, and run riot among the graves.

Although well aware of the productiveness of this fine island in marine
objects, I was yet unprepared for the sight of upwards of one hundred
species of fish, which I frequently witnessed of a morning in the market
at Port Louis; but this to me was diminished by the regret that the most
skilful taxidermist would signally fail, either to retain upon the
prepared skin, or to reproduce, the bright colours for which so many of
them are remarkable. Dredging in the harbour was perfectly unsuccessful;
outside the margin of the coral reefs which fringe the entrance to Port
Louis one finds a zone of loose blocks of living Maeandrinae, Astraeae,
and other massive corals, where dredging is impracticable; to this
succeeds a belt of dead shells and small fragments of coral; and the
remainder of the channel is tenacious mud, in which I found nothing of


After a pleasant stay of twelve days, we left Mauritius, on May 17th, as
soon as the last set of sights for rating the chronometers had been
obtained, and in due time rounded the north end of the island to a light
wind off the land. In the first watch a distant light was conjectured,
with some degree of probability, to proceed from the well-known active
volcano of the Island of Bourbon.

During our stay at Port Louis, Captain Stanley had complied with a
requisition from the Commissariat to take some specie to Hobart Town,
consequently his previous intention of proceeding to Sydney, by way of
King George Sound, was abandoned.

On May 24th (our noon position being in latitude 28 degrees 1 minute
South, and longitude 67 degrees 30 minutes East) we tacked to the
South-West, having found the impracticability of making a straight course
for Cape Leeuwin without first getting well to the southward, and in due
time we reached the latitudes where westerly winds prevail, and were
enabled to proceed onward on our course.


On June 14th, when in latitude 40 degrees 45 minutes South, and longitude
123 degrees 23 minutes East, the occurrence of a calm during the
forenoon, although accompanied by a considerable swell, induced Captain
Stanley to make a third attempt to obtain deep-sea soundings. He had been
much interested in the success of experiments of this kind, in which the
grand desideratum has always been to produce POSITIVE PROOF OF HAVING
REACHED BOTTOM by bringing up a portion of its substance, hitherto
unattempted on account of the great length of time required for the
experiment, and the disproportionate strength of the line to the enormous
weight employed, should any sudden jerk ensue from the heave of the sea.
Captain Stanley had at length succeeded in contriving a very ingenious
apparatus by which, upon striking soundings, the eight 32 pounds shot
employed would be immediately detached, leaving no greater weight to be
hauled up than the iron framework to which the shot was slung, and a
small bell-lead with the usual arming of tallow, to which portions of the
bottom would adhere. The line was similar to that employed on January
12th, as then carefully coiled away in casks, each of which held from 800
to 1000 fathoms, and ran out remarkably well, without any tendency to
kink or get foul; but, unfortunately, after 3500 fathoms (or forty yards
less than four statute miles) had gone out, the line parted, from some
flaw, it is supposed, as a piece of the same bore a far heavier weight
when tested subsequently on board. The whole weight employed was equal to
280 pounds; and the time taken by the line to run out was 1 hour, 59
minutes, and 56 seconds.


100 : 0 0 42.
200 : 0 1 49.
300 : 0 3 3.
400 : 0 4 23.
500 : 0 5 57.
600 : 0 7 39.
700 : 0 9 30.
800 : 0 11 22.
900 : 0 13 20.
1000 : 0 15 19.
1100 : 0 17 35.
1200 : 0 19 44.
1300 : 0 21 38.
1400 : 0 24 15.
1500 : 0 26 47.
1600 : 0 29 32.
1700 : 0 32 17.
1800 : 0 35 2.
1900 : 0 38 11.
2000 : 0 41 5.
2100 : 0 44 3.
2200 : 0 47 38.
2300 : 0 50 47.
2400 : 0 53 57.
2500 : 0 57 6.
2600 : 1 0 51.
2700 : 1 6 15.
2800 : 1 12 25.
2900 : 1 20 27.
3000 : 1 26 34.
3100 : 1 32 45.
3200 : 1 39 49.
3300 : 1 45 37.
3400 : 1 52 47.
3500 : 1 59 56.


On June 24th we entered Storm Bay, and next day arrived at Hobart Town.
None of our Australian colonies--I had previously seen them all--reminded
me of the mother country so much as Tasmania. The clearings on the shores
of the Derwent looked very pretty, and almost English, particularly the
spire of a small church peeping out from among the trees.


Arrive at Sydney.
Bramble is attached to the Expedition.
Survey Entrance of Port Jackson and Twofold Bay.
Sail upon our First Northern Cruise.
Arrive at Moreton Bay.
Proceedings there.
Natives at Moreton Island.
Arrive at Port Curtis.
Settlement of North Australia.
Excursions made in Neighbourhood.
Natural Productions.
Call at the Percy Isles.
Port Molle and Cape Upstart.
Unable to find Fresh Water.
Return to Sydney.
Recent Occurrences there.
Sail for Bass Strait.
Visit Port Phillip and Port Dalrymple.
Inspect the Lighthouses of the Strait.

We left Hobart Town for Sydney on July 8th. On the night of the 15th, saw
the fine revolving light on the South Head of Port Jackson, and next
morning anchored at Farm Cove. Our stay in Sydney was protracted to a
period of nearly three months. During this time, in consequence of
previous arrangements, the schooners Bramble, Lieutenant C.B. Yule, and
Castlereagh, Lieutenant D. Aird, were paid off. Both these vessels had
been left in December, 1845, by Captain F.P. Blackwood, of H.M.S. Fly, to
continue the survey of New Guinea (as will afterwards be more
particularly alluded to) and had long been awaiting our arrival. The
Castlereagh, originally purchased in Sydney, being reported to be quite
unfit for surveying purposes, was sold to her former owner; and the
Bramble was recommissioned as tender to the Rattlesnake, and continued
under the command of Lieutenant Yule. Ten additional men were entered on
board, increasing our complement to 190 officers and men, of whom 36 were
placed on board the schooner. After a thorough refit, both vessels were
at length quite ready for sea.


Meanwhile a minute survey was made by Lieutenants Dayman and Simpson of
the inner entrance to Port Jackson, where a reef, called the Sow and Pigs
(distinguished by a beacon and a light vessel) in the middle of the
passage, leaves only a narrow available channel on either side. The exact
boundaries of them, with the depth of water, were to be determined,
especially to ascertain whether a line-of-battle ship, with her full
armament, could pass into the harbour. The shoalest part of the west
channel was found to have 21 feet, and of the east 24 feet at low-water
(the rise and fall of tide being from 5 to 8 feet); consequently, at
high-water there would be room for a three-decker to enter.* This work
was in connection with a proposed dry dock** on Cockatoo Island, above
Sydney, towards the expenses of which the Imperial Government were
willing to contribute, provided it were made of such a size as to be
available for large steamers and line-of-battle ships.

(*Footnote. It was found by comparison with Lieutenant Roe's survey, made
25 years before, that the inner edge of the shoal had extended
considerably to the southward.)

(**Footnote. This has for several years been under construction; its
importance will appear more evident, when it is considered that a large
vessel in the Australian colonies requiring repairs, which cannot be
effected by the process of heaving down, will find no suitable place
nearer than Bombay.)

In compliance with a requisition from Sir Charles Fitzroy, the Governor
of New South Wales, Captain Stanley, in the Bramble, paid a visit to
Twofold Bay, 200 miles to the southward of Sydney, a place of rising
importance as a harbour, also in connection with whaling establishments,
and the extensive adjoining pastoral district of Maneroo. The bay was
resurveyed, with a view to test the comparative merits of the two
townships there--one founded by government, the other by private
enterprise. After all, I believe, the advantages afforded by each of the
rival establishments are so equally divided, that the question still
remains an open one.


October 11th.

After a protracted stay in Sydney of very nearly three months, we were at
length enabled to start upon our first cruise to the northward, the
object of which was to make a survey of Port Curtis and part of the
Inshore Passage leading up to Torres Strait. The Rattlesnake and tender
got under weigh soon after daybreak and ran out of Port Jackson to the
northward with a fine South-east wind. In the evening the Bramble parted
company, her present destination being Port Stephens, for the purpose of
running a meridian distance, and ours Moreton Bay.

One day, while off Cape Byron, an interesting addition to zoology was
made in a small floating shellfish, which has since proved to constitute
a new genus,* throwing light, I am informed, upon many fossil univalves
in the older formations; and a rare bird of the noddy kind (Anous
leucocapillus) perched on the rigging towards evening, and was added to
the collection; for even the beauty and innocence of a tired wanderer
like it was insufficient to save it from the scalpel.

(*Footnote. This mollusc, allied to Litiopa, Professor E. Forbes has done
me the honour to publish in the Appendix as Macgillivrayia pelagica.)


On October 18th we anchored in Yule's Roads, Moreton Bay in 12 fathoms,
sand, about a mile off shore, and remained there for sixteen days. During
our stay, some additions were made to render more complete the former
survey of this important sheet of water. Buoys were laid down to mark the
intricate channels of the north entrance, now preferred for its greater
safety to the south entrance, although lengthening by about 50 miles the
passage to or from Sydney. The wreck of a steamer, and loss of most of
those on board, had not long before caused a great sensation, and
forcibly attracted attention to the dangers of the southern entrance.

Moreton Bay is an expanse of water 45 miles in length, and 20 in greatest
width, enclosed between the mainland and Stradbroke and Moreton Islands.
It is open to the northward, but sheltered on the eastward by the two
islands forming that side, which run nearly north and south. The Brisbane
river enters the bay about the middle of its western side, and, having
been the means of opening up an immense extent of the finest pastoral
country, it has conferred a considerable degree of importance upon the
place as a harbour, although beset with numerous shoals and narrow
winding passages, through which the tides run with great force. The
entrance to the river has a depth of only 10 or 11 feet at high-water,
consequently, is available for small vessels only; the best anchorage for
larger ones is five miles distant. The banks are constantly shifting, and
the channel is intricate. When to this is added that the
settlement--consisting of the townships of North and South Brisbane, and
Kangaroo Point, is situated 14 miles from the river mouth--it was not
surprising that a proposal had been made to establish a trading port
elsewhere in the bay, so that the wool and other produce of the district,
might be shipped direct for England.


For this purpose, Cleveland Point (at the south-east side of the bay) had
been suggested, and the Colonial Government requested Captain Stanley's
opinion on the subject: which is as follows. "This," says he, "is the
worst possible place I ever saw for such a purpose; from the proposed
site of the town, a low rocky point only a few feet above the level of
high-water, projects for more than a mile in the sea; and from both sides
of this, mudflats, that become dry at low-water, extend for a very
considerable distance. The anchorage off this point must be of necessity
in the stream of tide, which, when it sets against even a moderate
breeze, causes a heavy sea. And as the point affords no shelter whatever
for boats, it will be absolutely necessary to build a breakwater, at
least as far out as three fathoms at low-water."


Moreton Island, under the lee of which the Rattlesnake was at anchor, is
19 miles in length, and 4 1/2 in greatest breadth. It consists for the
most part of series of sandhills, one of which, Mount Tempest, is said to
be 910 feet in height; on the north-west portion a large tract of low
ground, mostly swampy, with several lagoons and small streams. The soil
is poor, and the grass usually coarse and sedge-like. All the timber is
small, and consists of the usual Eucalypti, Banksiae, etc. with abundance
of the cypress-pine (Callitris arenaria) a wood much prized for
ornamental work. The appearance along the shores of the Pandanus or
screw-pine, which now attains its southern limits, introduces a kind of
intertropical appearance to the vegetation. Among the other plants are
three, which merit notice from their efficacy in binding down the drift
sand with their long trailing stems, an office performed in Britain by
the bent grass (Arundo arenaria) here represented by another grass,
Ischaemum rottboellioide: the others are a handsome pink-flowered
convolvulus (Ipomoea maritima) one stem of which measured 15 yards in
length, and Hibbertia volubilis, a plant with large yellow blossoms.


Among the marine animals of Moreton Bay are two cetacea of great
interest. The first of these is the Australian dugong (Halicore
australis), which is the object of a regular fishery (on a small scale
however) on account of its valuable oil. It frequents the Brisbane river
and the mudflats of the harbour, and is harpooned by the natives, who
know it under the name of Yung-un. The other is an undescribed porpoise,
a specimen of which, however, I did not procure, as the natives believed
the most direful consequences would ensue from the destruction of one;
and I considered the advantages resulting to science from the addition of
a new species of Phocoena, would not have justified me in outraging their
strongly expressed superstitious feelings on the subject. We observed
that whenever a drove of these porpoises came close inshore, a party of
natives followed them along the beach, and when a shoal of fish,
endeavouring to avoid their natural enemies, approached within reach, the
blacks rushed out into the water with loud cries, and, keeping their bag
nets close together, so as to form a semicircle, scooped out as many fish
as came within reach.

Our seining parties from the ship were usually very successful, but only
at one particular time of tide, or during the young flood. Sharks are
numerous close to the beach, but are generally small and harmless; one of
the natives however had lost his foot at the ankle joint, from the bite
of one.


There were then no white residents upon Moreton Island, but we found a
party of about twenty natives encamped near the watering place. Some of
the men were rather good specimens of the race, but the reverse was the
case with the females; although the latter on the first day of our
meeting them evinced a desire to cover their persons, they afterwards
went about as naked as the men--but the female children wore a small
fringe in front. The married women had lost the last joint of the little
finger of the right hand--one had three half-caste children. The huts of
these natives are of simple construction, yet comfortable enough, and
perfectly waterproof--a framework of sticks in a dome-like form is
covered with bark of the tea-tree (Melaleuca) and branches of trees.

While procuring materials for a vocabulary, I found that even this small
party contained individuals of two tribes, speaking different dialects.
It was curious to observe that although these natives had had much
intercourse with Europeans, a party of them who came on board, could not
be persuaded to go below; and one strong fellow (One-eye, as he called
himself) actually trembled with fear when I laid hold of him by the arm,
to lead him down to the main-deck.

November 4th.

Sailed from Moreton Bay for Port Curtis in company with the Bramble. The
wind being at north, we had to beat out through the narrow channel
leading between the banks of the north entrance, probably never before
attempted by a square-rigged vessel.


On November 7th, we rounded Breaksea Spit, and passed Lady Elliot's
Island--low, of coral formation, and one of the great breeding places of
the seabirds of this portion of the coast. Next day we anchored five
miles off the south entrance of Port Curtis, and sent in two boats to
sound. On their return with a favourable report, the ship was got
underweigh, and ran in under the headsails to round Gatcombe Head, by the
channel laid down in Flinders' chart; but, while following a boat ahead
in charge of the master, the signal to anchor immediately was made, and
we brought up as required, being then about the middle of the north

We remained here until the boats had sounded the remainder of the
approach to the port sufficiently to enable Captain Stanley to move the
vessel without risk to a safe anchorage inside, at a spot convenient for
landing at all times to obtain the requisite observations for determining
an astronomical position, and sufficiently central as a starting point
for boat operations. This was effected on the 10th of November, when we
anchored in 5 fathoms, mud, at three cables lengths distance from the


In January, 1847, the recently proposed colony of North Australia was
established by a party from Sydney, under Lieutenant-Colonel Barney,
R.E., with a suitable staff of public functionaries. The colonists
encountered more than usual difficulties and hardships even at the
commencement. The transport conveying the first portion of the party,
consisting of eighty-eight persons, struck on the shoal off Gatcombe
Head, and required to be hove down, a fit spot for which purpose was
fortunately found in a narrow but deep mangrove creek further up the
harbour, at a place indicated upon the Rattlesnake's chart. The party
were at first encamped upon the south end of Facing Island, but
afterwards removed to the mainland, upon a site for the new township of
Gladstone having been chosen there. The settlement, however, was
abandoned, after a short-lived existence of five months, in obedience to
orders received from home, consequent upon a change in the plans of
Government regarding the disposal of convicts, for North Australia had
been originally intended to be a penal settlement, or one for the
reception of exiles. The expenses incurred by this experiment amounted to
upwards of 15,000 pounds.


The survey of the harbour and its approaches occupied a period of three
weeks. Although this work had ceased to be one of immediate importance,
yet it will eventually be of considerable benefit to the colony of New
South Wales, as the gradual extension of the squatting stations to the
northward from the Wide Bay district must, ere long, call Port Curtis
into requisition as a harbour, and thus enable the settlers to obviate
the necessity of a long and expensive land carriage to Wide Bay, the
nearest place resorted to by the small coasting vessels, communicating
with Brisbane and Sydney.

In illustration of this important subject, I cannot do better than quote
portions of a despatch from Colonel Barney to Sir Charles Fitzroy, dated
Sydney, 20th July, 1847, published in a return ordered by the House of

The extent of land fit for agriculture, within a few miles of the coast,
far exceeds the expectations I had formed on my first visit. Timber for
dwelling-houses and for shipbuilding is abundant, and of the best
description, and within five miles of South Shore Head (the best site for
a settlement) there is to be found pipeclay, brick-earth, ironstone,
freestone, granite, trap, slate, indications of coal; and independent of
a great supply of shells for lime on the immediate site, there is at the
head of one of the navigable salt creeks a fine freshwater stream running
over a bed of limestone; a second creek, in which the Lord Auckland of
600 tons, is hove down, also navigable for ten or twelve miles,
terminates in extensive waterholes; indeed within the port there are four
inlets or creeks, navigable from ten to fifteen miles for vessels drawing
eight or nine feet of water, each terminating in fresh water.

The position and extent of Port Curtis, which I take to be the third
harbour in importance in these seas, inferior only to Port Jackson and
Hobart Town, must shortly lead to an establishment on its shore, offering
security to numerous whaling vessels, which are now compelled to proceed
to Sydney for repairs and supplies; it must also become an important
depot for supplying steamers on passage to India with coal, which I have
reason to believe will be found in abundance within a few miles of the
coast. I have no doubt also that this port will become celebrated for
shipbuilding, possessing, as it does, timber of the highest quality for
such purposes, and favourable positions for building, as well as for the
construction of docks.

The country is capable of affording all the tropical, as well as a
considerable portion of European produce, and will be found highly
favourable for the breeding of stock; indeed, I believe I am correct in
stating that numerous parties, with stock to a very large amount, are now
within a short distance of Port Curtis, taking up stations, not only with
a view to the supply of the projected settlement, but also to the
shipment of wool, tallow, etc. direct to England.



A few days after our arrival at Port Curtis, the Asp, as our decked boat
had been named, joined us, having made an important addition to the
surveys of this portion of the coast. On his passage up from Brisbane,
Lieutenant Dayman, under the unexpected circumstances of finding that the
Rattlesnake had sailed, instead of coasting along the eastern side of
Great Sandy Island, thus involving the necessity of rounding Breaksea
Spit, determined upon trying the passage between that island and the
mainland leading into Hervey Bay; this he fortunately succeeded in
accomplishing, although under difficulties which his sketch (since
published by the Admiralty) will lessen to those who may require to use
the same previously little known channel.

Port Curtis, comprising a space of about ten miles in length, is enclosed
between Facing Island on the east, or to seaward, Curtis Island on the
north, and the shores of the mainland on the western side, leaving to the
southward a wide entrance partially blocked up by shoals. Besides the
narrow channel described by Flinders as leading between the south end of
Facing Island and the large bank of shoal water extending about six miles
to the south-east, a second, and much safer one, the least width of which
is upwards of a mile, was discovered between the large bank and others of
less extent towards the mainland.


We landed almost daily upon Facing Island, which was traversed in every
direction, but nowhere could we find a practicable watering place for the
ship; in fact, during our excursions, it was found necessary to carry a
supply of water with us, not being able to depend upon obtaining any on
shore. The island is 8 1/2 miles long and 2 3/4 in greatest width; it is
generally low, the most elevated part, Signal Hill, situated at its south
end, measuring only 275 feet in height. Its aspect is various; the
shores, as well as those of the adjacent mainland, are often muddy, and
covered with mangroves, fringing creeks, and occupying swamps more or
less extensive, while the remainder of the country is either covered with
the usual monotonous gum-trees, or, as over a large portion of the sea
face, covered with coarse sedgy grass and small bushes, on sandy ground,
which rises into a series of low sandhills extending along the coast.
During winter there must be much water, judging from several nearly dried
up lagoons and swamps, and some empty watercourses.


In company with Mr. Huxley, I made an excursion of two days' duration,
with the double view of seeing the country and adding to my collection.
We started heavily laden with provisions, water, arms and ammunition,
besides boxes, botanical paper and boards, and other collecting gear; and
although taking it very easily, the fatigue of walking in a sultry day,
with the thermometer at 90 degrees in the shade, afforded a sample of
what we had afterwards so often to experience during our rambles in
tropical Australia. Towards the northern end of the island we found
several creeks and lagoons of salt and brackish water, occasionally
communicating with the sea, probably under the conjoined influences of
spring tides and a strong easterly wind. Towards evening, finding among
the contents of our game-bags several ducks, of two species--Anas
superciliosa, the black duck of the colonists, the richest and best
flavoured of all the Australian waterfowl, and A. punctata, or teal, we
had them cooked bush fashion, for supper. The night being fine, we
enjoyed our bivouac upon the top of a sandhill, near the sea, by the side
of a dead Pandanus, which served as firewood--although it was judged
expedient to keep watch by turns, and go the rounds occasionally,
especially after the setting of the moon and before daybreak. We saw no
recent signs of natives, however, during our absence from the ship; but
former experience upon this coast had taught me how necessary it is to be
ever on one's guard, even in apparently uninhabited places; and such
watchfulness soon becomes habitual, and at length ceases to be irksome.
Next day we returned to the ship, more than ever convinced of the
comparative uselessness of the country which we had gone over for
agricultural or even pastoral purposes, except on a very small scale. On
our way back we met with two horses, both in good condition, which had
been left by Colonel Barney's party.


On another occasion Mr. Huxley and myself landed at the site of the
settlement of Gladstone, and were picked up in the evening by Captain
Stanley in one of the surveying boats, on his return to the ship. It is
difficult to conceive a more dreary spot, and yet I saw no more eligible
place for a settlement on the shores of the harbour. A few piles of
bricks, the sites of the tents, some posts, indicating the remains of a
provisional Government-house, wheel-ruts in the hardened clay, the stumps
of felled trees, together with a goodly store of empty bottles strewed
about everywhere, remained as characteristics of the first stage of
Australian colonisation. Within 200 yards of the township we came upon a
great expanse of several hundred acres of bare mud, glistening with
crystals of salt, bordered on one side by a deep muddy creek, and
separated from the shore by thickets of mangroves. The country for
several miles around is barren in the extreme, consisting for the most
part of undulating, stony, forest land. I have heard, however, that there
is much good pastoral country at the back. We found no fresh water during
our walk; of two wells which had been dug by the settlers, through stiff
clay, one was dry, and the other contained a puddle of brackish water,
not fit to drink. We met with few birds, but saw many tracks of emus and


During our stay at Port Curtis, we had no intercourse whatever with the
natives, although anxious to establish friendly communication. With the
aid of the spyglass, we could occasionally make out a few, chiefly women,
collecting shellfish on the mudflats of the mainland, and their fires
were daily seen in every direction. The employment of firearms against
them on several occasions by the crew of the Lord Auckland (under,
apparently, justifiable circumstances however) which left the harbour,
after repairing her damages, only a few months before our arrival, had
probably taught the natives to look with distrust upon white men; and
they cautiously avoided our parties.

On Facing Island, our sportsmen found little inland to recompense them
for their trouble, except blue mountain parrots and quail; but along the
shore, curlews, oystercatchers, and godwits, were plentiful. One day I
killed a bustard (Otis australasiana) weighing 22 1/2 pounds; the
goodness of its flesh was duly appreciated by my messmates. Several small
flocks of this noblest of the Australian gamebirds were seen; but, from
their frequenting the open country, and being very wary, it is only by
stratagem or accident that they can be approached within gunshot. No land
snakes were seen, but sea snakes seem to be frequent in the harbour.


Sharks of enormous size appeared to be common; one day we caught two, and
while the first taken was hanging under the ship's stern, others made
repeated attacks upon it, raising their heads partially out of the water,
and tearing off long strips of the flesh before the creature was dead.
Another swam off apparently as active as ever, although a musket ball had
been fired through its head. On several occasions a party was sent to
haul the seine upon a neighbouring mudflat covered at high-water, and
generally made good captures, especially of mullet and bream
(Chrysophrys); in addition, many other more curious fishes were caught,
and several rare and new crustacea--Squilla, Lupea thalamita, and a new
genus allied to Gonoplax, which will be found described in the Appendix.
Of landshells, only two kinds, a Helix and a Succinea, were found upon
Facing Island. Of marine species, 41 were added to the collection; the
most important in a non-zoological point of view is a kind of rock oyster
of delicious flavour and large size.


November 29th.

Sailed from Port Curtis for the northward, in company with the Asp, the
Bramble being sent to Moreton Bay in order to communicate the results of
the survey to the Colonial Government, and rejoin us at Cape Upstart. For
the next two days light northerly winds prevailed, after which we had the
wind from about East-South-East.


December 3rd.

The Asp having made a signal for assistance, and it being ascertained
that she had lost her dinghy and bumpkin by a sea which struck her while
crossing a tide-race, it was judged necessary to run for the nearest
place where the damage could be repaired. We consequently anchored under
Number 2 of the Percy Isles, to leeward of its south-west point, in 10
fathoms, mud, between it and the Pine Islets of the chart.

Here it blew so hard from East-South-East that a second anchor was let
go; the yards were pointed to the wind, and the top-gallant masts sent on
deck. A party which attempted to land were forced to return, nor was it
thought expedient to repeat the attempt on the following day. We remained
at this anchorage until the 7th, and found the gale to subside into the
south-east trade.

This is the largest of the Percy Isles, being about twelve or fourteen
miles in circumference. In structure, it may be said to consist of a
series of hills running in ridges, many of them covered with gumtree
scrub; and all with long grass growing in tufts, concealing the loose
stones, and rendering walking very laborious. On the western side of the
island, about a mile from the anchorage, the sea communicates, by a
narrow entrance, with a large basin partially blocked up with mangroves,
among which a creek filled at high-water, runs up for a mile. At the head
of this hollow a deeply worn dried up watercourse indicated the
periodical abundance of fresh water; and by tracing it up about a mile
further, I found many large pools among the rocks containing a sufficient
supply for the ship, but unavailable to us in consequence of the
difficulty in getting at it. Signs of natives were frequently met with,
but none were recent. From the quantities of turtle-bones about the
fireplaces, it is evident that these animals occasionally resort to a
small sandy beach near the entrance of the basin above alluded to.

The botany of the island afforded at this unfavourable season not more
than five or six species of plants in flower, some of which I had met
with elsewhere. A species of pine, Araucaria cunninghami, is found here
in small quantities, but more plentifully on the adjacent Pine Islets,
where it appears to constitute the only arboreal vegetation. A few
cabbage palms, Corypha australis, are the only other trees worth
mentioning. Among the birds observed, black and white cockatoos, swamp
pheasants, and crows were the most numerous. A fine banded snail, Helix
incei, was the only landshell met with. A Littorina and a Nerita occur
abundantly on the trunks and stems of the mangroves, and the creek
swarmed with stingrays (Trygon) and numbers of a dull green swimming


During our stay, the bush was thoughtlessly set on fire by some of our
people, and continued burning for several days, until nearly the whole
island had been passed over; the long dry grass and dead trees blazing
very fiercely under the influence of a high wind. At night the sight of
the burning scrub was very fine when viewed from a distance, but I did
not forget that I had one day been much closer to it than was
pleasant--in fact, it was only by first soaking my clothes in a pool
among the rocks, emptying the contents of my powder-flask to prevent the
risk of being blown up, and then making a desperate rush through a belt
of burning scrub, that I succeeded in reaching a place of safety.

Singularly enough, the Asp's dinghy was picked up uninjured on one of the
sandy beaches of this island, and on December 7th we left the anchorage
with a strong south-easterly wind, and anchored for the night under one
of Sir James Smith's group. On the following day we ran through part of
Whitsunday Passage, so named by Cook, and anchored in Port Molle, in
seven and a half fathoms, a quarter of a mile off shore. The best
anchorage here appears to be in the second bay as you round the end of
the island, forming the south-east side of the harbour; it may be known
by a sandy beach at the head.

During our stay of two days, search was made for water in every likely
spot, but none could be found. In the dried up beds of three shallow
lagoons (one of which I had seen half filled four years before) we found
native wells, one dug to the depth of six feet, but the water had


Port Molle, besides being a well sheltered harbour from all prevailing
winds, has a much more pleasing aspect than almost any place I have seen
on the north-east coast of Australia. To ourselves the change was
agreeable; instead of the monotonous gumtrees and mangroves of Port
Curtis and the scantily wooded stony hills of the Percy Isles, we had
here many varieties of woodland vegetation, including some large patches
of dense brush or jungle, in which one might observe every shade of green
from the sombre hue of the pine, to the pale green of the cabbage-palm.

Some rare birds were procured in the brushes--two of them appear here to
attain their southern limits of distribution upon the north-east coast of
Australia; they are the Australian sunbird (Cinnyris australis) reminding
one of the humming birds from its rich metallic colouring, and the
Megapodius tumulus, a rasorial bird, the size of a fowl, which constructs
great mounds of earth, leaves, sticks, stones, and coral, in which the
eggs are deposited at a depth of several feet from the surface, and left
there to be hatched by the heat of the fermenting mass of vegetable
matter. In addition to these, our sportsmen were successful in procuring
numbers of the pheasant-tailed pigeon, and the brush-turkey (Talegalla
lathami) the latter much esteemed, from the goodness of its flesh. Many
plants and insects as well as several landshells, new to science, which
will elsewhere be alluded to, were added to the collection. Doubtless
fish are also plentiful here, but we were prevented from hauling the
seine by the remains of a wreck in the centre of a flat of muddy sand at
the head of the bay where we were anchored; the vessel, I have since
heard, had come in contact with a coral reef, and been run on shore here,
in order to save a portion of her stores.


December 10th.

In company with the Asp we ran up to the northward to Cape Upstart, a
distance of about ninety miles, and anchored in five fathoms off the
sandy beach inside the point. Two boats were immediately sent to search
for water, but we found the pools where the Fly had watered, in 1844,
completely empty; and it was not until the deep rocky bed of the torrent
had been traced upwards of a mile higher up on the following morning,
that fresh water was met with; but at too great a distance from the
shore, to be available for our purposes. Judging from the almost total
want of water at all the places hitherto visited on this coast since
entering the tropics that there was little probability of our finding it
at Goold Island, Captain Stanley determined to proceed no further, but
return at once to Sydney, by way of Moreton Bay, and letters were left
for Lieutenant Yule signifying this intention.


December 15th.

Three days ago we sailed for Cape Upstart on our return to the southward,
working down the coast against a strong tradewind, the Asp keeping in
shore to survey the neighbourhood of the coastline, imperfectly and
erroneously laid down upon the Admiralty chart. We had calms and light
winds with thick rainy weather in the morning. While in Whitsunday
Passage, a small bark canoe with two natives came off to within a quarter
of a mile of the ship, shouting loudly and making gestures to attract
attention, but we did not stop; in fact, every moment now was precious,
as we were upon reduced allowance of water. Soon after noon we anchored
in Port Molle, and next day the Asp was stripped and hoisted inboard.

December 21st.

Since we left Port Molle, the winds have been variable from the northward
and eastward, with calms, and the weather quite unsettled with occasional
rain. While nearly becalmed, several opportunities were afforded for
dredging from the ship, and many new and curious marine animals were


Today we had the wind from East-South-East, gradually freshening to a
moderate gale with the sea getting up, and in the evening it was judged
expedient to bear up and run for an anchorage under the largest Keppel's
Isle, where we brought up in five and a half fathoms, sand. A line of
breaking water a quarter of a mile to leeward, was afterwards found to be
caused by a dangerous reef not indicated upon the chart, where, instead,
an anchorage was marked, a circumstance which might have led to serious
results, had we run in during the night.

Keppel's Isle is from ten to twelve miles in circumference--it is distant
from the mainland six miles. That portion of it seen from our anchorage
presented rather a pleasant appearance; some fine verdant grassy-looking
places were, however, found on closer inspection to be poor stony or
sandy ground, thinly covered with tufts of coarse grass. Behind a long
sandy beach abreast of the ship, an extensive hollow apparently running
back for two or three miles, flanked by low wooded hills, was found to be
a mangrove swamp traversed by several branches of a saltwater creek, by
which the flood-tide gains admittance. Here I found numbers of a singular
fish of the genus Chironectes leaping with great activity over the mud
among the arched roots of the mangroves, among which small crabs (Ocypoda
and Macrophthalmus) were making for their burrows in all directions.
Fresh water appeared scarce--I came upon one small well, and beside it a
large shell for the purpose of drinking from. I followed the recent
tracks of two natives, but they concealed themselves among the mangroves,
with their usual caution, although armed with spears, as I could see by
the marks left during their hurried flight, and they knew that I was
alone. A small group of women and children were afterwards met with by a
shooting party from the ship, but they ran off affrighted, leaving behind
their baskets, which were filled with a small blue gregarious crab,
common upon the sandy beaches.

After leaving our anchorage under Keppel's Island, we continued working
to the southward against a strong South-East wind. On the 24th while
standing in for the land, about 11 P.M., the ship was suddenly found to
be within a cable's length of the rocks off the North-East end of Facing
Island, on which we were fortunate in not having to spend our Christmas.
Next day a water-snake (Hypotrophis jukesii) four feet two inches long
was caught when we were several miles off the land; it had accidentally
been hooked by the tail by someone fishing for albacore, several of which
fine fish were taken hereabouts. We rounded Breaksea Spit on December
29th, and two days afterwards arrived at Moreton Bay, were we found the

During our stay at Yule's Roads, we had much gloomy blowing weather, with
drizzly rain, and a heavy gale from North-East to North-North-East.


After replenishing our nearly exhausted stock of water, we sailed for
Sydney, which we reached on January 14th, 1848. During this passage we
were much aided by the strong current, and had usually the wind between
South-East and East-South-East, with occasional calms.


February 2nd, 1848.

During our absence from Sydney, and since our arrival, some events of
great importance to the colony had occurred. Public attention had been
strongly directed towards the question of Steam Communication with India
and England, the facilitating of which was one of the principal objects
of the Voyage of the Rattlesnake.* Meetings to discuss the practicability
of forming railroads** had also been held. Dr. Leichhardt, the
well-known, indefatigable traveller, had started with a party to attempt
to traverse the Continent of Australia, and reach Swan River--and Mr.
Kennedy had returned from tracing the Victoria River of Sir Thomas
Mitchell, which he found to become lost in the stony desert of Sturt,
instead of disemboguing into the head of the Gulf of Carpentaria, as some
had conjectured.

(*Footnote. This project, I regret to add, has not yet been carried into
effect, nor does there appear to be any reasonable prospect of its speedy

(**Footnote. I have lately heard that the first Australian railroad has
actually been commenced at Sydney.)


During our stay the 60th anniversary of the foundation of the colony was
celebrated, and a large proportion of the 50,000 inhabitants of Sydney
and the neighbourhood joined in the festivities and amusements
commemorating so glorious a day in the annals of their adopted country.
When witnessing the gaieties of the regatta, I could not help reflecting
on the simple narrative of the first founder of what may hereafter become
a great empire, a mighty monument of the genius of the Anglo-Saxon race.
"The spot chosen for our encampment," says Colonel Collins, "was at the
head of the cove near the run of fresh water which stole silently along
through a very thick wood, the stillness of which had then, for the first
time since the creation, been interrupted by the rude sound of the
labourer's axe, and the downfall of its ancient inhabitants; a stillness
and tranquillity which from that day were to give place to the voice of
labour, the confusion of camps, and the busy hum of its new possessors."*

(Footnote. Collins' New South Wales 2nd edition page 10.)

Finding that there was yet some time to spare before the arrival of the
usual period for leaving Sydney to pass through Torres Strait, Captain
Stanley resolved upon acting in accordance with the expressed wishes of
the Colonial Government, that he should make an inspection of the various
lighthouses in Bass Strait, and for that purpose sailed from Sydney on
February 2nd, with the Rattlesnake and Bramble. The Asp and one of the
galleys accompanied us as far as Botany Bay, which they were to be
employed in surveying during our absence, under the orders of Lieutenant


On February 8th, we passed between Kent's and Hogan's groups (in Bass
Strait); the lighthouse on the former of these, perched upon a hill 829
feet high, is admirably situated, and although the night was rather hazy,
the light (revolving) shone out with great brilliance, and was afterwards
seen from the Bramble's deck, when thirty-seven miles distant. We caught,
in the narrows of the Strait, numbers of baracoudas, a very bold and
ravenous fish, and withal a good-eating one, measuring from two to three
feet in length; they bite eagerly at a hook towing astern, baited with a
piece of red or white rag, and are taken in greatest numbers when several
miles distant from the land, and the vessel is going from four to eight
knots through the water.

Two days afterwards, the weather being extremely favourable for the
purpose, I got several hauls with the dredge in forty-five fathoms, sandy
bottom, and, in addition to many curious crustacea and shellfish, a
number of very fine zoophytes, almost all of them new to science, were in
such abundance as quickly to fill the net.

February 11th.

While standing off and on the land during a fog, a partial clearing up
showed the entrance to Port Phillip, with its lighthouse,* and after
passing through between the heads, with the usual strong tide ripple, we
reached the anchorage at Hobson's Bay after dark.

(*Footnote. Of this Captain Stanley remarks: "In consequence of being
placed so far within the heads, the light is visible to seaward only
between the bearings of South 1/2 West and South-west 1/2 West. A better
position would be on Lonsdale Point, when the light would be seen by
vessels coming from the eastward as soon as they rounded Cape Schank. It
would also serve as a leading mark for navigating the southern channel,
but the tower would require to be of considerable height to show the
light over Shortland's Bluff to vessels inside the harbour.")

I found no alteration in William's Town, since a former visit made two
years ago. The place appeared to be completely at a standstill, as a
small straggling village of 200 inhabitants, chiefly dependent upon the
shipping for support.


Far different was it with Melbourne, the capital of the district. On our
way in a steamer up the Yarra-Yarra, several large and recently
constructed boiling-down establishments in full work indicated the
extensive operation of the tallow-manufacturing process. The town (or
city as it may, I believe, be termed) appeared to have wonderfully
increased of late, and a quiet business-like air prevailed. Everywhere we
met bullock-teams and drays recently arrived with wool, or on their
return to the sheep stations with supplies, but there were few loungers
like ourselves in the streets, nearly everyone seeming to have his time
fully occupied.

It appeared to be the general and loudly expressed opinion, so far as we
could judge, that the separation of the Port Phillip district from New
South Wales, and its formation into an independent colony, would
materially advance the interests and conduce to the prosperity of the
former; and that the large surplus revenue which is annually transmitted
to Sydney ought to be spent among the people who have raised it.*

(*Footnote. These and other claims of the colonists have, I need scarcely
add, been fully admitted by the recent separation from New South Wales of
the Port Phillip district, now the colony of Victoria.)


One day some of us made up a party to visit Geelong, the town in this
district of next importance to Melbourne, from which it is distant, by
water, fifty-five miles. The western shores of Port Phillip, along which
we passed, are low, thinly wooded, and bear a very monotonous aspect.
Vast numbers of a large sea-jelly (Rhizostoma mosaica) gave the water
quite a milky appearance. I was surprised to find the town, only a few
years old, to be one already containing about 3000 inhabitants. It is
built on a range of low gravelly banks facing the harbour, from which it
extends backwards in a straggling manner towards the river Barwon, which,
at the distance of a mile and a half, was then 100 yards wide, deep, and
without current. The town of Geelong derives its consequence from being a
convenient outlet for the wool and other produce of the southern
districts of Port Phillip--perhaps the best sheep country in Australia.
Four or five vessels were then loading for England. Unfortunately, Corio
Harbour, on the shores of which the town is built, is blocked up by a
bar, and vessels of moderate size are obliged to remain in Geelong Bay,
about five miles off, while discharging or receiving cargo.


Five days after clearing the Heads of Port Phillip, we had crossed Bass
Strait,* and anchored in Port Dalrymple, on the northern coast of Van
Diemen's Land, and remained there sufficiently long to obtain rates for
the chronometers, and connect it by meridian distance with William's
Town, and Sydney.** The two lighthouses of Banks' Strait only now
remained unvisited, that on the Kent Group, and another on Cape Otway,
having been left to Lieutenant Yule.

(*Footnote. For every information required by navigators passing through
Bass Strait, I would refer to Discoveries in Australia, with an account
of the Coasts and Rivers explored and surveyed during the Voyage of
H.M.S. Beagle, in the years 1837 to 1843 by J. Lort Stokes, Commander,
R.N., and to the Admiralty chart by Captain Stokes. On this subject I
find a manuscript note by Captain Stanley: "Stokes has mentioned in his
chart that there is little or no tide in Bass Strait. Such may be the
case, but I have invariably found a very strong current, depending both
as to force and direction upon the prevailing winds. On one occasion,
during a westerly gale, it set to the eastward with a velocity of at
least three knots per hour. I mention this circumstance, as from Captain
Stokes' remarks, strangers might be led to suppose there were no currents
in the Strait, and neglect to take the usual precautions.")

(**Footnote. It is unnecessary to give separately the various meridian
distances obtained by the Rattlesnake and Bramble, as these will be
found, with the various circumstances affecting their value, in the


March 3rd.

With the help of a strong westerly wind we reached Goose Island at 5
P.M., and a party from the ship landed immediately after anchoring. The
island is one and a half miles in length, by one in greatest breadth. The
rock is a coarse sienite, forming detached bare masses and ridges, but
none of considerable height. In the hollows the soil appears rich, dark,
and pulverulent, with much admixture of unformed bird-guano. The scanty
vegetation is apparently limited to a grass growing in tussocks, and a
few maritime plants. The ground resembles a rabbit warren, being
everywhere undermined by the burrows of the mutton-bird, a dark
shearwater (Puffinus brevicaudus) the size of a pigeon. A person in
walking across the island can scarcely avoid frequently stumbling among
these burrows, from the earth giving way under his feet, and I was told
by one of the residents that snakes are very numerous in these holes,
living upon the mutton-birds; I myself trod upon one which, fortunately,
was too sluggish to escape before I had time to shoot it, and ascertain
it to be the well-known black snake of the Australian colonists
(Acanthophis tortor) a very poisonous species. Among the seafowl, a large
gull (Larus pacificus) was exceedingly plentiful, together with a smaller
one (Xema jamesonii) and a few penguins (Spheniscus minor.) A fine flock
of wild geese (Cereopsis novae hollandiae) was seen, but they were too
wary to allow of close approach. About dusk clouds of mutton-birds came
in from the sea, and we amused ourselves with chasing them over the
ground among their burrows, and as many specimens as I required were
speedily provided by knocking them down with a stick. As usual with the
Petrel family they bite severely if incautiously handled, and disgorge a
quantity of offensive oily matter, the smell of which pervades the whole
island, a which the clothes I then wore retained for a long time

The party in charge of the lighthouse have numbers of goats, pigs, and
sheep, and also raise a few potatoes and other vegetables; still their
life is a hard one--more so comparatively, than that of the keepers of
the Eddystone or Bell Rock lights at home, as they communicate with Van
Diemen's Land only twice a year, and are often in want of fuel, which
they have to send for to a neighbouring island.


March 4th.

Aided by the remains of a strong westerly wind, with which we at one time
logged ten and a half knots--a great feat for the old Rattlesnake,
jury-rigged as she was for surveying service, we passed through part of
Banks' Strait, and anchored off Swan Island at 9 A.M. The rock is a
fine-grained basalt, exposed only on the shore, the remainder of the
island being a series of sandhills covered with low shrubs and luxuriant
grass growing in tufts. Having left Captain Stanley's party on their way
to the lighthouse, I found on the western side of the island a long sandy
beach strewed with marine rejectamenta, among which were many new species
of zoophytes; the number and variety of sponges was very great, but
nearly all had suffered so much from exposure to the sun and weather, as
to be useless as specimens. Returning to the ship before noon, we
immediately got underweigh for Sydney.


March 9th.

Yesterday morning we picked up a strong South-South-East wind, which
brought us off Botany Bay by 8 A.M., but the weather being thick with
rain, and the land doubtful, being seen only in occasional glimpses, it
was judged prudent to haul off, standing in again during a clearing. At
length the lighthouse was distinguished, when we bore up, and in little
more than an hour reached our former anchorage in Farm Cove.


Sail on our Second Northern Cruise.
Entrance to the Inner Passage.
Arrive at Rockingham Bay.
Land Mr. Kennedy's Expedition.
Commence the Survey at Dunk Island.
Communication with Natives.
Barnard Isles.
Botanical Sketch.
Examine a New River.
Frankland Isles.
Find the Coconut Palm.
Fitzroy Island.
The Will-o-the-Wisp and her Story.
Trinity Bay.
Animals of a Coral Reef.
Stay at Lizard Island.
Howick, Pelican, and Claremont Isles.
Bird Isles.
Meet party of Natives in Distress.
Cairncross Island.
Arrive at Cape York.


April 29th.

The season for passing through Torres Strait from the southward having
arrived, we left Port Jackson on a ten-months cruise, in order to
complete the survey of the Inner Passage, or the clear channel between
the north-east coast of Australia and the inner edge of the outer reefs,
which again are bounded to seaward by the Great Barrier Reef, stretching
from north to south, for a distance of upwards of 1000 miles.

In the evening we were joined by the Tam O'Shanter, a barque having on
board a colonial overland expedition under Mr. Kennedy, which we are to
accompany to Rockingham Bay, 1200 miles north from Sydney, where we are
to assist in the disembarkation and starting of the party.

For the first nine days we averaged only thirty miles a day, owing to a
long continuance of calms and light winds with a strong adverse current,
which on one occasion set us to East-South-East fifty-three miles in
twenty-four hours. At length, on May 8th we picked up a strong southerly
breeze, accompanied by a northerly set. On May 12th we rounded Breaksea
Spit, and Captain Stanley finding his original intention of passing
inside of Lady Elliot's Island impracticable, or at least involving
unnecessary delay, determined to bear up North-West by West keeping
outside of the Bunker and Capricorn Groups, and try the channel
previously passed through by Captain F.P. Blackwood in H.M.S. Fly.
Captain Stanley's remarks on this subject are so important, that I give
them verbatim:


"After reaching Lady Elliot's Island, we steered a course direct for the
High Peak of the Northumberland Islands, so as to pass between Bunker's
Group and Swain's Reef, which affords a far better entrance into the
Inner Passage, than the old route round Breaksea Spit inside the Bunker
Group; when the course requires to be changed, and the channel is much
narrower. We sounded every half hour without finding bottom, with from 80
to 120 fathoms, till we came to the soundings laid down by the Fly, which
we found to agree almost exactly with ours.

"Our soundings were obtained by using Massey's patent lead, with which we
found we could reach the bottom at twenty-six fathoms, when the ship was
going 9.2 knots an hour; and with such a guide any error in the reckoning
would be detected, even by night, as the Bunker Group gives warning by
the soundings. For a steamer going to Sydney by the Inner Route, this
channel would be invaluable as far as the Pine Peak of the Percy Isles.
One direct course will lead out to sea clear of all the reefs, a distance
of more than 200 miles, during which period there would be ample time to
ascertain by observations of the sun, whether any current had been
experienced sufficient to place the ship in danger, and, as the channel
between Swain's Reef and the Bunker Group appears to be clear, there is a
drift of thirty miles on each side the course from the High Peak."

May 15th.

After having at daylight sighted the land about Port Bowen and Cape
Townshend, we passed the Northumberland and Percy Isles to the westward,
the water being very smooth with light airs from South to
East-North-East. A very offensive smell which has been experienced in the
after part of the ship for a week back, was today traced to some
preserved meats prepared in Sydney; 1036 pounds of these being found
quite putrid were condemned.*

(*Footnote. It is but justice to state here that the English invention of
preserving meat in air-tight canisters had only recently been attempted
in Sydney; and it was then to be regarded merely as an experiment to try
whether a new and important article of colonial export could not be
produced. Since then, further experience in the process has enabled the
introducers of the plan to succeed so perfectly, that afterwards, the
colonial preserved meats supplied to the Rattlesnake, including some
which had been kept for eighteen months, were always preferred by us to
those prepared in England. The meat itself, I allude to beef and mutton,
was of better quality, and the cost much less.)


May 19th.

At length, after several days of light and contrary winds, the wind came
round to South-East and assumed the appearance of the trade, which we had
at last picked up. We ran round the north-east end of the Cumberland
Islands, passed Cape Gloucester, and in the evening anchored under Cape
Upstart in our former berth.

During a solitary ramble next day, chiefly in order to search for a kind
of rock wallaby, or small kangaroo, peculiar to this place, and which I
failed on this occasion (as during two previous visits) to procure, I
walked as far as the place where the Fly had watered some years
previously. The large rocky basin which we had found dry in December
last, when the whole plan of our first northern cruise had to be altered,
in consequence of this unexpected result, was now nearly full. The aspect
of the country had been considerably changed by the late abundant fall of
rain, and the vegetation everywhere looked quite green. No signs of
natives were seen--their visits to the immediate vicinity of the Cape
appear to be made only at rare intervals; and the just chastisement
bestowed upon them some years ago, in consequence of a wanton attack made
upon a seining party will, probably, for some time to come, render them
cautious of coming in contact with white men. While wading about among
the tall grass, the long sharp awns of the prevailing kind, an
Anthistiria, were more annoying than can be described, having forced
their way in hundreds through my thin clothing, causing an annoying and
painful irritation; to which, the bites of clouds of mosquitoes in a
mangrove swamp which I had entered in chase of some bowerbirds, added a
finishing touch, as if to test the powers of human endurance. Having
expended my stock of dust shot, I tried fine sand--which I had somewhere
read of as a substitute, but, although used under the most favourable
conditions, the experiment proved a complete failure. Sights for rating
the chronometers to get which was the only object in coming here, having
been obtained, we left for Goold Island in the afternoon.


May 21st.

Passing outside of the Palm Islands, and rounding Cape Sandwich, we
entered Rockingham Bay, and anchored on the North-West side of Goold
Island, where we found the Tam O'Shanter. This island is about seven
miles in circumference, gradually rising towards the centre, to form a
peak 1376 feet in height. The shores are rocky, with occasional sandy
beaches, and the island is well wooded up to its summit; Eucalypti
(gumtrees) frequently of great size, being the predominant trees. The
grass was very luxuriant and even difficult to wade through, indicating
an abundance of water, of which several small streams were seen. One of
these streamlets close to the anchorage is well adapted for watering a
ship at, as boats can approach within a few yards; and the supply can
never, I have good reason to believe, entirely cease.


The natives, a small party of whom were here, have had frequent
intercourse with Europeans, and indeed the sight alongside the ship of
eight canoes, four of which carried two unarmed men, and the others one
each, would of itself, to most people, have been a convincing proof of a
friendly disposition. That such apparent desire to be on friendly terms
might often mislead strangers, is not to be wondered at. Yet these same
people, a few years ago, made a sudden and most wanton attack upon a
seining party belonging to H.M.S. Fly, and shortly after we left them,
they attempted to cut off a small vessel which had called there for

Their canoes are very simply constructed of a single sheet of bark of the
gumtree brought together at the ends, and secured by stitching. The
sitter squats down with his legs doubled under him, and uses a small
square piece of bark in each hand, as paddles, with one of which he also
bales the water out by dexterously scooping it up from behind him.

On May 23rd, a convenient spot for landing the overland expedition having
been found on the shores of Rockingham Bay, we shifted our berth in the
afternoon a few miles further to leeward, and anchored under the
westernmost of the Family Islands, in order to be near the place of


On the two following days everything belonging to Mr. Kennedy's party
(with the exception of one horse drowned while swimming it ashore) was
safely landed, and his first camp was formed on some open forest land
behind the beach, at a small freshwater creek.

The object of Mr. Kennedy's expedition, was to explore the country to the
eastward of the dividing range running along the North-East coast of
Australia at a variable distance from the shore, and terminating at Cape
York, where a vessel with supplies was to meet the party in October,
after which they were to start on their return to Sydney; proceeding at
first down the western side of the peninsula to the Gulf of Carpentaria,
and then shape such a course as was best calculated to bring them to the
settled districts of New South Wales.

Of the disastrous results of this unfortunate expedition, I need not here
speak; I shall afterwards have to allude to the melancholy death of its
gallant leader, within a day's journey almost of the goal which he was
struggling with desperate energy to reach--the nearest place where
assistance could be procured for the few remaining survivors of his
party, of whom, eventually, only three were saved. I last saw poor
Kennedy on the evening before he broke up his camp; he was then in high
spirits and confident of success.


The party, of thirteen men and twenty-eight horses (with carts, a flock
of sheep for food, etc.) appeared to be furnished with every requisite
for their intended journey, and the arrangements and appointments seemed
to me to be perfect. Nor did I, despite the forebodings of others, argue
anything but a successful result to an undertaking, the blame of failure
of which was AFTERWARDS attempted to be thrown upon those who had planned

The small granite island (one of the Family Group) off which we were
anchored, afforded little of interest to us. Fresh water was found in
small quantities, not available, however, for the use of vessels. The
most curious production of the island is an undescribed plant of the
singular family Balanophoraceae, not before known as Australian, which
was found here in abundance in the gloomy brushes, parasitic upon the
roots of the tallest trees. We also met with here--in probably its
southern limit upon the coast--a species of rattan (Calamus australis)
with long prickly shoots, well illustrated in the annexed drawing by Mr.
Huxley, representing the process of cutting through the scrub, during an
excursion made with Mr. Kennedy, for the purpose of searching for a way
out from the low swampy district of Rockingham Bay.


May 26th.

During the forenoon, the ship was moved over to an anchorage under the
lee (North-West side) of Dunk Island, where we remained for ten days. The
survey of the coastline and Inner Passage to the northward was here
commenced, and afterwards continued up to Torres Strait, by an unbroken
series of triangulation; it included a space varying in width from 5 to
15 miles, extending through 7 1/2 degrees of latitude and 4 1/2 of
longitude, with a coastline of upwards of 600 miles.


The programme of the survey may be briefly given as follows: at the
principal stations--chiefly islands off the coast--the various
observations for determining astronomical positions and theodolite
angles, were made by Captain Stanley and Mr. W.H. Obree, and the ship
remained there at anchor for several days. Meanwhile, Lieutenant Dayman,
in the Asp, laid down the coastline and neighbourhood as far as the next
station twenty or thirty miles in advance. Lieutenant Simpson with the
pinnace continued the soundings several miles further out, both working
in conjunction, and often assisted by another boat in charge of Mr.
Heath, while the outside soundings devolved upon Lieutenant Yule in the
tender. The Rattlesnake in shifting from place to place, aided by boats
in company, sounded the centre of the channel, usually following one of
the lines run by Captain P.P. King, and marked upon his charts. The
available boats permanently attached to the ship, were employed under
various officers in the neighbourhood of the different anchorages,
cutting up the ground, and filling up any gaps which might otherwise have
been left in the new charts.

The summit of a very small rocky island, near the anchorage, named by
Captain Stanley, Mound Islet, formed the first station. Dunk Island,
eight or nine miles in circumference, is well wooded--it has two
conspicuous peaks, one of which (the North-West one) is 857 feet in
height. Our excursions were confined to the vicinity of the watering
place and the bay in which it is situated. The shores are rocky on one
side and sandy on the other, where a low point runs out to the westward.
At their junction, and under a sloping hill with large patches of brush,
a small stream of fresh water, running out over the beach, furnished a
supply for the ship, although the boats could approach the place closely
only at high-water.

Among the most interesting objects of natural history, are two birds, one
a new and handsome fly-catcher, Monarcha leucotis, the other a swallow,
which Mr. Gould informs me is also an Indian species. Great numbers of
butterflies frequent the neighbourhood of the watering place--one of
these (Papilio urvillianus) is of great size and splendour, with dark
purple wings, broadly margined with ultramarine, but from its habit of
flying high among the trees I did not succeed in catching one. An
enormous spider, beautifully variegated with black and gold, is plentiful
in the woods, watching for its prey in the centre of a large net
stretched horizontally between the trees.

The seine was frequently hauled upon the beach with great success--one
evening, through its means, in addition to plenty of fish, no less than
five kinds of star-fishes, and twelve of crustacea, several of which are
quite new, were brought on shore.

Among the plants of the island the most important is a wild species of
plantain or banana, afterwards found to range along the North-East coast
and its islands as far as Cape York. Here I saw for the first time a
species of Sciadophyllum, one of the most singular trees of the eastern
coastline of tropical Australia; a slender stem, about thirty feet in
height, gives off a few branches with immense digitate dark and glossy
leaves and long spike-like racemes of small scarlet flowers, a great
resort for insects and insect-feeding birds.


Soon after the ship had come to an anchor, some natives came off in their
canoes and paid us a visit, bringing with them a quantity of shellfish
(Sanguinolaria rugosa) which they eagerly exchanged for biscuit. For a
few days afterwards we occasionally met them on the beach, but at length
they disappeared altogether, in consequence of having been fired at with
shot by one of two of the young gentlemen of the Bramble, on a shooting
excursion, whom they wished to prevent from approaching too closely a
small village, where they had their wives and children. Immediate steps
were taken, in consequence, to prevent the recurrence of such collisions,
when thoughtless curiosity on one side is apt to be promptly resented on
the other, if numerically superior in force. I saw nothing in the
appearance of these natives to distinguish them from those of Goold
Island, and the canoes are the same. The men had large prominent
cicatrices on the shoulders, and across the breast and belly, the septum
of the nose was perforated, and none of the teeth had been removed. I saw
no weapons, and some rude armlets were their only ornaments.


On June 6th we ran to the northward 15 1/2 miles, and anchored at noon
under Number 3 of the Barnard Isles, a group consisting of six high rocky
wooded isles, the two southernmost of which are separated from the rest
by an interval of four miles. I landed upon the two largest (1 and 3 of
the charts) on the first only once. I there found nothing of much
interest, except some very thick beds of conglomerate superimposed upon a
compact basaltic-looking rock. Number 3, on the other hand, consists of
mica slate, much contorted, and altered from its usual appearance, and
containing lead ore (galena) with several veins of quartz, one of which,
about two feet in thickness, traverses the island from side to side.


The islands of the North-East coast of Australia hitherto and
subsequently visited during the survey, afford all the gradations between
the simplest form of a sandbank upon a coral reef scantily covered with
grass, a few creeping plants and stunted bushes on one hand--and on the
other a high, rocky, well-wooded island with an undulating succession of
hills and valleys. In those of the latter class, to a certain extent only
in the islands of Rockingham Bay, but in a very striking degree in those
to the northward, there is so great a similarity in the vegetation, that
an illustration of the botany may be taken from one of the Barnard Isles,
Number 3--exhibiting what may be termed an Indo-Australian Flora.

The upper margin of the coral beach is overrun with Ipomoea maritima, a
large purple-flowered Bossiaea, and some other leguminous plants, of
which the handsomest is Canvallia baueriana, a runner with large
rose-coloured flowers. To these succeeds a row of bushes of Scaevola
koenigii, and Tournefortia argentea, with an occasional Guettarda
speciosa, or Morinda citrifolia, backed by thickets of Paritium
tiliaceum, and other shrubs supporting large Convolvulaceae, vine-like
species of Cissus; Guilandina bonduc, a prickly Caesalpinia, Deeringia
coelosioides, and a variety of other climbers. Penetrating this shrubby
border, one finds himself in what in New South Wales would be called a
brush or scrub, and in India a jungle, extending over the greater part of
the island. Overhead are trees of moderate size, whose general character
is constituted by a nearly straight stem, seldom branching except near
the top, and furnished with glossy dark-green leaves. Interspersed with
them there are many which attain an enormous size, as in the case of a
Hernanda, a Castanospermum, two fabaceous trees, and others of which
neither flowers nor fruit were observed. Two palms, Seaforthia elegans,
and Livistona inermis, also occur here. By far the most remarkable
vegetable productions are the larger kinds of climbers. The principal of
these, with a leafless and almost branchless cable-like stem, sometimes
two or three hundred yards in length, rises over the summits of the
tallest trees, and connects one with another in its powerful folds,
occasionally descending to the ground. Another climber, Lestibudesia
arborescens, rises by its slender stems to the tops of the trees, hiding
them in its cascade-like masses and graceful festoons of exuberant
foliage. Besides several other exogenous woody climbers, of which a very
remarkable one is a Bauhinia, with a compressed stem spirally twisted
round its axis--the most interesting is Calamus australis, rising in a
clump, then arching along the ground and from tree to tree in a similar
manner to Flagellaria indica, here also abundant. Among the other plants
of these brushes, are the curious Dracontium polyphyllum, with large
simple and pinnatifid leaves, creeping like ivy up the trunks and lower
branches of the trees--parasitical Loranthaceae, with long dependent
tufts of rush-like leaves--enormous masses of Acrosticum alcicorne and A.
grande, with an occasional Hoya carnosa, Dendrobium, or other epiphyte.
When the soil is rich Caladium macrorhizon grows gregariously in shady
places, and Hellenia coerulea on their margins--and among stones and
sometimes on trees, tufts of Grammitis australis spread out their large
and handsome undivided fronds.


Two species of rat occur here--one is the large bandicoot of India, Mus
giganteus, doubtless introduced by some wrecked vessel, the other is the
pretty little Mus indicus, found on all the islands of the north-east
coast and Torres Strait. Among the birds, we found numbers of the
Megapodius, always a welcome addition to our bill of fare; but our
greatest prize was a new and splendid rifle-bird, which Mr. Gould has
since described from my specimens and named Ptiloris victoriae, as a mark
of respect and gratitude for the patronage bestowed upon his great work
on the Birds of Australia, in the forthcoming supplement to which it will
be figured along with some other novelties of the Voyage of the

Before taking leave of the natural history of the Barnard Group, I must
not omit a pretty butterfly inhabiting the densest parts of the brush; it
is the Hamadryas zoilus of the Voyage of the Astrolabe, erroneously
supposed in that work to be a native of New Zealand.


One day I crossed over to the mainland in a boat sent for the purpose of
examining a small river seen there to open upon a long sandy beach. We
found a depth of four feet on the bar at low-water, so had no difficulty
in entering--at a quarter of a mile from the mouth the water was quite
fresh. We ascended about two miles and a half, when it became necessary
to return on account of the shoalness of the stream, the boat* having
grounded repeatedly. A party of about twenty natives made their
appearance as soon as we entered the river, and after making ineffectual
and repeated attempts to induce us to land, two or three of their number
followed us along the bank, while the others made a straight course so as
to cut off the windings and meet us at our turning place. The current
here ran one and a half knots, but the quantity of water was trifling and
the channel throughout very narrow, at times sweeping under the bank, so
as not to allow room for the oars. At first the river was fringed with
mangroves, afterwards with dense brush. The natives followed us down
until we anchored for dinner in one of the reaches, when they all left on
hearing the report of my gun while shooting on shore. They were painted
with red and white, two of them being smeared all over with the former
colour, mixed up with some greasy substance. They seemed peaceably
disposed, as we saw no arms among them, and they approached close enough
to take biscuit from our hands.

(*Footnote. Our first cutter, very serviceable on such occasions from her
light draught; with fourteen men, arms, provisions, and stove for
cooking, etc. she drew only a foot of water.)


Near the mouth we again landed for half an hour, and found a cluster of
three or four dome-shaped huts, large and roomy, of neat construction,
covered with sheets of melaleuca bark, and having one, sometimes two
entrances. Some fishing nets, similar to those used at Moreton Bay, were
seen. The men retired into the bush when we landed, nor would they come
out to me when I advanced alone towards them, in order to look at the
huts. We anchored for the night under Number 1 of the Barnard Isles.
Megapodii were here very plentiful, and about daylight very noisy,
running about in all directions, repeating their loud call of
chro-co--chro-co. Some of the bushes presented a fine show of the scarlet
flowers of Disemma coccinea, a kind of passion-flower, before only found
at Endeavour River by Sir Joseph Banks, during Cook's first voyage. In
the morning we returned to the ship.

On June 12th, while passing a small opening in the land, a little to the
northward of Double Point, the Asp was observed on shore with a signal
for assistance, which was immediately sent, when she was got off without
damage. At this place, as Lieutenant Simpson informed me, a boomerang was
obtained from the natives; we had not before observed this singular
weapon upon the north-east coast, and its use is quite unknown on the
north coast from Cape York to Port Essington. This one too was painted
green, a colour which I never heard of elsewhere among the Australians,
whose pigments are black, white, yellow, and red.

Near this place, while tacking close in shore, a native dog was seen by
Lieutenant Simpson, in chase of a small kangaroo, which, on being close
pressed, plunged into the water and swam out to sea, when it was picked
up by the boat, leaving its pursuer standing on a rock gazing wistfully
at its intended prey, until a musket ball, which went very near its mark,
sent it off at a trot. The kangaroo lived on board for a few days, and
proved to constitute quite a new kind, closely allied to Halmaturus


We anchored in the evening off the northern extreme of Frankland Isle,
Number 4 about three quarters of a mile off shore. At night a party was
sent on shore to look for turtles, but, after remaining there for three
hours, having walked several times round the island, they returned
without having seen the slightest trace of these animals.

The Frankland Group consists of four islands, two of which are very
small, and each of the other two (1 and 4) about a mile in length. To
these may or may not be added another high and much larger detached
island situated about five miles to the North-West, about midway between
the remainder of the group and the mainland. Number 4 is formed of two
wooded rocky eminences at its extremes, connected by level ground,
consisting of dead coral and sand, thickly covered with trees at one
part, and scattered bushes at another. The low woody portion of this
island is strewed with flat blocks of the same kind of recent coral
conglomerate that occurs in situ on the beach, also with quantities of
pumice twelve feet above high-water mark of spring tides. There is little
underwood, the trees overhead forming a shady grove. Herbaceous plants
are few in number--of the others I shall only mention a wild nutmeg,
Myristica cimicifera, not, however, of any commercial importance.


The Torres Strait rat was exceedingly plentiful here, in hollow trees and
logs, also about the roots of the pandanus trees and under blocks of
coral. Our dogs caught many, as they do not show so much agility as is
usual in the genus. The principal bird is the megapodius--a gecko, and
another small lizard are abundant--of landshells we found a new Scarabus
and a small brown Helix, in great abundance under blocks of coral, and on
the trunks and branches of trees, a pretty Cyclostoma (C. vitreum)
formerly found by the French in New Caledonia, also a new and pretty
Helix, remarkable for its angular sinuated mouth and conical spire--this
last has been named H. macgillivrayi by Professor E. Forbes. The reef
furnished many radiata and crustacea, and as usual the shell
collectors--consisting of about one-half the ship's company, reaped a
rich harvest of cowries, cones, and spider shells, amounting to several
hundredweight. One day I was much amused when, on hailing one of our men
whom I observed perched up among the top branches of a tree, and asking
whether it was a nest that he had found, the answer returned was: "Oh no,
Sir, its these geotrochuses that I am after."


The southernmost island of the group differs from Number 4 in being
higher and more rocky. Many of the trees here were very large, straight,
and branching only near the top. It appeared to me that they would be
highly useful as timber, and so regretted being unable to procure
specimens, on account of their great height. With the exception of a low
sandy portion, overgrown with shrubs and small trees, the remainder of
the island is quite free from underwood. Two small clumps of
coconut-trees, loaded with fruit, were found on the eastern side of the
island, within reach of the spray, in a place where they might have
originated from a floating nut or two thrown upon the beach. This is the
only instance in which I have seen this useful plant growing wild in any
part of Australia, or the islands strictly belonging to it. We succeeded
in shooting down a number, and I know no more grateful beverage than the
milk of a young coconut, especially under the influence of tropical
noonday heat, on an island where there was not a drop of fresh water to
be found. As usual the megapodius was plentiful, and one of our party
killed six in a few hours. I also shot a fine large crested pigeon, of a
species hitherto considered peculiar to the settled parts of New South
Wales, and to which the singularly inappropriate specific name of
antarcticus is applied; it thus ranges 380 miles within the tropics.


June 20th.

After anchoring for a short time to form a station, we finally came to
under Fitzroy Island, half a mile from the shore. This island is about
five miles in circumference, high and well-wooded, with two peaks, one of
which is 861 feet in height. The rock, when exposed, is granitic. The
small bay on the western side of the island, where the ship lay, has a
steep beach of fragments of dead coral, through which oozes the water of
two streamlets, at one of which the ship completed her stock with great
facility. Following upwards one of the two branches of the principal
stream through a narrow gully, one reaches a small basin-like valley,
filled with dense brush, through which it is difficult to pass, on
account of the unusual quantity of the prickly Calamus palm. Several
trees of the pomegranate (Punica granatum) were met with bearing fruit;
as this plant is found wild in India, and here occurred in the centre of
a thick brush not likely to have been visited by Europeans, it is
probably indigenous. A kind of yam (Dioscorea bulbifera) was found here,
and proved good eating. In consequence of this, a party from the ship was
sent to dig for more, but, having mistaken the plant, they expended all
their time and trouble in rooting up a convolvulus, with small, inedible,
and probably cathartic tubers.


A new species of large fruit-eating bat, or flying-fox (Pteropus
conspicillatus) making the third Australian member of the genus, was
discovered here. On the wooded slope of a hill I one day fell in with
this bat in prodigious numbers, presenting the appearance, while flying
along in the bright sunshine, so unusual in a nocturnal animal, of a
large flock of rooks. On close approach a strong musky odour became
apparent, and a loud incessant chattering was heard. Many of the branches
were bending under their loads of bats, some in a state of inactivity,
suspended by their hind claws, others scrambling along among the boughs,
and taking to wing when disturbed. In a very short time I procured as
many specimens as I wished, three or four at a shot, for they hung in
clusters--but, unless killed outright, they remained suspended for some
time--when wounded they are to be handled with difficulty, as they bite
severely, and on such occasions their cry reminds one of the squalling of
a child. The flesh of these large bats is reported excellent; it is a
favourite food with the natives, and more than once furnished a welcome
meal to Leichhardt and his little party, during their adventurous journey
to Port Essington.

One day we were surprised to see a small vessel approaching the anchorage
from the southward. She proved to be a cutter of twenty-five tons, called
the Will-o-the-Wisp, fitted out by a merchant in Sydney, and sent in a
somewhat mysterious way (so as to ensure secrecy) to search for
sandalwood upon the north-east coast of Australia. If found in sufficient
quantity, a party was to be left to cut it, while the vessel returned to
Moreton Bay with the news, and communicated with the owner, who was to
send a larger vessel to pick it up and convey it at once to the China
market.* An inferior kind of sandalwood, the produce of Exocarpus
latifolia (but which afterwards turned out to be useless) was met with in
several localities--as the Percy Isles, Repulse Bay, Cape Upstart, Palm
Islands, etc. At this last place they had much friendly intercourse with
the natives, who were liberally treated with presents.

(*Footnote. In 1847 nearly 1000 tons of this wood, procured chiefly from
New Caledonia, the New Hebrides, etc. were exported from Sydney to China,
where it is burnt with other incense in the temples. The sandalwood trade
in these islands gives employment to about six small vessels, belonging
to Sydney. In China it realises about 30 pounds per ton.)


It is supposed that the sight of so many valuable articles had excited
the cupidity of these savages, for, one morning, at half-past three
o'clock, a party came off in large canoes with outriggers, and boarded
the cutter when all hands were below. Their first act was to throw into
the cabin and down the fore hatchway some lighted bark, and when the
master and one of the crew rushed on deck in a state of confusion, they
were instantly knocked on the head with boomerangs and rendered
insensible. At this crisis, had it not been for the successful courage of
the mate, who cleared the deck with a sword, and allowed the remainder of
the crew to come up to his assistance, the natives would probably have
obtained possession of the vessel; as it was the survivors retired in
confusion, which was further increased by the discharge among them of a
swivel gun, mounted on a pivot amidships.

At Goold Island, where the Will-o-the-Wisp next went in search of water,
they had another affray with the natives, of whom several were shot, but
whether justifiably, or from revengeful motives, is known to themselves
only. Knowing that the Rattlesnake was upon the coast they proceeded in
search of her to obtain surgical and other assistance, and, meeting two
of the surveying boats, they were directed to Fitzroy Island.

Some parts of this account appeared so extraordinary, and others so
improbable, that Captain Stanley felt it his duty to report it to the
Colonial Government, along with the depositions of the men. Some days
afterwards, the master, whose skull had been fractured, being pronounced
to be in as fair a way to recovery as was possible under the
circumstances the Will-o-the-Wisp sailed for Moreton Bay, which we
afterwards learned she reached in safety.


June 26th.

A party left before daylight in the pinnace and first galley, to examine
an opening in Trinity Bay, marked upon King's chart. We found it to
present the appearance of a wide creek running through low mangrove
swamps, and with the eye could trace its windings for the distance of two
or three miles. In all probability this is the embouchure of a
considerable freshwater stream, but the shallowness of the head of the
bay and the usual bar off the mouth of the supposed river, determined
Captain Stanley to return to the ship, as the time which would otherwise
have been spent in exploring a useless creek might be devoted to some
better purpose.


June 29th.

Left Fitzroy Island for an anchorage under Cape Grafton, where we
remained for the three following days. While running down to the
anchorage we entered a large patch of discoloured water, with a perfectly
defined margin, yet the lead showed no difference in the depth or nature
of the bottom. It would also appear that since Captain King's survey the
water has been shoaling hereabouts. On a small island inshore, the skull
of a crocodile was found upon the beach, and this reminds me that several
of these animals were seen in one of the rivers of Rockingham Bay. The
Australian alligator, as it is usually called, is a true crocodile,
identical, according to Mr. Gray, with the common Indian species.


July 3rd.

Ran to the north-west fifteen miles, and, after having anchored midway to
form a surveying station, brought up finally under a small unnamed islet
in Trinity Bay. This island, viewed from our anchorage on its north-west
side, presents the appearance of a ridge connecting two rounded
eminences, with a sharp sea-face exposing the stratification of the rock.
This is a micaceous rock, assuming at one place the appearance of mica
slate, and at another being a conglomerate, with frequent veins of
quartz. The strata, which are often flexuous, or slightly contorted, have
a westerly dip of 60 degrees, and the strike is North-North-West and
South-South-East. On the windward side there is a long gradual slope,
covered with tall coarse grass, among which many quail were found. The
shore is fringed with the usual maritime trees and bushes, and an
extensive mangrove bed runs out upon the reef in one place. This reef is
of great extent, stretching out to windward upwards of a mile, as far as
a small rocky isle like a haycock.


On July 7th we anchored to leeward of the Low Isles, in the northern part
of Trinity Bay, in eight fathoms, mud, half a mile from the shore, and
remained there for the four succeeding days. This small group may be said
to consist of three islets. One is low, sandy, and well wooded, about 300
yards in diameter, and is situated at the north-west extremity of a
horse-shoe reef, with its concavity to leeward; the other two may be
looked upon as merely groves of mangroves on the reef, the roots of which
are washed at high-water, except in a few places, where narrow ridges of
dead coral have afforded footing for the growth of a samphire-looking
plant (Salicornia indica). The sandy islet presents no remarkable
feature. The remains of burnt turtle bones indicate the occasional visits
of natives from the mainland. A solitary megapodius was shot, but the
only other land-birds are a little yellow Zosterops, and the larger
ground-dove (Geopelia humeralis).


During our stay we were fortunate in having fine weather, light winds,
and low tides, which enabled such as were inclined to look for shells
upon the reef to do so under the most favourable circumstances. This reef
is of great extent, with all the varieties of coral, mud, and sand, and
proved a most productive one. A sketch of the distribution of the
principal of its productions may be of interest to some. Many kinds of
fishes, Muraena, Diodon, Balistes, Serranus, etc. are found in the pools
among the coral blocks; the first of these, of bright colours variously
striped and spotted, resemble water-snakes, and are exceedingly active,
gliding through the interstices in the coral and hiding in its
hollows--they bite savagely at a stick presented to them, and are by no
means pleasant neighbours while wading about knee-deep and with bare arms
turning over the coral which they frequent. On a former occasion I had
been laid hold of by the thumb, and the wound was a long time in healing.
Crustacea are also numerous; blue and green Gonodactyli leap about with a
sharp clicking noise--legions of Mycteris subverrucata traverse the dry
sands at low-water--and in the shallow muddy pools, dull green Thalamitae
and Lupeae swim off rapidly, and smooth Calappae seek refuge by burrowing
under the surface.

Of mollusca, two species of olive (O. Erythrostoma and O. leucophoea)
were found on the sandy margin of the islet--several Cerithia and Subulae
(S. maculata and S. oculata) creep along the sand flats, and, with some
fine Naticae, and a Pyramidella, may be found by tracing the marks of
their long burrows. Several Strombi and Nassa coronata inhabit the
shallow sandy pools; the egg-shell and many Cypraeae occur under coral
blocks, which, when over sand, often harbour different kinds of cones--of
which the handsome C. textile is the commonest. A delicate white Lima
(Lima fragilis) is abundant here, merrily swimming away in the pool under
an upturned stone, and leaving its fringe-like tentacles adhering to the
hand when seized. Lastly, it would be improper to omit mentioning the
very fine oysters adhering to the roots of the mangroves. But these are
only a small portion of the shellfish collected here. Among radiate
animals, several Ophiurae and Ophiocomae and other Asteriadae, with two
kinds of Echinus, are also plentiful under blocks of coral (Astraea and
Maeandrina) in the pools; one of the last, remarkable for its very long,
slender, black spines, has the power of giving an exceedingly painful
puncture, if carelessly handled--for a few minutes the sensation is
similar to that caused by the sting of a wasp; of the others, a fine
Ophiura is remarkable for its great size and grass-green colour, and an
Ophiocoma for the prodigious length of its arms.


July 19th.

Six days ago we anchored under the lee of the reef on which the Hope
Islands are situated, but in a position which afforded little shelter.
While off Cape Tribulation, a remarkable hill in the background so
strongly reminded us of the Peter Botte at Mauritius, that it was so
named upon our chart--it is 3,311 feet in height, the Cape itself being
1,454 feet. For about six days lately the weather has been very
boisterous, blowing hard from East-South-East with a considerable sea.

The weather having at length moderated, I yesterday and today visited the
islands composing the group. A deep and clear channel of a mile in width
separates these islands, the larger of which is surrounded completely,
and the smaller partially, by an extensive reef. The former, or western
one, is merely a long strip of heaped-up coral and shells, with a little
sand and some driftwood running parallel to the outer edge of the reef,
in the direction of the prevailing wind. It is overrun with low bushes,
and a few other plants, such as the large purple-flowered Bossioea, and
Ipomoea maritima. A long bank of dead coral only a few feet above
high-water mark, with an intervening ditch-like hollow, separates it from
the sea to the eastward; while on the other side, towards the reef, it is
margined with tall mangroves. Small and barren though this spot be, it is
yet inhabited by lizards and a species of rat. Besides the usual waders
on the reef, I found great numbers of doves and honeysuckers, and, among
the mangroves, fell in with and procured specimens of a very rare
kingfisher, Halcyon sordida. Among the mangroves a rare shell, a species
of Quoyia, occurred.

The eastern and northern islet is nearly circular, half a mile in
circumference--formed of coral and shell-sand, covered with bushes and
small trees. The most conspicuous plant is the prickly Guilandina bonduc,
the long briar-like trailing and climbing shoots of which impede one
while traversing the thickets. A pair of white-headed sea-eagles had
established their aerie in a tree not more than twenty feet from the
ground, and I could not resist the temptation of robbing them of their


July 28th.

Anchored under the Three Isles, between Capes Bedford and Flattery. The
principal one of the group, situated to leeward of an extensive reef, is
margined towards the reef by beds of coral--conglomerate, and elsewhere
by a sandy beach--it is half a mile in length, composed of coral sand,
the highest part not more than twelve feet above high-water mark, with
several groves of low trees, and is overrun with tall sedge-like grass;
the second is composed of a strip of heaped-up fragments of coral, to
windward covered with bushes, and to leeward separated from the reef by a
belt of mangroves; the third is a mere clump of mangroves not deserving
of further notice. The botany of an island of this class, of which there
are many on the North-east coast of Australia, may serve as a specimen,
as the plants are few. Mimusops kaukii constituted the principal part of
the arboreal vegetation, Clerodendrum inerme and Premna obtusifolia form
low straggling thickets--scattered bushes of Suriana maritima and Pemphis
acida fringe the sandy margin of the island, and behind these the
beautiful Josephinia grandiflora, a large white-flowered Calyptranthus,
Vitex ovata and a Tribulus creep along the sand, or spread out their
procumbent branches.

Traces of natives, but not very recent, were met with in a dried-up well
dug to a great depth, and several low, dome-shaped huts, and numerous
fireplaces, around which remains of shellfish and turtles were profusely
scattered. Many of the heads of these last animals were here and
elsewhere seen stuck upon branches of trees, sometimes a dozen together.

July 31st.

I landed this morning with Mr. Obree, on one of the Two Isles off Cape
Flattery, and we were picked up by the ship in passing. It is
well-wooded, chiefly with the Mimusops kaukii, trees of which are here
often sixty feet high and 3 in diameter. Under the bark I found two new
land-shells (to be described in the Appendix) one of them a flattish
Helix, in prodigious numbers--and this more than ever satisfied me that
even the smallest islands and detached reefs of the north-east coast may
have species peculiar to themselves, nor did I ever return from any one
of the 37 upon which I landed without some acquisitions to the


We remained a fortnight at Lizard Island, at the usual anchorage, off a
sandy beach on its north-western side. Lizard Island is conspicuous from
a distance, on account of its peak*--the central part of a mountainous
ridge running across the island, and dividing it into two portions, of
which the eastern is hilly and the western low, and intersected by small
ridges of slight elevation. The island is about 2 1/2 miles in greatest
diameter; the rock is a coarse grey granite, easily decomposable. A large
grassy plain enters westward from the central ridge--a portion of this,
half a mile from the beach, densely covered with coarse grass and reeds
and scattered over with Pandanus trees, is usually a marsh. At present it
is dry, with a few pools of fresh water, connected below with a mangrove
swamp opening upon the beach by a narrow creek. Formerly boats could
ascend this a little way, but now the entrance dries across at
low-water--nor could the fresh water conveniently be conducted to the
beach by the hose and engine, as I had seen done in the Fly in the month
of May. Fortunately, however, we found a small stream in a valley on the
northern corner of the island, which supplied our wants.

(*Footnote. Captain Stanley's azimuth and altitude observations, taken at
two stations at the base, the distance between having been measured by
the micrometer, give its height as 1,161 feet; and Lieutenant Dayman's
barometrical measurement makes it 1,151 feet, above the sea level.)

Although the dry barren nature of the soil--varying from coarse quartzose
sand (from the disintegrated granite) to reddish clay--is not favourable
to the growth of luxuriant vegetation, still several interesting plants
were added to the herbarium. Of these the finest is a new Cochlospermum,
a low-spreading tree, nearly leafless at this time, but covered with
clusters of very large and showy golden blossoms. A heath-like shrub
(Chamaelaucium) common here, was remarkable for existing on the open
plains as a weak prostrate plant, while in the scrub it formed a handsome
bush 10 feet high, with a stem 6 inches in diameter.

Of quail, which in 1844 were very abundant, I saw not more than one or
two--probably the burning of the grass during the breeding season had
effected this partial clearance. Snakes appear to be numerous--two out of
three which I examined were poisonous--the other was the diamond snake of
New South Wales. A very fine land shell, Helix bipartita, was found in
colonies at the roots of the trees and bushes. A large and handsome
cowrie, Cypraea mauritiana, generally distributed among the islands of
the Pacific, was here found for the first time in Australia.


August 1st.

I crossed over to Eagle Island with Mr. Brown, and spent a day and night
there. This place was so named by Cook, who states in explanation of the
name--"We found here the nest of some other bird, we know not what, of a
most enormous size. It was built with sticks upon the ground, and was no
less than 26 feet in circumference, and two feet eight inches high."* An
American professor** conjectures the above nest to have possibly been
that of the Dinornis, the gigantic New Zealand bird, known only by its
fossil remains. A very slight knowledge, however, of ornithology, would
be sufficient to confute the notion of any struthious bird constructing a
nest of this kind, or of a wingless land bird of great size inhabiting an
islet only a quarter of a mile in length. Both Mr. Gould and myself have
seen nests of the same construction, the work of the large fishing-eagle
of Australia.

(*Footnote. Hawkesworth's Voyages volume 2 page 599.)

(**Footnote. In Silliman's Journal for July 1844.)

This island is low and sandy, with a few casuarinas, or she-oaks, a
fringe of Suriana maritima, some Tournefortiae, and thickets of
Clerodendrum inerme. Landrail and other birds were numerous. The reef,
which is very extensive, did not dry throughout at low-water, but some
sandbanks along its lee margin were exposed, and upon them I found the
greatest assemblage of pretty shells that I ever met with at one place.
What would not many an amateur collector have given to spend an hour
here? There were fine Terebrae in abundance, orange-spotted mitres,
minutely-dotted cones, red-mouthed Strombi, glossy olives, and
magnificent Naticae, all ploughing up the wet sand in every
direction--yet, with two exceptions, they are to be seen in every
collection in Europe.


As usual we found plentiful remains of recent turtle feasts. One of the
boat's crew, not over-stocked with brains, during his rambles picked up a
human skull with portions of the flesh adhering. Accidentally learning
this from the conversation of the men at our bivouac during supper,
inquiry was made, when we found that he had foolishly thrown it into the
sea, nor could it be found during a subsequent search. I was anxious to
determine whether it was aboriginal or not. On the one hand, the natives
of all parts of Australia usually evince the strongest desire to bury or
conceal their own dead; on the other, there might have been some
connection between the skull and the remains of a hut of European
construction, portions of clothing, a pair of shoes, some tobacco, and
fragments of a whaleboat seen here. But all is mere conjecture.


August 14th.

After leaving Lizard Island, we passed to the southward of Number 3 of
the Howick Isles, and anchored off the North-West extremity of Number 1
in 6 1/2 fathoms, mud. This is the largest of a group of about ten
islands, which agree in being low, and covered for the most part with
mangroves. Number 1, however, is distinguished by having three bare
hillocks at its south-eastern end, the central one of which forms a
rather conspicuous peak. A party of natives was there seen watching our
movements, but no communication with them was attempted. Opposite the
ship we landed on a small sandy, bushy portion of the island, slightly
elevated, fronted by the reef, and backed by mangroves. We found here the
usual indications of occasional visits of the natives in a pit dug as a
well, and numerous remains of turtle and fish about the fireplaces. A few
quails, doves, and other common birds were met with.

On August 18th we removed to an anchorage under Number 6, the second
largest of the group. With the exception of a sandy, grassy plain, half a
mile in length, the whole of the island is densely covered with
mangroves, and fringed with a reef of coral, chiefly dead. Great numbers
of large turtle-shells were scattered about, showing the periodical
abundance of these animals. Another large vampire-bat, Pteropus funereus,
differing from that of Fitzroy Island, was met with in great numbers
among the mangroves--a very large assemblage of these animals on the
wing, seen from the ship while approaching the island, quite resembled a
flock of rooks. Here, as elsewhere on the mangrove-clad islands, a large
honeysucker (Ptilotis chrysotis) filled the air with its loud and almost
incessant, but varied and pleasing notes--I mention it, because it is the
only bird we ever met with on the north-east coast of Australia which
produced anything like a song.


August 21st.

We ran to the North-East about twenty-eight miles, and anchored off Cape
Melville, a remarkable granitic promontory; here the Great Barrier Reef
closely approaches the coast, being distant only ten miles, and visible
from the ship. A few miles to the south some pine-trees were seen on the
ridges, as had previously been noticed by Cunningham, during King's
Voyage. They appeared to be the same kind as that formerly alluded to at
the Percy Isles, in which case this useful tree has a range on the
north-east coast of 500 miles of latitude, being found as far south as
Port Bowen.

Next day we shifted our berth to a more secure anchorage under the
neighbouring Pipon Islets, where the Bramble joined us in the evening.
The schooner had been sent on in advance of the ship to the northward
nearly a month before, in order to be at the head of Princess Charlotte's
Bay during the first week in August, according to an arrangement made by
Captain Stanley with Mr. Kennedy, but no signs of the overland expedition
were met with during ten days spent at the rendezvous.*

(*Footnote. We afterwards learned that it was not until the middle of
October (or two months afterwards) that Kennedy's party reached the
latitude of Princess Charlotte Bay, at a considerable distance too, from
the coast.)

While at this anchorage, the Bramble, being in want of water, filled up
at a small stream, inside of Cape Melville, assisted by some of our boats
and people. The party so employed was one day attacked by a number of
natives, but, the usual precaution of having sentries posted and a guard
of marines close at hand prevented the loss of life on our part.


August 28th.

After a run of 45 miles, we reached Pelican Island, the survey of the
space thus rapidly gone over being left to Lieutenant Yule and the
Bramble. The island is rather more than a quarter of a mile in length,
with a large reef to windward; it is low and sandy, covered with coarse
grass, and a bushy yellow-flowered Sida. Great numbers of birds frequent
this place; of these the pelicans (Pelecanus conspicillatus) are the most
remarkable, but, incubation having ceased, they were so wary that it was
not without some trouble that two were killed out of probably a hundred
or more. A pair of sea-eagles had their nest here, placed on a low bush,
an anomaly in the habits of the bird to be accounted for by the
disappearance of the two clumps of trees, mentioned by King as formerly
existing on the island, and the unwillingness of the birds to abandon the
place. The shell collectors picked up nothing of consequence, but the
sportsmen met with great success. On the 29th, about twenty brace of
quail and as many landrail were shot, in addition to many
oyster-catchers, plovers, godwits, and sandpipers. Shooting for the pot
is engaged in with a degree of eagerness commensurate with its
importance, now that our livestock has been exhausted, and we have little
besides ship's provisions to live upon. Three turtles, averaging 250
pounds weight, were caught by a party sent for the purpose of searching
for them, and it was supposed that one or two others which had come up to
lay escaped detection from the darkness of the night.


On August 31st, we removed to an anchorage under Number 5 of the
Claremont group, and remained there during the following day. The island
is about two-thirds of a mile in circumference, low and sandy, with a
large reef extending to windward. The island is thinly covered with
coarse grass and straggling bushes, with one large thicket containing a
few trees, of which the tallest is a solitary Mimusops. We found quail
here in great plenty, and they afforded good sport to a First of
September shooting party, provided with a setter. At length the poor
quail had their quarters so thoroughly beaten up, that several, in
attempting to escape from the island, were observed to fall into the
water from sheer exhaustion. Nor did the birds receive all the benefit of
the shot, for Captain Stanley, while observing with the theodolite,
became unwittingly a target for a juvenile shooter; but, fortunately, no
damage was done. Some turtles were seen at night, but they were too wary
to be taken. I found several nests with eggs, by probing in all the
likely places near their tracks with my ramrod; in passing through an
egg, the end of the rod becomes smeared with the contents, and comes up
with a little sand adhering to it, directing one where to dig.

Number 6 of the Claremont group was next visited. This, which is only a
quarter of a mile in length, is situated on the lee side of an extensive
reef. It is quite low, being composed of heaped-up fragments of shells
and coral, overrun with a suffruticose Sida, and stunted bushes of
Clerodendrum and Premna, with a glossy-leaved euphorbiaceous plant
occasionally forming small thickets. Seafowl and waders were very
numerous, but the breeding season was over. Landrail existed in such
great numbers that upwards of fifty were shot.

I cannot see the propriety of considering the sandbank, marked Number 7,
as a member of the Claremont group, as, at high-water, it is a mere strip
of sand 200 yards in length, with a few plants of Salsola on the highest


On September 8th, we anchored to the westward of the north end of Night
Island, a mile off shore, and remained there for the two succeeding days.
This island is two miles in length, and half a mile in breadth,
surrounded by a narrow reef of dead coral and mud. With the exception of
a very narrow portion fronted by a sandy beach, the place is densely
covered with mangroves. A sandy portion, of about five acres in extent,
is thickly covered with bushes and small trees, of which the most
conspicuous is a Bombax or cotton-tree, 20 to 30 feet in height, with
leafless horizontal branches bearing both flowers and fruit. Numbers of
the Torres Strait Pigeon (Carpophaga luctuosa) crossed over from the
mainland towards evening to roost; and at that time, and early in the
morning, great havoc was usually made among them. Even this small spot
produced a fine white, brown-banded Helix, not found elsewhere--it
occurred on the branches of the cotton-trees.


Three days afterwards we ran to the northward ten miles, and anchored
under the Sherrard Isles, where our stay was protracted until the 16th by
blowing weather. These islets are two in number, a quarter of a mile
apart, surrounded and connected by a reef. One is 120 yards in length,
sandy, and thinly covered with coarse grass and maritime plants, with a
few bushes; the other is only 30 yards across, and is covered by a clump
of small trees of Pemphis acida and Suriana maritima, appearing at a
distance like mangroves.

A small low wooded islet off Cape Direction, where I landed for a few
hours, was found to be composed entirely of dead coral with thickets of
mangrove and other bushes, and presented no feature worthy of further
notice. We were detained at an anchorage near Cape Weymouth for seven
days by the haziness of the weather, which obscured distant points
essential to the connexion of the survey.


After having anchored once for the night under the lee of reef e of
King's chart--one of the most extensive we had hitherto seen, being
fourteen miles in length--on September 26th, the ship anchored under the
largest of the Piper Islets.

This group consists of four low bushy and wooded islets, situated on two
reefs separated by a deep channel. The larger of the two on the
south-eastern reef, off which the ship lay, is about half a mile in
circumference. The trees are chiefly a kind of Erythrina, conspicuous
from its light-coloured trunk and leafless branches; one of the most
abundant plants is a Capparis, with long drooping branches, occasionally
assisted by a Cissus and a Melotria, in forming small shady harbours. In
the evening, vast numbers of white pigeons came over from the mainland to
roost, and of course, all the fowling-pieces were put in requisition.
Some deep pits dug in the centre of the island were perfectly dry, and
are probably so during the latter half of the dry season, or after the
month of July. On this island we observed the remains of a small
establishment for curing trepang--a large seaslug found on the reefs and
in shoal water, constituting a valuable article of commerce in the China
market, where in a dried state it fetches, according to quality, from 5
to 200 pounds a ton. This establishment had been put up by the crew of a
small vessel from Sydney, and several such have at various times made
voyages along this coast and in Torres Strait, collecting trepang and
tortoiseshell, the latter procured from the natives by barter.


September 28th.

On our way to the northward today, we passed Young Island, of King, which
had been previously examined in one of our boats, and found to be merely
a reef covered at high-water. Twenty-nine years before it was an embryo
islet with two small trees upon it. And as the subject of the rate of
increase of a coral reef, and of the formation of an island upon it, is a
subject of interest and of great practical importance, I give below in a
note* two records of the former appearance of Young Island.

(*Footnote. "...Passed at about three-quarters of a mile to the northward
of a small rocky shoal, on which were two small trees. This particular is
recorded as it may be interesting at some future time, to watch the
progress of this islet, which is now in an infant state; it was named on
the occasion Young Island." Narrative of a Survey of the Intertropical
and Western Coasts of Australia, performed between the years 1818 and
1822, by Captain P.P. King, R.N., volume 1 page 226. Its appearance in
1839 is described as "an elevated reef, with one small mangrove growing
on the highest part." Stokes' Voyage of the Beagle volume 1 page 57.)

September 29th.

Passing inside of Haggerstone Island, we rounded Sir Everard Home's group
and anchored under Sunday Island, where the Bramble joined us after a
month's absence. This is a small, high, rocky island, of flesh-coloured
compact felspar. On one side is a large patch of brush with some
mangroves and a coral reef.


A few days afterwards we ran down to the Bird Isles, and anchored. They
are three low, wooded islets, one detached from the other two, which are
situated on the margin of a circular reef.


On the north-west island we saw a small party of natives from the
mainland, consisting of two men and a boy, in great distress from want of
water, until Lieutenant Yule kindly supplied their wants. They had been
wind-bound here for several days, the weather for some time previously
having been too boisterous to admit of attempting to reach the shore,
although only a few miles distant, in their split and patched-up canoe.
This was of small size, the hollowed-out trunk of a tree, with a double
outrigger, and altogether a poor imitation of that used by the islanders
of Torres Strait; the paddles were of rude workmanship, shaped like a
long-handled cricket-bat. Their spears and throwing sticks were of the
same kind as those in use at Cape York, to be afterwards described. These
people were wretched specimens of their race, lean and lanky, and one was
suffering from ophthalmia, looking quite a miserable object; they had
come here in search of turtle--as I understood. Each of the men had lost
a front tooth, and one had the oval cicatrix on the right shoulder,
characteristic of the northern natives, an imitation of that of the
islanders. They showed little curiosity, and trembled with fear, as if
suspicious of our intentions. I made a fruitless attempt to pick up some
scraps of their language; they understood the word powd or peace of
Torres Strait.

On this island the principal trees are the leafless Erythrina, with waxy,
pink flowers. Great numbers of pigeons resorted here to roost. I found
here a large colony of that rare and beautiful tern, Sterna melanauchen,
and mixed up with them a few individuals of the still rarer Sterna


We anchored under Cairncross Island, on the afternoon of September 3rd,
and remained during the following day. The island is about a quarter of a
mile in length, low and sandy, covered in the centre with tall trees, and
on the outskirts with smaller ones and bushes. These large trees (Pisonia
grandis) form very conspicuous objects from their great dimensions, their
smooth, light bark, and leafless, dead appearance. Some are from eighty
to one hundred feet in height, with a circumference at the base of twenty
feet. The wood, however, is too soft to be useful as timber. Nowhere had
we seen the Torres Strait pigeon in such prodigious numbers as here,
crossing over in small flocks to roost, and returning in the morning; yet
many remained all day feeding on the red, plum-like fruit of Mimusops
kaukii. In the first evening not less than one hundred and fifty-nine
pigeons were brought off after an hour's work by seven shooters, and next
day a still greater number were procured. Being large and well flavoured
birds, they formed no inconsiderable addition to our bill of fare, and
appeared on the table at every meal, subjected to every possible variety
of cooking. Some megapodii also were shot, and many eggs of a fine tern,
Onychoprion panaya, were picked up.


Water the Ship.
Vessel with Supplies arrives.
Natives at Cape York.
Description of the Country and its Productions.
Port Albany considered as a Depot for Steamers.
Sail from Cape York and arrive at Port Essington.
Condition of the Place.
History of the Settlement.
Would be useless as a Colony.
Leave Port Essington.
Arrive at Sydney.

At length, on October 7th, we reached Cape York, and anchored in the
northern entrance to Port Albany. At daylight next morning two parties
were sent in various directions in search of water. I found no traces of
natives in Evans Bay, but at another place, while digging in the bed of a
watercourse, we were joined by a small party of them, one of whom turned
out to be an old acquaintance. They seemed to be quite at home in our
company, asking for pipes, tobacco, and biscuit, with which I was
fortunately able to supply them. Indeed, a day or two before, some of
them had communicated with the Asp in a most confident and friendly
manner. Had water been found near the best anchorage in Port Albany, it
was Captain Stanley's intention to have taken the ship there, but, as it
appeared from the various reports, that Evans Bay was preferable at this
time for watering, both as affording the largest supply, and the greatest
facilities for obtaining it, the ship was accordingly removed to an
anchorage off the south part of the bay, and moored, being in the
strength of the tide running round Robumo Island.

Shortly after our arrival at Cape York, the two sets of old wells, dug by
the Fly, were cleared out, and we completed water to seventy-five tons.
These wells are situated immediately behind the sandy beach--they are
merely pits into which the fresh water, with which the ground had become
saturated during the rainy season, oozes through the sand, having
undergone a kind of filtration. At times a little surf gets up on the
shore, but never, during our stay of three weeks, was it sufficient to
interrupt the watering.


While the ship remained at Cape York, the Bramble, Asp, pinnace, and our
second cutter, were engaged, under their respective officers, in the
survey of Endeavour Strait and the Prince of Wales Channel, which they
finished before we left, thus completing the survey of the Inner Route
between Dunk and Booby Islands. Previous to leaving for that purpose, the
pinnace had been sent to Booby Island, for letters in the post office
there, and some of us had the good fortune to receive communications from
our friends in Sydney, which had been left by vessels passing through.
Most passing vessels heave-to off the island for an hour, the dangers of
Torres Strait having been passed, and record their names, etc. in the
logbook kept there, and by it we found, that with one exception, all this
season had taken the Outer Passage, and most of them had entered at
Raine's Islet, guided by the beacon erected there in 1844, by Captain
F.P. Blackwood, of H.M.S. Fly, thus demonstrating the superior merits of
this passage over the other openings in the Barrier Reef, and the
accuracy of the Fly's survey.

On October 21st, the long and anxiously looked-for vessel from Sydney
arrived, bringing our supplies, and the letters and news of the last five
months. We had for a short time been completely out of bread, peas, and
lime juice, and two cases of scurvy had appeared among the crew.


It had been arranged that Mr. Kennedy with his expedition should, if
possible, be at Cape York in the beginning of October to communicate with
us, and receive such supplies and assistance as might be required; but
the month passed away without bringing any signs of his being in the
neighbourhood. During our progress along the coast a good lookout had
been kept for his preconcerted signal--three fires in a line, the central
one largest--and bushfires which on two occasions at night assumed
somewhat of that appearance had been answered, as agreed on, by rockets
sent up at 8 P.M., none of which however were returned. A schooner from
Sydney arrived on the 27th with two additions to his party, including a
surgeon, also supplies, consisting chiefly of sheep, with instructions
from the Colonial Government to await at Port Albany the arrival of the
expedition. The livestock were landed by our boats on Albany Island,
where a sheep pen was constructed, and a well dug, but the water was too
brackish for use. A sufficient supply however had previously been found
in a small cave not far off, where the schooner's boat could easily reach

I shall now proceed to give an account of the neighbourhood of Cape York,
derived from the present and previous visits, as a place which must
eventually become of considerable importance--and first of the


On the day of our arrival at Cape York, a large party of natives crossed
over in five canoes under sail from Mount Adolphus Island, and
subsequently their numbers increased until at one time no less than 150
men, women, and children, were assembled at Evans Bay. But their stay was
short, probably on account of the difficulty of procuring food for so
large an assemblage, and the greater part dispersed along the coast to
the southward. While collecting materials for a vocabulary,* I found that
several dialects were spoken, but I failed then to connect them with
particular tribes or even find out which, if any, were the resident ones.
Among these were two or three of the Papuan race, from some of the
islands of Torres Strait. It appeared to me that a constant friendly
intercourse exists between the natives of the southern portion of Torres
Strait and those of the mainland about Cape York, which last, from its
central position, is much frequented during their occasional, perhaps
periodical migrations. This free communication between the races would
account for the existence in the vocabulary I then procured at Cape York
of a considerable number of words (at least 31 out of 248) identical with
those given by Jukes in his vocabularies of Darnley Island and Masseed,
especially the latter.

(*Footnote. In illustration of the difficulty of framing so apparently
simple a document as a vocabulary, and particularly to show how one must
not fall into the too common mistake of putting down as certain every
word he gets from a savage, however clearly he may suppose he is
understood, I may mention that on going over the different parts of the
human body, to get their names by pointing to them, I got at different
times and from different individuals--for the shin-bone, words which in
the course of time I found to mean respectively, the leg, the shin-bone,
the skin, and bone in general.)

The physical characteristics of these Australians seen at Cape York
differ in no respect from those of the same race which I have seen
elsewhere. The absence of one or more of the upper incisors was not
observed here, nor had circumcision or any similar rite been practised,
as is the case in some parts of the continent. Among these undoubted
Australians were, as already mentioned, two or three Papuans. They
differed in appearance from the others in having the skin of a much
lighter colour--yellowish brown instead of nearly black--the hair on the
body woolly and growing in scattered tufts, and that of the head also
woolly and twisted into long strands like those of a mop. On the right
shoulder, and occasionally the left also, they had a large complicated,
oval scar, only slightly prominent, and very neatly made.

The custom of smoking, so general throughout Torres Strait, has been
introduced at Cape York. Those most addicted to it were the Papuans
above-mentioned, but many of the Australians joined them, and were
equally clamorous for tobacco. Still it was singular to notice that
although choka (tobacco) was in great demand, biscuit, which they had
corrupted to bishikar, was much more prized. Their mode of smoking having
elsewhere* been described, I need not allude to it further than that the
pipe, which is a piece of bamboo as thick as the arm and two or three
feet long, is first filled with tobacco-smoke, and then handed round the
company seated on the ground in a ring--each takes a long inhalation, and
passes the pipe to his neighbour, slowly allowing the smoke to exhale. On
several occasions at Cape York I have seen a native so affected by a
single inhalation, as to be rendered nearly senseless, with the
perspiration bursting out at every pore, and require a draught of water
to restore him; and, although myself a smoker, yet on the only occasion
when I tried this mode of using tobacco, the sensations of nausea and
faintness were produced.

(*Footnote. Jukes' Voyage of the Fly Volume 1 page 165.)

These people appeared to repose the most perfect confidence in us--they
repeatedly visited the ship in their own canoes or the watering-boats,
and were always well treated; nor did any circumstance occur during our
intimacy to give either party cause of complaint. We saw few weapons
among them. The islanders had their bows and arrows, and the others their
spears and throwing-sticks. As the weather was fine, at least as regarded
the absence of rain, no huts of any kind were constructed; at night the
natives slept round their fires without any covering. During our stay the
food of the natives consisted chiefly of two kinds of fruit, the first (a
Wallrothia) like a large yellow plum, mealy and insipid; the second, the
produce of a kind of mangrove (Candelia) the vegetating sprouts of which
are prepared for food by a process between baking and steaming. At
low-water the women usually dispersed in search of shellfish on the
mudflats and among the mangroves, and the men occasionally went out to
fish, either with the spear, or the hook and line.


The country in the immediate vicinity of Evans and Cape York Bays
consists of low wooded hills alternating with small valleys and plains of
greater extent. The coastline, when not consisting of rocky headlands, is
either a sandy beach, or is fringed with mangroves. Behind this, where
the country is flat, there is usually a narrow belt of dense brush or
jungle. In the valleys, one finds what in the colony of New South Wales
would be termed open forest land, characterised by scattered eucalypti
and other trees, and a scanty covering of coarse sedge-like grass growing
in tufts on a red clayey soil, covered with nodules of ironstone and
coarse quartzose sand. As characteristics of this poor soil, the first
objects to attract the attention are the enormous pinnacled anthills of
red clay and sand, often with supporting buttresses. These singular
structures, which are sometimes twelve feet in height, are of great
strength and toughness--on breaking off a piece, they appear to be
honeycombed inside, the numerous galleries being then displayed. The ants
themselves are of a pale brown colour, a quarter of an inch in length. In
sailing along the coast, these anthills may be distinctly seen from the
distance of two or three miles.

The rock in the immediate neighbourhood of Cape York is a porphyry with
soft felspathic base, containing numerous moderately-sized crystals of
amber-coloured quartz, and a few larger ones of flesh-coloured felspar.
It often appears in large tabular masses split horizontally and
vertically into blocks of all sizes. At times when the vertical fissures
predominate and run chiefly in one direction, the porphyry assumes a
slaty character, and large thin masses may be detached.

One of the most interesting features in the botany of Cape York, is the
occurrence of a palm, not hitherto mentioned as Australian. It is the
Caryota urens (found also in India and the Indian archipelago) one of the
noblest of the family, combining the foliage of the tree-fern with a
trunk a foot in diameter, and sixty in height. It is found in the dense
brushes along with three other palms, Seaforthia, Corypha, and Calamus.
Another very striking tree, not found elsewhere by us, is the fine Wormia
alata, abundant on the margin of the brushes, where it is very
conspicuous from its large yellow blossoms, handsome dark-green foliage,
and ragged, papery bark of a red colour.

One day I explored some caves in the sandstone cliffs at Port Albany in
quest of bats, and was fortunate enough to get quite a new Rhinolophus or
horseshoe bat. In one of the caves, which only admitted of entry on the
hands and knees, these bats were so numerous, and in such large clusters,
that I secured no less than eleven at one time, by using both hands.
Small kangaroos appeared to be plentiful enough, but we were not so
fortunate as to shoot one. The natives one day brought down to us a live
opossum, quite tame, and very gentle; this turned out to be new, and has
since been described by Mr. Gould under the name of Pseudocheirus

In the brushes the sportsman may find the megapodius, brush-turkey, and
white pigeon, and in the forest flocks of white cockatoos, and various
parrots and parakeets, besides thrushes, orioles, leatherheads, etc., but
I shall not now enter upon the ornithology of the district. A very large
lizard (Monitor gouldii) is common at Cape York--it climbs trees with
great agility, and is very swift, scampering over the dead leaves in the
scrubs, with nearly as much noise as a kangaroo. Snakes, although
apparently not very plentiful, yet require to be carefully looked for in
order to be avoided; one day I killed single individuals of two
kinds--one a slender, very active green whip-snake, four feet in
length--the other, the brown snake of New South Wales, where its bite is
considered fatal. Fish are plentiful at Cape York; they may be caught
with the hook and line from the rocks, or at a little distance off, and
the sandy beach of Evans Bay is well-adapted for hauling the seine upon.
A curious freshwater fish (Megalops setipinnis) is found in the lagoon
here, and even in the wells dug by the Fly, there were some full-grown
individuals; it much resembles the herring, in shape, colour and size.
The shells may be very briefly dismissed. The principal landshell is a
very large variety of Helix bipartita, here attaining its greatest size.
The most striking shell of the sandflats is a handsome olive (O.
ispidula) remarkable for its extraordinary variations in colour, size,
and even form.


In viewing Cape York as the probable site of a future settlement or
military post, an important feature to be noticed is the comparative
abundance of fresh water at the very close of the dry season. In Evans
Bay it may always be procured by digging behind the beach, especially at
the foot of some low wooded hillocks, towards its western end. Native
wells were met with in most of the smaller bays, and the size of the
dried-up watercourses indicates that during the wet season, a
considerable body is carried off by them from the flats and temporary

Were one inclined, from interested motives, to extol the natural
capabilities of the immediate neighbourhood of Cape York, it would be
very easy to speculate upon, and at once presume its peculiar fitness for
the growth of tropical produce. Thus, any swampy land might at once be
pronounced peculiarly adapted for paddy fields, and the remainder as
admirably suited to the growth of cotton, coffee, indigo, etc. With the
exception of a piece of rich soil, several acres in extent, on the
eastern margin of a watercourse, leading from the small lagoon behind
Evans Bay, and which would be a good site for a large garden, I did not
see much ground that was fit for cultivation. Very fine rich patches
occur here and there in the brushes removed from the coast, but in the
belts of brush along the beaches the soil, despite the accumulation of
vegetable matter, is essentially poor and sandy. It may be added that the
value of the garden land above alluded to, is much enhanced by its
proximity to a constant supply of water, to be procured by digging in the
bed of the lagoon. Nearly all the grass is of a coarse sedge-like
description, mixed, however, in places with grasses of a finer kind.
Towards the end of the dry season, the grass, when not burnt off by the
natives, presents a most uninviting, withered appearance, being so dry as
almost to crumble into dust if rubbed between the palms of the hand.


As one of the more immediate beneficial results of our survey of the
Inner Passage, would be to facilitate its use by steamers, should
arrangements at present contemplated for the continuance of the overland
communication by Great Britain and India, from Singapore to the
Australian colonies, by way of Torres Strait, ever be carried into
effect, so it was of importance to find some place in the neighbourhood
of Cape York, convenient as a coaling station during either monsoon. An
eligible spot for this purpose was found in Port Albany, the name given
by Lieutenant Yule, who surveyed it in 1846, to the narrow channel
separating Albany Island from the mainland. Here a small sandy bay with a
sufficient depth of water close inshore, was, after a minute examination
by Captain Stanley, considered to be well adapted to the running out of a
jetty, alongside of which the largest steamer could lie in perfect
safety. This little bay has anchorage close inshore for three or four
vessels only, as a little further out they would be in the stream of tide
which runs with great strength, especially in the neighbourhood of the
various points; however, it is completely sheltered from any wind which
may be experienced on this part of the coast.

On several occasions I landed on Albany Island, and walked over the
place. It is three miles in length, and one in greatest breadth, its
outline irregular from the number of bays and small rocky headlands. On
its western side the bays are small, and the shores generally steep and
rocky, with sandy intervals, the banks being covered with brush of the
usual Australian intertropical character. The rock here is either a
stratum of ironstone in irregular masses and nodules cemented together by
a ferruginous base, or a very coarse sandstone, almost a quartzose
conglomerate, forming cliffs, occasionally thirty feet or more in height.
The latter stone is suitable for rough building purposes, such as the
construction of a pier, but is much acted on by the weather. On the
northern and eastern sides the bays are large and generally sandy, with
the land sloping down towards them from the low undulating hills, which
compose the rest of the island. These hills are either sandy or covered
with ironstone gravel* over red clay. They are thinly covered with a
sprinkling of Grevillea, Boronia, and Leucopogon bushes, with occasional
tufts of the coarsest grass. There must always be, however, sufficient
pasturage for such cattle and sheep as a small party in charge of a
coaling depot would require. There is also sufficient water in the island
for their support, and by digging wells, no doubt the quantity would be
greatly increased. In addition there are several small spots where the
soil is suitable for gardening purposes, thus ensuring a supply of
vegetables during the greater part, perhaps the whole of the year.

(*Footnote. A sample of this ironstone picked up from the surface has
furnished materials for the following remarks, for which I am indebted to
the politeness of Warrington W. Smyth, Esquire, of the Museum of
Practical Geology.

On examining the specimens which you presented to our Museum, I see that
they consist for the most part of the red or anhydrous peroxide of
iron--similar in chemical character to the celebrated haematite ore of
Ulverstone and Whitehaven. It is, however, less rich in iron than would
be inferred from its outward appearance, since the pebbles on being
broken, exhibit interiorly a loose and cellular structure, where grains
of quartz and plates of mica are interspersed with the ore, and of course
reduce its specific gravity and value.

Such an ore, if occurring in great quantity, and at no great distance
from abundant fuel and from a supply of limestone for flux, may prove to
be very valuable; but I should fear that your suggestion of employing the
coral and shells of the coast, for the last-mentioned purpose, might
impair the quality of an iron thus produced, for the phosphoric acid
present in them would give one of the constituents most troublesome to
the iron-master, who wishes to produce a strong and tough iron.)


On November 2nd we sailed from Cape York on our way to Port Essington and
Sydney, but owing to the prevalence of light airs, chiefly from the
eastward, and calms, we did not reach Booby Island until the 4th, having
passed out of Torres Strait by the Prince of Wales Channel. The Bramble
was left to perform some work in Endeavour Strait* and elsewhere along
the Inner Passage, and after its completion to make the best of her way
to Sydney down the eastern coast of Australia against the trade-wind,
before successfully accomplished by only two other vessels besides
herself. Of course a considerable degree of interest has been excited by
this intended procedure, as the two vessels start under pretty equal
circumstances to reach the same place by two very different routes, of
the merits of one of which comparatively little is known.

(*Footnote. Since the survey of Endeavour Strait in 1844 by Lieutenant
Yule in the Bramble (then attached to the Fly under Captain F.P.
Blackwood) several sunken rocks have been discovered, thereby lessening
the value of the passage through the Strait, as others, yet undetected,
to be found only by sweeping for them, may be presumed to exist. Captain
Stanley was strongly of opinion that the Prince of Wales Channel was far
preferable, especially for large ships, to Endeavour Strait.)


November 9th.

Since leaving Booby Island, the weather has been fine with light easterly
winds, the westerly monsoon in these seas not usually setting in until
the month of December. We first made the land in the neighbourhood of
Cape Croker, and soon afterwards saw the beacon on Point Smith. Entering
Port Essington we ran up the harbour, and anchored off the settlement of
Victoria early in the afternoon.

On landing and walking over the place after an absence of more than three
years, I might naturally have looked for some signs of improvement in the
appearance of the settlement and condition of the unfortunate residents,
had I not been aware of the non-progressive nature of the system which
had long been established there. I saw no such indications of prosperity
except in the flourishing and improved appearance of the coconut-trees
now in full bearing, as if nature boldly asserted her rights in
opposition to the dormant or even retrograde condition of everything else
in the place.


We found the settlement in a ruinous condition. Even the hospital, the
best building in the place, had the roof in such a state that when rain
came on some of the patients' beds had to be shifted, and the surgeon
found it necessary to protect his own bed by a tent-like canopy. With few
exceptions, everyone was dissatisfied, and anxiously looked forward to
the happy time when the party should be relieved, or the settlement
finally abandoned. The unhealthiness* of the place, so often denied, had
now shown itself in an unequivocal manner; everyone had suffered from
repeated attacks of intermittent fever, and another fever of a more
deadly character had occasionally made its appearance, and, operating
upon previously debilitated constitutions, frequently proved fatal.

(*Footnote. As illustration of this point, I would direct attention to
the following tabular view of the Detachment of Marines at Port
Essington, from the time of the arrival of the SECOND party to their
final departure, embracing a period of five years. I have not been able
to procure any authentic statement of the mortality among the FIRST

November 19th, 1844:
Found there: 1 officer, 0 men.
Arrived by Cadet: 3 officers, 52 men.

Arrived by Freak: 2 officers, 6 men.

Total: 6 officers, 58 men.

Died: 1 officer, 12 men.
Were invalided: 1 officer, 13 men.

November 30th, 1849:
Were taken away by Meander: 4 officers, 33 men.

Total: 6 officers, 58 men.

I may remark that, although it would obviously be unjust to suppose that
all the cases of death and invaliding are to be attributed to the effects
of the climate, yet the loss of the services of twenty-seven men out of
fifty-eight in five years by these means, clearly proves the
unhealthiness of the place. Another may be added to the list, for Captain
Macarthur was shortly afterwards invalided in Sydney, a victim to the
climate of Port Essington.)

There can, I think, be little doubt that much of the unhealthiness of the
garrison depended upon local influences. The situation of Victoria, at
the distance of sixteen miles from the open sea on the shores of an
almost land-locked harbour, was unfavourable for salubrity, although in
other respects judiciously chosen. Occasionally for days together the
seabreeze has not reached as far up as the settlement, and the heat has
been almost stifling; usually however the seabreeze set in during the
forenoon, and after blowing for some hours was succeeded by a calm, often
interrupted by a gentle land-wind. Within 400 yards of the hospital a
great extent of mud overgrown with mangroves, dry at low-water, must have
exercised a prejudicial influence; at times while crossing this swamp,
the putrid exhalations have induced a feeling almost amounting to nausea.
And if anything more than another shows the comparative unhealthiness of
the site of the settlement, it is the fact, that invalids sent to Point
Smith (at the entrance of the harbour) or Coral Bay--both of which places
are within the full influence of the seabreeze--speedily recovered,
although relapses on their return to Victoria were not infrequent.


Even in the important article of food--setting aside other secondary
stores--the Port Essington garrison have almost always been badly
supplied. I have seen them obliged to use bread which was not fit for
human food--the refuse of the stock on hand at the close of the war in
China, and yet there was none better to be got. In short, I believe, as I
stated some years ago in a Colonial paper, that there is probably no
vessel in Her Majesty's navy, no matter where serving, the men of which
are not better supplied with all the necessaries and comforts of life
than are the residents at Port Essington. All these have volunteered for
the place, but their preconceived ideas formed in England almost always
on reaching the place gave way to feelings of regret at the step they had
taken; I well remember the excitement in the settlement, and the feelings
of joy everywhere expressed, when in October 1845, the first party
learned that their relief had arrived.


I shall now proceed to make some remarks upon Port Essington, ere the
subject becomes a matter of history, as I fervently hope the abandonment
of the place will render it ere many years have gone by;* but before
doing so I may premise a brief account of the former British settlements
on the north coast of Australia.**

(*Footnote. Port Essington was finally abandoned on November 30th, 1849,
when the garrison and stores were removed to Sydney by H.M.S. Meander,
Captain the Honourable H. Keppel. I may mention that most of the remarks
in this chapter relative to Port Essington appear as they were originally
written in my journal soon after leaving the place in the Rattlesnake;
they are mostly a combination of the observations made during three
visits, at intervals of various lengths, including a residence in 1844,
of upwards of four months. I am also anxious to place on record a
somewhat connected but brief account of the Aborigines, as I have seen
many injudicious remarks and erroneous statements regarding them, and as
it is only at Port Essington, for the whole extent of coastline between
Swan River and Cape York, that we were able to have sufficient
intercourse with them to arrive at even a moderate degree of acquaintance
with their manners, customs, and language.)

(**Footnote. See Voyage round the World by T.B. Wilson, M.D.)

The British Government having determined to form an establishment on the
northern coast of Australia, Captain J.J. Gordon Bremer, with H.M.S.
Tamar, sailed from Sydney in August 1824, in company with two store ships
and a party of military and convicts, the latter chiefly mechanics. On
September 20th, they arrived at Port Essington, when formal possession
was taken of the whole of the coast between the 129th and 135th meridians
of east longitude.


A sufficiency of fresh water not being found at this place it was
determined to proceed to Melville Island, where they arrived on the 30th,
and commenced forming the settlement of Fort Dundas in Apsley Strait.
This settlement, however, after an existence of four years, was abandoned
on March 31st, 1829, in consequence of the continued unfavourable
accounts transmitted to the Home Government. Hostilities with the natives
had early commenced, and several lives were lost on either side.


Meanwhile in anticipation of the abandonment of Melville Island, it had
been resolved to found a second settlement upon the north coast of
Australia. For this purpose, H.M.S. Success, Captain Stirling, with a
convoy of three vessels conveying troops, convicts, stores, and
provisions, sailed from Sydney, and arrived at Raffles Bay on June 17th,
1827. Next day the new settlement of Fort Wellington was formed. A grand
error was made in the very beginning, for the site was chosen behind a
mudbank, dry at low tides, in order to secure proximity to a lagoon of
fresh water, which after all disappeared towards the close of the dry
season. At first the natives committed many depredations, chiefly during
the night. About a month after the founding of the settlement, it was
thought necessary to order the sentries to fire upon the natives whenever
they approached, and on one occasion they were greeted with a discharge
of grape-shot. At length one of the soldiers was speared, and in reprisal
a party was sent out, which, coming unexpectedly upon a camp of natives,
killed and wounded several, including a woman and two children. When the
Bugis paid their annual visit to the coast several prahus remained to
fish for trepang under the protection of the settlement. Of the
healthiness of the place the medical officer states: "There is no endemic
disease here. The climate of the place surpasses every other as far as I
know, which is equally as near the equator; and were it not for the great
height of atmospheric temperature, I should consider this one of the best
in the world." However, two years after the foundation of the settlement,
when hostilities with the natives had ceased, and a friendly intercourse
had been established--when the Bugis had already taken advantage of the
protection of Europeans to carry on the trepang fishery in the bay--when
the reported unhealthiness of the climate had never exhibited itself--in
short when the settlement had been brought into a flourishing state,
orders were suddenly received for its entire abandonment, which were
carried into effect on August 29th, 1829.


Eight years afterwards, Government resolved for the fourth time to
establish a settlement on the north coast of Australia, with the double
view of affording shelter to the crews of vessels wrecked in Torres
Strait, and of endeavouring to throw open to British enterprise the
neighbouring islands of the Indian Archipelago. For this purpose, H.M.S.
Alligator, under the command of Captain J.J. Gordon Bremer, and H.M.S.
Britomart (Lieutenant Owen Stanley) were sent out, and left Sydney for
Port Essington in September 1837. Another vessel with stores accompanied
the Alligator, and both arrived at Port Essington on October 27th of the
same year. Soon afterwards, upon a site for the settlement being chosen,
the necessary operations were commenced, and by the end of May in the
following year, the preliminary arrangements having been completed, the
Alligator left, and Captain John Macarthur, R.M., with a subaltern,
assistant-surgeon, storekeeper, and a linguist, together with a
detachment of forty marines, remained in charge of the new settlement.
The Britomart remained behind for several years as a tender to this naval
station, or military post--for either term is equally applicable, and was
afterwards succeeded in her charge by H.M.S. Royalist. In October 1845
the remains of the original party which had been there for seven years
(including also a small detachment sent down from China) were relieved by
a draft from England of two subalterns, an assistant-surgeon, and
fifty-two rank and file of the Royal Marines, Captain Macarthur still
remaining as commandant.


The Port Essington experiment I am afraid is to be regarded as a complete
failure. Yet it could not well have been otherwise. It was never more
than a mere military post, and the smallness of the party, almost always
further lessened by sickness, was such that, even if judiciously managed,
little more could be expected than that they should be employed merely in
rendering their own condition more comfortable. And now after the
settlement has been established for eleven years, they are not even able
to keep themselves in fresh vegetables, much less efficiently to supply
any of Her Majesty's vessels which may happen to call there.


In order to develop the resources of a colony, always provided it
possesses any such, surely something more is required than the mere
presence of a party of soldiers, but it appears throughout, that
Government were opposed to giving encouragement to the permanent
settlement at Port Essington, of any of her Majesty's subjects. It is
well perhaps that such has been the case, as I can conceive few positions
more distressing than that which a settler would soon find himself placed
in were he tempted by erroneous and highly coloured reports of the
productiveness of the place--and such are not wanting--to come there with
the vain hopes of being able to raise tropical productions* for export,
even with the assistance of Chinese or Malay labourers. Wool, the staple
commodity of Australia, would not grow there, and the country is not
adapted for the support of cattle to any great extent.

(*Footnote. I need not here enlarge upon the unfitness of Port Essington
for agricultural pursuits--even that point has long ago been given up.
The quantity of land which might be made productive is exceedingly small,
and although cotton, sugarcane, and other tropical productions thrive
well in one of the two gardens, there is no field for their growth upon a
remunerative scale.)

Yet the little settlement at Port Essington has not been altogether
useless. The knowledge of the existence of such a military post, within a
few days' sail of the islands in question, together with the visits of
Commander Stanley in the Britomart, had completely prevented a repetition
of the outrages formerly committed upon European trading vessels at the
various islands of the group extending between Timor and New Guinea. The
crews and passengers of various vessels wrecked in Torres Strait had
frequently found in Port Essington a place of shelter, after six hundred
miles and more of boat navigation, combined with the difficulty of
determining the entrance, owing to the lowness of the land thereabouts,
which might easily be passed in the night, or even during the day, if
distant more than ten or twelve miles. I have myself been a witness to
the providential relief and extreme hospitality afforded there to such
unfortunates. Still, as a harbour of refuge, it is obvious that Cape York
is the most suitable place, situated as it is within a short distance of
the spot where disasters by shipwreck in Torres Strait and its approaches
have been most frequent.

Port Essington has sometimes been alluded to as being admirably adapted
for a depot from which European goods can be introduced among the
neighbouring islands of the Indian Archipelago, but on this subject I
would perfectly coincide with Mr. Jukes, who states: "Now, the best plan
for a vessel wishing to trade with the independent islands, obviously, is
to go to them at once; while she has just as good an opportunity to
smuggle her goods into the Dutch islands, if that be her object, as the
natives would have if they were to come and fetch them from Port


The natives of the Cobourg Peninsula are divided into four tribes, named
respectively the Bijenelumbo, Limbakarajia, Limbapyu, and Terrutong. The
first of these occupies the head of the harbour (including the ground on
which the settlement is built) and the country as far back as the
isthmus--the second, both sides of the port lower down--the third, the
north-west portion of the peninsula--and the last have possession of
Croker's Island, and the adjacent coasts of the mainland. From the
constant intercourse which takes place between these tribes, their
affinity of language, and similarity in physical character, manners, and
customs, they may be spoken of as one.

The Aborigines of Port Essington scarcely differ from those of the other
parts of Australia--I mean, there is no striking peculiarity. The septum
of the nose is invariably perforated, and the right central
incisor--rarely the left, is knocked out during childhood. Both sexes are
more or less ornamented with large raised cicatrices on the shoulders and
across the chest, abdomen, and buttocks, and outside of the thighs. No
clothing is at any time worn by these people, and their ornaments are few
in number. These last consist chiefly of wristlets of the fibres of a
plant--and armlets of the same, wound round with cordage, are in nearly
universal use. Necklaces of fragments of reed strung on a thread, or of
cordage passing under the arms and crossed over the back, and girdles of
finely twisted human hair, are occasionally worn by both sexes and the
men sometimes add a tassel of the hair of the possum or flying squirrel,
suspended in front. A piece of stick or bone thrust into the perforation
in the nose completes the costume. Like the other Australians, the Port
Essington blacks are fond of painting themselves with red, yellow, white,
and black, in different styles, considered appropriate to dancing,
fighting, mourning, etc.

These people construct no huts except during the rainy season, when they
put up a rude and temporary structure of bark. Their utensils are few in
number, consisting merely of fine baskets of the stems of a rush-like
plant, and others of the base of the leaf of the Seaforthia palm, the
latter principally used for containing water. Formerly bark canoes were
in general use, but they are now completely superseded by others,
hollowed out of the trunk of a tree, which they procure ready-made from
the Malays, in exchange for tortoise-shell, and in return for assistance
in collecting trepang.

The aboriginal weapons are clubs and spears--of the latter the variety is
very great, there being at least fourteen distinct kinds. Their clubs are
three in number, made of the tough heavy wood called wallaru, a kind of
gumtree, the ironbark of New South Wales; one is cylindrical, four feet
long, tapering at each extremity; the other two, of similar length, are
compressed, with sharp edges--one narrow, the other about four inches in
greatest width, and resembling a cricket-bat in shape. These weapons on
account of their great weight are used only at close quarters, and are
never thrown like the waddy of New South Wales. The spears of the Port
Essington natives may be divided into two classes--first, those thrown
with the hand alone, and second, those propelled by the additional
powerful leverage afforded by the throwing-stick. The hand-spears are
made entirely of wood, generally the wallaroo, in one or two pieces,
plain at the point or variously toothed and barbed; a small light spear
of the latter description is sometimes thrown with a short cylindrical
stick ornamented at one end with a large bunch of twisted human hair. The
spears of the second class are shafted with reed. The smallest, which is
no bigger than an arrow, is propelled by a large flat and supple
throwing-stick to a great distance, but not with much precision. Of the
larger ones (from eight to twelve feet in length) the two most remarkable
are headed with a pointed, sharp-edged, flatly-triangular piece of quartz
or fine-grained basalt, procured from the mountains beyond the isthmus.
These large reed-shafted spears are thrown with a stiff flat
throwing-stick a yard long, and with pretty certain effect within sixty


The food of the aborigines consists chiefly of fish and shellfish, to
which as subsidiary articles may be added lizards, snakes, possums,
various birds, and an occasional kangaroo, turtle, dugong, or porpoise.
Several roots (one of which is a true yam) together with various fruits
in their seasons--especially a cashew-nut or Anacardium, also the base of
the undeveloped central leaves of the cabbage-palm, are much prized. The
digging up of roots and collecting of shellfish are duties which devolve
upon the females.

Before the arrival of Europeans, in cases of remarkable disease or
accident, certain old men known by the name of bilbo (by which cognomen
the medical officers of the settlement have also been distinguished) were
applied to for advice. I know of no popular remedies, however, with the
exception of tight ligatures near a wound, bruise or sore, the object of
which is to prevent the malady from passing into the body. In like manner
for a headache, a fillet is bound tightly across the forehead. These
people, like most other savages, recover in a most surprising manner from
wounds and other injuries which would probably prove fatal to a European.
The chief complaint to which they are subject is a mild form of
ophthalmia, with which I once saw three-fourths of the natives about the
settlement affected in one or both eyes; they themselves attributed this
affection to the lurgala, or cashew-nut, then in season, the acrid oil in
the husk of which had reached their eyes.


On the death of any one of the natives, the relatives give utterance to
their grief in loud cries, sobs, and shrieks, continued to exhaustion.
Some cut their bodies and tear their hair, and the women paint their
faces with broad white bands. The body is watched by night, and the
appearance of the first falling-star is hailed with loud shouts and
waving of fire-brands, to drive off the yumburbar, an evil spirit which
is the cause of all deaths and other calamities, and feeds on the
entrails of the newly dead. When decomposition has gone on sufficiently
far, the bones are carefully removed, painted red, wrapped up in bark,
and carried about with the tribe for some time; after which they are
finally deposited, either in a hollow tree or a shallow grave, over which
a low mound of earth and stones is raised, occasionally ornamented with
posts at the corners. I was unable to find out what circumstances
determine the mode of burial in each case; neither differences of sex,
age, or class are sufficient, as several natives whom I questioned told
me which of the two kinds of burial his or her body would receive,
without being able to assign any reason. Their reverence for the dead is
probably not very great, as even a relative of the deceased will sell the
skull or skeleton for a small consideration, on condition of the matter
being kept a secret.


Like other Australians they carefully refrain from mentioning the name of
anyone who is dead, and like them, believe in the transmigration of
souls--after death they become Malays (the first strangers they had come
in contact with) in precisely the same way as in New South Wales, etc.
"When black fellow die, he jump up white-fellow."

In addition to the yumburbar above-mentioned, there is another
supernatural being, which has a corporeal existence. It appears in the
shape of a man, and loves to grapple with stragglers in the dark, and
carry them off. So much is the arlak an object of dread, that a native
will not willingly go alone in the dark, even a very short distance from
his fire, without carrying a light. Some have assured me that they had
seen this arlak, and one man showed me wounds said to have been inflicted
by its teeth, and I have no doubt of his having firmly believed that they
were produced in this manner.


Although in each tribe there are three distinct classes, possibly ranks,
or perhaps something analogous to the division in other countries into
castes, yet there does not appear to be anything approaching to
chieftainship. There are a few elderly men, however, in each tribe, who,
having acquired a reputation for sagacity and energy, exercise a certain
degree of authority over the younger members, and generally manage
important matters in their own way. Yet very few of these principal men
are of the highest class, the manjerojelle--the middle is termed
manjerawule--and the lowest manbulget, but I could not succeed in making
out what privileges, if any, are enjoyed by the superior classes. The
members of all three appeared to be upon a perfect equality.

Polygamy, although one of their institutions, is little practised, as few
men have more than one wife at a time. The betrothal of a female takes
place in infancy, and often even before birth. A few half-caste children
have been born, but they do not appear to thrive, although this does not
imply any want of attention on the part of the mothers.

These natives are fond of social enjoyment. Their evenings are passed
away round the fires, with songs generally of a low, plaintive, and not
unpleasing character, time being kept by beating one bone or stick upon
another. They have besides what may be called a musical instrument--the
ibero--a piece of bamboo, three feet in length, which, by blowing into
it, is made to produce an interrupted, drumming, monotonous noise. In
their dances I observed nothing peculiar.


In illustration of their laws relative to punishments, and to show their
identity with those of other Australian tribes, I may mention a
circumstance which came under my own knowledge. One night about ten
o'clock, hearing an uproar at a native encampment near the hospital, I
ran out and found that a young man, named Munjerrijo, having excited the
jealousy of another, of the name of Yungun, on account of some improper
conduct towards the wife of the latter, had been severely wounded, his
arm being broken with a club, and his head laid open with an iron-headed
fishing spear. As the punishment was considered too severe for the
offence, it was finally determined, that, upon Munjerrijo's recovery, the
two natives who had wounded him should offer their heads to him to be
struck with a club, the usual way, it would appear, of settling such

Like the other Australian tribes, those of Port Essington are frequently
at feud with their neighbours, and quarrels sometimes last for years, or,
if settled, are apt to break out afresh. In these cases the lex talionis
is the only recognised one. I may give an example.


A Monobar native (inhabitant of the country to the westward of the
isthmus) was shot by a marine in the execution of his duty, for
attempting to escape while in custody, charged with robbery. When his
tribe heard of it, as they could not lay their hands upon a white man,
they enticed into their territory a Bijenelumbo man, called Neinmal, who
was a friend of the whites, having lived with them for years, and on that
account he was selected as a victim and killed. When the news of
Neinmal's death reached the settlement, some other Bijenelumbo people
took revenge by killing a Monobar native within a few hundred yards of
the houses. Thus the matter rests at present, but more deaths will
probably follow before the feud is ended. Both these murders were
committed under circumstances of the utmost atrocity, the victims being
surprised asleep unconscious of danger and perfectly defenceless, then
aroused to find themselves treacherously attacked by numbers, who, after
spearing them in many places, fearfully mangled the bodies with clubs.

In some of the settled districts of Australia missionaries have been
established for many years back, still it must be confessed that the
results of their labours are far from being encouraging. Indeed no less
an authority than Mr. Eyre, writing in 1848, unhesitatingly states as
follows: "Nor is it in my recollection," says he, "that throughout the
whole length and breadth of New Holland, a single real and permanent
convert to Christianity has yet been made amongst them."* From what I
myself have seen or heard, in the colony of New South Wales, I have
reason to believe the missionary efforts there, while proving a complete
failure so far as regards the Christianising of the blacks, have yet been
productive of much good in rendering them less dangerous and more useful
to their white neighbours, without however permanently reclaiming more
than a few from their former wandering and savage mode of life, and
enabling them and their families to live contentedly on the produce of
their own labour. I am not one of those who consider that the Australian
is not susceptible of anything like such permanent improvement as may be
termed civilisation, although it appears to have been sufficiently proved
that his intellectual capacity is of a very low order.

(*Footnote. Journals of Expeditions of Discovery into Central Australia
etc. by E.J. Eyre volume 2 page 420.)

Many of the Port Essington natives have shown a remarkable degree of
intelligence, far above the average Europeans, uneducated, and living in
remote districts--among others I may mention the name of Neinmal (the
same alluded to in the preceding paragraph) of whose character I had good
opportunities of judging, for he lived with me for ten months. During my
stay at Port Essington, he became much attached to me, and latterly
accompanied me in all my wanderings in the bush, while investigating the
natural history of the district, following up the researches of my late
and much lamented friend Gilbert.* One day, while detained by rainy
weather at my camp, I was busy in skinning a fish--Neinmal watched me
attentively for some time and then withdrew, but returned in half an hour
afterwards, with the skin of another fish in his hand prepared by
himself, and so well done too, that it was added to the collection. I
could give many other instances of his sagacity, his docility, and even
his acute perception of character--latterly, he seemed even to read my
very thoughts. He accompanied me in the Fly to Torres Strait and New
Guinea, and on our return to Port Essington begged so hard to continue
with me that I could not refuse him. He went with us to Singapore, Java,
and Sydney, and from his great good humour became a favourite with all on
board, picking up the English language with facility, and readily
conforming himself to our habits, and the discipline of the ship. He was
very cleanly in his personal habits, and paid much attention to his
dress, which was always kept neat and tidy. I was often much amused and
surprised by the oddity and justness of his remarks upon the many strange
sights which a voyage of this kind brought before him. The Nemesis
steamer under weigh puzzled him at first--he then thought it was "all
same big cart, only got him shingles** on wheels!" He always expressed
great contempt for the dullness of comprehension of his countrymen, "big
fools they," he used often to say, "blackfellow no good." Even Malays,
Chinamen, and the natives of India, he counted as nothing in his
increasing admiration of Europeans, until he saw some sepoys, when he
altered his opinion a little, and thought that he too, if only big
enough, would like to be a soldier. The poor fellow suffered much from
cold during the passage round Cape Leeuwin and was ill when landed at
Sydney, but soon recovered. Although his thoughts were always centred in
his native home, and a girl to whom he was much attached, he yet
volunteered to accompany me to England, when the Fly was about to sail,
but as I had then no immediate prospect of returning to Australia, I
could not undertake the responsibility of having to provide for him for
the future. I was glad then when Lieutenant Yule, who was about to
revisit Port Essington, generously offered to take him there--while in
the Bramble he made himself useful in assisting the steward, and, under
the tuition of Dr. MacClatchie, made some proficiency in acquiring the
rudiments of reading and writing. At Port Essington, the older members of
his family evinced much jealousy on account of the attention shown him,
and his determination to remain with Mr. Tilston, the assistant-surgeon,
then in charge, and endeavoured to dissuade him from his purpose. While
upon a visit to his tribe he met his death in the manner already
recorded. His natural courage and presence of mind did not desert him
even at the last extremity, when he was roused from sleep to find himself
surrounded by a host of savages thirsting for his blood. They told him to
rise, but he merely raised himself upon his elbow, and said: "If you want
to kill me do so where I am, I won't get up--give me a spear and club,
and I'll fight you all one by one!" He had scarcely spoken when a man
named Alerk speared him from behind, spear after spear followed, and as
he lay writhing on the ground his savage murderers literally dashed him
to pieces with their clubs. The account of the manner in which Neinmal
met his death was given me by a very intelligent native who had it from
an eyewitness, and I have every reason to believe it true, corroborated
as it was by the testimony of others.

(*Footnote. See Journal of an Overland Expedition in Australia etc. by
Dr. Ludwig Leichhardt page 309 for an account of his death.)

(**Footnote. Wooden tiles generally used for covering the roofs of houses
in Australia.)


Even Port Essington was destined to become the scene of missionary
labours. A party of three persons, sent out by the Society for the
Propagation of the Faith, one an Italian Roman Catholic priest, the
others lay brothers of his order, embarked at Sydney, some time in 1847.
The vessel conveying them unfortunately struck on a reef near the
Northumberland Isles during the night, and Father Anjello was the only
one of his party saved, and reached Port Essington in a most destitute
condition. Nothing daunted, however, he commenced his labours among the
blacks, by first acquiring the native language,* in which he ultimately
became so proficient as to understand it thoroughly. A hut was built for
him at a place called Black Rock, near the entrance of the harbour, at
the distance of 14 miles from the settlement. Here he collected together
as many of the children of the Limbakarajia tribe as he could induce to
remain in the neighbourhood. He endeavoured to instruct them in the
elements of his religion, and taught them to repeat prayers in Latin, and
follow him in some of the ceremonious observances of the Roman Catholic
Church. Like other children this amused them, and so long as they were
well fed and supplied with tobacco, everything went on as he could
desire. Meanwhile he was supported chiefly by the contributions of the
officers of the garrison, themselves not well able to spare much. While
leading this lonely life he seems gradually to have given way to gloomy
despondency. I recollect one passage in his diary (which I once saw for
an hour) where he expresses himself thus: "Another year has gone by, and
with it all signs of the promised vessel. Oh! God, even hope seems to
have deserted me." At length a vessel from Sydney arrived, bringing a
large supply of stores of every kind for the mission, but it was too
late, for Father Anjello and his sorrows were alike resting in the tomb.
One day news came that he was ill; a boat was sent immediately for him,
and found him dying. He was removed to the settlement and next day he
breathed his last--another, but not the last victim to the climate. His
death-bed was described to me as having been a fearful scene. He
exhibited the greatest horror of death, and in his last extremity
blasphemously denied that there was a God!

(*Footnote. I regret that the arrangements for this work will not admit
of my publishing in the Appendix a Port Essington vocabulary, consisting
of about 650 words, in four dialects, formed in 1844, and corrected and
improved in 1848; the manuscripts will be deposited in the library of the
British Museum.)

In concluding the subject of the Aborigines, I may add that at present
the natives of Port Essington have little to thank the white man for. The
advantage of being provided with regular food and other comforts enjoyed
by such as are in service are merely temporary, and, like the means of
gratifying two new habits--the use of tobacco and spirits--to which they
have become passionately addicted, will cease when the settlement is
abandoned. The last importation of the whites was syphilis, and by it
they will probably be remembered for years to come.


During our stay at Port Essington, I made an excursion in the decked boat
of the settlement (which Captain Macarthur kindly allowed me the use of)
to Coral Bay, a station for invalids very pleasantly situated on the
western side of the harbour, twelve miles from Victoria. We found there
my old friend Mr. Tilston,* the assistant-surgeon, with some
convalescents under his charge. This is a much cooler and pleasanter
locality than the neighbourhood of the settlement, still the heat was at
times very great. I had here pointed out to me a kind of tea-tree, or
Melaleuca, which had a short time before been recognised by a Malay as
that producing the valuable cajeput oil, and on trial, the oil procured
from the leaves by distillation, was found to be scarcely inferior in
pungency to that of the Melaleuca cajeputi of the Moluccas. Here, too, we
saw some of the playhouses of the greater bowerbird (Chlamydera nuchalis)
and had the pleasure of witnessing the male bird playing his strange
antics as he flew up to the spot and alighted with a dead shell in his
mouth, laid it down, ran through the bower, returned, picked up the
shell, and rearranged the heap among which it was placed, flew off again
and soon returned with another--and so on.


On November 16th we got underweigh at daylight, but the wind died away in
the afternoon, and we anchored halfway down the harbour. Next day we got
out to sea on our voyage to Sydney. We were all glad to leave Port
Essington--it was like escaping from an oven. During our stay the sky was
generally overcast, with heavy cumuli, and distant lightning at night,
but no rain fell, and the heat was excessive. These were indications of
the approaching change of the monsoon--the rainy season, with a wind more
or less westerly, usually commencing in December and continuing until

December 3rd.

Latitude 11 degrees 2 minutes South longitude 123 degrees 11 minutes
East. Today we may be said to have cleared the land after a dead beat to
the westward, between the Sahul Bank and the islands of Timor and Rottee.
It took us eleven days to make good less than 300 miles. The land was in
sight during the greater portion of this time, and we had a good view of
the noble mountain-range of Timor, also of Rottee and the Strait of
Semao, which last we entered with the intention of passing through, but
the wind headed us and we had to pass to the southward of Rottee. For a
few days after leaving Port Essington we experienced very light and
variable winds, which gradually settled into south-westerly, with
occasional gloomy blowing weather and frequent squalls at night.


At length on January 24th, 1849, a long and monotonous passage of
sixty-eight days brought us to Sydney, from which we had been absent for
nine months.


Fate of Kennedy's Expedition.
Sail on our Third Northern Cruise.
Excursion on Moreton Island.
History of Discoveries on the South-East Coast of New Guinea and the
Louisiade Archipelago, from 1606 to 1846.
Find the Shores of the Louisiade protected by a Barrier Reef.
Beautiful appearances of Rossel Island.
Pass through an opening in the Reef, and enter Coral Haven.
Interview with Natives on Pig Island.
Find them treacherously disposed.
Their mode of Fishing on the Reefs.
Establish a system of Barter alongside the Ship.
Description of the Louisiade Canoes, and mode of management.
Find a Watering Place on South-East Island.
Its Scenery and Productions.
Suspicious conduct of the Natives.
Their Ornaments, etc. described.


The most eventful occurrence during our stay in Sydney, was the arrival
of the schooner which we had left at Port Albany, awaiting the arrival of
Mr. Kennedy. She brought the sad news of the disastrous failure of his
expedition, and of the death of all but three composing the overland
party, including their brave but ill-fated leader. I was present at the
judicial investigation which shortly afterwards took place, and shall
briefly relate the particulars. I shall not easily forget the appearance
which the survivors presented on this occasion--pale and emaciated, with
haggard looks attesting the misery and privations they had undergone, and
with low trembling voices, they gave their evidence.

It would appear that their difficulties commenced at the outset, as many
weeks passed before they got clear of Rockingham Bay, its rivers, swamps,
and dense scrubs, fenced in by a mountain chain. Six weeks elapsed before
they were enabled to pursue a northerly course, the scrubs or dense
brushes still continuing, requiring the party to cut their way. The carts
were abandoned on July 18th, and the horses were packed. Sickness early
made its appearance, the stock of provisions was getting low, the horses
long failing in strength were dying of weakness, and their flesh was used
as food.

On November 10th, or upwards of five months after leaving Rockingham Bay,
having made less than 400 miles in a direct line towards their
destination, and three of the party having been completely knocked up,
and the remainder in a feeble state; nineteen of their horses dead, and
their provisions reduced to one sheep, forty-six pounds of flour, and
less than one pound of tea--Mr. Kennedy resolved to form a light party
consisting of himself, three men, and the aboriginal Jackey-Jackey, and
push on for Cape York, distant about 150 miles, to procure assistance for
the remainder, and save them from impending death by the combined
influences of sickness, exhaustion, and starvation.

On November 13th Kennedy started, leaving eight men at the camp at
Weymouth Bay. Near Shelburne Bay one of the party accidentally shot
himself, and another was too ill to proceed; consequently, it was
determined to leave them behind in charge of the third man, with a horse
for food, while Kennedy and the black pushed on for Port Albany. At
length near Escape River, within twenty miles of Cape York, a tribe of
natives with whom they had had some apparently friendly intercourse,
tempted by their forlorn condition and a savage thirst for plunder,
attacked them in a scrub and with too fatal success, as the gallant
leader of this unfortunate expedition breathed his last after receiving
no less than three spear wounds. The affecting narrative of what passed
during his last moments as related by his faithful companion, is simply
as follows: "Mr. Kennedy, are you going to leave me?" "Yes, my boy, I am
going to leave you," was the reply of the dying man, "I am very bad,
Jackey; you take the books, Jackey, to the Captain, but not the big ones,
the Governor will give anything for them." "I then tied up the papers;"
he then said, "Jackey, give me paper and I will write." "I gave him paper
and pencil, and he tried to write; and he then fell back and died, and I
caught him as he fell back and held him, and I then turned round myself
and cried; I was crying a good while until I got well; that was about an
hour, and then I buried him; I dug up the ground with a tomahawk, and
covered him over with logs, then grass, and my shirt and trousers; that
night I left him near dark."

About eight days after, Jackey-Jackey, having with wonderful ingenuity
succeeded in escaping from his pursuers, contrived to reach Port Albany,
and was received on board the vessel, which immediately proceeded to
Shelburne Bay to endeavour to rescue the three men left there. The
attempt to find the place was unsuccessful, and from the evidence
furnished by clothes said by Jackey to belong to them, found in a canoe
upon the beach, little doubt seemed to exist as to their fate. They then
proceeded to Weymouth Bay, where they arrived just in time to save Mr.
Carron, the botanical collector, and another man, the remaining six
having perished. In the words of one of the survivors: "the men did not
seem to suffer pain, but withered into perfect skeletons, and died from
utter exhaustion."

Such was the fate of Kennedy's expedition, and in conclusion, to use the
words of the Sydney Morning Herald, "it would appear that as far as
earnestness of purpose, unshrinking endurance of pain and fatigue, and
most disinterested self-sacrifice, go, the gallant leader of the party
exhibited a model for his subordinates. But the great natural
difficulties they had to encounter at the outset of the expedition so
severely affected the resources of the adventurers, that they sunk under
an accumulation of sufferings, which have rarely, if ever been equalled,
in the most extreme perils of the wilderness."


Our stay in Sydney was protracted to the unusual period of three months
and a half, affording ample time for refreshing the crews after their
long and arduous labours, thoroughly refitting both vessels, and
completing the charts. The object of our next cruise, which was expected
to be of equal duration with the last, was to undertake the survey of a
portion of the Louisiade Archipelago, and the south-east coast of New
Guinea. For this purpose we sailed from Sydney on May 8th, deeply laden,
with six months provisions on board, arrangements having also been made
for receiving a further supply at Cape York in October following.

The Bramble joined us at Moreton Bay, where we did not arrive until May
17th, our passage having been protracted beyond the usual time by the
prevalence during the early part of light northerly winds and a strong
adverse current, which on one occasion set us fifty-one miles to the
southward in twenty-four hours. We took up our former anchorage under
Moreton Island, and remained there for nine days, occupied in completing
our stock of water, and obtaining a rate for the chronometers--so as to
ensure a good meridian distance between this and the Louisiade. Since our
last visit, the pilot station had been shifted to this place from Amity
Point, the northern entrance to Moreton Bay being now preferred to that
formerly in use.

One night while returning from an excursion, I saw some fires behind the
beach near Cumboyooro Point, and on walking up was glad to find an
encampment of about thirty natives, collected there for the purpose of
fishing, this being the spawning season of the mullet, which now frequent
the coast in prodigious shoals. Finding among the party an old friend of
mine, usually known by the name of Funny-eye, I obtained with some
difficulty permission to sleep at his fire, and he gave me a roasted
mullet for supper. The party at our bivouac, consisted of my host, his
wife and two children, an old man and two wretched dogs. We lay down with
our feet towards a large fire of driftwood, partially sheltered from the
wind by a semicircular line of branches, stuck in the sand behind us;
still, while one part of the body was nearly roasted, the rest shivered
with cold. The woman appeared to be busy all night long in scaling and
roasting fish, of which, before morning, she had a large pile ready
cooked; neither did the men sleep much--for they awoke every hour or so,
gorged themselves still further with mullet, took a copious draft of
water, and wound up by lighting their pipes before lying down again.

At daylight everyone was up and stirring, and soon afterwards the men and
boys went down to the beach to fish. The rollers coming in from seaward
broke about one hundred yards from the shore, and in the advancing wave
one might see thousands of large mullet keeping together in a shoal with
numbers of porpoises playing about, making frequent rushes among the
dense masses and scattering them in every direction. Such of the men as
were furnished with the scoop-net waded out in line, and, waiting until
the porpoises had driven the mullet close in shore, rushed among the
shoal, and, closing round in a circle with the nets nearly touching,
secured a number of fine fish, averaging two and a half pounds weight.
This was repeated at intervals until enough had been procured. Meanwhile
others, chiefly boys, were at work with their spears, darting them in
every direction among the fish, and on the best possible terms with the
porpoises, which were dashing about among their legs, as if fully aware
that they would not be molested.


On May 26th, we sailed from Moreton Bay--but, before entering into the
details of this, the most interesting portion of the Voyage of the
Rattlesnake, a brief but connected account of the progress of discovery
on the south-east coast of New Guinea, and the Louisiade Archipelago,
will enable the reader more clearly to perceive the necessity then
existing for as complete a survey of these shores and the adjacent seas
as would enable the voyager to approach them with safety. A glance at any
of the published charts will show a vague outline of coast and islands
and reefs, with numerous blanks--a compilation from various sources, some
utterly unworthy of credit; and of the inhabitants and productions of
these regions, nothing was known beyond that portion at least of them
were peopled by a savage and warlike race.


The first navigator who saw the shores in question, appears to have been
Luiz Vaez de Torres, in the Spanish frigate La Almiranta, coming from the
eastward, in August 1606. In latitude 11 1/2 degrees South, Torres came
upon what he calls the beginning of New Guinea, which, however, appears
to have been a portion of what is now known as the Louisiade Archipelago.
Being unable to weather the easternmost point of this land (Cape
Deliverance) he bore away to the westward along its southern shores. "All
this land of New Guinea," says he, in his long-forgotten letter to the
king of Spain (a copy of which was found in the Archives at Manila, after
the capture of that city by the British, in 1762) "is peopled with
Indians, not very white, much painted, and naked, except a cloth made of
the bark of trees. They fight with darts, targets, and some stone clubs,
which are made fine with plumage. Along the coast are many islands and
habitations. All the coast has many ports, very large, with very large
rivers, and many plains. Without these islands there runs a reef of
shoals, and between them (the shoals) and the mainland are the islands.
There is a channel within. In these parts I took possession for your

"We went along 300 leagues of coast, as I have mentioned, and diminished
the latitude 2 1/2 degrees, which brought us into 9 degrees. From hence
we fell in with a bank of from three to nine fathoms, which extends along
the coast above 180 leagues. We went over it along the coast to 7 1/2
South latitude, and the end of it is in 5 degrees. We could not go
further on for the many shoals and great currents, so we were obliged to
sail out South-West in that depth to 11 degrees South latitude."

By this time Torres had reached the Strait which now bears his name, and
which he was the first to pass through. He continues: "We caught in all
this land twenty 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

(*Footnote. Burney's Chronological History of Voyages and Discoveries in
the South Sea or Pacific Ocean Volume 2 Appendix page 475.)


M. de Bougainville, in June 1768, with two vessels, La Boudeuse and
L'Etoile, was proceeding to the eastward towards the coast of Australia,
when the unexpected discovery of some detached reefs (Bougainville's
reefs of the charts) induced him to alter course and stand to the
northward. No land was seen for three days. "On the 10th, at daybreak,"
says he, "the land was discovered, bearing from east to North-West. Long
before dawn a delicious odour informed us of the vicinity of this land,
which formed a great gulf open to the south-east. I have seldom seen a
country which presented so beautiful a prospect; a low land, divided into
plains and groves, extended along the seashore, and afterwards rose like
an amphitheatre up to the mountains, whose summits were lost in the
clouds. There were three ranges of mountains, and the highest chain was
distant upwards of twenty-five leagues from the shore. The melancholy
condition to which we were reduced* neither allowed us to spend some time
in visiting this beautiful country, which by all appearances was rich and
fertile, nor to stand to the westward in search of a passage to the south
of New Guinea, which might open to us a new and short route to the
Moluccas by way of the Gulf of Carpentaria. Nothing, indeed, was more
probable than the existence of such a passage."** Bougainville, it may be
mentioned, was not aware of the previous discovery of Torres, which
indeed was not published to the world until after our illustrious
navigator Cook, in August, 1770, had confirmed the existence of such a
strait by passing from east to west between the shores of Australia and
New Guinea.

(*Footnote. They were beginning to run short of provisions, and the salt
meat was so bad that the men preferred such RATS as they could catch. It
even became necessary to prevent the crew from eating the LEATHER about
the rigging and elsewhere in the ship.)

(**Footnote. Voyage autour du Monde par la Fregate du Roi La Boudeuse et
la Flute l'Etoile en 1766 a 1769 page 258. See also the chart of the
Louisiade given there, which, however, does not correspond very closely
with the text.)

The Boudeuse and Etoile were engaged in working to windward along this
new land (as it was thought to be) until the 26th, when, having doubled
its eastern point, to which the significant name of Cape Deliverance was
given, they were enabled to bear away to the North-North-East. The name
of Gulf of the Louisiade was bestowed by Bougainville upon the whole of
the space thus traversed by him, extending between Cape Deliverance and
that portion of (what has since been determined to be) the coast of New
Guinea of which he gives so glowing a description, and calls the Cul de
Sac de l'Orangerie upon his chart.


The next addition to our knowledge of these shores was made in August,
1791, by Captain Edwards in H.M.S. Pandora, shortly before the wreck of
that vessel in Torres Strait, when returning from Tahiti with the
mutineers of the Bounty. In the published narrative of that voyage the
following brief account is given. "On the 23rd, saw land, which we
supposed to be the Louisiade, a cape bearing north-east and by east. We
called it Cape Rodney. Another contiguous to it was called Cape Hood: and
a mountain between them, we named Mount Clarence. After passing Cape
Hood, the land appears lower, and to trench away about north-west,
forming a deep bay, and it may be doubted whether it joins New Guinea or
not."* The positions assigned to two of these places, which subsequent
experience has shown it is difficult to identify, are:

Cape Rodney: Latitude 10 degrees 3 minutes 32 seconds South, Longitude
147 degrees 45 minutes 45 seconds East.

Cape Hood: Latitude 9 degrees 58 minutes 6 seconds South, Longitude 147
degrees 22 minutes 50 seconds East.**

(*Footnote. Voyage round the world in His Majesty's frigate Pandora,
performed under the direction of Captain Edwards in the years 1790, 1791
and 1792 by Mr. G. Hamilton, late surgeon of the Pandora, page 100.)

(**Footnote. Ibid page 164. Krusenstern assumes these longitudes to be 45
minutes too far to the westward, adopting Flinders' longitude of Murray's
Islands, which differs by that amount from Captain Edwards'.)


In the following year, Captains Bligh and Portlock, in the Providence and
Assistance, conveying breadfruit plants from Tahiti to the West Indies,
saw a portion of the south-east coast of New Guinea, when on their way to
pass through Torres Strait. A line of coast extending from Cape Rodney to
the westward and northward about eighty miles, the latter half with a
continuous line of reef running parallel with the coast, is laid down in
a chart by Flinders,* as having been "seen from the Providence's
masthead, August 30th 1792."

(*Footnote. Flinders' Voyage to Terra Australis Atlas Plate 13.)


The northern portion of the Louisiade Archipelago was yet unknown to
Europeans, and for almost all the knowledge which we even now possess
regarding it, we are indebted to the expedition under the command of
Rear-Admiral Bruny d'Entrecasteaux, who, on June 11th, 1793, with La
Recherche and L'Esperance, during his voyage in search of the unfortunate
La Perouse, came in sight of Rossel Island. The hills of that island were
enveloped in clouds, and the lower parts appeared to be thickly wooded
with verdant interspaces. A harbour was supposed to exist in the deep bay
on the north coast of Rossel Island, but access to it was found to be
prevented by a line of breakers extending to the westward as far as the
eye could reach. D'Entrecasteaux passed Piron's Island, which he named,
as well as various others, and on St. Aignan's observed several huts, and
the first inhabitants of the Louisiade whom they had seen, for, at
Renard's Isles, a boat sent close in to sound, had observed no
indications of natives, although smoke was afterwards seen rising from
the largest of the group. At the Bonvouloir Islands, they had the first
communication with the natives, who came off in a very large canoe and
several others which approached near enough for one of the officers of
L'Esperance to swim off to them. The natives showed much timidity and
could not be induced to come on board the frigate. Some sweet-potatoes
and bananas were given in return for various presents. No arms were seen
among them, and these people did not appear to understand the use of
iron.* The remainder of the voyage does not require further notice here,
as the D'Entrecasteaux Isles of the charts belong to the north-east coast
of New Guinea.

(*Footnote. Voyage de Bruny D'Entrecasteaux envoye a la recherche de la
Perouse. Redige par M. de Rossel, ancien Capitaine de Vaisseau, tome 1
page 405 et seq. See also Atlas.)

In June 1793, Messrs. Bampton and Alt, in the English merchantships
Hormuzeer and Chesterfield, got embayed on the south-east coast of New
Guinea, and after in vain seeking a passage out to the north-east, were
forced to abandon the attempt and make their way to the westward, through
Torres Strait, which they were no less than seventy-three days in
clearing. Among other hydrographical results, was the discovery of large
portions of the land forming the north-west shores of this bay, extending
from Bristow Island to the northward and eastward for a distance of 120


In 1804, M. Rualt Coutance, commanding the French privateer L'Adele, made
several discoveries on the south-east coast of New Guinea which were
recorded by Freycinet, from the manuscript journal of Coutance, in the
history of Baudin's voyage.* A portion of this is unquestionably the land
seen by Captain Bligh in 1792--but in addition detached portions of the
shores of the great bight of the south-east coast were seen, as in the
neighbourhood of Freshwater Bay and elsewhere.

(*Footnote. Voyage de decouvertes aux Terres Australes, execute sur les
corvettes Le Geographe, Le Naturaliste, et la goelette La
Casuarina--pendant les annees 1801 a 1804, sous le commandement du
Capitaine de vaisseau N. Baudin. Redige par M. Louis Freycinet.
Navigation et Geographie page 462 and Atlas plate 1.)

Mr. Bristow, the master of an English merchant vessel, visited the
northern part of the Louisiade Archipelago in 1806, but added nothing of
consequence to our knowledge of the group, although various islands were
named anew, as if discoveries of his own. His Satisfaction Island is
clearly Rossel's, and Eruption Island is St. Aignan's of

(*Footnote. See Krusenstern's Recueil de Memoires Hydrographiques etc.
page 154.)


Since Bougainville's voyage the southern shores of the Louisiade remained
unvisited until the year 1840, when Captain Dumont d'Urville, with the
French corvettes L'Astrolabe and La Zelee, during his last voyage round
the world, determined upon attempting their exploration. On May 23rd, the
expedition (coming from the eastward) rounded Adele Island and Cape
Deliverance, at the distance of about twenty miles. Next morning, the
thickness of the weather prevented them from clearly distinguishing the
features of the land. They steered towards South-east Island, but found
close approach prevented by an immense continuous reef, supposed to be
part of that seen on the previous day to the southward of Rossel Island.
On Conde's Peninsula, some natives and a small village were observed. In
the evening a long line of islands (the Calvados group) appeared to the
north, and the reef, which before had been continuous, with the exception
of some small openings, now existed only as a few isolated patches.
D'Urville stood off to sea for the night, and next morning passed close
to some low woody islets (Montemont) enclosed by a reef stretching to the
eastward, and supporting upon it many scattered islands covered with
verdure. Bougainville's chart was found of very little assistance; in the
evening, however, they recognised the low wooded isle which he had called
Ushant. Several high rocks (Teste Isles) in sight when they stood off for
the night served next morning as a connecting point.

On the 26th, a crowd of small islands, mostly inhabited, were seen at a
short distance off, and in the background some high mountain summits were
visible. Approaching more closely, D'Urville observed numerous channels
intersecting the coast which they appeared to divide into a multitude of
islands, and it seemed doubtful whether the land seen belonged to the
Louisiade or to New Guinea. On the 27th, the two ships reached the Cul de
sac de l'Orangerie--the appearance of the land at this place was
considered to "agree perfectly with the pompous description" of
Bougainville. D'Urville would willingly have searched for an anchorage
here, but sickness prevented him from delaying much longer on this coast.
Many canoes had been seen during the day, and one with six men at length
came off, followed by some smaller ones, each carrying two or three
people. The natives could not be induced to venture on board, and for a
long time hesitated to receive some presents conveyed to them on a plank,
in return for coconuts, a stone axe, and some shells. These natives
appeared to be unarmed; by signs they invited the Frenchmen to visit them
on shore. D'Urville was now anxious to determine whether, as represented
by his charts,* a passage existed between this portion of the Louisiade
of Bougainville, and what was then considered to be the south-east
extremity of New Guinea, in the neighbourhood of Cape Rodney. Next day,
however (28th) a high chain of mountains was seen to occupy the space
assigned to the supposed passage. On the 29th, a barrier reef was found
extending to the eastward in the direction of the coastline; they were
unable to clearly identify Cape Rodney and Point Hood, of the English
charts. In the evening D'Urville saw a chain of high mountains which he
named Mount Astrolabe, and a well marked headland (Cape Passy) beyond
which the coast appeared to trend to the northward. The expedition now
shaped a course for Torres Strait, having in seven days made a running
survey extending over a space of 450 miles in length, without anchoring
or communicating with the inhabitants.**

(*Footnote. This matter had been discussed by the Russian Admiral
Krusenstern; see Receuil de Memoires Hydrographiques pour servire
d'analyse et d'explication a l'Atlas de l'Ocean Pacifique page 60. Also
in his Atlas, a general chart of the Pacific Ocean, and two others of New
Guinea, and the Louisiade Archipelago, published in 1824.)

(**Footnote. Voyage au Pole Sud et dans l'Oceanie sur les corvettes
L'Astrolabe et la Zelee pendant les annees 1837 a 1840. Sous le
commandement de M. J. Dumont D'Urville. Histoire du Voyage tome 9 pages
208 a 215. Atlas Hydrographique Plate 1.)


During his survey of the northern and eastern entrances of Torres Strait,
Captain F.P. Blackwood, in H.M.S. Fly, spent two months in 1845, upon the
south-east coast of New Guinea, 140 miles of which, including that part
seen by Bampton and Alt in 1793, was surveyed as completely as the time
and means would permit. This country presented a great sameness of
aspect; low muddy shores covered at first with mangroves, and, further
back, with dense forests, were found to be intersected by numerous
channels of fresh water, the mouths, there is reason to suppose, of one
or more large rivers, of which this great extent of country is the delta.
Great mudbanks, extending from ten to twenty miles out to sea, prevented
approach except in the boats. Several of these channels were entered by
the surveying parties, and one (Aird River) was ascended by Captain
Blackwood to the distance of twenty miles from its mouth. Many villages
were seen scattered along the coast and on the river banks. The natives,
apparently closely resembling the Torres Strait Islanders, appeared to be
a savage and warlike race, and refused to have any friendly intercourse
with the white men, whose boats they attempted to cut off on various
occasions. They seemed to be perfectly naked, and their principal weapons
were observed to be bows and arrows and wooden sword-like clubs.*

(*Footnote. Narrative of the Surveying Voyage of H.M.S. Fly, commanded by
Captain F.P. Blackwood, R.N. by J.B. Jukes, Naturalist to the Expedition,
volume 1 page 282 etc.)


In the following year, a further addition to the survey of the south-east
coast of New Guinea was made by Lieutenant C.B. Yule, while in command of
H.M. Schooners Bramble and Castlereagh. This survey was commenced at Cape
Possession, and continued to the westward and northward as far as Cape
Blackwood, where the Fly's work ended, a distance equal to two degrees of
longitude.* Many large river mouths were observed, the fresh water on one
occasion extending two or three miles out to sea. The country had ceased
to present the low monotonous appearance shown to the westward, and had
become more broken with wooded hills, and on the extreme east, ranges of
lofty mountains were seen in the distance; one of these (Mount Yule)
attains an elevation of 10,046 feet. Landing was attempted only once, on
which occasion the whole party--their two boats having been capsized in
the surf, and their ammunition destroyed--were set upon by a large body
of natives and plundered of everything, even to their clothes, but not
otherwise injured, although completely at the mercy of these savages.

(*Footnote. See Admiralty Chart Number 1914.)

In company with the Bramble we sailed from Moreton Bay for the Louisiade
on May 26th. Next day it began to blow fresh, commencing at south-east
and coming up to east, and on the 28th the wind had increased to a heavy
gale from East-South-East to East. On the following morning the gale
broke, the wind having suddenly fallen and shifted round from East to
North-East and North-West by West until it became variable, and at night
died away altogether. On June 3rd we picked up the south-east trade-wind
in latitude 20 degrees 8 minutes South; and next day and those following
until we made the land, having left the beaten track from Sydney to the
outer passages leading to Torres Strait,* we hauled on a wind at night so
as to avoid going over unexplored ground. No reefs, however, were seen
between Moreton Bay and the Louisiade.

(*Footnote. See a very useful chart of the Coral Sea, constructed by Mr.
J.O. Evans, formerly master of H.M.S. Fly.)


On June 10th (our noon position of that day being latitude 11 degrees 38
minutes South and longitude 154 degrees 17 minutes East) at daylight,
high land was seen extending from North to North-west, distant about
twenty-five miles. It proved to be the largest Ile du Sud-Est of
D'Urville's chart, and Rossel Island, the latter forming the eastern
termination of the Louisiade Archipelago. Next day we fell in with the
Bramble in the neighbourhood of Cape Deliverance of the English chart (by
Laurie) her rendezvous in case of separation; we had parted company
during the late gale, in which she lost her jib-boom and stern-boat.


The whole of June 12th was spent in working to windward to weather the
eastern end of Rossel Island--Cape Deliverance of Bougainville--the
barrier reef to the southward of the two large islands in sight
preventing us from closely approaching the land from that quarter.


June 13th.

Having gained a good offing, we bore up at daylight, and stood in for
Rossel Island with the Bramble ahead. We passed at a distance Adele
Island (so named after Coutance's ship) low and woody, situated at the
eastern extreme of the barrier reef surrounding Rossel Island, at a
variable distance from the land. The southern portion of this great coral
reef here makes a sharp turn round the islet, and runs back ten miles to
connect it with Rossel Island, where it loses the character of a barrier,
becomes narrow and fringing and almost disappears for a time. Passing
Cape Deliverance* and getting into smooth water on the northern side of
Rossel Island, we ran along it at a distance from the shore of about two
miles and a half.

(*Footnote. As the longitude of Cape Deliverance varies considerably in
different charts, its determination by the three best authorities may
here be given:

D'Entrecasteaux places it in longitude 154 degrees 26 minutes East of

D'Urville places it in longitude 154 degrees 26 minutes East of

Owen Stanley places it in longitude 154 degrees 20 minutes East of

Rossel Island (named after one of D'Entrecasteaux' officers) is 22 miles
in length from east to west, and 10 1/2 in greatest width; it is high and
mountainous, and thickly wooded, with occasional large, clear, grassy
patches. Towards the western end the hills become lower and more
detached, but present the same features. The mountain ridges, one of
which, but not the highest elevation (which was obscured by clouds) is
2,522 feet in height--form sharp narrow crests and occasional peaks, but
the outline is smooth and the rock nowhere exposed, even the steepest
ridges being covered with vegetation. Some of the trees appeared to be of
great dimensions, others were tall and straight, branching only near the
top, and many, probably Melaleuca leucodendrum--were conspicuous from the
whiteness of their trunks. Large groves of cocoa-palms scattered about
from the water's edge to halfway up the hills, formed a pleasing break in
the sombre green of the forest scenery. The shores are either bordered
with mangroves with an occasional sandy beach, or clothed with the usual
jungle of the island.

As we advanced to the westward the reef gradually extended out from the
island with a short space inside, and this appearance continued for
several miles, until, upon the land trending away to the south-west, the
line of reef left it and ran out to the westward as far as the eye could
reach, in an apparently unbroken line of surf. This is Rossel Reef of the
charts along which we ran for* 35 miles, sounding occasionally, but
although within a mile of its edge, no bottom was got with upwards of 100
fathoms of line. From the masthead we could see the surf of the southern
border of this great reef, the space between being a lagoon of apparently
navigable water. At the western extremity of the reef there appeared to
be a clear opening, but the day was too far advanced to admit of entering
it to search for an anchorage, and the ship was hove to for the night.

(*Footnote. It extends 17 miles beyond the westernmost point of Rossel


Rossel Island, judging from the little we saw of it, appears to be well
inhabited. The first natives seen were a party of five men, apparently
naked, who came out upon the beach from a grove of coconut trees, and
stood gazing at the unusual sight to them of two vessels passing by.
Opposite a pretty creek-like harbour, the windings of which we could
trace back a little way among the hills, several canoes of various sizes
were seen, each with an outrigger on one side, and one of them furnished
with a large mat-sail of an oblong shape, rounded at the ends. The
people, of whom there were usually about six or seven in each canoe,
appeared to be engaged in fishing in the shoal water. One man in a very
small canoe was bailing it out with a large melon-shell so intently that
he appeared to take no notice whatever of the ship which passed within a
quarter of a mile of him. We saw many huts close to the beach, usually
three or four together, forming small villages. They appeared to be long
and low, resting on the ground, with an opening at each end, and an
arched roof thatched with palm-leaves. The most picturesque situations
were chosen for these hamlets in the shade of the coconut-trees, and
about them we could see numbers of children, but no women were made out,
and most of the men were fishing on the reef. At one place we observed
what appeared to be a portion of cultivated ground; a cleared sloping
bank above the shore exhibited a succession of small terraces, with a
bush-like plant growing in regular rows.

June 14th.

In the morning we found ourselves so far to leeward of the opening seen
last night, with a strong breeze and a considerable head sea, that the
attempt to work up for it was abandoned, and we kept away to the westward
to look for an anchorage.


We then ran along the northern side of Piron* Island, which is five miles
in length, and one and a half in breadth, of moderate elevation, and
sloping gently towards each extreme. It exhibits a range of low grassy
hills, with smooth rounded outline, a straggling belt of wood--often
mangroves--along the shore, patches of brush here and there in the
hollows, and on the hilltops, scattered along the ridge, a few solitary
tall bushy trees with silvery-looking foliage. The bright green of the
tall grass gave a pleasing aspect to the whole island, large tracts of
which appeared like fields of unripe grain. We saw few natives, the
opposite, or southern shore, being probably that chiefly inhabited. Close
approach to Piron Island was prevented by a second barrier reef, which we
followed to the North-North-West for several miles beyond the end of the
island, anxiously looking out for an opening into the fine expanse of
pale blue water seen to extend to the southward as far as the large
south-east island.** At length an opening in the reef was observed, and
the ship hauled off and hove to, while Lieutenant Yule examined it in one
of his boats.

(*Footnote. Piron was draughtsman to D'Entrecasteaux's Expedition.)

(**Footnote. This is 41 miles long, and 10 1/2 in greatest width.)


In the afternoon the Bramble having made the signal passage clear but
narrow, was directed to enter, and we followed her through a fine opening
400 yards wide, and were immediately in soundings, which 111 fathoms of
line had failed to procure only a short distance outside. After standing
on the southward for two miles we anchored in 15 fathoms water. The name
of Coral Haven was bestowed upon this new harbour. We remained here all
next day, during which the natives in their canoes came off to the
Bramble, and one or two of the boats away sounding, but would not venture
to approach the ship.

June 16th.

The ship was moved in one and a half miles to the southward, towards the
land, and anchored in ten fathoms, close to a reef covered at high-water,
and about a mile distant from a small bank of dead coral and sand; the
former of these was selected by Captain Stanley as the starting point of
the survey, and on the latter magnetical observations were made by
Lieutenant Dayman.


In the afternoon I took a passage in a boat sent with a party to Pig
Island--the name afterwards given to that nearest us--to search for
water, and endeavour to communicate with the natives. A party of eight
men, fishing upon the reef surrounding a small islet, allowed us to
approach within a short distance, but upon our attempting to leave the
boat they became alarmed and retreated to their canoe in which they
paddled off in great haste to a landing-place under a small village in
sight of the ship. This consisted of three or four long barn-like huts,
raised from the ground on posts. A large village was also seen on Joannet
Island, situated, like the other, on the brow of a hill in a commanding


Five of our party landed about half a mile from where the canoe had
disappeared, apparently in some creek of a mangrove swamp; while walking
along the muddy shore we were met by about a dozen natives, who gradually
fell back as we approached. Seeing them apparently afraid of our number
and weapons--they themselves being unarmed--I left my gun behind, and,
advancing alone, holding up a green branch in each hand, was allowed to
come up to them.


They were apparently in a state of great agitation, and very suspicious
of our intentions. The spokesman of the party was much lighter in colour
than the others, and I at first fancied he spoke some Malay dialect from
the similarity in sound and intonation of his words, nor was it until I
had used some of the commonest and least changeable Malay words--as those
meaning fire, water, etc.--without being understood, that I was convinced
of my mistake. Two others of our party were allowed to come up one by
one, and some trifling articles were exchanged for various ornaments.
Still they would not suffer anyone with a gun to approach, although
anxious to entice us singly and unarmed to their village towards which
they were gradually leading us, and where they could be reinforced by
another party, whom we saw watching us on the edge of the mangroves.

But it was not considered expedient to waste more time upon the natives,
so we turned back and walked along the eastern side of the island one and
a half miles, with the boat in company outside. A small stream of fresh
water was found, not sufficient, however, for our wants, nor was the
place suitable for the approach of boats. The rock on Pig Island, where
exposed at some of the points, is mica slate, soft and splintery in many
places, with frequent veins of quartz. The hills,* although often running
in ridges, have a rounded outline, and the soil on the smooth grassy
places--comprising three-fourths of the island--is composed of
disintegrated rock mixed with pieces of undecomposed quartz, any
considerable accumulation of vegetable mould being probably prevented by
the heavy rains. The grass is very luxuriant without being rank; it was
not known to me, for, unlike most of the other plants, I had not met with
it in Australia. Indeed the frequency of the coconut-palm was the only
non-Malayo-Australian feature in the vegetation. As no botanist had
previously visited the Louisiade, a few of the principal plants may be
mentioned. These are Guilandina bonduc, Tournefortia argentea, Morinda
citrifolia, Paritium tiliaceum, Casuarina equisetifolia, and Clerodendrum
inerme,* among the trees and shrubs, which were often overgrown with
Lygodium microphyllum, and Disemma coccinea. The only birds seen were the
sacred kingfisher, the sulphur-crested cockatoo, and the Australian crow.
The shells on the reef were all Australian likewise, but under some
decaying logs, on the beach, I found single species of Auricula,
Truncatella, Scarabus, and Melampus.

(*Footnote. The highest part of the island, measured up to the tops of
the trees, is 479 feet.)

(**Footnote. These are all common to Polynesia, the Indian Archipelago,
and tropical Australia.)

The men we saw today were dark copper coloured, with the exception of the
spokesman, whose skin was of a light-brownish yellow hue. The hair in
nearly all was frizzled out into a mop, in some instances of prodigious
size; the light-coloured man, however, had his head closely shaved.* The
physiognomy varied much; some had a savage, even ferocious aspect. The
nose was narrower and more prominent, the mouth smaller, the lips
thinner, the eyes more distant, the eyebrows less overhanging, the
forehead higher, but not broader, than in the Australian, with whom I
naturally compared them as the only dark savage race which I had seen
much of. They used the betel, or something like it, judging from the
effect in discolouring the teeth and giving a bloody appearance to the
saliva; each man carried his chewing materials in a small basket, the
lime, in fine powder, being contained in a neat calabash with a stopper,
and a carved piece of tortoise-shell like a paper-cutter was used to
convey it to the mouth.

(*Footnote. This allowed us to observe its contour, which was remarkable.
The forehead was narrow and receding, appearing as if artificially
flattened, thereby giving great prominence and width to the hinder part
of the skull. Altogether this man appeared so different from the rest,
that for some time he was supposed to belong to a different class of
people, but I afterwards often observed the same configuration of head
combined with dark coloured skin and diminutive stature.)

None had the artificial prominent scars on the body peculiar to the
Australians, or wanted any of the front teeth, but the septum of the nose
was perforated to admit an ornament of polished shell, pointed and
slightly turned up at each end. The lobe of the ear was slit, the hole
being either kept distended by a large plug of rolled-up leaf, apparently
of the banana, or hung with thin circular earrings made of the ground
down end of a cone-shell (Conus millepunctatus) one and a half inches in
diameter, with a central hole and a slit leading to the edge. A piece of
cloth-like substance, the dried leaf of the Pandanus or some palm was
used by all as a breech cloth--it passes between the legs and is secured
in front and behind to a narrow waist-band.


June 17th.

I formed one of the party in the second cutter, sent in command of
Lieutenant Simpson, on a similar mission to that of yesterday. As we
passed along the north side of Pig Island we saw small groups of natives
upon the grassy ridges watching the boat, and, upon our closely
approaching the north-west point of the island, one of them, whom we
recognised as our light-coloured acquaintance of yesterday, came running
down to the top of a bank inviting us by gestures to land.

Four of our party got on shore with difficulty after a long wade upon the
reef, up to the waist in water, but, on ascending the bank, the red man,
as we provisionally named him, retired to a small group of natives who
were coming up. Following them as they gradually fell back in the
direction of the village, in a short time the two foremost, Messrs.
Huxley and Brierly,* the latter having laid down his rifle, were allowed
to approach and parley. Meanwhile, Lieutenant Simpson and I remained
behind watching the natives who quickly surrounded the two others,
offering tortoise-shell, green plantains, and other things for barter,
and hustling them in no very ceremonious way while intent upon sketching,
and having to keep their subjects in good humour by treating them to
sundry scraps of extempore melodramatic performance. Newcomers were
continually making their appearance, and all the party were now suddenly
observed to have furnished themselves with spears, none of which had been
seen at first, and which had probably been concealed among the long grass
at the spot to which they had led us. These weapons are made of polished
coconut-wood, eight to ten feet long, sharp at each end, and beautifully
balanced, the thickest part being two-fifths of the distance from the
point; one end was usually ornamented with a narrow strip of palm leaf,
fluttering in the breeze like a pennon as usually carried. One man was
furnished with a two-edged carved and painted instrument like a sword.
Most of these people had their face daubed over with broad streaks of
charcoal down the centre and round the eyes. Occasionally variegated with
white, giving them a most forbidding aspect. At length a live pig was
brought down from the village, slung on a pole, and was purchased for a
knife and a handkerchief. This was a masterstroke of policy, as the
natives well knew that it would take two of us to bear off our prize to
the boat, thus rendering our little party less formidable.

(*Footnote. A talented marine artist who accompanied us upon this and the
preceding cruise, as Captain Stanley's guest.)


The number of men had been gradually increasing until it amounted to
about thirty, all with spears. They were also becoming more rude and
insolent in their behaviour, and seeing this I left my post on a hillock,
and joined Simpson to take part in the expected fray. The natives were
now evidently bent on mischief, and we fully expected they would not much
longer delay making an attack, with the advantage of a commanding
position on a hillock which we must descend to return to the boat. At
this crisis one of our party discovered that he had lost a pistol from
his belt, and attempted to recover it by showing another and making signs
evincing great anxiety to recover the lost weapon. On this there was a
general movement among the natives, who began drawing back into a
cluster, balancing their spears and talking to each other very earnestly.
It being evident that the pistol had been stolen, and not dropped
accidentally among the grass, it was also apparent that by attaching
undue importance to its loss our safety might be supposed to depend upon
its possession. We then slowly commenced our retreat, two in advance
carrying the pig, and the remainder covering the retreat. Being the last
of our party, as I slowly descended the hillock sideways, watching every
motion of what we might fairly consider as the enemy, with spare caps
between my teeth, and a couple of cartridges in one hand, I was in
momentary expectation of receiving a spear or two, which probably would
have been the case, had I stumbled or turned my back to them for a
moment. As we drew back along the ridge and dipped into the first hollow
a party of the natives detached themselves from the rest as if to come
round upon our flank, but this fortunately was formed by a steep ascent
covered with dense jungle which would have occupied them some time to get


Arriving at the bank above the boat, the pig-carriers with their burden
speedily reached the bottom, all three rolling down together. When they
were well clear we followed, keeping a sharp lookout behind in case of
any advantage being taken of our position. The boat had grounded upon the
reef with the falling tide, but with some difficulty was got afloat, when
we left the place.

After rounding the point we opened a large bay on the west side of the
island where we saw the mouth of a small stream pointed out by the
natives during our last interview, but, on approaching within 300 yards,
it was found that boats could not get any closer in at low-water, the
shore being everywhere fringed by a reef. This is the most beautiful and
sheltered portion of the island, well wooded, with a sandy beach, clumps
of coconut-trees, and a village of four or five huts. We landed on a
small islet connected with the south-west point of Pig Island by a reef,
and strolled about with our guns while the boat's crew were having their
dinners. Several Megapodii were seen and one was shot--it afterwards
proved to be the M. duperreyi, previously known as a native of Port Dorey
on the north-west coast of New Guinea. While holding on to the reef a
party of natives, apparently from Brierly Island, paddled up in a canoe,
and, after some hesitation at first, came alongside calling out
kelumai-kelumai, which we conjectured to be their word for iron. For a
few trifling articles we obtained a spear or two, and some cooked yams,
and parted good friends, after which we returned to the ship, having
completed the circuit of the island without finding a practicable


June 18th.

Five canoes came off this morning with seven or eight natives in each,
but apparently not with the intention of bartering, although they
remained for a short time near the Bramble; it was thought that some
allusions were made by them to the pistol stolen yesterday, but this did
not appear to be certain. After a while they crossed over to the ship,
and from a respectful distance--as if afraid to come closer--used many
violent gesticulations, talking vehemently all the while, and repeatedly
pointed to the break in the reef by which we had entered Coral Haven,
waving us off at the same time. Our red friend from Pig Island made
himself as conspicuous as on former occasions, and none shouted more
loudly or wished to attract more attention to himself. Unfortunately his
eloquence was quite thrown away upon us, nor had his threatening gestures
the desired effect of inducing us to leave the place and proceed to sea.


June 20th.

I returned to the ship after a short cruise in the pinnace sent away with
Lieutenant Simpson to ascertain whether a passage for the ship to the
eastward existed between Piron Island and South-east Island.
Independently of numerous detached coral patches, the channel was found
to be completely blocked up by a reef stretching across from one island
to the other, beyond which, separated by an extensive tract of shoal
water, a heavy surf was breaking on what is probably an outer barrier.
Many snakes were seen on the surface of the water, and large shoals of
skipjacks (Caranx) playing about in long extended lines occasionally
presented the appearance of a breaking reef. The fish were attended by
flocks of terns and noddies, the former the beautiful Sterna melanauchen.

June 21st.

Landed on the neighbouring Observation Reef, and spent some hours there
searching for shells, but nearly all were Torres Strait species. The reef
is margined with blocks of coral, but the centre is mostly smooth and
covered with sand part of which dries at low-water; the rise and fall,
ascertained by a tide-pole set up here, was only four feet.


I had a good opportunity of witnessing the mode of fishing with the seine
practised by the natives of the Louisiade. One of these nets, apparently
of the usual dimensions, measured 130 feet in length, with a depth of a
yard only. The upper border is supported, when in the water, by numerous
small thin triangular floats of light wood, and the lower margin is
strung with a series of perforated shells--chiefly single valves of Arca
scapha--serving as sinkers. The cordage is of a white colour, very light,
and neatly laid up, the meshes are an inch wide, and the centre of the
net ends in a purse-like bag. A party of eight men poled along the
shallow margin of the reef in their canoe, using the seine at intervals.
When a shoal of fish is seen, three men lay hold of the net and jump out
into the water--it is run out into a semicircle, the men at the extremes
moving onwards with one person in advance on each side splashing the
water with long poles and stones to drive the fish towards the centre.
The canoe now makes a sweep and comes up to the opening, when the net is
closed in upon it, and hauled inboard with its contents. This mode of
fishing would appear to be practised also at some of the islands of
Polynesia, for similar seines are exhibited in the ethnological gallery
of the British Museum from the Feejees and elsewhere. In addition to the
seine, we had occasionally observed in canoes alongside the ship a small
scoop-net with a very long handle, and once procured a fishing hook of
singular construction. This last is represented by the right hand figure
of the accompanying woodcut. It is seven inches in length, made of some
hard wood, with an arm four and a half inches long, turning up at a sharp
angle, and tipped with a slightly curved barb of tortoise-shell
projecting horizontally inwards an inch and a half.


During the afternoon one of the crew of a boat upon the reef, while
incautiously handling a frog-fish (Batrachus) which he had found under a
stone, received two punctures at the base of the thumb from the sharp
dorsal spines partially concealed by the skin. Immediately severe pain
was produced which quickly increased until it became intolerable, and the
man lay down and rolled about in agony. He was taken on board the ship in
a state of great weakness. The hand was considerably swollen, with the
pain shooting up the arm to the axilla, but the glands there did not
become affected. The pulse fell to as low as 40 beats in the minute, with
a constant desire to vomit. Large doses of opium in the course of time
afforded relief, but a fortnight elapsed before the man was again fit for


June 23rd.

I accompanied Mr. Brown, the master, who was sent to examine and report
upon a watering-place said to have been found a day or two ago on
South-east Island, about four miles north from the ship. We found the
coast thereabouts fringed with mangroves, a gap in which, margined by
forest trees, indicated the place which we were in search of. The
ebb-tide was scarcely beginning to make, yet a narrow band of shingle off
the entrance of the creek had barely water enough upon it to allow the
boat to cross. Beyond the bar we got into deep water, and after pulling
up for 300 yards found it only brackish. Our further progress, however,
was impeded by the narrowing of the creek, which besides was blocked up
with dead trees and some rocks in its bed a few yards ahead of us. The
fresh water being thus unattainable without much trouble, and the bar at
the entrance adding to the difficulty of watering the ship there, we
turned back to search elsewhere. While standing along shore to the
eastward, opposite an opening in the low hills behind the coast we
observed another breach in the mangroves backed by trees of a different
description, and thought it worthy of examination. Tacking inshore we
found a small bight, with shoal water, on a bank of mud extending right
across, beyond which the entrance of a creek fringed with mangroves was
discovered. Our hopes were still further raised, when, ascending about
200 yards, with a depth of two and three fathoms, the surface water was
found to be quite drinkable. While passing the entrance on our return a
great lizard, about five feet in length, rushed out from an adjacent
swamp across a narrow strip of sandy beach and plunged into the water
after receiving an ineffectual charge of small shot. The boat's crew
pronounced it confidently to have been a young alligator, but, although
in a very likely haunt for these animals, it was probably only a monitor.


We then crossed over to Round Island, small, uninhabited, 230 feet in
height, thickly covered with trees and underwood, and connected on the
eastern side with the reef running across to Piron Island. The rock here
is still mica slate, varying much in texture and composition, often
highly ferruginous; the strata run East-South-East and West-North-West
with a northerly dip of about 45 degrees.

June 24th.

In the course of the day no less than seven canoes with natives,
including several women and children, came off to the ship boldly and
without hesitation, as if confidence were now established. At one time we
had five canoes alongside, with a brisk and noisy traffic going on. The
people parted very readily with their weapons and ornaments, also
coconuts in abundance, and a few yams and bananas, for strips of calico
and pieces of iron hoop. Axes, however, were more prized than any other
article, and the exhibition of one was certain to produce great eagerness
to procure it, amidst much shouting and cries of kelumai! The purpose to
which they applied the iron hoop we found was to substitute it for the
pieces of a hard greenstone (nephrite) in the heads of their axes and
adzes. The one figured above represents the usual form of these
instruments. The V-shaped handle is a single piece of wood, and the
stone, previously ground down to a fine edge, is fixed in a cleft at the
end of the short arm, and firmly secured by cordage. This axe is usually
carried by being hooked over the left shoulder with the handle crossing
the breast diagonally.

Among our visitors today I noticed two who had large white patches on the
skin, as if caused by some leprous complaint--one man had lost his nose,
and in addition was affected with elephantiasis of the left foot.


After leaving us two of the canoes paddled up to the tide pole on the
neighbouring reef, and before a boat could reach them, the natives
managed to secure the pigs of iron ballast with which it was moored. They
communicated with two canoes, coming from the direction of Piron Island,
which soon afterwards came under the stern. As one of the stolen pigs was
seen partially concealed in the bow of one of the last comers the
jollyboat was manned to recover it, when the canoes left in great haste
with the boat in chase. As the boat approached a coconut was thrown
overboard from the canoe, as if to cause delay by stopping to pick it up,
but, the intended effect not being produced, the stolen ballast also was
thrown out, when the boat of course returned. By Captain Stanley's orders
two musket shots were fired over the canoes, while about 300 yards
distant, to show that although in fancied security they were still within
reach. The splash of the first bullet caused them to paddle off in great
haste, and, when they again stopped, a second shot, striking the water
beyond the canoes, sent them off to the shore at their utmost speed.


With a single exception, to be afterwards noticed, the canoes seen by us
in Coral Haven are of the following description. The usual length is
about twenty-five feet, and one of this size carries from seven to ten
people. The body is formed by the hollowed-out trunk of a tree, tapering
and rising at each end, short and rounded behind, but in front run out
into a long beak. A stout plank on each side raises the canoe a foot,
forming a gunwale secured by knees, the seam at the junction being payed
over with a black pitch-like substance. This gunwale is open at the
stern, the ends not being connected, but the bow is closed by a raised
end-board fancifully carved and painted in front of which a crest-like
wooden ornament fits into a groove running along the beak. This
figurehead, called tabura, is elaborately cut into various devices,
painted red and white, and decorated with white egg-shells and feathers
of the cassowary and bird of paradise. The bow and stern also are more or
less profusely ornamented with these shells, which besides are strung
about other parts of the canoe, usually in pairs. An outrigger extends
along nearly the whole length of the left or port side of the canoe. In
its construction there are employed from six to eight poles, two inches
in diameter, which rest against one side of the body of the canoe and are
secured there, then passing out through the opposite side about five
feet, inclining slightly upwards at the same time, are connected at the
ends by lashing to a long stout pole completing the strong framework
required for the support of the float. This last is a long and narrow log
of a soft and very light wood (probably a cotton tree) rising a little
and pointed at each end so as to offer the least possible resistance to
the water. Four sticks passing diagonally downwards from each of the
transverse poles are sunk into the float and firmly secure it. A strip of
the inner portion of the outrigger frame is converted into a platform by
long sticks laid lengthways close to each other--here the sails, masts,
poles, spears, and other articles are laid when not in use. The paddles
vary slightly in form but are usually about four feet in length, with a
slender handle and a pointed lance-shaped blade. The number of men able
to use the paddles is regulated in each canoe by that of supporting
outrigger poles, the end of each of which, in conjunction with one of the
knees supporting the gunwale, serves as a seat. One sitter at each end,
being clear of the outrigger, is able to use his paddle on either side as
requisite in steering, but the others paddle on the right or starboard
side only. The man seated at the stern closes with his body the opening
between the ends of the raised gunwale and thus keeps out the spray or
wash of the sea. Still they require to bail frequently, using for this
purpose the large shell of the Melo ethiopica. In calms and light airs
these canoes of Coral Haven may be overtaken without difficulty by a
fast-pulling ship's boat, but on going to windward with a moderate breeze
and a little head-sea they appeared to have the advantage. The sails are
from twelve to fifteen feet in length and a yard wide--made of coarse
matting of the leaf of the coconut-tree stretched between two slender
poles. The mast is stepped with an outward inclination into one of three
or four holes in a narrow shifting board in the bottom of the canoe, and
is secured near the top to a slender stick of similar length made fast to
the outside part of the outrigger; a second pole is then erected
stretching diagonally outwards and secured to the outer one near its
centre. Against the framework thus formed the sails are stuck up on end
side by side to the number of three or four, occasionally even five, and
kept in their places by long sticks placed transversely, their ends as
well as those of the mast being sharpened to serve as skewers which in
the first instance secure the sails. While under sail either the bow or
stern of the canoe may be foremost, this being regulated by the necessity
of having the outrigger on the weather side, unless in a very light wind.
From the sail being placed so far forward these canoes do not lay up
close to the wind, but when going free considerable speed may be


Among the canoes which visited the ship one was of a quite different
construction from the rest and resembled some of those which we had seen
while passing along the northern side of Rossel Island. It contained
seven men, and came from the eastward--probably from Piron Island. The
body of a canoe of this class is formed like the other, or more common
kind, of the hollowed out trunk of a large tree, tapering to a point and
rising slightly at the ends, which, however, are alike and covered over
by a close-fitting piece of wood, each end being thus converted into a
hollow cone. The sides are raised by a plank two feet high and end-boards
forming a kind of long box, with the seams pitched over. One side is
provided with an outrigger similar to that already described, and on the
other is a small stage, level with the gunwale, six feet long, planked
over, and projecting four feet or thereabouts. The mast is a standing one
stepped into a board in the bottom--it is lashed to a stout transverse
pole, and is further supported by two fore and aft stays. The halyards
reeve through a hole in a projecting arm a foot long at the masthead. But
the sail forms the most curious feature in the whole affair.* It measures
about fifteen feet in width by eight in depth and is made of rather fine
matting stretched between two yards and rounded at the sides. The sail
when not in use is rolled up and laid along the platform--when hoisted it
stretches obliquely upwards across the mast, confined by the stays, with
the lower and foremost corner resting on the stage and the tack secured
to the foot of the mast. Both ends being alike, the mast central, and the
sail large and manageable, a canoe of this description is well adapted
for working to windward. Tacking is simply and expeditiously performed by
letting go the tack, hauling upon the sheet, and converting one into the
other. The large steering paddles are eight or nine feet long, with an
oblong rounded blade of half that length.

(*Footnote. The annexed illustration represents this kind of sail--it was
not however taken from the canoe in question, but on a subsequent
occasion, and at another part of the Louisiade Archipelago.)


June 26th.

Yesterday afternoon the Rattlesnake was removed to the neighbourhood of
the proposed watering-place on South-east Island, and anchored in
seventeen fathoms, mud, a mile off shore. Soon after daylight I
accompanied Captain Stanley and a party in two boats to ascend the
neighbouring creek and determine whether a practicable watering-place
existed there. For several hundred yards above the entrance we found the
channel preserving a nearly uniform width of about fifteen yards, with
low muddy shores covered with mangroves, some of which attained the
unusual dimensions of 60 to 80 feet in height, with a circumference at
the base of 6 to 8 feet.


To this succeeded during our upward progress a low bank of red clay
backed by rising ground and tangled brush, with very large trees at
intervals, and others arching over the stream, their branches nearly
touching the water. Gigantic climbers hung down in long festoons passing
from branch to branch, and the more aged trunks supported clumps of ferns
and parasitical plants. Here and there an areca palm shot up its slender
stem surmounted by a cluster of pale-green feathery leaves, or the
attention was arrested for a moment by a magnificent pandanus--its trunk
raised high above the ground by the enormous supporting root-like
shoots--or some graceful tree-fern with dark widely-spreading foliage
exceeding in delicacy the finest lace.

Meanwhile the creek had slightly narrowed, the dead trees in the water
became more frequent and troublesome, and the thickets on the banks
encroached more and more upon the channel so as not to allow room for the
oars to pass, obliging the men to use them as poles. At every turn in the
windings of the stream (still too brackish to be fit to drink) some
beautiful glimpse of jungle scenery presented itself as we passed
upwards--long vistas and stray bursts of sunshine alternating with the
gloomy shadows of the surrounding woods. A deep silence pervaded the
banks of this water never before visited by civilised man. Its monotony
broken only by the occasional brief word of command, the splash of the
oars, or the shrill notes of some passing flights of parrots. The river,
for now it might fairly be called one, retained the same character until
we had gone up about a mile, when further progress was stopped by a ridge
of rocks stretching across from side to side marking the limits of the
tidal influence. Over this the rush of fresh water formed a strong rapid
backed by a deep, sluggish, winding stream, draining a large basin-like
valley bounded behind by the central ridge of the island, the principal
hills of which attain an elevation of from 992 to 1,421 feet, and one,
Mount Rattlesnake, is 2,689 feet in height. At times the body of water
discharged here must be immense, judging from the quantity of driftwood
and other detritus lodged in the trees twelve feet above the present
level of the stream, probably during the inundations of the rainy season.
These floods must also spread over the low land on the margin of the
river to a considerable distance, the deep red clay there, evidently the
washings of the hills, bearing the marks of having been under water. The
jungle in places is very dense, but, with the exercise of a little
patience and labour, it can be penetrated at almost every point. On
rising ground it is often bordered by a thicket of creeping and climbing
plants mixed up with bushes and patches of Hellenia coerulea. The low
wooded hills are covered with tall grass growing on very poor soil--of
partially decomposed mica-slate with lumps of quartz.

It being considered practicable to water the ship at this place, we
returned on board. In the afternoon the first load of water was brought
off, and in the course of the week we procured 78 tons with less trouble
than had been anticipated. I afterwards repeatedly visited the
watering-creek, and a brief account of the productions of its
neighbourhood may here be given as a popular contribution to the natural
history of the little-known Louisiade Archipelago.

The rock is scarcely ever exposed on the banks of the river except at the
rapid before alluded to. Though still mica-slate, it is there of much
greater hardness and denser texture than on Pig and Round Islands, and
stretches across the stream like a dyke, running nearly north and south
with a westerly dip of about 60 degrees. Elsewhere, along the shores of
Coral Haven, this mica-slate is of a leaden hue and glistening lustre,
yielding to the nail, with a slight greasy feel, especially in some
pieces of a shining ash-grey, acted upon by salt-water. From hand
specimens alone it is difficult to assign a name to this rock, as it
partakes more or less of the characters of mica, chlorite, and


Among the botanical productions Nepenthes destillatoria, the famous
pitcher-plant of the East, deserves mention. It grows abundantly among
the tall grass on the skirts of the jungle, and the pitchers invariably
contained a small quantity of limpid fluid of a slightly sweetish taste,
with small insects floating on its surface. The finest of the tree-ferns
(Hemitelium) grew alone near the watering-place, and was cut down to
furnish specimens. The trunk measured fifteen feet in height, with a
diameter at the base of eight inches.


No mammalia were procured on South-east Island--indeed the only one seen
was a flying-squirrel which I caught a glimpse of one evening at the
river-mouth as it sprung off among the mangroves from the summit of a
dead tree--it appeared to be of the size of an ordinary rat, and was
probably a Petaurus. Wild pigs must be very numerous--as indicated by
fresh marks where they had been wallowing in the beds of the ditch-like
rivulets, their footprints everywhere, and well-beaten tracks through the
jungle. But none of the animals themselves, probably from their extreme
shyness and partially nocturnal habits, were ever encountered by our
shooting parties. I was afterwards informed by Mr. Inskip that while in
the Bramble, in the neighbourhood of Conde Peninsula, a native in a canoe
alongside having his attention directed to a very large boar's tusk which
he wore as an ornament, described, by pantomimic gestures, that the
animal had cost much trouble in killing it, having repeatedly charged
him, and received no less than eight spear wounds before it fell.

Birds were plentiful, but owing to the difficulty of seeing them among
the thick foliage, few, comparatively, were shot. The most interesting
specimen procured was one of a very handsome scarlet Lory, closely allied
to Lorius domicellus, a bird widely spread over the Indian Archipelago.
It was usually seen in small flocks passing over the tops of the trees,
uttering a loud sharp scream at intervals. Another parakeet, not so big
as a sparrow, of a green colour, was sometimes seen in flocks, but we
could not succeed in getting one. The Torres Strait and Nicobar pigeons,
also Duperrey's Megapodius were common enough, as well as many other
birds, twelve species of which are also found in Australia--a most
unlooked-for occurrence.

No snakes were seen during our rambles, but small lizards occurred
everywhere. A large lizard, apparently Monitor gouldii, was shot from a
tree on the banks of the river.


Although not troubled by mosquitoes, such of us as strolled about much in
the bush were sadly tormented by sandflies--a minute two-winged insect
whose bite raises a small swelling followed by much itching. On going to
bed one night, I counted no less than sixty-three of these marks on my
left leg from the ankle to halfway up the thigh, and the right one was
equally studded with angry red pimples. Among many kinds of ants I may
mention the green one, which is found chiefly on trees and bushes, of the
leaves of which it makes its nest. Should one unconsciously disturb them
by getting entangled among the branches in the neighbourhood of a nest,
he may expect a whole swarm upon him before he can extricate himself, and
is first made aware of their presence by feeling sharp stinging pains in
various places, especially the neck, caused by their bites. A small
firefly (a species of Lampyris) is plentiful, showing out at night like a
twinkling phosphorescent spark, slowly flitting about from tree to tree
or resting on the leaves wet with dew. Nor must I omit a very splendid
day-flying moth (Cocytia durvillei) which is common on the skirts of the
woods and thickets; several even came on board the ship at various times.

Very few fish were caught at this anchorage, but on the mudflat at the
mouth of the creek, shoals of mullet and guard-fish were seen daily. In
the fresh water I observed several small species of Cyprinidae rising at
flies, but, not being provided with the requisite tackle, none were


The muddy mangrove-covered banks of the lower part of the creek furnished
the collection with an Auricula and a very fine Cyrena, apparently the
same as the Australian and New Guinea C. cyprinoides. Many freshwater
shells were found in the neighbourhood of the watering-place--three kinds
of Melania, a Mytilus, a Navicella, and five species of Neritina--but
most of these have been already described as inhabitants of the Feejee
Islands and other places in Polynesia, and elsewhere. One might
reasonably have anticipated a rich harvest of land-shells in the damp
forests of South-east Island, yet diligent search on the trunks of the
trees and among the dead leaves about their roots produced only four
species, all of which however are new. The finest of these is a Pupina,
the giant of its race, of a glossy reddish pink colour with red mouth.


During our stay here the ship was daily visited by canoes from Pig Island
and its vicinity, also from a village or two on South-east Island, a few
miles to the eastward of our anchorage. They usually made their
appearance in the morning and remained for an hour or so, bartering
coconuts, yams, ornaments and weapons for iron hoop, knives, and axes.
After leaving us, those coming from the eastward, as the wind was
unfavourable for their return, landed at the mouth of the creek and
waited for the floodtide. Our intercourse throughout was peaceful, which
was fortunate for both parties, for, if inclined to be hostile, the
natives might frequently have attacked our watering-boats while passing
up and down the river, impeded occasionally by dead trees and shoals,
with a dense forest on each side. Latterly, however, as if suspicious of
our intentions or tired of our protracted stay, they fired the grass on
the hill at the entrance of the creek, possibly to deter us from
entering. Still we thought this might have been done without reference to
us, but afterwards two or three men with spears were seen by passing
boats skulking along the banks of the river on their way to the rapid,
where they again set fire to the grass as if to smoke us out or prevent
our return. But the grassy tracts along the tops of the low hills in the
vicinity being intersected by lines and patches of brush the fire did not
extend far, as had also been the case lower down, so caused us no

Among our numerous visitors we occasionally saw a woman or two, but none
were favourable specimens of their kind. Unlike the men, whose only
covering was the breech-cloth formerly described, the women wore a short
petticoat of grass-like stuff, probably the pandanus leaf divided into
fine shreds--worked into a narrow band which ties round the waist. They
usually, when alongside the ship, held a small piece of matting over the
head with one hand, either to protect them from the sun or partially to
secure themselves from observation, as in their manners they were much
more reserved than the men.


At Coral Haven we have already seen considerable variety displayed in the
various styles of painting the body. Pounded charcoal mixed up with
coconut oil, and lime obtained from burnt shells similarly treated, are
the pigments made use of. The most common fashion of painting is with a
broad streak down the forehead, and a circle round each eye. Occasionally
the entire body is blackened, but often the face only--with daubs of
paint on the temples, cheek, and round the mouth and one or both eyes,
rendering a forbidding countenance inexpressibly hideous in our sight.


The ornaments worn by these savages are very numerous, besides which they
are fond of decorating the person with flowers and strong-scented plants.
In what may be considered as full dress, with the face and body painted,
they are often decked out with large white cowries appended to their
waist, elbows and ankles, together with streamers of pandanus leaf. Among
many kinds of bracelets or armlets the most common is a broad woven one
of grass, fitting very tightly on the upper arm. There are others of
shell--one solid, formed by grinding down a large shell (Trochus
niloticus) so as to obtain a well polished transverse section, and
another in two or three pieces tied together, making a round smooth ring;
of the former of these five or six are sometimes worn on one arm. But the
most curious bracelet, and by no means an uncommon one, is that made of a
human lower jaw with one or more collar bones closing the upper side
crossing from one angle to the other. Whether these are the jaws of
former friends or enemies we had no means of ascertaining; no great value
appeared to be attached to them; and it was observed, as a curious
circumstance, that none of these jaws had the teeth discoloured by the
practice of betel chewing.

We procured various sorts of necklaces--strings of shells, black seeds,
and dogs' teeth. As the canine teeth alone are used in making one of the
last description, the number of dogs required to complete a single
necklace must be considerable. A round thin, concave piece of shell (Melo
ethiopica) with a central black portion, is often worn suspended by a
string round the neck, and similar ornaments, but much smaller, are
attached to the hips and elbows. The long nose-stick of shell is only
occasionally worn, although everyone, of either sex, has the septum of
the nose pierced for its reception--an operation most likely performed
during infancy, as I once saw that it had been done to a child about a
year old.

Nearly all the men carried in their hair a comb projecting in front or on
one side. This article is usually made of wood, but occasionally of
tortoise-shell, a foot in length, thin, flat, and narrow, with about six
very long, slightly diverging, needle-shaped teeth, but it admits of much
variety of size and shape, and frequently has various ornaments attached
to it. The spatula used by betel chewers to introduce the lime to the
mouth, although often made of tortoise-shell and resembling that figured
above, is more commonly made of coconut-wood, with a massive handle,
deeply divided by a slit, and when struck upon the knee it is made to
produce a loud clicking noise like that of castanets.


Leave Coral Haven.
Brierly Island.
Communication with the Natives.
Description of their Huts.
Bartering for Yams and Cocoa-nuts.
Suspicious conduct of the Natives.
They attack the Surveying Boats.
Calvados Group.
Further communication with the Inhabitants.
Stay at Duchateau Islands.
Their Productions.
Proceedings there.
Duperre Islands.
Unable to find Anchorage.
Pass out to Sea, and proceed to the Westward.
Western termination of the Louisiade Archipelago.
Reach the Coast of New Guinea.

July 2nd.

The Bramble having returned from an exploration to the westward with the
report that there was a passage out of Coral Haven in that direction, the
ship left her anchorage off the watering-place this morning, with boats
ahead and on each side of her, repeating the soundings by signal; she ran
along the land to the westward seven or eight miles, passed between Pig
and South-east Islands, rounded the north-west end of the latter, stood
between it and Joannet Island to the West-South-West for about five
miles, and anchored early in the forenoon in 15 fathoms, water, under a
small detached reef and dry sandbank. Several very fine red snappers were
caught with hook and line soon after anchoring, and smaller fish of many
kinds were caught in abundance--they were mostly species of Pentapus,
Diacope, and Mesoprion.


While passing a small island--afterwards named in honour of Mr.
Brierly--distant from our anchorage about two miles North-west by West,
several women and dogs were seen on shore, and soon afterwards two
canoes, which had followed us from the anchorage, were seen to put in
there. In the afternoon two boats were sent to this island, to
communicate with the natives, and search for an anchorage near it.


We landed upon a sandy beach, after wading over the fringing reef, and
were met by some natives who had come round a neighbouring point from the
windward or inhabited side. Although at first cautious of approach, yet
in the course of a few minutes they came freely about us to the number of
twenty, each carrying two or three spears--not the beautifully polished
and well-balanced ones we had seen elsewhere, but merely slender,
rudely-fashioned sticks sharpened at each end. About twelve women,
dressed in the usual petticoat of grass-like stuff, followed at a
distance, and kept close to the point for some time; but at length the
natural curiosity of the sex (I suppose) overcame their fear, and
although repeatedly ordered back by the men, they drew up closer and
closer to have a peep at the strangers. Two of the youngest and most
attractive of these ladies advanced to within twenty yards, and received
with much apparent delight, and a great deal of capering and dancing
about on the sand, some strips of a gaudy handkerchief conveyed to them
by a lad decorated with streamers of pandanus leaf at the elbows and
wrists--evidently the Adonis of the party. Some of the men had formerly
been off to the ship, and one or two carried axes of the usual form, but
headed with pieces of our iron hoop, neatly ground to a fine edge. A few
coconuts were given us for a knife or two, and we saw their mode of
climbing for them, which one man did with the agility of a monkey,
ascending first by a few notches, made years ago, afterwards by clasping
the trunk with his arms, arching his body with the feet against the tree,
and then walking up precisely in the mode of the Torres Strait Islanders.
Like these last people too, they open the nut with a sharp stick, and use
a shell (a piece of mother-of-pearl oyster) for scraping out the pulp.
After a stay of half an hour we returned to the boat leaving the natives
in good humour. Our search for a safe anchorage for the ship was
unsuccessful, so we returned on board.

July 3rd.

After the good understanding which appeared to have been established
yesterday, I was rather surprised at observing the suspicious manner in
which we were received today by the people on Brierly Island. In two
boats we went round to a small sandy point on the northern side of the
island where seven or eight canoes were hauled up on the beach, but some
time elapsed before any of the natives came close up--even to a single
unarmed man of our party who waded ashore--the others remaining in the
boats--although tempted by the display of pieces of iron hoop and strips
of calico. One of the natives, carrying a wooden sword, and apparently a
leading man among them, made some signs and used gesticulations
expressive of sleep or death with reference to a part of Joannet Island
which he repeatedly pointed to. This we could not understand.* After a
certain degree of confidence had been restored, five or six of us
remained on shore, and great harmony appeared to prevail throughout the
combined party. In one place the sergeant of marines was seated on the
sand with a ring of people round him whom he was drilling into the mode
of singing a Port Essington aboriginal song, occasionally rising to vary
his lesson with a dance--in another, a group of natives were being
initiated in the mysteries of the Jew's harp, or kept amused by the
performance of various antics. Mr. Huxley as usual, was at work with his
sketch-book, and I employed myself in procuring words for an incipient
vocabulary. My principal informant was called Wadai, a little withered
old man with shaved head, on which someone had stuck a red night-cap
which greatly took his fancy. Not being of so volatile a nature as the
others he remained patiently with me for half an hour.

(*Footnote. Although not understood at the time, he referred to an affray
between two boats detached from the ship on surveying service and some
Joannet Island canoes, which had occurred only a few hours before at the
place indicated; of this we had not yet heard, but the news had reached
Brierly Island, and occasioned our strange reception. This is a
remarkable instance of the rapidity with which intelligence may be
conveyed from one island to another.)


He showed me the mode of using the betel, which, as practised by these
people has this peculiarity, that the leaf of the siri or betel pepper is
not employed, as is universally the case among the Malays. A small
portion of the green betelnut (the fruit of the Areca catechu) which here
curiously enough is named ereka--is broken off with the teeth and placed
in the mouth; then the spatula, formerly described, moistened with
saliva, is dipped into a small calabash of lime in fine powder, with
which the tongue and lips are smeared over by repeated applications. The
bolus is then kept in the mouth, and rolled over and over until it is
thought requisite to renew it. The practice of betel chewing is not
confined to the men, for the few women whom we had seen alongside the
ship in Coral Haven, had their teeth blackened by it.

One of the natives seen today exhibited a remarkable case of malformation
of the teeth. The lower incisors were wanting, and the upper ones had
coalesced and grown downwards and outwards, forming an irregular dark
protruding mass which I at first took to be a quid of betel. Another man
with a diseased leg had lost one hand at the wrist, and the long
shrivelled arm presented a curious appearance.

Several dogs were also seen close to, for the first time--they were
wretched half-starved objects of various colours, but agreed in being
long-bodied, short-legged, and prick-eared, with sharp snout and long
tail, slightly bushy, but tapering to a point. They do not bark, but have
the long melancholy howl of the dingo or wild dog of Australia.


At length some of us found our way to the huts of the natives which were
close at hand, and had thus an opportunity of examining one of them
minutely, besides verifying what we had before seen only from a distance,
and with the aid of the telescope. The distinctive characters of these
huts consist in their being long and tunnel-like, drooping and
overhanging at each end, raised from the ground upon posts, and thatched
over. The four huts composing the village were placed in two adjacent
clearings, fifty or sixty yards in length, screened from the beach by a
belt of small trees and brushwood, behind is the usual jungle of the
wooded islands of the Archipelago, with a path leading through it towards
the centre of the island. A solitary hut stood perched upon the ridge
near the summit shaded by cocoa-palms, and partially hid among the bushes
and tall grass. It differed from those of the village in having the posts
projecting through the roof, but whether used as a dwelling or not, is a
matter of conjecture. It may possibly have been used for the reception of
the dead. In the village an approximate measurement gave thirty feet as
the length, nine the breadth, and thirteen the height in centre of one of
these huts--the one figured in the accompanying plate; the annexed
woodcut gives an end view of another. All four were built upon exactly
the same plan. The supporting posts are four in number, and raise the
floor about four and a half feet from the ground, leaving a clear space
beneath. Before entering the body of the hut each post passes through an
oval disc of wood, a foot and a half in diameter, the object of which is
probably to prevent the ingress into the dwelling of snakes, rats, or
other vermin, most likely the Mus indicus, with which all the islands to
the westward are overrun. To the stout uprights are lashed transverse
bars supporting three long parallel timbers running the whole length of
the floor; on these seven or eight transverse poles are laid, crossed by
about a dozen longitudinal and slighter ones, on which a flooring of long
strips of the outer wood of the coconut-tree is laid across. After
penetrating the floor, the main posts rise five feet higher, where they
are connected at top by others as tie-beams, which cross them, and
project a little further to sustain the two lateral of the five
longitudinal supports of the roof, which, at the gable ends, are further
secured by other tie-beams. On the two central cross-bars also is laid a
platform running one half the length of the hut, floored on one side,
forming a partial upper story, with a space of three feet between it and
the ceiling. The sides and roof are formed of slender poles or rafters
arching over from side to side, secured by lashings of rattan to five
poles running lengthways; the whole forming a strong framework thatched
over with coarse grass pulled up by the roots in large tufts, with a few
cocoa-palm leaves laid over all. The lower part of the sides and upper
portion of the ends under the overhanging gables are formed by strips of
coarse matting. There are usually entrances at both ends, and the centre
of one side, closed by a flap of matting finer than the rest. Opposite
each door an inclined beam--one end of which rests on the ground, and the
other leans against the fork of a short upright post--serves as a step
for mounting by.

Near these huts were several large sheds, open at one side, where the
cooking is performed--judging from the remains of fires under them. On
two small stages, planked over, we saw a number of thin and neatly carved
earthen pots, blackened with smoke; these are usually a foot in diameter,
but one was as much as eighteen inches. I was struck with a feature
exhibiting the cleanly habits of these savages, from whom in this respect
the inhabitants of many villages in the mother country might take a
lesson--it consisted in the well swept ground, where not a stray stone or
leaf was suffered to remain, and the absence about the dwellings of
everything offensive to the smell or sight.


I could not help contrasting the condition of these people with that of
the Australian blacks, a considerable portion of whose time, at certain
periods of the year, is spent in shifting about from place to place,
searching for food, living from hand to mouth, and leading a hard and
precarious life. But here, on this little island, the coconut-tree alone
would be sufficient to supply many of the principal wants of man. The
fruit serves both for food and drink--the shell is used to carry about
water in*--the fibres of the husk are converted into cordage, and the
leaves into matting, while the wood is fashioned into spears and other
useful articles. The cultivation of bananas and yams--of the latter of
which, and of two other edible roots, we saw large quantities in the
huts--costs him very little trouble--he occasionally keeps a few pigs,
and when inclined, can always catch plenty of fish, and occasionally a
turtle upon the reefs at low-water.

(*Footnote. Some of these are represented in the preceding woodcut--the
hole in the top is usually plugged with a portion of banana leaf.)

Before leaving the beach I presented old Wadai with an axe, as a
recompense for his civility. The poor man looked quite bewildered at his
unexpected good fortune, and for a little while was quite speechless--not
understanding the nature of a gift, or being taken with a sudden fit of
generosity, he afterwards waded out to the boat with some coconuts to
give me in return.


July 4th.

The first cutter was sent to Brierly Island today, for the double purpose
of endeavouring to procure yams from the natives for the use of the
ship's company, and enabling me to make additions to my vocabulary and
collection. Mr. Brady took charge of the bartering, and drawing a number
of lines upon the sandy beach, explained that when each was covered with
a yam he would give an axe in return. At first some little difficulty
occurred as the yams were brought down very slowly--two or three at a
time--but at length the first batch was completed and the axe handed
over. The man who got it--the sword-bearer of yesterday--had been
trembling with anxiety for some time back, holding Mr. Brady by the arm
and watching the promised axe with eager eye. When he obtained possession
of it he became quite wild with joy, laughing and screaming, and
flourishing the axe over his head. After this commencement the bartering
went on briskly amidst a good deal of uproar, the men passing between the
village and the beach at full speed, with basketfuls of yams, and too
intent upon getting the kiram kelumai (iron-axes) to think of anything
else. Meanwhile Mr. Huxley and myself walked about unheeded by almost
anyone. The women kept themselves in the bush at a little distance,
making a great noise, but avoided showing themselves. Occasionally we
caught a glimpse of these sable damsels, but only one female came near
us--a meagre old woman who darted past with an axe in her hand, and
sprang up into one of the huts like a harlequin, showing at the same time
more of her long shrivelled shanks than was strictly decorous. Besides
the usual petticoat reaching to the knee, made of a grass or some
leaf--perhaps of the pandanus--cut into long shreds, this dame wore a
somewhat similar article round the neck, hanging over the breast and
shoulders, leaving the arms free. An axe was offered to one of the men,
who had previously sat for his portrait, to induce him to bring the woman
to Mr. Huxley, who was anxious to get a sketch of a female, but in spite
of the strong inducement we did not succeed, and any further notice taken
of the woman seemed to give offence. While wandering about the place we
came upon a path leading into the adjacent brush, but blocked up by some
coconut leaves recently thrown across. This led past an enclosure of
about three quarters of an acre, neatly and strongly fenced in, probably
used as a pen for keeping pigs in, judging from the absence of anything
like cultivation, and the trodden-down appearance, apparently made by
these animals, a jaw-bone of one of which was picked up close by.


At length the natives appeared anxious to get rid of us, after obtaining
about seventeen axes and a few knives, in return for 368 pounds of yams,
which cost us little more than a halfpenny per pound. After wading out to
the boat, the natives assisted in shoving her off, and when we had got
well clear of the beach, they treated us to what might have been one of
their dances, dividing into two parties, and with wild pantomimic
gesture, advancing and retiring, and going through the motion of throwing
the spear, with one or two of which each was provided.


Even during the height of the bartering very few of the natives had laid
aside their weapons, and it was evident that they were influenced by no
very friendly feeling towards us, and were glad to be relieved of our
presence. They had latterly become more noisy than usual, and even
insolent, and I believe that had we stayed a little longer, hostilities
would have commenced, as they probably regarded our forbearance to be the
result of fear.

We landed on the opposite side of the island to give me an opportunity of
procuring some specimens, as it was judged that our shooting there would
not annoy the inhabitants. The boat remained off at anchor while some of
us strolled along the beach, getting an occasional shot. Birds however
were few. Among those seen were the fishing-eagle, osprey, and two
smaller birds--all Australian. On the slope behind the beach we saw for
the first time signs of cultivation--in a small plantation of bananas and
yams. There was no fence, but the ground had been partially cleared,
leaving the stumps of the smaller trees and shrubs as posts for the yam
plants (a Dioscorea with broad heart-shaped leaves) to train themselves
upon. After a stay of nearly an hour, we were moving down towards the
boat, when the natives made their appearance round the point, coming up
in straggling order. One in advance of the rest came along at a rapid
pace with his spear poised, and pointed it at the nearest of our party,
when within a few yards of him, with what intention I do not presume to
say--but the natives were evidently in a state of great excitement. As
they might erroneously have supposed that we had been making free with
their coconuts and yams, some grass which had been cut for the sheep on
board was taken out of the bag and shown them as being intended for our
bobo (pigs)--which they appeared to understand. The one among them who
had yesterday made the allusion to Joannet Island pointed to our guns,
talking at the same time with great energy, and making signs as if
wishing to see the use of a weapon of whose wonderful effects he had
lately heard. As many swallows were flying about, I told Wilcox--probably
the best shot of the party--to shoot one, which was done cleverly, and
the bird fell at our feet. The indications of surprise were not so great
as I expected to have seen exhibited, but after several more shots had
been fired, some with ball along the water, a few of the natives began to
show signs of uneasiness and sneaked away. Old Wadai, however (perhaps
feeling perfectly secure under the shelter of his perfect insignificance)
and one or two others sat down under a tree beside us, apparently
unconcerned, and some of the rest remained on the beach until after our

We did not afterwards land upon Brierly Island, so I may conclude with a
short description. It is not more than half a mile in length, with a
central ridge attaining the height of 347 feet, and sloping downwards at
each end. It is well wooded with low trees and brushwood, and mixed up
with them there is a profusion of cocoa-palms scattered about in clumps,
from the margin of the beach to the shoulders of the hill; long coarse
grass, at this time of a beautiful light green tint, covered the
remainder. The usual fringing coral reef surrounds the island, running
off to a great distance in one direction. The greater part of the shore
and the projecting points are rocky (where the soft splintery mica slate
has been exposed) with occasional sandy beaches. We saw no fresh water,
but the declivities here and there showed deep furrows in the red clayey
soil, the effects of torrents after heavy rains.


Today and yesterday I obtained in all about 130 words of the language of
the Brierly Island people. The small vocabulary thus formed, the first
ever obtained in the Louisiade Archipelago, leads to some interesting
results, and fills up one of the gaps in the chain of philological
affinities which may afterwards be brought to bear upon the perplexing
question--Whence has Australia been peopled? Taking the numerals as
affording in the present instance the most convenient materials for hasty
comparison, I find words in common--not only with those of other
divisions of the Pelagian Negroes,* as the inhabitants of the north coast
of New Guinea on the one hand, and New Ireland on the other, but also
with the Malay and the various Polynesian languages or dialects spoken
from New Zealand to Tahiti.** This latter affinity between the woolly and
straight-haired sections of oceanic blacks appears to me to render it
more curious and unexpected that the language of the Louisiade should
completely differ from that of the northern part of Torres Strait,*** the
inhabitants of both being connected by strong general similarity and
occasionally identity in manners and customs, and having many physical
characteristics common to both. Yet while the natives of the Louisiade
use the decimal system of the Malays and Polynesians, the Torres Strait
islanders have simple words to express the numerals one and two only,
while three is represented by a compound.****

(*Footnote. Natural History of Man by J.C. Prichard, M.D. 2nd edition
page 326.)

(**Footnote. D'Urville's Voyage de l'Astrolabe Philologie tome 2.)

(***Footnote. Jukes' Voyage of the Fly volume 2 page 274.)

(****Footnote. These remarks I give as written in my journal, with the
sole exception of the term Pelagian Negroes. The reader is referred to
Dr. Latham's observations on my Vocabularies in the Appendix to this


July 6th.

Lieutenants Dayman and Simpson, with the pinnace and second galley,
returned to the ship after an absence of several days. On the morning of
the 4th, after having spent the night at anchor in one of the bays on the
south side of Joannet Island, they were attacked by the natives under the
following circumstances: In the grey of the morning the lookouts reported
the approach of three canoes, with about ten men in each. On two or three
persons showing themselves in the bow of the pinnace in front of the
rain-awning, the natives ceased paddling, as if baulked in their design
of surprising the large boat, but, after a short consultation, they came
alongside in their usual noisy manner. After a stay of about five minutes
only they pushed off to the galley, and some more sham bartering was
attempted, but they had nothing to give in exchange for the kelumai so
much coveted. In a short time the rudeness and overbearing insolence of
the natives had risen to a pitch which left no doubt of their hostile
intentions. The anchor was got up, when some of the blacks seized the
painter, and others in trying to capsize the boat brought the gunwale
down to the water's edge, at the same time grappling with the men to pull
them out, and dragging the galley inshore towards the shoal water. The
bowman, with the anchor in his hand, was struck on the head with a
stone-headed axe, the blow was repeated, but fortunately took effect only
on the wash-streak; another of the crew was struck at with a similar
weapon, but warded off the blow, although held fast by one arm, when,
just as the savage was making another stroke, Lieutenant Dayman, who
until now had excercised the utmost forbearance, fired at him with a
musket. The man did not drop although wounded in the thigh; but even
this, unquestionably their first experience of firearms, did not
intimidate the natives, one of whom, standing on a block of coral, threw
a spear which passed across the breast of one of the boat's crew and
lodged in the bend of one arm, opening the vein. They raised a loud shout
when the spear was seen to take effect, and threw several others which
missed. Lieutenant Simpson, who had been watching what was going on then
fired from the pinnace with buckshot and struck them, when, finding that
the large boat, although at anchor, could assist the smaller one, the
canoes were paddled inshore in great haste and confusion. Some more
musket shots were fired, and the galley went in chase endeavouring to
turn the canoes, so as to bring them under the fire of the pinnace's
12-pounder howitzer, which was speedily mounted and fired. The shot
either struck one of the canoes or went within a few inches of the mark,
on which the natives instantly jumped overboard into the shallow water,
making for the mangroves, which they succeeded in reaching, dragging
their canoes with them. Two rounds of grape-shot crashing through the
branches dispersed the party, but afterwards they moved two of the canoes
out of sight. The remaining one was brought out after breakfast by the
galley under cover of the pinnace, and was towed off to some distance.
The paddles having been taken out and the spears broken and left in her,
she was let go to drift down towards a village whence the attacking party
were supposed to have come. Some blood in this canoe, although not the
one most aimed at, showed that the firing had not been ineffective.

This act of deliberate treachery was perpetrated by persons who had
always been well-treated by us, for several of the natives present were
recognised as having been alongside the ship in Coral Haven. This, their
first act of positive hostility, affords, I think, conclusive evidence of
the savage disposition of the natives of this part of the Louisiade when
excited by the hope of plunder, and shows that no confidence should ever
be reposed in them unless, perhaps, in the presence of a numerically
superior force, or the close vicinity of the ship. At the same time the
boldness of these savages in attacking, with thirty men in three canoes,
two boats known to contain at least twenty persons--even in hopes of
taking them by surprise--and in not being at once driven off upon feeling
the novel and deadly effects of musketry, indicates no little amount of
bravery. In the course of the same day, when Lieutenant Dayman was close
inshore with the galley laying down the coastline, he had occasion to
approach the native village before alluded to, and observed the men
following the boat along the beach within gunshot, sharpening and poising
their spears, violently gesticulating and calling out loudly, as if
daring him to land. A favourable opportunity was now afforded for
punishing the natives for their treachery; but from highly commendable
motives of humanity, no steps were taken for this purpose by Lieutenant
Dayman, and they were treated with silent contempt.

July 10th.

The Bramble and two of our boats were sent to ascertain whether an easy
passage to the westward existed inshore near the islands (Calvados Group)
extending in that direction, while, at the same time, the ship stood to
the southward and anchored in 28 fathoms, four miles inside the
barrier-reef. On our way we passed numerous small coral patches, and
others were afterwards found to the westward, running in irregular lines,
and partially blocking up the passage inside the barrier, which it was
expected would have been found clear.


We remained here for five days, during which period we had much variety
of weather--sometimes blowing hard from East-South-East to
East-North-East with squalls and thick gloomy weather--at other times
nearly a calm, the air disagreeably close and muggy, the temperature
varying from 75 to 85 degrees, with occasional heavy rain.


Small fish appeared to abound at this anchorage. I had never before seen
the sucking-fish (Echeneis remora) so plentiful as at this place; they
caused much annoyance to our fishermen by carrying off baits and hooks,
and appeared always on the alert, darting out in a body of twenty or more
from under the ship's bottom when any offal was thrown overboard. Being
quite a nuisance, and useless as food, Jack often treated them as he
would a shark, by spritsail-yarding, or some still less refined mode of
torture. One day some of us while walking the poop had our attention
directed to a sucking-fish about two and a half feet in length which had
been made fast by the tail to a billet of wood by a fathom or so of spun
yarn, and turned adrift. An immense striped shark, apparently about
fourteen feet in length, which had been cruising about the ship all the
morning, sailed slowly up, and, turning slightly on one side, attempted
to seize the apparently helpless fish, but the sucker, with great
dexterity, made himself fast in a moment to the shark's back--off darted
the monster at full speed--the sucker holding on fast as a limpet to a
rock, and the billet towing astern. He then rolled over and over,
tumbling about, when, wearied with his efforts, he laid quiet for a
little. Seeing the float, the shark got it into his mouth, and
disengaging the sucker by the tug on the line, made a bolt at the fish;
but his puny antagonist was again too quick, and fixing himself close
behind the dorsal fin, defied the efforts of the shark to disengage him,
although he rolled over and over, lashing the water with his tail until
it foamed all around. What the final result was, we could not clearly
make out.

Many water snakes were seen here, swimming about on the surface; and one
of two chasing each other and playing about the ship was shot by Captain
Stanley from his cabin window, and brought on board. It appeared to be of
the genus Hypotrophis, and measured 37 1/2 inches in length; it had a
pair of minute poison fangs on each side of the upper jaw; the colour was
a dirty greenish with numerous pale narrow bands.


July 16th.

The pinnace having returned yesterday and reported a clear passage for
the ship to the westward close inshore, we got underweigh and returned on
the same line by which we had come out, anchoring for the night in 19
fathoms water, under Observation Reef 2. Next day we rounded Brierly
Island from the eastward, passed between it and Joannet Island, and after
running a few miles further to the westward, anchored in 30 fathoms--15
miles West-North-West from Brierly Island, and two miles from the nearest
of the Calvados Group. In passing Brierly Island the place appeared to be
deserted. We saw a single canoe hauled up on the beach, but no natives.

On July 18th, after standing to the westward 32 miles, we hauled out
south, and anchored in 22 fathoms, about eight miles from the nearest of
the Calvados. We remained at this anchorage for the next three days.


One day we were visited by a canoe from a neighbouring island, and on the
following morning two more canoes came off. The people in one canoe kept
at a safe distance, but those in the other came alongside, and after
exhausting their stock of yams and other articles of barter, went off to
their more cautious companions, and speedily returned to us with a fresh
supply. The canoe was an old patched-up affair, and while one of the
natives was standing up with a foot on each gunwale, a previous fracture
in the bow, united only by pitch, gave way, and a piece of the side, four
feet long, came out, allowing the water to rush in. The canoe would
speedily have been swamped, had not the author of the mischief held on
the piece in his hand, while some of the others bailed away as rapidly as
possible, and the remainder paddled off with desperation, shouting loudly
to the people in the second canoe for help. But their friends seemed as
much frightened as themselves, not knowing the nature of the accident,
and probably supposing that we had been roughly treating their companions
they made sail for the shore, and did not stop until they had got half a
mile away from the ship, when they waited until the damaged canoe came up
in a sinking state, bailed her out, and after taking some people out of
her, both made off, under sail, and we saw no more of them.

But for this accident I would probably have got a few words of their
language to compare with those obtained at Brierly Island. Our visitors
were profusely decorated with the red, feathery, leafy shoots of an
Amaranthus, which they wore fastened in bunches about the ankles, waist,
elbows, and in the hair. In other respects, I saw nothing among them
different from what has already been described at Coral Haven.


From this anchorage we enjoyed an extensive view of the south-eastern
portion of the Louisiade Archipelago. On the extreme right is the large
South-east Island, with its sharply undulating outline, and Mount
Rattlesnake clearly visible, although distant 45 miles. Next, after a gap
partially filled up by Pig Island, Joannet Island succeeds, 10 1/2 miles
in length, not so high as South-east Island but resembling it in dimness
of outline--its highest point, Mount Asp, is 1,104 feet in height. Next
come the Calvados, of various aspect and size, some with the undulating
outline of the larger islands, others rising more or less abruptly to the
height of from four to upwards of nine hundred feet. They constitute a
numerous group--upwards of 40--some of which, however, are mere rocks,
are delineated upon the Rattlesnake's chart, and there are others to the
northward. Behind them, in two of the intervals, the large and distant
island of St. Aignan (so named after one of D'Entrecasteaux' lieutenants)
fills up the background, falling low at its eastern extreme, but the
western half high and mountainous, with an elevation of 3,279 feet.
Further to the westward the last of the Calvados in this view was seen to
form a remarkable peak, 518 feet in height, to which the name of
Eddystone was applied; and still further to the left Ile Real, of
D'Urville's chart, shoots up to the height of 554 feet, as a solitary
rocky island with rugged outline and an abruptly peaked summit.


July 23rd.

Yesterday we were prevented from reaching our intended anchorage at the
Duchateau Isles by a strong easterly tide, the wind at the same time
being too light to allow us to stem it. Today the ship was moved closer
in, and moored in a convenient berth in 13 fathoms, half a mile north
from the middle island.

We remained here for eleven days, thus affording good opportunities for
examining the group. The Duchateau Isles are three low, wooded, coral
islets, the largest of which is only three-fourths of a mile in length.
The two eastern islands are connected by a reef, partly dry at low water,
and separated by a narrow passage from the smaller reef, surrounding the
western island. The southern, or windward margin of these reefs, presents
a similarity to the barrier class by rising up suddenly from an unknown
depth, with constant and very heavy breakers, but the northern, and at
present the leeward portion, extends only a little way, with irregular
and not well defined outline, and anchorage near it in from twelve to
fifteen fathoms. The three islands agree in presenting the same physical


They are margined by a beach of white coral sand, with occasional thin
beds and ledges of coral conglomerate, succeeded by a belt of tangled
bushes and low trees, after which the trees become higher and the ground
tolerably free from underwood, with occasional thickets of woody
climbers. The cocoa-palm grows here in small numbers, usually several
together, overtopping the other trees among which one of the Bombaceae
(silk-cotton trees) and Pisonia grandis attain the greatest dimensions,
having frequently a girth of twelve or fifteen feet, with a height of
sixty or seventy. A large-leaved Calophyllum is the prevailing tree of
the island, and among the others I may mention a Myristica and a
Caryophyllum, neither of which, however, are of the species furnishing
the nutmegs and cloves of commerce.

Of mammalia a large Pteropus, or fruit-eating bat, was seen once or
twice, but no specimen was procured. The little Indian rat occurs
abundantly on all the islands, taking to hollow logs and holes under the
roots of trees for shelter. Here it is tamer than I have elsewhere seen
it--by sitting down in a shady place, and remaining quiet, I have
sometimes had three or four within a few yards of me playing about,
chasing each other, or turning over the dead leaves. It even climbs
bushes and low trees, and gets out among the branches like a squirrel.


Birds were plentiful, and our sportsmen committed great havoc among the
megapodii and pigeons. The former were very numerous, running about the
thickets, and calling to each other like pheasants in a preserve at home.
Among the other game birds, first in size and splendour comes the Nicobar
pigeon (Caloenas nicobarica). As its appearance exhibits a near approach
to the gallinaceous birds, so do its habits. It lives chiefly on the
ground, runs with great swiftness, and flies up into a tree when
disturbed. A nest found here was of the rude platform construction
usually found among the pigeon family; it was built in a tree about ten
feet from the ground, and contained a single white egg. The most common
of the family, however, is one of the nutmeg pigeons, Carpophaga
oceanica. Many of both sexes were furnished with a large, round, fleshy
caruncle on the bill at the base of the forehead--this is said to be
present during the breeding season only. Its favourite place of resort
during the heat of the day is among the nutmegs and other spreading shady
trees where we found it difficult of detection, even when led up to the
spot by its cooing. This last may be represented by the letters
poor-oo-oo-oo hoor-r-r-r, the first syllable loud and startling, the
remainder faint and long drawn-out; on the other hand the cry of the
Nicobar pigeon is merely hoo-hoo. In flavour the Oceanic pigeon far
surpasses the white or Torres Strait species, the merits of which, as an
article of food, we had so often fully appreciated during our last
cruise. Most of them were very fat, and some even burst open in falling
to the ground after having been shot. A solitary specimen of another
large pigeon--with the throat white, and the plumage with purple and
green metallic reflections--was obtained, also a small dove of a new
species, with pink forehead and broad cream-coloured pectoral band, which
has been named by Mr. Gould Ptilonopus strophium.


The only other bird which I shall mention is a very fine kingfisher
(Halcyon saurophaga) with white head, neck, and lower parts, green
scapulars, and blue wings and tail, previously known by a single specimen
from New Guinea in the British Museum. It is a very shy bird, frequenting
the margin of the island, usually seen perched on some detached or
solitary branch, as if sunning itself, and darting off into the dense
brush upon being approached.

Small lizards were plentiful, but we met with no large ones or snakes
during our rambles on the Duchateau Isles. These islands are probably
much resorted to by turtles, as they were daily seen swimming about, and
one was caught on shore during our stay by a party of natives. The
variety of fishes caught at this anchorage was considerable, and
furnished many additions to the ichthyological collection, to which the
paucity of other objects in zoology for some time back enabled me to
bestow much attention.* Among the genera most remarkable for singularity
of form and brilliancy of colouring I may mention Holocentrum, five kinds
of which were procured here, one brilliantly coloured with blue and
silver, and the remainder more or less of a bright scarlet.

(*Footnote. Besides many kinds preserved in spirits, which have not yet
been examined, my collection contained stuffed specimens of about forty
species of Louisiade fishes. These, I have been informed by Sir John
Richardson, have nearly all been previously described from other parts of
Oceania, the Indian Ocean, and the China Sea. The family Sparidae is that
best represented in the Louisiade Archipelago so far as I could
judge--three species of Pentapus numerically more than equal all the
rest, and the next commonest fish is Diacope octo-lineata.)


The landshells appear here to be limited to a solitary Helicina, found on
the leaves and trunks of trees; and the trifling amount of rise and fall
of tide, not exceeding three feet, prevented any search for marine
species upon the reef. By dredging, however, in some of the sandy
channels among the coral patches, in two or three fathoms water, some
small Mitrae, Nassae, Subulae, and other interesting shells were
procured, but no zoophytes came up in the dredge, and hardly any
crustacea. One can scarcely avoid taking notice of the prodigious numbers
of small hermit-crabs (Coenobita) tenanting dead univalve shells, and
occurring from the margin of the beach as far back as the centre of the
islands, where they are found even in the holes of decaying trees at some
height above the ground.

During our stay at this anchorage the weather was fine for the first
three days, but afterwards was usually hazy, with strong breezes from
between east and south-east, with squalls and occasional showers, the
thermometer ranging between 72 and 85 degrees--respectively the maximum
and minimum temperature registered on board.


We were frequently visited by canoes from the Calvados Islands. The
parties of natives usually landed on one of the adjacent Duchateau
Islands before communicating with the ship, and sometimes passed the
night there before returning on the following morning. They brought with
them coconuts, yams, and various other articles to barter with; among
these were some productions of the country which I had not previously
seen--Indian corn, ginger, and sugarcane. The canoes were of the common
description, with the exception of one of large size, closed at the bow
and stern, with a high peak at each end, a standing mast, large oval
sail, and the platform entirely covered over.* Few additional
observations upon the natives were made here. On one occasion I procured
a few words of their language, all of which, with one doubtful exception,
are similar to those formerly obtained at Brierly Island. At another time
we saw squatted down in a canoe alongside, with four men in it, two
female children about three years of age, quite naked, with their hair
twisted into long yarn-like strands falling over the shoulder; one of the
two was a plump, laughing, intelligent creature, with fine features,
great black eyes, and long silky eyelashes.

(Footnote. This is the canoe figured.)

At this place we had the misfortune to lose by death our carpenter, Mr.
Raymond. His remains were interred on the largest of the islands, in a
clearing made by the woodcutters, and as an additional precaution, for
the purpose of concealing the grave from the keen sight of the natives, a
large fire was made upon it to efface all marks of the spade.


August 4th.

We left our anchorage this morning for the Duperre Islands, twenty-one
miles to the westward, and reached them before noon. On our way we passed
in sight of the Montemont and Jomard groups, each consisting of two low,
wooded islets, similar to those which we had left. As the ship went along
she raised prodigious numbers of flying-fish in large schools, closely
watched by frigate-birds, boobies, and terns.


The afternoon was ineffectually spent in searching for an anchorage, the
pinnace and one of the cutters having been sent inshore for that purpose.
In the evening the anchor was let go after a cast of fifty fathoms, but
slipped off the bank, and had to be hove up again. In company with the
Bramble we passed the night in standing off and on the islands, directed
by bright moonlight, and a fire on the westernmost of the group which the
pinnace's people had been sent in to make.

The following day was spent in a similar manner, and with the like
result. The Bramble, when ordered by signal to point out the anchorage
which Lieutenant Yule had found a week before, at once passed through an
opening in the northern margin of the reef connected with the Duperre
Isles, and brought in the smooth and moderately deep water inside, but it
was not judged safe for us to follow, so the pinnace was hoisted
in-board, and the ship kept underweigh all night.

August 6th.

We passed out to sea to the southward by a wide and clear channel between
the Duperre and Jomard Islands. The former are five in number, all
uninhabited, small, low, and thickly covered with trees. They extend over
a space of about six miles on the northern margin of a large atoll or
annular reef extending eleven miles in one direction and seven in
another, with several openings leading into the interior, which forms a
navigable basin afterwards called Bramble Haven. Inside the greatest
depth found was twenty fathoms, with numerous small coral patches showing
themselves so clearly as easily to be avoided--outside, the water
suddenly deepens to no bottom with one hundred fathoms of line, at the
distance of a mile from its edge.


For several days we continued making traverses off and on the line of
barrier reefs extending to the westward, obtaining negative soundings,
and occasionally communicating by signal with the Bramble, which was
meanwhile doing the inshore part of the work. The next islet seen was Ile
Lejeune of D'Urville, situated in latitude 10 degrees 11 minutes South
and longitude 151 degrees 50 minutes East, eight miles to the westward of
the nearest of the Duperre group, with a wide intervening passage. The
sea-face of the barrier now becomes continuous for twenty-one miles
further, its northern side broken into numerous openings, leading into
shoal water. It is, in fact, an elongated, almost linear atoll, with
islands scattered along its sheltered margin. After this, the barrier
becomes broken up into a series of small reefs, with passages between,
still preserving a westerly trend, until it ends in longitude 150 degrees
58 minutes East. Several small, low islets are scattered along its
course; of these the Sandy Isles come first, three in number, two of them
mere sandbanks, and the third thinly covered with trees, apparently a
kind of Pandanus. The neighbouring Ushant Island (supposed to be that
named Ile Ouessant by Bougainville) is larger and densely wooded, and
still further to the westward we saw the two Stuers Islands, also low,
and wooded. All those islets hitherto mentioned as occurring along the
line of the barrier reef are of the same character--low, of coral
formation, and generally wooded--and so are two others situated a few
miles to the northward of the reef, and unconnected with it. These last
are Kosmann Island, in latitude 11 degrees 4 1/2 minutes South and
longitude 151 degrees 33 minutes East, and Imbert Island, situated
thirteen miles further to the westward.

August 11th.

Today we came in sight of two groups of high rocky isles, very different
from the low coral islets in the line of the barrier reef, which here
ceases to show itself above water. These are the Teste and Lebrun Islands
of D'Urville, the latter two in number, and of small size (the
westernmost, in latitude 10 degrees 53 minutes South and longitude 150
degrees 59 minutes East) the former, a group of four, of which the
largest measures two and a half miles in length, while the smallest is a
remarkable pyramidal projection, to which the name of Bell Rock was
given--this last is situated in latitude 10 degrees 57 1/2 minutes South
and longitude 151 degrees 2 minutes East.


August 12th.

We saw in the distance part of the high land of New Guinea in the
neighbourhood of where its south-east cape has been conjectured to be,
and approached within a few miles of the Dumoulin* Islands, a group of
four rocky isles, the westernmost of which is 400 feet high, and less
than a mile in length; there are besides five rocks, some of considerable

(*Footnote. The hydrographical engineer attached to D'Urville's last
expedition, and the constructor of most of the charts published in the
Hydrographical Atlas of Voyage au Pole Sud etc.)


The Dumoulin Isles are inhabited, and appear fertile--they are tolerably
well-wooded with small trees and a sprinkling of cocoa-palms. In standing
off for the night, the water suddenly shoaled from no bottom with 80
fathoms to casts of 16 and 12 fathoms, of coral, and sand and shells, and
then deepened again as we went out. One is inclined to suspect that this
may be a submarine extension of the barrier reef.

The Bramble meanwhile had been ordered in to look for anchorage, and
found it under the lee of the largest island in 25 fathoms. She remained
in that neighbourhood for several days while we were beating about at
sea. Several of the Dumoulin Islands proved to be inhabited, and the
natives exhibited no hostile feeling towards the Bramble's people. A
specimen of the rock, taken from the shore and given me by Lieutenant
Yule, is a very curious siliceous breccia; when viewed from the sea I had
observed the cliffs to exhibit horizontal and vertical
fissures--apparently lines of cleavage--as I had seen assumed on various
occasions during our last cruise by granite and porphyry. This, at least,
indicated a great approaching change in the geological structure of the
New Guinea Islands, contrasted with those of the Louisiade Group which
had come under our observation.


Brumer Islands.
Catamarans and Canoes.
Friendly relations with the Natives of New Guinea.
Are well received at their Village.
Tatooing and Dress of the Women.
The Huts described.
Large Canoe from the Mainland.
Tassai ladies return our visit.
The Natives described.
Their Weapons, Ornaments, Food, etc.
Cul de Sac de l'Orangerie, and Communication with the Natives.
Redscar Bay and its Inhabitants.
Leave the Coast of New Guinea.
Arrive at Cape York.


August 17th.

We are once more comfortably at anchor after many dreary days at sea of
thick blowing weather* spent in sailing backwards and forwards, daily
tantalised by the sight of land, which was approached only that we might
stand off again for the night. Yesterday afternoon the Bramble was seen
coming out from under the largest of the Brumer Islands, and on her
making the usual signal for good anchorage, we followed her in and
brought up after sunset in 35 fathoms, mud, about a mile from the shore.

(*Footnote. In working to the eastward (in June) Bougainville for four
days had "the wind constantly blowing very fresh, at East-South-East and
South-East" (just as we found it) "with rain; a fog so thick that," says
he, "we were obliged to fire guns in order to keep company with the
Etoile; and lastly, a very great sea, which hove us towards the shore. We
could hardly keep our ground by plying, being obliged to wear, and to
carry but little sail." Bougainville's Voyage round the World.
Translation by Forster page 308.)

The island under which we thus anchored, is the westernmost and largest
of a group of five, the next in size being about a mile in length,
moderately high and wooded, and the remaining three mere rocks. The large
Brumer Island is long and narrow, running East-North-East and
West-South-West, two miles and two-thirds in greatest width; it is
situated in latitude 10 degrees 45 minutes 30 seconds South and longitude
150 degrees 23 minutes East. The whole island presents a luxuriant
appearance, being covered with cocoa-palms and other trees, and on the
high ground several large fenced enclosures of cultivated ground--where
among other plants we could distinguish the banana and
sugar-cane--attested the fertility of the soil. The western, and at
present the leeward side of the island, as viewed from our anchorage
exhibits the appearance of a broken ridge on its southern half with
several eminences topped by immense detached blocks of rock, partially
concealed by the trees--to this, in the centre, succeeds a break occupied
by a very low irregular cliff behind a bay with a sandy beach--afterwards
the land rises suddenly to form a hill, 665 feet in height, with a steep
face to the north-west, and a gradual slope backwards--and beyond this
another hill, not so high (386 feet) but somewhat similar in form, shut
out our further view in that direction. The mainland of New Guinea filled
the background with a broken outline of ridges of wooded hills along the
coast in front of a more distant and nearly continuous range of high
mountains covered with trees up to their very summits.


Next morning we were visited by a party of natives from the neighbouring
island, consisting of six men in a canoe, and one on a catamaran or raft.
They were perfectly unarmed and came boldly alongside with a quantity of
yams and coconuts for barter; when their stock was exhausted, they
returned for more, and, accompanied by others, repeated the visit several
times during the day. Although there was no obvious difference between
these natives and those of the southern portion of the Louisiade, yet the
catamaran was quite new to us, and the canoe differed considerably from
any which we had seen before.


The first catamaran was only nine feet long--it consisted of three thick
planks lashed together, forming a sort of raft, which one man sitting a
little behind the middle, with his legs doubled under him, managed very
dexterously with his paddle. We afterwards saw others of a larger size,
some of them capable of carrying a dozen people with their effects. One
of this description is made of three logs--rarely two or four--laid side
by side, and firmly secured to each other with strips of rattan at each
end, and in two or three other places. The upper surface is smoothed down
flat, and the central piece projects a little way at each end which
usually shows some rude carving touched up with red and white paint. As
the sea washes over a catamaran during rough weather, on such an occasion
a small temporary stage is sometimes erected in the centre, and on this
the cargo is secured with strips of cane.

The canoe of this part of New Guinea is usually about twenty-five feet in
length, and carries seven or eight people. It is made of the trunk of a
tree, hollowed out like a long trough, roundly pointed at each end, a
foot and a half in extreme width, with the sides bulging out below and
falling in at top, leaving only eight inches between the gunwales which
are strengthened by a pole running along from end to end. The ends--which
are alike--are carved like those of the catamaran in imitation of the
head of a turtle or snake, but more elaborately. The outrigger consists
of a float as long as the canoe, attached by small sticks or pegs let
into the wood to eight or nine notches in both gunwales, and are secured
there. A portion, or the whole of this framework, is carefully covered
over with planks or long sticks, and occasionally a small stage is formed
on the opposite side, over the centre of the canoe, projecting a little
outwardly, with room upon it for two people to sit and paddle. The canoes
of this description which we saw were not provided with any other sail
than a small temporary one, made by interlacing the leaflets of the
cocoa-palm, and stuck up on poles when going with the wind free. The
paddles used here are similar in shape to those seen in the Louisiade
Archipelago, with spear-shaped blades and slender handles, but are
larger--measuring six feet in length--and of neater construction, the end
of the handle being carved into some fanciful device.


About sunset, and when about to leave us, one of the Brumer Islanders,
standing on a large catamaran alongside, put himself into a grotesque
attitude, and commenced beating with his hand upon a large tin can which
someone had given him, at the same time going through some of the motions
of a dance. He seemed to be a most amusing vagabond, for, upon our
drummer being set to work in the chains, after joining with the other
natives in the first exclamations of surprise, he listened attentively
for a little, and then struck up on his own extempore drum, keeping very
good time and causing roars of laughter by his strange grimaces and
antics. The effect of this pantomime was heightened by the style of
painting adopted by the actor whose face had been blackened with
charcoal, variegated by a white streak along the eyebrows turned down at
the ends, and another along the cheeks passing round the chin.


August 18th.

The boisterous state of the weather did not prevent the natives from
repeatedly coming off to us with various articles of barter; and we were
even visited by a party of seven men from Tissot Island, who paddled up
on a catamaran five or six miles to windward against a strong breeze and
current. After some little persuasion, several of them were induced to
come on board and were shown round the ship, presented with various
articles, and dressed out with scraps of clothing of every description.
At first they showed symptoms of uneasiness, and made frequent
protestations of friendship, as if the circumstance of our repeating them
gave increased confidence. Their mode of salutation or expression of
friendship consists in first touching the nose with the forefinger and
thumb of one hand, and then pinching the skin on each side of the navel
with the other, calling out at the same time, magasuga! This habit
resembles on one hand that of rubbing noses, so general in Polynesia--and
on the other, the custom of pinching the navel and repeating the name for
that part, practised by the islanders of Torres Strait. At length our
visitors withdrew, well pleased with their reception, during which their
common exclamation indicative of surprise and delight, an ao long drawn
out, was in constant requisition.

August 19th.

A quantity of cooked yams in baskets and large earthen pots was brought
off today by a party of natives, as if in acknowledgment of our civility
to those whom we had invited on board yesterday. Nothing was asked for in
return--a very unusual circumstance--and that it was intended as a
present was further shown by their leaving a proportionate share on board
the Bramble, and immediately pushing off for the Rattlesnake with the
remainder, explaining that it was intended for us and could not be sold.

The weather being now favourable for communication with the shore, the
two cutters were manned and armed for this purpose, and sent away in
charge of Lieutenant Simpson, and, as usual, I was one of the volunteers
who joined the party. Two of the natives gladly went in one of the
boats--the same two who had previously invited us onshore, as if to
return our hospitality and point out the fresh water about which we had
made repeated inquiries, our stock of that all-essential article being
now much reduced, and the ship's company on an allowance of six pints
each per diem.


We landed at a little bay near the centre of the western side of the
nearest and largest of the Brumer group. Although perfectly sheltered
from the wind, a heavy swell broke upon the margin of a fringing coral
reef running out fifty or sixty yards from the sandy beach and stretching
across the bay. The boats were backed in from their anchors, and, after
seven of us had got onshore by watching an opportunity to jump out up to
the middle in water, and cross the reef, hauled out again to await our

Some women on the beach retired as we were about to land, but a number of
boys and a few men received us, and after a preliminary halt to see that
our guns were put to rights after the ducking, we all started together by
a narrow path winding up a rugged wall of basaltic rock, fifty feet in
height. From the summit a steep declivity of a couple of hundred yards
brought us to the village of Tassai, shaded by coconut-trees, and
beautifully situated on a level space close to the beach on the windward
side of the island, here not more than a quarter of a mile in width. No
canoes were seen here, and a heavy surf broke on the outer margin of a
fringing reef.


On the outskirts of the village we met the women and remainder of the
people, and were received without any signs of apprehension. One of our
friends immediately got hold of a drum*--a hollow cylinder of palm-wood
two feet and a half in length, and four inches in diameter, one end
covered over with the skin of a large lizard--and commenced beating upon
it very vigorously with the palm of the hand, singing and dancing at the
same time, as if in honour of our arrival.

(*Footnote. Represented in the uppermost figure.)


Each of us joined in the merriment as he came up, and in a short time the
whole of Tassai was in an uproar. Among the natives everyone seemed
pleased, bustling about, watching our motions, examining our dress, and
laughing and shouting immoderately as each new object was presented to
his view. Meanwhile I wandered about the village, accompanied by some
women and children, picking up at the same time materials for my
vocabulary. One old dame brought me a coconut shell full of water which I
returned after drinking some, but she pressed me in a very motherly way
to put it into my bag, having doubtless imagined from our inquiries after
water, that even a little constituted a valuable present. We had seen
neither stream nor well upon the island, and besides, it is probable that
the great abundance of coconuts enables them to subsist with very little
water. We distributed among them some iron-hoop, knives, fish-hooks, and
calico, to which I added a quantity of useful seeds,* which last were
eagerly sought after when their use had been explained and understood.

(*Footnote. Part of a large supply procured at Hobart Town by Captain
Stanley from the Government garden there. They were placed under my
charge, and were sown wherever circumstances appeared favourable for
their growth, chiefly on uninhabited islands, there seldom having been an
opportunity of distributing them among the natives of the shores we


The women showed an unusual amount of curiosity, and were much pleased at
the notice taken of them, for, on examining the curious tattooing of one,
others immediately pressed forwards to show me theirs, directing
particular attention to the difference of patterns. This practice of
tattooing the body--or marking it with colouring matter introduced into
the skin by means of punctures or incisions--is rarely exhibited by the
men, and in them is usually confined to a few blue lines or stars upon
the right breast; in some instances, however, the markings consisted of a
double series of large stars and dots stretching from the shoulder toward
the pit of the stomach. Among the women the tattooing extends over the
face, fore part of the arms, and whole front of body continued backwards
a little way over the shoulders, usually, but not always, leaving the
back untouched. The pattern for the body consists of series of vertical
stripes less than an inch apart, connected by zigzag and other
markings--that over the face is more complicated, and on the forearm and
wrist it is frequently so elaborate as to assume the appearance of
beautiful lace-work.


Unlike the men--whose only article of dress consists of a small
breech-cloth of pandanus leaf passing between the legs, and secured
before and behind to a string or other girdle round the waist--the
females wear petticoats (noge) of the same leaf, divided into long
grass-like shreds, reaching to the knee. That worn by the girls consists
merely of single lengths made fast to a string which ties round the
waist; but the women wear a larger and thicker kind of petticoat,
composed of three layers of different degrees of fineness and lengths,
forming as many flounces, the upper one of more finely divided stuff,
neatly plaited above, over a girdle of the same tough bark (barrai) used
in making their larger kinds of rope. Two or three of these petticoats
are usually worn one over the other, and in cold or wet weather the outer
one is untied and fastened round the neck, covering the upper part of the
body like a cape or short cloak. The hair of the women is also usually
but not invariably twisted up into thrums like those of a mop, a style of
dressing it here peculiar to the female sex.

Many pigs were running about the village--small in size, lean and long
legged, usually black, with coarse bristles--also two or three dogs,
similar to those seen at Brierly Island. One young woman was seen
carrying about in her arms and fondling a very young pig--an incident
which afforded us as much amusement as a lady's lap-dog, with one end of
a ribbon round its neck and the other attached to a wasp-waisted damsel,
would have caused among these utilitarian savages.


The village covers a space of about half an acre; it consisted of
twenty-seven huts built at rightangles to each other, but without any
other attempt at arrangement. These huts are of various sizes--the
largest thirty-five feet long, twelve wide, and twenty-five high. All are
constructed on a similar plan, being raised from the ground about four
feet on posts, four, five, or six in number, passing through the same
circular wooden discs seen at the Louisiade Archipelago, intended, I
believe, to keep out rats or other vermin. The sides and roof are
continuous, and slope sharply upwards, giving to an end view the
appearance of an acute triangle, while a side view exhibits a long ridge
rising suddenly at each end to a point and descending by a straight line
of gable. The roof is neatly and smoothly thatched with grass, and the
sides are covered in with sheets of a bark-like substance, probably the
base of the leaf of the coconut-tree flattened out by pressure. The
entrance is at one end, overhung by the gable like a curtain, with a
small stage to ascend by. I did not examine the interior of the houses,
being desirous to avoid any cause of offence by exhibiting too much
prying curiosity. From the accounts of others of the party it appears
that there is a second partial floor above the principal one; they saw
large bundles of spears stowed along the sides of the hut which they
looked into, and some human skulls suspended near the entrance.*

(*Footnote. These huts resemble in form some found on the Duke of York
and Bowditch Islands, in the western part of the Pacific, 300 miles to
the northward of the Samoan group. See Narrative of the United States
Exploring Expedition volume 5 page 7; also plate.)


After a very short stay of a quarter of an hour only we returned by the
path formerly taken, accompanied by about fifty men, women, and children,
and went on board the boats. During our visit we had met with the most
friendly reception; no weapon of any kind was seen in the hands of the
natives who at the same time probably thought us perfectly unarmed, as
they at first supposed our guns to be instruments for carrying water in,
and we had no opportunity of showing the effects of firearms without
involving the risk of causing a tumult. The anchor of one of the boats
having caught the coral, some delay was caused, during which an old man
from the beach swam off to her, as if he perfectly understood what had
happened, and, after diving several times, cleared the anchor, for which
he was rewarded with an axe. His skill in diving was remarkable--he went
down feet foremost, apparently without an effort, and after remaining
below about half a minute, came up showing no signs of exhaustion. But
all these natives appeared to feel as much confidence afloat as on shore;
and we had frequent opportunities of observing their fearlessness of the
water, and dexterity in swimming and diving when alongside the ship.


August 20th.

It being considered probable that the natives might be induced to part
with some of their pigs, a party was sent onshore, to endeavour to
procure some by barter. On landing, which was effected with much less
difficulty than yesterday (for it was now high-water, enabling the boats
to go over the reef although heavy rollers were coming in) we found that
most of the men were absent, and the few remaining, although made to
understand what we wanted, did not appear to like our paying a visit to
their village, as if suspicious of our intentions towards the women, a
circumstance which Europeans must always be on their guard against in
dealing with savage tribes. Our stay therefore was very short--not
exceeding five minutes--and on the way back, besides picking up a few
scraps for my vocabulary from a number of women and children in company,
I procured a fine white Helix from the branch of a bread-fruit tree, and
had a brief opportunity of examining the rock of the island. This is of
volcanic origin, and consists of a stratified earthy tufa and volcanic
conglomerate, hollowed out below by the sea, succeeded by a harder
vesicular rock above which one of the forms of lava has been poured out.

On our return to the beach we found that scarcely any bartering had gone
on, and that the exhibition of a number of axes and knives, had been
attended with the bad effect of exciting the cupidity of the natives.
Soon afterwards a canoe with people from the mainland arrived, and as
anything but good feeling appeared to subsist, and we had failed in our
object of getting the pigs, we left for the ship--and this was our last
communication with the shore during our stay at this anchorage.


August 22nd.

The most interesting occurrence of the day was the arrival from the main
of a very large canoe, with twenty-six people on board.* When close to
she shortened sail and attempted to paddle up, but being too unwieldy to
stem the current, the end of a rope from the ship was carried out to her
and she hauled up under our stern and made fast there. Besides the
ordinary paddles we observed at each end two others of large
size--probably used for steering with, pulled as oars, with cane grommets
on the gunwale. We had not before seen so fine a sample of Papuans;
several were elderly men of fine figure and commanding appearance. One
man among them who sat alone upon a small raised stage over the platform
appeared to exercise a considerable degree of authority over the rest;
the only instance yet seen by us, either here or at the Louisiade, of
anyone assuming the functions of a chief. He called a small canoe
alongside, and getting under the mizen chains attempted to climb up at
once, and appeared surprised that the privilege of coming on board denied
to the other natives was not immediately extended to him. He was,
however, accidentally allowed to come up the side and remain on deck for
a short time. He was a tall slender man, of about forty years of age,
with sharp Jewish features--his face and chest were painted black, and he
wore a crest of cassowary feathers across his head.

(*Footnote. Represented in the illustration.)


This large canoe measured about forty feet in length, and was constructed
of a hollowed-out tree raised upon with large planks forming a long
coffin-like box, closed with high end boards elegantly carved and
painted. Two rows of carved fishes ran along the sides, and both ends
were peaked, the bow rising higher than the stern, and, like it, but more
profusely, decorated with carving painted red and white, streamers of
palm-leaf, egg-cowries, and plumes of cassowary feathers. The outrigger
framework was completely covered over, forming a large platform above the
centre of which a small stage rested on a strong projecting beam the
outer end of which was carved into the figure of a bird, while the inner
reached to the centre of the body of the canoe, and served to support the
mast. The planks forming the sides were strongly supported by knees where
each of the ten or twelve outrigger poles passes through one side and
rests against the other, and some loose bottom boards form a partial
shifting deck. The mast is supported above by two stays fore and aft, and
below steps into a massive bent timber crossing the centre of the canoe,
resting on the bottom, and is secured above to the inner end of the long
cross beam by strong lashings, and some large wedges between it and one
side. The sail is of great size, being as long as the platform, but both
in construction and mode of management is precisely similar to that
formerly described with reference to a canoe seen at Coral Haven,
supposed to have come from Piron's Island.

A few days ago we saw another canoe closely resembling the
above-mentioned, but much smaller and carrying only eleven people. It
exhibited, however, one peculiarity in the great breadth of beam
amidships--amounting to four feet--which gave it much room for stowage
and additional buoyancy.


Of late the number of natives daily coming off to the ship has rapidly
increased, so as now to amount to upwards of 100 in about 15 canoes and
catamarans. Those from Tissot Island and the mainland usually arrive in
the forenoon, and, after an hour's stay, leave us for the northern
village on the nearest Brumer Island, where they spend the night and
return the next morning with a fair wind. The noise and scrambling
alongside when bartering is going on baffles all description--besides the
usual talking and shouting, they have a singular habit of directing
attention to their wares by a loud, sharp ss, ss, a kind of hissing
sound, equivalent to look at this.


In their bargaining the natives have generally been very honest, far more
so than our own people whom I have frequently seen cheating them by
passing off scraps of worthless iron, and even tin and copper, for pieces
of hoop, the imposition not being found out until the property has
changed hands. As at the Louisiade iron hoop is the article most prized
by the natives, and is valued according to its width and thickness as a
substitute for the stone-heads of their axes. They also showed great
eagerness to obtain our hatchets and fish-hooks, but attached little
value to calico, although a gaudy pattern, or bright colour, especially
red, was sure to arrest attention; but in such matters they are very
capricious. Even glass bottles were prized, probably as a substitute for
obsidian or volcanic glass, portions of which I saw among them, used in
shaving, as was explained to me, and probably also for carving in wood.


August 25th.

Yesterday and today, in addition to upwards of a hundred natives
alongside bartering, we were honoured with visits from several parties of
the Tassai ladies, in whose favour the prohibition to come on board was
repealed for the time. The young women were got up with greater attention
to dress and finery than when seen on shore, and some had their face
blackened as if to heighten their attractions. The outer petticoat, worn
on gala days such as this, differs from the common sort in being much
finer in texture and workmanship, besides being dyed red and green, with
intermediate bands of straw colour and broad white stripes of palm-leaf.
It is made of long bunches of very light and soft shreds, like fine
twisted grass, apparently the prepared leaf of a calamus or rattan. None
of the women that I saw possessed even a moderate share of beauty
(according to our notions) although a few had a pleasing expression and
others a very graceful figure, but, on the other hand, many of the boys
and young men were strikingly handsome. We had no means of forming a
judgment regarding the condition of the women in a social state, but they
appeared to be treated by the men as equals and to exercise considerable
influence over them. On all occasions they were the loudest talkers, and
seemed to act from a perfect right to have everything their own way. It
is worthy of mention, that, even in their own village, and on all other
occasions where we had an opportunity of observing them, they acted with
perfect propriety, and although some indecent allusions were now and then
made by the men, this was never done in the presence of the women. Of
their marriages we could find out nothing--one man appeared to have two
wives, but even this was doubtful. The circumstance of children being
daily brought off by their fathers to look at the ship, and the strange
things there, indicated a considerable degree of parental affection.


Returning to our visitors: the fiddle, fife, and drum were put in
requisition, and a dance got up to amuse them. The women could not be
persuaded to join, but two of the men treated us to one of their own
dances, each having been previously furnished with a native drum or
baiatu. They advanced and retreated together by sudden jerks, beating to
quick or slow time as required, and chanting an accompanying song, the
cadence rising and falling according to the action. The attitude was a
singular one--the back straight, chin protruded, knees bent in a
crouching position, and the arms advanced; on another occasion, one of
the same men exhibited himself before us in a war dance. In one hand he
held a large wooden shield, nearly three feet in length and rather more
than one in width, and in the other a formidable-looking weapon two feet
in length--a portion of the snout of a saw-fish with long sharp teeth
projecting on each side. Placing himself in a crouching attitude, with
one hand covered by the shield, and holding his weapon in a position to
strike, he advanced rapidly in a succession of short bounds, striking the
inner side of the shield with his left knee at each jerk, causing the
large cowries hung round his waist and ankles to rattle violently. At the
same time with fierce gestures he loudly chanted a song of defiance. The
remainder of the pantomime was expressive of attack and defence, and
exaltation after victory. But a still more curious dance was one
performed a few nights ago by a party of natives which had left the ship
after sunset and landed abreast of the anchorage. On seeing a number of
lights along the beach, we at first thought they proceeded from a fishing
party, but on looking through a night-glass, the group was seen to
consist of above a dozen people, each carrying a blazing torch, and going
through the movements of a dance. At one time they extended rapidly into
line, at another closed, dividing into two parties, advancing and
retreating, crossing and recrossing, and mixing up with each other. This
continued for half an hour, and having apparently been got up for our
amusement, a rocket was sent up for theirs, and a blue-light burned, but
the dancing had ceased, and the lights disappeared.


In the evening when the natives were leaving for the shore, one of them
volunteered to remain on board on the understanding that some of us
should accompany him to Tassai, where, he explained, there would be
plenty of dancing and eating, enumerating pigs, dogs, yams, and coconuts,
as the component parts of the feast. He was taken down to the wardroom,
and shortly underwent a complete metamorphosis, effected by means of a
regatta shirt of gaudy pattern, red neckcloth, flannel trousers, a faded
drab Taglioni of fashionable cut buttoned up to the throat, and an old
black hat stuck on one side of his woolly head. Every now and then he
renewed his invitation to go on shore, but was satisfied when given to
understand that our visit must be deferred till the morrow.


He was a merry, active, good-humoured fellow, and gave us a number of
songs, one of which I wrote down. Although unfortunately I cannot give an
accompanying translation, yet this song exhibits the remarkable softness
of the language from the great number of vowels.

Ama watuya boyama
Manyure gerri gege udaeno
Dagi ginoa dagi gino ama
Watu yebbo.

Manyure gerri gege udaeno
Dagi egino da' gino ama
Watu yebbo--watu yebbo.

Most of them--perhaps all--were extempore, as on turning his attention to
the moon, he struck up a song in which the name of that body was
frequently mentioned. He was treated to an exhibition of the magic
lantern in the cabin by Captain Stanley, and a rocket was sent up to his
great astonishment and admiration, which he found words to express in
"kaiwa" (fire) "kaiwa, oh! dim dim!"

August 26th.

Our guest became very uneasy when he saw no canoes from the island coming
off, and no symptoms of lowering a boat to land him. His invitation to
the shore and pantomime of killing a pig were repeated time after time,
and he became very despondent. Two canoes from the mainland came
alongside, and he got into one which shoved off, but quickly returned and
put him on board, as they were not going to the island. The poor fellow
at last appeared so miserable, being actually in tears, that a boat was
sent to put him on shore abreast of the ship, and, when he landed, two
young women and a child came running up to meet him. A number of natives
on the sandy beach were anxiously watching the boat, as if the long
detention of the man on board the ship had made them suspicious of our
treatment of him.


Without entering into details of uninteresting daily occurrences, I may
here give a general account of such circumstances regarding the natives
as have not previously been alluded to or insufficiently described. It
would be difficult to state the peculiarities of this portion of the
Papuan* Race (including also the inhabitants of the Louisiade) for even
the features exhibit nearly as many differences as exist among a
miscellaneous collection of individuals of any European nation. They
appear to me to be resolvable into several indistinct types, with
intermediate gradations; thus occasionally we met with strongly marked
Negro characteristics, but still more frequently with the Jewish cast of
features, while every now and then a face presented itself which struck
me as being perfectly Malayan. In general the head is narrow in front,
and wide and very high behind, the face broad from the great projection
and height of the cheekbones and depression at the temples; the chin
narrow in front, slightly receding, with prominent angles to the jaw; the
nose more or less flattened and widened at the wings, with dilated
nostrils, a broad, slightly arched and gradually rounded bridge, pulled
down at the tip by the use of the nose-stick; and the mouth rather wide,
with thickened lips, and incisors flattened on top as if ground down.

(Footnote. As the term Papuan when applied to a Race of Mankind is not
strictly correct, I may here mention that whenever used in this work, it
includes merely the woolly or frizzled-haired inhabitants of the
Louisiade, South-East coast of New Guinea, and the islands of Torres

Although the hair of the head is almost invariably woolly, and, if not
cropped close, or shaved, frizzled out into a mop, instances were met
with in which it had no woolly tendency, but was either in short curls,
or long and soft without conveying any harsh feeling to the touch.


In colour too it varied, although usually black, and when long, pale or
reddish at the tips;* yet some people of both sexes were observed having
it naturally of a bright red colour, but still woolly. The beard and
moustache, when present, which is seldom the case, are always scanty, and
there is very little scattered hair upon the body.

(*Footnote. Probably artificially produced, as is known to be effected by
means of lime water, by the inhabitants of the north-west coast of New

The colour of the skin varies from a light to a dark copper colour, the
former being the prevailing hue; individuals of a light yellowish brown
hue are often met with, but this colour of the skin is not accompanied by
distinctive features.


The average stature of these Papuans is less than our own, being only
about five feet four inches; this did not appear to be the case when seen
alongside, but on board the ship, and especially when clothed, the
difference became very apparent. Although well made, and far surpassing
us in agility, they were our inferiors in muscular power. Their strength
was tested by means of a deep-sea lead weighing twenty-two pounds which
none of the natives could hold out at arm's length, although most of us
who tried it experienced no difficulty in sustaining the weight for a few

Among the people who came alongside the ship one day we noticed two cases
of that kind of elephantiasis called Barbadoes Leg, in one combined with
enormous distension of the scrotum, which was larger than a man's head,
and studded with warts. One of these unfortunate objects had both legs
much swollen, especially about the ankle, where the skin was almost
obliterated by large scab-like warts, the other, besides the diseased
leg, had a huge tumour on the inner side of the right thigh.


The weapons procured at this place consist of spears, clubs, a wooden
sword, and a shield. Of the first there are several kinds, all larger and
heavier than those obtained at the Louisiade, but, like them, made of
hard, heavy, well-polished coconut wood. The spears vary in length from
nine to eleven feet, with a diameter, where thickest, of rather more than
an inch. From their great weight it would scarcely be possible to throw
them with effect to a greater distance than from fifteen to twenty yards,
and, judging from the signs and gestures of the natives on various
occasions when explaining their mode of warfare, they are also used for
charging and thrusting with, the neighbourhood of the armpit being the
part aimed at as most vulnerable.

The spear in most common use tapers to a point at each end, more suddenly
in front and very gradually behind where it usually terminates in a small
knob with two or three ornamental rings. Sometimes a grommet, or ring of
cordage, is worked upon the spear near one end, to prevent the hand
slipping when making a thrust. There are many other kinds of spears
variously barbed on one or both sides near the head. The fishing spear is
usually headed by a bundle of about four or six slender, sharp-pointed
pieces of wood, two feet in length, sometimes barbed at the point.

We obtained three clubs here--the only ones seen--one, closely resembling
the stone-headed club of Darnley Island, consists of a wooden shaft, four
feet long, sharp pointed at one end and at the other passing through a
hole in the centre of a sharp-edged circular disk of quartz, shaped like
a quoit, four inches in diameter; the second is twenty-seven inches in
length, cut out of a heavy piece of wood, leaving a slender handle and
cylindrical head, three and a half inches long, studded with knobs; the
remaining one, a less formidable weapon than the others, is flat on both
sides, with a serrated edge, and measures twenty-two inches in length and
three in width.


The ornaments worn on this part of the coast are in general so precisely
similar to those of the Louisiade, already described, that a brief
allusion to them is sufficient. In both places we saw the same
nose-sticks, combs stuck in the hair, flat circular earrings, woven and
shell armlets, round ornaments made of melon shell, necklaces of dog's
teeth and black seeds, and white cowries strung round the legs, arms, and
neck. I observed here none of the human jaw bones worn as bracelets so
frequently met with in the Louisiade, nor did painting the body appear to
be carried to the same extent, although the mode of doing so was the
same. Here too we sometimes saw the hair collected and twisted behind
into a single or double queue, and procured a neatly constructed bushy
wig of frizzled hair. A girdle of split rattan wound about a dozen times
round the waist is in common use here, but I do not recollect having seen
it in the Louisiade.


Among other articles of native manufacture I may mention large baked
earthen pots* used in cooking, also very neatly made round flat-bottomed
baskets in sets of four, partially fitting into each other, with a woven
belt to suspend them from the shoulders by--in these various small
articles are carried, among them the spatula and calabash, with lime to
be used in betel chewing--and a netted bag, a foot and a half in width
and one in depth. Their rope is beautifully made of the long tough
stringy bark of a tree, strongly twisted and laid up in three strands,
and for finer lines and twine a kind of flax, resembling the New Zealand,
but still more the Manila sort, is used here. The finest sample of the
prepared material which I saw measured eleven feet in length, and
consisted of a bundle of rather fine white fibres. Although very much
coarser than our hemp, it is of nearly uniform size, and possesses
considerable strength, but breaks easily when knotted. We saw it in
considerable quantity, but had no means of ascertaining the plant from
which it is derived, probably, however, a banana of some kind. We
occasionally saw pieces of a white soft papery cloth, apparently similar
to the tapa of Polynesia, and like it made of the inner bark of some
small tree, but it did not appear to be applied to much use.

(*Footnote. Similar to that figured.)

In the Louisiade we had not observed the betel pepper, but here it was
found in common use--both the leaf and green fruit, especially the
latter, being added to the lime and areca-nut. Still betel chewing,
although a very general habit, is by no means universally practised, for
many elderly people retained the original whiteness of the teeth. By the
males it appears to be adopted only after attaining the state of manhood,
and among the females is almost entirely confined to the old women.

The fondness of these people for flowers and strong-scented plants is
remarkable--they wear them in their hair, thrust under the armlets and
girdle, or as garlands round the neck. Among the chief favourites may be
mentioned an amaranth with purple leaves, giving out a very rich colour
upon pressure being applied, and a species of mint-like herb which they
dry in bunches, and carry about with them.


In addition to the drum formerly mentioned, and large shells--Cassis or
Triton--with a hole at one end, used as trumpets, we saw a small Pandean
pipe made of portions of reed of different lengths, and a tube of bamboo,
two feet long, which gives out a sound like a horn when blown into.


The staple article of food is the yam, which is produced here in great
abundance, of large size, and excellent quality. Several other tubers, or
roots, are eaten. Among them is that of a species of Calladium, which
requires much cooking to destroy its acridity. The coconut-tree grows
everywhere. In the canoes we saw abundance of sugarcane in pieces two
feet in length and an inch in thickness, and the natives brought off to
us bananas, breadfruit, mangoes, and prepared arrowroot. To a certain
extent also the natives feed upon fish, judging from the nets and
fishing-spears seen among them. The former, although frequently thirty or
forty feet in length, did not exceed eighteen inches in depth--they have
small meshes, thin triangular wooden floats, and shells at the bottom as
sinkers. Although we saw many pigs on shore in the village, only one was
obtained by barter, in this one a spear wound behind the shoulder was
made alongside the ship before handing it on board, but for what purpose
we could not understand, as it did not kill the animal. Dogs also I have
reason to believe are occasionally eaten, but whether cannibalism is ever
practised by these people is a question which we have not the means of
settling, as no evidence bearing upon the point could be obtained.

August 29th.

During our stay of thirteen days at this anchorage the wind has usually
been strong from East to East-South-East, with dull, gloomy, squally
weather, and occasionally showers of drizzling rain. Today, however, the
rain was so heavy that we caught seven tons in the awning. To this
haziness, which by obscuring distant objects was unfavourable for
surveying purposes, we owed our long detention here. As our intercourse
with the shore was limited to the two brief visits formerly mentioned, I
made no addition to the collection, with the exception of a solitary
Helix, nor was anything of zoological interest brought off by the
natives, except a string of heads of a species of hornbill (Buceros
plicatus) and feathers of a cassowary, a scarlet lory, and a few other
birds. No fish were caught at the anchorage, probably on account of the
nature of the bottom--a tenacious, greenish, muddy clay--and the strength
of the current which prevented our lines from resting on the bottom.
Observations made with the lead alongside at the time of high and
low-water indicated by the shore showed in thirteen days' observations a
rise and fall of only from two to six feet. Neither during the ebb nor
the floodtide was there any appreciable difference in the direction of
the current at our anchorage which set constantly to the westward between
West and West-South-West, at the rate of from one to one and a half knots
an hour. This current may reasonably be conjectured to come from the
northward and sweep round the South-East cape of New Guinea (distant from
this anchorage about fifty miles) thus making it appear probable that a
clear passage exists between the South-East extreme of New Guinea and the
western termination of the Louisiade Archipelago: indeed so far as
Lieutenant Yule's observations were carried in this direction no reefs
were seen to impede his progress to the north-east.


September 4th.

Five days ago we sailed from the Brumer Islands, and continued running
lines of soundings off and on the coast, the inshore details being left
as usual to the Bramble. On one occasion, while within a few miles of the
shore, the water suddenly shoaled to twelve, ten, and six fathoms, rock
or coral, although half an hour before no bottom could be got with a
hundred fathoms of line--apparently an indication of a submarine barrier,
more or less continuous, running at a variable distance from the shore,
and following the general trend of the coast. The appearance of the land
seen lately is very fine: the coast being backed by ranges of high
mountains presenting a very diversified outline; one of them, named upon
the chart Cloudy Mount, attains an elevation of 4,477 feet. Yesterday and
today great numbers of a storm petrel (Thalassidroma leucogastra) have
been following in our wake.


This afternoon, while off the eastern end of the bay called by
Bougainville the Cul de sac de l'Orangerie, the Bramble was signalled to
lead in towards the land off which we anchored at 9 P.M. in 30 fathoms.

From our anchorage we next morning saw on Dufaure Island, from which we
were distant about three miles, a village in a grove of coconut trees
behind a sandy beach, and the natives came off in considerable numbers
bringing large quantities of coconuts and breadfruit;* they did not
appear however to have any yams. Two or three small pigs, of the same
description as that hitherto seen (Sus papuensis) were procured.

(*Footnote. This was of smaller size than it attains in the South Sea
Islands; we cooked it in various ways but failed to make it palatable.)


And we obtained two fine live opossums, of a rare and singular kind
(Cuscus maculatus) for an axe apiece. They appeared to be quiet gentle
animals, until much irritated, when they bite hard. We fed them at first
on ripe coconuts, of which they were very fond; but latterly they became
accustomed to pea-soup. They spent most of the day in sleep in a corner
of the hen-coop where they were kept, each on its haunches with the tail
coiled up in front, the body arched, and the head covered by the fore
paws and doubled down between the thighs; at night, however, they were
more active and restless, their large reddish-yellow eyes being then
obscured by the dilated pupil, which during the day appears as a narrow
vertical line. One was frequently taken on deck towards evening and
allowed to climb about the rigging, moving very slowly, and endeavouring
to get up as high as possible.

The natives resemble those seen at Brumer islands (from which we were
distant about thirty-six miles) so closely that I saw no points regarding
them deserving of separate notice, and their language is the same,
judging from a small vocabulary of about seventy words. The only
manufactured article new to us was a small wooden pillow* about a foot
long and six inches high, with a slight concavity above to receive the
neck of the person using it. Both women and children came off with the
men to traffic with us and look at the ship, but none could be tempted to
come on board, although they paddled up alongside without the slightest
hesitation. We were frequently solicited to accompany them on shore, but
no one was allowed to leave the ship.

(*Footnote. Wooden pillows are also in use in some of the islands of
Polynesia and in New Caledonia.)


The northern shores of the Cul de Sac are low and wooded, forming an
extensive tract of level land stretching backwards towards the mountains,
with a large opening at its eastern end, which is probably the mouth of a
great river. The Bramble was sent to examine this bay, but the shoalness
of the water, and the unfavourable nature of the weather prevented the
completion of this work. During her absence a large canoe was seen in the
bay, differing from all those hitherto observed in having a triangular or
lateen sail set with the apex downwards, thus resembling those in use on
the north coast of New Guinea, among some of the Malay Islands, and those
of the Viti Archipelago.

The weather, since leaving Brumer Islands, has usually been gloomy, with
frequent rain, occasionally very heavy, and a close muggy feeling in the
atmosphere as if one were living in a vapour bath; the temperature on
board ship ranged between 72 and 83 degrees. During our five days' stay
off Dufaure Island we were daily employed in catching rainwater for
ship's use, being on reduced allowance of that necessary article. The
wind throughout has been steady at South-East, occasionally varying a
point or two towards east.


September 18th.

For the last three days the coast has appeared as a strip of low land,
backed by mountain ranges of moderate elevation.* We observed several
openings, apparently creeks or mouths of rivers, and saw much smoke and
some canoes, but our distance from the shore was too great to allow of
communication. In the evening we stood off to seaward, and during the
night, while trying to avoid it, probably passed over the assigned
position of a reef laid down on one of the charts as having been seen in
1804, but without being able to confirm or disprove its existence.**

(*Footnote. From the haze involving distant objects--less frequent (as we
afterwards had reason to believe) during the westerly monsoon--the much
higher Owen Stanley Range was not then visible; it had also, probably
from the same cause, quite escaped the notice of D'Urville who passed
this portion of the coast at the distance of about eight or nine miles.)

(**Footnote. Although this reef does not exist in the position assigned
to it, I may state that its presence upon the charts rests upon the
authority of Coutance; Freycinet, rejecting Coutance's longitude of Cape
Deliverance and adopting that of D'Entrecasteaux, has laid down the reef
in question as bearing West-South-West from Point Hood, at a distance of
twelve leagues. Another but smaller reef is stated on the same authority
to exist five leagues South-East 1/4 East from Cape Rodney.)


September 19th.

Passed Mount Astrolabe, a series of long flat-topped ridges parallel with
the coast, but were unable clearly to identify the Cape Passy of
D'Urville where his running survey terminated, and where the Astrolabe
and Zelee bore away to the westward for Torres Strait.

September 20th.

During the forenoon the Bramble was observed to windward, and in the
afternoon she was sent inshore to look for anchorage. Following her we
stood in towards a remarkable headland (365 feet high) which afterwards
received the name of Redscar Head, from the reddish colour of its cliffs.
At the distance of six and a half miles from the shore we struck
soundings in twenty-seven fathoms, and soon afterwards crossed a narrow
ridge of coral, with only five fathoms over it; after this the bottom
consisted of tenacious mud, and we carried in from twenty-two to eighteen
fathoms, in the last of which we anchored two miles and two-thirds off
the point.


When Lieutenant Yule came on board we heard that since we left the
Bramble near Dufaure Island to do the inshore work, he had on one
occasion an affray with the natives in the neighbourhood of the Toulon
Islands. When the Bramble was nearly becalmed close inshore, several
canoes with about thirty people, including several women and children,
came off to barter. A small pig* was handed into the chains, but, owing
to an unavoidable occurrence, no return was made for it, upon which the
owner snatched the cap from off the head of a marine attending at the
gangway. The canoe which had brought the pig then shoved off, and, on
being directed by gestures to return the cap, one man stood up and poised
his spear, and the others got their arms ready. Several musket shots were
fired into the canoe from a distance of six or seven yards, but,
regarding the effect, conflicting statements have been made. No
resistance was attempted, as, after the first shot, some of the natives
jumped into the water and all made off in confusion, which was further
increased when a round shot was fired in the direction of a distant canoe
coming out from the shore.

(*Footnote. As has often happened the bone of contention did not rest
with the belligerents, for the pig was eventually handed over to me and
prepared as a specimen, now in the British Museum, the only Sus papuensis
in England at the present time.)


September 21st.

Took a passage in a boat sent with Lieutenant Simpson to get a round of
angles on one of three neighbouring islands (afterwards called Pariwara,
the native name) situated two miles and a half North-West from Redscar
Point, with which they appear formerly to have been continuous, and, like
it, are remarkable for their red and white cliffs. The largest, that on
which we landed, is only three-fourths of a mile in length. In shape it
is somewhat triangular: one side is formed by a rounded ridge, the
highest point of which is 234 feet in height, with irregular cliffs along
the sea margin; the opposite angle is occupied by a rounded hill
projecting as a headland with rocky cliffs; and these two opposite
portions are connected by low land forming a sandy beach on two of the
sides. The island is covered with long coarse grass growing in tufts;
there are also some pandanus trees of two kinds (P. spiralis and P.
pedunculata) and some low brush of stunted bushy trees, their tops matted
together, and indicating by the direction in which their branches are
bent that the prevailing wind is from the south-east.

Strictly speaking, there is no soil upon the island: what may, however,
be considered as such consists of the disintegrated calcareous rock, on
the low part mixed up with sand. This rock, acted upon by the weather,
has a tendency to fall down in large masses, leaving cliffs, steep and
rugged in some places and smooth in others; in colour it varies from
white to red, and is usually of a light pink. Behind one of the beaches,
a few feet distant from high-water mark, I observed a bank twelve feet
high of slightly agglutinated coral sand in parallel beds, mixed up with
large depositions of weather-worn shells: Tridacna, Hippopus, Strombus,
etc., all of species now living on the reef. At one end this deposit
appears to have been tilted up, forming a slight ridge stretching across
the low part of the island. The shores in some places are fringed with
coral conglomerate composed of shells and sand, fragments of coral, and
rolled pieces of rock from above. The reef surrounding the islands does
not dry at low water, and in crossing it in the boat very little live
coral was observed, except on the outer margin, outside of which the
bottom is a tenacious mud, effervescing on the application of
hydrochloric acid.

I collected a few plants, among which are a yellow-flowered Cleome, a
purple Pongamia, Convolvulus multivalvis, Evolvulus villosus, Guettarda
speciosa, etc. The only birds seen were a white-headed eagle and an
osprey, neither of which were molested although the latter frequently
came within shot, and followed me as if from motives of curiosity. Almost
the only insects seen were small grasshoppers, rising in numbers at every
step, and green ants which have nests in the bushes, and appear identical
with those of the Louisiade and Australia.

No fresh water was found here. Some recent traces of natives were met
with--including two fireplaces where turtle and fish had been cooked on a
framework of sticks over a fire--precisely similar to one of large size,
formerly seen on the Duchateau Islands. I saw many places where turtle
eggs had been dug out of the sand behind the beach, where besides were
numerous burrows of a maritime crab (Ocypode cursor) which also appeared
to feed upon the eggs--judging from the quantity of empty shells about
the holes of those creatures.

Of the two remaining islands of the group, one, less than a quarter of a
mile long, is covered with trees, probably a Bombax or Erythrina--at this
time destitute of leaves--on the other is a high bare rock with three
other small detached, needle-shaped ones lying off it. The observations
with the theodolite having been completed we obtained some soundings and
returned to the ship.

The view we had today from the Pariwara Islands was not so interesting as
I had expected. The shores of the bay stretching to the northward of
Redscar Head for many miles are low and covered with tall trees behind a
strip of sandy beach. At the back of the point in the corner of the bay,
we saw an opening two hundred yards wide, with tall mangroves on the
northern bank, apparently one of the mouths of a river traversing the
great extent of low wooded country behind. A very large fire two or three
miles behind the beach, sending up great volumes of smoke, might have
been intended for a signal, but neither canoes nor natives were seen
during our absence from the ship.


September 24th.

A canoe with twelve young men and lads came off from the shore, and
approached within two hundred yards of the ship, but although tempted by
the exhibition of a large piece of red cloth, they would come no closer.
Their visit was apparently prompted by mere curiosity as they had nothing
to barter with. These natives closely resembled the other Papuans seen to
the eastward, but were smaller in stature, and wore the hair frizzled up
into a mop projecting backwards, nor had I before seen in one canoe so
many handsome faces. As a breech-cloth they wore a narrow strip of white
cloth passing between the legs and secured to a string round the waist,
but this was too narrow to serve as a fig-leaf. Among their ornaments we
saw necklaces of small white cowries, and round flat pieces of shell two
inches in diameter worn on the breast, also black, tightly fitting, woven
armlets, in which they had stuck bunches of apparently the same purple
odoriferous amaranth seen elsewhere, while other tufts of this plant were
attached to the ankles and elbows.


The canoe was nearly of the same description as those commonly seen at
the Brumer and Dufaure Islands, but the outrigger float was rather
shorter, having only five poles to support it instead of seven or eight,
and the bow and stern, especially the former, much sharper and more
raking. On the side opposite to the outrigger there was a small slightly
projecting stage of two planks only. The paddles were six and a half feet
in length, much clumsier than those seen in other parts of New Guinea,
and without the carving on the handle, the blade also differed slightly
in shape, being more elliptical. After paddling inshore a short distance
they made sail and landed near the point. The sail resembled the common
one of the Louisiade, being long, narrow, square at the ends, and
stretched between two yards or masts, and in setting was merely stuck
upon end and supported by guys fore and aft.

During our stay at this anchorage we had fine weather, with light
variable winds of short duration, generally from the westward, but
sometimes from the northward, and the thermometer ranged between 77 and
84 degrees.

September 25th.

Weighed in the afternoon with a very light air from South-West, and stood
to the North-West, but by sunset, when we anchored in 27 fathoms mud, we
had made only about eight miles. The weather was very sultry all day with
the thermometer from 82 to 84 degrees in the shade. In the evening we got
a land breeze from about east, which lasted most of the night.


September 26th.

Soon after daylight we were visited by a party of natives who came from
an opening in the low land at the north-east corner of the
bay--apparently the mouth of a large river. They were in three canoes
carrying respectively, seven, four, and three people, and paddled up
alongside without hesitation, appearing anxious to be admitted on board,
holding on by the chains and peeping into the ports in a most inquisitive
manner. With the exception of two or three coconuts nothing was brought
to barter with, but they readily parted with bows and arrows, of which
they had a very large supply. These bows appear to be made of the hard
heavy wood of the coconut-tree, pointed at each end, and varying in
length from five to six feet, with a greatest width of an inch and a
quarter and thickness of five-eighths. The string is a strip of rattan
three-eighths of an inch wide. The arrows are precisely similar to those
used by the Torres Strait Islanders, consisting of a head of coconut
wood, nine to eighteen inches in length, shipped into a light reed 2 1/2
to 3 1/2 feet in length, and secured by a neat cane plaiting. They are
variously barbed on the edges in one or more series, or furnished with
constrictions at short intervals which would cause a piece readily to
break off in a wound and remain there. Some were headed with a piece of
bamboo shaped like a gouge or scoop, and several other varieties were
observed. This is the first occasion of our meeting with these weapons,
which appear almost completely to have superseded the spear of which only
a few small ones were seen in the canoes. In exchange for their bows and
arrows the natives attached most value to articles of clothing of every
description. Glass bottles were also eagerly sought after--but iron was
not prized--indeed its use appeared to be unknown, nor had they any name
for it.


While leaning out of one of the wardroom ports, and getting words from a
very intelligent native whose attention I secured by giving him various
little presents from time to time, I had occasion to point to a bamboo
scoop* lying in the canoe in order to get its name. The man, to my
surprise, immediately bit off a narrow strip from one side, as if to
sharpen the edge, and taking up a piece of stick, showed me that this
scoop was used as a knife. Not to be outdone I took one of our common
knives and cut away vigorously at a piece of wood to show the superiority
of our knives over his one; he appeared suddenly to become terrified,
talked vehemently to the others, drew their attention to me, and repeated
my motions of cutting the wood, after which his canoe pushed off from the
ship's side. My friend refused to accept of the knife--as I afterwards
found the natives had also done to other people when iron implements were
offered them--nor would he pay any further attention to my attempts to
effect a reconciliation.

(*Footnote. Resembling that figured in Jukes' Voyage of the Fly volume 1
page 277, but smaller.)


The greatest peculiarity among these people is their mode of dressing the
hair; it is usually shaved off the temples and occasionally a little way
up the forehead, then combed out at length, and tied midway with a
string, leaving one part straight, and the remainder frizzled out into a
mop projecting horizontally backwards. Some also had a long pigtail
hanging down behind, in one case decorated with a bunch of dogs' teeth at
the end. Across the forehead they wore fillets of small shells strung
together over a broad white band of some leafy substance. The septum of
the nose was perforated, and some wore a long straight nose-stick of bone
with black bands. All our visitors had their teeth darkened with the
practice of betel chewing--we saw them use the leaf of the betel pepper,
the green areca nut, and lime, the last carried in a small calabash with
a spatula.


We had been becalmed all the morning, but before noon the seabreeze set
in from the South-South-East, and we got underweigh, ran past South-west
Cape, and anchored in 22 fathoms mud, off a large island afterwards named
in honour of Lieutenant Yule.

September 27th.

This has proved a very uneasy anchorage under the combined influence of a
strong breeze from the south-east and a heavy sea. At one P.M. we got
underweigh in company with the Bramble, and left the coast of New Guinea,
running to the westward for Cape York, in order to meet the vessel with
our supplies from Sydney.

Next evening Bramble Cay was seen on our weather beam; being so low and
so small an object, we had nearly missed it. We hauled upon a wind
immediately but could not fetch its lee, so anchored two and a half miles
North-west by West from it. Great numbers of boobies and noddies came
about us, but our distance from the shore was too great and our stay too
short to send on shore for birds' eggs.

September 29th.

With a strong south-easterly breeze we passed to the westward of Campbell
and Stephens Islands, the Bramble leading, and anchored in the evening
near Marsden Island. On Campbell Island, numbers of the natives came down
to the edge of the reef, waving to us as we passed by, and inviting us to
land. There were many coconut-trees, and we saw a village on the
north-west side of the island, beautifully situated on the shady skirts
of the wood. The huts resemble those of Darnley Island, being shaped like
a haycock or beehive, with a projecting central pole ornamented with a
large shell or two attached to it. Most of the huts were situated in
small enclosures, and there were other portions of ground fenced in with
tall bamboo paling.

On the following day the Bramble* left us for Booby Island, to call at
the post office there, and rejoin company at Cape York, and we reached as
far as the neighbourhood of Coconut Island at noon, passing close to
Arden Island, then covered with prodigious numbers of blue and white
herons, small terns, curlews, and other waders.

(*Footnote. On his return, Lieutenant Yule reported that the boats of an
American whaler, lost on the Alert Reef (outside the Barrier) had reached
Booby Island, and the crews had been saved from starvation by the depot
of provisions there. That this supply will be renewed from time to time
is most likely, as the Legislative Council of New South Wales, last year,
voted the sum of 50 pounds for provisions to be left on Booby Island for
the use of shipwrecked people.)

October 1st.

We had a fine breeze and pleasant weather, and in the afternoon reached
our former anchorage in Evans Bay, Cape York, and moored ship in seven
fathoms. A party was immediately sent to examine the waterholes, which
promised, after a little clearing out, as abundant a supply as they
afforded us last year. We met some of the natives who came down to the
rocks as the boat landed, and among them I saw many old acquaintances who
joyfully greeted us.


Rescue a white Woman from Captivity among the Natives.
Her History.
Bramble and boats complete the Survey of Torres Strait.
Wini and the Mulgrave Islanders.
Intercourse with the Cape York Natives.
Nearly quarrel with them at a night dance.
Witness a Native fight.
Discover some fine country.
Incidents of our stay.
Many new Birds found.
Remarks on the Climate, etc. of Cape York.

On the day after our arrival at Cape York the vessel from Sydney with our
supplies anchored beside us, and besides provisions and stores, we had
the additional pleasure of receiving five months' news from home.


On October 16th, a startling incident occurred to break the monotony of
our stay. In the afternoon some of our people on shore were surprised to
see a young white woman come up to claim their protection from a party of
natives from whom she had recently made her escape, and who, she thought,
would otherwise bring her back. Of course she received every attention,
and was taken on board the ship by the first boat, when she told her
story, which is briefly as follows. Her name is Barbara Thomson: she was
born at Aberdeen in Scotland, and along with her parents, emigrated to
New South Wales. About four years and a half ago she left Moreton Bay
with her husband in a small cutter (called the America) of which he was
owner, for the purpose of picking up some of the oil from the wreck of a
whaler, lost on the Bampton Shoal, to which place one of her late crew
undertook to guide them; their ultimate intention was to go on to Port
Essington. The man who acted as pilot was unable to find the wreck, and
after much quarrelling on board in consequence, and the loss of two men
by drowning, and of another who was left upon a small uninhabited island,
they made their way up to Torres Strait, where, during a gale of wind,
their vessel struck upon a reef on the Eastern Prince of Wales Island.
The two remaining men were lost in attempting to swim on shore through
the surf, but the woman was afterwards rescued by a party of natives on a
turtling excursion, who, when the gale subsided, swam on board, and
supported her on shore between two of their number. One of these blacks,
Boroto by name, took possession of the woman as his share of the plunder;
she was compelled to live with him, but was well treated by all the men,
although many of the women, jealous of the attention shown her, for a
long time evinced anything but kindness. A curious circumstance secured
for her the protection of one of the principal men of the tribe a party
from which had been the fortunate means of rescuing her, and which she
afterwards found to be the Kowrarega, chiefly inhabiting Muralug, or the
Western Prince of Wales Island. This person, named Piaquai, acting upon
the belief (universal throughout Australia and the Islands of Torres
Strait so far as hitherto known) that white people are the ghosts of the
aborigines, fancied that in the stranger he recognised a long-lost
daughter of the name of Giaom, and at once admitted her to the
relationship which he thought had formerly subsisted between them; she
was immediately acknowledged by the whole tribe as one of themselves,
thus ensuring an extensive connection in relatives of all denominations.
From the headquarters of the tribe with which Giaom thus became
associated being upon an island which all vessels passing through Torres
Strait from the eastward must approach within two or three miles, she had
the mortification of seeing from twenty to thirty or more ships go
through every summer without anchoring in the neighbourhood, so as to
afford the slightest opportunity of making her escape. Last year she
heard of our two vessels (described as two war canoes, a big and a little
one) being at Cape York--only twenty miles distant--from some of the
tribe who had communicated with us and been well treated, but they would
not take her over, and even watched her more narrowly than before.


On our second and present visit, however, which the Cape York people
immediately announced by smoke signals to their friends in Muralug, she
was successful in persuading some of her more immediate friends to bring
her across to the mainland within a short distance of where the vessels
lay. The blacks were credulous enough to believe that as she had been so
long with them, and had been so well treated, she did not intend to leave
them--only she felt a strong desire to see the white people once more and
shake hands with them; adding, that she would be certain to procure some
axes, knives, tobacco, and other much prized articles. This appeal to
their cupidity decided the question at once. After landing at the sandy
bay on the western side of Cape York, she hurried across to Evans Bay, as
quickly as her lameness would allow, fearful that the blacks might change
their mind; and well it was that she did so, as a small party of men
followed to detain her, but arrived too late. Three of these people were
brought on board at her own request, and as they had been instrumental in
saving her from the wreck, they were presented with an axe apiece, and
other presents.

Upon being asked by Captain Stanley whether she really preferred
remaining with us to accompanying the natives back to their island, as
she would be allowed her free choice in the matter, she was so much
agitated as to find difficulty in expressing her thankfulness, making use
of scraps of English alternately with the Kowrarega language, and then,
suddenly awaking to the recollection that she was not understood, the
poor creature blushed all over, and with downcast eyes, beat her forehead
with her hand, as if to assist in collecting her scattered thoughts.


At length, after a pause, she found words to say: "Sir, I am a Christian,
and would rather go back to my own friends." At the same time, it was
remarked by everyone that she had not lost the feelings of womanly
modesty--even after having lived so long among naked blacks; she seemed
acutely to feel the singularity of her position--dressed only in a couple
of shirts, in the midst of a crowd of her own countrymen.

When first seen on shore our new shipmate presented so dirty and wretched
an appearance that some people who were out shooting at first mistook her
for a gin, and were passing by without taking further notice, when she
called out to them in English: "I am a white woman, why do you leave me?"
With the exception of a narrow fringe of leaves in front, she wore no
clothing, and her skin was tanned and blistered with the sun, and showed
the marks of several large burns which had been received from sleeping
too near the fire on cold nights; besides, she was suffering from
ophthalmia, which had previously deprived her of the sight of one eye.
But good living, and every comfort (for Captain Stanley kindly provided
her with a cabin and a seat at his table) combined with medical
attention, very soon restored her health, and she was eventually handed
over to her parents in Sydney in excellent condition.

Although perfectly illiterate, Mrs. Thomson had made good use of her
powers of observation, and evinced much shrewdness in her remarks upon
various subjects connected with her residence among the blacks, joined to
great willingness to communicate any information which she possessed.
Much of this will be found in another part of this volume, incorporated
with the result of my own observations. Several hundred words of the
Kowrarega language, and a portion of its grammar, were also obtained from
time to time, and most of these were subsequently verified. And, although
she did not understand the language spoken at Cape York, yet, as some of
the Gudang people there knew the Kowrarega, through its medium I was
usually able to make myself tolerably well understood, and thus obtain an
explanation of some matters which had formerly puzzled me, and correct
various errors into which I had fallen. It was well, too, that I took an
early opportunity of procuring these words, for my informant afterwards
forgot much of her lately-acquired language, and her value as an
authority on that subject gradually diminished.


Giaom was evidently a great favourite with the blacks, and hardly a day
passed on which she was not obliged to hold a levee in her cabin for the
reception of friends from the shore, while other visitors, less favoured,
were content to talk to her through the port. They occasionally brought
presents of fish and turtle, but always expected an equivalent of some
kind. Her friend, Boroto, the nature of the intimacy with whom was not at
first understood, after in vain attempting by smooth words and fair
promises to induce her to go back to live with him, left the ship in a
rage, and we were not sorry to get rid of so impudent and troublesome a
visitor as he had become. Previous to leaving, he had threatened that,
should he or any of his friends ever catch his faithless spouse on shore,
they would take off her head to carry back with them to Muralug; and so
likely to be fulfilled did she consider this threat, being in perfect
accordance with their customs, that she never afterwards ventured on
shore at Cape York.


During the period of our stay at Cape York, the Bramble, Asp, and
Rattlesnake's pinnace were sent away to the western entrance of Torres
Strait to finish the survey, and returned after a month's absence.


The boats had held no intercourse with any of the natives, except a small
party of Kowraregas, the inhabitants of Mulgrave and Banks Islands having
carefully avoided them. Hopes had been entertained prior to starting of
seeing something of a white man of the name of Wini, who had lived with
the Badus for many years. Giaom had seen and conversed with him during a
visit to Muralug which he had made in hopes of inducing her to share his
fortunes. She supposed him to be a foreigner, from his not appearing to
understand the English she used when asked by him to speak in her native
tongue. He had reached Mulgrave Island in a boat after having, by his own
account, killed his companions, some three or four in number. In course
of time he became the most important person in the tribe, having gained
an ascendancy by procuring the death of his principal enemies and
intimidating others, which led to the establishment of his fame as a
warrior, and he became in consequence the possessor of several wives, a
canoe, and some property in land, the cultivation of which last he pays
great attention to. Wini's character appears from the accounts I have
heard--for others corroborated part of Giaom's statement--to be a
compound of villainy and cunning, in addition to the ferocity and
headstrong passions of a thorough savage--it strikes me that he must have
been a runaway convict, probably from Norfolk Island. It is fortunate
that his sphere of mischief is so limited, for a more dangerous ruffian
could not easily be found. As matters stand at present, it is probable
that not only during his life, but for years afterwards, every European
who falls into the hands of the Badu people will meet with certain

(*Footnote. In further illustration of this assertion I give the
following note with which I have lately been furnished by Mr. J.
Sweatman, R.N., who served in the Bramble at the time of the occurrence
of the murder to which it alludes. In June 1846 the supercargo and a
boat's crew of a small vessel from Sydney procuring trepang and
tortoise-shell in Torres Strait, landed upon Mulgrave Island (the vessel
being about seven miles off) in order to barter for tortoise-shell. The
natives appeared at first to be friendly enough, but, towards evening
some circumstances occurred which induced the boat's crew to re-embark,
and they then went to a small sandbank about a mile off to pass the night
there. The supercargo and three men landed, leaving two men in the boat
at anchor; about midnight the latter were alarmed at hearing shouts and
yells on shore, and, landing in haste, found that the natives had
attacked their comrades, whose muskets being damp, were quite useless.
The supercargo and two men were killed--a shot from the boat however
dispersed the natives sufficiently for the two men to drag their
surviving comrade into the boat, but he had an arrow through the body,
and his hands were partially severed, and he soon died. The bodies of the
three people on the sandbank could not be recovered, the natives
returning to the attack with showers of arrows, nor could the small force
on board the schooner attempt to punish the perpetrators of this
unprovoked murder.)

The inhabitants of the neighbouring Banks Island are described by Giaom
as evincing the same hostility towards Europeans. Only a few years ago
the Italegas, one of the two tribes inhabiting that island, murdered two
white men and a boy, who had reached their inhospitable shores in a small
boat, probably from a wreck. Such savage outrages committed by the
inhabitants of the north-western islands would probably be completely
prevented were they oftener visited by Europeans; such was the case with
the people of Darnley Island, once dangerous savages, now safely to be
dealt with by taking the usual precautions, and where, as at the Murray
Islands, I believe strangers in distress, without valuable property,
would now be kindly treated.


We remained nine weeks at our anchorage in Evans Bay. The natives, of
whom there were usually a number encamped in the neighbourhood, attracted
by the presence of the ship, as vultures by a carcass, continued on
perfectly friendly terms, assisted the wooding and watering parties,
brought off fish and portions of turtle to the ship, and accompanied us
on our walks on shore. The usual remuneration for their services was
biscuit, and, next to that, tobacco, besides which axes and knives were
highly prized and occasionally given them. Immediately on landing for the
purpose of an excursion, each of us looked out for his kotaiga* from
among a crowd of applicants surrounding the boat, the haversack was
thrown across his shoulders, and away we started for the bush. It was
often difficult for the possessor of a good stock of biscuit to shake off
other useless volunteers; these hangers-on, with few exceptions, were
more remarkable for their capacity for food than for their powers of
endurance, showing a deeply rooted antipathy to any exertion not actually
necessary, and for every trifling additional service asking for bisiker
muro, choka muro, neipa, or some such thing. Still a few of these same
blacks make a very agreeable addition to a shooting party, as besides
their services as guides, and in pointing out game, they formed amusing
companions and enlivened many a noonday bivouac or dull thirsty march in
the hot sun with their songs, jokes, and mimicry.

(*Footnote. Derived from the Kowrarega word Kutaig (younger brother);
here in the jargon used between us it signified friend, associate,
companion, etc.)


One evening I was asked to join a party made up for the purpose of
witnessing a native dance. Many strange blacks were then encamped on the
margin of the beach, and altogether about 150 people belonging to four or
five tribes had collected. Not being apprised of our coming they showed
much surprise and suspicion at our landing after dark, but, with some
trouble, a number were induced by the promise of a quantity of biscuit to
get up a dance round a large fire on the sand to the music of a drum
which we had taken with us to announce our approach. The dance after all
was a very poor affair--none of the performers were painted and
decorated, there was little scenic effect, and they seemed glad when it
was over. The bag containing the promised biscuit was most injudiciously
handed over to an old woman named Baki, or queena woman Baki, as someone
had taught her to call herself, for distribution among the party. She
doled out a few handfuls to some women and children who had not been at
all concerned in the matter, and would have marched off with the
remainder had she not been prevented. The appointment of a woman to this
office gave great offence to the men who had been dancing--while not one
among them would have scrupled forcibly to deprive her of the whole on
the very first opportunity, yet every man there scorned the idea of
having to ASK a woman for anything--the consequence was that the
performers were not rewarded, and naturally imagined that we had broken
faith with them. The discontent increased, some of the men left in a
state of great excitement, and went for their spears and throwing sticks.
One or two rockets were sent up soon after to amuse them, on which the
few remaining women and children hurried to their sheds of bark and hid
their faces in terror. When a blue light was burned, and lit up the
gloomy shadows of the neighbouring bush, it disclosed the spectral
figures of many armed men among the trees, singly and in groups, intently
watching our motions. Paida, who with other native allies of ours still
remained with us, was very urgent for us to be off, telling me that
spears would be thrown immediately (kaibu kalaka muro); being a kotaig of
mine, he considered himself bound to attend to my safety, so conducted me
to the boat which he assisted in shoving off, nor did he retire from the
beach until we had got into deep water.


I have alluded to this occurrence, trivial as it may appear, not without
an object. It serves as an illustration of the policy of respecting the
known customs of the Australian race, even in apparently trifling
matters, at least during the early period of intercourse with a tribe,
and shows how a little want of judgment in the director of our party
caused the most friendly intentions to be misconstrued, and might have
led to fatal results.


I must confess that I should have considered any injury sustained on our
side to have been most richly merited; moreover, I am convinced that some
at least of the collisions which have taken place in Australia, between
the first European visitors and the natives of any given district, have
originated in causes of offence brought on by the indiscretion of one or
more of the party, and revenged on others who were innocent. As a
memorable instance I may give that which happened during Leichhardt's
overland journey to Port Essington, when his camp was attacked one
evening, and Mr. Gilbert lost his life. Long afterwards the undoubted
cause of this apparently unaccountable attack transpired in the
acknowledgment, while intoxicated, by one of the persons concerned, that
a gross outrage had been committed upon an aboriginal woman a day or two
previously, by the two blacks belonging to the expedition.

One day I witnessed a native fight, which may be described here, as such
occurrences, although frequent enough in Australia, have by Europeans
been witnessed only in the settled districts. It was one of those smaller
fights, or usual modes of settling a quarrel when more than two people
are concerned, and assumed quite the character of a duel upon a large
scale. At daybreak, I landed in company with six or seven people who were
going out on different shooting parties. The natives came down to the
boat as usual, but all carried throwing-sticks--contrary to their usual
practice of late; and at the place where they had slept, numbers of
spears were stuck up on end in the sand. These preparations surprised me,
but Paida would not explain the cause and seemed anxious to get me away.
The shooters marched off--each with his black--but I loitered behind,
walking slowly along the beach.


About 200 yards from the first camping-place, two groups of strange
natives, chiefly men, were assembled with throwing-sticks in their hands
and bundles of spears. While passing them they moved along in twos and
threes towards the Evans Bay party, the men of which advanced to meet
them. The women and children began to make off, but a few remained as
spectators on the sands, it being then low water. A great deal of violent
gesticulation and shouting took place, the parties became more and more
excited, and took up their position in two scattered lines facing each
other, extending from the margin of the beach to a little way in the
bush, and about twenty-five yards apart. Paida, too, partook of the
excitement and could refrain no longer from joining in the fight; he
dropped my haversack and bounded away at full speed to his camping-place,
where he received his spears from little Purom his son, and quickly made
his appearance upon the scene of action.

The two parties were pretty equally matched--about fifteen men in each.
The noise now became deafening; shouts of defiance, insulting
expressions, and every kind of abusive epithet were bandied about, and
the women and children in the bush kept up a wailing cry all the while
rising and falling in cadence. The pantomimic movements were of various
descriptions; besides the singular quivering motion given to the thighs
placed wide apart (common to all the Australian dances) they frequently
invited each other to throw at them, turning the body half round and
exposing the breech, or dropping on one knee or hand as if to offer a
fair mark. At length a spear was thrown and returned, followed by many
others, and the fighting became general, with an occasional pause.


The precision with which the spears were thrown was not less remarkable
than the dexterity which with they were avoided. In nearly every case the
person thrown at would, apparently, have been struck had he stood still,
but, his keenness of sight enabled him to escape by springing aside as
required, variously inclining the body, or sometimes merely lifting up a
leg to allow the spear to pass by, and had two been thrown at one person
at the same moment he could scarcely have escaped, but this I observed
was never attempted, as it would have been in war, here each individual
appeared to have a particular opponent. I had a capital view of the whole
of the proceedings, being seated about fifty yards behind and slightly on
the flank of one of the two contending parties. One spear thrown higher
than usual passed within five yards of me, but this I was satisfied was
the result of accident, as I had seen it come from Paida's party. Soon
afterwards I observed a man at the right extreme of the line next me, who
had been dodging round a large scaevola bush for some time back, make a
sudden dart at one of the opposite party and chop him down the shoulder
with an iron tomahawk. The wounded man fell, and instantly a yell of
triumph denoted that the whole matter was at an end.

Paida rejoined me five minutes afterwards, apparently much refreshed by
this little excitement, and accompanied me on my walk, still he would not
explain the cause of the fight. The wounded man had his arm tied up by
one of our people who landed soon afterwards, and, although the cut was
both large and deep, he soon recovered.


The frequent excursions of our shooting parties being more extended than
during our last visit became the means of adding considerably to our
knowledge of the surrounding country. One of the immediate consequences
was the discovery of several small streams of fresh water. The principal
of these, which we named Mew River (after its first finder, the sergeant
of marines on board) has its mouth in a small mangrove creek three
quarters of a mile to the eastward of Evans Bay. About five miles further
up its source was found to be a spring among rocks in a dense calamus
scrub. It waters a fine valley running nearly east and west behind the
range of hills to the southward of Evans Bay, and its line is marked by a
belt of tangled brush exceeding in luxuriance anything of the same
description which I had seen elsewhere. The variety of trees in this
dense brush is very great, and many were quite new to me. The Seaforthia
palm attained the height of 60 to 80 feet, and the rattan was very
abundant, and from the recurved prickles catching and tearing the
clothes, it was often no easy matter to penetrate the thickets. Among the
plants along the river the most interesting is an indigenous species of
banana or plantain, probably the same as that found at Endeavour River
during Cook's first voyage. The fruit is of small size with numerous hard
seeds and a small quantity of delicious pulp; cultivation would,
doubtless, wonderfully improve it. Another remarkable plant found on the
grassy borders of the jungle and characteristic of rich damp soil is a
beautiful species of Roscoea (?) (one of the Scitamineae or ginger
family) about a foot high, with a solitary leaf and large bracteae, the
lower green and the upper ones pink, partially concealing handsome yellow
flowers. From its succulent nature I failed in preparing specimens for
the herbarium, but some roots were preserved and given to the Botanical
Garden at Sydney.


The lower part of the valley is open forest land, or nearly level and
thinly wooded country covered with tall coarse grass. Further up it
becomes more beautiful. From the belt of wood, concealing the windings of
the river, grassy sloping meadows extend upwards on each side to the
flanking ridges which are covered with dense scrub occasionally extending
in straggling patches down to the water, and forming a kind of imperfect
natural fence. The soil of these meadows is rich sandy loam, affording
great apparent facilities for cultivation from their proximity to what is
probably a never-failing supply of fresh water. Here, at the end of the
dry season, and before the periodical rains had fairly set in, we found
the stream at halfway up to be about six feet in average breadth, slowly
running over a shallow, gravelly, or earthy bed, with occasional pools
from two to four feet in depth.


I have alluded to this subject at greater length than under ordinary
circumstances I would have done, in the belief that, should a settlement
ever be established at Cape York, the strip of good land that runs along
the upper part of Mew River may hereafter be turned to good account.
Several other valleys watered by small and apparently permanent streams
were discovered by our shooting parties, chiefly by Wilcox and the
sergeant of marines; these were afterwards visited by me, and my opinion
of the productiveness of the country about Cape York almost daily became
more and more favourable the further I extended my excursions.

I need scarcely repeat the arguments which have been adduced in favour of
the expediency, I may almost say necessity, of establishing a military
post, or small settlement of some kind, in the vicinity of Cape York,
simply because, while perfectly agreeing with Mr. Jukes* and several
other persons who have drawn the public attention to the subject, I have
little in addition to offer. Still a few words on the question may not be
out of place.

(*Footnote. Voyage of the Fly volume 1 page 302.)


The beneficial results to be looked for were such a settlement to be
formed would be:

1. A port of refuge would be afforded to the crews of vessels wrecked in
Torres Strait, and its approaches, who otherwise must make for Booby
Island, and there await the uncertainty of being picked up by some
passing vessel, or even attempt in the boats to reach Coupang in Timor, a
distance of 1100 miles further. And now that the settlement at Port
Essington has been abandoned the necessity for such a place of refuge is
still greater.

2. Passing vessels might be supplied with water and other refreshments,
also stores, such as anchors, etc., which last are frequently lost during
the passage of the Strait.

3. The knowledge of the existence of such a post would speedily exercise
a beneficial influence over our intercourse with the natives of Torres
Strait, and induce them to refrain from a repetition of the outrages
which they have frequently committed upon Europeans; the little trade in
tortoiseshell which might be pushed in the Strait (as has frequently been
done before by small vessels from Sydney and even from Hong Kong) would
no longer be a dangerous one--and protection would be afforded to the
coaling depot for steamers at Port Albany.*

(*Footnote. I adduce this last advantage on the presumption, which now
assumes a greater degree of probability than before--that the steam
communication before alluded to will be established, and that the Torres
Strait route, the one which is almost generally advocated, will be the
one adopted.)

4. In a military point of view the importance of such a post has been
urged upon the ground, that in the event of war, a single enemy's ship
stationed in the neighbourhood, if previously unoccupied, could
completely command the whole of our commerce passing through the Strait.

5. From what more central point could operations be conducted with the
view of extending our knowledge of the interior of New Guinea by
ascending some of the large rivers of that country, disemboguing on the
shores of the Great Bight?

6 and last. But on this point I would advance my opinion with much
diffidence--I believe that were a settlement to be established at Cape
York, missionary enterprise, JUDICIOUSLY CONDUCTED, might find a useful
field for its labours in Torres Strait, beginning with the Murray and
Darnley Islanders, people of a much higher intellectual standard than the
Australians, and consequently more likely to appreciate any humanising
influence which might be exercised for their benefit.


Several kangaroos or wallabies, the largest of which weighed forty
pounds, were killed during our stay at Cape York. A kangaroo dog
belonging to Captain Stanley made several fine runs, all of them
unsuccessful however, as the chase was seldom upon open ground, and there
was little chance of overtaking the kangaroo before it got into some
neighbouring thicket where the dog could not follow it. This wallaby
proved to be the Halmaturus agilis, first found at Port Essington, and
afterwards by Leichhardt in Carpentaria. A singular bat of a
reddish-brown colour was shot one day while asleep suspended from a
branch of a tree; it belonged to the genus Harpyia, and was therefore a
contribution to the Australian fauna.

Among many additions to the ornithological collections of the voyage were
eight or nine new species of birds, and about seven others previously
known only as inhabitants of New Guinea and the neighbouring islands.*
The first of these which came under my notice was an enormous black
parrot (Microglossus aterrimus) with crimson cheeks; at Cape York it
feeds upon the cabbage of various palms, stripping down the sheath at the
base of the leaves with its powerful, acutely-hooked upper mandible. The
next in order of occurrence was a third species of the genus Tanysiptera
(T. sylvia) a gorgeous kingfisher with two long, white, central
tail-feathers, inhabiting the brushes, where the glancing of its bright
colours as it darts past in rapid flight arrests the attention for a
moment ere it is lost among the dense foliage.

(*Footnote. Many of these have since been figured and described, with
accompanying notes on their habits, etc., in the recently published
Supplement to Mr. Gould's Birds of Australia.)

I may next allude to Aplonis metallica--a bird somewhat resembling a
starling, of a dark glossy green and purple hue, with metallic
reflections--in connection with its singular nest. One day I was taken by
a native to the centre of a brush, where a gigantic cotton-tree standing
alone was hung with about fifty of the large pensile nests of this


After I had made several unsuccessful attempts to shoot down one of the
nests by firing with ball at the supporting branch, the black volunteered
to climb the tree, provided I would give him a knife. I was puzzled to
know how he proposed to act, the trunk being upwards of four feet in
diameter at the base, and the nearest branch being about sixty feet from
the ground. He procured a tough and pliant shoot of a kind of vine
(Cissus) of sufficient length to pass nearly round the tree, and holding
one end of this in each hand and pressing his legs and feet against the
tree, he ascended by a series of jerks, resting occasionally, holding on
for half a minute at a time with one end of the vine in his mouth. At
length he reached the branches and threw me down as many nests as I
required. He afterwards filled the bag which he carried round his neck
with the unfledged young birds, which on our return to the native camp on
the beach were thrown alive upon the fire, in spite of my remonstrances,
and when warmed through were devoured with great apparent relish by
himself and his friends.


Two days before we left Cape York I was told that some bowerbirds had
been seen in a thicket, or patch of low scrub, half a mile from the
beach, and after a long search I found a recently constructed bower, four
feet long and eighteen inches high, with some fresh berries lying upon
it. The bower was situated near the border of the thicket, the bushes
composing which were seldom more than ten feet high, growing in smooth
sandy soil without grass.

Next morning I was landed before daylight, and proceeded to the place in
company with Paida, taking with us a large board on which to carry off
the bower as a specimen. I had great difficulty in inducing my friend to
accompany me, as he was afraid of a war party of Gomokudins, which tribe
had lately given notice that they were coming to fight the Evans Bay
people. However I promised to protect him, and loaded one barrel with
ball, which gave him increased confidence, still he insisted upon
carrying a large bundle of spears and a throwing-stick. Of late Paida's
tribe have taken steps to prevent being surprised by their enemies. At
night they remove in their canoes to the neighbouring island Robumo, and
sleep there, returning in the morning to the shore, and take care not to
go away to a distance singly or unarmed.

While watching in the scrub I caught several glimpses of the tewinya (the
native name) as it darted through the bushes in the neighbourhood of the
bower, announcing its presence by an occasional loud churrrr, and
imitating the notes of various other birds, especially the leatherhead. I
never before met with a more wary bird, and for a long time it enticed me
to follow it to a short distance, then flying off and alighting on the
bower, it would deposit a berry or two, run through, and be off again (as
the black told me) before I could reach the spot. All this time it was
impossible to get a shot. At length, just as my patience was becoming
exhausted, I saw the bird enter the bower and disappear, when I fired at
random through the twigs, fortunately with effect. So closely had we
concealed ourselves latterly, and so silent had we been, that a kangaroo
while feeding actually hopped up within fifteen yards, unconscious of our
presence until fired at. My bowerbird proved to be a new species, since
described by Mr. Gould as Chlamydera cerviniventris, and the bower is
exhibited in the British Museum.

Among the gamebirds of Cape York, the emu is entitled to the first rank.
Only two or three, however, were seen, and we were not fortunate enough
to procure one. One day an emu allowed me to approach within fifty yards
by stalking it cautiously, holding up a large green bough before me,
when, becoming alarmed, it darted in its fright into a thicket and was
lost to view.


Many brush turkeys (Talegalla lathami) were shot by our sportsmen, and
scarcely a day passed on which the natives did not procure for us some of
their eggs. The mode in which these and other eggs are cooked by the
blacks is to roll them up in two or three large leaves, and roast them in
the ashes; the eggs burst, of course, but the leaves prevent the contents
from escaping. Both bird and eggs are excellent eating; the latter,
averaging three and a half inches in length, of a pure white colour, are
deposited in low mounds of earth and leaves in the dense brushes in a
similar manner to those of the megapodius, and are easily dug out with
the hand. I have seen three or four taken out of one mound where they
were arranged in a large circle, a foot and a half from the surface. The
laying bird carefully effaces any mark she may have made in scooping out
a place for the eggs, but the keen eye of a native quickly detects the
slightest sign of recent disturbance of the mound, and he seldom fails to
hit upon the eggs.


As at Port Essington, the year at Cape York is divided into two seasons,*
the dry and the rainy. From personal observation and other sources of
information, it would appear that the limits and duration of these admit
of so much variation that it is impossible to determine with certainty,
even within a month, when one ceases and the other begins. It would
appear however that the dry season, characterised by the prevalence of
the south-east trade, usually terminates in November, the change having
for some time previous been indicated by calms, light winds, sometimes
from the westward, a gloomy unsettled appearance in the weather, and
occasional showers--violent squalls of wind and rain are frequent about
this time until the westerly breezes set in, when the weather becomes
moderate with frequent rain, occasionally very heavy, and intervals,
often of many days duration, of dry weather. In the month of March the
south-east trade usually resumes its former influence, the change being
often attended with the same thick squally weather, and perhaps a gale
from the north-west, which ushered in the westerly monsoon.

(*Footnote. The natives of the neighbouring Prince of Wales Island
distinguish the dry season (aibu or the fine weather) the wet (kuki or
the North-West wind which then prevails) and the period of change
(malgui) equivalent to our Spring and Autumn.)


Our own experience of the winds during our last stay at Cape York, at the
period when the change of the monsoon was to be expected, may be summed
up as follows. During the month of October the trade-wind prevailed,
keeping pretty steady at East-South-East, and generally blowing rather
strongly, with hazy weather and an occasional shower. For three days in
the middle of the month we experienced light north-westerly winds dying
away again in the evening, and on the 25th a violent squall from the same
quarter accompanied by very heavy rain rendered it expedient that the
ship should next day be moved a cable's length further offshore. During
the four last days in the month we had calms and light winds from the
northward of east, as if the trade were about to cease, but it commenced
afresh and continued until the 26th of November, generally very moderate,
with fine weather. During the last six days of our stay we had light airs
from about North-West, succeeded in the evening by a slight puff of
south-easterly wind followed by a calm lasting all night. Last year,
during the month of October, we experienced no northerly or westerly
winds, but a moderate trade prevailed throughout, pretty steady at
East-South-East, but varying much in strength.


In a place situated like Cape York, only about 640 miles distant from the
equator, the atmospheric temperature may be expected to be very high;
still the heat, although occasionally very oppressive for a time, caused
very different sensations from those experienced during the almost
stifling calms of Port Essington. At Cape York, however, calms seldom
lasted above a few hours, as from its peninsular position the land
receives the full influence of nearly every breeze. An abstract of the
thermometrical observations made on board the Rattlesnake shows the
following results:


October 1848 : 81 : 85 : 77 5.
October 1849 : 81 : 83 8 : 78 7.
November 1849 : 81 9 : 84 8 : 79.

During the above period, the highest and lowest temperatures recorded by
the self-registering maximum and minimum thermometer are, for October
1848, 88 and 73 degrees; for October 1849, 83.8 .and 77 degrees; and for
November 1849, 88 and 76 degrees.






December 17 : 34 52 N : 16 24 W : 59 : 61 : 61 132.
December 28 : 28 34 : 18 38 : 66 : 67 : 63 130.
December 30 : 23 22 : 20 58 : 68 : 69 : 66 66 : 61 190.
December 31 : 21 13 : 22 1 : 66 : 71 : 61 193.
January 1 : 18 40 : 23 18 : 68 : 73 : 70 78 : 57 178.
January 2 : 15 28 : 23 22 : 72 : 73 : 53 180.
January 3 : 8 55 : 22 38 : 78 : 82 : 59 191.
January 5 : 6 28 : 22 39 : 82 : 84 : 51 185.
January 6 : 5 54 : 22 34 : 79 : 82 : 50 361.
January 7 : 5 8 : 22 19 : 82 : 83 : 49 340.
January 12 : 1 5 : 22 32 : 77 : 83 : 52 335.
January 14 : 2 37 S : 26 15 : 79 : 80 : 53 268.
January 15 : 5 9 : 27 51 : 78 : 80 : 54 153 : 60 293.
January 16 : 7 55 : 29 11 : 79 : 80 : 53 183 : 47 273.
January 17 : 12 49 : 32 23 : 79 : 81 : 80 59.
January 19 : 15 5 : 34 44 : 79 : 80 : 59 226 : 62 317.
January 20 : 17 48 : 36 20 : 80 : 81 : 67 132.
January 21 : 20 10 : 37 58 : 78 : 80 : 59 146 : 50 306.
February 4 : 26 7 : 40 30 : 66 : 77 : 60 231 : 51 351.
February 5 : 27 21 : 38 1 : 73 : 76 : 65 182 : 51 342.
February 8 : 30 52 : 36 48 : 71 : 73 : 61 200 : 51 360.
February 9 : 33 22 : 36 54 : 68 : 70 : 60 184 : 50 324.
February 10 : 35 21 : 35 31 : 68 : 68 : 62 168 : 49 309.
February 12 : 37 20 : 30 58 : 69 : 66 : 57 205 : 45 355.
February 13 : 36 50 : 27 50 : 66 : 66 : 62 215 : 45 370.
February 15 : 36 31 : 24 7 : 63 : 64 : 58 194 : 45 339.
February 16 : 36 7 : 21 4 : 59 : 66 : 55 196 : 47 336.
February 17 : 35 30 : 19 34 : 64 : 69 : 58 215 : 51 366.
February 18 : 36 47 : 18 47 : 64 : 68 : 57 128 : 50 257.
February 19 : 38 7 : 16 43 : 65 : 63 : 48 370.
February 21 : 37 54 : 10 28 : 59 : 62 : 53 205 : 43 345.
February 23 : 36 54 : 4 53 : 62 : 67 : 61 205 : 48 345.
February 24 : 34 42 : 4 15 : 69 : 70 : 51 364 : 44 650.
February 25 : 35 28 : 3 6 : 68 : 69 : 54 195 : 46 335.
February 26 : 36 57 : 1 31 : 65 : 67 : 53 195 : 49 335.
February 27 : 38 22 : 0 28 : 64 : 62 : 55 192 : 45 338.
March 1 : 38 25 : 4 1 E : 56 : 55 : 48 195 : 44 335.
March 3 : 36 47 : 10 24 : 63 : 66 : 54 208 : 46 348.
March 4 : 36 41 : 12 1 : 66 : 64 : 55 188 : 46 328.
March 5 : 36 22 : 13 40 : 66 : 68 : 52 217 : 46 367.
March 6 : 36 24 : 14 42 : 71 : 70 : 65 147 : 56 284.
April 13 : 36 17 : 26 43 : 61 : 68 : 62 215 : 60 360.
April 14 : 36 53 : 27 49 : 66 : 69 : 65 215 : 56 360.
April 15 : 38 10 : 29 39 : 67 : 69 : 67 205 : 58 350.
April 16 : 38 8 : 32 54 : 69 : 69 : 64 128 : 60 278.
April 19 : 37 49 : 39 50 : 64 : 59 : 51 266 : 53 316.
April 21 : 38 13 : 45 36 : 66 : 60 : 55 158 : 52 293.
April 24 : 34 24 : 54 14 : 60 : 64 : 60 157 : 58 287.
April 26 : 30 13 : 56 50 : 65 : 71 : 61 162 : 60 283.
April 27 : 28 16 : 57 18 : 70 : 73 : 60 210 : 57 360.
April 28 : 26 56 : 57 31 : 70 : 74 : 60 200 : 57 350.
May 1 : 25 48 : 61 6 : 74 : - : 62 165 : 59 320.
May 3 : 20 42 : 58 47 : 76 : 77 : 74 140 : 57 300.
May 18 : 21 53 : 56 45 : 77 : 77 : 63 182.
May 19 : 24 16 : 56 58 : 76 : 75 : 71 182.
May 20 : 26 9 : 58 45 : 74 : 71 : 63 140 : 73 360.
May 21 : 27 36 : 61 9 : 69 : 73 : 54 333.
May 22 : 28 6 : 63 30 : 68 : 69 : 53 300.
May 24 : 28 1 : 67 28 : 67 : 69 : 54 286.
May 25 : 29 49 : 67 14 : 66 : 66 : 54 360.
May 26 : 32 4 : 68 6 : 65 : 65 : 55 340.
May 27 : 33 48 : 70 11 : 63 : 63 : 54 350.
May 28 : 35 33 : 72 6 : 61 : 60 : 55 350.
May 29 : 36 6 : 74 15 : 60 : 59 : 52 350.
June 1 : 35 0 : 80 56 : 61 : 59 : 55 346.
June 6 : 36 42 : 97 54 : 55 : 56 : 51 320.
June 12 : 39 57 : 118 0 : 48 : 54 : 45 320.
June 14 : 40 46 : 123 26 : 49 : 53 : 48 380.
July 9 : 15 miles East of Cape Pillar, Van Diemen's Land : 53 : 55 : 48 375.



The following pages contain abstracts of the meridian distances measured
in H.M. Surveying Ship Rattlesnake and her tender the Bramble, in the
survey of the Inner Route through Torres Strait, the Louisiade
Archipelago, and the South-east Coast of New Guinea, during the years
1847, 1848, 1849 and 1850, under the command of the late Captain Owen
Stanley, R.N. F.R.S.

The first three columns require no explanation.

The fourth (interval of days) is the elapsed time between the last day at
the first station and first day at the second.

The seventh (meridian distance in arc) is the result of the particular
measurement specified between the two places named.

The eighth (mean meridian distance from Sydney) is that deduced by a mean
value of two or more distances by the same T.K.'s, and in some instances
of ONE ONLY, in some of the principal stations connected with the survey.

The times throughout these abstracts have been determined by equal
altitudes of the sun, excepting in those instances where the contrary is
specified by A.A. The interpolations in the Rattlesnake's distances have
been calculated by Owen's method: those of the Bramble by a method of
Lieutenant Yule's.

In the Rattlesnake's distances interpolation has been employed
throughout; in the Bramble's only where an intermediate distance is
measured between two rates.

The asterisks point out the place to which the mean meridian from Sydney



1846 : Greenwich and Madeira : 14 : 10 : 7.7 : - : 16 53 22 W : - : Mr.
Veitch's Garden, Funchal : 32 37 42 N : 16 53 22 West of Greenwich : -.

1847 : Madeira and Rat Island Rio de Janeiro : 12 : 31 : 31.6 : - : 26 14
38 W : - : Rat Island Rio de Janeiro : 22 53 30 S : 43 8 0 West of
Greenwich : -.

1847 : Rat Island Rio de Janeiro and Simon's Bay : 12 : 36 : 50 : - : 61
32 52 E : - : North-west end of Dockyard, Simon's Bay : 34 11 28 S : - :

1847 : Simon's Bay and Mauritius Island : 13 : 28 : 20 : - : 39 1 6 E : -
: West side of Tonnelier's Island : - : - : -.

1847 : Mauritius Island and Hobart, Van Diemen's Land : 14 : 40 : 40 : -
: 89 45 43 E : - : Ross Bank Observatory : 42 52 10 S : - : AA.

1847 : Hobart and Sydney : 11 : 11 : 5 : - : 3 52 39 E : - : Fort
Macquarie : 33 51 33 S : - : AA.

1847 : Sydney and *Parramatta : 10 : 1 : 0.6 : - : 0 13 13 W : *0 13 13 W
: Parramatta Observatory : 33 48 50 S : *By the Bramble's T.K.'s : -.

1847 : Sydney and *Twofold Bay : 9 : 3.5 : 3 : - : 1 17 53 W : *1 17 53 W
: Jetty at Eden, Twofold Bay : 37 4 20 S : *By the Bramble's T.K.'s mean
of 2 measurements : AA.

1847 : Twofold Bay and *Gabo Island : 8 : 5 : 2.1 : - : 0 00 37 W : *1 18
35 W : Landing-place on West side : 37 34 0 S : *By the Bramble's T.K.'s
mean of 2 measurements : AA.

1847 : Gabo Island and Fort Macquarie : 8 : 4 : 9.5 : - : 1 18 40 E : - :
Fort Macquarie : 33 51 33 S : *By the Bramble's T.K.'s mean of 2
measurements : AA.

1847 : Twofold Bay and Fort Macquarie : 9 : 9 : 12.6 : - : 1 17 54 E : -
: Fort Macquarie : 33 51 33 S : *By the Bramble's T.K.'s mean of 2
measurements : -.

1847 : Fort Macquarie and Moreton Island : 16 : 8 : 8 : 60 to 81 : 2 9 59
E : *2 9 30 E : Watering-place near the North-west end : 27 5 44 S : - : AA.

1847/8 : Moreton Island and Fort Macquarie : 15 : 10 : 10 : - : 2 8 25 W
: *2 9 30 E : Fort Macquarie, Sydney : 33 51 33 S : *Mean of 3
measurements : -.

1849 : Sydney and Moreton Island : 17 : 7.5 : 15 : 62 to 75 : 2 10 7 E :
*2 9 30 E : Watering-place near the North-west end : 27 5 44 S : - : -.

1847 : Moreton Island and *Port Curtis : 16 : 12 : 14 : 71 81 : 1 59 59 W
: *0 8 37 E : West side of Facing Island, Port Curtis : 23 51 45 S :
*Mean of 2 measurements : -.

1847 : Port Curtis and Port Molle : 15 : 11 : 8.3 : 64 84 : 2 30 48 W : -
: 1/10th mile North of Sandy Bay, East side of harbour : 20 19 48 S : - : -.

1847 : Port Molle and Cape Upstart : 16 : 2.4 : 1.5 : - : 1 5 42 W : - :
Sandy Bay, near the Cape : 19 42 3 S : - : AA.

1847 : Cape Upstart and *Port Molle : 16 : 4 : 1.5 : - : 1 5 42 E : *2 21
53 W : 1/10th mile North of Sandy Bay, East side of harbour : 20 19 48 S
: *Mean of 2 measurements : AA.

1847 : Port Molle and Moreton Island : 15 : 22.5 : 28 : - : 4 31 59 E : -
: Watering-place near the North-west end : 27 5 44 S : - : AA.

1848 : Sydney and *Port Phillip : 15 : 11 : 6.4 : - : 6 18 14 W : *6 19
48 W : Lighthouse, Point Gellibrand : 37 52 31 S : *Mean of 2
measurements : AA.

1848 : Point Gellibrand and Shortlands Bluff : 16 : 3 : 2.6 : - : 0 14 18
W : - : Lighthouse, Shortlands Bluff : 38 16 0 S : - : -.

1848 : Point Gellibrand and Port Dalrymple : 16 : 9 : 12.5 : - : 1 55 30
E : - : North point of Lagoon Bay : 41 5 0 S : Latitude from Chart : -.

1848 : Port Dalrymple and Sydney : 16 : 14 : 14.2 : - : 4 25 53 E : - :
Fort Macquarie : 33 51 33 S : - : -.

1848 : Sydney and *Rockingham Bay : 16 : 31 : 28.9 : 64 to 84 : 5 3 27 W
: *5 3 27 W : Summit of Mound Islet : 17 55 25 S : *One measurement : AA.

1848 : Sydney and *Cape Upstart : 16 : 22 : 25.8 : 64 to 79 : 3 27 00 W :
*3 27 37 W : Sandy Bay, near the Cape : 19 42 3 S : *Mean of 2
measurements : AA.

1848 : Rockingham Bay and Cape Upstart : 16 : 9 : 8.2 : 73 to 84 : 1 36
32 E : - : Sandy Bay, near the Cape : 19 42 3 S : - : -.

1848 : Mound Islet and Number 3 Barnard Group : 16 : 4 : 3.8 : 71 to 84 :
0 2 18 E : - : Sandy beach, West extreme : 17 40 20 S : - : AA.

1848 : Number 3 Barnard Group and Number 4 Frankland Group : 16 : 5 : 5.5
: 72 to 78 : 0 6 4 W : - : Sandy beach, West side : 17 12 22 S : - : -.

1848 : Number 4 Frankland Group and Fitzroy Island : 16 : 7 : 6.1 : 72 to
79 : 0 5 34 W : - : Sandy beach, West side : 16 55 57 S : - : -.

1848 : Mound Islet and *Fitzroy Island : 15 : 16 : 7.9 : 84 to 72 : 0 9
28 W : *5 12 55 W : Sandy beach, West side : 16 55 57 S : - : -.

1848 : Fitzroy Island and Islet Trinity Bay : 16 : 6 : 4.4 : 73 to 79 : 0
18 25 W : - : Centre of North side of Islet : 16 43 26 S : *One
measurement : AA.

1848 : Islet Trinity Bay and Low Isles : 16 : 4 : 2.4 : 73 to 77 : 0 7 23
W : - : North-east point of Western Isle : 16 22 56 S : - : AA.

1848 : Low Isles and East Hope Island : 16 : 10 : 5.4 : 72 to 78 : 0 6 2
W : - : Beach on West side of Island : 15 43 45 S : - : -.

1848 : Fitzroy Island and *East Hope Island : 16 : 20 : 9.1 : 73 to 79 :
0 31 57 W : *5 44 52 W : Beach on West side of Island : 15 43 45 S : - : -.

1848 : East Hope Island and *Lizard Island : 15 : 9 : 3.7 : 73 to 79 : 0
00 7 E : *5 44 45 W : South end of Sandy Bay on West side : 14 39 56 S :
*One measurement : -.

1848 : Lizard Island and Number 1 Howick Group : 16 : 3 : 1.4 : 73 to 79
: 0 29 49 W : - : North-west extreme of Island : 14 29 46 S : - : -.

1848 : Number 1 Howick, and Number 6 Howick Group : 16 : 3.5 : 1.3 : 76
to 79 : 0 8 56 W : - : Middle of West side of Island : 14 26 0 S : - : -.

1848 : Number 6 Howick Group and *Pipon Island : 16 : 3.5 : 2.5 : 76 to
82 : 0 17 45 W : - : South-West side of West Island : 14 7 9 S : *One
measurement : -.

1848 : Pipon Island and Pelican Island : 16 : 2 : 1.4 : 76 to 83 : 0 41
00 W : - : South-West side of Island : 13 54 21 S : - : -.

1848 : Pelican Island and Night Island : 16 : 12 : 6.9 : 78 to 84 : 0 16
14 W : - : Coral patch, North-west end of Island : 13 9 58 S : - : AA.

1848 : Night Island and C. Reef : 16 : 9 : 9.4 : 78 to 83 : 0 4 32 W : -
: Dry sand, North-west end of reef : 12 34 50 S : - : AA.

1848 : Pipon Island and *C. Reef : 16 : 23 : 9.7 : 76 to 84 : 1 1 25 W :
*7 42 24 W : Dry sand, North-west end of reef : 12 34 50 S : *One
measurement : -.

1848 : C. Reef and Piper's Island : 16 : 4 : 5.6 : 80 to 84 : 0 17 19 W :
- : North-east extreme of West Island on large reef : 12 14 30 S : - : -.

1848 : Piper's Island and Sunday Island : 16 : 4 : 4.8 : 80 to 84 : 0 1 4
W : - : South-west side on sandy beach : 11 55 54 S : - : -.

1848 : Sunday Island and Cairncross Island : 16 : 3 : 1.6 : 81 to 84 : 0
17 37 W : - : North-west extreme on sandy beach : 11 14 34 S : - : -.

1848 : Cairncross Island and Z reef : 16 : 2 : 2.5 : 81 to 84 : 0 12 7 W
: - : Dry sand on North-west end : 10 48 50 S : - : -.

1848 : Z reef and Cape York : 16 : 4 : 3.7 : 81 to 85 : 0 10 22 W : - :
Sextant Rock, Evans Bay: 10 48 50 S : - : -.

1848 : C reef and *Cape York : 16 : 17 : 13.5 : 78 to 86 : 0 58 33 W : *8
42 8 W : Sextant Rock, Evans Bay: 10 41 31 S : *The mean of 3
measurements. : -.

1848 : Cape York and *Port Essington : 16 : 10 : 8.5 : 81 to 90 : 10 23
50 W : *19 5 58 W : Government House, Victoria : 11 22 2 S : *One
measurement : -.

1848/9 : Port Essington and Sydney : 15 : 71 : 60 : 62 to 90 : 19 00 18 W
: - : Fort Macquarie : 33 51 33 S : *Useless (interval being too long) : -.

N.B. The distances in the Louisiade and New Guinea are calculated with
the meridian distance of the Sextant Rock, Cape York, assumed to be 8
degrees 40 minutes 50 seconds West of Sydney, to adapt them to the
original delta of the North-east Coast of Australia.

1849 : Sydney and Moreton Island : 17 : 7.5 : 15.0 : 62 to 75 : 2 10 7 E
: - : Watering-place near the North-west end : 27 5 44 S : - : -.

1849 : Moreton Island and Number 1 Obs. Reef C. Haven : 17 : 21.5 : 24.8
: 66 to 85 : 0 4 46 W : - : Dry sand, West extreme of reef : 11 18 39 S :
- : -.

1849 : Number 1 Obs. Reef and Number 2 Obs. Reef C. Haven : 17 : 12 :
11.5 : 81 to 85 : 0 12 7 W : - : Dry sand, East extreme of reef : 11 21
30 S : - : -.

1849 : Number 2 Obs. Reef and *Duchateau Isles : 17 : 14 : 10.9 : 81 to
87 : 0 43 30 W : *1 9 7 E : Centre of Middle Island, North side : 11 16
51 S : - : -.

1849 : Duchateau Isles and *Brumer Island : 17 : 14 : 9.3 : 79 to 87 : 2
1 56 W : *0 53 9 W : At the ship's anchorage : 10 45 30 S : - : AA.

1849 : Brumer Island and *Dufaure Island : 17 : 16 : 20.7 : 79 to 85 : 0
37 7 W : *1 29 58 W : At the ship's anchorage : 10 30 36 S : - : AA.

1849 : Brumer Island and Redscar Bay : 17 : 30 : 14.3 : 79 to 86 : 3 32 8
W : - : At the ship's anchorage : 9 16 14 S : - : AA.

1849 : Redscar Bay and Cape York : 17 : 12 : 12.3 : 82 to 86 : 4 20 4 W :
- : Sextant Rock, Evans Bay : 10 41 31 S : - : AA.

1849 : Brumer Island and Cape York : 17 : 42 : 22.7 : - : 4 20 4 W : - :
Sextant Rock, Evans Bay : 10 41 31 S : - : AA.

1849 : Cape York and *Mount Ernest : 17 : 3 : 6.9 : 83 to 88 : 0 4 12 W :
*8 45 2 W : North-west end of Island : 10 14 58 S : *One measurement : -.

1849 : Middle Duchateau and Cape York : 17 : 61 : 45.1 : - : 9 51 56 W :
- : Sextant Rock, Evans Bay : 10 41 31 S : - : -.

1849 : Cape York and *Bramble Cay : 15 : 16 : 17.4 : 82 to 88 : 1 19 55 E
: *7 20 55 W : Centre of Bramble Cay : 9 8 38 S : *One measurement : -.

1849 : Cape York and *Redscar Bay : 15 : 21 : 16.7 : 82 to 88 : 4 19 51 E
: *4 21 51 W : Sandy point, North extremity Pariwara Island : 9 14 21 S :
- : -.

1850 : Redscar Bay and Middle Duchateau : 17 : 9.5 : 6.6 : 83 to 88 : 5
29 55 E : - : Centre of Middle Island, North side : 11 16 51 S : - : -.

1850 : Middle Duchateau and Sydney : 16 : 29.5 : 43.4 : - : 1 5 59 W : -
: Fort Macquarie : 33 51 33 S : - : -.

1850 : Redscar Bay and Sydney : 16 : 39 : 52.4 : 73 to 88 : 4 22 47 E : -
: Fort Macquarie : 33 51 33 S : - : -.

1850 : Sydney and Bay of Islands New Zealand : 15 : 18.5 : 16.6 : 63 to
77 : 22 54 20 E : - : Kairaro Island, Kororareka Bay : 35 16 0 S : - : -.

1850 : Bay of Islands and Port Stanley, East Falkland : 15 : 56.5 : 90.5
: 44 to 67 : 128 3 9 E : - : In front of Chaplain's House : 51 41 19 S :
- : -.

1847 : Fort Macquarie and Port Stephens : 9 : 3 : 2 : 9 : 0 47 15 E : *2
9 25 E : In the Garden, Tahlee House : 32 40 18 S : - : -.

1847 : Port Stephens and *Moreton Island : 9 : 12 : 6.2 : 5 : 1 22 24 E :
*2 9 25 E : Watering-place near North-west end of Island : 27 5 44 S : - : -.

1848 : Moreton Bay and Sydney : 9 : 10 : 8.5 : 13.5 : 2 9 9 W : *2 9 25 E
: Fort Macquarie : 33 51 33 S : The mean of 4 measurements : -.

1849 : Moreton Bay and Sydney : 10 : 18 : 15.8 : 3.5 : 2 9 41 W : *2 9 25
E : Fort Macquarie : 33 51 33 S : - : -.

1849 : Fort Macquarie and Moreton Bay : 10 : 10.5 : 16.2 : 8 : 2 9 10 E :
*2 9 25 E : Watering-place near North-west end of Island : 27 5 44 S : -
: -.

1847 : Moreton Bay and Port Curtis : 10 : 8 : 2.6 : 6.5 : 2 0 7 W : *0 8
35 E : At the Observation spot West side of Facing Island : 23 51 45 S :
- : -.

1848 : Sydney and *Port Curtis : 9 : 19 : 24 : 11 : 0 7 19 E : *0 8 35 E
: At the Observation spot West side of Facing Island : 23 51 45 S :
Measured to Sail Rocks and reduced to Observation spot by charts : -.

1847 : Port Curtis and Moreton Bay : 10 : 17 : 18 : 10 : 2 0 16 E : *0 8
35 E : Watering-place near North-west end of Island : 27 5 44 S : Mean of
3 measurements : -.

1848 : Sydney and *Kent's Group, Lighthouse : 10 : 9.5 : 5.0 : 9 : 3 55
11 W : *3 55 11 W : At the Lighthouse : 39 29 58 S : One measurement : -.

1848 : Sydney and *Hobson's Bay, Port Phillip : 10 : 16.5 : 4.8 : 9 : 6
18 56 W : *6 19 00 W : Near the Lighthouse, Point Gellibrand : 37 52 31 S
: - : -.

1848 : Hobson's Bay and Sydney : 10 : 17 : 7 : 10.5 : 6 19 4 E : *6 19 00
W : Fort Macquarie : 37 52 31 S : - : -.

1848 : Sail Rocks, Point Curtis, and Rockingham Bay : 10 : 4 : 3.8 : 7 :
5 20 3 W : - : Rocky point, 1/2 mile South of North-west extremity of
Goold Island : 18 9 33 S : - : -.

1848 : Goold Island (Rockingham Bay) and *Fitzroy Island : 10 : 15 : 5.6
: 4 : 0 9 50 W : *5 14 19 W : The same as Rattlesnake's : 16 55 57 S :
One measurement : -.

1848 : Fitzroy Island and a rocky Islet, Cape Melville : 10 : 36 : 23.5 :
4 : 1 38 00 W : - : On its summit : *14 15 13 S : *By Captain King's
Sextant : -.

1848 : A rocky Islet, Cape Melville, and Pelican Island : 10 : 7 : 8.3 :
3.5 : 0 31 38 W : - : South-west side of Island : 13 54 21 S : - : -.

1848 : Pelican Island and *Cape York : 10 : 15 : 10.8 : 2.5 : 1 17 3 W :
*8 40 52 W : Sextant Rock, Evans Bay : 10 41 31 S : Mean of 4
measurements : -.

1848 : Cape York and Booby Island : 10 : 2 : 0.7 : 1.5 : 0 38 18 W : - :
North-west end of Island : none observed : - : -.

1849 : Booby Island and Cape York : 10 : 2.5 : 3.4 : 2.5 : 0 38 19 W : -
: Sextant Rock, Evans Bay : 10 41 31 S : 2 measurements : -.

1848 : Cape York and Moreton Island : 10 : 38 : 23.4 : 6 : 10 49 10 E : -
: Watering-place, North-west end of Island : 27 5 44 S : - : -.

1849 : Moreton Island and North Solitary Island : 10 : 7 : 4.2 : - : 0 1
7 E : - : Summit of Island : *29 56 8 S : *Captain King's Sextant Sea
horizon : -.

N.B. The distances in the Louisiade and New Guinea are calculated with
the meridian distance of the Sextant Rock, Cape York, assumed to be 8
degrees 40 minutes 50 seconds West of Sydney, to adapt them to the
original delta of the North-east Coast of Australia.

1849 : Moreton Island and Number 1 Observation Reef Coral Haven : 10 : 21
: 41 : 20 : 0 4 29 W : - : Dry sand, West extremity of reef : 11 18 39 S
: - : -.

1849 : Number 1 Observation Reef and Number 2 Observation Reef : 10 : 13
: 8.2 : 3.5 : 0 1 14 W : - : Dry sand, East extremity of reef : 11 21 30
S : - : -.

1849 : Number 2 Observation Reef and Green Island : 10 : 6 : 5.2 : 3 : 0
26 49 W : - : On Coral Islet, near Green Island (South side) : 11 8 36 S
: - : -.

1849 : Number 2 Observation Reef and Green Island : 10 : 6 : 3.2 : 3 : 0
26 48 W : - : On Coral Islet, near Green Island (South side) : 11 8 36 S
: Repeated : -.

1849 : Green Island and Duchateau Isles : 10 : 3 : 4.6 : 3 : 0 15 53 W :
- : On the North-east extremity of Eastern Duchateau : 11 16 45 S :
Repeated : -.

1849 : Green Island and *Middle Duchateau : 10 : 1 : 1.1 : 1 : 0 16 43 W
: *1 8 34 E : Rattlesnake's Observation spot : *11 16 51 S : *By
triangulation : -.

1849 : Middle Duchateau and Duperre sandbank : 10 : 3 : 1.9 : 3.5 : 0 19
54 W : - : On sandbank East of Duperre Isles : 11 10 48 S : - : AA.

1849 : Middle Duchateau and Lejeune Isle : 10 : 5 : 3.4 : 4 : 0 33 26 W :
- : On North-west extreme of the Island : 11 10 38 S : - : AA.

1849 : Lejeune Island and Kosmann Island : 10 : 2 : 2 : 3 : 0 16 52 W : -
: On middle of North side of Island : 11 4 20 S : - : AA.

1849 : Lejeune Island and East Sable Island : 10 : 2.9 : 2.8 : 3 : 0 25
47 W : - : Centre of Island : 11 10 6 S : - : AA.

1849 : Lejeune Island and West Barrier Island : 10 : 3 : 2.7 : 3 : 0 40
28 W : - : East end of Island : 11 5 36 S : - : AA.

1849 : Lejeune Island and West Dumoulin Island : 10 : 5 : 4.5 : 3 : 1 4
18 W : - : North-west end, on a detached rock : 10 54 20 S : - : AA.

1849 : Middle Duchateau and *Brumer Island : 10 : 14 : 15.6 : 4 : 2 1 13
W : *0 52 40 W : Rattlesnake's anchorage : 10 45 30 S : - : AA.

1849 : Brumer Island and *Dufaure Island : 10 : 17 : 5.0 : 2.5 : 0 35 20
W : *1 27 43 W : Rattlesnake's anchorage : 10 30 36 S : - : AA.

1849 : Brumer Island and Cape York : 10 : 43 : 17.9 : 4 : 7 48 19 W : - :
Sextant Rock, Evans Bay : 10 41 31 S : - : AA.

1849 : Cape York and Darnley Island : 10 : 12.5 : 7 : 2 : 1 13 39 E : - :
East end of Treacherous Bay : *9 35 0 S : *From chart : -.

1849 : Cape York and Bramble Cay : 10 : 16 : 10.3 : 1.5 : 1 20 34 E : - :
On the centre of the Cay : 9 8 38 S : - : -.

1850 : Redscar Bay and Bramble, off Round Island : 10 : 8 : 7 : 3 : 0 37
45 E : - : On board the Bramble, at anchor : 9 58 53 S : - : -.

1850 : Redscar Bay and Bramble, off Cape Rodney : 10 : 16 : 8.4 : 3 : 1
35 25 E : - : On board the Bramble, at anchor : 10 16 20 S : - : -.

1850 : Redscar Bay and Bramble, off Dufaure : 10 : 21 : 14.2 : 3 : 2 48
41 E : - : On board the Bramble, at anchor : - : - : -.

1850 : Redscar Bay and Bramble, off Brumer Island : 10 : 23 : 17.9 : 3 :
3 27 34 E : - : On board the Bramble, at anchor : - : - : -.

1850 : Redscar Bay and Middle Duchateau Island : 10 : 31.5 : 24.7 : 3 : 5
29 46 E : - : On centre of North side of Island : 11 16 51 S : - : -.

1850 : Middle Duchateau Island and Sydney : 8 : 28 : 41.3 : - : 1 7 30 W
: - : Fort Macquarie : 33 51 33 S : - : -.

1850 : Sydney and Bay of Islands, New Zealand : 7 : 18.5 : 7.1 : - : 22
55 24 E : - : Kairaro Island Kororareka Bay : 35 16 0 S : - : -.

1850 : Bay of Islands and Falkland Island : 7 : 57 : 95 : - : 128 3 9 E :
- : Near Chaplain's House, Stanley, East Falkland : 51 41 19 S : - : -.


The following is a summary of the results obtained from the Chronometric
measurements of H.M.S. Rattlesnake and Bramble, giving a proportionate
value to each, according to the number of T.K.'S employed.


O.S.: Captain Owen Stanley.
C.B.Y.: Lieutenant C.B. Yule.
J.D.: Lieutenant J. Dayman.
W.H.O.: Mr. Obree.

Parramatta Observatory : 0 13 13 : W : 151 1 34 : 33 48 50 : From
Nautical Almanac : -.

Eden Jetty, Twofold Bay : 0 17 53 : W : 149 56 54 : 37 4 20 : Circle : O.S.

Gabo Island : 1 18 13 : W : 149 56 12 : None observed : - : -.

Lighthouse, Point Gellibrand, Port Phillip : 6 19 29 : W : 144 55 18 : 37
52 31 : Az. and Alt. : O.S.

Lighthouse, Kent's Group : 3 55 11 : W : 147 19 36 : 39 28 58 : Sextant :

Rossbank Observatory, Hobart : 3 52 39 : W : 147 22 8 : 42 52 10 : Circle
and Az. Alt. : O.S.

Tahlee House, Port Stephens : 0 47 15 : E : 152 2 2 : 32 40 18 : - :
Captain King.

North point of Lagoon Bay, Port Dalrymple : 4 24 56 : W : 146 49 51 :
None observed : - : -.

North Solitary Island : 2 10 35 : E : 153 25 22 : 29 56 8 : Sextant :

Moreton Island watering-place, North-west end : 2 9 28 : E : 153 24 15 :
27 5 44 : Sea horizon Circle and Az. Alt. : O.S.

Observation spot, West side Facing Island, Port Curtis : 0 8 36 : E : 151
23 23 : 23 51 45 : Az. and Alt. and Sextant : O.S., C.B.Y. and J.D.

Port Molle, near Sandy Bay, East side of harbour : 2 21 53 : W : 148 52
54 : 20 19 48 : Az. and Alt. : O.S.

Cape Upstart, Sandy Bay near Cape : 3 27 37 : W : 147 47 10 : 19 42 3 :
Az. and Alt. : O.S.

Mound Islet, Rockingham Bay : 5 3 27 : W : 146 11 20 : 17 55 25 : Circle
: O.S.

Fitzroy Island beach, West side : 5 13 27 : W : 146 1 20 : 16 55 57 :
Circle : O.S.

East Hope Island, beach on West side : 5 44 52 : W : 145 29 55 : 15 43 45
: Circle : O.S.

Lizard Island, sandy beach West side : 5 44 45 : W : 145 30 2 : 14 39 56
: Circle : O.S.

West Pipon Island, South-west side : 6 40 59 : W : 144 33 48 : 14 7 9 :
Circle : O.S.

C reef dry sand, off Restoration Island : 7 42 24 : W : 143 32 23 : 12 34
50 : Az. Alt. : W.H.O.

Sextant Rock, Evans Bay, Cape York : 8 41 33 : W : 142 33 14 : 10 41 31 :
Az. Alt. : W.H.O.

Port Essington, Government House : 19 5 23 : W : 132 9 24 : 11 22 2 : Az.
Alt. : W.H.O.

Booby Island : 9 19 51 : W : 141 54 56 : 10 35 56 : delta n : -.

Bramble Cay : 7 21 23 : W : 143 53 24 : 9 8 38 : Az. Alt. : W.H.O.

Pariwara Island (North side) Redscar Bay : 5 9 25 : W : 146 5 22 : 9 14
25 : Az. Alt. : W.H.O.

Middle Duchateau Island : 1 7 50 : E : 152 22 37 : 11 16 51 : Circle : O.S.

Number 1 Observation Reef, Coral Haven, Louisiade : 2 4 48 : E : 153 19
35 : 11 18 39 : Circle : O.S.

Kairaro Island, Bay of Islands, New Zealand : 22 54 40 : E : 174 9 27 :
35 16 0 : Sextant. : W.H.O.

Chaplain's House, Stanley, East Falkland : 150 57 49 : E : 57 47 24 : 51
41 19 : Az. Alt. : W.H.O.





The following tables contain the absolute determinations of the magnetic
inclination and declination made in the Voyage of H.M.S. Rattlesnake on
shore. A very large series made almost daily at sea with Fox's instrument
and the Azimuth Compass require several corrections before they are fit
for publication.

In degrees, minutes and seconds.



In Mr. Veitch's verandah, Funchal, by Robinson's Needle, A: 59 41 7 N.
In Mr. Veitch's verandah, Funchal, by Fox's Needle, A: 60 40 2 N.
On the summit of the Pico dos Bodes, by Fox's Needle, A: 64 10 5 N.
Ther. 64. on the summit of the Pico dos Bodes, angle of deflection, 2
grains by Fox's Needle, A: 33 13 6.
Ther. 59. Funchal angle of deflection, 2 grains by Fox's Needle, A: 38 8 8.


By Robinson's Needle, A1: 12 15 1 S.
By Robinson's Needle, A2: 12 19 1 S.
Mean: 12 17 1 S.


In the dockyard near the Observation spot of Erebus and Terror, by Fox's
Needle A, with index error applied : 53 40 0 S.


By Robinson's Needle, A1: 53 48 9 S.
By Robinson's Needle, A2: 53 48 8 S.
Mean: 53 48 8 S.


At the Magnetic Observatory, Ross bank, by Robinson's Needle, A1: 70 36 0 S.
At the Magnetic Observatory, Ross bank, by Robinson's Needle, A2: 70 41 5 S.
Mean: 70 38 7 S.


On Garden Island, by Robinson's Needle, A1: 62 45 3 S.
On Garden Island, by Robinson's Needle, A2: 62 47 7 S.
Mean: 62 46 5 S.


On Facing Island, by Robinson's Needle, A1: 51 28 9 S.
On Facing Island, by Robinson's Needle, A2: 51 30 9 S.
Mean: 51 29 9 S.


In a sandy Bay, on North side of Island, by Robinson's Needle, A1: 49 3 5 S.
In a sandy Bay, on North side of Island, by Robinson's Needle, A2: 49 0 2 S.
Mean: 49 1 8 S.


In a small Bay, on North side, by Robinson's Needle, A1: 50 46 6 S.
In a small Bay, on North side, by Robinson's Needle, A1: 50 49 6 S.
Mean: 50 48 0 S.


Near the North-west end of Moreton Island, by Robinson's Needle, A1: 55
20 1 S.
Near the North-west end of Moreton Island, by Robinson's Needle, A2: 55
13 5 S.
Mean: 55 16 8 S.


Near Captain Bunbury's House, Williamstown, by Robinson's Needle, A1: 67
12 7 S.
Near Captain Bunbury's House, Williamstown, by Robinson's Needle, A2: 67
16 7 S.
Mean: 67 14 7 S.


In Lagoon Bay, by Robinson's Needle, A1: 69 29 0 S.
In Lagoon Bay, by Robinson's Needle, A2: 69 19 5 S.
Mean: 69 24 2 S.


Near the Lighthouse, by Fox's Needle B, with index error applied: 68 56 1 S.


On Garden Island, by Robinson's Needle, A1: 62 48 9 S.
On Garden Island, by Robinson's Needle, A2: 62 39 1 S.
April 1848 Mean: 62 44 0 S.


On Mound Islet, by Robinson's Needle, A1: 44 15 5 S.
On Mound Islet, by Robinson's Needle, A2: 44 10 6 S.
Mean: 44 13 0 S.


On the West Point of the Island, with Fox's Needle C, with index error
applied: 44 8 8 S.


On the North Point of North Low Islet, with Fox's Needle C, with index
error applied: 42 22 4 S.


On the West side of the Island, by Robinson's Needle, A1: 39 32 9 S.
On the West side of the Island, by Robinson's Needle, A2: 39 31 8 S.
Mean: 39 32 3 S.


On the North side of the Island, by Robinson's Needle, A1: 38 11 9 S.


In Evans Bay, by Robinson's Needle, A1: 33 10 2 S.
In Evans Bay, with Fox's Needle C, with index error applied: 33 8 4 S.
Mean: 33 9 3 S.


In Proa Bay, 1 mile west of Settlement, with Fox's Needle C, with index
error applied: 35 14 6 S.
On board the ship, at anchor at Port Essington, same needle corrected for
local attraction and index error: 33 48 0 S.

Note: The observations on board the ship at this station are the nearest
to the truth, there being much ironstone strewed over the country about
the observation spot onshore.


Garden Island, by Robinson's Needle, A1, March 1849: 62 44 2 S.


On the North-west side of Moreton Island, by Robinson's Needle, A1: 55 21 3 S.


On a patch of Coral near Pig Island, by Robinson's Needle, A1: 32 35 2 S.
On a patch of Coral near Pig Island, by Fox's Needle, with index error
applied: 32 33 0 S.
Mean: 32 34 1 S.

On the Middle Island, by Robinson's Needle, A1: 32 48 6 S.
On the Middle Island, by Fox's Needle B, with index error applied: 32 56 4 S.
Mean: 32 52 5 S.


In Evans Bay, by Robinson's Needle, A1: 33 22 4 S.


By Fox's Needle B, with index error applied: 31 49 2 S.


By Fox's Needle A, corrected for index error etc.: 62 44 9 S.
By Fox's Needle B, corrected for index error etc.: 62 44 9 S.
By Fox's Needle C, corrected for index error etc.: 62 44 9 S.


Near Kororareka Bay, by Fox's Needle A, corrected for index error: 59 37 6 S.
Near Kororareka Bay, by Fox's Needle B, corrected for index error: 59 44 2 S.
Near Kororareka Bay, by Fox's Needle C, corrected for index error: 59 28 1 S.
Mean: 59 36 6 S.


Near the Chaplain's House at Stanley, by Fox's Needle A, corrected for
index error: 52 19 6 S.
Near the Chaplain's House at Stanley, by Fox's Needle B, corrected for
index error: 51 43 3 S.
Near the Chaplain's House at Stanley, by Fox's Needle C, corrected for
index error: 50 58 8 S.
Mean: 51 40 6 S.

Zh Observation spot of the Erebus and Terror near the old settlement,
Berkeley Sound, by Fox's Needle B, corrected for index error: 51 25 6 S.


In the Consul's garden, Horta, by Fox's Needle B, corrected for index
error: 66 58 4 N.
In the Consul's garden, Horta, by Fox's Needle A, corrected for index
error: 67 26 9 N.
Mean: 67 12 6 N.


The following absolute determinations of the magnetic disinclination were
made with a declinometer, and A.M. and P.M. azimuths of the sun:

William Town, Port Phillip: 9 10 52 E.

Lagoon Bay, Port Dalrymple, Van Diemen's Land: 10 29 16 E.

Garden Island, Port Jackson, March and April 1848: 9 6 43 E.

Mound Islet, Rockingham Bay, North-east Coast of Australia: 6 19 43 E.

Lizard Island, North-east Coast of Australia: 5 46 7 E.

Evans Bay, Cape York, North coast of Australia: 4 42 31 E.

Garden Island, Port Jackson,March and April 1849: 10 9 10 E.

Moreton Island, East coast of Australia: 9 21 14 E.

Coral Haven, Louisiade Archipelago: 7 44 17 E.

Duchateau Isles, Louisiade Archipelago: 7 44 17 E.

Bramble Cay, South-east Coast of New Guinea: 4 22 37 E.

Kororareka Bay, Bay of Islands, New Zealand: 13 27 20 E.

Stanley, East Falkland Island, July 1850: 16 54 46 E.



This collection includes about eighty-five species, distributed in
twenty-nine genera, and may perhaps be regarded as the largest and most
interesting of the kind ever brought to this country.

When it is stated that seventy-eight of the species are new or
undescribed, the number will appear extraordinarily great, but when the
comparatively neglected state of exotic Zoophytology is considered the
wonder will be much diminished, and still further, as it may safely be
assumed, that many of the species here given as new have been previously
noticed, though so insufficiently described, as in the absence of figures
not to admit of correct identification.

Making, however, a considerable deduction on this account, the remainder
will still stamp the present collection with extreme value. As an
instance, may be cited the genus Catenicella, of which this collection
affords about fifteen species, and of which certainly not more than three
have been previously noticed in any way, and of these no sufficient
descriptions or figures are extant by which even that small number could
be identified. The explanation of this is perhaps to be sought in the
circumstance that the species of Catenicella are deepsea forms, and only
to be obtained by dredging in deep water--very few being apparently found
on the shores.

Though the number of new or supposed new species is so great, the number
of new genera is comparatively small, not amounting to more than four. It
has, however, been found necessary considerably to modify the characters
of several other established genera, so as to include new species.

With respect to the geographical distribution of the species, my means of
comparison have been pretty extensive. They have been derived from the
examination of Mr. Darwin's and Dr. Hooker's collections, placed at my
disposal by the kind liberality of Mr. Darwin--a considerable collection
of South African species mainly procured from Mr. Bowerbank--and from the
Collection of British and exotic Zoophytes in the British Museum, for the
freest opportunities of examining which I have to thank Mr. Gray. From
these various sources, and others of less account, I have been able to
examine species from a very considerable extent of the earth's
surface--more especially in the Southern hemisphere, and to arrive
perhaps at as fair a view of the geographical distribution of species as
the present imperfect state of Zoophytology will allow.



The number of species of Polyzoa is about fifty-four--belonging to
twenty-four genera. Of these genera it is believed that four will be
found to be new, or hitherto undescribed, and it has been deemed
requisite to modify the characters of several others upon the more
extended survey of species afforded mainly by the present collection. The
new genera here instituted are:


And the genera whose characters it has been found requisite to modify


Of the twenty-four genera, three, or perhaps four, appear to be peculiar
to the Australian seas. These are:

Canda ?

All the rest, excepting two, Emma and Diachoris, appear to be distributed
over the globe in both hemispheres. The above two are perhaps limited to
the southern.

Of the fifty-three species, about thirty-three seem to be new, or to have
been so imperfectly described as not to admit of precise identification,
and five others have synonyms more or less doubtful applied to them.

Six species only are common to the seas of Europe, namely:

Tubulipora phalangea ?
Crisia denticulata.
Eucratea chelata.
Anguinaria spatulata.
Acamarchis neritina.
Retepora cellulosa.

Sixteen others are met with in other parts of the Southern hemisphere,

Catenicella elegans ?
Catenicella ventricosa.
Eschara lichenoides, occurring in Algoa Bay.
Caberea zelanica.
Acamarchis tridentata, in Algoa Bay and New Zealand.
Caberea lata.
Catenicella hastata.
Catenicella cribraria.
Catenicella cornuta.
Cellularia monotrypa.
Bicellaria tuba, in New Zealand and
Emma crystallina.
Emma tricellata, in New Zealand and Campbell's Island.

Thus of the fifty-four species, about thirty-four would seem to be
peculiar to the Australian seas. Ten of these belong to the genus
Catenicella, and one to the closely-allied Calpidium, three to Didymia
and Dimetopia, and one to Diachoris, of which genus two other species are
found in the Straits of Magellan.

The method according to which the Polyzoa are arranged, is, in the
primary divisions at least, pretty nearly identical with that indicated
in the Synopsis of the Families and Genera of Polyzoa Infundibulata,
given in Dr. Johnston's British Zoophytes.*

(*Footnote. Volume 1 page 263 2nd Edition.)

A few words, however, will be necessary to explain more particularly the
subsequent subdivisions here adopted.

The order, Polyzoa infundibulata, is divided into three suborders,
coinciding very nearly with the Tubuliporina, Celleporina, and
Vesicularina of the work above referred to, but as the characters of
these suborders are derived from the conformation of the opening of the
cell, I have thought it more convenient to name them accordingly. The
first suborder, having a round, simple opening to the cell, is here
termed the Cyclostomata; the second, with the opening of the cell filled
up by a usually thin, membranous or calcareous velum, and with a
crescentic mouth provided with a movable lip, the Cheilostomata; and the
third suborder, which might perhaps include the Halcyonellea of
Ehrenberg, as well as the Vesiculariadae, distinguished by the existence
of a more or less well-marked fringe of setae (sometimes only
rudimentary) around the opening of the cell when the animal is protruded,
the Ctenostomata.

The following synoptical arrangement--which it must be remarked, includes
only the genera occurring in the Rattlesnake collection--will serve to
indicate the subsequent divisions.


Suborder 1. CYCLOSTOMATA (Tubuliporina).

Gen. 1. Tubulipora.
Sp. 1. T. phalangea ?
2. Pustulipora.
2. P. australis, n. sp.
3. Idmonea.
3. I. radians.

4. Crisia.
4. C. denticulata.
5. C. acropora, n. sp.

Suborder 2. CHEILOSTOMATA (Celleporina).


5. Catenicella.
a. fenestratae.
6. C. hastata, n. sp. ?
7. C. amphora, n. sp.
8. C. margaritacea, n. sp.
9. C. ventricosa, n. sp.
10. C. plagiostoma, n. sp.
11. C. lorica, n. sp.
12. C. cribaria, n. sp.
b. vittatae.
13. C. formosa, n. sp.
14. C. gibbosa, n. sp.
15. C. elegans, n. sp.
16. C. cornuta, n. sp.
17. C. umbonata, n. sp.
c. inermes.
18. C. carinata, n. sp.
6. Calpidium, n. g.
19. C. ornatum, n. sp.

7. Eucratea.
20. E. chelata.
8. Anguinaria.
21. A. spatulata.

1. Articulata.
a. internodes elongated, multicellular.

9. Salicornaria.
22. S. punctata, n. sp. ?
23. S. bicornis, n. sp.
24. S. dichotoma, n. sp.
25. S. marginata, n. sp.

10. Cellularia.
26. C. monotrypa, n. sp.
11. Scrupocellaria.
27. S. cervicornis, n. sp.
28. S. diadema, n. sp.
29. S. cyclostoma, n. sp.
30. S. ferox, n. sp.
12. Canda.
31. C. arachnoides.
b. internodes short, 2-4 celled.
13. Emma.
32. E. crystallina.
33. E. tricellata, n. sp.

2. Inarticulata.

14. Bicellaria. 1
34. B. tuba, n. sp.
35. B. gracilis, n. sp.
36. B. grandis, n. sp.
37. B. flexilis, n. sp.
15. Acamarchis.
38. A. neritina.
39. A. tridentata.

16. Caberea.
40. C. rudis, n. sp.
41. C. zelanica.
42. C. lata, n. sp. ?

17. Flustra.
43. F. pyriformis ?
44. F. denticulata, n. sp.
18. Retepora.
45. R. cornea, n. sp. ?
46. R. cellulosa.
47. R. ctenostoma, n. sp.
19. Eschara.
48. E. lichenoides.
20. Diachoris, n. g.
49. D. crotali, n. sp.

21. Cellepora.
50. C. bilabiata, n. sp. ?

22. Didymia, n. g.
51. D. simplex, n. sp.
23. Dimetopia, n. g.
52. D. spicata, n. sp.
53. D. cornuta, n. sp.

Suborder 3. CTENOSTOMATA. (Vesicularina, etc.)

24. Amathia.
54. A. biseriata.



1. TUBULIPORA, Lamarck.

1. T. phalangea, Couch.
Habitat: Bass Strait, 45 fathoms.

A small, imperfect specimen, which may be referred to the variety noticed
in British Zoophytes, and figured Plate 46, figures 3, 4.

2. PUSTULIPORA, Blainville.

1. P. australis, n. sp.
P. deflexa ? Couch.

Branched dichotomously; branches short, incrassated, truncate. Cells
wholly immersed, or about half free, numerous; surface minutely
papillose, summits of papillae of a dark brown or black colour.

Habitat: Bass Strait, 45 fathoms; and elsewhere in the Australian seas.

About half an inch high. The stem becomes thicker as it ascends, and
divides into two equal short branches, each of which again subdivides
into two short truncate branches, in a plane at right angles to the
primary division. The cells in the upper part of the stem appear free for
nearly half their length, and are gently curved outwards. The surface is
covered with pretty regularly and quincuncially arranged minute papillae,
the apex of each of which is flattened or rounded, and of a dark brown or
black colour. The mode of subdivision of the polyzoary, and the truncated
ends of the branches, and the more numerous cells, suffice to distinguish
this species from P. proboscidea. The cells in the figure of P. deflexa
appear to be much more slender in proportion, and the branches in that
species are not truncated, but attenuated at the

3. IDMONEA, Lamouroux.

1. I. radians, M. Edwards. Ann. de Sc. N. tome 9 page 25 plate 12 figure 4.
Retepora radians, Lamarck.
Habitat: Bass Strait, 45 fathoms.

One minute specimen, but very perfect, has been examined; but it is
undoubtedly the one described and figured by M. Edwards, and noticed by
Lamarck as inhabiting the seas of New Holland. M. Edwards' doubt
therefore as to this locality is now removed.


4. CRISIA, Lamouroux.

1. C. denticulata, Fleming.
Habitat: Bass Strait, 45 fathoms.

Parasitic upon a species of Salicornaria. The only difference, if there
be any, between this form and the British, consists in the rather greater
projection or freedom of the extremities of the cells, which are curved
towards the front.

2. C. acropora, n. sp.

Cells 9 to 13 in each internode; lateral branches given off between the
first and second, or between the second and third cells above a joint. A
small conical tooth, sometimes bifid, above and behind the mouth.

Habitat: Bass Strait, 45 fathoms.

A small parasitic species, distinguished from C. denticulata, which it
much resembles, by the less average number of cells in each internode,
and the less number intervening between the origin of a branch and the
joint below it, and by the small conical tooth or tubercle above and
behind, or to the outer side of the mouth.


§ 1. Uniserialaria. Cells disposed in a simple series.

Fam. 1. CATENICELLIDAE. Cells connected by flexible joints.

5. CATENICELLA, M. Edwards (Lamarck An. s. Vert. tome 2 page 181.)

Cells arising one from the upper and back part of another by a short
corneous tube, and disposed in a linear series, all facing the same way,
and forming dichotomously divided branches of a phytoid polyzoary; cells
geminate at the bifurcation of the branches; each cell furnished with two
lateral processes usually supporting an avicularium. Ovicells either
subglobose and terminal, or galeriform and placed below the mouth of a
cell in front.

This interesting and important genus may be regarded as characteristic,
not only of the present collection, but perhaps also of the Australian
seas, as far as the Polyzoa are concerned. Thirteen species are here
described, and as it has been found extremely difficult in most cases to
identify any of them with the very few hitherto noticed forms, the
synonyms given must be regarded as at least extremely doubtful.

Each cell arises from the upper and back part of another, with the
intervention of a short corneous tube which is prolonged from the
interior of one cell to that of the one above. The cell is furnished on
each side at the top with a usually well-developed avicularium, in some
species of huge size, and in some very minute, or entirely aborted. This
avicularian process in most cases supports above a hollow process, which
is sometimes closed and more or less elongated, constituting a conical or
acerose spine, sometimes open above and assuming the form of a shallow
cup or receptacle. In some species both modifications of this portion of
the lateral process are met with in the same specimen. This form of spine
or cup--as the case may be, is always distinctly separated by a septum
from the cavity of the avicularium itself. Below the avicularium there is
also in many cases a third distinct cavity which is usually widely open,
the opening being covered in very frequently by a convex transparent
membrane, and its bottom apparently perforated by several minute
foramina--from this part of the lateral process there is in many species
a prominent ala or keel prolonged to the bottom of the cell--which ala
not unfrequently divides into two branches, which, again coalescing at
the bottom of the cell, circumscribe a more or less oval space, the
bottom of which is also perforated by minute foramina or apparent
foramina, and which is often covered over by a transparent convex
membrane. This membrane, however, as well as that which covers in the
subavicularian space, is more usually broken off and wanting.

The inferior oval space above described is here termed the lateral area,
and it is employed in the specific characters. It would thus be correct
to say--that each cell is furnished with two lateral processes, each of
which in the fully developed state consists of three distinct
compartments--one superior, a cup or spine: a middle one, which is the
avicularium: and an inferior; and it would appear that one or more of
these elementary compartments of the lateral process may be more
developed than the next, or sometimes entirely aborted. The mouth of the
cell is situated at the upper part in front, and is of the same
conformation as in the rest of the Cheilostomatous suborder. An important
generic character consists in the gemination of the cell at each

(*Footnote. Table 1 figures 1 and  2.)

These characters are common to all the species included in the genus,
which furthermore admits of being subdivided into two extremely natural
sections or subgenera (or perhaps into three). These subdivisions are
named respectively the fenestratae, and the vittatae.

In the fenestrate division, in the whole of which the cells are of larger
size and stronger than in the other, the wall of the cell appears to be
constituted of at least two distinct laminae. The external lamina, on the
front of the cell, is perforated by a certain number of holes, is wanting
rather in a certain number of spaces, for which spaces the term fenestrae
is employed. These apparent openings do not, therefore, penetrate into
the cavity of the cell. But besides the fenestrae, there is, in some
cases, a small central opening which does penetrate through the wall. In
most cases the fenestrae are arranged in a crescentic, or rather
horseshoe-shaped line, indicative, as it were, of the limits of a regular
oval space, in the front wall of the cell, the upper part of which oval
would be formed by the mouth, and the remainder filled up by the
deposition of calcareous matter, as happens for instance in the older
cells towards the bottom of the polyzoary in certain Cellulariae, etc.

A further characteristic of the fenestrate Catenicellae is the terminal
position of the ovicells. These organs are clearly transformed cells, or
cells dilated to considerably more than their natural bulk, and assuming
a subglobose form. And what is worthy of remark, these terminal ovicells
always have a sessile avicularium on the summit.

In the Vittatae the cell is smaller, and usually more delicate and
transparent. They probably want the outer lamina, or have it very thin,
and consequently present no fenestrate spaces, and the front of the cell
is beset (sometimes very sparingly) with more or less prominent, minute,
acuminate papillae. On each side, sometimes on the anterior aspect,
sometimes quite laterally, is a narrow elongated band or vitta, as it is
here designated, from which the distinctive sectional appellation is
derived. This band or stripe varies in width and proportionate length and
position in different species; it is slightly elevated, and marked with
larger, or small circular discoid, or acuminated eminences. This
subdivision is further distinguished by the situation of the ovicells,
which are not terminal, but occur at irregular intervals on cells in the
course of the series. They are of the same galeate form as in many others
of the Escharinae, but are not as in them placed above the mouth of the
cell, but below it in front: and in all cases the shape of the
ovicell-bearing cell is much altered from the rest, and in all the
vittate species the cell upon which the ovicell is produced arises from
its predecessor, not with the intervention of a short tube, but is
immediately sessile upon it, by a broad base.

a. Fenestratae.

Cells large, fenestrate in front; ovicells terminal.

1. C. hastata, n. sp. ?

C. bicuspis ? Gray. Dieffenbach's New Zealand, Volume 2 page 293.

Fenestrae, 7 to 9, disposed in a crescent, and with elongated fissures
radiating towards them from the median line. Avicularia supporting a
large pyramidal pointed hollow process, compressed, and perforated before
and behind by five or six small circular pores.

Habitat: Bass Strait, 45 fathoms, dead shells.

Of a yellowish white colour, sometimes reddish. Forms fine bushy tufts,
with long wavy branches, arising from a short common stem, and it attains
a height of five or six inches. It appears sometimes to be parasitic upon
other polyzoa, and is then much smaller. Its peculiar characteristics are
the perforated and striated scutiform area on the front of the cell and
the perforated, or apparently perforated pyramidal lateral processes
above each avicularium; these processes are much developed, and give the
cell the form of a broad inverted shear-head. It seems to be an abundant
species in Bass Strait, and it occurs also in New Zealand. (Dr. Hooker's

2. C. amphora, n. sp.

Cellaria catenulata ? var. B. Lamarck. Anim. sans Vert. Volume 2 page 180
2nd edition.

Cells oval, sides rendered straight upwards by the broad avicularia which
are prolonged upwards into an acute spinous angle, and support a shallow
cup. Front of cell with nine pyriform fenestrae, with fissures proceeding
from their pointed ends towards an oval central perforation. An elevated
band, extending from the sides of the mouth to the upper angular
processes of the avicularia. An elevated flattened band along the middle
of the back, which at the top sends off a narrower lateral band to each
avicularian spine.

Habitat: Bass Strait, 45 fathoms.

A fine species of a bright reddish brown, and in the younger cells very
transparent. Forms small, irregularly branched bushes, four to six inches
high and wide. It is peculiar by its extremely regular vase-like form of
cell, which is given by the continuation upwards of the broad avicularia
in nearly a straight line, and their prolongation into a sharp angular
spine, on the inner side of which is a shallow cup-like cavity, whose
sides are usually more horny than calcareous. The number of fenestrae
appears to be very constant.

The length of the branches before their dividing, and their straightness,
together with the colour of this species, render it not improbable that
it is the form intended by Lamarck (l.c.).

3. C. margaritacea, n. sp.

Cellaria vesiculosa ? Lamarck.

Cells oval or sub-globular, much compressed; avicularia short and broad,
supporting a deep cup-like cavity. Fenestrae 5, large. Lower margin of
mouth notched in the middle; back of cell minutely sulcated; sulci short,
interrupted, and irregular. A small lateral area.

Habitat: Swan Island, Banks Strait.

A very beautiful species, the branches resembling strings of minute
pearls. The pearly lustre (in the dry state) owing without doubt to the
minute sulci on the backs of the cells. These sulci are not, however,
consequent upon the drying, because they are equally apparent and
constant when the specimen has been immersed in fluid. The species may
almost at once be distinguished by the notch in the lower margin of the
mouth, which notch represents the central suboral opening present in some
other species.

4. C. ventricosa, n. sp. Table 1 figure 1.

Cells oval, compressed, rather wide below; avicularia wide, supporting
sometimes a cup-like cavity, sometimes a closed broad conical spine. The
prehensile part of the avicularium itself small, seated in a deep notch
below the acuminate summit; lateral area large and well defined.
Fenestrae 7, with fissures radiating to a rounded central opening.
Anterior surface of cell studded with minute acuminate papillae;
posterior surface smooth, sometimes spotted.

Habitat: Bass Strait, 45 fathoms.

Colour dirty white or brown. Habit stiff, stem strong, straight, branches
short and crowded--probably attains a height of four or five inches. The
only other species with which it can be confounded is C. amphora, from
which it differs in the greater size and more irregular form of the
lateral processes, in the presence of the minute papillae on the surface,
and in the absence of the narrow longitudinal band on the back; instead
of which the older cells in C. ventricosa exhibit a sort of broad scutum,
almost covering the back of the cell and sending off two lateral bands on
the sides of the cell, one passing below the avicularium and above the
lateral area, and the other towards the acuminated apex of the
avicularium. It also wants the raised bands which in C. amphora pass from
the sides of the mouth to the apex of the avicularium in front. One large
specimen presents a variety worthy of note--in this the backs of all the
cells, except one here and there, exhibit (internally ?) numerous
irregular-sized leopard-like spots.

5. C. plagiostoma, n. sp.

Cells short-ovoid; avicularia very large and long, ascending from near
the bottom of the cell into an acute spinous point, and supporting a deep
cupped cavity; mouth placed obliquely; front of cell divided into five
large subtriangular fenestrae by four broad bands. Back of cell with a
broad central band and two narrower bands branching from it on each side;
surface of spaces left uncovered by the bands on the back beset with
scattered, long setose spines.

Habitat: Bass Strait, 45 fathoms.

Colour brownish white; habit stiff, branches short. This species is at
once recognisable by the peculiar oblique position of the mouth--the
enormously developed avicularium usually only on one side of the cell,
and by the sculpture of the cell--which appears as if it were swathed
with broad tapes or bands. The wide spaces left between the bands in
front clearly represent the true nature of the fenestrae of other
species. It is the only species furnished with elongated setose spines.

6. C. lorica, n. sp.

Cellaria catenulata ? Lamarck.

Cells elongated rhomboidal, truncated at each end. Fenestrae three,
large, the lowest the largest, arranged in a triangle. Mouth very large;
avicularia wide and strong; two lateral areae on each side, well
developed; surface in front with a few indistinct circular spots around
the fenestrae, and behind marked with faint longitudinal striae.

Habitat: Bass Strait, 45 fathoms.

Colour white, transparent. A fine widely branching species, in which the
catenulate aspect is more evident to the eye than in almost any other. It
is at once recognisable by the rhomboidal scutate form of the cell viewed
anteriorly, and, when the back is also viewed, the resemblance of the two
aspects to the back, and breastplates of a coat of mail, is very
striking. The structure of the lateral processes is more distinctly to be
made out in this species than in any other. Each lateral process
consists, first, of a deep cup-like cavity above; second, a middle
compartment, the avicularium; and third, a third loculament below the
avicularium, the wide opening of which is covered in by a convex
transparent membrane. The bottom of this loculament appears to be
perforated, and it is to be noticed also that there is a small central
perforation in the septum separating it from the cavity of the
avicularium. Towards the bottom of the cell, on each side, is a well
developed lateral area of exactly the same conformation as the
sub-avicularian loculament, and like it covered in by a convex
transparent membrane. It might be supposed that these cavities were for
the purpose of containing air, in order to render the otherwise heavy
branches of the polyzoary buoyant. They, at all events, appear to be
perfectly empty.

7. C. cribaria, n. sp.

Cells sub-globular, compressed, more or less alate. Avicularia large,
without any superior appendage, and prolonged downwards into elevated
lateral alae. Anterior surface with numerous small round fenestrae,
placed at equal distances apart, and evenly distributed over the surface,
the circumferential fenestrae being larger than the rest. A minute
central perforation of a crescentic form, the lower lip projecting, and
the upper lip, lingulate in the middle, falling behind the lower.

Habitat: Bass Strait? This species also occurs in New Zealand.

Colour brown, loosely branched and several inches high. Distinguished
readily by the cribriform aspect of the front of the cell, and by the
curiously formed central orifice, and by the absence of any superior
appendage to the avicularium.

b. Vittatae.

Cells furnished with a narrow elongated band or vitta on each side,
without fenestrae. Ovicells not terminal, galeriform.

8. C. formosa, n. sp.

Cells oval; avicularia large, flat, or cupped above. Vittae elliptical,
rather anterior.

Habitat: Swan Island, Banks Strait.

Colour light plumbeous. Parasitic upon C. margaritacea. The cells are the
largest of any in the Vittate division, and very regular and uniform in
size and outline. The more distinctive characters are taken from the
comparatively broad vittae, and the flat or cupped upper surface of the
avicularia, which are usually continued downwards into a prominent ridge
or ala.

9. C. gibbosa, n. sp.

Cells pyriform, ventricose posteriorly, much attenuated at bottom.
Avicularia small, placed in front close to the sides of the mouth, at the
base of strong conical pointed processes which project in front, and are
connected across the top of the cell by a prominent toothed ridge. Vittae
long linear, entirely lateral.

Habitat: Prince of Wales Channel, Torres Strait, 9 fathoms, mud.

Of a dark lead colour, when dry. Forms an elegantly branched bush about
two inches high. The gibbous form of the cells, and the peculiar anterior
position of the avicularia, at the base of the projecting lateral
processes, at once distinguish it from all the other vittate species. The
toothed (sometimes entire) ridge extending between the two lateral
processes across the top of the cell and overlapping the mouth like a
penthouse is also a very peculiar feature.

10. C. elegans, n. sp. Table 1 figure 2.

Cells elongated ovoid; avicularia large and projecting, without any
superior appendage; vittae narrow, rather anterior.

Habitat: Bass Strait, 48 fathoms. Port Dalrymple, on stones at low water.

A delicate and beautiful parasitic species; the branches slender and
spreading; colour white and very transparent. Cells regular and uniform
in size and shape. A very similar if not identical species occurs in
Algoa Bay, South Africa, the only difference between them being that the
latter is rather larger and has the vittae much longer; in the Australian
forms these bands do not reach above the middle of the cell, whilst in
the South African they extend as high as the mouth.

11. C. cornuta, n. sp.

Cells oval; avicularia in many cells wholly transformed into long pointed
retrocedent spines, on one or both sides, in others into shorter spines
or unaltered. Vittae linear, extremely narrow, entirely lateral, and
extending the whole length of the cell from the base of the avicularium.

Habitat: Bass Strait, 45 fathoms.

Colour yellowish white, growth small; parasitic upon C. amphora. As some
difficulty might be experienced in the discrimination of this species
from C. elegans, and another South African species (not the variety of C.
elegans above noticed) it is requisite to remark that the long
retrocedent spines when present are not placed upon or superadded to the
avicularia, but that they seem to represent an aborted or transformed
state of those organs. They vary much in length and size in different
cells, and even in those of the same branch; as it frequently happens
that there is a spine, usually of diminutive size, on one side and a very
large avicularium on the other, and sometimes (but rarely) an avicularium
of more moderate size on both sides. But the character of the species by
which it is more particularly distinguished consists in the presence on a
great many cells, in one part or other of the polyzoary, of the two large
and strong spines projecting BACKWARDS. This retrocession of the spines
is alone a sufficient character to distinguish the present species from
the South African form above alluded to (C. taurina, B.) And the length
and lateral position of the vittae would distinguish the unarmed cells
from those of C. elegans.

12. C. umbonata, n. sp.

Cells more or less pyriform, alate, narrow below, bulging or ventricose
upwards. Avicularia large and strong. Vittae strap-shaped, anterior,
extending from the level of the mouth to the bottom of the cell, with
elevated acuminate papillae or short spines. A broad compressed
projecting process on the middle of the back.

Habitat: Bass Strait, 45 fathoms.

The cells in this species are small, inflated or ventricose, and as it
were sub-globular above, becoming much attenuated below--but the cavity
of the cell does not appear to extend into this contracted portion, in
which is contained the connecting tube strengthened by calcareous
matter--the inferior continuation of the lateral alae, which descend from
the base of the avicularium. Owing to the large size of the avicularia,
the upper part of the cell is much widened, and the whole acquires
somewhat of a triangular form, and has a peculiar rugose aspect, derived,
in part also, from the large size and elevation of the acuminated
papillae, not only of the vittae but on the surface of the cell itself.
The central umbo or crest posteriorly is a marked feature.

c. Without vittae or fenestrae.

13. C. carinata, n. sp.

Cells oval, narrowed at both ends; lateral processes (without avicularia
?) projecting horizontally upwards from the sides of the mouth about the
middle of the cell. Mouth nearly central, with a small tooth on each
side, and below it a triangular space with three strong conical
eminences. The cell which bears the ovicell geminate.

Habitat: Bass Strait, 45 fathoms.

This remarkable form differs so widely in many respects from any of its
congeners, as almost to deserve to be considered as the type of a
distinct sub-genus. The lateral processes, which may be taken to
represent the perfect avicularia of the other species, are, as far as can
be ascertained from specimens that have been dried, without a movable
mandible, and are probably really so, because there is no corresponding
beak. These processes are channelled in front, nearly from the base to
the extremity; they arise by a broad base on each side of the mouth, and
on the front of the cell, and from the conjoined bases is continued
upwards and downwards, or to the top and bottom of the cell, a prominent
flattened band. The expanded bases circumscribe an oval space, nearly in
the centre of the front of the cell, the upper two-thirds of which space
are occupied by the circular mouth, on each side of which is a small
calcareous tooth, to which apparently are articulated the horns of the
semilunar lateral cartilage. The lower third is filled up by a yellow,
horny (?) membrane, upon which are placed three conical eminences,
disposed in a triangular manner. The back of the cell is very convex, and
has running along the middle of it an elevated crest or keel, which is
acuminate in the middle. The ovicell is situated in front of the cell
below the mouth, and below it are three considerable-sized areolated
spots, disposed, like the three conical spines, in a triangle. The cells
upon which the ovicells are placed are always geminate, that is to say,
have a smaller cell growing out from one side.

6. Calpidium, n. gen. Table 1 figures 3 to 5.

Character: Cells with an avicularium on each side; with two or three
distinct mouths, arising one from the upper part of another, in a linear
series, all facing the same way, and forming dichotomously-divided
branches; cells at the bifurcation single; ovicells ---- ?

This very peculiar genus, remarkable as it is, seems hitherto to have
escaped notice. It is distinguishable from Catenicella, in the first
place, by the anomalous circumstance that each cell is furnished with two
or more, usually three, distinct keyhole-shaped mouths, and is doubtless
inhabited by three distinct individuals. Whether these are separated from
each other by internal partitions is unknown, but the closest examination
of cells rendered transparent by means of acid fails to discover such. In
cells thus prepared, there are apparent, however, three distinct masses,
reaching from the bottom of the cell to each orifice, and which are
probably the remains either of the body or of the retractor muscles of
the animals. Another point of difference from Catenicella is the
non-gemination of the cell at the dichotomy of a branch. The avicularia,
moreover, do not form lateral projections, but are sessile, or imbedded,
as it were, in the sides of the cell immediately below the upper angles.

1. C. ornatum, n. sp. Table 1 figures 3 to 5.

Cells triangular-urn shaped, very broad above, with a straight border,
much compressed; mouths, 2 to 3, keyhole-shaped. Five fenestrae below
each mouth; numerous branching bands on the back of the cell.

Habitat: Bass Strait, 45 fathoms.

This curious species is the only one belonging to the genus. The cells
are very large, regular, and uniform, resembling very closely an antique
sculptured urn. Colour dark brown, and the walls so thick as to be nearly
opaque. The polyzoary, which appears to attain a height of four or five
inches, is bipinnate (with all the branches on one plane) the branches
alternate, and given off with extreme regularity. The ultimate ramules
are incurved. The whole forms a very elegant object. The central stem, or
series of cells, differs in no respect as regards the size or disposition
of the cells composing it, from the branches.


7. EUCRATEA, Lamouroux.

1. Eucratea chelata, Lamouroux.

Habitat: Bass Strait, 45 fathoms.

In all respects identical with the British form. It also occurs at Port

8. ANGUINARIA, Lamarck.

1. A. spatulata, Lamarck.

Aetea anguina, Lamouroux.

Habitat: Bass Strait, and other localities.

This species (which appears to be pretty generally distributed over the
globe) is identical with the European form. It is to be remarked,
however, that a second species (A. dilatata, Busk. Annals of Natural
History second series volume 7 page 81 plate 9 figure 14) is found in
Torres Strait, but which does not occur in the Rattlesnake collection.


§ 2. MULTISERIALARIA. Cells disposed alternately in a double or multiple

1. Articulata.

Polyzoary divided into distinct internodes by flexible articulations.

a. Internodes elongated, or composed of numerous cells.

Fam. 1. SALICORNARIADAE. Cells disposed around an ideal axis.


a. Surface divided into more or less regular hexagonal spaces by elevated

1. S. punctata, n. sp.

Cellaria salicornioides ? Audoin. Savigny, Egypt. Plate 6 figure 7.

Hexagonal areas with an acute angle above and below; bottom of area
pyriform, surface covered with minute transparent granulations. Mouth of
cell in the upper third, with a minute tooth on each side.

Habitat: Bass Strait, 45 fathoms. Off Cumberland Islands, 27 fathoms,
fine grey mud.

Parasitic upon Sertularians and Polyzoa; branches straggling of irregular

2. S. bicornis, n. sp.

Areas with an obtuse angle above and below, sometimes rounded above; a
minute projection on each side near the top. Bottom of area long-oval,
smooth, sometimes with a perforation above the mouth. Mouth with a minute
tooth on each side.

Habitat: Bass Strait, 45 fathoms.

Parasitic. Branches shorter and thicker than in the preceding species. In
the shape of the area they are very much alike, but in S. bicornis, in
some cells, and occasionally throughout the greater part of the
internode, the area differs widely from the more usual form. It is much
expanded, and presents a wide arch above. In this case there is usually a
considerable-sized perforation above the mouth of the cell, as occurs not
infrequently also in S. farciminoides in the younger cells, and which
opening is probably normal, until it becomes filled up by the gradual
disposition of calcareous matter. What more especially distinguishes the
present from the preceding species are the minute projections on either
side at the two upper lateral angles of the hexagonal area, and the
smoothness of the surface of the cell. They are both perfectly distinct
from S. farciminoides.

b. Surface not divided into distinct areas by raised ridges.

3. S. furcata, n. sp.

Mouth of cell elliptical, occupying two-thirds of its length. Two small
perforations on each side immediately above the mouth, protected by a
convex transparent hood, which has a rounded opening on its under

Habitat: Prince of Wales Channel, Torres Strait, nine fathoms.

Forms small crowded tufts from one to two or three inches high; branches
very regularly dichotomous.

4. S. torresiana, n. sp.

Cell circumscribed by an acute raised border; opening oval, rather more
than half the length of the cell. Cell attenuated below the opening.

Habitat: Prince of Wales Channel, Torres Strait, nine fathoms.

A small broken fragment only preserved; parasitic upon Sertularia
mutulata, so that its habit cannot be satisfactorily determined. It is of
a greenish colour, but this may be adventitious, although general and
uniform throughout the specimen. This species differs from the above in
being much larger, and in wanting the two perforations on each side above
the mouth--in the less comparative size of the opening of the cell, and
in the remarkable elevation of the sharp margin surrounding the upper
half of the cell. In the looser aggregation, and in the form of the
cells, it shows the transition from Salicornaria to Cellularia.

Fam. 2. CELLULARIADAE. Cells disposed in the same plane.

10. CELLULARIA, Pallas.

Character: (B.) Cells bi-triserial, oblong* or rhomboidal, contiguous.
Opening of cell occupying at least half of the front. Margin thickened,
sometimes spinous above. A short spine or a sessile avicularium on the
upper and outer angle.

(*Footnote. This shape of the cells is given from the back view of them.)

A. inarmatae--without avicularium.

1. C. monotrypa, n. sp.

Cells oblong, narrowed below, with a single perforation, in the upper and
outer part behind. Opening oval, margin smooth; a short spinous process
at the upper and outer angle; a sharp short spine in the middle of the
upper border of the middle cell, at a bifurcation. Ovicell ? in form of a
very shallow excavation in the upper part of the cell in front.

Habitat: Bass Strait, 45 fathoms.

The only species with which this can be confounded, is C. peachii (Busk.
Annals of Natural History volume 7 second series page 82 plate 8 figure

The latter, however, is very much smaller, the cells narrower in
proportion to their length, and the margin of the opening minutely
verrucose. The cell has more than one posterior perforation; and the
central cell at a bifurcation is rounded above and without a spinous
process; lastly, the ovicell is much loftier and tesselated on the

11. SCRUPOCELLARIA, Van Beneden.

Character (modified). Cells rhomboidal, with a sinuous depression on the
outer and posterior aspect. Each furnished with a sessile avicularium at
the upper and outer angle in front, and with a vibraculum placed in the
sinus on the outer and lower part of the cell behind. Opening oval, or
subrotund, spinous above. Ovicells galeriform.

This natural genus is characterised more particularly by the presence
upon EACH cell of a sessile avicularium seated on, or in fact forming the
upper and outer angle, and of a vibraculum placed on the back of the
cell. The cells in some species are provided with a pedunculate
operculum, by which it is intended to designate a process, which arising
by a short tube from the anterior wall of the cell, immediately beyond
the inner margin of the opening, projects forwards and bends over the
front of the cell, expanding into a variously-formed limb, and serving as
protection to the mouth of the cell in front. The cavity of the tube by
which the process arises, becomes, in the expanded portion, continuous
with variously disposed grooves or channels, which terminate at the edges
of the operculum. This organ affords excellent specific characters (not
in this genus alone). Besides the sessile avicularia above noticed, many
species of this genus also possess avicularia of another kind, and which
are placed on the front of the cell below the opening and towards the
inner side, or in other words, towards the middle line of the branch. In
this genus, in all those species in which the second avicularium occurs,
each individual cell is provided with one. This additional avicularium
appears to be composed of a flexible material, and it is very easily
broken off, so that in many instances, perhaps throughout an entire
specimen the organ itself may be wanting, although its position is
clearly evidenced by the existence of a rounded opening in the usual
situation of the organ. It is necessary to distinguish this form of
flexible (if such it be) avicularium from the truly articulated and
movable avicularia, in the form of birds' heads, and which form does not
occur in the genus Scrupocellaria.

a. OPERCULATAE. Cells furnished with a pedunculate operculum.

1. S. cervicornis, n. sp.

Veins or channels in the oral operculum, branching so as to resemble the
antlers of a stag. The marginal spine next above the pedunculated
operculum, bifurcate.

Habitat: Off Cumberland Islands, 25 fathoms, fine grey mud.

A small, delicate, parasitic species, very transparent. The very peculiar
markings on the operculum at once distinguish it. The upper margin of the
mouth is furnished with five elongated spines, the innermost of which is
forked at the extremity.

2. S. diadema, n. sp.

Cells elongate, external side nearly straight, vibraculum sublateral,
very prominent. Limit of operculum entire, or obscurely bi-trilobed. A
flexible avicularium in front. Ovicell usually with a single row of four
or five openings immediately above its mouth.

Habitat: Moreton Bay.

b. INOPERCULATAE. Cells without a pedunculate operculum.

3. S. cyclostoma, n. sp.

Opening of cell nearly or quite circular, margin much thickened, with
three or four short indistinct spines above. Vibraculum sublateral. A
flexible avicularium in front. Ovicells --- ?

Habitat: Bass Strait, 45 fathoms.

4. S. ferox, n. sp.

Opening of cell broad oval, pointed below; three short indistinct spines
above; vibraculum large, sinus deep. An enormous anterior avicularium, as
wide as the cell. Ovicell lofty, with numerous punctures over the

Habitat: Louisiade Archipelago. Bass Strait.

Distinguished from the former species by the enormous anterior
avicularium, and the form of the opening. Another peculiarity of this
species is the curious serrated appearance of the radical tubes.

12. CANDA, Lamouroux.

Character: (B.) cells rhomboidal, sinuated on the outer side for the
lodgment of a vibraculum. No sessile avicularium on the upper and outer
angle in front. An uncertain number of flexible avicularia, arranged
along the middle of the branches, and in much less number than the cells.

This genus is at once distinguished from Scrupocellaria, to which it is
otherwise closely allied, by the absence of the sessile avicularium on
the upper and outer angle in front, and also by the circumstance, that
although there are flexible anterior avicularia, they do not correspond
in number with the cells, but seem to be disposed in a special tract
along the middle of the branch or internode. The connection of the
branches by transverse tubular fibres is not a character of either
generic or specific importance, though it is more striking in the only
species hitherto known as belonging to this genus, than in any other.
These transverse tubular fibres are, like the radical fibres in
Scrupocellaria, always inserted, not into the body of a cell, but into a
vibraculum. They are evidently of the nature of a byssus.

1. C. arachnoides, Lamouroux.

Cells biserial; opening oval, truncated above, and the upper margin
recedent, with a spine on each side, the outer the longer surface of cell
covered with transparent granulations.

Habitat: Bass Strait, 45 fathoms.

b. Internodes composed of 2 to 4 cells.

13. EMMA, Gray. Dieffenbach's New Zealand, Volume 2 page 293.

Character. (B.) Cells in pairs or triplets. Opening more or less oblique,
subtriangular, partially filled up by a granulated calcareous expansion.
A sessile avicularium (not always present) on the outer side, below the
level of the opening.

This genus appears to be a natural one, though very closely allied to
Tricellaria (Fleming). The more important points of distinction consist
in the conformation of the opening of the cell, and in the position of
the avicularium when the latter organ is present. The lower half of what
would otherwise be the oral opening of the cell is filled up by a thin
plate of calcareous matter, granulated on the surface, and by which the
actual opening is rendered more or less subtriangular, the mouth being
placed just below the apex of the triangle. The margin of the opening is
considerably raised, especially at the oval end, so that the opening
appears to be situated in a deep depression. This character of opening,
however, occurs also in a triserial species of Cellularia from Algoa Bay.
The position of the avicularium entirely BELOW the level of the opening
on the outer side of the cell, is the peculiar characteristic of Emma as
distinguished from Tricellaria, in which that organ when present is
placed on the upper and outer angle as in Cellularia proper, and
Scrupocellaria. It is worthy of notice that avicularia may be present on
every cell in some specimens, and most usually, whilst in others of equal
size there will be none at all apparent. So that the position of these
organs in this genus, as well as in Tricellaria, is of more importance
systematically than even their existence.

1. E. crystallina, Gray, l.c.

Cells in pairs; three spines on the outer edge, the central usually the
longest and strongest.

Habitat: Bass Strait, 45 fathoms.

Parasitic upon Polyzoa, etc. circinate branched--branches irregular
divaricate. The opening of the cell triangular, very obliquely placed.

2. Emma tricellata, n. sp.

Cells in triplets; three or four long spines on the upper and outer part;
a small spine on the inner and lower part of the edge of the opening.

Habitat: Bass Strait.

Parasitic upon Catenicella, etc. Habit long straggling, very like the
preceding species. The cells are more infundibuliform, and the
avicularium, which, as in E. crystallina is not always present, is
larger, but occupies the same position on the cell.

2. Polyzoary continuous throughout.

Fam. 3. BICELLARIADAE. Frond wholly divided into narrow ligulate,
dichotomous, bi or multiserial branches; no vibracula. Avicularia when
present pedunculate.

14. BICELLARIA, Blainville.

Character. (B.) Cells turbinate, distant. Opening directed more or less
upwards. Mouth submarginal. Several curved spines, marginal or

1. B. tuba, n. sp.

Opening round, looking nearly directly upwards; a digitiform hollow
process below the outer border supporting 2 to 4 long incurved spines; 2
to 3 other long curved submarginal spines behind or above the opening,
none below it in front--a solitary spine on the back a short way down the
cell. Avicularia very long, trumpet-shaped, arising on the back of the

Habitat: Bass Strait, 45 fathoms.

This species is at once recognisable by the remarkable form and unusual
position of the avicularium, and also by the peculiar digitiform
spiniferous process on the outer side of the opening.

2. B. gracilis, n. sp.

Cells elongated, slender, opening round or suboval, looking obliquely
forwards and upwards; three marginal (sometimes slightly submarginal)
spines above and behind the opening, and two much longer curved hair-like
spines arising from the anterior and lower edge of the opening. Ovicells
globose, subpedunculate, attached to the upper and inner part of the
margin of the opening. Avicularia small, like birds' heads.

Habitat: Bass Strait.

A delicate slender species, not unlike B. ciliata or avicularis in habit.
The two long spines arising from the anterior edge of the opening suffice
to distinguish it from the former of these two species.

3. B. grandis, n. sp.

Cells much elongated outwards, horizontal or projecting portion oblong,
rounded at the extremity; 2 to 5 long curved submarginal spines,
externally a single dorsal spine about halfway down the cell; opening
oval, narrower outwards; very oblique mouth at the outer end. Avicularia
---- ?

Habitat: Bass Strait, 45 fathoms.

Quite distinct from B. ciliata not only in its size, which is nearly
three times as great, but in the form of the cell and the opening. The
number of spines varies very much, and two or three of them, not
unfrequently, arise from a common projecting process or base.

4. B. johnstoniae.

Cells obliquely truncated above with a short spine on the outer angle;
opening large, suboval, with an obtuse angle outwardly; margin slightly
thickened, wholly unarmed.

Habitat: Off Cumberland Islands, 27 fathoms, fine grey mud.

Of a light grey colour: grows in large loose tufts, composed of long
forked ascending branches. It is a very peculiar species, and some
difficulty has been found in finding it a place. In the opening of the
mouth, and the external short spine, it is a Cellaria; and in the colour
and want of distinct articulation, it approaches Acamarchis; whilst in
the form of the cell, and their mode of mutual connection, it is a
Bicellaria: it differs from all other species of that genus, however, in
the absence of any long spines, and in general habit. Were it not
referred to that genus, it would probably constitute the type of a
distinct one. A curious little trident-like organ is visible in the
narrow part of some cells.

15. ACAMARCHIS, Lamouroux.

Character. (B.) Cells elliptical,* closely contiguous; opening very
large, margin simple, not thickened. Avicularia not always present, like
birds' heads.

(*Footnote. Viewed posteriorly.)

To which may be added, that the species are frequently coloured, red or

1. A. neritina, Lamouroux.

Habitat: Rio de Janeiro. Broken Bay, New South Wales.

This species appears to be one of the most generally distributed of the
Polyzoa; it occurs in nearly every latitude in both hemispheres.

2. A. tridentata. Krauss. Corall. d. Sudsee page 3 figure 2.

Habitat: Bass Strait (?)

This species is placed doubtfully in the Rattlesnake Collection. It
occurs, however, in Van Diemen's Land and New Zealand (Dr. Hooker) and is
abundant in South Africa.


Polyzoarium entirely divided into ligulate dichotomous bi or multiserial
branches; back nearly covered by large vibracula; avicularia sessile.

16. CABEREA, Lamouroux.

Selbia, Gray. op.c. Volume 2 page 292.

Cells bi-multiserial, in the latter case quincuncial. Posterior surface
of branches concealed by large vibracula, which are placed obliquely in a
double row, diverging in an upward direction from the middle line, where
the vibracula of either row decussate with those of the other. Avicularia
when present of the flexible kind, sessile on the front of the cell.

The remarkable feature of this genus resides in the vibracula, which here
appear to attain their utmost development. Each vibraculum appears to
belong not to a single cell as in Scrupocellaria, but to be common to, or
applied to the backs of several. They are more or less pyriform or long
oval in shape, and the two rows decussate with each other along the
middle of the branch--giving in the narrower species, especially, much
the aspect of an ear of barley, and in the wider of a straw plait. The
walls of the vibracula are usually thin, and very transparent, so as to
allow the outlines of the cells to be seen imperfectly through them. The
upper and outer extremity of the vibraculum is bifid, and to the inner
horn is articulated the seta, and from the notch between the two horns
there is continued nearly, if not quite, to the inner extremity of the
organ, and along its upper border, a shallow groove, in which is lodged
the seta when in a state of rest. In most species the seta is serrated
with distant teeth on one side.

Where there are more than two rows of cells, the marginal cells differ in
conformation from the central.

As in Scrupocellaria, the opening of the cell is sometimes protected by a
pedunculate operculum. The genus, therefore, may, like that, admit of
being divided into sections, distinguished respectively by the presence
or absence of a pedunculate operculum.

a. Operculatae.

1. C. rudis, n. sp.

Multiserial; opening of cells oval, margin much thickened, with a strong
projecting upturned spine on each side in the central cells, and with
three strong and long similar spines on the outer side, and a smaller one
on the inner side in the marginal cells. Operculum spatulate, or pointed
above, entire. Each cell of the central rows with two small avicularia in
front, immediately below the mouth. Each marginal cell with a single
large vibraculum in front below the mouth. Vibracula slender, very
transparent. Setae short, not serrated.

Habitat: Bass Strait.

Colour dirty white: forms a broad frondose polyzoarium 1 1/2 to 2 inches,
or perhaps more, in height. The branches, all disposed in the same plane,
are flat, thick, and about 1/8th of an inch wide, composed of from four
to six rows of comparatively small cells, which viewed behind appear
lozenge or diamond-shaped, and arranged quincunically. It is not always
easy to observe with accuracy the outline of the vibracula, owing to the
extreme tenuity of their walls, but the groove along the upper border is
very distinct and most usually has the seta lying in it. The avicularia
on the marginal cells are very large, but not uniform in size. Along each
border of the branches runs a bundle of radical tubes, the number of
which diminishes as the branch ascends, each terminating in a vibraculum.

2. C. zelanica, Busk.

Selbia zelanica, Gray. Dieffenbach's New Zealand, volume 2 page 292.

Crisia boryi, Audouin. (Savigny Egypt plate 12 figure 4.)

Biserial; opening of cell oval or elliptical, rounded at each end,
crossed in front, and thus divided into two nearly equal parts by a
transverse calcareous band, from the lower edge of which depends a
pedunculate, falciform operculum. Cells frequently produced upwards into
a large arcuate ovicell. Vibracula ovoid, setae long, serrated.

Habitat: off Cumberland Islands, 27 fathoms, fine grey mud.

Slender: sufficiently distinguished by the peculiar form of the
operculum. This part is so indistinctly represented in Savigny's figures,
as to render it impossible to determine with certainty whether his
species is the present one or not. The posterior view is much more like,
but that is insufficient of itself to afford a specific character. The
back of the branches exactly resembles an ear of barley. This species
occurs in New Zealand, and also in South Africa.

b. Inoperculatae; opening of cell without an operculum.

3. C. lata, n. sp. ?

C. dichotoma ?, Lamouroux.

Branches 4 to 7 serial; opening of cells in central rows, oval, sometimes
square below; and the cell frequently produced into a shallow arcuate
cavity. A short blunt spine on each side of the mouth. Marginal cells
shallow, opening oval, margin much thickened, granulated: usually a short
conical spine at the summit; a very minute sessile avicularium behind the
outer edge, superiorly. Vibracula very large: setae serrated.

Habitat: off Cumberland Islands, 27 fathoms fine grey mud.

Colour white or yellowish; forms close rounded tufts 2 1/2 to 3 inches in
height and width, composed of uniform dichotomously divided branches,
about 1/8 of an inch wide, and which become wider towards their truncate
extremities. The vibracula are very large, and though distinctly defined,
are yet sufficiently transparent to allow a view of the lozenge-shaped
cells. The central rows of cells vary in number from two to five, and the
cells composing them are arranged with extreme regularity. The marginal
rows are placed in a plane posterior to the central, and as above
noticed, the cells of which they are composed are widely different from
the central.

The only other species with which the present can be confounded is
Caberea hookeri (Cellularia hookeri, Fleming) a British form. The latter
species appears to differ from C. lata, chiefly in its having a large
tubular spine on each side of the mouth of the lateral cells, and in each
of the central cells, or nearly so, being furnished with an anterior
avicularium, below the opening and to one side. The lateral sessile
avicularium on the marginal cells is also much larger.


Polyzoarium expanded, continuous or encrusting. Cells disposed in
straight series, which do not radiate from a centre.

17. Flustra, Linn.

a. Cells on one side only.

1. F. pyriformis ?, Lamouroux.

Cells pyriform, or barrel-shaped, prominent, marked with transverse
wrinkles. Ovicells lofty, keeled in front, with a strong central, and two
lateral longitudinal ribs.

Habitat: Bass Strait, 45 fathoms.

Sometimes small and parasitic, upon Sertularians and Polyzoa--sometimes
independent, then of large growth, forming dichotomously divided fronds,
with strap-shaped truncate, unequal divisions.

b. Cells on both sides. (Carbasea, Gray.)

2. F. denticulata, n. sp.

Cells much elongated, narrow; sides parallel, ends square; an upturned
spine on each side at the oral end; sides of cell denticulate, denticles
very numerous, small, acute. Avicularia irregularly distributed on the
surface of the frond.

Habitat: Bass Strait, 45 fathoms.

Frond divided into numerous strap-shaped, truncated segments, of various
widths; it attains a height of several inches. In habit it is very like
some forms of F. truncata, and there is a Mediterranean species
(undescribed ?) in which the cells are denticulate, much in the same way
as in the present species, but otherwise quite distinct.

18. RETEPORA, Lamarck.

Character. (B.) Polyzoarium foliaceous, calcareous, or horny, reticulate;
cells only on one side.

1. R. cornea, n. sp.

R. ambigua ? Lamarck.

Cells oval, not very regularly arranged, in a continuous, foliaceous,
subcircular frond; reticulated with oval spaces, not as wide as the
interspaces. Ovicells large, galeriform, immersed, smooth.

Habitat. Off Cumberland Islands, 27 fathoms, fine grey mud.

This remarkable species is so completely a Retepore in construction, that
it seems impossible to separate it from that genus, merely from the
circumstance that its composition is more horny than calcareous. The
frond is more or less orbicular, or rather is composed of more or less
orbicular or reniform folds, one over another, and attached as it were to
a common centre. The substance is very thin and transparent, and the
interspaces are much broader than the elliptical spaces.

2. R. cellulosa.

Habitat: Bass Strait, 45 fathoms.

Not distinguishable from a Mediterranean specimen.

3. R. ctenostoma, n. sp.

Frond umbilicate, irregularly infundibuliform, spaces elongated, narrow,
margins subdenticulate; interspaces as wide as the spaces. Mouth of cells
tubular, projecting; with six or seven unequal acute expanding teeth.

Habitat: Bass Strait, 45 fathoms.

A very distinct and beautiful species. The frond is about half an inch
wide, and though really umbilicate and subinfundibuliform, does not at
first sight appear so, being much more expanded on one side of the centre
than on the other.

19. ESCHARA, Ray.

1. E. lichenoides, M. Edwards. Mem. sur les Eschares. Ann. d. S. N. tome
6 page 31 plate 2 figure 3.

Habitat: Australian Sea, probably Bass Strait. (It also occurs in Algoa Bay.)

20. DIACHORIS, n. gen. Table 1 figures 10 to 12.

Cells separate, each connected with six others by short tubes; disposed
in a horizontal plane, and forming a continuous irregular frond; free, or
partially adnate.

The mode of arrangement and interconnection of the cells in this genus is
remarkable, and highly interesting. It represents, in fact, a dissected
Flustra or Membranipora. The cells are disposed in linear parallel
series, and those of two contiguous series are alternate with respect to
each other. Each cell is connected with one at either end in the same
linear series by a rather wide short tubular prolongation, and with two
on each side in the contiguous series by narrower tubes, so that each
cell, except in the marginal rows, is connected with six others. It is
this mode of interconnection of the cells that affords the diagnostic
generic character. There is but one species in the present collection,
but in Mr. Darwin's there are two others from the Straits of Magellan, as
yet undescribed.

1. D. crotali, n. sp. Table 1 figures 10 to 12.

Cells erect, open in front, perforated on the sides and bottom; a
lanceolate appendage articulated to each upper angle. Ovicell conical,
placed on the upper edge.

Habitat: Bass Strait, 45 fathoms.

The frond, though not strictly speaking adnate, as it seems to have no
attachments, is usually spread loosely over other polyzoa. There is no
appearance of a movable mandible in the lanceolate appendages, but which,
nevertheless, most probably represent avicularia. These organs are of a
lanceolate form, with an elevated ridge or keel along the back, and
slightly concave beneath. They project in front, slightly depending; and
at the base of each is a rounded eminence.


Polyzoarium missive or crustaceous, composed of ovate cells in
juxtaposition and arranged, more or less regularly, in linear series,
radiating from a central point or line.

21. CELLEPORA, Otho Fabricius.

1. Cellepora bilabiata, n. sp. ?

C. labiata, Lamouroux.

Cells deeply immersed; mouths in some entire and unarmed; in others, with
two acuminated conical lips; immediately beneath the apex of the
posterior lip a small sessile avicularium. Ovicells subglobular, with a
scutiform area on the upper surface, marked with several lines on each
side, radiating from a central line.

Habitat: Bass Strait.

Parasitic on several zoophytes. This species to the naked eye exactly
resembles C. pumicosa, but on closer examination several important
differences will be observable. The cells in C. bilabiata are less
rounded and less distinct than in C. pumicosa. As in that species, some
of the cells are furnished with an avicularium, and others unprovided
with that appendage; and again, some cells support an ovicell, whilst
others do not. The mouth of the unarmed cells in both species is more or
less circular and plain, but in C. bilabiata, even in the unarmed cells,
the mouth is occasionally distinctly bilabiate. In C. pumicosa the
avicularium is placed subapically on a solitary posterior obtuse mucro,
but in C. bilabiata there are two such processes longer and more pointed,
one in front and the other behind the mouth; the avicularium, as in the
former case, being placed immediately below the apex of the posterior
mucro. The ovicells also differ very much. In C. pumicosa this organ
presents several rather large circular spots or perforations ? whilst in
C. bilabiata it exhibits a scutiform or horseshoe-shaped area, marked
with several transverse lines on each side of a middle longitudinal line.


Cells opposite, in pairs.

22. DIDYMIA, n. gen. Table 1 figure 6.

Cells joined side by side; opening large, oval; mouth subapical, central.
No avicularium. Ovicells contained within a cell, which is central at
each bifurcation.

1. Didymia simplex, n. sp. Table 1 figure 6.

Cells oblong, narrowed below, broad and truncate, with an angle
externally above. Back marked with transverse rugae.

Habitat: Bass Strait, 45 fathoms.

A fine species, growing in loosely-branched phytoid fronds, to a height
of several inches. In some (dried) specimens the branches are a little
incurved, but not in all. The situation of the ovicell is peculiar. It is
contained within the upper part of a cell placed between, or rather in
front of the pair, from which the two branches at a bifurcation take
their origin. The ovigerous cell differs widely in form from the others,
being pyriform, and much attenuated below; and the orifice is below the
middle. The upper compartment, in which the ovicell or sac itself is
lodged, appears to be separated from the lower by a transverse diaphragm.

23. DIMETOPIA, n. gen. Table 1 figures 7 to 9.

Cells joined back to back; the mouths of each alternate pair looking in
the same direction, and at rightangles to the intermediate pair.

1. D. spicata, n. sp. Table 1 figure 9.

Cells infundibuliform. Margin of opening much thickened, with six
equidistant, elongated pointed spines.

Habitat: Bass Strait, 45 fathoms.

White, transparent, forming thick tufts about 1 1/2 to 2 inches in
height. The same species also occurs in New Zealand.

2. D. cornuta, n. sp. Table 1 figures 7 and 8.

Cells suddenly contracted about the middle. Opening oval, wide above;
margins slightly thickened with a short thick conical horn on each side
above, and a long projecting spine (rarely two) in front below.

Habitat: Bass Strait, 45 fathoms.

Branches narrower than in the preceding species. Colour yellowish. Tufts
loose; ovicell small in proportion to the size of the cells. It is placed
immediately above and behind the upper margin of the opening of the cell
to which it belongs.


Fam. 1. VESICULARIADAE. Cells tubular, horny.

24. AMATHIA, Lamouroux.

1. A. biseriata, Krauss. Corall. der Sudsee, page 23. Figure 1 a, b, c.

Habitat: Swan Island, Banks Strait.

The biserial arrangement of the cells is not a sufficient character,
because in Amathia cornuta (Lamouroux) the cells are also biserial as
well as in another South African species, very like the Australian form
probably intended by Krauss, but apparently different from it. In the
South African form the cells are shorter, narrower, and more cylindrical,
and the branches are terminated by two lanceolate tags, which are not
present in the Australian species, in which latter the cells also are
wider, longer, and prismatic, or subhexagonal, with very thin walls.



The number of species of Sertularian Zoophytes comprised in this
collection amounts to thirty-one, belonging to five genera, all of which
appear to be common to both the Northern and Southern hemispheres; and
four are European types. The fifth, Pasythea, is stated by Lamouroux, to
be found on Fucus natans and in the West Indies; so that the present
collection does not present any peculiar Australian generic form. It is
far otherwise, however, with respect to the species. Of these three only
are found in the European seas namely:

Sertularia operculata.
Campanularia dumosa.
Campanularia volubilis ?

Of which the first is a perfect cosmopolite, and the last is perhaps

There are also, what is much more strange, not more than three species
which I have been enabled to trace to any other locality, even in the
Southern hemisphere. These are:

Sertularia elongata.
Sertularia divaricata, n. sp.
Plumularia macgillivrai, n. sp.

The first occurring in New Zealand; the second on the south coast of
Patagonia and in the Straits of Magellan; and the third (which, however,
is not, strictly speaking, an Australian form, having been procured in
the Louisiade Archipelago) in the Philippine Islands. With these six
exceptions, the whole number of species would therefore, to a certain
extent, appear to be characteristic of the Australian seas.

Of the thirty-one species, it appears strange that not less than
twenty-five should here be described as new; and there can be no doubt
many so described are included under the vague and uncertain descriptions
of Lamarck and Lamouroux; but, in the absence of authentic specimens, or
trustworthy figures, I have found it impossible to identify
satisfactorily the species described by them, and have therefore thought
it better to assign new names rather than to apply former ones, which
would in all probability prove incorrect. It is hoped, at all events,
that the descriptions here given will be found sufficient to prevent any
misconception of what is intended in the following catalogue.

The mode in which the species are arranged will be seen from the
following synoptical arrangement:



Gen. 1. Sertularia.
§ 1. Cells alternate (Sertularia).
(a) Cells distichous.
1. S. elongata.
2. S. divaricata, n. sp.
3. S. crisoides.
(b) Cells secund.
4. S. pristis.
§ 2. Cells opposite (Dynamena).
(a) Cells distichous.
5. S. subcarinata, n. sp.
6. S. patula, n. sp.
7. S. orthogonia, n. sp.
8. S. mutulata, n. sp.
9. S. operculata.
10. S. divergens, n. sp.
11. S. trigonostoma, n. sp.
12. S. digitalis, n. sp.
13. S. loculosa, n. sp.
14. S. unguiculata, n. sp.
15. S. tridentata, n. sp.
2. Pasythea.
16. P. hexodon, n. sp.
3. Plumularia.
§ 1. Angiocarpeae.
17. P. huxleyi, n. sp.
18. P. hians, n. sp.
19. P. delicatula, n. sp.
20. P. aurita, n. sp.
21. P. brevirostris, n. sp.
22. P. ramosa, n. sp.
23. P. divaricata, n. sp.
24. P. phoenicea, n. sp.
25. P. longicornis, n. sp.
26. P. macgillivrayi, n. sp.
§ 2. Gymnocarpeae.
27. P. effusa, n. sp.
28. P. campanula, n. sp.
4. Campanularia.
29. C. volubilis (?)
30. C. dumosa.
5. Laomedea.
31. L. torressii, n. sp.




Gen. 1. Sertularia, Linnaeus.

1. Cells alternate (Sertularia).

a. Cells distichous.

1. S. elongata, Lamouroux.

Habitat: Swan Island, Banks Strait, thrown on the beach. Port Dalrymple,
on stones at low water. (Also New Zealand.)

2. S. divaricata, n. sp.

Cells urceolate-subtubular, or very little contracted towards the mouth,
often adnate to the rachis nearly their whole length; mouth looking
upwards, with three large acute teeth, two lateral, and one rather longer
than the others, and slightly recurved, above. Ovicells ---- ?

Habitat: Bass Strait, 45 fathoms, dead shells.

Colour dirty yellowish white; polypidom branched, from a common stem;
branches irregular (?) straggling, pinnate and bipinnate, pinnae and
pinnules divaricate at rightangles, alternate; rachis flexuose, or with
an angle at the origin of each pinna. The cells are placed at wide
distances apart; small and adnate very nearly to the top. The mouth
circular, with three large teeth, the one above frequently obscured by
adventitious substances, very acute, ascending, and a little recurved.

Sertul. gayi. (Lamouroux. Exp. page 12 plate 66 figure 89 has four

This species occurs also on the south coast of Patagonia, and the Straits
of Magellan; in the latter locality, however, the habit is much more

3. S. crisioides, Lamouroux. (Dynamena.)

Cells adnate, conical, slightly curved, truncate at bottom, narrow at
top; mouth vertical, external.

Habitat: Off Cumberland Islands, 27 fathoms.

Very like a Thuiaria, but the cells are not immersed, though very closely
adnate, and the outer angle of the square base of each cell is in contact
with the upper and back part of the one below it, so that a small
triangular space or opening is left below each cell. The branches are
very regularly alternate; and the polypidom is of a light brownish

(b) Cells secund.

4. S. pristis, (B.).

Idia pristis, Lamouroux.

Cells tubular, all contiguous or adnate to each other, and to the rachis,
upper half curved laterally, lower half closely adnate, almost immersed
in the rachis; mouth looking upwards, rounded, expanded, almost
infundibuliform, border slightly scalloped towards the rachis, and
projecting externally. Ovicell cyathiform, long narrow with circular
rugae. Mouth as large as the diameter of the cup, margin very slightly

Habitat: Prince of Wales Channel, Torres Strait, 9 fathoms. Off
Cumberland Islands, in 27 fathoms, fine grey mud.

I see no reason why the present species should not come under Sertularia.
It is peculiar from the position and extreme contiguity of the alternate
cells. The ovicells arise from the back of the rachis towards the side.
When viewed posteriorly, the cells are seen through the transparent
rachis, and it might thus at first sight appear as if the rachis itself
were cellular and not tubular, but such is not the case. The tube is wide
and continuous from end to end.

2. Cells opposite (sometimes alternate on the stem). (Dynamena).

(a) Cells distichous.

5. S. subcarinata, n. sp.

Cells tubular, upper half divergent, ascending. Mouth looking upwards,
circular, with an anterior and two lateral broad, expanding teeth. A
narrow angular line or keel down the front of the cell. Ovicell ---- ?

Habitat: Bass Strait, 45 fathoms dead shells.

Colour white, transparent, growth small, straggling. Branches irregular,
divaricate nearly at rightangles, subalternate. The three expanding teeth
and the anterior ridge or keel, besides its habit, distinguish it from a
Tasmanian species with which alone can it be confounded. The cells are

6. S. patula, n. sp.

Cells tubular, upper third free, divergent ascending. Mouth perfectly
round, looking upwards and outwards, margin entire everted. Ovicell ----

Habitat: Bass Strait, 45 fathoms, dead shells.

Colour whitish. A small parasitic species, with opposite branches.

7. S. Orthogonia, n. sp.

Cells tubular, nearly half free, divergent laterally at a right angle.
Mouth looking directly outwards, border entire, slightly everted. Ovicell
---- ?

Habitat: Prince of Wales Channel, Torres Strait, parasitic upon S.

Very like the preceding in habit and size, of which it may possibly prove
to be a variety. The cells, however, throughout the whole of the
polypidom are of precisely the same character, in each form, and exhibit
no intermediate steps. In the present species the cells are much longer,
rather narrower, and the upper half is turned out abruptly at a
rightangle, whilst in the former they ascend at an angle of 45 degrees,
and the free portion is much shorter. The branches in both are opposite;
the ovicells are unfortunately absent in each.

8. S. mutulata, n. sp.

Cells compressed or flattened, from side to side; sometimes angular,
lower half adnate, upper half divergent, projecting like a bracket. Mouth
looking directly upwards, narrow oblong, quadrangular. Ovicells aculeate,
with strong widely set spines, pyriform depressed.

Habitat: Prince of Wales Channel, Torres Strait, 9 fathoms.

Colour light olive grey. Polypidom about three inches high, irregularly ?
branched, branches not opposite. The cells are distichous, and of a very
peculiar form, but varying in some degree according to their situation.
The younger (?) cells on the secondary branches are flat on the inferior
or outer aspect, with two angles on each side, or are quadrangular;
whilst the cells on the stems or older or fertile branches are usually
rounded below, or on the outer side, and thus have only one angle on each
side. The mouth varies in shape according to the cell; in the former case
being a regular long rectangle, whilst in the latter it is rounded on the
outer side. The ovicells are placed in a single series on one side of the
rachis, as in S. digitalis, but are widely different in form.

9. S. operculata, Linn.

Habitat: Swan Island, Banks Strait.

This species occurs in all parts of the world. It is to be carefully
distinguished from S. bispinosa, Gray--also an Australian and New Zealand
species, but which does not occur in the present collection.

b. Cells (on the branches) secund, contiguous.

10. S. divergens, Lamouroux.

Cells urceolate, much contracted towards the mouth; upper half free,
divergent, projecting laterally almost horizontally; mouth small
elliptical, with the long axis looking directly outwards; two lateral
teeth. Ovicell smooth, rounded, ovoid; oral margin not elevated.

Habitat: Swan Island, Banks Strait.

Colour light yellowish: parasitic upon a fucus. Height from 1/4 to 1/2
inch; simply pinnate, branches distant, regularly alternate. The stem is
divided into internodes, from each of which arises a single branch. The
cells on the stem are alternate.

b. Cells secund.

11. S. trigonostoma, n. sp.

Cells ovoid, gibbous, much contracted towards the mouth. Very small
portion free, projecting forwards and outwards. Mouth looking outwards
and forwards, triangular, with a short blunt tooth on the external angle.
Ovicell ---- ?

Habitat: Prince of Wales Channel, Torres Strait, 9 fathoms.

Colour very light yellowish. Polypidom simply pinnate, about two inches
high: longest pinnae about half an inch. Cells small adnate, projecting
suddenly at top, and much contracted at the mouth. The mouth is of a
triangular form, the longest side of the triangle being below. The cells
are placed in pairs, but one is always a little higher than the other
(subalternate) and one pair is placed on each internode on the pinnae.
The stem is also indistinctly divided into internodes, from each of which
a single pinna is given off alternately on opposite sides, and besides
the pinnae there are three cells on each internode, two on the side from
which the pinna springs, and on the opposite side alternate in position
to the other two.

12. S. digitalis, n. sp.

Cells digitiform, slightly curved to the front, mouth circular, looking
directly upwards. Margin entire, expanded. Ovicells long-ovoid, muricate,
spines numerous crowded, mouth prolonged, tubular.

Habitat Prince of Wales Channel, Torres Strait, 9 fathoms.

Colour dark grey, almost black. Stem two or three inches high, rising
either from a strong main trunk (?) or from a mass of intertwined radical
tubes. Stems or branches pinnate: pinnae or branches alternate, straight,
divaricate. The cells forming a pair, are, on the branches, adnate to
each other throughout their whole length. But on the stem the cells are
distichous and wide apart. The ovicells are peculiar in their long
flask-like form, and tubular mouth. They are placed all on one side of
the rachis, generally in single file, but sometimes in pairs.

13. S. loculosa, n. sp.

D. distans ? Lamouroux.

Cells completely adnate to each other, each apparently divided into two
compartments by a transverse constriction. Upper half turned horizontally
outwards. Mouth roundish, irregular, contracted: looking outwards, and a
little downwards. Ovicell ---- ?

Habitat: Bass Strait, 45 fathoms.

Colour deep brown; polypidom simple unbranched (?) about half an inch
high, parasitic upon a broad-leaved fucus. The cells are so closely
conjoined as to form but one triangular body, which appears as if divided
into five loculaments by transverse constriction. The upper apparent
constriction however seems merely to indicate the line of flexure of the
upper part of the cell upon the lower. The form of the conjoined cells is
not unlike Lamouroux' figure of S. (D.)distans; but the present is
clearly not that species.

14. S. unguiculata, n. sp.

Cells urceolate, upper half free, projecting in front, and much
contracted towards the mouth; elliptical, with the long axis horizontal,
looking forwards and a little outwards; two long lateral teeth, the outer
the longer and usually incurved. Ovicell ovoid; mouth wide, with a much
elevated, thickened border.

Habitat: Swan Island, Banks Strait, thrown on the beach.

Colour bright brown; polypidom pinnate; the stems arising from creeping
radical tubes, very thickly intertwined around a long slender body. The
stems are from one to four inches long, the pinnae about 1/4 to 1/2 inch,
alternate. The rachis of the stem is divided into distinct internodes,
from each of which are given off two pinnae, and upon which are also
placed usually six cells, three on either side. The pinnae are also
divided, but less distinctly, into internodes of various lengths. The
pairs of cells on the pinnae are all secund, and in contact with each
other at their bases, though widely divergent above.

15. S. tridentata, n. sp.

Cells urceolate, ventricose below, contracted towards the mouth. Mouth
looking forwards and outwards, circular, with three acute teeth, two
lateral, longer than the third, which is above.

Habitat: Bass Strait, 45 fathoms.

Colour yellowish white. Polypidom simply pinnate, about 2 1/2 inches
high; pinnae in the middle 3/4 of an inch. The cells are ventricose
below, and almost flask-shaped. The two lateral teeth are long, acute,
and slightly everted; the upper third tooth is sharp, but not near as
long as the others; the border of the mouth is as it were excavated
below, so that the mouth is as nearly as possible vertical. Contrary to
what is the case in S. divergens, but exactly as is represented in
Savigny's figures of the so-called S. disticha (Egypt plate 14 figures 2
and 3); and S. distans (Egypt plate 14 figures 1 and 3) the lateral teeth
are sloped or bevelled off from below upwards, and not from above
downwards, as in S. divergens (Mihi).

2. Pasythea, Lamouroux.

Cells in distinct sets, at some distance apart.

1. P. hexodon, n. sp.

Cells in sets of six--three on each side; a single axillary cell in each
dichotomous division of the polypidom. Ovicell pedunculate ovoid, adnate
to the rachis, with a lateral opening.

Habitat: Off Cumberland Isles, 27 fathoms.

As this differs in the number of cells in each set, as well as in the
form of the cells, and in the form and position of the ovicell, it
appears irreconcilable with Lamouroux' P. quadridentata. According to the
figure given of the latter the ovicell is not adnate, and is spirally

3. PLUMULARIA, Lamarck.

a. Angiocarpeae--ovicells enclosed in siliquose, costate receptacles.

1. P. huxleyi, n. sp.

Plumularia--Huxley, Philosophical Transactions Part 2 1849 page 427 plate
39 figures 43 and 45.

Cells cup-shaped, shallow; mouth nearly vertical, subquadrangular, margin
subcrenate, plicate; with a small acute central denticle in front, and a
wide shallow notch behind. Rostrum twice as long as the cell, arising
from the rachis by a broad ventricose base, adnate the whole length of
the cell, narrow upwards and slightly expanded again at the summit;
lateral processes very short and wide, canalicular adnate. Costae of
ovarian receptacle numerous, each with a single branch near the bottom,
and beset with small cup-like processes, and not connected by a membrane.

Habitat: Port Curtis. Off Cumberland Islands, in 27 fathoms fine grey mud.

Colour yellowish white. Polypidom about 6 inches high, rising with a
single flexuose stem, which is naked at bottom, and afterwards gives off
alternate branches, bifariously disposed at each angular flexure.
Branches simple, 2 to 3 inches long; pinnules about 1/4 inch. The
construction of the ovarian receptacle in the present section of the
genus Plumularia is well exemplified in this species, owing to the
comparative simplicity of the elements of which it is composed.

2. P. hians, n. sp.

Cell cup-shaped, deep, cylindrical; mouth nearly vertical; margin with
three teeth on each side, the middle one the longest, acute, much
expanded, the other more rounded; a wide notch posteriorly. Rostrum,
arising from the rachis, as long as the cell, slender, tubular, adnate;
lateral processes very small, ovarian receptacles ---- ?

Habitat: Prince of Wales Channel, Torres Strait, in 9 fathoms.

Colour bright brown, rachis shining, very dark brown; polypidom about six
inches high, simply pinnulate, pinnules about half an inch; thickly and
regularly disposed, alternate.

3. P. delicatula, n. sp.

Cell cup-shaped, rounded, mouth at an angle of 45 degrees; margin
dentate, with two lateral teeth of equal size and a central one in front
longer, all acute; entire posteriorly. Rostrum a little longer than the
cell, scarcely connected with the rachis, slender, and closely adpressed
and adnate to the cell below, wide and projecting upwards; lateral
processes large, rising above the margin of the cell, conical, tubular,
or canalicular.

Habitat: Prince of Wales Channel, Torres Strait, in 9 fathoms.

Colour of rachis and pinnules, delicate yellowish white above; of rachis,
light brown, inferiorly; polypidom about two inches high, rising in
several straight simply pinnulated fronds from a common centre; pinnules
ascending about 1/4 inch.

4. P. aurita, n. sp.

Cells cup-shaped, tapering at bottom, constricted just below the top;
mouth at an angle of 45 degrees, circular; margin subcrenate, plicate,
with three folds on each side, with a wide shallow notch in front and
entire behind. Rostrum, slender, attenuated below, adnate up to the cell,
summit contracted, tubular; lateral processes very long, expanding,
rising far above the margin of the cell, conical, tubular.

Habitat: Off Cumberland Isles, 27 fathoms.

Colour bright brown; polypidom 2 to 3 inches high, consisting of straight
pinnate fronds, pinnae or branches not opposite, nor regularly alternate,
divaricate at rightangles.

5. P. brevirostris, n. sp.

Cell sub-tubular, curved; mouth expanded with two equal acute teeth on
each side, and a longer narrow and slightly incurved, central one in
front. Rostrum small, conical, projecting, about half the length of the
cell; lateral processes small, recurved at an angle, canalicular.

Habitat: Off Cumberland Isles, 27 fathoms.

Colour dirty white. In habit, and to the naked eye, very much like the
last; its growth, however, appears to be longer and less regular. The
difference in the cell is very great.

6. P. ramosa, n. sp.

Cells cup-shaped, deep, rounded at bottom; margin elevated on the sides,
expanding, with four teeth on each side, the first and second in front
much expanded, acute, incurved at the point; a long slender incurved
central tooth in front; margin entire behind. Rostrum not continued to
the rachis, adnate the whole length of the cell, wide and projecting,
narrowed to the point, which is tubular, opening oblique, longer than the
cell; lateral processes conical, short, tubular, closely adnate. Costae
of ovarian receptacle with short opposite tubular branches; NOT connected
by a membrane.

Habitat: Swan Island, Banks Strait, thrown on the beach.

Colour greyish brown; polypidom 4 to five inches high, much branched,
branches irregular, divaricate, rising in great numbers almost
immediately from the mass of radical fibres. A beautiful species, and the
ovarian receptacles very interesting.

7. P. divaricata, n. sp.

Cells cup-shaped, long, slightly contracted at bottom; mouth circular;
margin sub-expanded, dentate, with three nearly equal upright teeth on
each side, and a long, round pointed central tooth in front. Rostrum
narrow at bottom, closely adnate, scarcely rising higher than the central
tooth; lateral processes small, closely adnate.

Habitat: Bass Strait, 45 fathoms.

Colour dark brown, almost black when dry. In habit it is extremely like
the preceding species, from which, however, it is quite distinct. The
polypidom is five or six inches high, perhaps more; stem slender,
branches long, divaricate at rightangles, not opposite.

8. P. phoenicea, n. sp.

Cells cup-shaped, rounded, bent over in front, so that the mouth is
nearly vertical; margin with two folds, subcrenate, and with a broad, but
pointed lateral lobe; entire posteriorly. Rostrum, arising solely from
the cell, small, upper half free, projecting, tubular; lateral processes
long, cylindrical, or tapering, free, projecting.

Habitat: Prince of Wales Channel, Torres Strait, in 9 fathoms.

Colour bright buff, many of the branches having a piebald aspect, or
mottled with dark purple patches; when wetted these portions present a
beautiful crimson colour. Polypidom five or six inches high, rising with
a strong, tapering, longitudinally grooved stem, which is sometimes
sparingly branched, but more commonly simple. Stem and branches pinnate
or bipinnate, the pinnae and pinnules alternate. The latter are about 1/4
inch in length.

9. P. longicornis, n. sp.

Cells urceolate, deep, upper half curved abruptly upon the lower, so that
the mouth is vertical; margin subplicate, subcrenate, rising on each side
into a broad angular lobe, entire behind, and quite free from the rachis.
Rostrum, rising entirely from the cell, with a broad base, suddenly
contracting into a long slender tube, which projects in front a long way
from the cell; lateral processes very long, free, tubular, projecting
suddenly forwards and a little upwards and outwards.

Habitat: Prince of Wales Channel, Torres Strait, 9 fathoms.

Colour pale buff. Polypidom five or six inches high, consisting of a
strong straight, tapering stem, sometimes with a single ascending branch
given off near the bottom; stem and branches pinnate; pinnae 1 1/4 to 1
1/2 inches long; alternate, and arranged with the utmost regularity, of
uniform length, till near the summit, when they shorten rapidly, so as to
give the polypidom a rounded truncate end. The pinnules are excessively
fine and delicate, not more than 1/10 to 1/12 inch long, and very closely
set, so that the whole polypidom has the most exact resemblance to a
beautiful silky quill feather.

10. P. macgillivrayi, n. sp.

Cells campanulate, deep, rounded at bottom; margin subplicate, entire.
Rostrum large, rising from the cell, adnate the whole length of, and as
long as, the cell; the upper third constitutes a cup distinct from the
lower portion; lateral processes adnate, wide, short, curved upwards,
canalicular or tubular. Costae of ovarian receptacle connected by a
membranous expansion.

Habitat: Louisiade Archipelago, reefs at low water.

Colour bright brownish buff. Polypidom six to seven inches high,
consisting of a strong central stem, giving off opposite branches, at
regular intervals, and bifariously disposed. Pinnules about 1/8 inch
long, closely set.

b. Gymnocarpeae--ovicells naked.

11. P. effusa, n. sp.

Cells urceolate; deeply emarginate posteriorly, entire in front,
ventricose below; a small pedunculate infundibuliform process attached in
front to the projecting portion of the rachis on a level with upper
border of the cell. Ovicell ---- ?

Habitat: Prince of Wales Channel, Torres Strait.

Colour buff. Habit very peculiar. The polypidom rises to a height of
seven or eight inches, with a long slender waving, but upright stem,
which is naked inferiorly, and above gives off numerous straight or
waving branches, again subdividing into other shorter straight ramules,
about an inch long. The branches and branchlets are both pinnulated; the
pinnules are not more than 1/10 to 1/12 inches long, extremely delicate
and minute, so as in the dry state to be scarcely visible. The transition
from the former section of the genus Plumularia to the present, is well
shown, through P. macgillivrayi and the present species.

12. P. campanula, n. sp.

Cells campanulate, border entire; lateral and anterior appendages
canalicular. Branches alternate. Ovicells ---- ?

Habitat: Bass Strait, 45 fathoms dead shells.

There appear to be two varieties of this species, or that different
portions of the same polypidom may assume very different characters. The
larger and probably more common form, is at first sight extremely like P.
catharina, but it will soon be noticed that the branches are alternate
instead of opposite. The shape of the cells and their average size is
precisely the same as in that species. The lateral and anterior
appendages differ in form very considerably. In P. catharina these organs
are longer, more slender, infundibuliform, whilst in P. campanula they
are shorter and thicker and the terminal cup is open on one side or
canalicular. The ovicells might perhaps afford a more striking
characteristic, but they are unfortunately wanting in all the specimens
of P. campanula. The second variety is much slenderer, unbranched, the
cells and their appendages smaller but of the same form, and the cells
usually contain a mass of opaque black matter. This species is parasitic,
and appears to attain a height of several inches.



1. C. volubilis (?) Ellis.

Habitat: Prince of Wales Channel, Torres Strait.

As one or two ovicells, parasitic upon Sertularia pristis, are the only
evidences of this species that have come under observation, some doubt as
to identity of the species with the British form may be entertained.

1. C. dumosa, Pallas.

Habitat: Bass Strait.

Parasitic upon Sertulariae. Rather more slender than the usual British
form, but otherwise identical.

5. LAOMEDEA, Lamouroux.

1. Laomedea torressii, n. sp.

Cells campanulate, nearly sessile upon an incrassated collar projecting
from the stem. Margin of mouth not thickened, with four shallow

Habitat: Prince of Wales Channel, Torres Strait.

Of a light brown colour, two or three inches high. At first sight it is
very like Laomedea antipathes, Lamouroux, which occurs in New Zealand,
but differs materially in its smaller size and in the four shallow
emarginations of the mouth, which part in L. antipathes is entire and
with the margin a little thickened.

Note. Circumstances having prevented the insertion here of descriptions
of new species of Lunulites (Table 1 figures 13 to 16) and a few other
Zoophytes of the Voyage of the Rattlesnake--examined by Mr. Busk
subsequently to the preceding paper having been placed in the printer's
hands--I may mention that the descriptions in question will shortly be
published elsewhere. J. MCG.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Narrative of the Voyage of H.M.S. Rattlesnake, Commanded By the Late Captain Owen Stanley, R.N., F.R.S. Etc. During the Years 1846-1850. - Including Discoveries and Surveys in New Guinea, the Louisiade Archipelago, Etc. to Which Is Added the Account of Mr. E.B. Kennedy's Expedition for the Exploration of the Cape York Peninsula. By John Macgillivray, F.R.G.S. Naturalist to the Expedition. — Volume 1" ***

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